Friday, March 30, 2007

Next Top Model / Project Runway / Top Chef

Sweet P Eliminated, As Chris and Rami Will Compete For the Chance to Show at Fashion Week

Is Project Runway's Final Three Now a Foregone Conclusion?

Posh Spice Will Guest Judge Final Project Runway

Ricky is Gone and All is Right with Project Runway

Ricky Cries, Jillian Whines and Victorya is Eliminated on Project Runway

Kit Kicked to the Curb on Project Runway

Amber Valetta Alert: Christian Has Lost His Mojo on Project Runway!

Will Sweet P Be The Next Designer Auf'ed on Project Runway?

Top Model Returns February 20 For Next Cycle

Shocking and Not-So-Shocking: Project Runway's Elisa Makes Sense!

You Wanna Be On Top? Ranking the Winners of America's Next Top Model

Project Runway Gets Serious, As Stephen is Eliminated

Girl You Better Work! Saleisha Wins America's Next Top Model

Which Designer is the Next to be Auf'ed on Project Runway?

Battle to the Finish: Who Will Win America's Next Top Model?

Project Runway's Jack and Top Chef's Dale Start an Inter-Reality Show Romance

Project Runway Spares Ricky Again, As Jillian Steps Up Her Game and Chris is Auf'ed

Jenah Saved as Top Model Eliminates Bianca

Wednesday Fashion Elimination Predictions: Project Runway and Top Model

Ten Favorite Reality Show Contestants: Top Model's Adrienne Curry at #9

Ten Favorite Reality Show Contestants: Top Chef's Sam Talbot at #10

Who is Going to Win Project Runway?

Say It Ain't So! Heather Eliminated From Top Model

Twiggy Eliminated From Top Model; Paulina Porizkova Joins Panel

Bald Is Beautiful, Smart Not So Much, on Top Model

Thoughts on Top Model's 13 Finalists

Ten Best Top 9 Performances of All Time

Here we go again...on to the Ten Best Top 9 performances of all time.

This list actually surprised me more than any of the previous ones, as it includes performances from several contestants (Constantine, Kellie, Ace) who I would not necessarily consider myself a huge fan of. It's always fun when a contestant surprises you and puts forward a performance you didn't see coming. Apparently, the Top 9 is a round full of such surprises.

Ranking the 10th Place Finishers
Ten Best Top 10 Performances of All Time

Ten Best Top 11 Performances of All Time
Ten Best First Finals Performances
Ten Best Semifinals Performances of All Time

1. Jennifer Hudson, "Circle of Life" (SF: #8)
I loved Jennifer from the moment I laid eyes on her in her initial audition, but through the semifinals and the first few rounds of the finals, she seemed to be struggling to fit her huge vocals with a performance style that worked on the small screen. With this astounding performance, however, she showed exactly what she is capable of, transforming an already moving song into a soaring anthem. Showing dazzling poise and impeccable vocal abilities, Jennifer stole the show with this performance, impressing Elton John, the judges, and the audience alike. She may have won the Oscar for Dreamgirls, but as far as I'm concerned this was her first really award-worthy performance. Spectacular.

2. George Huff, "Take Me to the Pilot"
After a bit of a rough start to the finals, George came roaring back with this joyful, soulful, and playful performance of the Elton John tune -- a performance that was so full of life it was nearly impossible not to enjoy. This is easily George's strongest performance, as well as the best male performance of that year's competition.

3. Constantine Maroulis, "My Funny Valentine" (Top 12: #10, Top 10: #4)
Let's just say I don't consider myself Constantine's biggest fan -- yet, here he is for the third time on one of my "Ten Best" lists. I guess I have to acknowledge that I enjoyed his performances more than I thought I did! This one may have been his very best, as he got to show off his musical theater training and really give a classy vocal performance of the beautiful standard. It may not have quite the level of vocal sophistication that Melinda Doolittle brought to it this season, but it was pretty dang good.

4. Clay Aiken, "Everlasting Love" (SF: #4, Top 12: #3, Top 11: #2)
By this point in the competition it was abundantly clear that Clay could sing just about anything, but when he put his stellar vocals together with a fun, uplifting song, the effect was never more enjoyable. Making it look effortless, Clay once again wow'ed his fans with this fantastic performance.

5. Latoya London, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" (SF: #1, Top 11: #10)
Latoya could hit a series of high notes to bring home a song better than almost any contestant in Idol history, and she showed off those skills on this soaring version of Elton John's ballad. Her final notes are simply breathtaking.

6. Ace Young, "Tonight I Wanna Cry"
Again, I am as shocked as many of you probably are to see Ace's name on this list -- let's just say I really was not a fan of the pretty-boy back in Season 5. However, his tender and well-sung version of the Keith Urban song really was quite excellent and rather moving-- it was the best fit between singer and song that Ace found during the entire competition.

7. Nikko Smith, "One Hand, One Heart"
The theme for the Top 9 during Season 4 was Broadway, and while Carrie and company chose mostly boring standards from 50's musicals, Nikko managed to put a contemporary and soulful spin on this beautiful ballad from "West Side Story." This was my favorite performance from Nikko -- unfortunately it was also the performance that got him voted out.

8. Katharine McPhee, "Bringing out the Elvis" (SF: #10, Top 11: #6)
I wasn't sure how Katharine was going to fare during country week in Season 5 -- she didn't exactly have much of a twang in her voice, so song choice was crucial for Ms. McPhee. In wisely choosing this soul/country tune, she brought some sass and attitude to the proceedings, and proved that she's capable of singing just about anything.

9. Kellie Pickler, "Fancy"
First off, I must admit that I am a huge sucker for this song -- the tale about a girl who is encouraged by her mother to be a hooker has a soft spot in my heart, and Reba McEntire's version is one of my favorite tunes. And while Kellie certainly doesn't reach the level of Ms. Reba in this performance, she showed some spunk and pluck, and a surprisingly competent singing voice, in this performance. It was "country week," so she should have done well -- and, for once, she did.

10. Trenyce, "I'm Every Woman" (Top 12: #6)
I would like to propose that Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman" and "I Have Nothing" be permanently retired from the competition. Trenyce was one of the first to sing the song on the show, and although Vonzell Solomon would end up singing it better a couple of season's later, I must commend Trenyce for her very entertaining version. Always in the shadow of Ruben, Clay, and Kim L., with this performance Trenyce found a way to make herself stand out.

Ranking the 10th Place Finishers
Ten Best Top 10 Performances of All Time

Ten Best Top 11 Performances of All Time
Ten Best First Finals Performances
Ten Best Semifinals Performances of All Time

Rocky Gets KO'ed: Survivor 3/29

If you read my thoughts on last week's episode of Survivor, then you know I am not sorry to have seen Rocky get shown the door on tonight's episode. He had become pretty unbearable over the past few weeks, and he didn't even perform particularly well at the challenges, so it will not be much of a loss for the Ravu tribe, or for my viewing experience.

It was good to see Ravu win their first ever challenge, though, since it was getting pretty redundant watching Moto win everything. Even Jeff Probst admits that this season is seriously lacking in drama due to the haves vs. have nots scenario. Because they've never been to tribal council I still feel like I know nothing about original Moto members Boo, Stacy, and Cassandra.

But I did feel like I got to know other players much better in this episode -- an episode I think was actually the most enjoyable of the season so far. Lisi adds a much different element to the Ravu dynamic, and Edgar and Alex both seem like very reasonable, likeable guys. I'm still not sold on Dreamz or Mookie, but perhaps with Rocky gone I will see them in a different light.

I love the Yau Man/Earl partnership, and it's adorable how Yau Man has a little man-crush on Earl (and, apparently, his newly found Immunity Idol, which I was afraid he might start french kissing). They are an odd pair (Yau Man adorably called Earl a "big strong black man"), perhaps the oddest since Richard Hatch and Rudy back in Season 1, so it'll be interesting to see how their relationship, and their shared use of the Idol, plays out. Earl seems like a really good guy -- he's funny, he's level-headed, and he seems intelligent. He's my pick to take the whole thing.

Hands down the best moment of the show, however, was Michelle falling off of the platform during the immunity challenge. Comic genius. In fact, I am laughing as I write this. Of course, had she been seriously injured it wouldn't have been nearly as funny, but it happened so suddenly, and she let out the funniest laugh after it happened, and no one addressed it -- comic genius, I say.

Oh, and Rocky is on the jury? Meaning there are going to be 12 jurors this year? Should be quite a finale...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ranking The Tenth Place Finishers

There's been a lot of carping that Season 6 is the weakest talent American Idol has ever had, and while I have a strong hunch that this may actually be true, the best way to figure that out for sure (or as close to "sure" as we can get) is by seeing how the eliminated contestants from each season stack up against each other. Thus, beginning this week, after each elimination I will rank each season's finishers, and see how they compare to each other. First up, of course, are the 10th Place Finishers, with the most recent eliminee topping the list.

Please note, rankings are determined on American Idol performances only, not on what they have accomplished since their time on the show.

1. Chris Sligh (Season 6)
Best Performance: "Trouble" (Semifinals)
Worst Performance: "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" (Top 10)
Post-Idol: ?? To be determined

2. Lisa Tucker (Season 5)
Best Performance: "I Am Changing" (Semifinals)
Worst Performance: "Because of You" (Top 10)
Post-Idol: Appeared on "The OC"; supposedly featured in a duet on Paris Bennett's CD.

3. Amy Adams (Season 3)
Best Performance: "Sin Wagon" (Top 11)
Worst Performance: "You Make Me Feel Brand New" (Top 12)
Post-Idol: Had a baby; toured in stage production of "Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as the narrator

4. EJ Day (Season 1)
Best Performance: "I'll Be" (Semifinals)
Worst Performance: his only other performance -- "My Girl" (Top 10) -- which actually wasn't that bad
Post-Idol: No clue -- I couldn't even find a picture of the guy online. Looks like he has faded into obscurity.

5. Jessica Sierra (Season 4)
Best Performance: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Top 11)
Worst Performance: "Shop Around" (Top 12)
Post-Idol: Supposedly "recording an album." Haven't we heard that before?

6. Julia DeMato (Season 2)
Best Performance: There wasn't one, really, but if I have to choose, "Son of a Preacher Man" (Semifinals)
Worst Performance: "What a Feeling" (Top 11) -- the crimped hair? Ouch!
Post-Idol: Not a whole heckuva lot.

Constantine Maroulis Coming Back to TV

TV Guide reports in this week's issue that Constantine Maroulis has been cast on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful.

Maroulis, who in the past year has been featured in the Broadway musical "The Wedding Singer" and the Off-Broadway revue "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well," will apparently play a partly fictionalized version of himself on the show. He is shcedule to begin his appearances on the show this summer.

Executive producer Brad Bell also teases to the magazine that there may be other former Idols appearing on Bold and the Beautiful this summer. Who could he be referring to? I guess we'll have to wait and see...

Jennifer Hudson Chooses Next Film Role

According to, Jennifer Hudson will follow up her Academy Award winning work in Dreamgirls by joining fellow Oscar winner Forrest Whitaker in the independent film "Winged Creatures."

Apparently Jennifer will be playing Whitaker's daughter in the film, which, according to the website, "follows the witnesses to a brutal murder suicide in a fast food restaurant as they cope with the aftermath of the incident and how they affect the people who help them along the way."

Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, and Kate Beckinsale will also star in the film.


Top 10 Results: Chris Sligh'ds Out of the Competition

For the first time this season, an elimination made me a little sad.

Okay, that statement is not quite true, since Sabrina's ouster was technically the first to make my heart hurt a bit. But still, seeing Chris Sligh exit the competition before Haley and Sanjaya is just wrong. (And how charmingly heartbreaking was it to see him hug each of the contestants as he sang his final song?)

True, Chris was never my favorite contestant -- I thought he never really made good on the promise he showed in his initial audition, and he never figured out the right balanace of snarkiness and Idol spirit that was required to really make a dent in the competition. ButI definitely think he was capable of better performances, and I'm sorry he won't be around to give them.

And I must repeat the question I asked three weeks ago, when Sabrina was cut right before the top 12...

Who the heck is voting for Haley?

Sanjaya -- I get it. I mean, of course I don't actually get it, but there has been more than enough written questioning what his appeal might be that I fully expected him to be safe this week.

But Haley? Really? Who ever expected her to be around for the Top 9? I, for one, am very surprised, because as far as I'm concerned, she ain't no hollaback girl.

Alas, goodbye Chris.

Gwen Stefani showed significantly more spunk in her performance tonight with Akon than she did as a guest coach last night. I hope Jennifer Lopez and Jon Bon Jovi are able to contribute a little more to the proceedings than Ms. L.A.M.B. was. Tony Bennett I'm not too worried about -- I'm actually looking forward to next week's show.

But back to the Sanjaya spectacle for a moment. Did they really feel the need to perpetuate this totally unwarranted obsession with him by having Ryan come out with a faux-Sanjaya 'do at the top of the show tonight? I realize it was the watercooler moment of last night's show, but I'd much prefer they pretended the whole thing just wasn't happening. Perhaps that way we might (if it's possible) forget about Sanjaya, he can be voted off the show, and we never have to be subjected to him again.

Well, a guy can dream, can't he?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Top 10: Who's Going Home Tonight?

Yes, it's time once again to try and figure out who will be going home tonight, joining the illustrious company of former 10th place finishers EJ Day, Julia Damato, Amy Adams, Jessica Sierra, and Lisa Tucker.

As I have done the last two weeks, I think the best way to make a prediction as to who is going to get kicked off tonight is by process of elimination -- figure out who is most likely to be safe, and go from there. Right now my track record is 1-for-2 -- I correctly predicted Stephanie's ouster last week, but I thought Haley would get the boot in the Top 12. Hopefully this week I'll rise above the .500 mark.

I've identified three zones: Green (safe), Yellow (not on solid ground), and Red (danger danger danger!) Here goes...

Click here to read my Top 10 Performances Recap.

Green Zone: Safe
Even though I thought they both made snooze-inducing song choices, once again Melinda and LaKisha have absolutely nothing to worry about tonight -- both were spot-on vocally, and there is no reason to think either lady's fanbase will abandon her this early in the season. For the third week in a row I'm also going to put Blake Lewis into this category -- his soulful, sexy performance, even without beatboxing (or spiky hair), should definitely earn him a spot in the Top 9. I'm also not too worried about Chris Richardson -- his fans know he was in trouble last week, so they most likely took to the phones in droves last night to save their boy.

Yellow Zone: Not on solid ground
In my article Who is in Danger This Week, I identified Gina Glocksen and Phil Stacey as two of the contestants who should be feeling butterflies in their stomach. However, I think that they both did enough last night to buy themselves some more time in the competition -- especially Gina, who, in my opinion, was the best of the night. It is possible Phil could slip into the Bottom 3, but I don't see a 10th place elimination in his future.

While I assumed that Jordin Sparks' stellar showing last week earned her enough goodwill to coast into the Top 9, I am actually a bit (just a bit) concerned about her. As I said in my recap, her performance of "Hey Baby" was so unexpected that it was a bit jarring, and I'm not sure how much it inspired people to pick up their phones. Even if she does make a surprise Bottom 3 showing, however, I don't think she is in actualy danger of being eliminated this week. At least I hope not -- the girl can siiiiiiiiiing!

Red Zone: Danger! Danger! Danger!
That leaves us with Haley Scarnato, Sanjaya Malakar, and Chris Sligh-- in my opinion the likeliest candidates for the Bottom 3 slots tonight.

Chris Sligh started this competition with such momentum -- he was going to be Season 6's quirky follow-up to Taylor Hicks. Unfortunately for him, he hasn't quite achieved the level of vocal or performance excellence that people were hoping for, and last night's performance was definitively his worst of the competition so far. What he has going for him, however, is that his fans know that he is in trouble, and as such his 'Fro Patrol devotees most likely dialed their little fingers off to save him. I don't think it will have been enough to keep him out of the Bottom 3 (or even the Bottom 2), but I do think he will be spared elimination this week.

Sanjaya Malakar's fanbase, meanwhile, must be diminishing at this point, especially after his utterly ridiculous performance last night. I mean, his "fans" must be abandoning him, right? Right? While I still think he has a week or two of life still left in him, I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a return trip to the Bottom 3 this week.

Chris and Sanjaya should both thank their lucky stars for Haley Scarnato, though, who took about 5 steps back from last week's playful and fun performance. Although she looked beautiful, she reverted back into Robo-Haley who performs as though she is the 50-year-old headliner on a cruise ship. She was so utterly forgettable singing "True Colors," that I would be shocked if she lasts one more week.

So there it is...Haley's gettin' the boot.


Top 10 Performances: Walking into Spiderwebs

(Click on any contestant's name to read a more detailed commentary on their performance)

Can someone please explain the logic behind this week's theme? Yes, I understand Gwen Stefani is the guest coach, so how about pop songs? Or songs currently on the radio? Or songs of the new millennium?

Nope, we get No Doubt songs, and songs by bands and artists who have "inspired" Gwen Stefani, such as Donna Summer, The Police, and The Cure. Restricting the theme in this way makes literally no sense. Congretulations Nigel and Ken, you have reached new levels of ineptitude.

Now, I love me some Gwen Stefani -- I've seen her VH1 Behind the Music about five times. But let's be clear -- when it comes to Idol guest coaches, Gwen Stefani ain't no Lulu and Peter Noone.

(Who thought those words would ever be uttered?)

It seems Gwen had barely had any interaction with the contestants, and she didn't have much substantive to say in her clips except "maybe he/she should sing the melody." We get it, Gwen, you're a huge fan of melody. Excellent.

And is it just me, or did she look a little embarrassed to be on the show? I'm just saying.

Okay, on to the performances. In compiling my list of Ten Best Top 10 Performances of All Time, it became clear to me that the Top 10 has not traditionally been a highlight of season's past. And after last week's season-best showing from the contestants, unfortunately tonight lived up to it's Top 10 predecessors.

There were some solid performances from front-runners LaKisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle, but both picked Donna Summer tunes (yawn!), and neither was able to inject enough originality to provide the spine-tingling effect both are capable of delivering. I'm going to chalk it up to the restrictive theme and hope they come back next week ready to really get down.

Blake Lewis left his spiky hair and his beatboxing skills at home but still sounded swell on The Cure's "Love Song." And while Simon accurately pointed out that Blake is the clear male frontrunner in the competition, he too lacked a little bit of the spark we've seen from him in weeks past. However, he is still bring a freshness and modernity to the competition that is unparalleled in Idol history, so for that reason alone I hope he continues to thrive in the competition.

While Jordin Sparks certainly did not embarrass herself on No Doubt's "Hey Baby," the song was so far from what we've come to expect from her that it was a bit jarring. While it was a bit of a letdown after last week's tour de force, Jordin did show that she is able to cope with the various themes being thrown at her, and that she deserves a healthy life in the competition.

Chris Richardson, still reeling from his Bottom 2 showing last week, made No Doubt's "Don't Speak" far more believable as an R&B flavored song than I thought possible, but he still seems to be lacking the fire of someone who really wants to win this competition. There's only so long he's going to survive on his cutie-patootie-ness -- but for this week, I'm guessing it'll be enough to get him through.

Chris Sligh and Haley Scarnato, meanwhile, took a few steps back from last week, and I wouldn't be surprised to see either one or both of them holding hands tomorrow night at 9:28. Chris butchered The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" in ways I didn't even know were possible, but there was something appealing about him admitting point blank that he had done so. Haley, meanwhile, brought her legs back, but left her spark at home, giving a snooze-inducing rendition of "True Colors." Looks like those legs might be walkin' her right out of the competition.

Oh yes, Sanjaya. Sanjaya, Sanjaya, Sanjaya, who is practically making a mockery of the competition at this point. That hair? I mean, you have got to be kidding me. He fumbled the words, he looked totally awkward, his pitch was all over the place -- and did I mention the hair? I'm really not sure how much more of this kid I can take.

Which brings us to Phil Stacey and Gina Glocksen, who, for me, were the two biggest surprises of the night. Phil finally put all of the pieces together, pairing his impressive vocals with an appropriate song choice, and not flailing around like a fool on stage. Phil has never been one of my favorites, but I've got to give him his props tonight.

Gina, meanwhile, wisely toned it down a notch from her last two frantically bad showings, made a great song choice, and really felt her performance of "I'll Stand By You." And not only did she stay on pitch the entire time, her voice was actually quite pleasant to listen to. Shockingly, I think she was the best of the night.

So, there it is. I'm guessing the third person kicked off American Idol this season will come from a group that includes Haley Scarnato , Sanjaya, Chris Sligh, and, despite his improved performance, Phil. Check back at around 1PM tomorrow for my final prediction.

My Rankings:
(Click on any contestant's name to read a more detailed commentary on their performance)
1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Dancing with the Stars Results: Peace Out Paulina

The great ABC vs. Fox Fight of 2007 came to an anticlimactic finish -- Dancing with the Stars didn't even really begin the results show until 9:08. What are you, ABC, chicken?

There are moments of this show that are even more painful than the torturous American Idol results show. The padding and plugs for ABC shows are out of control, and, really, two Dionne Warwick performances? Dionne must be on the reality tv tour, since she also put in an appearance on last year's Idol finale. I think her time might be better spent helping her niece Whitney Houston stay on the straight and narrow.

Having said all that, however, there are several moments that make the show worth watching. The professional dancers are pretty dazzling, the interviews with the contestants are entertaining, and the clip of the celebrities who were eliminated first is fascinating, in a sort of sad way.

But hands down the best moment of the night was when Samantha Harris totally screwed the pooch! She revealed that Paulina and Alec were in the Bottom 2 before she was supposed to, fumbled over her words, and then tried to cover it by naming all 7 couples that were left standing. She is terrible. If I was that bad at my job, I would be fired. ABC, are you listening to me?

And you know that Tom Bergeron just wants to punch her in the face.

So, the first celebrity eliminated from this season is Paulina Porizkova. I'm disappointed, as she seemed to have a pretty wicked sense of humor, and I think she could have been entertaining for a few more weeks. More entertaining than Shandi, at least. Alas, we'll have to put up with the "All-American couple" one more week.

Click to read Top Ten American Idol Performances: Walking into Spiderwebs

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Top 10 Performances: Chris Richardson

So after his Bottom 2 showing, Chris Richardson gets the "pimp" spot this week -- although, with the big Dancing with the Stars/American Idol seven-minute issue, it is possible performing last may not help Chris as much as that spot usually does.

As it turns out, though, I don't think Chris is gonna need the extra help. I thought his style really suited the song, and about half-way through he really hit his stride and brought the song home. He's still a bit vocally tentative for my taste, but I thought his vocals were more solid than Simon gave him credit for.

And I couldn't possibly comment on this performance without remarking on how freakin' adorable this kid is. Let's be honest -- it's not because he has a super-lovable personality, or he's so funny. I don't feel like I know a thing about him.

Basically, it comes down to the fact that he is really nice too look at. Is that so wrong?


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: Jordin Sparks

I was about as surprised as Gwen Stefani when I heard that Jordin was singing No Doubt's "Hey Baby." Yes, I've been suggesting she steer clear of the sappy ballads for awhile now, but after her tour de force last week, I was really hoping she would deliver a solid follow-up performance and secure her spot in this season's front of the pack, and this very stylized song made me a bit nervous for Jordin.

And while it wasn't the unqualified success of last week, it wasn't half bad! Sure, it read it a bit false, or copycat-ish, like Simon said, and of course if Jordin ever makes an album (which, considering Bucky Covington's CD comes out next month, seems a good possibility), she is unlikely to sing a ska-punk-pop song like "Hey Baby," but she acquitted herself quite admirably. I'm starting to think Jordin is much less Lisa Tucker than I originally thought, and much more Diana Degarmo. And lest we forget, Ms. Degarmo made it to the finals.

Didn't like the outfit, though -- cute idea, but not flattering.


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: Blake Lewis

Blake with spiky hair or not-spiky hair? Hmmm -- I'm gonna go with spiky.

Blake beatboxing or singing it straight? Hmmm -- I like him mixing it up, leaving us wondering if he's gonna whip out his skills or not.

Blake's performance tonight (sans beatboxing)? Excellent.

It wasn't his best performance of the competition, or even the best performance of the night, but he wisely chose a song that fit perfectly into his vocal range, and he delivered a very convincing, enjoyable performance. While LaKisha and Melinda retread Donna Summers for the umpteenth time in this competition, I like that Blake continually chooses songs that have never been sung on the show before.

He's a breath of fresh air. And I, for one, hope Paula is right -- that we do see him in the finale.


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: Melinda Doolittle

Well, if she had to choose a Donna Summer song, at least Melinda made a better choice than LaKisha.

And, of course, she was vocally spectacular, as always. She's been so unwaveringly consistent in that area, if she ever hits a bum note it will send jaws dropping all across America.

But, she just didn't wow me tonight. I love her, always will, but slightly less so this evening. I don't know what it was, maybe I'm just taking her unfailing vocals for granted, but I want more from Melinda, because I know she has it to give.

And I'm with Simon on the outfit -- girlfriend, you've got no neck. Go to a 12-step program, do what you gotta do, but accept it. Do not wear high collar tops, it just doesn't work for you.

I am, however, digging the short 'do.


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: Phil Stacey

Just when I thought I had written Phil off, he comes back and surprises me. On paper, this song choice didn't inspire me too much -- another mid-tempo tune, I thought to myself.

Well, apparently I though to myself wrong because he came out and put it down. He sounded consistenly excellent throughout the song, even channeling Sting at certain moments. In addition, he looked comfortable on the stage, and the hat alleviated some of the glare off of his shockingly bald head.

Not bad, Phil.


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: Haley Scarnato

After last week's sexy and sassy performance, I was ready to give Haley another shot. And I love the song "True Colors," so I actually had high hopes for this performance.

What a disappointment.

We're back to boring, forgettable Haley from the semifinals -- yawwwwwwwwwn. Like Paula said, it had a very Adult Contemporary vibe, and not in a good way -- as Simon declared, "too safe."

However, she did seem to get the memo about America liking her legs, and she definitely showed those off again tonight. Perhaps her gams will save the day again?

I wouldn't bet on it.


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: Sanjaya Malakar

Okay, Sanjaya has officially crossed the line into the world of the ridiculous. He was close before, teetering on the edge, and now he is truly and fully there.

What is there really to say at this point?

The performance is absurd. He's absolutely terrible. The mohawk is an eyesore.

Yes, all of those things could be said, and they are all true.

What irked me most about Sanjaya tonight, though, was the fact that he seemed to be adopting the Vote for the Worst attitude and giving a big FU to the competition. He knows he's bad, he knows he shouldn't be there, and now it's almost as though he's making fun of the proceedings.

Perhaps I'm being a bit tough on the kid, but that hair? Seriously?


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: Gina Glocksen

Does Gina Glocksen read "Idol Thoughts?" Because she finally dropped the pseudo-rocker act I've been begging her to abandon for weeks and just stood there and sang a great ballad (a ballad with a bit of an edge, I'll give her that). In so doing, she showed off something that I've managed to forget the past few weeks...

The girl can sing.

This was easily her best performance of the competition. Confident, on pitch, and deeply felt. Nice work, Gina!

And look at Simon being all dramatic with his praise...he really wanted that compliment to land. I think Simon sees potential in Gina to make a serious dent in this competition.

After tonight, I can't say I disagree with him.


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: Chris Sligh

Randy and Paula have been saying for weeks that Chris Sligh is always out of time with the rythym, and I didn't really know what they were talking about.

Until tonight.

Wow, that was pretty bad. It just sounded wrong. And on top of that, it looked as though he knew it sounded wrong as he was singing it. That can't possibly be a good thing.

Chris lucked out by scoring the pre-performance interview slot, so he got to show off a bit of his wit. And Simon's protracted laceration of Chris will only help him score some sympathy votes.

But still...that was pretty bad. Chris will definitely be in dangerous waters tomorrow night.


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Top 10 Performances: LaKisha Jones

First off, LaKisha's look is MUCH improved this week -- those boots are kickin' and the hair is fierce (although I could have done without the loud floral print on the bottom of her dress).

As for her performance -- I gotta say, it didn't do much for me. I love Kiki, don't get me wrong, and of course she sounded great, but I had a number of issues with it, including, at the top of the list, the song choice. I mean, SO cliched! It does seem LaKisha as a thing for picking cliched songs -- "I Have Nothing"? "Midnight Train to Georgia"? Now, I realize the theme was limited, but even choosing a different Donna Summer tune would have been better than "Last Dance.". I can't hear this song without thinking of the final moments of my Bar Mitzvah party, as the band was starting to pack their things up. BAD choice.

In addition, while every note was pitch-perfect, there was something extremely lacking from her performance -- fun! She was singing a disco song, for goodness sake -- would it have killed her to smile a little!


1. Gina Glocksen
2. Blake Lewis
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Jordin Sparks
5. Phil Stacey
6. LaKisha Jones
7. Chris Richardson
8. Haley Scarnato
9. Chris Sligh
10. Sanjaya Malakar

Elliott Yamin Scores Top 3 Debut

It looks like the long wait for Elliott Yamin's debut album paid off, as he sold just short of 100K copies to finish at #3 on this week's album chart, right behind new releases from Modest Mouse and Joss Stone. Congratulations Elliott!

Elliott is joined in the Top 5 by fellow Season 5 alum Chris Daughtry, whose band Daughtry dropped just 6% and sold 74K for a #4 finish. Carrie Underwood, meanwhile, held steady in the Top 20, selling almost 37K copies for the #16 spot.

The Dreamgirls soundtrack, featuring Jennifer Hudson, has dropped out of the Top 50.


Tuesday Morning Idol Notes

As we get geared up for another Tuesday & Wednesday of Idol excitement, here's a few Idol-related notes to keep that part of our minds busy until tonight...

Variety is reporting that Wednesday results shows will expand to an hour beginning April 11, one month earlier than originally planned. I personally prefer the meaner, leaner versions of the kick-offs (as they feature less torturous padding), but clearly (and unfortunately) I don't run American Idol, so my opinion doesn't seem to count very much! This way all the high profile guests lined up for this season (Jon Bon Jovi, Jennifer Lopez, et al.) will have a chance to shill their latest music, we'll have time for group numbers, and there might even be a chance the eliminated contestants will get to perform their swan songs in their entirety. Of course, the producers will probably butcher the time management of the show with Brad Garrett-esque stunts and the booted contestants will likely get cut off anyways, but, well, what can you do?

Meanwhile, this past weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Peyton Manning and featuring musical guest Carrie Underwood, had it's largest audience in 10 months. In addition to Carrie performing "Wasted" and "Before He Cheats," the episode also featured a pretty dang funny Sanjaya impression. You can check out video of that impression by clicking here.

Finally, Jennifer Hudson and Patti Labelle apparently stole the show at last night's GLAAD Media Awards, held in NYC. Hudson was there to present Labelle with a special lifetime achievement award. Their 15-minute onstage appearance, a lovefest between the two divas, brought down the house on several occassions, especially following an impromptu a capella duet of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." The awards, which honor television programs, movies, and journalists that have fairly and accurately represented the Lesbian & Gay community in the past year, will be broadcast on cable channel LOGO in the upcoming weeks.

That's it for now...check out Song Spoilers for Tonight's Show , Who is in Danger This Week, and Elliott Yamin Scores Top 3 Debut.

Song Spoilers for Tonight's Show

WARNING: This post contains possible spoilers about Top 10 song choices and performance order. If you want to be surprised, stop reading now!

So, I'm not 100% sure that these are accurate, since they are coming from a different source than has provided song spoilers for the past 2 weeks. However, these have been fairly widely reported around the web, so it looks like they may be legit. Here is what I'm hearing the performance order and song choices are for tomorrow night's Top 10 show...

**See below for most recent update

1. Lakisha Jones -- "Love Has A Mind Of Its Own" (Donna Summer)
2. Blake Lewis -- "Love Song" (The Cure)
3. Jordin Sparks -- "Hey Baby" (No Doubt)
4. Chris Richardson -- "Don't Speak" (No Doubt)
5. Gina Glocksen -- "Just Like A Pill" (Pink)
6. Phil Stacey -- "Every Breath You Take" (The Police)
7. Haley Scarnato -- "True Colors" (Cyndi Lauper)
8. Sanjaya Malakar -- "Sunday Morning" (Maroon 5)
9. Melinda Doolittle -- "Sunset People" (Donna Summer)
10. Chris Sligh -- "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (The Police)

If these are, in fact, accurate, I have a few concerns for tonight:

  • LaKisha and Melinda both singing Donna Summer songs, and it's not even disco week? Not cool.
  • Melinda getting the penultimate performance slot, after closing the show last week? Seems a little fishy.
  • Chris Richardson and Jordin Sparks both taking on No Doubt? That could be disastrous.
  • The two best song choices seem to me to be, shockingly, Haley and Sanjaya's. Of course, that doesn't mean they will sing them well, but they do seem to be good choices.

I will let y'all know if I get confirmation that these are correct. Stay tuned...

**6PM Update: I am now getting word that while most of these are, in fact, accurate, Gina Glocksen will be performing a ballad by The Pretenders, and Sanjaya Malakar will be performing "Bathwater" by No Doubt. There has been much confusion all day about this -- I guess we'll have to wait 2 hours and see what is correct!

Dancing with the Stars 3/26 - Where are the Cheeseballs?

Yep, it's time to check back in at Dancing with the Stars, where week 2 proved that the base level of talent is higher this year than it has been in any of the past seasons. There hasn't been a Mario or Drew Lachey level performance yet, but there is still plenty of time for Joey, Ian, Laila, or Apolo to really break out. Even Billy Ray Cyrus, definitively the weakest dancer of the bunch, could easily outperform last year's first eliminee Tucker Carlson, or even top 5 finisher Jerry Springer.

I hate Samantha Harris. She is so wooden and fake. Just had to put that out there.

Here's some thoughts on the performers:

-Wow, Apolo Anton Ono really is the surprise of the season, and a very aesthetically pleasing surprise at that! That quickstep was impressive!

-I literally could not care less about Shandi-Barbie-Beauty Queen and her smily partner. Get them out of here. Sometimes the unknown contestants end up being very entertaining, like Stacy Kiebler, who is the audience tonight. I just can't see that happening with Shandi.

-Unfortunately for Clyde Drexler, he is following in the footsteps of fellow athlete Emmett Smith, who was charming, lovable, and had a natural dancing talent. Clyde seems like a great guy, but he doesn't quite have Emmett's glow, nor his finesse around the dance floor. He certainly didn't embarrass himself, but I can't imagine he'll be following Smith and Jerry Rice into the finals.

-Happy birthday, Leeza Gibbons. Buy yourself a new set of cheekbones, didja? Good for you, you treat yourself on your birthday. Her performance is so watching-your-mom-shake-her-butt creepy that I almost have to avert my eyes. She totally got those 7's because she's turning 60. I mean, 50.

-First of all, when was Ian Ziering on Broadway? Just curious. I think at this point Cheryl Burke is as famous if not more so than Ian Ziering. There was a cover story on her today in the USA Today! As it turns out, I quite enjoyed their performance -- the choreography was great (as always), and it had a real spark to it. Good job Steve Sanders!

-Who knew Paulina Porizkova was so funny? I mean, she made me laugh out loud! It was stiff and a bit awkward, but I like her much more than Leeza Gibbons, so I hope she hangs around a little while.

-Billy Ray Cyrus is totally milking the fact that his daughter is the biggest thing in the tween set since High School Musical, but ya know what -- he's charming and his performance ain't half bad. Don't get me wrong, he's no Mario Lopez (and don't think Karina isn't thinking that as well), but he doesn't suck. Go Billy Ray.

-She's only got one leg, and she was good! Shockingly, Heather Mills was the second best female of the night. Is it possible she could transcend freak-show status in this competition and actually become a real contender? Should be fun to see.

-John Ratzenberger would love to inherit the John O'Hurley/George Hamilton spot, and he could possibly do it -- he's even got George's old partner, Edyta. He's pretty charming, and he's actually a stronger dancer than several of his competitors. Not bad, Cliff Clavin.

-Laila Ali has the deepest female voice I have ever heard. But once again, she is alllll woman on the dance floor -- and she is phenomenal! This was easily the best performance of the night, and I would say at this point Laila is the one to beat.

-I still think it's unfair Joey Fatone is in this competition, but what do ya know, I'm charmed by him once again. Sure he's a bit cheesy, but the joy he seems to be having is totally infectious, and he can really move. Plus, his Broadway experience seems to be really paying off, as he is selling what he's dancing. Nice work, Fat-One.

So there it is, my thoughts on Week 2 of Dancing with the Stars. I'm guessing Leeza's birthday will spare her another week, while Ken and Barbie are going to get sent back to the dollhouse. See ya later Shandi? We'll see tomorrow night...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Carrie Underwood is Crossing Over

Much has been written about how successful Carrie Underwood has become since winning the title of American Idol in May 2004. Her songs have dominated country radio. Her CD has sold over 5 million copies. She's picked up lucrative endorsement deals. She has won Grammys, CMA's, American Music Awards, and more.

Yes, all of this has been said before.

What I would like to discuss is something that has been happening a bit more recently, and, as far as I am concerned, is as noteworthy as the other remarkable things she has accomplished in the past couple of years -- namely, her burgeoning crossover appeal.

Yes, she has had two #1 smashes on the country charts ("Jesus Take the Wheel" and "Before He Cheats") as well as a #2 hit ("Don't Forget to Remember Me"). In addition, her most recent single, "Wasted," is in the Top 3 on that chart. There is no denying she is a bona fide country music star.

But Carrie doesn't seem content to just be a "country artist" -- her songs are now making a huge dent on non-country radio. "Before He Cheats" is skyrocketing up the Hot AC chart and, even more notably, the song about getting revenge on a cheating lover has broken into the Top 20 on the Top 40 pop chart. It is one of the fastest rising songs on both charts.

As of this morning, "Before He Cheats" is the #20 song on the Top 40 pop chart, with a bullet (indicating increased airplay) of 540 spins. The song is currently outperforming new singles from Christina Aguilera, Katharine McPhee, and Beyonce/Shakira. For a country artist, that is incredible.

In addition, "Before..." is the #15 song on the Hot AC chart, with the single largest bullet on that chart.

What makes all of this so noteworthy is that we are a long way from the days when Faith Hill and Shania Twain were topping the pop charts with crossover hits. The country and pop genres are so separate these days that aside from Underwood there is no other country artist in the Top 30 on the pop chart, and The Wreckers are the only other country act on the Hot AC chart.

It is not shocking, in and of itself, that an American Idol winner would have some crossover appeal -- after all, they do perform in front of a very large audience with a variety of musical tastes during their time in the competition. But while Kelly Clarkson, despite her huge radio and sales success, has mainly appealed to the pop/rock crowd (with some country crossover), Fantasia and Ruben has stuck mainly to R&B, and Kellie Pickler, Josh Gracin, and Bucky Covington have seen practically zero non-country airplay, Carrie doesn't seem to be having a problem getting her music played anywhere she wants.

It seems perhaps Simon was on to something when he told Carrie he could see her selling more albums than anyone else in the history of the show. With this kind of crossover appeal, it's hard to imagine that won't be the case.

Who Is In Danger This Week?

The way I see it, there are five contestants who should find a clear path into the Top 9, and there are five contestants who are in danger this week. Of course, song choice and performance order could effect the outcome (it is no coincidence that the first two eliminees sang in the first half hour of the show) , but here's how I view the landscape with approximately 44 hours to go until showtime.

The Safe Crew
Melinda and LaKisha have huge fanbases, and there is no reason to think they won't continue to support their girls this week. It seems Blake, too, has amassed a sizable group of admirers, and with the theme being pop, he should be able to find a song well-suited to his skiills.

Jordin, meanwhile, has been gaining some serious momentum, and her stunning performance last week of "I Who Have Nothing" should have earned her enough goodwill to last at least a few more rounds, regardless of how she does this week. I also think Chris Richardson is a shoo-in for a Top 9 berth, as his Bottom 2 position last week was shocking enough to motivate those who like him to start dialing for their boy.

Chance of going home (combined): 5%

Which leaves us with Chris Sligh, Phil Stacey, Sanjaya Malakar, Gina Glocksen, and Haley Scarnato. I will discuss each of them, in the order of who I think is least in danger of actually going home, to who I think is most in danger.

Chris Sligh
Chris has been solid since the Finals have begun, but he has not been spectacular or really even carved out much of a niche for himself. I don't think Chris will actually get the boot, but if he gives another average-to-good performance he could find himself Chris Richardson-ed into the Bottom 3. What will save him is a memorable performance of a well-known song -- hopefully he will deliver.
Chance of going home: 10%

Sanjaya Malakar
Interest in Sanjaya reached a fever pitch after the crying girl incident last week, so he will probably have some residual car-crash voters (as well as some vote-for-the-worst-ers) continuing to try and save him. The best chance of Sanjaya going this week is if he goes back to giving one of his insipid, whisper-y performances, and people just forget to vote for him. It'd be nice, but at this point I fully expect to see him in the Top 9.
Chance of going home: 17%

Gina Glocksen
She's given two mediocre performances, gotten mediocre comments from the judges, and hasn't yet landed in the Bottom 3, which means she's either got a really large fanbase or those who like her sensed she might be in danger and voted their fingers off for her. If she gives another so-so pseudo-rock showing this week, I think her luck may catch up with her. If she delivers like she did on the Evanescence song a few weeks ago, though, she could buy herself a few more weeks in the competition.
Chance of going home: 21%

Phil Stacey
History shows that the person who falls in 10th place was usually in the Bottom 3 during the week of the Top 12 (Julia Demato, Amy Adams, Jessica Sierra, Lisa Tucker), so that would mean danger for both Phil and Sanjaya. I think it's Phil who should be more concerned, though -- his fans responded to his Bottom 3 showing during the first week by keeping him safe last week, but unless he really pulls out all the stops, I fear we might be seeing the last of chrome-domed Mr. Stacey.
Chance of going home: 23%

Haley Scarnato
The first week she saved herself by calling herself a schmuck, then last week she revealed parts of herself that we had not seen before. What can Haley possibly do to make herself memorable this week, except, I don't know, perform well? She hasn't yet been in the Bottom 3, so people are clearly voting for her, but how long can it last? I think her time may be running out.
Chance of going home: 24%

So there it is, going into the Top 10 this is who I think needs to be worried. As I said, anything could change after Tuesday night, but let's hope these five, especially, give their performance all that they've got -- it could be their last shot.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ten Best Top 10 Performances of All Time

Yes, it's that time again. In anticipation of this week's Top 10, here is my list of the Ten Best Top 10 Performances of all time.

Click here to read Ten Best Semifinal Performances, Ten Best First Finals Performances, and Ten Best Top 11 Performances.

Please note, due to the fact that Kelly Clarkson's "You're All I Need" and Tamyra Gray's "Touch Me in the Morning" were included on the Ten Best First Finals Performance list even though they were Top 10 Performances, this list has only 8 entries. Had they been included, Kelly would have been #1 on this list, with Tamyra clocking in at #5.

1. Ruben Studdard, "Sweet Home Alabama"
"Superstar" may be his signature song, but this is the performance that really sealed the deal on what Ruben had to offer the competition -- a great big voice with a ridiculously infectious smile to match. Joyfully singing about his homestate with a huge 205 t-shirt on, Ruben was about as lovable a contestant as there has been on American Idol, and this performance personifies why.

2. Taylor Hicks, "Trouble"
To some, even at this point in the competition, Taylor was simply a novelty act, but this performance of the little known Ray Lamontaigne song showed that Taylor had a real voice to go with his quirky personality.

3. Bo Bice, "Remedy"

4. Constantine Maroulis, "I Can't Make You Love Me"

This was the round when it became clear what the differences between the two Season 4 rockers were. Both Bo and Constantine gave great performances this week, Bo rockin' out on "Remedy" and Constantine sounding better than he had the whole competition on a surprisingly understated take on "I Can't Make You Love Me." Had Constantine left the rockin' to Bo, instead of making the ill-advised choice of trying to prove his credibility by singing Nickelback in the Top 6, he might have gone further in the competition.

5. Carrie Underwood, "Independence Day"
Carrie sang the hell out of this Martina McBride song two years ago -- now she is outselling her idol and beating her at award shows. This kind of country pop is Carrie's bread and butter, and has helped her sell over 5 million albums.

6. Kimberley Locke, "I Can't Make You Love Me"
Kimberley's smoky vocal tone and quality is the perfect match for this Bonnie Raitt song, and she shows off her control to excellent effect. I am convinced that had she been dressed better (her jeans and top made her look a bit too casual) this performance would have been much more better-received. As is, it egregiously landed her in the Bottom 3.

7. Vonzell Solomon, "I Have Nothing"
Yes, this song has been sung ad nauseum on the show, but Baby V managed to give it her own twist in Season 4, easily scaling the Whitney high-notes. Until this point in the competition, Vonzell wasn't taken very seriously as a contender. After this performance, though, even Simon had to admit he was impressed.

8. Elliott Yamin, "I Don't Wanna Be"
Elliott knew he was taking a risk singing a song Bo Bice had gotten great acclaim for during the previous season, but he took it on anyways, infusing it with a soul and texture that had been missing from Bice's more straight-up rock version. This performance closed the Top 10 in Season 5, and was the first time Elliott looked truly relaxed and like he was having fun on stage. He nailed it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Upcoming Idol TV Appearances 3/23-3/29

They've already taken over the radio, now they are headed for a TV set near you. In the next 7 days, several former Idol contestants, including Stephanie Edwards, the most recent former Idol contender, will be appearing on talk shows or other television programs. Here's a handy chart so you don't miss your favorite Idol...set your Tivo now!

(Check your local listings for exact times)

Carrie Underwood
Saturday Night Live (NBC) March 24 11:30PM

Elliott Yamin

Ellen Degeneres Show (NBC) March 27

Stephanie Edwards
Live with Regis and Kelly (ABC) March 23
Ellen Degeneres Show (NBC) March 26

In addition, GLAAD has announced that Jennifer Hudson will present the Excellence in Media Award to Patti Labelle at the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 26. The ceremony will be broadcast on LOGO at a date to be announced.

Idol Thoughts on Survivor 3/21

I'm not gonna lie, last night's episode of Survivor was a little difficult to watch, as it brought back every bad memory of ever getting picked on in high school. Poor Anthony! True, it does seem like the guy could have used some work on his social skills, and he was a bit whiny, but being put on a team of ripped, aggressive alpha males is every former high school dork's worst nightmare. And then they started calling him names! I thought he handled himself with dignity, even if he didn't come up with the most articulate response to Rocky's verbal attack on his character.

Speaking of Rocky, up until last night I thought I liked the guy. He was sort of like a poor man's Rob Mariano -- not quite as funny, quick, or manipulative as Boston Rob, but entertaining nonetheless. But last night he lost me, with his derogatory equation of effeminacy with weakness, his repeated use of "little girl" as an insult, and his schoolyard bully taunting of Anthony. I will not be sorry to see him go.

It was interesting to see them mix the tribes up, but in doing so I have lost a sense of who I am supposed to root for! I always pull for the underdog, so I was clearly cheering for the exhausted, undernourished Ravu tribe, but now that the Ravu members are split between the two teams I feel a bit lost. Since Moto has not been to tribal council even once, I feel like I don't really know the members of that team, although Alex seems like a good guy, and Stacy seems like a hard worker, if nothing else. When Lisi was the last player chosen for a team and got sent to Exile Island I had to take a moment and remind myself who she was!My favorites, though, are still former Ravu's Michelle, Earl, and Yau Min.

Next week's episode should be interesting, with Lisi returning to an all-male team. Will Rocky be sent packin? Here's hoping!

See Ya Later Stephanie: Top 11 Results Recap

Life isn't fair. And neither is American Idol.

In a perfect world Sanjaya Malakar would not have outlasted the considerably more talented Stephanie Edwards in this competition. But hey, American Idol-land is not a perfect world. What can you do?

Speaking of American Idol-land not being perfect, I've got some words for the producers of the show...

Hey guys, Peter Noone and Lulu were unexpectedly great guest coaches, but having each of them sing a song in an already tight results show is just overkill. In addition, couldn't Brad Garrett have just been in the audience smiling, instead of sitting on the couch with the contestants? That couch is sacred -- it skeeves me out that Brad got his 'Til Death germs on it. Plus, the blatant plug-iness of it all kinda made my skin crawl. Just some good constructive criticism for ya.

So there's that.

While it is disappointing to see Stephanie Edwards go, I'm not surprised, since I predicted her shaky vocals and flavorless Beyonce-lite performance of Dusty Springfield would earn her an early exit (see my posting Who's Going Home?). What was a bit more surprising was seeing Chris Richardson, as opposed to Gina Glocksen or Haley Scarnato, joining Stephanie in the Bottom 2. I actually think this is a good thing for Chris, though. It will serve as a wake-up call to his fans that they better start voting for their boy. I do hope he sticks around for awhile -- i think he's got a good voice hiding behind all the Timberlake-isms, he's adorable, and he looked even cuter when he was nervous!

So, see ya later Steph. I feel like I hardly knew ya...'cause I really didn't. Say hi to Chicken Little at the 11th place convention!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Who's Going Home?

Even though last night's performances were head and shoulders better than the performances from the Top 12, someone has still gotta go. It's now time to try to figure out who will join in the illustrious company of former 11th place finishers Charles Grigsby, Matt Rogers, Mikalah Gordon, and Kevin Covais.

As I did last week, I think the best way to make a prediction as to who is going to get kicked off tonight is by process of elimination -- figure out who is most likely to be safe, and go from there (although some good it did me last week -- I predicted Haley would go!) Well, if at first you don't succeed...

I've identified three zones: Green (safe), Yellow (not on solid ground), and Red (danger danger danger!) Here goes...

Click here to read my Top 11 Performances Recap.

Green Zone: Safe
Once again Melinda and LaKisha have absolutely nothing to worry about -- both were excellent last night and both have huge fanbases, so neither lady is going anywhere anytime soon. Jordin Sparks was spectacular as well, and I think she is gaining fans and momentum by the week, so she, too, is safe-as-safe-can-be. Blake Lewis also has nothing to worry about -- his soulful, sexy performance last night should definitely earn him a spot on next week's show.

Yellow Zone: Not on solid ground
Neither Chris Sligh or Chris Richardson gave their best performance of the competition, and both were a bit overpraised by the judges, but both were solid enough, I believe, to keep them out of danger this week. If either slips down into the Bottom 3 I will not be shocked, but I expect both Chris' will end up on the Season 6 AI Tour.

Next up: last week's Bottom 2 and 3 finishers, Sanjaya Malakar and Phil Stacey. In three of the last four seasons the 11th place finisher was not in the Bottom 3 during the Top 12 (the lone exception being Mikalah, who was Bottom 2 in the Top 12 and eliminated the following week). What does this mean for Sanjaya and Phil?

As much as it kills me to say it, I'm thinking the sheer bizarre-ness of Sanjaya's performance, in addition to the watercooler-worthiness of the Sanjaya/weeping child moment, is going to be enough to spare him another week. He may find himself in the Bottom 3 again, but I don't think he's going home.

I also don't think Phil is going anywhere -- while I didn't love his performance, I'm thinking his fans know that he's in trouble, and they dialed their little fingers off in support of him last night. He, too, could make a return trip to the Bottom 3, but I'd be very surprised if he isn't back next week.

Red Zone: Danger! Danger! Danger!
That leaves us with Haley Scarnato, Gina Glocksen, and Stephanie Edwards -- in my opinion the likeliest candidates for the Bottom 3 slots tonight.

So who's gonna go?

While the one-spot killed Brandon Rogers last week, I'm guessing Haley's legs will be enough to help her avoid the same fate.

And while Gina's rendition of "Paint it Black" was slightly, as Simon said, "torturous," I'm thinking the extended conversation with the judges after her performance will earn her enough votes to stick around another week.

Which brings us to Stephanie. Beautiful Stephanie, who dresses better than anyone else in the competition, but just can't find a way to really bring her personality to the forefront and endear herself to the viewers. It will be a shame to lose her so early, but I think she's going to be the one to go.

So there it is...Stephanie's gettin' the boot.


Daughtry Remains In Top 5 of Album Charts, Dreamgirls DVD Release Date Announced

Selling just under 80K copies, Chris Daughtry's band Daughtry slipped just 2% in album sales this week and finished at #5, behind new releases from Musiq Soulchild, Lloyd, and Rich Boy.

Carrie Underwood just missed out on a return to the Top 10, selling about 41K copies for a #11 finish.

The Jennifer Hudson-led Dreamgirls soundtrack fell 25%, moving 18K units and winding up at #34. It was announced yesterday that the DVD of Dreamgirls will be available May 1, with an extended version due out at Christmastime.

In non-Idol CD news, Amy Winehouse, who I love (read Idol Thoughts Rave: Amy Winehouse) made her debut on the chart at #7, selling around 50K copies.

Look for Elliott Yamin to make his chart debut next week!