Friday, May 26, 2006

We Want the Funk(hauser)! - My Night at Graduation

Okay, so before we get into this, let me tell you about my high school graduation. Here's a complete list of the Samson High School Class of 1993:

Beth Adkison, Greg Avant, Jonathan (Avery) Baine, Traci Baine, Lydia Cade, Michael Creech, Yours Truly, Clay Fulford, Dennis (Wade) Fulford, Shane Gillis, Brian Green, Rodney Hornsby, Sherella Hornsby, Misty Kimble, Cathy King, Drew King, John Knowles, Michael Knowles, Jennifer Lambert, James (Anthony) Landingham, Leslie Lane, Jan Lolley, Wendy Marsh, Chris McCall, Stan McDuffie, Jonathan (Buckshot) Medley, Victor Miller, Christie Mock, Kecia Morgan, LaToya Morgan, Stephanie Phillips, Monty Powell, Brandie Schertel, Felicia Farris Simmons, Jason Slay, Jason Smith, Joey Stephens, Daniel Stephenson, Tammy Thomas, Pamela (Nicki) Vann, Susan Ward, Tammy Ward, Toney (Chad) Ward, Jackie Warren, Leslie Whigham, Shannon Williamson and last but not least, Tonya Windham.

Thats it. That's all. When we graduated on May 23rd, 1993, we sat in chairs on the football field... when our names were called, we got up our of our chairs, walked up the steps, recieved our diploma, shook hands, took a picture, walked back down and then had a seat. Then, the next person was called. The whole thing, including a prayer (!), addresses from both Salutatorian & Valedictorian, awards and the aformentioned diploma process, lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of about 45 to 50 minutes.

This is only important because its in stark contrast to the 2 hour, 400 Senior graduation I attended last night for Oak Mountain High School. It was the first high school graduation I'd been too since the Class of '99, when I saw Stephanie Knipp, Ginger Thomas, Leslie Cordell, Hillary Kelly, Alyssa Guy and Megan Bryan graduate. Last night, I was at Bartow Arena on UAB's campus to see Kourtney & Kandice Kelley and Jaci Gresham graduate, and it was pretty entertaining, let me tell you.

I think what surprised me is that were like, a combined 187 valedictorians and salutatorians. Our version of the "Honor Court" was the "Top Ten Seniors", which consisted of Jason, LaToya, Leslie, Stan, Jennifer, Stephanie, Yours Truly, Misty, Tonya and Daniel. Jason was our Valedictorian, LaToya was our Salutatorian. None of this 580 Valedictorians, or 74 Salutatorians... I personally think you should have one of each, 1st in the class and 2nd in the class, and everyone else above a certain GPA (maybe 3.5? 3.8?) gets to be part of an honor court, or whatever you want to call it.

Of course, that takes nothing away from Kandice (a valedictorian) or Kourtney (a salutatorian) who, along with Jaci Gresham, cause they are all smarter than I am, I'll admit.

Why list all the names above? Wanted to show you that I truly did graduate with 45 people. You could count 47 names, but from what I gather, Brian Green & Drew King didn't really graduate. Samson High let them walk as a tribute to their combined 11 years from 9th to 12th grade. I'm not making this up.

Okay, back to Oak Mountain... they had, from what I counted, about 400 kids walking the stage to collect their diploma. I was supposed to meet up with my old friend Dana Mitchell, who was sitting with Jaci's family, but for whatever reason, the number I had for Dana was incorrect. So, when I got to the Arena downtown, I just sat next to one of the entrances where the b'ball players usually come out. Lucky for me, it was one of two places where graduates gathered to walk out. At 7pm, they began to play the great hip hop classic "Pomp & Circumstance", and the graduates began to walk out. I got to see Kandice & Jaci, as well as Leigh Pegg, Jenifer Lewis (a name I hadn't heard in a long time) and Shannon McGahan, who is now dating my bro-in-law Tyler--yes, she's a senior, he's a junior, the whole older woman thing is working for him.

Before we go on, and before you begin to think of me as some sleaze for being there only to see some 17 to 18 year old females graduate, know that all of these kids, except for Shannon, were on my drama team way back in the day, at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship). I've known most of these kids since they were in 6th or 7th grade... and now they are going to college. Yeesh.

To tell you how this worked, they all walked in, there was some "Inspirational Thoughts" from Erica Marie Mihelin (when she stepped up, I actually said out loud "Heaven forbid they pray". It got a few laughs from the immediate people around me). They had thankfully short speech from Steve Martin from the Shelby County Board of Education (what, Hoover High & Spain Park got the good speakers? They could have called Tyler Watts or Ruben Studdard? Those guys aren't doing anything), followed by a scholarship given out, then they recognized the Vals & Sals.

Ashley Corinne Brown, was the Head Valedictorian, but didn't seem at all happy or enthused to even be there. She gave a cliche filled speech filled with phrases like "Chapters ending" and "new beginnings" and so on... I'm sure through no fault of her own, because I'm sure it had to pass through several sets of eyes for approval.. I'm curious as to what she might have said if given free reign. Then, Shaw-Ming Lin, the Vice-Valedictorian, spoke... I'm sure he's a nice kid and all, but when he started talking, I could actually imagine him standing in front of Simon Cowell, dressed like Clay Aiken, saying "I AM the next American Idol", and launching into "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson.

I ended up sitting next to the parents of one Samantha Jane Funkhauser, who, besides the kids I knew, became my favorite name of the night. As they were walking through, the Funkhausers, myself and dozens of other parents who were fortunate enough to sit there, were standing next to the railing watching the graduates come in. When Samantha walked through, that led to Mrs. Funkhauser saying this:
"Samantha! Samantha! (looking at Mr. Funkhauser) Is she chewing gum? (looking at me) She's chewing gum! (looking then at Samantha, who was walking below us) Samantha Jane Funkhauser! You get that gum out of your mouth right now!! (looking back at me) I'm still her mother." For the record, Samantha immediately jumped out of line and spit her gum in a nearby garbage can before entering the big arena area.

So, some moments & thoughts that warrant mentioning, as I watched the proceedings--(besides the kids I just mentioned, plus Rachel Nicole Robinson, Annika Danielle Hindman & Emily Claire Arledge, I don't know any of these people)

--Oak Mountain Principal Randy Fuller was doing the name calling for the Vals & Sals, and ended up stumbling on only one name: Chandra Jayanthi Chakravarthi. When the diplomas were given out, he sailed through that name, plus a brutal stretch on the program that included Sotaro Sano, Eric David Schauwecker, Logan Alexander Schencker and Shraddhaben Rajendra Shastri.

--Of course, this success on the aforementioned brutal stretch was moments after he called out Michael Brooke Penn... who is actually Michelle Brooke Penn. You'd think that name he would master. Overconfidence. It happens. Especially if you are on the Crimson Tide football team playing Central Florida at Homecoming. Okay, okay, I had to reach for that one...

--They gave out diplomas to the Vals & Sals in another order besides alphabetical--wonder if it was class ranking? Anyway, then they started on the alphabetical list of kids, to which someone around me says quietly "now its time for the also-rans."

--They began with the normal "Please hold your applause until after all the names are called." This actually worked for giving the diplomas out to the Vals & Sals. Of course, this makes me feel sorry for them, and "also-rans" from Sarah Kathleen Alderson to Aaron Adarius Anderson... they got no love from the families, as I think everyone was unsure how much cheering would be tolerated. However, a kid named Nicholas David Antonio, who looked like he had Downs (no, I'm not making fun, I'm serious), walked across the stage and the place went bonkers. After that, chaos ensued.

--First it was subdued cheering, but as the Seniors went one by one, the cheering got louder and louder, and by the time we got to the L's, it was clear that no one was going to tell the audience to simmer down. So, some yutz in the upper deck started blasting this air horn, like you hear at sporting events. Everytime it went off, which was sporatically at first, everyone--me, the Seniors, the Funkhausers, the faculty on stage--jumped. Then, somewhere around Jackson Walker Moon, the air horn blasted long and loud. So here comes Principal Fuller, who says "Security, please get rid of that air horn." Then, he called out the section and row where the schlub was sitting. The whole place erupted in applause.

--Among the cheering were signs. When Gabrielle Grace Green got her ticket, her family held up big white signs with her name plastered across, each family member with a letter. Big family. Other families had signs too.

--Jonathan Wayne Guthrie was an evacuee from Hurricane Katrina--Mrs. Funkhauser told me so--which, along with doing a cartwheel on stage, got him a big applause. Then she added, "Samantha is supposed to go out with him later." Mr. Funkhauser smirked, "Yeah... I'm really happy about that." (Jaci later confimed that Mr. Funkhauser's hesitations were warranted)

--Poor Jacob Paul Gwarjanki had to follow young Master Guthrie, and I'm not sure anyone even knew he was up there.

--So, for a while, I was thinking that William Dorsey Ponder had to be the smartest kid in the building, even above Ashley Corinne Brown... I mean not only does he belong to the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Society, the Foriegn Language Honor Society and he's a Valedictorian, he's in the National Forensic League Honor Society! I'm thinking he's a genius in anatomy, and medical forensics and autopsies and everything else... imagine my let down when I see that the National Forensic Honor Society is really about leadership in youth. I watch too much CSI.

--By the way, when did they do away with the practice of having a class song? Is this only small school tradition? Ours was "Its So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday" by Boyz II Men, a great ballad about death. Comforting. Though I will say that "Freebird" was almost the winner... somehow, good taste won out. I wanted "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart, but everyone looked at me like I had two heads. I liked our song, though... it was better than the class before us, which had "Friends" by Michael W. Smith. Incidentally, the Class of 94 had "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men, a great ballad about... death.

--Kourtney told me later that when the Senior Singers got up to sing the alma mater, someone in the class actually yelled "Freebird!" Its good to know that redneck will never die. I'll bet out of 400 students, about 390 of them didn't know the alma mater (and probably 200 of them didn't know that OMHS had an alma mater)

With 400 graduates come 400 names... and I'd be remiss if I didn't give you some of my favorites:
  • Samantha Jane Funkhauser, my favorite name of the night. If I were a Funkhauser, when I got to college, I would totally plaster on my dorm door, in big letters, "The Funk Hause". And it would be cool.
  • My second favorite name of the night was Edward Dickson Hicks, VI. Thats right. His name is Eddie Dick Hicks the Sixth.
  • Loved the name Poppy Leigh Tidwell. Poppy Leigh sounds so uppity, but there's nothing like remembering your redneck roots by being a Tidwell. Maybe she'll marry someone named Worthington and leave allf o this behind. Or she could marry the brother of Sarah Virginia Cox. (get it? poppycox? poppycock? ha!)
  • You gotta know that when Joseph Edward Bobba was a child playing Star Wars with his friends, he always had an upper hand on being Boba Fett, if only because he played the "its my last name!" card constantly.
  • Poor David Blane McPeake, Jr. His name was so simple and nice until that stupid magician got famous.
  • Are we so preppy now that we can't just say "Cory" or even "Korey"? Do we really have to spell it "Khoury Lee Wood"?
  • Na Lin. How can you not like someone with a name that my first name could encompasse?
  • Heather Rebekah Hannah. Never, ever trust a chick with three first names. Especially if she's hot (I wouldn't know... I could only see her from afar)
  • Annika Danielle Hindman used to come to our church (I used to call her Anakin, natch)... I know a guy who thinks she's the hottest thing ever, but would never admit it because it made him feel creepy... not anymore, though. She's a college kid now.
  • The coolest potential nickname had to go to John Thomas Cubelic... being called "Cube"? There's not much cooler than that.

Alright, well, I'm off to Barnes & Noble to kill some time until I get tired enough to sleep (gotta be at work early). It was fun last night, and I give a big, hearty congrats to my girls Jaci, Kandice & Kourtney... I'm honored to have worked with you at church in drama, I'm humbled by the things God did using me, and I'm proud of the beautiful young Godly women you've become.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go change the batteries in my hearing aid and get my arthritis cream.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Idol's End

Here we are... the last night of Idol. And it's time for the running diary...

702pm... Out comes a dashing Carrie Underwood, followed by Taylor and My Girl Mcphee, then all the rest of the ousted Idols, all dressed in white. They are singing some crap that would be perfect to go with last night's crap, "My Destiny" and "Proud of Me"

703pm... Random Heather Locklear and Ben Stiller cameo. At least its not David Spade... how did that all happen?

705pm... A compilation of Randy Jackson's vocabulary, consisting of these words: "Dude", "yo" and "We got a hot one tonight" (not to be confused with "America! We got a hot one tonight!"). Paula's compilation is next, filled with kittens and cleavage. Finally, its Simon's turn. And its funny.

707pm... Todd Bridges again? Where's Gary Coleman??

708pm... A report from the BJCC, featuring ousted semi-finalist Becky O'Donahuge (sp?) and her twin... why them? Oh yippee... they are bringing back all the finalists to sing (gotta fill two hours somehow), and first is Annoying Paris (complete with her Patti LaBelle hair). She's singing with Al Jarreau, all in pimp gear.

712pm... Okay, so the Fed Ex commercial with the cavemen is on. I love this commercial... if only because the couldn't-care-less boss caveman grunts "Not my problem" when he fires the other caveman. The other caveman walks out, and gets stomped on by a dinosaur--but not before he kicks a small dinosaur. Classic. Almost as funny as that silly Geico commercial where the guy says "Its so easy, a caveman could do it". Cut to the dinner table at the swanky restaurant, where he's apologizing to the two caveguys. One orders "roast duck with the mango salsa", while the other says "I don't have much of an appetite, thank you". Then smirks. Classic.

7:15pm... Ah, its Idols with their Idols... which is why Daughtry is now singing with Live. I can't believe Ed Kowalcyzk agreed to this. You gotta think at the next Bonneroo, Live's cred is pretty much shot.

719pm... a Video called "Puck & Pickler", featuring Wolfgang Puck, the famous chef, and Pickles, who has cut her hair. I'm a big fan of short hair (re: Stephanie Dollar), but I liked Pickles with long hair. Anyway, Puck is teaching Pickles about famous, expensive food, as a result of the "didn't know what Calamari incident earlier this year. He's making her eat es cargo--snails--which she's resisting. I liked es cargo.

722pm... My Girl McPhee is singing a Celine Dion song with... no, not Celine. Meatloaf. Yes, that one. I'm not sure I even have a joke here.

723pm... Okay, now that I've regained my thoughts after seeing Meat Loaf and My Girl McPhee onstage singing "Its All Coming Back to Me Now" by Celine Dion, plus My Girl McPhee's dress, let me address this. The words "When you touch me like this..." sung to Meat Loaf is just weird. And creepy. Meat Loaf's hit in 1993, "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" has a video that is almost exactly like "It's All Coming Back to Me Now".

724pm... You CANNOT convince me that Meat Loaf is My Girl McPhee's idol. No way. Oh, and apparently, he's got "Bat Out of Hell III" coming out. This is after the 1970s album "Bat Out of Hell", which spawned hits like "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" and "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad", and 1993's "Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell", which gave us the aforementioned "I Would Do Anything For Love". I wonder where the Bat is going in III?

730pm... A little clip called "The Golden Idol Awards". Steph said "Talk about filler...". Of course, its a mocking video... the first award is "Best Female Vocal", and they just showed Cierra Johnson, who was AWFUL in the auditions. Then Kristen Pryzkyzyyzky, who had the rugged suntan. And for "Male Vocal", there's Derek Dupree with pit stains the size of my head... and thats a big head.

735pm... And there's "Dancin'" Dave Hoover, the guy who just jumped and screamed all during the audition, and somehow got a golden ticket to Hollywood. He's jumping all over the stage. Ryan says "Bring on the mace"

740pm... More "Puck N Pickler". I have a feeling this will be a running gag through the show.

742pm... Here's Chicken Little, Bucky... Bucky... Elliott Yahmean, Daughtry and Steph's Man Ace with the Ace Hair all singing BTO's "Taking Care of Business". They didn't. Thats why Taylor is in the finals. Ha! Speaking of, here he comes, on the harmonica. Now they transition into "Tobacco Road", which only Bucky, Daughtry and Taylor look remotely comfortable singing.

744pm... Fleetwood Mac? If you look in the back of the Kodak Theater, you'll see the words conveniently on the teleprompter. Those Fox guys are so helpful.

750pm... Ryan just matter-of-factly handed My Girl McPhee and Taylor hands to new Ford Mustangs. You'd think they'd be more excited. Now, more Golden Idol Awards, this time "Proudest Family Moment". Elliott Yahmean's old mom wins. This leads to Elliott performing with... no one. He's singing "One" by U2. Don't tell me Bono is coming out.

753pm... Oh, here comes Mary J. Blige. Okay, so Idols performing with their own Idols is now not true. Currently, she's singing more of the song, as well as better, than Elliott. She's got his hand, pumping the fist, and making him look like one awkward white boy.

801pm... Hey, its Carrie Underwood, fresh off of 2 country awards. One for best new artist, one for "Jesus Takes the Wheel". She looks hot. And she's a Christian. Which means she's a righteous babe. Ha!

806pm... Hilarious little clip featuring Ronetta Johnson, and her very, very foul mouth. You had to see the original show back in January.

807pm... Taylor Hicks is singing "In the Ghetto" with Toni Braxton. Did they just draw who is singing with who out of a hat?

812pm... Shania Twain song alert! Here are all the chicks... Lisa Turtle, My Girl McPhee, Mandisa, Annoying Paris, Pickles and of course, Melissa "Does Anyone Know who I Am?" McGhee.

817pm... So, if next year, Alabama, or Birmingham specifically, has no connections to anyone in the Idol top 12, will this area even care about American Idol? I mean, we've had Ruben, Bo, even Diana--whom it was a stretch, but she did live her for the first year of her 17 years--and now Taylor...

821pm... Clay Aiken. Right now, I'm losing it. Clay Aiken.... Clay Aiken!

822pm... So, they gave out the award for Best Impersonation, and the winner was Michael Sandecki, who did one heck of an awful Clay Aiken impersonation. So, Sandecki comes out, Ryan asks him to sing, and he starts into "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me", and its AWFUL. And here comes Clay Aiken. So, Sandecki turns around, almost faints and freaks out. Clay is singing, and now he's got longer hair. Steph said "I like his hair, but its too long... he should trim it for his gay self." Then Steph looks at me and quietly says "Oh, he is gay, right?"

826pm... Ryan just said the words "Burt Bacharach", "Tribute" and "Here are your Idols". This might be where I go to the bathroom.

828pm... Ace Young. You can't convince me that Michael Bolton didn't look like that when he was 24.

828pm... Melissa McGhee had better make the most of this appearance... after this season, she goes the way of Julia DeMato, Vanessa Oliveraz and Charles Grigsby. Who, you ask? Exactly.

833pm... Chicken Little is singing "Whats New, Pussycat?", made famous by 60s sex god Tom Jones. I'm guessing the producers were laughing their heads off when they decided to do this to poor Kevin Covais. And now, two names I thought would never go together... "Chris Daughtry" and "Christopher Cross". Annoying Paris is now singing The Carpenters. Stephanie is very happy. And now.. its Dionne Warwick.

835pm... What kind of comedy would it be to have Dionne go "My psychic friends network told me the winner would be..."? I had an algebra teacher named Mrs. Maund, a little white woman. Dionne and Mrs. Maund look alike. I actually called her the White Warwick. I'm just sayin'.

837pm... I was hoping it wouldn't come to this (and I'll be the majority of the Idols were too), but she just busted out "What's What Friends are For". Daughtry better get back stage and beat the crap out of Chicken Little just to preserve his cred, otherwise Fuel is gong to retract their "be our lead singer" offer. I hate this song. Always have.

844pm... They are reshowing "Brokenote Mountains", featuring Cowboy Garet--a hilarious sooof with two hicks and a black dude that made it to the second round... but no further. And here they come, singing "Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys". Funny, funny stuff.

848pm... In a bizarre twist, Prince just came out. And it looks like he got his jacket back from Taylor last night. I mean, talk about your filler...

850pm... I am wondering why they've never done a Prince night on Idol, but it occured to me that most of his songs are pretty dirty, and at least innuendous... "Little Red Corvette", "Raspberry Beret"... you don't want to know what those songs are about.

854pm... Just went to the blogcounter website to see why my blog counter wasn't working... it told me I've jumped about 40 hits in the last three hours. You guys rock. Its nice to know I've had some views. So, who are you?

856pm... Taylor is being forced to sing "I've Had the Time Of My Life" from Dirty Dancing. Now My Girl McPhee is joining in... okay, okay, I like this song. Leave me alone.

856pm... "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" (if you don't get that, Google it)

858pm... Okay, here we go... the winner is...

859pm... 63.4 million votes came in last night... thats like the number of hits on Scott Latta's Sporting News blogsite!

859pm... And the winner is... Taylor Hicks. Soul Patrol! Soul Patrol! Awww... Taylor is about to cry... that's good stuff. Heck, even David Hasselhoff is crying. Who knew they had some Hasselhizzle in the House?

900pm... Oh man... Taylor is ruining the night by singing that suck "Proud of Me" song. Perhaps I'll turn it off and relish his win happily.

902pm... Okay, thanks for indulging me tonight... and this season. Now I gotta find something else to write about.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My Girl McPhee vs. My Boy Taylor

Well, its late Tuesday night, and we've got six more songs to sing, two more performers to hear and one more show to watch... its time to see My Girl Katharine McPhee taking on Alabama's Own Taylor Hicks.

Here we go...

Tonight's show features both Kat & Taylor each singing three songs, two that they've already done before, and one specifically written for each of them... let me tell you, the songs written for them are bound to be really, really crappy. They always are. I mean, really bad. As an Idol, you gotta do it... but that doesnt mean it doesnt suck.

Live from the Kodak Theater, the same one that holds the Academy Awards every year... got a friend of mine that went to Los Angeles this week. She said she was looking for Idol tickets... I told her "Whatever. Good luck. Try eBay, get your $500 ready." And the Kodak is packed out as Ryan makes his entrance onto the stage.

Oh look, there's Ben Stiller, standing behind a Muslim lady.

We ge to see a review now of how Taylor and My Girl McPhee made it this far... lots of clips I remember seeing over the course of the Spring. Can't help it... even though I think Taylor is just great, I luvs me some Kat McPhee. I've still got the McPheever.

Song 1
My Girl McPhee is up first, and she's doing... ROCK ON--She's singing "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" again. This time she's not on her knees, she's up and moving... I heard that last time, spending the entire performance bouncing on her knees, including practices, she ended up with black and blue spots all over her thighs and knees. I did like it better the last time, but it was still good tonight. Randy liked it better this time. Paula blows sunshine. Simon says "good with a small 'g'..."

So her numbers are 866 IDOLS 01, 03 and 05... meaning Taylor is 866 IDOLS 02, 04 and 06. Why not just say My Girl McPhee is 01 thru 04, and Taylor is 05 thur 08. Four lines each, none of this odd/even numbered thing.

Taylor is doing Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City", and he's apparently wearing Barney's skin. I mean, that jacket is PURPLE enough to come from Prince's closet. The song is fun too. Dancing around, getting the notes right, doing his thing that makes Taylor Hicks Taylor Hicks. And the crowd is going nuts...

Randy says, "You make it your own!" Paula blows sunshine, loudly. Simon says, sarcastically "This audience hated you... smart choice of song."

Oh look, there's Pickles with the short Steph Dollar hair (I miss Pickles), and she's sitting in front of Bucky... Bucky... and I think thats Melissa McGhee and Constantine? How did Gollum get back on the show? Oh, there's Lisa Turtle too!

Song 2
My Girl McPhee is going to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" again, a song that she did magnificantly a few weeks ago--which might be bad, because it was just a week or two ago, still fresh in the minds of everyone, so I hope she does well.

Her lipstick is too thick. And she just took out her ear monitor, for some reason. Other than that, I can close my eyes (not that I would--its My Girl McPhee) and see Judy Garland again. Thats a good, good thing. I like the fact she's not singing it exactly how you would remember it from "The Wizard of Oz", as in, she's putting her own twist on it, but she's not overdoing it. Its subdued, letting the song speak for itself.

Do I even sound like I know what I'm talking about? Or am I just being Paula and blowing sunshine?

Oh, and McPhather is crying his eyes out... again. Randy says "Yo, yo... you worked it out again--it was hot." Paula says "God given talent, flowers, birds, every girl proud, sunshine, fluffy". Simon says "Round 1, you got slaughtered. Now? I said it last week, but this time surpasses it--your best performance, so far."

My Girl McPhee explained her ear monitor didn't work... it gives her the key before she begins, and apparently, she had to guess--and she guessed right.

Taylor is singing Elton John's "Levon", which he says is his favorite song of the season. And kids, its pronounced "lee-vahn", NOT "leave on". Darn it, I hate reading message boards on or whereever, and see people writing "Leave on". Get it right, you uncultured igmo.

Oh, and the song... not one of my favorites from Elton John--I'd love to see Taylor do "Take Me to the Pilot", like George Huff did a few years ago. "Levon" is okay, though... Taylor did alright. A little less bouncy than the first, as expected.

Randy says "Nice song, but a little pitchy...". Paula says "Butterflies, cotton candy, tweeties, cupcakes". Simon says "Katharine has taken the second round. Its a level playing field now."

The Final Song
And now, here's My Girl McPhee's debut single, a song called... what? Oh, give me a break. Its called... "My Destiny". Why not just call it "The Cliche of Finding Success While Overcoming Insurmountable Odds" Either way, My Girl McPhee looks Phabulous. The song is not all that great, though... her voice is stellar, but the song itself is really a pooper.

Kind of a harsh note at the end there... they showed her mother on the verge of tears, though I honestly can't say if thas because she is so proud of her Katharine, or she's wretching at that note. Oh, look, they brought out the St. Francis of Xavier Choir.

Randy says "Three things, keeping it real. You look amazing. You sounded really good. I did not love the song." Paula says "Birds, puppies, kittens". Simon says "You went from brilliant to just 'quite good' in just one song. I would say to everyone that wants to vote for Katharine to remember the second song."

Randy chimes in... "the singer was better than the song." I totally agree.

Its now time for Taylor Hicks debut single, "Do I Make You Proud?" Or, "Do I Make You Dry Heave?" Just to clarify, these singles are what will be released for whoever wins the Idol Title. And for whatever reason, they are always, ALWAYS ballads. Is there no one working for the Idol Machine that can write an uptempo song? Heck, give me Taylor singing "Take Me to the Pilot", like I said before, or give me My Girl McPhee doing a version of "You Oughta Know" from Alanis (that would rooooock).

I like this song even less than liked Kat's song. I mean, Taylor sold it, sang his heart out for it... but the song was bleeech.

Randy says "This might be a slightly better song, but you make each song a Taylor Hicks song!" Paula says "Puppies, sunshine, flowers, duckies". Simon says "Assuming the show was tied before, you have just won American Idol". The crowd just went absolutely bonkers, including Mandy Moore in the audience.

Make no mistake... both My Girl McPhee and Taylor Hicks will have Ruben/Clay type success--as in, they'll both be hugely successful, each in their own areas. I would guess both will have longer careers than Ruben & Clay too. However, Taylor Hicks should win this competition. I loves me some Kat McPhee, I still harbor a crush on her, but Taylor should win this thing, because he's simply better.

And hey, here's Daniel Powter! He's singing "Bad Day", live on the show. Oh, the irony. Behind him, they are showing clips of the season, seeing the early auditions of Steph's Man Ace with the Ace Hair... there's Pickles again... Mandisa... Chicken Little.. and more.

You gotta think that Daniel Powter is trying to get every last bit of traction out of this song that he can... I see him going the way of Duncan Shiek... one song, plus a lifetime of albums that are critically acclaimed, yet sell, like, four dozen copies nationwide.

Alrighty.... tomorrow night, the Idol Finale. And I'll be here, covering it for you, doing my running diary during the show.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Advice for the Grads (Column #100)

Well, here we are at column #100.

That's right, at this time, I'm typing out what will be the one hundred posting on my blogsite, The Adventures of Dave. I wanted to do something cool for this 100th posting, so I thought I should address Kourtney & Kandice Kelley and Jaci Gresham, three of my girls from drama at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship). I've known all three since they were in 6th grade, so to watch them grow up has been remarkable... and I'm proud to say, God did good.

So, for your graduation this week, plus anyone else who is on the verge of leaving High School, I'd like to give you what Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune wrote to the Class of 97... it was also made into a song a few years later, produced by Baz Luhrmann. Who is he? Never mind that now, I'll explain later.

Anyway, my first piece of advice would be:
"Follow God, no matter how silly, no matter how crazy, no matter how much it doesn't make sense. Follow Him. He's done alright so far, so you can trust He has a plan."

Beyond that, I say this:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’06... wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be IT.

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice...

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults... if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

And Then There Were Two

So, here's the hard part about having digital cable. Before, we had three VCRs, able to record like, everything at one time. Now that we've had a digital cable box, we only have two VCRs to record on, which usually is enough. Tonight, its not. On one VCR is The Amazing Race season finale. Now, I'm about record Lost, while watching American Idol--and I'm not recording American Idol, to which Steph will not be happy. Hopefully she'll get home in time to see some of it. But what would take 40 seconds to tell us who made it to next week's finale in the Kodak Theater, they stretch to an hour.

What stinks is I'm also missing Dateline NBC's finale to the four part "To Catch a Predator" series, where they put the hidden cameras out and have men coming in who think they are meeting young children for unruly behaviors. Decisions, decisions.

So, let's begin:
802pm... They just showed Steph's Man Ace with the Ace Hair hanging out with Pickles. Come on, Pickles... you can do better than that.

803pm... Reviews of last night, in which Elliott Yahmean did eh, My Girl McPhee did pretty good and amazing with "Over the Rainbow" and Taylor was the junk.

807m... Ryan promises us the results are coming up, plus the segments of when the Idols went to their own hometown... including Taylor in The Ham

8:11pm... Perhaps the best ceesey Idols Ford commercial I've seen yet... all three are all dressed up as 90 year olds, rapping to "Young at Heart", advertising a Mustang. Hilarious stuff.

8:13pm... In a shameless plug for X-Men: The Last Stand, the Idols got to meet Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn, who gave them dvds to the new X-Men movie.

8:14pm... Clips from Taylor Hicks visit to Birmingham last week. Rick & Bubba got some major props (love those guys), and they are showing clips from the parade held in Taylor's honor. Moron... I mean, Mayor Kincaid gives Taylor the key to the city (which Hoover's mayor did the same thing at the Galleria).

8:16pm... They are showing the thousands of people at the Galleria... man I'm glad I stayed away that day.

8:17pm... Taylor meets Bob & Patsy Riley. Apparently, May 16th was Taylor Hicks Day. I didn't get the memo. What did YOU do to celebrate?

8:19pm... Now he's singing "Taking It to the Streets", a song by the Doobie Brothers that he did earlier this season--its what he's putting on the American Idol compilation CD this year. Good version.

8:24pm... My Girl McPhee is from Sherman Oaks, CA, her hometown, which is really like, twenty minutes from the studios where American Idol does its thing. She visits some radio stations, the local Fox affliate, her high school alma mater (Notre Dame High) and LA's mayor declares it Katharine McPhee Day in LA.

8:27pm... My Girl McPhee visits her parents house, where a large crowd is there to meet her in the driveway. I guess its hard being from a bigger town, because Los Angeles has everything... Birmingham has Taylor Hicks.

8:27pm... Her selection for the American Idol CD is "Think" by Aretha Franklin... I'm not a fan of this song, but if the CD comes with video of McPhee actually singing it, I'll buy it.

8:31pm... Two questions... how the heck did Todd Bridges get in the audience? And why the heck is Todd Bridges in the audience?

8:35pm... Random Gavin DeGraw sighting. You hear that sound? Thats the "One Hit Wonder" alarm going off. It went off earlier when I heard Jason Mraz on Vh1.

8:36pm... Elliott Yahmean's hometown is Richmond, Virginia. Of course, its Elliott Yahmean Day in Richmond. He spells his name Elliot Yamin? Who knew.

8:40pm... Paula is a blubbering idiot.

8:41pm... Wait, you spell the name Elliott, with 2 T's? That means that the official sign in front of the Governor's Mansion that read "Elliot Yamin Comes Home" was mispelled? Well, the governor is a Democrat. Makes sense. Elliott Yahmean is singing his song for the American Idol CD. I tried to care, but ten seconds into it, I had to go online to make sure that Gov. Tim Kaine was actually a Democrat before I made that joke.

8:47pm... They just presented Clive Davis with a plaque, celebrating 33 million records sold from all the Idols. Thats alot... Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" has sold 10 million worldwide. Thats why she rocks.

8:50... Clive is giving a rundown of the successes of American Idols, including Fantasia, Kelly, Ruben, Clayken, Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood. What, no Justin Giuraiuriani? No Vanessa Oliveraz? No Diana DeGarmo? Is there any justice? YOUR results coming up, live, after the break!

8:54pm... Fox6 just put together a really badly edited promo for tonight's news about Idol.

8:54pm... 33.68%... 33.26%... 33.06%... out of the 50 million votes, this was the percentage of votes. And no Top 2, no Bottom 2... Ryan just tosses out the 33.06, then announces its Elliott Yamin going home.

8:56pm... Paula looks as if she's going to pass out. They show Elliott's mom, who is also a Democrat which means she can't have much common sense. Now... lets take a look at the journey of the Yahmenian.

8:57pm... When they play "Bad Day", you know its bad news. He has definately come along quite a bit in the looks department, though... remember when I could see him next to Bucky on Cops? Not anymore.

So that means... coming next week... Taylor Hicks & My Girl McPhee vie for the title of American Idol. And I'll be here with a running diary during next Wednesday's results show... and for the first time, I would be happy with either one winning the title.

And Then There Were Three

Okay, so I went to see United 93 yesterday. Wow. Wow. I'm going to write up something about that, when I formulate the words... but wow.

On to friendlier subjects, I didn't get home until about 9pm due to a women's Bible study at my home. I sat at Books-a-Million reading a book about wrestling that I actually couldn't put down--I will probably end up picking it up. Incidentally, the guys who wrote this one also wrote a book about the rise, fall and eventual death of the WCW--its a story that fascinates me, not only because I watched it happen from week to week in the 90s, but its also a fascinating business story of ego, money, power and greed.

Because of that, plus working all day today, then adding in the short nap I took this evening, I 'm just now sitting down for American Idol. Yes, I read the reviews, I know who sings what, and that Taylor apparently steals the show, save for one song by My Girl McPhee.

So let's watch and see.

Tonight, Taylor Hicks, My Girl McPhee and Elliott Yahmean sing three songs, one that they pick, one picked by the judges (Simon picked one for McPhee, Paula picked one for Yahmean and Randy picked one for Taylor), and finally, one picked by Clive Davis, who was the genius responsible for Colombia's heyday, Arista Records and discovering and signing talent like Whitney Houston, Santana, Chicago and Aerosmith, and also responsible for such classics as "Inside Your Heaven" and "Flying Without Wings".

For Elliott Yahmean, Clive is having him sing Journey's "Open Arms", one of the more overplayed and overblown ballads from the 80s. Elliott looks scared, like he knows he's got to be perfect, which means he's not doing so.

Randy says "You worked it out." Paula blows sunshine like usual. Simon says "Wasn't a great performance. Loosen up."

Alrighty, next is My Girl McPhee, singing the song that Clive Davis has chosen for her... "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly. Great. I'm not a fan of this song, and Steph absolutely hates it. Someone asked me once which would I rather have babysitting my preteen, Michael Jackson or R. Kelly? Hard to answer.

Clive is saying that he chose it to give My Girl McPhee the chance to make it her own. Do we believe she can fly? Let's find out..., its okay. She's wearing a dress similiar to the one Cindy Howell wore to my senior prom. Of course, McPhee looks ten times better, but she would have been around 8 or 9 when my senior prom occurred. Which leads us back to R. Kelly...

Strong voice, big ending, but the song wasn't all that great to me. Randy says "it wasn't quite right for you". Paula blows sunshine about how My Girl McPhee looks (which is warranted). Randy and Paula both make a point about song choice, so McPhee says "I didn't pick it!". Simon says "apart from a bum note or two, you did okay."

Now, Clive picks The Boss' "Dancing in the Dark", which is a great song. This truly is a song that Taylor can do, but will be interesting to see him pull it off. Taylor is in awe of performing the first Springsteen song on American Idol.

I was actually going to the mall the other day to buy some stamps, then grab some lunch at the food court... then I found out that Taylor was going to be there. So I stayed far, far away. From my lunch table at Sneaky Pete's, I saw the crowd on tv. Glad I didn't go... there were a billion people there.

By the way, Taylor is doing awesome on this song. He even dragged Paula up to dance a little, I guess she's playing the Courtney Cox role (for those of you under 25, Courtney Cox--yes, the one from Friends--was made her first real celebrity appearance in the "Dancing in the Dark" Springsteen video when The Boss pulls her onstage to dance... for those of you under 20, "The Boss" is Bruce Springsteen's nickname).

Randy says "that was hot." Paula blows sunshine. Simons says "okay. pale by comparison to the original."

Its Round 2, where the songs are picked by the judges. "What You Won't Do For Love" by Bobby Caldwell, chosen by Paula, for Elliott Yahmean. You know, I think I was on the verge of really, really liking Elliott, as seen by my journey through the queue line and onto the Yahmean bandwagon... but I think now, he bores me. Seriously. He's got an awesome voice, no doubt, but he's got the personality of a box of Bic stickpens.

And this song... he's doing it justice. But he bores me. Randy says it was okay, Paula blows sunshine, Simon didn't like the song, but he liked the way Elliott sang it. Ehh.

My Girl McPhee's song is "Over the Rainbow", chosen by Simon. I heard she was amazing on this song... and she is. Wow... I'm really seeing Judy Garland when I hear McPhee do this. She's poised on the floor, dim lights save for a small spotlight on her, and the music behind her is soft but telling. And she's nailing it. Though "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree" will go down as my favorite McPhee song, this is undoubtably her best peformance. Wow.

Randy says "Finally, this is the best vocal of the season. Brilliant. Hot." Paula blows sunshine. Simon says "You don't need to lay it too much, you have a natural talent--and that was the single best performance of the competition to date." Even Ryan says "That was beautiful." I agree. The song too.

Taylor's second song is "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker, picked by Randy. Randy says "since Taylor gives this old soul Joe Cocker kind of vibe, I thought it was perfect." For those of you unfamiliar with this song, just know that Joe Cocker doesn't even sing the song all that great--he just has this really gruff, deep voice, and it even cracks when he hits a high note... but what makes the song great is the amount of emotion you can get from the song. Its powerful.

And Taylor is even doing the high notes, with much less cracking. Not too bad, I'd say. Does anyone else think that when Taylor is lost in the music, he looks like a large mouth bass singing?

Randy says "you did the song proud", while Paula blows sunshine. Simon says "That was so far and away your best performance." Taylor jumps next to Ryan, points to Simon and chants "he's happy! he's happy!"

Round 3 is up now... where the contestants pick the song. Elliott Yahmean chose the Donnie Hathaway version of Ray Charles' "I Believe To My Soul." Its a good song, and a good song for him. For the first time tonight, I'm actually listening to him instead of being distracted with reading on some of that wrestling book I mentioned... okay, so I went back to it.

Randy says "You can sing, man." Paula blows sunshine. Simon says that Elliott should be proud of what he's accomplished. Which means that Simon is doubtful that Elliott will make it past the results show. I agree.

My Girl McPhee's last song is up now... yes, yes, I've got McPheever. She's singing "I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues" because she wants to set herself and her sound apart from the industry today. I could seriously watch this girl sing the phone book at this point. Good thing she's doing decent enough in this song... even showing some fun spunk onstage. Nice dress. Sultry.

Randy says "I dunno..." Paula blows sunshine. Simon says "Five steps forward, one step back... I wish the previous song would have been your final song and this one been the middle, so people would remember you from that." I agree.

Taylor's last song is Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness". The song starts a little slow for me, but it kicks in soon after. GO T! GO T! GO T! Gotee?

I don't care what the judges/Simon might say--I love this guy. Randy now calls him "Have a Good Time Funky Taylor". Paula says she waited all season to hear him sing this song. Simon says he liked the song, hideous ending... "but I'll see you next week". I totally agree.

Elliott goes home. Taylor and My Girl McPhee battle it out in the finale. You heard it here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sad Songs Say So Much

So, Tom Reynolds has written a book about the saddest, most depressing songs ever written. I haven't seen the list, but I already know what they should be... for the last three hours, I've been listening to sad stuff on the iPod to confirm my selections... now, while I'm ready to go cry myself to sleep now, I'll let you know that I'm sure there is stuff I didn't think of that tomorrow, I'll smack my head and say "Crap... why didn't I include 'I Can't Make You Love Me' by Bonnie Raitt??"

...crap. Why didn't I include "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt"? Okay, consider that tied with Keith Whitley at #20.

Anyway, I'll assume that you all agree with me unless I hear otherwise, right? Right. So, here we go.

Dave's Top 10... No, Make It 20 Saddest, Most Depressing Songs, Like, Ever
20) "Don't Close Your Eyes" by Keith Whitley... a brilliant country artist who, typically, died from alcohol poisoing following an all night dringing binge. Its a man with a woman, begging her not to close her eyes for fear that she will start thinking of the one she really loves--and its not him.
Death from cat scratch fever line: "Maybe I've been a fool, holding on all this time, lyin' here in your arm knowing he's in your mind"

19) "Don't Cry" by Guns'N'Roses... I really went back and forth between this and "November Rain", finally deciding on this, my favorite GNR song. Axl Rose at his nasally best.
Insult GNR in front of Drew Morris line: Don't you take it so hard now and please don't take it so bad. I'll still be thinkin' of you and the times we
Actually that line is said "and the times we hay-ya-ya-ya-yad oh baybay"

18) "I Can't Stay Away From You" by Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine... okay, so get this. In high school, I made a mix tape (remember those?) of sad songs, and I called it "You Lost the One You Love and Need an Excuse for Suicide Mix". Very encouraging. Anyway, this song, "Can't Stay Away From You"? On the tape twice. It was that powerful.
Stomach punch line: "Hold on to every bit of hope, thats all I'll ever do. Hoping you might change your mind to call me up and say how much you need me too"
Gloria can sing the depressing stuff--she appears later in our list.

17) "Nothing Broken But My Heart" by Celine Dion... say what you want about Celine, but before she got so self absorbed, thin and married to the fat guy who looks like Rob Reiner, she was a pretty good singer. This is early Celine, at her best.
Stuck in a GNR concert with a Celine shirt line: "Baby, since you left me you might think that my world's been torn apart, but if you see me, baby you'll see that nothing's broken. Nothing's broken but my heart."
I've had my heart truly broken three times in my life. Its not fun, trust me. However, I contend that everyone should go through it once in their life.

16) "Black Balloon" by The Goo Goo Dolls... You know, I don't even know what this song is about... I just know its pretty painful. So, since this only partially qualifies, let's add...
16) "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers... from the opening line, the opening guitar, its a heartbreak. Bill Withers has one of my favorrite soul voices, and this song is just depressingly cool. Since the song is more of a repeat, its hard to give a gut punch line, but I will mention this is featured in Notting Hill, in the four seasons walking scene, one of the coolest uses of a song, not to mention one of the coolest scenes I've ever watched in any movie.
15) "These Days" by Rascal Flatts... a big, heartbroken salute to all those who have stood by, checking the phone constantly, just in case you were away and missed the phone ring, or you had your cell phone under a blanket and couldn't hear it for some reason, or today was the day your answering machine messed up and didn't take calls... even though you know the reason the phone has not rung is because she hasn't called you back. Oh, Indya Lawless, you wretched female... why didn't you call me?
Smack me now line: "Punch the clock, head for home, check the phone (just in case), go to bed, dream of you, thats what I'm doing these days"
Oh whatever. Like you've never done that. Stop it.

14) "There's a Light In Your Eyes" by Blessid Union of Souls... even though this song is a decade old, I only realy discovered it a few years ago. Really really heartbreaking. Just fast enough to keep you moving along, but melancholy enough to make it hurt.
Throw Yourself out the window line: "It's been a while since I've seen you so how have you been? Did you get my letter I wrote you, but I did not send?"
I think that line is one of the most simple, yet painful lines in any song.

13) "With Or Without You" by U2... this is really for Mikey more than anything else.
Kicking over the Bear's chair in the museum in front of a Latta line: "My hands are tied, my body bruised, she's got me with nothing to win and nothing left to lose"
You chicks are evil. Seriously.

12) "One Last Cry" by Brian McKnight... it's all about giving your heart one last chance to mourn your lost love, then tell yourself you are getting over it. Of course, it never works out that way.
Drinking battery acid line: "I saw you holding hands, standing close to someone else. Now I sit all alone, wishing all my feelings were gone"
Maybe this is just here because as I sat all alone, I saw Allison Hodnett standing very close to John Glasscock, holding hands at the Troy weekly movie, one day after she asked ME to the movie, then promptly stood me up. Hey, it was in 1994, but it still sucked. okay, I wasn't all alone, I think I went with Michelle Dudley, but still.

11) "Never Had a Dream" by S Club 7... Yes, its pop at its cheesyworst, but its still pretty hard hitting. I think this song is personal, because this is what Steph would think about me when she loved me and I didn't feel the same.
Kick in the crotch line: "There's no use looking back or wondering how it should be now or might have been, this I know, but still i can't find ways to let you go..."
Though this song hurts a little, thinking about what Steph was feeling, thats nothing compares to "Standing Still" by Jewel. That song just messes me up.

10) "I'll Be Okay" by Amanda Marshall... this little gem was from the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding", and I'd be willing to bet out of all 6 of my readers, 6 of you have never heard it. Maybe Steph, only because I forced it on her. Its a fun little ditty about the joy of watching your best friend, and love of your life, end up with someone else. Without sounding too American Idol, I love the raw emotion that Amanda Marshall has in this song.
Hot fire pokers in the eye line: I want you to be happy, you're my best friend. But it's so hard to let you go now and all that could have been. I'll always have the memories, she'll always have you, fate has a way of changing
when you don't want it to"
Not good times. Bad times. Bad times.

9) "Secret Garden" by Bruce Springsteen (the Jerry Maguire dialogue version)... The Boss is at his best here, but throw in the best, most painful lines from the flick ("You've got to be fair to her. She loves you. If you don't love her, you've got to tell her") and you've got a knife-in-the-heart classic.
Phillipshead screwdriver through the skin between your fingers line: "She's got a secret garden where everything you want, everything you need will always stay a million miles away"
You know, that movie gets better with age, I think.

8) "Somebody Lied" by Ricky Van Shelton... holy crap, this song is bad. A country song, no less, about a guy who gets a call from his ex, and he's trying to refute claims that he's been crying, that he's been showing her picture to strangers, that he's been breaking down around town.
Trailer in a tornado line: "If the rumors were right, would you be here tonight to help this old heart heal? Well, don't worry, it wasn't me... just someone whose world was torn in two. Someone who looked alot like me and loved someone like you. So forget the tears I've never cried, I'll be somebody lied"
Dear Lord... I need to go kiss Steph to remind myself how happy I am.

7) "She's Always a Woman" by Billy Joel... While the above Springsteen song was my Amy Wible song in the 90s (well, there was also "Sailing" by Christopher Cross, but that's on a different list), this one belonged to Cindy Howell.
Put on a white hood and go to Ensley Line: "She'll promise you more than the Garden of Eden, then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleedin'"
Amy recently got married, so I hear, but I have no clue what happened to Cindy. Hmm. I think I'll write an article on this topic soon.

6) "Until I Fall Away" by the Gin Blossoms. Perhaps the essential 90s rock angst song. Hurts me now. I think I'll go slam my head against the wall. Of course, I'm still reeling from that stupid Ricky Van Shelton song. Heck, put that at #6, and this one goes to #8.
Set your hair on fire line: "There's no good answers, and no new questions. Another personal disaster, there's nowhere to go but down"
Just the music, even without the words, depresses me

5) "King of Pain" by Alanis Morissette... There's a song by the Police that really hurts (thats my soul up there), with its cryptic lyrics of pain and curt (thats my soul up there). Though it might be sacrilege to say I like (thats my soul up there) Alanis' version better, though only slight (thats my soul up there)
Falling out the top of a Georgia Pine line: I have stood here before inside the pouring rain with the world turning circles running 'round my brain. I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign but it's my destiny to be the king of pain
Seriously, as much as I love Sting singing this, Alanis' unplugged take on this is incredible.

4) "Here We Are" by Gloria Estefan... the opening chords of this song are just haunting, and Gloria voice is piercing and cutting. Classic Estefan.
Putting drills to your temple line: "And though no one knows whats going on inside and all the love I feel for you is something I should hide, when I have you close to me, the feelin's so sublime... there's nothing I can do to keep from loving you"
Anytime you have to use the word "sublime" to describe your relationship, there's something to discuss.

3) "On My Own" from Les Miserables... Eponine sings the song about loving a guy who loves another girl... and she ends up dying while carrying a love letter from said girl to said guy.
Carve out your heart with a spoon (cause it'll hurt more, you twit) line: "I love him but every day I'm learning all my life I've only been pretending. Without me his world will go on turning, a world that's full of happiness that I have never known"
Make sure you get the Les Miserables Highlights version, with Kaho Shimada. The Original Cast Recording, with Frances Ruffelle, is good, but Kaho's Highlight version is far superior in sound and arrangement. Trust me on this.

2) "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor... more effective when the video is with it. Painful, heart ripping lyrics, sung simply by Sinead, before she freaked out on SNL.
Playing in 280 Traffic Line: "Its been 7 hours and 16 days since you took your love away..."
Come on, who hasn't been dropped like a bad habit, then counted the days after? Heck, my first breakup with Cindy Howell, I was counting minutes.

1) "This Song Remembers When" by Trisha Yearwood... just a simple song about a girl who's gotten past her heartbreak, until she hears the song--"their song"--that brings it all back.
Dipping Chips in Cyanide Line: "After taking every detour, getting lost and losing track, so even if I wanted, I could not find my way back... after driving out the memory about the way things might have been, after I'd forgotten all about us, this song remembers when."
Yeah, been there, Trisha.. been there. Not so much now that God sent me Stephanie, but there was a time...

Anyway, now's the part of the show where Tommy shakes his head and tells me what I missed.

Idol Shock

...Holy crap....

...Chris Daughtry is going home...

...from the look on his face, you could have told him that they were sending everyone else home and Mikalah Gordan and Brenna Gethers were going to the be the final two, and he wouldn't have been more shocked....


...did not see that coming.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Elvis Lives

Well, four are left... Steph just walked in the room, so we're here to watch the show. Only Daughtry, My Girl McPhee, Taylor and Elliott Yahmean are left, and tonight, they sing 2 songs each, singing Elvis songs. Sheesh.

In the lead up to watching this episode, I was actually playing Taylor Hicks Pac-Man. I wish I were making this up.

The Idols all flew to Graceland last week to see the Elvis sights. I went there in 2000 with Wookiee, Jill and her friend Shannon... it was a hoot. Priscilla Presley has met the Idols at the door--she's like 176 years old, and she looks like she's 30. A thirty year old ZOMBIE. Freak out.

Seriously, we went after Passion One Day in 2000 (the first one, now the many repeats since), and it was a blast. Its a great bio of The King, plus you get access to tons of areas and such... you see the staircase that leads directly to the bathroom featuring the toilet where Elvis died... I heard you actually could go up there at one point, but they blocked it off some years ago. Did you know that Fat Elvis (as in, mid-70s til death) used the slogan "Takin' Care of Business"? He's even got TCB on his airplane, which you can also go into. If you ever go, spend the 20 bucks for the grand tour, instead of just the cheap $10 tour... its worth it.

Anyway, the celebrity helper person this week is Tommy Mottola, who is known for helping launch the careers of Gloria Estefan, Destiny's Child and Mariah Carey--and was married to Mariah in her pre-skank days.

Taylor is up first doing "Jailhouse Rock", and I don't know if any other song could be as perfect for him, except for maybe "Heartbreak Hotel". Oh, and he has his mojo working too... he's dancing like he's got to pee, which is great vintage Taylor Hicks.

Randy loved it. Paula loved it, of course. Simon? "Terrible impersonation of Elvis. Karaoke with a capital 'K'". I liked it. Steph points out that the guy who plays keyboard for the Taylor Hicks Band has a mom-in-law who works with her. Somehow I'm connected to Taylor Hicks... we're practically Twinkies, man.

Chris Daughtry's first song is now here... he's doing "Suspicious Minds", which is a great Elvis song... Dwight Yoakam did a fantastic remake of that song in the mid-90s as well. I can already tell this is going to be good. I like this verson that Daughtry is doing here, because he's not rocking out to it too much, which you don't have to. Steph makes the point that the song itself is great, because there's not too much "hunka hunka" from Elvis in the original. I agree.

Randy says "Maybe not your best, but kinda nice." Paula loved it. Of course. ("See you in the finals"). Simon says "Sunglasses aside, that worked." Steph and I both agree. I think I'd like to see him or Taylor take on my favorite Elvis song, "A Little Less Conversation"... and Daughtry wears boxer-briefs. If you didn't see the show, don't ask.

Elliott Yahmean is singing "If I Could Dream", a song that I've never even heard of. Not that I'm an Elvis afficianado, but still... I forget where Elliott is from, but I can foresee him headlining a concert head at his homestate's version of Visionland... excuse me, Alabama Outdoor Adventures. I'll admit, he can sing. Good, strong voice.

Here's the part where the judges love him. Randy? "Yo yo, you laid it out... that was hot, baby!". Paula? "Best vocals from you this season." Simon? "So far, the best tonight." Sidebar, apparently, Elvis used to close some of his shows with this song. Ryan made the comment "Elliott, you have really come along this year..." as in, he's been made over. A la Clay Aiken.

And the part that makes me timid everytime, as in, I'm afraid she's going to screw it up. My Girl McPhee. Her first song is a "Hound Dog/All Shook Up" mix up, which should be pretty good. And she's bopping along on the table by the judges, while Randy and Paula snap, bounce and clap. Simon just sits. Here comes the transition from Hound Dog to All Shook Up... and it worked. Go figure.

Found out that she had bruises all up and down her knees and legs from last week's phenom performance of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree". Somewhere in the middle of this song, she dropped a lyric... but I didn't notice. Randy and Paula liked it, Simon says "It looked like a manic audition for theater." I liked it... didn't love it. Steph didn't like the song, even the original.

She looks like she was forcing herself to have fun with this song--face it, this is not My Girl McPhee's kind of music.

Taylor is coming back, and he's singing "In the Ghetto", Elvis' homage to the underclass citizens living in the ghetto, which is now commonly called "Da Hood". Good job, Taylor, good job. I like it. Steph liked it too... ("Woo hoo... go Taylor"). Plus, if the Idols decided to do a remake of "Collateral", Taylor could play Tom Cruise's character, if only for the hair.

Randy and Paula both liked it... and Simon says "You just sung your way into the next round."

And hey, Daughtry is singing "A Little Less Conversation", which was made popular by the recent Ocean's Eleven. My favorite Elvis song, plus a fun one to bop around Starbucks and sing. Again, he's not overdoing it, not over-rocking it... and it sounds great! Go Chris. He even does a Bo Bice mic stand twirl.

Randy says "Right key, that was hot!". Paula stops short of openly propositioning him onstage. Simon liked the first song better, just saying "it was okay". I thought it was good, personally. Steph says "His shirt is very thin." Its true. Until she said that, I hadn't noticed Daughtry's nipples.

Elliott Yahmean is singing "Trouble" from 1958, another attempt at making it "Elvis Songs that You've Never Heard Theme Night" on Idol. He kinda looks like the 28 year old version of the young kid from Malcolm in the Middle... Erik van der Schlitterbaum or something like that.

Hey, someone went to Elliott's hometown and got his Personality to finally show up. Guess this means I'll have to get back on the bandwagon now. He's rocking out with this song... Steph says "He sounds great, but his looks just don't go with the song."

Randy? "Your best performance, ever". Paula, who is was just short of stripping in her dancing, says "THIS was your best ever." Simon? "You came out fighting... you deserved to go to the next round."

And finally, My Girl McPhee is singing "Can't Help Falling In Love", which was done in a FANTASTIC remake by UB40 (like, in my Top 50 All Time Songs), featured in a movie called "Sliver" which I saw with Tisha Somethingorother back in 1993 and... wait, moving on.

My Girl McPhee is starting strong... I think its the Pantene like hair. If she were blonde, I don't think I'd have a celebrity crush on her--same for Ashley Judd and Teri Hatcher. And Stephanie. =)

Not too bad, I would say. Again, liked it... didn't love it. Randy says it was better than the first song... Paula says "fluff fluff fluff lovely voice sunshine fluffy". Simon says "This hasn't been one of your best nights... I wanted apple pie on its own. I got apple pie with cream on top... it was over the top." Strangely, I can understand him. Steph agrees as well.

My thoughts for the bottom two? Elliott Yahmean and My Girl McPhee. Unforunately, I think McPhee might go home this time. Steph says she thinks Elliott really pulled it out "...although Daughtry's songs were kinda boring tonight."