Wednesday, May 25, 2011 your American Idol

Finale time! Honestly, I'm too lazy to do a full-on blog post for this two-hour show.  Will you settle for bullet points?
  • Missed the guys' medley while making dinner.  Stir-fried shrimp & veggies were delicious, though.
  • Girls' medley of Beyonce songs was fun, even though they still can't harmonize, and a few were dressed as hookers.  But all of them were more interesting than they'd ever been as contestants.
  • Jacob comes out and sings with Gladys Knight (and another gentleman who played the piano and I'm probably supposed to know).  He was more relaxed than we've ever seen him.
  • Casey sings with Jack Black.  Um, huh? (Yes, I know, Tenacious D. But is that really Casey's musical future?)
  • Haley sings with Tony Bennett. Way to keep her fresh, show.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Idol Finals - When Does a Dream End?

When does a dream begin, and when does it end? our Idol producers ask.  Judging by the footage, the dream begins at 8 to 10 years old, in a talent show or school recital.  And it On American. Idol!  Ryan's all fancy in a tux--but not a Texas tux, which is surprising given our final two contestants.  There is a shocking lack of denim on display for this countrypalooza.

As Scotty and Lauren are introduced, it appears that Angry Stylist spent her whole budget on Lauren, because Scotty is in jeans and a t-shirt.  What, Scotty, did you miss your call time? Lauren actually looks pretty good, even though my description of her outfit probably won't sound that way.  She's in black pants & vest, over a black and silver striped shirt--and by silver, I mean silver lame.  Or possibly there's a shirt, vest and jacket?  Oh, wait, I think it's a silver jacket lined in black, that currently is flipped open.  Anyway, it's something I probably would have loved when I was in high school (i.e. the 80s), but somehow I think Lauren is pulling it off.  I like to think that she and Angry Stylist have at last buried the hatchet.

Ooh, Idol drama! Ryan has called out a dude in black scrubs professing to be a doctor, who tells us that there was a tragic incident in rehearsal--Lauren blew out a vocal cord!  Doc tells us that she'll be OK for the show, however, because they gave her "a lot of medicines." So basically, I think Lauren will be the first contestant to bring Idol down in a steroid scandal.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Love for xoJane

Recently, a new website launched, from the creator of Sassy magazine.  Jane Pratt captured a generation of young women who were shocked and amazed to find their voices represented in a magazine that talked to them about things they cared about.  When Jane moved on to her next endeavor, Jane, she didn't have quite the same alchemical magic, but people were still plenty ready to give her a try.

So now there's  A web-based mag in the vein of, it features articles on family, sex, fashion, technology, and Jane, Jane, Jane.  I like snark, I'm a regular reader of Gawker, Jezebel and Television Without Pity, so I'd hoped this would be up my alley...but after reading much of the first "issue," I'm incredibly disappointed with what they've produced.  And I'm not alone--all over the web (and all over the comments on xoJane itself!), readers are expressing their disappointment at the site's lack of substance and its fairly remedial gender politics.

Current articles include "I Obsessively Monitor My Husband's Lube Bottle," in which a woman feels hurt and paranoid because her husband masturbates; an ignorant review of the excellent "Game of Thrones" that declares women are only watching for the HBO sex; their tech writer declaring "I Can't Date You Unless You Have a Smartphone"; and a piece from Jane herself being upset because she eavesdropped on her waxer's receptionists and heard them say she looked old.  There's one fairly strong article that even the negative reviews are pointing out: the story of a woman whose rapist friended her on Facebook, leading her to have a conversation with him for the first time since the rape happened.

This site is doubly disappointing because of Jane Pratt's history, and because the point of creating a site like this on the web is that a publication doesn't have to be beholden to the typical "women's mag" model.  The voice alone isn't enough to carry this site, and while it would be easy to overlook an occasional off-base article, or a single staff writer with whom I didn't click, the pervasive tone-deafness throughout the site is worse for its good intentions.

Anyone else reading xoJane? What's your favorite online read?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Top 3 - Results

Oops! Turns out all my whining about the home visits last night was misplaced, as they hardly showed anything.  As it happens, they were saving the footage for tonight, which is perfect because tonight is my Tivo boop-boop night--no need to even pretend to cover it!  But I do feel a little like a Birther because last night I was mouthing off on Twitter saying, "You can tell the show's over Haley--look how they didn't even show her with fans! She had to get her text just riding in a car! The fix is in!" Um, sorry, Simon Fuller. My bad.

So, FF through Haley's home visit.  Everyone was very happy to see her.  She did radio, she got a text, she visited her school, she gave a concert.  (Only interesting note: her whole family are musicians, so they were her backing band! OK, that's cute.)  Moving on...

Next up is Il Divo, the group that Simon Cowell (remember him?) created. Two words: Boop. Boop. [Ed. note: this was actually Il Volo, a group of three Italian opera singing teens, and presumably NOT created by Simon Cowell, but ripping off Simon Cowell. My apologies for the confusion.]

Then we have Scotty's home visit.  High school, baseball team, Scotty cries in his limo.  Sack up, Scotty, you're being groomed to be a superstar.  Text at Whole Foods, concert, done.

Nicole Sherzinger, an early reality singing show graduate.  Anyone remember Popstars?  That was the pre-"Making the Band" show that created Eden's Crush.  Who? Exactly. [Full disclosure: I have their album. It's catchy, don't judge me!] Boop-boop.

Lauren's home visit. Crowds. Autographs (including one cowboy boot), school, concert. Oops...unexpected sincerity that makes me feel awful: Lauren's limo takes her through the storm-ravaged houses that were destroyed in the recent Southern storms, and then Lauren meets an 11 year old boy who saved his whole family from the wreckage of their house.  I can't be snarky about that.  Boop-booping before I lose my reputation.

Finally, it's time for the results! I barely have time to tell you that Haley is wearing some sort of crystal headband/tiara thing, Scotty is wearing a Members Only jacket, and Lauren has yet to resolve her feud with Angry Stylist, who put her in a little blue hip-length jacket, hip-hugging jeans, and a tank and belt whose lengths are competing in unfortunate fashion.  And we have our first safe contestant...can you guess who?  Yes, of course, it's Scotty.

Now we're down to Lauren and Haley...will Haley pull it out yet again? No, of course. She's going home, and we have a countrylicious finale.  Wally seems to have taken umbrage at this, because he just raced out of the room, running over my feet and gouging a chunk out of both my pedicure and my toe.  He blames all of you, because he doesn't have thumbs and thus couldn't text his votes.

See you next week for the finale!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Top 3 - The Home Visits

We are so close to the end, Idol peeps!  Whatever will we talk about once this is over?  But why rush toward the moment when the trumpets call, the confetti falls, and another Idol is crowned, very likely to vanish into the mists.  Let us gather our rosebuds while we may, and follow Scotty, Lauren and Haley on their home visits.

As you know, the home visits are the same every. Single. Year.  And thus I have no interest in recapping them.  Last year I used my handy Idol template: [Singer name] visits their hometown of [City] and sees their [parents/child/teacher]. They are celebrated at a [concert/school/fair] with a crowd of [hundreds/many/3].  Tonight's previews bear me out--each visit looks EXACTLY the same.  I think this year I'll just make up my own version of what happens.

Our judges come out, and J.Lo has gone with a "mutton dressed as lamb" theme--too-short sequined dress with little puffed/ruched sleeves.  It's not good. Ryan begins by reminding us that we are still reeling from the shock of losing James...and then has to wait for the audience to figure out that they're supposed to be upset.  And eek--I think we just saw frozen-faced Priscilla Presley in the audience (unsmiling).  Could that be possible?

Is this the week when we hear from them three times each? Or is that just for the final 2? I hope the latter...the rainy weather is making my wrists ache.  #bloggerproblems :) Nope, I'm out of luck--three rounds tonight.  Round 1: Contestant's choice. Round 2: Jimmy Iovine's choice. Round 3: Judges' choice.  Who's going to get stuck with Steven's pick?  But now we're getting an intro package about Beyonce, going all the way back to her childhood home movies.  Ah...she is our mentor this week.  Her longevity suggests that she might actually have good input!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Top 4 - Shocking Results!

I couldn't respond to this week's surprising boot before now because Blogger went down--perhaps recappers everywhere flooded the system? Anyway, I skipped all the nonsense and went right for the results...James is gone! Who knew?

I was convinced it would be Haley, then Lauren, then the boys would face off in the finals...but once Ryan announced that both girls were safe, I knew it was the end of James' road.  Scotty has this thing in the bag.  Do you think the judges' singling out of poor Haley on Wednesday galvanized her fan base?  Or is it just that America is sick of hearing James sing off key?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Top 4 - Inspirational Songs and Leiber & Stoller (and Gaga)

We are getting down to the wire, beloved readers! This week marks our final four, and I thought it would be home visit week, but I jumped the gun. Guess that's next week.  But first, there must be judges! And singing! The judges walk out and Steven Tyler appears to be wearing a raccoon tail in his hair.  The contestants come out, and one of the girls has a long train--oh, lord, it's Lauren, wearing the classic Trailer Park Ball Gown--miniskirt in the front, chapel-length train in the back.  Klass-ay, Lauren.  She must have slept with Angry Stylist's boyfriend.

Once again the contestants will be singing multiple songs.  In round one, "Songs that Inspire Them."  Ugh, that is an impulse that does no one any good.  Round two, "Songs from the Oeuvre of Leiber & Stoller."  Way to keep it fresh, show--when you need to post a black & white picture of your theme artist, you're reaching too far back.  And of course, the natural musical mentor for Leiber & Stoller week? Lady Gaga.  I love her, but that's insane.  Why didn't they just do a Gaga week?

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Editor's Natural Habitat

Hello! It's Editors' Month here at PAD, which means that the most shy and retiring creatures in the publishing ecosystem must reluctantly emerge from their burrows and face the spotlights (so harsh on our pasty skin!).  Today, nature lovers, you're in luck--you'll have the opportunity to examine a wild Editor's natural habitat up close.  So climb aboard and let's go! (Note: Please keep all hands and arms inside the car until the ride comes to a complete stop.  Do not poke, harass or throw things at the Editor--although leaving bonbons or wine is welcome.  Please avoid making sudden movements or loud sounds, as the Editor has delicate sensibilities and is easily rattled.  Last time a school group came through here, the Editor hid under her desk for a week and savagely excised every adverb in the manuscript she was reading at the time.  That author is still in therapy.)

I'm happy to answer any questions you have about the care and feeding of Editors.  Here are some of the most common:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Top 5 - Finally!

No full recap for this one, but I'm happy to report that Jacob is leaving us at last.  And he goes as he arrived, with an overwrought rendition of "God Bless the Child."  He and Lauren wind up in the bottom two, Lauren weeping almost from the beginning of the show.  Jimmy wryly acknowledges the scolding he got from the judges for giving Haley bad advice, but of course Haley saved herself with "Rising Sun" at the end of the show, so no harm no foul.

Oh, also there was a whole lotta J.Lo.  Her dancing pants were bad--unflattering crotch.  That's all you need to know!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Top 5 - Now & Then

I'm practically on time this week! And have been working my butt off during the day, so I don't even feel guilty about recapping tonight.  J. Lo is dressed like Miss Havisham in a gauzy high-necked blouse with a flower in her upswept hair.  Ryan tells us that this is the most important night in Idol, and asks Randy to tell us why.  Randy says that tonight is when they look for "who is in it to win it." This would be more meaningful if he hadn't declared each of these contestants IITWI at multiple points in the season already.

Tonight's theme is "Now and Then," and everyone will sing two songs--one from "the last few years" and one from "back in the day." Way to be specific, show.  And our mentor tonight is Sheryl Crow.  Well, that's fresh. Or did they choose her because she's what you get when you split the difference between "now" and "then"?