i have a question...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

AI Top 10

Here’s the scoop for tonight’s “sing a song from the year you were born” show, according to Entertainment Weekly. They don’t want Carly Smithson to sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and they don’t want David Archuleta to sing any Michael Bolton. David Cook is officially first on the Power List audience vote, and “Other” is #3, after David Archuleta. I’m assuming that’s Jason Castro. (Syesha is last.)

Ramiele’s first, which, as we know, means she’s in danger. Carly already sang Heart’s“Alone.” So did Carrie Underwood. Don’t mess. Simon thinks she’s safe. He’s usually right, but I wouldn’t be so sure. Her use of the phrase “went bye bye” on national TV is reason enough for her to be kicked off.

Jason Castro’s baby pictures make me die. He’s singing Sting’s “Fragile”; he’s just so talented. It’s not the best he’s done, but I find him magnetic when he performs. Simon says he sounded like a busker, which I can agree with, but I think he’s certainly safe. I wonder just how overwhelmed he is, though, and how that will continue to affect him for the next 10 weeks.

Syesha’s singing “If I Were Your Woman.” As a side note, I love this song. This is her best performance all season, in my opinion.

Chikezie is up next with “If Only for One Night.” His baby pictures also make me die. I think he needs to break out of the ballad niche, considering that the one night I really noticed him was when he sang “She’s a Woman” and took such a big risk. This is fine, but it’s forgettable. Too old-fashioned, as Randy attests; not original enough, according to Simon. I agree with both.

Brooke White is next with The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” Her parents look fantastic for having children 25 years old and older. She began and had to start over, but this is a great song choice for her, and I think her piano schtick is serving her nicely. She’s not the most technically great singer in the competition, but I really believe her when she’s singing. She also seems to have learned how to not blab back to the judges. We love that.

Michael Johns is almost 30 and looks exactly like his mother. Entertainment Weekly wanted him to sing Queen! I love when they’re right. Good for him for knowing to return to his star turn during Hollywood Week. He seems back in true form.

Carly Smithson and straightens her hair. She’s singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart”! She’d better kill it. I think she did very well, but there is something about her that just hasn’t sent me the way it did during auditions. I think Simon calling her on being uptight is right on. There is a desperation to her performances that isn’t appealing. She’s good; she needs to relax.

David Archuleta might miss prom because of American Idol. He was born in 1990. That makes me feel 850. He’s singing “You’re the Voice,” which I’ve never even heard of. He’s fine and safe, but this is a weak song choice.

Kristy Lee Cook’s parents look old; I’m confused. She’s singing “God Bless the USA,” and I really don’t think she’s going home this week. I think it was a brilliant and manipulative song choice and she’s certainly sung worse.

David Cook is up last, and I am officially dead from the cuteness of the baby pictures. His mom looks great. He’s singing Chris Cornell’s version of “Billie Jean,” and I just love him for all these alternative versions of classics. I think he’s so smart for doing them week after week! So solid. He might just have a chance of taking that frontrunner status from David A.

Favorite of the Night: David Cook
On the Way Out: Ramiele or maybe Chikezie

Saturday, March 22, 2008

newsy news, vol. II

Today was a huge day:
1. I got bangs for the first time in I-can't-remember-how-many years.
2. I signed a contract to direct the children's production of Alice in Wonderland at the theater this summer. I'm not getting paid as much as I thought I was going to, but I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that this will be a great experience and not the way to make a ton of money. I think I'm OK with that.
3. I'm also teaching an improvisation class to 2nd and 3rd graders starting at the end of March.
4. My Fair Lady is going smashingly well. Most of my students are reading the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is a success in itself.
5. I got a large package from Emerson College, telling me they'd accepted me. It was great news, to say the least after two rejection letters, and I'm very excited by it, albeit slightly anxious about another cross-country move and another new beginning.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

thoughts of the day, 32 and 33: moments from musical theater class

It's always a sign of friendship when people start calling me by my full name, as a nickname.

Hannah Montana is the favorite rock star of a room of 10 year olds. They all answered unanimously when asked.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

AI Top 11

Simon Cowell was on Oprah yesterday. I don’t know how long ago the taping was, but when prodded for his predictions, he said, “The frontrunner is David Archuleta right now, but keep your eyes on Jason Castro, David Cook, and Brooke White.” Lo and behold, when I checked EW.com’s Power List, David Archuleta and Jason Castro were tied, with David Cook and Brooke White very close behind them, in the viewer poll. That Simon is downright psychic…or he’s just really good at his job…or it’s all part of his evil world-domination scheme. Probably all three.

I do enjoy the new opening sequence, I must say. And I love how the globe is shown in that final shot, to instill the idea that the winner will end up conquering the WHOLE WORLD!

Oh god. Kristy Lee Cook is still on this show? I completely forgot about her.

Does anyone really believe there are any “new friends” watching? Doesn’t everyone in the WHOLE WORLD watch this show?

This week they get to sing from the ENTIRE Beatles songbook? How does one even begin to pick?

Amanda Overmeyer is first tonight, and she’s singing “Back in the USSR.” This is the first time it’s sounding like not-great karaoke to me, and I think the fact that she’s singing first is also not boding well for her. In the wise words of Mr. Jackson, it was “just aight fo’me.” I wonder if the truth is that Ms. Overmeyer just doesn’t really want to be there.

Something’s funny with Kristy Lee’s makeup tonight. She looka like a man. Tonight, she’s singing “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and she admits that she didn’t know it before this competition. Oy. This isn’t horrendous. OK, the beginning wasn’t horrendous. The rest was nigh that. I think she just got unfocused after that first verse because the beginning wasn’t THAT bad. Ryan, speak for yourself. We don’t want you to stick around.

Ohhhh, David Archuleta. He is just too cute. He’s singing “The Long and Winding Road.” It’s unfortunate that he’s pigeon-holing himself to sing these slow, sad songs. I do agree with that previous Simon critique. This is really lovely though. Glad that’s out of the way; I was nervous. He looks relieved too.

(Oh, btw, I tried to buy Carly’s version of “Come Together” from last week on iTunes, under the false understanding that it was her live performance. Those versions aren’t live, and they don’t sound it. Lame.)

Michael Johns is doing “A Day in the Life,” which should be interesting. He just doesn’t move me. And a truncated version of this song doesn’t work either. This feels like a downright bastardization of this song, actually. I bet he’ll get votes for being hot for a few more weeks though.

Brooke White is singing “Here Comes the Sun”? I bet NONE of us could have predicted THAT. I like that the sound of her voice isn’t necessarily what one would expect coming out of that face, but this particular performance isn’t nearly as magical as last week’s. Awkward is the right word. My mom is such a cynic. She’s to the right of me blowing raspberries and calling this crappy. Brooke’s going to have a hard time with some of the themes coming up, I predict.

David Cook’s up next with “Day Tripper,” a la Whitesnake. I love him. He just knows what he’s doing. And he looks sexy as hell doing it. Oh my god, busting out the effects THIS early in the show. Good for him.

Carly Smithson is next with “Blackbird.” She’s good. I honestly have nothing else to write; I didn’t find it moving at all, but I think it was technically well sung. (BTW, Carly was down at #5 or 6 on the EW.com poll. I don’t think she’s all that likeable.) Did Simon just pinch his nipples as he announced he was uncomfortable?

Jason Castro is singing “Michelle,” which EW.com predicted he should sing, so that he will secure his spot as this season’s heartthrob. Good for them. I like this, and his French singing is pretty good too! He just makes funny faces when he sings sometimes.

Syesha should get kicked off the show just because she’s singing “Yesterday.” Seriously. We went through two weeks without hearing it, and now that’s ruined. Her solid voice is overshadowed by the cliché, in my opinion.

Chikezie is singing “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” and he’s playing the harmonica. Cute. But he’s trying to recreate last week, and it just can’t be done.

Ramiele is up last with “I Should Have Known Better.” She’s becoming more forgettable as the competition goes on.

Favorite of the Night: David A.
On the Way Out: Kristy Lee, please, or Ramiele (I imagine Amanda and/or Michael might also be at risk).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

gives me pause

This is just wrong.

AI Top 12

OK ladies and gents (or lydees and jints, since I just came from a rehearsal at which I taught the Cockney dialect), here we go again. The 2nd annual American Idol live-blogging. Of course, don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually watching a DVR recording of the show. I would do this tomorrow, after sleeping, but I know that would disappoint my loyal fanbase.

Who’s excited about the Lennon-McCartney songbook being available to the contestants tonight? I AM! But does that mean that no one can sing “Here Comes the Sun” or “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” because George Harrison wrote those?

Ryan’s hair sure looks cute. Ooh, it’s a new opening sequence! Fancy! Wow! The band is up top; that’s fun! Mom says it looks like a theme park. It’s like they’re performing at Epcot every night. But mostly, I like Ryan’s hair.

Oh my God. Look at David Archuleta’s face as he walks toward his adoring crowd! I wanna squish him.

Hold up. Are they not even mentioning the other Beatles? That’s a little lame.

Please, just no one sing “Yesterday.”

Syesha’s up first and her family photos are darned cute. She’s singing “Got to Get You Into My Life,” and she’s nervous. But I like the brass and her hair. Just not her flat notes. 2nd verse was almost better; I think she mostly needs to relax. She ended pretty big, but I always guess that singing first is the kiss of death. Mom says “she’s cute but not that solid.” I agree. Simon saw the nerves too. I love when he and I notice the same thing.

Chikezie is up next and I heart his argyle vest and lime green tie. Apprently, Paula is very good at the airport. I believe that. Chikezie is a sweetheart. The end. He’s singing “She’s a Woman,” and what a departure for him. This is fascinating. I loved the beginning a lot; then I got confused. He seems relaxed though and I’m kind of mesmerized. I’m glad Simon liked it too; I’ve got to admit I was nervous. SHOW ME THE MONEY, ANYONE?

How does Ramiele follow that? I’m glad she’s not singing “Yesterday.” I bet that shout-out before “In My Life” was for Danny. She’s good, but I think she sounds like a Disney character, and it bores me. She gets points for picking one of the most beautiful Lennon-McCartney songs ever. Coherent advice from Paula, for once, and Simon thinks she can do better.

Jason Castro is so pretty, and he’s singing “If I Fell.” Everyone keeps talking about “Yesterday,” and I keep getting scared they’re all going to sing it. I wonder how far he’ll go on this soft-spoken, guitar strumming schtick. I generally like it, but I’m not sure it’ll win him the competition. And also, he makes funny faces when he sings high notes. I love it when Simon is both complimentary and constructive. It’s the best.

Carly is next. She’s one of my top two favorites, but I sense a bit of a diva in her. I dig “Come Together” for her, and I like her story and her fancy accent. Oh man, she’s great. I got a little teary and a little bit chilled. That’s the first time this season that’s happened, I think. (Part of that is because I watched David A.’s performance of “Imagine” on YouTube.)

David Cook is singing “Eleanor Rigby” next. Remember how Blake Lewis made my ankles sweat last year? This year, it’s David C. AND HE WEARS SPARKLY BLUE NAIL POLISH. Even better. I’m not sure this song should be messed with; it’s just not an arena anthem. I don’t think it was the best choice for him tonight. I miss the violins. All the judges appreciated the rock edge, but it didn’t sit right with me.

Brooke White is up, and she’s singing “Let it Be,” while playing the piano. This is lovely. Simple, pretty, solid (for the most part). And she’s crying, which we all know will get her votes. How much do we love Ryan for grabbing her shoes from under the piano?

David Hernandez was a stripper at a male club, in case you haven’t heard. He didn’t mention that in his interview though. He’s singing “I Saw Her Standing There.” This isn’t doing anything for me. His big notes are good, but something about him isn’t moving me. In short, meh.

Amanda is next. I like that we’re getting a better sense of the contestants in interviews this week. She’s singing “You Can’t Do That,” which I don’t believe I’ve ever heard. (Entertainment Weekly wanted her to sing “I Want You.” Wouldn’t that have been hot?) I secretly really like Amanda. I think her chill vibe is a refreshing factor to this whole phenomenon and she’s totally true to herself every week. Plus, I think she’s just a good musician. She’s downright GRINNING this week. We haven’t seen that yet. (Everyone, just stop fighting all the time. Jeez.)

Michael Johns is hot but in a really generic unmoving way. He’s singing “Across the Universe,” which I think is a brilliant choice. He’s a pro. This is my favorite performance of his so far this season. The great song probably helps. Randy said “tooken.” That upsets me. And Simon didn’t remember Carly’s name. Equally upsetting.

Kristy kickboxes. She’s also pretty and changing “Eight Days a Week” into a country song. Snooze. Mom says, “I haven’t liked her from the first week.” I hope she’s out. The judges weren’t down with it either.

That means David Archuleta is next and last. Cross your fingers he doesn’t sing “Yesterday.” (He’s the other of my top two favorites, in case you hadn’t guessed.) He only knows Stevie’s version of “We Can Work It Out.” Three cheers for no one singing “Yesterday”! OH NO! He forgot the WORDS! MORE THAN ONCE! I think his nerves have overwhelmed him. Oh man. I had a feeling he would lose his foothold a bit. It was inevitable. That is so sad!

Favorite of the Night: Carly, closely followed by Chikezie
On the Way Out: I hope it’s Kristy AND NOT DAVID A. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was Syesha or Ramiele though.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

fo shiz ma niz

Snoop Dogg's reality TV show Father Hood was playing on one of the TVs in front of the treadmills at the gym this morning. I watched most of an episode on Closed Captioning and found myself spontaneously laughing out loud more than once.

First, Snoop's maid quit and he demanded that his three kids clean up their own mess. His oldest son, Cordell, said he'd clean if his dad beat him at a push-up challenge. Cordell did 19; Snoop determinedly did 22 and then looked like he was about to pass out.

The rest of the episode followed Snoop as he tried to figure out how to stop being so stressed out. He even went to the doctor, which he admittedly hates and fears, and proceeded to completely wimp out when the prospect of getting blood drawn was introduced. Then, he and his huge (and tiny-voiced) body guard went to a yoga class(!) It was around here that I started laughing out loud in the gym. Oh man.

I left the treadmills as Snoop was about to get acupuncture from a blind doctor.

I might have to check this show out again.

Monday, March 3, 2008

thought of the moment, 18: out of practice

I have more anxiety about driving to it than about the presentation itself.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

this is special

She ended up runner-up.

thought of the moment, 17: irony

"Rejected" comes out "Selected" in T9 mode on my cell phone.

it's a negatory

I've officially been rejected by the Berkeley Ph.D. program. I was fully expecting this, having not heard a peep from them since they got my application packet in December, and realizing that my application and proposals would have demanded an awful lot of departmental support that they may not have been able to provide.

They filled 5 spots, after 89 applied, so I'm sure I was among good applicants that got rejected.

That certainly narrows the field, even though I didn't expect to be accepted.