Monthly Archives: March 2012

And there went all the Humor…

It’s amazing to me how such an amazing night of Idol can be followed by such an awful terrible (terrible awful, if I’m Minny, from the Help. Sorry, you have to be a reader if you’re gonna understand my jokes, sometimes). I loved a solid 7 amazing performances. (Sorry Colton and Joshua, you are not on the list). I did finally get to see Elise perform – thanks Hollywood Gossip! And I didn’t even have to listen to the stupid judges say anything negative. You know, since they can’t seem to say anything nice about people with uterus’. It was definitely as amazing as I’d heard it was. I was still basking in the glow of that great performance when I turned on the tube around quarter of nine tonight, to see who I thought was Elise in the bottom 3. At first I was shocked, then I realized it was Hollie. Then I was just upset. I mean, she wasn’t as good as Elise, I can’t deny that she was more bottom 3 worth than Elise, but Hollie? In the bottom 3? These voters are animals!

Seeing Heejun there didn’t totally surprise me, I dare say I expected it. But then I saw who was up for the last spot in the bottom 3 – Skylar or DeAndre? Well clearly it would be DeAndre, it HAD to be DeAndre. Skylar is amazing! And DeAndre’s falsetto doesn’t do anything for me. Skylar is my numero uno… and there I was… wrong AGAIN! I must clearly be in the minority when it comes to picking winners. Does no one realize that the most successful Idols have been women? Or that the last 4 winners have been men? Does no one see a problem with that? What ever happened to girl power? Voting audience of American Idol – I’m looking at you. With a stank eye!

I actually wrote a little note to Mr. Han.

As for results this week, well, a lot of us have Skylar quite close to the top, and Hollie is in most peoples middle area, so not a lot of points were doled out this week in bonuses. Cindy, for the second time in three weeks, and Zack for the first time, picked the correct person to go home. Obviously that means Cindy wins herself a second week at the top! Much to my chagrin. Not for Cindy but for Heejun. Let’s take a look at the results for the week. First a reminder of what the picks look like –

And here are the standings for the week:

How are my husbands picks doing better than mine?? It’s just because he has a man crush on Phillip. I can’t blame him though. At least I’m doing better than him overall. Let’s check out those results too now that we’re a few weeks in!

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Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Personal Idols Night

Ryan Seacrest must be reading my blog… or just paying attention to pop culture… “May the Odds be Ever In Your Favor” – Indeed Ryan, Indeed. I’m the one with the Hunger Game nods, Ryan. Not you! Did this mean that this week would be a fight to the death? I didn’t see a cornucopia on stage so I was pretty sure the answer would be no… and I was right. Oh well. I do think Ryan is like a real life Caesar Flickman. Randy is clearly not getting his Capitol on though. No pin this week. Just neon beads. I digress even though I don’t want to… I could TOTALLY write a million words about how much I love that book. The movie was good but trust me if you want to really enjoy it, read that book! Er… THOSE books! They’re all good.

Once again, American Idol posted the set list prior to the show airing.

Only 15 minutes prior but I checked it out nonetheless. I saw only a slim chance to be right about any of my guesses but I knew that would be the case. I do feel like the list was relatively easy list to guess. I had an epiphany though remembering that Joshua sang a Beyoncé song in an audition, so maybe that was his personal idol. While I said I could see Jessica singing Beyoncé, when I saw the full list, I was pretty sure that Mariah song was on there for her. I think we all know Miranda Lambert will be Skylar. No doubt. I had to google who Jonny Lang is (a Grammy Award-winning American blues, gospel, and rock singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist. Lang’s music is notable for both his unusual voice, which has been compared to that of a forty-year-old blues veteran). Clearly he was going to be Phillips personal idol. Then when I pulled him up on youtube, I was sold. The only one I couldn’t figure out was Donny Hathaway but through process of elimination I went with the following set up (in order of confidence):

Gunpowder & Lead (Miranda Lambert) – Skylar Laine
Jesus Take the Wheel (Carrie Underwood) – Hollie Cavanaugh
Without You (Mariah Carey) – Jessica Sanchez
Sweet Dreams (Beyoncé) – Joshua Ledet
Still Rainin’ (Jonny Lang) – Phillip Phillips
Whole Lotta Love (Led Zepplin) – Elise Testone
Sometimes I Cry (Eric Benet) – DeAndre Brackensick
Everything (Lifehouse) – Colton Dixon
A Song For You (Donny Hathaway) – Heejun Han

I’ll state though, that I think everything after Phillip was a complete guess.

Colton Dixon was first up this evening and it seemed I was 1 for 1 (when given the set list)! Wahoo! Lifehouse though? Really? That’s like picking Nickleback as your Idol. I feel like he’s only going to loose points with that one. The only song I know of theirs is “Hanging By a Moment” but I did see on Wikipedia that they recorded one of their albums in Maryland so holler for that. I will say while the song is a total snoozefest, he gives me a great image of what he’s going for. In my head, he’s some new age pastor at a mega church, and he’s singing to Jesus. Maybe some people like that, though? I know people do. I didn’t even realize this was a worship song in actuality (according to Colton) so I guess that “New Age Pastor” thing was what he was going for. I guess he nailed it then, for what it was.

Skylar – Well that’s 2 for 2, and I totally called Miranda Lambert for her, from that list. Doesn’t hurt that she’s the only country singer we’ve got on the show. Like I said, it was an easy list to crack this time. I just love Skylar. I realize if you don’t like country you might not like Skylar but with the energy she brings to her performances, I just don’t see how you can’t love her performances. I have a feeling she’ll be my favorite performance of the evening (FYI she was, but I didn’t see Elise 😦 sad face…). I don’t know why Randy was making comparisons to Carrie because she is no Carrie Underwood, but she’s definitely awesome.

Heejun – 3 for 3! Yeah baby! I really only picked Heejun singing this because it was the only one left. I don’t know how I feel about “new’ “sensitive” Heejun. I like comedic Heejun. I hope he at least still keeps some of his humor. I do want to hear how Donny Hathaway is his Idol. Why didn’t they say anything about picking that song besides him wanting to be serious? It really is amazing how good he can sing. It just surprises you every time. I don’t think he’s the best on the competition, but he’s really really good.

Hollie – I love Stevie Nicks so much. One of my best friends and I differ on her song choice names (Sorry, I still think Rhiannon is weird, Jess). Either way, she’s right about emotion, and if Hollie is going to keep singing slow songs, she’s got to make people feel or they’re just going to be Pia Toscano-ed bored. I think this was Hollies best performance to date. Maybe it’s just because I love the song. I loved that lower register she went into for a minute, and then just belted it like it was her job. And a great job it was, for me. She looks great too. That dress, her hair, she’s on point tonight.

DeAndre – I think this was a good choice for him as far as what song to sing (and because it makes me 4/4), but it still does nothing for me and I still think he could easily be voted off (although his medley performance was pretty sweet), at least with what I’ve seen so far with performances tonight. It’s too much high pitched singing and I just, I don’t feel it like Randy, Jennifer and Steven CLEARLY do. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Jessica – Well of COURSE Jessica would ruin my perfect streak, I did say she could sing Bey when I made my list, last night, right here on this blog so I’m still kind of right. I wasn’t familiar with this song so I googled the real thing and this is a really interesting version of the song. I think it was really cool. I’m definitely ready for a more upbeat song but I’m ok with Jessica not giving me that, this evening. It’s not her cross to bear. Haha. I do have to say her outfit is atrocious. She’s lucky she’s got the voice 😉

Phillip – As I thought, singing Jonny Lang’s “Still Rainin’”. I loved that Stevie said he was  good enough to be in Fleetwood Mac! I agree, but let him join DMB, or just create his own band and tour with all 3 of them. *sidenote* I also love the relationship that Stevie and Jimmy have (and all the old pictures too (“You had that little Greek body of life” hahaha. Love her). Phillip, you have killed it once again. I love you buddy. It’s practically your show to lose, in my own humble opinion. You’ve got the performance quality that Jessica doesn’t.

Joshua – Boring. Not as boring as Colton but boring. At least you had the emotion part down. His voice is good for sure and he didn’t do anything to butcher the song, by any stretch of the imagination but it was just a little forgettable for me. I did really like the nice touch of stings in the background though.

Elise – I was really hoping that her going last meant that she was just going to completely KILL this song. She would have to because I still remembered Adam Lamberts version of this song and if she didn’t do that, well, in her own special hippy way, then it could’ve really hurt her. Unfortunately for me, my DVR cut off at 1 hour and 48 minutes, right after the Madonna Medley, so I never did get to see Elise. I was so pissed off!!!!!!! SO SO PISSED OFF!!!

As for the medleys

Colton/Elise/Phillip – Fleetwood Mac – I thought the whole medley was good but Elise was my favorite of the three.

DeAndre/Heejun.Joshua – Michael Jackson – I thought it was funny that Ryan called them the “Three Directions” because I was thinking the whole time that this would’ve been better if it was the “New Directions”. If DeAndre should’ve sung anything tonight, or ever, it’s PYT. I could TOTALLY see him singing this. How did he get stuck with Lady In My Life’s intro? I guess he’s Michael-ish in general so anything is fine. Heejun, definitely not Michael-ish. It’s a good thing he’s already sung tonight because this medly belongs to DeAndre (with Joshua in a quasi-close second). If this is what keeps him on the show I’m gonna be a little pissed off.

Jessica/Hollie/Skylar rocked the Madonna medley. Maybe I just like Madonna the most? It’s hard to say but they were my favorite I think. Them or the Fleetwood Medley. It’s a toss up. I do feel bad for Skylar having to wear all white next to Jessica. That didn’t do her any favors.

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Guess the Personal Idols

This weeks theme for Idol is “Personal Idols” and in my current tradition of picking songs I think they should sing I thought I’d try to keep it up. This has to be one of the hardest things to predict though. For one, they haven’t really had many chances to pick their own songs, so it’s hard to really see what their style is. The second problem is that one of the few areas where you can kind of see who their Idol would be, in their first round auditions, a lot of these contestants weren’t shown in the audition round, so we don’t even have that to help me come up with who their personal Idols would be.

Let’s give it our best shot though. It can’t hurt, right? I mean, I haven’t been right yet so what’s so wrong being wrong again? Lets start with what I think is the obvious, or at least, what I want to be the obvious.

Skylar – If she doesn’t sing Reba McEntire or Martina McBride, I’ll be shocked. Shocked I tell you! I don’t even have to look at her past performances to know that’s what I want her to sing. I know they’re obvious though, so I’m going to pick a slightly non-obvious – and her name is Loretta Lynn… or Dolly Parton. I just can’t decide! I’d love to see her sing “9 – 5”, or “Don’t Come Home A’Drinkin”. Incidentally, if you’re up for listening to a great interview, listen to Loretta Lynn talk to Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh air.  Or Dolly Parton’s for that matter.

Elise – This is another person I think will have an obvious choice so we’ll talk about her next. See, she’s someone who we did see audition and I think that will help in this educated guess. In her original Idol performance, Elise sang “Get it While You Can” by Janis Joplin and “One and Only” by Adele for her last personal choice song. If Adele had been around longer I’d totally pick her as an Idol for Elise but she hasn’t, so I can’t. That’s why I think going with Janis Joplin as her Idol, which is probably a good guess. As for what Janis song she would sing, I’d have to go with the classic, “Cry Baby”. I’d also take “Piece of my Heart”. I could totally watch either.

Colton – He’s one of those people who knows his style so well that to someone who listens to obscure indy bands, it would probably be super easy to decide who his Idol is. The thing is though, I figured out his secret. I took a gander at the songs he’s sung to date and after seeing a David Cook AND Daughtry song, so maybe his Idols, are Idols! A-HA! So because I’m sleuthy, I thought, instead of picking an Idol as his Idol, I’d pick one of those Idols Idols!  Well, the only artist they mutually chose, was Bon Jovi and try as I might, I just can’t see Colton as a Bon Jovi fan. I’ve already written too much about him and I know I’ll never be able to decide who his Idol his so we’ll just wait and see. Surprises can be fun too, after all.

Phillip – Now here’s a kid I can work with! Looking at his song choice, all I can say is that this kid is a mixed bag. Everything from Michael Jackson, to Usher, to Phil Collins. He’s nothing if not a complicated man. Seeing all these choices, I went with something a I just think of when I think of Phil and his name is Mr. Dave Matthews. And if there’s a song I’d love to see Phil sing, it’s “Ant’s Marching”. I’d also be fine with “#41”, “Say Goodbye” or my favorite DMB song, “Lover Lay Down”.

Hollie – I figured I’d go back to the ladies again and pick on Hollie. She’s got some traditional song choices (“At Last” by Etta James) but she’s also sang 2 Miley Cyrus songs (in her Season 10 audition). And with how young she is I could easily see her picking someone like Miley or even Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato, as her idol. I know Idol just had Demi on singing her new single “Skyscraper” so I doubt she’d go for something like that, and I really can’t see her singing “Party in the USA”. What if I threw you all a loop though, and picked a Miley cover song that was on a CD of hers so it would count (take THAT “Year You were Born” theme!). I’m gonna go with Every Rose Has Its Thorn! Yeah. She can show off (if she can do it) her ability to change it up on song choices, and still rock out. I know it’ll never happen but I’m trying to be creative here.

Heejun – And since I went adventurous on the last pick, I’ll go with someone that I think is going to be super adventurous on his pick. Heejun knows his voice. He knows it well. I think since he’s smart enough to pick a song that he likes and is good for his voice, as opposed to someone he idolizes. HOWEVER, I also think he’s funny enough to pick a really unique like Alicia Keys, maybe Weird Al or maybe Jay Z. Who knows. He’s just a wild card! Weird Al would certainly be hilarious though.

Joshua – Someone I don’t think will be adventurous, is Joshua. I could see him doing James Brown ala Blues Brothers. Since he definitely brought it to church, like everyone likes Joshua to do. I think for Joshua, I’m gonna go with Aretha Franklin, and he’s going to sing “Amazing Grace” ala her performance on Oprahs Farewell Episode. Yeah. That, or something from Sister Act.

Jessica – I think Jessica will probably be as unoriginal as Joshua. She’s going to pick a diva! Maybe Christina, maybe Selena (who I’d still like to hear her sing), Whitney, Celine… it really could be any of these women. I think in Pia Toscano fashion, and the soon to be re-released Titanic, I’m going to guess that she’ll be singing “My Heart Will Go On”. Or something by Beyonce as long as it’s slow and melodic.

DeAndre – Finally we have the hardest of all the picks tonight. This one is super tough for me. More tough than Colton, I dare say. I don’t know his style, when I see him I only see the guy from Milli Vanilli. He’s from the most generic music city in the world, unless you’re Blink182. There’s just nothing that stands out about this kid. He’s also terrible with his song choices. So how does one make this attempt at a song choice. I already think he’s getting voted off this week so picking a song for him seems useless anyway. So I won’t. I mean, this is my thing, I do what I want!

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

The Bridal Shower Part II of II

As promised (a day later than promised), I’m back with more details on the Bridal Shower. Since this party was all about my sister Katie, and Sex and the City I wanted some games that she’d appreciate. The first gave is a tradition at just about all the bridal showers I’ve attended. We call it the chewing gum game. I’m not sure who invented it but it wasn’t me. Basically, you get a list of trivia questions about the brides fiance. He answers them to the best of his ability and then the game is that you ask the bride the the questions and if she gets an answer wrong she has to take a piece of bubble gum. The trick is to as a few easy questions but a lot of quasi-vague questions so that it’s harder for her to get a lot right. My sister did pretty well. In real life she would’ve failed with 8 wrong out of 20, but really, only eating 8 pieces of gum is probably a record from what I’ve seen. I credit it to me being an nicer sister and to Katie who knew we’d play it and probably quizzed her fiance for hours so as to not fail. Here’s a sample of the questions I asked in case you want to do a similar game. And for some background, he fancies himself a baseball player, and he was an Army-brat so he moved around a lot, so I kind of aligned the questions with that in mind, but some were pretty generic so that anyone could ask them/answer them. Firsts and favorites always make good questions. I’ll keep his answers to myself and for the sake of his privacy 🙂

What is your middle name?
What country were you born in?
How many states have you lived in?
How many countries have you been to? (not including the US)
Where was your favorite place to live?
What is your favorite thing about where you live now?
What is the name of your first pet? What kind of animal was it?
What was the name of your high school?
What was your college major?
Have you ever broken a bone? If so, what?
What was your first car?
What was the first concert you went to?
What was your first job?
When did you start playing baseball?
What position did you play in baseball?
Have you ever hit a home run? If so, how many?
Who is your favorite athlete?
What is your favorite feature of Katies?
How did you meet Katie?
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
What is your favorite pizza topping?
What is your favorite alcoholic beverage?
What is your favorite movie?
What is your favorite TV Show?
What is your favorite band?
What is your favorite color?
Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

From this list of 30 questions I picked my top 20 favorites and asked those to Katie. The next game we played was based on Sex and the City. I first gathered a ton of Sex and the City Style trivia but I wanted the game to be for people who watch the show. So I broke it down into 4 categories: What Else They Were In, SATC Locations, Who Said That, and Spell the Designer.

In case you want to play the games, I have all the questions and then the answers are at the bottom of the page. The only thing I didn’t write out the answers for was for “Spell the Designer” since it kind of gets ruined when I ask how to spell it, in print form. But, all you have to do is get a list of designers and spell away. That part is pretty simple. I gathered around 30 questions, give or take, and I narrowed it down to 20. I personally used the first 5 questions from each category, plus 5 designers to spell (I used Dolce & Gobbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Louboutin, Herve Leger, and Louis Vuitton). So without further adieu, here are the questions, and the answers are after that!

Categories: Fun Stuff | Leave a comment

Protest in downtown Baltimore

Here’s some video of the event that took place in Baltimore on behalf of Trayvon Martin and it was one of the biggest protests I’ve seen in the city in my years here. This is Rev. Witherspoon speaking:

These are some pictures that I took since I couldn’t get out of my parking garage… I also ran into a few co-workers marching and walked with them for a little bit. They walked from Light and Pratt, to City Hall, which is right by my office. Everyone was pretty respectful and cooperative. The police helped block the roads and everyone moved along pretty quickly. It was really amazing to see young, old, black, white, tall, short, musically inclined, etc, joining in for the event.

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The Bridal Shower, Part I of II

My sister is getting married. I think I’ve told you all that. As Maid of Honor, I felt a need to throw the best Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party that I could. I mostly focused on the shower while my partner in crime, one of the other lovely bridesmaids, Amy, focused on the Bachelorette. I’d be remiss if I also didn’t mention how much my lovely mother helped out as well. And my own friend Katie, who helped on the day of with the final touches in setting up. Thanks to everyone who helped me to pull off everything on Saturday!

First and foremost, I focused on my vision for my parents basement where this shindig was taking place. My sister is a HUGE Sex and the City fan, so I knew I wanted the theme to revolve around that. The decorations would be pink, black and white, with a touch of cherry blossom. I also wanted a skyline which my friend Josh helped create for me (thanks buddy!). The final decorations looked a little something like this:

The sitting area

The Skyline

This is Central Park aka – the food set up

If you can’t tell from the blog, decorating is fun but food is really where my passion is. The menu for me went back and forth MANY times. At first I was thinking famous New York foods, Italian Food, Food Truck foods, Super Healthy foods (my sister is a physical therapist and athletic trainer and she’s a super healthy eater when there are no oreos or coffee cake in the house. Everyone has their kryptonite). I basically decided to combine all of the above but mostly this was about foods my sister loves, made as healthy as possible, in appetizer forms. I think it was pretty successful! Here’s what we ended up with for the evening:

I don’t think the Croissant Club Sandwiches need a recipe but if you’re that desperate of a chef, it was mini croissants, roast beef, turkey, american and swiss cheese, etc.

I came across the recipes many ways. A few were my own, one I created on the fly a bit, and a few I found on Pinterest. I’ve been pinning to my sisters wedding board (that I created, I don’t think she knows what Pinterest is) since she asked me to be maid of honor.

Let’s start with the drinks that I found on Pinterest. I knew I wanted something Cosmopolitan-ish. Possibly some kind of Sangria. I ended up with a White Wine Cocktail and A Bastardized Sangria. For the wines I used Champagne and Moscato in the white wine cocktail, and Malbec for the Sangria (because I’m selfish and Malbec is the only red I’ll drink).

For the food, my Pinterest recipes were the Lasagna Cups (I didn’t use ground beef though, instead I put a pepperoni on top) and the Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes. Both were a huge hit which is great because I’ve messed up a cheesecake more than once. I don’t like cheesecake myself so maybe it’s subconscious on my part. These cupcakes turned out wonderfully though. I know you’re thinking – these two items look less than healthy! Well, you’d be wrong, thanks. I used fat free cheese so at least that helped!

My personal recipes were the Pesto Chicken Pasta, and Sausage and Peppers. And the funfetti cupcakes were Betty Crockers recipe but the White Chocolate Raspberry icing was Duncan Hines.

The Pesto Chicken Pasta is a really simple recipe. I cooked 4 lbs of boneless chicken thighs that I marinated in vinegar, minced garlic, and fresh ground salt and pepper, and then cooked on the grill and sliced up. I used 3 boxes of whole wheat pasta, mixed with 2 jars of my favorite, basil pesto sauce from Classico (this stuff is amazing and can be used SO MUCH MORE than for just pesto pasta – two words – lamb burgers). You mix the pesto into the pasta and then put the chicken on top, and that’s it.

The sausage and peppers is another fun easy recipe that I make a lot. First I diced up 9 peppers (I bought a pack of mixed peppers, green, yellow, red and orange) 3 onions and 4 Polish Kielbasa  links, sliced. I basically cooked this in about 4 rounds because I don’t have THAT big a skillet. I took a portion of all the ingredients and grilled them in a skillet with a splash of olive oil, a splash of worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. As I finished each round, I put them in a big stock pot with a bit of water and soy sauce just so they didn’t dry out. This was also the most taste tested because you don’t want it too spicy so you just have to keep tasting it. And because it’s delicious, it’s hard not to keep taste testing it!

The recipe that was my own creating were some spinach and cauliflower bites that I’ll share the recipe with, on a later blog, because hey, I want some credit too, damn-it!  Can I tell you that everyone thought they were cheese and spinach bites but there was only a quarter cup of cheese mixed into over 40 bites! I ate them with some of my homemade marinara sauce and I couldn’t have been happier! Here’s a sneak peak but the recipe will come soon!

And that’s all the food we had. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the fun games we played that I created for the day. It was a lot of fun and I want to share because if anyone ever wants to play the game at their own Sex and the City party, I think they’ll want to know how it went! Bottom line, it was a lot of fun.

Until them, I’m off to take another nap. It was a long day followed by an amazing Bachelorette Party thanks to Amy, and my sister turning to an almost “Buddy the Elf” type character when she drinks! There’s no pictures of that, though!

And to my sister, I love you and I can’t wait for your big day!

Categories: Fun Stuff, Recipes | Leave a comment

Top 10 Results

Well, this week was a bit of a shake up in the picks world. A lot of people definitely didn’t have Erika in their bottom 3! I will say though, while Cindy is still in the lead, and Katie won the week – it was Bob who had the bottom 3 contestants COMPLETELY right! That gets him a perfect 9 point bonus for the week! He’s one to watch it would seem… even if he had Shannon higher than necessary 🙂

Here are the weekly results (and a refresher of everyone’s picks!

I’d also just like to throw it out there that Haley Reinhart is amazing. If that song isn’t a hit, I don’t know what is! She is on fire! Erika definitely couldn’t live up to that, tonight! I bet that’s why they didn’t save her. Really I think, based on her make over and how they kept dressing her, they wanted her out of there in a fast train. They certainly did her no favors.

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Top 10 – Billy Joel Night

Well lucky for me, I happened to be checking facebook right before my Idol viewing, and low and behold, they had posted the set list! So, let me refresh your memory as to what mine and Mr. Slezak’s picks for the evening, were:

I had a few back ups but for the most part those were the picks that I picked. That’s when I saw the set list…

This told me a couple of things:

1. Slezak and I could both be right about Movin’ Out. 

2. Slezak could still be right about Only the Good Die Young.

3. I could still be right on New York State of Mind, and I’ll call myself half right if Phillip Phillips sings Shameless because that was one of the possible options I had for him, although ultimately choosing Big Shot.

4. In TRUE idol fashion, they were able to pick two songs from an artist I know a LOT about, and have two songs I’m pretty sure I’d never heard. Reading the list I hadn’t heard them for sure – Everybody Has a Dream, and Honesty. The latter sounded somewhat familiar but I needed to hear it first, to know for sure (and when I did, I knew it).

And with that, the Idol watching began!

How does Diddy, get the mentor gig for Billy Joel? Is he in AA or something at the moment? What kind of prior commitments could he be having at the moment? I feel like with his slowly dimming stardom he would’ve been sure to show up for the night. Remember when they did guest judges all the time? He would’ve done that I bet. I don’t know if I just loved Mary J. Blige and Wil.I.am so much but I think Diddy has been the worst mentor to date on the show this season.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention another chapter in the book of “Randy wearing horrible pins” – I heard the last one was some homage to Betty Boop. I can’t decide if this week I think it’s an image of his own face in crystal/diamond/sparkle, or another homage, this time to Fat Albert. That’s my personal guess. A lot of people were wondering what it was though. Seriously! See –

And here’s a close up  (I also think he put it on his opposite lapel, and made it shiny, so as to make it more difficult to photograph, and thusly, more difficult to make fun of)

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t say his shirt was as equally bad as his pin. Lets talk about the music though!

So as for DeAndre Brackensick, I think you should’ve listened to Michael or myself. I don’t think Only the Good Die Young was the song for you. We all know I hate to agree with Randy but he was right this time. This just wasn’t the song. When he can hit those annoying high notes that bother me, why would he pick a song that has none? That just doesn’t make sense to me. None at all. For that, DeAndre will get no votes from me this evening. I would like to say however, that the piano player who played for him, was ah-mazing! While I can appreciate a contestant that knows how to play, I was already hoping we’d see that guy again! He could teach Colton a thing or two.

Now, as for better song choices, Erika Van Pelt, she has got at least a better song choice. While I wanted to Elise to sing New York State of Mind, I could easily see Erika singing it. She’s right though, Red Sox nation will be mad at you. They’ll get over it though, well, if you do it well they would’ve… actually, flip it and reverse that. I just think this performance is somewhat forgettable. Not to say she sang it badly, she just didn’t really sell it for me. I was really surprised that Randy used his first “you could sing the phone book” line, on Erika. That really surprised me. I also have to mention, in the next chapter of “Let’s make Erika look as terrible as possible” they chop all her hair off and dye it black?? I like the cut but not the color, at all. I didn’t like he color before but I just don’t see her with black hair. At least her outfit looked better.

^^ This song was sung by Kimberly Locke in Season 2 and was a contender for Best Idol Performance in the bracket last year (granted, it lost in the first round to Soiban Magnus’ “Paint It Black” – rightfully so)

It took 3 tries but eventually we got a contestant who picked the right song for himself – Joshua Ledet, I thought She’s Got a Way would be a weird song for you, but I thought you did so so well. It wasn’t River of Dreams and I don’t think the gospel choir was necessary, but I thought he sang it so well and while I didn’t like him at all at first, this some is definitely helping me come over to his side. I was surprised with the judges reaction a little too because I thought it was great and usually I’m the one thinking I hate him… maybe that makes sense though. Never can agree, can we judges?

Another really good song choice, well, I thought this prior to her singing, was Skylar Laine’s. I know I said Shameless would be great for Phillip but I think I had it so stuck in my mind for Phillip, that Skylar hadn’t crossed my mind. It’s really quite a good song for a country singer. Now, as for how she sang it… well… I wanted her to sing it better. She got better the longer she was on stage and the less she walked around, but it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. I did really like the idea of this song as a country song though, so I’ll give her points for that. I also didn’t realize Garth or Brad Paisley did this song… that lost a few points just because that means it’s slightly less original than I thought. BUT, she gets points for saying she liked the Garth version rather than Brad Paisley 🙂 Only because I LOVE Garth Brooks! I LOVE HIM!! One quick tip for Skylar though, burn that outfit. It makes your hips look entirely too big!! Tommy Hilfiger what are you doing to these people!

Sweet sweet Elise Testone. My favorite of the night by far. I think Steven Tyler genuinely loves you. There were so many good songs for her to choose this week and I’m with Jimmy on this one – picking a song people don’t know… it’s risky. It does make me angry that there are people that there are people that don’t know Vienna but I have to acknowledge that not everyone knows a solid 90% of Billy Joel’s collection of songs, and this is definitely a less popular song (I know because Zack said he didn’t recognize it, and he recognizes every song written before 1995). Luckily she rocked this song in that super sweet dress that I was so glad she wore in lieu of the bell bottoms. I also liked the sweet mustachioed accordion player she had on stage with her. The only thing I didn’t really like about the song was how she finished it with that little run. I REALLY hope that if she winds up as a potential ouster this week (which would outrage me), that he judges have it in their right mind to save her!

Phillip Phillips was the prime example of why Diddy is a horrible mentor (and why Tommy Hilfiger is a horrible stylist). I just don’t think he got the contestants like the other mentors did. I’m glad that Phil at least didn’t listen to them in that he brought his guitar with him on stage. With his rendition of Movin’ Out, I think the guitar was completely necessary. I didn’t love the back up singers, but that’s a minor critique. There’s just something about Phil, and  I love every last little bit of him. He really is like a more attractive Casey Abrams. They have the same kind of growl but he’s got the look and just a touch more refinement. I loved Randy’s comment too (maybe because it was sans dawgs) but I also loved that he played the guitar, and I’m also glad he wore grey though (sans hideous scarf). Way to know who you are, buddy.

Once Hollie Cavanaugh sang Honestly… Honesty? Is it Honesty or Honestly? Maybe that’s why I didn’t think I knew the song? Either way, when Hollie sang it, I definitely knew the song. I’ll say though, that if last week they dressed her old, this song made her sound old. She’s got to watch being pigeonholed like Pia too because this is her third slow song in a row. She needs to really kick it up a notch. This song was just too slow and too old. I don’t think the judges should be saying she didn’t nail it because she sang the song well, it just wasn’t the right song for her, but hopefully she’ll make it through this week because I think really, this just wasn’t the right theme for her.

Can I just say how much I love Heejun? Where would this show be without Heejun Han this season? Just as the episode is starting to lag again, he just turns it on. His humor, while it can seem off putting and like he’s not taking things seriously, I just love him so much. When he did that fake mess up, I had a moment of terror, but then I loved him that much more! I’m not gonna lie, this song was the most karaoke of his performances to me, but I don’t say this in a bad way, I say this in a “yeah, way to have fun with your performance” way. I would never have thought that My Life would be a good song choice for him but he totally proved me wrong. I didn’t even really notice if he was pitchy or didn’t hit vocals because he put on a good show. I think Steven’s right that the music industry will kick him on his ass if he doesn’t appreciate and is able to take criticism, but I still think I love him. I’m just gonna throw it out there – what would a finale look like featuring Phillip Phillips and Heejun Han?

It took 9 contestants but Diddy finally gave a good piece of advice. I think Jessica Sanchez was really to listen to him and tone it down a little bit on this mystery Billy Joel song Everybody Has a Dream . It’s definitely a song I don’t know but I do like it. It sounds like it could be a Billy Joel song. I think that, like Hollie, this just isn’t Jessica’s category.  And, since I don’t like her – I’m totally ok with that. haha. So bitter, I am. I mean she sang it well, and it was more memorable than Hollie, I just didn’t love it. Maybe it’s the comic in me that loves/d Heejun more? I definitely think Elise still did better her.

And finally, we had Colton. I was thinking before the show, and I think I was right, that Piano Man wasn’t the right song for Colton Dixon. It’s a great song, and he’s right, I was happy to see him back on the piano, but he could’ve picked a better song to play. It’s just too iconic of a song, and he didn’t rock it the way I wanted. He did as well as he could’ve I think given the circumstances of his voice/look/image, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

I’m gonna say that I think the winners of the night for me, were Elise, Phillip, and Joshua. Heejun being a runner up.

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Mr. Slezak beat me to it.

I think there’s no denying that Michael Slezak is my favorite pop culture writer since LOST went off the air (RIP Doc Jensen, only figuratively, thankfully). It’s true though. I think Mr. Slezak might only have a slight advantage over Mr. Jensen because he writes the reviews for just about every single one of my favorite shows! Glee? Check! Smash? Check! Project Runway? Check! Top Chef? I’m pretty sure he’s got that covered too! I’m sure if there were time he’d write for ally my favorite shows, but the list literally, goes on and on!

So of course the Great Slezak would get to Billy Joel week before me. The thing I love about him is that while I love his writing and usually agree with him, there are plenty of times we tend to disagree. And on his list of which Billy Joel songs the contestants should sing, I definitely have a differing opinion. See, I did my own list before even looking at his! I swear! But then while googling “idol” and “billy joel” sure enough his article came up as one of the top searches! And since people actually pay to hear what he thinks, odds are he’s probably more right. Let’s see how it all works out tonight though. Here’s my list compared to his list and why I think my list is better… sike, Slezaks is totally better, but mine is fun too, damnit!

Here’s Mr. Slezaks list –

Colton Dixon, “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”
DeAndre Brackensick, “An Innocent Man”
Erika Van Pelt, “And So It Goes”
Elise Testone,
“Allentown”
Heejun Han, “She’s Always a Woman”
Hollie Cavanagh, “The Downeaster Alexa”

Jessica Sanchez, “Just the Way You Are”
Joshua Ledet, “You May Be Right”

Phillip Phillips, “Don’t Ask Me Why”
Skylar Laine, “Only the Good Die Young”

The only one we match on, and thus, the most successful of the evening, will be Colton. I think the reason I liked the idea of Movin’ Out was because I don’t think he can pull of Piano Man and I think Movin’ Out is just heavy enough on the piano to satisfy my needs. Close runner-up for me was Goodnight Saigon but it lost because I just can’t see him as a Vietnam vet. Also, after reading Slezaks picks, I totally want to change my pick for Skylar of Tell Her About It to Only the Good Die Young. That’s an awesome choice I hadn’t thought of for her. I don’t know how I even came up with my song. Maybe because Clay Aiken sang it and it sounded maybe a little bit country, too.

I also really like his idea of having DeAndre sing An Innocent Man. I hadn’t even thought of that song as a possible option this week but it really makes sense. I was thinking the same album though. I thought that him singing Uptown Girl would be hilarious, but I was actually thinking For the Longest Time would be more appropriate.

I was wondering if he wanted one of his favorites to go home after seeing his choice for her was Allentown? For Elise? Come on Michael! She’s already on the cusp. That song is a death wish! No teenager is going to appreciate a song like Allentown, except the few that actually live there. Elise needs a song everyone knows and that’s why I think she should sing New York State of Mind. I also can’t see Hollie singing The Downeaster Alexa because it’s another Debbie Downer of a song choice. She was my hardest song choice by FAR. She just sings so differently from Billy Joel. I had to really look at the lyrics and go from there for having any clue what I’d want her to sing, which is probably why I picked The Entertainer. Because she learned to dance with a hand in her pants? Yeah… I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either. Maybe because last week she won my heart, but she knows the game and I’ll forget her name, and she won’t be here for another year if she doesn’t stay on the charts… Maybe Downeaster Alexa really is the better choice… I say  only because Storm Front is my favorite Billy Joel album (and why does no one want anyone to sing We Didn’t Start the Fire?! I can’t help it, it’s my FAVORITE Billy Joel song and one of my favorite songs, period. Blame my history degree and a lesson I taught solely revolving around the song)! It’s what I grew up with. It’s what I know! That’s why I had Erika singing I Go to Extremes. I could also see Phil  singing Shameless because I think it would go great with some guitar playing, but that wasn’t my pick for him. The song I’d really like to see him sing though, is Big Shot. How fun would THAT be!

I saved my least favorite CD for my least favorite contestant, even though I think she could do a great job with the song. Ever heard of the song Lullaby? I feel like no one knows it. I actually really like the song, it’s one of two good songs on the whole thing. And I think this is the pick for Jessica. I could see her singing it to some potential child. And don’t think I’m forgetting about Joshua. I actually thought River of Dreams would be good for him because it’s got that gospel feel, and I know how he likes bringing people to church, through his voice. I know Michael, I know, you’re thinking that this is the most obvious song choice which was why you went with You May Be Right. And you’re probably right, but sometimes Idol goes with obvious, so only time will tell who’s right! Not to mention, I think you had one or two obvious choices. The most obvious being Heejun’s pick of She’s Always A Woman. It’s that slow ballad, kind of a Michael Bolton quality that Heejun does well, but how about my options (because I couldn’t decide which one I liked more). I personally picked This is the Time, or You’re My Home. I think I’m leaning toward You’re My Home.  It’s DEFINITELY not an obvious choice, and I’d prefer someone who can play the piano, but I still think Heejun could surprise a lot of people with that song choice.

Categories: American Idol, Television | 1 Comment

Sweet Turnotoes

I know, that’s a made up word. I didn’t know what else to call these. Any guesses what this might be? Well, let me tell you in case you were wondering.

I was really excited to try this recipe because… dun dun dun… I’ve never had a turnip in my life. My gramma used to make them at Thanksgiving, those and parsnips, but I never tried either of them because I was little and didn’t understand why people would eat things with weird names. Anyway, because I’ve been wanting to try things I haven’t tried before, I thought it was a good idea to get to gettin’ on the turnip train.

This seemed like the perfect recipe because it already included two things I did like – sweet potatoes (a favorite) and carrots, which I have nothing against. The recipe was also really simple which is perfect on a Monday because no one wants anything complicated when you’ve spent 9 hours at work after being off for 2 glorious days!

So here’s how the recipe goes…

Ingredients: 

2 sweet potatoes
3 turnips
3 carrots

Seasonings:

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sage
3 cloves of garlic
1 small onion

Basically, you peel all the ingredients that need peeling and chop them up into 1 inch cubes, and toss them into a pot of water. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for around 15 minutes, until the veggies are fork tender.

In a separate skillet, you want to heat up the seasoning. Onion and garlic first until the onion is translucent, then add the butter and sage. After a few minutes it should be ready to go.

Drain the veggies and put them back into the pot and add the sage-y garlic butter. Then get to mashing with whatever your favorite mashing device may be. We have a masher that does the trick.

And that’s it! We ate it with some bbq chicken from the grill, because it’s that time of year! This is what we ended up with (I forgot to get a picture with the touch of extra bbq sauce I added but trust me when I say it was awesome sauce).  Our bbq sauce here, is a very special thing. It probably deserves it’s own post based on how much we cook with it. Mermaid BBQ sauce was created by our friend Scott. It’s possibly the greatest thing ever created by someone we know. We actually have a case of it on hand at almost all times, just in case. I’ve also got all my friends/family/co-workers/people on the street, completely hooked. It’s so magical it’s almost hard to describe. I’ve given out free bottles just to get people to try them. I’m like a walking infomercial.

“Seriously, try this sauce. if you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay me for it” And for the record, everyone has paid me for it. And if you want it, just contact Scott. It’s $8 per bottle and worth every single penny!

Categories: Recipes | Leave a comment

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