A few IDOL thoughts

Hello, everyone! I’ll be bringing you my penultimate Voice recap tomorrow, God willing, but first, a few thoughts on American Idol‘s finale last night.

I’ve been an intermittent Idol watcher this season, which has been a relief – without the need to live-blog or any sort of real investment, you can fast-forward through all of Steven Tyler’s incoherent haiku and the inane Ford music videos – but yet, as a longtime Idol follower, I just found the finale so…unsurprising.

I don’t just mean your new Idol champion, though that has been a mortal lock since early April; as I facetiously noted earlier this week, “cute white guitar-playing boys really struggle to win this thing.” But every element of the show had a been-there, heard-that-from-Seacrest kinda vibe. For example, when the guys of the top 12 started singing “Coming to America,” “Cracklin’ Rosie” and “Daydream Believer,” the only way that Neil Diamond wasn’t joining them for a “Sweet Caroline” singalong was if there had been a freak accident in the Idol greenroom.

And even the moments that seemed “spontaneous!” were mile-away kinda enterprises. When Ryan pointed out former contestants in the crowd, ending with the “first Idol romance” of Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo and then inviting them to join him onstage, it was patently obvious that a televised proposal was in the works. Did anyone really think that Ryan Seacrest just wanted to have an extended chat about what was new and exciting in their lives? Just saying. (Credit to Ace Young for proposing using the patented Seacrest move: “I…will drag this out…for a while…to build suspense…and retain relevance.” Also, anyone else notice that he worked the name of the jeweler into the proposal? It is the Kardashians’ world, folks. We’re all just horrified visitors.)

Frankly, the only thing that I thoroughly enjoyed was the Idol producers FINALLY taking Randy Jackson to task for his repetitive cliches by having the top 12 literally “sing the phone book.” It was a delightful little skit that ended with Ryan Seacrest presenting him with a gift-wrapped phone book and saying “Get some new material before next year!” If not for the “next year” part, I would’ve given Ryan a standing ovation from my own living room.

As for our young Phillip Phillips, well, I am anxious to hear his first album, particularly since his single “Home” is pretty damn good, if a blatant Mumford & Sons photocopy. (At least it’s better than Scotty McCreary’s anthem last year, “I Love You This Big,” which sounded like a song from some straight-to-DVD kids’ program starring Elmo in a cowboy hat.) And I hope that runner-up Jessica Sanchez not only finds some material worthy of her big voice, but figures out how to use it; when challenged by the inimitable Jennifer Holliday during their “And I Am Telling You” duet, she finally showed the passion of a potentially great artist. (In a related story, I am telling you that I never want to hear that song again on any reality show ever.)

What say you, b-rollers? Any Idol watchers in the audience? What did you think of the show, and your new Idol champion Phillip? And can people please finally stop abusing their children by giving them the same first name as their last name?

TV Finale Round-Up

Howdy do, b-rollers! My apologies for disappearing, but April and May were just about two of the more hectic months in recent history. But thankfully, life is a bit calmer now so I plan to be b-rolling a bit more often, if you please. To begin, a few notes on our season finales and general TV thoughts:

  • I have not forgotten about The Voice, but I STILL haven’t watched the last two episodes of the year. (Yes, that busy.) So I shall recap them for you this week, and while I know this gives new meaning to the phrase “a day late and a dollar short,” our journey would feel incomplete otherwise.
  • Speaking of musical journeys, what a bizarre little world American Idol has become. Our finale this week will pit a ridiculously talented teenage android (she can hit a note, but don’t ask her to register emotion) against a very limited yet adorable boy who plays the guitar. It’s quite a toss-up, since cute white guitar-playing boys really struggle to win this thing. (Although judging by this slideshow, “win” is a relative term when discussing former Idol contestants.)
  • House ends tonight, and frankly, it’s time. The two hour finale will begin with a retrospective, during which the show’s creative team will surely talk about their decision to “go out on top, while the show’s still fresh” while the rest of us chuckle to ourselves. Still, we can mourn for the end of a once-awesome-but-still-enjoyable show, and an iconic character for which Hugh Laurie deserved a bazillion Emmys. And we can applaud the fact that someone was smart enough to give the gorgeous Australian doctor his own show this fall. Which I will watch. Frequently.
  • Speaking of iconic characters, series two of PBS’ (BBC import) Sherlock wrapped up last night, and holy hell, is that thing good. (Did you know that House/Wilson were based on Holmes/Watson? Tis true!) CBS is rolling out their own modern Sherlock series this fall, and it has a lot to live up to.
  • Smash ended last week, finishing its rocky inaugural season up by showing Katharine McPhee’s character, Karen, conquer the Marilyn Monroe musical Bombshell (which, for the record, looks way more interesting than Smash). My favorite moment of the episode – and maybe series – came when the musical’s writers sprinted through the halls of the theater with a new ending that would hopefully fix the flailing show with just five minutes to curtain; talk about a metaphor. Here’s hoping that Season 2 (with a new showrunner in place) brings more showing, less telling, no Ellis, and let’s agree never to discuss that Bollywood hallucination again.
  • That “five minutes to curtain” thing is still more believable than the high school show choir that wins Nationals despite nailing their set list down two days before the competition. Accurate as ever, Glee.
  • Grey’s Anatomy also concluded last week, with another plane crash that claimed the life of one of our beloved doctors (and maybe more, they’re still shivering in the woods somewhere). Okay, I watch this show every week and am incredibly invested, but did you note the use of the word “another”? That’s right, kids, there have now been two plane crashes in Seattle on Shonda Rhimes’ watch, and we haven’t even discussed the accidents involving ferries, cars, trains, buses, sinkholes, lions and deranged gunmen. The series finale will someday conclude with the Rapture, yes?
  • Community will go on (yay!) without the distinctive, warped stylings of series creator Dan Harmon (nay!). Leave it to NBC to follow up one good “let’s axe the showrunner and hope things improve” decision (Smash) with a terrible one (Community).

So – what are YOU watching?

THE VOICE Recap: One More Time

Welcome to The Voice, b-rollers! We’re back for take 2 of Team Adam and Team Cee Lo, but before we get to any singing, we spend six solid minutes watching Carson Daly beg the entire judging panel to focus and use their words, as they’re giggling like teenagers with helium bottles because Cee Lo is apparently battling some epic flatulence. I’d comment more on this, but I’m trying to erase it from my long-term memory. Adam and Cee Lo will be performing with their teams onstage tonight, so hopefully, Cee Lo’s, uh, issues will be under control before then.

Onward to the singers! Thank you, God. (more…)

THE VOICE Recap: What the HELL just happened?!

Good day, b-rollers, and welcome to The Voice! Does the title of today’s recap concern a) Christina Aguilera’s inexplicable sudden death decision, b) Christina Aguilera’s inexplicable wardrobe choice(s) during her group performance number, or (c) all of the above? Read on to find out! And oh, you guys, there’s so much to talk about. Settle in.

But first: A quick apology for skipping last week’s results show recap. It is a terribly busy month in the life of b-roll, and that got lost in the shuffle, so mea culpa, folks. On the upside, singer/model/obnoxiously oblivious contestant Erin Martin was voted out last week! Nice job, AMERICA. I knew you had it in you.


THE VOICE Recap: I’m Starting to Hate the ’80s

Welcome to a whole new week of The Voice, b-rollers! A few important lessons learned from this week’s Team Adam and Team Cee Lo performances:

  1. Mortals should not attempt to sing Adele’s music; or, as Adam more eloquently states, “Adele is a freak.” We all think that “Starry Night” is a masterpiece, and some may even be able to paint it by numbers, but there was only one Van Gogh.
  2. Cee Lo really, really wants to host VH1’s I Love the ’80s: Volume XVI. He knows there was music made after 1988, right? He’s made some of it, that’s kind of why he’s a mentor. Maybe his contestants will be eligible to sing something from the last 20 years soon? Just wishing on a star here.
  3. Adam Levine should stop trying to make “polo shirt buttoned to the tippity-top” a fashion trend.
  4. Jamar Rogers will win The Voice, because that is how reality television works.

Let’s dive right in. (more…)

The VOICE Recap: Your Move, America

Welcome to our second consecutive day of The Voice recaps, b-rollers! Tonight’s episode is only an hour long, praise be to God. Let’s dive right in!

We open with several very wide shots of the studio, in which we see a clump of people at center stage lit by roving lasers and cheered on by screaming audience members. It takes us a good 45 seconds to get a close-up, so I’ll guess that these are our contestants surrounding Carson Daly, but who can be sure. Was this shot from a satellite or something? It seems unnecessarily artistic.

Anyway, Carson introduces our judges, and thankfully, Cee Lo has ditched the spandex get-up for a sharply studded red jacket that would severely injure that cat. Also, Carson explains how this evening’s results will work, and makes a not-that-complicated scenario sound like a calculus equation. For the record, of the 6 contestants (per team) who performed last night, 3 were already voted through by AMERICA, the other 3 will sing a “save me” song, and their team mentor person will keep one. Not that hard, right? Carson practically breaks out a whiteboard. (more…)

THE VOICE Recap: Get on the Good Foot

Good day, b-rollers! Welcome to the live shows! I was going to do a live blog (makes sense, right?) but I totally lied; I’m doing a recap instead. I cannot plan to be sharp and witty on a Monday, it just won’t happen. You’re cool with that, right? Awesome.

We begin with Carson Daly reminding us that it was only eight weeks ago that this whole thing started. (For real???) And yet, each judge has only changed his or her clothes once. Consider. Anyway, the judges have “painstakingly” (debatable) picked their teams, and “agonized” (ditto) over who to advance from the battle rounds. But tonight: Blake and Christina’s contestants perform and it is “UP TO AMERICA,” which is perfect since AMERICA has never made an unfortunate choice in one of these televised singing competitions.

And finally, at long last, we’re live! Carson Daly is wearing a suit! Adam is sporting a buzz cut! Cee Lo is wait a second what in the holy hell is Cee Lo wearing?!? Oh, you guys. I cannot. But I must, right? That’s the deal we made? Okay. Cee Lo is dressed like James Brown, complete with a shiny red, low cut (no really, it’s happening) spandex jumpsuit, and a hairpiece that he keeps flipping like Farrah Fawcett. Just when you think that Christina’s sartorial choices can’t be topped, Cee Lo goes and ups the crazy. And it’s on. (more…)