Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Worst. Christmas Carols. Ever. (2009 Edition)

As some of you may remember from last year, my brother Tom and I have an annual tradition of bashing bad Christmas carols*. Some people bake cookies together. Some make holiday crafts. Some volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen. Tom and I listen to horrible music and then spew bitter, holiday-themed invective on public blogs. This is probably a sad commentary on our states of mind, but there it is....

So, putting the fun in dysfunctional, as the saying goes, we present our 2009 edition of the Worst. Christmas Carols. EVAH.

TOM SAYS: Before I begin our annual tradition of bashing bad Christmas songs, I do need to dislocate my shoulder and pat myself on the back. As many of you know, a lot of my angst was derived from the fact that Sirius Satellite Radio (of which I have been a loyal subscriber since 2004) would play Christmas music starting around Thanksgiving and include some of the most God-awful tunes you have ever heard. And they would repeat them. Often. So, I began a letter-writing campaign every year.

TRACY SAYS: My brother the activist.

TOM SAYS: To my surprise, this year Sirius has created multiple holiday-themed channels, including a “Holiday Traditions” channel (channel 4) for someone like me who wants to hear the classic carols. They have also created a contemporary channel called “Holly,” which is channel 3. Let me be the first to draw a chalk line around this channel and put up police tape. This is where you will find some of the worst Christmas songs of all time!

This new arrangement makes me very happy. (And if you want to listen to Michael Bolton or Rod Stewart singlehandedly murder holiday song after holiday song, it will make you happy, too). Why, you ask? Because I am a big proponent of the idea that if you don’t like what you are watching or listening to, then change the channel. No need to ruin it for everyone else. Therefore, I do not have to listen because I have a choice—Channel 4! Although, for the purposes of this blog, I listened to Channel 3 for 15 minutes and had enough material for the next ten years!

So anyway, I am going to ask my Naval officer brother-in-law to get me a flight suit, an aircraft carrier, a jet to take me to the carrier, and a big “Mission Accomplished” sign celebrating the fact that I no longer have to listen to crap Christmas music!

TRACY SAYS: He says he’s working on it. Nicely done! Gandhi would be proud.

TOM SAYS: Next letter-writing campaign involves getting rid of Michael Bay from the Transformers movie franchise….

TRACY SAYS: I haven’t even watched the sequel yet. Guess I should skip it then….

Anyhoo, onward! My first pick is ::::drumroll::::

Anything by the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.

(Where does that stupid asterisk go again? *NSYNC? N*SYNC? NSYNC*? Stupid inner copyeditor, making me care.)

I don't know what's up with Sirius these days, but channel 3 plays a "carol" (and I use that term loosely) by one of these two horrific boy bands at least once per hour. Which means that every time I get in the car, I have a roughly 50% chance of driving into a snowbank due to radio-induced road rage.


TOM SAYS: Quick Tracy! Get off of channel 3! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

TRACY SAYS: I know, but sometimes, a girl just wants to hear a little Band-Aid.

I blame the merger with XM for this proliferation of boy band putrescence. Because otherwise, the world just doesn't make sense. Which reminds me:

Dear 30-something Sirius Christmas program director channeling her inner 12-year-old,

The Backstreet Boys and NSYNC are no longer hip. Take out your shoulder pads; straighten that perm; put away your fishnet, fingerless Madonna gloves; and let the holiday spirit move you to start a musical evolution inside yourself.

I suggest beginning with ‘90s alternative and moving on from there. Since flannel shirts are making a comeback, you’ll be in good company.



TOM SAYS: This pick goes along with the boy band theme.

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” by 98 Degrees.

I can cut to the chase pretty easy on this one—they suck. But here is what puts it over the top for me—the fact that they had to add “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” in parentheses. THAT IS NOT THE NAME OF THE SONG! If you are too dumb to know that, you cannot celebrate Christmas this year.

TRACY SAYS: Agreed! Adding insult to aural injury is …

“The Little Drummer Boy," also by 98 Degrees

Seriously??!?!?! I mean SERIOUSLY???? As if this song weren’t melodramatic enough (yeah, so I tear up every time I hear it. What of it?), someone needed to boy-band it to death?

Horrible. Just horrible. I can practically see them all stretching their hands out and reaching-for-but-not-quite-touching the listening audience, and then swiftly pulling those hands back into a clenched Fist O’ Pain and Suffering. And it makes me want to die of barfness.

The ONLY version of “Little Drummer Boy” that should be allowed on the radio is the one by Bing and Bowie. No one else needs to sing this song. No one.

Freaking boy bands.

TOM SAYS: My next pick is “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid.

TRACY: :::incredulous, google-eyed stare:::

TOM SAYS: Before my sister freaks out at me, I have to clarify that I hate the extended version of this song. The reason being is that they go into an extended interlude where a lot of the singers are wishing the people of Africa “Merry/Happy Christmas.”

TRACY SAYS: Okay, I’ll totally give you this one. Let it be written that spoken-word interludes in holiday carols are the devil.

TOM SAYS: The topper is Bob Geldof letting everyone in Africa know on the recording that he has been up all night and what day it is in London. LIKE THEY CARE! If anyone is in the middle of a famine, they are saying “Send me some food!” or “Can I sleep in your house?!”

TRACY SAYS: Exactly. I’m in the middle of a famine and a genocidal war, but gee, I’m so sad you bunch of bajillionaires had to stay up all night SINGING.


TOM SAYS: For all of you wondering what I am talking about, here is a link to the extended mix of "Do They Know it's Christmas?"

Forward to about the 2:30 mark. First of all, the music here sounds absolutely frightening. Then, the holiday "greetings" to the people of Africa start:

First up, Bono: "Well, this is Bono here—the singer of U2." (Person listening thinking, "Oh thank God it is THAT Bono. I might have confused him with another Bono. He is just part of the biggest band currently. Oh well, by 1992, we won't even remember who this guy is.")

Next, Sir Paul McCartney. I now realize why fate sent him Heather Mills. "Hi, this is Paul McCartney. Sorry that I can't be with you." and he punctuates it with a "Suck on that, Africa. I am kickin' it in my mansion! All of these idiots listening can pay for food in Africa but I need to buy another Monet." :::evil laugh:::

TRACY SAYS: And you accuse me of having an exaggeration problem.

TOM SAYS: Then, we have to keep hearing, "Hi, this is Paul McCartney." over and over. Karma boomerang, Sir Paul!

Then, some dude from Frankie Goes to Hollywood comes up a little later. He didn't even have the effort to make it to the studio. Instead, he literally phones it in! Why bother? And he punctuates it with an even more evil laugh than Sir Paul! Let's see how Frankie Goes to Hollywood has done over the last 20 years.

Well, they did do a good job on my lawn.

Of course, there are many more who you can't even understand what they are saying! It might as well be "Hi, this is (insert British rocker name here). I am so blitzed from last night that I can barely talk. Eat something, Africa."

Condescending much?

David Bowie then comes in, rather ominously. Mr. Bad News in this song. He has to give his greeting as creepily as possible. Very Orwellian.

To wrap it up, we get Bob Geldof. I still don't know why he is famous, and I do not want any of you telling me why. I don't need that information clogging up my brain. Anyway, he proceeds to tell us when the record was recorded and that they have been there for over 24 hours. Hey, it isn't my fault that he stayed there all night mixing. He could have wrapped it around midnight, got some sleep and come back refreshed the next morning to finish.

Anyway, when I hear this part, I think of the Christian Bale Terminator Rant and want to hear the part where Bale goes, "Ohhhhh good for you!" (Said rant is at 1:10 of this clip. WARNING: LOTS OF SWEAR WORDS IN THIS.)


TRACY SAYS: Okeedokee then.

My next one is:

Jessica Simpson, pretty much anything from her holiday album.

I know bashing Jessica Simpson has become sort of a national pastime (when did Ashlee become the cool one?), but girlfriend did herself no favors when she put out a Christmas album in 2004 called ReJoyce. My God.

The asthmatic babydoll delivery. The gasping, hiccupy breaths in between phrases. The weird, random vocal swoops every four words or so. It’s like she took a bite of Meg Ryan’s salad from When Harry Met Sally and then decided to channel all that energy into singing Christmas carols because her dad keeps chasing all her boyfriends away.

(Oh, SNAP!)

And don’t even get me started on the “chicken or fish” spelling of the record’s title. Please, Jessica, stop trying to make yourself happen and fade away with a little dignity. Somewhere far, far away from my car radio.

TOM SAYS: I have a specific Jessica Simpson pick—“I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Again, horrible singer, horrible family, etc. etc. Here is why I hate this song though—her creepy dad— Papa Joe Simpson (with a nod to creepy Papa John Phillips). For those of you who don’t know about Papa Joe, here is a taste.

Anyway, this song really creeps me out when she sings it. Why? Because I get the thought of her singing about seeing mommy kissing Santa Claus and Papa Joe watching from a nearby closet. I will stop there.

TRACY SAYS: Thank you. My breakfast and I appreciate that.

How about …?

Christina Aguilera, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"

Hark, the herald angels are screaming in agony once again. Picking up where Carrie Underwood left off last year, Aguilera decimates one of my favorite classic carols by assaulting it with her special brand of finger-waving vocal gymnastics.

Girlfriend. The lyric is "Gloooooooooooooo-ooooooooooo-oooooooooooo-ooooooooooria."


Open your eyes, get your finger out of your ear, put down that other stupidly waving hand, and go get your throat checked. Obviously, something is lodged inside that caused this raging bout of vocal incontinence—hairball, maybe?

UGH! UGH to the Nth power!

TOM SAYS: I don’t think that the song is Dirrrrrty enough!

Time for another heart attack for my sister:

The entire “If on a Winter’s Night” album by Gordon Sumner (nee Sting).

TRACY SAYS: SHRIEK!!!!! :::thud::::

TOM SAYS: First of all, I like Sting, the Police, his music, etc. The music on this album doesn’t bother me either (except for “Soul Cake”—what the eff is that all about?).

TRACY SAYS: (“Soul Cake” is pretty! Sting is a musical genius!)

TOM SAYS: Here is what bothers me—Mr. Sumner having a hissy when someone calls this a “Holiday” album. He claims that it is a “Winter Album.” Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, Gordo! Last time I checked, “Gabriel’s Message” (track 1), “Christmas at Sea” (track 5), “Lo how a Rose E’er Blooming” (track 6), “The Burning Babe” (track 8), “Lullaby for an Anxious Child” (track 13), “Bethlehem Down” (track 16), and the “Coventry Carol” (track 18) all seem like they have something to do with Christmas.

As far as I know, there was no Child/Baby nor a significant event in Bethlehem for Festivus. I could be wrong though.

TRACY SAYS: Hmmmm. “The Angel Gabriel from heaven came./ His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame. /“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary./ Most highly favored lady./Glooooooorrriiiaa.”

Yeah, okay, I’ll give you that the holiday vs. winter album thing is a bit ridiculous. He’s still a musical genius, though.

Moving on …

Lee Ann Rimes, "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree"

Listen up, you snaggle-toothed homewrecker. If you can't add ONE SINGLE NEW THING to Brenda Lee's classic version of this song, why bother inflicting it on us? Other than the occasional nasal country twang moment, every breath and inflection is Lee's, not yours. Which makes your "version" of this an egregious waste of petroleum-based resources and studio time that could have gone to someone with something new to sing, who didn't sleep with a married man with babies.

And no, Eddie Cibrian is not excused from my wrath, but is he out there trying to butcher beloved holiday music?

No, he is not.

TOM SAYS: They should make a video for this with Lee Ann playing the mom to Tiger Woods’ dad. Awesome.

TRACY SAYS: Now that the obligatory Tiger joke is out of the way....

Jimmy Buffett, “Christmas in the Caribbean”

If you’re there singing that awful song, I’ll stay up here and freeze, thank you.

(The Parrotheads are totally coming after me for that one. I love "Son of a Sailor," Parrotheads! Don't hurt me!)

TOM SAYS: For island warmth, substitute two helpings of Bing Crosby’s “Mele Kalekimaka” instead!

TRACY SAYS: I’m not a big fan of that song, either. It’s whole message seems to be, “Hey, I’m spending Christmas somewhere amazing, and you’re in a frozen place that sucks!” Makes me want to punch someone in the face, and that’s not exactly showing the Christmas spirit.

Kimberley Locke, “Jingle Bells”

Kimberly Locke was on my list of best carols last year for her rousing rendition of “Frosty the Snowman,” but even then, I’d pointed out her disturbing tendency to sound like she’s going to kick your @$$ when she sings. As in, “You can be my 8th world wonder. And then I’ll kick your @$$!”

Frosty worked, for some reason, and gave me some respite from the charming but overplayed Jimmy Durante version, which my daughters made me queue up for them over and over and over again. And for that, Ms. Locke, I thank you.

This year, however, Sirius has put Locke’s “Jingle Bells” into heavy rotation, and she’s back to sounding mighty peeved. Which never works well in a Christmas carol.


See? Totally doesn’t work.

TOM SAYS: Rob Thomas “A New York Christmas”

First of all, Rob Thomas’ vocalization just doesn’t fit Christmas. It is like he is putting in too much effort and trying to sound gritty. On to the song. He makes this song somehow convey two messages. The first is “Come to NYC. It rules here for Christmas.” Well, Rob, sorry that my Minneapolis/St. Paul Christmas doesn’t quite cut it for you. Do you know why the rest of the country hates New York? Because people always crow how great it is there. Nothing like cramming 8 million people into an 8 square mile area. That sounds like fun. And readers, spare me your bragging about the Yankees. Where are your Giants, Jets, and Knicks right now?

TRACY SAYS: (New York readers, please excuse him. He's REALLY bitter about the Yankees.)

TOM SAYS: The second message says, “New York is a pit right now. We need every single angel to come here and every single person to pray for New York.” I don’t feel bad. I could think of some other places that need help—Kandahar, Baghdad, and Cleveland. I don’t feel bad for you, New York City.

TRACY SAYS: I love NYC! (See the comments section for more on my apology to the entire city of New York.) But in keeping with the theme, here's one: The Radio City Rockettes, “White Christmas”

This one is so bad, I need to address my entire critique to the Rockettes directly, because girlfriends, I want you to take this personally.

Dear Radio City Rockettes,

Okay, so I get that you’re pretty much a New York City institution, and no amount of my inner feminist curling up in a ball and sobbing hysterically is going to make you take a flying leap off my universe. I get that. But did you really have to invade my holiday radio space?

I thought your job was to put on your pasties, smile big, and do some of those high-flying kicks that I’m sure you need a Ph.D. in physics to execute properly. I did not know that you actually think you can collectively sing.

I’m sure some of you who can carry a tune well enough. Hey, maybe there are even one or two belters in the group. But when all of you “sing” en barely clothed masse, it reminds me of those dubious ensemble “talent” numbers from the Miss America pageant. That is not a good thing.

If you insist on clinging to the scrap of nostalgia-driven relevance you still have, I would advise that you to cease and desist with all singing, immediately. You obviously expect audiences to pay to see you—or at the very least, large NYC event planners to pay to use you as a backdrop. Hold up your end of the fame bargain, close your mouths, and look pretty like you’re supposed to.

TOM SAYS: I didn’t even hear any sound coming out of their mouths. I just saw legs….


TOM SAYS: All-4-One “Silent Night”

How did these guys ever get popular? They sound like that local a capella group that your local news hired this holiday season to do their Christmas bumpers. You know what I am talking about: They sing bad and totally overdo their act on the commercial. On December 26th, they will go back to living in obscurity and no one will care.

This song really blows though. The harmonies (and the melody for that fact) are just plain bad. They sound like they are being created by an '80s synthesizer played through a bellows.

TRACY SAYS: Which brings me to ... REO Speedwagon, … ROFLMAO!!!!!!

Oh … my … God. … REO—(Can’t. Type. Laughing. Too. Hard.) REO Speedwagon put out a Christmas album this year?!?!

Tom, I can’t even bash it. Because I can’t stop laughing.

TOM SAYS: If they could just duet with Lita Ford!


Now, time for me to give Tom a heart attack …

Frank Sinatra, “We Wish You the Merriest”

A big pet peeve of mine is when people don't finish their sentences. My husband, bless his heart, is totally guilty of this. He'll be all, "Hey, Tracy, I was thinking we could--" And then he'll get distracted by something sparkly and wander off, leaving me trailing after him going, "What? What? You were wondering what?"

His standard response is generally, "I forgot." Or "Oh, never mind." Drives me bonkers!

I get that maddening feeling all over again whenever I listen to Frank Sinatra's "We Wish You the Merriest."

Now you know I loves me some Sinatra at Christmas. But this particular tune? It takes him the whole song to FINISH HIS FREAKING SENTENCE. Here's how a recent car trip of mine went:

FRANK: "We wish you the merriest, the merriest..."

TRACY: :::humming along::::

FRANK: "The merriest.

TRACY: "The merriest!"

FRANK: "Oh, the merriest."

TRACY: "OH! the merriest."

FRANK: "We wish you the merriest, the merriest..."

TRACY: :::Stops singing. Starts to get a bit disturbed.::::

FRANK: "...the merriest. Yes, the merriest."

TRACY: "Merriest what?"

FRANK: We wish you the merriest, the merriest..."

TRACY: "What?! What?! The merriest WHAT? You wish me the merriest WHAT?!"

FRANK: "...the merriest to you."


FRANK: "We wish you the happiest, the happiest...."

::::Tracy drives into a snowbank and starts sobbing uncontrollably.:::

This song is twisted and wrong, and I want it to stop.

I think that’ll just about do it for this year.

TOM SAYS: Just remember, this holiday season, stay away from the carols we’ve discussed in the past that have now made it into our Holiday Hall of Shame: “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney, “Santa Baby” by Madonna, “Christmas Shoes” by New Song, and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

TRACY SAYS: “Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey” by Lou Monte, anything by Michael Bolton and Kenny G, and “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Vince Vance and the Valiants.

* For previous years' carol-bashing (and other entries in our Christmas Carol Hall of Shame), you can visit here and here.

Anyone have any songs they'd like to add to our Hall of Shame?

Friday, August 21, 2009

On Keeper Shelves and TBR Accidents

I don’t keep many books anymore. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve become an increasingly jaded reader as I’ve gotten older, or because I have a serious book-buying addiction and am genuinely afraid that one day, my TBR pile will pseudopod around my entire house and my family and I will never be seen again. But once I’ve read something, I generally donate it, resell it, or give it away to make room for the next bag o’ books I’ll lug home from a store or conference.

(Back in the ’90s, news broke that Demi Moore bought an entire house just to store her doll collection. If I had scads of money, that would be me, but with books. Unfortunately, since I don’t have scads of money, I’m just approaching a potential guest spot on HGTV’s Clean Sweep.)

Last year, Sharon Cullars foiled my (feeble) instinct for order, and I have all three of her books to date in my permanent collection. Since this is my first column as RBTB’s contributing editor in multicultural romance, I thought I’d start out by sharing one of my favorite romance novels, Cullars’ Again.

Read on at Romance Buy the Book ...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blogging at Romance Buy the Book!

Okay, it's been a looooonnnnngggg time since I've blogged--I officially suck. I took a bit of a hiatus from writing romance, but I'm back writing romantic suspense again! (I'll post news on upcoming releases as soon as I hear! And yes, there is an actual submission I'm waiting to hear about....)

I'm also joining high-profile romance review site RomanceBuytheBook.com as a multicultural feature writer. I won't be doing reviews, per se--just blogging occasionally about multicultural romances that I genuinely love.

Today, the site's owner, Michelle Buonfiglio, is introducing me, so feel free to head on over, and let me know what multicultural authors you've read lately, who you really love, and whether you want me to take a look at your newest book.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Trash Vortex

In a highly amusing blog entry on EW.com, writer Chris Nashawaty talks about bad movies that pull you in while you’re channel surfing … and then you get sucked into what he hilariously called the “trash vortex” and can’t stop watching.

His was Into the Blue, that craptastic undersea treasure hunt flick starring The Doofus Paul Walker and Jessica Alba, who, to quote Dorothy Parker, runs the gamut of emotions from A to B in every film she’s in.

Which, of course, started me thinking about my own personal trash vortex….

Now even though I watched Into the Blue once, at the encouragement of my brother and trash-vortex connoisseur, Troy (see our American Idol blogs below), I can safely turn it on the television and find the willpower to back away slowly and turn it off again. Jessica Alba is my own personal TV-watching kryptonite. But like most people, other movies have the power to make reaching for the remote an impossibility.

Enter ... Tracy Montoya's Personal Trash Vortex

Bloodsport: I can’t even count the number of times I've caught this martial arts Jean-Claude Van Damme classic (and I use that term really loosely) on cable in the ‘90s. Even now, the magic of JCVD delivering that flying split-kick thing he does is still an unstoppable siren call on a rainy Sunday afternoon. In fact, last night when the title popped up on our Tivo guide, my husband and I got into a frothing-at-the-mouth wrestling match over the remote. He wanted to watch some scintillating show about green home design on HGTV, and I, of course, wanted to watch the flying split-kick thing. Tragically, Jose won. Still bitter.

The Cutting Edge: I hate to call this one “trash,” because it remains one of my favorite romantic comedies ever in the history of ever, but since movie critics back in the day unanimously punched it in the face, turned it upside down, and stole its lunch money, I will refer to it as such, just this once.

Truly funny banter, lots of romantic tension, and figure skating—is there any more perfect combination? (Other than Copeland, Summers, and Sting, of course.) I love this movie so much, I want to move to Hollywood and stalk it. Even though I OWN THE DVD, I still drop everything and watch when it’s on. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the two sequels, which make my head want to explode.

That Lifetime Movie Where Connie Seleca is Flying an Airplane and the Ceiling Rips Off Mid-Flight: Also known as the Holy Grail of my trash vortex. I started watching this one day and was forced to stop before it ended—and as this was B.T. (before Tivo), I didn’t have any blank VCR tapes lying around to record the end. Being that it was a Lifetime movie, I figured it would be on ad nauseum, ad infinitum, and I’d easily be able to catch the ending. But noooooo, I’ve never been able to find it, and it has left an emptiness in my psyche that nothing else can fill. My soul will not rest until I find out what happened to the stewardess who was crawling around on all fours clinging to footrests and screaming, “WE’RE GONNA MAKE IT!!!!”

Did she make it? Did she? Can you land a plane that doesn't have a ceiling? What happened to the little kids on the plane since there were no oxygen masks up there? Sometimes, it keeps me awake at night, wondering.

The Saint: It has four different endings, a horrendously convoluted suspense plot, and a ridiculous villain (although the villain’s son is nicely creepy). But I love this movie so much, I don't care about any of it. Most of my undying devotion is probably due to the fact that Val Kilmer is so smoking hot in this film, I think I once had a moment where I wanted to chuck it all and become a mindless, zombie celebrity stalker. It causes me actual, physical pain to see how puffy-looking and stringy-haired he’s become.

Dear Val,

You’re an actor—your job is to LOOK PRETTY. The fact that you cannot live up to your end of the fame bargain makes me feel my mortality in a way that is not pleasant. Please step away from the Cheetos and go get a haircut and a foil, stat. That is all.



Made of Honor: One of the great mysteries of my life is why I love this movie so much. I don’t have a raging crush on Patrick Dempsey (although there’s a definite appreciation there), it has a fairly predictable plot, and there are far more hilarious and poignant romantic comedies out there (see The Cutting Edge above). But for some reason, I love this one. And now it’s on TV ALL THE TIME, which is just dangerous.

Cocktail: This is probably the most infallible of all my trash vortex picks. I shouldn’t even admit this in public for safety reasons, but its pull is so strong that if someone wanted to rob me blind, all s/he’d have to do is turn on Cocktail, and I’d be mesmerized for a good two hours. As long as they didn’t haul off the television and cable box and managed to get in and out in between commercial breaks, I wouldn’t even notice.

Center Stage: Other than Peter Gallagher and Zoe Saldana, the acting in this film is so god-grindingly awful, it makes me want to reach inside my TV and start scratching at the actors’ faces to see if they’re really cleverly disguised androids. But even a romantic lead (who MUCH later turns out to be a jerk) with an adam's apple the size of a small bus doesn't deter me from watching every time this comes on the small screen. Never underestimate the power of a feel-good dance movie with a triumphant ending number to suck you in like the entertainment black hole of death that it is.

Major League: It’s thoroughly sexist, utterly juvenile, and did I mention really, really sexist? But I am a SUCKER for a triumph-of-the-human-spirit sports movie, and even a life-sized naked paper doll can’t wake my inner feminist up enough to force me to change the channel. Once I hear “Wild Thing” blaring out of my television speakers, it’s all over.

Dirty Dancing: Right up there with Cocktail, this movie grabs me like a drowning adolescent every time I channel surf past it, and I cannot look away. At this point, I could probably recite the entire script, sing all of the songs by heart, and flawlessly execute the damn dance at the end, and yet I STILL keep watching.

“Sylvia! … Yes, Mickey? … How do you call your loverboy? …”

"...COME HERE, Loverboy!"

(Dear God, make it stop.)

Hope Floats: This movie has a dead floating DOG in it, and yet I’m still sucked in by it every time. I’m going to blame it on Harry Connick Jr.’s insane charm, because otherwise, the world just doesn’t make sense.

The Replacements: Ah, Keanu. Such a lovely face. So very, very painful when he opens his mouth (see Much Ado About Nothing and Dangerous Liaisons, in which his every line of dialogue is a human record-player needle ripping across the grooves of a lovely classical album). Fortunately, Keanu’s Shane Falco is a man of few words, so you can just sit back and watch him look pretty while enjoying this goofball sports flick for what it is. And I have enjoyed it. Again and again and again.

“Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory … lives forever.”

Infomercials: I am now the proud owner of an Eco-Canteen, regularly use Leeza Gibbons' Sheer Cover mineral make-up, and recently caught the Firm Wave. Once I almost bought a Blooming Onion, AND I HATE ONIONS! And I am totally embarrassed to admit that back in the '90s, I did, indeed, pay good money for a ThighMaster. There is no trash vortex more powerful. Infomercials are the devil.

What's on YOUR trash vortex?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

American Idol: Finale Recap! (Finally.)

TRACY: So we made it, Troy. We’re actually recapping an American Idol finale, instead of mysteriously disappearing around the top 3 or 4. Go, us!

TROY: It truly is a festivus miracle (except that this is two three weeks too late-- my bad, all!). A moment of silence for a momentous occasion…


On with the snark!

TRACY: I know I said last week that I was going to be happy as a clam if either Kris or Adam was crowned the winner, but I still couldn’t help but feel at the end of Wednesday’s show that something was not right with the universe.

TROY: Because Michael Sarver and Megan Corkery were allowed to return to the Idol stage?

TRACY: Mmmmmmmm ... well, there's that. Strangely enough, that's not it.

I adore Kris. He grew on me faster than a bad fungus, and he also happens to perform the kind of understated, acoustic music I tend to personally gravitate toward, particularly as background music for work and writing. But here’s why his winning it all left me a bit sad:

1) I thought Adam sang a SMIDGE better on Tuesday.

TROY: Really? Adam’s “No Boundaries” was a hot mess on Tuesday (not that that’s saying much with THAT song--more on that later).

TRACY: Kris couldn't even hit the notes, though--not his fault, but still.

2) I read a bunch of stories about how the segment of Crazy Christians who were voting for Danny Gokey were guaranteed to go for Kris, which made me backlash back to Adam out of a sense of justice and a need to support the non-crazy Christians out there.

3) Kris is a wonderful, wonderful musician, but it was Adam who drove the entertainment factor of each and every episode of this season into the stratosphere.

4) Kris MUST make his own kind of music to be successful, and I’m afraid 19 Entertainment is going to suck the fun out of him and “This is My Now” him to death. Adam, on the other hand, is so unique, that I think he would be able to drive the process more.

So … I’m having the vapors over this end result, Troy. Talk me down, please.

TROY: You like Kris! Kris is a nice guy! His cover of “Heartless” was ah-may-zing! He never talked back to the judges!

TRACY: I like Adam! So is Adam! So was "Mad World" and Zeppelin! Adam didn't either! Ugh! Ugh! ::::vapors::::

TROY: Uhm … Ummm …


TRACY: I feel suddenly better.

Anyway, onto our very last AI recap of 2009!

I don’t know why Simon let himself get so distracted by a little dry ice and the Vampire-Lestat-meets-the-Matrix coat, but I loved ADAM LAMBERT’s performance of “Mad World”—perhaps even more than the first one, which practically had me sobbing into my husband’s shoulder. There was just something loose and cool and—dare I say?—understated about it this time around. Dude didn’t need a bunch of dry ic e to be smoking, but I loved how it gave the whole performance a brand-new vibe. If Adam hits Broadway sometime in the future, I’m so getting tickets. Les Miz revival, anyone?

TROY: I didn’t love it as much as the first go-round, but Adam OWNS this song. Vocals, as always, were killer. And yes, I own the mp3 now (NERD).

TRACY: I downloaded it ages ago. (Bigger nerd.)

TROY: Still … it didn’t have the magic of the first time he performed it. It’s like the second time Fantasia sang “Summertime”--vocally proficient and flawless, but missing just that feeling from the first time.

TRACY: Which is totally why they should be able to pick a new song!

KRIS ALLEN knocked it out of the park with his second try at “Ain’t No Sunshine,” but I didn’t think it was the total KO Simon felt it was. Not that I didn’t think Kris was absolutely perfect, but I loved Adam’s first performance just as much. That said, I thought he made some gorgeous adjustments to his original arrangement of this song, and he dropped it like it was hot.

TROY: I thought this was miles better than Kris’ first performance of the song (which was also strong). Maybe it was the fact that he didn’t have to keep pegging it as his “moment,” but he saaaang it.

I still gave round one to Kris.

TRACY: I called it a draw.

At first, I wasn’t sure about Simon Fuller handing Sam Cooke’s Civil Rights anthem, “A Change is Gonna Come” to Adam, but my boy quickly dispelled any and all doubts with a masterpiece of a performance. I loved that song so much, I want to write it creepy fanmail, then go to Hollywood and stalk it. And really, with all that “Is he or isn’t he?” crap going on, the choice makes sense to day.

TROY: Perfect choice, but I’m biased against this version. Why?

See, I had just seen Seal flawlessly perform this song live and in-studio on Oprah (JEALOUS?).

TRACY: (I saw him do a full concert. So, no.)

TROY: That man OWNS “A Change is Gonna Come.”

I kept comparing the two versions and Adam’s manic screaming just couldn’t compare to Seal’s smooth a capella version.

TRACY: Apples and oranges, grasshopper. Adam was the bomb.

I thought Kris did a lovely job with “What’s Going On?” and didn’t deserve as much wrath as he got from the judges because HE DIDN’T CHOOSE THAT SONG. I mean, I don’t think even Adam the Musical Flash Grenade couldn't have made much of that song, so the judges ragging on Kris for being too understated made zero sense. Of course, the bongo arrangement was perhaps a little too reminiscent of his arrangement of “She Works Hard for the Money,” but whatever. Dude still rocked what he was given.

TROY: Ha! I’m flashing back to, “It’s a song … about how she works hard … for money.” Oh, Kris Allen.

Yeah … really didn’t love this, but it wasn’t Kris’ song choice (attempted Idol sabotage?). Kris’ vocals were great, but the weird stoner arrangement didn’t really work.

TRACY: I called that round for Adam, but it was REALLY close and not even Kris's fault, really. And finally …


TRACY: OMG, that song. That horrible, horrible song. I thought that when they announced Kara had co-written “No Boundaries,” we might actually be in for a marginally likeable American Idol single. After all, this IS the woman who wrote “Ain’t No Other Man,” “Sober,” and “Walk Away.” But THIS? This travesty is a piece of chewed-up gum on the bottom of Katy Perry’s bedazzled shoe. WTF?!?!

I thought both Adam and Kris did the best they could with the flaming bag of dog poo that Kara left on their figurative doorsteps, but damn. Both needed an archeological team to come in and excavate a discernable melody, and the lyrics were straight out of the collection of rhyming poetry my high school stalker sent me freshman year. Or perhaps she was inspired by one of those Hallmark cards with the sunsets and foil seagulls on them.

TROY: Jeez, Tracy … What’s wrong with climbing mountains? Making it through the pain? Weathering the hurricanes?

TRACY: Nothing! Go ahead and climb those mountains. Just don't sing about them in simplistic rhyming couplets to a non-discernable melody. Head. Hurts.

TROY: To be honest, I don’t hate the song (Don’t hurt me)!

TRACY: :::incredulous, google-eyed stare:::

TROY: It’s become an ear worm that’s I’ll sporadically burst into singing (much like … ”Here Come the Sun.”)

TRACY: I hated that earworm! That earworm was the devil! This one is worse than the devil! Back away slowly from your iPod so I can douse it in holy water and exorcize this song off of it!

TROY: However, the finalists might as well have sung “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus--basically the same concept with much deeper lyrics and an easier-to-reach key.

TRACY: And you wonder why I'm still musically stuck in the '90s.

Speaking of the key, Squeaky Fromme Dioguardi even admitted that the key was too high “for Kris.” (NB: It was too freaking high for both of them. Adam may have the range, but it’s not at all pleasant to hear anyone but Barry Freaking Gibb singing up in the stratosphere for that long.) Another WTF moment—Ricky Minor and the band can transpose any song in the Idol catalog to suit any contestant, but they can’t tamper with Kara’s unholy pile of barfness?

TROY: They managed to fix the studio version, but the Idol performances were horrifying. I STILL think this is better than “This is my Now” or “Inside Your Heaven.”

There! I said it!

TRACY: I think that last exchange caused me actual, physical pain.

GOD!!!!! WHY does Idol keep doing this to us? The WHOLE FREAKING WORLD thinks that the finale should be 1) best past performance, 2) song chosen by Simon Cowell ...

TROY: (He did choose “One” for Adam though, which…yeesh)

TRACY: (I know, but at least I'm curious about what he'll pick, and it has never, to date, been a Terrence Trent d'Arby song.)

... 3) whole new song chosen by finalist. But NOOOOO. They have to bring crusty old Simon “My-heart-is-still-in-the-sixties” Fuller in to pick a song, and then they saddle the contestants with a musical root canal. I don’t get it.

TROY: I really don’t get the Simon Fuller choice--it’s ALWAYS terrible. Sixties music is NOT making a comeback right now. Stop trying to make them happen!

TRACY: I hope "No Boundaries" is Kara’s final shot at ruining the show, because I am SO done with her.

Anyway, poor Kris being forced to sing that “song” again in the finale was the only major blemish on an otherwise really entertaining two hours on Wednesday.

First of all, going slightly out of chronological order, I have to stop the presses to say: All hail the Queen! I LOVED Queen Latifah’s new single, “Cue the Rain.” Even Lil Rounds couldn’t spoil it, and I thought she was one of the more generous celebrities when it came to sharing the stage with the Idols, allowing Lil equal time even though homegirl wasn’t exactly in equal voice.

TROY: So I didn’t get home until after midnight the night of the Idol finale. As such, I fast forwarded through everything that looked boring. This was one of them.

Queen Latifah in Dana Owens mode AND with Lil Rounds? Pass! (Still haven’t heard the song, but it’s not exactly burning up the hit charts).

TRACY: (Don't be such a musical sheep. Remember, top 40 is currently bringing you "If You Seek Amy," which is a horror show. You're a MOM, for heaven's sake. Show some dignity!)

Oh, and the sound mixing on the Latifah/Lil duet! Two big, booming voices, and the band still overpowered them? I think it’s time for another letter to American Idol’s sound mixer:

Dear Sound Mixing Guy,

You suck.

Respectfully yours,


TROY: Can we give him an award? Congrats to you, suckiest sound mixing guy on the planet!

TRACY: Anyway, I’ve already downloaded the Lil-free version on iTunes, which is going to be an excellent addition to the warm-up portion of my workout mix.

David Cook did a nice job with the 47th single from his new album, “Permanent.” He looked so sad, I probably would say that even if I didn’t mean it, but I really do.

TROY: I agree, but he sounded great and has really eradicated my haaaaatteee from last season. I bought the mp3 on iTunes (it’s for a good cause!) and also “Come Back to Me,” which I’m loving.

TRACY: iTunes OWNS you now, doesn't it?

Oh, and Norman Gentle … AGAIN. Thank God, we got to see him flog that “And I am Telling You” schtick for the seventh time, because it was so hilarious the other six times. (GOD, Ju’Not Joyner and Jesse Langseth were dissed for THIS?)

TROY: They may as well announced his performance as, “BECAUSE NO ONE DEMANDED IT ... NORMAN GENTLE!” No one voted for him, Idol. Stop trying to make Norman Gentle happen.

Instead, they should have had a “Here’s why you suck, America” segment where Jesse and Ricky Braddy could have rocked it out.

TRACY: And Ju'Not! And Tami Gosnell from last season, because I'm still not over that one.

Jason Mraz looked bored, so I’m not spending any more time on him.

TROY: I normally like his music, but ZZZzzzzZzZZzzzzZz….

TRACY: At first, pairing Kris Allen with Keith Urban seemed a little odd, but then I realized how utterly perfect it was. Their voices blended together seamlessly, and they were similar enough that Keith’s example showed how an understated but gifted performer could appeal to the masses. I’m not a country music fan, but I was kinda off my head about this duet. And hats off to Keith for also being generous about sharing the stage with Kris.

TROY: I had to watch this on YouTube because I originally fast-forwarded through it the first time. I was wrong because as Kris and Keith sounded fantastic together and showed how versatile Kris can be. Kris can do country! Kris can do acoustic rock! Kris can rap!

Maybe not the last part, but you get the idea.

TRACY: In the not-so-generous department, we have Fergie and the Black-Eyed Peas, and Rod Stewart, who apparently thought it was all about them Wednesday night. (Here’s a freebie from the clue factory—it was not.) Fergie, if you are not going to do backflips, I am done with you. That said, I liked “Boom Boom Pow” performed live, but there’s something pulsing in the studio recording that makes my left eye throb every time I hear it on the radio.

TROY: Hey! Would you really want to duet with Megan Corkery and Jasmine Murray? I think not!

TRACY: No, but how about poor left-by-the-roadside Matt Giraud? More on that later.

TROY: Loved BEP (not Fergie singing a song that’s two years old--way to be relevant, Idol), but was weirded out by the 5-second pause and cut to the Idol logo mid-performance. Subtle editing, team.

TRACY: Oh, and Bikini Girl was back. Thank God, because my inner feminist really wanted to curl up into a ball and have yet another hysterical crying jag.

Ryan had his first non-cheesy-and-actually-funny moment on the show with his “I’d ask you what’s new, but I think I know,” comment. Too bad he already used that one on Kellie Pickler, but hey, I’ll take any non-cheese moment I can get from the guy, right, friends?

TROY: I’m over Ryan--he’s been an epic fail this season with the creepy banter, recycled jokes, and inflated ego. Bring back, Dunkleman!

(except … not)

TRACY: I don't know. Maybe watching Dunkleman fall on his face every night would be more entertaining than Ryan's sixth-grade-lockeroom homophobe jokes.

Anyway, I was starting to wonder why they let Bikini Girl's off-key-and-mostly-naked booty on stage to sing for so long, when Kara appeared and nearly made me fall off the couch in surprise. I have to say, I think Kara had a moment there. I almost liked her, for about half a second. Then she ripped her dress open. …

… And my inner feminist shriveled up and died.

Kara does have a really good voice, though. If they insist on keeping her next season, I think she should be a contestant.

TROY: This was my favorite moment of the finale--I haven’t laughed this hard at a performance since the Clay Aiken/Michael Sandecki duet.

I normally feel bad for contestants who get epically humiliated on stage, but this was a karma boomerang for Bikini Girl. You could tell she was PISSED and I loved every moment of it.

TRACY: Oh, the schadenfreude. It was beautiful.

TROY: And after a season of being an utter trainwreck, it was nice for Kara to have a moment when she shined. I didn’t even mind the bikini reveal (it was for charity!).

TRACY: Whatever.

HOLY CRAP, Allison Iraheta and Cyndi Lauper were amazing. Like stunningly, gorgeously, immaculately amazing. I tell you, it is a crying shame that Madonna continues to churn out albums while Cyndi’s career is relegated to rehashing her 80s hits on imitation Lilith Fair tours. Because that woman is a freaking brilliant songwriter and musician. I’ve always thought that “Time After Time” was one of the most beautiful songs ever in the history of ever, but that duet rearrangement cemented that for me. Wow. Allison was stunning. Here’s to a successful Iraheta album in 2009, free from any and all Kara Dioguardi originals.

TROY: Even though they should have performed “The Goonies R Good Enough,” this was, hands down, best performance of the night (sorry Adam and Kris). Allison SCHOOLED the sucktastic version that Cyndi put out with Sarah McLachlan years ago and made my dark, tiny heart grow three sizes. Mp3 now … please.

Why this girl wasn’t in the top 3 is beyond me.

TRACY: Then we had Danny Gokey and Lionel Richie. And everyone we meet, was upchucking in the street. All night long.

TROY: And in a case of WTF IDOL, Lionel Richie? Is he even relevant today? Do kids listen to him?

Survey says … HELL to the no. And its moments like these that make Idol finales failures.

TRACY: Geriatric KISS creeps me the hell out. Paul Stanley, put a freaking shirt on, and Gene Simmons, put that nastyass tongue back where it came from. Seriously.

They sounded horrifying, too, until Adam swooped in to save them. He was stunning and perfect. I’m not sure I’m totally on board of everyone’s wish for him to bring back hair-band rock, but if he can spin it into something original and fresh, he might really have something. He totally SCHOOLED the KISS singers.

TROY: Rock legend and all, I wanted Gene Simmons to STFU. He sounded SOOO bad and for a second I thought they were one of those Kiss “tribute bands” that visits places like the Random Lake Fireman’s Picnic.

Thank GOD Adam was able to interfere and rock it out. He sounded FANTASTIC, transcending those stupid bubble wings he was wearing (apparently also worn by Lady GaGa--seriously!).

TRACY: (Huh! Who knew?) I loved hearing the contestants sing with Carlos Santana ...

(Is it just me, or should Kris TOTALLY have performed “Smooth” during his Idol run?)

TROY: (They were probably concerned he wouldn’t match up to Chris Richardson’s rendition in season 6 - Ha,)

TRACY: But did the Idols really have to skip around Santana in a jaunty little circle like that? I mean, seriously, all that was missing were some spirit fingers and jazz hands. It takes a lot to suck the cool factor out of a 1970s icon like Santana, but Cecile Frot-Coutaz managed it.

TROY: Are you really shocked? Taking the cool out of songs is an Idol staple. They could turn Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” into the The Brady Bunch’s “Sunshine Day.”

TRACY: :::shudder::: That calls for another letter.

Dear Courtney Love,

I don't care how broke you are or how bad the shakes and night sweats get. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT open up Nirvana's song catalog to 19 Entertainment to score more meth, or you will send all of Generation X into a depression spiral. And while we make excellent music when we're depressed, the world doesn't need that much flannel inflicted upon it again.



Moving on.... For the love of God, why does Steve Martin keep inflicting his “bluegrass” on the masses like this? (See also his SNL 2009 performance—ugh.) I mean, that would be a sweet little background ditty for an episode of Max and Ruby, but SNL and American Idol? I actually love bluegrass and I love Steve Martin, but together, they suck the cool factor that “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?” strove to provide this musical genre and send it reeling back to 1970s Hee-Haw episodes.

Having Michael Sarver and Megan CAWkrey lend their dubious talents to said “bluegrass” didn’t help here.

TROY: My ears are STILL bleeding (and I fast forwarded through most of this). Would it kill Megan to stay on key for at least 4 consecutive notes?

TRACY: You know ... I think it might.

TROY: And, side note, MEGAN AND MICHAEL had featured songs while poor Matt Giraud only received about 5 seconds of screentime during the Santana medley. WTF, IDOL?!

TRACY: I KNOW! Sick and wrong!

My five-year-old Maggie REALLY enjoyed hearing Rod Stewart singing “Maggie May” (which I’ve now started singing to her in the mornings when I want her to wake up for school--"Wake up, Maggie, I think I've got something to SAAYYYY to YOOOOUUUUU!!!"). But again, we want to hear you WITH the Idols, not all by your tiny little lonesome in your crappy-looking jacket.

Oh, and Danny Gokey and Scott McIntyre, the answer to the question of “If you want my body” is no. Just no.

TROY: I just threw up a little in my mouth.

TRACY: Hey, I watched it real time and couldn't even fast-forward!

Adam and Kris were bloody brilliant with Queen. Even though I am heartily sick of “We are the Champions” (thank you, high school basketball games), I did really enjoy hearing them sing together. (Let the record show that Kris can, indeed, rock when he chooses to.)

TROY: Loved this (and so much better than the normal cheesy finalist duet: Please see Kelly Clarkson/Justin Guarini--“It Takes Two” and Fantasia/Diana DeGarmo--“I Knew You Were Waiting For Me”).

TRACY: Some of my pain over not seeing Adam win was soothed by Kris’s so-adorably-humble-I-want-to-squeeze-him reaction at taking the Idol crown. I mean, how can you not love a guy who reacts with, “I don’t even know what to do right now. Adam deserved this. I’m sorry.” And when he started crying into his 12-year-old wife’s shoulder? SO sweet.

He TOTALLY shouldn’t be sorry—he mega-talented and deserves all of his success and, as you pointed out in last week’s recap, perhaps needed it a little more than the show-stopping Adam. (Who was the very picture of grace and humility and deserves monstrous success as well.) I thought he did a little bit better of a job singing “Kara’s Flaming Pile of Dog Poo,” even, but I am still feeling anger over the fact that he’s been saddled with that mess.

TROY: “Made it through the pain/weathered the hurricane…THERE ARE NO BOUNDARIES!” Ear worm! I’m actually listening to it as I write this. 

TRACY: I'm a little scared of you now.

TROY: Since I’m in 100% agreement with what you said above about the finale results, I’d like to take this time to award the HOT MESS OF THE WEEK Award to …

JANICE DICKINSON! Seriously...how drunk was she and how much of her face was falling off?

TRACY: Very drunk and very much. Painful.

Here’s wishing both finalists better songwriters and mucho success.

TROY: And that Megan Corkery, Michael Sarver and Scott McIntyre fall off the face of the planet.

See you next season!

Monday, May 18, 2009

American Idol Recap: Top 3!

TRACY: Last night, we saw American democracy at its finest at work. While the producers of American Idol tried to rig the voting like a North Korean election and heavily pimp a Danny Gokey-Adam Lambert finale … While Kreepy Kara and Randy the Redundant sabotaged Kris Allen by giving him a sucktastic song and then unjustly whining about the fact that he sang it … While Simon Cowell gave the performance of the season a quasi-positive review riddled with subliminal “kick Kris off” messages like “while I had written you off … written you off … written you off …”

TROY: When Paula Abdul has declared, “SEE YOU IN THE FINALS!” to both DFG and Adam on numerous occasions, only telling Kris that his hair looks good pushed back. When judges are personally asking bands if the finalists can sing one of their must beloved, untouched songs…

TRACY: :::cue “The Battle Hymn of the Republic:::

… America said, “No, we will not go gently into that pre-determined and heavily pimped finale. We will not be sheep and vote how Simon tells us to vote. We will not write off a fabulously talented performer just because he doesn’t have a ginormous ego and a deceased wife. We will not allow sympathy and sentimentality to sway us from the course that we know is just and right.”

TROY: :::Wipes Tear Away and waves the American flag:::

TRACY: We said hell-to-the-no, Simon, and justice triumphed.

TROY: Today … is our independence day!

(Wrong moment?)

TRACY: (No, I thought that was nice!)

That was beautiful, America. I haven’t been this proud of us since we reinstated our commitment to the Geneva Convention and re-banned torture.

A Kris Allen-Adam Lambert finale. I never thought I’d see the day. :::sniff:::

TROY: This is almost as good as an Allison Iraheta – Adam Lambert finale….(Never forget).

TRACY: Although don’t smack me for saying this, but my husband Jose and I felt just a little sorry for Danny Gokey.


TRACY: I mean, yes, he has a ginormous ego and sings subtle variations on the same song every time he’s up on that stage. And yes, he did pimp his personal tragedy a little too much for our taste. But I’m sure that his American Idol run was a huge and welcome distraction from that tragedy, and now that it’s over, I feel sad for him. He’s got a difficult road ahead of him, emotionally.

So in honor of that, I am publicly committing to not call him a douchebag for this entire recap. Even if that word inappropriately and unfailingly cracks me up every time I type it.

TROY: Sigh. I’ll refrain from using that word as well … mainly because I’m terrified of the Gokemates (converted Claymates who have been attacking me on Facebook ).

TRACY: (:::shudder:::) So, okay, recap. We started the evening out with DANNY GOKEY singing Terrence Trent D’arby’s “Dance Little Sister,” a bizarre B-side choice from Paula that he failed to make relevant or interesting. I can't say that I blame him—it was a weird selection. Could it be that Ms. Abdul had a rare moment of clarity and decided to throw Danny a wicked curve ball to bring balance back to the universe and make up for her endless pimpage of him for the final two?

Or maybe it was just a happy, coked-up accident. In either case, I give it a resounding “meh.”

TROY: I honestly had no idea what song this was and don’t think I’ve ever heard it before (unless it was a 6th grade soccer dance, which is all just a blur). I’d murmur “sabotage,” if it weren’t for the fact that Paula was constantly telling DF …, er DANNY that he would be in the finals.

TRACY: We had the evening’s most flagrant case of attempted sabotage by Randy and Squeaky Fromme, who chose “Apologize” for KRIS ALLEN. How was it sabotage? Let me count the ways:

1) The song was flogged to death in the Hollywood rounds, giving Kris no hope of looking original, even though he had zero control over the choice.

TROY: (They might as well have given him “I Will Always Love You.” Wait … that may have been interesting).

TRACY: 2) Not once has Kris busted out a falsetto during his Idol run. Ergo, it would be safe to believe that if you give him a song with a so-high-only-dogs-and-deer-can-hear-it high note, he will likely botch it. Fortunately, he did not botch it, but it wasn’t the most powerful note he could hit, either. Part of that was the sound mixing guy’s fault, who was probably an integral part of the Gokey-Lambert pimpage plan.

3) It’s been overplayed on the radio, so the entire world is almost as sick of it as if it had been part of the Titanic soundtrack.

TROY: Preach. The song was even in promos for Atonement.

TRACY: 4) Not only did the dreadful duo shrill at him for not “stripping it down with just his guitar,” but then they refused to admit after his second performance that stripping two songs down to just the guitar would have been redundant AND Idol suicide, and he did his best with the craptacular choice he was given.

5) Kara is an idiot.

That is all.

TROY: I didn’t even hate this performance – it was karaoke, but I felt for the lamb, put out to the Idol slaughter. Still way better than anything that was desecrated by Jasmine Murray (who?) or Scott McIntire.

TRACY: Agreed.

Let us all pause now to remember the song “One,” because Tuesday night, ADAM LAMBERT drove a stake through it and then beat it with a shrieking cross.

TROY: Is that what that mess was? Adam maimed the song so badly that its remains could not be identified.

TRACY: That high note. Unnnnnnhhhhhh, my head. If you go back and just listen to it on YouTube or wherever one can find the videos from the show, you, like me, may find your startle reflex activated on that last OOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooOOOOOooooonnnnneeee!!!!!!” And you may feel an inescapable compulsion to call the poor boy an ambulance, because he is certainly about to barf up his intestines.

I know I’ve said before that it’s totally okay for him to go all Broadway on a song. It is not, however, totally okay to go all nutso shrieking hyena on it. I am reminded of the scirocco, the crazy howling wind in Italy that reportedly drives grown men and women insane when it blows.

TROY: Aguileritis is real, people.

TRACY: Oh, Adam. Why? WHY did you do that to my song? After all my votes and crazy-fan devotion, even championing you through “Ring of FYYYYYaaahhhhh?” And this is how you repay me?

TROY: Are you about to go all Tyra on him?


I’m queuing up the exquisite Mary J. Blige version and hoping Ms. Mary J. can make it all better. It’s either that or lithium, man.

I can’t believe Simon actually reached down deep enough into his mendacity reservoir to praise that performance to the skies like he did. “Mad World” and “Whole Lotta Love” are enough to carry my support for Adam into the finale, but I would never have had the chutzpah to say anything other than it put the “arg” in blllllaaarrrrrrruuuurrrrrrrraaaarrrrgggl.

I love Adam. You know I love Adam. But that performance was sadly reminiscent of David Lee Roth once the drugs started to eat his brain. Tone it DOWN, grasshopper.

TROY: The entire time, I just kept thinking the song would be better once he got to the climax -- the big “OoooNNNnnnnNNNNEEeeeEEEEEE.” However, it was foolishly cut out of the arrangement! Epic. Fail. Of. The. Week.

TRACY: So much was cut out, it was just a serial killer victim of a song.

DANNY GOKEY sang “You Are So Beautiful.” Just in case you forgot that his wife had passed away.

TROY: I was totally expecting a black and white slideshow to take place on the video screen … or at least some Denise Richards in “Drop Dead Gorgeous”-quality frakery.

TRACY: I like that song, but his version kind of sounded like a slowly leaking helium balloon with a cold.

TROY: Again…Taylor Hicks did it better people

TRACY: And Simon kept on partaking of Paula’s Coca-Cola cup, calling Danny Gokey’s performance a vocal masterclass. A masterclass in SUCK, maybe.

And that brings us to the real vocal masterclass of the night, KRIS ALLEN’s take on “Heartless.” After he was finished, my husband and I started doing the Insane Kara Finger Jab at the television while loudly telling Randy and Kara to ... um ... "suck it." Several, times, I'm sorry to say. Fortunately, the girls were upstairs playing in Maggie’s room and did not witness their parents completely losing their shizz over an American Idol performance.

But daaaayyyyy-ummmm. That was … that was … There’s only one thing to say:

::::deep Mortal Kombat voice::: Fatality. Kris Allen wins.

TROY: Ahh-may-zing--I couldn’t wait to download the Mp3 right after (which kind of sucks in comparison. Whoever does the instrumental for the studio version needs to be fired immediately. I’m reminded of old NES music).

TRACY: (I KNOW! Who the heck thought it was a good idea to stick Barry Manilow-esque STRINGS in there?!)

TROY: Anyway, this performance was the biggest middle finger Kris could have given to the judges--the jduges who were trying to take him down--who couldn’t wait for him to fail. And he did it with class and dignity (take notes, Crazy CAWkrey).

TRACY: Kris Allen, I salute you. At first, I had written you off as moderately talented though ridiculously good-looking cannon fodder. I thought the tween-girl vote might sustain you into the top five or six at best. But then I started to like you a little with “Ain’t No Sunshine.” I got a small hint that there might be more to you than meets the ear when you freshened up “All She Wants to Do is Dance.” I put one tentative foot on the Kris Allen train when you turned an overplayed disco tune that I’ve hated since birth inside out and made me love it with the white-hot fiery passion of a thousand suns. And now, I am so totally on board your musical train, that I won’t even go on a hunger strike if Adam doesn’t win. I’d be happy for either of you.

TROY: I totally agree. This may be the first year where I’d honestly be happy for either contestant to win. And let the record show that I’ve been on the Kris Allen train since day one. ☺

(Psst..…I almost think I’d rather see Kris win as he may need it more than Adam. I know!)

TRACY: (No, I can see that.) And as long as 19 Entertainment doesn’t do a “Real Thing” on your musical abilities, I will be downloading your album as soon as it hits iTunes.

TROY: I’m going to hold you to this. You never download Idol albums (though, I don't blame you on that "Real Thing" trainwreck).

TRACY: (I downloaded a couple of songs from Chris Daughtry's album!)

You, sir, are the bomb. You deserve your quiet yet powerful stealth-fanbase, and I’m glad I wore my fingers down to stubs dialing for you last Tuesday.

TROY: Kris--I didn’t vote for you, but only because of my curse: The week I decide to get my booty off the couch and vote, that person ALWAYS goes home (see: Elliot Yamin, Kimberly Caldwell--you’re welcome, Tracy--Trenyce).

TRACY: And then we had ADAM singing “Cryin’,” which should be retitled to “Cryin’ Shame.” I’m not sure if it was his over-the-top delivery, the fact that I’ve never liked that song to begin with, or that hideous Molly Shannon of a back-up singer trying her best to overpower him with her imitation of a traffic jam set to music, but I thought that was a hot mess. Not as big of a hot mess as the Great U2 Debacle of Season 8 he delivered earlier in the show, but a hot mess nonetheless. I love Adam, and I really hope he can bring himself back down to Earth and show us what he’s got in the finale.

TROY: I thought this was MILES better than the “One” debacle. Still, while “Cryin’” is one of my favorite Aerosmith songs, WHY would you choose this of all possible songs?

Really Adam? Of all the songs ever created, this was the best song you could choose? Really?

I’m insulted.

TRACY: Love how Ryan had to get in the “is he or isn’t he?” dig by mentioning Adam’s past song choices by Cher and Queen. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle a Cher fan, Mrs. Seacrest….

TROY: So sick of Seacrest’s comments. Let’s mock his (staged) pictures of him making out with Teri Hatcher.

TRACY: Seriously. And he did get all sparkly when Flo Rida came on. I mean, if you want to protect your own personal life, allow the contestants to protect theirs.

Because of that tacky mess, I couldn’t even summon up the appropriate amount of annoyance when Danny Gokey snapped at Ryan again for doing his job and delaying the top two announcement until the end of the results show. (Notice how I am not even using the d-word.)

TROY: I did love that while Danny was acting like a spastic 8-year old (“I just want to get it over with!”), Adam retorted with, “But I want to see Katy Perry!” SO funny.

TRACY: Totally. And speaking of messes….

Holy crap, Katy Perry! Forget Kara—THAT girl has Runaway Bride eyes. And what’s up with the Jane-Fonda-leotard-circa-1983 meets fat-Elvis-jumpsuit outfit she had on? I was also creeped out by the cherry on her tacky little sundae of an ensemble, the Adam Lambert cape—yuck.

TROY: I’m starting to like Katy Perry (“Thinking of You” is great), but that was horrifying. She really needs to tone down the cutesy/tacky look.

TRACY: Does she at least write her own (badly off-key) songs? Because then I can respect her at least a little.

TROY: She does--she actually also wrote Kelly Clarkson’s new single (“I Do Not Hook Up." I highly recommend).

TRACY: Although in the battle of the tragically off-key and trying-so-hard-to-be-edgy trainwrecks, I have to give it to Katy Perry over Gwen.

TROY: Really? With the Gwen venom again? And choosing the girl who sings “I Kissed a Girl” over someone that sings about not being a “Hollaback Girl.” REALLY?

Not everyone can be as edgy/artistic Suzanne Vega I guess…. ☺

TRACY: Suzanne Vega is the poet laureate of our times.

Anyway, regardless of Adam slipping off his pedestal of excellence for one night, I am pleased as punch that these two talented guys are going to face off in the finale. And let us not forget that they are also the only two left in the top ten that never, ever snapped back at the judges. Karma boomerang!

TROY: You’re right! I think this trend started last year (don’t remember either of the Davids snapping). Take note, future Idol-aspirers!

TRACY: Um, go back to last year's recaps. You totally lost your shizz when David Cook snapped back at Simon.

TROY: Aren’t you totally excited that we finally made it to blog about the finals (Save for a few lost recaps)? It’s a festivus miracle!

TRACY: Wow! We actually did it! (Although maybe it doesn't completely count because of the lost recaps. Eh, let's count it!)

(BTW, have you noticed how they both look weird when they hit high notes? Adam with the tongue that licked Manhattan, and Kris with his incredible, double-jointed jaw?)

TROY: Gross! It’s the John Mayer-effect.

TRACY: Top performance: Kris Allen’s “Heartless,” by a light year.
Bottom performance: As much as it pains me to do it, I have to give it to Adam and his massacre of “One.”

TROY: Top performance: Danny Gokey--“You are so Beautiful”

Just kidding. … it was totally Kris’ “Heartless.”

Bottom performance: Danny Gokey--“Whatever It’s Called.” At least I’ll remember the Adam massacre of ’09.

TRACY: True.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Idol Recap: Top 4!


She can’t be gone, Troy. She just can’t. I won’t believe it. Allison is still here. She’s still hereshe’sstillhereSHE’SSTILLHERE. She hasn’t been kicked off. I won’t believe it; you can’t make me.

TROY: The first stage of grief: shock…and denial.

TRACY: Oh, it huuurrrrrrrrrrrrrtssss. Why, God, WHY??

TROY: Did you vote? We didn’t vote!!!!! ( second stage: pain and guilt)

TRACY: I am so bitter, I’m leaking dandelion sap.

I’m typing this reclining on my chaise lounge with an ice pack behind my neck, because otherwise, I might just spontaneously combust from rage.

TROY: Third stage: Anger!

TRACY: Barring the severe injustice of the results show, this was my favorite theme night on Idol ever in the history of ever. (Though let us pause for a moment to regret that we did not get to see Trainwreck Anoop sneer and strut his way through “Welcome to the Jungle” or “Pyromania” in front of Slash.)

TROY: (I would have lurved to have seen Megan CAWkrey’s version of a rock song. She would have had the Janis-drunken swagger down at least.)

TRACY: Props to you, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, for managing to create a “Hell, No, You Can’t Sing a Sappy-Ass Ballad” night without actually calling it “Hell, No, You Can’t Sing a Sappy-Ass Ballad” night.

How big of a dork am I that I downloaded both duets immediately when they were up on iTunes? (And it’s a huge testament to Kris Allen’s talent that I can love “Renegade” for his performance despite the fact that Danny Gokey is audibly bursting blood vessels and vocal cords beside him.)

TROY: BOTH? I loved Adam/Allison but refuse to spend 99 cents on anything that has a trace of DFG. Every time a DFG song is downloaded, an angel loses its wings.

TRACY: Heh. And speaking of Slash, did someone cryogenically freeze him in 1992 and then thaw him out for this gig? Because he looks eerily the same as he did back when I was rocking to GNR’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” cover in college. Perhaps its the sunglasses.

TROY: Gotta be the Men-in-Black shades.

TRACY: Roight.

So we started out with ADAM LAMBERT doing so-classic-it’s-almost-untouchable Led Zeppelin, with “Whole Lotta Love.” But of COURSE Mr. Five Octaves with Eyeliner could touch it, and he delivered a KO that actually made me go “Robert Plant Who?” Loved it, loved it, loved it, want to marry it and have its babies.

What I loved even more was how right after glowering and snarling into the camera, Adam’s face completely transforms after the last note into a bright-eyed “Hi! I’m Adam!” smile.

:::deep Mortal Kombat voice::: Fatality. Adam Lambert wins.

TROY: Definitely shows what a great performer Adam his – he gets so intense while singing, but can snap out of it right after the music stops. That said, I didn’t love Adam this week.

TRACY: ::::incredulous, google-eyed stare::::


Again, his voice is amazing, but I don’t love the abundance of showing off that goes on. I think Adam’s biggest problem is that he suffers from Aguileritis.

Symptoms of Aguileritis include showcasing your five octave range EVERY 3rd measure, stretching out a syllable to 10, pained facial expressions, and glass shattering.

If your loved one suffers Aguileritis, please … get them a glass of water.

TRACY: I think I might do a Keifer Sutherland Angry Head Butt on you if you were here. Since you're not, I'm just going to pretend you didn't go there.

TROY: I’m still on Team Adam though. Promise!

TRACY: I swear, if Adam doesn’t win this thing, I’m going on a hunger strike until America comes to its senses and sends Danny Gokey to the vet for de-barking surgery.

(I’m not being entirely unselfish here. After looking at photos of myself in that orange dress I wore to our cousin’s wedding, I could use a short hunger strike. Why didn’t you tell me I looked like the Great Pumpkin?)

TROY: (You did not!)

TRACY: And before we leave off with Adam, I’ll ask: Was Kara’s chair vibrating shortly after Adam’s song, or what? Because otherwise, there is no excuse for that mess. She called him sleazy? WHATevah, Jackie O’Nasty.

TROY: Useless Kara commentary? I’m shocked! Thank GOD Simon said she’ll be back next year!!!

TRACY: I'm praying to the TV gods that he's pulling a Barbara Walters and denying she's being fired, so she can come up with her own "exit story." Here's hoping for a nice Star Jones-esque trainwreck between this season and next!

Next up was ALLISON IRAHETA with “Cry, Baby.” Now you KNOW how much I love the late, great Janis, so the fact that I merely enjoyed Allison’s take and wasn’t pelting my TV with popcorn, toys, my small children, and whatever else was within reach is a huge compliment. But I have to say, she was freaking AMAZING during her exit (Rage.) performance. After I shifted my slack jaw back into place, I turned to my husband and went, “I actually really love this.” He called it "the best I-just-got-kicked-off-of-American-Idol performance I’ve ever seen.”

TROY: Totally agree. Allison’s final performance gave me goosebumps (a rarity in Idol-land). Did you notice Kara shrieking in her face as she was singing to them? “YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!!!!” I agreed with her and was disgusted at the same time.

TRACY: Ugh. I’m thinking that Allison’s high emotions after getting the unjust boot (Rage.) finally gave her that extra dose of oomph she needed to really tear the roof off the studio. If only the producers had known that earlier. They could have bitch-slapped her and told her her dress was ugly before every performance and maybe she would still be with us. I know they always tell contestants “this is not the end,” but this better not freaking be the end for her. She’s too talented.

TROY: If we would’ve seen that performance from Allison on Tuesday night, it would have made the list of the ten best Idol performances EVAH. She was robbed, man! ROBBED! Here’s hoping 19 Entertainment doesn’t force her to make some watered down Bo “The Real Thing” Bice drivel.

File “Iraheta” next to “Trenyce” in the “Underappreciated Idols” folder.

TRACY: Totally.

DUET #1: Again, it’s a huge testament to Kris’s talent that his being paired with Danny Freaking Gokey that I actually still loved their performance of “Renegade.” As much as it pains me to admit this, I think Danny’s half was the best performance that guy has given since the top 12 began. It was nice to hear him sing an up-tempo song that actually had some energy and a good melody.

TROY: This was amazing in comparison to the terrors Gokey inflicted later on in the show. I will (begrudgingly) admit that some of their harmonies sounded really great.

TRACY: However, I need to have a word with the sound mixers.

Dear Sound Mixing Guy or Girl:

After months of dealing with DFG’s obnoxious behavior, you should have known that he is the Molly Shannon of American Idol and would try his banshee-like best to upstage and drown out the softer-voiced Kris. Maybe next time you could turn his mike on mute and see if their voices balance better.



TROY: Oohh.. can I co-sign?

TRACY: Of course.


Troy and Me

It was kind of nice seeing Kris rocking something other than a plaid shirt and long-sleeved tee. Leather jacket and motorcycle boots? Kinda hot. I finally see what all those teenaged girls are so gaga over.

Both of them went off key a little, but all in all, I liked most of it. (That would be the parts on which Kris was singing.)

TROY: I’m sad that Gokey received some praise in our recaps. I feel unclean.

TRACY: Rather than being the second coming of Axl Rose, KRIS ALLEN is more of an REO Speedwagon-style rocker. But I thought he managed not to sink like a folksy little rock, as expected. “Come Together” was a rather unfortunate choice, given how Carly Smithson killed it, stuffed it, and hung it on her wall last season—and at first, Kris’s version sounded like a pale imitation. But I ended up thinking that he put his own kinda nice spin on it, so I rewound and gave it a second listen. And I have to say, it was pretty darn good. I loved when he dropped it down an octave and tooled around with the melody in a few parts. It was understated, but very, very accomplished, and he got absolutely shafted by Squeaky Fromme and Simon. I cry “sabotage,” and I cry it hard.

TROY: Kris totally got thrown under the Idol bus. (driven by Kara and her runaway bride eyes). I enjoyed Kris’ performance and was shocked that the judges said he was lacking energy. The boy was singing, playing his guitar, and rocking out in his non-rock way. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM HIM PEOPLE? NIGHT TERROR SHRIEKING? (We’ll get to that later.)

TRACY: Kris’s wife looked so happy for him when he was officially declared a member of the top 3, all jumping up and down with her cute little pre-teen grin, that my maternal instincts kicked in and I wanted to jump up and down with her, and perhaps buy her a Cabbage Patch doll. I am thrilled that the American people had the good sense to keep him, even if they delivered an epic fail on Allison.

TROY: 5.6.09: Never forget.

:::moment of respectful silence:::

TRACY: I think perhaps it’s safe for Howard Dean to run for president again, because The Scream that Killed a Presidential Run might have just been overshadowed by that horrible, horrible drunken banshee wail coming out of DANNY FREAKING GOKEY’s throat. The last ten seconds or so of "Dream On" sounded exactly like that scene in that old 1987 horror movie, Prince of Darkness, where that girl barfs up her own intestines.

Double-ewwww. Tee. Eff.

TROY: You know I have to bring it up (as we do every Idol year), but remember the epic fail that was Jordis Unga on Rockstar: INXS when she performed “Dream On?” Need a reminder? “Dream On” is NOT a smart choice for a reality TV karaoke competition, people!

Jordis’ epic fail (and seemingly cramps-induced howl--see 2:12 in the video) is a musical masterpiece compared to the mess DFG inflicted upon us. My ears STILL hurt.

I do have to thank Danny because I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at an Idol performance than I did at this one (and I watched the Sanjaya season, people). The combination of this boy thinking he nailed it and the look of pure horror on the judges’ faces is classic.

Listening to the studio version isn’t much better. I think someone goes Lorena Bobbit on him at the 2:27 mark. Really.

TRACY: And what was up with the relentlessly dorky pin-striped pants and vest? Um, hello, ROCK NIGHT?! Couldn’t you at least put on a pair of jeans with a tiny fray in the knee or something? Pin-stripes? Seriously? And that chunkalicious chain with the pin-stripes? Looks like someone robbed Mr. T in his sleep, and with the way Mr. T’s career has been going since The A-Team ended, dude can’t afford to be losing any of his bling. That’s just cruel.

And Smarmy Gokey had Douchebag Moment #57 with his whole “I went home and laughed” about his screaming, flu-ridden banshee wail. I could just SEE his whole thought process in that smug mug of his: “Well, OBVIOUSLY I’m safe, because I’m awesome. Ergo, the botched note or two at the end of my song is funny, since there’s no way I could POSSIBLY be kicked off the show in all my awesomeness.”

TROY: Don’t forget Douchebag Moment #58 when he pulled a Guarini and told the judges something to the effect of, “It wasn’t that bad! I’ll have to go home and play back the tape!” Why are people voting for this man?

TRACY: Whatever. So bitter.

DUET #2: Allision and Adam were absolutely perfect together with “Slow Ride,” proving once again that Allison was so robbed. I can’t even talk about it anymore, or I might just turn green and burst through my clothing. Hulk sad.

TROY: I thought it was a weird duet choice (Allison said Adam “Play that Funky Music White Boy” Lambert picked it. Go figure.), but thought they both sounded flawless. If the producers can promise that these two will duet on tour this summer, I’m so there.

TRACY: I can’t let this recap end without discussing Gwen Stefani’s “performance” on the results show. OMG, did Gwen actually have a Jack Palance moment and do PUSH-UPS while singing “I’m Just a Girl”? [Who Sucks.] Wow, four push-ups. Holy feminist icon, Troy. Gloria Steinem should just retire.

TROY: Oh please. Would you rather she bake cookies for the boys while performing? Perform Destiny Child’s “Cater 2 U?” It was a call-out to REAL No Doubt fans who watched her do a similar routine back in the Tragic Kingdom days (where she did back-flips and way more than 10 push-ups). Don’t hate.

TRACY: It was a call-out to people who have the misfortune of being tone-deaf and easily impressed.

And where were her pet racist caricatures harajuku dancers? It’s a sad day when you can’t even make your own song sound like your own song. No wonder the judges were nowhere to be seen—Fox obviously didn’t want to have to show Simon hurling during that performance.

TROY: She’s back with the boys – no more Harajuku. And it was pre-taped!

TRACY: I can’t believe you like this mess enough to pay to hear her sing live. Since she doesn’t do backflips on stage anymore, I can’t imagine why that would be even remotely enjoyable. Hot mess of the night, y’all!

TROY: The woman was running around the stage like a maniac with the energy of a teenager and she’s forty! Give her a break!

TRACY: Dude, I'm 38--do I look like I should be in a home or something? I'm not impressed.

TROY: Your irrational hate of Gwen is blinding you from realizing the real hot mess of the night (hot mess of the WEEK was DFG by a landslide): PAULA ABDUL.

Gwen’s vocals have never been strong, but she at least sang LIVE, unlike a certain reality TV judge who makes a living on critiquing the singing of others.

TRACY: Ooooh. Oh, yeah, that was very, very sad. I was literally cringing on the couch in embarrassment for her. She's a better dancer than Gwen, though.

TROY: The dancing was great, but Paula couldn’t have even sang to her backing track? FRAUD!

According to the song, she’s just here for the music people (and, uh, the endless supply of oxycontin).

TRACY: Well, it oughta be fun watching Kris get sabotaged again next week. Here’s hoping the girlie-girl vote (and, um, mine) ...

TROY: (I’m in, too…)

TRACY: ... can keep him afloat into the finale with Adam (who had BETTER be a lock), because watching Smarmy Gokey for half of the two-hour show is probably going to make me punch my TV. And it’s new, so I really don’t want to hurt it.

Save Kris! (And Adam, of course.)

TROY: Right your past wrongs and make way to a better future. Vote Kradam for the finale.

We beg you.

American Idol Recap: Top 5!

Troy's computer imploded, so we are behind. This week, we'll have a three-fer!
TRACY: Well, it was Rat Pack night, and our top five decided to make it All Ballads, All the Time night on top of it. You know, I would be so off my head with joy if Cecile Frot-Coutaz decided to make one of the last four themes "Oh, HELL No, You Can’t Pick a Ballad" night. Just once. Seriously.

Anyway, how terrific that a wholesome show like American Idol would choose Jamie Foxx and His Ginormous Ego to be this week’s mentor? I guess Tony Bennett, Harry Connick Jr., and Michael Buble all had to wash their hair Tuesday night.

TROY: Buble would have been ah-may-zing (since they've already had Tony Bennett mentor). You know Idol was totally worried he'd show up hammered again.

TRACY: I begrudgingly admit that Jamie F. did a nice job with the finalists and was pretty darn entertaining when he got all up in Danny Freaking Gokey’s (DFG) face. And yes, vocoder aside, the dude is SO talented. (I really did love him in Ray.) But after that whole Miley Cyrus debacle, he’s kinda dead to me now. And you KNOW you did something supremely un-classy when Troy and I are siding with a Disney-bot over you.

TROY: At least JF (and HGE) was coherent and gave good advice/feedback to the contestants, but I'm still scratching my head over his inclusion THIS week. "Blame on the A-A-A-A-A-Alcohol" doesn't seem like something that Old Blue Eyes would have sang. I do think Jamie thinks he's actually Ray Charles sometimes (see: "Gold Digger").

TRACY: I thought KRIS ALLEN didn’t quite get the credit he deserved for a lovely, totally on pitch, clear-as-a-bell performance of “The Way You Look Tonight.” Of the remaining five, he’s the only one I could actually buy as a crooner.

And it looks like Simon became this week’s Delphic Oracle, with his cryptically bizarre comment about Kris’s performance being “a little bit wet,” which he later helpfully clarified as being “not dry.” So, a dry performance is synonymous with a boring one, does that mean that he was giving Kris a compliment?

Do I care? No, I do not.

TROY: I actually really enjoyed Kris' performance. It wasn't "jump-out-of-your-seat" great, but it was on-pitch and, at times, slightly ear delicious (thanks Sedaka!). Sadly, I don't really have anything to snark about, but I do think the judges have it out for him. Enough with the DFG pandering and over-praising! UGH.

TRACY: Still love ALLISON IRAHETA. Still not loving her performances of late. Her “Someone to Watch Over Me” was a’ight, but I think if she’d been the only contestant to sing an up-tempo number, she REALLY would have stood out. Or, seriously, Idol vocal coaches, you couldn’t have figured out where Peggy Lee and the Rat Pack overlapped and steered Allison in that direction? “Black Coffee?” “The Boy from Ipanema?” Unfortunately, it was a snooze-fest worthy of a new Lunesta Fairy crown. I hold out high hopes, however, that she will pass said crown on to Danny Gokey next Tuesday as she sinks her newly 17-year-old teeth into Rock Week.

TROY: I respect your opinion, but WHAT DID YOU ALL THINK?

Ahem ... I mean ... I actually lurved Allison's performance this week, especially after the sucktastic of the last two weeks (seriously ... that "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" debacle pains me, given my Iraheta love). I appreciated that she finally did something low-key and a little vulnerable.

Granted, I don't want Allison to take up where Lil left off (nap break!), but I liked that she mixed it up this week. It's versatility!

TRACY: Right. Oh, and how much did you love Jamie Foxx telling Allison that she was so “innocent” and obviously “too young to have ever been in love." But apparently in Jamie Foxx-land, she is, by two years, not too old to shoot heroin or make a sex tape.

TROY: Have to remember that this man also made the artistic, indie film "Booty Call."

TRACY: :::snort:::

As bitter as I am to see the talented MATT GIRAUD get the boot before DFG, I wasn’t smoking whatever Simon had that led him to declare Matt’s “My Funny Valentine” to be “brilliant.” I thought it was nice, but his pitch was more erratic than the size of my butt, and that falsetto at the end was totally weoird and unnecessary. Once again, I think he would have been AMAZING and a total stand-out if he’d chosen a faster number in that sea of balladry.

However, flaws and all, it was still a really nice performance, and he totally deserved to stay another week instead of Ringy McRinger.

TROY: Yo Yo YO, Matt ... Listen.... You know I'm a fan of yours, dawg. But for me, tonight, FOR ME, it was just a'ight. Some notes were just ... you know. You still did your thang, but I wasn't feelin it like usual, but props for your mad skills and pipes.

Still miles better than you know who.....

TRACY: Oh, gee ... who were you imitating? Give me a minute....

Speaking of DANNY FREAKING GOKEY, I have no idea why the judges and apparently the general public were so in love with his version of “Come Rain or Come Shine.” It started off as yet another mediocre raspy ballad, and then the spirit of Sylvia Plath recalling her electro-shock treatments seemed to invade him, and he went all spaz-o-matic. I swear, by the time he’d finished, that poor boy looked and sounded like he had a hairball.

TROY: I despise DFG and his stupid, smug smile. I have no more words....

TRACY: My oldest daughter Maggie has apparently jumped on the Danny Sucks bandwagon with you, Marin, and me, because while he was singing, she turned to me and pronounced, “Mommy, Danny Gokey needs to be in the bottom three, and then he needs to go home.”

His performance wasn’t helped along any by the appearance of Taylor Hicks on the results show, whose voice I’ve realized bears more than a passing resemblance to DFG’s. I was actually a bit embarrassed for the Gokinator, because though their voices are similar, Taylor just SCHOOLED him.

TROY: Taylor Hicks just SCHOOLED someone? Hell has frozen over, people.

TRACY: Yes, that’s right. I just complimented Taylor Hicks. Even though I was a big fan of Mr. Sweet Home Alabama during the beginning of his Idol run, he lost me somewhere around the Great “Play That Funky Music” massacre of Season 5, and the subsequent “Jailhouse Rock” debacle. But to my everlasting shock, he won me over again with “Seven Mile Breakdown.” Here’s how it went down:

So I hit the pause button on our Tivo after Taylor’s performance, and my husband and I just sat there slack-jawed and dumbstruck for a few moments. Then Jose was all, “Did we actually just like a Taylor Hicks song?” And I was all, “Is that really the guy who unleashed ‘Do I Make You Proud?’ on the world?” And he was all, “I KNOW!” And I was all, “’Member how we really liked him early on in Season XX? ‘Member?” And he was all, “I can’t believe that was actually kinda good. I might not even change the station if it came on the radio.” And I was all, “I KNOW!”

Apparently, getting dropped by 19 Entertainment has worked wonders on the neo-soul-man’s career. He finally got that bluegrassy, southern-rock swamp thing quality that I loved from his original audition back in his voice, and I thought he was just fab.

So SUCK IT, Danny Gokey. That’s how you really bring it when your voice is a Michael-McDonald-esque rasp.


Troy apparently fell asleep during my couch recap. Oh, well. Moving on....

ADAM LAMBERT was fab, as always, although I’m still desperately seeking another Wow! moment like “Mad World.” And I kinda wish he would put his tongue back in his mouth when he hits the high notes—he always looks like he’s trying to blow onion breath in the cameraperson’s face or something.

It was definitely Broadway, but I don t think that’s a bad thing—obviously Adam would be happy as a mascara-ed little clam to be cast in “Wicked” or a “Phantom” revival, etc.

TROY: I think he actually has been in Wicked....not sure what as though....

TRACY: Huh? Who knew? Oh, and I think calling Adam “sleazy” was rude and annoying, but what can one expect from Kreepy Kara? Pot, let me introduce you to sleazy kettle, who also happens to be a shrill, harpy-like kettle that I think should be booted off the show before my head explodes.

TROY: I actually HATED Adam's performance this week.

TRACY: ::::incredulous, google-eyed stare::::

TROY: I know!

"Feelin' Good" is one of my favorite songs of all time and I just hated the dramatics, the screaming, the tongue. I'm normally fine with Adam's over-the-top theatric style, but I just didn't think it fit for this week.

AWESOME entrance though...

TRACY: It was.

Wow factor or not, given his amazing chops, I would have been wicked, wicked (Heh.) devastated to see his foray into the bottom two turn into a fifth-place finish, but since it did not, I now see it as a bit of a blessing. If the producers didn’t rig that whole thing, then it was probably the wake-up call the Glambert fans needed to keep on dialing for my personal favorite. I cannot WAIT to see what he’s going to pull for Rock Week—please, God, don’t let him be Chill Ballad Adam next Tuesday

I’m thinking a tribute to my first love, Joe Elliott, or some Axl. Perhaps some Doors, if Rock Week isn’t confined to hair bands. Or maybe even some Janis turned on its head--THAT would be fun!

I’m also thinking that DFG is seriously toast. (At least, I’ll be doing a DFG is Toast Dance next Tuesday, appealing to the heavens to get him the heck off my TV set. Let me know if you want me to send you the steps.)

But what in the world is Slash going to do as a guest mentor, other than slouch in a corner with a cigarette hanging off his lip and grunt encouragingly? I don’t think I’ve ever heard that man speak, and I came of age during Guns-N-Roses’ peak.

Anyhoo, my top picks were: Kris and Adam

TROY: My picks are: Kris and Allison!

TRACY: Bottom pick: DFG, DFG’s enormous ego, DFG’s smarmy smile.

TROY: Preach.

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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