The Scary Diana Ross Edition

Wow. Seriously scary Diana Ross. It’s in the hair, the clothes, and the vacant look in the eyes. It’s like looking at Paula Abdul twenty years in the future.

Jerry notes in the comments: “I don’t care if the contexts are totally different, there IS no comparison between Diana Ross and Paula Abdul.” He’s right. I’m wrong. Sorry, Diana.

Brandon sounded okay at first and then he fell down seriously. Missing the lyrics killed what was an otherwise decent performance--the kind of performance that could have kept him in the show since he’s such a good looking and likable guy. The dancing really was bad. I really want him to do well, but he keeps not living up to his voice’s potential. Er. If you know what I mean.

Poor guy took it on the chin tonight--deservedly--and can’t be feeling good right now. Luckily for him, most of his competitors aren’t so hot, either.

Hopes remain high that Melinda will be with the show all the way to the end. Her song was, for me, a bad choice, though--a slow, bland, and very safe. Her saving grace is her voice--she’s powerful without having to yell, she’s controlled, and she’s charismatic.

Paula needs mood stabilizing drugs. Stop crying, you over-emotional wreck.

“Endless Love” by the self-assured Chris Sligh might have been a mistake. He changed it enough that it lost its familiar feeling and the changes weren’t good enough to make it better than the original. He’s better than Brandon if only because his personality comes through in his singing, but he isn’t scoring points for making “Endless Love” into a Coldplay cover (which, damnit, that’s close to what Randy just said). There’s enough good will there to keep him in the show, but he’ll need to be better next week. Brave but stupid.

Good Lord, Diana Ross scares me. If I saw that head bounding toward me in a dark alley, I would be terrified.

Gina’s “Love ” (heheh) isn’t as good as last week. She yells through the big bits, she throws in a kind of odd “woo-woo”, and she, overall, seems to take a step back. That performance didn’t really connect, did it? Almost as disappointing as Chris Sligh’s song.

How tiny is Ryan Seacrest? I mean, he’s like a 3/5ths scale man. With very nice hair.

Ah, poor little Sanjaya. Poor little feller. “Ain’t No Mountain High” is just so much bigger than him--he can’t carry it off vocally and his performance (which is always restrained at best) is like watching a little playing at being a singer. It wasn’t anything approximating good. Randy and Simon hit him a little harder than he deserves (maybe), but they are right: Sanjaya isn’t good enough to be on this show.

About the hair: the g-phrase liked it, I thought it was better last week. He looks the part of teen idol without having even the modicum of real ability that might translate into a real career. I’m beginning to think that my earlier belief in his potential was seriously mistaken.

Haley Scarnato, escapee from a Disney musical, will never be my favorite singer. Mostly because she sort of sucks. I mean, easily the worst of the night--which, when you’re on the same show as Sanjaya, is as cruel a statement as I can make. I think Simon was utterly wrong: it really was that bad.

And what a horrible dress.

I"m getting more and more bored by Phil. He’s taking on a Haley-like blandness, although he doesn’t step over into the blatant badness of her performance tonight. In fact, his vocals are strong, but in a tremendously forgettable, lounge singer kind of way. A good lounge, though. Not one of those lounge singers who plays in the middle of the casino to a cast of depressed octogenarians who’ve just lost their prescription copay at the slots and can barely hear him over the clanking of the coins in video poker machines. No, it’s more like the lounge at the casino where people sit and make small talk while drinking overpriced martinis when the opening act for the overpaid, fading star waits to take the stage.

Know what I mean?

“God Bless the ” is the kind of song that was made for someone like Lakisha. It really gave her an opportunity to stretch her voice--and, mostly, it worked. She still oversings some parts and adds flourishes where they aren’t needed (listen to that beginning again). It was a very good night for her, though.

And you did check out Andy’s commentary, didn’t you? Because if you haven’t, you’re a total dummy. And what about Kate? You didn’t forget to check out her thoughts, did you?

I like Blake. He reworks “You Keep Me Hanging On” and makes it not-sucky. Which is a minor miracle, if you ask me. He isn’t great, and it definitely wasn’t his best sex chat performance, but at least he adds a little something interesting to the thing. Paula got it right: Chris and Blake both tried to make a classic song something new, but Blake came a lot closer to being successful.

I like Stephanie less as time goes on. The yelling, a few pitch problems, and a little lack of charisma left me unmoved.

I don’t like, have never liked, and will never like Chris R. He embodies so much of what I hate about contemporary music: marginal vocal talent matched with a whiny, nasal voice and a seemingly endless supply of misplaced self-confidence. I just really don’t like the style, can’t stand his voice, and wish like hell that he would be kicked from the show.

Jordin Sparks is a lot closer to good, normally, but she fell down tonight with a song that didn’t quite work for her. The quiet parts were timid, the bigger parts were screamed, and none of it sounded particularly good. It didn’t help that the song was some refugee from soundtrack hell.

Not a good night for Jordin. In fact, not a good night for American Idol--there were only a handful of good performances tonight. For two hours worth of show, that wasn’t much of a payoff, was it?

The Waste of Time and Energy Edition

When I speak of waste of time and energy, I’m not just speaking of the time I spend on a weekly basis watching American Idol; I’m talking about the things our government does when we aren’t paying enough attention. Example? Glad you asked.

From Shawn at the American Spectator’s blog, comes this story of aluminum bat banning fun. Or how about working hard to make sure that Angel Raich, a woman dying of cancer, can’t legally obtain the marijuana that eases her pain, gives her enough of an appetite to actually eat, and, essentially, makes living livable. Both of these stories represent time that the government spends doing things that government shouldn’t do: meddling to a completely unreasonable level in our lives.

Just sayin’.

Lakisha is safe. Gina is safe. Brandon looks worried. And for good reasons. He is in the bottom three for the evening.

Jordin Sparks is safe. Chris R is hideous. But he’s also safe.

Melinda is safe. Which, otherwise, would have been a horrible miscarriage of justice.

Phil is in the bottom three. Which makes sense.

Chris Sligh looks worried, too, but his goodwill carries him through an otherwise rough week.

Stephanie is safe. Blake is safe. Sanjaya or Haley? Can you really go wrong putting either of them at the bottom of the pile?

Catty aside: Diana Ross may no longer be spectacular, but she certainly is quite a spectacle.

That wasn’t very nice, was it?

Haley sits down because Andy had her number on speed dial. Or because Sanjaya was horrible yesterday--and, yet, he still gets to stay on the show.

Which is something close to criminal. Brandon didn’t sing or perform well enough to have survived much longer, but his vocals were miles above Sanjaya’s timid, unimpressive singing. For that matter, Haley’s performance was good only in comparison to Sanjaya’s. I’m starting to feel a little ill will toward the

Brandon, though, goes out with class and dignity. He’s got a pretty voice--and, as the g-phrase would tell you, a pretty face--and he should have been on the show at least another week. Here’s hoping the future holds good things for the guy.

Mr. Answer Knows it All

Recently someone searched for information about “‘Gunnin for the Buddha’ British Bands” and came up with ResurrectionSong. I’m guessing that they didn’t know who sang that funky little ditty and needed a little help.

Mr. Answer is here to guide you, supplicant.

The band the seeker is looking for is the under-appreciated Shriekback and can be found on their album Big Night Music. Great album with some other gems to be found like “Running on the Rocks” and “Sticky Jazz.” While you’re out trying to find that little slice of the 80’s, you might also want to look for Oil & Gold, which has their other recognizable song, “Nemesis” along with the brilliantly fun “Hammerheads” (the live version which can be found on the compilation The Dancing Years is perfect, although the album as a whole is a bit of a mixed bag).

Inconsistent, eclectic, and affected, it’s not too surprising that Shriekback haven’t found a huge audience. The good stuff, though, is mighty good.

Now, Mr. Answer is off to sample the pleasures of “Fading Flowers.” Gorgeous.

The Sanjaya Sucks Edition

You know, if Sanjaya had anything resembling dignity and self respect, he would leave the show. He’s not good, he doesn’t deserve to be there, and his biggest fan base is probably powered by a Web site that wants the worst singer to win.

Leave the show, Sanjaya. Come back after more lessons and a little bit of maturity make you worth listening to.

Just sayin’. Haley Scarnato should be following close behind.

Speaking of which, she still sounds like she should be on You’re the One That I Want auditioning for Grease! instead of American Idol. That’s not to say she was bad--it was her best (or, actually, only) good performance of the season. And she looked good enough to pretty much the entirety of the heterosexual male vote for the evening.

That was definitely a multi-hubba performance.

Compulsory Disclosure Aside: I might be nicer tonight because I like “British Invasion” music almost as much as I like the late-80’s/early-90’s Seattle sound. Aside from that, the magazine is almost ready to be delivered to the printer and that makes me happy.

Happy, I tell you.

Chris R isn’t well suited for this kind of music. His whiny voice gets in the way of a pretty melody, he doesn’t have even a vague idea of how to convey emotion, and he oversings bits of a song that begs for simplicity. If it weren’t for all the bad, though, it would be notable only for its blandness.

Which is why Randy thought it was a “great performance”, Paula drools a little, and Simon gives him a thumbs up, too. I don’t see it. Of course, I also think that he the most unpleasant voices on the show (not the worst, mind you, just one of the worst to actually listen to).

In Touch W/ My Inner Geeky Boy Aside: I can’t wait to see Meet the Robinsons. It looks hilarious and when the dinosaur wiggles his arms, I laugh like a little boy.

Did Stephanie Edwards pick a good song in Dusty Springfield’s “You Dont’ Have to Say I Love You?” I’d say it was a great song choice--giving her the opportunity to stretch her voice and play dramatically to the crowd--that was let down a little by her delivery. She sounded uncomfortable, she didn’t really hit the notes, and she had some pitch problems. It was disappointing because it really felt like she should have done much better.

Beatbox Blake’s take on the Zombies’ (lamentably spelled correctly) “Time of the Season” was a fun updating of a damned fine song about gettin’ a little lovin’. It just straddled the line between creative and gimmicky, coming out just on the right side. The vocals were good (if not quite great), but the arrangement was spot on. It probably won’t be remembered as the best singing of the night, but it will be one of the few performance that will actually be remembered after tonight.

“You’re My World” would have been a better choice than “Diamonds Are Forever” for Lakisha, if you ask me. Not that either choice was bad--but “You’re My World” is more upbeat and catchy in my world on Aside from one really ugly moment in the middle of the song, she pulls off the song well and she still has that wonderful, mature voice.

I love “Tobacco Road” in its many variations, but damned if I knew that it was a Brit invasion song. And Phil wasn’t nearly as convincing as the backing band. He looked like a (bald) little singing for mommy and daddy. Gina would have done it better--he’s too Disney to be a rocker, if you know what I mean. I think Simon nailed it: no grit in that performance.

Educational Aside: Generally I think of Edgar Winters and Lou Rawls when I think of “Tobacco Road”, but here’s Wikipedia’s entry on the Nashville Teens--which, if you ask me, is a bit of a stretch as a Brit invasion song, given that it was written by John Loudermilk. In case you were wondering.

Jordin Sparks nailed “I Who Have Nothing.” Maybe not to Shirley Bassey’s standard, but for a seventeen year old girl, she pulled it off beautifully. Her one big note wasn’t shouted, wasn’t filled with anything unnecessary, and really hit the spot for me. Gorgeous.

Sanjaya Go Home! (I still love you)

Good Lord, he was bad doing the Kinks’ “Really Got Me"--one of my all time favorite songs. Done right, it’s a damned hard rock song (listen to the live version on One for the Road), done wrong it’s bad karaoke. Which, we had the bad kind tonight, didn’t we?

And crying little pre-teens don’t do a thing to sell me on the boy. Message to Parents: For the love of all that is good in the universe, hide your cell phones from the dies tonight. Don’t let them vote for Sanjaya. Think of the rest of us.

If anyone should do well tonight, it’s Gina. Her vocal style, her balls-out willingness to rock, and her bright personality have won me over, and “Paint it Black"--according to some at my last job, the theme song of all graphic designers--is a damned fine choice. She looks like a little goth girl (which, in case you didn’t know, is a total turn on), and again proves that she should be fronting a rock band. She’s a latter day Joan Jett, I tell you--which isn’t to say that she should be winning a singing contest, but that she’s someone I wouldn’t mind seeing at the Bluebird.

I dig her. I still say she’s the most rock-oriented singer that they’ve ever had on the show, which, for me, is a good thing.

Chris Sligh definitely resurrects the Zombies’s sound with his take on “She’s Not There”. A marked improvement over last week’s, it still wasn’t his best. After his spanking, he was too timid tonight and wasn’t as filled with his personality as some of his earlier songs. It was a solid week, but not brilliant. With Sanjaya on the show, he should be safe. With Sanjaya’s dismal insurgent supporters, though, who knows what will actually happen.

Closing with Melinda is always a good thing. The chance of her coming up with a good show-stopping close is a better bet than putting money on any of the others. And again tonight she proves to have the most polished, professional voice and feel for performing on stage. Yep, she’s the best of the bunch.

Fully Lijit

I’ve added the search widget from Lijit to the left column (after upgrading Expression Engine and ridding myself of an odd bug that targeted, mostly, javascript throughout certain pages on the site) and I’m kind of digging it. It’s free, easy to set up, and has more features than you might guess.

The first thing that it does is set up a search engine for your content. Notice that I didn’t say it sets the search up for your site, it sets the search up for your content. Content over multiple sites, all of the big social sites (MySpace, flickr, whatever) and lets users search your content. When a person uses the search widget to find a term on your site, they not only have the option of seeing the answers coming from your blog, but they can also expand the search to include your content on other sites, content from your network (sites that you have linked in your blogroll or that you add manually to your network), and, of course, a full Web search.

For ResurrectionSong, the expansive view of content isn’t particularly useful. The content that I have is, in the main, on this site; for people that either run a number of sites or make extensive use of social networks, this is great. For me, the ability to search “my network” is pretty damned nifty and the (admittedly basic) reporting tools under “My Stats” provide a quick snapshot of what people are looking for on your site.

Over the last few days, I’ve had it on the front page of the site and I’ll be adding it to the template of all of the archive pages, too. It’s a neat little tool.

For those of you who attended the last Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash, you’ll remember meeting Tara, who was handing out free t-shirts.

Post Minimalism Report

Hey, Ryan, nice hair.

Between Phil, Haley, and Chris Sligh who should be going home?

Sanjaya, obviously.

Stupid American Idol. Somehow, it isn’t as much fun to watch or mock when you realize that the worst performer is seemingly guaranteed to keep going. The hordes of wrong bettors are certainly enjoying themselves, though.

In case you can’t tell, I’m disgusted, and it isn’t a joke. Sanjaya is a nice and I liked him in the beginning--his smile, his personality, and what I hoped was a spark of potential made him a sympathetic figure. But is winning worth knowing that the only reason you’ve stayed on the show is because you’re the butt of some demented joke? I don’t think that my personal sense of dignity would allow for that, even when a giant payday was at risk.

I realize that people will think that I’m just talking nonsense, but personal integrity and dignity are probably the most important things in my life. If I were Sanjaya I would walk away from this contest and let someone more deserving stay on the show. I’ve shadowed the show for a few years now not because I like the music (or, generally, the singers), but because it’s been a pretty funny. The joke just isn’t as funny right now.

Sanjaya, show some integrity. Time to go home.

Unfortunately, tonight Chris S goes home--which wasn’t a surprise since he had yet to really recover from his flub a few weeks back. He wasn’t the best singer on the show--his greatest asset was his personality and sense of humor. The subdued, careful Chris was bound to be going home. It just should never have happened before Sanjaya was gone.

Terrifically disappointing.