Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Going To The Big D for Idol

"Going to the Big D and I don't mean Dallas..." -- Mark Chesnutt, "Going to the Big D"

Well, this time, the Big D does in fact mean Dallas Texas.  Everything is bigger in Texas.  Including this.  What's this?  Well, I'll answer that by saying...




The Jerry Dome, aka, The New Cowboys Stadium, is hosting 11,000 people hoping to all be the next American Idol.  And today's guest judge... Neal Patrick Harris, who has probably "grown" on more people in the last few years than anyone in history... not only is he Doogie, he's Barney on the wildly popular "How I Met Your Mother", and those are those hilarious turns in the "Harold & Kumar" films...

...and I'm sure, all these years later, he's tired of people calling him Doogie Howser.  I don't blame him... I loved that show when I was a kid, it was one of my Top Ten Shows of the 90s, I'm sure, but its almost 20 years since that show first came on.  He's not Doogie Howser. 

Though "Doogie" is sooooo much easier to type than "Neal Patrick Harris".  So, for the purposes of this blog, "Doogie" it shall be.  Mr. Harris, if you are reading this, my apologies, I love your work and I met you in real life, I'd call you "Neal". 

Back in Season 1, Kelly Clarkson auditioned in Dallas, and went on to win the whole shebang.  They show a chick named Julie who also auditioned, singing destroying "Lady Marmalade"... and now?  In 2009, she's back.  Julie Kevelighan is singing manhandling "Black Velvet"... and Doogie goes straight to her, telling her simply that it wasn't good, and even pokes fun at her sign.  So what does Julie do?  The classic, "I'll sing another song, and make them go 'wow!  we were mistaken!'"  Then after they all say no... she goes into a third song.  Then a fourth.  Then security comes and shows her the door.  Outside, she offers to do a song for Ryan, who quickly cuts her off with "no, no, all the judges decisions are final".  And as she walks out, she attempts "Black Velvet" again.

The word dilusional comes to mind.  But, we're not talking about The State of the Union, we're discussing American Idol.  Oooh, burn!!

And here Lloyd Thomas, who calls himself Big Something or Another Sexy, and he likes to do the robot... he shows off a picture of his daughters, and talks about living in the projects and such.  Somewhere, Cindy Jo is laughing hysterically.

"Overjoyed" by Stevie Wonder is his song of choice... and let me say, Stevie is a master and this is an oft overlooked song out of the catalog of Stevie, one I really like.  Lloyd Thomas sounds really good, and he's got a great personality.  I'm kinda glad he didnt robot during the song though, that might have killed it.   Randy the Dawg says yes.  Kara the Hotness says yes.  Simon Cowell says yes.  Doogie the Howser says yes.

And apparently, it was a tough morning.  Doogie and Simon disagree alot, and here comes our next contestant.

Kimberly Carver is doing an original song (The Lovely Steph Leann:  "oh, this could be bad") and she snaps into it.  Lots of wailing and loud singing, but not a bad tune.  The song itself was kinda good, and she's got a decent voice.  Randy loved it, Doogie liked it, while Simon thought Kimberly was completely unoriginal.  Kara the Hotness also liked her lots, so she goes through.

Kimberly runs outside and says, "Simon hated me... but Doogie loved me!  I'm going to go back and watch all of Doogie Howser!"

Dexter Ward... okay, okay, The Ambiguously Gay Dexter Ward comes in.  (The Lovely Steph Leann: "Oh, this is going to be really bad").  He's going to sing Shai's "If I Ever Fall In Love"... okay, so imagine doing an impersonation of the gayest guy you could think of, tossing every stereotype in there--limp wrist, sasha walk, bad lisp--and you've got this guy.  Halfway through the song, The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Wait... uh... oh, I didn't know what that song even was until just now.."

Four no votes.  The Ambiguously Gay Dexter goes outside and cries.  As do a number of other failures in life.  EPIC FAIL!!!

Erica Rhodes comes in, and she plans on leaving an impression.  She used to be on "Barney & Friends" back in the day--The Lovely Steph Leann remembers the chick from the old clip--and so how does she come in?  With a whip.  With a black leather outfit and a big, long whip.

On Randy's request, Erica sings the Barney song... and sounds great.  Her real song is "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue.  Using the whip, she snaps a few times, and channels her inner blackness... she kinda sounded better singing The Barney Song.   She wants to tell people that "Barney kids grow up..." and Doogie adds, " be naughty little girls!"

Randy, Doogie, Kara the Hotness and Simon all give her a yes vote. 

Day One auditions are winding down, and the final contestant of the day... and whats this?  Do we have a backstory?  Yep.  Dave Pittman, from Gassville, Arkansas, is dealing with Tourette's Syndrome.   Cindy Jo is making fun of this guy as we speak.

He's gonna sing some Sam Cooke... he's not brilliant... but he's good.  Good enough to move forward, or it should be, anyway.  They like his voice, and he gets four yes votes... onto Hollywood!   The Lovely Steph Leann really liked him too.  So, Twitchy Pittman heads to Cali!

For Day Two?  Joe Jonas.  Yep, one of the JoBros.  Poor guy, they give Doogie almost 45 minutes of the episode, and Joe Jonas gets about 15 minutes or so.  Did you know that Kevin, Nick and Joe Jonas have a little brother called Frankie--they nicknamed him "The Bonus Jonas".  I personally think that is hysterical.

Todrick Hall comes up first on Day Two, who starred with Fantasia in "The Color Purple" on stage, and he sings his own clever, awesome Idol ditty... and I really liked this guy.  He kinda reminds me of Trey Lorenz, who backed up Pre-Skank Mariah in her MTV Unplugged performance of "I'll Be There", then had his own hit song called "Someone To Hold", which rocked my 16 year world back in the day.

Dawntoya makes it through.  So does a number of other people they just flash through, like Stephanie Doulang. 

And Maegan Wright is from Texas, and is bringing her little brother along to audition.  Her little brother is kind of a dork, actually.  She is singing "To Make You Feel My Love", done by Billy Joel, made more popular by Garth Brooks.  She reminds me, dare I say, Carrie Underwood.  Soft spoken, needs some work, has some real potential.   

They all say "Yes!" 

The Lovely Steph Leann notices like I do that all Joe Jonas is doing is saying "Yes", or at least that is all they are showing him do. 

Vanessa Johnston is a totally annoying chick that I am hoping fails miserably, just so I won't see her again.  She's going to sing maim "At Last" by Etta James... she starts, Randy groans, Kara the Hotness bites her finger, Joe Jonas looks around and Simon looks miserable... and The Lovely Steph Leann, wordlessly, covers her face with a blanket. 

"If anyone ever asks me in my life what my nightmares look like, I'm going to refer to that...." Simon says. 

Four no votes.  Thank you, judges, thank you.

Here's a Simon montage on how miserable and miserly he can be... Ryan says, "Its hard being Simon Cowell", right before they show two huge houses and a stack of money. 

Finally, here's Christian Spear, who was diagnosed as a child with cancer.  Its sad.  Its weepy.  I'm not sure if Cindy Jo is rolling or dehydrated from crying.  Anyway, Christian is singing some Etta James, and sounds great.... all four judges love her... Joe Jonas even says a full sentence.  Christian gets four yes votes, and she's on her way!

From Dallas, we send a total of 31 to Hollywood from Dallas... but here's who stood out for me tonight... Todrick Hall... Lloyd Thomas... Maegan Wright... Erica Rhodes

Next week?  American Idol is headed to Denver Colorado!  Looks like Posh Spice is back as a judge!  Maybe, just maybe, she will eat a sandwich and double her weight!

And for your viewing/listening pleasure, here's Trey Lorenz, circa 1992, with "Someone To Hold"....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Katy Hudson Perry Kissed an Idol (and she liked it)

Back from Dale's Southern Grill, its just after 8:45pm CST... we're here... I'm in the recliner, laptop atop the lap... The Lovely Steph Leann on the couch, blanket in hand, ready to cover... Seacrest on the air...


Its Los Angeles this time around!  Hollywood, movie stars, and 11,000 of our closest friends who think they can sing.  Don't forget--My Girl McPhee came from this area... and her blond hair?  Not quite.  Not quite at all.

Avril Lavigne, who hasn't been relevant since 2006, is tonight's guest judge... and first up?  Neil Goldstein, who's ego is almost as big as his hair.  Hey Neal, "Facts of Life" called, Blair Warner wants her hair back. 

Neil goes on about wanting to sing to express love and help people and so on... The Lovely Steph Leann mumbles, "Oh, Lord..."

When he comes in and talks to the judges, suddenly this weird tick thing starts.  "Rock & Roll Dreams Comes True" is his song of choice.  The first line is "Remember everything that I told you..." and then he blanks.  Simon says, "How ironic..."

If you are singing, and you take your index finger and tap your throat as you sing, and that's how Neil sounds.  He is not going through, and he refuses to leave, saying, "There is no reality except for what we make for ourselves!" then goes on to argue with Kara the Hotness, Randy and Simon, while Avril starts laughing... and I'm getting the sense that he's putting on a little bit.

The Lovely Steph Leann observes, "His hair is... really far off of his forehead..."

And here comes a heartwarming story from a guy named Jim Ranger, who is a worship pastor, and has about 83 kids.  Do all worship pastors have this many kids?  Doesn't Kris Dekker, from Valleydale Chrch (an sbc fellowship) have like, 9?  Or is that Amanda Cranston?  Anyway...

He's got much cooler hair than the aforementioned Neil, and he's singing a song he wrote called, "Drive."  Simon likes the voice, Avril just rambles about something before saying no, Kara the Hotness says yes and Randy says yes.   So Avril?  She's kind of annoying.  And giggly.  Which is a bad combination.

So the next montage is those who didn't make it... including a guy who makes The Lovely Steph Leann yelp, one guy who makes me laugh with his "Kung Fu Fighting" and another guy who looks like Danny Zucko, but doesn't sing as well.

Here comes a guy who excels in martial arts (The Lovely Steph Leann: "Oh, baby... this is going to be bad... oh no oh no... please don't his that high note here...").  

Damien Lefavor starts to sing destroy, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"  Simon says, "You should just go."  Damien leaves, though he thinks the bad note at the end is what killed it for him.  Uh...

Scary Girl shows up, and suddenly Avril just loves her.  Mary Powers is singing, "Love is a Battlefield" and... well, she's really not bad.  She's actually pretty good... Mary is dressed like your typical rock star, dark, dyed hair, eyeliner, punk outfit... she gets four yes votes, and she heads to Hollywood.   And Mary's daughter comes in to meet her hero Simon, and she's speechless...

And of course, we get our share of The Unambigiously Gay Adam Lambert wannabes... and one guy recorded a demo for said Gay American Idol Runner Up, and apparently Gay American Idol Runner Up liked it--so sez AJ Mendoza.

You figure he might do well... but "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour, known for being one of the world's first rock bands with a black dude in it... the song is fantastic.  The audition is terrible.  Terrible.

So Katy Hudson Perry is up now as a guest judge ("I'm glad Avril is gone.  I don't think I'd like her in real life"--The Lovely Steph Leann).  Did you know that Katy used to be a Christian rocker?  I've got her CD upstairs somewhere.  Its okay, I guess.  Though I can honestly say, like Lady GaGa, I've not heard much Katy Hudson Perry.  I'm sure she's a good singer and all, but not my thing.

I'm so afraid that Lorelei Addison will be raised in a good Christian Cabana, attending Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) and she'll end up like Katy Perry... using her God given talents to hook up with a bad British comedian, wearing booby-flashing outfits and singing songs about joining the First Lesbiterian Church. 

Here's Austin Fullmer.  His shirt looks like it was bodypainted onto his chest... not only is he trying to do Cheap Trick, he's trying to do the accents.  British accents, like Mick Jaggar... I don't think Cheap Trick is even British.  I liked Cheap Trick, though, because that guy in their band had that guitar that had like, four necks on it... that was just cool.  When I was in 7th grade, I'd watch their videos on MTV just to see that guitar.

And Austin doesn't make it, and blames Simon. 

Here's another failure montage... and a girl crying because she didn't make it.  A guy crying it because he didn't make it.  Another girl crying.  And another.  And another.  And a wailing chick.  And there's Sanjaya's crying girl who didn't make it in the auditions this year.  The Lovely Steph Leann picked it up.

Heartwarming backstory of Andrew Garcia, who has tried to not join a gang and tried to live a straight life.  Dad starts crying.  Cindy Jo is openly weeping right now.

He's pretty good, though, in his audition  He's got that Michael Buble kind of voice, even though he looks like a Mexican landscaper with glasses.   Simon says, "The only person today that I genuinely believe is a good, good singer."  Kara the Hotness liked it alot, Randy the Dawg tells him he gotz mad vokulz, and Katy Hudson Perry says it gave her chills.

Tasha Layton?  She's this chick who is a personal assistant by day and by night a.... minister?... really?   I want to be a fly on the wall when Tasha and Jim Ranger discuss theology.  She sings "Baby Baby Baby" by Joss Stone, and it sounds great.

All four judges say yes, and Tasha is off to Hollywood.

And in the teaser we saw this contestant that I thought was a chick... and then he talked.  Jason Greene needs to visit the ProActiv booth at the mall.  And he's singing... "I Touch Myself" by The Divinyls.  I comment that he misses a line in the song, and from under the blanket The Lovely Steph Leann says, "I don't think it matters... make it stop."

I've got this song on cassette single.  I know every line to this song, but I can't remember Philippians 3:10.  I need a Jesus moment.  I think I caught the clap from just watching that audition.  I need the H1N1 shot.  Jason Greene needs to be shot. 

Finally, here's a guy who grew up in foster care.  He's been in 2,944 different families.  In a single year.  He lost seven parents in a span of a week due to meth and self rising flour.

Chris Golightly has had a hard life.  Cindy Jo is blubbering incessently.  "Stand By Me" is his song of choice, and I think the teaser built it up more than they should have... I think he's good.  Not brilliant.  He kind of looks like Justin Guarini, and Kara the Hotness and Katy Hudson Perry disagree... but both give them a yes.  As does Simon and Randy. 

There were 22 people that made it through tonight... but we saw like, four good ones?  That's all we can see?  Seriously? 

For tonight, only two stood out to me... Tasha Layton... Andrew Garcia

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Team Conan!

Team Jay or Team Conan?  Personally, I like Team Conan.  I remember five years ago when the news came out that " 2009, Jay Leno will step aside and hand the reigns of The Tonight Show over to Conan O'Brien.  My, in 2004 how 2009 seemed like a long, long way off at the time.  Now?  Its just a few short weeks ago. 

Boy, they created a mess, didn't they?   From what I can remember without going all Wiki or Google, Conan's contract was set to expire, so rather than NBC saying, "Hey, we'll pay you a bunch of money to stay right where you are, on 'Late Night'", NBC said, "Hey, don't leave!  What do you want?  'The Tonight Show'?  We'll give it to you in... uh, in 2009!  Five years!  That's right, five more years!"

At this point, Leno should have said, "Okay, I don't like that idea, 'cause I want to keep 'The Tonight Show', if its doing well, right?"  And then NBC, Leno and Conan should have all sat down at the table and discussed their options.  In 2004.

Smashcut to 2008, when the time for Leno to step aside and Conan to take over was fastly approaching.  In July of 1995, when Hugh Grant publicly admitted his cheating on then-wife Elizabeth Hurley, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno beat The David Letterman Show for the first time since Letterman left NBC, and had been #1 ever since.  When it was obvious Leno didn't want to quit "The Tonight Show", even though the show was promised to Conan, NBC should have sat down with Leno and Conan and said, "Okay, look.. we got a great thing going.  Leno is #1... everyone loves Conan at 1230 (EST), and at that time, Conan, you can do your slightly below reproach bits and sketches.  We don't want to rock this ship, 'k? Let's talk money.  How about $20 million, Conan ol' boy?"

Instead, they give Conan O'Brien "The Tonight Show", as promised--at least they held that up.  So, Leno is thinking of going elsewhere... and NBC says, "Wait, wait, wait... don't leave, Jay... what if... what if we uh... hey, what if you take an hour, five days a week, in prime time? Not only will we save money, not having to pay for a real, scripted show, we can keep you, and Conan is happy with 'The Tonight Show'!  We rule!"

The problem is, it cut Conan's knees out from under him.  Think about it... if you're Denzel Washington wanting to promote "The Book of Eli", do you want to go on "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien at 1230am, or do you want to go on "The Jay Leno Show" at 10pm, where many, many more millions will see you?  Besides that, if you watch "The Jay Leno Show", do you really want to stay past the news and watch more talk? 

And, as expected, "The Jay Leno Show" completely tanked.  Local NBC affliates were even discussing dropping the show from some of their rotations due to the fact that their local newscasts were also tanking.  Then, they figured they'd fix the problem by moving "The Jay Leno Show" back to 1130, after the news, then backing up "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" to midnight.  Conan, who had dreamt of getting "The Tonight Show" for years and years (much like Letterman did, before he was jaded by NBC in favor of Leno, forcing Letterman to go to CBS), wouldn't allow it. 

So, instead of backing up the Brinks Truck to Conan's door to keep him on "The Late Show" in 2009, that they probably could have gotten away with for a cool $20 mil or so, they are going to pay him about $45 million dollars to leave.   And even though to most of America, it's a silly filthy rich guy vs a filthy rich guy, its a big deal.  Not to mention that just about everyone I know is totally taking Conan's side on this.  Of course, it didn't help when Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC's sports division, goes on record in saying that Conan's jokes about Leno as "chicken-hearted and gutless to blame a guy you couldn't beat in the ratings."  He added, "what this is really all about is an astounding failure by Conan." 

I've read reports that Jay Leno is actually a shark.  Despite the good nature he has, and the charitible man he can be, I've read that behind the scenes, he is cutthroat and ruthless, doing what he has to do to succeed.  Now, this doesn't make him much different than most Hollywood big names I'm sure, but you watch "The Jay Leno Show"... well, actually you don't, and that's the problem, eh?... and he seems so nice and pleasant and approachable and so on. 

Anyway, all this is to present the following, which is good for a laugh...

Conan sez... "Hosting 'The Tonight Show' has been the fulfillment of a life-long dream for me. And I just want to say to the kids out there watching, you can do anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it, too."

Jay sez... "Sure you heard these rumors that NBC is talking about canceling our show. You know what that means? I didn't sleep with any of my staff for nothing."

Jimmy Kimmel, who came out on his own show in a ridiculous Jay Leno costume, sez... "Hello, my name is Jay Leno. You might have known, I'm taking over all of the shows in late night. Even this one. Great to be here on ABC. You know what ABC stands for? Always Bump Conan. That's right. Anyway, Conan O'Brien today announced he's leaving NBC. He released a statement that said, I won't participate in the destruction of the 'Tonight Show.' Fortunately, though, I will."

Conan sez... "Hello, I’m Conan O’Brien, and sorry if I’m a little late . . . I had a job interview at Lady Foot Locker."

Letterman sez... "Last night on ABC, Jimmy Kimmel did the entire show as Jay Leno. Jimmy Kimmel was so convincing as Jay Leno, they canceled him."

Jimmy Fallon, who has stayed mostly neutral saying, "I'm happy to have a job, [...] but it's kind of weird, because these are two of my heroes and two of my friends."  The late night host then likened the feud to getting married and "finally getting to know the in-laws and they are CRAZY."

Letterman, discussing Carson Daly who hasn't made a sound, joked that he’s “never even seen a picture of Carson Daly.”

Speaking of Daly, Conan sez... "Good evening, everybody. I'm Conan O'Brien, the new host of 'Last Call with Carson Daly'"

George Lopez sez... "What is going on over there at NBC? What does NBC stand for: Nobody Backs Conan? ...Who would've imagined that the Mexican talk show host would have the most job security."

Leno sez... "NBC said the show performed exactly as they expected it would and then canceled us. Don't confuse this when we were on at late night and performed better than expected and they canceled us. That was totally different."

Conan sez... "My name is Conan O'Brien, and I may soon be available for children's parties."

Letterman sez... "Simon Cowell is leaving 'American Idol, but don't worry - we've checked and Jay's fingerprints are nowhere on this one."

George Lopez sez... "Conan is like that girl in the 'Bachelor' who gets the rose but then gets the boot in the postshow."

Leno sez... "My people are upset. Conan's people are upset. Hey, NBC said it wanted drama at 10:00 -- now they've got it!"

Conan sez... "Hi, I'm Conan O'Brien, and I'm just three days away from the biggest drinking binge in history."
Letterman sez... "I'm a little worried about Conan. I'm not worried about Jay, he'll land on his chin, he always does."

Leno sez... "Conan O'Brien, understandably, is very upset. He had a statement in the paper yesterday. And Conan said NBC had only given him seven months to make his show work. When I heard that, seven months, how'd he get that deal? We only got four."

Conan sez... "I've been advised that until this whole thing is sorted out, NBC lawyers have asked me to refer to this program as The Sometime At Night Show with Some White Guy."

Letterman sez... "At 12:05 AM, that's not 'The Tonight Show,' that's 'The Tomorrow Show'!"
Conan, speaking about the free time he'll have, and what he'll do, sez... "I'll Introduce myself to my children...  Make a big move to Fox. Megan Fox."

Conan sez... "I just had a doll made of me, so I can tell my children where NBC touched Daddy..."

Conan sez... "There's a rumor that NBC is so upset with me that want to keep me off the air for three years. My response to that is if NBC doesn't want people to see me, just leave me on NBC."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Idol Magic

Finally... it took the fourth episode to get it to happen... but, as it should be, The Lovely Steph Leann is on the couch, curled up in a black, fleece Alabama Power blanket, comfy.  I, in the recliner, laptop and keyboard in front of me.  

And tonight?  The Happiest Talent Show on the Tube is in The Happiest City in Florida, close to The Happiest Place on Earth... its Orlando... its Florida.... and...



Tonight's guest host?  The Ashley Judd Club member Kristin Chenoweth.  Lurvs me some K'Chen. 

First up... Theo Glinten... who is like a black The No-Longer Ambigiously Gay Adam Lambert, only without being as original (and I'm guessing as talented) as The No-Longer Ambigiously Gay Adam Lambert.  We've got this ornament that goes on our Christmas tree that is like a star, with about ten points on it, and on each point is a little circle of glass.  I think Theo wrapped that ornamant on his right eye.  And added a feather.

He's singing screaming "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benetar.  The Lovely Steph Leann grimaces.  When Simon says no, and Kara the Hotness starts to say no, Theo ends up trying to sing something else.  Randy says no too.   And he can't find his way out... and when he does, he starts wiping his eyes.  He claps with the palms of his hands, fingers never touching.  Yikes.

Heading into commercial break, we are giving the tease of several heartbreaking backstories... Cindy Jo grabs her Kleenex.

Kara and K'Chen have made a pact to provide the girl power today, as they suddenly become besties somehow, annoying Simon in the process, and entertaining Randy the Dawg for the day.

And one after another were told no... "you walked in in a cocktail dress, and then sang like you sat on a cat..." says Simon to a pink frocked chick who didn't make it.

Here's a guy who has 2 children, one of which has autism.  He's a big, sorta black dude who gets a little teary about his blessings of his children and the struggles to get the best care for his son.  .  And when Big'un goes in the audition room, Junior wants to follow, and when Mom gets him, he starts crying, "I want to go with Daddy!"  Cindy Jo is wailing at this very moment.  I can hear her

Seth Rollins sings "Someone to Watch Over Me", and gets it done nicely.   Kara and Kristin are both swaying peacefully, and Kristin loves the Broadway song.  Kara wants to hear more.  Simon says that it was good.  Randy suggests more exertion, but liked it. 

Ah, the obiligatory shot of Cinderella's Castle, then a sweep of the crowd, several people saying, "I'm the next American Idol!" and "I'm so good!"  And of course, lots of tears.  Lots of tears. 

Jermaine Purifoy auditioned in Season 7, but didn't make it.  But now, he's back, from outer space, he just walked in to find that sad look upon your... sorry, wrong song.   Anyway, he's doing Tony Bennett, and though he's not terrible, he's really not bad.  I kinda like the guy.  Simon is nodding, Kristin liked his pure tone, and Randy agreed, saying, "The best I've heard this audition season."  Kara says it was all honest.  Simon says, "The chicks will like you!"  Welcome to Hollywood, Jermaine!

One contestant remains on Day One.  Shelby Dressel, 18, from Avon Park, Florida, and at birth, her 7th cranial nerve was undeveloped.  Though really pretty, great hair and big smile, the right side of her face is slightly sagging due to that condition.

"Turn Me On" by Norah Jones is her song of choice.  Again, not terrible, but not bad.  I like Shelby, but maybe its more of the whole "overcoming thing" not the voice... and then she forgets the words, she curses then says, "ohmigod... I'm sooooo sorry!"   The judges laugh, and they still all like her.  "With a small y, yes," Simon says.  They all agree.

All in all, 18 from Orlando make it on Day One, as opposed to only 13 from two days in Chicago, and maybe 20ish from Atlanta...

Awwww.... and on Day Two, Kristin leaves the panel, heading back to New York City.  Stinko!!!

Jay Stone, sort of a Blake Lewisy kinda guy, is going to be doing "Come Together" by the Beatles... he does the beatbox, gets the rhythm going, though I'm not sure he's getting any of the words right beside "Come Together" and "over me".  Kara says it was pretty amazing, though Simon is feeling pretty soaked from the beatbox spittle. 

Randy asks Jay if he can actually sing, and he sings, "Ain't No Sunshine" with a little beatbox to it.  Kara and Randy get into it, while Simon is unamused.  Kara says yes, Simon says no, and Randy... Randy says... Randy says... yes. 

Gotta be careful... this guy makes it to Hollywood, and let's say he makes it to the audience voting rounds.  Can you say "Sanjaya"? 

Janell Wheeler sings "House of the Rising Sun", while Britany Starr James sings "America Boy" and Kasi Bedford does some Bonnie Raitt... all three sounded good.  all three make it to Hollywood.

Cornelius Edwards, who we've been shown in previews as the guy who will split his pants when he does a huge split, is singing "Rollin on the River" by Tina Turner.  He kinda yells it, he jumps, he lands on the ground and then looks up and says, "My pants done split!"   The Lovely Steph Leann is dying.  

"There may be no children after that," The Lovely Steph Leann says.  "Get some new pants and leave!" Randy says.  And... he makes it to Hollywood...

HERE COME SISTERS!!! And we know how this ends... one makes it, one doesn't.  Bernadette and Amanda Desimone live with their mom, helping with Bernadette's Salon... if I was in the welfare line, and asked for cheese, I'd get the gub-ment cheese... ask for butter, I'd get gub-ment butter... ask for Eva Longoria Parker, I'd get Amanda Desimone.

The elder sister, Bernadette, is singing "Hit the Road Jack", while Amanda starts with some Whitney (mistake) in trying "I Wanna Dance With Somebody".   Randy is intrigued, while Kara likes them both.  Randy finally says yes to both.  Kara says yes to both.  Simon would have said yes to Bernadette, but no to Amanda, but they make it anyway.  I was wrong... though we don't see them again, after Hollywood Week.

Jarrod Norrell is warming up.  Out in the parking lot.  Doing push-ups and making weird noises.  We know how this will end as well, don't we?   He starts into "Amazing Grace" and how does he do?  Put it this way... I see the blanket covering the face for the first time this season.  From under the blanket, The Lovely Steph Leann hollers, "THIS IS TERRIBLE!!!" and softly whispers "make it stop."

Kara says its terrible too, and the Jarrod says, "Are you serious?" then asks for "two more seconds... like, let me go, let me sing, (claps) y'all feel me, right?"  Security comes out, and Jarrod says that he just can't leave without a "yes".  So security hauls him out.  They cuff him.  All the other contestants are running.  He's still shouting, "They gotta take me out in cuffs... Randy acts like I can't sing..."

Simon then goes, "...yes or no...?"

Matt Lawrence is 25, and tells his story--he was the guy who had a bright future in high school, and ended up robbing a bank at 15.  He spent four years behind bars, and is almost in tears talking about it.  Cindy Jo is sobbing incessantly.

Matt wants to do something to make his parents proud, though I hope he actually doesn't sing, "Do I Make You Proud?"  He sings "Trouble" by Ray Lamontagne.  Its not bad, though... no one has stood out like crazy today, but he's like the others... not terrible, not bad, but hitting the high notes well enough.  And it seems very genuine, too, with all he's been through.

Simon says, "Brilliant.  It feels like you could have written that song."   Kara admires his control over his voice, while Randy also says he's genuine.  All three say "Yes".

Next week, Idol visits Los Angeles with Katy Perry and someone that is either Lady GaGa or Avril Lavigne, though I'm inclined to believe its the first one, as Avril hasn't been relevent since Daniel Powter was singing about his "Bad Day".

Out of the 31 that make it to Hollywood, here's who I really liked this time around... Seth Rollins... Jermaine Purifoy...  Shelby Dressel... Matt Lawrence

American Chi-Dol

There are a select group of women on this Earth, and this group includes Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johanssen, Samson High School's Jennifer Lambert and Troy State grad and Alpha Gam Mandy Stewart, a group of beautiful women, a group of chicks that guys look at and just swoon.  This group is what I call the Jolie Group... women that I'm sure I should find extremely attractive and/or I should be totally attracted to, but for whatever reason, just aren't.  Now, I can't speak for Jolie or ScarJo, but I knew Jennifer Lambert to be extremely nice and yeah, she was quite pretty, and Mandy the Gam was gorgeous... but I never had a thing for 'em.  Most guys I know did.  Why do I even say all this? 

Because tonight's guest host, Shania Twain, is a card carrying Jolie Girl member.  She's pretty, I'll admit, but I have never was into her.  I knew guys in college, back in her major heyday of the early to mid-90s, that was just in absolute love (lust?) with Shania, but never me.  I was a Patty Loveless guy back then, and I'm more of a Dixie Chick, Lee Ann Womack & Pickles kinda guy now.  Yay Pickles!

Alrighty, Shania and Pickles aside...




Coming from Chicago, the opening shows several people walking out, using all sorts of fun words like "fudge" and "bassbowl" and "meaniehead" and "dorkyface" and such to describe the show and its judges. 

The obligatory shout out to He Who Must Not Be Re-Elected, something about how since he's the first African American President and he's from Chicago.  Whatever.  Hey, voters, how's that hope & change workin' out for you?

Gotta admit, she's getting better looking as she gets older... plus, I never said her music wasn't good.  Her songs are tchotsky, chinzy and cheesy... "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" and "Who's Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" and "(Don't Be Stupid) You Know I Love You" are all cheesypoof songs... but they are addicting.  Man, I feel like a woman!  Okay... I was singing there online, don't take it literal, okay?  Okay?  Okay.

Let's move on to Frizzy Haired Katelyn Epperly with a backstory.  Her parents are dealing with a divorce, and she's got it rough... she's singing "Syrup and Honey" by Duffy, an artist that I felt like should have been bigger based on the amount of acclaim and love she got from critics over the last few years... but wasn't. 

Frizzy Haired Katelyn Epperly did well, and she gets four yes votes.

Big Chick Amy Lang is a Broadway Girl, and she seems a little too perky to be successful on this show.  By that I mean, she's annoying.  She tells Ryan she had a dream about him, and said it ended "Good!"  Ryan seems a little freaked. 

And she's doing Aretha's "Dr. Feelgood".  She does this mock "pass out", leaving the judges shocked, and then leaps up and starts into murdering Aretha.   Then she does this "boob thing".   I don't even want to go into this... Simon says no.  Shania the Jolie Girl says no.  Randy the Dawg says no.  Kara the Hotness says no.  And somehow, I feel violated.

Here comes 16 year old Charity Vance, who lives in a house that also has a salon in it.  Her mom says, "We've been watching American Idol since she was 8 years old", which makes me feel really old, because I've been watching American Idol since I was 26.  She starts out with "Summertime", and though I'm not huge on the song, her voice is great! 

Simon really liked it, as did the other judges... and four yes votes sends her to Hollywood Week!  She goes on my "ones to watch" list.

Our first montage of terrible auditions comes up, with everything from accordian playing butch chicks to terrible costumes to screaming to a high pitched Hawaiian guy.   And outside, people are crying, discussing how much of a joke this show is, how the judges don't know talent and how we'll see all of them soon enough.

Mama:  Simon, how could you say such things to my daughter?
Simon: You didn't like what I said?
Mama:  Oh, hayl to tha' no!

Here's a backstory of a girl who auditioned in Season 7 and Season 8, having her father die in 7, and then having a traffic violation/court date in Season 8.  Wouldn't know anything about that. 

Angela Martin is doing "Just Fine" by Mary J. Blige, and at 28, this is her final shot.  You'll see this girl in the Semi-Finals.  Simon says, "you're really talented, you need a break, and your just good."  Kara the Hotness says she likes how Angela listens to the criticism and follows it.  Shania the Diva and Randy the Dawg agree.

Several others end up going to Hollywood as well, a total of 7 get the golden ticket.

In Day Two, a montage of people that have no shot of being the next American Idol screaming "I'm going to be the next American Idol".  Curley Newbern is singing something by Maxwell in such a high voice that there are dogs outside The Cabana that just keeled over, passed out.  I have no idea what the lyrics even were... imagine singing the line "fraahahhy hayd ajj ayd ahhay llao ahhda haaaaa".... yet, at a high pitched volume.  That would be Curley.

Alannah Halbert is torturing Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You".  The judges even try to give her the key to sing, and nothing happens, except Alannah keeps going, causing great pain and agony.  And she's not sure why they said no.

More contestants go in and come out without a golden ticket. 

Here's Brian Krause, a 27 year old guy who was in the military--he used to sing for the troops.  This is going to be bad.  Really bad.  He starts out singing Tiny Tim, again, butchering "Tiptoe Through the Tulips", his eyes rolling up in this head, his teeth bared, and everything was all wrong.  Everyone says no...

He's going to go relax his thoughts in a bubble bath--his words, not mine.

Harold Davis, from Chicago, shows up, sunshades, white fedora, he's gonna hold that perfect note, fight for the glory of being on the Idol... he's gonna shoot off like a rocket.  He also holds a note for at least 20 seconds.  "Nice and Slow" by Usher is the song he chooses to smack around.  He's also got a hip move thing going, staring at Kara the Hotness and Shania the Twain.  Harold says, "I just got some allergies, its my allergies and..." they cut him off and tell him no.  He hangs his head and starts crying.

Really?  Harold?  Seriously, be a man.  You're standing in front of Hot Kara and Shania Twain who every guy in the world, except me, thinks is one of the most beautiful chicks around... and you cry?  You need to turn in you Straight Card, poncho.

Chantelle Gransomethingorother tryies a Shania song... and its terrible.  "That Don't Impress Me Much" is played as they show contestants singing her music. 

John Park, an Asian fella, comes in, saying that he wants music to express who he is inside.  No matter how he expresses himself, he sounds great.  Shania says that John Park has a great body and a nice lips, and a nice tone.  Uh...

...and a nice voice.  She giggles like a little girl.  Kara, Randy and Simon all say yes as well.  

By the way... despite my lack of wunderlust at Ms. Twain, there is still no excuse for 1) Being Mutt Lange, her not-as-attractive-husband who Shania fell in love with and then all these years later, cheating on Shania and 2) Cheating on Shania with the lady he cheated on her with.  Put it this way... in the picture, one of these women is Shania Twain, an artist who sold over 70 million records, had a dozen number one hits, is loaded to the gills and is very, very beautiful  The other is Marie-Anne Thiebaud, who Mutt cheated with.

Oh, don't feel too bad for Shania... she hooked up with Frederic.  That's Frederic Thiebaud.  As in, was married to Marie-Anne before she cheated on him.   I'm going to spot you a buck and let you bet on who got the better end of this deal... Shania or Mutt.

Anyway... Paige Dechausse is coming up... and the words "...they said she had a 30 percent chance of surviving..." come into play.   She's 21, and she's got great, great hair.  Just sayin'.

As a kid she's had asthma, and almost died when she was 15 after an attack while singing.   The doctors said she might have brain damage... but here she is!  Cindy Jo is openly weeping right now.  "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke is her song of choice... and whether the judges do or not, I really like her.  Simon says no.  Kara and Shania say yes.  Its up to Randy the Dawg, and the chicks are begging him to say yes... and... and... and... and... Randy says yes. 

The Black Chris Sligh, also known as Justin Ray (listed as unemployed) and Bryan Adams imitator Bryan Semple and Marcus Jones doin' Edwin McCain all come up to try out... Bryan Adams 2 makes it.   Marcus makes it.  The Black Chris Sligh makes it too. 

Thirteen made it this time, from Chi-Town... here's who I'm going to watch for... Paige Dechausse, Angela Martin and Charity Vance

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jobs Cooler Than Yours

Usually, the Golden Globe running diary (as is the Oscars running diary) is more for me, and for "record-keeping" than it is for entertaining reading... so, in order to not start your morning with boring reading, here's a little something to tide you over until the Idol recap on Wednesday...  I found this on, and thought you'd enjoy it...

A List Of Jobs That Might Be Cooler Than Yours:
You get paid to do this stuff?

Many of us work hard for our money, and let's face it: Much of the time, it's a big, fat slog. But not for everybody.

In fact, some people get to make a living by taking care of paradise islands and testing water slides and playing video games and cycling through France. Here are 11 jobs that spell F-U-N, not G-R-I-N-D


Most people don't get paid to relax on exotic beaches. Or to blog, for that matter. But in the "you've got to be freaking kidding me" department, Ben Southall managed to score a $120,000, six-month gig as caretaker and unofficial ambassador of a tropical Australian island. The 34-year-old British man beat out nearly 35,000 applicants for the position, including 15 other finalists who had to snorkel, indulge in spa treatments and eat barbecue on the beach as part of the interview process.
That's not to say that the job –- which was designed to attract tourists to Australia's Great Barrier Reef –- didn't have its drawbacks. During his final days in paradise in December 2009, Southall endured a jellyfish sting that could have been fatal. He survived the scary experience, but it did shake him up.

"I thought I'd done particularly well at avoiding any contact with any of the dangerous critters that consider this part of the world their home," Southall wrote in his blog. "This was not what I'd wanted at all and had caught me little off guard to say the least -- I'm supposed to be relaxing in my last few days on Hamilton Island."

Abel Gonzales Jr. of Dallas has made headlines across the United States for the fried foods he's dreamed up for attendees of the annual State Fair of Texas. One year he made Texas Fried Cookie Dough. Another year he made a Fried Peanut Butter, Jelly and Banana Sandwich. On yet another occasion he invented Fried Coke.

But in 2009, Gonzales concocted his boldest and most audacious invention of all: Deep-Fried Butter. To make it, he took 100 percent pure butter, whipped it until it was light and fluffy, froze it, surrounded it with dough and then dropped myriad butter-laden dough balls into the deep fryer.

Why is Gonzales' job being included here? Because it's an American fairy tale of sorts: He now does so much business at the state fair that he only has to work three weeks out of the entire year. "Mainly I just take it easy the rest of the year and think of new things to fry," he told


Tommy Lynch knows he's the envy of almost every kid in the world –- not to mention many adults who toil away in cubicles under bad lighting. His job? "Cool pool tester" for First Choice Holidays' resorts, where he checks the height, speed, water quantity and landing of water slides to make sure "everything is right" for family vacationers.

In 2008, Lynch traveled more than 27,000 miles to frolic in pools and whip down water slides at resorts in Lanzarote, Majorca, Egypt, Turkey, Cyprus, Algarve, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Spain's Costa del Sol. His travel plans for 2009 included Greece, Turkey, Florida, Jamaica and Ibiza.

"I do have the best job in the world," Lynch told British newspaper the Daily Mail. "No one believes me when I tell them what I do. Some people sit in an office all day, but I get to fly all over the world and slide down flumes. It can be a bit tough when it is chilly and you have to strip off and shoot down the flume, but other than that, it is great."

Remember that scene from "I Love Lucy" when Lucy and Ethel landed jobs on a chocolate assembly line and everything started moving too fast and they had to shove chocolate after chocolate into their mouths? While hysterical, that didn't look like too much fun –- but actually tasting chocolate for a living can be divine.

Sally McKinnon once told British newspaper The Independent that her job as a chocolate taster and product development manager for the grocery chain Tesco was "the best job in the world."

"I get paid to taste chocolate every day," she said. "My desk is absolutely covered with chocolate -- it's fantastic."

The down side to the job? "The calories," McKinnon said. "You have to make a conscious effort to eat healthily for the rest of the time. ... You also have to get over your fear of the dentist, because you'll be making a lot of trips there for check-ups."

So how can a person break into this field and taste chocolates for a major chocolate company or for a retailer? "You need a food qualification or degree in nutrition or food science," McKinnon explained. "Get some experience in product development, from the retail side or the supplier side. There are so many opportunities available, I'd say people should go for it."


Ah, Paris in summertime. There's nothing quite like it –- especially when you're on a leisurely cycling trip. Just ask the two young cyclists Google hired to ride ultra-high-tech, three-wheeled bikes through the French capital in the summer of 2009.

Their fancy tricycles were equipped with nine cameras, a GPS, a computer and a generator so the cyclists could capture thousands of digital photos for GoogleMaps. Their targets: historical sites, gardens and other pedestrian-only areas of the City of Light.

"The idea is to be able to offer 360-degree images of places that were inaccessible before," Google spokeswoman Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce told The Associated Press.

So people really can get paid to cycle around Europe? You betcha!

For all you true beer lovers out there, here's a pop quiz: Did you know these key details about professional beer tasting?
  • The ideal time of day for beer tasting for the pros is lunchtime, from about 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., before your taste buds –- and you yourself –- become too fatigued.
  • Unlike wine tasters, beer tasters actually have to swallow the beer they drink and rate the entire experience.
  • No crackers or snacks are allowed between professional tastings; that would affect the flavor of your next brew. Instead, use water to cleanse your palate.
  • (Probably be good to like beer... I don't, but hey, if this is your thing...)
So, hey! If you're armed with information along these lines, and if you know how to tell hoppiness from maltiness in a cool nanosecond, then who knows? You just might have a future in beer tasting for a major brewing company, a microbrewery, a beer magazine or a pub that has lots of rotating taps. As Homer Simpson once said: "Ah, beer. The cause of, and the solution to, all of life's problems."

Some people give video-game aficionados grief because they sit mesmerized in front of a screen for so many hours in a row. But you know what? They might be working.

Yes, people who are passionate and knowledgeable about video games really can land jobs as video-game testers. Their challenge, should they choose to accept it, is to take on a quality-assurance role, playing an unreleased game over and over and over again. In this way, they'll be able to see whether they can "break" the game or identify any bugs in it before it ships out to the general public.

All new video games need to be tested, whether they're PlayStation games, Xbox games, Nintendo games or PC/computer games. And plenty of Web sites out there point would-be game testers toward job openings. May the force be with you!

(note... I'm not sure I'd find this job cool, or that its even Emmy Turnbow Safe... but again, if this is your thing... and you know what?  I hear about the drug problem in America, and I'm sure it exists, and maybe I'm in my own little cocoon here at The Cabana and all, but if I was a heroin addict or liked to toke up a little, I'm not sure I'd even know where to find it.  I mean, how do you procure drugs?  Do you just go downtown and look for people who might be drug dealers?  I watch too much Law & Order, I'd be petrified that it would be an undercover agent and I'd get busted... and you think The Lovely Steph Leann is mad when I get a speeding ticket?  Try that phone call from jail... "Uh, yeah, Mrs. The Lovely Steph Leann?  Your husband is here and he's been picked up for trying to buy drugs.  The bail is $3" And she'd say "Three bucks?  Too much.  Let him rot.  I'm going to home and watch Lifetime Movies."

Wait... where was I? Oh yeah...)

This job wouldn't appeal to everybody, of course –- and it also wouldn't be open to everybody –- but if this is your thing, then, wow.

With so many medical marijuana dispensaries popping up in states like California, Colorado and elsewhere, a new job niche is forming for reviewers who can critique the quality of these places and their products. New reefer-review Web sites are surfacing all the time, and the Denver newspaper Westword recently received an overwhelming response when it posted an ad for a medical marijuana critic. The Associated Press reported that one potential job candidate enthused, "Marijuana isn't just important to me, it is my life."

The catch? Legitimate reviewers have to be able to buy their own weed legally for medical reasons. No fakers allowed!

OK, so this job didn't go on forever, but it sure sounded fun while it lasted. In August 2009, Roisin Madigan, a college student from Birmingham, England, got paid about $1,600 to spend a month trying out top-of-the-line beds and mattresses ranging in price from $8,000 to $43,500.

The only catches? The 22-year-old had to participate in a detailed sleep survey for Simon Horn Ltd., the maker of the luxury beds. And she had to sleep during the day in a Simon Horn showroom.

 "The staff will be performing a series of tests for the sleep survey, such as temperature, light, noise, alcohol, caffeine and many more," Madigan wrote on Facebook. "If you [are] out and about in Birmingham, come down to the Simon Horn Showroom and give me a wave through the window!"

If you're the type who invariably ends up sitting in front of your laptop when you go on vacation, then a gig like this could be ideal for you.

Thailand tourism officials –- who, interestingly, were inspired by the Australian tourism officials who handed Ben Southall the keys to that tropical island -– recently advertised for five couples who could blog, tweet and chat about their trips to the country's most popular beaches and cities. Applicants were expected to be "good storytellers" and seasoned users of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
The five winning couples would have all of their travel expenses covered, and the couple who did the most outstanding work online while in Thailand would win $10,000, a video camera and a BlackBerry.

While this particular opportunity in Thailand is no longer open, similar offers do crop up. Why not do some sleuth work online and apply for one? Here's just one possibility that a quick Internet search turned up: If you'd love to do volunteer work in a foreign country but you can't afford to foot the bill all on your own, you could apply for a Travel for Good Change Ambassadors Grant through this site.

So this job pays almost nothing, but it has these things going for it: it's bizarre; it's interesting; it would give you a funny story to tell your grandkids; and –- big bonus –- it involves just lying around.

The advent of grisly crime shows on network television –- such as "CSI" and its ilk –- has given rise to the need for people who can lie very, very, very still. That's right: These shows need people to play corpses.

On the one hand, the job sounds kind of easy. But on the other hand ... what if you're a corpse whose eyes are open? You can't blink, that's for sure. And what if you're a naked corpse? You might get pretty cold. But on the upside, you'd be given lunch on the set and pay ranging from about $125 to $200. Don't spend it all in one place!

Okay, so here's what I have going for me...  debt free... author of a fun (to me, anyway) blog that is read by 10's of people... awesome chick that hangs around and sleeps next to me... work not just one, but two of the coolest jobs ever--people pay me to discuss Disney (I've got until at least March) and also to pour up lattes... not everyone would want this job, but hey, I like it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Golden Globe Sunday Evening

So there are your Golden Globe awards for another year.  I'll be back in a few days with more Idol, and another few installments of our Top 100 Coolest Things of the Year...

11:41p... Ricky Gervais appears once more, thanks the crowd, does one more shill for his TV show... and thats it.  There are the Golden Globes, short (3 hours doing movies AND television) and sweet. 

11:37p... Julia Roberts is out here to give away the award for Best Picture.  It's "Avatar", which now has the momentum to carry it to the Oscars for Best Picture.  Sigh.

11:31p.. Ah, Kate Winslet.  I love me some Kate Winslet.  Here's Best Actor in a Drama... one of the nominees is the President of The Lovely Steph Leann's Colin Firth Club, Colin Firth.  He doesn't win, though... it goes to Jeff Bridges for "Crazy Heart"... and its awesome, because the entire room is giving him a standing ovation. 

"You are really tearing up my under-appreciated status here," he says.  He then calls out "my beautiful wife... get a shot of her!"  Then sends a nod to his dad, the late, great Lloyd Bridges.  Jeff is one of those actors who you never think about how good he is, and then you realize how much awesome stuff he's been in... "Tron"... "Starman"... "The Fabulous Baker Boys"... "Iron Man"... "The Last Picture Show"... "Surf's Up"... and of course, "The Big Lebowski"... great career. 

11:28p... Some chick who's name I missed is doing Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.  And the winner?  Another shocker... Robert Downey Jr in "Sherlock Holmes".  Really?  Well... he made that film what it was... and he gives the best speech of the night, slightly edging Drew Barrymore just for comedy content...

11:24p... Mickey Rourke's Corpse comes out wearing a terrible hat and terrible suit, to give away Best Actress in a Drama.  The winner?  Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side"... wow... seriously, didn't see that coming at all.  The Lovely Steph Leann screamed again.  Hey, I'm not saying she didn't earn it, but wow... I really thought it would be one of those "your reward is being nominated" for Sandy... but rock on. 
Also... Mickey looked like he threw up in his mouth a little when he announced Sandy Bullock winning.  Here is a pic of Mickey before the plastic surgery (inset) and the after shot. 

11:22p... Ah-nald is out to introduce "Avatar" as a Best Picture nominee, takes a dig at NBC ("the only way that James Cameron would make more money is if he were hired by NBC... then fired by NBC"). 

11:20p... Is anyone else as NOT stoked about the Winter Olympics as I am? 

11:20p... Uh... Mike Tyson is standing onstage, a part of a group who just won a Golden Globe Award for a movie, the same stage that Mo'Nique stood on after winning an acting award of her very own.  I'm not joking. 

11:19p... And Ashley Judd Club member Reese Witherspoon is out to give away Best Picture Comedy or Musical.  How great would this be if "The Hangover" won?   AND IT WINS!!!!  THAT IS SO AWESOME!!! 

11:18p... The guys from "The Hangover", including Mike Tyson, are out to introduce their own movie... this movie is awesome.

11:15p... Jack Bauer and Olivia Wilde come out to give away the award for Best Comedy or Musical TV Series.... The Lovely Steph Leann might go postal if "Glee" doesn't win... or she might do the same if it does win.  Dunno.  There are a thousand people onstage, including Jayma Mays (left).

The winner?  "Glee".  The Lovely Steph Leann just screamed loudly.  The blood that is slowly trickling from my right ear I'm sure will dry on my wife-beater t-shirt.

11:09p... Jodie Foster comes out and introduces "The Hurt Locker", an awesome, amazing movie.  Ricky Gervais, beer in hand, says, "Cheers."  Then he says, "If I offended anyone, its the beer... I love to drink as much as the next man... unless the next man is... Mel Gibson..."

Mel Gibson is here to introduce the Best Director nominees.  I miss Fun Mel Gibson.  When he's not going off on cops and fathering children with nannies, he's a great guy to watch.  The winner?  James Cameron for "Avatar".  I was expecting Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker", but I'm kinda wondering if this is a foretelling of whats to come at Academy Awards night--Cameron winning, and "Avatar" winning Best Picture, which I'm totally opposed to... not that they will ask my opinion.

10:56p... And here is the CC DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement, which usually takes about 20 minutes.  This one goes to Martin Scorsese.  They do a pan shot to Brenden Fraser.  Who invited that guy?

Anyway, let's talk about the movies Scorsese has done... "Goodfellas"... "Aviator"... "Raging Bull"... "Taxi Driver"... "The Color of Money"... "The Departed"... "Cape Fear"... "Casino"... "Gangs of New York"... even his crap, like "Bringing Out the Dead" was good crap.  For what its worth, I lift my coffee cup to you, Marty Scorsese.

10:52p...  Ricky Gervais digs on Halle Berry in "Catwoman" before bringing her out.  I will always like Halle Berry, if only because she actually showed up at The Razzie Awards to accept her Worst Actress Award for "Catwoman".  The Best Supporting Actor goes to... Christoph Waltz for "Rather Unimpressive Illegitimate Children", which I predicted, because he was amazing in that movie.   As he gets his award from Halle, The Lovely Steph Leann says, "She's thinking 'please don't kiss me!'"

10:49p... Supporting Actress in TV Series, Mini Series or Movie.  "Glee"'s Jane Lynch is nominated, and The Lovely Steph Leann says, "I'm gonna be so mad if 'Glee' doesn't win anything!"  Well, get mad, cause the chick from "Big Love" won.  The Lovely Steph Leann shouts, "Dang it!" 

10:48p... Team Jacob comes out, much to the delight of a million and four girls age 14 and under, to introduce "(500) Days of Summer".  I liked it.  I didn't love it.  It was cute, but it wasn't the brilliant film that I was hearing about from everyone... though its use of "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall and Oates might be brilliant in in of itself.

10:44p... Amy Poehler and Zack Levi come out to introduce Best Series Drama, including "Dexter", "Big Love", "House", "Mad Men" and "True Blood"... the winner?  "Mad Men".  I've seen one episode of this show, and I'm already hooked.  I'm totally getting the DVDs. 

10:39... The baddest mofo on the planet, Samuel L. Jackson, is here to introduce "Rather Unimpressive Illegitimate Children", which is in my top ten movies of the year.  He then introduces Sophia Loren as a "real, live movie star", and she gets a standing ovation.  She looks great for 113 years old.  Those glasses are horrific, though.  "That is a shame," The Lovely Steph Leann comments.

She's here to introduce Best Foreign Language Film... Baaria... Broken Embraces... The Maid... Un Prophete... and The White Ribbon from Germany, which is going to win... and... and... and... it does.  Its about kids on the eve of some day in World War II.  That's got Oscar all over it. 

Of course, wouldn't it be interesting to see "Rather Unimpressive Illegitimate Children"--about Nazi killing Jews--and "The White Ribbon"--about German kids in World War II--go head to head. 

10:38p... Maggie Gyllenhaal reminds us to give to Haiti.  She looks ghastly. 

10:36p... Jennifer Garner, who is probably not nominated for "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past", and Ashton Kutcher, who is probably not nominated for anything, is giving out Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical--The Lovely Steph Leann claps when the guy from "Glee" is announced as a nominee.  Alec Baldwin wins, but is nowhere to be found, as he's off doing charity for the Haitian Nation.

10:33p... Ricky Gervais introduces "Rachel from Friends and that bloke from 300"... So Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston come out to give away Best Screenplay.   A huge catagory, all five great movies... the winner is Jason Reitman for "Up in the Air"... my favorite film from 2009.  I admit it.

10:31p... Cameron Diaz comes out and says, "THIS is the film where Meryl Streep DOES sleep with Alec Baldwin".   She's referring to "Its Complicated", of course.  Cameron Diaz hasn't been pretty or talented since the first "Charlie's Angels" movie.  Just sayin'.

10:28p... Me: So you don't like Drew's dress, huh?   The Lovely Steph Leann: NO!   Drew gives a shout out to Mo'Nique... and then gives the most honest, best, most genuine speech of the entire night.  She's flustered, she's fumbling, she's speaking 90 to nothing...  Rock on, Drew Barrymore.

Drew Barrymore:  I'm humbled and honored
The Lovely Steph Leann:  What is that thing on her hip?  Like, its bad enough on her shoulder... but her hips too?

10:24p... The "Avatar" costars are out to do the Best Actor in TV Movie or Mini-Series.  Winner?  Kevin Bacon for "Taking Chance", a movie that I had on DVR for about six months... then deleted without watching.  He was also nominated for... "The River Wild", back in the 90's, also starring... Meryl Streep.

And while we are at it, Best Actress in a TV Movie or Mini-Series.... I want Drew Barrymore to win, so The Lovely Steph Leann will go off again about Drew's dress.  The winner is... Drew Barrymore for "Grey Gardens"!  She was my favorite bad girl back in the 90s... and its her first Golden Globe win.  That's just awesome...

10:22p... Could Helen Mirran be the most attractive 83 year old in the history of the world?  Seriously.  She always looks so, so classy and uppity.  She introduces "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire".  Now I'm depressed.

10:18p... Ricky Gervais makes a drunk Irish joke, then introduces Colin Firth, who introduces the Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.  The winner goes to... Meryl Streep for "Julie & Julia"... yay!  The Tuch looks on, and seems proud.  The Lovely Steph Leann was rooting for Sandy Bullock in "The Proposal".

I notice that as Meryl Streep talks, the music doesn't play.  The band director is asking the show director "Do I start?" and the show director is saying, "Are you kidding?  This is Meryl Streep.  DO NOT cut off Meryl Streep..."

10:15p...  Tom Hanks:  "I'm here to introduce the movie that features Meryl Streep, and in this one she doesn't end up in bed with Alec Baldwin, but instead ends up in bed with Stanley Tucci, a step up..."  Its "Julie & Julia", which was a great film, featuring the aforementioned Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, and a great turn by Meryl Streep.   

10:10p... Yay!  Its Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with!  The Lovely Steph Leann said, "Is she pregnant?" and I said, "Yes, but its not mine, I promise."  I got an eye roll.  Anyway, the nominees for best TV Movie or Mini Series.  The winner is "Grey Gardens", and whoever got up to accept the award turned her back to the camera, and The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Oh no!  That dress is terrible!"  Then she proceeds to rip Drew Barrymore a new one for "that thing on her shoulder... and oh my lord, she's got one on her waist too!"

10:08p... The score from "Up" is nominated for Best Score, and I hope it wins... it was wonderful.  The winner?  "Up"!  Its awesome.  Its so... well, perfect.  It takes you through those first gut-wretching, hard to watch, can't look away 9 minutes of that movie.

10:05p... Cher and Christina Aguliera are in a movie together, something called "Burlesque".  They are here to do the awards for Song from a Movie.  Cher looks terrible.  Not sure she could smile if she wanted to.  Christina... not too bad.  Its been a long time, Christina.  Glad to see you back.  I was guessing "Winter" by U2, from "Brothers", was going to win, to make up for the loss a few years ago when Three 6 Mafia took home the Oscar for "Its Hard Out Here for a Pimp" over U2's song from "Gangs of New York".

Who won?  The song from "Crazy Heart", which I should have guessed.  Its a country music movie about a hard drinking country star fallen from grace.  Shoulda known.

10:03p... Here's the ever grumpy Harrison Ford.  Seriously... this guy is not only Han Solo, but also Indiana Jones, plus he was in "Witness"!  He was in "The Mosquito Coast"!  He was in "American Graffiti"!  Harrison!  You've led an incredible life.  Smile once in a while, bucky.

10:02p... Just found out that Michael C. Hall actually has cancer.  Don't I feel like a sleazebucket. 

9:59p... Best actress in a TV Series Drama... All five women in shows I've never seen.  Julianna Margulies for "The Good Wife", which I have heard is a great show.  I just don't have time for more TV shows!!!

9:57p...  Best performances in drama!  Actor in a TV Series Drama... and the winner is Michael C. Hall for "Dexter", in his cancer-like knit cap.  I remember him as the gay brother in "Six Feet Under".

9:52p... And someone who hasn't been talented or pretty since "Amost Famous" its Kate Hudson!  And here's Mrs. William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, completely fumbling and stumbling through the teleprompter to tell us who the Hollywood Foreign Press Association actually is... we meet the president, Philip Burk, who isn't the same Philip Burk I remember from the Lambda Chi house back in 1995.  And we still don't know what the HFPA does.

9:48p... The Animated Film Award, which will either go to "Up" or "The Fabulous Mr. Fox"... I hope that Pixar is not being held back because of its previous winnings... like a "They've won so many, so let's give it to someone else" kind of mentality.  The winner?  "Up".  Ha!  I knew it!  The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Yes!!"

9:48p... I hold the personal belief that Sir Paul McCartney stopped being relevant about thirteen years ago.  Just sayin'.

9:44p... Yay!  Its Mama Gilmore and some guy that I sort of recognize.  Mama Gilmore looked better on the show.  Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, TV Movie or Mini-Series.  Its Doogie!  Everyone loves Doogie!  The winner, though?  John Lithgow wins for "Dexter".  I don't even think I knew he was on that show until yesterday, when The Sports Guy mentioned him in a podcast that I was listening too.  They cut to Michael C. Hall, the star of "Dexter", who is sporting some sort of knit skull cap--what, does he have cancer?

9:41p... Best Actress in a TV Series Comedy or Musical.   Matthew Fox is out there with someone that I don't recognize (I think its the chick from "Modern Family"), she's trying to get out her names, and its hard to understand her.  The Lovely Steph Leann claps when the chick from Glee is mentioned as a nominee.  Toni Collette wins for "The United States of Tara", which I could have predicted as soon as that show premiered last January... Toni Collette is playing a woman with like, five personalities.  If that doesn't get you an award, I'm not sure what does.

9:38p... Let me be clear.  Mo'Nique just won an acting award.  And she's going to tell us about all the beaten and abused women out there...  and I was right.     "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire" is a movie that I want to see.  Then again, I don't.

9:36p... Nicole Kidman looks like a wax figure.  She's here to present the award for Best Supporting Actress... Penelope Cruz is one of those chicks that I should find attractive, but don't.  Same goes for Vera Fermiga.  Not so much for Mo'Nique.  Julianne Moore and Anna Kendrick I do find attractive.  And in the "Yep, saw that coming" moment, Mo'Nique picks up the award for "Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire".  

9:34p... And he makes some pee-pee jokes... and jokes on Angelina Jolie and her 4,992 kids... and then says, "Let's get on it with, before NBC replaces me with Jay Leno."  Knew that was coming!

9:31p... Our host is Ricky Gervais, British comic and star of the British show "The Office", which is where our "The Office" is based from.  The Golden Globes is awarded from The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is a group that I have no clue what they are about.  Ricky comes out and takes digs at Steve Carrell, who portray's Gervais' American character.  Then he takes a dig at NBC (who doesn't). 

9:29p... And now... the Golden Globes have started.  Finally.

9:25p... The Lovely Steph Leann is still talking.  The show still hasn't started for us.  I've been careful to avoid E! Network or or Showbiz Tonight on CNN or anything else that might allude to who won what award.  So far.  Not sure how much longer I can keep this fast up.

9:15p... And now I wait for The Lovely Steph Leann to quit her yapping so we can turn on The Golden Globes Awards show, the show that started almost 2 and a half hours ago--I had high hopes that if we started at 7:30, even 8, we could fast forward through what we wanted to, and catch up to the live show.  But alas.

9:13p...  We're in!  We booked, we're all set, we have a room at All Star Sports for The Lovely Steph Leann and I, then an All Star Music Suite for Karen, Eric and the childrens.  Again... you call until you get the answer you want.  And we got the answer we wanted.  Rock on. 

8:59p... We are traveling with the cousin of The Lovely Steph Leann, Karen, and Karen's husband Eric, and their two children, Wyatt and Hannah.  Both kids are severly autistic, which is something that I know about.. but don't know about.  So, like, I don't know much about "how that works". 

8:53p... Finally, back from on hold... and our Cast Member we are talking to is named Elisa.  She rocks.  Seriously...

8:46... Still on hold

8:22pm... The Golden Globes officially started at 7pm, which is 5pm California time.  However, we've got it on DVR, and we haven't started it yet... why?  First, I had to work tonight until 7pm at The Happiest Place in the Mall.  Then, when I got off at 7pm, I had to stop by Subway to bring home some Eat Fresh for dinner.  Upon arrival at home, circa 7:30, The Lovely Steph Leann was busy as a bee putting up Christmas ornaments into their proper boxes (this is a daunting task that I usually do every year, but this year she's assisting).  I sat down, put the Eat Fresh sandwiches off to the side, fired up the laptop and pulled up a blank blogpage.

"Can you call Disney and find out rates for our March trip?"  The Lovely Steph Leann asked.  I sighed.  I stared at the remote, at the Eat Fresh sandwiches, at the computer and sighed again.  This was going to take a while. 

See, here's the thing... as much as I love my own company, the one I work for and will be a part of for at least the next 3 and 1/2 months, their reservation system for Cast Members is... well, sometimes rather incompetant.  Put it this way--most of the time, you call until you get the answer you want, and then you book it then, just like tonight.  I've talked to four Cast Members over six phone calls (the first my phone dropped out, and I threw it, and the second, I got transferred in error to the wrong person, who put me on hold for many, many minutes--which means I hung up and threw it.  I don't do well being on hold for stupid reasons.  Just sayin').  Anyway, I finally called back, and got someone now who is supposed to help me book our final trip before I leave The Happiest Place in the Mall in April.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The 100 Coolest Things of 2009... 80 to 71

We continue our countdown of the Coolest Things of 2009... and looking at the next ten, this might be the "Guilty Pleasurest" block of ten in the five year history of The Coolest List.  Not all of them, but some.  Several.  And if you are on Facebook, flip on over to The Clouds and see the blog in its better glory. 

80... Kate Winslet Gets an Oscar
Beyond The Goddess, beyond Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, a founding member of my own Colin Firth Club that The Lovely Steph Leann keeps tucked away is none other than British actress Kate Winslet.  She'd been nominated six times for an Academy Award, but on Sunday, February 22nd, she finally got hers... in my running diary, I posted this:


1035p... We knew Kate Winslet would win this, but that doesn't make it any less freakin' awesome. KATE KATE KATE!!!

Needless to say, I was excited.  Still am.

79... Pickler's New Album
For anyone who has read this blog longer than a few days, you'll realize a few things.  First, Mama Gilmore is much more attractive than Daughter Gilmore.  Secondly, Hootie & the Blowfish rocks.  Third, I love stupid movies.  Fourth, I eat lots of food.  Fifth, I believe the Dixie Chicks only deserved a small part of what they got.  Sixth, He Who Must Not Be Re-Elected is a one-term president.  Seventh, if back massages were on Facebook, I'd hit the "dislike" button.  Eighth, I will only watch "A Christmas Story" on Christmas Eve, and refuse to buy it.  Ninth, Erin the Marine Wife is to be commended.  Finally, I think Pickles is awesome. 
Her first CD, "Small Town Girl", was pretty good for a post-Idol debut, better than even Kat McPhee's decently good CD.  So, when Pickles second album came rollin' out, I went to Best Buy and I bought it.  Yeah, I might be the only person you know that owns a Pickles CD, but hey, I dig it.  Favorite track?  The great, soarin' vocals of "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You".   I would post a pic of Pickles here, but 1) I'm running out of good pictures to post for Idol blog references, and 2) not enough room for the above picture of Kate and the below picture of...
78.. Jon Thompson

One of the four guys I took with me to Walt Disney World (that trip to be ranked later), this dude cracked me up the entire time.  Example... with five guys in a single room with two beds, I had to sleep next to someone.  One of the guys slept on the floor.  And Jon had to sleep with one of them.  The one that Jon had to sleep with decided he would just sleep naked.  Naturally, Jon had a real problem with this... so much so that he leapt out of bed, and started yelling things like, " Why would you do this?  Why!  Why can't you keep your shorts on?  What the crap, dude?"
And, being guys, we all turned it around on him--telling him things like, "Settle down, go to bed" and "Seriously, its not a big deal."  Personally, I totally agreed with Jon--who wants to sleep next to a naked guy?  The Lovely Steph Leann doesn't even want that, and I'm her hubby! 
He ended up sleeping next to his "bed-mate" who agreed to wear shorts.  Later, I discovered that said bed-mate actually de-shorted during the night and re-shorted before Jon woke up.  I think I laughed for quite a while as all this was going on.
He kept the riot going on the way back, marveling at the luck and blessed life of one Tyler Campbell, the bro-in-law, who won a randomly won a car and gave swimming lessons for like, $70 an hour.  Jon?  He worked at a screen printing shop that, after three years, "I'm somehow making less money than when I started!  While I'm on the other side of the tracks, Tyler is over there living in the bourgeois!'.  Course, bourgeois actually means "social middle class".  Who knew.  Jon rocks.
77... Hank Azaria in "Night at the Museum:  Battle of the Smithsonian"

Out of all the movies I saw in 2009, I would rank this one somewhere in the middle.  It was good, but it wasn't great.  It had its moments, but like my original review, "...with this movie, you know what you are going to get... lots of historical figures making pop culture references, lots of funny action and Ben Stiller doing what he does best."
This movie itself doesn't make our list, but one of the two standout performances does--first, Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with.  Secondly, and more importantly (for this movie, anyway), its Hank Azaria's absolutely hysterical performances.  He "not only plays Kahmunrah to the hilt, leaving you convinced that he had a blast playing this part, but he also does the voice of the Brooklyn-accented Thinker sculpture and of Abe Lincoln, fresh out of the Lincoln Memorial."   His Kahmunrah voice is especially great, slightly feminine and non-threatening, and he makes for the best part of the movie that doesn't include a redhead. 
76... The Muppets Do Queen
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Beaker, Dr. Bunson Honeydew and the gang are making a comeback...
...and its awesome
75... "Hey" by Mitchell Musso
Uh... a fun song.. makes me kinda bouncy and... uh... its... um...
74... "High School Musical"
Um... I saw the movie off and on... we, uh, at The Happiest Place in the Mall we played... and... I really like the them song and... well... uh...
73... "The Hoedown Throwdown" by Miley Cyrus
Uh... its... the movie was terrible but this... I like this song and uh...
Boom clap, boom de clap de clap, boom boom clap, boom de clap de clap, come on y'all, boom clap boom...
Everybody!  Boom de clap de clap...
Boom boom clap?  
Let's move on, shall we?
72... ESPN's "30 for 30"
The concept is brilliant, really.  To celebrate ESPN's 30th Anniversary, they brought in 30 different directors and/or directing teams from all walks of life, all lifestyles, all film styles, to direct 30 different sports documentaries on subjects near and dear to their own hearts.
The results thus far have been golden.  First up was "King's Ransom", a mildly entertaining film about Gretsky's trade from the Oilers to the Kings, which I never knew was such a monumental, watershed moment for both Gretsky and the NHL... Peter Berg directed.
What followed was "Muhammed and Larry", chronicling the fourth bout between Ali and Homes, directed by Albert Maysles... "The Legend of Jimmy the Greek", about the slow rise and quick fall of a commentator legend, directed by Fritz Mitchell... "The Band That Wouldn't Die", an awesome look at the Baltimore Colts marching band that kept playing for over a dozen years after the Colts fled for Indy, directed by famed director Barry Levinson ("Diner", "Good Morning Vietnam", "Rain Man"). 
The only one I really didn't like as much was "The U", directed by Billy Corben, scanning the Miami Hurricanes teams of the 80s... it showed the teams, the successes, but didn't really spend too much time into the real issues of the team's problems.  Personally, I wished it would have talked about the crash of the program, not just the rise, but alas, I didn't direct it.

The two I loved, though?  "Without Bias", directed by Kirk Fraser, about the incredible impact that the death of Len Bias had on the Boston Celtics.  Two days after the NBA Draft, Bias dropped dead of a cocaine overdose, he not only altered our perception of casual drug use and became the tipping point of America's drug crisis in the mid-80s, but he practically ruined an already floundering franchise right as it was about to find a guy who they could build around. 
Secondly, "Small Potatoes: Who Really Killed the USFL?", directed by Mike Tollin which showed the success of the USFL, attempting spring football, leaving the NFL in the fall--and they were doing pretty good with it... but it took a dive, due to over-expansion, bad management, and one Donald Trump who bought into the league, and wanted to immediately move it to the fall, taking on the NFL head-to-head.  After a monoply & anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL, the verdict came back in favor of the USFL... in the form of a check for $3.76.  The USFL went belly up.  The documentary is made even better by the interview with Donald Trump, who ends up walking out on Mike Tollin.

Ahead are films on the legend of Steve Bartman... speedskater Johan Olav Koss... NASCAR driver Tim Richmond and the little disease that killed his career... and even one featuring Michael Jordan's suspension from the NBA for gambl... um, I mean, his retirement for two years to try out baseball.  Oh, and Ice Cube puts his touch on a film about the Raiders.  Good times.
71... Read the Rules, Shankapotomus
The Lovely Steph Leann prefers the one where the buddy "flexes the golden pipes", but personally, this is my favorite commercial of the year... 

Coming up... An Idol goes Kanye... The Best Greek Film of the Year... and later, noddin' my head like yeah, movin' my hips like yeah...