Friday, April 28, 2006


Some people blog as a way to cleanse their soul. Today, I'm blogging because it is the only viable excuse that I have to not cleanse my townhouse. (Also, traffic to this blog has literally doubled this past week, and I don't want to leave you guys hanging without something new to read over the weekend!)

But seriously, folks, when are we going to develop the technology that will do our cleaning for us? And why haven't more guys dedicated their lives to solving this problem, as opposed to designing carjack sequences in the latest Grand Theft Auto game? Granted, jobs like that are important, but surely there has to be some gadgetry somewhere. I guess as our technology races more towards the era of the Jetsons, we as men have focused more on developing the flying car and have let the women worry about Rosie the house-cleaning robot.

Why is this?

I wouldn't be so worried about it if, for instance, the President of the United States was coming by my house. Because the President is a guy. And like all guys, he'd sit down, have a Coke and a slice of pizza, watch the Naked Gun trilogy with me, and never once notice that there were bacteria that could be entered in a rodeo surrounding him. But it's not the President coming, it's my girlfriend, and she has these things called ovaries, which allow her to detect uncleanliness on a molecular level. You single guys don't believe me? Just remember how it was with your mother. How many times as a child did you do what you believed to be a bang-up job of cleaning your room, by which I mean shoving excess magazines under your bed and duct-taping your closet shut so it wouldn't burst open and kill innocent passers-by, just to have your mother come in, bemoan the status of your dwelling space and the ecosystem it was spawning, when all the while you perceived it as being almost clean enough to host the Queen of England?

This is the problem that perplexes me today. I look at my apartment and see a perfectly viable area in which to live, but I fear feminine eyes might see a building that, at best, ought to be set afire, torn to scrap, and then sanitized with itty-bitty ash-cleaning cloths.

While I was cleaning earlier, the aforementioned girlfriend asked me this question: "what do you consider as cleaning?" Men, she asked it in just the tone that you're imagining in your head. You will never see a Fed-Ex airliner more loaded than this question. And of course, my male brain wanted to reply with simply "picking up my crap and putting it away." However, I've been around the block, so with great effort I added "vacuuming...and dusting...and wiping stuff down..." I may have said more things after that, but I was already suffering enough mental collapse trying to remember various elements of cleanliness and how they were accomplished. To me, the fact that I have alphabetized my CD collection and put them all in racks (as opposed to lying in various places on the floor) makes me think the job is halfway done.

One need look no further than my roommate to get a good case study of male cleanliness. I won't mention Jason by name, but suffice it to say, he's not next to godliness, if you catch my drift. The other day, he came bursting into my room uninvited, as he is wont to do, a huge smile plastered across his face, proclaiming "come look, I've cleaned my room!" Now I've known him for over ten years, and if he ever truly cleaned his spot, it would be the first time in the history of our friendship. So, naturally, I was curious to see. I peeked in, and sure enough he'd made his bed and arranged his shoes in a neat little line in front of his dresser. Forget the fact that there were papers lying haphazardly on his desk and junk shoved under his bed so tightly that it appeared his bed might at any moment be rocketed through the ceiling. Forget that there was enough dust to support agriculture caked atop all furniture surfaces. Forget the fact that the carpet had been left unvaccuumed and there were dirt particles approaching the size of boulders on it. This man truly felt, in a way only a man could, that he had cleaned his room, to the point that he was proud enough of it to actually bring me in to show me his work. Suffice it to say, this man has never had a girlfriend for a significant length of time.

You women out there are shaking your heads and thinking "this could be my husband/boyfriend/father/brother/other significant male figure." You're right. "And why are these men so unclean?" you ask, as a follow up question to your previous internal monologue. To answer your question in a roundabout way, ladies, I submit the following: you should be glad that your man even cleans at all. This is the truth, ladies, no matter how distasteful: if women did not exist, men would NEVER clean. I'm speaking here in matters of living space and of their own personal bodies. Don't think for a minute this doesn't apply to your man, either. Your man may be the most metrosexual human being on Earth, but if he did not have a woman around to impress, he wouldn't bathe for months on end so that he could win the "who stinks the most" competition down at the office. Okay, so that's not entirely accurate. He wouldn't have an office either. As for his home, if a man didn't ever have to worry about a woman cohabiting with him at any point in his life, he would NEVER buy a vaccuum or clean sheets. He might not even buy a house to begin with.

Other things that wouldn't have been invented without the advent of women: curtains, doilies, placemats, non-leather-upholstered furniture, mats of any sort, picture frames, dishwashers...really the list is too long to name. Suffice it to say that if Adam were to have never had his Eve, regardless of the extinction of our species, the only thing that would furnish men's homes would be a naugahyde sofa/bed, empty pizza boxes, empty beverage cans, tacky posters, and 70 inch plasma widescreen HDTVs with Dolby 5.1 surround.

Well, I've frittered enough time away as I can justify, so now I have to get back to it. All I can say is that I'm glad she's got herself a hotel room and isn't staying here with me, because I can't imagine what she'd do to this place while I'm asleep. Maybe I should go alphabetize my DVDs now.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Count On Me"
written by Default and Chad Kroeger
performed by Default

(from the CD One Thing Remains)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


It's time for results, and the Top 6 will soon be 5! To paraphrase Seacrest, last night was all about romance. Who left you hot (Kat)? Who left you cold (Taylor)? And who made you want to fire a rocket-propelled grenade into your television set (Pickler)? It's time to sit back and bask in the gloriousness of yet another person going home!

It was a record breaking vote last night with 47.5 million, none of which were for Kellie. I just love that she did so bad that people almost literally mailed themselves into Fox studios to vote for her competitors. Ryan introduces us to the firing squad, and there's the big har-har joke about them being emotional that only Ryan thought was funny. The judges ham it up accordingly. Apparently there were a lot of complaints called in to Fox last night about Cowell being unfair to one of the contestants, because apparently we are all a bunch of pouty-pants whiners, and Simon goes on record as apologizing to Katharine McPhee, saying she didn't get the right appraisal, not that it matters because the criticism most likely propelled her into the highest number of votes last night. Randy apologizes too, and Ryan asks for one from Paula, to which Paula rightly responds that she's never been harsh, not even when she was chucking Emilio Estevez's stuff out the window onto Fifth Avenue. Then they clear up the Paula/Ryan feud thing, because let's face it, both of them are millionaires, and the drama ain't exactly payin' the bills.

It's time for a recap of the performances last night. We re-meet producer/schmuck David Foster and his sidekick Andrea Bocelli, who pretty much was just there for cute little quips and to do duets with Kat. I like Andrea, but David really needs to make his kids behave before trying to fix this lot. Kat's dad cries, but the judges do their now-apologized-for ripping, Paris squeaks by, Elliott wails and makes Paula wail in a different way, Kellie sucked on ice, Taylor clenched, and Chris brought all the women to their knees.

Ryan gins up the whole image of the judges/dysfunctional family. You know how it is. You have the stern father, Simon, who is relentlessly cruel and critical. Then you have the drunken mother, Paula, who is about as dependable as getting a signal on a T-Mobile phone and who cries constantly. Then there's funny old Uncle Randy who is just sort of there to make sure nobody kills each other.

I'm glad I wasn't raised by American Idol judges.

After the break, and Lisa's O.C. commercial, we'll see Andrea Bocelli perform.


There's the Ford commercial first, and it's sort of a riff on last week's with all the graphics. The Idols chase a little yippy dog (probably thinking it's Kellie.) Once again, they rip up a song that used to be great, making it sound like it comes off a Kidz Bop CD.

Now it's time for Foster/Bocelli to perform. I have nothing against blind people. One of my best buddies is blind. And Andrea is so sweet! But please, put on the shades. Half the time he just looks cross-eyed, and the rest of the time he just blinks like a madman. Bocelli performs "Because We Believe." It's some nice singing. I would say, though, that any blind performer should avoid lyrics like "when we close our eyes," because it just calls to mind all the wrong things. I'm sorry that I seem so critical, because I am genuinely enjoying his performance, but as has been said many times here, part of being an entertainer is to not have an off-putting performance!

Bocelli wraps it up, and Pickler does her usual and hogs him and the camera all up. When she's finally pried off by the other contestants, one of whom had to use a blowtorch, she stands behind Seacrest to keep us looking at her goofy mug.

Lisa Tucker in da house, cuz she's gotta pimp her spot on the OC. It's good to see her getting some love.

It's time to split into three groups. The first group is Katharine and Chris. The second group is Elliott and Taylor. Gotta be the top 2. The third group is Kellie and Paris. These are the bottom two if I've ever seen the bottom two. Which is which?

Elliott and Taylor are safe, and Pickler hugs the crap out of both of them, tries to cling on to them and starts to get dragged back to the couches until Ryan Seacrest throws a lasso around her and makes her stay onstage. Which group is in danger? Pickler and Paris know.

After the break, so will you!


I'd rather burn down my house than watch Unanimous. I'm just sayin'.

Chris and Kat sit. Major duh. Wow, shocker, Chris and Kat got the highest number of votes!

Okay time for a quick voodoo dance in hopes of seeing Kellie go home. Oh THANK YOU GOODNESS!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

WAAAAAHOOOO!!!! I'm so happy! I can't even bother with the recap of EVERY ONE of Kellie's goofy moments. It's official. I don't care who wins anymore now that Pickler is gone home! See you next week for a nasal-free evening!

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY to Leah Barrettsmith, an American Idol, who turned 20 this past week. (Brooke's sister, but a talent in her own right!) She's a new resident of my state, though she lives in Nashville. Best of luck with the new year in your life, and we'll be looking for that album soon!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


It's time again for American Idol, and this week we get the "greatest love songs of all time." Lovely. I have my pillow and blanket ready, in case an attack of narcolepsy sets in.

So Ace is gone now. I sort of hated it for him, but then I saw him singing on Live With Regis & Kelly the other day, which I watch because Kelly Ripa is unbelievably hot and obviously of alien origin, since no actual human can have that many babies and look as though a man had never touched her. But I digress. Ace was singing an alleged song on the show, and he chose to sing it ENTIRELY in falsetto. I wanted to set myself on fire. I no longer regret his elimination.

Also this week, I talked to several Idol contestants, and most of them do like Kellie Pickler, and they say that she's honestly that way in real life. So you heard it here first, Kellie really is that dense.

So now it's down to six, and here we go!

(live blogging, keep refreshing!!)

Since Idol is all about advertising, I just want you to know that I am currently sustaining myself with a bag of delicious Cheetos and a can of Vault Zero. It just doesn't get much better than that.

I'm really glad that Seacrest isn't blonde anymore. I was getting tired of being accused of looking just like him. Of course that only happened when I visited the school for the blind. Woohoo, Stevie Scott is in the house! Hey Stevie! Love ya!

Ryan introduces the judges by accusing Randy and Simon of being heartthrobs. Somebody tell me why Randy always leads the booing of Simon? To be honest, it more sounds like he's mooing instead of booing.

Ryan introduces Andrea Bocelli and following that, Celine Dion says that if God had a voice, it would be Bocelli's. We cut away from that before the lightning strike that Dion has been overdue for. Also on the show is David Foster who on top of having written many many love songs, is also, with all due respect, a complete snot. I would probably like Hitler after putting him next to Foster. The Idols watch Andrea work, and for the first time Kat McPhee looks interested in the celebrity guest. David says something snotty about how if you can't cut it in his studio, you're just out and he has no time for you. News flash, Foster: people have been making fun of your songs forever.

Kellie does something stupid. You're shocked, I know. She falls to her knees. Make your own joke.

I had forgotten that Bocelli is blind. I have to admit, I like his personality.

Katharine McPhee is up first, and she is singing David Foster's "I Have Nothing," as done by Whitney Houston. I absolutely adored it when she and Bocelli were doing that operatic duet. This may be Kat's niche. While working with David, she sounds Pickler-esque nasal. But up on stage, she's beautiful and her voice is amazing. She tries to hold back that smile, but it keeps beating through her jaws and emerging at will. This is almost a Kelly Clarkson-calibre performance that she's pulling off tonight. Randy thinks it was a good song choice but that it was too big for her. Huh?? He says it didn't come close. Paula's mic isn't working and her audio is coming through either Simon or Randy's mic. Of course she picks that time to talk forever. She says it's not good, and as she rambles on, Kat looks impatient. Simon says that by singing that song she is saying that she is as good as Whitney, which Simon vehemently disagrees with. If I were Kat, I would feel complimented by being compared unfavorably to that over-rated crackhead. That's not such a bad thing. Kat's first big de-pimping. Ryan actually said that those with their audio muted would probably vote, which he didn't mean as an insult, but it sort of came out that way. Wow. BIG de-pimping.

After the break, Elliott...


Elliott Yamin is inarticulate about something for a looooooong time. Love ya, Ell's Bells, but keep it shorter. He's singing a Donnie Hathaway song. Bocelli thinks he knows the song well, but Foster has something crappy to say. Elliott is getting de-pimped! I like Elliott's hair this week. I know that's random, but it's good stuff. And vocally, sheesh, this is how it's done, baby! Forget David Foster. If they say something about his personality this time, I won't for the life of me know why. Simon appears to be looking elsewhere, though he may be simply trying to listen to the voice without the visual influence. Elliott, buddy, you knocked it out of the park with this one. Love it! Love it! Kevin Nealon's in the audience! Randy hated the arrangement, but says that Elliott is "dope" and "da bomb." Paula is crying. I mean seriously crying. Near wailing crying. Crying like somebody was dragging her off to detox while she was in full DT's. Wow. Simon finds it highly amusing. Simon says that it was a "vocal master class" and that it was superb. Excelsior! Ryan compares Paula's lachrimatics to Kat's dad, who always cries during her performances (thanks to Julie for clueing me in to that!)

After the break, Kellie the Nose...


Kellie Pickler is wearing Paula's "Planet of the Apes" hairstyle. She goes through this whole huge scripted mess with Seacrest. Seriously, this ought to clue anyone in the industry in to the fact that Kellie cannot act. She bemoans the fact that she has no boyfriend, which I'm sure is meant to draw in all the teeny-bopper young males to vote. Oh, by the way, Kellie DID have a boyfriend all the way up to the moment that she got handed her golden ticket to Hollywood, at which point she dumped him like a bad habit. So don't feel TOO sorry for her. She rambled on about the movie Ghost, which I'm sure just came out in theaters in Albemarle. This is a cheap segue into the fact that she's doing "Unchained Melody" which was in that movie. She doesn't have a pottery playmate. Could she shut up? And she couldn't be more scripted. She's doing the LeAnn Rimes version tonight, and I'll pause while you pick yourself up off the floor from that shock. Kellie passes off the best advice she's given all year when she tells Bocelli and Foster to "get their ear plugs out." Kellie knows what "robotic" is. Wow. Foster says that Kellie's singing is impressive. Kellie says "it is?" and you can hear the audience groan audibly. I'm not making that up. I actually heard it through the speakers. Somebody in the mic booth has been forgetting to shut off microphones tonight. Kellie starts the song in the middle, and I've just realized that with this hairdo, she has a REALLY fat face. This is dull and boring and bland and sucky. Of course, given the fact that Kellie could murder the Queen of England on stage and still get people to call in for her, I can understand why she is putting little to no effort into this piece of crap performance. The money note that David Foster liked so much is like having hot burning Hell fire poured into my ears. Gross. Oh, and she didn't follow Foster's advice by staying on the note; she dropped it down, just like he asked her not to do in the coaching. Sela Ward's in the audience. Kellie puts on her "I just farted onstage" look. Randy doesn't like it. Wow, Paula doesn't like it either. Let's just say she ain't crying tonight. Paula actually says Kellie isn't great. Simon wanted to cry, and he thought the song was monotonous and never going to end. The music starts before Simon could finish ripping her a new one. Does anyone really care if the show runs over? On the flip side, the time running out is helpful to Kellie, because she no longer has time to say anything profoundly retarded.

After the break, Paris.


Paris Bennett is going to be singing "The Way We Were" by Barbra Streisand. Bocelli and Foster enjoy her performance. For the first time, Paris doesn't look hideous onstage. I think her vocals are pretty good, and I think the way she started out softly was great. I wish she wouldn't smile so much on such a bittersweet song. I remember being in chorus in college and getting the hideous advice from my trainer that I should smile all the time while singing, and it's just not the right way to go, because you have to connect emotionally to the song. I think a lot of vocal coaches make this mistake. But anyway, great job, Paris. I think you may have won me back over with this performance. Joely Fisher is the audience celebrity of the moment. Randy sort of likes it. Paula thinks she oversang it. Simon thinks it was old fashioned but a good vocal.

After the break, Taylor...


Check out for Idol Tour updates.

Taylor Hicks is praised by Bocelli and Foster. A lot. He's singing "Just Once" and he starts off not quite hitting all the notes. His hand motions just look forced, as though he's just not used to standing still. This song doesn't give him the freedom to control the stage the way he wants to. Vocally, he's the most unstable I've ever heard him. This isn't good for me at all. Taylor is yet again standing as if he's clenching back a particularly urgent number 2. I just want to toss him a roll of Charmin and have him come back later. Randy didn't like it at all. He's really not having it. Paula feels free to criticize as well, since Randy broke the ice. She does say that he looks nice, though. Simon compares it to a lounge performance, and the audience does NOT boo, because you can't argue with that tonight. Paula drowns him out for whatever the reason. Not a good night for Taylor.

After the break, Chris...


Chris Daughtry is going to be singing Bryan Adams "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman." Foster thinks Chris sings from his throat rather than his diaphragm. Obviously he missed this diagnosis with Kellie the Nose. Chris sings while laying down. Wish he'd do that every week! Wow, Chris broke out the suit and sport coat tonight, which makes him look like a women's roll-on deodorant, but it's at least classy. This is the second week in a row for Chris to sing a subdued song. I like it mostly, but again, he starts to lose it in the higher register. It turns into a rock song halfway through. Still, I think Chris has done an excellent job with this performance. Randy likes it, Paula likes it, and Simon likes it. That's all the time we have, because we are milliseconds from running over time.

Did anyone catch what was said during the recap when someone forgot to kill Seacrest and Daughtry's mics? I couldn't hear it for Kellie's shrieking.


Finally, a night where there are stand-outs. Usually the Idols synchronize themselves and either all suck or rock.

Who is safe (but still vote for them!): Elliott Yamin, Paris Bennett, and Chris Daughtry

Who is not safe: Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, and Kellie Pickler

Who should go home, if all was right with the world: Kellie Pickler

Who will probably go home, because Pickler is immune from just about everything: Katharine

We'll be back tomorrow for results!

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Around here, we just can't get enough of American Idol. Most Americans either love it or love to hate it. Some, like me, just can't wait to talk smack about it and write sarcastic reviews.

I want to say, just for the record, even though I do write sarcastic comments in my recaps about some contestants, I hope the contestants each know that it's not meant to be personal, but it's all in good fun as we enjoy this pop culture phenomenon. One of the reasons behind these contestant interviews that I continue to bring you is to give the contestant a fair and equal opportunity to represent themselves as well as reach out to fans new and old and let them know what they're up to. Plus it's a chance for me to get to know the ones that I secretly liked and pulled for. Most contestants have been good sports (though, in all honesty, I've yet to hear from Kellie Pickler.) And some, like Bobby Bennett, have just been outright class acts.

Also, there have been those of you who have been slightly critical of the interviews, saying I only talk to the pretty girls, and so this is for you. (Ahem, Kristin!)

I sat down recently with Bobby Bennett, a Top 24 contestant who left us during one of the first rounds of call-in voting. Bobby let me know a little about the goings-on with Idol and also dished a bit about his personal life and future goals!

J.D.: We just barely got to see you on the show before you were in the Top 24. Tell us a little bit about your initial Idol experience. Did anything interesting happen during your auditions?

Bobby: Well, I would have loved to get more camera time at the beginning of the show, but that's editing for ya! I really wish that my auditions in Hollywood would have been shown, because they all went off without a hitch, and I got positive feedback from all three of the judges. Maybe if I was shown more, people would have had a little more investment in me.

J.D.: Do you feel that the difference in air-time that contestants get causes an inequity in the show?

Bobby: I don't think so. You look at Melissa McGhee, who was maybe shown once, and she made top twelve!

J.D.: Do you get to meet the Brittenums at all? How insufferable were they in real life?

Bobby: I did get to meet the twins. They were very...colorful people. That's all I'm saying.

J.D.: What about this Kellie Pickler thing? Is she for real?

Bobby: Look, there is no "thing." She's a beautiful person, inside out. What you see is what you get. I love her.

J.D.: Many of the Idols have told me about the friendships and relationships that they have developed over the course of their Idol careers. April Walsh has been very complimentary of you. Are there any others you have become friends with or hold special feelings for?

Bobby: April is someone I clicked with very quickly, and we've hung out a lot. She's a wonderful person and a close friend. And as far as my top 24 family, we are all close. I have my close friends out of them, but they're all special to me.

J.D.: Can you tell us any interesting stories that might have happened to yourself or the other Top 24 that we might not have seen?

Bobby: It was a little weird to find out that when we were all staying at the hotel, there was a spy writing EVERYTHING we'd say at dinner, in the elevator, and wherever, and then posting it on the internet.

J.D.: How fair do you think the judging is in a competition like this?

Bobby: The three of them contradict themselves week after week, but fair? Yes...most of the time.

J.D.: Your first and final performance in the Top 24 was Barry Manilow's "Copacabana." In retrospect, would you have chosen a different song, had you known that performance would get you voted out?

Bobby: I wouldn't change the song. I'd practice some more, and I would have had the band do what I heard in my head, instead of what was on paper. And I would've just sang the song better. I would have focused more and listened harder.

J.D.: How did you feel when you were invited onstage to meet Barry Manilow?

Bobby: It was an out of body experience! I was so happy! I can't wait until we work together!

J.D.: What's the juiciest Idol gossip you can share with us, without getting yourself into trouble?

Bobby: There was more gossip at the beginning of the show. It's died down a bit, but I did read in a tabloid that Kellie Pickler and I were dating. Which is not true, by the way.

J.D.: Speaking of your personal life, the rumor mill has at alternate times said that you were married and straight, or single and gay. Not that it matters, but here's your chance to go on record as..

Bobby: there will always be rumors. You shouldn't believe what you read.

J.D.: What does the near future hold for Bobby Bennett, now that Idol is behind you?

Bobby: Well, thank God for Idol. Now I can pursue the life I've always imagined for myself: a long and respectable career in show business!

J.D.: Have you had any offers since appearing on Idol that you can tell us about?

Bobby: Yes, I have, but unfortunately I can't talk about them. But I have had some. I'm very grateful.

J.D.: What or who do you consider to be the biggest influence in your life and in your art?

Bobby: My biggest influence is my grandmother, and as far as musicians, I look to the legends of music.

J.D.: As a performer, what has been the biggest thing you've had to overcome?

Bobby: Stage fright! I'm STILL working on that.

J.D.: According to a profile I read about you, you are an actor as well as a singer. What direction would you like to go in as an actor if your singing career doesn't take off?

Bobby: Broadway and movies. And I'd love to try a TV series.

J.D.: If you had your dream job right now, what would it be?

Bobby: It would simply be to be a working, well known, and respected entertainer.

J.D.: Where can we catch you performing these days? And is there anything out there that you've done that we can purchase?

Bobby: Right now, everything is local. And as far as a CD or a movie, I hope to complete one or the other or both within the next year. My fans in Colorado can catch me at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver on May 10 at 10 AM and 1 PM.

J.D.: In what ways has your experience changed you, for better or worse?

Bobby: It has given me a confidence I lost a long time ago. It's really awakened my old sense of self. I've really found out who I can trust, as well as who I can't.

J.D.: Any advice you'd like to share with future Idol contestants?

Bobby: Don't be afraid to be yourself! You'll be more remembered for being a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else. Don't read anything in the press and especially online, because it will kill your spirit. Stay around positive energy!

J.D.: Anything else you'd like to say?

Bobby: Just thanks! Your questions are very well done, by the way! I'd just like to thank all my fans and the American public for letting me be in their homes and on their TV screens, now and hopefully for many years to come. I love you all!

Much thanks to you too, Bobby. I'm hopeful that you'll find the success you're looking for in music or in acting. I'll hope to keep up with your career, and I also hope you'll let us know if anything further develops, so I can update the public! Til' then, see you at the Copa...Copacabana!

Check out Bobby on Myspace.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Every now and then I, as an American Idol commentator, have to dislodge my foot from my mouth when I say unkind things about contestants. A month or so back, contestant April Walsh found her way to this blog and posted a comment on this post. I called her over-rated, and she took issue with that, quite rightly as it turned out.

Idol barely had her rated at all, which she quite readily pointed out to me. Still, she has a great sense of humor, and definitely some talent, because how else would she have made it to the Top 40? She just missed the cut for the Top 24, and we are all left to wonder as we stare at the likes of Kellie Pickler, just what we might be missing because of it!

So to prove that Musical Ramblings is not above an apology, and also to discover more about April, I sat down and asked her some questions, and she has graciously responded with more information than I could have asked for. As it turns out, April is quite a multi-faceted person with her spoon in many different kettles, and she's quite ready to talk about just about any and everything at great length. Here's what she had to say!

J.D.: So what made you decide to try out for Idol?

April: The reason I said when they gave me that question on stage on my first day in Hollywood was that I want a drag following and a few mild-mannered stalkers. That hasn't really changed, actually. As far as me actually trying for Idol, it took a lot to even decide to do it. I was always a rabid watcher. Once I knew they raised the age limit, I thought I'd try for the heck of it. I had no real expectations. I was even partially afraid of getting further. I have a theater degree and thought that people that do reality shows have little cred. But that taboo's lifted nowadays, especially in L.A. I half thought of throwing on a Liza Minelli wig and doing it as her just to see if it made TV. In the end, I wore my favorite dress--that only I like--and did myself up and decided to try that song everyone always asks me to do at karaoke. I knew it would be over-the-top, but I had fun. Never expected to get so far.

J.D.: Early on there were rumors flying around that you were linked to Television Without Pity. TWoP, aside from having really funny recaps of the show, has also been known for trying to infiltrate the show's cast. What's your affiliation with them?

April: I'm a poster at TWoP, nothing else. I got into it the first time I found an X-files recap by Jessica. It made me laugh so hard, I started reading recaps on other shows. Most of my posts are still in X-files, but Shack's Idol recaps hooked me. I didn't post much in the Idol forums until just before I auditioned, trying to get stories from others like me. The mods very nicely deleted my posts later, though that didn't stop things from getting out. That's the extent of my TWoP link. I read and post there just for fun. I think the stuff about TWopers infiltrating is mostly a joke. One recapper went just to recap the early audition process once, but that's about all the conspiracy.

J.D.: Obviously you have some singing talent or you wouldn't have made it into the Top 44. Why do you think you were cut?

April: It just wasn't my time- or my type's time. In the chair, I told Simon that my differences from the other girls--weight, choice of style, song-preference, etc.--might go heavily for or heavily against me. He agreed and said it didn't go my way. I was fine. At that point, I was happy just to have been shown on TV. And I'm glad they showed me taking it like a pro. I saw the judges later at a couple of results shows (I'm local). They were all very sweet, especially Paula. I think their cutting me was a matter of type. Simon himself said something about this year being a cast of characters. Chubby girls that love showtunes aren't exactly the norm. But they could get a few more in later. Crooners used to be rare. Now there's a few every season because Stevens opened a door for them. Maybe I opened one for a girl like me.

J.D.: About all we got to see of you was an edited version of your audition, which as I remember wasn't your first. What happened with you during the competition that we didn't get to see?

April: Well, I sang "Only the Lonely" by the Motels in my audition for the judges for contrast. I realize they didn't have time to show that. I'm surprised they showed me at all, with Zachary [the boy who looked like a girl] on deck. In round one, I, like Dave Hoover, sang "Bat Out of Hell." Unlike Hoover, I sang it straight. I think that, without having belted that one out, I would've been cut the first day. The judges all liked it, even Simon. It carried me through as my group performance--done with Ashley Jackson and Megan Bobo, who were great fun--was not that special. I was extremely hoarse, but sang over it. In round three, I did "Fever," the fun little Romeo and Juliet verse, with tongue firmly in cheek. I like to find the humor in a song and me doing sexy ballads is just... incongruent.

J.D.: Does it bother you that almost all that Idol showed of you was you trying to walk up the down escalator and a very few other random shots?

April: Not really. It did at first. They could have scrapped everything I did on camera, but some got in and that's more than most people got. I realize that they have lots of footage and limited time. If you want to know what off-stage bits you missed, I did some tasteless Liza and Judy pill jokes and some impersonations at my first audition. During the Hollywood tour, I, being local, was the "guide" and I made snarky comments about our stops. I'd hoped that would get in. I even had fantasies about Liza sending me cease and desist letters, but there were Brittenums to be dealt with. If I was given the choice between their drama and me being silly, I'd pick them. Unintentional humor trumps intentional every time. To explain the escalator: I was very tired and overexcited at the time. And it was on the right. In America (and parts of Europe), we go on the right. I just didn't notice it was going down until I'd already made an idiot of myself.

J.D.: During the Top 24 elimination show, we saw you and Heather Cox roll your eyes in disgust as Becky O'Donohue was celebrating her advancement to the Top 24. Is there a story behind that?

April: Not really. I think it was an editing mistake. I wasn't in the room when Becky came out. Heather and I were great friends during the competition, having met in Denver and on the boards at the official site. We'd spent a lot of the day shaking our heads and bemoaning the number of spots left. That was probably what you saw. Becky and I were also friends. I spent some time hanging with her and Jessie over Hollywood week. We have TV shows in common. They're a lot of fun. The first thing I did, on seeing that cut, was call Bobby Bennett to tell him to tell her I wasn't evil.

J.D.: Did you make friends with any of the other contestants? Any interesting stories you can tell?

April: I made some great friends. There was Heather Cox who I talked on the phone with a lot before Hollywood. Then there was Kinnik. We were roomies over Hollywood and got along great. We still talk. I roomed with Mandisa the second time I went up. Amazing, classy, centered kind of girl. I still talk to Bobby Bennett a lot. Megan Bobo moved here, and we hang out. Honestly, it's a long list. Some I'd talk to if I saw them, some I keep regular contact with. I do have one nice story. After making top 44, I went to dinner at a nice place in the hotel with Kinnik, Megan, Stevie Scott, and Crystal Stark. We were sitting next to a nice couple who were having the prime rib. They recommended it, so we all ordered it. We talked to them a lot and they pumped us about Idol a little. We joked around with them about what they'd do to us if we told details. They left when we were still eating. When we went to pay our bill, we found that they'd already paid. When we saw them in the bar section, we decided to thank them. We made up an impromptu song. I ended up talking while the other girls did "oohs" as I had no voice. They got a kick out of it. A good time was had by all.

J.D.: Did you make enemies with any of them? Juicy stories you care to share?

April: No enemies. I'm incapable of making enemies. I'm a people-pleaser. Besides that, everyone was nice to me.

J.D.: We've already heard rumors this year about Paula yelling at contestants and some bad judge behavior. What were the judges like?

April: I never experienced it. Everyone can have an off day, I'm sure. But I never witnessed a thing. Paula was especially nice to me when I saw her after. She even helped me out a little with an audition I might not have otherwise landed.

J.D.: How did you feel when you got cut?

April: Okay with it. I got some exposure. Even if it was of the silly variety, it aired. That helps. It was a toss up for me. I'd have loved to do "Goldfinger" or "Le Jazz Hot" in top 24 and show people some things they might not normally see on Idol. But getting further in would mean more commitment and less freedom to pursue theater. I'm not a singer first. I put acting and improv comedy before singing, in my mind. Singing is a great dream. But I could see myself in a Christopher Guest mockumentary before I could see myself with a record deal.

J.D.: What is up with this Kellie Pickler crap anyway? Is she really that bad in person?

April: She's sweet! Don't pick on Pickler.

J.D.: Who would you like to see go all the way this year?

April: Well, Mandisa just got cut, so my dreams are dashed. It's hard to be objective because there's not a person up there that I wouldn't want to see win on a personal level. If I step back and look at it like a fan, knowing the kind of performers I favored on Idol in the past, I'd be all over Paris and Taylor.

J.D.: So now that Idol is over with for you, what does the near future hold for April Walsh?

April: I don't know. I've been at this since college. Dinner theater? I did have an audition for Tracy in the new Hairspray movie musical. I got pretty far up! I was auditioning next to broadway's Carly Jibson. Smell me. I don't know if I'll get it. I'm far from sixteen. I sure want it. I'm just going to audition for every production I can and try to get my equity card. On the side, I just got an agent who might send me out for commercials and pilots. Maybe you'll see me as a sarcastic coworker or ditzy friend in an upcoming sitcom. I'm still going to get back into improv. I've written two trashy romance novels. I juggle everything I can to see what works out. I have a lot of balls in the air right now. We'll see what comes back down to me, if anything.

J.D.: I read that you had been auditioning for a few movie roles. Have you had any major offers that you can tell us about?

April: No offers. Apparently, Paula Abdul helped me out getting that Hairspray audition. I just want to put that out there so everyone knows that she really is a sweet and nurturing person. Besides the Hairspray thing, there were some indies. But nothing definite has come out of anything yet. It's been a busy month. If anyone was considering making me an offer, I'm all ears.

J.D.: Do you intend to keep pursuing a singing career?

April: Not especially. I'm going to pursue acting and comedy on the west coast. After a year, I'll try it on the east. Singing is more like icing than the whole cake for me.

J.D.: Can we find you performing anywhere these days?

April: Heh. Not really. I'm just not that cool. If you want to come to Prime Time Steaks and Sports in Lake Forest, I karaoke there semi-regularly. But that's all right now.

J.D.: Out of this whole thing, what is the most valuable lesson you feel you've learned?

April: Value your sleep. You never know how much you'll miss it until it's taken away. That and look where you're going. I don't know. I'm old. I've already learned most of the important lessons. This didn't teach me anything too new. I'm grateful for the experience and for my little fan base. And if any of them want to dress like me or do impersonations, I strongly encourage it. Go drag, people! Go drag!

J.D.: Any advice you'd like to give anyone who tries out next year?

April: Be yourself. I tried to dress trendy and sing pop the first time I tried out in San Fran. Got me nowhere. Suddenly, I go to Denver on a whim, throw on my 1938 taxi dancer costume, sing some Bjork with broadway flavah and BOOM. It was me and, even if it hadn't got me past judge one, it was still me. Not a regret.

J.D.: So, since I apologized for some of the ugly things I said earlier, do I get a little kiss on the cheek?

April: Sure. Mwah!

J.D.: True or false: Joe R. & Jacob > JD > Jaded Journalist. (wow that's a lot of J's.)

April: Hmmmm. Can I plead the fifth?

Well, I suppose I deserved that one. But thanks, April, for talking with me and for letting us all know a little bit more about you and your experience! Let us know how things are going. I want to keep updating on your career!

If there are any of you who'd like to read more about April, you can visit her myspace page.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


It's time for another results night, and one more gets to leave us. It should be Kellie with that awful performance she did last night. Unfortunately, I don't see it happening.

Same old blah blah intro by Ryan Seacrest, who's wearing the same suit he wore last night. Wonder if he slept in it? Ryan is again teleported to the front of the audience. Rod Stewart and his family are in the front row, though Rod's IV and colostomy bag take up a couple of extra seats. Seacrest correctly asserts that the Idols finally stepped it up last night, which is sort of like saying that Michael Jackson's skin got lighter, inasmuch as it's the understatement of the year. Randy Jackson gives us the same gang sign, Paula's actually wearing a top tonight, and Simon Cowell picked the baby blue T-shirt.

Now for a recap of the performances last night, six of which were stellar, and one of which belonged in a befouled public restroom. If you want to know more about them, read my previous extensive recap of last night's show. My fingers still hurt. Kellie's wretchedness just sounds doubly wretched upon hearing it again. As for Ace, I fear Simon has damned him with faint praise.

Results, after the break...


Time for another Ford commercial. This time around the Idols are all featured on various billboards, and they're ripping apart "Kids In America." I just don't care for these commercials, though I have to admit this one is quite a bit slicker than the previous ones. However, if you roll up to the red carpet in a Ford sedan, you just ain't Hollywood, baby.

Rod Stewart is coming out to sit on the couches with the Idols. He pushes his walker across the stage and finally gets there. Who cuts Rod's hair, by the way? Beavers? Rod is going to be doing a 70's classic rock album next, which he originally did, oh, I don't know, in the 70's? Ryan asks Rod for some fashion tips, and Rod recommends the formaldehyde.

Rod is singing "The Way You Look Tonight." Y'know, there are certain voices where you know without looking at your XM display EXACTLY who is singing the song. Rod is one of those. Still, his voice does have a soothing quality when he's singing these dusty old tunes. I grew up with him singing stuff like "Love Touch" and "Crazy About Her," but this is an okay change of pace for me. I don't know if he's the best voice I've ever heard, but I have to admit his sound is appealing, even if he did take dance lessons from Taylor and Ace. I particularly love the soft gentle keyboard solo. Rod's new sixteen year old fiancee is singing along with him in the audience, even though she was probably still in the neo-natal ward when he sung his version of "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You."

Kellie makes sure to be the first to tackle-hug Rod. I know you're all shocked. Get in the front of the camera a little more why don't ya?

After the break, hopefully Kellie will go home...


Next Tuesday's theme is love songs. And we get yet another NON-POP coach to try to tell the Idols how to be pop stars. Andrea Bocelli will be the celebrity guest next time. So...the greatest love songs of all time... anyone think Kellie might be singing Whitney's "The Greatest Love of All?"

We're looking for the people with the lowest number of votes. Tonight they're being divided into two groups. Idol is nothing if not gimmickry.

The first group is Elliott, Kellie, and Katharine. This is the bottom three. I know it just has to be. If it's not then everybody needs to be flogged.

The second group is Chris, Paris, and Ace. Not the bottom three. Surely not. It can't be.

Taylor is safe, and he is forced to choose the group he thinks is safe. I wonder if he will do like Bo Bice last year and just go stand in the middle.

We'll find out after the break.


Taylor picks the safe group, which at first appears to be Chris's group, but then turns out to be Elliott, Kellie, and Kat. Oh my goodness, America what have you all been smoking this week???????? Kellie??? You have to be kidding me.

This just proves to me that Kellie is this year's Anointed One. If she wins, then I will know forevermore that American Idol is nothing but a farce.

So the wrong group goes to the seal, and Paris gets to sit down, naturally, because it just couldn't be someone that I can't stand going home this week. This leaves Chris and Ace in the bottom two. It BETTER be Ace. And it is.

Well, I guess Ace has had it coming for a while, and Idol has certainly spared no love for him, but you Kellie voters just might as well go ahead and accept that you are ALL MORONS. All of you. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Say what you will about Ace, but he's miles more talented than that idiot girl from Albemarle.

I'm quite frankly sick of Idol right now with Kellie and her wretched performance not even getting the bottom three. Unbelievable.

Well, alright, there's always next week. See you then, and keep visiting here for more music news, Idol interviews, and commentary!


Hey guys and gals! Well, once again, it's better late than never, but here's the recap in all its glory. SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: these recaps are apparently addictive, as there are now currently two long threads on the official boards lamenting that I have not yet posted my weekly dose of Idol thoughts and smart remarks.

Well, it's my fault. I went to go play basketball, figuring I'd record the show, come back immediately after, and bang it out. Unfortunately, I was more psyched about hitting the hardwoods, and I forgot to record the show, so I've had to wait a few hours for a download of the show from somebody else. So it's all my fault, and you can all beat me with sticks later on.

While waiting to get the full file, I read Entertainment Weekly's predictions about who the winner this year will be. Suffice it to say, the magazine's initials spell EW, and that's pretty much what I think about their reporting.

Enough of that. On with the show!

(extremely not live-blogged, but you can keep refreshing anyway if you so desire.)

To begin with, the show's theme tonight is the "American Songbook," though I think whoever compiles the book should probably be decomposing by now, because these songs are OLD. Not a Creed or Beyonce song in the whole lot. I was hoping for maybe a little Pretty Ricky, but alas, today we are going to hear songs written by people who currently fertilize daisies, and our Idols are going to be helped along the journey by their very own walking corpse, Rod Stewart. Do you guys remember when Rod was cool? Y'know, back when he was married to uber-sexpot Rachel Hunter and singing songs like "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" or even "Forever Young?" Well, he's apparently touring through old folks homes now with his new CD compilation.

So anyway, the show starts as usual, with Seacrest cheesing it up, talking something about "songs from the past, but you decide their future." Yawn. I like that at least he's been dressing better lately, though he only half-shaved tonight. One thing I've yet to figure out though: how does he go from standing at the back of the theatre before the CGI credits to walking out on stage after they roll. Do you think he sprints? Since this is Bring Your Grandparents night, former hottie Marilu Henner is in the audience. Seacrest appears to be wearing two lapel mics, so I guess if one fails, we'll still have the other to bring us his bad jokes. Ryan instructs us not to boo if we didn't vote for Bucky Covington, completely disregarding the fact that there were no boos from the audience anyway. Hey, gotta say what the teleprompter says! Randy Jackson in the house, yo. Paula Abdul must've come by on the way from the topless bar. Either that or somebody stole the front of her shirt on the way in! No wonder Simon Cowell has that smirky grin on his face. Somehow, Simon is the underdressed one, according to Ryan-Bot, who hasn't yet noticed that Paula's nearly naked.

Seacrest hasn't been to too many concerts if he's calling Rod Stewart the "Ultimate Performer." We get glimpses of Rod in concert from the days when he actually mattered and sort of rocked. Y'know, before he sold his soul to Simon Fuller. Wow, the old geezer is still procreating! Talk about not slowing down in your old age. The Idols serenade him and Kellie dances as if she were still working the poles down at Nickel Beer Night in Albemarle. Rod talks about his upcoming wedding, and I'm reminded of an old adage: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Apply that to your string of marriages, Rod, if you will. By the way, if I never see Rod dancing with whoever that guy is again, it will be far too soon. Rod sneaks a peek up Katharine's skirt while Kellie seeks out her intellectual equivalent and goes and plays with Rod's baby. Rod hugs everybody except Chris who gives him a bone-breaking handshake.

Speaking of Chris Daughtry, he claims he is going to be surprising us all this week. To be honest, I didn't know that Live did a version of "What a Wonderful World," but I'm sure Chris will find a way to pull it off. Seriously, though, if Chris can't sing this song with a more solid voice than Louis Armstrong, something is wrong with him. Chris gets a guitar player to share the stage with him. He comes out starting nicely. I like the subdued part, and he actually looks kinda snazzy when he dresses up. On the snooze factor level, though, I could totally use this to drop off to sleep in an instant. Not that that's a bad thing, though. I think for the first time we're getting to see what Chris's voice is really like, even though he starts to scream just the tiniest bit on the high notes. Still, I like what he's done with this performance, and I have to say "good job." We get a shot of Chris's wife, and I'm sort of like whatever, but Chris's chick friend? That I can get down with. Randy thinks it was the bomb. Paula and her rack thinks Chris did a fantastic job. Simon gives Chris credit in a roundabout way for breaking out of his rut. It sort of looks like Chris and Ryan are wearing the same suit, just different parts.

After the break, Old Paree...


Paris Bennett is dressed to teach ninth grade math, apparently. The illusion is shattered though, once she opens her mouth and reveals that she's been sucking helium backstage yet again. They talk about Easter at the Bennett home, and of course Paris went hunting for Easter eggs, because she's what, five? Ryan makes some sort of psycho-sexual joke about Simon in a bunny outfit, and that's quite enough of that. I just noticed the not-so-subtle Coke ad that Paris is standing in front of. Remember, America, you're not only being advertised to just during the commercials! Rod compares Paris to Billie Holliday. Pimp, pimp, pimp! Paris's mother is in the back of the room crying, because she's just so happy that she's going to get a HUGE trust fund via Paris to blow on shoes soon. Paris has not even started singing yet, and I just want to throw rocks at her. She's so....precocious. And so annoying. By the way, Rod Stewart dug graves for a living when he was Paris's age. Now he just occupies one, except random nights like these when he comes out and sucks the life out of every one of us Idol viewers. Paris starts off sort of shaky. Now she doesn't look like a math teacher, but I'm sort of reminded of an airline flight attendant. Paris doesn't show me to my seat, but I am still looking for the emergency exit! Okay, I'm bored by this song. It's not that she's not singing it semi-well, but it's just not anything I'd expect to hear from a pop star on a show dedicated to creating pop idols. Paris is showing a minimum of energy tonight. Okay, time for the judges to slobber all over themselves trying to see who can give her the biggest compliment. Randy is keeping his pimp hand strong as he slathers Paris with every single accolade that he can bring to mind. Paula and the Puppies fall all over themselves to sing her praises. Simon is bewildered, accuses Paris of talking like Minnie Mouse, but then goes on to heap praise on her. For some reason, Ryan thought it would be a laugh riot if he accused Simon of being drunk for the second week in a row, as if he had just been doing body shots off of Paula right in front of everybody. Ryan then takes his non-funny self back to the podium and gets back to work hugging Paris.

After the break, Taylor...


Taylor Hicks gets a Coke ad/pre-performance-pimp-chat. Ryan references the recent parody of Taylor on NBC's Saturday Night Live, which for some reason he is forbidden to mention by name. Taylor was amused by it, and "fell out on the floor," but that's only because he was attempting to perfect his mic stand kick while watching. No contusions or lacerations, but his blood alcohol level got him a DWI (Dancing While Intoxicated.) Taylor says "flattery is a great form of humor," which makes no sense, though I suspect the word "parody" was what he was looking for. Oh well, just hush it already and get up on stage, Tay Tay. Taylor is going to be singing a Sam Cooke song. Rod pokes at Simon Cowell a bit and says something that got bleeped out, but only because Kellie doesn't understand what "balls" are and they don't want to put her at a disadvantage. Taylor's coming out sort of like Chris did. Nice, soft, slow, and with a rich vocal tone. This is very smooth, very nice. I'm actually liking this a LOT. He gets a lot more Taylor-esque at the end of the song, but that's okay. In my mind, this is the best performance I've seen Taylor do. Randy pauses a bit, then spreads butter all over Taylor. Paula and the team from Gonzaga praises Taylor some more. Simon thinks it was magic.

After the break, Elliott and Kellie...


Seacrest is standing out in the audience, and he's right in front of Ace's unibrow brother. Seriously, doesn't Ace's long-haired brother look like the clone that didn't turn out just right? Like he might be laying on a lab table somewhere, get up, and go terrorize a town somewhere? Maybe it's just me.

Anyway, it's time for Elliott Yamin, who is once again overwhelmed by being in the presence of another celebrity guest. Elliott should be in his element tonight. Rod likes Elliott, and he talks about how he has a great set of pipes. No joke there; I just happen to agree with that statement. Elliott is working hard to force some personality into this performance. If I could make one small suggestion, though, Elliott, just look into the audience, and don't try to out-stare whichever camera's red light that happens to be lit. Vocally, this is a good performance on a song that I like a lot. The only difficulty I'm having is that I usually hear Harry Connick Jr's voice on this song, and it's a completely different sound. Still, Elliott performed it reasonably well, and I hope he's safe this week. Randy thinks it's a good song choice and that Elliott did a nice job. Paula and the Poundstones heaps praise all over him. Does it really matter what she said? Elliott feels like he's finally locked into his performances. Simon thinks that it was a good vocal but that the performance lacked personality. I personally think Elliott was more personable tonight than he ever was. Elliott's smiling like he just found his precious.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. My take on Kellie Pickler's performance (if you could call it that.) Kellie does her usual, sprinting across the room, bum-rushing the celebrity guests, causing the security guards to unholster their pistols. Kellie decides to pick up the words and the lyrics, because apparently the Albemarle Public Education system failed to clue her into what synonyms are. (They're words that mean the same thing for those of you who might be of the Pickler lineage.) Rod calls her on it, and she replies, and I quote, "Huh?" As though she had no idea what was going on. Kellie sings the words "my bad." Y'know, those words pretty much sum up her whole entire stint on this show. Rod Stewart calls her a firecracker, but I'm afraid her fuse is just a little too short. She more reminds me of those little things you could buy that were like 100 for a dollar, and you'd throw them on the ground or at other people's bare legs and they'd make a loud pop and generally annoy the crap out of anyone else. If she keeps singing this nasally, I'm going to stop calling her Icky Picky and begin referring to her as Kellie the Nose. Rod compliments Kellie, and she tells him that he took a load off her chest. (stopping typing, shaking head) Y'know, at this point, the producers are really going all out to show us what a blithering idiot Kellie is or purports to be. Rod stumbles backwards at the thought of Kellie's chest. You can't hear what Kellie says afterward, but I'm guessing it's "what's so funny y'all??" Kellie spends half of her 1:30 time slot just walking out to the mic in her hot pink painted-on prom dress. Oh my. She starts off and already I'm looking for the hot burning awl to jam into my ear. She looks into the camera like a drunken inbred Jessica Rabbitt and screeeeeeeches in an exaggerated southern drawl. Kellie the Nose is out in full force. The band, apparently, is playing some other song, because whatever she's attempting to sing matches nothing in the music. Some other people have pointed this out, but she really can't sing the word "bewitched," and it does come out more like "bewished." Oooh, hello there flat note! And hello there other flat note. Hey there, sharp note! Yikes, she is strained like Gerber baby food tonight! As the song goes on, the band takes five because Kellie is not following them anyway, and it just goes from bad to wretched. This performance would've not only gotten her no ticket to Hollywood, but they'd probably have had police officers haul her out of Greensboro in handcuffs. The judges are not even going to have anything to work with to pimp her tonight. Kellie cringes, because even SHE knows that she just committed an atrocity up there tonight. Randy starts off with the word "so," and that always means he's about to break his foot off in somebody's behind. Kellie pre-empts his comments by whining "I butchered it." Well, it's good that you know that Kellie, but the fact remains that you just embarrassed yourself in front of millions of people with their phone in their hand, and you've single-handedly guaranteed that only your hard-core fans are going to vote for you. Randy calls it "pitchy," which is about as gracious as he could get, short of actually french-kissing her. Paula and the Bobbsey Twins compliment Kellie on her fashion, then she does her best to criticize her in some way. Paula is looking forward to seeing Kellie start an acting career, though in case you forgot, it takes mental power to learn lines and not act like an uncouth hillbilly. However, if Hee-Haw ever starts back again, Kellie's in like Flynn. Kellie, ever the one to refuse to shut up, says "when all else fails, you gotta have great shoes." As soon as the show American Podiatry starts up, you go for it Kells Bells. Simon thinks it was boring. Kellie immediately says "I'm sorry," which she has now officially said more than "Pick Pickler." Kellie blew it big time, but she's trying to win our sympathy as best she can. Sorry, no sell.

After the break, Ace...


Ace Young does his Backstreet Boy thing for Rod Stewart. Rod likes his voice, and Idol does penance for it's sin of distorting Queen's reaction to Ace last week. Okay, since when did Ace get a job down on Wall Street? And the hair all slicked back! Who is this man? Naturally, he cleans up well. I am sort of liking his performance tonight. It could be that Kellie so completely trashed my palette that I would think anything would be good. Perhaps Ace could vomit on stage, and I'd still like it better. In any case, I'm enjoying Ace's performance tonight (even the falsetto part!) Maybe he'll avoid the bottom three this time. Randy claims he used to dress like Ace, but he did enjoy the performance. Paula and the Pamelas enjoyed the performance too. Michael Rapaport enjoys it from the audience. Simon gets Ace confused with Kellie the Nose and accuses him of being a bit nasal, but he otherwise liked the performance. Ace tries to say something, but Ryan cuts him off.

After the break, it's time for the McPheever!


Katharine McPhee gives Rod a performance that causes him to dance with some dude. Kat decides to sing "Someone to Watch Over Me," and Rod is enamored of her. Join the club, Rod. Join the club. Kat starts out sitting on the cusp of the stage, and then we get a super tight shot of Kat's lovely visage. In fact, the camera gets so close, I halfway expect to hear a bump and then Kat screaming ow. Vocally, this is perfection. I love it. The song is boring, but y'know, whatever. I'm buying Kat's CD when it comes out. The camera is nearly embedded in her nostril by the end of the song. Okay, I'm getting out of my computer chair and giving her a standing O. Loved it. Randy thinks it was her element, even though Kat can't hear him. Paula and the Led Zeppelins like Kat too. Simon thinks she made the others look like amateurs and that she is in a different league. Paula attempts to drown him out a la Kevin Nealon's Sam Donaldson caricature, but it shall not happen, per King Simon.

And that's that. Finally, a good show! Except for the Pickler.


If there is any fairness left in the world, Kellie Pickler will go home after a performance like that. Other than that, it's anybody's ball game.

See you tonight for the results recap. I will do my best not to forget to record it, so I can get it to you sooner!

Monday, April 17, 2006


There are a lot of American Idol blogs out there, y'all. Many of them just write their thoughts on the shows, reprint other articles about the contestants, post wildly inaccurate song spoiler lists, or just generally fill space. This blog, however, is determined to get down to the nitty gritty of the show as well as getting to know the contestants who make it great for us. And that means talking to the contestants themselves.

As soon as I saw the first few Top 24 shows, I was itching to get together with Stevie Scott and have a nice chat. Something about her was just enchanting and sweet, and she quite obviously had a voice that was out of this world. Finally I have caught up to the lovely Miss Scott, and as it turns out she's quite charming and gracious. She sat down with me to answer a few questions:

J.D.: Did you have any formal vocal training prior to Idol?

Stevie: Yes, I have been classically trained for seven years.

J.D.: Other than your obvious talent, what motivated you to try out for Idol?

Stevie: Trying out for Idol was more of a random impulse. People have always told me that I should try out for American Idol, but it started becoming a joke, because people would say it all the time. I almost didn't go just because it seemed too cliche, and then a family friend talked me into. Boy, was I glad I listened to him!

J.D.: Do you have any really special Idol memories that you can share with us?

Stevie: I had so much fun in AI. I think meal times were the best because everyone was so relaxed and easy going. Dinner was very fun when we were all together. We would all share food and dessert. Kellie and I would lay in her room and eat Hersheys bars and watch TV and laugh about stuff. It was a lot of fun.

J.D.: We didn't get to see very much of you initially, and it seems that the first time we really saw you was in the group round, and you weren't portrayed very favorably, whereas contestants like your buddy Kellie Pickler have been featured prominently. Do you think that you were put at a disadvantage because of this?

Stevie: It was hard not being introduced and featured as much as the other contestants, but its just the way the show goes. I'm sure it affects the votes in one way or another, but I'm not one to cry over the past. You have to focus on the positive and look ahead.

J.D.: Is Ryan Seacrest really that short or are you just really that tall?

Stevie: Hmmm...probably a combo of the two. I'm 5'11'' and Ryan is kinda short. No offense, Ryan. I still love you. (smiles)

J.D.: Did you become friends with any of the Top 12 contestants? Any embarrassing or interesting stories you want to tell?

Stevie: I definitely miss everyone from the Top 24. Even though I was closer to some than others, I still miss each of them and their unique qualities that they brought to the show. Life is a little less colorful without them. Melissa and I were roommates, which was fun. We pulled a little prank on David Radford. (giggles for a moment) He's so cute.

J.D.: What kind of things go on behind the scenes there at Idol that we might be surprised to know about?

Stevie: Behind the scenes, everyone is just a normal person trying to make it in the entertainment world. We all laugh, cry, get cranky, get know?

J.D.: I've heard that you weren't feeling well during a lot of your Idol run. What was going on there?

Stevie: I was very sick when we filmed the first Top 24 show. I had the flu two weeks before, and it slowly progressed into a cold and sinus infection. I was so nervous to have to perform in front of millions of people while I was sick. It took all the fun out of it, you know? I wanted to be able to get up there and enjoy myself, but its hard when you aren't completely healthy. I gave all that I had to give, and I can live with that. The show must go on. Professionals cannot give excuses as to why they may not be "on" that night; you've just gotta give your best at that time. (smiles)

J.D.: How was it for you when you found out that you were going home?

Stevie: Sad, but I was expecting it to a certain degree. I had been preparing myself that day. I knew that even if I had to go home, I would not give up. American Idol was a great stepping stone, but it was not the last.

J.D.: Some people say that religion and being a recording artist don't mix, but you, Mandisa, Chris, and a few others seem to be making it work. How do you incorporate your faith into your music career?

Stevie: For me, my faith is a huge part of my life. I think it's very important that, throughout your career whether you become wildly famous or not, you stay true to yourself and your beliefs. I will do that. It's part of an agreement with myself. If my career ever gets in the way of that, I will stop until I can get things back together and be sure that I am strong enough to handle the pressure.

J.D.: Who do you vote for when you watch Idol?

Stevie: I can't say! I vote via my brothers. (chuckles)

J.D.: Do you wake up in the morning looking this cute, or does it take some effort?

Stevie: Aww, thanks! I guess it depends on that morning. Whether I like how I look or not, I figure I better get used to it cuz I'm stuck with this for the rest of my life. (laughs)

J.D.: So now that Idol's over, what will we see you doing in the near future?

Stevie: I'm currently working on writing more music for an album. I would like to release two albums in the next two to three years. One very mainstream (pop/soul) and the other more opera and ballads. I'm also moving to L.A. to get into more TV and film. Yay! I think it'll be fun!

J.D.: Have you had any offers that you can tell us about?

Stevie: A few different recording labels have contacted me. We'll see how that goes.

J.D.: Did you record anything prior to Idol that we can get our grubby little hands on and pay you lots of money for?

Stevie: (laughs) Yeah, there is some older stuff from when I was 15. It's on iTunes but it's under my full name "Stephanie" not Stevie. I'm not really sure how it got on there...

J.D.: Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

Stevie: Jewel, Joss Stone, Josh Groban, and Eisley

J.D.: If someone wanted to book you for a performance, how would they need to go about doing it?

Stevie: For performances, it's best to contact me on myspace and from there I, or my manager (a.k.a. Daddy) will handle things.

J.D.: As for your personal life, is there anybody special you're seeing? Because if not, you should never rule out aspiring journalists. I'm just sayin'...

Stevie: (giggles) one right now...

J.D.: When you look back on your experiences, thus far, what is the one thing you will remember the most?

Stevie: It's too hard to pick just one. At American Idol we became one big family. It was really sweet.

J.D.: Tell the truth: Who's the better reporter, me or Jaded Journalist? You can lie if you need to.

Stevie: YOU are much better! The Jaded Journalist is weird. I was so confused by him. He didn't even ask any questions. You can watch the interview with Ayla and me. It's totally random.

J.D.: If you could impart one final word of wisdom to the world, what would you tell us?

Stevie: Never give up on your dreams. Make every day count. Make sure that the people you love know it. Follow your heart.

And there you have it, folks, Miss Stevie Scott. You can check her out on her official website at or on Myspace at

Thanks so much, Stevie, and we'll be following your career!


Tomorrow night's American Idol recap will NOT be live-blogged. You all know I love making all of you laugh, but my boys have decided that they want to play some basketball tomorrow night at 7, and as much as I love you guys, I need to go dunk on those little white boys. Hey, somebody's gotta run the clinic, right?

So, until I get the recap done, y'all enjoy the interview above, ok?


(photos--except the promotional one to the right--are all taken by me, myself, and I, and may be enlarged by clicking on them, and yes the drawings were done by me!)

Those of you who are fans of the world's most recognizable superhero, Superman, will want to visit his hometown this summer. Metropolis, IL, will be hosting the annual Superman Celebration again June 8-11, 2006.

Didn't know there was an actual Metropolis? Well, according to their Chamber of Commerce: "On January 21,1972, Metropolis, Illinois was given authorization by National Periodical Publications (D.C. Comics) to become the adopted "Home of Superman". The same year the state of Illinois also recognized Metropolis as the "Home of Superman" by passing House resolution #572. Superman himself was designated a "distinguished Son of Metropolis", The only so-named city in the United States with a Zip Code. The Metropolis Chamber of Commerce then set into motion a promotional program to use Superman in a not-for-profit manner to promote the general welfare of the Metropolis Community. This is our 28th Anniversary of the Superman Celebration."

I went to the Celebration last year, and let me tell ya, Metropolis loves its most famous (if not most fictional) citizen. In the town square, there stands this statue:

But lest you think that Superman is all there is to do here, you're sorely mistaken. The Superman Celebration also features carnival rides, Superman celebrity guests, street vendors, Superman games, music, and entertainment. Last year's celebrity guests were John Schneider (Jonathan Kent of Smallville), Noelle Neill (Lois Lane of The Adventures of Superman), and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane of the Superman movie franchise.) Also making a special appearance last year was the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard. (John Schneider actually drove it!) There's usually some sort of musical entertainment each night, and there are several Superman dramatic productions, starring Metropolis's own official Superman (pictured at the top of this post!) And last year, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno sent Mo Rocca down to do a feature on the festival.

While you're there, you should visit the Super Museum, owned and operated by Jim Hambrick. I spoke to Mr. Hambrick last year, and he told me a little behind the history of the museum. Originally, the museum was a traveling exhibit, but the sheer volume of artifacts soon became too cumbersome and he had to settle down. Metropolis seemed like such a natural place for him to do so, and it was there that he opened up the Super Museum. The museum is located on the town square (aptly named Superman Square) right across from the statue. It's open from 9 AM to 6 PM seven days a week, and the price of admission is a measly three dollars. You might wonder how he keeps his doors open with such a paltry sum, but let me tell ya, he's never at a lack for visitors. Inside, you will find everything you ever wanted to see about Superman, from movie artifacts to a comprehensive collection of Superman toys and merchandise, to comics, to personal items donated by the cast and crew of various Superman motion pictures. There are costume and set pieces from the Kirk Alyn Superman serials, including a chunk of Kryptonite. There is an almost complete Daily Planet set from George Reeves' The Adventures of Superman, including a Clark Kent suit and two Superman suits. Also represented is the Superboy series that starred Gerard Christopher (which incidentally will be on DVD soon.) Naturally, there are several Superman costumes and capes from the Superman movies of the late 70's and 80's. Helen Slater's Supergirl has her own room of artifacts, as does the Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher series Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman, complete with costumes, set pieces, props, and various other memorabilia. Even the relatively new Smallville is featured here.

Jim also wants everyone to know about his new "Americana Museum." This from the Superman Supersite "For those who have seen the Super Museum, all I can tell you is that you ain't seen nothing until you visit Jim's new museum. Located near Harrah's Casino and the huge "Kryptonite" rock, the "Americana Hollywood" museum features collectibles from movies, tv shows, and actors past and present. Jim has amassed a collection that rivals his Superman one. Everything from Pamela Anderson's outfits from "V.I.P." to the original written lyrics to Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" are in this huge museum. There's even two Macaws that can speak very fluently... and take your finger off if you get too close. Make sure you visit both museums when you visit, you won't be disappointed!"

There are also huge gift shops associated with both of these museums, and lucky you, you don't even have to travel to Metropolis to shop there. Just visit The Superman Superstore online to check out both stores. There's plenty of memorabilia and souvenirs in stock for even the most die-hard Superfans. Trust me; I've been there. If Jim doesn't have it, he'll get it for you.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to the festival this year, though I had previously planned to, but if you're within driving distance of southern Illinois, consider making June 8-11 a weekend to go out, embrace your inner child, and celebrate an American Icon!

Oh yeah, I drew this and the Superman drawing above myself!!:

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Saturday, April 15, 2006


The above autograph was sent to me by Ashley Melnick, whose debut EP got rave reviews here at Musical Ramblings. Ashley was kind enough to send not only her autograph, but also a copy of her CD for me to have and to hold.

Let me tell ya, the CD has played about four or five times since getting it in my car stereo, and I ain't takin' it out just yet. It's some GOOOOOOD listenin', and as they used to say back home, "that girl can SANG!"

Quick update on Ashley: She has performances coming up at the following venues:
April 15, 2006 (today!!) she will be on BZOO Radio in El Paso TX, starting at 10 PM. Says Ash: "Check out my music being played on BZoO radio all this week Monday thru Thursday at 10:00 AM, Saturday at 3:00 PM, and Sunday at 11:00 AM. My interview will be aired next week, but exact time and date is still not confirmed. To know more about BZoO Radio check out their website at!!" (Bzoo is a nice little indie internet radio station with some good podcasts. Check them out.)
April 22, 2006 Ashley will be playing at Digging for Dragons in Southlake, TX. So any of you Texicans out there who want to see a good show, head on out to catch it!

To listen to Ashley's EP, you can check her out at and let her know J.D. sent ya!

By the way, not only is Ashley a great singer, she's also awesome at marketing herself. Ash is very interactive with her fans, and hey Mack C. she's using your idea by putting her music in the hands of the right bloggers!

Good job, Ashley, and best of luck. Let us know what you're up to!

Friday, April 14, 2006

I just got this note from my friend, international recording artist Roxie Mae, and I am passing it along to the community:

Hey guys - I wanted to ask you to please keep a good friend of mine in your thoughts and prayers. Danny Dowler (pronounced dollar) has been diagnosed with throat cancer recently. He's been told he has two years to live. Danny is a performer and has performed with me last at the Evening of Praise concert back in September. He's best known for his "Elvis" impersonations and has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. If you would like to send condolences to him please email them here at this address and I will make sure he gets them. Thank you and God Bless! Roxie

You can email Danny via


One of my favorite American Idol contestants this year has been Brooke Barrettsmith, and she's been kind enough already to interview with me here, so I wanted to let you guys know what she's up to.

First, I highly recommend you go HERE and listen to her music. Especially "Make Me" which has quickly become one of my favorite songs. The rest are pretty good too, so check them out.

The following is a schedule of Brooke's shows. If you're able to go, I recommend it.

Apr 21 2006 8:30AM Unlimited Hope Women's Conference Oconomowoc, WI

Apr 22 2006 9:00AM Unlimited Hope Women's Conference Oconomowoc, WI

Apr 23 2006 7:00PM Young Life Fest Dundee, IL

Brooke will be heading down the Tennessee way on April 24 2006 to Nashville to begin work on her solo album.

Apr 29 2006 9:00PM Penny Road Pub (with her band GOODBYE) Barrington, IL

May 4 2006 8:00AM Annual Prayer Breakfast Crystal Lake, IL

May 6 2006 10:00AM Cafe Barista Lake Villa, IL

May 11 2006 12:00PM Twin Oaks Country Inn Wilmot, WI

May 12 2006 7:30PM The Chicago Sky - WNBA Chicago, IL

May 13 2006 7:00PM Another Blessing Cafe (with Goodbye) Milwaukee, WI

Jul 7 2006 7:30PM The Chicago Sky - WNBA Chicago, IL

Aug 26 2006 12:00PM Fish Fest (with Goodbye) Milwaukee, WI

For those of you who live in the Spring Grove, IL vicinity, Brooke is now taking bookings for vocal lessons. In case you're wondering if she's qualified, here's her resume: Top 40 Contestant Fox Televisions American Idol Season 5, IFCA Division 1 Vocal Award, National Choral Award, Professional Studio Work, Singer/Songwriter/Musician, Former Warner Bros./Word/Curb Records developmental artist, Opening act for: Steven Curtis Chapman, Toby Mac, Tait, Jeremy Camp, Sonic Flood, Matthew West, Superchick, Jake, Paul Coleman, Hangnail, By The Tree, LaRue, Twila Paris, Kathy Troccoli, Telecast. Yeah, if I lived there, she'd so be giving me lessons. To book lessons, visit here

As for her band, the name is Goodbye, and it features Billy Adams on guitar, Jeff Courtney on guitar, Scott Barrettsmith on bass, Vic Barrettsmith on drums, and Brooke on vocals. Looks like all the Barrettsmiths are there except Leah, who is in Nashville pursuing her own dreams in the Music City. If you want to check out Goodbye on the web, visit their website at Brooke's personal space is at at so go check it out.

And that's your update!