I don’t like any of the American Idol contestants, as performers.  Bland, bland, bland.  I can’t imagine being even remotely interested in anything that any of them would bring to a song recording as the next American Idol.  Just like I don’t care about any of the current winners and second place and former contestants.  It’s all shit songs sung by pre-fab crappers.  It’s not for me, the music, the industry.

Why do I watch?

Now, on to the reviews:

Constantine sang "Knights of Broadway" and did a pretty good job with it.  I agree with Simon’s Las Vegas entertainer criticism of the performance and who cares?  The best thing I can say about Constantine’s performance was that his smouldering sexuality was hard to locate this week.   I don’t like the song, and his performance of it did nothing to alter my impression of the song.

Carrie, looking like a toy-doll dressed up by a very lonely little girl, sings a song I can’t stand:  MacArthur Park.  I didn’t think she did a very good job of it.  Yeah, she kept the final warbling notes for a long time, but who cares?  My problem with Carrie is that her eyes always appear vacant, like she’s physically on the stage, but her mind is totally elsewhere.  That she admitted that she had no idea what the song was about was foolish, I thought.  And it added to her empty performance of it.  At least make the lyrics mean something to you, and emote that.  She just sang the words, more or less note for note, and there was nothing behind it. 

I am giving up on liking Scott.  He’s just looks too much a pent up anger bomb.  When he attempts to smile it reminds of Mr. Burns trying to smile.  It’s just not natural.  I do like the impression that Scott at least seems to be investing in the songs he sings.  Too bad his voice can’t live up to the quality of the competition.  An okay job by him, but he’ll be bottom three, again.  Oh, and shut up about your mother picking your songs for you.  Just stop that.

Anthony gave perhaps his strongest vocal performance, but all other aspects of his segment were weak.  He is just a little boy pretending to be a man.  Everyone can see it, can’t you?  He has moments when his voice sounds strong, but they are always followed by moments of weakness and failing.  And he doesn’t know what to do with his body.  He has no ability to control or knowledge of his presence.  He is boring.  I wish he was long gone.  I don’t like him.

Vonzell has another strong week, but was often on the verge of being upstaged by the three excellent background singers.  That was troubling.  I’ve noticed, too, that she has a trick she relies on, which is to laugh as if she’s having fun.  Once it seemed genuine, but week after week, I’m beginning to think it’s affected.  If it is, then boo on her.  She’s gonna go a long way in the competition.

Anwar will be gone after tonight’s show.  I’ve given up on him.  He’s constantly undersold his talents and I’m no longer waiting for him to give the performance I’ve been waiting for from him.  He’s too much a thinker and seems incapable of just doing.  Just sing and enjoy yourself.  Now it’s too late, because he’ll be gone.  And I could care less.

Bo.  Bo and I just don’t get along.  I don’t like the music he sings and I don’t like the way he sings it.  I hate his hair and I guess I just don’t get him.  Only because everyone says he did great will I assume he did great.  I didn’t see it myself.  I never see the brilliance that is apparently Bo.

A pretty boring week, I thought.  Unmemorable.

Bottom three:  Anwar, Carrie, Scott

Leaving:  Anwar  (who should leave:  Anthony.  Always Anthony, until he actually leaves)


As I was watching The Apprentice last night…was it me, or did  pontiac there seem to solstice be an abundance of in-show advertising pontiac for a particular product. 
This, of course, is normal pontiac for The Apprensolstice but last night was excessively so.  The more I watched the hour, the cheaper pontiac I felt.  Of course, it didn’t help that solstice every second ad during the commercial breaks (an ironic phrase seeing how there actually is no ‘break’ between since the entire show has turned become all about the product anyway) was pontiac for Pontiac as well.

Too much.  pontiac

I Am Robot, Hear Me Sing

OMG!!!  Could you believe it when Paula said something negative about one of the contestants’ performance?  I was like SHUT UP!  Tammy, what are you wearing to school tomorrow?  Don’t wear your pink Hello Kitty because I’m wearing mine, kay?  And Anthony the Russian likes you.

I was just trying to get into the mindset of a 13 year old MSN Messenger girl because:
a) I go undercover on chatlines trying to trick perverts into  thinking I’m  13 and available, just part of the sting.
b) I want to try to understand the mentality that keeps voting for Anthony the ArMuEsRsIiCaAnN to stay in American Idol.
c) It just really turns me on.

Here’s my oh-so-important opinion about last night’s performances.  Ignore as you see fit:
The order in which I remember them:

Nadia:  She wears a red short short tina turner "I’m Still Sexy, Dammit!" dress, and it looks great.  She looks great, with legs that don’t quit.  Too bad her song was so dreadfully boring.  It was sung well (I thought) but there was just something lacking.  Nadia is in danger of Bottom Three tonight.  Oh, and she’s gotta be careful of those mouth contortions too.  Sure, sure, emote all you want, and the tina turner scowl face can look good if employed for just a sec, but when tina turner turns into the Rober DeNiro "I’m holding a pistol at your head, and I’m angry, and I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you" look…well, then you got problems.

Bo: I’m not a fan of Bo, even though, apparently, the rest of the world is.  His rendition of Free Bird was not very good in my opinion.  I’m not sure if it’s the song, or his version, but it seemed to consist of only 6 notes, sung in random order, over and over and all emitted with a "rock" grrrr through clenched rock balls.  Bo has lost some of his early favourite status, I’d say.

Scott:  I agree with Simon that many of Scott’s notes were not the right ones.  But, he sang them with heart and soul and conviction, and when you do that, well that cancels a lot of the mistakes.  I thought this was Scott’s best performance so far, and he even seems to be letting that Psycho Killer persona drop a little bit.  Heck, he was even smiling last night.  I think of all the contestants, Scott is the one who can best explore the emotion in a song.

Anwar:  Technically the best singer in the competition?  Technically the most consistently under-performing contestant.  Oh Amway, I’ve given up on you.  You have yet to show us the voice and emotion and joy that lies somewhere within you.  You are a singing robot, coded to sing the correct notes.  If it’s not too late (that is, if you don’t get booted off tonight, which is a real possibility) you need to become a human boy and discover your beating, blood-pumping heart.  If you make it past tonight, then no more do I want to hear: "the song I’m singing tonight is 1000100101001000110001111001010011001010001."

Anthony: Blech.  Blonde hair, blue eyes, good looking.  You remind me of a younger me.  Blech.  At least he performed the best I’ve seen him yet.  And that was still the worst of the bunch.  Anthony’s biggest problem is a weak voice.  In a singing competition, that’s a pretty serious problem.  But seeing as this is a popularity contest, keep on trucking, A-Fed.  I’ve already wasted more words on you than I think you deserve, but here’s a couple more: You shouldn’t be in this competition.

Carrie:  Guess what, world!  Carrie Rocks!!  Unfortunately, she doesn’t rock very well.  If you can, look at a replay of her performance last night.  She was most definitely there in body, but look behind the eyes, and she was a million miles away.  She also sings like a robot, if you ask me.  But a root that has had its emotion chip installed a thousand years ago.  That robot, you see, has long ago given up the quest to actually feel, think, emote like a hu-man.  All it can do is be almost hu-man.  Carrie is almost hu-man.

Vonzell: Oh Vonzell, I may have misjudged you.  I’ve called you on the lacking emotion in song earlier, but I think you must have found a couple of bags of Constantine’s Extra Emotion Elixir ™, because the last two weeks, you’ve brought your quality way up.  Last night, I thought she was the best of the bunch.  Let’s hear it for the girl!

Constantine:  Okay, Constantine was obviously rope-a-doping the competition in the early rounds.  Last three weeks. though, he’s been dynamite.  Last night’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" was a risky choice (I thought. Always dangerous to tackle an iconic song like that.  Just ask Simon about Free Bird.) but he did a great job with it.  I may even be succumbing to his smoldering eyes and pouty mouth.

Bottom Three tonight:
Anwar, Nadia, Carrie


Phil, Such An Elimination Tease!

My very good friend, CBC Mainstreet host and Sketch22 compatriot, Mort Rainnie, turned me on to this funny article about last night’s The Amazing Race.

Mort found it funny.  I found it funny.  If you are watching this round of TAR, you will most likely find it funny.

But He’s A Cookie Monster

This article makes me sad.
Apparently, Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster is going to learn about moderation in his eating habits.  He’s going to learn that cookies are a "sometimes food" not an "anytime food".
I understand the reasoning behind this, I really do.  But I can’t help but think that it’s wrong.

The cookie monster is the cookie monster.  Gorging himself on cookies is the very point of his being.  They are taking away is very purpose.  Let Elmo learn to be healthy, but for the love of the children, leave Cookie alone.  Let him be what he is.

Let’s all go eat cookies.  Right now.  Lots of them.  Everyone, eat a protest cookie.  Eat two.  Eat fifty!!!

PopCultured – A Big Miss

Last night I watched Popcultured, the new half-hour "comment on popculture" comedy show with Elvira Kurtz on The Comedy Network.
I thought it was pretty bad.  Not funny to me at all.  I’m not really sure what the format is supposed to be, but there was far too much single person monologuing going on.  And none of it were very interesting, nevermind funny.

Elvira really needs to stop smiling and appreciating the humour of what she says.  It’s not good when the performer gets the biggest kick out of the material.  Her opening monologue was dull and full of fairly tame Jay Leno type current event jokes. Later, she did a bit on lip injections which basically culminated in her making faces at big pictures of celebrities.  Cheap and boring and bad.
Other segments included some woman’s review of The DaVinci Code (or, rather, a review of people’s perception of it, I’m not really sure what it was about, truthfully) and wasn’t nearly as smart as she thought it was.  Another woman did another monologue opinion-piece type thing that I wouldn’t even be able to remember if I was hypnotized specifically to bring up that memory.  Some guy did some on location video piece on gift bags at the Junos, and it was surprisingly bad.  Surprisingly bad in a show where expectations had continually plumetted, so that at the point when his segment came on "bad" was the expectation, and it still surprised me.  So, that’s pretty bad.
Then Elvira interviewed some celebrity reporter from, I think, The National Post, and it was a terrible segment.  Appallingly full of entirely nothing of value in any entertaining way. 
And the show ended.

The production was poor.  I don’t know whether it was live, but it sure looked live, because words were  stumbled over far too often (if it was taped, the director would/should have, a number of times, stopped the taping and had the performer speak more clearly).  No interesting set design to speak of.  It’s also not good when a tv audience hears only a smattering of laughter from the studio audience.  It sounded like there were about 10 people in attendance.  Either get enough people to fill the room and get them to be very generous with their laughter, or cut the audience laughter out entirely.  It sounds bad when it sounds like so few people laughing.

They really need to rethink the "you do your funny bit segment, then I’ll do my funny bit segment, then you do another funny bit segment, etc." routine and come up with some interesting look and feel.  As the show was presented last night, there was no flow, no direction, no focus.  It was just people saying things about things.  Standing and saying things.  Things that weren’t that interesting.  The show desperately needs a look and feel and format.
How about getting some sofas, chairs a couple of TVs and turn the set (which is now basically "Nothing") into a giant funky living room.  It’s the living room where people experience pop culture so it makes sense to talk about it there too.  Instead of the "I do my segment, then we cut to your segment, then cut to another segment" style, have the half hour unfold in a more informal manner, and let the segments flow naturally from one to another, with the other cast members on hand all the time, sitting around on couches, chairs, eating pizza or whatever.

As it is now, Popcultured is not worth anyone’s time.  It’s cable-access bad, and The Comedy Network needs to be airing better Canadian programming.

Chakra Con

Everyone knows it:  Paula Abdul is worthless as an American Idol judge.  Everyone knows the things she says are without value. When she declares two performances from last night as "brilliant", well, that’s all the proof anyone needs.  She seems incapable of offering critical opinion that would be seen as negative, I suppose for fear of damaging the Idles delicate burgeoning egos. She sees it as being supportive, I guess, but it’s not at all.  The Idles need to be critiqued, they need to learn how to improve.  On those rare instances when Paula considers a performance weak, the worst she’ll do for an Idle is to tell them they had a really pretty smile, a beautiful aura or some other chakra bullshit.
Randy is not much better.  At least he’ll allow the possibility that a performance wasn’t good.  But he only has about three different ways of making that point.  "It was pitchy" "it didn’t do it for me dude" and the "it was aiight" concession.  His criticisms have become worthless too, because they no longer mean anything.
Thank Goodness for Simon.  He usually is spot on with what was wrong with a performance and he’s not afraid to speak his mind.  Yes, sometimes he’s too blunt, and yes, everyone makes him out to be the villain, but in truth he’s the only one who matters.

How was last night’s performances?  The theme was Musicals and again, I was amazed at the generally poor choice in song that most made.  But perhaps it’s not the choice in song so much as it is the arrangements that they sing.  Last night, the band seemed to be rather overpowering, making it difficult for many singers to highlight their, well, singing.
The standout, easily and surprisingly, was Constantine.  He absolutely nailed his song.  Yes the sex-eyes making love to the camera pout has got to stop, but this week and last he was really good.  I thought Nadia did a good job last night (although she left my wife feeling empty).
Anthony was awful (was always awful, will always be awful and needs to be the next to go), Scott was not very good either, but both looked good.  Nikko, I just don’t like.  Bo was Bo-ring.  The BlondeCountryGirl did a really good impersonation of a singer, Vonzell looks so pretty but her singing is vaccuous.  And is there another female I’m not remembering?  If so, then she likely didn’t do a memorable job. No, wait, it’s Anwar.  He was, again, technically good but a poor choice of song.
The biggest problem with this batch of singers is that, generally, they have a really difficult time feeling the songs they sing.  It’s all Paint By Numbers singing.  They more or less hit the right notes, but there’s no soul behind the notes.
Tonight’s Bottom Three: Anthony, Anwar and Nadia.  Not because I think Anwar or Nadia deserve to be there, but because America seems to want to get rid of them.

Anthony will go (this choice is based more on my need for him to go, and not on America’s opinion, since they seem to ignore his lack of talent and focus rather on his cute factor)

Stars On 45 (as in, Average Age)

I notice this in the TV Guide for this Friday:

Winnipeg Comedy Fest 1:00
Showcasing stars of the future.  Features Stewart Francis, Todd Butler, Steve Smith, Dave Broadfoot and Lorne Elliot.  Hosted by Patrick McKenna

Stars of the future? Dave Broadfoot?  Steve Smith?? Lorne Elliot?

Blah-merican Blah-dol

First off, notice that the category for this post is "Television" and not "Music".  Calling it music might encourage them.

So far, this run of American Idol, I am very much disappointed in the song selection from practically all of the "idols".  Last night, they had any song from the 1990s to choose from, and they all picked shit.

First up was Bo.  He seems like a nice guy, but I really can’t stand him, solely because of his look, specifically because of his hair.  Yes, all the lay-dees see him as the icon for ‘bad boy" but please, no true bad boy would step a million miles close to American Idol.  He’s Playgirl(tm) Bad Boy.  Pure surface bad boy.  He sings some shitty song by the shitty Black Crowes and is bored and therefore boring.  He gives his Las Vegas Gigolo cowboy hat to Paula, and I hate the way he holds the mic stand, way down low as he stands, like a fake bad boy, on the very desk that the Judges sit behind.  How bad boy of him.  Faker.  I also hate how he and Constantine are dubbed "The Rockers".  How can these products be rockers when they are only Monkees?

Next is Jessica, who sings a boring LeAnn Rimes song.  My biggest trouble with Jessica is that I can’t tell her apart from the other blonde female country singing "idol".  You know, the one who the judges keep reminding us is the best, regardless if she performs well or not.  Anyway, as she sings, I go all Terri Shiavo and my wife takes away my ripple chips and I really don’t care.  I thank Simon for calling her "unlikable" and then I wonder how much that would hurt to hear, never mind that it’s broadcast over the continent.  "You’re unlikable" and a hundred million people nod in agreement.  Ouch.  Apt, but ouch.

I have a catholic-jewish-black conspiracy theory that I’m just now making up.  I believe that the Pope is actually dead, and they’ve been Weekend at Bernies-ing him for a while now.  I believe that he succumbed to some whithering disease that has also afflicted Mikhala (the American "idol" who got voted out, either last week or forever ago), because there’s simply no other explanation as to how she could have so much (granted annoying) talent and spark, and then, week after week, just crumble to the point where she became consistently lousy.  Now, Anwar seems to have succumbed to the same disease (which I hereby dub Pontiff-Bernard Syndrome).  He was so good early on, and now, last three weeks, he’s tanked, each week worse than last.  Last night he was awful, singing a poor-choice R.Kelly song.  Yeah, he hit the end-notes well, but friend, guess what?  The audience has already left.  I used to like Anwar, and was hoping for him to do well, but he really picks crappy songs.  His taste in song choice, like all the ‘idols’ it seems, is really suspect

More than I like Anwar, I like Nadia.  In her little pre-song interviews lately, she’s been hinting about her eclectic and subversive side.  I like that (why she almost seems like she’d be better suited to be a Canadian Idol contestant, since they seem to be, generally, a more cool and hip bunch.  More "Canadian" I guess.).  She sings Melissa Etheridge and does a fair enough job.  Nothing spectacular (in either direction, good or bad) and not much to say.  Good enough to stick around.

Oh Constantine, you scampy fat-cheeked boy.  Of all this year’s "idols" he’s the one I’d least trust, the one I’d least expect to see the return of the hundred and fifty bucks I leant him.  My criticism of this rocker is that his singing is too affected, he employs too many "sexy" singing tricks.  He has everything that makes Corey Hart bad.  Last night, though, I thought he nailed his rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s "I Can’t Make You Love Me" (a great song, by the way).  I expect him to survive to next week, and then he’ll come out all bubble-gum cutesy and re-energize my hate-on for him.

I don’t like Nikko.  I don’t like the songs he sings, or the way he sings them.  He is bland.  Last night he did an okay job, but I didn’t enjoy it.  In. Any. Way.

Anthony Federov grabs the puck at the blue-line, skates around two defenders, spins and shoots…he scores!!!  Sorry.  A-Fed, as they call him (because they probably don’t want to say the communist "federov" any more than they have to), sings a crappy Elton John song.  I think it’s called "A Vagueness About Your Appearance This Evening".  Anyway, I’ve never noticed it before but in his pre-song interview, I could hear him trying to stifle his accent.  Then I could hear him doing the same as he sang.  I’m calling him a Red Menace right now.  How did he do with the song?  As good as he always does, which is not very good.  He’ll be gone soon.

Carrie (the other white Jessica) sings Independence Day.  Is this awful country song about a woman who has every kind of hurt done to her, and then proclaims emancipation?  Wow.  Good for her, singing that.  Of course, she could sing farts and still the judges would pedestal her, because they all want her to win.  Shouldn’t she be on Nashville Star, and not American Idol?  Does America really want a country singer as their next idol?  Idiots deserve that shit, I’m saying.

Scott is a scary looking dude.  I think he’ll stay in the competition for a while longer because each and every Ameican is afraid to not vote for him for fear of a personal pipe-bombing.  He’s a scary looking dude.  But the voice of an angel.  At least sometimes.  Last night, he tanked.  All over the place and not at all good.  There, I said it.  Here.  Here are the keys to my car.  Why don’t you go start it, while I stand well outside the potential debris range.

Vonzell is a beautiful woman.  I don’t know what it is about her singing, but it’s not quite there. Ever.  She comes so close to having it all, but just can’t reach it, for some reason.  But she sure is beautiful.

Tonight’s "bottom three" (an inelegant phrase, I dare say) will be: Jessica, A-Fed the Communist, and Anwar.

Jessica gets the boot.

Arrested D’oh!velopment

I always thought it’d be an interesting experiment to take an actual episode of The Simpsons and try to reproduce it as best as possible, shot for shot, camera angle for camera angle but with live action actors.

A while ago, when I was watching Arrested Development, I was trying to figure out what it is about it that appeals to me so.  Smart writing, yes, good acting, yes, these are givens, but one thought I struck upon that I hadn’t before is that Arrested Development, more than any other live action show, comes closest to capturing that frenetic, what’s-gonna-come-next, where will this week’s plot eventually take us pace of The Simpsons.  Lots of really short scenes is the norm for both shows, there are all kinds of little jokes that zoom past you without you even realising it half the time, along with the big jokes, the plot can start off down one path and end up, 22 minutes later, somewhere totally unexpected.

So, there.  Has anyone else thought of that?  I should write a book, I’m so smrt. Smart.