The Blog Squad

Thursday, April 27, 2006

World’s Biggest Dork

That would be me. Because even as I was OUT OF THE HOUSE (which is a very big deal for a stay-at-home mom), having dinner with friends and having a margarita I still called home at 9:35 to ask my husband who got cut from “American Idol.”

I’ve now officially dropped from pitiful to pathetic.

But I am happy to say things went as expected and that Kellie “I never met a fancy fish I could pronounce” Pickler was sent home to Albemarle, N.C. Not that I was ecstatic to see her go. She’s not a great singer, but she was fun to have around. This season of the show is a little different because, at this point in the competition, there is no one I truly detest still taking up space. While Taylor Hicks may not be my cup of tea, I must admit that he can sing and has a style all his own.

Paris Bennett is so unbelievably talented for a 17-year-old, but she is just that — 17 — and stage maturity can’t make up for life maturity. But when she does mature and bring some life experience to those songs she’s singing (like “The Way We Were”), well, that’s going to be something to watch.

Chris Daughtry, I’ve already admitted, just doesn’t excite me. I think he’s so different for “Idol” that people might see as real artistic uniqueness, but he just doesn’t strike me as too terribly different from every nameless lead singer standing in front of some middling post-grunge, modern rock band.

So that leaves us with Katharine McPhee and of course, Elliott. These are my personal favorites. McPhee is a beauty who reminds me a bit of a young Linda Ronstadt (though her voice is not nearly as transcendent as Ronstadt’s, which at times can almost make me swoon). She has star power already, which may be Elliott’s one weakness.

He seems like a guy who is having such a great time loving all this while it lasts but doesn’t really believe he’s worthy of job he’s trying out for. I really love this guy, though. He just exudes such warmth and love for music. He’s a treat. I just hope we get treated to his performances for five more weeks.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Elliott steals the show

Wow. Did Elliott knock it out of the park last night or what? His performance of Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You" was nearly perfect. It didn't exactly reduce me to tears, but then again I'm not on medication or wearing a push-up bra tight enough to squeeze the coherent thoughts right out of my brain. (Besides ... oh, well, nevermind ...)

Tonight will be interesting. There is no way at all that Elliott, who pretty much stole the night, should go. But if you look at the "Idol" polls, Elliott is always at the bottom or in the bottom two. Did last night turn all that around for him or have people established their favorites so strongly that they will vote for them no matter what the performance is like? I think that's how Kellie Pickler keeps surviving. ("I'm sorry!") And I don't think Taylor Hicks will go for a while, despite a performance last night that, well, I can't really comment on because I think I dozed off a couple of times. As for Katharine McPhee, who seems to have the momentum as the frontrunner -- I didn't really understand the judges' pretty harsh criticism last night, unless it was an attempt to keep her from running away with the thing. If you think back to other seasons I remember times it seemed like out of nowhere the judges were suddenly slapping down the one who becoming a heavy favorite. As for Chris Daughtry -- I know people really love him and he certainly has the rock authenticity that Bo Bice wakes up in a cold sweat over, but I find him -- um, a little dull? ("I'm sorry!")

So I think Elliott should be safe early on tonight, but who knows? That's why we're all hooked on it, eh?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And the Pulitzer goes to ...

The new movie "American Dreamz" is a spoof of an "American Idol"-type reality TV competition that apparently garners more votes for its contestants than the presidential election. Far-fetched? Well considering the A-1, top of the fold treatment for the "news" story that people can't get through trying to vote for Richmonder Elliott Yamin on "Idol", I'll let you decide if that is so crazy a notion. The T-D put seven staff members on dialing duty for a half-hour to compare percentages of successful votes. Their fearless investigation proved that there is a conspiracy, friends! Elliott's votes went through only 2.5 percent of the time! The lowest percentage next to that was Katharine McPhee's with 23 percent.

It couldn't possibly be that because everyone is calling from Richmond that the phone lines would get jammed here? Not bloody likely! say local phone company muckety-mucks. (See, the T-D really did work this story hard.) But how about calling the hometowns of the other contestants and seeing if they are reporting problems for their hometown favorites, hmmmmm?

Just for the record, I have voted for Elliott at least a dozen times each last week and this week and had no problem whatsoever getting through. I have AT&T long distance. Could the difference in long-distance carriers be the issue? Perhaps that's part two of the investigation when the T-D really blows the lid off the "people with enough time on their hands to dial a phone for two straight hours and still have time left over to complain about it" story.

Meanwhile, Elliott looked and sounded great the other night. But that Katharine McPhee's going to be tough to beat. Go, Elliott!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm feeling much better, thank you

Hi there, folks. Sorry to have dropped out for a few days, but that unpleasant illness that started with my daughter got my son then, gasp, me! My husband managed to escape it all. (Hmm, coincidence?) Not that there has been a whole lot to talk about in the past week. Not much going on with the baseball stadium situation, City Council, the Ed Barber case, the Maymont bears or anything else that might produce a rant from Doug Wilder. Even George Allen is reportedly bored. So in the place of any real news, I will just share with you some of my favorite headlines from recent issues of the Chesterfield Observer. I promise I am not trying to pick on a little newspaper. I know how hard headline writing is and I have a particular affection for bad, strange or odd headlines. I even have some committed to memory, like one of my all-time favorites that appeared some years ago in the wretched Philadelphia Daily News after it was discovered that someone was illegally selling and shipping body parts to labs. It read, "Ears found in probe of heads." It's a bad paper, but they make some great headlines!

Anyway, the Observer has a ways to go, but still they give me a little smile and so I'll share them with you:

"Who is huffing what?" -- March 29

"Alcohol is a problem" -- April 5

The language of the law is allegedly English" -- April 5

Stroke -- not just for grandparents anymore" -- April 5

Well, that's it for me for now, gang. If nothing earth-shattering happens I may not get back to the blog until next week and then we'll really get rolling again. But check back anyway, if you don't mind. I get lonely sitting here all by myself. Happy Easter. Happy Passover.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You go, Chicks ...

Hey there, y’all. Forgive my absence for a few days. I had a sick little one earlier in the week and some of you might know how that sidetracks you, what with the running for juice and the wiping up unpleasant spots … Anyway, my thoughts are musical today. Richmond held its collective breath last night as Elliot Yamin came thiiiiiis close to going down on American Idol. Granted, the other night wasn’t Elliot’s best, but bottom two? No way. Still, I wish he and everyone else had chosen better songs. In the entire canon of country music these nine songs were the best they could do? Couldn’t Katherine McPhee have knocked “Son of a Preacher Man” out of the park? Why didn’t Mandisa do “Crazy” or even “Stand by Your Man”? And if I’m not mistaken, Paris Bennett did “Cowboy Take Me Away” in the audition round. It’s a hard song to sing and she could’ve made a big impression with a good rendition. And speaking of the Dixie Chicks …

So happy today to see Melissa Ruggieri’s column on the Chicks and their brash return after being run out of country radio because they dared not to like the president. My favorite part was how K95 declined to comment on whether they would play the Chicks’ new single, “Not Ready to Make Nice.” K95 and their ilk were the biggest bunch of wimps when they dropped the Chicks from their rotation. I have not heard a single Dixie Chicks song on that station since the whole brouhaha (of course, I’ve pretty much stopped listening…) That happened three years ago, people! It seems like K95 is still taking the cowardly out instead of just saying, “We’re going to play good country music no matter what the politics of the artist.” Oh, by the way, can you tell I’m a huge Dixie Chicks fan? I’ll be buying three copies of their CD when it comes out May 23, just to help make up for the morons.