Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

American Idol: Top Ten

Tonight is "sing a song from your birth year" night. Bailey sent me an e-mail telling me she is "against how young everyone is." I have to agree. Here we go:

Ramiele Mulaby. "Alone." How could she sing this after Carrie did so memorably? And she's wearing high-waisted shorts and knee-high scrunchy boots? She didn't sound good, she didn't look good. I'm surprised none of the judges mentioned Carrie, but regardless, they didn't like it.

Jason Castro. "Fragile." I could barely hear him as he sang. The performance was kind of exactly what Randy said--nice, but nothing really exciting.

Syesha Mercado. "If I Were Your Woman." Her voice sounded good, if a little shrieky at times. She is a better performer than many on the show, but the emotion she shows during the song doesn't seem very genuine--it all seems a little too much like an act: sad face, determined face, finger wagging at imaginary person, happy face, and so on.

Chikeze. "If Only For One Night." Ah, Chikeze. Or, as Gobo calls him: "How Is He Still In This?" He sounded okay but I really didn't like the song and it wasn't anything special. Just boring. So far, not a great night on Idol.

Brooke White. "Every Breath You Take." I thought Brooke sounded good, but she didn't have the creepiness the song requires in her performance. It is, after all, a song about stalking someone. Much like the judges, I liked the beginning when she sang with just her piano more than I liked the end. Oh, and her hair looks really good straight.

Michael Johns. "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions." In the Queen catalogue, this is one song, but if you're only going to sing tiny bits of each on AI it is kind of pointless to stick them together awkwardly, without the original bridge. And it was even more pointless for Michael to do that because "We Will Rock You" did nothing for his voice or performance at all. I did like "We Are the Champions," but his voice cracked at one point when he was singing the higher notes.

Carly Smithson. "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Let's see if she flubs the lines like Jessica Sierra. She didn't flub the lines. And she sounded good, but I just didn't think it was particularly great in any way.

David Archuleta. "You're the Voice." Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh. Why must he choose another "message song?" His mom probably told him it was a good idea. Ugh.

Kristy Lee Cook. "God Bless the U.S.A." God why? WHY?! When Gobo heard the song title he told me to fast forward. But I can't disappoint my bloggers like that. Instead, I'll share a story with you. My friend Scott, husband of Carol Seaver, received the single of this song for his law school graduation in 2002. Why? No clue. Could there be a more random law school graduation gift? I can't think of one. As for Kristy, her voice actually sounded pretty good for the first time, but it doesn't forgive that song choice, despite the judges' compliments. Perhaps it's a smart choice in that the viewers are all gung-ho America, but that doesn't make it okay.

David Cook. "Billie Jean." I'm counting on David Cook to sing something good because this has been a pretty disappointing night. And this was...interesting. David definitely has a penchant for changing up songs we all know and love. Sometimes I love what he does ("Hello"), sometimes I really don't ("I Think I Love You"). In this case, I liked the beginning, thought the "people always told me" part was just absolutely great, and didn't really love the chorus ("Billie Jean is not my lover") because it sounded a little awkward. But in all, I like it, and I like that he does something with well-known songs every time he sings. I wonder how much David changes the song and how much the Idol behind-the-scenes musicians suggest changes to him. I'm going to guess that David deserves a lot of the credit because no one else has altered songs as consistently as he does. Now if he would do something about his hair, we would be in business. ETA: In the comments someone points out that Ryan said David was singing the Chris Cornell version of Billie Jean. I usually fast forward through Ryan, so I wasn't aware of this.

Who will go home: Chikeze. Who I fervently wish would go home: David Archuleta. Best of the (pretty boring) night: David Cook.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

American Idol, 11 remaining

So tonight I went out with someone I went to high school (high school!) with and maybe had a little more than half a pitcher of sangria. But worry not--I will blog on.

Amanda Overmeyer, "Back in the USSR." I am really starting to hate her her. Her lower register sucks and she couldn't come close to the range required by this song. She did absolutely nothing for the song. Blech. She really sucked (did I say that already...perhaps too much sangria?). And, as I thought would happen, Simon has started to call Amanda boring for doing the same thing every week, despite praising her for the same crap a couple of weeks ago.

Kristy Lee Cook. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." Gobo just asked "how is this girl still here? I thought she was kicked off." Alas, no. This was pretty bad, with the bright and happy "Hey!" and then the full rest. As with many Idol contestants, it's like she just doesn't get the song she is singing.

David Archuleta. "The Long and Winding Road." I was going to guess he would be singing "Hey Jude" or "Yesterday," as I guessed last week. But...what's up Idol? Why is he not singing first or last? Oh. "The Long and Winding Road." That should have been a third choice, next to "Hey Jude" or "Yesterday." What can I say? He has a good voice, but...no soul, if that doesn't sound too cheesy. I don't consider pumping a fist close to your side during "emotional" parts of the song to be heartfelt.

Michael Johns. "A Day in the Life." This will be interesting--it's a phenomenal Beatles song, and a difficult one, since it is really two different songs (one by Lennon, one by McCartney). But...I kind of hated it. And he messed up his words too ("having read the book" twice).

Brooke White. "Here Comes the Sun." Another great Beatles song. The shoulder shimmying was a little much, and I do like her better when she has a guitar or piano in front of her, but I still liked her (not as much as in the past few weeks), and definitely preferred her over any of her predecessors. The judges definitely ripped her, at which point Gobo said "poor Brooke." He has decided he likes her, even though he's "not sure she meets the age limit."

David Cook. "Daytripper." Gobo isn't sure David meets the age limit either, for the record. Why does David's guitar say "AC?" Would I know this if I didn't fast forward past the intro segments and the bits where they talk with Ryan? I didn't think this was close to his best performance, but was still pretty decent. (Uh oh, I sounded kind of like Randy!)

Carly Smithson. "Blackbird." Another really great Beatles song, which should be an excellent choice. She did a pretty straight version of the song, which was probably the right choice. She sounded good, although it didn't really move me.

Jason Castro. "My Michelle." I thought he sounded good, but he needs to stay away from the teenybopper choices if he wants to be taken seriously (which is what I think he wants). And I'm a little surprised he chose this, because it is not my favorite Beatles song, and I didn't think it would be his either. It's a little fluffy.

Syesha Mercado. "Yesterday." If she's singing "Yesterday," I'm guessing she will be sitting on the Stool of Seriousness. And she is! But, as much as I have liked Syesha in the past, I just don't think she can do the Beatles (because the past two weeks have been my least favorite of hers). I am definitely not the fan the judges were of this performance--it just felt too embellished.

Chikeze. "I've Just Seen a Face." I really love Chikeze more and more each episode. He made this song a psuedo-country song, and I still really liked it. I didn't think he deserved the extreme criticism of the judges.

Ramiele Mulubay. She is just so awkward on stage. Her voice sounded good, but her performance is just wooden. No matter how great her voice sounds, I can't get past her "dancing" and performance. Maybe she should start sitting on the Stool of Seriousness?

Who will go home: Kristy Lee Cook. It's just time. But if they send Amanda home, I wouldn't cry any tears.

Best of the night: David Cook. And I didn't even like him that much. But it was a pretty mediocre night. Oh, and Chikezie, despite Simon's dislike of the performance.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Keds comeback

Remember the Keds of your youth? White canvas sneakers with a little blue tab reading "Keds" on the back? They were really popular when I was about 11 (in 1989!) but eventually lost their cool. I didn't think they would regain their popularity, and certainly couldn't imagine I would buy another pair. But I have bought another pair. What's more, I was seriously torn between several pair.

Keds have definitely made a comeback. No longer just plan white, they have really adorable patterns in fun colors, many with a 1950s retro look. They have some Keds with wedges, but not in a stupid "I'm wearing a sneaker that has a heel" way. (Great for me, because I need a shoe to walk around the streets of DC in, and can't do that in my typical heels because the grates rip the heels up. But I can't wear flats becase none of my jeans are hemmed to flat length, meaning I have to roll them up. Oh, and I'm five feet tall and hate flats.) They even have Keds designed by Nanette Lepore.

Don't believe me? Check out their site. And look at all of the shoes I have posted here. (The first pair is the pair I bought, the next two were the ones I was seriously considering, and the last two are too low for me, but just super cute. It's difficult to tell, but the first two pair have a white wedge, a little lower than the green wedge.)


Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Totally Called This Months Ago

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

And I Always Thought That Gilligan Was The Dope Fiend

It seems that Dawn Wells, aka Mary Ann, got busted for having pot in her car in Idaho. Considering that one of the Junkettes has an expertise on this fine state, I wonder what she has to report and, more importantly, does she know Ms. Wells? And, gee, after the whole Larry Craig thing, how is Idaho going to survive this one as Ms. Wells is not only the founder of the Idaho Film and Television Institute but she is also organizer of the region's annual family movie festival called, what else, the Spud Fest?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

American Idol: Top Twelve

I didn't realize it was Beatles night. This could be great, but it has the potential to be awful.
How exciting! I'm going to guess that David Archuleta is going to sing either "Yesterday" or "Hey, Jude." Simon did tell him to not be so gloomy, though, and I'm sure the robot follows instructions. So maybe not. Is it mean for me to call a 17 year old kid "the robot?" Probably.

Here we go:

Syesha Mercado. "Got to Get You Into My Life." I have liked Syesha since they started competing, but I thought this was really, really bad. I have a feeling that they will not ream her, but I think she was absolutely horrible. It sounded completely cruise ship and she sounded really flat throughout the song. I'm surprised that Simon was as nice as he was--I wonder if he is going to come back tomorrow and say he heard it back and was wrong. Yuck. But I do still like her.

Chikeze. "She's a Woman." I don't think Chikeze is the best singer, but I think he genuinely has fun on stage and it is really infectious. No one has ever been so blatantly happy to be on the show, except maybe Ricky Smith ("Hercules, Hercules, Hercules!").

Ramile Mulaby. "In My Life." I didn't look at her throughout much of this performance, and her voice is really quite pretty. But she doesn't have a ton of control and her physical presence on stage is is horrible. Her last note was really bad. And, as the judges said, it was boring.

Jason Castro. "If I Fell." This was a misstep--really cheesy and teen idolesque. And the arrangement was an absolute travesty to the song.

Carly Smithson. "Come Together." It sounded shrill in the beginning, although I did think it improved near the end. I feel like she has a certain phoniness about her, but maybe I'm wrong? And is it me, or did she look like an older Miley Cyrus? I really wasn't as enamored with her as the judges and audience, though.

David Cook. "Eleanor Rigby." I really hadn't liked him, but last week was really good. He always seems to want to do something a little snarky with songs, but it's all kind of obvious, which I really don't like. But I did really love last week! And this week was kind of all of those things mixed in. He has a good voice, but somehow it doesn't seem authentic. Gobo thinks a lot of the perceived phoniness has to do with the hair, and he might be right.

Brooke White. "Let It Be." Allowing them to play instruments really changes the show, especially for someone like Brooke. It really allows us to see an additional part of her performance--a part that makes the performance much better. I liked her again this week--like David, for the second week in a row. (After everyone else sang, I decided this was my favorite of the night.)

David Hernandez. "I Saw Her Standing There." Horrid. It was really hammy and he didn't even sound good.

Amanda Overmyer. "You Can't Do That." Ugh. I almost fast forwarded through it at one point. It wasn't good and it was really repetitive. It was supposed to be high energy, but it was still boring.

Michael Johns. "Across the Universe." I hated the last few notes. I thought he sounded good, but I think that's more because it's a good song. I have always thought that it was the most lyrically pretty Beatles song.

Kristy Lee Cook. "Eight Days a Week." The song was a bit frantic in pace, but I didn't think she sounded as bad as the judges thought.

David Archuleta. "We Can Work It Out." Could they pimp a contestant more than they do this kid? He sang last in week two, first in week three, and now last again in the fourth week.
But I guess that doesn't always help when the song is live and you forget your lines twice. And the dancing was all sorts of stiff and bad. The judges were finally critical, although I was surprised Randy didn't make a direct reference to his flubbed lines. Are the producers threatening the judges not to say anything bad about this guy?

Best of the night: Brooke, followed by David Cook and Chikeze.

Worst of the night: This is hard because there were really so many. Could we have a three-way tie between Jason Castro (sorry Bailey, but that arrangement was just awful and he was so cheesy), David Hernandez (horrible) and David Archuleta (flubbed lines on a super-familiar song, bad dancing, awkward performance)? And I know the judges like her, but if I never saw Amanda perform again, I wouldn't be sad.

Who will go home: Syesha (with Ramiele in the bottom two). I feel like Syesha is just really forgettable (which is odd, because I think she's super cute), and she really did sing poorly. Maybe not as bad as some of the others, but almost. And considering the others are fan favorites, that's enough to send her home.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Heidi + Britney = A Really Bad Song

Maybe everyone else has already heard this, but I got a little behind in my blog reading lately, so just in case I'm not the only one who'd missed it:

Heidi Montag and Britney Spears recorded a duet called "Dramatic". And it is . . . not very good. One might even say awful. I couldn't sit through the whole thing and I actually like a lot of Britney's songs. But this, oh holy hell, is it unlistenable. The most interesting thing about it (apart from rather hilarious lyrics) is how Britney's trademark breathy singing sounds so professional compared to Heidi's ... I guess I should call it singing too.

Via Jezebel.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

American Idol: 8 women

It's '80s night, part two! The performances:

Asia'h Epperson. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." I guess the stylist thought it would be cute to try to do Asia'h's (see how stupid that looks, with the unnecessary apostrophe?) hair like Whitney's in the video for this song. This is pretty bad--it sounds like she started off on the wrong note and has been flat throughout. And what's up with her outfit? Is it a two-tone jumpsuit? Is it a two-piece outfit with an identical zipper/buttons running down both pieces? I am really surprised that Randy and Paula thought it was so wonderful. Was I listening to a different performance?

Kady Malloy. "Who Wants to Live Forever?" I remember Katherine McPhee singing this a few seasons ago, and being really disappointed. My feeling after Kady's rendition is no different. She sapped all of the energy out of the song. She did sound better than she has the last couple of week, but she didn't sound great (she, like Asia'h, sounded flat). And she was boring.

Amanda Overmeyer. "I Hate Myself for Loving You." Wow, what a surprise. Amanda is singing Joan Jett. Why do so many American Idol contestants favor the squat as part of their performance repetoire? It is really unattractive. I feel like Amanda is just a better version of Nikki McKibbin. This was a good song choice for her (if obvious), but in a few weeks I imagine Simon is going to start complaining that she is one-note. It did seem that she took Paula's advice and toned down the makeup.

Carly Patterson. "I Drove All Night." Oh my god, her pants. I'm having trouble concentrating on her performance because I can't imagine how she allowed anyone to put her in those pants. I really, really don't get the judges' infatuation with her. I continue to think she is weak on the high notes. She sounds good on the low notes, but seems that she is straining when the notes get big or high.

Kristy Lee Cook. "Faithfully." I didn't even recognize Kristy when she walked out; she looks really different. I think she oversang the song, but sounded okay. Not great, just okay. Did anyone else notice how very red her tongue was? Was she sucking on lollipops? Cough drops?

Ramiele Mulaby. "Against All Odds." Her facial expressions and enunciation are awkward at times. She's my dad's favorite contestant, but she just confuses me. I hate her song choices, and she often seems to not understand the song. I get that she wanted to show that she can hit big notes, but can't she weave it into an entire performance? Randy, for once, was right on with his critique, saying that you can almost see her thinking about what to do next.

Brooke White. "Love is a Battlefield." Gobo and I continue t marvel when they show her age as 24. She looks so much older! Surprisingly, I really liked this performance. I liked that she did something different with the song by stripping it down, and her voice sounded really good. I think Randy is really wrong in saying that she didn't really bring anything new to the song--I think her entire performance was about doing something new with the song. The song is a total rock anthem, and she totally changed that. And, unlike Paula, I liked that she didn't use the band. Oh, and Simon agrees!

Syesha Mercado. "Saving All My Love for You." I was just singing this song the other day, and Gobo was impressed at how much of the lyrics I remembered. When I sang it, however, it didn't sound quite like Syesha's performance. I thought she was pretty good--a little shouty at times, but overall a good performance. She got kind of robbed on the commentary, though. Too bad Paula wasted so much time blabbering at the audience earlier.

My favorite: Brooke, then Syesha.
Who should go home: Asia'h, Kady.
Who will go home: Kady, Ramiele (or maybe Kristy, and I continue to fear that Syesha could end up getting kicked off)


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

American Idol, 8 guys

It's '80s week, and I'm sure I don't need to tell any of you I'm excited. Let's see what gems the singers choose.

Luke Menard. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." My friend Scott (husband of Carol Seaver) once called this "the most annoying song ever." And remember how everyone was all shocked when George Michael came out of the closet? But then you went back and watched the video for this song, with the color-blocked short shorts, and couldn't believe how shocked you were? Anyway, as for Luke, his voice just has a whiny quality to it, especially on the higher notes. Simon, however, was pretty mean in his critique. What he said is no worse than what he usually says to people he doesn't like (i.e. "you're not going to make it to the final 12," "you're not going to win"), but the tone was meaner than usual.

David Archuleta. "Another Day in Paradise." David just doesn't look like a 17 year old, he looks more like a 12 year old. Shouldn't he look more mature? It creeps me out a little. And he has chosen one of the worst Phil Collins songs ever. I can recognize that David is a really good singer, but I just can't get behind him. Shouldn't he have at least a little edge to him? Something? Anything?

Danny Noriega. "Tainted Love." That was by far Danny's best performance, but the other two really blew. The arrangement didn't allow for any of the fun parts of the song (the high notes). I'm unsure if that was compensation for his inability to hit the notes or not.

David Hernandez. "It's All Coming Back to Me." As soon as he sang the first notes, Gobo asked "why is he doing this?" This is the cheesiest song ever. Made all the cheesier because it was accompanied by the cheesiest video ever. EVER. If you haven't seen it, go to YouTube and do a quick search. It's amazing. As for David, he sounded good, but if he certainly isn't trying for any street cred by choosing a song like this. I was laughing throughout this entire performance because I couldn't believe he had chosen this song.

Michael Johns. "Don't You (Forget About Me)." He sounded JUST like Jim Kerr (the lead singer of the Simple Minds--I knew the band name, but had to look up the singer's name) on the first few bars. This is another song where I didn't like the arrangement and I thought he seemed to be straining a little when the notes were higher.

David Cook. "Hello." I have to confess: I really love Lionel Richie. I haven't loved David Cook. But I loved this rendition of "Hello." I'm embarassed, but it's true. And I think that choosing a Lionel Richie song is generally a good idea because Lionel Richie is a great songwriter (I know, but really, I'm a big fan), so his songs kick ass. And David Cook did a really great job with it. When Simon said he loved it I started clapping like Paula (palms together, fingers out). Oh, and since I mentioned cheesy music videos earlier, the video for this song is also pretty amazing, with Lionel playing a man in love with a blind sculptor.

Jason Castro. "Hallelujah." Simon called David Cook's song choice brave, but I think this one is even braver. The Jeff Buckley version of this song is just so wonderful. Of course, there may be a lot of people out there who have never heard any version of this song (although it seems to air at the end of at least one Very Special episode of shows like The O.C. and The West Wing), which would make the choice smart, rather than brave. He did a nice job. But obviously, he's no Jeff Buckley, although you can't really fault him for that. On another note, I watched Jason's pre-song interview, and am I the only person who thought he was high?

Chikezie. "All the Woman I Need." I was going to complain and say that I hate when AI contestants choose a gendered song like this and change the words around, but it turns out that Luther Vandross did a version of this song. Who knew? Not me. Chikezie wasn't his great self of last week, but nor was it the horrid performance of the week before. I thought he sounded okay (how Randy of me).

Going home: Luke, Danny (or maybe Chikezie). My favorite, by far: David Cook!!! I'm as shocked as you all are. And I just realized that much of this post discussed, not the songs, but the music videos for the songs. I guess I watched a lot of MTV as a kid.