Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The War for Late Night

Summer of Blogging, Day Two!  Reading this on Facebook?  Click over to Clouds in My Coffee--gives me another load on the page (onward to 75k!) so you can see the videos...

The Tonight Show used to be a big deal.  Now, its a show that comes on after news, one that Jay Leno is on, one that Conan O'Brien had for a forgettable amount of time (do you even remember anything that happened on the Tonight Show when Conan was on it?)... its a show that you might catch a second of, depending on who is on that night (Vedder?  Adam Carolla?  Tom Hanks?), or you might end up watching Letterman, or now, Kimmel, or yes, Conan on TBS.

But back in the day?  The Tonight Show was a big deal.  Johnny Carson was a big, big deal.  I can only remember him in the late 80s and into the 90s, when I actually paid attention to such things as late night television, but I remember how huge it was when he retired, and even remembered the last two shows... in the next to last show, Robin Williams came out first, and then Bette Midler came and sang a song or two.  At the end, she did a duet with Carson, "One for My Baby (and one for the road)".  You know sometimes when you see something, especially on television, and you know, even at a young age, you just witnessed something magnificent, something classic, something... well, perfect?  

Watching Bette softly sing to Johnny, both with tears in their eyes... that was one of those moments I'll never forget.

The clip has Bette singing a little with Carson, the video blips, and then it cuts to the final performance.  Its just breathtaking, and so filled with emotion.

His final show featured no guests, was more of a "retrospective" show, and opened with Johnny sitting on a stool facing a by invitation-only studio audience, and he said this:   And so it has come to this: I, uh... am one of the lucky people in the world; I found something I always wanted to do and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I want to thank the gentlemen who've shared this stage with me for thirty years. Mr. Ed McMahon, Mr. Doc Severinsen, and you people watching. I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you. And I hope when I find something that I want to do and I think you would like and come back that you'll be as gracious in inviting me into your home as you have been. I bid you a very heartfelt good night.

And like anyone who remembers that era vividly, you know what happened after that... Letterman was the heir apparent, the one who was supposed to slide into Johnny's chair, because after all, Letterman had hosted Late Night with David Letterman for over a decade, right?  It was time... and then, Jay Leno got The Tonight Show.  In fairness, Jay was considered a "permanent guest host"... beyond that, I don't know much about exactly what happened, save for the HBO movie "The Late Shift". 

Bill Carter, the guy who wrote "The Late Shift", also wrote the book I just finished reading, "The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy".  And while I have a fairly decent recollection of Letterman vs. Leno, I vividly remember the 2009 battle between Leno and Conan and NBC.

"The War for Late Night" kicks off at the 2009 upfronts, where the new "Tonight with Jay Leno" would be premiering the following fall, a new concept for primetime... a five day per week variety show not seen since the 70s. 

What follows in the book is a brief history of how Jay Leno came to be the star of The Tonight Show, his background from the early days of comedy, Conan O'Brien's Ivy League beginnings and his eventually rise into Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and even David Letterman's history. 

To me, the book opens with a bang (because we know what a debacle the Tonight with Jay Leno show was to become) and closes with a bang, and everything in between is a fast read but totally enthralling. 

When NBC realized that Conan's contract was up in 2004, they were frantic because they knew they would lose him, likely to FOX who, at the time, was making a serious run at him.   So, with very little input from Jay Leno, they promised The Tonight Show to Conan in five years... it was a great solution for the near future, but a horrible solution long-term... perhaps they thought that Leno would be willing to walk away or retire, perhaps they never imagined that Leno's ratings would consistently thrash Letterman (and eventually, Jimmy Kimmel) or maybe they just figured they'd deal with it when it came up, but after five seemingly comfortable years where everyone knew their role (Jay on Tonight, Conan on Late Night, then Jimmy Fallon on The Late Show), 2009 finally arrived.

And all hell broke loose.

The book goes into detail with interviews and first hand accounts of how Leno didn't like the idea of being forced out in five years, and he especially didn't like the idea of leaving when he was on top...Conan worshipped Letterman and Carson, and considered The Tonight Show the coup de gras, the pinnacle, and when he was awarded it, he thought he was on top of the world...

And when NBC undercut him immediately, he realized how quickly it fell apart... it was when NBC decided that the 9pm Jay Leno Show wasn't working, and they were going to move Jay back to 1030, moving Conan to 11pm, that Conan realized it was over. 

The book highlights the arguments, the conflicts and the disagreements, and describes in detail the personalities of those involved--Leno, the people pleaser, who just wanted to stay at 1030, no matter what the show was called... Conan, the lanky red haired host who couldn't believe everything he was given, especially since he struggled with confidence issues... and Letterman, the crusty, grumpy, sharp witted host who has never gotten over the bitterness from being passed over by NBC...

We even get highlights on other hosts like Craig Kilborn, Craig Ferguson, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon, though sometimes their backgrounds get a little lengthy, especially when both Craigs are barely mentioned in the latter half of the book. 

One of the biggest revelations for me was when Conan was struggling with NBC's new idea of moving Jay to 1030 and The Tonight Show to 11, and Jay Leno offered to his own bosses to call Conan, to discuss with him what could happen--the bosses told him "No.  Don't do it.  Don't call him."  Conan, however, took it personally when he never got a phone call from Leno, even more so when he found out that Jimmy Fallon and Jay had spoken on the phone recently. 

And when Conan writes his "Manifesto", ostensibly telling NBC to essentially "Go Eff Yourself", its brilliant.  Not too long after that, Jay is relentlessly pummeled in the news and by other comics (though Jerry Seinfeld was pro-Jay), and the book details a hilariously funny, yet almost too-much bit when Jimmy Kimmel comes on the Leno Show and just verbally rapes him on-air. 

  It takes a minute or two to get good, but this is brutal.  I mean, Kimmel just slaughters Leno, right on the air, on LENO'S SHOW--this clip is from Jimmy's YouTube site, as he made sure he filmed it from every angle to make sure he'd have a copy--he paced his answers so closely together to make sure editing would be very difficult--you get Jay's very unhappy reaction in the book.

The NBC execs are portrayed as... well, jerks.  Greedy jerks who really want nothing but the bottom line to be filled, no matter who was promised what, and David Zucker, NBC Top Dog, looks like a complete d-bag.   Though it doesn't give Jay Leno a sympathetic light, you kinda feel sorry for the guy, because he really wasn't given much of a choice, and took a beating in the media over many decisions that weren't his fault.  Yes, he could have walked away from NBC completely when Conan took over, but why would he?  He was being offered gobs of money, plus he never wanted to leave in the first place.  Conan is shown as the victim in the book, the guy who just wants what he was promised, and tries to stand up to Evil Big Network when they try and renege on everything.

I loved the heck outta this book, and now want to find "The Late Shift" and find out what happened between

Monday, May 30, 2011

The 100 Coolest Things of 2010... #60 to 51

Hey... its The SOB!  (no, not me... I mean... Day One of The Summer of Blogging...)

Yes, yes, its the summer and I'm still talking about 2010.   But I'm hoping to get through this list in the next week or two!  So, let's recap...

Basketball movies, SMU scandals and Hurricane Rhett's movie crushes are part of the 100th through 91st coolest things of 2010...  in the 90th through 81st coolest things of the year, we talked about old people with guns, steak roll-ups, and an Oscar winning Sandy B... and then, from 80th through 71st, it was The A-Team, Tron's new Legacy and finding Somebody to Love... then we discussed Hawaii's new show, narcissim on Facebook and candles in the 70th through 61st coolest things of the year...

60... Disney Meets Autism
This is by no means the lesser of our Disney vacations in 2010, its just the first one I wanted to talk about... The Lovely Steph Leann and I decided to treat her cousin Karen and their family, consisting of hubby Eric and children Hannah and Wyatt... the thing to know about Hannah and Wyatt is that they are severly autistic.  I dont know alot about autism, so I won't try to put them on a level of severity, but just know its a pretty big deal (as autism is).

Myself and Hannah, having a blast on Test Track
Cousin Karen actually called ahead to Disney about her children, specifically to the restaurants we were going to dine in and talked to the chefs about her children's eating limitations and allergies.  I was highly impressed on how responsive they were!  In all of the restaurants we ate at, the chef would come out and discuss with Cousin Karen some food options, and at Donald's Tusker House Breakfast in Animal Kingdom, the chef even brought out gluten free Mickey waffles specifically made for the kids.

We had a "disability pass" allowing us to use handicap entrances and skip many lines--I am sure that Cousin Karen would take perfectly healthy children waiting in long lines over autistic kids getting straight onto rides--but it is what it is, and we made the best of it.  Only one meltdown, that being when Jasmine messed around with Hannah's Hannah Montana hat, and Hannah wasn't having it.  At.  All. 

It was a fun trip, though, a good time spent with Cousin Karen, Hubby Eric and the kids, and of course, anytime you can spend money and time in Walt Disney World, its a good, good thing. 

59... SI Wants the Playoffs
I love my Sports Illustrated, and it shares the honor of being bathroom reading material with the latest Entertainment Weekly--that's not a bad thing, or a mock compliment, thats a compliment--and sometimes, an article jumps out that is worthy of reading and re-reading... like one in November of 2011, entitled "What a Concept!  Playoffs!  How (and why) the BCS is Blocking What College Football Needs". 

Its an in-depth opinion on the myth that the BCS works just fine and its a money-haven for college football programs, and how the bowl games are so lucrative for teams that participate... it tells us that

"Halftime entertainment at the Jan. 1, 2009, Outback Bowl was provided by the [ Iowa ] Hawkeye Marching Band. And how did the Tampa Bay Bowl Association, which runs the game, thank the band for that gratis performance? By charging the university $65 a head for each of the 346 band members. According to university records submitted to the NCAA, the school was forced to purchase face-value tickets totaling $22,490 for the band, even though the game wasn't sold out."

In fact, the bowl system, and sub-sequent payout is so convuluted that sometimes a football program actually saves money when they don't go bowling...

"Most conferences pool all their bowl payouts, using the bigger-money BCS games to cover the losses incurred in the smaller games. Thus does the Rose Bowl help subsidize the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl-a bowl bailout system that indeed spreads the wealth. Bowl directors privately admit that fewer than half the bowls could survive without the financial support from the schools.

Meanwhile, the sad sack programs that fail to qualify for a bowl often end up in the best financial position. As former Michigan AD Bill Martin said after the 2009 season, ‘The fact we didn't go to a bowl game the last two years means we actually made money.' "

...wait, success is rewarded by costing you more money, and the underachievers are given more?  Glad our country doesn't work like that...  anyway, I'd love to tell you that you can read this article online, but I had to sign up for the digital version of my print subscription, but if you can find it, its a great article.

58... Sly Blows Stuff Up
Ah, "The Expendables"... a movie I was so looking forward to that I even wrote a preview post for it last summer... and I wasn't disappointed.

Who doesn't love this movie?  Seriously... who doesn't want to see Sly Stallone with Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li and Randy Couture and Jason Statham and Mickey Rourke go all bad-A and 80s VHS star Eric Roberts be the bad guy and Stone Cold Steve Austin get all wicked bad and see things blow up and explode and see Bruce Willis and Ahnold and Sly share the same room and every action movie cliche played up, especially the one where every one on the team is a "specialist", a la "the weapons specialist" and the "explosives specialist" and the "martial arts specialist" and what is the movie even about?

Some crap about a corrupt government and the overthrow of a brutal dictator and so on and so on and who gives a rip.  Did you read that cast that I listed above?  Seriously.  It's awesome.  If you like real substance and deep plotlines, then don't watch this movie.

If you like the nostalgia of 80s and 90s action stars and cheese ball action movies with ridiculous things that blow up and over-the-top shootings and F-bombs being dropped like they were hot tamales, then this is the movie for you. 

57... We Get to See Dixon
Who doesn't love seeing old friends after a decade, or 14 years, goes by?   The Lovely Steph Leann spends a couple of days in Pensacola per month, and every now and again, I am able to go with her.  Usually, its a "drive down Thursday morning, she goes to work, does her thing, have a nice dinner, spend the night, take our time coming back Friday" kind of thing, and September 2010's trip was just like that.

This time, though, I was able to contact my old pal Dixon who lived in the area, and not only were we excited to see each other, she was pumped to see The Lovely Steph Leann--a reader of this blog, she knows my wife only as The Lovely Steph Leann, so for her, it was exciting to put a voice and a personality with the name and face that she sees online.

In writing about it, I said:  Dixon and I have known each other since 1993, and were friends all through college, and during dinner, I'm sure we bored the stew out of The Lovely Steph Leann with our "Oh, I remember when you..." and "Do you know that..." and "When you did that, I..." tales. She was quick to include The Lovely Steph Leann though, frequently turning to her and saying, "Oh my gosh, did d$ ever tell you about the time he and..." to which my wife would say, "No, tell me!" and there goes the story.

The post is called "Mobile Meanderings and Dixon Dinners", and you can read the whole thing by clicking here, and you can even see the link for the first day of Pensacola.

56... The Saints Win the Super Bowl
Growing up, the New Orleans Saints were always a joke.  It took them several decades to even make the playoffs, much less win a playoff game, and though they had some random flashes of brilliance here and there, mostly... well, they just sucked.

But in the last five or six years, they have begun to become a real franchise.  With the 2006 addition of Drew Brees (who left San Diego after being replaced by Philip Rivers, who does not have a ring), plus key players and a solid coaching staff not including anyone named Ditka, it came together... they did have two straight disappointing seasons in 2007 and 2008, going 7-9 and 8-8 respectively, but made the NFC title game a season later.  And in the 2009 season, they began to roll... and roll they did, into the playoffs, into January 2010.

And after a thrilling overtime win over the Vikings (Favre threw a pick to end the game... surprising), they ended up embarrassing the heavily favored Indy Colts, winning 31-17.  Of course, this was the first Super Bowl in over 20 years that I did not see at least a little bit of--myself and The Lovely Steph Leann were in the backseat of a car, riding with Snow White and her friend, Sidekick Sarah, but we'll get to that later in the 2010 list. 

So, the Saints won the Super Bowl.  It was like the Falcons making the Super Bowl in the late 90s... just strange.

55... Marky Mark Throws Punches
Here's one I didn't think I'd like as much as I did.   Mark Wahlberg stars as Micky Ward, a local boxer from Lowell, Massachussetts, who is managed by his mom, Alice (Melissa Leo) and is sort of trained by his troubled, alcoholic, addict brother Dicky (Christian Bale).

Marky Mark talks to my Hollywood Girlfriend
Micky is considered a "stepping stone" boxer, one who is used to help elevate other boxers, and its proven when he's destroyed by a mismatch that he never should have faced.  He meets Charlene (Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with) and his life begins to turn around.   Things get worse before they get better, though, as Micky sees his beloved brother Dicky screw up over and over, until he finally has to wash his hands of Dicky, while his overbearing mom blames Charlene for their family troubles, as do his seven sisters--in one hilarious scene, Charlene takes them all on in a fight on the porch.

The movie is extremely well-acted, and when it was over, I was pretty sure that Christian Bale would not only be nominated for an Oscar for his Dicky Ward portrayal, I was fairly sure he'd win it--he was and he did.  Mark Wahlburg is probably the least talented of the group of actors he's surrounded by, and he still gives a great performance as Micky, and of course, my eyes were locked on Amy Adams (whom I'm in love with) every time she was on the screen.  She ended up with an Oscar nom of his own (she lost to Melissa Leo, and although I wanted Amy Adams--whom I'm in love with--to win, I was satisfied with it) and did her part perfectly.

I loved this film, and as the years go by, I hope it gains stature and more acclaim.   Does have lots of Boston accent language, with lots of F-words being tossed around, boxing violence along with some real world violence, and a make out scene that features Amy Adams (whom I'm in love with) in some tight shorts and her underthings. 

54... The Good Guys Take on the Bad Guys
When its all said and done, Survivor will go down as one of my top ten, maybe even top five favorite series ever, be it scripted or reality.  And its seasons like the on that aired in the spring of 2010, "Heroes vs. Villians", the 20th season of the show, that makes me love this show so much.

They had brought back previous contestants before, like "All Stars" in Season 8 and some seasons where one or two contestants had a second chance, but this time, they did a great job selecting "Heroes", those players who seemed to really play an outstanding game with integrity--Stephenie, JT, Cirie--and "Villians", those who lied and clawed their way through the game--Jerri, Coach, Randy--and most notably, featured the first match-up between Boston Rob and Russell Heinz, who should have won the year before in Samoa.  Rob was ousted halfway through the game, while Russell made it to the top three.

Now, as much as I loved this season, the reason it doesn't rank higher is that the eventually winner, Sandra, was a prime example of  "riding coattails" and "ticked off the least amount of people".  Some will argue that Russell was robbed the previous year (he was) and also should have won "Heroes vs. Villians" (he shouldn't have )... Parvati should have taken this season, but played the season so well she was disliked by everyone, mostly because everyone was voted off directly and indirectly at Parvati's command.  That's how you play Survivor.

53... Mickey Warms My Hands
We went to The Most Magical Place on Earth in December (you'll hear about that later) and was able to meet up with one of my very favorite people in the whole world, Melanie (you'll hear about her later).  She and her family (again, later), and myself and The Lovely Steph Leann enjoy good food, good rides and good shows, but braved the winter in Florida. 

The "winter" in Florida is more of a "kinda cool", especially when compared to the rest of the country, but nonetheless, it was cold.  And I finally had to break down and buy some gloves.  Gloves are a tricky thing, really, because though they work well when driving, using my hands for writing or texting or any other thing that includes opposible thumbs sometimes comes across difficult.  Which is why when I saw the Disney gloves I am referring to on the shelf, I wanted them. 

And they are the best gloves I've ever owned.  Love them.

52... A Cap Gets Popped
Thank you, Melanie.  You rule.
I'm a ballcap guy.  I don't wear caps much when my hair is short, or when I am wearing my glasses (I think I look uberdorky with glasses and a cap), but sometimes, I love just tossing one of my many beloved caps on my wet, fresh outta the shower head and going.

I have three caps that I wear on a rotating basis... one is a grey Florida Gators hat I bought some years ago, right after they won the championship.  Go Gators.  Another is a khaki hat with a Mickey silhouette in the corner.  Goes well with most things I wear.  And finally, there is the one that Melanie brought back to me after she went to Disney for a few days.

And its my favorite hat. 

51... Bad Movies Get Props
In one of the trips to Pensacola I went on, we stopped at a random Barnes & Noble for The Lovely Steph Leann to get her some reading materials... she usually heads for The Romance Section, and I make my way through the bargain aisle, glancing to and fro, left and right in case something catches my eye, then end up in the Film/TV/Entertainment section.  I will pick up a random book or two and read a page or two, sometimes about Molly Ringwald and the Breakfast Club, sometimes about 1001 Movies I Gotta See Before I Die, sometimes about American Idol, sometimes about Dreamworks SKG...

And every now and again, I'll pick up a book and flip through it and read a page.  And then another.  And then another.  And  then another, until I'm sitting on the floor reading the book from the beginning until time to go.  And this time, I did just that, picking up "Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies" by Michael Adams.  Subtitled "A film critic's year long quest to find the worst movie ever made", it is exactly what it says it is.

A few years ago, the author Adams spent an evening watching the horrific Hilary Duff movie "Material Girls", and after avoiding gouging his eyes out, surfed on IMDB for some information.  He was surprised to find it, at least at the time, to be #1 on IMDB's Bottom 100 Movies, the 100 movies that fans gave the lowest ranking possible on the movie website.  He figured as bad as it was, it couldn't have been the worst movie of all time... could it?  Only one way to find out.

He then devoted the next year of his life, starting the following January, to watch horrible movies all year long to determine the worst movie ever made.  He ends up spending thousands of dollars on Amazon to get such movies to watch, and chapter by chapter, catagorized by month, he watches and details the worst of the worst.  At the end of every monthly chapter, he lists the worst seen that month, then the actual worst of the month... starting in January, and going through December, those are as follows:  "Search for the Beast" (January)... "The Guy from Harlem" (February)... "Superbabies" (March)... "Manos: Hands of Fate" and "Police Academy: Mission to Moscow" (tie for April)... "Grad Night" and "Da Hip Hop Witch" (May)... "Narcosys" (June)... "Hollywood High Part II" (July)... "Green River Killer" (August, and notable because Adams declares this film's director, Ulli Lommel, the worst director ever)... "Black Devil Doll From Hell" (September, a film so obscure that there isn't even any cover art in IMDB)... "The Corpse Grinders II" and "Mark of the Astro-Zombies" (October)... "Big Sister 2000" and "Toad Warrior" (November)... and in December, "Dark Harvest 2: The Maize"

And yes, one of those movies was considered by Adams as "The Worst Movie Ever".  The beauty of this book is that he knows these movies are bad, he never tries to defend their worth, but yet, still revels in the awfulness of them.  He cracks wise and jokes all the way through it, many times with a "I cannot fathom how terrible this is" tone, and he goes after more recent and familiar fare too, like "It's Pat" and of course, "Showgirls".   

 I'm not a guy who watched a ton of cult classics and obscure films and such, so I hadn't seen most of those movies... though I did come across "Manos: Hands of Fate" online, and yes, its bad.   This book is an easy, entertaining read, giving you the reviews of these films so you don't have to watch them.  I loved this book.

Coming up... training a dragon... engagements abound... and what Christians like... and later, a gritty book becomes a gritty novel

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Idol X Championship

Okay, so we missed the performances... they were Tuesday night, airing about the time The Lovely Steph Leann and I were flying over Texas, then Mississippi, flying into Birmingham later in the evening.  It sat on our DVR all day today while she was at work and I was slingin' coffee.  And it sits on our DVR now, as we watch the DVR's finale of Celebrity Apprentice... I'm watching Marlee Matlin and John Rich duke it out, and as much as I enjoy this show, this is actually the first time I've ever watched the finale of Celebrity Apprentice all the way through to its conclusion.  I found out Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers and Bret Michaels were winners the day after... but I just saw John Rich (of "Big &...") take the crown.  Marlee Matlin didn't hear a thing.

Anyway, its time to watch some Idol... some American Idol... We'll get through the performances first, I believe three per Idol, then we'll get through the 2 hour finale in about 30 minutes (there is a lot of fast forwarding that will happen...)

(but before I get to the Idol shows, let me give you the scene... The Lovely Steph Leann watched both shows back to back earlier tonight.  I left The Cabana and headed over to the studio to record The Deucecast Ep VIII: Dead Man's Podcast, available for download on iTunes on Friday.  I got home and she was still zipping through the show, so I ran upstairs to sort laundry while she finished.  The show ended for her, I came back, she left me and went upstairs to bed, and I am now watching the ending to the very underrated, excellent "State of Play"... so as soon as this movie is finished, I'll start the Idols.)




We open the show with a video of an 8 year old Carrie Underwood, then smashcut to her winning a few years back.  The we see a similar video of David Cook as a youth, then see him winning.  Then we see videos of young Deep Voiced Scotty and America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina singing, then their auditions, then them now... I can see the comparisons between Carrie and America's Darlin' (and by comparison, I mean, they are both country chicks--I am in no way saying that America's Darlin' is anywhere near Carrie Underwood) but David Cook and Deep Voiced Scotty?  Not seeing it. 

Here are the judges, and here comes Seacrusty to tell us how important tonight is... which is a waste of time, really, because unless you just watching this show tonight for the first time, you know how important tonight is to the show--and who is going to pick the penultimate show of the Idol season to pick it up for the first time?

Rumors hit the interweb that America's Darlin's Lauren Alaina had strained one of her vocal cords, and apparently, My Next American Idol Haley Hotness was on standby, though if she were able to compete, and then won the show, how big of an asterisk would that have been? 

Each will sing three songs tonight


Deep Voiced Scotty picks up the first song, with Montgomery Gentry's "Gone", done earlier this season.  I always felt bad for Montgomery Gentry, a duo who's heyday was in the 90s and early 2000s, and every year, they lost the "Duo of the Year" award at the ACMs and CMAs to Brooks and Dunn, who won like, 40 of them.  And now that Brooks and Dunn have broken up, it would be Montgomery Gentry's time... except, their time is... well, "Gone". 


Eh, song was good. It was Deep Voiced Scotty. 

Up next is America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina, singing Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor".  Not only does she almost do a Dr. Richard Kimble Dam Dive off the top step with a stumble (she catches herself), you can tell her voice is struggling to keep its tone.   Not bad.  Deep Voiced Scotty was better.

Judges remain quiet.


Deep Voiced Scotty's Idol?  George Strait, who picked "Check Yes or No" as the song to sing.  Love it.  This is a great song, its cute, its fun and its perfect for our Idol Country Guy.  

Without the judges yapping and telling how how J-Lo loved it, and Randy the Dawg declaring that everyone is In It To Win It Dawg!!, this is going quite fast...

America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina's Idol is... Carrie Underwood.  If someone had told me when I started this post that the over/under on how many times I'll mention Carrie Underwood would be around 3,788, I would have laughed, but not anymore.  Seriously.

She's singing "Maybe It Was Memphis", from Pam Tillis, one of my Top Ten Favorite Country Songs of All Time.  This song is perfect for America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina, and I know every word of it, and I'm actually singing along.  This song is awesome!

Love it!  I have Pam Tillis' Greatest Hits on cassette...

She does, however, lose awesome points from that dress.  Only 7 swans and 3 labradoodles were injured in the making of that outfit.  Nevertheless, she jumps to the top of the music leaderboard.

Ah... now Seacrusty goes to the judges.... Randy the Dawg tells us that we chose these two (thanks Randy the Dawg!), and how even this is... he awards Round One to Deep Voiced Scotty, but Round Two to America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina.  J-Lo loved it.  All of it.  Every bit of it.   She agrees with Randy the Dawg on the Round Winners.  She must have also known we went to Disneyland this weekend, and in our honor, stole Ariel's dress. 

You should play a drinking game and go back and read the Idols posts from this year--take a shot of Jaeger every time I type "J-Lo loved it".  You'd be a full fledged alcoholic by Week 9, in a 12 step program by Week 6 and by the time you read last week's recaps, you'd be awaiting a liver transplant and Seattle Grace Mercy West because yours was so ravaged by the poison.  Just sayin'.

Crazy Creepy Uncle Steven Tyler awards both rounds to America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina, because "she's prettier than you are..."  Love the brilliance in judgement.

Taio Cruz singing the winning song in some competition that I ignored partly because of the debacle that produced the crap song "This is My Now" from a few years back, a contest they dropped altogether until this year.  Fast stinkin' forward.


This is the single that will be released if they win, a song that will launch the career of the Idol winner... and for Deep Voiced Scotty?  Its a song called "I Love You This Big", which would be perfect if...

...if you were singing out of a KID'S BOOK IN THE BARNES & NOBLE CHILDREN'S SECTION!!!

"I Love You This Big"?  What a horrible name for a song!  What a terrible name for a song!  This is a horrible song.  Like, this song sucks.  Now, granted, Deep Voiced Scotty is doing what he can with the materials given--he's singing it well... its just a crappy song.  Who writes these things?  Taio Cruz should have handed that other song over to Deep Voiced Scotty.

Its a passable single, but I hope he has better stuff on any album he has coming up.

Randy the Dawg is marveling at the song and Deep Voiced Scotty.   By the way, in that Jaeger challenge a few paragraphs back, take out the phrase "J-Lo loved it" and insert the phrase "Randy the Dawg just declared ____ IN IT TO WIN IT", and you have the same effect.  Back to Deep Voiced Scotty's song, J-Lo loved it.  Take a shot.  And Uncle Steven Tyler thought it was cool.

And finally, the last real performance of the season, America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina, who is singing "Like My Mother Does", a song that... well, sucks.  Can the Idol Writers not give the Idols a song faster than 2 beats per measure?  Does every original song have to be a stinkin' ballad? 

Kate Ward from EW says it best:  "Its bad enough that the producers handed America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina a number that would appeal to every speed-dialing mother and grandmother out there, but to choreograph a hug between Lauren and her mom?  I haven't felt this manipulated since Pepsi lured me into drinking the diesel-flavored Pepsi Spice through adorable holiday imagery!  Had the moment been impromptu, it would have been sweet and tear-worthy... but the produceers did not even try to hide the fact that it was planned.  By allowing Seacrusty to escort America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina to her mother's seat, Idol proved that America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina was the series' golden child.  Honestly, why even have a show tomorrow?"

The judges just went nuts--Randy the Dawg yelled and declared her the winner, while J-Lo loved it (take a shot!) and Steven Tyler raved.  They all three gave Round Three to America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina.


My Rank of Performances:
1) "Maybe It Was Memphis" -- America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina
2) "Check Yes or No" -- Deep Voiced Scotty
3) "Gone" -- Deep Voiced Scotty
4) "Flat on the Floor" --America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina
9-tie) "I Love You This Big" -- Deep Voiced Scotty
9-tie) "Like My Mother Does" -- America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina

Part of me wants to Deep Voiced Scotty to win if only because his unbearable single is a little more bearable than America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina's unbearable single...



The required video showing all 4 billion people who tried out, and our 2 that remain, plus quick clips of last nights (or earlier tonight) performances...

Just because she hasn't been mentioned in weeks, its
Pickles!  She said she loved both Idols, but she was
supporting Scotty...
Seacrusty opens the show, telling us all of the performances that will probably be fast forwarded tonight.  Get ready.  Seacrusty then tells us that last night, there was a record setting 300 billion votes, and over the season, there have been something like 45 cowellzillion votes--so many votes, they actually had to make up a name for the number.

Actually, the number he quoted was three-quarters of a billion, and then he tells us that is about 2 votes for every person living in America... and I love the fact that like, four people clapped.  Seeing his stat tanked, he calls for the fans of each Idol to give it up, and they do.  The judges are introduced, and now, here is America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina and Deep Voiced Scotty McCreery!

All of the Idols come back to perform Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"... is it bad that I don't remember some of these people?  Fast forward.

Commercial break.  Fast forward.

I'm sure that The Straight Adam Lambert is thinking it is awesome that he's performing with rockers Judas Priest, but I don't know if he knows that somewhere in this world, the surviving members of Freddie Mercury's estate just realized what happened to that studded, chain filled outfit that Freddie used to wear to the gay clubs, and was mysteriously lost.  Fast forward.

Funny video highlighting Randy the Dawg and the fact that his vocabulary stretches to about 30 words in its entirety, including the words, "Yo", "What's happening in here" and "In it to win it!". 

The Soulful Jacob Lusk and Kirk Frankiln now come out, which explains The Lovely Steph Leann's text from earlier:  "What gospel singer would you want to see perform on Idol?" 

Funny thing about Kirk Franklin--and I'm not knocking the guy, I think he's awesome, and I've even seen him in concert--but he's like the P. Diddy (Puff Daddy?  P. Diddy Money?  Diddy Kong?  Sean Hall?) of the gospel scene... he never sings, he just says random phrases like, "Come on Lord help me!" and "I know you feeling it right now!" and "Whatchoo say" and "Whatchoo say" and "Throw yo hands up whatchoo say". 

Gladys Knight, sans any Pips, just came out and added to the song, and to be honest, I actually enjoyed that. 

Commercial!  Fast forward.

We're back, and its The Eliminated Casey A, singing "Fat Bottomed Girls"!  Speaking of Queen... ha!  And who is with him?  Jack Black!  What... what?  Awesome.

Even without The Eliminated Casey A and Jack Black, this song is just so great, I don't care how mysoginistic it sounds.  And this version?  Fantastic.  Loved it.  This might be the best song of the season... and I mean, the whole season.   If anything, I think The Eliminated Casey A is having more fun than he's had this entire show, and maybe than anyone has on this show this year.

All the eliminated chicks from Idol are doing "Put a Ring on It" .  Fast forward until Beyonce actually comes out, in which they do "Crazy In Love", which I completely dig, as its my favorite B song.  Even Naokeem Arakpo can't ruin this. 

Commercial Break.  Fast forward.

Back, and now we see a Steven Tyler video.  Lots of bleeps and blanked out gestures, random words put together that make no sense, and lots of "if that wasn't Steven Tyler saying it, we'd be sued for sexual harassment" moments.

Interesting.  Tony Bennett singing with My Next American Idol Haley Hotness, who looks ravishing in her silver dress.  And give it up, she's holding her own with Tony Bennett.  That is a moment.

Another video, this time focusing on J-Lo, with lots of clips of guys who are all about some Jennifer Lopez.  Lots and lots of crushes.  Plus, the infamous too-short dress shot.  And The Lucky Casey A giving J-Lo a smooch on the cheek. 

Another performance featuring the eliminated ladies of Idol, with Lil Jon (that makes TWO reality shows that I've seen him on in the same day... odds on that?  40,000:1 before today) and... TLC?  What?  Actually, they are only TC, and L died a few years ago.  So, we get a smattering of TLC hits like "Scrubs" and one of The Lovely Steph Leann's favorite tunes, "Waterfalls".  Fast forward. 

Deep Voiced Scotty and Tim McGraw.  This has to be a seminal moment for Scotty McCreery--I mean, Tim McGraw?  With "Live Like You Were Dying", a song that I truly enjoy.  So, no fast forwarding.  I almost feel like Tim came on the show because Kris Allen had "Live Like Your Dying" last year, and Tim wanted to show American Idol that "This is how you sing a life perspective song... I went skyyyyy diving... I went rocky mountain climbing..."

No lie, for the longest time, I thought he went 2.7 seconds and grew a fu manchu.  I never understood what the 2.7 seconds had to do with a terrible mustache until one day it just finally clicked.  Thanks EZLyrics online! 

Good performance.

Commerical.  Fast forward.

So far, I've pretty much enjoyed several of the musical performances tonight... and now, we see a video of bad performances, bad moves and pratfalls from this past season...

Mark Anthony practically making out with wife J-Lo onstage.  Fast forward.

And another video, this time an entertaining one featuring the Idols discussing being eliminated.  The Eliminated Casey A, Blinky James and Stefano Italiano are hilarious, poking fun at one another.  The Peepee Tuscany shows up, wearing a sash that says, "Most Shocking", which actually brings an audible laughter out of me.

Tom Jones with a blank stare... because that is just
about all he can do

And now, the Idols guys song.  Stefano Italiano butchering "Kiss" by Prince, a classic.  How dare you.  Fast forward as I realize its a Tom Jones medley--"Delilah", "Green Green Grass of Home", "Love Me Tonight", "What's New Pussycat" and others. 

Here comes Tom Jones himself, looking like he got the Kenny Rogers Botox--meaning only the bottom part of your face is capable of moving, with everything from mid-cheek up frozen as if its carbonite. 
Commercial break--fast forward.

Ford Music Video--fast foward.

Deep Voiced Scotty and America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina handing keys to a couple of chicks that I am sure I would know who they are if I had watched the previous video... and then, Seacrusty tells the Idols they have been awarded any Ford vehicle they choose.

Now, Lady Gaga--fast forward.

Is this Princess Amidala... or Lady Gaga?
YOU be the judge
I feel like I would enjoy Gaga's warddrobe more if Princess Amidala hadn't done it already in the Star Wars prequels.  Just sayin'.

Commercial break--fast forward.

Back, with America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina singing... you guessed it, Carrie Underwood.  Its "Before He Cheats", a song that The Lovely Steph Leann loves so much its kinda scary.  Like, I can imaging her dragging her keys down my pretty little souped up Kia Soul...  anyway, here comes Carrie Underwood.  Fast forward.

Funny video with the eliminated Idols making fun of how young Deep Voiced Scotty and America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina are. 

And now, debuting her new single, Beyonce!  Fast forward!

Commercial break.  Fast forward.

The end is near, I feel it.

So, now we have some guy singing a song from the Broadway musical "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark", featuring the song's composers, Bono and The Edge.  With this musical being so panned, being a financial disaster and having nothing but problems, I wouldn't have picked this show to be featured.  On a funnier note, can you imagine hanging out with The Edge?  "Hey, The Edge, where do you want to eat lunch?" or "Where is the remote?  Oh, The Edge, its by you..." or "Can you pass the collard greens, The Edge?"  Love it.

Fast forward through that song and the commercial to follow.

Steven Tyler's song was about to get a fast forward, until I realized it's "Dream On"... though its kinda amusing, and in some ways sad, at how old he sounds... "eery tyy.. i look an a meeee urrr... passss gaaa cleaaaahhh..." 

I imagine this exchange with the producers:

Producer 1:  We need to get Steven to sing a song
Producer 2:  I'll bet he will want to sing that new crap he just put out
Producer 1:  Tell him no way.  He sings "Sweet Emotion" or "Dream On" or even "Walk This Way"
Producer 2:  What if he wants to do a medley of an old song and his new crap?
Producer 1:  Nope.  He gets one minute. 

And he got about one minute for "Dream On"... though it might be that his voice couldn't hold up...

Commercial break... fast forward.

And so now, the next American Idol.  Deep Voiced Scotty stares intently, while America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina looks as if she's about to pass out.

Seacrusty asks for the final dimming of the lights...

And your winner is...

Scotty McCreery, who keels over with his face scrunched up as he fights back tears.  Surprisingly enough, America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina looks perfectly content with it, like she's just glad its over. 

Its been a great season, about 4000% better than last season that gave us Lee DeWyze winning over Crystal Bowersox... the talent pool ran much deeper, and by the last half of the season, I could have seen Blinky James, or Casey Abrams, of course Lauren or even Haley Reinhart winning it... and whats more, I liked most of them.  When it got down to the final six or so, I didn't want any of them eliminated, because I liked them all too much...

But all in all, America made the right choice, and I have contended all season that country music will embrace him fully, in the way that they embraced Carrie... he probably won't have the kind of success that Carrie has had, but if he has the kind of success that Dierks Bentley or even Blake Shelton had, then he will do alright for himself.

And... well, thats that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And Then There Were Two Idols

Deep Voiced Scotty McCreery... America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina... Haley "The Cute/Hotness" Reinhart...

One of these three will be Your Next American Idol.  One of these three will become the next in a list of names that you may or may not remember in a few years (Kelly!  Carrie!  Lee?).  One of these three will be holding the Idol trophy high, the other two will become afterthoughts...



Its a two hour show tonight, but I'm going to try to zip through it in an hour or so... tonight, the first song is Idols choice... the second song is Jimmy Iovine's choice... the third and final song is Judges choice.

The mentor tonight is Beyonce, who they tell us had hit after hit in Destiny's Child, though they mysteriously leave out the part where they randomly fired members, backstabbed each other and split almost to the point of not talking to each other.

Personally, I kinda think many of Beyonce's songs sorta kinda sound alike, though I do love her collaboration with hubby Jay-Z on "Crazy in Love"...


Beyonce will be listening to the personal picks for each Idol, and first up, its Deep Voiced Scotty, who will be singing "Amazed" by Lone Star.

Its standard Scotty the Body, leaning on a piano, giving us the googly eyes, and singing well.   Because its not only a total of six songs by three Idols, its also a TWO HOUR SHOW, which means they can sing like, four minutes of each song.  Actually, total it up, and that's 20 minutes per song, with commercials.  Seriously, FOX, can you make this a little shorter? Some of us have to pack for Disneyland. 

Crazy Creepy Uncle Steven says it was beautiful.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg, after self-congratulating himself on his own accomplishments and name dropping (Boyz II Men!), tells him its "money".

America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina
America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina is singing "Wild One" by Faith Hill, a great song choice for her.  She looks like she wrapped her head in a lei, and when she removed it, some flowers still clung to her face for survival.  Still looks cute, though.

J-Lo loved it.  Uncle Steven Tyler said it was beautiful.  Randy the Dawg name drops (Beyonce!) and then tells her she was fearless.

And now for something really different, Haley Hotness is doing a Led Zeppelin song, "What Is and What Should Never Be", a song I've never heard in my whole life, but as someone who doesn't care for Zeppelin or Robert Plant, I prefer Haley's version after the first few notes.  

And she does awesome.. even after she FREAKIN' FELL DOWN!!!  ("I just wanted to die for her" says The Lovely Steph Leann)... she even gets her dad onstage to help perform!

Randy the Dawg declares Haley is in it to win it.  Uncle Steven Tyler says, "its not how many times you fall, its how many times you get back up!"  He loved it.  J-Lo loved it, too.

Randy the Dawg says that Round One to Haley Hotness... Steven Tyler said Haley "got her freak on", and took Round One.  J-Lo shows love to Haley and gives Round One to her as well. 

What can I say... they all FELL for Haley.  HA!


Producer Jimmy Iovine has picked Thompson Square's new single "Are You Going to Kiss Me" for Deep Voiced Scotty... and its another good choice for our country crooner.  Strumming and plunking that gii-tar, he nails the song like you knew he would.  If anything, he's been the most reliable of all Idols this year, if not in the last few years. 

I'm fairly certain Scotty the Body is the favorite to win this whole shabang.

Steven Tyler thought it was beautiful.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg says "Jennifer would kiss you!" and Deep Voice Scotty, who replies, "Well, hey"... then Randy the Dawg name drops (Garth!) and declares him "in it to win it!"

And as we see backstage, we see someone with a sucky job pasting "glimmer" onto America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina's legs, because "my panty hose ripped".  We cut back to the audition days when America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina was simply Lauren Alaina, and her tears because she was headed to Hollywood, and then brings in her family.

Producer Extra-ordinaire Jimmy Iovine has chosen "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry.   The panty-hose-less America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina takes the stage and I gotta say... she is finally wearing a skirt that flatters the junk in her trunk.  Its not something I'd be too happy to see Lorelei Addison wear, but I guess I'll deal with that in 2027 or so.

Good song.  Really good song.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg thought it was great.   Steven Tyler calls it beautiful.  Seacrusty addresses America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina's Mom, asking her what it is like as a parent watching her kid sing... she says, "I feel like I've aged 20 years..." which pretty much says she feels like she's 31 years old.

Now, its My Next American Idol Haley Hotness, who did audition before--by the way, you can re-audition again and again until you make the Top 24, I believe, then you are done. 

Jimmy Iovine picks a classic song for Haley Hotness, that being "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac, led by vocals from Stevie Nicks.  Haley Hotness slows it down a bit, and though its not a perfect arrangement, she makes it work.  I love this kid!

Second verse, it becomes the song I recognize... and there's a wind machine and fog machine, both working in tandem... I'd vote for that alone, methinks. 

Randy the Dawg pokes fun at her for "looking up", though it looked to me like she was doing that "staring into space, focused into the song".   Steven Tyler thought it was beautiful.  J-Lo loved it.

Who won Round Two?  Steven Tyler picks America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina.  J-Lo picks Deep Voiced Scotty, as does Randy the Dawg.

And I think they just showed Beyonce's new video, but I just fast forwarded right through it...


So they pick... Kenny Rogers?  "She Believes in Me"?  Really?  That's a classic that my mama loves.  Interesting.


Deep Voiced Scotty the Body
Yes, Scotty the Body sang it well, cause he always does, but I found myself surfing the pages of eWrestling.com to find out the latest Smackdown news during that song, because I wasn't interested. 

Steven Tyler says it was over the top.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg says it was nice and tender.  Pappa Daddy the Body is given a mic, and tells how proud they all are of their kid. 

So, last night I was working on The Deucecast Ep VII: Curse of the Black Podcast (subscribe on iTunes!) at Deucecast One Studios during Idol's original airing, and around 845, I get a text from The Lovely Steph Leann that says: "LAUREN'S THIRD SONG... REALLY?   SERIOUSLY?  REALLY?"   When I saw her some three hours later, I asked her, though I knew the answer to the question, "What song was it?"

It was "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack.  Oh em gee does she hate this song.  Like, if I played this at her funeral, she would likely get up out of the coffin, walk over, smack me for playing it, smack me again for making her get up from the most peaceful sleep she's had in a while, then lay back down again.  T'would be a shocking, yet predictable moment.

J-Lo loved it, saying it gave her "goosies" (the song, not the idea of The Lovely Steph Leann rising from the dead, though that might promote "goosies" too).  Randy the Dawg name drops (Lee Ann Womack, my friend!) and loved the song.  Steven Tyler loved it and said it was beautiful.  

EW said that her dress looks like America's Darlin Lauren Alaina is going to the Enchantement Under the Sea dance.

And finally, the judges choice for My Next American Idol Haley Hotness, and she'll be doing Alanis Morissette's legendary "You Oughta Know", though I'm curious what Idol will do with that activity in a theater as decribed by the song...

"...would you go out with you in a theater..."

And there's the answer.

She then sings about "scratching my nails down someone else's back" while looking at Randy the Dawg.  I threw up in my mouth.  But the song performance rulez.  Fan-freakin'-tastic.

Randy the Dawg thought Haley Hotness was IN IT TO WIN IT!  Steven Tyler said it was perfect.  And beautiful.  J-Lo loved it. 

So, who won Round Three?   Steven Tyler says it was My Next American Idol Haley Hotness... J-Lo says America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina... and Randy the Dawg also goes with America's Darlin. 

My Next American Idol Haley Hotness' "What Is and What Should Never Be"... America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina's "If I Die Young"... My Next American Idol Haley Hotness' "You Oughta Know"... My Next American  Idol Haley Hotness' "Rhiannon"... Deep Voiced Scotty's "Are You Going to Kiss Me"... America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina's "Wild One"... Deep Voiced Scotty's "Amazed"... Deep Voiced Scotty's "She Believes In Me".


Clips of last night, showing Scotty the Body... America's Darlin Lauren Alaina... and My Next American Idol Haley Hotness... its time to take it to two.  Its time to send one more home.  Its time to set up the Idol Championship.  Lee DeWyze has the championship belt, but will be giving it over soon... who wants it?  Who will take it?  WHO IS IN IT TO WIN IT???



The judges come out, Seacrusty welcomes us, and we see former Idols like The Eliminated Casey A and Stefano Italiano in the audience.  Seacrusty tells us that over 95 trillion votes came in last night, the largest total in a non-Idol final.

And I'm ready to fast forward through an awful lot... it took just over an hour to get through the two hour performance show... it should take about 15 minutes for the hour long results show.  

Random video of JJ Abrams meeting the Top Four Idols, Blinky James included, as he shows off scenes from the upcoming movie called "Super 8", which looks kinda cool and fun. 

We see the two minute trailer we've seen before... and The Lovely Steph Leann and I both agree that we hope the Idols were shown more than that... and JJ gives them all Super 8 cameras of their very own. 

Elle Fanning talks to Seacrusty, and giggles and heaved, giving Deep Voiced Scotty some props. 

In this photo, she's only Haley Cuteness.  I'm
not sure when she morphed into Haley
Hotness... but doesn't matter now, does it?
Now we see video of Haley Hotness heading home, back to Chicago.   On a rainy day, she is mobbed by the crowd, saying "Holy schnikes!" at the people.  They declare May 14th as "d$'s Next American Idol Haley Hotness Day", which was kinda fun.

The Lovely Steph Leann notes that they are playing Lady Antebellum during the video, I note that there is a huge sweat ring around the pits of the principal in the Wheeling High School gym.

Commercial Break.  Fast Forward.

Ford Music Video.  Fast Forward.

Seacrusty has said the name of the band onstag four times and I still don't know it.  El Pollo?  El Paco?  The Lovely Steph Leann says, "El Scaro?  El Parko?  El Fast Forwardo?"  Hint taken.

Commercial Break.  Fast Forward.

Deep Voiced Scotty is going home to North Carolina now, in the video.

Me:  Did that chick just have on a shirt saying "Scotty's Hotties"?
The Lovely Steph Leann:  Yep.  Yep it did.

Deep Voiced Scotty was known for singing "Your Man", and the original artist, Josh Turner, surprises him onstage.  Hilarious reaction.

Now, its Nicole Schmuartiaosozo and Fifty Cent doing their new song.  Fast Forward.

The Lovely Steph Leann:  Can you believe there are people who want this music?  Seriously?

America's Darlin Lauren Alaina heads home in our next video, getting her own "America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina Day" on May 14th.   She also acknowledges the tornado damage in the South, including what it did to her own hometown area.  Cue sad Martina McBride song that actually says, "You can spend your whole life building something for nothing, and a storm can come and blow it all away..." 

Massive crowd and parade for America's Darlin Lauren Alaina, and she gets onstage and performs a little too.

Seacrusty says, "We are both proud Georgians... so shout out to them, huh?"

Now!  RESULTS!  Dim the dadgum lights!

After the break.  Fast Forward.

Now, the real results.  Again... after 156 quadrillion votes, the first person in the finals is... Deep Voiced Scotty.  I said it before Seacrusty could even get it out.   He goes and sits in the Golden Stools of I Freakin' Rock.

The person who will lose compete against Deep Voiced Scotty next week is... America's Darlin Lauren Alaina... and Haley Hotness has this "Seriously?  I'm better than both of them!" look on her face, but she smiles anyway.

Join us next week for the finals of Nashville's Country Star American Idol!!!

My Sad Little Blog

I am saddened.

I am saddened because the last two weeks have been so busy, that I can't blog.

I am saddened because tomorrow, I'll be out of pocket for a few days, and won't be able to blog.

I am saddened because I scrolled down the website page, and the last three or four entries are just Idol blogs. 

I am saddened because there is so much to spill, mucho stuff to discuss and tell you, my dear coffee drinkers, and lists to finish (2010's Top 100, anyone?) and more lists to finish (my Dave100 has become a Dave300 but it might as well be a Dave3 because of all the work I've put into writing the darn thing) and more stories to tell (I'm only on Day Two of a ten day Disney trip, including a pin event, a trek through Africa and a visit to Harry Potter!).

I am saddened because when I do get home, sometimes I just want to watch "Erin Brockovich" and play Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, or fold laundry while I listen to The Adam Carolla Podcast or whatever. 

So... here's my thinking...

A few months back, I thought about doing something every day... a blog about something, be it movies, or a slice of life, or a pic or a video or whatever, just something every day... then I read this blog advice story that said that it is bad to post something every day, because stuff gets lost and people won't read it...

However comma

Its been so scarce in the last several months, I think I'm willing to take that chance.

So... starting the Tuesday after Memorial Day, May 31 and running through late August, I'm going to do 90 Days of Coffee... a new post Monday through Friday, and one on the weekends (your weekend coffee).  One after another, sometimes large, sometimes not.  Sometimes it will be something from another place, sometimes just a video or whatever.

Because I just don't want to be another blogging casualty!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Idol Final Four

I like how every week, we do this whole montage of how many people tried out, and how many people made the second round, and now here we are with the remaining number of Idols and so on and so on.   This week we get a montage of those Idols who made the Final Three, like Carrie and The Widower Danny Gokey (last night about 702p, I heard a shriek of joy and thought it sounded like a distant cry of Cindy Jo, and I guess I was right) and Young Archuleta and Dave Cook and so on.  Fitting, because tonight, our Final Four will try their dadgummest to make the Final Three...





There are two rounds tonight, the first being "Songs that Inspire You", and the second being songs written by another famous duo that I had to think about before I realized I had heard of them--Leiber and Stoller.  Seacrusty tells us that a mentor tonight is a modern legend, that being Lady Gaga.  She's pretty big right about now, but I don't know that "legend" would be the word I would use. 

The Straight Adam Lambert, Haley Cuteness, Deep Voiced Scotty and America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina all make their way out, and in just two weeks, one of these four will be Our Next American Idol.

The Straight Adam Lambert comes up first, and his inspirational song is "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey... can I just tell you that without Glee, this song would be just the favorite Journey song of most people, and probably one of the top two or three songs purchased by Journey on iTunes.  But when Glee tackled this song, not only did it make Glee relevant, it brought Journey back to the forefront, and suddenly people who had never heard of Journey are suddenly Journey fans all the way around.  My personal favorite is "Separate Ways", but this is good too.

And The Straight Adam Lambert does really well with it.  Randy the Dawg loves the song, especially because he used to play with Journey.  And The Straight Adam Lambert is even wearing a Journey shirt!  J-Lo loved it, Crazy Creepy Uncle Steven Tyler thought it was beautiful.

Next is Haley Cuteness, with a Michael Jackson song.  Now she's not doing "Man in the Mirror" nor "Heal the World" nor "My Childhood" (which is good because I am tired of the first one, and can't stand the latter two)... no, instead she's doing "Earth Song", which is another song by MJ I'm not a fan of--but guess what?  Haley Cuteness made me like it, and she even growls like MJ does at the end, back when he was alive and all.

J-Lo didn't love it.  She should have.  Randy the Dawg didn't love it... he does this whole "I'm confused about who you are..."  I mean, Double-U Tee Eff, Randy Jackson... The Straight Adam Lambert screeches every week and gets lauded, Haley Cuteness does it better and gets picked on.   Haley fires back and tells him, "I didn't think I should have changed it.." and Steven Tyler jumps in and says, "Don't listen to them!  They are both wrong!"

When Steven Tyler is the voice of reason, there is something whacked out.

Seacrusty's words "I hear the girls screaming all day long" is funny until you find out that Deep Voiced Scotty is singing Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (when the world stopped turning)"... then Seacrusty's line is just a little off and in poor taste.

Deep Voiced Scotty sits on a stool and plucks his guitar and sings one of the most emotionally written songs ever.  During the CMA's in November 2001, a few months after 9/11, Alan Jackson did this song.  Sitting on a guitar, he just sang it gently, without raising his voice or getting too strong with his lyrics.  And it was monumental.  I still consider it one of the finest 9/11 tributes ever done.  It was met with a thunderous, immediate standing ovation.

And Deep Voiced Scotty does well as he always does, but I didn't like that he tried to do too much with it.  Its not a song to show off, its a song to pluck and sing.  Randy the Dawg thought it was awesome.  Steven Tyler thought it was beautiful.  And J-Lo loved it. 

Taking on one of my favorite artists of all time, Martina McBride, America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina is doing "Anyway", which is a great song and

(so... this is the part where Blogger shut down.  Don't know if you heard the geek tech news, but blogspot went kaput for about three days, meaning that after a certain time on Thursday afternoon, anything written on blogspot was not saved.  And millions of people lots millions and millions of posts that were written over those few days--and like millions of those people, before I clicked away from the page, I didn't "select all" and save.  You'd think I'd learn by now... anyway, over half of my Idol review was taken with it.  And because it was down, when I got to watch the results show on Thursday night, I ended up having to write the recap on a Word Document.  And so, you'll have to do with what you read above, and what you'll read below.  I love Haley Reinhart.  That's all you need to know, really)

Well, there are four Idols left, and only three will move to next week, only three get the “going home” video montage, only three will perform in a bloated seven hour extravaganza next week. Seacrusty tells us that over 73 trillion votes came in last night, and its going to be a big night!

Our top four come out, with The Straight Adam Lambert, America’s Darlin’ Lauren Alaina, Deep Voiced Scotty and Haley Hotness, who is wearing a skirt that is almost illegal.

The first duet of the night has The Straight Adam Lambert and Deep Voiced Scotty. Fast forward.

Commercial break. Fast forward.

America’s Darlin’ Lauren Alaina and Haley Hotness have their duet. Fast forward.

Product placement for Windows 7, as Windows 7 connected the Idols with their families. We see each Idol laugh and cry as they talk to their loved ones. And in the video, we see the Idols move things around, show off features of Windows 7 and give them all kinds of free pub.

Dim the lights! Results time! There are three Gold Stools of Victory on the side of the stage… Seacrusty tells us that the first person to plant their junk in one of those Gold Stools is… America’s Darlin Lauren Alaina. She heads to a stool, puts that junk in her trunk in that seat.

Commercial break. Fast forward.

Lady Gaga. Fast forward… but first, The Lovely Steph Leann says, “She kinda looks normal. This is the song that Haley Hotness sang. And… she’s wearing a bikini.” She says this last part twice, in disbelief.

Enrique Iglasias. Fast forward.

Commerical break. Fast forward.

Ford Music Video. Fast forward.

Jordin Sparks. Fast Forward.

Commercial break. Fast forward.

Steven Tyler’s new video. Fast forward.

We just covered almost 40 minutes in about 37 seconds. We rule.

Dim the lights. More results! After the nationwide vote… Haley Hotness makes the top three, sending her somewhat better looking junk to join America’s Darlin’ Lauren Alaina’s somewhat larger junk in a Gold Stool of Victory.

The Lovely Steph Leann looks from The Straight Adam Lambert to Deep Voiced Scotty, and shouts, “This is hard!!!”

Dim the lights! Here we go… joining the Idol Final Three, its Deep Voiced Scotty. Tonight, The Straight Adam Lambert, Blinky James Durbin goes home.

I’ll be honest and say that in the beginning, I thought he’d split around 7 or 8… but he kept getting better and better, and even though I didn’t see him winning, I’m happy he made it this far.

Good job, Blinky James.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Idols In It To Win It!

Just a warning... I have a very liberal amount of italics, statements in bold, lots of ellipses and sometimes all three in one sentence.  Its a grammatical nightmare.  Oh, and this has video on it, so if you reading on the Facebook, shift over to The Mothership and read it on mine own site.  Thanks.

The atmosphere in Hollywood is electric, is crazy, is pumped and geared for the Idols! 

The atmosphere in The Cabana?  Relaxed.  Well-fed.  Simple.  Quiet, except for The Lovely Steph Leann's subtle movements on the couch under her blankie, and the typing of this post.  Oh, and the show itself.  Its Thursday evening, The Lovely Steph Leann is back from a Pensacola trip, and for the first time in a long, long while, we are going to watch the show together, comments and all.

The Top Five await... The Soulful Jacob Lusk... Deep Voiced Scotty... Haley Cuteness... America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina... The Straight Adam Lambert... and Randy the Dawg wonders, "Who is in it to win it?"  Because some of the Idols are here not to win.  Right.


And tonight's mentor!  Sheryl Crow, one of my top five favorite artists of all, all time.  I love, love love Sheryl Crow and am pumped she's on the show tonight... yes, yes, she had the toilet paper remark, but I still love me some Sheryl.  She helped define my college career.

#10... "The First Cut is the Deepest" from "The Very Best of"

#9... "Strong Enough (live)" with The Dixie Chicks, from "Live from Central Park

Each of the Idols gets two songs, the first being a modern song, and the second being one from "Back in the day" as Seacrusty puts it.

First!  Modern Songs!

The Straight Adam Lambert is up first, singing.. "30 Seconds to... something".  To Mars?  To Morrow?  In it to win it?  Who knows.

Uncle Steven says, "You kicked that song's a**."  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg thought it showed where Blinky James can go as an artist.  The Straight Adam Lambert is in it to win it.  Dawg.

Now, The Soulful Jacob Lusk is ready to sing Idol winner Jordin Sparks song "No Air", a song that I can pretty much tell you that I not only know nothing about, I don't know that I've ever heard the entire thing.  Or part of it.  I do know that Chris Brown sang with Jordin on this--Rhianna says you can't beat that.  Ha!

This performance leads to the following exchange:

Me:  This... this sounds horrible.
Her:  What... what is he doing?  His dancing is... what? (pause).  They did this song on Glee.  I liked it on Glee. 

J-Lo liked it.  Randy the Dawg didn't like The Soulful Jacob Lusk's direction, and didn't like him trying to sing a duet song solo.  Uncle Steven Tyler loves his voice. 

#8... "Can't Cry Anymore" from "Tuesday Night Music Club"

#7... "Picture" with Kid Rock, from "The Very Best of"

America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina is taking on Carrie Underwood's tune, "Flat on the Floor", from the album "Carnival Ride".   We open the performance with a fiddle, and I like it already.  Then she starts to sing, and I love it.  Rock on.

The awesome Dr. Callie Torres of Seattle Grace Mercy
West Hospital.
The Lovely Steph Leann is giddy because she spots Dr. Callie Torres in the audience.  Seeing that FOX is an Idol show, I'm not sure that Seacrusty is going to introduce Dr. Torres to us.

Randy the Dawg declares America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina to be "in it to win it."  Steven Tyler says, "For 15, the sky is the limit!"  (The Lovely Steph Leann mutters, "She's 16, Steven, she's 16.")  J-Lo loved it.

Now, its time for Deep Voiced Scotty "the Body", and he'll be doing his country roots justice with Montgomery Gentry's "Gone". 

I declared this... were I of 17 or 18 years old, in this competition and singing with Sheryl Crow... I'm asking her out.  No stinkin' joke.  She'd say no, but I would walk out of there knowing I hit on Sheryl Crow, and that's good enough for me.

Once again, Deep Voiced Scotty is doing the country thang, and doing it very, very well.  Creepy Uncle Steven Tyler loved it.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg felt as if he were at a Scotty the Body concert.  And.. guess what, Deep Voiced Scotty's "in it to win it!!!"

We are back from break, and I wonder aloud if Haley Cuteness' boobs have their own number.  The Lovely Steph Leann grunts and says, "Yeah, they aren't that big." 

Haley is doing a Gaga song, an unreleased track that she was able to get permission from Lady G herself to sing.  Its "You and I", and Sheryl Crow loves it. 

Haley Cuteness starts on the steps, seated, and singing in her sultry voice.  She looks great, though I figure it wouldn't take much to convince me that she got her sparkly pants out of Pauly Mac's closet. 

What can I say?  I love Haley Reinhart now. 

The Lovely Steph Leann says, "You and I?  Its not really grammatically correct.  Lady Gaga needs to fix that.   I laugh heartily.

J-Lo didn't care for it.  What?  What?!  You dug Blinky James but didn't like Haley Cuteness?  Her issue is the same as Randy the Dawg's issue, which is, Haley shouldn't have done a song that no one knows about.   Uncle Steven says, "you are one perfect song away from being the American Idol... you need to find that song..."

#6... "A Change Would Do You Good" from "Sheryl Crow"

#5... "Anything but Down" from "The Globe Sessions"

Back in the Day Song Time!

The Straight Adam Lambert is tearing up while listening to "Without You" by Nilsson, to the point where he leaves the rehearsal studio sniffling.  Sheryl Crow and Jimmy Iovine both look at each other in bewilderment.  The original is a fantastic song, both by Nilsson and Pre-Skank Mariah Carey... how does Blinky James do?

With tears streaming down his face, you can judge this two ways... first, you can say that it was very heartfelt and honest, which led to his voice being shaky.  Or, second, you can say it just wasn't that great.  I kinda fall in between... it was an emotional song, and I liked it.  Didn't love it, but liked it.

Randy the Dawg agrees with me, and says that "this competition is yours to lose."  Uncle Steven said it was pitchy in a Blinky James sort of way, but still beautiful.  J-Lo loved it.

Seacrusty says, "Up next, The Soulful Jacob Lusk with a Nazareth hit!"  Wait... what?

The Lovely Steph Leann asks who Nazareth is, and I reply, "They do that song 'Love Hurts'... you know... love huuuurrrttss!  Love... something..." cause I couldn't remember the next line.  She says, "Uh, oh yeah... that one... sure."

Okay, so he starts out pretty good, strong, soft, but not too much... yet, he finished with a screech and a wail and too much.  The Lovely Steph Leann agrees.

Uncle Steven Tyler loved it.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg says, "that might have been the highest note ever sung on this stage!"  What are they listening to? 



We notice Sir Anthony Hopkins in the audience, and Seacrusty does too as he introduces him, along with Kelly Preston.. and Dr. Torres sits a few seats away, and gets no love.  Because she gets a check from ABC.

America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina is doing "Unchained Melody", which prompts The Lovely Steph Leann to say, "Really?  The Righteous Brothers have other songs that are just, if not more, fabulous!!" 

The original kind of bores me, and her version kinda does too.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg loved it.  Steven Tyler loved it. 

Deep Voiced Scotty's second song is "Always on My Mind" by Willie Nelson (though I think he said Elvis... maybe Elvis did this song, but Willie is the only one I know of...)  I grew up on old school country, so this song was a staple around my house.

Anyway, it sounded like Scotty, which meant it sounds country good.  Country strong.  J-Lo loved it.  Randy the Dawg loved it.  Steven Tyler loved it. 

Seacrusty says, "Up next, Haley Cuteness takes on  The Animals!"

Me: I hope she doesn't do "House of the Rising Sun"
Her:  Well, sure... did The Animals do anything else?
Haley Cuteness:  I am doing The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun"

Sheryl Crow suggests Haley start out acapella.  I would say if Sheryl told me I should start out with a banana peel on my head and a booger on my left eyelid, I'd do it, at least when it comes to singing, so naturally Haley Cuteness starts the song sans instruments.

I'm not a fan of this song in its original form, but Haley has seemingly made this song sexy... which she seems to do with anything she sings.  Go Haley.

The Lovely Steph Leann observes that Dr. Callie Torres loved, judging by her woot woot'ness.  Randy the Dawg calls this the song of the night.  Steven Tyler loved it.  J-Lo loved it. 



So here is how I rank the songs tonight, for my own personal preference... (1) America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina's "Flat on the Floor"...  (2) Haley Cuteness' "You and I"... (3) The Straight Adam Lambert's "Without You"... (4) Deep Voiced Scotty's "Always on My Mind"... (5) Haley Cuteness' "House of the Rising Sun"... (6) The Straight Adam Lambert's "30 Seconds to Mars"... (7) Deep Voiced Scotty's "Gone"... (8) America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina's "Unchained Melody"... (9) The Soulful Jacob Lusk's "Love Hurts"... (10) The Soulful Jacob Lusk's "No Air"

And for me, The Soulful Jacob Lusk needs to go home. 





I fast forward to the next show and stop when the judges enter the stage... and The Lovely Steph Leann begins to shriek.  What?!  What?? I ask, and she is horrified.  Horrified by Jennifer Lopez's short skirt.  "Make her sit down so I don't have to see that!  But I wonder how much of her butt will be on that chair, because there's no way that skirt is going to cover her butt when she sits down... make her sit down!"

Seacrusty comes out and discusses Steven Tyler's new book, his autobiography, "Do You Hear The Noise In My Head."

Seacrusty:  Tonight!  J-Lo will be doing her latest smash single!
Me: That means you'll get to see that skirt again.
The Lovely Steph Leann:  Uuugghhh....

Group Song... fast forward

Commercial break.. fast forward

Ford Music Video... fast forward

Video with the Idols in Hell's Kitchen.  We actually watch this, even though its shameless self-promotion.  Its amusing.  They all cook omelets for Chef Ramsey's approval... and southern girl America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina gets the only good comment from Ramsey--that's good ol southern cooking at its finest.

And now, here's the new song from their new album... its Lady Antebellum's "Just a Kiss"... and I dare not touch the remote, lest I get divorced like, tomorrow. 

Up now, in another example of making a 10 minute show into an hour... a funny video about the Idol's decisions in fashion and picking songs.



Now, let's get to the results!  Dim the lights!   The Straight Adam Lambert stands up, and after a review of last night, is sent to the other side of the stage to "start a group".  My prediction is the whole, two Idols on one side, two Idols on the other, and the remaining Idol will have to decide which group to join... they love to do it, and haven't done it so far this season. 

After Jimmy Iovine says, "Based on last night, I think America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina will be in the bottom three", America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina is led to stand on the near side of the stage, and The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Aww!  She's about to cry!  Look!  Don't cry!!"

Commercial Break.  Fast Forward

Another Hell's Kitchen/Idol video.  We watch.

J-Lo's performance of her new single.  Fast Forward

Commercial Break.  Fast Forward.

More results!  Dim the lights!  The Soulful Jacob Lusk stands up.  After Jimmy Iovine doesn't give him much hope, he is asked to stand next to America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina, who is probably thinking "Crap!"  And now, Haley Cuteness is up for review.   She is sent over to join The Straight Adam Lambert. 

Finally, Deep Voiced Scotty stands.  Seacrusty says, "You have never been in the Bottom Two... and tonight?  No different... you are safe."   But, Seacrusty tells Deep Voiced Scotty to go stand with who he thinks is in The Bottom Two, and Deep Voiced Scotty says, "Don't do that, man, don't do that to me."  Seacrusty pulls him to The Straight Adam Lambert and Haley Cuteness, and says, "you are all three safe!"

Based on Seacrusty saying, "And you might be surprised at the results" earlier in the show, I say, "I am afraid America's Darlin' Lauren Alaina is going home."   The Lovely Steph Leann says, "NO!  She can't go home!!!"

After 60 billion votes, the person going home tonight is... The Soulful Jacob Lusk.

 I breath a huge sigh of relief... I was actually nervous and my stomach was kinda twisty at the thought he would stay and America's Darlin Lauren Alaina would go home.  Whew. 


 From the album "The Globe Sessions", its "My Favorite Mistake".