Before we get to American Idol, I have to say I LOVE MARCH MADNESS... I mean, 65 teams in a basketball, one-and-done, tournament of which only about 10 have a legit shot of winning... the upsets, the favorites, the games, the endless hours of basketball. I think I just love brackets. I love the idea of one beats the other, moving on to face another who had just emerged victorious from their own match... no question, no crying, is simply you gotta keep winning.
WJOX has the Chick Bracket, which cracks me up. I, of course, voted, and am hoping for a Jenny McCarthy/Kellie Pickler/Ashley Judd/Rachel McAdams Final Four but if Lacey Chabert, Carrie Underwood or Reese Witherspoon make it instead, I'm okay with that too. Angelina Jolie is like Duke to me--overrated, on top way too long, and never been that attractive to begin with. My personal Final Four? Stephanie Dollar, Stephanie Leann Dollar, Stephanie Campbell Hyphen Dollar, and in an upset Steph Dollar, defeating Leann Dollar. Love you.
Anyway, I thought I would quickly give you the actual winners of the NCAA Bracket...
Here's who makes it to the second round, but gets bounced:
Arizona, Old Dominion, UNLV, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, VCU (beating Duke!), Gonzaga, Michigan State, USC, Vandy, Boston College, Xavier, Virginia, Louisville and Creighton...
On Old Dominion, I have to share with you The Sports Guy's thoughts on 12 beating a 5:
This happens every March: There's an obvious 12-over-5 upset pick (in this case, Old Dominion over Butler) that sucks everybody in and/or freaks Vegas out to the point that they practically make the game a pick 'em (in this case, Butler by 1.5) ... and then the No. 5 team ends up winning and we all feel dumb.
Here's who's journey ends at the Sweet Sixteen:
Wisconsin, Davidson, Pitt, So Illinois, North Carolina, Washington State, Long Beach State and Creighton
And as far as Long Beach State goes, I've had them in my Sweet 16 since Sunday evening when I did my first bracket draft. I feel good about this on. And, again to the Sports Guy, I'm not alone:
Sorry, had to pick the Beach to win two games. I've been a Long Beach supporter ever since Dre' and Snoop brought Compton and the LBC together in "The Chronic." Which reminds me, how much would you pay for a March Madness sequence where a Long Beach State player dunks on a fast break, followed by Gus Johnson losing his mind for a second and screaming, "Long Beach in the motha****** house!" I think I'd pay $750.
So, in my Elite Eight:
Oregon over Florida (you read that right)... Kansas routs UCLA... Texas over Georgetown... and Texas A&M gigs a young Ohio State.
And one more soundbite from The Sports Guy, concerning Kevin Durant & Texas taking on the #1 seed North Carolina:
No way this tournament unfolds without one "Durant single-handedly destroys a much better team" game that can be replayed on ESPN Classic for the rest of eternity. Admit it, Tar Heel fans ... you're unequivocally terrified right now. Come on. Admit it. Get it out in the open. You'll feel better.
Final Four, and Finals...
Texas over A&M, Kansas over Oregon... and Texas over Kansas to win the title... I'm either going to look like a total moron, or a freakin' genius.
And if you think I'm absolutely scared to death of what I've just said, you are absolutely correct.
Oh yeah, American Idol:
So here we are, the first night of American Idol finals. Gotta keep up, for my faithful reader(s). Tonight is Diana Ross, which is scary, because… well, because she’s scary. I know about three Diana Ross songs that have nothing to do with The Supremes, and I’m hoping not to have a Wiz reference. As usually, I’ll just give you my thoughts and they sing their little hearts out, all hoping for my vote as the Next American Idol.
To recap, my faves so far are Jordin Sparks, Mindy Doo, Gina Rock and Chris Fo’ Patro’. And if we have five, toss in Blake Lewis.
Let’s get going!
Ah, first is former back-up singer Brandon Rogers, tossing out some Supremes with “You Can’t Hurry Love”. Wow… he sucks. I mean, righteously. I actually just heard his voice crack, and… what? How the heck do you forget the words to this song? I mean anyone who’s listened for ten minutes to 94.5 or Magic 96, or driven around the country with Stephanie, has heard this song about four times!!! What a dolt! I’m not sure I’d want him as a background singer… Randy didn’t like it… Paula is being nice (which means she didn’t like it)… Simon hated it.
Here’s little Mindy Doo… she’s singing “Home” (and in the meantime, Simon and Ryan are making more “I’m not gay, you are” jokes). Holy crap, Diana’s hair has its own freakin’ zip code. And… it’s a song from “The Wiz”. I’m going to assume that Mindy Doo is doing to do great and now fast forward the tape… partially because I don’t want to hear anything from “The Wiz”, and partially because I still have KidStuff lines to learn for tonight’s rehearsal.
For you guys, ya ever want to date, or at least make out, with someone for the longest time, but later you discover she’s a total flake, and you’re glad that never happened? Yeah, the former was me at 15 with Paula, the latter is me at 31 with Paula now. She’s crying. She’s actually crying. Now Mindy Doo is crying… Simon just compared her to a young Gladys Knight, and I think Mindy Doo is going to pass out.
What? Chris Sligh is singing “Endless Love”? This is actually one of the three Diana Ross songs I know (“I’m Coming Out” and “Missing You” are the other ones… oh yeah, and “The Theme from Mahogany (do you know where you’re going to?)” makes four)
Okay, so I think we should start a PBS kids show called “Where in the World is Chris Sligh?”, to find out where the fun natured big guy went… this is awful. Just awful. I preferred Mariah and Luther to Lionel and Diana in the original, just for note. Eeesh…
Randy just compared Chris’ take on it to Coldplay… yeah, the fact that comparison can be made tells you how bad this song was. Paula tells him he’s trying ultra hard to be ultra hip and cool. Whatever that means. Simon tells him he murdered the arrangement. I agree totally. And very few boos are coming from the audience.
Gina Rock is up now, singing “Love Child”. I gotta admit, as much as I think Diana Ross is one gin and tonic away from being Margo Kidder going crazy in the backyard, she’s nailing the feedback and instruction. Is it wrong that Gina Rock looks kinda hot tonight? Hmm.
Randy was bored, Paula is using about 385 words to say “I was also bored”, and Simon says “a middle pack performance”. I actually kinda liked it. Is it bad that I’m probably going to go find this song on iTunes?
Now, now… I never said I didn’t like Diana Ross’ few songs I know—I think “I’m Coming Out” is a great song—I just said she was scary.
Can I tell you how excited I am about this Cannonball Run ripoff “Drive”? I’m pumped.
Oh dear mercy… when Punjab comes in to meet Diana Ross, he hugs her, and the piano guy is holding back a laugh. Funny.
Punjab is tackling “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Okay, I know this song (who doesn’t)… she did this with The Temptations, or the Four Tops (I can never tell them apart). I guess that makes five songs, but since she only does half of this one, and half of “Endless Love”, then two halves make one whole—still at four, right? I’m rambling to keep from paying attention to Punjab, who is just simply terrible. His hair is teased so much he actually looks like a more attractive girl than some I knew back in Samson.
Randy starts in with his patented “what’s going down, yo, dawg, yo, what’s going down yo, dawg dawg” in a way that makes it seem like something good is coming, and the contestant smiles, waiting for the praise, only to have Randy say “it wasn’t very good, dawg, yo”. Paula hated it, but uses 45 seconds to say “I hated it”. Simon didn’t take nearly that long.
Though I tried just now, I couldn’t say it any better than EW, who said this about Punjab: Really, I'm running out of words to describe how painful Sanjaya's performances have become. If he survives Wednesday's eliminations, I want everyone reading this column to lean out the window Thursday morning and yell, ''Who are you and why are you voting for him?''
And, oh dear, my sweet bundle of brown, Sabrina Sloan, is sitting on the couch watching Haley Scarnato sing her place. And she’s singing “Missing You”. Diana says “She has a recording studio voice instead of a live voice…” and that’s what you can say about Britney Spears versus Christina Aguliera. I’ve heard Britney is ghastly live, and while Christina may be a tramp, she’s a tramp that can wail. And while Haley may not be a tramp, she… well, she can’t wail. But honestly, she’s not that bad… well, she’s not that good either. I guess she’s cute in a Jennifer Herndon sort of way, but that’s all I got.
Randy and Paula didn’t like it, while Simon says “I didn’t think it was that bad”. That’s Simon’s way of not being mean, so as not to give America a reason to give her sympathy votes. Get’er out!
Phil Stacey looks like Peter Furler from Newsboys. Just a random thought. I want to like this guy, if only for my friends Matt and Ginger, who knew him from Lee University, but… he’s done nothing to really make me root for him. Actually, I’m just going to fast forward now.
It’s like someone was actually watching “Cannonball Run” and said “Hey, what if we made it into a tv series?” then someone else said “Hey, what if we make it a serialized drama?”, and then someone else said “Yeah, let’s give it an automobile term for a title, like ‘Fender’ or ‘Drive’ or ‘Steer’!”
So LaKisha is called Kiki… I can do that. Easier to remember how to spell. She’s singing “God Bless the Child”, a song from Diana’s movie “Lady Sings the Blues”. This is a song that only a black woman can truly sing. I mean, I guess certain white chicks can pull it off, but why try? “Release Me” from Wilson Phillips is a white chick song, this song is a black chick song. Not being racist, just speaking truth.
All three judges love Kiki, heaping praise upon her like usual. Has she missed a note this season? She’s like the Roger Federer of the American Idol world… she doesn’t lose, she doesn’t drop a set. Simon basically set up a Mindy Doo vs. Kiki throwdown by the end of the season.
Beatbox Blake makes his stage appearance now, doing a beat rendition of “You Keep Me Hanging On”, which is probably my favorite Supremes song. Actually, I kinda like the Kim Carnes version from the early 1980s, but don’t tell anyone.
He’s managed to turn the stage into a disco, while Paula is up and dancing. I think everything about that song was great… except for the singing itself. It was just… eeeh. Randy wanted it to be better, Paula says “You could have a hit with that”, and Simon just didn’t get it.
Stephanie Edwards is up next, and I kinda feel bad for her. She’s like… no one. Blake is The One with the Beatbox, Gina Rock is The One Who Rocks, Mindy Doo and Kiki are The Ones to Beat, Chris Sligh is The Funny One with the Fro, Brandon Rogers is The One Who is a Backup Singer, Punjab is The One No One Likes and Can’t Figure Out Why He’s Still Here, Haley is The Crying One Who Took Sabrina’s Place, Phil is The Bald Guy, Jordin is The Perky Teenager, C-Rich is The One Who Looks Like Justin… and Stephanie? She’s just here. She can sing great… but she’s just here.
It’s “Love Hangover”. She’s got a great voice, reminds me of Jade and SWV and En Vogue, those great R&B chick groups from the 90s. Um… what else do I say about Stephanie?
Up next is Chris Richardson, singing some song called “The Boss”… perhaps I’ll recognize it as it goes along… um… wait for it… wait for it… wait for it…
…nope. Have no clue what this song is, and I already don’t like it. It might be that gawd-awful white striped tie on the blue shirt. I tried wearing a blazer and tie with jeans back when I was pledging Farmhouse Fraternity, on Mondays when we had to dress up. I got in trouble for it.
Perhaps I have made this joke before, but if you’re standing in line getting your gov’ment cheese and yo’ gov’ment butter, when they hand you your gov’ment Justin Timberlake, you get Chris Richardson. Actually, I think C-Rich and Blake Lewis may have fathered JT.
Randy liked it, just okay. Paula loved it. Simon said “Dreadful”… I agree with it, but more likely because the song was crap.
And finally, it’s Jordin Sparks closing out the show! The Young Jordin is singing “If We Hold On Together”, and I think Diana Ross is thrown for a loop by a young girl with hair as big as her own, yet looks good with it.
Great. The song was featured in “The Land Before Time”. I can’t freakin’ get away from that movie. It haunts me.
Jordin is doing the patented “sit on the side of the stage and sing a slow, inspirational song”. I’m inspired. And with the close-ups, it looks like she missed a few when she was plucking her eyebrows. I’m just saying.
Randy says “You just made it a three-girl race”. Paula takes her cliché comments, switches them around for their intended recipient, and let her sunshine fly. Simon says “Gooey, but very good vocal.”
I have Friday off, and intend on watching basketball all day... and keeping an online diary. Stay tuned.