Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dry Your Eyes

Castro -- SAFE! That's so funny. Brooke babbles herself home just before the awkward meltdown she was brewing up to in her head. Fine by me.

The best? Ryan vehemently denies that any of the internet rumors about Paula are true! They LOVE her! Pardon my ignorance, but I'm not online much anymore, so I missed the "rumors" this morning after her massive info leak last night. Were the rumors that:
a) she's chemically altered?
b) they're going to fire her?

I get sick of her denying her inebriation. But, evs. But of course they'll enable her and never fire her. She puts the loopy fun in the show. Seal clapping, crying, reading ahead from her Cliff's Notes. It's just Pauler, people.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Diamond in the Rough

Imagine if you will our final five contestants as lumps of coal. For a few months, they've been under intense pressure, and last night, they were squished tight for time. A Diamond was onhand to mentor, but, sadly, none of the coal-contestants made that alchemic transformation into brilliance and fire.

I'm not a huge Neil Diamond fan, but I've liked him just fine ever since I first saw his slightly anachronistic performance in "The Last Waltz." (no, it wasn't the caliber of, say, ShaNaNa at Woodstock, but it was a bit different from the rest of the night's festivities.) Plus, I admire a guy who can still be attractive even when he's wearing upside-down Nike Swooshes as his eyebrows.

As any diamond lover can tell you, there are four Cs to diamond appraisal. Cut, color, clarity, and carat.*1 So I figure we'd shorthand Neil Diamond night by rating each contestant with that criteria.*2 Also, recently, they've added a fifth C to diamond valuation: Certificate. However, none of the performers gets one of those tonight, because the only one certifiable was Paula.

Poor Paula. Any deviation from the carefully formatted routine is bound to throw her for a loop, and she totally dingbatted out and tipped her hand, and possibly the show's, when she bungled Jason's review. Since they were so pressed for time, they didn't have each judge take a shot at the contestants after each song. Instead, once all five had sung their first song, Ryan brought them back out onstage and had the judges take a brief pass about them all. Randy held his shit together. But it was a bad sign when we saw Paula fidgeting with paperwork in front of her. And let me tell you, this wasn't lightweight paperwork. There were white sheets, a pink sheet, AND notecards. I'm not sure, but I believe I even spotted a clipboard. That's heavy artillery for our queen of the Coke placebo.

So she mumbles something about Jason's first song, and then she started talking about his second song. She said his usual charm was missing and that she doesn't think he's fighting hard enough to make the top four. It was after she babbled this embarrassment that Randy pointed out to her that Jason only sang one song so far. Please note Simon's look of disgust, but only a half-second later, he'll break into laughter.

Once called out, Paula's nonplused for a second, and then dumbly blurts out, "I thought he sang twice." No, darling, you were just seeing double.

She then makes it worse and tries to cover by looking at Cook and saying, you know what, I was looking at your notes, David, and you were fantastic! Please explain to me just how fucked up she is to supposedly read her own notes the first time as saying "missing charm, not fighting" and then supposedly, when those same notes are for Cook, she reads them to say "Fantastic." Then, disgusted with herself, probably thinking most people will write it off to her dingbatty proclivities, she just gets flustered and wants it all to go away.

It is unclear if it occurs to her that people immediately realize she was commenting on his performance based on his dress rehearsal, which she surely checked out. She then goes back to shuffling her paperwork while Simon prattles on a bit.

What's most unclear at this point, however, is whether she was commenting based on her own notes on Jason's dress rehearsal, or if the notes in front of her, should a detailed handwriting analysis be performed on them, would actually prove to be written in Nigel's manipulative cursive penmanship. One thing is certain, though. By placing Jason first, and then Paula clumsily commenting out-of-turn, the show's agenda was revealed. Congrats, Pauler & producers. Your certificate of inauthenticity has been served.

So what was she commenting on? Well, first, Jason sang "Forever in Blue Jeans." He had his airheaded Castro moment in his mentoring segment when he had the lyrics to the wrong song in front of him, but, best, in case things don't pan out for him on Idol, he's already taking his cues from Melinda and Chris Richardson. Instead of going for the Edy's slow churned crowd, he's showing off his "I could've had a V-8" prowess.

Cute, isn't it? How he and Paula both had the brain-freeze moments this week. Anyhow, I liked "Blue Jeans" quite a bit. Then he sang "September Morn" and he unfortunately lived up to Paula's prognosticating. Whether this was a self-fulfilling prophecy, a Paula jinx, or just a crappy song choice is up for debate. I'm giving him the SI2 grade for the night, with a pretty nice color of I, because he's still a cutie. Jason, he's a trilliant cut.*3 Definitely not ordinary, and definitely only going to satisfy the tastes of a select few who want something different.

Cook sang "I'm Alive" and "All I Really Need is You." Simon did find him "brilliant." Me? I give him a grade of IF. Don't know what that is? It's really rare. It means there are no internal inclusions, but there are some subtle surface flaws. Yes I'm shallow. (He was back to rocking the combover.) But he does have a nice color rating of F because he's shown such clarity in who he is as a performer, and he's the classic round cut diamond -- looks good to just about everyone.

Then we had Brooke. For her first song, she wrestled a guitar as she sang "I"m a Believer." The guitar mostly won.

When Simon called her "nightmarish" in the brief group recap, she disagreed. Then she sang "I Am, I Said," and everyone salivated over her, but I'm so over her and all her flaws I just can't see any shine anymore. In other words, she's the low-grade I3 to me with a crappy V color and gag-worthy heart cut for all her histrionic heart-on-her-sleeve crap.

Archie finally let go of the ballads and what a difference that makes. He did "Sweet Caroline" and then reached into Kristy Lee's bag of tricks with "America." I will say that I think part of the reason he sticks to ballads is because he moves so awkwardly on these bouncier numbers, particularly "Sweet Caroline."

And, frankly, I could've done without all the runs on that song, too. But, he kept his eyes open and actually seemed to be enjoying himself for large portions of the songs and it was just refreshing. Admittedly, it's damn hard to dislike nearly any version of "Sweet Caroline," and Simon did call it amateurish. But I liked it. I give him an SI1 for it all, with a color of K. Archie, he's definitely a radiant cut. Why? He's kinda square, but he's been carefully researched & developed for maximum sparkle!

And then there was Syesha. Even though Simon told her that he thought she'd be in trouble, she had the pimp spot, so it's likely she's going to stay. She did a typically Screamesha version of "Hello, Again" which I thought blew. I let it go last week when she started on the piano and didn't wear shoes, but I see no reason why she was barefoot for both songs this week. Maybe she's trying to give off a carefree, breezy feel, but that's the last thing she is. Paula tried to warn her that her "magic" is in her softer notes. (translation: stop fucking SHOUTING AT US ALL THE TIME, SYESHA. It's like Al fucking Pacino up there sing-shouting even when it's uncalled for.) Then she did "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime" and it was slightly campy and a kinda theatrical and I really liked it. I still give her an I1, with a faint yellow K color, and she's most definitely a princess cut, as evidenced by her reactions to anything less-than-glowing praise.

So, in summary, given Paula's faux pas and Brooke's underwhelming performance and Syesha's continued struggles, I think it's safe to say that last night was the exception to the rule. Diamond was not a girl's best friend.


*1 --

*2 -- I blew off carat rating. Carats just aren't funny. Unless you're the recipient of a really small one. Then again, being the recipient of a "really small one" is rarely a laughing matter. Until the next day when you giggle about it.

*3 -- technically, I used "shape" instead of "cut" because it's just impractical to use the actual "cut" criteria to rate them and would have made little sense, unless I wanted to get technical about their "depth." But, since the whole metaphor was a stretch, I'm hoping you'll let this "cut - shape" thing slide, too.

*4 -- Footnotes! How fun are they!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fangs for the Memories

Totally figures, doesn't it? Just as I take a liking to Carly, she's gone. But she took it really well, all snarly-Carly smiles.

Here's her exit interview.

Sadly, Carly's booting wasn't the most jarring part of the evening. It was when Leona Lewis showed up on our Idol stage with her fancy un-schlocky song and good voice and good makeup and made this whole show seem like cheap amateur hour. And believe me, I'm not a Leona fan. But, come on.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Singing the Lord's Plays-es

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol. Let me be blunt. He seems like a nice guy and I'm not trying to be insulting, it's just a simple fact that I've never heard any of his stuff. Never saw/heard Phantom or Cats or any of it. Wait a minute. I lost my train of thought, so can I start over?

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol. Let me be blunt. Annoying, that repeated starting over shit, isn't it? Everyone let it slide when Brooke pulled it the first time on her own at the piano after just a couple of notes. But tonight, stopping the whole orchestra (which, in theory, stopping that fucking band is always a good idea) after already singing a couple of lines? It's like being trapped in Groundhog Day with her anymore. And she knows it, too. Now the funny lip-purse Debbie Downer face isn't saving its appearances for judgment time, it's coming out while she actually performs.

You know it's really hit the zenith of depressing when Paula can't even bother to tell you that you look beautiful in her consolation tone. This was the best she could muster.

Just utterly exasperated, she was. I suppose it didn't help matters that she'd just fox-trotted her way back to Fox after taking a spin in the audience of Dancing with the Stars last night. Paula really is a celeb-fraudience whore with no network loyalty, as I also recall her making an appearance on Rockstar a couple years back. This time, it's rumored that she's absolutely pining to be on DwtS, but they're shutting her out because of her professional skillz. Frankly, I was just glad to catch it last night, because that's the first I've watched that show this season, having pretty much just blown it off since it's missing Maks. But I've harbored a secret fantasy for a couple weeks now, thinking it would really jazz up both shows if we could have a judge-swap for one week. I would die to have Bruno and all his verbal flamboyance sitting next to Pauler for a round of Idol, and it'd be hilarious to see Simon and Len welly it up as they beat down the dancers.

But I digress. Perhaps I should start over?

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol. They flew the kids out to Vegas and ensconced them to the single most grotesquely baroque setting on the entire Strip -- The Venetian. Just when you thought things couldn't get any more dramatically distasteful in that building, they went ahead and opened the "Phantom of the Opera" theater. Next, we drop this -- yes, seemingly very nice fellow -- who just happens to bear a striking resemblance to a Dr. Seuss doodle, into the mix to tutor these aspiring pop stars on how to sing Broadway show tunes.

It's all a blatant shame, coming entirely too late in the season, and it again filled me with rage and regret. Just when it seemed like the show was de-gaying itself this year and settling back into its average cheeze, along comes this week. And there's no Noriega or Hernandez or even Menard to be found. Stupid voters. But that's okay. Because we did have David Cook singing some song from "Phantom" that was the butchiest-gay thing I think we've ever had on this show.

Running a close second to gayest show moments? Though this one isn't butch-gay, it's denial-gay for now, they actually brought a gaggle of girls onstage to hug David Archuleta. His reaction fell between "aw shucks" and "ick girl-cooties" but was demonstrably closer to the latter.

Why'd they bring the girls onstage to hug him? Because they know they have to avoid having him touch the pit people of doom himself, because of the curse this year. How do we know who the show is actively rooting against? They actually stuck Jason Castro and poor Carly INTO the pit to be surrounded by the jackals.

Here's what I love about that second picture. How shitty is the lighting guy, or director, to have the other two girls brightly illuminated, and Carly sunk into the shadows, the way they usually keep her husband in their brief "reaction shots" of him from the audience. Or, perhaps, it's just piss-poor directing, kind of like these kinds of shots we constantly get, with the swaying arms obscuring everything.

Know what's going on in that picture up there? That's the crowd waving "buh-bye" to Brooke after she done fucked up yet again.

Anyhow, I've gone off track, again, so I guess I should talk about the performances a bit now. Let me just start over.

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol. I don't know any of his songs, but I do know that I only liked Syesha's song-performance. She did "One Rock & Roll Too Many." I have a vague memory of actually going to see "Starlight Express" back when I was living in Vegas, so I guess I lied earlier when I said I'd never heard an ALW song. Then again, my memory is of going into the theater. There was some roller-skating going on about me, then some smoke, and then I passed out for the rest of the show. True story. So this was actually all new to me. Yeah, she got a little off-pitch several times, but overall, it was the only thing with a good beat that I could dance to.

Jason Castro? "Memory" from Cats and apparently this is a very famous song? It brought out the most laughably obvious quote from Paula yet this year when she told Jason that the song is usually associated with female power balladeers, which he is not. (another aside, I still stand by my previous assertion that Pauler is the only cogent judge this season. She still trips on her words, but her eyes focus 80% of the time and she's the only one offering actual critiques that are on the money. Simon has gone too far around the bend with agenda pushing and has lost credibility, even if he is still the crankiest.) Anyhow, Castro. Shit, it was pretty bad. I still like him. But I finally noticed just how much air he sucks in before each line and it kinda drove me crazy. Get him some Breathe Right strips or something.

Another one who sucks air like that? David A. His song was "Think of Me" and it made me think he's boring, but that's nothing new. Even though she sang it twice, I still don't recall what Brooke's song was. But Simon said she was "brave" and Paula commented on her "strength" and I have to call bullshit on that. If she was still technically a child and was sort of forced-guided into this life/competition by a parent/guardian who was also obviously marionetting her every move, I'd give her all sorts of leeway. *cough* But Brooke is an adult who chose to be on this show and claims to want to be an entertainer. And yet she's going origami worse each week. It's not brave to do something because you're contractually obligated. It'd be brave to do it if you didn't claim to want to and tried to put those desperate nerves aside. And she's failing miserably at that.

Failing a bit less? Carly. She did "Jesus Christ Superstar" and for the first time I didn't think her voice sounded very good, but she seemed into it and connected. I wish I liked her more as a performer, because week-by-week she's won me over with her pathetic personality. Being forced to admit she wore Spanx, gaining all that weight, and then somehow being able to take it off -- now that I respect. She's just so goofy and needy, and she completely lost her shit again tonight when she finally got some validation from Simon.

Fucking Fangs, man. Gotta love her, especially since they've damn near kicked off anyone else interesting.

And then Golden Boy Cook closed the show with the aforementioned "Music of the Night" from Phantom. Here's the disclaimer. I like Cook. I think he handles himself astonishingly well given all his circumstances. He's classy and confident and cool and has a decent voice. As I understand the basic plot of Phantom, and this song, it's about an ugly dude who pines for a pretty chick. That it in a nutshell? I know plenty of ladies who find this guy attractive. Suffice to say that if I'm understanding the meaning of the song, though, this fits him very well, thematically. Musically? I guess he couldn't youtube any pre-rocked versions of it by other bands so that he could "make it his own." But I guess it's hard to rock out to lyrics like "slowly, gently night unfurls its splendor/grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender." And as Simon said, so respectfully of ALW, that was the song he was stuck with. Notice how when Simon doesn't think the song fits and he dislikes someone, he rags on them for their song choice; but when it's his pet, they got "stuck" with it? But I guess it is fair to say that Cook got stuck with it. Why?

Okay. So it was Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber night on Idol.

It just keeps repeating,doesn't it? Like a bad dream you can't shake. Or a super-size Pepsi and spicy taco.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I have to Carey my ass off to bed...

Blerg. I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Actually, kinda really sick. I watched the show tonight, but am not up to a recap. The only highlights I noticed were that Farchie was wearing leather pants; Kristy, Brooke, and Syesha were all dolled up for the prom, including enough Glitter on each of them that I had to wonder if it wasn't some subtle dig at Mariah's big flop. Carly continues her underwhelming ways, even though she delivered the vocal pyrotechnics. Screamesha still screeches, but she holds those notes a really long time. Cook was okay, man, with his "Always Be My Baby." And if Castro was having a luau, then who's the roasting pig? Please feel free to discuss and I'm really sorry about this lack of commentary, but do feel free to discuss amongst yourselves. Thanks.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


You have GOT to be fucking kidding me! Throw another hottie on the barbie! Oh, I'm pissed all over again!

Michael Johns handled it totally dignified and with a ton of class. But since I don't have that sort of restraint, I made this gallery of it anyhow. Believe me, I don't take joy in it the way I do in some of my other "shock boot" collections, but I figured it was time, and though his faces were restrained, I think this is still pretty good.

When the final three was announced, Carly was pretty resigned to the fact that she was going home.

Until she and Syesha were announced as safe. Cry.

Please note in the below that Brooke is her typical woman on the verge, Cook is his normal cool, concerned self, while Farchie slouches with relief (his hands are notably NOT clenched), and Kristy and Castro are the ones to carry the Bo Bice honorary "you're a bunch of motherfuckers" torch this year.

Then, Ryan hammers it home, noting how last year, they didn't send anyone home. But oh yeah, you're definitely out of here, Mike!

But see, his still has the class to give us, and Pauler, one last shot of what we loved best, and it wasn't the ascots, it was his ass. We'll miss you and your down under, Michael Johns.

Idol Gives Back

Heart still rocks, Fergie is alright, and Annie Lennox rules.

Terri Hatcher? I don't fucking know.

Read Some

Myfanwy Collins has some new fiction available. You can find her online (pdf version) with her story
"Verbatim" in the Mississippi Review, movies issue, and she also has a story in the latest issue of Quick Fiction.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bleeding Inspiration

I'm not sure how inspiring it was, but it was a pretty entertaining show tonight. I only liked a few of the performances, but things seemed a little more back in order. For most of this season, Simon's been hyper-critical when it was uncalled for, and I secretly ascribed that to him being tired from trotting his prize pony X-Factor winner Leona Lewis and her horse-face all over the States. But now that she's cracked the number one over here, maybe he's a bit more relaxed (or at least smugly satisfied) and he got more realistic with his critiques. While he's been outlandish, it's been Pauler holding down the fort with actual substantive criticism (she has!) and that's gotten a little disturbing. But she was wrapped tight again, both in her generous praise and costuming, so I knew it'd be a better night.

This time, we started off with first Michael and then Syesha getting lippy with Randy, which was long overdue, because they both basically called him on his nonsense. The only funny thing about it was that Syesha talked nonsense back to him, so the whole exchange was just loony.

But, at this point, Syesha should know that she's on borrowed time anyhow. She picked the stupidest song of the night, with Fantasia's "I Believe." This is the quintessential "winner's song" that every fan fears their Idol fave will have to sing. Rainbows and pots of gold and just in-fucking-sufferable cliche idiocy. But Syesha took it to heart and in her package when talking about doing good and giving back, she gave the obliviously arrogant statement that she gives back to the world through her music. Pfft. All the other contestants had the good wits to acknowledge that they felt lucky to be in this position, but she comes across sounding as though we, the audience, should feel gifted by her presence.

But she's no dumb-dumb. Clearly, the mosh pit was taunting, trying to claim their next victim. But either she's aware of how they've claimed Hernandez, Chikezie, and Rami, or she just gave 'em divatude for the hell of it. Either way, Syesha was having none of the jinx.

Also not enjoying the mosh pit? Apparently, people in the mosh pit and, notably, security in the mosh pit.

I think it's damn near impossible to be kicked off if you have the coveted pimp spot, which will probably be the only thing saving Brooke White's neurotic neck this week. She did Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" and has now lost all ability to maintain.

Seriously, she's become hard to watch with all her twitching and teary-eyed faces. If she had Bell's palsy, I could forgive it. But she's to the point where she belongs in the "before" section of a Cymbalta "depression hurts" commercial instead of on American Idol. She's exactly thisclose to becoming Ashley Ferl.

Even David Archuleta has an easier time concealing his nerves. I've always thought he was able to plaster on a serene mask even though inside, I suspected his heart was beating like a bunny rabbit's. I finally got the proof that his glazed-calm is a total front when he sat and talked to Ryan last night. Inspect:

Do you see it up there? In case you're not picking it out, I've got a close-up here where I point out the tell.

I've seen novice drivers on the Garden State Parkway at rush hour white knuckling less than he was up there. But, like the pro he is, he still sang Robbie Williams's "Angels" and did well at the piano. Simon thought it was a bit nasally, and apparently he lost the memo from Chris R last year when he informed Simon that "nasally is a type of singing." Anyhow, I softened to Farchie, and then they flashed his assy father in the crowd and I immediately turned against him again.

Frickin' Kristy had a good night, singing "Anyway" by Martina McBride. I did note that they've been blocking her to mostly show her from the waist up when she starts moving, but they slipped and she is still rocking that horse-straddle stance.

Since Kristy sang so well and since Syesha avoided the pit-people of doom reach-out, I'm actually a bit worried for Carly this week. She did Queen's "The Show Must Go On." She's got a big enough voice for it, and she, or her stylist, took Simon's warning from last week to heart because she really looked hot last night. But Simon thought the performance seemed a bit angry. I don't know what gave him that impression.

That first picture, doesn't it remind you of Seinfeld's Uncle Leo when he had his eyebrows drawn on with the Sharpie? I searched an inordinately long time for a picture of that scene and couldn't find one to compare, which upsets me. Perhaps I'll be inspired enough to sort through dvds and see if I can't get a cap of it tomorrow to replace this explanation so that it's a visual joke. Probably not.

UPDATE! Ha ha ha! A friend of mine, Kelly, got me the Uncle Leo screencap! Witness:

Also not having a particularly good night? David Cook. He did Our Lady Peace's "Innocent." You've never heard of the band? Yeah, they're not Christian Rock, they're Canadians, which is why they're not on most people's radar. It was just a little too slickly choreographed and he didn't sound all that good on the mumbly low notes and the white jacket didn't work for me. When he's at his best, Cook has a cool-yet-approachable Cook thing going on. At his worst, Cook sort of channels Zoo-TV Bono and that over-dramatic RockStar kind of thing that's just a bit too much, and that's what last night was for me. But Pauler was right on board and still singing his praises.

And overall, I'm still onboard with Cook, even though he really went with the Bono vibe and even lectured us a bit at the end.

Again, I don't really mind that. Cook's earned leeway and I give him the benefit of the doubt. I just mostly wanted to post that picture because I think it's hilarious with Simon's little fool head laughing in the corner. Cook took his knocks with grace and I'm sure he'll be just fine. I will toss this out, though. I know everyone thinks that Archuleta has this season all locked up. But I do see a chance for Cook to win it all, and he could do it in one fell swoop. I think they have Billboard Top night coming up soon, and all Cook has to do is a rocked out version of "Bleeding Love." Simon will see money falling like confetti at the finale and be overjoyed at the prospect of mentioning his protoge on the show. If a girl would do it, he'd use the opportunity to tear her up and tell her that she's a weak substitute for Leona. But Cook could pull it off, and also possibly escape the dreaded rainbows and puppies song as the winner.

The biggest winner of this night? Castrocopians should be thrilled, because it was Jason Castro.

Anyone catch Larry King last night with Randy, Paula, Simon and Ryan on? They were drumming up business for IGB, but also talked about all the kids and what they thought while Larry held an online poll for viewers to vote for their favorite. Jason was the one who got roundly trashed by all. Randy said he wouldn't sign him and Simon said something negative and just blah blah down on Jason. Then, Larry unveiled his poll and Jason was the winner by a huge margin. I don't know if that played a part in the judges' attitude adjustment toward him, or if it was all the magic of Iz's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," but he even got a "fantastic" from Simon.

I know back in season five I shilled for Iz and his "Facing Future" cd, and I was glad to see Jason give the song this treatment. There's just something dreamy-lullaby about it that fits perfectly with the kid. I honestly can't say that his version is as good as Iz's, but it's also sort of different, not really a note-for-note cover. Most shocking to me though was that Simon didn't know this version At All. He thought it was from "the internet" and said he'd only heard it a total of three times. Wasn't this song even used in a really predominant commercial for toys or something several years ago? Let alone being on tons of movie soundtracks? I know he's often got his head up his ass with music, but I find this one kind of astounding.

What I'm not astounded by is his turn-around on Jason. Perhaps after that shocking reveal on Larry King, someone showed Simon a Jack Johnson cd and explained how many "units" Jack moves and he started seeing dollar signs.

And that brings me to the guy who opened the show, Michael Johns. You know, I had loved once or twice before (Danny, David) and it was all in vain. So I became frozen. But he did it. He cut me open. And I'm bleeding Aussie love. (just how popular do you suppose that song is with self-mutilators?) The Kangaroo Fucker has won me over. He did Aerosmith's "Dream On" and I sang with him, sang for the laughter and sang for the tears. What were the tears for? Well, you know, it's become something of an internet sport to capture pictures of Michael making ridiculous faces. Last night was no exception for opportunities, especially with the ascot firmly in place again.

Look. I rolled with it once. I still love him tonight. But tonight, it's not because of the silly ascot, it's in spite of it. But if he goes for the hat trick with it, even Tim Gunn couldn't make it work.

What was the laughter for? I don't want to say that Michael's getting roomy in the hips, but if Buffalo Bill was in the market for a man-suit, he probably watched last night's show and grabbed his bottle of lotion and thought about it rubbing the lotion on its body.

So what? I'm a chubby chaser. Yeah, he's putting on a few pounds, but he looks damn hot, ascot or not!

Personally, I thought he sounded great, too. Simon and Randy are not buying it, though, because they don't see him as a rocker and think it comes off sort of wannabe. Let me translate. They don't wannahimtobe a rocker. That slot is filled by Cook. But they'd be happy to make more money off MJ, too. So make it more bluesy, Michael, so there's no niche competition when they market, mmkay? Personally, I don't have a problem with that, because his voice does suit the more bluesy stuff, and I just want to keep seeing him on the show for several more weeks. (though I imagine the faces he'll make for his boot will be cap-worthy.)

So how did they inspire you last night? Did Michael inspire you to stick to your diet? Did Brooke inspire you to seek counseling? Did Kristy inspire you to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy?" Did David Cook inspire you to bring out your spring wardrobe with his fancy white jacket? Or did Jason just inspire you to blaze a spliff? I, of course, went over the rainbow with JC. But thanks to MJ, I didn't feel the least bit guilty about succumbing to the munchies. Tomorrow, I'll wallow in my contemptuous gluttony as I sit like a slob for two and half hours while Idol relieves my guilt and does the work for me and saves the world.