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American Idol Final Results Show – The Breakup

Fair readers – some of you have expressed disappointment at my premature abandonment of this blog.  I apologize for leaving you high and dry.  I do understand that my hastily typed out musings while I watch television are more entertaining than American Idol itself at this point.  But I just found it difficult expend any more energy on this season, and tonight proved me right in my premature feelings of defeat.

Despite an egregiously lopsided finale performance night last night, Lee De-Why – NOT Mama Sox –  is now your American Idol.  The guy who didn’t sing one song this season on-key.  The guy who never once looked like he thought he deserved to be there.  The guy who had no originality.  The guy who the judges would have skewered in any other season.  The guy who made it to the top two because there were no other decent contenders.

While most will blame America for this, I blame the judges and the producers.  They cast this season.  Things looked bad at the top 24 and just went downhill from there.  I have gone back and watched a lot of past Idol performances this year, since I did not enjoy the current season.  Even the mediocre folks were stronger than Lee.  In ANY other season, he would have been fairly criticized every week.  But the judges knew that since their pool was mediocre at best, they had better pump up someone else just in case Crystal didn’t win.  They didn’t want a repeat of last year where they declared Adam Lambert to be the holy trinity and ignored Kris Allen for 12 weeks only to be rewarded with a Kris victory.  But then the judges became antsy when Crystal had a couple of so-so weeks and they pumped Lee up TOO much.  And America bought it.

Good job, judges.  Even you realized your folly last night when the nicest thing you could muster after Lee’s abysmal performance of U2’s “Beautful Day” (he took on BONO, for cripe’s sake!), was that Lee “deserved to be in the final two.”

Am I upset for Crystal?  No.  I don’t think she cares.  And I don’t think this will affect her career one way or the other.  I am upset for Idol.  You have lost all credibility.  You put forth a bad slate of folks for us to chose from (who was excited to see Andrew Garcia again?  Aaron Kelly?  Paige Miles?), you chose bad themes, boring guest mentors, you went soft on the judging, and you have now officially proven that any Joe Schmoe can win the competition.

I’m sorry, American Idol, but I think we have to break up.  Our relationship started off strong with Kelly Clarkson and entered the Honeymoon phase with Fantasia Barrino.  It proved to have staying power with Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks, and even still felt comfortable in the later years with David Cook and Kris Allen.  But after your dalliance with Lee Dewyze by way of Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia, and Paige Miles, I realize that it’s just not going to work out for us long-term.

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American Idol Recap – Top 4 Results

My favorite Idol of all time, FANTASIA BARRINO, opened the show with a slow jam.  As usual, the song was nowhere near worthy of her amazing voice, but at least she looks great and has decided to bring some class back.  Ah, Fantasia.  Here’s hoping that one day you will become the grande dame you are destined to be.  And let’s all give thanks that she did not give a repeat of her 2008 guest performance, which was for lack of a better term, a hot mess:

Daughtry also performs, which is a solid performance, as always.  I really hope this show turns itself around next year, because when it’s good, it truly does make such an impact on the music business.  I mean, it gave us Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, and Kelly Clarkson, three of the biggest artists out there today, not to mention lots of other solid, successful performers.

Casey is the first revealed to be in the top three, which does not bode well for Big Mike.  Lee is revealed to be safe next, followed by Crystal.

And so, finally, we bid farewell to Big Mike.  Hey, dude.  You grew on me a bit.  You had a great voice.  You were not nearly as mediocre as were many of your fellow contestants.  But you prove clearly that America is voting for the person, not the voice.  You loved yourself way too much.  Were you a humble guy, you would have made this an interesting competition.

And so we have Casey versus David and Goliath.  I can only hope that Casey will take next week seriously and at least put forth a valiant, though futile, effort.

American Idol Recap – Top 4 Performance Night

Thank goodness.  I only have to do this for three more weeks.  What a season to have chosen to blog on American Idol.  I wanted to follow-through on my original plan, so I didn’t stop even though I question my sanity in spending 2+ hours each week with this middling group of vocalists.

Jamie Fox is the guest mentor again.  I think he was a good pick to bring back.  He has shirts to give the final four that say they are either “contestants” or “artists”.

Lee – “Kiss From A Rose” – Seal
Serviceable.  Good voice.  Not an artist in the least – has never done anything new with any of these songs.  FINALLY, the judges at least addressed this.  He just did a Seal imitation, and if there were any other good contestants aside from Crystal, they would have all said that was just good Seal karaoke.  Ah – spoke too soon – Simon did say he was verging on Karaoke.  I guess they are all having a little Lee regret in realizing that he really could beat Crystal.  CONTESTANT.  No argument.

Big Mike – “I Will Be There” – Michael Jackson
The “Free Willy” song.  Big task to take on MJ, Big Mike.  Jamie Foxx had nothing particularly nice to say about him.  I still do not like this guy, but he does have a very good voice – both technically and tonally, and he can honestly sing so many types of music.  Randy didn’t like it much.  Ellen thought it was a little bit predictable.  Kara wanted goosebumps and she didn’t get them.  Simon doesn’t know what “Free Willy” is.  I think they are hesitant to give him better feedback than they gave Lee.  I think he treads the line between CONTESTANT and ARTIST.

Lee & Crystal – “Falling Slowly” – Once
Another ballsy choice, given that Kris Allen sang the hell out of this last year.  It sounded good, and I loves me some Crystal, but they didn’t give the song the same tenderness of either the original or of Kris Allen’s version.  The judges, of course, adored it.  They need to signal to America that this is the pair they want to see in the finals.

Casey – “Mrs. Robinson” – Simon & Garfunkel
It’s too bad that Casey doesn’t have a lot of emotional depth.  He has amazing looks, he has a good “look”, and he really does have a good voice.  But his inability to connect emotionally with a song or the audience really prevents him from dominating this season, which he may have actually been able to do were he to have more depth.  The judges seem to agree.  More CONTESTANT.  Less ARTIST.

Crystal – “I’m Alright” – Kenny Loggins
Wow.  A Kenny Loggins song!  She gets Jamie’s Artist T-Shirt.  I’ve never heard this song before, but man I enjoyed seeing Crystal back in fighting form.  Ellen thinks she took the song and made it better.  Simon thinks she’s back in the game.  I think she’s this season’s only choice.

Casey & Mike – “Have You Ever Loved A Woman”
I thought this was going to be horrible, but it was actually pretty damned good.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances:

  1. Crystal
  2. Crystal & Lee
  3. Casey & Big Mike
  4. Big Mike
  5. Lee
  6. Casey

Going Home Tomorrow:

Toss-up between Casey and Big Mike.  Or perhaps we get a Chris Daughtry surprise and Lee is sent packing?

Survivor Recap – May 6, 2010

The episode starts off with a recap of how Russell has dominated the game, which gives me the sinking feeling that tonight is the end of Russell.  Hope I’m wrong.  Then everyone starts railing on Candice.  The Heroes are railing on her for her betrayal, and the Villains think they can’t trust someone who flips so easily.

Rupert tears into Russell, saying he’s a bad person and that he’s worse than Johnny Fairplay.  They have one of the nastiest fights I have seen since Sue Hawk.

Probst announces that the reward challenge is actually an immunity challenge.  Russell and Sandra step out of the challenge after one minute for some cookies and milk.  Wow.  That cannot have been the best decision ever.  Then Colby steps out for some donuts.  Huh?  Why would Colby step out?  That dude is in so much trouble.  It could have kept him in for another week.  Either he has given up on the game, or he’s just stupid.  For PB&J sandwiches, chips, and a bowl of candy, the rest of the Survivors step out, except Parvati and Rupert.  Everyone is counting on Parvati beating Rupert so that they can vote him out tonight.  And Parvati wins immunity.

Really?  Is it that much of a done deal?  Is Rupert definitely the one going home tonight?

Probst reads a clue for another immunity idol, which is hidden at camp.  Sandra finds it this time.  Rupert decides he’s going to pretend that he found the idol and puts rocks in his pants.  Russell falls for it and confesses his suspicions to Sandra.

At tribal council, Colby goes off on Candice, who he votes for, saying that he can honestly say he feels proud of how he played this game – can she?  Give me a break, Colby.  You’re proud of under-performing in almost every challenge?  You’re proud of doing nothing to fight for the clue to the idol last week?  You’re proud of stepping out of the challenge today?  You played TERRIBLY.  At least Candice has been IN this game.

But Colby gets to walk away with a smile on his face, as Candice is voted out.  Smart move on the part of the Villains.  Candice was definitely more of a threat than Colby or Rupert.

At the second immunity challenge of the night, Russell proves me wrong once again and wins immunity.  So he’s safe for yet another week.  He immediately decides to start playing Parvati and Danielle against each other.  Smart thought, but poorly executed.  Parvati and Danielle go right for one another and tell each other what’s going on.

But Russell continues to work his manipulation and drives Danielle to break down at tribal council.  And worse than that – he succeeds in getting Danielle voted out.  SMART MOVE.  He breaks Parvati and Danielle up before their alliance causes a serious problem for him, and he sends a message to Parvati about crossing him.  WOW.

My cousins Eileen and Howard insist that Richard Hatch was the best player of all time.  I considered this and my error in leaving him off of my list of top three players.  But after some thought, I stand behind my omission.  Richard was masterful, for sure.  But Richard only had to figure out that making an alliance would keep him in the game.  That was his move.  And no one had ever played before, so he was working with a very unsophisticated group of people.  He deserved the title, for sure.

But the game Richard played was far simpler than the games Russell Hantz has been playing.  Russell has been on seasons 19 and 20 of Survivor, where folks have seen almost every trick in the book.  On season 20, he is playing with the some of the best players of all time.  He is despicable and unlikeable.  But he manages to continue to play hard and prevail despite all of these things.  I don’t like this guy one bit.  There is nothing likable about him.  He’s no Boston Rob (miss you, buddy!).  But Russell Hantz is an unbelievable Survivor player.  My hat goes off to this guy.  If he is able to bring Colby and Rupert to tribal council with him, I think that could be a brilliant move.  How could either of them argue that they played a better game than Russell?  They would still be around simply out of dumb luck.

My cousins (who are, incidentally, the parents of a newly-engaged doctor-to-be) are right on another observation, however.  Sandra is truly the wild card and could steal this game away from the little troll, especially since she now has the immunity idol.

Now that we’re this far, I’m going to do some handicapping.  Tough to do in this game, given the role immunity plays, but I’m going to try.  Here’s my order of likeliness to win from most likely to least likely.

  1. Russell (35%)
    Pros: I don’t know how, but I do know that he finds a way to come out on top every time I think he won’t.  I think he’ll make it to the final 3 or 2, and even though he has made some folks on the jury angry, I have to believe that this group will not be able to ignore his gameplay.
    Cons: He’s Russell.  Everyone hates him.  Anyone who’s he’s not welcoming into his circle each week wants him gone.
  2. Parvati (26%)
    Pros: Despite all the gerrymandering we are seeing, Russell would be wise to keep her at his side.  If they are the final two, he proves that he HAS been loyal to one person throughout and can dispel criticism of him stabbing everyone in the back.  And Parvati could make her way to the final two.  She’s great at challenges, and she has that irrefutable charm.
    Cons: Everyone else knows she’s a threat as well.  And the jury may not want to hand her a second million-dollar prize.
  3. Sandra (23%)
    Pros: She is crafty and sneaky and hasn’t really pissed anyone off, despite being calculating and cantankerous.  If she makes it to the finals, she could make a very good argument for herself – and she doesn’t have many enemies.  Cons: She’s not good at challenges, and Russell could certainly wise up and recognize what a threat she is.
  4. Jerri (10%)
    Pros: I truly cannot believe I have Jerri three away from my top pick, but I do.  She has played well this season.  She has milked the fact that NO ONE considers her to be a threat, and she has toned down the qualities that annoyed people about her in her two previous installments.  If she makes it to the finals, she could conceivably be given the Amber Brkich award, especially since her lovah Coach is on the jury.
    Cons: She’s not great at challenges and at some point, she will be expendable.  And would the all-star players really feel comfortable giving Jerri Manthey the crown of queen of them all?
  5. Rupert (5%)
    Pros: I would not even include Rupert or Colby on this list had I not seen the preview for next week’s episode which teases that Russell may switch alliances.  But given that fact, and the fact that Russell could bring Rupert to tribal council, he is the more likely candidate to garner votes than Colby, since Colby = DUMBASS.
    Cons: Rupert doesn’t win challenges.  Rupert hasn’t played a good game.  Rupert has been dragged along.  His “gentle giant” personna has worn off, and he has won $1MM already.
  6. Colby (1%)
    Pros: He could be pulled through by Russell and could win in a challenge against Rupert if he is the third left and it’s a final two.
    Cons: DUMBASS.  Has not done anything worthy of being given the title, except prove that he’s no longer a threat.  The jury would be remiss in awarding Colby the prize against anyone other than Jerri, and even that would be a mistake.

My bet is that the final three will include two of my top three picks and Jerri.  If that doesn’t happen, I would say it will be one of my top three picks and Rupert + Colby.

Categories: Recaps, Survivor, Television

American Idol Recap – Top 5 Results Show

I actually did not plan to blog tonight at all, because I am so bored with this season, but the lat 10 minutes grabbed me.  Big Mike and Aaron were in the bottom two and Aaron was sent home.  Not that I have any particular affinity for Aaron, but I figured he was sure to be safe, given how he has avoided the bottom three repeatedly and he was certainly not the worst last night.

But I guess Big Mike’s attitude still plays a part in people’s votes (whew!), Crystal is a lock for the final two, and Casey’s looks + poor performance inspired a lot of folks to get out the vote last night.  I must admit, I was completely ready to bid farewell to Mr. James last night, but began developing a tinge of regret for that tonight, as he actually sounded great in all of his parts in the group performances tonight.  Mr. James – here’s hoping you last longer than Big Mike.

And I leave you again by asking Lee De-Why?

And I also leave you with Kris Allen’s take on Sinatra last year, which had more charisma than all this year’s contestants combined, if actually a middling performance overall.

American Idol Recap – Top 5 Performance Show

Back by popular demand, Mike D is joining me again as a guest blogger.  For the fresh fruit on the Pinkberry (Mike D would like to give a shout-out to Saar and Patty and Fraiche in Palo Alto), Joanne Clain is also here to join us this evening.  As we head into the show, Mike D is still trying to get over the fact the Pinkberry ran out of mango fro-yo tonight.

“How does this live-blogging work?” – Joanne

“Crystal looks like a fat Kate Hudson.” – Mike D

“Ryan has had so much work done.” – Joanne

“This is the worst top 5 of any season.” – All

Tonight is Frank Sinatra night featuring Harry Connick Jr. as guest mentor. Apparently, he has also orchestrated all of tonight’s performances, so perhaps they will be better than usual.

ALERT – AT THIS POINT IN THE NIGHT, WORDPRESS SCREWED US ROYALLY AND ERASED ALL OF OUR AARON AND CASEY COMMENTS, WHICH IS PROBABLY FOR THE BEST.  In short, if you had taken Nyquil or an Ambien, you would have enjoyed them more.  Although Mike D disagrees, I think Casey’s performance has sealed his fate and he was horrific.

JC says that Casey is not her type, but he is better looking than the little kid.  I think looks don’t matter here.  Casey’s a goner.

Crystal – “Summer Wind”
Crystal has some deep connection to the song.  “Didn’t Kate Hudson get a boob job?” – Mike D.  Wow – she is quite glam tonight.  “Is 1-800-DENTIST still a website?” – Guess Who.  “She has a butterbody.  You know, the opposite of But-her-face?”  Randy thinks it was a little sleepy – I agree.  I think she’s not as good at the soft and subtle.  Oh, Crystal.  Please come back.  Don’t let America think that Lee Dewyze is the front-runner.

“Can I just not guest-blog this show anymore?  It’s so pathetic.” – Mike D

Big Mike – “The Way You Look Tonight”
Personal trainer.  Come on.  This dude needs to lose some weight.  But he is singing one of my favorite songs.  Gotta give this guy credit for song choice.  How sad is it that he is head and shoulders the best tonight.  “He does have more swagger than the others,” Mike D says, “you’ve gotta admit that.”  Joanne says that Big Mike is EATING UP Sinatra week.  It really wasn’t particularly good.  It was just so much better than everyone else tonight.  Nothing has changed in my sentiments, however.  I still HATE Big Mike.  Joanne hates him too.  “UGH.  He has diarrhea of the mouth” – Mike D.

Lee De-Why? – “That’s Life”
Harry’s wife thinks Lee is a new and improved version of Harry.  WHAT?  What is going ON with this guy?  I mean, yes, he was better than the first three.  But with any other season’s worth of contestants, he would have gotten bad reviews.  None of us get it.

MW’s Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. Big Mike
  2. Lee
  3. Aaron
  4. Crystal
  5. Casey

MD’s Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

Mike wants to vote for Harry first.  Harry – if you’re reading – he wants to go out for beers with you.  But I am forcing him to rank the five performers.

  1. Big Mike (because the others had no charisma)
  2. Crystal
  3. Lee
  4. Casey
  5. Aaron (he should be taken out of a barn and shot)

For some more Mike D commentary (since you haven’t had your fill yet, I’m sure), “all I want to do is talk about Breaking Bad.”  Michael.  This is MY blog.  Go get your own.

JC’s Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. Lee (because I can’t bear to put Big Mike first)
  2. Big Mike
  3. Crystal
  4. Aaron
  5. Casey

I am perplexed at how Sinatra night could have been so horribly mediocre.  We didn’t even have much material to work with.  That being said, you did miss out on some goodies that were deleted by WordPress.

Who’s Going Home Tonight?

MW – Casey
MD – Aaron
JC – Casey, with a potential Crystal surprise

Categories: Uncategorized
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