Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worst. Christmas Carols. Ever. (2010 verson)

As some of you might remember, every year my brother Tom and I get our inner Grinches on and post our Annual List of the Worst Christmas Carols Ever. This wonderful holiday tradition continues below.

If sarcasm and general crotchety-ness puts a damper on your Christmas spirit, you’ll want to stop reading now and go hug an elf or continue spreading sunshine and lollipops and wherever you take your relentlessly perky self, because we’re just not your kind of people.

If not, welcome, friends--read on, and feel free to add your own.

TOM: I’ll start with “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” by Chicago. So Chicago decided in 2003 to put out a Christmas album. And they decided to add this "gem." This one just reeks of desperation. They are trying to sound young, hip, and rockin', and it really is just a sorry effort.

TRACY: Oh, my God, Chicago. The new lead singer on this album (new being relative, since the last time Tom and I listened to them was in 1987 when they still had Peter Cetera) is awful! It sounds like some garage band found some overwrought lead singer from the Sheboygan Press classifieds and somehow blackmailed Chicago’s brass section into playing in the background. (Chicago’s brass section = still awesome.)

TOM: There is only one Chicago and that is with Peter Cetera at the helm.

TRACY: Let the church say “Amen!” If Chicago wants to continue releasing albums, they need to get Peter Cetera back.

TOM: Of course, he is suffering from the same disease as Dennis DeYoung and Steve Perry in which a lead singer believes that he is better than the band, leaves, and both of them become a joke. (Gwen Stefani had it briefly, but was cured, and Eddie Vedder has avoided it.)

TRACY: Well then, they need to go to the Philippines and find some dude who sounds just like Peter Cetera.

TOM: Just as long as they don't do a reality show!

TRACY: Here’s my first pick: On the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death, we have ... The Radio City Rockettes, step-kicking all over his brilliant musical legacy with their version of "Happy Christmas (War is Over)."

Dear God, there are no words.

Oh, wait. Maybe there are a few.

Dear Radio City Rockettes,

I understand that you are collectively a New York City institution, and no amount of feminist sturm und drang is going to get you to trade your pasties and fringe for business suits and briefcases. I get that. You were blessed with fabulous legs, and you like showing them off. Fine. And okay, I understand that maybe an hour silent can-canning might be boring, so you feel you have to "sing" to give the public their money's worth. But really--John Lennon?

The man is a legend. And you? You are basically 47 pairs of legs and a bunch of feathers. Musical legend + legs and feathers = a whole lot of disrespect.

Please stop. Now.



TOM: P.S. Any further listings of the Lennon song should no longer have Yoko Ono's name attached. She can attach her name to the Rockettes' version.

Next is “Sleigh Ride,” by Andy Williams: I do like some Andy Williams Christmas songs, but this is a mess from start to finish. It starts with the backup singers singing "Jing-a-ling, jing, jing-a-ling" and goes downhill from there. My biggest complaint is the music. Close your eyes, concentrate on just the music and not the vocals, and then imagine listening to Rod Roddy describes the prizes in the showcase showdown. It is straight out of the Price is Right. (RIP Rod Roddy. Wesside.)

TRACY: I take your Andy Williams “Sleigh Ride” and raise it by one Debbie Gibson’s “Sleigh Ride.”

How we let this one get past us for so many years is a gross oversight--one that I will rectify immediately. This one is so painful, it makes my ears hurt to even recall it. Now I never had a problem with Debbie Gibson in the 1980s. I wasn't a huge fan of mall pop, but I sympathized with the media's manufactured rivalry between her and Tiffany, and I respected that she wrote her own mall pop songs. But then she became an obnoxious adult who pretty much sets my teeth on edge every time I see her on my television. Watch the Broadway-themed extra on the Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray, and you'll see what I mean. Everyone else says something along the lines of, "I loved playing this role so much, and having it on stage was awesome." But not Debbie. Debbie is all, "Blah, blah, blah, me, me, me, I was Belle on Broadway, me." And her back-talking stint on Skating with Celebrities still makes me want to jab my eardrums out.

So I was driving along the other day, and this horrible, horrible version of "Sleigh Ride" came on. After about two seconds, I said to myself, "Who is this insipid person who is ruining one of the most beloved Christmas carols of all time?" I looked down at my satellite radio display, and sure enough: Debbie Gibson.

If her nasal, entitled voice isn't enough to make you take a hammer and chisel to your radio, then the backup singers shrieking "SLEIGH RIDE! SLEIGH RIDE!" every second beat might just do the trick. (SLEIGH RIDE!) Because unless you're playing this version (SLEIGH RIDE!) for a group of people with severe short-term memory problems (SLEIGH RIDE!), there is absolutely no reason to yell the name of the song (SLEIGH RIDE!) over and over and over again.

TOM: C'mon, this is the woman who gave the world "Shake Your Love." What a delicate genius!

My next pick is a two-parter. These are both from the long lost Star Wars Holiday Special. I am a huge Star Wars fan, but I can't bear to watch this craptacular. The first is the song that Princess Leia does. I don't even know the name, but the Unintentional Comedy Scale is off the charts. I don't know where to start--the Wookies in Snuggies, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill trying to look interested like it is a deep song, or trying to figure out how coked up Carrie Fisher is.

TRACY: (Answer: SO coked up. Bless her heart.

TOM: The scenes from Star Wars that have been crowbarred in are a nice touch. We should have never let George Lucas be in charge of the prequels after seeing this:

The other song is Bea Arthur's appearance as a bartender in the special. She serves as a great example by letting aliens pounding on tables influence her to ignore the legal bar time and serve up another round. Plus she does it on the house! Not only does she flaunt her disregard for the laws of the government, but she also is harming the company's bottom line! Plus, she doesn't call a cab for the huge, obviously drunk alien at around the 2:30 mark. Hey, and is that Greedo in there?! I though he was dead! The most egregious thing is that they writers thought "Hey! Let's take the Cantina Band Song that everyone loved from Star Wars, slow it down and take down a key, and make a new song!" Booooooooooo!

TRACY: I’d add my own take, but I’m laughing too hard. Let the nation be warned—you don’ta mess wit’ the Star Wars. Or suffer the wrath of Tom.

Boney M makes an appearance for the second year in a row with it's "Mary's Boy Chil'/O My Lord." .

TOM: I believe Boney M. is a two-time winner! .

TRACY: This song is a franken-mess of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," a group of insane people humming, a Davey Jones impersonator, and a very poor group of singers with exaggerated Caribbean accents--set to steel drums and a "reggae" (I use that term loosely) beat.

My Christmas wish is for Germany to deport these people someplace where there is no studio recording equipment.

TOM: “A Child is Born,” by Rihanna: Yes, I get that she is from the Bahamas, but I still don't like this Rasta sounding song. When I hear it, I think of the Baby J, in a manger with dreds, watching Cool Runnings and drinking Red Stripe beer. If a stereotype had a sound, this album would be it.

TRACY: Even though Jessica Simpson's album "ReJoyce" (still don't know who Joyce is) was quite enough, thankyouverymuch, Papa Joe Simpson, the world's creepiest father who is not a child molester, had to trot Jessica out one more time for yet another round of Christmas carol massacre. And so we get "Happy Christmas" (because obviously she now thinks she's British), a collection of holiday favorites set to the dying gasps of her career.

.Our brother Troy subjected us to said album (much like the people in that notorious group-think experiment were subjected to increasing bursts of electroshock) this past Thanksgiving, and I can safely say I will not be hurrying over to iTunes to purchase it.

The biggest Christmas sin on this album (besides her porn star version of "Happy Christmas (War is Over" and bringing in sister Ashlee to "sing" with her) was the breathless baby voice she uses for EVERY FREAKING SONG. Two seconds of Madonna's "Santa Baby" is about all any sane person can take of a grown woman infantilizing herself by singing like a two-year-old with a speech impediment. The world did not need an entire album of that kind of mess.

My least favorite (and it was quite the competition) would have to be her version of "Mary Did You Know?" I already discussed the idiocy of this song's lyrics last year, when I chose any and all version of it as one of my least favorites.

(Recap: ["My biggest problem with this song] would be lyrics like this one: 'Mary, did you know that your baby boy is lord of all creation?' "I'm just taking a stab here, but after receiving a prediction from her cousin Elizabeth, a VISIT from an ARCHANGEL, a giant star floating over her head for days on end, three kings visiting her in a freaking stable, and a heavenly choir of cherubim and seraphim singing in the sky shortly after she gave birth, I'm guessing that she does, Captain Obvious.")

But Jessica's version now has the honor of rising above the rest as my most hated version of this song. She sounds like she wants to make out with Mary, and that's just WRONG, people.

TOM: This is where I need to insert a song that HAS to be made: John Mayer doing "This Christmas. It doesn't exist, but it needs to just for the fact that I would love to see Jessica Simpson listening to it at home thinking, "Please let it be this Christmas, John. Waaaaaahhh!" That would be just punishment for this basura!

My next actual pick is an album. Actually, the music on this album isn't so bad—my problem is the name of the album. When it was released, it was probably okay, but now, it could be the scariest Christmas album in history. It is "A Christmas Gift to You from Phil Spector."


Thanks, Phil, for the Ronettes and Darlene Love! And, is that a gun in your hand? What is up with the weird hair? You want to put the gun in my mouth?

I would love to see the sales figures on iTunes from that one.

TRACY: I've gained a lot more respect for Josh Groban since he poked fun of his own image on Glee and added his vocal stylings to Sarah Silverman's "I'm F---ing Matt Damon." (Hilarious!) So even though I've bashed him pretty much ever year since we started doing this, I decided to give him another try when he popped up on Sirius singing "O, Holy Night." Let the record show that I tried, people.

I think he needs to change the name of his version of the song to "O . . . . Holy . . . . Night." Because he sings … so … slowly … it's a wonder that the lyrics don't start coming out of his mouth backwards. "O Holy Night" is one of my favorite carols ever, but I can't take Josh Groban making it sound like a funeral dirge. Whatever happened to raising me up, Groban? Your "O Holy Night" just makes me want to dress in sackcloth and ashes and go mourn something.

That's all we've got this year! Please feel free to add your un-favorites below. And if you want to check out our Worst Christmas Carols Ever lists of years' past, find 2009 here:

2008 here:

and a Hall of Shame combining 2007 and 2006 here:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

American Idol: Top 12!

As always, I'm bringing in my brother Troy for our joint recapping of American Idol's top 12. Enjoy!

TRACY: Well, Troy, another year, another American Idol top 12.

TROY: Another year of Tracy and Troy week-late recaps!

TRACY:Ready to go?

TROY:Bring it.

TRACY:So far, I’ve been pretty meh about this year’s group of singers ...

TROY:(You mean Idol’s WORST. SEASON. EVAH?)

TRACY:...especially after last week’s Elimination of Bitterness, which resulted in the demise of one of my favorite singers, Alex Lambert. I think Lily Scott was totally robbed, too, and I even feel insulted for Katelyn and Todrick, because both of them had enough original spark that they deserved to outlast the plain vanilla likes of Katie, Paige, and Tim.

TROY:WORD. But I’d like to also add in Lacey to that pile of shame (although, really, isn’t that just adding insult to injury now? Plus I know you liked her….)

TRACY:(I did.) But there’s no judges’ save in the semis this year, so the Idol juggernaut juggers on without Alex and his Plushenko hair. Sick and wrong, man.

TROY:But there is a judges’ save for the top 12! Thank god. This way America won’t let Aaron Kelley slip through the cracks.

TRACY: The horror. On to last Tuesday night. I never realized how much I actually love the Rolling Stones until I heard their truly, massively awesome song catalog aurally drawn and quartered last Tuesday night. After I staunch the bleeding in my ears, I think I’m going to find one of their greatest hits compilations and crank it until the urge to down a bottle of lithium and make the bad man singing reggae go away leaves my restless mind.

TROY:Agreed! I tend to make fun of the ancient Stones (Super Bowl halftime show? Really?) and was griping about how much I was expecting to hate this episode. Instead, I found myself loving most of the songs (if not the contestant massacre of most).

Mick Jagger--I salute you (but am still creeped out by some of Mackenzie Phillips’ recollections of him).

TRACY: Oh, you had to bring that up. Ick.

First up was MICHAEL LYNCHE, who delivered a mildly pleasant take on “Miss You.” I just don’t get all the love for this guy. He seems super sweet, and my heart grows three sizes whenever Fox shows his new baby. If were voting for America’s Top Next-Door Neighbor, Big Mike would get my vote 100%. But singing? I’m just sort of meh about him. He’s pleasant to listen to, but for some odd reason, I always find myself comparing him to Seal. And he always loses.

TROY:WORD. I’m still baffled over what triggered Kara DioHotMess’ tears o’ shame last week, but it certainly can’t be Big Mike’s performance. Totally a nice guy (although seemingly pain-inflicting, given his ketchup bottle-squeeze hugs on Ryan), but I can’t handle him each week. I get flashbacks to Matt Rogers and that is NOT a good comparison. Meh.

TRACY:Plus the dancing. Oh, the dancing. If you painted Michael green and gave him little trumpet-shaped ears, he’d be a dead ringer for Shrek cavorting in the swamp to “I’m a Believer.” Not hot.

TROY:Let’s be honest … this guy is Velveeta and we’re looking for the American Idol, not the next Universal Studios tour guide.

TRACY:I’ve liked LACEY BROWN a LOT more than the judges have so far in the competition, and I totally get her groovy signature warble. But I thought she jumpin’ jacked UP “Ruby Tuesday,” one of my favorite Stones hits. Staying on key would have been a good start, but there was something too painstakingly deliberate about her delivery last night. Feel the song, honey. Just feel the song.

TROY:I’ve kinda hated Lacey Brown. Sure, she has great hair and, in my opinion, is really gorgeous, but she has a voice could herd cats. Screechy and bleaty, I felt like you could play a drinking game with her performances (“Drink everytime she goes off key!” – you’ll have severe alcohol poisoning at the end of 2 ½ minutes).

TRACY: Mean!

It probably would have been deemed too copycat, but I’ve thought since the beginning that she’d sound gorgeous doing The Sundays’ version of “Wild Horses.” (Curse you, Katie Stevens!!!!)

TROY:You Buffy nerd (but I totally thought the same thing).

TRACY: Let the record show that I liked that verion long before it was on Buffy.

Oh, and what was up with Lacey's Wilma-Flintstone-as-a-Venetian-gondolier T-shirt under the beige and black lace cocktail dress? Seriously not working. Not even in the store window of Charlotte Russe.

I agreed totally with Simon that CASEY JAMES is a really good singer, but he needs to bring something MORE (I don’t know, just MORE) to his Idol performances. I’m not sure how long dude can coast on just standing there on the stage with a lazy grin, delivering more-than-competent-but-not-quite-outstanding performances, but I don’t think it’ll be until the end. That said, how can you not like a guy who rebuilt his own house and oozes genuineness when claiming he’s the least talented member of his family? (Sorry—the blonde hair, it dazzles.) Once he’s through with Idol, he needs to front a band, because he could do his stand-and-deliver thing as part of a group, no problem.

TROY:I can’t decide if Casey’s act is super dopey (“I’m Casey! I love to sing!”) or really cocky (“Kara wants to schtup me. Free pass to final 4!”). I do think it’s the former, but the boy really needs to step up his game. Big Mike is running across the stage like a madman and Casey can’t even shuffle his feet?

Love his voice, but still MEH on Casey overall.

TRACY:Perhaps part of the problem was that once again, I spent half the performance worrying that the Zombie Jamboree in the mosh pit was going to eat him once they were done spasmodically waving. CREEEEEpyyyyyyy.

TROY:Casey wasn’t very lively himself - think he would have survived (Shawn of the Dead style).

TRACY:Gotta give it to PAIGE MILES for busting out some power notes last night with laryngitis. Before I knew she was sick, I told my husband I thought “Honky Tonk Woman” was her best performance of the show so far. I totally think she needs to steal Haley’s schtick and go all “I’m African-American! And I’m country, y’all!” Number one, there’s just a bit of a void in country music when it comes to black women singers. Number two, it’d give this pretty but up-to-now rather generic performer a much-needed stamp of originality.

TROY:Paige Paige Paige. Sigh.

While I agree with you, I just can’t seem to care about this girl anymore. She has a good voice, but that’s where it ends as she has zero personality. This song was fine and props to her for singing with laryngitis, but just … whatever.

Also, do we need to revisit the “Smile” debacle from a few weeks ago? Girl couldn’t hit any of the notes and said she was so emotional because the song reminded her of Michael Jackson. REALLY?

TRACY::::We interrupt this AI recap to bring you an episode of Dear God, What Was She Wearing?::::

A denim onesie? Really? With weird tights? And horrible, mismatched boots? Did she raid the old One Day at a Time wardrobe trailer to come up with that outfit when the Idol stylist wasn’t looking? Dear God, WHAT was she wearing?!?!


Troy, I can’t believe I’m typing this. In fact, I’m not sure I CAN type this. Hurts. Too. Much.

TROY:Do you need to sit down? A fan? Vodka?

TRACY:(How about all of the above?) I actually agreed with Kara (OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH, the paaaaaaiiiiinnnnnnn!!!!!!) when she said, with her usual freakish intensity, that ANDREW GARCIA should have added some more (not-so-freakish) intensity to his delivery of the Stones’ anti-war anthem “Gimme Shelter.”

Again, it’s an ANTI-WAR ANTHEM. That phrase alone should make a singer stand up and growl and belt and cry to the heavens when singing a song that fits that category.

Andrew made a very smart decision to drop the guitar and deliver something different, and his vocals were really quite pleasant. I would have actually like the song if it hadn’t been an ANTI-WAR ANTHEM.

When Mick Jagger delivers an ANTI-WAR ANTHEM (I can’t stop typing that in all caps), he struts, he pouts, he points and snarls. The underlying message is something along the lines of, “Yeah, this war? EFF this war! And eff all y’all until this war is OVER! End the war! END IT, you motherf----rs!!!!!”

When Andrew delivers an anti-war anthem (doesn’t deserve the all caps), it’s more like,

“Um, yeah, hi. So this war? Maybe it might be time to end it? No? Okay, then. That’s all right. I’ll just go now.”

TROY:Whoa. Did Kara just takeover my sister for a second? That critique was slightly freakishly intense. J

TRACY:Yeah, like you've never gone there, Tyra.

TROY:Also, you mentioned “ANTI-WAR ANTHEM” almost as much as the judges have mentioned Andrew’s “Straight Up” performance. Judges--we get it. Andrew peaked with “Straight Up” in Hollywood. He has no hope and is as sad as Meg Ryan’s career.

TRACY:So, singing was a’ight, but someone really needs to start feeling his songs. And while I’m at it….

Dear Andrew Garcia,

Please don’t ever sing about someone “rubbing you the right way” ever, ever again.


TRACY:It’s creepy. I’m not sure why it works when Christina Aguilera sings it, but you sounded like a child molester. Regardless of how tempting it may be, do not go there at any point in the future, lest I be tempted to gouge out my eardrums with a spoon.




TRACY:Oh, KATIE STEVENS. Such a sweet girl. So very, very dull on the stage. I think they should have encouraged her to try out in a couple of years instead of letting her into the top 24, because the girl just isn’t soup yet. Of COURSE she sang “Wild Horses,” (Susan Boyle did it!) because she probably hasn’t even heard of any other Rolling Stones song in the short course of her life.

“Wild Horses” is seriously one of my favorite songs ever in the history of ever. I love it when Mick sings it, and (sacrilege!) I love The Sundays’ eerie cover even more (Buffy + Angel = 4-EVA!). I don’t even mind Susan Boyle’s version, even though no one can improve on The Sundays. But Katie Stevens? She sang that ballad of intense romantic longing with all the intense romantic longing of Miss South Carolina delivering a treatise on why the people of Iran should have maps.

I cannot forgive, Troy. I want her expunged.

TROY:I totally agree. THIS was the song I was looking the most forward to and was praying that anyone BUT Katie would sing this. Sure enough, Katiebot 2000 takes the stage to perform Buffy and Angel’s prom song. Automatic hate.

This was bad, Tracy. Reaaallllly bad. Completely devoid of any passion or comprehension of what the song means, Katie got up there and tried to lull us into a deep sleep. She seems like a sweet girt, but I’m thinking her only potential for a singing career is for lead vocals on the next Kidz Bop album.

It has to be said: Lilly got booted for this?

TRACY:And Alex.

Dear God, TIM URBAN. Normally, I would just refuse to acknowledge Sir Helmet Hair out of respect for the fallen Alex Lambert (and in honor of Jesse Langseth and Tami Gosnell. Still bitter.). But what the crunk did he do to “Under My Thumb?!?!” I’m not even going to give him props … I’m not even going to give him a SINGLE prop, not one prop for trying to do something different. The SONG is called UNDER MY THUMB. There is a LYRIC in it that compares the girl who broke the singer’s heart to a SQUIRMING DOG.

Think maybe there’s something a little angry about this song maybe, hmmm, Tim?

TROY:This was a trainwreck. I wanted someone to go steal Tim’s lunch money, because what a NERDY performance. His vocals have gotten … less off-key, but that creepy, vacant stare into the camera seriously gives me nightmares.

TRACY:SERIOUSLY! FEEL YOUR SONG!!!! FEEL IT!!!!! FEEEEEEEEEEL IIIIIIIITTTTTTT!!!!!!!! Do not turn a dark song-spiral of torment, misogyny, and abuse into a lovely little poolside ditty, you silly, callow little man.

Obviously he is a nice guy from a nice family, but that is not enough to win a recording contract. (Please, Lord, let it not be enough.)

TROY:It unfortunately doesn’t matter what we think in this case. Urban’s here to stay for awhile thanks to the teen girl vote. He’s the male (and nicer) version of last season’s Bikini Girl.

TRACY:Oh, and what is up with the HELMET made of HAIR sitting on his skull? Is this trendy now? It makes me want to hunt down probable disturbing trendsetter Justin Bieber and sit on him until the guys from Jackass can come and shave his head. Or at least snap a barrette over his forehead.

On the polar opposite end of the scale, I love LEE DEWYZE every time, because he has that cool rasp to his voice and he totally feels his song. And even if said song is a powerfully original interpretation or a “safe” but heartfelt slow jam, I feel it, too. He’s likeable, he’s competent, he’s original, and doggoneit, I like him.

That said, I do agree with Simon again that he needs to step it up and have “a moment.” (Is there anything more paralyzing than someone getting all up in your face and demanding that you have “a moment.” I think not. So I don’t really hold it against Lee that he hasn’t had “a moment” yet, but I do hope he can pull one out soon.)

TROY:I think Lee is the Allison Iraheta/Elliot Yamin contestant this year. He’s so incredibly talented, but also flying under the radar with his proficient, but not notable performances.

Lee comes on stage, does his thing, but isn’t quite yet standing out to show what he’s made of. I think his moment will come once he gets a little more comfortable with himself.

Of course, now that I said that, he’ll surely be voted out next week. Eff.

TRACY:I hope not--that would be a tragedy of Katherine-MacPhee-in-second- place-over-Daughtry-and-Yamin proportions.

AARON KELLY sang “Angie.” It was all right. (Yawn.)

At least he did something different with his hair, instead of having the Army of Perfectly Matched Stepford Spikes sitting atop his head.

TROY:Oh Aaron. He’s like a less charismatic, less talented version of David Archuleta. I’m bored just talking about him.

TRACY:I’ve thought all along that the judges have been unjustly awful to DIDI BENAMI. I even didn’t mind “Lean on Me….”


TRACY:Though that’s a really hard song to mess with since it’s so well known. I love her hippy-chick vibe, I love her wacky vibrato, and I love that she calls her mom “Mommy Benami.”

I also loved “Playing with Fire.” Didi always does something wholly original with the melody, but it sounds so effortless, you barely notice how accomplished of a song arranger she is. The fact that she’s lasted this long while serving as the judges’ cannon fodder for FAR too long could make her the dark horse of this competition. If there is any justice in this world, look for her to crack at least the top four, at worst.

TROY:You know, I’ve been hard on Didi since the competition started. Loved her Kara song, but have just been constantly disappointed since (Pitchiest “Rhiannon” ever!). However, “Playing with Fire” has been one of the only performances that’s been stuck in my head since Tuesday night. Loved Didi’s almost perfect vocals on a slightly haunting take of the song. I may even have to take back my earlier statement declaring her Brooke White 2.0.

(The title will be reinstated if she decides to stop and start one of her upcoming performances…or spastically interrupt the judges like she’s Rain Man while they critique).

TRACY:Agreed, although calling anyone that sweet and talented Brooke White is slightly horrifying.

Preventing a Didi Benami win at this time would be one SIOBHAN MAGNUS and one CRYSTAL BOWERSOX.

Crystal delivered yet another Joplinesque powerhouse with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” She’s flawless, and the only thing standing between her and the Idol crown is the fact that she doesn’t have too far to grow, so some voters may get complacent or even tired of said flawlessness. (Oh, and Siobhan, of course.)

TROY:Joplinesque? I can’t go that far (see Allison Iraheta’s amazing exit performance last season for that distinction), but I do like the Bowersox. I do feel like she’s missing a little bit of energy on stage, but I get that that’s her thing. She still rocked it and I loved her for it.

TRACY:But didn’t you just want to punch Kara right between her crazy Runaway Bride Eyes when she started talking about how Mama Sox was getting “cocky” and seemed to think she had the competition won? Thanks, Kara. Let’s just go plant the seeds of sabotage into the viewers’ minds, because it’ll be so fun to watch one of the most deserving contestants get axed prematurely so we can be treated to Katie “the female Barry Manilow” Stevens albums instead.


Had to love how Crystal put the kibosh on that by 1) managing to defend herself without having a Guarini “what did you all think?” moment; 2) genuinely admitting that Siobhan was “awesome”; and 3) wearing a peacock feather to protest Lilly Scott’s premature ouster.

If a MAN were to be all stoic and confident on the stage (um, hello, Casey), I’d bet my last copy of The Feminist Mystique that Kara wouldn’t bat an eyelash. But when a woman does the same thing, she calls her out as cocky. My inner feminist is SCREAMING at the self-described (ugh) “cougar” right now, and once she is done, she is going to have a good cry at the state of this alleged “post-feminist” era.

TROY:Excuse you. Kara embodies the word” feminist.” What, with her bikini spreads in Maxim, Women’s Health, etc….

TRACY:Somebody give Gloria Steinem a cattle prod and have her stand behind Kara for the duration of the show, please.

“I’m a cougar!”


“Simon, you’re so smart. Do you agree with me? Do you? Huh?”


“But I’m a cougar!”


TROY:You good?

TRACY:It's a lovely visual. You should try it sometime.

TROY:(Team Kara!!)


TRACY:And that brings me to SIOBHAN MAGNUS. I understand that the quirky little glassblower might be a little polarizing, not in small part because of that slightly not-all-there smile she sometimes gives the camera. But between the badly drawn Mary Poppins tattoo and her sweet 60s-throwback parents, there’s more to Siobhan than first meets the eye.

She definitely showed it with her dark, dramatic, and powerfully original take on “Paint It Black” (thankfully erasing Gina Glocksen’s “version” from a few seasons ago from my brain). Love the drama, loved the way she reworked the melody, loved the gorgeous, lilting ending.

And I massively, massively adored the Valkyrie Shriek at the end. Every time she does that, my husband Jose and I usually end up breaking out into applause and yelling, “That was AWESOME!” at our TV like a Latino Chris Farley and David Spade.

And then, inevitably, one of us stops, folds our hands under our arms, and mumbles, “You know, she can’t hear us” at the other.

TROY:I normally think Siobhan sounds a bit monotonous in her performances (save the token, glory note), but I downloaded the mp3 of “Paint it Black” and have been listening to it on repeat. The girl sounds amazing when she records and she certainly bring something interesting and intense to each of her performances. She’s just so INTERESTING--I’m always curious to hear what she’s going to say and what song she’s going to choose. Siobhan makes me care, and let’s be honest, that’s rare in season 9.

Who knew she’d clean up so well too?

TRACY:She reminds me of a more rocking Heather Nova (alternative 90s singer-songwriter. “London Rain?”)

TROY:(Say What?)

TRACY:(“Walk This World?”) … No?). Love “Paint It Black,” love her, love the surprise she brings to every performance.

Because if I can’t have Adam Lambert back for every season of American Idol, then just bring on someone like Siobhan.

TROY:Preach (although I do sorta wish the Glambert were back this year to show these contestants a thing or two about owning a song).

TRACY:Last week, I predicted (hoped, prayed) that Katie Stevens would be butchering her swan song on Thursday, or Tim Urban. Sadly, it was not to be.

TROY:Unfortunately, we did not get the outster of Katiebot 2000. Still, I can’t say I was wicked devastated to see bad bad Lacey Brown go.

Can this week be a triple elimination of Tim, Paige and Katie (I’m fine substituting in Aaron as well).


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 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, 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! 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!

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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