Tuesday, January 31

AI5: Las Vegas Auditions (1-31-06)

Wow. What a huge disappointment from one of the entertainment centers of the country! Only 11 contestants make it to Hollywood, and we only get to hear 3 of them:

Mecca Madison, 18 (another young, cute, tiny girl, & this one belly dances!), "Big Spender" - very nice!! I like her voice & she seems to have a good personality; she's also a bit different than everyone else which is in her favor. Could easily be Top 12.

Heather... oh my, her last name isn't really "Ward," is it? She works in a prison! Bwah! Ok, sorry... Heather Ward, prison counselor, 28, "Redneck Woman"- this is a tall black girl in a cowboy hat singing a country song (well)! Paula actually didn't care for her (said the song was too "simple"), but the guys put her through, deservedly. She's good & definitely not run-of-the-mill!

Taylor "My hair started turning gray when I was 15" Hicks, 29, from Birmingham, AL, sang Sam Cooke's "Change is Gonna Come" & a Swanee River song (doing a Joe Cocker impression??) [edited for correction: it was Ray Charles' "Swanee River Walk"] - meh. Simon didn't like, Randy & Paula loved. He's different too, but I'm not sure he's a good enough singer. The 1st song was pretty good... I agree w/Simon though, the look & personality aren't right for Idol.

And that's it! Hopefully Austin will be much, much better!!

Monday, January 30

AI5 - Denver Auditions (Aired 1-18-06)

Awesome show tonight!! The Pezcap:

Lisa Tucker (16, Anaheim, CA), "One Moment in Time" - *Love*! Definitely Top 10 material. In fact I'd give her a bye.

Brett "Ace" Young
(24, Boulder/LA), Westlife's "All Over Again" - I like him a lot. You might expect someone w/his looks & style (& talent) to be cocky, but he was very polite & respectful. Randy loved him, no surprise.

Rochelle Elaine Dye (25, Kansas City, fans w/t-shirts; evicted from apt.) - I'm not sure yet.

Chris Daughtry (25, NC, married w/2 kids, 'rocker'), "The Letter" - strange phrasing/rhythm, voice ok, good enough for Hollywood but not sure after that. Seems like a really nice guy though & good attitude overall.

Heather Cox (21, NC, blond), "You Raise Me Up" - short clip of singing only; not sure yet. But I'm usually not a fan of blonds (women, anyway).

Garet Johnson (17 or 18? looks 12! cattle rancher from WY, sings to his turkey. only.), "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" - hmm. If he can get his confidence level up & try to keep his mouth shut while not singing (is quite naive & immature), could have potential. Picture Anthony several years younger w/no public singing experience...

April Walsh (red hair & red floral dress, 27, CA - the one who tried to go up the escalator, I think, & possibly a TWoP'er), sang a Bjork song - again unsure.

Overall an even better show that last night - fewer backstories & fewer dragged-out horrible folk, though would've preferred much less (read, none) promo of confused gender boi.

AI5: Intro & Chicago Auditions
(Airdate 1-17-06)

Sorry these are out of chronological order, wasn't going to put everything here, but changed my mind!

Ah, I'm glad it's back. Not taping, but am taking notes. The intro thing was interesting, where they showed all the good people but didn't give us any names! Oh well, we'll get there. And Paula's being a little more... honest this year.

Overall a good start. Will have to tape tomorrow's & watch it... not sure when, either late tomorrow night or Friday.


1st set of twins: Terrell & Derrell Brittenum, 27. I like their voices and their attitudes/personalities - confident but not cocky, fun & friendly.

Dental assistant girl: Gina Glocksen (21) - meh.

1st name only please: Mandisa (27?) - I like!

Sisters: Brooke (23) & Leah (19) Barrettsmith - not sure, may have potential.

1st jailbait: Zachary Smits, 17, sang "I'm in the Mood for Love." My favorite from Chicago (of the ones they've shown).

2nd/crooner jailbait: David Radford, also 17, sang Sinatra's "Summerwind." Has potential *if* he's ok w/doing pop. (Did I just agree w/Paula?)

2nd set of twins: Joshua & Jarrett Simmons, "Superstar." Very good.

"Crazy" David "Doolittle" (He talks to the animals! or they talk to him, anyway) Hoover - um, just... oh my. Kind-of fun that Paula put him through just to bug Simon though.

In the "others from Chicago who got through but we're not giving them any screen time yet" category, there was a blond guy w/glasses toward the end that I'd like to hear.

If anyone's interested in spoilers, there is a blog here that has collected all of the major rumors floating around, mainly about who goes to Hollywood & there is some info about who makes the top 44/24. Obviously all of that has been taped already (at least the Hollywood to top 44 has), and leaks do, well, leak! So take everything with a shaker of salt, but there are photos of interesting contenders... my favorite at this point being Ace, white R&B singer with quite a bit of experience.

In that vein, at the beginning of the show during the set of clips of good people from all locations, I did spot Ace, Chris (bald 'rocker guy' we'll see tonight in Denver), and a girl with long curly hair that I liked - #36047, who was also in the 'tomorrow in Denver' group at the end (we now know this is Lisa!).

Overall not a bad opener, not as annoying as last year though some of the backstories were unnecessary. So far a little variety amongst the contenders, anyway.

Wednesday, January 25

AI5 - San Francisco (1/25/06):

Jose "Sway" Penala, 27, singing "Superstar" - good enough R&B voice but I don't care for him personally (his voice or personality). If I'm gonna listen to R&B let it be Ace, no others need apply. ;-)

Lauren Weckerly, 17 - just showed in a quick clip, white girl w/long dark hair, wearing a brown jacket.

John Williams, 28, "Human Nature" - not sure why, but Randy & Paula put him through. Recently out of the Air Force, rather strange personality and very strange performance (after singing, took off outer shirt & did some dancing/choreography/lots of jerky movements around the stage). "Tell me why..." indeed!

Katharine "Vocal Coach Stage Mom" McPhee, 21, "God Bless the Child" - good range & powerful voice, though belted & embellished way too much. Cute, could have potential. Randy said she had the best voice they've heard "so far this auditioning season" - I wonder if they're airing the auditions in the same order that they actually took place or not? I could look it up I'm sure, but I'm not quite that curious. No way is she better than Paris in my book. But I do like her.

Shawna White, 16 (pigtails, from small town & Dad's in a rock band), I have no clue what the 1st song was & then she did a small segment of "Falling" - hmm. Good voice, yes, but doesn't mesh sound or style-wise with her age & not at all with her look. I'd like to hear her do something... (*cringe*) peppier? Or change the look...

Jayne Santayana, 19, "Sweet Love" - very, very good!! Simon didn't like her; slightly 'affected' singing style but I like her personality. Looking forward to seeing more.

That's it! They showed some very short clips of several other girls that were decent, & miniscule clips of another 15+ people who "are going to Hollywood" at the very end. (Dear Producers: the thin guy in all black, #31639? Please show more of him in Hollywood! kthanxbye.) Next up is Vegas, where the Strange Rules... as if we haven't already been seeing it!

The Obsession Returns...
American Idol, Season 5!

Ok, anyone who knows me probably knows that (1)I love American Idol, and (2)I'm extremely detailed. So, since I'm posting comments on my message board(s) I might as well put them here as well. I'll fill in last week's later but start with last night:

AI 5, Greensboro Auditions (Airdate 1/24/06), way-too-detailed Pezcap:

Kellie Pickler, 19 (blond; lives w/grandpa because mom left & dad's in prison), "Since U Been Gone" and "Broken Wing" - good, not much opinion yet, definitely presenting as sob story.

I usually don't include people who didn't get through, but there are several I must mention this time, starting with Shawn De Salazar's little brother, because I thought he was hilarious! Just to see this little 10-year old kid spouting off about how his brother doesn't need American Idol, he's so good he'll make it anyway, they didn't let him finish his song so didn't hear the big note at the end so that's why he didn't make it... priceless. How I'd have *loved* them to show 15 minutes of this kid instead of wasting my time with boringly annoying Rhonnetta (Yawnetta?)! Funniest thing I've seen in a long time.

Sergeant Steven David, Jr, 28 (danced w/Paula), "Let's Get It On" - yes, he's good, despite the gimmick(s). It was funny when he was carrying Paula out the door & Ryan pointed out that his wife was standing right there; he replied, "It doesn't matter, this is Paula Abdul!! She can join in too...." Hee!

Halicia Thompson, 27 (has 11-year old), "Different World" - Simon called her "a natural." I liked her, though she might be a bit overconfident... we'll see.

Kendra Winston, 24 (lived in over 40 foster homes, had 3 kids by age 19, then divorced, got GED & went to college), "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - Simon "loves" this song?! Ok, whatever... good thing I guess, as much as it's overused on the show. Anyway, she's very good, but I'm not sure I'll like her personality. Simon said no, Randy & Paula yes. And she thinks Ryan is hot.

?? - didn't catch the name: fairly heavy white guy w/a very high voice, sang a Whitney song - has a very good voice! Definitely not an Idol "look" so it'll be interesting to see if he changes anything before Hollywood. Again Simon said no but R & P put him through.

Chonna "my stripper mom bought me this outfit" Clepper didn't make it through, but I thought she had a very good voice (& could work on the look).

Ryan Baysda, 27 (scruffy, muscular guy w/a strong accent, sounded to me more Australian or British than Southern US...?), "God Bless the Broken Road" - very, very good! Great voice for country, and quite attractive. I could like this guy a lot. And then came...

PARIS BENNETT!!!!!!!!! (Can you tell I like her?) Wow. Just wow. Ok, kid is 17 years old, cute little thing w/a very strong accent, otherwise reminds me (visually) of Janay from last season. Her grandmother, who was there with her, was in Grammy award-winning group Sounds of Blackness and Randy was fawning all over her. ;-) Well, the talent is definitely genetic, as Girl. Can. Sing!! First sang Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away," very well and (fortunately) w/less of an accent than her speaking voice. Then after Paula asked her, appropriately, to "bless" them with another song, she sang Billie Holiday's "Take Five," which is a jazz number with a quite difficult/unusual rhythm... she was amazing. Totally comfortable performing but definitely not overconfident - and was very emotional after making it through. I predict top 5, and she's definitely good enough for someone to sign even at this point.

Day 2 in Greensboro was Simon's birthday and had some of the strangest things yet... One guy, who sang MJ's "She's Out of My Life" by holding every note at least 1 whole week, admitted to having Randy & Paula's (vocal coaching) DVD, which totally made Simon's day and he laughed and laughed. Then there was the self-described "outgoing" guy who actually (I have to agree w/Simon) had "the personality of a hippo" when he sang. And then Sammy "I'm Raw!" with his Magic Carpet (and beans, apparently). Only 9 got through, including...

Tyra Juliette Schwarz, 24 (long black hair, from NY, had recent back surgery & boyfriend dumped her), "In the Still of the Night" - I really, really like her. Great voice, and her look wasn't frilly or glitzy, more down to earth, regular person. Which the judges didn't like so much, but I do. She has potential, hopefully others will like her voice too.

Jordan Southerland, 24? (wore his dad's fireman uniform), "You Raise Me Up" - he's ok. Randy said no, S & P yes.

and that was it. Next up is San Francisco & they showed a clip of an Asian girl who sounds pretty good....

Monday, January 9

Interpreting Donnie Darko

I know it's been way too long since I've posted anything. So let's jump into something really confusing... but really interesting! I just watched Donnie Darko, Director's Cut. I'd seen the first/theater version a year or so again & had forgotten a lot. I enjoyed the new version, it seemed to make a lot more sense during the course of the movie - the explanations provided by the time travel book were very helpful. Of course I was still confused at the end - how to interpret it?? So what do I do? Go to the internet, of course! Wikipedia has a good plot summary. I also found a "Cellar Door" reference site (which includes a walk-through for the confusing flash Official Site) as well as this really cool article examining the spiritual meaning/conclusion of the film. As a Christian I enjoyed her interpretation; though the film itself is not overtly religious, it definitely hinges on some basic life/God questions. (One anomaly I found, though - they attend a private Catholic school, not a public school, so why can't the teacher converse with a student about God?)

Things that are fun to think about in the wee hours of the morning. When I was in college, one could do so in the dorm lounge. Now the closest thing is the internet. So come, read, think, discuss! :)