Thursday, May 22, 2003

THE NEXT-TO-LAST WORD ON AMERICAN IDOL 2: Oh, thank goodness for Fametracker, the website that realizes that Clay Aiken's true look-a-like is Cynthia Nixon on Sex and the City:

Just read.
IT'S JUST DAYS AWAY: "Laverne and Shirley" star Eddie Mekka ("Carmine 'The Big Ragu' Ragusa") begins his run as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof next Wednesday, May 28. Can you stand the excitement?

Are good seats still available? Maybe, if you hurry.

This blog's earlier coverage of this breakthrough dramatic performance is right here.
LIKE BEING IN FINALS FOR A CLASS YOU DIDN'T GO TO ALL QUARTER: Former SNL star Anna Gasteyer, on her years at 30 Rock:
"The women would sequester themselves in an office and ... we would worry about what kind of person we are, our jobs and our careers," she said. "Every Tuesday night, (co-stars) Jimmy Fallon or Chris Kattan would roll (one another) down the hallway in a cardboard box."

Read more here.
A BLIP ON THE RADAR: Congratulations to Ruben Studdard for being named our new American Idol. Andy, I owe you dinner.

But Ruben's victory was meaningless in every sense of the word.

Both Ruben and Clay will be recording albums for 19 Entertainment. Both will have singles coming out next month on the same day. Both of their albums will be released on the same day. Both artists will be appearing on the same nationwide tour this summer.

So it didn't matter who was going to win last night -- both men had temporary success assured.

That the margin of victory was only 130,000 votes renders the results super-meaningless. They signify nothing. They're a statistical error.

And probably, I believe, evidence of manipulation.

The mostly likely reason for a vote that close is that the phone lines were set up in such a way to prevent every vote that viewers sought to cast from being recorded. The fewer lines available, the less the true strength of preference between the candidates is allowed to emerge.

Essentially, every possible voting "slot" for each performer was filled, and indeed, the message boards reported busy signals all over the place. So if there were a lot more Clay supporters than Ruben supporters, given power dialing and scrunched phone lines they'd never be able to demonstrate that preference.

Look: it's all for the best, in the end. Ruben's more likely to succeed as a pop performer, and Clay -- without the burden of being The American Idol is freer to find that place where he'll truly be happy.

Because as long as there's a Beauty and the Beast performance that's short one candlestick, Clay Aiken will never go hungry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

"CAN'T REPEAT THE PAST?" HE CRIED INCREDULOUSLY: "Why, of course you can!" said Jay Gatsby.

His words are proven true again by this article, which announces that noted thespians Lance Bass (of N'Sync fame) and Paris Hilton (best known for playing Herself, in Zoolander) are teaming up to film a remake of The Great Gatsby.

What -- was Mira Sorvino previously booked? What do you mean she's already done Gatsby?

(Look, not like the 1974 version was so great. Of that film, one reviewer wrote: "John Huston once said that 90% of directing is casting. "The Great Gatsby" seems determined to prove the point by mis-casting every possible role. For example, Gatsby, if you haven't read the book, is a man of mystery with a really hard edge. Rumors and speculation abound about his gangster connections, and possibly dark past. To do it right, you'd need to find a face the audience has never seen before. Think a young Sean Connery, with Robert DeNiro's intensity. Here? They cast Robert Redford. That's like casting Kevin Costner as Robin Hood.")

All we can do is we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past . . .
HAIL, HAIL: Congratulations to the Amherst College Lady Jeffs lacrosse team, which captured the NCAA Division III women's lacrosse champioship with an 11-9 win over NESCAC rival Middlebury College on Sunday. Read about it here.

Monday, May 19, 2003

ON THE CHICAGO LAW '97 WATCH: Finally getting to a story this blog covered more than two weeks ago, the Associated Press today reports on the Bobbin' Head Rehnquists being produced by The Green Bag as a gift to subscribers.

Read the article, with quotes from Ross Davies '97 and a photo of the Mini Chief with Dave Gossett '97, via this link.
THE BATTLE IS JOINED: Let Andy Lloyd try to convince you that Ruben Studdard will win the American Idol final, invoking Thomas Dewey, Maxine Waters and Walter Mondale in the process. It's worth reading, though, of course, he's wrong.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

ALAN KEYES IS MAKING NOISE: Is beloved gadfly Alan Keyes thinking of challenging President Bush in 2004? Could those of us who enjoy politics as a form of entertainment be so lucky?

Based on this dispatch on Keyes' website, well, maybe. He's sounding the "Bush is abandoning religious conservatives" alarm again, and we all know where that can lead:
In 2000, Alan Keyes said that he would never abandon the GOP unless the GOP first abandoned him by abandoning its principles. According to recent news reports, there are a lot of grassroots conservatives--those who constitute the traditional "base" of the GOP -- who feel increasingly abandoned by the party.

. . .

A year after President Bush barely sneaked past Al Gore in Florida in 2000, White House senior advisor Karl Rove admitted that the GOP's strategy nearly backfired that election year, because the GOP took the Christian grassroots for granted. As a result, the base of the party stayed home on election day in large numbers. There are indications that the Bush administration is in the process of making the same mistake twice.

Well, I can dream, right?

This blog will track all developments on this important story.

(For my account of the time I crashed Dr. Keyes' 50th birthday party, click here and scroll down.)
RES IPSA LOQUITOR: Current sales figures on for the two American Idol finalists' first CD-singles:
Clay Aiken, "This Is The Night/On The Wings Of Love": #1
Ruben Studdard, "Flying Without Wings/Superstar": #84

In addition, these highlights on Newsweek's big piece on Idol in the new issue:
1. Your second graf: "Simon's never been much for chitchat, but he's particularly on edge now because of something strange occurring onstage. Kimberley Locke, who most everyone believes is a long shot to make it to the finals, is singing the pants off Ruben Studdard. Clay Aiken isn't at his best, but Studdard is really off. His rendition of Peabo Bryson's 'If Ever I'm in Your Arms Again' is so obviously uninspired that the judges are clearly worried. They even tell him to take off his distracting hat and sing again, even though the judges almost never comment on performers before the show. 'We have a problem,' Cowell is overheard carping outside the soundstage later. 'I want Ruben to be in the final two, and Kimberley just had a great rehearsal.'"

[Complete side note: why didn't Ruben sing the bridge of that song last week? It's, like, the best part of the song: "The best of romances/Deserves second chances/I'll get to you somehow/'Cause I promise now"]

2. The meme keeps on rolling. On Clay, the article notes: "he'd be perfect as the nerdy guy in 'Rent.'"

At three people, it's now an organization.

3. On last week's 'random' round: "It turns out that the 'random' round was much more stage-managed than it appeared. Despite all those papers in the bowls, there were only four songs per contestant, all carefully chosen to suit the singers’ vocal style and range. 'There wasn't 'The Macarena' in there or anything,' says Lythgoe. 'It wasn't going to be stupid.'"

Keep reading.