Tuesday, February 28, 2006


It's time again to hear some of the most talented women in America. Oh, and Brenna too. Two are gone. Ten are left. Who will you vote for? Let's see how they do!

(live blogging, keep refreshing!!)

So tonight had better be good. I just got my copy of Black for the PS2, and this show is keeping me from blowing video game characters to smithereens!

Katharine McPhee is on stage tonight, so I guess the rumors of her demise (or at least defection) are greatly exaggerated.

Does Ryan Seacrest get his clothes out of a closet in Pee-Wee's Playhouse? Seacrest brags about how A.I. has firmly trounced everything else on television, including shows that aren't even on in A.I.'s time slot and shows that are broadcast in other galaxies.

The girls look ravishing tonight. It's unfortunate that two of them have to leave this week, unless of course one of them is Brenna. If you didn't notice, I don't like her one little bit.

Simon's ego hasn't gone anywhere.

Katharine McPhee looks unbelievable. We get to see her and Ick Pickler being all slumber party-esque, and THAT won't fuel any schoolboy fantasies or anything...yeah...sure... Anyway, Katharine is singing a slow Stevie Wonder song tonight. I would've preferred something a bit more up-tempo, because she's not quite bringing it like she was last time. Vocally, there's very little wrong with her performance, but I would prefer it if she wouldn't try to do runs all around the song, especially since a lot of her trills and runs are coming off sharp and just a bit sour. It's not a bad performance, but she can do better. Randy says she picked a safe song, and he didn't really like it. Paula agrees with Randy like she ALWAYS DOES. I'm naming my next parrot "Paula." Simon says she was uninteresting. This is definitely not Katharine's best night, but I'm still a McPhan. 1-866-IDOLS-01

After the break, Kinnik Sky


Somebody tell me why the NAACP awards aren't racist again?


Kinnik Sky is going to do a Gretchen Wilson song. Ok, rather than doing that, why doesn't she just hang a sign around her head that says "I DON'T WANT TO WIN!" I hope she does better this week, because last week was wretched. She brings out the energy. The band is overpowering her just a bit, which is okay, because she's not really singing anything worth hearing. Something about the performance just seems very contrived. Vocally, there's nothing impressive. She's just sort of shouting it and not really singing it. Things don't look good for Kinnik this week. Randy liked the kinetic energy, but he doesn't think that the song works for her. Paula picks on her song choice (which, being translated, means Paula thinks it sucks.) Simon applauds her for picking something daring, but he compares her to a Disneyland theme park entertainer. I've seen Ejay Day (from Season 1) perform at a theme park last year, and trust me, theme park performers do better than this. My gut feeling says "sayonara" to Kinnik this week. 1 866 IDOLS 02

After the break, Lisa and Melissa...


Lisa Tucker looks radiant as always. She's got a smile that would let her get away with just about anything. She talks about her experience touring with The Lion King. Ok, so she has experience. I get that. The band is overpowering everyone tonight. On this performance, that's a bad thing, because I want to hear her voice. It's so silky smooth and nice to listen to. I think she'll have a great recording voice. I really am enjoying her tonight, though it's a bit of a safe song. Randy thinks she should've stopped the band and sung acapella, which I totally agree with. Paula thinks Lisa's got it, and that's that. Paula has very small hands. I just sort of noticed that. Simon thinks she'll sail through tonight. She'll certainly get votes from me. 1 866 IDOLS 03

Melissa McGhee is up next. She's cute, but I think the less we hear her talk the better. She picks up the pace with Reba's "Why Haven't I Heard From You." I like her energy and her stage presence tonight. This song is perfect for her voice. I love the smoky, sultry quality of it tonight. Based on this song, I might just buy a Melissa McGhee CD. She's really bringing it, and I haven't heard a bum note yet. Excellent performance! Randy thinks it's the perfect song choice. THAT WAS HOT! Paula was down with it too. Simon thinks it was the wrong song and doesn't believe she is connecting with the audience, though I feel rather connected at this time. I'm totally on a different page from Simon on this one, though I wish Paula would quit hitting him all the time, and the seat switch was beyond childishness. I'm gonna vote lots for Melissa tonight, and so should all of you. 1 866 IDOLS 04

After the break, more smokin' hotness...


Skating With Celebrities is stupid. There. I said it.

Heather Cox is...is ... sorry, I had to stop and wipe up all my drool. Heather tapes every episode of Idol, so she and I have something in common. I think this is a good basis for a marriage proposal, don't you? She's singing Mariah's "Hero." Not a great song selection, and rather safe if you ask me, which nobody did. She's just sort of singing it, not really getting into it. She's missing notes and it's just sort of a snooze-fest. I really hate bad-mouthing Heather, because she's major hotness and likable, but this is just an average performance. She hits the high note well, but ran out of gas early. Average performance with a little-more-than-OK finish. Paula says she improved from last week. Since the seat switch, Paula is having to come up with her own stuff, since she's going first. She pauses quite a bit. Paula doesn't think Heather is as good as Mariah. Randy drops Mariah's name to remind us that he works with Mariah, and just so you know, Randy works with Mariah. Did I mention that Randy works with Mariah? Simon agrees with Paula and Randy, who works with Mariah from time to time. Simon compares this to a horrible pageant rendition. Not Heather's best performance, and she's only gonna get the hottie votes. 1 866 IDOLS 05

After the break, Satan...errr Brenna...


Brenna Gethers dumbfounds Seacrest. She's gonna sing a Donna Summer song. I'm tired of her constant posing and posturing. Is anybody else ready for her to fade into utter obscurity? She sounds awful. Not hitting any key in particular, Brenna takes to destroying the song. Someone call the music police; we've got a homicide on our hands. Awful, ugly, stinky, yucky, gross! She thinks she did wonderfully, which immediately endeared her to approximately one tenth of her own personal teeth. Paula thinks she didn't even show up. Randy says it was all over the place and that Brenna didn't bring it. Simon disavows any liking of Brenna. He says she sounded like a bad drunk singing in a bar. Brenna thinks America will vote for her in droves. So, nobody vote for her tonight. NONE. Simon thinks America actually has sense and that we'll send Brenna home tonight. I hope we not only send her home, but also embarrass her all over the place. 1 866 IDOLS 06

After the break, someone who is actually talented...


Paris Bennett says she has favor...whatever that means. I wish she'd stop putting on this little girl voice during the interviews, because it's just a bit creepy. I love her voice WHEN SHE SINGS, but the Rudy Huxtable thing is a little tired and has got to go. She's going to sing the talent show standard "Wind Beneath My Wings," which is way too safe. Paris needs to stick to performances like last week if she wants to keep our attention. Already this song is forgettable. Vocally, there's very little wrong with it, but it's just not a stand-out type of performance. The vocals at the end are rather good, but still it just seems like a wedding performance. Paula loves Paris' fashion sense and wants Paris to do more fun things. Randy compares her to Lauryn Hill and encourages her to explore her youth and be more fun. Simon agrees that she needs to sing "younger" songs. The judges all agree, and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse ride out onto stage. 1 866 IDOLS 07

After the break, Ayla and Ick.


Ayla Brown looks regal as ever, which is quite a contrast from her sweathog days in basketball. Still, she looks great sweaty and dirty. She's singing "I Want You to Need Me," and her vocals are giving me goose bumps yet again. She's blowing it out tonight. I am closing my eyes for a moment to see if I like it as much without seeing her, and I have to say I do. I'd buy this chick's CD in a heartbeat. I love her vocal control. Very very very much awesome! Paula says that Ayla wants it really badly and that she's growing. Paula compliments her legs. Randy thinks the whole package was nice. Simon thinks she's worked incredibly hard and that her determination is going to help her quite a bit. Simon's only problem is that she's still just a bit mechanical, but I don't think he's quite right on this occasion. Is it just me, or is Idol purposefully trying to downplay Ayla? I'm going to vote a lot for Ayla tonight. 1 866 IDOLS 08

Kellie "Ick" Pickler is playing up the whole fish-out-of-water thing AGAIN!!! Kellie, please! Drop the "aw shucks" country bumpkin thing, because we're tired of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kellie is going to murder Bonnie Raitt's "Let's Give Them Something to Talk About." She misses all the initial notes and most of the notes following it. She's still very nasal. Most of her notes aren't solid, and there's tones of flats and sharps, and she's never quite on key. I cannot emphasize her nasal quality enough. Yes she's pretty. Yes she's little miss sweet and innocent. But she is not a superstar, and when she records a CD it will fail completely. Paula says she is adorable and unpretentious, except for all the country-girl pretense. Randy thinks it's a hot one, because obviously he is TONE DEAF temporarily. Simon emphasizes her likability. He basically says her voice sucks and that she's only going to get votes based on her backstory. They are so pimping her despite her lack of talent. Please, all of you, if you have any sort of decency, do NOT vote for this girl. KICK PICKLER!!! Do not call this number: 1 866 IDOLS 09

After the break, Mandisa...


Mandisa is going to sing Faith Hill's "Cry." I love Angie Aparo's songs. Mandisa is so likable. Watch everybody at school this week pull the "Dog Jaw" joke. I like the way she brings soul to country music. She looks the part of the diva onstage. She's not holding back with her voice this time. I have to say, she hit a MAJORLY sour note in the middle of all that. Paula says she's one of a kind. Randy thinks it was a bit rough. Simon thinks America will keep Mandisa around, but that she hasn't found the right song. Simon says she's the best female singer in this year's competition. Mandisa is good, but she needs to step up her game next week. 1 866 IDOLS 10

Ok, so that's it for the ladies this week. Here are:


Who will go home: It will be two of these four: Kinnik, Heather, Brenna, or Kellie. I think Kellie will probably coast on her fan base, but the other three are in lots of trouble.

Who is safe (but still vote for them!): Katharine, Lisa, Melissa, Paris, Ayla, and Mandisa.

Join me tomorrow night for the guys' performance!

Monday, February 27, 2006

BASEBALL FANS... check out this great post on Buck O'Neil from Ramblings reader Michael "Betapundit" Castellon.


Continuing in the tradition of introducing you, the reader, to artists you may or may not have ever heard of, Musical Ramblings would like to direct your attention to young Miss Ashley Melnick of Texas.

Ashley says she's actually from Delaware, but we all know how Texas grows on a girl. Ashley is a classically trained singer, a pageant veteran, a staple on Philly's The Al Alberts Showcase, and a regular anthem singer for the Philadelphia 76ers. Ashley also is a classically trained pianist, and played Anna in The King and I. All this by the tender age of 16!!!

So, if you want, go to her myspace page and sample her music!

The first track she has made available is "Turn the Page." It features Ashley on the vocals and on the piano. Musically, this song is comparable to any commercially available pop song in terms of quality. Her voice is quite nice, and it displays a sultry quality that Britney Spears could only have hoped for. Ashley co-wrote this song, and it's quite obvious the girl has skills. She shows off her vocal range in the middle of the song, and it's quite clear the girl is no lightweight. The song displays a depth of emotion that is uncommon in most teenage compositions

"Angels" is a slower song and less orchestrally driven. It's a bit heady, and it speaks to those of us (namely me) who might be feeling down and out. Ashley delivers the song soulfully and tugs on our heart strings at just the right moments. There's just something about her voice that sounds older than she really is.

"Hold Me High" was written by Lauren Hart. Like the other songs on Ashley's demo, the song is very introspective, which is a nice change of pace from a lot of puff pop pieces. Ashley is definitely categorizable as a pop artist, but her material doesn't entirely fit when you think about depth of lyrics and strength of vocals. (There's some whispering here, but not much.) Ashley manages to come out and punch you in the gut during the latter parts of the song.

"Till the End of Time" was also co-written by Ashley. It's a heartfelt ballad that again features Ashley on piano with a synthesizer background. With some development, this could be a great song. The sentiment again seems a bit mature for Ashley's age, but I suppose that is to her credit rather than her detriment. The vocals are again impeccable, and it would take very little work to take this song or any of the others and make Ashley very marketable.

If you're tired of the current crop of pop dreck like Ashlee Simpson, Britney Spears, or such as that, check out Ashley by clicking on her banner below with Musical Ramblings blessings! Drop by her myspace page and let her know what you think!

NOT MUCH TO POST ABOUT TODAY, since I haven't had the best couple of days. Every now and then, bad days come along. So, I thought I'd just share with you the lyrics to a couple of songs that really help me out when I've got the blues.

"Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

Where is the moment we needed the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to grey
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces everytime
And I don't need no carryin' on

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Well you need a blue sky holiday
The point is they laugh at what you say
And I don't need no carryin' on

You had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day

Sometimes the system goes on the blink
And the whole thing turns out wrong
You might not make it back and you know
That you could be well oh that strong
And I'm not wrong

So where is the passion when you need it the most
Oh you and I
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
You've seen what you like
And how does it feel for one more time
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

And then of course, there's this one:

"Bad Day" by Fuel
Had a bad day again
She said I would not understand
She left a note and said, "I'm sorry I
had a bad day again"

She spilled her coffee, broke her shoelace
Smeared the lipstick on her face
Slammed the door and said, "I'm sorry I
had a bad day again"

And she swears there's nothing wrong
I hear her playing that same old song
She puts me off and puts me on

And had a bad day again
She said I would not understand
Left a note and said, "I'm sorry I
had a bad day again"


And she swears there's nothing wrong
I hear her playing that same old song
She puts me off and puts me on

Oh and had a bad day again
She said I would not understand
She left a note and said, "I'm sorry I
had a bad day...again"

She left a note and said, "I'm sorry I
had a bad day..."

Thanks for indulging me just a bit. I'll be back on target with more music news soon!

Friday, February 24, 2006


Some of you may remember the Austin auditions of American Idol this year. Those of you who do may also remember Kevin Mitchell, a man who bears more than a little resemblance to judge Randy Jackson.

Kevin was first compared to Randy, then removed his hat to reveal his hair cut into a mohawk style. He then went on to sing Genesis' "I Can't Dance." Despite his talent, he wasn't able to make it past Randy, Paula, and Simon to go on to Hollywood.

Kevin was kind enough to sit down with me and answer a few of my questions, and he has provided tremendous insight into what goes on behind the scenes during the initial rounds of American Idol auditions. Here's what Kevin had to say:

M.R.: What made you decide to audition for American Idol in Austin?

Kevin: I auditioned last time in New Orleans for the previous season and never made it past the opening auditions, so after the season was over with, I used the remainder of my social life and spent everyday on the A.I. website for updates until I saw that they were coming back to Texas. I don’t live far from Austin, and I’ve never traveled to the Longhorn City, so this was a vacation long coming.

M.R.: Can you tell us a bit about the previous rounds, prior to Simon, Paula, and Randy?

Kevin: Well after all the promotional stuff, like “Welcome To Austin!!” or whatever city you’re auditioning in, comes the actual auditions. Now, I don’t know the format of the other cities, but this is how Austin’s auditions went: One of the staff members of the show will have a mic in his hand, and he basically tells you that as you walk out onto the field, or wherever the opening round is staged at, in groups, with your belongings, you will stand four abreast, side by side. There were about 12 tables lined in a row with a curtain separating each table. Also, there were two people at each table: a talent scout who works for A.I. and a representative of the auditioning city. Of course, as you know from the website, you are given wristbands, which does play a major part in the process. If, after your audition, the panel says no, then your wristband is cut, and you are directed to exit the building, but if you are one of the lucky ones, then you are given a colored sheet of paper and are directed in a different direction for a brief interview and pictures. Oh, did I forget to mention that the whole thing is recorded? After the first round, you then sing for the producers of the show, Ken Warwick and Nigel. Remember, he was the judge from the hit summer show So You Think You Can Dance. They do ask that you wear the same clothes as the first round, so that the editors can give the viewers the idea that everything occurred on the same day, plus there’s also other reasons that I’m sure that those in the field of television production can explain. Now again, I don’t know the format of the other cities, but they had us in groups of about seven or eight, sitting in chairs and waiting outside the hotel room where the producers were. Again, this is all recorded, so there’s cameras and film crew all around you. You’re called in one by one and sing one song a cappella, just as before. They may have you sing more than one song as in the previous round, but this time around, you’re given a song to memorize prior to the second round. This explains how everyone in each city was singing "Fame," or in Austin’s case, "Rockin' Robin." Now again, if you are one of the lucky few to make it past this round, you are given another colored sheet of paper with more directions as far as when and where to meet for the infamous third round, where you sing before Paula, Simon, and my dawg Randy.

M.R.: When you sang before the judges, you didn't sound terrible like some of the other contestants. What do you think was the reason that the judges decided not to send you on?

Kevin: I believe the reason for their decision was that prior to me entering the room, the judges already had somewhat of a profile of me from the interviews that I gave in the previous rounds as well as while I was in the holding room, just before I was called into groups to the area where they are. The hat that I wore was a crutch for me as it actually helped calm me, since it was the only piece of Longview that I had. Another reason is that I think the Randy Jackson thing was overplayed a bit, because what you didn’t see were the numerous skits and interviews that were about the Randy Jackson resemblance. Any song I sung was lost in comparison. I don’t think that I was taken seriously enough, and had I just asked to step outside for a couple of minutes and gather myself (plus take off the hat), after I had sung my first song and was given a second chance, then I think they may have taken me more seriously and let me on through.

M.R.: Was your appearance on the show edited in any way? And if so, what did we not get to see?

Kevin: Well as I said before, there were numerous skits in the holding room based on Randy which were never shown on the air, thank goodness (laughs). Also on the cutting room floor is my first song that I sung for them and their reaction while I was singing it, as well as a candid conversion between Randy and myself.

M.R.: I would've really rather heard you sing Terence Trent D'Arby's "Wishing Well" than that Genesis song. What process did you go through to select songs for each level of the audition process?

Kevin: All the songs that we sung in Austin were our own choice and not from a list. The song that we were told to memorize was "Rockin Robin" and that was for the second round. Oh and trust me, if I could’ve picked any song from a list, instead of standing there trying to come up with something to sing, it would never have been that Genesis song.

M.R.: Do you feel that your passing resemblance to Randy hurt your audition that much? If given the chance, would you do your audition differently?

Kevin: I think on some levels it did hurt my chances and on other levels it didn’t. I can’t change the resemblance, just like there are others in the world or even some of your friends, who may resemble a celebrity. So sharing some of his features isn’t changeable for me, but the positive side and that people in town recognize me more because of my closeness to Randy, which I always get a kick out of. I’ve even signed a few autographs, with the word “dawg” hidden within my signature.

M.R.: Do people REALLY come up to you and ask if you're Randy Jackson?

Kevin: Yes. A few of my friends have now began calling me Little Randy.

M.R.: What were your impressions of each of the judges?

Kevin: Hmmmmm. I have to keep in mind that this is going all over the world! Just kidding. In all, they’re good at what they do and have been in the business longer than anyone I can think of. So when they say that someone is a bit pitchy or ridicule someone on the contestant’s sheer “ghastly” performance, they’re nine times out of ten on the mark. Now, there are a few exceptions (nudge, nudge), but no matter what, Paula always has something good to say, mostly.

M.R.: Do you think that Simon Cowell might possibly have been breast-fed by his father?

Kevin: Unless you count Hitler as his father, he was genetically engineered, dude.

M.R.: Is Ryan Seacrest as short as he looks on TV?

Kevin: Man, every one of them is short!!

M.R.: You mentioned on the Idol message boards that you and Hollywood contestant Jason Horne were going to make appearances around your hometown. What sort of reception have you been getting since your appearance? Has it been mostly positive or has there been negativity?

Kevin: As you know, Jason was cut in the first round during the groups segment, but he’s received a ton of offers for appearances in and around town. His family is helping him out with the bookings, and he’s enjoying it. I, myself, have made a couple of appearances, and I’m currently working on a project with Jason and will hopefully have a CD put together with our collaborations, so its going great right now.

M.R.: Other than Jason did you meet any of the contestants (good or bad) that we may have seen on TV? Can you get me Allison Schoening's phone number? Or maybe Cierra Johnson?

Kevin: No. No. And umm no.

M.R.: What kind of things are coming up for you in the near future? Any plans to continue with a singing career?

Kevin: I’ve been singing with my band, Jellybird, for over a year and since then, the band has had an offer to play at my upcoming high school reunion as well as other venues. Like I said earlier, I’m working with Jason on a couple of projects, and I’ve been invited to sing for an old high school friend of mine in Arlington. So if anyone out there is looking for a guest to sing for you, contact me at theb4guy@yahoo.com

M.R.: Many Idol fans on the Idol message board, as well as on the American Idol usenet newsgroup, thought that you didn't quite get a fair chance, especially in view of some lesser talented contestants that did make it through (Crazy Dave anyone?) What is your reaction to this?

Kevin: I don’t believe that I was being myself and that was one of several things that set me apart from the other potentials who actually made it to Hollywood (yes, even Crazy Dave). I walked in with a hat that had beer caps around it and I was wearing a mohawk. Had I came in without that hat and with a shaved head and had more energy, even though the Randy thing would’ve come up, my talent would’ve overshadowed it.

M.R.: In two words, tell us your thoughts about previous Idol winners.

Kevin: Kelly Clarkson: Bar Setter. Ruben Studdard: Soothing Charmer. Fantasia: Soulful Energy. Carrie Underwood: Southern Girl

M.R.: What do you think about the other contestants who moved on to the Hollywood rounds? Do you have any favorites as to who might win?

Kevin: On the girls side, I’d like to see Mandisa make it to the final four. She has awesome set of pipes. Also on the girls side, Paris Bennett. Not only does singing run in her family, but who knew for someone that small, that she could sing like that? She reminds me a lot of a younger Fantasia, so those are my picks for the girls. For the guys, my first choice has to go to my harmonica playing dawg, Taylor Hicks. His hair has already become a trademark and I believe that embodies what true southern music influence can bring to show like this. My second choice would probably go to Will Makar, just because he’s from Texas. Hey, gotta represent.

M.R.: What advice would you give people who are considering auditioning for Idol next year?

Kevin: Practice now and study up on your music. Also take voice lessons and if possible record the episodes to study the songs they’re singing as well as their stage presence and other factors. But most importantly, if or when you audition, prepare for weather conditions and just have fun!

M.R.: Will we see you auditioning next year?

Kevin: Now what kind of a question is that? Of course I will!

M.R.: Now that you've been on national television, are there any words of wisdom that you'd like to put out there for everyone in the world to see?

Kevin: Practice, practice, practice. Be yourself. Have fun and enjoy the experience. Dawg.

Thanks a bunch to Kevin for being so candid and going into such depth. Musical Ramblings will be rooting for you for future success! Keep in touch with me!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Twelve men and twelve women have sung, and two from each group will have to go home tonight. Did the American public pick the right ones? Will a deserving contestant go home? Will the entirety of America be accused of racism if it's Gedeon leaving? We'll find out tonight.

(live blogging, keep refreshing!!)

Alright, so now Girlfriends is off, and I see that tonight's Sanford and Son is the one with Scatman Crothers on it, so I definitely need to see that tonight. As if my DVDs of Fred Sanford aren't enough to kill my every last free moment! In any case, I need to get my A.I. anxiety over with for this week, so I can know who is going home. Simon Fuller, what hath thou wrought? Fortunately, it's about that time.

Brenna is posing again. Lovely.

Ayla couldn't possibly be any cuter.

Now it's time to schmooze with the judges. Randy agrees with some of what Simon said last night, and amazingly Paula doesn't shout him down. Simon's right. Not every one of them pierces our heart strings (cough cough Kellie). Y'know, I know that Simon and Ryan are great friends off-stage, but you'd never know from their banter on-camera.

The Idols get to sing "Take It Easy" as done by the Eagles for their group performance tonight. What a great song! David Radford really stinks it up, and that screeching by Chris Daughtry is awful. Patrick and Bucky's harmonizing is great, as is Gedeon and Sway's. (That's right, I complimented Gedeon.) Taylor and Will don't really mesh together though. This is an awfully guy heavy song.

After the break, we'll maybe get some results or something...


Does anybody at all care about the Skating With Celebrities season finale? I know I sure don't.

It's time for a montage of performances. I won't comment on those since I've already done so quite extensively in previous posts.

Katharine McPhee, will you marry me?

Brenna feels like a duck. No comment. Paris had a dream about being at the finale, and she betrays her own self-confidence. Heather and Stevie make the stage look really cute. Let's make fun of the Theory of the Duck some more.

Safe so far: Mandisa, Kellie, Paris, Ayla, Lisa, and Katharine. DUH.

Also safe: Heather, Stevie, and Melissa.

The least number of votes were achieved by: either Kinnik, Becky, or Brenna. PLEASE let it be Brenna. We won't know until after the break.


And now it's time to find out! Kinnik does...NOT have the lowest number of votes, so it's either Becky or Brenna. And Brenna...also has a seat, so Becky leaves us tonight.

Still one more girl to go, so hopefully it will be bye-bye Brenna later on.

I didn't feel Becky O'Donohue did well enough, so I'm not shocked by her elimination. Frankly, she's doing a better job with the song tonight. I think we'll see her again somewhere (and not just in the pages of Maxim where she's appeared with Jessie before.)

Now, it's time for the guys to find out who is the first one to go. After the break, of course...


Time for the guys to face the chopping block.

Elliott seems humble enough. I'm hoping to see great things from him. Kevin says the highlight of his brief life was getting his cheeks pinched, and he's hoping for his first kiss next week.

Gedeon, David, Taylor, Will, Bucky, and Patrick, are all safe so far.

Ace and Elliott are also both safe so far.

Kevin and Chris are also safe.

The only two left are Bobby and Sway. If Bobby's not going home, then I don't know what. And he is. He knows it.

After another bowel wrenching version of "Copacabana" and some commercials, we'll be back with our next round of cuts.


After two well-deserved cuts, it's time to get rid of another of the girls.

Mandisa, Kellie, Paris, Ayla, Lisa, and Katharine are all safe again. DUH!

Brenna is safe. GRR.

Kinnik is safe. Melissa is safe. So, it's either Stevie or Heather. Stevie is so cute. Heather is so hot. So will it be cute or hot?

Stevie is going home.

I'm going to miss her. Though I think she's talented, she just got the wrong song in the wrong key last night. She's doing a noble job at not crying. She sounds a billion times better tonight than she did, even though she is battling back tears and emotion. Given a different performance last night, she'd still be with us.

After the break, it's bye bye to another guy.


Time for the last elimination of the night. Ace, Kevin, Sway, Chris, and Elliott are safe. DUH.

Patrick and Bucky are...

Taylor and Will are safe.

David and Gedeon are safe.

Bucky or Patrick? Bucky is safe! Patrick and his ego are going packing.

I'm not going to miss Patrick one little bit. I've always thought he was smarmy and arrogant, even more so than Gedeon's youthful precociousness. Thankfully, we won't have to listen to him anymore.

And that's it for tonight's eliminations! Idol will be back with more performances on Tuesday (women) and Wednesday (men) nights, with another round of eliminations on Thursday! Be here for all the action!

Here are the remaining Idols again in Brady Bunch fashion:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


The ladies blew it out last night, and it's time to see if the men can actually sing this year. It's been slow going during the auditions, and only a few of the guys have chosen to shine. So who's going to break out of the rut tonight? Stay tuned and we'll find out!

(live blogging, keep refreshing!!)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the same suit that Ryan Seacrest wore last night? I know this week's episodes are pre-recorded, but I thought they were taped on different nights.

First, a recap of the ladies and another look at all the major hotness.

Thankfully Paula has fixed her Planet of the Apes hairdo from last night. Simon says the guys need to be original tonight while singing other people's songs. Paula says they need to be unique and different while singing other people's songs. Randy says they need to be unbelievable.

Now it's time for a recap of the men. Bucky duck walks, Elliott cries, and lots of them shake.

After the break, Patrick Hall...


Patrick Hall says he's going to bring it, so he didn't leave his ego at home tonight. His auditions haven't inspired me with confidence so far. If Kellie's a Carrie-clone, then Pat's a Clay-clone. He sings "Come to My Window" by Melissa Etheridge, and he does a much more horrible version of it, if that's possible. It's a bit too stylized and there's not much behind his vocal tone. I'm looking for a richness of voice, and he just doesn't have it. He's a little stiff on the stage, and the head bob is a bit much. The whole performance seems like a bad karaoke bar version. Randy thinks he was quite nervous, but that it was alright. Paula talks about his previous performances, which means she thinks tonight's performance sucks and can't think of anything better to say. Simon says he sang a terrible song and that Pat looks uncomfortable. Paula wants us desperately to judge on all previous auditions, because judging on tonight could send Patrick home. 1 866 IDOLS 01

David Radford is up. He's this year's "crooner," and that's a schtick that's going to get old really quick on a pop-oriented show. He's going to sing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," which means he is not going to break out of his mold at all. It's a safe selection, which doesn't usually work. He's not hitting his stride vocally, and his voice lacks depth and range. It's sort of like a bad Sinatra impersonation. The spastic drumming thing didn't work. Seriously, I don't think he's ranging more than 4 or 5 notes through the whole performance, and it's very much style over substance. Randy compares it to a high school performance. He says it was terrible. No originality, plenty of pitch shifts...you name it. Paula dubs the girls the "Kitty Pound" and "The Paula Poodle Pound," which is so lame that crutches wouldn't help. Simon doesn't know what to say and calls the performance a joke, but he figures that the audience might like him enough to vote for him. Not this audience member. No votes from me. So far, the guys tonight are no good. David is SO about to cry up there. 1 866 IDOLS 02

After the break, Bucky Covington...


Bucky Covington has trouble remembering lyrics, which I can't help but think might be due to accumulated THC in the brain. Bucky is going to sing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man." So he's going for the Bo image really early on. C'mon guys, let's get it together! His voice is raspy and is falling short on several of the notes. He's so off pitch that it hurts. Just listening to the disparity between his voice and Rickey Minor's band, it's quite obvious the difference in wavelengths of each sound. I've heard much better performances by drunks on the street corner. It was NOT good. Randy thinks he pushed too hard and that he went sharp. Paula thinks he picked a good song, but that he was off. She can't seem to say anything truly bad, so she reaches for something halfway positive to say. C'mon, Paula just tell him he's not good. Simon says the song wasn't right and then he picks up on my previous bar-room reference. Not good at all. Bucky could be going home quite soon. No votes from me. 1 866 IDOLS 03

Up next, Will and Sway...


Well, so far the guys have let the girls whip the snot out of them.

Will Makar is ready to go. Of all the 16 year old guys this year, I think Will has the best voice. He is going to sing "I Want You Back" as done by the Jackson 5, so at least it will be upbeat. What's the deal here? He's sharp and flat all over the place to start with. In the middle of the sing, he starts to come into it, and his dance moves work. Despite a rougher start, I think he's really working it out, and his energy is definitely very infectious. I love the way he hams it up to the girls. Randy thinks he was entertaining. Paula thinks he just won the hearts of every high school girl. Paula makes the Bobby Brady comparison, which has been made before on this blog. Paula, are you reading Musical Ramblings? Simon thinks the performance is average. Will's performance wouldn't beat the girls last night, but he's only going to get a few votes from me. 1 866 IDOLS 04

Ryan actually said "where there's a Will, there's a Sway." Alright, somebody call Brian Dunkleman, because I think there's a job opening for him.

Sway is singing an Earth Wind & Fire song. Sway looks weird in that hat. He takes on a difficult falsetto, which is falling short. I really expected him to bring it, but he's screeching more than he's hitting his notes. That high note is really nice though. Unfortunately, he didn't show off any more range than that, and a song done completely in falsetto is not what I wanted. Randy thinks it was hot. Paula thinks he's great as well. Simon thinks it was a third-rate copy. And, of course, when Simon disagrees, the other judges make fun of him, despite the fact that he's completely right. NO votes from me. 1 866 IDOLS 05

After the break, hopefully someone won't suck.


Chris Daughtry, the most likable guy on the show this year, thinks everyone has been doing well tonight. Obviously, he's watching the Olympics and not American Idol. He is going to sing Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive," which is a choice that I don't think we've heard on this show before. It's ambitious, but let's see what happens. Oh wow. Goose bumps. If I had my eyes closed, I'd think Jon Bon Jovi was actually on stage. I don't like that he looks constipated while singing, but I can't complain about his vocal tone. He has a very strong voice, and he's really leaving it all on the stage tonight. This is the first decent performance of the night. Nice job. Randy thinks it was really really good and thinks he has a great recording voice. Paula is "wowed" by him. Paula predicts he might win the competition. Simon compliments his choice of song and says that this is the first performer with potential tonight. Simon uses "superb!" Victory! Chris is getting a lot of votes from me tonight. 1 866 IDOLS 06

After the break, more singing and stuff!


Kevin Covais is the youngest contestant. Any day now he might actually start growing facial hair. Perhaps once all his baby teeth fall out, he'll start to look like the American Idol. Kevin will be singing Brian McKnight's "One Last Cry," which was recorded prior to his birth. This is way ambitious for him. Kevin's quite obviously nervous, and he is almost statuesque up there, he's so stiff. Vocally, he's not bad, but he does NOT look like a star up there. His lack of stage experience is showing here. He's shaking. His microphone is visibly trembling. Randy likes him, and says that was the bomb. Paula feels sort of motherly toward Kevin and thinks he's a sheer joy and an awesome kid (note that she didn't say "good singer.") Simon apologizes to America for liking Kevin, and goes on to say that only 90 plus year-olds with hearing difficulty would like it because it was excruciating. Overall, Kevin was too nervous and not quite good enough. 1 866 IDOLS 07

Is this over yet?

Up next, ugh...


Gedeon McKinney is borderline insufferable. He represents Memphis. Ugh. Can't we get a Brooke Barrettsmith or a Chris Daughtry? Gedeon is so inarticulate, yet at the same time full of himself. He sings "Shout" by the Isley Brothers. He dances like a retarded duck. Vocally, he's unremarkable. What is up with the guys singing bad karaoke renditions tonight?? The word spastic comes to mind for some reason. Horrible, just AWFUL. Randy likes the song choice and thinks it's good, but there were no outbursts of star quality. Paula was thrown for a loop, but a butterfly farting throws Paula for a loop. Simon compares him to a Chippendales' warm-up act. Simon is the only one that knows what he's talking about tonight. Gedeon's smile is kind of creepy. I'm so done with Gedeon. NO VOTES. 1 866 IDOLS 08

After the break, Elliott and Bobby...


Even Ryan seems to know that the guys, except Chris Daughtry, have really bit tonight.

Elliott Yamin is one of the more likable performers this year. His voice is really pure and nice. He is going to sing Stevie Wonder's "If You Really Love Me." I really dig his voice. He's spot on tonight. His presence is over-powering, and I think he might be the guy version of Katharine McPhee. No complaints here. I'm enjoying his performance quite a bit. Elliott just might be the come-from-behind guy this year who is going to really knock our socks off. Randy says it's hot and that he really did Stevie justice. Paula thinks he's great also. Simon thinks he's the best male vocalist Idol has ever had, and quite frankly, I think he might just have something there. LOTS of votes for Elliott tonight. 1 866 IDOLS 09

Bobby Bennett is up next. His initial audition was terrible. He's singing Barry Manilow's "Copa Cabana." UGH!!!!! YUCK!! He's off pitch to start with, and he looks repulsive on stage. What a horrid performance. Dude, pick a PITCH. And please, don't ever dance again! Yuck yuck yuck! Awful, hideous, wretched, terrible, and pardon me while I go get my thesaurus for more words. Randy thinks he was vocally off. Paula hypes up his showmanship (translation: can't think of something good to say about his voice.) Simon thinks it was a complete nightmare. He's right. YUCK! No votes for Creepy Bobby. Actually, if I could vote in negative numbers, I would. 1 866 IDOLS 10

After the break, could Ace break tonight's funk?


Ace Young is up next. He's going to sing "Father Figure" as made famous by George Michael. He definitely has George Michael's voice. I'm sure the lyric about being "naked at your side" will get the girls a-dialin' for Ace. Ace has a good voice, and I've always thought he was a little Backstreet-ish, but tonight he is proving that he has star power and that he does really sing well. This was a great song choice. Randy thinks he's good at working a crowd and that he can really sing. Paula thinks Ace will definitely get the gay vote. Simon thinks two other guys have outsung him, but he feels that Ace has the X-factor, and he'll sail through to the next round. I'll definitely give him some votes. 1 866 IDOLS 11

After the break, Taylor Hicks...


Taylor Hicks is one of the most interesting performers this year. He will be performing Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Levon," which is an amazing song, and I have great expectations. Taylor sings it fairly well, and if I close my eyes, I can feel myself in a smoky Memphis jazz club. Taylor is the consummate showman, and you can tell he really believes in what he does. Despite a few minor vocal imperfections, I think Taylor really did a great job tonight. I love it. Randy says he's original, but doesn't like the song choice. Randy forgets the difference between a harp and a harmonica. Stick to playing bass, buddy. Paula feels his power and passion. Simon didn't think Taylor would make the finals, but he now recants and thinks that Taylor is interesting and feels Taylor's passion. Taylor is the man, and I'm going to be throwing him lots of votes tonight. 1 866 IDOLS 12

So that's it for tonight! Some were good; some were AWFUL.

My predictions:

Who is in danger of going home: a ton of guys. Sway should go, but his fan base will carry him. Patrick, David, Bucky, Kevin, Gedeon, and Bobby

Who is definitely safe (but still vote for them!): Will, Chris, Elliott, Ace, and Taylor

See you tomorrow night for the results!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


It's go time, baby! Tonight, the women sing and WE decide. This year looks like it's gonna offer a lot of fresh new hotness with the women, and we'll be hearing from them tonight for two solid hours. So strap in, men get your drool bibs, and get ready for the women of American Idol!

(live blogging, please keep refreshing!!)

is looking awfully seacresty tonight. I'm with Seacrest on the "no more crying cowboys" and "no more Brittenum twins." The girls are looking great tonight, but what in the world did Paula do to her hair?

Simon says that he hasn't had any criticism for his actions on the show, which is true in the Opposite Universe. The year that he doesn't get criticized for being harsh is the year you should keep your eye on the skyline for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and I ain't talkin' about Notre Dame football. Simon claims that people have been attacking Ryan for being obnoxious, by which he means gay. Paula denies being tougher this year, but I don't think that's true. She's actually been a bit tougher this year, though we didn't get to see what she screamed at Rhonetta about. Randy thinks a guy is going to win this year, so I guess they're finally going to start being good. About time they showed up!

Now it's time for a montage of the ladies, which is fine by me. Ayla's got a gun on her as she throws the football. Somebody slap me...I just saw Katharine doing the hula... Kellie gets to cry a lot. ICK, PICKLER! And there's an assortment of shots of them all jumping around and rejoicing.

After the break, we get started!


Mandisa is my Nashville homegirl! I am just in awe of her. She has such a tremendous voice, and despite Simon's "bigger stage" comment, she is quite beautiful. She's singing "Never" by Heart, which is a really interesting choice, and one of my favorite songs. Carrie did it last year with "Alone"...can Mandisa do it? Of course she can. She sounds great, and now I know what would happen if Ann Wilson and Aretha Franklin would have had a baby together. I enjoyed her performance, it was hot, and I'm definitely about throwing this girl some votes tonight! Randy loves it, despite a few sharp notes. Paula thinks she's the second coming of someone great. Simon thinks it wasn't perfect, but says her personality more than made up for it, and he predicts that she will be in the finale. I can't help but think he might be right. 1 866 IDOLS 01

Kellie Pickler's obnoxiously redneck self gets on-screen and cries and cries. She's no doubt very pretty, but there's just something annoying about it. Kellie is going to sing Martina McBride's "How Far," and dedicating it to her dad. Martina...hmmm...good Carrie-clone choice, and not the way to distance herself that she might have been looking for. She's not got the depth of Martina's voice, and she's reaching for the high notes. She almost runs out of gas on the really high ones. Her tone is MUCH too nasal. She does Carrie's knee-bend squatty singing. Oooh, she really missed a note during the last verse. That was painful. Randy says it's sort of a half-baked performance. One can tell that Paula didn't really like it because she dances all around the subject and blames song selection. Simon thinks the end was a mess, but he invokes the likability aspect, which means he didn't like it, and is just pimping her at this point. No votes for Ick, Pickler. Somebody needs to push her shut-up button while she's rambling to Seacrest. She said "Pick Pickler" again which makes me want to vote in negative numbers for her. 1 866 IDOLS 02

After the break, it's time for much hotness...


Becky O'Donohue is giggly and quite beautiful. I have to admit that her initial audition wasn't all that great, so I'm not sure what to expect tonight. She'll be singing "Because the Night" by 10,000 Maniacs. Interesting selection. She's got a deeper huskier voice that comes from somewhere down in her toes. She's dragging it a bit. I'm not at all impressed with the refrain of the song. She sounds like she's over-reaching a bit. If I'm being honest, she sounds a lot like Lindsey Cardinale, last year's major hottie, but that's not good, because Lindsey got eliminated a bit early. Becky's stage presence is there, but her notes are all over the place. Randy likes her whole package, which is 90 percent look and 10 percent voice. Paula didn't really like it and says the notes were off. Simon celebrates a breakthrough with Paula. Simon thought it was better than expected, she's a visual 10, but a vocal 6.5 and he thinks she's going to fall to better contestants. Not the best contestant and not many votes from me. Better than Ick Pickler. 1 866 IDOLS 03

After the break, more singing and stuff...


We're back, and Ayla Brown is taller than I expected. Then again, Seacrest is a bit short. Ayla looks nice tonight, and as always she carries herself with class. She will be singing Christina Aguilera's "Reflection," which doesn't bode well, since I absolutely hate that song. I have to admit though, the first few notes gave me goose bumps! Her voice is the strongest one we've heard tonight so far. She is hitting the vast majority of her notes spot-on, though she had trouble with one run. I like it! I love it! I want some more of it! Randy thinks she pulled it off well and compliments on her falsetto. Paula echoes the sentiment and compliments Ayla on making the song her own. I love Ayla's attitude. Simon thinks she's a hard worker and compliments her on her emoting. He says it's one of her better performances. This girl is getting votes from me tonight, and Ayla has gained serious points tonight. 1 866 IDOLS 04

Paris Bennett is up next. She's singing "Midnight Train to Georgia" as sung by Gladys Knight. She's got the bounce going on, almost a bit too much. It's no secret that this girl has stage experience, and she works that out. Her vocals aren't that amazing, but her personality is so sparkling that it's hard not to like her. She plays to the camera quite well, and for her age, she is quite an electrifying singer. Love the last note!!! I feel like running a few laps now that she's done. Randy takes the opportunity to name-drop on Gladys Knight, and he is blown away. Paula has nothing bad to say. Simon says she's a great performer and compares her to Fantasia, which isn't the best thing in the world. Simon says she was great. She wasn't my favorite, though. 1 866 IDOLS 05

After the break, Stevie Scott!


Stevie Scott has this enchanting smile. She's cute. She has really great control of her voice. She's singing "To Where You Are" as done by Josh Groban. Low notes aren't her best friend, though. She's having difficulty breathing and holding her notes initially. To me, she sounds just the least bit flat. Song selection is key here. Stevie, I like you, but I'm not that impressed. There are no strong notes, no amazing runs, and the whole song just seems understated. Randy thinks it was boring, which was my feeling exactly. Paula thinks that combining Enya and Josh Groban was a great idea. Simon thinks it was a total mess and compares it to be at a horrible Sunday lunch and having a child singing out of tune. Not a good night for Stevie, who is also taller than Ryan. She looks like she's about to burst out crying. For her personality, I hope she goes forward, but based on her performance tonight, she could be going home. Stevie thinks Ryan could have a chance with her, and Seacrest can't wait to get to the break! 1 866 IDOLS 06

We'll be back, most likely with someone else singing...


The guys will be singing tomorrow night. Yay.

Brenna Gethers is the most annoying person this year. I can't wait to see her fall flat on her face. She's going to sing Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life." Brenna's middle name is Mema. That's so...uninteresting. She starts off flat. Her performance is uninteresting and bland. One thing Idol contestants need to remember is that you HAVE to come out strong, rather than coming out soft and building up. Leave it all on the stage, baby! This is just an average performance, sort of like a karaoke version. She blows her last few runs. Randy thinks she chose a safe song (and I agree.) Randy thinks it's not enough. Paula thinks Brenna needed to be more humble and compliments her on that which means that Paula doesn't like it and can't find anything else to say. Simon thinks that tonight's performance has been horrible and that she was unlikable. Brenna challenges him. I can't wait for her to be voted off tonight, because she is the least likable person on the show. I refuse to vote for this chick. She poses enough to even make Seacrest tired of her. 1 866 IDOLS 07

Up next, homina homina Heather Cox!


Wow, Heather Cox is unbelievably gorgeous. She's singing "When You Tell Me That You Love Me." She starts off really badly on the low notes. Again, come out stronger! Don't be saving anything! Leave it ALL on stage. She sounds like she needs to go to a higher key. This is just an average performance. Her stage presence is okay, and naturally the camera loves her. She finally comes out somewhat on the last few notes. I don't know what to say. It wasn't awful, but it was just sort of...safe. Randy echoes my sentiment. She just did not go for it. Paula reaches for something nice to say, but has to just reiterate what Randy said. Simon says it was sung like an elocution lesson which is quite apt, and it was definitely forgettable. Paula reminds us that Heather is beautiful, so yeah, I'll throw her like one vote. 1 866 IDOLS 08

After the break, Melissa McGhee and Lisa Tucker...


Melissa McGhee is cute, and we just haven't seen much of her yet. We get a peek at her auditions. She will be singing "When the Light Goes Down" as done by Faith Hill. She has a sort of Peppermint Patty vibe to her. Again with the safe songs, though! Starting off low doesn't work for her, but she does come into it during the refrain. She misses a run, but overall her vocal is fairly strong. She has a strong presence, and there's obviously some emotion. I just don't know about her range, but I suspect it's fairly limited. She ran out of gas as the song ended a little bit early. Randy says it started shaky, but that she really kicked in in the middle. Paula thinks it was a great performance and that her vocal tone was sexy and sultry. Simon says he's in between both sides. Melissa points out that this is the first we've heard her sing, which is a good point. Simon thinks she's lifeless and that her lack of exposure might hurt her. I think she's worth a few votes. 1 866 IDOLS 09

Lisa Tucker is ready to go, and I'm ready to see her. She's been one of the most phenomenal performers this year. She's looking great tonight, and her voice is coming out strong. She's obviously got great vocal control, and there's something of a young Mariah in her look and voice. I do think she went flat a bit at the end, but her overall performance is a winner. Very good! Randy says she chose the most ambitious song and that she rocked. Paula thinks she is a precious little gift. Simon says she's extraordinary and thinks that ten years from now we'll remember that this was the night we first saw Lisa Tucker perform. This girl is well worth the votes. 1 866 IDOLS 10

After the break, 2 more left...


Kinnik Sky is up next. She'll be singing Oleta Adam's "Get Here," which is an amazing song. I hope she can do it well! Her voice is not bad. She seems to be reaching for lower notes. She really kicks it into high gear, but she goes sharp. Unfortunately, this performance is just too safe, boring, and she didn't nail it well enough. The last few notes were really good, but not enough to save the performance, and she cut the last note a bit too soon. Unfortunately, as Randy says, people are going to compare her unfavorably with the original artist. Paula compliments her looks, and says she did sing sharp notes. Simon thinks her problem is that she is up against the outstanding performances of the younger contestants. Simon thinks it's a very cabaret performance. Kinnik, I think, is in grave danger of going home this week. 1 866 IDOLS 11

After the break, my girl, Katharine McPhee...


Katharine McPhee looks incredible. They've saved the best for last. She's going to sing a Streisand song. Wow. THIS is a voice. Girl, ain't nothin' wrong with that! I like the subtle understatement followed by the belting of the strong high notes. Technically, she's probably the best singer tonight. She NAILED all of her runs. Yes! Definitely a contender. Randy agrees that she's a hot performer. Paula now loves her job again because of this performance. She can't say enough good things. Paula predicts she will win the show. Simon says that out of the four very good vocalists, she was the best! I love her. 1 866 IDOLS 12

So, who's going to go home, and who's going to stay? My predictions:

Who's going home: Kellie should, but her fan base is going to put her through. Stevie, Kinnik, Brenna, and Heather are the most likely candidates for hitting the road.

Who has a lock on it (but don't forget to vote for them!): Paris, Katharine, Lisa, Mandisa, and Ayla.

Tune in tomorrow for more Idol performances!

Monday, February 20, 2006


When American Idol began this year, we met a pair of sweethearts. Brooke Barrettsmith and her sister Leah auditioned in Chicago, and when they opened their mouths they won the hearts of many of us across the fruited plain. Brooke especially stood out that night, and the early buzz about her was that she was a lock for the Top 24. A great many blogs and websites had already posted spoilers claiming that Brooke made it all the way to live shows where America would vote on her.

So it came as a shock to most of us when she was cut from the Top 44.

Still, out of the many thousands that auditioned, placing in that high rank is quite an honor, especially when you consider that she survived at least 3 rounds of initial cuts and 3 more rounds of cuts in Pasadena.

How is the talented Brooke Barrettsmith feeling after the end of her run in the competition? Brooke was nice enough to sit down with me and answer a few of my questions.

M.R.: What would we be the most surprised to know about you?

Brooke: I'm a total homebody!

M.R.: What was it like getting up on that stage in Hollywood everyday? What kind of thoughts were going through your mind?

Brooke: It was almost too surreal. I couldn't believe I was actually there the whole time! Before each time I sang, all I could muster up to pray was, "Dear Lord, please help me! And please don't let me trip and fall on my face!"

M.R.: You looked like you took it harder than your sister when Leah got cut. You girls must really be close, right?

Brooke: My sister is my best friend. I believe in her talent and her heart so much. We are each other's biggest fans for sure.

M.R.: Were there any contestants (other than Leah) that you got to know or got really close to? Any interesting stories?

Brooke: I became close friends with Mandisa. We still keep in touch, but that's all I can say for now! Sorry!

M.R.: Any chance you could just lie and say you're from Memphis, since about all we've had to represent us here are those terrible Brittenum twins? You didn't have to suffer through them at all, did you?

Brooke: I would love to represent Memphis! I LOVE Elvis! I mostly heard the Brittenum's from afar. Actually, EVERYONE listened to them from afar! I think we were afraid to get too close!

M.R.: What was your initial reaction when you finally made it down the "Green Mile" and the judges said you didn't make the Top 24?

Brooke: I was shocked at first, but then completely thankful for the experience and the great exposure. The opportunities I have now because of appearing on AI have been amazing for me so far!

M.R.: A lot of fans have talked about you on message boards and in blogs, and the general consensus (except for Jaded Journalist) seemed to be that everyone thought you were going through and wanted you to succeed. As the least trash-talked-about Idol contestant this year, what would you like to say to your fans who supported you?

Brooke: I LOVE YOU ALL! I am so thankful for each of you! This wouldn't be possible without your continued support, and I know you are with me no matter what. So let's make some rock n roll music, shall we?!?

M.R.: Any trash talkin' you'd like to do right now on fellow contestants or judges?

Brooke: (laughs) You already know me better than that J.D.

M.R.: So now that Idol is over for you, are we going to see Two4One get back together?

Brooke: My sister and I are currently pursuing solo music careers. But we are completely supportive of each other's endeavors.

M.R.: Is "Open Arms," your previous CD, still available anywhere?

Brooke: Yes it is. It will go back on sale online eventually, and you can currently purchase it at any of my live concerts.

M.R.: What does the immediate future hold for Brooke Barrettsmith?

Brooke: A LOT of solo/acoustic shows and new demos. Maybe a possible record deal?!? You'll have to keep checking back to my website! I am also singing and writing with former Two4One band members in their new band "Goodbye". Any show dates with the band will be posted on my myspace in the future.

M.R.: I've seen that you play guitar, but what other instruments do you play?

Brooke: I play acoustic and electric guitar and piano.

M.R.: You've been pretty outspoken about your Christianity. A lot of people seem to feel that being a Christian and a pop/rock star are irreconcilable. What do you think about that?

Brooke: I am a follower of Jesus. I will write, perform, and become whoever He wants me to be. God always works out the details. I don't see myself as a "rock star". I'm just a Christian musician that loves to rock out and share from the depths of my heart!

M.R.: Former Idol contestants like R.J. Helton and George Huff have made a respectable career in Christian Contemporary Music. Do you think that's the route you'll be taking?

Brooke: Yes. I am currently pursuing a recording career in the Christian Rock/Worship music genre.

M.R.: What projects, if any, are you currently working on?

Brooke: I am currently writing and recording more songs for my first solo album.

M.R.: Where can we catch you performing?

Brooke: My next appearance will be on Saturday, March 11th in my hometown of Spring Grove, IL. Everyone is welcome and it's free. All the other details are on my myspace.

M.R.: Better yet, where can we go to buy hundreds of copies of your CD at at time?

Brooke: (laughs) Not even I can do that yet!

M.R.: Do you have any advice for any American Idol hopefuls for next year?

Brooke: Be strong, practice singing like crazy, and surround yourself with people that will encourage you to endure in your times of doubt.

M.R.: Is Aaron, your boyfriend, like the luckiest guy in the world or what?

Brooke: Aww! It's the other way around! I'm the luckiest girl in the world! He has given me amazing strength and support through every musical journey I've been on. He is the greatest man I've ever known and I love him with all my heart!

M.R.: If you could tell America only one thing, what would it be?

Brooke: There really IS a unique purpose to why you exist. His name is Jesus, and YES He loves you! You don't have to live in despair, defeat or hopelessness anymore! John 3:16 says "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you...plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." And also take inspiration from the story surrounding John 14:6.

Brooke, you're a total sweetheart, and I can't wait to see what you do next. Musical Ramblings will be following your career, and we hope you'll continue to do well (and continue granting us exclusive interviews when you hit the top!)

If you'd like to sample Brooke's music, and you should, you can visit her at www.myspace.com/brookebarrettsmith or her official website at www.brookebarrettsmithmusic.com.

Photographs courtesy of Brooke Barrettsmith and Stuart Keisman Photography

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Those of you who have been keeping up with the American Idol auditions most likely remember the real star of the Greensboro auditions: Ms. Rhonetta Johnson. She has been touted as this year's Idol "Worst Of" and has taken ranks with William Hung, Mary Roach, and that Derrick guy from Season 1.

Rhonetta took the small screen by storm as she high kicked the camera and cursed out Paula Abdul. Idol took a long look at an angry Rhonetta as she stormed out, and they successfully made her appear to be the villain of the story. The story was often unflattering, showing clips of Ms. Johnson in unsavory poses, as well as embellishing a certain well-remembered shot where they made it appear that Rhonetta was exposing herself during a high kick. They focused on Rhonetta's refusal to drink Paula's water and Rhonetta's subsequent rage, which was almost inexplicable until you know the real reason that Rhonetta was upset. (Here's a hint: it was edited HEAVILY.)

Musical Ramblings wasn't satisfied that the whole story was told, so I contacted Rhonetta through her representation, and she was gracious enough to engage me in some old-school question and answer. And wouldn't you know, we DIDN'T know the whole story. And is Paula Abdul as innocent as she was made out to be in the show? Let's find out!

M.R.: What motivated you to try out for American Idol?

Rhonetta: I wanted to make a better life for myself.

M.R.: Can you tell us a little about your experience at the Greensboro

Rhonetta: It was fun at first, until they made us wait so long.

M.R.: We saw quite a bit of you on the show. Was it edited in any way?

Rhonetta: Yes, they edited out a part when Paula was screaming "NO" and slammin' her hands on the table.

M.R.: Were you surprised at how the editing turned out?

Rhonetta: Yes.

M.R.: The judge you seemed to be the hardest on was Paula. Simon and Randy seemed a lot meaner to you, so why did you single out Paula Abdul?

Rhonetta: Paula screamed at me, but y'all didn't see that.

M.R.: Was the Rhonetta we saw on TV the REAL Rhonetta? Or was it an act?

Rhonetta: It was me when I'm very upset. However, I'm really a nice person.

M.R.: About that outfit...were you really not wearing any underpants?

Rhonetta: I had on black panties.

M.R.: What about Ryan Seacrest? Was he nice to you?

Rhonetta: Ryan was VERY nice.

M.R.: Did you at any point think that you might be able to win the

Rhonetta: Yes.

M.R.: Did you meet any of the other contestants that we saw on TV? What did you think about your competition?

Rhonetta: Yes, I met some of them. There was great competition, but I was confident.

M.R.: We've all seen the court documents documenting your past run-ins with the law. What would you like to say about your police record?

Rhonetta: Yes, I have a past, and the past is the past. I'm moving on to become a better person and create a "positive" life for myself.

M.R.: There has been a lot of hate directed toward you since your appearance, and some fans have even gone on to create a website at www.rhonettajohnson.com to make fun of you. What is your response to these people?

Rhonetta: They need to get a life! What they say doesn't offend me.

M.R.: Would you ever try out for Idol again?

Rhonetta: No...I'm too much for American Idol.

M.R.: Looking at your website, I see you're starting a V-blog to document yourself rapping in different places. Are you hoping for a career in the rap industry?

Rhonetta: No...I was just having fun! I would like to sing, though.

M.R.: What sort of projects do you have lined up for the near future?

Rhonetta: I have a role as a lawyer in a movie called "Tragedy to Triumph". I also will be in Rolling Stone magazine this month. I hope to do some modeling, singing, or even a reality show.

M.R.: Some of the previous Idol contestants like the Brittenum twins have had legal troubles, but they've also been offered record deals. Do you have any offers coming at you?

Rhonetta: No, not at this time.

M.R.: If you could describe each past Idol winner in a few words, what would you say?

Rhonetta: Kelly Clarkson: Born Star with class and cute! Ruben Studdard: Where is he? Fantasia: Great singer! Carrie Underwood: Very talented

M.R.: What advice would you have for anybody who might try out for Idol next year?

Rhonetta: BE CONFIDENT! If the judges say say you are not good; don't give up...keep trying.

M.R.: Any final words you'd like to say to the judges?

Rhonetta: Don't be so mean!!

M.R.: Anything else you want to tell the fans about yourself??

Rhonetta: Thank you for supporting me and not giving up on me despite my past. Please visit my website, www.rhonetta.net to see what will be the next thing.

So there's the complete dish on the girl who is supposedly the worst contestant this year, but who actually turns out to be a very nice person indeed. Thanks very much, Rhonetta, for being a good sport and for sitting down with us. I'm sure there are things about Paula's tantrums we'd all like to know. Thanks also to Candyce, Rhonetta's representative, for all her help in contacting Rhonetta.

Stay tuned to this spot for more contestant interviews as we dip behind the scenes of American Idol!!

Saturday, February 18, 2006


I was checking The Smoking Gun to see if they had any mug shots of country music fallen star John Michael Montgomery's recent DUI arrest, but oddly enough (especially for them) they had nothing on it.

However, I did peruse a more interesting section of their site. It's been there for a while, but I'd never really delved through it.

This section contains copies of the tour riders for lots of popular acts. The rider is a list of things that a singer wishes or demands to have on hand when they perform a concert, and it's usually part of the contract. Failure of the concert promoter to provide these things can either result in stiff penalties or the performer not performing at all. Here are some of the most interesting ones:

Snoop Dogg: "Snoop's dressing room should have (1) complete Sony Playstation" with miscellaneous current sports titles. (Snoop plays Madden fo' shizzle dizzle.)

Paula Abdul: Dressing room must contain veggie tray with dip, fresh fruit, a gallon o apple juice, a gallon of fresh-squeezed O.J., a six pack of Perrier, a six pack of Pepsi or Diet Pepsi, hot water & tea bags, cream, honey, lemon, sugar, coffee cups, china plates, silverware, and six large bath sized towels. (How much is this chick planning on drinking? She'd be running off stage to pee every three minutes! Maybe that's what those six bath towels are for.)

Pantera: "To be placed in band dressing room no later than 15 minutes before end of Pantera show: Taco Bell order: 6 bean burritos, 6 bean burritos with green sauce and sour cream, 12 regular tacos, 12 soft tacos, 3 taco salads, a big bag of hot sauce (lots including fire sauce.)" (Do you get the feeling that it wouldn't be a good thing to be on the bus with Pantera after a concert without cracking a window??)

Eminem: Em wants a game room that "has an arcade type ambience such as video games, large television with playstation and games, a masseuse, ping pong table, and portable basketball hoop set up outside the dressing room area." (When was the last time you went to the arcade and got a massage??)

Jennifer Lopez: Bear in mind that the following were required by J-Lo when she was shooting a music video for a BENEFIT...a charity video encouraging people to send money to a cause: "45 foot trailer with triple slide-outs and 2 entry doors, must have CD player, TV/VCR, hair sink and make-up station; the room must be white with white flowers, white tables, white drapes, white candles, white sheets, large comfortable chair for hair-styling (no doubt white) and a white partridge in a pear tree. She also required mangos, green seedless grapes, cantaloupe, papaya, honey dew melon, watermelon, chocolate chip cookies, apple pie a la mode, brownies, vanilla ice cream, beans, rice, chicken, Cuban food, and Balance Bars (and you wonder where that big ol' butt came from!) To drink, she demands room temp. Evian, raspberry Snapple, lemon Snapple, and Ice Tea Snapple, Nantucket's Fruit Punch, and absolutely NO tomato, apple, or grape juices (not that she could consume what she already has within the course of one video shoot anyway!) She also requires yellow roses with red trim, white lillies, and white roses, as well as EXPENSIVE Diptyque candles. (Someone needs to hold a benefit for the poor video shooter. It probably cost more to involve her than they took in to benefit the victims.)

Clay Aiken: A whopping 10 page rider. "IMPORTANT -- One (1) meal must be prepared (for Clay) that does not have the following in it: nuts, mushrooms, coffee, mint, chocolate and shellfish." (Dang, guess those Chocolate Pecan Crab Cappucinos are out, huh?)

Ruben Studdard: I kid you not: A large bucket of KFC, and a fifth of tequila.

"Weird Al" Yankovic: The Weird One does not like Dasani for some reason. Also, he's a strict vegan.

O-Town: Despite having exactly ONE hit before everybody forgot about them, O-Town demands a police escort to the venue. "This escort must be empowered to route the vehicles through any potential traffic delay. Under no circumstances are the vehicles to be allowed to encounter any delays due to traffic." (Yeah, probably because whoever showed up to their show thinking it was the Backstreet Boys would get P.O.'ed and leave.)

There are plenty more of these to be read. Some are hilarious, but all are interesting. It's amazing what these guys can ask for and GET!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


The interview videos have been posted on Idol's website, and it's time for us to get to know the people we're voting for, which for the record does not include the Brittenum Twins. Bwahahaha.

Not that I'm gloating or anything.

So anyway, without further ado, let's recap their videos!

Ayla Brown (17, Wrentham MA) has poise and grace. She looks positively statuesque as she speaks. She seems humble enough, so I can't hate on her too much. She reveals that she literally thought her dad was Elvis until she was age 9, which explains where the King has been for all these years. She's a baller for Boston College, which ain't cheap, people. (Member of the 2000 point club! Impressive!) Like every single other Idol contestant that even has one smidge of an ego, she thinks she'd be the best role model since the apostle Paul. She's 17; she's too young to realize that people her age just aren't meant to be role models. Also, like every single other girl, she identifies with Kelly Clarkson. She takes AP Ceramics, and at this point I have to stop the video and do some research. Did any of you out there know they offered AP credit in college for CERAMICS???? I'm going to sue my guidance counselor for not clueing me in on that one. Ayla's cool, and I can see myself voting for her, at least until the Top 12.

Becky O'Donohue (25, Dobbs Ferry NY) is so hot that it makes me want to hit myself. She's just so... wow! Her twin sister, Jessie, is so wow too. She is cutting loose with that Bwaughston accent too. Like Ayla, Becky is a basketballer and she played Division 1 ball at Niagara University (no, I'd never heard of it either). She has a 27 inch vertical, so girlie can grab the boards! Shocker! Hold the presses! She identifies with Kelly Clarkson too. Becky has the look about a million times over, but she's just missing a certain depth...the X factor just isn't there.

Ace Young, (25, Los Angeles CA) Idol's pretty boy this year, had a love interest at age 7. Wowsers, they start off early, don't they? He's been trying at this music thing for a while now, but just hasn't been able to "reach his fan base." He's a self-proclaimed sports junkie, and he gets lots of points for being a George Brett fan. And we have yet another person wanting to be a role model. Yawn! Ace is great with kids. Here's a cushion for you ladies to swoom onto. Not surprisingly, Ace identifies most with Constantine Maroulis. Ace is a nice enough guy, very softspoken, and very tactful. He'll go a long way with the girls.

Bobby Bennett (19, Denver CO) says his toughest obstacle in life has been getting over the death of his great grandma. Wow. The kid has led a charmed life, if that's the case. He wears a turtleneck that makes him look like a woman's roll-on deodorant. He's a singer, but he's also an actor. Could this year see the production of From Bobby to Kellie?? Uh. Let's hope not. Why do they always ask the contestants why they want to be the next Idol? Gee, what do you think? Fame, fortune, et al maybe?? Bobby wants to bring some theatrics to the scene, because as we all know, we've never had THAT on Idol before. Bobby's favorite performer is Barry Manilow, which at this point, if he didn't have a wife, would erase all doubt that he is monstrously gay. Bobby identifies with Ruben because fat boys gotta stick up for each other.

Brenna Gethers (25, Mt. Vernon NY) is the type of person that makes you forget that she's a lady, in that you just really want to punch her right in the mouth. I hate the way she talks. She speaks to people the way a teacher would speak to her second graders. It's all very condescending. She is going to be the most aggravating person of all of them yesterday. She loves Michael Jackson and identifies with Fantasia. While I can handle the latter better than the former, neither are all that great of a choice. If you haven't figured it out yet, she will be getting absolutely no endorsement from this blog.

Heather Cox (22, Jonesville NC) is a doll. Seriously, where has she been all my life, much less all this season? Heather's toughest trial in life to date has been breaking up with a boy. We should all have such troubles. She's a religious girl, so I have to like that about her. When she talks, all I can hear is that gorgeous southern drawl spilling from her lips like honey. She's known by all the other contestants as "The Squealer." I'm going to leave that one alone. She's also a sprinter and graduated college with a 4.0 so there's brains behind those looks boys! She doesn't talk all the role model bull crap; rather, she just comes right out and says she wants to be an Idol because it's a fun job. She identifies with Vonzell Solomon and George Huff. Heather has a crooked toe, but baby, let me tell ya, if you'll just stick to closed-toe shoes, we'll be good to go. I really really like Heather. She has a great personality, is not annoying, and seems to have a head on her shoulders that isn't just used as a support system for hair growth. I expect I'll be voting for her too.

Bucky Covington (28, Rockingham NC) is uglier than a shaved baboon's red butt cheek. His hero is Kid Rock. Pardon me, folks, if I'm not holding out much hope for him so far. He's as country as a mayonnaise sandwich. He blinks. A lot. If he didn't say that he identified with Bo, I was going to go outside and find out which alternate universe I had landed in. He has an identical twin brother. It's hard to believe the world can handle that much ugly.

Chris Daughtry (26, McLeansville NC) is a really likable guy. He likes to paint, loves Richard Marx, adores his wife, and counts fatherhood as the most difficult obstacle that he's overcome in his life. What's not to like? He identifies with Bo, natch, and he cites the band Live as a primary musical influence. I really really like him, and I expect to be voting for him the first chance I get.

Katharine McPhee (21, Los Angeles CA) is a cutie pie and a half. And she can really sing. Katharine takes issue with Idol's audition process, saying that it wasn't fair, and that "they let go of some really good people and kept people who were pretty." Gutsy stance to take there. She's excited that she got to kiss all the judges on the lips, but no word on whether Simon actually does have a forked tongue or not. Katharine wants Idol to be her vehicle to get her to higher heights, since she's also interested in acting. Her favorite performer is Al Green, which is a nice breath of fresh air from the Mariah Careys and Whitney Houstons we've been hearing from since Idol began. Seriously, the girl has style. She identified with Fantasia the most, but I won't hold that against her. She has a twinkle in her eye that I just love.

Kellie Pickler (19, Albemarle NC) is way too over-rated. Y'know, she's probably a nice girl and all, but this whole "let's dress up and act like Carrie Underwood" thing is way way WAY overdone. It's as though she was sitting in front of the TV taking copious notes last year, and now she's putting everything into practice, up to and including Carrie's audition outfit from last year. Kellie managed to make some of her fans mad this week, due to the fact that in her online profile, she defined "American Idol" as "Kellie Dawn Pickler," a statement that was interpreted by some to be a bit arrogant. Kellie burps like a man, by the way. To her credit, Kellie has had to overcome some major life obstacles as a teenager, what with her family issues, and that's helping her gain the support of a lot of fans. Unfortunately, she seems to be subconsciously exploiting this (either that, or Idol's producers are.) And it would be a shame to see others lose votes, since Kellie is neither the best singer nor even the best looking this year. For some reason, she always looks disheveled. She cries a lot, and that gets old fast. Kellie likes a lot of country, but she distances herself from Carrie in the interview, saying she really likes Kelly Clarkson. All that being said, Kellie herself is not an totally unlikable person, but she needs to ditch the Carrie image quick if she wants to win my vote and the votes of many others.

David Radford (17, Crystal Lake IL) is a good-looking kid, and he's sort of a throwback to the Rat Pack era. He states in his profile that his biggest obstacle to overcome was his ego, which is good to know. He doesn't seem to be too arrogant, so we'll let the competition play out a bit. He's been singing since he was a zygote, and he'll school your butt at ping pong. He's into performing in musicals. He identifies with Jon Stevens which is pretty apt. David is a likable guy, a bit of an old soul for his 17 year old body, but still likable.

Elliott Yamin (27, Richmond VA) came out of nowhere in the Hollywood rounds and wowed the judges (and me!) Elliott is a personal hero of mine, since he has diabetes and has to wear an insulin pump. I don't say that sarcastically, because I also struggle with this disease. Elliott's certainly not the best looking contestant, but he can really sing, and you'd never see him coming. He's a big proponent of art and music education. His all-time favorite singer is Donnie Hathaway. He doesn't identify with any previous contestants, which in his case, is a really good thing. I like this guy, and I intend to vote for him.

Kinnik Sky (28, Duluth GA) is another contestant we haven't seen much of yet. She's had a few obstacles in life, not the least of which was going through a divorce. She's one of the older contestants this year. She says she is a bonafide actress, which is always endearing when coming from one's own mouth. Seriously, people, it's cool if other people compliment you, but if you say it, it makes you sound full of yourself. She loves to eat chitlins, which for those of you above the Mason-Dixon lines who don't know, is pig colon. You literally have to clean the crap out of them and boil them in order to eat them. They are disgusting beyond belief. She is in love with Fantasia, but the camera (and this blogger) is quickly falling out of love with her.

Lisa Tucker (16, Anaheim CA) is pure gold. I L-O-V-E love this girl. She's been singing ever since a placenta was a major portion of her life. The only thing that even close to raises an eyebrow about her is that she doesn't eat before a performance, though that probably has more to do with vocals than anorexia. She defines an American Idol as "someone who has something special to offer and who presents themselves in a respectable manner." Do you love her yet or what? She's very dignified and very pretty. Oh, and she can REALLY sing too. She's got that self-effacing attitude, and that carries a lot of weight. She identifies with Kelly Clarkson the most. Nikki McKibbin gets no love again!

Gedeon McKinney (17, Memphis TN) gets to represent my home town after the throne was abdicated by the Butt Hole Twins. So he can't help but be a little bit better. He comes off as a bit obnoxious, but part of that can be attributed to his age. One of his personal goals is to win 10 Grammys within 2 years, which is madly ambitious, since you'd have to basically write songs, shoot videos, and do technical production work just to be able to be nominated for that many. Sheesh, Kelly Clarkson only won 2 this year, so she must be way off her game! Gedeon started singing in church. He designs clothes and shoes. what you hear in the background is the sound of your gay-dar going off. He claims to have designed a store (an icon, no less) in Memphis, but I live in Memphis, and I've never heard of it. He wants to be the next American Idol because he represents "artistry, discipline, commitment, focus, and integrity," but one thing he does not particularly represent is articulateness. He idolizes Prince because he's the only performer who can dance for three hours wearing high-heels, so by now the gay-dar is at a critical level. He identifies with Fantasia, Clay (gay-dar! gay-dar!), Ruben, and Tamyra Gray. I'm not sure about this guy. Who wants to bet he'll be gone before next week is done?

Jose "Sway" Penala (28, San Francisco CA) has certainly grabbed his share of attention. He's definitely got the Filipino vote. Like exactly everyone, he didn't know what to do when he found out he was in the Top 24. We've heard it so much. I don't know why the interviewer keeps asking that question. And, like everyone else, he's been singing since he was a sperm. Sway cooks, ladies, so swoon over there next to the Ace fans, but not unless you like spam & eggs with fried rice. Pardon me while I puke. He doesn't identify with any former American Idols. At this point, I have to say, who are the hacks that came up with these questions??? They should look at some of my interviews (including some upcoming ones with some semi-finalists, so stay tuned!) Sway is a faithful church-goer, which I respect. I think that he's very talented, and I expect him to go far. Whether or not he's winner material remains to be seen, but I'll give him a few votes for now.

Mandisa Hundley (29, Antioch TN) is one of the classiest women I've seen on TV in a long time. Her self-effacing demeanor and her Christ-like way of carrying herself allow no reproach to be offered by one such as I. Though she may be a bit on the heavy side, she has quite a beautiful face and an even more gorgeous voice. When I see her, I'm reminded of Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson, only younger. Do any of you get the feeling that the contestants all were born with microphones in their hand? I think they should really cut this question from the interview, since EVERYONE'S answer is pretty much the same. She cites Kirk Franklin as her favorite performer. She identifies most with Fantasia. Mandisa sucked her thumb until she was 24...five years ago. Wow. Still, I love her, and I'm going to vote for her.

Melissa McGhee (21, Tampa FL) has pretty much escaped notice until recently. She had an abusive father, which is no easy task to overcome, but she hasn't played it up nearly as much as, oh, say, Kellie. Melissa was also a Season 2 contestant, but she didn't quite make it through the first round. She's cute, and she's got that down-to-earthness that doesn't feel as put on as, oh, say, Kellie, but she does have the feel of a certain Ms. Clarkson. She identifies with Kelly's vocals and Carrie's southernness. I like this girl, and I might just put her down as my dark horse to give the girls a run for their money.

Kevin Covais (16, Levittown NY) is about as fresh-faced as they get. I know I've picked on him a bit because he looks like he was just born maybe three weeks ago, but he is also one of my personal heroes in the competition this year as another guy who is coping and dealing with diabetes. He's got a bit of a lisp. If he makes it, maybe one day he'll even be able to shave. I kid because I love. He identifies the most with Anthony Federov because he thinks they look the same age (yeah right, maybe when Anthony was teething.) All kidding aside, I hope the kid does well, even though previous auditions haven't yet been encouraging. If he shapes it up a bit, I might throw him a vote.

Patrick Hall (27, Gravette AR) is a closet trekkie, yet he somehow figured out how to find a girl to get married to. Patrick, by the way, doesn't need any of us to form a fan club. He is his own fan club. He informs us of why he IS the American Idol (not should be, or could be, IS) and further proclaims he has the full package. Better check the bottom of that package for leaks, Pat. He has an adam's apple the size of a basketball. He identifies with Clay Aiken. Again with the trekkie thing! I don't know if he thought that would grab him a few sci-fi geek votes, but I've been told that trekkies don't refer to themselves that way (they're trekkERS...big difference...and I'm ashamed that I know that.)

Paris Bennett (17, Fayetteville GA) is a cute young'un, and she looks just a little bit like a very young Eartha Kitt. As we all know, Paris comes from the loins of Ann Nesby, a musician of note. She looks quite awful, though, in her interview. She's got the whole Rudy Huxtable thing going for her. I don't know if she meant this to be stuck up, but she refuses to consider the fact that she might not make it. She says "not if I make it, WHEN I make it," in such a way that she lost major cool points immediately. She identifies with every single Idol ever. She is a Spongebob freak. In the final analysis, the I'm-so-cute-pinch-my-cheeks angle may not be the way to go, as it will get old. She's going to be called upon to mature as the competition goes on, and it will be sooner rather than later.

Stevie Scott (19, Fair Oaks CA) is so spritely and colorful that I just can't keep my eyes off her. She's cute in a way, but you keep expecting her to sprout wings and float around Neverland sprinkling everybody with pixie dust. I'm saying this as a good thing. If Paris is Eartha Kitt, then Stevie is a younger prettier Carole Kane. She seems to be spiritual, and I like that about her. She seems fairly humble about herself. She's very tall. I really like her attitude. She eats a lot, but has a maddenly high metabolism. I'm gonna vote for this chick.

Taylor Hicks (29, Birmingham AL) is a breath of fresh air in this competition. Notice I said fresh air, not fresh hair. But the graying thing aside, Taylor really is an interesting musician. Keeping the show interesting covers a multitude of sins, in regard to talent. He's already got a steady fan base, and I'm one of them. Taylor's also been singing since conception. Big honkin' DUH, Ray Charles is his favorite performer. He identifies with fellow Alabamian Bo Bice. Of all the performers, I'm most interested in seeing what he's going to do next.

Will Makar (16, Woodlands TX) appears only slightly older than Kevin, so I'm guessing he's at least potty-trained. I honestly don't mean to be rude to the kids this year, but they just don't have it. I'd love to hear them all when they've got about five more years under their belt. Will's voice is good, though. Will started singing when he was five, last week. He is a Brett Favre fan, which I have to give him props for. He wants to be an Idol because he wants to be famous, which is, at the very least, honest. Like everyone else who auditioned at all for Idol, he feels that music is what he'll do for the rest of his life or at least until he's old enough for his parents to steal his trust fund. He mispronounces Michael Buble's name, even though he's allegedly his idol. He identifies with Jon Stevens, and I'm mystified as to why anyone thinks this a good thing. He imitates Chewbacca rather badly. I'm sorry, Will. You just don't have the "it" factor.

And there you have them, your Top 24. Next Tuesday, we'll have 2 hours of the girls performing, and then Wednesday, the guys will perform for 2 hours. Then Thursday there will be a one hour results show. That's five whole hours of Idol in one week! Call the baby-sitter.

Meanwhile, here are all your Top 24 contestants again in Brady Bunch format: