Monthly Archives: March 2013

Top 7 Revealed and Someone is Listening!

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Well, Lazaro lives to perform another week (on borrowed time no less). I was never a fan of Devin as a performer. He was the Pia Toscano of this year (although that may prove to be Amber but lets just say he was the male Pia this year) Ballads only, lack of connection to the music, impeccable voice. So, while I had him at the bottom of my pool, and certainly am not heartbroken to see him go, I still think Lazaro should’ve gone home first. I mean, how does a guy so skinny sweat so much?

Besides Lazaro not getting the boot, the Top 07 reveal night was a truly glorious thing, for many reasons.

1) Keith Urban and his hot ass performing on stage. If I could’ve voted for him to win, I totally would’ve! What a great performer. I saw Keith perform many moons ago with Kenny Chesney and man that guy can put on a show.

2) I actually liked the other two performers as well. I’ve always been a Katherine McPhee fan, and Colton Dixon wasn’t bad either.

3) They announced the theme for the next week and announced that all would be right with the world.

Yes folks, the Top 07 will perform….

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Ok there probably aren’t curse words in their theme titles, but I’m that excited about the explicit “No Ballads” mention. Words cannot express how happy I am for this. I mean, Classic Rock is my jam. On the rare occasion that I’m listening to the radio and it’s not on NPR, it’s on a classic rock station. I can’t wait to sit down and think about what I’d love to hear everyone sing. I’m actually excited for next week instead of dreading it.

No Amber singing ballads, a genre that is the definition of “not in his wheel house” when it comes to Lazaro. This is going to be a great week, I can already feel it. But before we start talking about next week, we have to get to the issues at hand for this week. Let’s look at how everyone did! A lot of people got bonus points for one reason and one reason only:

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I think you can see how many people had Devin at the bottom of their boards. Personally, I actually got the bottom 3 completely right. Didn’t do much to bring me higher in the rankings but I’ll take what I can get 🙂 And congratulations to Susan for getting top billing for the week, and her hubs Bob for still maintaining the lead albeit a very small one! The whole Allen/Wilson clan is rockin’ the Top 4 for the week so good on ya!

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Oh, and in celebration of Easter, don’t forget to check out The Washington Posts’ Peep Dioramas! It’s my favorite Washington Post thing ever! People are so creative 🙂 If that’s not enough Peep love for you, there’s this too.

And now, I’m off, but I’m genuinely excited for next week! Happy Easter everyone 🙂

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Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Top 08 – Songs Previously Performed on Motown Night

I’m writing this immediately following tonights episode because I think if I write it any later, I just won’t write anything.

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I mean, not that anyone was completely terrible (except Nicki and Randy) but because it was boring and lacking anything worth listening to and the best of the night, for me, went first so what was the point of watching the remaining 7 contestants? To say that these contestants lack originality in their song choices is the understatement of the century. The only thing less original is Randy Jackson’s use of all his ridiculously stupid catch phrases. Oh and if I’m just listing all the things I’ve come to hate about this season, I should mention all the ballads. Allll the fucking ballads. Ugh. Ok I’m done. Back to my rant about un-originality, because that’s what I really want to talk about the most. I have a point to prove.

The song choices of the night looked a little something like this:

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Any guess how many times these songs have been performed on the Idol stage?

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And of those 19 previous performances (and I only counted performances after the Top 12, so I’m sure the number is much higher), 8 were on a previous Motown night! And Lately… don’t even get me started. While never having been performed on a Motown night (and yes arguably it was probably the top performances of the night – I’d debate that – it’s been performed a whopping 5 times!!! Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Congratulations Angie, you seem to be the most original of the least original song choices. How’s that for a compliment?

As for the songs the groups sang I just have a few things to say –

1. I was so fooled by the first group singing a Madonna song. It got my hopes up that maybe it really was the music of Detroit and not Motown. I mean, Motown isn’t the only thing to come out of Detroit. I forgot Madonna was a native. Alas the producers were just toying with my emotions and all the songs were Motown except that single beautiful Madonna song. It was nice to hear considering I had La Isla Bonita stuck in my head all day (which would’ve been cool to hear Devin sing). Also after hearing that Madonna song I was secretly hoping that they’d actually would’ve had Kree and maybe… Burnell? I dunno… I guess they didn’t do it because no one could’ve sung it with her and made it believable but I would’ve loved to see Kree duet with someone of the male persuasion and sing “Picture”. I think that while a ballad, it could’ve still been great, as most things Kree touches are.

2. I thought the Candice/Angie/Amber song was the worst of the night. Not the boys. I mean, the boys weren’t great but I liked their song and I actually thought that besides the choreography issues, it was good. I mean, the choreography or lack thereof was definitely reminiscent of group night but Nicki really didn’t need to bash it like she did. And I wasn’t really paying attention I guess but was it that only 1 judge got to comment on each group? Because I’m pretty sure Nicki and Mariah both talked during Kree and Janelle’s performance? I thought other judges would’ve stuck up for the guys but they only let Nicki throw her shade and then it was done.

3. Speaking of throwing shade… Burnell:

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Seriously girl, put on your big girl panties. You’re not going home after that performance so why hate on Lazaro, which it was clear you were doing. I mean, I can drink the haterade with the best of them but seriously, have a little more class than that.

And that is all I have to say about the groups (oh, and I loved Angies outfit). Ok that’s all. Let’s move onto the performances.

Candice Glover – I Heard it Through the Grapevine

I expected her to be stellar and she was. It wasn’t her best, but of the night it was in the Top 2. Not at all surprising. The only surprising thing was that they made her go first. I mena, I guess it’s nice to have a big voice kick off the evening but I wish she would’ve gone last or closer to last. And while I know I said I wouldn’t say anything about the group performances but Candice was so clearly the stand out of her group. She just needs to let go of her shyness. While Angie was making all sorts of googly eyes to the camera, I felt like Candice was pretending the audience wasn’t even there.

Lazaro Arbos – For Once in My Life

Ok so if Candice’s wasn’t her best but best of the night, I thought Lazaro was quite the opposite. It was probably his best since the Top 10 were announced but of the night he was probably in definitely in my bottom 3. And I have to rant for just a second about El Grande Douche, Randy Jackson – dude – how are you going to say that Lazaro had pitch problems but it was ok, but then when Angie goes all you talk about are her pitch problems? Yes, they both had pitch problems, but don’t just wash over Laz when you’re gonna diss my girl Angie about it to no end. Ok, back to Balki – for a thin guy, why does he sweat so much? Is it the bowtie? Just nervous sweat? It’s unsettling. And he’s living on borrowed time anyway. Since Paul’s ejection last week I’m ready for Laz to be on the chopping block every week. He shouldn’t get to stay when every other singer in this competition, whether I like them or not, deserves to be there more than him.

Janelle Arthur – You Keep Me Hangin’ On 

While Janelle’s performance wasn’t my end all be all favorite, if I even had one tonight, she did some things that I really, really loved.

1) She played her guitar – always a swoon with any instrument, especially when it’s done well
2) She made the song her own, which so few contestants have done this season, and which I really appreciated!
3) Just her over all bringing it, in general. I felt like this was her really finding her position in the season. This performance made me see she really can go places this season.

Devin Valez – Tracks of My Tears

I want to hate Devin for his song choices but he’s undeniably a lovely singer of ballads. I feel for him like I felt for Pia. You’re never going to win with all those ballads but rest assured you have a nice voice and you’ll fit well into the Easy Listening market. Which isn’t my market, but there are plenty of 65 year old women who will probably love you. I feel bad for how forgettable he is. Also, as I’m sure Michael Slezak will bring up if you want to see a god performance of this song, check out the one and only Adam Lambert, who also worked with Smokey. At least he’s a guy that shows emotion.

Burnell Taylor – My Cherie Amour 

The only thing I like about this song is that I have a cousin named Cheramy so I like to sing “My Cheramy Amour”. It makes me giggle. His performance wasn’t terrible but I barely remembered it after hating on him after the group performance. I’m sure he did fine. I doubt he’ll get the boot this week, but check yourself on the shade throwing, Burnell.

Angie Miller – Shop Around

I appreciate that Angie didn’t sing a ballad, but this song just wasn’t for her. It was probably my least favorite performance of hers to date and the first time I wouldn’t put her in my Top 3 of the night. She’d still make my Top 5 but not Top 3. And for wanting to show a fun side? I get that. Totally! I applaud that. But to sing Motown to show your fun side? Not happening. You would’ve been the perfect person to sing a Madonna song. Madonna is fun. Shop Around is not fun.

Amber Holcomb – Lately

This song… ugh this song. Had Candice sang it I don’t think I would’ve mentioned how I hate that so many contestants have sung it, but Amber singing it reminded me. That isn’t to  completely diss Amber because she probably had the best vocal of the night and it was a good song choice for her. It’s just that song. I don’t think I’d like anyone singing it, really. Sing something that isn’t a god damn ballad! Please!

Kree Harrison – Don’t Play That Song 

I think by this point in the night, as much as I do love Kree, I just wanted the night to be OVER. It was so dull, I didn’t love anything about it. It was just dull. That’s it. Kree’s vocal was lovely, and in my Top 3 of the night for sure, but it just didn’t do a damn thing for me.

I guess as much as Nicki drove me nuts tonight, she was the only even remotely entertaining part of the night. So thanks Nicki, for that.

Over all,

My Top 3 – Candice, Janelle and Kree

My Bottom 3 – All the boys.

What did you guys think?

 

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Motown, the worst Idol theme?

So, I think we remember when I picked my dream themes. But, in proving that Michael Slezak is better at everything compared to me, he made his own list of dream themes. Some were the same as mine (break up night, mash-ups, no ballads) and some were ones I wish I’d thought of – Unplugged/Plugged-In Nights, 80’s Rock (although this wouldn’t be the season for it), and Max Martin helps you plan – I was just reading about this guy and all the mega-hits he’s come out with. I’d never even heard of him until a few weeks ago. This guy is a straight up HIT MAKER! My favorite suggestion of his was having him and Melinda Doolittle pick songs. That guy just knows what people should sing, more than most.

The reason I’m talking about themes I’d rather see is because the idea of picking what I think people should sing for Motown week is just not my idea of fun. I hate Motown week. A range of my emotions when I heard they were doing Motown Week? Don’t mind if I do…

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Yeah, that about sums it up.

They’ve done this theme 5 times and the smartest thing they did with it, was skip it for seasons 4-7. And for a season that lasted 5 different rounds, it only had 1 single song that made the “Best Performances” bracket. And for the record that was Matt Giraud from Season 8 singing Let’s Get it On. To be honest, I don’t even remember that performance. Also, if you remember my itunes breakdown from Monday,

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You’ll notice there isn’t even a category for “Motown”. I suppose it may fall into the Blues or R&B categories but looking at the songs sung on Motown nights of yore, I only own one, and that’s My Girl.

Really, I just wish we could veto this week. You know how the judges get a save, I think the viewing audience should just get a pass as far as theme selection. Or, here’s a novel idea, let the audience/viewers pick a theme. Then, if by chance we pick Motown, I’ll deal with it, but something tells me there about a million to one chance we’d pick that theme. See, the audience, while we’re stuck in a trap of watching a show that’s been doing the same theme nights that everyone hates, over and over again, we still have original thoughts and ideas, so maybe just listen to us? Please?

If you want to see a list of songs people should sing, just check out Michael Slezak because I’m already over this Motown week and I wrote this post on Monday… so by today, Wednesday, and even worse by the time the episode airs, I’m probably just going to be three sheets to the wind, cursing the advent of Motown in general. It’s just not my jam, and I don’t think it’s the jam of anyone even in my age bracket. And those younger than me? I’m guessing their idea of “the music of Motor City” (here’s hoping they know Motor City is Detroit because they probably think it’s some town in Japan) involve Eminem and maybe Kid Rock, if they’ve heard of him.

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Shrimp and Brussel Sprout Pasta

With Zack out of town this week I had two things in mind:

1. Make everything that Zack doesn’t like and I do, and get my fill of it
2. Try not to go grocery shopping, just try emptying the ridiculously full refrigerator.

This recipe accomplished both. I knew I needed to use up the brussel sprouts before they went bad (leeks too but that’s for another recipe). I also really wanted to eat some fish because Zack is never in the mood for seafood. Well, I didn’t have any fish but I had shrimp.

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After some googling to see that recipes including those two ingredients existed, I figured I could give it a shot. I’ve only made brussel sprouts one other time and that was in a salad so I knew I’d have to figure that out. I decided to roast them and get everything else ready while they were cooking (who knew they’d take 30 minutes in the oven at 400°F).

I’m not going to lie, this all takes probably an hour or so from beginning to end, and a fair amount of dirty dishes but it’s one of the better recipes I’ve thought of recently. Here’s how it goes. Oh, and trust me, read all this through before you start the recipe so you get the timing right.

Ingredients for the Brussel Sprouts

1 lb brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Pasta and Shrimp

1/2 box of the pasta of your choice (I went with linguine because it’s what I had)
1 lb of large peeled and de-vained shrimp (I took the tails off but you certainly don’t have to)
1 small yellow onion (or just use 1/2 cup of frozen diced onion, which is what I used)
1 diced green pepper (or 1/2 cup of frozen diced green pepper)
2 teaspoons of olive oil

Ingredients for Mozzarella Cream Sauce

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2/3 cups mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 large teaspoon of crushed red pepper (I probably used closer to a tablespoon because I like it spicy)

*This recipe serves about 3 adults. If you make a bit more pasta it can easily serve more!

So here’s how the order works:

1. Prep the brussel sprouts and begin cooking the brussel sprouts
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut off the bottoms of the brussel sprouts and quarter them, then mix all the remaining brussel sprout ingredients EXCEPT the parmesan, in a bowl. Pour out onto cookie sheet and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. Then put it in the oven. That’s really all you’re doing with the brussel sprouts. They’re going to cook for around 30 minutes and I do recommend stirring them up about halfway in.

2. Begin to boil the water for the pasta

3. In a large saute pan, begin cooking the onion and green pepper in a small amount of olive oil.
When the onion is translucent, add the shrimp and turn it down to low to let the shrimp cook (for about 5 minutes if your shrimp is cooked and frozen, 8 minutes of it’s raw)

4. When the water is boiling,
Put your pasta in the water. At this same time, you want to take the shrimp mixture out of the saute pan and pour it into a large serving bowl.

5. Using the saute pan your shrimp was in, begin your sauce
You want to add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and butter and saute on low until the butter is melted. Then add the cream and parmesan and whisk for about 6 minutes. Then add the mozzarella and whisk slowly until the mozzarella is melted. Around this time your pasta should be done (if you’re cooking linguine).

6. Combine the drained pasta, shrimp/onion/pepper mixture, and the cream sauce.

7. Top with the roasted brussel sprouts and a dash more of parmesan for looks.  

8. Enjoy!

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Categories: Recipes, Sunday Dinner | Leave a comment

Itunes Infographs

So, I don’t know what made me decide to do this. Love of looking at numbers and charts? Trying to think of music related posts? Wondering what songs itunes is telling me I listen to the most? Which for the record, looks a little something like this…

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And if you’ve never heard some of these songs, here’s a little youtube concert for you – 9 Crimes, The War Was in Color, Valerie, Beverly Hills, I Think it’s Gonna Rain Today, and Hook. I have to say, Blues Traveler has some of my favorite lyrics of all time. So well written. If you asked me to guess what my most listened to songs were, I don’t know that any of these would’ve been on the list. Ok Damien Rice would DEFINITELY be on it, but the rest I’m a little surprised.

It’s an odd little mixture. That’s how I am though. I’m an odd mixture. And my friend Julie will laugh when she sees, if she sees, that Beverly Hills is on that list. When it first came out and for months thereafter I was constantly asking if she’d heard it and then playing it for her. I bet I did it at least 15 times. Also to see that I Think it’s Gonna Rain Today isn’t even checked (it makes me cry on the reg, so it’s hard to have it on heavy rotation. Especially at work) and yet it’s on the list? That’s love. I like this list though. It’s a good list if I do say so myself. And it proves how bizarre my musical taste is. I’m a bit shocked there wasn’t a single Les Miserables song (or Broadway song in general) in the Top 5 because I feel like that’s all I listened to for the 4 months leading up to the movie coming out and probably 2 months after I saw it. Maybe I just listened to it more on my ipod than on my itunes. Also I like that my current favorite jam was playing when I took this screencap.

Anyway, looking at this list prompted me to do a little infographic to see what my taste really looks like. Of my roughly 2,000 songs, the breakdown looks a little something like this…

Screen shot 2013-03-24 at 5.11.03 PMYes, that’s 1 single “Disco” song – It’s called Instant Replay by Dan Hartman. It’s on a mixtape that I uploaded so I don’t even know if that really counts. It wasn’t a big surprise but I will say that if you broke down that “Soundtrack” category Pop would have a LOT more. Also I think the “Folk” and “Singer/Songwriter” should’ve been in the same categories (I should mention only my Simon & Garfunkel CD made it into that category). I mean, Jewel, Alanis, Taylor Swift, and most of the bands I listen to, could be classified as singer/songwriter but they got mixed up with Pop, Folk and Rock. It is what it is. I guess it could be said that Simon & Garfunkel deserve their own category though, right?

You should also know that the 400+ Soundtracks consist of 10+ Musicals and 29 Movie/TV Soundtracks. And by TV Soundtracks that really just means theme songs (because what girl my age doesn’t have the Friends theme song or the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and Glee. In fact, Glee alone consists of over 100 songs. I know. Guilty pleasure much? It’s funny, I always thought I had more Britney Spears songs and Destiny’s Child and Madonna… yeah, they’re all Glee versions. It’s something I don’t like to admit but it’s true. And really, I’m unabashedly proud of my itunes playlists. Guilty Pleasurse don’t really exist in my world. And maybe Glee talking about Guilty Pleasures on their show was what really prompted me to look into this infograph stuff. My friends think I’m crazy but I think secretly they love that I have all their guilty pleasures on my itunes, so they don’t have to. Oh and of the Broadway musicals, 3 are Les Miserables. Why do I need 3 versions of One Day More? Well, I don’t know…

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The other thing I looked up was what artists had the most songs on my itunes and it broke down a little something like this (not including Glee or Les Mis)…

Foo-FightersMostly typical I suppose for someone like me, but hey, it is what it is. And it’s interesting to see. Anyway, I just thought this was a fun little look at the breakdown of my musical loves. Maybe this will prompt you to look through your itunes and see how the numbers breakdown. It’s fun, I promise. If you’re weird like me. And seriously, listen to Kacey Musgraves. I’m uber obsessed.

Categories: Fun Stuff | Leave a comment

And Then There Were 8!

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Well folks, let the string of contestants that went home before Laz should’ve gone home, begin. I mean, let’s all be honest with ourselves. Paul was never going to win this thing, but I do feel bad for the guy. Eleanor Rigby was a good performance, especially for Paul. I think we all know Laz was about a million times worse.

What’s the worst though? Jimmy saying that Laz was straight up acting a fool when he said he learned that song in one day. Come on Laz. Come the f- on. It’s one thing to suck at a performance, and it’s another to lie to get more pity votes. Yes, I realize it may take him longer to get a song, but you signed up for the competition so you have to work within the same timeframe as everyone else. And who suffers here? Not you because you’re still in the competition. Paul. That’s who suffers. Poor sweet Jeff-Lewis-faced Paul.

Well Paul, it was nice knowing you. Have fun on the tour.

I also wanted to mention a one, Jessica Sanchez.

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I don’t know what everyone else was thinking but when I saw her performance with Ne-Yo, all I could think was, had she performed with Ne-Yo and not Horse Face. I mean, I was digging her a lot. I don’t know if it was the upbeat song, the look, the singing, but that performance was better than 90% of anything I saw when she was competing on the show. Maybe she’s just better without the weight of competition. Way to redeem yourself though, Jessica. I mean, personally Phillip is still my guy, but Jessica showed me some stuff that I liked tonight. Good on ya’ Jessica. Casey was fun too!

As for the results of tonight, well, Mr. Bob, or as we like to call him in my world, Bahboom – he has taken the lead from his lovely wife Susan, but not by much so lets hope the contest stays close! That’s the way I like it. Not that it’s looking like I personally have any kind of chance. Whomp whomp.

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Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Top 09 – Keith’s Favorite Beatles Songs

For the third time in Idol history, we were given the theme of the Lennon-McCartney Songbook. It’s not the worst theme, it’s not the best theme.

I liked that they got the winner of the Idol tour spot out of the way right off the bat. Sure, I was rooting for Charlie, but I’d be lying if I said I voted for him. Technically  I didn’t vote for Aubrey either, but I was rooting for Charlie. I still think he’ll do well in life. I hope so. He certainly has an awkward phase he’s growing out of, but I think he’ll rise out of it to be quite the success in something. Maybe not singing, but something. And maybe it will be singing, you never know. Either way, congratulations Aubrey, and nice knowing you Awkward Turtle Man.

Now, lets get to the competition! I put the Top 3 in at the top but the rest are just as they performed because it was hard for me to decide on my personal bottom 3 this week. Definitely know my “last place” but bottom 3 is tough to decide.

Kree Harrison – With a Little Help From My Friends

Talking about your dead parents… ouch. Nothing like starting off in a completely not depressing way at all! Whomp whomp… but anyway… I know this is a Beatles song but really it’s a Joe Cocker song in my world. A Joe Cocker song and the Wonder Years theme song. How can anyone not think of Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper when they hear this song?

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I would never have thought of Kree picking this song, and maybe it was the cold thinking – well if I sound raspy, I might as well pick a song associated with a raspy singer just to cover my ass (but seriously, what cold? She sounded impeccable). I expected to hear her sing a ballad but was really happy with this song selection. I only wish she’d gone last because I don’t know anyone that could have a performance better than hers tonight (except maybe Candice, who I was sure would belt out another stellar performance. How could she not?).

Candice Glover – Come Together

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OMG, she read my mind!! I can’t believe she’s singing Come Together. Yes, Candice! Yes! I also love that Jimmy references how weird the lyrics are. They haven’t been the same sing we played Beatles Rock Band and had to sing the lyrics along with it. Talk about a song with misheard lyrics! I swear, “Toe Jam Football” “Joo-Joo Eyeball” “Walrus Gumboot”? Talk about writing songs on LSD. But I digress.

Now this performance – God Damn. This girl has talent for DAYS! I mean, Kree who? Here’s a little sample of what I looked like watching Candice tonight –

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I also just want to toss in what Michael Slezak had to say about Candice because seriously, he cracks me up.

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Angie Miller – Yesterday 

Did I like this song… hmmm…

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I’m not going to lie, I would’ve liked to see her at the piano, but that’s genuinely the only bad thing I could say because I thought the performance was stripped, beautiful, perfection. I loved every last little thing about it. Including her straightened hair. Man that made her bangs so much more tolerable. Also, I really need to hear her sing some kind of like, rock song. Maybe next week.

Burnell Taylor – Let It Be

I hate when kids say they don’t know Beatles songs. Especially the non-obscure songs. This was no Brooke White (my favorite Idol version of this song) but it wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination. I liked the way he sang the song differently from the original. I know, it wasn’t too different from the O.G. but his voice made it different enough to like it in a different way. Does that make sense? I heard a lot of “you never wanna be second” on performance night, but I think Burnell should be safe tonight. I think it was definitely a solid performance, and probably my second favorite guy of the night when all was said and done.

I’m just very unsure about Burnells jacket selection. I mean, he is Randy’s jacket protégé if I’ve ever seen one!

Amber Holcomb – She’s Leaving Home

Ok now this is definitely the opposite of Let It Be. I’m not super familiar with this one. And how Keith knows it, with the long lost of songs he doesn’t know, is beyond me. For another ballad she did sing it well. Not great. To quote a Randy Jackson-ism…

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She really got it together at the end but the first half of the song was a little rough. I mean, her voice is definitely amazing but I just find her a little dull and with the minor pitch problems I did hear, I don’t think she’ll be in the Top 3 when all is said and done. You never know though. As for this week, I think she’ll be safe. I still want to hear her sing an upbeat song though. Remember the curse of too many ballads, Amber! Oh, and while I’m commenting on Burnells fashion faux pas, I should mention – Her dress. Her dress is giving me LIFE! How pretty is that dress!

Paul Jolley – Eleanor Rigby

I actually really liked this performance. Also, I’m sure someone has brought this up, but for anyone else who watches bravo, doesn’t Paul bear a strong resemblance to Jeff Lewis? Like, Jeff Lewis’ younger brother. Not identical but they look related.

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Anyway, performance. I thought it was really really good. The glory note he hit mid-song was perfection. I don’t understand how his performance was “fake, bland and forgettable”. No comprende? Thanks Mariah, for being the only one to give a good critique. “Undeniably good” was a perfect description. It wasn’t the best performance, we have Candice and Kree for that, but some of his notes were just awesomesauce. And that’s why undeniably good was a great term to use. Good job Mariah.

Devin Valez – The Long and Winding Road

I’m glad Devin doesn’t look at himself as some kind of Mariah Carey. Devin is not Mariah Carey. That being said, I have to ask, how does redemption feel, Devin? That was so much better than last week it’s like, it’s like it was a different person! Great job Devin! If anyone deserved an “In it to Win It” tonight, it was you!

Janelle Arthur – I Will

“If you’re not breathing, you’re going to run out of air” well Janelle, that is a true statement. I’m assuming she got the last spot because of her shitty placement last week and then still performing well in the rankings. Her hair was about the only thing I really liked about the performance. It wasn’t terrible, it was just not my favorite and a little boring. Like Devin I thought it was entirely better than last week but she remains the weakest of the girls, to me.

Lazaro Arbos – In My Life

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I happened to be listening to this song on the other day while trying to pick what I wanted contestants to sing and this wasn’t even close to an option for anyone. I saw the performance Ramiele Malubay gave from Season 7 and hated it then. Today, still hate it. That’s not saying I hate the song because the song is great. It’s the performances that I’m not a fan of. I mean, it’s good that he got this far but make this his swan song. I mean, he’s a great dresser and a great singer with some songs, so cherish that but don’t be on the show anymore. Courage and perseverance doesn’t count after the Top 10. I mean, he already made the tour and I think that’s more than enough. I don’t want to compare him to that Oscar Pistorius guy because let’s be honest, Laz isn’t murdering his girlfriend. But when it comes to his racing I think it’s am apt comparison. When racing against the lay person, Oscar and Laz are champions, but when racing against the best in the world (or the best to try out for Idol, as it were), they just aren’t able to hold their own. Know what I mean?

*I do feel bad that he had to change the song at the last minute, but my feelings remain the same. Maybe he won’t be the worst of the night. There are still 4 more performances after all.

 

I also wanted to mention that a former Idol contestant, a one, Melinda Ademi, released a cover of Thrift Shop and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share it. So, here you go…

I think that’s a good note to end on.

Personal Top 3 remains – Candice, Kree and Angie
Personal Bottom 3 – Definitely Lazaro, and probably Burnell and I can’t pick a bottom 3rd. I just don’t know. I’m hoping that it’s Laz going home no matter what. Sorry buddy, but your time is over here.

Until tomorrow when we have a Top 8!

 

Oh also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about a thing that I meant to bring up last week:

Who are the Barbz that Nicki keeps referencing?

Well, in finding that answer I also discovered a webpage along the lines of a NickiWiki.  And in it, I found this.

 Screen shot 2013-03-20 at 9.23.29 PM

So, there you go. 

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Guessing the Lennon/McCartney Songbook

Well, so much for original theme ideas. Tonight, the Top 9 bring us – The Lennon/McCartney Songbook!

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The Lennon/McCartney Songbook is a pretty famous in the Idol  repertoire. There are hundreds of songs to choose from which is always nice for a theme, and they wrote a lot of songs, not just for themselves, so the range of songs they have to choose from is also varied. It’s not my favorite theme, because “specific singer/songwriter” themes never are. That being said, this is certainly one that has yielded some amazing performances.

While I know it’s hard to decide on songs I want each of the singers to sing this week, there are also ones that I feel they shouldn’t even attempt. Case in point:

All I have to say is that if you don’t tear up, you don’t have a heart. It’s one of my favorite versions of this song ever. Like, seriously, ever. Like Kelly’s “A Moment Like This,” I just think this one isn’t one that should be attempted anymore. I should also mention, it’s been sung 5 times as it is, so isn’t that enough, anyway? Something tells me we’ll be hearing it though, by a one Lazaro Arbos. I can’t imagine him doing better than Archie though so if he’s smart, he’ll steer clear.

I also don’t think anyone should sing “Come Together” for a multitude of reasons but mostly because of this one:

Mostly for the didgeridoo I’m not gonna lie. I think the Carly Smithson version might’ve actually been better. Either way, that’s two good performances which means we don’t need anymore. I never realized how weird these lyrics were until we got the Beatles Rock Band. What a bizarre song!

I wasn’t actually sure what would be considered the “Lennon/McCartney Songbook” besides what’s been sung on Idol. If you check Wikipedia, this is the list:

1. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
2. Let It Be – Aretha Franklin
3. Here There And Everywhere – Emmylou Harris
4. Anytime At All – Nils Lofgren
5. Day Tripper – Otis Redding
6. With A Little Help From My Friends
7. Hey Jude – Wilson Pickett
8. In My Life – Judy Collins
9. I Call Your Name – Mamas And The Papas
10. Got To Get You Into My Life
11. Tomorrow Never Knows – Monsoon
12. Get Back – Ike & Tina Turner
13. I Saw Him Standing There – Tiffany
14. Please Please Me – Flamin’ Groovies
15. Things We Said Today – Cliff Richard
16. Nowhere Man – Three Good Reasons
17. I’ve Just Seen A Face
18. From Me To You – Bobby McFerrin
19. She Came In Through The Back Door
20. It’s For You – Three Dog Night
21. Step Inside Love – Cilla Black
22. Bad To Me – Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas
23. Yesterday – Marianne Faithfull
24. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away

It shocks me that songs like Yesterday and Hey Jude have only been sung a single time. They seem like some really popular choices but maybe it falls under that whole “too familiar, my version might not be as good” category. And really, they’re right. It’s hard to mess with songs that people love unless you sing it exactly like the original singer and as good as the original singer. In case you were wondering what songs have been sung by the Idol performers already, I made a list for that too, because I love you.

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So with that information at hand, I’ve compiled my list of who I want to sing what. Let’s get the party started! I made most of my list after finding a Top 50 Beatles Cover playlist. It helps to hear other people singing Beatles songs to decide what people should sing.  Looking at this list just makes me really miss having a rocker this season. I feel like there’s usually at least one! Not this year unfortunately.

Amber Holcomb – Ok Amber was seriously the hardest to pick. I just don’t know who she is and she picks terrible songs so it’s hard for me to decide what I think she should sing to like, make me like her. I’m just going to take a pass and hope she sings something well. I’m just entirely too ambivalent about her.

Angie Miller – Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds – I really want to see someone sing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. It’s one of my favorite Beatles songs and no one has tried it on Idol and Angie is an original so she’d be perfect for it. Not to mention she can sing it at the piano again! Since it’s about drug use she probably won’t, but that’s my vote (and coincidentally, it’s Michael Slezak’s too! Twins!). Anyway, if she doesn’t want to sing it, my second recommendation is Across the Universe (which could also be done at the piano – hint hint Angie). Angie even gives me a bit of a Fiona Apple vibe if Fiona Apple was less dirty minded, and less dirty in general. haha.

Burnell Taylor – Eleanor Rigby – I saw an Aretha Franklin cover of this and I just think it could be good for him. If he doesn’t do it, I hope Candice does. I think it’s got a good beat and I like the soul Aretha gives it. I think Burnell could give it that, too. I also found an Al Green cover singing I Wanna Hold Your Hand that I thought could be fun too.

Candice Glover – Come Together – I know, I said I didn’t want anyone else singing it. But Candice just sings songs others have rocked, so well. So maybe this is another chance to do that? Also I just want to see her singing something upbeat and with a good rock/yell to it. I could also see Hard Days Night or She’s a Woman.

Devin Valez – Strawberry Fields Forever – Difficult song genre for Devin and I could see him singing one of their typical ballads but in looking up covers of Beatles song, I found Ben Harper singing this song, and I think Devin could pull this off. I doubt he will, but I’d love to see him try.

Janelle Arthur – For No One – So, Emmy Lou Harris does a cover of this. I’m not gonna lie, I really see this as another great cover for Kree but she can’t have all the versions, so I threw this bone at Janelle. I’d still be ok to see Kree sing it though, I’m not gonna lie.

Kree Harrison – Oh Darlin’ – I’d love to see this along the same lines of the cover that Florence and the Machine did that I also found on YouTube. Also I found a version of “Real Love” that Regina Spektor did on the Instant Karma, Save Darfur CD that I think Kree could sing really well except that her voice doesn’t seem as high as Regina’s so maybe not.

Lazaro Arbos – Golden Slumbers – I’ve never heard this song but I found a version of Ben Folds singing this and it was so lovely. It’s from the soundtrack for I Am Sam and I mean, I do love Ben Folds but this version is just simply magical. I think Laz could do some great things with this song if he decides to be more original this week.

Paul JolleyBlackbird – There are actually a lot of songs though, that I could see Paul singing. Carly Smithson sang it in her season and it was pretty good so he would have that to contend with, but he’s so different from her, and I think it would be a good choice for him. I like the low-key-ness of it. I could also see him rocking some Across the Universe. I know I said I wanted this one for Angie but I could also see Paul doing a good job with it.

Here’s what Mr. Slezak thinks everyone should sing! Here’s hoping we’re both more accurate than last week!

Candice Glover: The Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” or The Beatles’ “Revolution

Janelle Arthur: The Beatles’ “All My Loving

Kree Harrison: John Lennon’s “Just Like Starting Over” or The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus

Amber Holcomb: The Beatles’ “Lady Madonna

Angie Miller: The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

Lazaro Arbos: Paul McCartney’s “My Love

Burnell Taylor: John Lennon’s “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)

Paul Jolley: The Beatles’ “Nowhere Man

Devin Velez: Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s “Say Say Say

Categories: American Idol, Television, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Irish Brown Bread

I know, Baccala certainly doesn’t sound Irish, and to be perfectly honest my maiden name isn’t Irish either (my dad there in the middle of that picture below practically screams 80s Italian). But my heart? My heart is Irish. My grandmother was a generation removed of being “off the boat” Irish but for all intents and purposes, she was super Irish. She was also a pretty awesome lady in general. She was my first babysitter, taught me most of the cooking and crafting I know, and was an all around fun lady!

That’s her in the middle with me in her lap

There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about her. Most of my recipes are some derivation of her recipes and she’s the one that took me to Ireland (along with some other family members). With that in mind, around St. Patricks Day I always think about her and among my many cravings for her various recipes (tacos, pineapple stuff), one of them is her brown bread recipe. A lot of people think they’ve had brown bread when what they really mean is Soda Bread. My grandmom made both, but let me tell you folks,

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First of all, Brown Bread? No raisins. Brown Bread? Not horrifically dry or scone-like. Brown Bread? Coated with delicious butter. There’s hardly even a comparison. And when you go around Ireland tasting the goodness and heartiness that is Irish cuisine, there wasn’t a single meal I ate that didn’t come with a side of this delicious bread. Nobody wants soda bread when the other option is this bread!

It’s impossible to duplicate, I’ve decided. We’ve made a few different attempts at it but they just aren’t the same. Maybe it was her Irishness that made it more delicious? I don’t know. My husband was a breads and pastry major when he was in cooking school so I had him try his hands at it a few times and he came as close as anyone I know outside of Ireland, but then we lost the recipe he used. So again, I sought out to try and find one that was close to hers. The recipe I tried this time was from looking through my grandmothers cook books and finding what I thought she used. It was close but it lacked something. Like, maybe it wasn’t salty enough? Maybe had we used a saltier butter spread on top it would’ve been ok because the texture was SPOT-ON! It just wasn’t quite the flavor I was looking for. It was SUPER close though. Like, minimal ingredients off. I knew I was close. I felt like it was missing a wheat germ or something. Then I decided to call in the big guns and sent a message to my Grandmothers best friend Margaret, who is in fact, off the boat Irish, and quite the lovely lady. Low and behold, she’d had my Grandmothers recipe and got it from my very own Aunt! Der! Why I hadn’t thought of this sooner, is beyond me…. But, the important thing is that it was found and I have it and I can make it whenever my heart desires now! And now, I shall share it with the world in hopes that everyone can try the deliciousness that is my Grandmothers brown bread recipe:

Irish Brown Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups ground whole wheat flour (best to use stone ground whole wheat)
2/3 cup wheat bran
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 and 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (or a little more as needed to make gently pliable dough)
Directions:
1. Mix dry ingredients by hand

2. Add buttermilk & mix with hands. Add more buttermilk if necessary to moisten the flour

3. Kneed about 10 times

4. Scoop into well greased, round 1 1/2-2 quart casserole that has a lid (I couldn’t do this because I don’t own one so I just cooked it on a dusted with flour baking sheet)

5. Make a 1/2 inch deep cross in the center

6. Cover & bake – middle shelf – 400 degrees for 50 mins (if you aren’t cooking it in that casserole dish with a lid, around the 30 minute mark, cover the bread with some aluminum foil)

7. Remove from oven and let cool for at least an hour and a half (or make two so you can eat one hot, quickly and one later. The reason to do this is because if you don’t let it cool, the bread tends to be really crumbly and more difficult to eat. While it’s hard to resist when it comes out of the oven, it’s for the best, I promise. And you can always re-heat it when it’s time to eat it, if you want to eat it warm)

8. Enjoy with family & friends (that’s totally in my grandmothers recipe! Ever the entertainer and baker of food for others!)

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Oh also, if you’re smart, you’ll make it with a delicious lamb stew, Colcannon, or some kind of Shephards Pie! All are delicious. I went with the lamb stew 🙂 I’ll share that recipe with you soon! Just have to type it on up.

Categories: Grandmoms Recipes, Recipes | Leave a comment

American Idol – Awkward Turtle Alert!!

AMERICAN IDOL: Curtis Finch, Jr. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright: FOX.

Hey folks, you may be asking, what did I personally loved most about night? Well friends, it was seeing Curtis go. Yes, I have him at 6th in my pool so that hurt me a little but it’s a pain I’ll gladly endure! I know, it’s hard to pick a favorite thing of a night when Phillip Phillips performs, a surprising contestant came back for a chance at redemption and my Top 3 girls made the Top 3 (as if there was any doubt?). But seeing the judges not save Curtis after his swan song of “I Believe I Can Fly” made me very happy. I’m never really happy to see people go and have their Idol dreams dashed – especially when they probably aren’t expecting it, which I expect Curtis was not. I certainly wasn’t. And I have to say that he seemed a lot more reserved this second time around which I thought might help him out. Let’s all be real though, Curtis was never going to win, so what’s the real point of saving him? If you wanted someone worth saving, maybe you should’ve gone with Vincent Powell instead of Curtis? Alas, Curtis is gone and we soldier on!

Ok so, can I just say I was freaking SHOCKED to see the 2 contestants saved to compete for the Idol tour?

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I mean, Aubrey wasn’t totally surprising but I have to say I was expecting to see Big Crazy Barb walk out on stage. Why would I expect to see Big Crazy Barb? Well girl still has a pretty large twitter following and a lot of people were somewhat devastated to see her go (girl can put on a show, what can you say?). I was expecting it even more though, after seeing main man, King of the Awkward Turtles, Charlie Askew!?!? walk through those doors for the guys! Really? Really world? I mean, I’m ok with it but I was freaking SUPRISED! I don’t know who I thought it would be – maybe I was secretly hoping it would be Gupreet? I guess Charlie makes sense, though. The sympathy vote is a powerful thing.

As far as who I want to see on tour (which is basically a dumb statement because I’m not going to see the tour but let me digress) that’s a tough call. Aubrey is without a DOUBT the better singer. Hands down. And I think we can all agree that Charlie being on tour may not exactly be ideal for his mental health. But, Charlie puts on a better show. I mean, it’s not their decision at all as to who sings what so in that regard, Aubrey would probably be the better choice because the only thing she lacks is her ability to pick the right songs. I do like the song she picked last night but to be honest it was on the verge of dreadfully boring. Plus, Charlie can play the piano so he could always just do that on stage while everyone else is singing, no? So I guess ultimately, my vote is for my boy, Charlie. Sorry Aubrey, but if you’ll recall, Randy and Nicki already said they’d sign you, so you probably have a record deal as it is, anyway. Let Charlie have his moment this summer, and hope it doesn’t develop into a severe personality disorder because that’s the last thing I want for him.

As far as matters of the night, I don’t think there was a single person in the entire universe that was surprised by the Top 3.

AMERICAN IDOL: Angie Miller. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright: FOX.

Clearly well deserved and I hope they remain for many weeks to come, specifically when the Top 3 actually rolls around! They deserve it 100%. Speaking of Top 3, it should be noted that when looking at who the pool chose for their top 3, only a few people don’t have these girls at the top of their lists (although they do vary quite a bit). Interestingly enough the only other contestant to crack the Top 3 in the pool, is Burnell.

What did everyone think of them actually announcing a Top 3? I kind of loved it I have to say. All those demographic numbers are right up my alley! I love that kind of stuff, what can I say? I’m a numbers and charts kind of girl. I thought about switching up the pool that if you pick the correct Top 3, you get points also, but that’s just more work for me and I don’t think I’m prepared for that. Shall we take a look at the Pool Picks for this year? We have 5 new people playing so I’ll go over the points system one more time as well. And if you’re in the pool and you see this and something looks wrong with your list, just let me know! I’m happy to rectify any errors, and there always seem to be one or two in the first week.

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So the way the scoring works is, if you pick the correct people in the bottom 3, you get 2 points per contestant. If you pick the right person to go home, you get 5 points. So the most bonus points you could get for the week is 9.

Picking the correct person to go home: 5 points
Picking the other correct bottom two:   4 points (2 points per person)
For a total of:                                      9 points

As for weekly points, everyone gets full points (10 points for your #1, 9 points for your #2, etc) as long as they aren’t in the bottom 3. If they’re in the bottom 3, they get half points. If they’re sent home, they get 0 points. That’s 0 as in zero, zilch, no points.

So, hopefully that doesn’t confuse you too much. If you want to see the spreadsheet just email me and I can send it to you! I’m happy to show off the glory of my work.

Now, as for how everyone faired, 2 people picked the right person to go home so Cheers to Susan and Leslie! Susan was the winner of the week though because she also had Devin in the bottom and Paul lower on her list. Here’s the breakdown of the scores for the week:

Screen shot 2013-03-16 at 2.32.32 PM

Renee, I wouldn’t go getting that trophy made anytime soon unless you want to write someone elses name on there 😉 haha.

Cheers to another successful week of Idol and I’ll see you folks next week!

**This Post was updated 3/16 to add Joann to the pool and to correct Bob A’s score! Sorry for the error folks!

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

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