Saturday, March 14, 2009
While we're on the topic, any thoughts on the current season? Will it be the one with the crazy eyes? The one with the Paula Poundstone vibe? The one who doesn't believe enough in her own beauty until Tyra breaks her down and makes her realize her inner ferocity?
In related news -- though this is normally Alex's turf -- the 2009 inductee class for the WWE Hall of Fame has been announced, headlined by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and also including Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Terry and Dory Funk Jr., promoter Bill Watts and ... no, this can't be right, jobber-to-the-stars Koko B. Ware? Was it just for his recording of the song "Piledriver"? Fashion-wise, it must be noted, the early 1990s were not kind to him.
Friday, March 13, 2009
I like Stewart a lot, but I'm not a fan of the Jon Stewart who decides that the best way to get his point across is to conduct these smug interviews where the question, and not the answer, is the important part, and where he plays his "you're-serious-I'm-just-a-comedian" card. The clip segments this week leading up to the interview (at least the ones I saw) were good examples of how Stewart can both make his point and make his point entertaining. When he resorts to his interview/debates, though, he tends to stop trying to be funny, which unsurprisingly renders him not funny. At that point, the show starts to recall those Jay Leno monologues where the goal is applause, not laughter, and one good rule of comedy is that if Jay Leno does it, you should try something else.
And by the way, an interesting question in the abstract (though not one presented in this instance, I think) is whether the recipient of an unrestricted tweet containing material information can be subject to tippee liability under the securities laws. Is a tweet "nonpublic"?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Alternate titles for this post suggested by the ALOTT5MA Staff include:
- DIG (IF YOU WILL) THE PICTURE OF YOU AND I ENGAGED IN A SKIT:
- LET'S GO CRAZY, BUT ONLY IN A WAY THAT DOESN'T ALIENATE OUR TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC:
- WITH THE HELP OF JEFF CORWIN, THEY WILL DETERMINE WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE WHEN DOVES CRY:
- MAYBE YOU DON'T HAVE TO WATCH DYNASTY TO HAVE AN ATTITUDE, BUT TO SEE PRINCE FOR A WEEK YOU HAVE TO WATCH LENO:
- TONIGHT (SHOW) GOING TO PARTY LIKE IT'S 1999:
We've agreed on a live draft for Monday, March 30 at 9pm EDT; league format will be weekly head-to-head 4x4, with OBP tentatively replacing BA among the categories on offense. If you're interested, shoot me an email (either at the blog's address, or on Facebook).
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
What's interesting is how rarely this actually would have been employed in the past -- for Johns or Smithson last year, for Constantine perhaps in season 4, J-Hud we'd hope and maybe Christina Christian, but contrary to what Seacrest suggested it could not have saved Daughtry or Doolittle from premature ouster given the "before final five" limitation. Indeed, it's hard finding folks in most seasons who were so clearly prematurely gone to merit this remedy. So, maybe, they don't use the Idol Immunity at all, and that's fine too. Should it have been used tonight?
I'm trying to think of a twist giving judges more power that I'd be happy with -- some form of individual immunity handed out before the vote results are known to the judges? a "sing for your life" finals-night battle between the bottom 2-3 every week on which the judges then votes?
Democracy may be messy, and it may lead to unjust results on this show (no, Richard Rushfield, not that one -- this one and this one), but as far as this show is concerned, it's the best option out there.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
ThrillersIf it ends up being Adam v. Danny as the dominant narrative, that could get interesting -- humble and aw-shucksy v. theatrical and occasionally show-offy; "I can't dance" v "I own the stage." One week at a time; there's some chaff to remove first.
Danny Gokey, a/k/a RDJJ, a/k/a DWG: Wow. I didn't know he was planning to cut into Anoop's market share this early. Entertaining as all heck, and just needs to keep the dancing appropriately dorky. It's Taylor Hicks, without all the sucking we had come to expect.
Adam Lambert, Who Happens To Be "Theatrical": Okay, so he has this gift in that upper register. No question. But we don't hand out gifts every day; we know when to hand them out. A bit indulgent, but I want to see more. Totally at ease on that stage.
Alexis Grace: Great song choice. Solid job.
Megan Joy: One of many pleasant, safe, competent performances tonight. "Rockin' Robin," really?
Matt Giraud: Just a lovely take on "Human Nature". Nice falsetto. Looks a lot like Timberlake + 30 pounds or so.
Rigger: Solid vocals on a song, "You Are Not Alone," that I despise.
Allison Iraheta: Being Li'l Gina Glocksen is not going to win this competition, but that's still a hell of a voice for a 16 year old. We're not grading on a curve, however. [Was she bleeped, or did our TiVo spazz out for a second?]
They Don't Care About Us
Lil Rounds: Lil Unmemorable, but nothing wrong with it.
Kris Allen: I have no idea what the purpose of his guitar was. But perfectly pleasant.
Jasmine Murray: You can't scale Mt. Mariah with insufficient gear
Scott Macintyre, a/k/a Fedorov 2.0: Yuck.
Anooooooop: Sigh. All I kept hearing was the gap between his version and the original. If you can't dance like Michael Jackson, if you can't do all the vocal ruffles and flourishes, what's the point? At some point, we have to stop giving bonus points just because it's someone named "Anoop" who's drawn towards new jack swing, and evaluate it on its own merits. I'd like to see him with another chance, but out of three songs so far, he's made two bad choices.
Jorge Nuñez, a/k/a Agador Spartacus: Oh, there were some bad notes in there. "Never" can say goodbye? Try tomorrow.
D-Fi: "Is anybody else ready for Adam's take on Guns 'n' Roses night? I am? I'll bet he does a spectacular Axl Rose. Is Adam theatrical? Yes. Is he frantic? Yes. Is his showmanship off the charts? Yes. His phrasing is better than anything we've seen on 'Idol' since Melinda Doolittle. He plays ever word."
Sepinwall: "Dammit. I like Anoop so much, and want to see him stick around because I think he adds an element of fun to the show that few of the other finalists are capable of bringing. But if I'm not grading him on a curve (and I really can't after what I wrote about Scott), then that was every bit the karaoke bar take on Michael the judges said it was. No edge, not challenging himself vocally, and if he wasn't so comfortable working the audience, it would have been a complete disaster."
Rushfield: "Looking up at the stage, it is impossible not to look backward, to dwell on thoughts of the titans whose careers began under these lights –- Clarkson, Aiken, Hudson, Underwood, Daughtry, Sparks, Cook and Smithson."
Powers: "Desai is a strong but basically tactless singer, the kind who could benefit from the trial and error of a few weeks on the show. But he may not survive this overstep.... [His and Jorge's] harried turns revealed the trickiness of Jackson’s repertoire. His hits are so familiar that we forget how intricate they can be. In some, a singer must be able to go from feather-light melodicism to heavy aggression in the span of a single breath; in others, the build is everything, and so easily overdone."
Weiss, who's doing a weekly 10am postgame chat: "I'm a little confused about Alexis. She's got a great, strong voice, I like her bluesiness, but her kewpie-doll looks don't match the hard edge she was trying to project, and I wonder how many voters will have liked that song."
Jonathan Dillon April 13, 1861. Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. Thank God we have a government.Verdict: Crazy great-great-grandpa was neither a liar nor a great speller.
Yep, that's then-Illinois Attorney General and embattled junior senator from the Land of Lincoln, Roland Burris, providing cover for Dr. Richard Kimble.
- NBC is "in active talks" with DirecTV for a pickup of more Friday Night Lights. Even better? Apparently, the likely pickup would be for two seasons! (And man, last week's NBC episode, with Street and Riggins in NYC, was great, though I think Riggins might've been disappointed with Gypsy.)
- Joss Whedon will provide a "special musical performance" for the next installment of This American Life: Live!, which will be simulcast to movie theatres nationwide on April 23.
I’ve always loved this song, and besides being very fitting for Idol, to me, the title is also very fitting with animal rescue and finding animals their own homes. So we felt it was important to tie the release into an amazing animal charity like the HSUS.
Monday, March 9, 2009
e.t.a. 11pm: Thanks for everyone who participated; if you couldn't make it, it's there for your reading pleasure. Dan Fienberg's season preview is here, and Alan Sepinwall has one too, both of whom think I'm daft in having such high expectations for Allison Iraheta. Your predictions, comments and musings remain welcome.
See, related, Ann Powers, "American Idol Needs To Open The Closet Door", noting that Michael Jackson is "the ideal subject for what's turning out to be a rather strange season. At the heart of his troubled legacy are the anxieties 'Idol' also confronts, however mildly -- America's troubling history of racial divides and assimilation, and the sexual repression and need for release that is a basic subject of pop music itself."
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Also, was the conclusion to the roadblock unfair to the less-educated teams, or something that could have been deduced via logic, brute force repetition of all options and/or Star Trek?
Sadly, Hulu does not have all of Update -- including a joke that Phil emailed to us earlier in the week and a cameo from a friend of the show who's become as essential to this era as John Goodman was to the late 1990s -- but it does have both performances from Bill Simmons anti-fave Ray La-Mone-Tahn-Yuh.