Thursday, March 31, 2011

AI10 The Sun Will Go Down for 2 Tonight

American Idol Top 11

I have to admit that before the show starts, I have no real idea about what will happen tonight, and who will be going home. Because of the Judges' Save used last week, two contestants will be ending their Idol journey, and will it be two of the bottom three last week, Thia, Stefano or Casey? Or will it be another, someone who can no longer be saved? Will a guy finally be heading home, or will it be two more of the ladies?

AI Judges 2011 CU

Crusty comes on and tells us 55 million votes were placed, and we shall soon see who America was banking on this week. This is a record for this point in the competition. And they are changing things up, having not a group number, but a bunch of teams singing. First up, Lauren and Scotty perform American Idol winner Carrie Underwood's song, I Told You So. Carrie had sung it with Randy Travis. I can't help but notice that Lauren's emotional delivery is overshadowing Scotty's vocals.

Time for result, and we discover both are safe, and will return next week.After the break, there is the Ford Music Video, and the kids singing Kryptonite by 3 Door Down. Naima and Jacob are up next, singing Ashford & Simpson's great pop song, Solid. They have some fancy footwork.

Time for more results, and one is in the bottom 3, while the other is safe. The person in danger of elimination is Naima, certainly not great news for someone who in my opinion is one of the best live performers on that stage this year. It is time for Fantasia to come out and sing her latest single, Collard Greens & Cornbread. Within moments of her singing, you realize that no one this season comes close to the charisma and talent of this woman.

After the song, she tells the contestants that the first love has got to be the music. And keep it real, listen to people who will be honest. Haley, This and Pia come down to perform Katy Perry's Teenage Dream. These girls are very different, and don't really blend well together. So, I will lay on a little GLEE.

Time for the results, a quick recap from Crusty, and we discover Pia is safe. Haley is also safe, and that leaves Thia in the bottom three. Wow, going from last week, with two guys in the bottom and one slated to go home, to at least one, may be two of the ladies leaving. After a break, we discover they are moving as the mansion they were living in was leaking. They also went through the busy schedule of the week. Paul, Casey, James and Stefano sing Band On The Run, the great song by Paul McCartney and Wings. I have to admit, that was a bit of a mess. Paul sounded pretty good, but as a group, that wasn't pretty, and far from tight. I'd rather listen to Sir Paul.

Results are in, and Casey is the first one safe. Next we find out that James is safe, leaving Stefano and Paul, one of whom is going to complete the bottom 3. The final person in danger of going home is Paul, clearing both of the men in the bottom last week. Next up we have and Jamie Foxx singing Hot Wings from the movie soundtrack to Rio.


So we come back from the commercial break, and learn that the person safe tonight is Paul, and Thia and Naima are heading home. So the first four sent home are ladies, with the assist of the judges.

Thia Megia

Naima Adedapo

Next week, might America go for 5 ladies in a row? And next season, will they just put up signs at the auditions that say "Ladies Need Not Apply"?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AI10 - 11 to 9 To Go

American Idol Top 11

While it might seem like we are watching a rerun, once again we will see the Top 11 on American Idol competing this evening. With the events of last week, and Casey getting the Judges' [Producers'?] Save last week, the show returns to the drawing board to give fate another twirl and see if their histrionics can lift Casey over two other competitors, or the save will be wasted. The two differences are the this week, the kids will be singing songs from the Elton John catalog, and tomorrow night, two will be going home, leaving us with the Top 9 for next week.

They begin with a dramatic clip of the excitement of last week, from the introduction to Casey shaking on stage, shocked he go the save.

Scotty is up first, and will be singing Elton's one and only Country song, Country Comfort. Scotty also comes out with a guitar, which is the first time I thing he has on the finals. His grandmother is there, and he sings to her. He does a nice job, singing well. The judges love him once again, and the audience cheers loudly.

Naima Will be adding a reggae touch to I'm Still Standing. This is an unusual choice, yet not surprising from Naima. She is a wonderful performer, and it turns out I really love what she is doing with the song. She stayed on key, and put a new and different spin on an Elton classic. The judges don't agree with me, and think the reggae feel wasn't right for the song, but she did a nice job with a bad idea. I would disagree, as this song needed updating, some new spin put on it. Hmmm, the first contestant tossed under the bus in favor of Casey? Maybe, maybe not...

Paul is up next, and he will be singing the classic Rocket Man. He comes out wearing his "Tournament of Roses" jacket, and he begins with his very simple arrangement of the song. He is sounding good, and is giving, for me, his best performance of the finals. It is a quiet delivery. The judge's are not as fond of it as I was, thinking it was just a little off, a little too "quiet comfort" for them. Not surprising, but I disagree. Pia follows Paul, singing Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, obviously ignoring the judge's request for an uptempo song. She starts the song bathed in red lights and smoke, and I have to laugh. Rickey must be panicking with the red light! Ha! She is singing well, and is soon joined on stage by eight or so backup singers, a traveling choir. That seems distracting, at least to me. She sings well, although I have to say I've heard it sung much better, with a better connection to the lyrics, like George Michael.

Stefano sings Tiny Dancer, a song that has be sung many a time on the Idol stage. As he opens the song, he is dead on, sounding fantastic. He is allowing for a starting point, and soft beginning, giving the song someplace to build to. He takes it there, and back down again, closing softly, with a hand to Jennifer. Again, I think this is his best performance to date. J-lo thought it started iffy, but took off quickly to someplace special. Randy and Steven both liked it, thinking it was a great job.

Lauren is singing the best-selling song in Billboard history. She is taking on Candle In The Wind, which was played everywhere when Elton retooled it for Princess Diana. She is putting a Country touch to the song, which doesn't bother me at all. However, at the beginning of the song, she seems to bolt ahead of the beat, losing the tempo. Once she settle into the song, she does a nice job. The judges love it, ignoring the early issues and take it to amazing levels.

James is up next, with Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting. He comes out like he is busting it all out, and to me, he is Up With People Meets Axel Rose. Except for the very end, he brought little new to the song. The judges go crazy, talking about how great he was, what a great performance. I think I need to clean my television screen. Cause I just don't think he is near as good or interesting as they seem to think, each and every time out.

The youngster is next. Thia chooses Daniel, a beautiful, heartbreaking ballad. She dedicates it to her brother. She sings it very nicely, but the arrangement takes much of the character out of the song, leaving it a little generic. Jennifer loved it, with very kind words. Randy had some problems, although Steven agreed with Jennifer, leaving Randy on his own.

The man with a second chance is up next. Casey, fresh from the Judges' Save, will take on Elton's Your Song. The song producer tells him to shave the beard, and he leaves us in suspense as to what he did. He performs to song sitting next to the piano, a quiet, nice song, that he takes to an angry place. Then it goes back to sunny, although a touch off-key. Randy and Steven pat themselves on the back for saving Casey, and Jennifer chimes in, too. They loved it, not finding it as inconsistent as I did.

Jacob is singing Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, a song he knows from Mary J Blige, not Elton. The song starts and it seems like Jacob might be taking it down a notch, but that notion quickly goes to the wayside. To make him seem more restrained, the background singers go all out. The judges love him, still not broaching the concept of over-singing at all. Well, maybe Randy did, but I am not sure, he was just too vague with his thoughts tonight.

After the break, we have the final singer of the evening, Haley. She is singing Bennie And The Jets. She opens it with a 30s jazz feel, before it moves to another era, somewhat unspecified. I thought it was a muddled arrangement, and her performance was everything but organic. However, the judges loved it, and Randy calls it the best of the night. I am at a total loss with that critique. I mean, come on, WTF!

As we watch the recap, I am not sure what is going to happen. I think Thia might be in trouble, as in a medley, it seemed awfully sluggish. The same might be said about Paul's performance, but I really liked it, so who knows? With two going home this week, I think the voting is way up in the air, and there is a place for a surprise elimination. Randy tells America to get it right - yet doesn't tell us what that is. Tomorrow night, the results show will include Fantasia, always setting people on their ear, so it should be fun.

AI Judges 2011 CU

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

GLEE Redux - Special Education (Recast)

Elaine Paige as Evita Mike   the Mechanics
Train Dirty Dancing cover
The Zutons Florence and the Machine
Clockwise from top left: Elaine Paige, Mike + the Mechanics, Dirty Dancing, Florence and the Machine, the Zutons, and Train.

As they are putting on a rerun of the "Special Education" episode of GLEE tonight. So I decided to put this up in the hopes you catch it once again. Enjoy.

As Mr. Shue discusses his thoughts on sectionals with Miss Pillsbury, she basically calls him out on his lack of vision. He seems to get it. But first, he tells Puck to go get another member for the squad, since they are down one. Puck talks to the football team, who are less than impressed. He ends up locked in a port-a-potty all night long. He decides he needs to mix it up - there is some talent he has been ignoring. Finn and Rachel will not be singing solos. Sam and Quinn will be doing that this time. Brittany will be dancing the lead with Mike Chang, and her boyfriend Arnie gives her his 'magic' comb, to help her confidence. Kurt gets to babysit a parakeet and a chance to audition for a solo.

As Rachel breaks down about not having a lead, and Santana kicks her while she hissy fits - and tells her about having sex with Finn last year. She is approached by Puck, who is being nice to Jews since the potty incident. She notices his steroid-induced muscles. Tina tells Arnie that Brittany is cheating with Mike, and while he defends her, the thought is out there. Kurt comes to Rachel for a bit of advice on preparing for the solo audition, and the two start to bond in a way they never have before. She helps Kurt prepare with the song Don't Cry For Me Argentina, sung by Elaine Paige in the original London production of Evita.

Kurt makes it to the auditions, and doesn't make the cut to the next round. Blaine explains he was trying a bit hard, and the Warblers are all about the team, about assimilating, not about being an individual. When everyone gets to sectionals, Kurt and Rachel share another moment at the snack bar, and hug. Backstage, Arnie and Tina are not happy, and the New Directions seem to be at one another's throats. Mr. Shue has to yell at them to get them back on track. And tells them to come together, and act like ladies and gentleman, to support each other, and the other teams. The Warren Township Hipsters perform Mike + the Mechanics song, The Living Years, in the style of, well, The New Directions!

Blaine, Kurt and the Warblers sing Hey Soul Sister by Train. Of course, Blaine is singing lead.

It is time for the New Directions to perform. Before they go on, Brittany and Arnie have a discussion, and he finds out she didn't stray, she just lost the lucky comb. Soon, it is time for Sam & Quinn to sing (I've Had) The Time of My Life, the theme from Dirty Dancing sung by Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley.

Santana sings the Zutons song Valerie while Brittany and Mike dance the lead.

The competition is over, and the competition declares a tie between the New Directions and the Warblers - they will both go to Regional Championships! Upon returning to the school, Mr. Shue talks to Miss Pillsbury, and she tells him she is no longer a single woman, but a Dentist's wife. Rachel talks to Finn, and admits she tried to have sex with Puck to even the score, but he wouldn't. Finn loses it, and breaks up with her. The kids meet with Mr. Shue in the Glee room, and Rachel is offered the solo to her. She declines, giving it to 'the unsung heroes,' Mercedes and Tina. The step up and sing Florence & the Machine's song Dog Days Are Over.

There is lots of hugging when it is done, except for Rachel and Finn. End scene.

Music From Being Human (SyFy) Going Dutch

Being Human SyFy

Last night on the SyFy Channel, the 11th episode of the season debuted. Going Dutch was the name, and it included the songs of two independent rock groups, not the normal label retreads.

Photobucket Photobucket

The episode opens with a rather philosophic discourse on the spirit's ability to change, or to adapt to change. The Elders, aka "The Dutch", are in Boston to visit, which they do every 50 years or so. The rest of the time they are cared for in their sleep by a group of Amish. Bishop is sure they have come to kill him, as they are rather committed to the status quo, and Bishop is all for changing, adapting. Rather than feeding on the shores of the harbor, Bishop introduces to the Elders to Lola and her friends, who are there to allow them to feed on their blood. This makes the Elders uncomfortable, who would prefer to devour than to snack. They decide to compromise, and take the ladies offered, and kill them all. In the background, you here the rocking music of The Fling on the song Cold Comfort.

Sally's ex-fiancee/killer shows up to the house, with current girlfriend, Bridget and another person, an exorcist. While starting out gently achieves little, soon the exorcist is pulling out the big weapons, which start to have an effect on Sally.


How quickly an Alpha Dog has fallen. Just last week, Josh was on top of the world, having beaten his foe in the ring, This week, we learn Nora is pregnant, and a confused Josh questions the paternity and stumbles each time he opens his mouth to speak. Later, Aidan remaks on the missteps Josh made with Nora.

Photobucket Photobucket

In a meeting with Hegeman, Bishop learns they would like to replace him as the Boston leader, and in fact take him back to Amish country for a revitalizing 50-year sleep. This certainly doesn't settle well with him. Soon it is time for Bishop to give the Eldges an answer. With both Aidan and Marcus leaves Bishop in the cold.


While he makes what starts out as a concession speech he reveals Lola and company were laced with Juniper, which is, in fact, killing to a vampire. While offering the blood of a pregnant woman, he turns the tables on the Elders, and starts to round the table, taking their heads one by one. Soon we can hear the music for Never Came by a California rock band named Sweet Apple.

By the time he was on the third beheading, Aidan screwed up the courage and ran off with the one remaining living Elder, Hegeman. He is pursued by Marcus, who starts to beat Aidan, and prepares to kill him. At the last moment, Rebecca steps up to stake Marcus, saving Aidan's life. They run off carrying Hegeman.


Sally is struggling with the Exorcist, the rites of exorcism are having a real effect on her. But soon the exorcist was able to see though to the light on the original crime, and when Danny killed Sally. Soon the exorcist and Bridget are walking away from Danny. Sally has survived, but just barely. The music of Sweet Apple continued here, the song still strong in my memory.


Josh talks to Nora, and finally is relaxed and doesn't make an ass of himself. They make up, and Josh promises to be there for her and the child.


Hegeman warns Aidan to be careful, because they will unleash their wrath before he heads to Amish country. That leaves lovers Aidan and Rebecca, and before you know it, Rebecca gets what she wanted, a surprising thing. She would like Aidan to stake her, and while he doesn't want to, he finally oft that done. He is left with an armful of ashes.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Being Human (SyFy) Tonight - Going Dutch

Being Human SyFy

Tonight at 9PM/8PM Central, Being Human (SyFy) gives us further glimpses into the life of Boston's favorite vampire, werewolf and ghost with Going Dutch, a brand new episode. I am really looking forward to it, as the show has really started to tell a new story, a different one than the one told by the original BBC series. And when they are spinning their own 'reality' is the time when the show really shines, and allows the actors a chance to do the same. I'll admit it did take me a couple of episodes to warm up to Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington, and Meaghan Rath, but now that I have, I truly can't wait for the new episode, and allow them to carry me to new and interesting places.


In the last episode, Josh was set loose in a fight to entertain the vampire elders, newly awakened from their Amish slumbers. Seems they come back every 50 years or so, and last time back, they seek to rectify any situation they feel needs it, leaving some death and destruction along the way. But Aidan did look cute, in that vampire/greaser 1950s way. And it is so nice getting a little back-story for his relationship with Bishop. Speaking of cute, until Josh strips down to transform, I forget what a hottie he is in all his studly splendor, usually hidden by his geeky coyness. Well, it seems it is tough to hold back on all that studliness, at least from what we can see in the this preview for tonight's show.

By the way, I'm wiht the Dutch, and wouldn't mind getting a sniff of Josh, either... For more about the cast and the show, check out the official website here.

Happy Birthday, Eric Himan!

eric himan,world cafe live
Top: Official portrait. Bottom: Favorite shot I took at an early show.

He's hot, he rocks, and damn, can that boy sing. And today, he can also celebrate his birthday. You know, funny thing about the strapping, tattooed musician, is that several years ago, I wanted to catch him playing in Philadelphia, and asked my niece, Mandy, if she wanted to go with me. To my surprise, she was already a fan, and had an early CD in her collection already.

eric himan,world cafe live

We had just not mentioned him before, but now we try to go to every show in the area. We are often joined by my sister, Kathy, and as of late, my cousins Margie & Eileen. Here is Eric singing the amazing There's Gotta Be Something.

One way to offer up your best on Eric's birthday would be to place a pre-order for his soon-to-be-released album, Supposed Unknown. You can do that simply and easily on the web, just click here.

Eric Himan Supposed Unknown Cover

There you will find 3 options to purchase the new release, from $14.99 to get your autographed copy & a sticker, to $24.99 to get an autographed copy, a sticker, a poster and an MP3 of a song off the album when you make the purchase! There is also the option for $49.99, where you get all of the above, plus a brand-new official t-shirt. And yes, I have already ordered my copying, utilizing option 3. The only other option available would be that if you decided you were not going to partake of the opportunity offered, I am not sure I could continue being your friend. This is Eric singing the enticing Little Boy Blue.

Recently, I went to two different dates of the SideXSide Tour with Eric and Levi Kreis. I managed to catch the Philadelphia and Washington, DC, stops, and both were different, yet exceptional. At the Philly show, he performed some of my favorites, and I was able to tape some of them. However, he didn't sing on of my all-time favorites, A Good, Good Cry, he did sing a favorite from the album Dark Horse. This is Holding Back The Years.

Happy birthday, Eric. May there be many more years of you playing in my area. I am looking forward to attending your shows in a wheelchair!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Morning with Angus & Julia Stone

Angus & Julia Stone

On some Sundays, I am not looking for the romance of music, or the inspiration, either. Sometimes, I am just looking to be bathed by the sound. It takes a special type of music to do that. I will admit that when I was trolling around looking for some new music - yeah, I actually do that sometimes, spending countless hours going through YouTube or, in the old days, MySpace - when I first came across Angus & Julia Stone I was taken aback by the beauty of Angus Stone. He left me a bit breathless, but I managed to catch up, and start to listen. While a pretty face can turn my head, it is really the music that captures my heart, and that is exactly what the brother-sister team of Angus & Julia Stone did. They stole my cold, cold heart and warmed it with their simple yet enchanting music, an odd mix of folk, classical and pop, with a healthy amount of quirk tossed on the barbie. Take, for example, their song, Yellow Brick Road, off the 2010 release, Down The Way.

That was Angus out in front, but there are also times when Julia takes her turn at the microphone. In fact, the title track from the 2006 EP, Chocolates & Cigarettes, is a prime example of the beautiful and touching personal songs the siblings are putting out.

But then we can return to Angus, here singing one of my very favorites, Paper Aeroplane. The song first appeared on the 2006 EP Chocolates And Cigarettes. While it has the strong charms of a romantic tale, it is the multidimensional and rhythmic beat of the song that makes me thing of a more sensual nature of the music.

For more about Julia and Angus, you can find their official website here. The music is available on iTunes. You can find their 2010 release, Down the Way, here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Being Human Season 3 - Daddy Ghoul


New Episode is being broadcast on BBC America at 9PM/8PM Central time.Check your local listings to be sure, because you don't want to miss an episode! By the end of the last episode (here), we knew the Social Worker made it out, only to break down in tears, and have Annie make sure her tissues were in order. Mitchell and Annie had a lovely talk on the steps, rekindling their feelings for one another. Nina certainly has a basic distrust of Mitchell, aided by some well-placed words from Herrick. Speaking of Herrick, we are certainly lead to believe he remembers more of his past than he is letting on, although how much, we can't be sure. But Mitchell wants to know a secret, and Herrick is not sharing. And Nina placed a called to the Brighton Police, something only Herrick seems to know about.


The current episode opens in Paris in 1933, with Mitchell and Herrick having a disagreement of sort. As is often the case with these two, Mitchell was on the bad end, and his face was beaten up. But Herrick was trying to tell him about being his heir, a savior of sorts. Another thing that is often the case, Mitchell is really not listening. But what he is listening to saxophonist Sidney Joseph Bechet playing the Cole Porter classic, What Is This Thing Called Love?

We cut to George and Nina in bed, discussing family life, and being parents. Nina wants to talk about their living arrangements, but George isn't exactly catching on. That is, however, par for the course. Next we see Annie pop in as Mitchell reads more about the Box Tunnel Massacre, scaring him. She is flirty, but Mitchell is a bit on edge, when Annie notices a listing in the paper. It seems George's father has pasted away, and he doesn't know.


As they gather 'round the kitchen table, Annie decides to recite W.H. Auden's Funeral Blues, much to the chagrin of her friends. Even more disconcerting is when Annie panics and starts to quote UK Pop Diva Cheryl Cole, from her song Fight for this Love.

Mitchell tells Annie they should give George and Nina some time alone to cope with the news, and they go off to the bedroom. Annie confirms that she is not good with death - funny for a ghost, right? Soon, however, they are kissing. Downstairs, George is telling Nina about his father, and how ordinary he was, and how fantastic he now knows that to be. George decides he must go home and attend the service, even if he must be unnoticed. We cut to Herrick having nightmares, and Mitchell goes to speak to him. No, it isn't nightmares, it is withdrawal symptoms, he needs to drink blood. Mitchell tries to force-feed him. He explains to Herrick that he's had an extremely long life, and he is finally happy while Herrick is snacking on him. He doesn't want to leave her - Annie. He wants to know how he survived the fatal attack by a werewolf. But Mitchell realizes his anemic blood is not enough, Herrick needs fresh human blood to fully return.

Photobucket Photobucket

George sneaks up on the graveside ceremony for his father. He stumbles upon a familiar form - his father. Daddy George is happy to see his son, whom he feared was gone forever. George explains to his father that he is a ghost, waiting to make the crossing. Daddy explains he knows why George left - and George admits to being a werewolf, and having a ghost for a friend. Their lovely moment is interrupted when George notices his mother being comforted by the gym teacher, whom he hated. We cut to Mitchell answering the doorbell, finding a pretty young blond from the police, wanting to ask some questions about the Box Tunnel killings. The heel of her shoe had broken and she had skinned her knee. He lets her in the house.


Back to George and his quest for answers from his ghostly father, finding out that his parents had separated in his absence. His mother met the teacher in a Salsa dance class. They became lovers, and the father moved out of their home and into a travel trailer. The men walk around the allotment and discover the father's she burnt to the ground - he had died in the fire. Talking about his death has made the father uncomfortable, and he walks away. We cut to Nina tending to the cuts on the knee of the police woman in the bathroom. Herrick uses a scissors to poke a spy-hole in the ceiling. But he is looking at the blood, and he gets twitchy. But soon the ladies are back in the kitchen, and the detective is asking questions about the murders. Mitchell is panicked, and starts looking like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. After he professes a total lack of knowledge about the subject, she decides to leave. Nina calls George, to tell him she will be joining him, and he tells her the situation.


George and his father try to figure out his unfinished business, from seeing the remake of Titanic to an unpaid bill for newspapers to misinformation about the Atkin's diet. While they try to sort this out, we hear the jazzy stylings of Ernest Ranglin playing Ball of Fire.

None seem to do the trick. And Nina shows up to support her baby-daddy. Cut to Annie grilling Mitchell about the investigation and what is bothering him. Mitchell tells her that Daisy might be the one to point the finger, and Annie gets a bit tense and storms out. Herrick is sneaking about, and goes into the bathroom and starts sucking the blood off the tissues. Nina is in the camper chatting with George's father, and he talks about how the parents separated. Is reuniting George with his mother what will make Mr. Sands complete his journey?


Next wee see Annie watching as the detective is told she cannot interview Mitchell again, and is tied to the office for the foreseeable future. George and Nina are walking down the street holding hands, on their way to his home. George knocks on the door, which is answered by him mother. Annie is chatting away, talking all 30's cop movie, when she notices a picture of Lia, a victim of the Box Tunnel murders. Back to George, and he is being grilled by the teacher, and no one is happy about it.

In the final 20 minutes, there is so much to come. Can George survive around the gym teacher? Who will be caught dancing to the music of Girls Aloud's The Promise?

Who finally figures out what is going on with George's father? As Nina and George prepare him for his next battle, we hear the music of Young Marble Giants playing. It is the song Posed by Models.

Will George tell him mother about his Lycanthropy? Will Mitchell tell the detective about Daisy? Will the detective be alone with Herrick, giving him the chance to drink? Will he share his secret, with either Mitchell or the detective?



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