Thursday, March 20, 2008

Top Ten (Touring) American Idol Finalists (and odds on winning):

David A. (3 to 2) – Obviously the most popular singer, but in a twist from the Sanjaya-age, he actually has some singing talent. He’s extremely limited for music genres (Metal Week would be his Kryptonite), but he has a soothing melodic voice and enough teeny-bopper fans with cell phones to make it to the final three without a problem. 70/80’s equivalent – David Gates. Seriously, can’t you hear his voice singing the entire Bread catalog?

Brooke (3 to 1) – A lot of wholesome, white bread, Dharma-ish appeal here. Decent singing ability coupled with an effervescent smile and gosh-darn-golly-gee personality makes her the top female for popularity, if not actual singing ability. Folksy, friendly, and sweet get her to the final four. 70/80’s equivalent – Juice Newton. A lot have seen a similarity to Carly Simon, but I think that’s the mouth and hair more than anything. Her voice is closer to the country-stylings of Juice than the nasal rasp of Carly.

Carly (4 to 1) – Eventually, all the judges fawning over her will show up in the voting. Yes, she has a good, smooth voice. Yes, she’s a better technical singer than anyone else in the competition. No, she has no visual or stage appeal. No, those tattoos do not look attractive. No, she won’t win. No, Fantasia shouldn’t have won either, but the constant genuflecting from the judges eventually swayed the public to voting for a BAD pop singer. Carly is > Fantasia, but won’t carry the fan vote. 70/80’s equivalent – Karen Carpenter. Great range, especially the lower tones. Unless she drastically changes her look and style, might be relegated to easy listening stations.

David Cook (5 to 1) – The rest of the public is catching onto something I noticed during Beatles Week 1; this guy smirks too much at inappropriate times. He’s like a front-man for a bar-band that knows he’s gonna get laid by a groupie, and he’s already thinking about it. That smugness will cost him in a popularity contest, as will his blatant ripping-off of Daughtry’s oeuvre. 70/80’s equivalent – John Mellencougarcamp, right down to the fake scratch he puts in his voice. If Cougarcampenmell doesn’t strike you right, what about Bob Seger? Bryan Adams? Gee, I guess these guys are a dime a dozen…

Jason (8 to 1) – It’s probably just me, but I can’t stomach this guy. He’s like every 70’s cliché about the guitar-playing, hemp-wearing, dreadlocked hippie singing folk songs in a wimpy, airy head tone next to his lava lamp, with equally airy co-eds mooning doe-eyed and dreamy as the bong gets passed around the dorm room. If this guy came on the radio, you’d probably smash your car in your haste to change the station. 70/80’s equivalent – Stephen Bishop. On and on, on and on, on and onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

[Side note: In Animal House, Stephen Bishop is also the guitar-playing, hemp-wearing hippie that tries to sing “I gave my love a cherry…” in the Delta House when Bluto smashes his guitar into the stairwell… which is what I’ll do if Jason makes it to the final four.]

Ramiele (10 to 1) – Never underestimate the power of the Filipino vote. It got Jasmine Trias about seven spots further than she deserved. Ramiele is a wholly forgettable, sweet, doe-eyed Anime character with a voice like wind chimes. You can hear it off in the distance and you might think it sounds kinda pretty, but you’d never pay ITunes $.99 to listen to four minutes of it. 70/80’s equivalent – Yvonne Elliman. OK, so this is a bit of a reach, but a cute, Hawaiian singer with a nice voice (made her name singing “I don’t know how to love him” in Jesus Christ Superstar) and one disco hit (“If I can’t have you”). Irene Cara is too good and powerful a singer for this comparison.

Michael (10 to 1) – Never underestimate the power of the soccer mom vote. This guy is a mediocre singer who is scraping by on sex appeal and an Aussie accent. 70/80’s equivalent – Rick Springfield. This one was the easiest. Rick Springfield could sing a little, pose a lot, talk with an Aussie accent, and show his dimples. And he made millions despite the fact that NO male ever bought any of his stuff.

Syesha (15 to 1) – Probably a better singer than Ramiele, but won’t get as far unless she unleashes her inner Tina Turner. She needs to perform and not just sing the notes in a mechanical, though technically proficient way. Not really a threat to win, but might end up with a decent career singing ballads that Mariah and Whitney threw away. 70/80’s equivalent – A poor man’s Roberta Flack. A very, very poor man… OK, if Roberta Flack had just run a triathlon and went straight from the finish line to the stage….

Cheesy-Key (15 to 1) – Has a George Huff meets Urkel kind of vibe going right now. He seems to be having fun, making his performances more entertaining, but he’s rapidly turning into the black Taylor Hicks with his manic seizures on stage. Seems sincere and genuinely happy just to be in the competition despite his snowball-on-a-brightly-lit-soundstage’s chance to win. 70/80’s equivalent – Remember how Syesha is a homeless man’s Roberta Flack. Well, meet the homeless woman’s Al Green.

Kristy Lee Cook (25 to 1) – My god, how has she lasted this far?! She has a wispy, ineffectual, flat voice that only swoops when she’s countrifying notes. She’s also a cutie-pie, by far the most attractive female left, which is drawing the teenaged male vote in my house. But, this is NOT a good singer or a good performer. 70/80’s equivalent – If the 1973 “I honestly love you” Olivia Newton-John lost her vibrato and her pitch pipe and her personality, you might have this vapid a singer. Or if 1975 Marie Osmond bleached her hair, took an entire medicine cabinet of antidepressants, and sang Tammy Wynette songs after inhaling helium….

I’m reasonably sure about the top five staying intact with Ramiele’s ethnic bloc possibly squeezing her in (a la Jasmine), but the bottom four are unmistakeable. The exact order might depend on the themes (country might keep Kristy in it, Motown might keep Cheesy and/or Syesha longer, Aboriginal songs might keep Michael around).

Monday, March 17, 2008 comes through!!!!!

I got my paltry $200 check less than two weeks from the requested processing date, and that's accounting for the times that the post office tried to deliver the registered mail from Singapore when nobody was home. This led to some interesting discussions with Mrs. Commish about "What the hell you'd be getting from Singapore."

She also decided to launch into one of her "gambling obsession" rants, which subsided quickly when I (a) showed her the check, and (b) pointed out that if I had a "gambling obsession", I wouldn't be cashing out.

Oddly, the Cashier portion of said that I'd be getting a "gift card" for the full amount of my withdrawal, which I assumed would be an American Express or Visa/MC type of debit card. Instead, I got a nice tidy check (which I immediately cashed, can't be too careful).

One really cool thing about is the slot machines and table games allow for "play money", so while wifey is watching some show with "model" or "runway", I can be screwing around with my Let It Ride or Caribbean Stud strategies, or simply playing Max Credits on some bizarre slot with 9284759 paylines. It's like a free gaming software... well, not really free because they paid me $200 to load it.

Cheap advertising, whore-like shout-out: If you want to sign up, go to and use my referral code: 1115005. I'll kickback 50% of whatever I make from the referrals back to you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

American Idol Top 12

OK, so David Archuleta is cute. Or, as my 12-year old daughter says, “Soooooooo cuuuuuuuute!” He also sucked last night. Now that they’re down to 12, I can actually remember individual performances enough to blog about them (even without Tivo).

Syesha – When Ryan said she’d be singing “Got to get you into my life”, I turned to my wife and said “Watch, it’ll be the Earth, Wind, and Fire version.” Sure enough, it was… if you remove all the personality and energy of Philip Bailey. And did she think that we hadn’t heard that arrangement? C-minus

Cheesy-key/Jacuzzi – Best performance I’ve seen from him. All the energy and fun that Syesha should have had was here. But why is he dressed like Alfonso Ribeiro from “Fresh Prince”? B+

Ramiele – Bo-ring. Best line I read about her performance said she “Disney-princessed” her way through the song. I guarantee that she has a picture of Jasmine Trias in her room. The only saving grace is that the song is supposed to be a ballad, but weak choice to pick it nonetheless. C

Jason – OK, we get it. He’s “sensitive”. But despite Paula’s vicodin-slurred ramblings, he didn’t “connect” with the audience. Whether or not the little scratches and croaks are intentional or not, it ain’t singing…. It’s creaking. He sounded like Mr. Van Driessen singing “Touch a Mountain” on Beavis and Butthead. Show some range next time, you patchouli-scented hippie. C+

Carly – I’m just not on board with her. She’s got a decent voice, but she has those HIDEOUS tattoos (sorry, but I’m old school where tattoos = tainted woman) and those ghastly British fangs. Her version of “Come Together” was listenable though, just put on some freakin’ sleeves! B

David Cook – Last note aside, the best song choice out of the group. He still has a bit of a smirk when performing, which isn’t a horrible thing, but when singing an incredibly depressing song about lonely people, it might be a little over-the-top. This kid knows his place and his sweet spot. A-minus

Brooke – A close second for song choice. She can’t really be that sweet, can she? I’m betting that it wasn’t her singing voice that nailed down that nanny job, if you get my drift. If Rebecca deMornay had a sweet, talented little sister that didn’t boink Tom Cruise on a train or stab Annabella Sciorra and try to steal her daughter… this would be her. A

David Hernandez – Ugh. He has Menudo written all over him. Wimpy, pop voice with absolutely no radio appeal. He’ll end up on Broadway singing in Phantom or something. In fact, I’d be willing to bet if he makes it through this week (not a sure thing) and ever gets the chance, he’d sing “Music of the Night”. D

Amanda Overmyer – Leather Tuscadero after smoking two packs of Camels. Yeah, I get it, she’s a rocker. The problem is She. Can’t. SING. I’d love to hear her struggle during Kiri Te Kanawa week or even Diana Ross week. The funny thing is… I was looking at her face and decided that she might actually look like a normal person with normal hair. She might even be cute. Unfortunately for the world, she isn’t. C

Michael Johns – The more they interview the guy, the more he comes off as an pompous Aussie dickweed. [Note: he doesn’t know shit about tennis, it was just an excuse for him to wear shorts] He was lucky to be sandwiched between Elsa Lanchester and Jessica Simpson, it made his relatively innocuous singing almost seem good. Again, he’ll make it farther than he should because of the shallowness of the American female voter. B-minus

Kristy Lee Cook – Pretty, fresh-faced, and utterly talentless. Country Music draws marginally talented blondes like Hip-Hop Music draws marginally talented African-Americans. John was spinning in his grave at 78rpm when he heard this Hee-Haw version of “Eight days a week”. If she makes it to next week, it’ll be because of teenaged boys. I know of at least one who voted for her. F

David Archuleta – Oh dear, what shall we do now? The “Golden Boy” has fucked up the words… to a BEATLES song… that was covered by Stevie. Oh, I know what we’ll do, we’ll ignore it like Paula did. If this was the first show you watched, you’d think this guy would be one of the first people eliminated. This is the boy’s Mulligan. One more like this, and he won’t be safe. He’s only safe this week because of Kristy’s abomination and David H’s preening. D+