Adam Shows the Race for the Idol Title isn’t ‘Black or White’

March 11, 2009

Finally, we’ve gotten to the part of American Idol I love – when the real competition begins.  The performances tonight were a huge step above what we’ve been tortured with the last three weeks.

Lambert proved to be a hard act to follow

Lambert proved to be a hard act to follow

I don’t know if there is less pressure now that the mass cuts are just a memory or if there was just too much dead weight in the Top 36, but we have some real contenders here and they came out tonight singing the songs of Michael Jackson to prove that the winner if far from decided.

Rocking Out

Leading the pack in the race for the title tonight was Adam Lambert who has really come into his own in the last couple of weeks.  He turned around the judges who thought he was too theatrical at first. 

And if you don’t mind his eccentric style, he’s fun to watch and he can definitely rock out.  Tonight he proved that he could make a song his own with a slightly new arrangement of “Black or White” that had Paula and the audience dancing.  With the judges now behind him, he can be a real contender.

Also rocking out tonight was Alexis Grace and Allison Iraheta.  Alexis got down with “Dirty Diana” while Allison sang “Give in to Me.”  Both girls have a nice rock edge, but Alexis definitely put in the better performance.  This girl can sing and she can rock.  I cannot believe Alexis is the same girl that we saw audition.  She’s got confidence and style to go with her voice now. 

Allison, on the other hand, tried a little too hard tonight.  I didn’t like this performance nearly as much as her Heart number.  I thought she shouted more of the song than she sang.  She definitely has a rocker voice, but I thought she tried to do too much with this song tonight.  However, the judges loved her.

Bring out the Instruments

Tonight marked the return of instruments and three performers took advantage of this rule.

It was nice to see Scott MacIntyre back behind a piano where he is obviously more comfortable.  But let me say that I think he did a great job with the group number last week which had to be tough learning the choreography with his disability. 

That said, I think that being back at the piano gave Scott a chance to concentrate of his vocals and it showed.  “Keep the Faith” was a good song choice for him, but he’s going to have to strive harder to stand out among all the rockers.

Matt Giraud had to find out the same thing when he literally followed Adam with “Human Nature.”  Matt put in a nice solid performance and he looked great behind the piano, but as Simon put it he just paled in comparison to the previous number. 

It was a tough break in the order for Matt, but I think his performance was still strong enough to keep him for another week.

A guitar was the instrument of choice for Kris Allen who put in a fun performance of “Remember the Time.”  Even though Simon didn’t like the guitar, I really liked the rock twist Kris put on the song.  I wanted to get up and dance.  And to learn that Kris spent a lot of his time this week helping the other contestants, make me like him even more. 

Solid Performances

Aside from the standouts, most of the contestants put in nice, solid performances that made you feel good about them being in the Top 13.

It’s clear that Michael Jackson songs are not Lil Rounds’ strong suit, but I have to say that she stepped up to the challenge and delivered a nice rendition of “The Way You Make Me Feel.”  I’m not sure Lil made it as new as Randy made it sound, but she definitely put her seal on the song.  However, like Simon, I liked the second half of the song better than first.  But unlike Simon, I liked her outfit.  I thought it looked nice on her.

And when Danny Gokey started to sing P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) I have to admit that I was afraid he was going to do another sappy song, but he turned it around and we got to see another side of him – both vocally and in his life.  I liked that we got to meet his family in this week’s clip instead of more about his recently deceased wife (no offense intended).  How cool was it that his parents use to make a song out of homework and chores.  I’m going to have to try that with my own kids.

In general, I’m not a big Danny fan, probably because of all the hype (I like underdogs), but I really enjoyed his performance tonight.  Seeing Danny do an upbeat song really gave us a chance to see more of Danny’s abilities and I don’t think his dancing was as bad as Simon made it out to be.

And speaking of the back stories, I loved seeing all the roughnecks cheering for Michael Sarver.  There’s something about the idea of all those tough guys watching Idol that makes me smile.  And so did Michael’s performance.  “You Are Not Alone” was a great song choice for him.  It really let him show his passion and amongst all the rockers, I think it helped make him stand out.

Standing out was just what Jasmine Murray was trying to do when she chose “I’ll Be There.”  Personally, I think she sounded more like Mariah Carey than Michael Jackson but it worked for her.  She has a powerful voice for such a young girl. 

I’m not sure Jasmine is going to go the distance, but she will have some great experience behind her when she leaves.

Struggling with Jackson

Not everyone can sing Michael Jackson and despite the overall feeling of the show being better than anything we saw the last three weeks, we still saw a couple people struggle tonight.

If you asked me which song I’d pick for Anoop Desai, I’d have said “Beat It” because it just that kind of energetic song that goes with his personality.  The judges hated that he chose that song, but I didn’t find the performance nearly as bad as they did.  Sure he didn’t do anything new and exciting with the song, but he had fun with it.  If anything, I’d have liked to see him try a few moves just because he’s such a fun guy.  But gauging the reaction of the judges, this decision is going to cost him.

Also struggling with song choice was Jorge Nunez.  I know that Jorge is very popular, but I find his performances forgettable and tonight wasn’t any different.  It doesn’t help that he was really unfamiliar with “Never Can Say Goodbye,” the song that he chose.  I almost felt sorry for the guy, but I have to agree with Simon that the performance just sounded corny.

And poor Megan Joy Corkrey.  She picked the perfect song to go with the stupid little dance she does.  Unfortunately, “Rockin’ Robin” gave us no insight into her vocal ability at all.  And this late in the game, cute dancing (for those of you that like it) just isn’t going to be enough to be save her.

Now, normally my pick for the bottom three would be Allison, Jorge and Megan.  But given the little nugget that Ryan threw in at the end, I’m going to make my bottom three as Anoop, Jasmine and Megan, with Megan and Anoop going home.

For those of you that missed it, Ryan told us that that there will be a last minute rule change announced during the results show on Wednesday that will be game changing.  Nothing like changing the rules in the middle of the game, huh?  But if I were a betting woman, I would guess that the judges are going to get a say (at least in part) in who gets booted now.

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The Best New Shows of the Fall

November 7, 2008

This week I am a guest columnist at Clique Clack for this article.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already November and that we are two months into the fall TV season.  Sweeps will be starting soon and it’s time to see how this fall’s new shows measured up.

Michael Lavine/FOX

FRINGE: When an unlikely trio uncovers a deadly mystery that involves a series of unbelievable events, they discover it may be part of a larger, more disturbing pattern that blurs the line between science fiction and technology. Cr: Michael Lavine/FOX

I have to admit that overall – with a few exceptions – it’s not been a very impressive freshman crop.  I’m guessing it’s a result of last season’s writers strike and can only hope that we can expect better in the future. 

Without further ado, here’s my report card for this season’s new shows:

View the rest of the article


John Scott Returns to Guide Fringe’s Olivia in ‘Power Hungry’

October 15, 2008

In “Power Hungry,” Olivia is guided by her dead boyfriend – turn traitor – in her quest to find a man with serious electricity issues.  It makes you wonder if anyone is really dead on Fringe.

Eric Leibowitz/FOX

FRINGE: Olivia (Anna Torv, L) encounters her former partner John Scott (Mark Valley, R) in the FRINGE episode

Olivia tells her FBI co-worker Charlie that she’s seen John Scott in her kitchen.  He tells her that it’s her subconscious trying to deal with his death, his betrayal and everything she’s seen since then.

What Charlie doesn’t know is that Olivia and John were psychically linked in the pilot episode when she went into the tank to tap into his subconscious to find a cure for him (only to be betrayed by him later).

Well it seems that a bit of his subconscious stayed with her, according to Walter.  But what has it been doing?  Was it really guiding her?  He obviously knew about The Pattern and Jacob Fischer (Max Baker).

Or was it as Walter said, her mind trying to exorcise him?  Or is the connection still valid because someone over at Massive Dynamic is messing with his brain?  Or is Massive Dynamic using John to get to Olivia?

Speaking of Massive Dynamic, we’ve gone two episodes without a mention of the company or their creepy COO Nina Sharp.  But I have to wonder if they are behind the events of the last couple weeks.  Or maybe involved in some way involved?  At the very least they must be keeping taps on what’s going on?

This week’s bad guy was Jacob Fischer, a biotechnology guru who’s been using people with self esteem issues as human guinea pigs.  He recruits his unknowing victims through self help ads.  And poor Joseph Meeger (Ebon Moss-Bacchrach) became his walking electric current.

Unfortunately, Joseph didn’t understand what was done to him and had even less control over it, leaving in his wake death and destruction.

But thanks to helpful hints from subconscious John and a gamble by Walter on “rodents with wings,” Olivia and company are able to wrap up the case.  But not before dead John leads her to his hideaway cellar with all his files and a big fat engagement ring (presumably for Olivia).

So was that closer for the John issue?  Or will we be seeing him again?

Will Fischer rot in prison now or are we going to learn more about his experiments?  What part is he playing in The Pattern?  Does he have a connection to Massive Dynamics?

And exactly what happens to Meeger?  Does he stay sedated?  Does he go to a mental institute?  Jail?  Or does he become an experiment for Walter?

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Shocking Exit Tarnishes Give Back Vibe on American Idol

April 11, 2008

The American Idol Elite 8 results show started like a second part to Wednesday’s “Idol Give Back,” but finished with an elimination that left the audience shocked.

The first half hour was filled with a recap of Wednesday night’s 2 ½ hour charity show (cause 150 minutes wasn’t enough), a montage video of stars to the Monkee’s “I’m a Believer,” and an endless amount of celebrities plugging the donation number and website.

One plug even included comments from the three presidential candidates.  I loved that McCain took the comic route.

Of course we had the requisite group number to “Shout to the Lord,” the “I Just Want to Celebrate” Ford video, and a guest performance.

Last year’s winner Jordin Sparks teamed up with Chris Brown to sing “No Air.”  Then there was the fan presentations promoting Jordin’s success.

If you had any doubt that this whole segment was one big Idol promotion, Ryan cleared it up with his comment.

“The message here is that American Idol works.”

Finally, we got to the bottom three.  No surprise, my pick to go home – David Archuleta – was safe again.  Equally expected was Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson’s critical status.

But then we get to the shockers.  Kristy Lee is safe and Michael Johns is in trouble.

As I look at the bottom three, I could easily see either Syesha or Carly being eliminated.  But then I – and, judging from the stunned hush, the audience – were both amazed to find that Michael is on the chopping block.

If this fact wasn’t staggering enough, Ryan adds insult to injury by reminding us that last year they didn’t send anyone home during “Idol Gives Back” but Michael is still going home.

Did the record-breaking 31 million votes get it wrong?

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Even ‘Cautionary Tales’ Couldn’t Help HRG in ‘Heroes’

November 20, 2007

The ninth episode of Heroes was packed full of action as it was revealed how the final two Isaac Mendez painting played out.  But even knowing their content couldn’t save Noah and Mohinder from reenacting their roles in the paintings in ‘Cautionary Tales.’

The exchangeWho knew that Mohinder was actually going to have the guts to shoot HRG?  Right up to the point where he fires the gun he’s still Mr. I Can’t Choose a Side.  Even when he’s partnered with the deadly, but electrifying Elle, Mohinder is trying to convince Bob not to harm Noah and to just take Claire’s blood.

But I guess desperation to heal one person outweighs the life of another in Mohinder’s eyes.  Noah should have shot him when he had the chance.

But the big question is why did The Company keep Noah alive (and whose ashes is Claire spreading next week)?  Was it Mohinder’s guilt?  Or does Bob have bigger plans for HRG?  Or is it simply to keep access to Claire easy?

And speaking of Claire, why oh why would she go straight home and then stay there.  After her dad gives his life to save her (or so she thinks), she returns home (where Bob was waiting for her once before) and waits.  Why wasn’t she on the road to a new hiding place?  She could always send West back to get her mom and Lyle.

And for that matter, why didn’t Bob and company come back after her.  Was that Mohinder’s influence?  Or did they simply get enough of Claire’s blood for the time being?

Speaking of West, he was actually likable this episode, even bonding with Noah over cars.  Please say they didn’t give West the power of flight just so they use the line about Claire picking a boyfriend like her father.

Still, West was essential to the rescue. However, I can’t believe that Noah was foolish enough to discuss his rescue plans in front of Elle.  That faux pas just doesn’t seem like Noah.  By the way, where was the Haitian during all this?  He disappears at the most inopportune moments.  His powers could have been useful to suppress Elle, although I liked the bucket of water myself.  It gave her a taste of her own medicine.

We learned that Elle is Bob’s daughter.  But the discussion made me believe that she is an adopted daughter, not biological, bringing up the question of who her real parents are.  Also, now that Elle knows daddy has used the Haitian on her to make her forget his experiments, will she be seeking a little restitution from daddy?

Meanwhile, Hiro was dealing with daddy issues of his own.  Unwilling to eulogize his father, he travels back in time to save his father, but instead learns what we already know — Adam killed his father.  While the time traveling moments between father and son were sweet and little Hiro was adorable, I would have rather spent the time learning what Kaito had waited all that time in New York to tell his son.  What’s Kaito’s power?  What are their family secrets?  Did Kaito know who Adam really was?

Will we finally see the bad ass future Hiro from Season 1 now that he has vengeance — I mean justice — on his mind?

We learned a little more about Adam when Matt got a cool new power — the power to persuade.  Obviously, he’s on a roll now with powers just advancing left and right.  Could we finally have a power where we seen the holder in a moral dilemma about how and when to use.  I mean first Matt uses the power to get Molly to eat her cereal — innocent enough.  Then he uses it to make his boss give him more time on the Kaito case.  And finally he uses it to withdraw secrets from Angela’s mind.  Has Matt crossed a line?  Angela did say he was his father.

When Matt questions Angela he learns that it was Adam that killed Kaito.  When asked why she says it’s because they (the League of 12) locked him up for 30 years — guess that was true.  When asked why they locked him up, she explains that he can never grow old.  Never grow old?  That’s why they locked up Adam?  Talk about lame excuse.  I would have bought he wanted to take over the world or that he was planning an apocalypse, but because he can never grow old!

I can only hope that the writers really aren’t this lame and it was some form of resistance on Angela’s part.  In other words, she was telling him the truth, but not all of the truth.

But Matt did find out what he was after — the identity of the woman from the League of 12 photo played by Joanna Cassidy.  We learned her last name, Pratt, a couple weeks ago when Nathan was in Bob’s office.  This week we learned her first name — Victoria. 

Why is she the key?  And why would Angela, the woman who would sacrifice her own son, protect this woman?

There was no Peter, Nathan, Niki, Micah, Monica or wonder twins this episode.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good episode.  I liked it better than last week.

Until next week, I’ll leave you to your theories.


No Eggs for Minors this Halloween

October 31, 2007

I just read an article about a grocery store that is refusing to sell eggs to minors this week.  Call me naive, but I didn’t realize that egging had become such a huge issue.

Egg BanWhen I was a kid, my pranks were innocent.  We toilet papered each others houses.  We had shaving cream fights.  My pranks were all things that were fun and mischevious, but relatively harmless to private property.  Sure we made a mess, but we always cleaned it up.

I knew there were some kids that pulled more damaging pranks like egging at Halloween, but in reality the incidents of these pranks were always fewer than imagined.  I thought the “greatness” of these pranks were urban legends brought to us by teen comedy movies.

Apparently, I either lived in very courtesy neighborhoods (the worst I’ve seen here is smashed pumpkins) or I lived a very sheltered life.  Egging must be more popular these days if grocers are banning minors from buying eggs.

Now I’m not actually condoning the prank of egging, but I have to ask if this restriction will really quell the pranksters?

As a teenager, I was into cheap entertainment and it had to be something pretty big for me to spend my hard-earned money.  So I have to ask, do teenagers really spend their own money to buy eggs for this prank? Or do they just take them from their parents fridge? 

If the later is true, then the ban on egg purchases does nothing to prevent egging and probably actually invites an egging on this grocer.

So tell me, is egging a real problem in your neighborhood?  What are the pranks teens are pulling in your neighborhood this Halloween?


How to Survive a Horror Film: 7 Things Not to Put in Your Child’s Room

October 30, 2007

It seems like all the favorite horror films have the same ingredients — creepy bad guy that just won’t die, particular objects that give you the creeps, moments designed to make you jump out of your seat and the poor schmoo that doesn’t even know he’s going to die first.  But even knowing the standard formula, could you survive a horror movie?

Just in time for Halloween, help is on the way.  Seth Grahame-Smith wrote a manual to help you out.  And now he’s made some training films to go along with the manual.  Go to DodgeTheKills.com to watch these humorous training films related to all things needed to survive a horror movie.

Being a parent, I was especially fascinated with the 7 Things Not to Put in Your Child’s Room.  You can view it below.

I thought this list was pretty accurate.  My favorite of course is #7.  My husband is not a big fan of clowns, so he liked that one.  And my sister had one of those cymbal monkeys when she was a kid that she was scared to death of.

 The only thing not on the list that I would have included would be creepy dolls (Think Chuckie).

What scared you as a child?  Or if you are a parent, what scares your child?