Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tracy Montoya en francais!

So basically, international translations of my books equals lots of dorky fun for me. And a few more royalties. And so I'm happy to announce that Harlequin France has published another one of my books. I think it's House of Secrets--they titled it "The Price of the Truth," and I haven't yet received my copy to muddle through with my poor French and see which one it is for sure.

Previously, Harlequin France had published Maximum Security, my 2004 Intrigue, and I confess, I was a little bummed that they chose not to publish anything from the Mission: Family series. But apparently they did in Oct. 2006! Yay! I can like France again! (Kidding. I'm only kidding.)

Also out from the Mission series is House of Secrets from an unknown Scandinavian country (HUS! Leyanndorrona, or something like that. I'm not near my shelves.), and an Icelandic version of Next of Kin. I think all three made it down under to Australia and New Zealand.
Anyhoo, the cover is, of course, above. The house is a lot junkier looking than it is in the book, but it DOES look scary, does it not? And Emma is not ugly, so I am pleased.

American Idol: Top 12 Women/Results

So we're a little late with the AI women, because of Troy's classes and my writers' group (and deadline. Ay.). But here are our reactions to the Top 12 women on AI, as well as this week's eliminations.

TRACY: What did you think of the women, Troy? I was SO glad they didn't blow huge, gelatinous chunks like the men did. I agree with Randy when he said that it's too bad the rules prohibit America from sending 8 women and 4 men--and I'm wicked devastated that the girls didn't provide more snark fodder. Ah, well, at least we still have Antonella Barbarella (I don't know why I feel compelled to call her that, but there it is) for now.

TROY: That’s the ONLY reason I want Antonella to stay around – villain fodder. Every season needs a person to despise (see: Scott Savol, Josh Gracin, Nikki McKibbin, Jasmine Trias, Guarini). It makes the snark much more fun.

Anyway, I have to agree about the girls. I was pretty impressed--they looked like seasoned professionals compared to the guys. However, there still is a good amount of snark to go around.

TRACY: But not when it comes to Stephanie Edwards. I was feeling sorry for Stephanie because she'd gotten VERY little camera time going into Wednesday night, and I figured she was headed for the chopping block as a result. And then she opened her mouth and revealed a major, MAJOR set of pipes. I don't know what Randy was smoking when he called her "pitchy" (a word that should be banned from the dictionary), but he was wrong. So very wrong.

TROY: I didn’t even remember Stephanie Edwards from previous episodes, but she rocked the AI house last night. She was able to drop to her knees and “saaaang” without looking like an ass (see: McPheever). She should make it to the top 12, no problem. Here’s hoping she can overcome the curse of LaToya and show personality as the competition progresses (but not “I’m the queeeen of Allllaaaaammbbbaaammmaaaa” type of drunken personality). Still, she’s my favorite of the females. Team Stephanie (for now)!

TRACY: Amy Krebs. ... I'm so bored by her performance, I can't even muster up the energy to type something snarky.

OK, I can.

If you're going to sing a cheesy ballad, at LEAST don't sing a cheesy ballad that a gajillion finalists before you have beaten into the ground, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. And was it just me, or did she just never change expression during her entire one-minute-thirty-seconds of fame on TV? I half expected her to peel off her face mid-performance to reveal a lizard-like alien creature beneath.

TROY: Poor Amy Krebs! She seemed like a nice girl, despite the deer-in-headlights look when she would sing. I thought she seemed very sincere to the judges and WANTED to improve and be there so much. That said, she is quite unmemorable. She only had the makings to be the next Leah LaBelle or Lindsay Cardinale.

TRACY: Yep. Nice girls, can sing better than I can, but not superstars yet.

Speaking of not superstars, I think Leslie Hunt lasted another week because of her dorky dancing skills (see the montage of the finalists after Hollywood week). Because no white girl should ever, EVER tackle Aretha unless she has Celine Dion's range and Stevie Nicks' power. It was a fine performance, but dude, it's Aretha. Do NOT go there. Sing Jewel next time or something.

TROY: Leslie, Leslie….She’s like the embodiment of Ashlee Simpson’s little jig after she was caught lip-synching on SNL. Her whole performance was cringe inducing, from her bunny hop to the dopey looks she’d flash at the screen. At times, I wasn’t sure if the girl had teeth .

TRACY: Oh, come on! She's a nice girl--no comparing her to Ashlee.

I love Sabrina Sloan--great voice, great range, amazing control. And I am utterly peeved that some bloggers are trashing her looks. The girl has talent, a great smile, beautiful hair, a slammin' body, and a nose that--while not plastic surgery perfect--is, to quote Kirsten Dunst, "characterful." [sic] What's not pretty about that? Idiots.

TROY: “Characterful?” You could throw a tea party on that schnoz!

TRACY: OK, you'd BETTER look like a male supermodel next time I see you if you're going to be bringing that weak stuff in here!

TROY: I am now an evil blogger . That said, the girl DOES have talent and she’ll probably make it to the top 12. I like her – she’s a’ight.

TRACY: She's more than a'ight. Team Sabrina!

I didn't think Antonella Barba's performance was as bad as the judges said--she did some interesting things with her voice and the melody that made her stand out from the likes of Amy and Leslie. But the vacant stare! The snarky little looks she was shooting the judges! The horrible best friend! She's a train wreck waiting to happen ... oh, wait--it did happen, in the form of pictures taken of her on the toilet. Cah-LASSY.

TROY: On, Antonella was asked,” What is you’re most embarrassing moment?” Her answer? “Saying the wrong things before I think.”

Yeah… Think that’s changed now…

There are new pictures (I would say ‘allegedly,’ but I saw them and am totally skeezed out) of Antonella performing….other acts with a male friend of hers. Didn’t Frenchie Davis get kicked out for the same (but lesser) thing?

TRACY: Frenchie posed topless. Allegedly--I was never compelled to look them up. As for Antonella, her parents must be so proud.

TROY: And I have to disagree about performance. I was looking away at the computer and only heard what I thought was a cat being tortured on TV. Yikes.

TRACY: I should probably type in a brilliant riposte here, but I just can't bring myself to care enough about Antonella's voice to do so. The fact that she's dumb enough to let people take pictures of her on the can makes me just wish she'd go back to Jersey and rot.

I surprised myself by loving Jordin Sparks. I ADORE the entire, perfect Tracy Chapman album that spawned "Gimme One Reason," and I was all set to hate Jordin's inevitable shiny, happy performance, but she rocked it. I loved her energy, loved her unique twist at the end, and loved her voice. Despite my Team Sabrina comment above, I don't have a set-in-stone favorite among the women yet--but Jordin, Stephanie, and Sabrina are right up there.

TROY: Jordin has a pretty infectious smile. I really enjoyed her performance and think she seems like a nice, very talented girl. She’s like Diana DiGarmo minus the annoying and yelling. She’ll do well, as long as she doesn’t get too cutesy and gimmicky.

However, she did say her favorite female pop artist is “Christina Timberlake.” Let’s all point and laugh now.

TRACY: That could be a webmaster error, you know.

Nicole Tranquillo scares me, and not just because she pronounces the LL in her name as Ls, rather than with a Y sound. (Guess she could be Italian and not Latina or Spanish. But if not....) What was she doing with her voice? Trying to communicate with whales? I swear, at least a couple of times I heard a vocal cord or two explode in agony.

TROY: Tranquillo means calm. Calm is associated with sleep. Nicole puts me to sleep by association. But the yelling keeps me awake…? For her health, it was a good thing she got cut or she might have actually burst a vocal cord.

TRACY: Or ten. Haley Scarnato was awful. Awful jumpsuit, awful song, awful performance. I think she and Amy Krebs could go on tour as an act that helps people with insomnia, and I now christen both of them "the Boring Girls."

TROY: “The moth who finds the melon finds the corn flake always finds the melon and one of you didn’t pick the right fortune.” And that’s all I really have to say about Haley. Pretty sure she’ll be out next week.” Seriously. I got nothing.

TRACY: I wasn't crazy about Melinda Doolittle's song choice, but I think the woman is a singing genius. Her power and energy made a rather unremarkable melody a lot of fun, and for that I give her some serious props. She's a major contender, and now I have four favorites among the women.

TROY: I think you pretty much summed it all up. I think she’ll definitely grow in this competition is again proof that there should probably be an 8 – 4 ratio of girls to guys in this competition.

TRACY: Alaina Alexander does not deserve her spot and was only given it because she is pretty. Which makes me not want to waste my time on her, and so I will not, pausing to remember once again the untimely demise of Tami Gosnell, who I am convinced was the second coming of the late, great Janis Joplin and was completely and utterly robbed. Somebody PLEASE beg that girl to try out again next year. Better yet, send her some roses and a lengthy apologia, and just give her the spot next year she should have had instead of this twit.

TROY: I will follow suit and say that I think Idol should reinstate the wildcard show JUST to bring Tami back. If Carmen Rassmuessen can have a second chance (a wildcard pick, second season), then dammit, Tami deserves one too. Maybe Tami didn’t have the “look,” of an American Idol, but she was unique, talented, and sweet. The judges made a big mistake and I hope Tami can breakaway with a record contract, and show Idol.

TRACY: Gina Glocksen was decent, and I think she might make for some interesting moments later in the competition. I had no idea she had such range, and I'm shocked that Simon thought she was off. I don't have perfect pitch, but I thought the note was fine. She's no Melinda Doolittle, but if she goes back to her rocker chick thing (which would add something different to the competition), she deserves spot #6 among the final 12.

TROY: Gina reminds me of a 40-year-old soccer mom who is having a midlife crisis. She just looks….not good. It’s like she’s trying to mix wholesome and edgy, which is not working out for her. WHAT? She’s only 22??? WHAT?

And her range might be okay, but she does not have the voice to be singing big songs. She needs to try the Nikki McKibbin route (gross, I know) and sing rock or something to go along with the look that she is TRYING to convey. Plus, she just reeks of desperation (“Love me! I’m so hip and edgy because I have pink in my hair! Ooooh!”)

TRACY: I think she was really desperate to get on Idol, but I don't get a desperate vibe from her otherwise. I think she'll grow on you.

Speaking of, I know you didn't like Lakisha Jones, but I did. However, I really wish people would stop singing "(And I am Tellin' You) I'm Not Going," because A) Jennifer Hudson now owns that song, no matter how good you are. Maybe it'll be OK to sing that two seasons from now, but this season it just comes off as disrespectful. And B) the melody is all over the place, so there is really no way to do something different with it. It's always the Same. Exact. Song.

So Lakisha, let's pull out something interesting and unique next time, because now the world has no doubt that you are the old-fashioned belter Simon took you for during your audition. Pick a song that no one has done before on Idol, and knock it out of the park.

That said, "And I Am Tellin' You etc." is an INCREDIBLY difficult song to pull off, and Lakisha did it in spades. Plus, she's kind of a sweetie.

TROY: Prior to this performance, I was totally on the Lakisha train – woooo Lakisha. Team Lakisha. Go girl, and all of that.

Then….I heard she was performing “(And I Am Telling You) I’m Not Going.”

Granted, I don’t even LIKE Jennifer Hudson, but she owned that song in “Dreamgirls.” Plus, she has this big momentum going on to the Oscar race. Now, Randy’s all “Jennifer who?” To which I say, “Whaaa?” Lakisha--You’re great, you have a fantastic voice and a very sweet, humble personality. But do NOT perform a song like that, one so currently famous. It was tacky. I think Lakisha has an amazing voice, but it did not compare to J.Hud’s version. I still have an open mind for next week though.

I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned this season’s guest line-up, including vocal powerhouses Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez . Seriously though, it will be cool to see Tony Bennett and the other legendary artists they have signed up.

I love me some Gwen and No Doubt, but if that is a theme week, it would be a disaster. Most of her songs are just not….vocal competition songs. All twelve contestants can’t sing “Don’t Speak!”

TRACY: Maybe someone can butcher "It's the End of the World as We Know It" in Gwen's honor.

TROY: However, J.LO week will be a debacle of epic proportions. What will she teach them? “The computer fixes the notes you miss!!”

TRACY: Or how to make your world-class, uber-talented husband sound like ass by forcing him to duet with you in public. But she CAN teach them a lot about personality. She wouldn't have gotten a recording contract without it in spades.

TROY: Hopefully theme weeks won’t be too artist-centric, but they do have a pretty impressive line-up (even J.LO is an impressive Idol choice, despite the lack of singing ability). I am guessing most artists will just serve as mentors to complement themes.

TRACY: Guess we'll see. We didn't post our predictions for the women in time for the results show, but I had told Jose that I thought the Boring Girls would both go. I figured Antonella Barbarella's hootchie-ness would keep her on a little longer, as would Leslie Hunt's dorky dancing and Alaina Alexander's looks. Jose then countered that people probably wouldn't want to hear more of Nicole Tranquillo's vocal stylings, to which I agreed. So I ended up fairly sure that Nicole and one of the Boring Girls would go, and I couldn't bring myself to care enough about which one that would be.

TROY: I thought America would be so skeezed out by Antonella that she would FOR SURE be kicked off. Then I remembered that America also kept Mikaylah Gordon past the top 24. I was thinking either Gina, Nicole, or Haley--any combo of those three….

TRACY: And it turned out that IIIIIIIIIII am the chammmmmmppppionnnnnn ... of the woorrrrrrrrrrld. I totally beat out TV Squad and Entertainment Weekly when it came to predicting who was going to be voted off. Rudy, Paul, Nicole, and Amy all got sacked. I am a little sorry to see Rudy and Paul go, because I think they had a lot of potential, especially if Paul hadn't been so obsessed with spreading a foot fungus amongus. That whole pointing at his bare toesies while singing "guilty feet have got no rhythm" was probably the final nail is his proverbial coffin.

TROY: Should have been Chris Sligh

Paul was a good singer, but had a horrible song choice and annoying quirks. Everytime he would appear on screen, I’d sing “Smelly Feeeeet” to the tune of Phoebe Buffet’s “Smelly Cat.” Oh well, perhaps he can find an endorsement deal with Dr. Scholl’s.

Amy just seemed like a nice girl….I wish she would have stayed longer than Trashy McNasty. Perhaps next week?

TRACY: It'll be interesting to see who steps it up and who implodes under the pressure (Sundance, I'm staring at you.) So long Rudy, Paul, Angry Nicole, and ... um ... uh ... the other one.


TRACY: Whatever.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's American Idol!

I'm coming out of my deadline haze to blog with Troy about American Idol because there just aren't enough blogs out there about AI. And because we amuse me.

Anyway, Troy, were you as underwhelmed by the guys' auditions as I was? Every season, there have always been a moment or two when I rewound the Tivo again and again, because a performance was so great it gave me chills--Ruben singing "Superstar"; Bo Bice doing "Whipping Post"; Chris Daughtry and "Hemorrhage"; and, of course, Fantasia's "Summertime."

This year, the two people responsible for my Tivo replays didn't even make the top 24--Tami Gosnell the cab driver (and possible reincarnation of the late, great goddess of my universe Janis Joplin) and Akron, the one who, after Simon accused him of having no personality, busted out the Temptations and convinced him and the free world otherwise. Oh, and then there's Sundance, who not only lost his mojo, but seems to have thrown it to the ground, sat on it, and then stomped in into tiny little pieces.

After seeing that soporific mess last night and knowing what we have to look forward to tonight from the Tami-less group of women, I'm bitter, people. I'm really bitter. Was it just me, or did last night have a secret "The Crappiest Song I Can Think Of" theme? Richard Marx? For the love of God, people....

What did you think of the guys' auditions, Troy?

TROY: It could have also been “Bore the Audience” night. Or “Suck! – the Musical! ” Either way, I was VERY underwhelmed by the guys this season. And it made me nervous because I thought the guys would be better than the girls (which may be the opposite). I do still have hope for a “Summertime” or even a McPheever “Over the Rainbow” (I know, I know…). This is also the first time I don’t have a front runner favorite, so it should prove to be an interesting season.

TRACY: I just have to say that I NEVER had the McPheever, I hope to never have the McPheever in the future, and the one person on the planet with the biggest case of McPheever is McPhee herself. Bleh.

I don't want to rip on a Latino, but Rudy Cardenas SO needed a better song. And a stylist, or at least someone to tailor his jeans. With his little head and his giant baggy legs, he had the proportions of Big Bird and the dance moves to match. Ay. And dude, enough with the pelvic thrusts. It's definitely not a good idea to do the Time Warp again and again and again.

TROY: But, it’s just a step to the left….

TRACY: That would be a jump to the left, Grasshopper.

TROY: Rudy is just very unmemorable. He’s Big Bird, with Bert’s nose and on he lists Chris Sligh as his “American Idol.” For that reason alone, I don’t predict him to stay long. Chris Sligh is the DEVIL. Disassociate, Rudy…disassociate.

TRACY: I was totally meh about Brandon Rogers. For some reason, I have a soft spot for both backup singers in the competition, because it just seems like the quintessential Cinderella story for someone who's been in the background to get a turn in the spotlight--and a HUGE spotlight like the most popular show on TV. But if this is what Brandon is going to bring to the competition, he should just go join Mikaylah Gordon as a sometime commentator on the Tyra Banks show. Bleh. He did have a nice, easygoing presence on stage, though.

TROY: He seems nice and I agree with the Cinderella story thing, but….boring. I can barely muster anything else to say about him. Side note: Mikaylah Gordon only adds to the trainwreck factor of Tyra “PANNNNTY PARTY” Banks’ show.

TRACY: WHAT happened to my boy Sundance? I loved, loved, LOVED his "Stormy Monday" audition (which I Tivo-ed into oblivion), but now he's been reduced to a pale imitation of Steve Buscemi's drunken yowlings on the Wedding Singer. Holy overwrought performance, Batman. ("Coz I lav yawwwwwwwwwwww. Yes, I lav YAWWWWWWWWW. OOOOOOHHHH, I LAAAAVV YAWWWWWWWWW!") If he stays, I hope he finds his mojo, and fast.

TROY: AN OPEN LETTER TO SUNDANCE: Sundance? Have you met Project Runway’s Michael? Jordis from Rock Star:INXS? Even Elsie from Hell’s Kitchen? Join the club, because, you sir, are the definition of CHOKE. I was embarrassed for you and myself for having to watch. It was an awkward moment, Sundance. Step it up because you are quickly becoming a conglomeration of Scott Savol’s talent and the personality of Ruben Studdard.

TRACY: Note to Paul Kim: Everyone is over the barefoot thing already. Put your shoes on--that's just unsanitary. Don't sing cheesy 80s ballads--only George Michael and Steve Perry can pull those off. And don't even THINK of putting a flower in your hair. I'm just saying.

TROY: He totally is the male Jasmine Trias, though hopefully America won’t find athlete’s foot charming. I honestly couldn’t even concentrate on the singing as much as the FEET. “I’m never putting shoes on America! Love me!” Ew. And his song choice was awful. Even if he is amazing at any point, I will never vote for him until he puts on some shoes.

TRACY: Word.

Was it just me, or did Chris Richardson--whom many apparently think looks like Justin Timberlake--suddenly morph into PeeWee Herman with a microphone in the middle of his performance? I half expected him to start doing the Tequila shuffle in the middle of all that dorky head-bobbing. And here's a clue from the clue factory for Chris: Bo Bice's record album may not have lived up to his promise for some listeners, but you can't touch the Biceman when it comes to stripped-down, uber-cool live performances. (i.e. If I EVER tried to twirl a mike stand like that, I'd undoubtedly hit myself in the face.) Don't ever do a song that he owned on the Idol stage (to the point where I'm still saying "Gavin de Who?") You will merely suffer in comparison.

TROY: I really thought Chris R. looked more like Kevin Federline than Justin Timberlake? J.FED? Anyway, I thought he was a'ight, but suffered in comparison to Gavin DeGraw and Mr. Bo Bice. Hopefully next week he doesn’t try “Vehicle” or “For Love of Money,” which Bo OWNED. He’s a'ight – he has a decent personality, style, and voice. Better song choice will benefit him, but I’m not feeling too snarky on him.

TRACY: Nick Pedro, you have a wonderful, unique voice, and you're cute in a Boston meathead kind of way, but RICHARD MARX IS THE DEVIL. DO NOT EVER SING HIS SYRUPY DRIVEL AGAIN. That is all.

TROY: Agreed, but he’s the QUITTER. He will always be known as the QUITTER! He has a nice voice and personality, but the song choice was ghastly. Plus, he’s the QUITTER! How will he redeem that? We’ll have to see…. Quitter!

TRACY: He's a sensitive guy.

TROY: Quitter!

TRACY: Wow, no love for Nick Pedro. Ahem. The only one who really rocked the house was Blake Lewis. And I think Randy was sipping some of Paula's "Coke" when he suggested that Blake should beatbox every time--the boy can sing, and he needs to showcase that. If he beatboxes every time, we will all end up wanting to beatbox him off the stage. Lots of people can spit a rhythm into a microphone, but can they all hit every note clear as a bell in front of millions of viewers? No, they cannot. You follow your instincts, Blake. Just sing something more fun next time.

TROY: Seriously…I thought the same thing. Who the heck wants to hear a beatboxing mess each week? Its fun to incorporate once in awhile (like Justin Timberlake), but every performance? Can you imagine an Andrea Bocelli song with BEATBOXING? Trainwreck!

TRACY: You know, that would be highly amusing. But it's never nice to make a world-class tenor cry by butchering his song, so I agree.

TROY: However, Blake is my favorite of the guys. He did something different to showcase his voice and I’m guessing that next week, he’ll perform a fun, up-beat song (although I kind of liked this week’s song). It’s nice to see someone taking chances and succeeding at them. A versatile talent, Blake is a shoo-in for the top 12 (or so I hope).

Wait…Blake ALSO said Chris Sligh is one of his American Idols. Sigh. You’re on thin ice now Blake. You’re lucky I can at least remember you (see: Rudy).

TRACY: Sanjaya Malak--zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Love the giant, cartoony smile, thought that performance was the most ponderous thing I've seen since my high school algebra teacher broke out quadratic equations for the first time. I can't reflect any more on that performance, or I might accidentally slip into a coma.

TROY: Someone help Sanjaya! He looks like one of the Joker’s victims (in Batman, the Joker sprays his victims with some toxin that makes them permanently smile – WHAT? I’m a geek. Sue me)!

He was the guy I was looking forward to the most, but I’m both bored and creeped out. Ish. Maybe he needs a reverse exorcism to put some soul IN him?

TRACY: Heh. How cringe-inducing was it when Chris Sligh started berating Simon about the Teletubbies and Il Divo? I think he's funny when he's not getting his inner Justin Guarini on ("That's your opinion, but what did YOU ALL think?"), but the fact is, Simon was right and Chris did not sing well. His voice was surprisingly strained on the high notes--to the point where he reminded me of me when I try belting "Piece of My Heart" when I'm alone in my car. (Sadly, I will never, ever be Janis Joplin. Which reminds me, once again, how very bitter I am over Tami Gosnell's untimely demise on the show. Grrrrr.) He has an odd lisp, and his voice sounds slightly muffled half the time, like he's singing through a pillow. Long story short, this guy is cruising on his one-liners--which is fine for now, but he won't win on that. That said, I'd love to see him get a movie or TV deal (perhaps he can steal Constantine Maroulis's--ewwwww), but so far, I wouldn't be buying a record.

TROY: Chris is dead to me. I never really liked him, but the thing I DESPISE most is when contestants sass back, especially when they don’t have the talent to back it up. Plus, he’s totally of the offspring of Guarini and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I have a feeling he will make it to the top 12 on his looks and “personality” alone, which bugs. I might have to use ghetto TiVo (aka a VCR) to fast forward through all of his performances. He’s trainwrecky, but not in a good way like last year’s Bobby Bennett (the “Creepy Cabana!” Come back Bobby!).

TRACY: Creepy Cabana! Yes, he should totally come back!

TROY: Oh! The interviews make him ever more obnoxious. He’s 28! And married? And he admits to “peeing before singing?” Whatever Chris. Cut your hair, shut up, and go away! That’s all….

TRACY: Jared Cotter--nice boy, nice smile, boring song, unmemorable performance.

TROY: Who? Just saying….

TRACY: I just wanted to reach through my TV set and squeeze AJ Tabaldo--how cute was he? Loved his smile, loved his happy little performance (though it's not up to Tivo rewinding standards), but I hated the outfit. Someone get the boy a stylist, stat. He dresses like an Oompa Loompa, circa 1983.

TROY: He seems nice, but I honestly don’t have much to say about him, except he reminds me of first season’s RJ. Instead of more commenting, I will quote Paula Abdul from last season: “The moth who finds the melon finds the corn flake always finds the melon and one of you didn’t pick the right fortune.”

TRACY: You're so making that up....

Words cannot express how annoying I find Phil Stacey. His adorable wife is a LOT more forgiving than I would be in her shoes. I don't care that he made the top 24--he MISSED the BIRTH of his CHILD, leaving his poor wife to go through labor on her own. Maybe she told him to stay at the auditions when she called to tell him the baby's arrival was imminent, but you know, his not bolting out of that Seattle stadium and getting his shiny bald head into that hospital anyway really frosts me. Priorities, people!

TROY: And to be fair, the baby was 2 – 3 weeks early? I’m just saying!

TRACY: Whatever. She did not call him and then pop out the kid ten minutes later, I'm sure. And then, THEN he brings a CAMERA CREW to the hospital, causing the poor thing to haul her undoubtedly exhausted self out of her hospital bed to put on makeup and do her hair, mere hours after giving BIRTH, so she wouldn't look like she got run over by a bus on national television. By all appearances, the man is INSANE. Instead of smiling supportively for the camera, I would have been beating him over the head with divorce papers. Here's your golden ticket, asshat!


TRACY: The one thing that redeemed him slightly for me (and it wasn't his singing) was that he's a sailor in the Navy, and he didn't exploit that for personal gain (a la Josh Gracin, who saluted anything that moved during his audition a few years back).

Still, that's not enough for me to like the guy yet.

TROY: Oh God. I think NOTHING is as bad as Josh Gracin. The thought of him singing “Celebration!” with his country twang still keeps me up at night tossing and turning.

TRACY: :::shudder::

TROY: Phil Stacey will now be known as the “creepy lightbulb.” In fact, they should just put that above his phone number every week. “To Vote for the Creepy Light Bulb, call 1-866-VOTE 00.”

TRACY: Ha! That's hilarious!

TROY: The Creepy Light Bulb is just so spastic on stage and has the obnoxious story of leaving his wife to go siiiing! He’s got a decent voice, but he just seems so out of place, like Taylor Hicks did (but he wound up winning, so what do I know?). He’ll get the Patriotic vote though, missing the birth of his child, be damned! Most likely we’ll also be seeing him in the top 12. Sorry, Tracy!

TRACY: So my prediction.... I would like to see Phil Stacey depart, so his mere presence on my TV screen will no longer offend me, but I don't think that's going to be the case. I think Rudy Cardenas will probably go. And perhaps Paul Kim's smelly feet will turn viewers away. Sundance and Sanjaya probably deserve to go, but I think Stormy Monday and the giant cartoony smile respectively will bring them back for at least one more week. Long story short, I predict we'll be waving bye-bye-bye to Paul and Rudy.

TROY: Hmmmm. Who could I possibly want to be eliminated? Try…Chris Sligh? Maybe? (pleasegodplease) However I am agreeing that Rudy (Chris Sligh’s minion) might go and probably Jared (who?) Cotter. Sundance (who sucked!) and Sanjaya (ditto!) have the “stories” that will propel them close to the top 12.

Finally: Please,, PLEASE do not pick up on Chris Sligh. PLEASE.

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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