Idol Live Blog: Finale Extravaganza

7:59: Hello, fellow Idol fans! We are here to crown YOUR. NEXT. AMERICAN. IDOL. Who’s excited? Who else wants to see David Hasselhoff cry again? Here we go!

8:00: Full disclosure: I haven’t seen last night’s show yet. But from all reports, Crystal killed it and Lee nearly threw up onstage. Thoughts, b-rollers?

8:01: Wow, Lee still looks uncomfortable! Chill out, dude. The hard part’s over. Unless Mike Myers returns in costume to hawk another movie as heinous as Love Guru. That will be a tragedy for us all.

8:02: Taylor Hicks! Jordin Sparks! Do I call that a celebrity sighting? Is that too harsh to say?

8:03: I know I’ve been Team MamaSox all season, but I don’t quite understand the overwhelming Lee love. He’s humble and all, but only occasionally excellent.

8:04: Um, whazzup with the Catholic school uniforms? I’m dying to know which group performance this foreshadows.

8:05: Ah, we have our answer. The Top 12 returns in full costume for “School’s Out for Summer.” I’ve played this song on Guitar Hero a few times, so I’m mentally playing the solo (like, as in, red, green, blue…)

8:07: Isn’t it a little early in the program for Alice Cooper and an army of zombie schoolchildren? This is more like 9:40 fare, no?

8:08: Alice Cooper sounded live; the Idols, not so much. They should all take a moment to ponder that fact.

8:09: First commercial of the night goes to Ford; second to Coke. Ohmigod, did you guys know they sponsor Idol?!

8:10: I realize that Ryan Seacrest descended the Seacrest Memorial Staircase (Nokia Theatre Edition) for the last time, and I forgot to note the time and date. I feel like I’ve failed you, b-rollers.

8:11: Just a notice, Idol producers: Another autotuned group performance may test my fragile stomach. Tread carefully.

8:12: The first few words of Seacrest’s intro aren’t caught by the microphone, then the first few notes of Kris Allen’s performance (hey, he’s back!) are drowned out by Seacrest, now live, saying, “It wasn’t open?” Well done, Idol tech crew. Well done.

8:15: I like Kris Allen and wish him well. And this song is pretty. Just not so much memorable.

8:16: Ah, the requisite Simon montage. But of course.

8:17: Look at that old footage of Simon rocking another haircut! Who knew that existed?! I feel like we’ve just discovered Sasquatch.

8:18: That was amusing. Although I do slightly feel like Simon deserved more than just a tongue-in-cheek montage.

8:19: Is this performance of “How Deep Is Your Love?” dedicated to Simon? Just asking. The post-montage placement is curious.

8:20: Hey, the BeeGees! This allows me to bring up the fact that one of the Gibb brothers (the thin one wearing sunglasses) apparently went completely insane at an airport recently when someone tried to put him through extra security. I don’t know why, but I find that story completely hysterical – the thought of him screaming, “Don’t you know who I am?!” Uh, no. Not for like 30 years now. Sorry.



The Idol Live Blog That Wasn’t

Good evening, b-rollers! As you’ve probably noticed, there is no Idol live blog tonight. I have an excellent excuse for why I wasn’t available to live blog the most important freaking performance show of the season, though. I’ve been fighting a nasty stomach bug for the past few days, and on doctor’s orders went to the hospital for some meds and fluids. Apparently, “I have to make it home in time for American Idol” is not a good enough reason to be discharged. Damn stubborn doctors.

Anywho, this week’s Idol performance thoughts will be late – hopefully tomorrow – and decidedly less stream-of-consciousness. And barring a serious health setback, I will almost certainly live blog the insane extravaganza that accompanies the crowning of YOUR. NEXT. AMERICAN. IDOL. So stay tuned, and please do accept my apologies, b-rollers. See you tomorrow.

Idol Live Blog: Top 3 Results

8:15: Good evening, b-rollers! We’re 45 minutes away from the Idol results show, in which Casey’s departure is, um, probable. Not to pile on the poor thing, but I checked DialIdol’s prediction meter and they have Casey trailing by a lot. They may as well have stamped “freaking duh” on their homepage. Anyway, my TV is currently off – shocking, I know – as I mentally prepare for this evening’s penultimate results show. Back at 9!

9:01: And we begin with a SUPER DRAMATIC INTRO that features Ryan saying, “The two facing off in the finale ARE…” Um, obvious?!

9:02: Love Siobhan in the audience, applauding tepidly for Justin Bieber. I know, I’m underwhelmed by the selection of him as well.

9:03: Casey looks pretty resigned, right? At least, as b-roll roommie Monisha just pointed out, he “won’t have to sing some heinous song that Kara wrote” next week.

9:04: I love Ryan saying that no one knows how hard the Idol contestants work. I think the subtext of his question is, But none of you work as hard as I do. I’ll be up at 3am for my radio show tomorrow morning. SO THERE. Also, Ryan is nodding at Casey’s “$10 million or $100 million” metaphor like, Those numbers mean nothing to me, I could buy and sell you like THAT. This could be a blog in and of itself – the inner thoughts of Seacrest. I’m enjoying this way too much.

9:07: It is now my goal in life to get a smiley-face text back from Casey. Who has this number?

9:08: Another astute comment from Monisha: “Crystal just brought her health AND the Lord into this conversation. Now she’s in it to win.” Indeed.

9:09: The Dawg continues his run of bizarre fashion choices by pairing a white cardigan over a white t-shirt, then wearing bright blue glasses. Wow. Yo, yo…for me, for you, it’s only aight.

9:10: The judges looked unamused by Casey’s comment, but he’s not wrong that there’s been some less-than-helpful criticism. In fact, that’s putting it rather mildly.

9:11: We now solve the mystery from last night: Casey’s town in Texas is named Cool. That’s both appropriate for Casey, and ironic because…you know what, I’ll refrain from further comment. I don’t want to be attacked by a mob of angry Texans.


Idol Live Blog: Top 3

7:31: A delightful Tuesday evening to you, b-rollers! I’m a bit under the weather tonight, but I shall soldier on for you, faithful readers. Back in half an hour!

7:58: Before we open tonight’s show with the traditional mix of creepy lighting, synthesizers and the Seacrest Memorial Staircase, I have to ask: Is there any possible way that Casey survives this week? Any at all? I’m thinking that he could give us a Fantasia-singing-“Summertime” performance and the judges would go into “This can’t happen! Must underplay!” mode. Thoughts?

8:00: I love this roommate exchange to open the show – Texan roommate, hopefully: “Where is Casey from in Texas?” Pennsylvanian roommate: “Texas.” Everything else really is semantics, isn’t it?

8:02: Side note, but didn’t you love how Casey refused to let Ryan pretend he was taller than he really is? As is also evidenced by this conversation, in which Ryan seems like a toddler next to his preschool teacher.

8:03: Strike the earlier sentiment. Casey shall not be giving us a MOMENT (TM). I like the song “Okay, It’s Alright with Me” perfectly fine, but it’s a fun little summer jam, not an Idol Coronation song. We’re looking for a performance a little more in the “Jealous Guy” vein here, Casey.

8:05: Casey’s “just glad to be here” comment to Randy is about right. I didn’t get a “fighting for my life” vibe from that either. Hang on, did I just agree with the Dawg again? For me, for you…

8:06: Simon had three judges’ critiques worth to craft a solid metaphor, and the best he could come up with was “salad”? Seriously? On the upside, the fact that my “what the what is with that song choice?” reaction was echoed by all of the judges makes me feel as if I am eminently qualified to fill Simon’s chair next season. As if we didn’t know this already.

8:10: Okay, so since we’re waiting out this commercial break, I shall ask: Who else is madly excited for tonight’s episode of Glee? NEIL PATRICK HARRIS IS IN THE HOUSE, PEOPLE. And he’s singing Aerosmith and everything. I could not be more delighted. Anywho, back to Idol.


Like a Prayer

I’m feeling overwhelmed at the moment, b-rollers. I’ve been blogging less than usual, as you may or may not have noticed. It’s been a busy month, between travel (hey, did I mention that I went to the Tribeca Film Festival?); a work event that is utilizing about 98% of my available energy; and a potential move that has made me simultaneously reevaluate my finances (fun fact: non-profits aren’t always lucrative) and the unreal amount of possessions that will need to be boxed and hauled at some point in the near-ish future. Needless to say, I’m currently fighting off thrice-daily panic attacks. Wow, this is kinda personal and not at all about movies or television, you say. Indeed it is. Ellen DeGeneres once had a great line in her standup routine about therapy: Why should she pay a stranger to listen to her talk when she can go on tour and get strangers to pay to listen to her talk? I can’t afford therapy but WordPress is free, and so here we are.

Anyway, last night I flashed back to a time when I felt similarly overwhelmed. I was in my second semester of college, and I was completely swamped with a hellacious schedule and a demanding workload. I woke up one morning and I didn’t want to get out of bed. I couldn’t face the day; I felt like I was drowning. But I got up, opened my laptop, put on iTunes and hit “shuffle” so that some song – any song – would drown out the chaos in my head. And out of the thousands of random tracks in my library, up came Billy Joel’s “Vienna” – a song I’d never really paid attention to, and owned mostly out of a sense of obligation (I love Billy Joel and should thus own as many of his songs as possible, even the obscure ones). But that day I stopped and actually listened.

Slow down, you crazy child,
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile.
But then, if you’re so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Where’s the fire? What’s the hurry about?
You’d better cool it off before you burn it out.
You’ve got so much to do
And only so many hours in a day.

But you know, that when the truth is told,
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old.
You’re gonna kick off
Before you even get halfway through.
When will you realize
Vienna waits for you?

Now, I’m not a huge believer in Direct Intervention from Above (my spiritual box could most appropriately be checked as “lapsed Catholic: intensely dislikes church hierarchy but strongly believes in a Higher Power and experiences residual Catholic guilt”). But in that moment, I felt that God was telling me, Calm down. Take a breath. It’ll be okay. And as irrational as it may seem, I’ll always believe that song selection wasn’t a random coincidence.

I find that music has that soothing, spiritual effect, more than any other form of entertainment. As much as I love to escape into movies and TV shows in my off-hours – and happily describe them ad nauseum to you fine people – I spend most of my day wearing headphones, and I can’t walk more than ten feet at a time without my iPod. Sure, I’ll be deaf by 30, but I can’t help it; music is just so damn user-friendly. I can tune out, keep it on as background to my thoughts; or I can dive in and lose myself, not for two hours but just a few moments. I’m not announcing the conversion of b-roll to a music blog; I’m just saying that, like in the movies or on television, life needs a soundtrack.

And while I know that God is a bit too busy to be my full-time DJ, catering to each mood with a whimsical song selection, it’s okay, because I’ve got it covered. I know that in times like this, when I’m mentally exhausted, that if I need a friend, Simon & Garfunkel are sailing right behind; that Bono thinks that even if daylight seems a long way off, I should just walk on; that I can’t always get what I want, but if I try sometimes, I’ll get what I need; and that Mother Mary, speaking words of wisdom, will whisper let it be. It’s therapy and church, in handy playlist form.

But last night, as I mentally catalogued my world and headed once more into a death spiral of panic, I decided to let Jesus take the wheel again. Apparently He needed a moment to adjust the tuner – I wasn’t terribly in the mood for a-ha or Evita, thanks for trying – but a few tracks in we hit pay dirt. Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away.” Perfect.

Gimme the beat boys, and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll
And drift away…

Idol Live Blog: Top 4 Results

8:52: Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’ve spent the last hour looking for apartments online. Casa b-roll will soon relocate, if I can survive the living hell that is apartment hunting, packing and moving. Fingers crossed, b-rollers. Back in 8 minutes.

9:00: Um, who else is thrown off by the tinkly piano intro? My ears are conditioned for that pounding synthesizer, followed by the blinding strobe-light open. Sensory overload is what makes Idol great. I’m confused.

9:02: Daughtry must be shaking his head sadly at Ryan’s “Someone who knows how tough tonight’s show can be” remark. That was cold, Seacrest.

9:03: Fantasia continues the sparkly trend! That is one gold jacket. And when did shoulder pads come back into style, by the way? Kara was rocking them last night, too. I can’t imagine that the world was dying for a return to that hip ’80s style.

9:06: I like Fantasia, and she could sing the phonebook (that phrase is trademarked to Randy Jackson, incidentally), but this song is less than memorable. As evidenced by that shot of the four contestants watching blankly, clearly unaware of how they should be reacting.

9:07: Really, Ryan? Mocking other people’s height? When a conversation in my apartment once included the phrase “Let’s say Ryan is 5’8 in his shoes and heels”? Really?

9:11: Does Crystal have a bizarre yellow feather in her hair, or a really bad weave?

9:12: Casey must’ve drawn the short straw for the Ford commercial since he’s in lederhosen. And why was Big Mike not ethnically costumed? Could they not find clothes big enough for him? They must have Big & Talls around the world, yes?


Idol Live Blog: At The Movies!

7:53: Good evening, b-rollers! I know I’ve been absent for a while – a combo platter of heading back to New Hampshire for Mothers’ Day and working like crazy for an upcoming work Gala – and my apologies. But of course, I can always make time for an Idol live blog, particularly when movies are involved. So let’s just say a little prayer that “My Heart Will Go On” is absent from tonight’s set list and dive in. Back in 7 minutes!

7:57: Completely unrelated side note, but I’ve spent the past hour watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Remember what a great couple Burke and Cristina were, pre-homophobic epithet? This used to be such a good show. Sigh.

8:00: Dramatic opening as all of the contestants turn (stiffly and strangely) and stare at the camera for Ryan’s “This…is AMERICAN IDOL!” I don’t fully understand why they thought this was a good idea.

8:01: And my dream of Ryan taking a slight tumble down the Seacrest Memorial Staircase (without causing severe injury, of course) goes unfulfilled for another week. Someday, b-rollers. Someday.

8:03: Is it true that Jamie Foxx is openly campaigning for Simon Cowell’s seat next season? He seems like way too big a star for that. And frankly, that chair should have “Harry Connick, Jr.” stenciled on it by now anyway.

8:04: Poll time, b-rollers – is the tattoo on Jamie Foxx’s head (italics added for emphasis, because how crazy do you have to be to get a head tattoo?) a fake one for a film? Let’s hope so.

8:05: Wow, Jamie brought props! That was…thoughtful? Couldn’t he at least have made the shirts in a low-cut henley style, in honor of Simon?

8:06: I don’t think the pressure of singing in front of millions of people on TV is comparable to having Jamie Foxx invade your personal space with a terrifyingly intense stare. Not to question his methods, but yikes.

8:07: Dear judges: I too like Lee, and do not wish to see Crystal simply glide towards an inevitable victory. However, if you do not point out the serious pitch problems with this performance, I’m going to insist that we start seeing other people. Love, b-roll.

8:08: I’m with Randy. It was pitchy (and not just “in spots,” dawg).

8:09: It was nice of Kara to drop by on her way back from a business meeting in 1987. Sorry, it’s not Tuesday or Wednesday unless I’m criticizing her sartorial choices. (As I sit here in a ripped Red Sox sweatshirt and Gap jeans.)

8:10: No need to embrace Jamie’s t-shirt gimmick, Simon. It’s okay. Just say that Lee wasn’t good and move along.

8:12 Who else thinks Big Mike’s train of thought this week was, “Hey! I can sing that song from She’s Having a Baby to remind the world that I love my wife and she just had a baby! Wait, I already sang that song in the semifinals? Son of a bitch!”

8:14: I’ve officially entered The “I’m excited about seeing The Good Guys when it premieres, but if I see another commercial so help me God…” Zone.

8:15: Really, Jamie? He didn’t want the mildly insulting shirt? Shocking.

8:17: Because it’s only Top 4, Big Mike gets a mini-chorus of 5 people in semi-matching outfits. If this were the finale, there’d be a choir of 874 people wearing glistening robes. And angel wings.