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March 28, 2007: Madonna, Those Gams!

Finally, I got one: I won the American Idol office pool this week by predicting the timely demise of Mr. Sligh from our little show. I’m sorry to see him go before both Haley and Sanjaya, but he has been consistent only in his lack of caring and he was bound to get tossed off the island soon. I liked Phil on Tuesday night’s show. I know why he made it into the bottom three, but I’m hoping he can hold on for a couple more weeks. Haley remained, and I have no doubt it was the shorts and heels of last week’s show. “She's got legs, she knows how to use them!”The saddest moment in the show was poor Gina’s face (she looked simply crestfallen) as she was told along with Sligh that one of them was in the bottom three, and then they had to sit through that dreadful song of Gwen’s until they found out. I knew she'd be safe because her Pretenders cover on Tuesday was fantastic.Now, as I’ve mentioned previously, I always liked No Doubt, but Ms. Gwen&... read more

March 27, 2007: High on the Hills with the Lonely Goatherd

No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani, who traded ska for yodeling, graced the Idols with her presence this week. She is one pretty girl. It’s hard to believe this is the same pleasantly plump high school student from the O.C. who started singing in a band as a teenager and is now married to Gavin Rossdale. Gwen has been performing to sold-out crowds for 20 years, but I don’t know that I would run to her first as a singing coach. But her divine presence meant it was "pop" week! (Not to be confused with "contemporary pop" week.) Yippee! LaKisha opened the show with Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” and it was pretty darn good. Not much else to say. She looked good and everyone loved her boots. Chris Sligh sang The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" after joking that he knits and crochets in his spare time backstage. Gwen told him in rehearsal that his tempo was off and the judges agreed with her. In fact, we all did. It was a bland performance from Chris. He ha... read more

Idle (Idol) Thoughts

I’m weighing in the morning after only because I love the songs from the era of the “British Invasion,” and because Lulu has to qualify as the most awesome mentor/coach American Idol has ever spotlighted. She had bite, she had a point, and I can’t wait to hear her sing tonight. No fast-forwarding through that one. LaKisha ignored her advice at her peril. (Seriously, Diamonds are Forever? When Goldfinger was probably an option? Awful song, forgettable performance. Simon Cowell, as usual, was right. Sounded like the encore on a PBS pledge special.)The songs alone made this my favorite American Idol episode of the season to date, and the fact that most of the singers raised their game (with a few notable exceptions) also helped. Biggest shock: Stephanie, who fumbled a Dusty Springfield classic with sloppy execution (health issues to blame?) and minimal passion (no excuse there). Even Haley’s Nancy Sinatra-style strutting to Tell Him was better than that. Watchi... read more

March 20, 2007: "Who's Your Daddy?"

Wow, this show turned out to be very interesting. This week we revisited 40-year-old songs with Peter Noone and Lulu. Peter, former lead singer of Herman's Hermits, and Lulu, who sang one of my favorite songs ever, “To Sir with Love,” helped coach the contestants since neither Mick Jagger (not in a million years) nor Shirley Bassey (busy being a Dame) were available. I was expecting to hear “She Loves You,” “I Only Want to Be with You” or at least “Wild Thing,” to no avail. Perhaps there were licensing issues. Oh well, we did get The Rolling Stones, two songs by the Zombies and two Shirley Bassey tunes. Not bad for a Tuesday night. Haley went first, and all I could think was, “Got legs?” This is a smart girl because she knows she hasn’t got the singing chops of several of the others, but she does probably have the best legs and she knows how to use them. I am surprised no one rushed the stage. Did you see her catwalk? Even I cou... read more

Critic's Notebook

Topic One: Dancing with the Stars. One long grin, that show is. I’d forgotten what a fun lark it can be, after the last few months of watching American Idol take itself way too seriously. Nothing’s really at stake on the Dancing show, except minor issues like dignity and rescuing B-list reputations from the celebrity coal bin. Early front-runners: Joey Fatone (especially if he keeps shedding the pounds as he dances) and Apolo Anton Ohno, the closest thing the show has to a hottie. (Possible miscalculation of keeping up his skating schedule when he should be perfecting his dance moves. He wasn’t nearly as electrifying as he needs to be.) And because a female is overdue a win on this show, let’s not count out Laila Ali, an interesting mix of athleticism, aggression and (when it matters) unexpected grace and charm.Charm really is the selling point of this ABC phenom. Even a klutz like Billy Ray Cyrus probably earned a few pity points for being a good sport. And I... read more

In the Works: Steven Bochco Gets Supernatural

• Steven Bochco, who gave FX the short-lived Iraq War series Over There, is now developing "a supernatural-themed thriller with family elements" for the cabler, says the Hollywood Reporter.• Simon Cowell is partnering with the producers of Footballer$ Wives on Rock Rivals, a U.K. drama pegged as "The X Factor meets Dallas," and concerning two TV talent-show judges whose marriage falls apart. Talks about a U.S. adaptation are already under way, says Variety.• HBO Films is developing a biopic about legendary blues musician Robert Johnson, with Ray's James L. White set to pen the screenplay. read more

March 14, 2007: "And Now for the Vein Opening..."

Since I have spontaneously combusted, it will be hard to write my blog this evening. I apologize for any heat flickering off the page; I cannot be held accountable. (If you are lost, please read my previous blog for the backstory on why I may have burst into flames.)I was watching a very randy episode of Miami Ink as I wrote this up, hoping it would lift me up from the depths to which I have been driven. The best thing I can say for the results show is that it was only a mere half hour, and after the previous night’s two-hour festival of pain, this was a huge relief. It was all fun and games at 9 pm. All I wanted to know was whether I needed to start writing my suicide note. I thought Ryan looked good! He shaved and found a suit that fit him. And Simon wore an actual shirt — with buttons, and sleeves. Very exciting. A clip of Haley caught her saying her performance this week was “probably the worst in my life.” No, honey, there have been worse ones. Several of t... read more

March 13, 2007: "Goosebumps Are Good!"

Welcome back to the big stage for the next three months. (Did he really say that?) Tonight we celebrate the music of Diana Ross and, therefore, Motown. Diana was named something like “Female Entertainer of Forever” and I always loved her. Immediately noticeable was Sanjaya’s curly 'do (we’ll get to that later), and Phil’s bare head, lampshade optional. Did you notice that when Ryan introduced the judges, he referred to them as the “people who found our contestants in the first place,” an obvious snarky reference to Jennifer Hudson’s neglect on thanking AI in her Oscar speech. Simon mentions that this stage will either make or break the contestants. Unfortunately, it will only break one of them at a time, and after tonight’s show, I can count at least five people who are broken and need to go home. Ryan’s suit was just weird, and the vest did not seem to fit. The man can’t weigh a buck fiddy, so where did he find a vest that was... read more

March 8, 2007: "Half Full or Half Empty?"

There were no real surprises in the beginning; though I thought Phil would be going home, somehow I’m not surprised he’s staying. Jared is the first one to leave this week. Maybe it was the argyle. What the heck was that song Carrie sang? It was dreadful and she shouted the chorus repeatedly. If that’s any indication of what an Idol can look forward to, I hope my favorites don’t make it to that unhappy place. Let’s get on with it. Antonella had a lot of hair, but finally we got rid of our controversial one… She was even worse singing tonight than she was last night and she messed up the words. When will it be over? The biggest upset of course what that Haley made it through and Sabrina is going home. I cannot even understand that at all. Seriously, everyone I spoke with since yesterday disagreed on three of the four going home tonight, but everyone, and I mean every single person, agreed Haley was going home. Perhaps she got the sympathy vote. I don... read more

March 7, 2007: "Let's Get to a Warmer Place"

This was a completely different show than last night's, and aren’t we glad? With the numbers dwindling, the women understood that not only did they have to bring it, but they had to bring the “Yo Factor” as well. Four of the girls did that tonight. Stick around and I’ll tell you my picks at the end. We started off high energy when Jordin sang Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker.” I really like Jordin, but I’m gonna say here and now that she’s not vocally ready for this. She’s a strong singer and I think we’ll see more of her, but maybe not for much longer this season. Sabrina followed her, looking very hot in her bronze dress. But she was a little shrieky. I think she was singing a song by En Vogue, but frankly I found it hard to recognize. Sabrina is swimming around in the middle right now, but I’m sure she’ll be back next week. Ms. Barba informed us that she plays the violin, but hasn’t had the time to practice since go... read more

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