Thursday, March 31, 2011

Top 10/11 - Two Shall Fall

I like this new element to the results show! Instead of just pulling the contestants out in small groups and torturing them, the show is making them sing!  So Lauren and Scotty do a country duet--which sounded good--and are then told they're both safe.  Jacob and Naima sing "Solid" by Ashford & Simpson, are told that only one of them is safe...and Naima gets sent to the stools. 

Next Haley, Pia and Thia sing Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream"--cute, but a little generic; Thia looks like a little girl, kind of unhip--and Pia is sent back to safety first.  Haley is safe, and Thia gets sent to the stools.  So far I'm two for two.  Now Casey, Paul Stefano and James get up and sing w/guitars (Stefano's on keyboard) like a little garage band--they're doing "Band on the Run." (Eh, don't love that song.)  James's butt scarf is long and flowing, and to be honest, this rendition feels limp. They tell Casey he's safe right away--after all, the boy is delicate--and then they go to James, who is obviously safe.  Of Stefano and Paul, we're told only one is safe...and it's Paul! Moderate shocker...I really thought it would be boring Stefano.  Apparently the power of the teeth is not limitless.

So two of Thia, Naima and Paul are going home.  I think Thia's gone for sure--she's just too dull.  I would assume Naima was the next lowest, but part of me thinks the producers really want to prevent a slaughter on the girls' side, and will ditch quirky, not-pop Paul. Who will it be?  The one safe candidate is...Paul!

Guess no producer shenanigans were at work. I'll sort of miss crazy Naima's performances, but really, this was going to happen sooner rather than later.  Sorry, ladies!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top 10/11 - I Guess That's Why They Call It A Snooze

Are we seriously so light on material that we have to watch a musical montage recap of last week's show? We watched it, Seacrest! Just start today's show! Ugh, this is the worst kind of pandering, and I like Casey.  But seriously? We've just been given a stark white title card saying: HOPE HAS BEEN RENEWED (in serious Courier font) followed by NO MORE SECOND CHANCES.  Yeah, we get it. BECAUSE WE WATCH THE SHOW.

Tonight's theme is Elton John (or possibly Alan Parkinson, based on this early clip, but I don't think he sings).  Well, it's great that AI is keeping things so current.  I venture to guess that only 15% of the Idol wannabes could even name a song of his. But that doesn't matter right now, because we have to watch the kids go for a photo shoot. I do not care about this, and can't be bothered to recap it.

OK, singing.  Scotty's opening, and he picks the one Elton John song that has "country" in the title, "Country Comforts." I don't know this song, but at least Scotty's playing guitar, which protects us from his awkward meat hands on the mike. This sounds just like everything Scotty sings, and it's hard to imagine Elton John ever singing it. Once again, he does a good job, but I'm bored out of my mind.  I wish Scotty had dressed up in one of Elton's old outfits.  J.Lo likes it (I think--got a text from Gordon that said only "Maw," and I was distracted while trying to decipher it).  Randy praises Scotty for so quickly becoming relaxed on the show, giving little shout-outs to his grandma in the audience and playing like he's at the local bar.  Steven liked it too, but I lost his comment in the "Maw" confusion. (Still don't know what he means.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bottom 3 Shocker!

I can't believe it! Haley escaped the jaws of death, just when we thought we were rid of her!  Our bottom three are Thia, Stefano, and...Casey! Uh-oh...could the teddy bear be losing his mojo?  Or was it just an off night?

I'm foolishly watching the results show live, which is excruciating. Ten minutes of actual results, fifty minutes of filler. (And what was Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland wearing? It looked like everything we regret about the 80s.)  Fifteen minutes left to go, and I have to rejigger my predicted boot-ee.  I think of the three, it'll be Thia.  She's just boring, and the little Idol girls would rather vote for safe-cute boys.

I'm stunned! Thia is safe! And so is Stefano! Casey's shtick just wore out, apparently.  I'd think the judges might save him, except it's still pretty early days, and he's not going to win the whole thing.  But NO! They don't even let him bother to finish his song...he gets about 8 bars in and Randy shuts him down to say, "We don't need to hear you, we're keeping you."

Casey has a complete gratitude-meltdown onstage, running to hug the judges, Ryan, his relatives in the audience...the other kids seem pleased enough.  I'm glad he's sticking around, but he'd better figure out how to get back to his Hollywood Week self right quick!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Idol Top 11 - Theme Eaten by Cable Glitch but Possibly Motown

Yikes! A little extra Idol drama tonight, as my cable was frozen on some doc about stick insects and we had to reboot the whole shebang.  I'm joining tonight just in time for the last verse of Casey singing "Heard It Through the Grapevine."  He sounded a little screechy today, but he worked the hell out of the crowd.  All three judges love that Casey sticks to his essential Caseyness. (Or, as Randy so eloquently puts it, "You do you." Such a wordsmith, that one.)  We get to see some of Casey's friends, including a girl that he sang to...Ryan suggests that she's a girlfriend, and Casey pushes the "friend" button a little hard, if you ask me.  Sorry, chica.

 Sigh. I have spilled on my t-shirt. That'll teach me to blog during dinner. Now that we're all attached to our tech 24/7, I'm going to invent a line of stylish bibs to prevent this type of disaster. They will be called Take a Bytes.

Wow. The guitarist from Aerosmith is in the audience (in what looks like terrible seats, given that he knows one of the judges). He is wearing a top hat. I will say no more.  And Thia is next, singing "Heat Wave." Yay! Something that's not adagio! I am pleased.  Aw, she looks cute, too--pink tiered skirt, hair in a ponytail.  She gets out there and does a decent job...walks around a bit, sings pretty much on key (a little flat?), but she's kind of mumbly.  I kept feeling like she was about to forget the words and vamped to cover it.  J.Lo liked it (ish) but thinks it didn't go as far as it could--she chose a good song, but she's not acting the emotion. J.Lo is wearing an unacceptable amount of blue eyeshadow, FYI.  Randy agrees with J.Lo, and praises Thia for "taking a chance" and singing something up tempo.  (That's hardly a chance, given that they pretty much told her, "If you don't stop singing these dirges, we'll boot your ass.")  Steven gives a weird, wishy washy "I'm good with it." All the judges sounded a little...grudging? in their praise.  Did Thia kick their dogs? Fleece them in a Ponzi scheme?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Things that go bump in the night...

Last night Gordon and I went to see Things at the Doorstep, two one-man shows about H.P. Lovecraft. The first half was a dramatization of his story "The Hound," and the second was an original show called "I Am Providence," which is the epitaph on Lovecraft's tombstone.  (He was a native Rhode Islander and, except for a brief and unsuccessful stint in Brooklyn, lived there all his life.) This play was about an actor's ill-fated gig in a regional theatre production in Providence, and how it led to his undoing.

Gordon is a huge Lovecraft fan, so I was excited to find something offbeat that he might also love.  We both enjoyed the evening--"The Hound" was a more traditional one-act, very well performed and easy to follow if (like me) you don't know a thing about Lovecraft.  The second act was more experimental, to the point that I wasn't sure we were watching the actual play until halfway through it! (That makes it sound bad, but the transition was clever...still made me feel kind of dumb when I figured it out, though.)

I'm making an effort to make better use of New York this year--it's so easy to fall into the routine of work-home-barn (OK, that last might not be part of your routine, but you get the idea).  This first effort was a success!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top 12 Results show

Just a quick update to present the results...our first trio is Jacob, Lauren, and Casey.  Gotta be all safe, yes?  Yes indeed, although they try to fake out Casey.  Also, the group number was less obviously off key than last week, but was a mash-up of "Born to be Wild" and "Born This Way" that was about 72 minutes long.

Next group: just two, Haley and Paul.  I think Haley's going down...the audience has never picked her.  Paul is losing his appeal, but I think he's safe based on the audience screams.  Ryan tells us it's a split...and sure enough, Haley's on the bottom and Paul is safe. The audience is booing, but hey, that's what you expect when you're only on the show due to a wild card vote.

Up next? Lee Dewyze sings.  Has he released a single? Does anyone remember him? Is he now the most musical paint store manager in all the land?

Eeeeek! There's a vampire in the audience--oh, never mind. It's just J.Lo's husband Marc Anthony. He is sitting with Pitbull. Wish it were Renfield.  And it's time for Lee's big moment...which starts soft and coffeehouse.  Oof, this is like Poor Man's Counting Crows.  Two words: boop-boop. Thank God for Tivo.

Scotty, James and Pia are our next three...I can't imagine any of these three are going home.  Although I'm not the biggest Scotty fan, I'm beginning to suspect he's going all the way to the finals. The judges and the crowd seem to love his cheesy, folksy manner. James is the only "rock" option the voters have, so I think he'll have legs...and Pia is the prettiest girl (or I should say, most conventionally pretty girl). Back to the couch, all of you.

Next two: Naima and Stefano.  Both are on the fence, but I'm surprised that they send back Stefano and not Naima, who winds up in the bottom 3.  How will Karen and Thia fare? They're both good singers with bland affects.  I see Thia wore her Pocahontas costume just in case...but not necessary! It's Karen the Soccer Mom in the bottom 3.

Fair enough...our bottom 3 are Haley, Naima and Karen.  Two of them weren't in America's top 10 to begin with, and the other one hasn't been terrific.  I suspect Naima is safe for another week or two, and Haley's going home because she sounds like a 45-year-old cabaret singer....whereas Karen sounds like a 37-year-old easy listening singer. She'll go next week unless she does something superb.

Black Eyed Peas perform a song in tribute to Japan. It contains the repeated line "me love you long time." I die a little inside. [S&S plug: Taboo's book, FALLING UP, is now available from Touchstone.]

Yup...Naima is sent right back to the couch, safe.'s Karen, not Haley, who's going home. The audience boos again. Although the judges have a chance to save Karen as she sings, I doubt they'll use their pass this early. (Poor Karen--she's going out with cankles, due to unflattering slouchy boots.)

Nope, they let her go, with kind words. Randy says it was not unanimous (wonder if J.Lo was pulling for her to the end?) Her singout sounded good, but she wasn't charismatic enough to win.  Maybe a Spanish-language label will pick her up.

See you all next week!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Idol Top 12 - Birth Year Songs

Here we go, here we go, here we go again...

Welcome back, Idol fans/casual viewers/codependents in a twisted relationship we just can't seem to end! Tonight our Top 12 sing, and we kick off another fresh-faced would-be star.  I can't wait.  Tonight's theme is "Songs from the year of the contestants' births," which is supposed to be an opportunity for showing cute baby pix, but in fact is an opportunity for me to listen to the endless dirge of time marching on, as I realize these kids were born in the fricking '90s.

Tonight's opener is the "exotic flower" herself, Naima. She was born in 1984, and will be singing Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It?" But first, we have to watch Naima's home videos, and then see her weeping on Jimmy Iovine's couch, weeping about leaving her children. Jimmy says polite things, but looks like he couldn't care less.

Naima FashionWatch: Practically restrained by her standards--jeans, fugly booties, a yellow t-shirt with a red pattern or vest, covered by a bigger, looser, silver lame vest. And some sort of shiny fringy belt thing. Every week she looks like a toddler set loose in Mommy's closet. She starts out strutting down some rollaway stairs, but she sounds flat through this whole song.  At least she walks around the stage, but she sounds REALLY off.  The backup singers are screwing her, as usual.  I thought this was pretty lame, but Steven opens with high praise and says she killed it.  Heh: he also asks what she was doing in his closet.  J.Lo has enormous hair, but also brought her enormous balls tonight--she totally calls Naima out on her "pitchiness," saying she gave her a pass last week because of her flavor (flava? is that patronizing?), but no more. Ooh, and Randy is pulling a Simon, saying that when he watched last week's playback, he could hear that she was woefully out of tune. Basically, they're all, "We want to love you, because you have the look, the edge, the performance--but for god's sake, learn to sing!"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring has Sprung (Maybe?)

Hooray! It's not snowing! Or raining! Or freezing! Or otherwise miserable outside!

Puttered around this morning, but could no longer ignore Mt. Laundry or the mighty herd of dustbunnies in the living room.  (Using a Wally-based system of measurement, when an individual dustbunny reaches the size of Wally's head, it is time to vacuum.  When the accumulated dustbunnies can conceal Wally entirely, it is time to move.)

Wally does not think that's funny.
So I put on my remaining clean t-shirt (Go Brooklyn Cyclones!) and trudged off to the laundromat.'s beautiful outside! It's sunny! The air is cool and fresh, and people are actually smiling at each other. I dropped off the laundry, went grocery shopping, and was so giddy with optimism that I bought whole wheat pasta.  (Not convinced that's going to be popular in the Zoble household, but still.)

I came home, opened every window in the house, and cleaned the tub. I begin to think we may just survive this winter after all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The First Idol Falls

So, our first bottom three...Karen, Ashthon and Haley.  Show did a weird half-suspenseful reveal, but partway through just announced, "Ashthon, you're in danger. Aaaaand PSYCH! Haley, so are you.  Nobody likes either of you." And unsurprisingly, Ashthon goes home, the judges tearfully but firmly refusing to save her with their Power of Veto (or whatever they're calling it this year).

I think this was the right decision. Of the three of them, Ashthon was the worst singer with the most annoying personality. I keep thinking she was one of the 15-year-old babies, but in fact she was in her 20s, and thus there was even less excuse for her faux-diva act.  I don't care for Haley, and don't think she'll win over the hearts of the voters, but she can at least sing. (If only she'd stop pulling faces at the camera while she did.) And Karen had a bad night, and a so-so song choice.  If she does something fun and uptempo, and learns how to hear herself onstage, she'll probably be OK next week.

Were you happy with the voters' decision? Did you vote for anyone?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

THIS! Is American Idol...Top 13

Fancy meeting you here! Yet again, I find I couldn't stay here I am, breaking in a new blog, (fumbling through it, I might add), but delighted to have fellow Idol fans join me.  Shall we snark?

Tonight the kids will be singing songs by their personal idols, and mentored by Jimmy Iovine himself. This could be good--or a trainwreck. I thought Iovine gave great advice during Hollywood week (e.g. telling Jacob Lusk to pull back about a million degrees), but the judges' tastes seemed to countermand that. So, do you follow the experienced record producer, or the three bobbleheads out front? Only time will tell...

Little country rocker Lauren A. is our leadoff singer, and she's chosen "Any Man of Mine" by Shania Twain. (As we all learned during Shania week last season, she's like the bestselling female artist of all time, or something insane like that.) She plans to have fun onstage with it. Good idea. Interestingly, their mentoring footage isn't on the same film stock in a living room with a piano, per usual--it's in an actual recording studio, which makes me think that Jimmy don't come to no Idol wannabes. They come to him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

At the movies

Got to go to a movie premiere last night for one of our books--KILL THE IRISHMAN opens on Friday.  It's about a Danny Green, a Cleveland dockworker in the '70s who becomes an organized crime leader and destabilizes the Italian mafia's position so much that the Feds are able to take them down. Not normally my kind of movie, but this was pretty good! Lots of satisfying explosions (the Irishman was a car bomber), excellent period cars and costumes, and stars like Christopher Walken, Vincent D'Onofrio and Ray Stevenson.

After the movie we went to the afterparty, where all three of the above stars, plus "Big Pussy" from the Sopranos and an assortment of "Hey It's That Guy" actors who all looked familiar, were there.  I played it cool standing there with my publisher, but part of me wished I could ask for autographs! Sigh...still more nerd than New Yorker at heart, I guess.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Now that American Idol is a) back and b) entertaining thus far, I realized I needed a new home for recaps, grumblings, and anything else I wanted to share with family and friends alike (oh, Vox, how I miss you!). So here are my first fumbling steps into the Blogger wading pool. I'll take it out for a real drive this week, when the Idol Top 13 start performing!