Thursday, April 26, 2007

Idol Gives Back.

This was the week that Idol gave back. We got an hour on Tuesday where the top six Idols sang inspirational songs, and two hours on Wednesday of fund-raising magic. This Wednesday show consisted of hilarious celebrity cameos, big time musical performances, and about 87 videos of Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell visiting sick orphans in Africa (Randy Jackson hit up New Orleans, Paula Abdul stuck to LA, and they did combinations, like Simon in LA). Oh, and occasionally they would free up a few seconds to do the whole contestant elimination thing.

But I don't mean to be a prick. This is obviously all for a very worthwhile cause, no matter how certain parts may have clashed with each other. And overall, it was a very good show. I loved watching all the musical performances and celebrity gags. They had been building up one duet in particular as something that would be so fucktastically mind-blowing that it would change the face of pop history forever. This duet turned out to be Celine Dion and young Elvis Presley. Elvis performed from beyond the grave, and they made a specific point to say something about Celine Dion flying in from somewhere (I guess they didn't want to make her sound like total crap compared to undead Elvis). Now, to me, this personally wasn't that incredible. My mind was more blown when Katharine McPhee and Meat Loaf performed "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" at last year's finale. But the special effects were FLAWLESS. Celine and Elvis were singing side by side on the same stage from multiple moving angles, with the Idols in the back. This shit was better than when Forrest Gump met all those presidents! So color me not disappointed.

But by the same token, they did kinda fuck themselves with another bit of hype. At the top of the show, Ryan proclaimed that this would be the most shocking elimination ever. Immediately, we all considered each of the contestants, and which of them could be potentially considered the most shocking elimination. Clearly, it couldn't be Phil Stacey, LaKisha Jones, or Chris Richardson, because they've all had their taste of the Bottom 2. And Blake Lewis, Melinda Doolittle, and Jordin Sparks are all good, but no single one among them is in any way the undisputed frontrunner. So there had to be something more shocking about it. A tie would be ridiculous. Almost instantly, I postulated that maybe they weren't sending anyone home. This wasn't hard, because there really weren't that many outcomes here that could acceptably be classified as "shocking," or even "mildly discomforting."

Ryan said there would be no Top 3, no Bottom 3. Just a random calling of names. Throughout the night, he guaranteed each person's safety, one at a time. First Melinda, then Blake. And at this point, the only shocking elimination left would be Jordin. Sure enough, he then called the safety of Phil and LaKisha, leaving only Chris and Jordin. And as I knew he would, he told Chris he was safe, paused for crowd reaction, and then told Jordin she was safe. The irony here is, this might have been pretty shocking. If he hadn't forecasted how shocking it was two hours earlier, basically begging me to put it together in my head before it could happen. But who cares, because the night was about helping people anyway. However, I can't help but feel somewhat conflicted about what they plan to do with this week's votes.

The 70-something million votes cast this week will carry over onto next week's Rock-themed show, where the two weeks' votes will be combined and the two bottom vote recipients will be eliminated. What worries me is that the person who would have gone home this week might do a lot better next week and avoid elimination altogether, which would seriously screw with the spirit of the show's rules. But I suppose that's nothing compared to the very existence of Sanjaya. So, just, whatever, guys.

I look forward to next week's Rock theme, coached by Jon Bon Jovi. Hopefully the song choices will be as good as this week's (and not the shit from the few weeks before that). Some particularly awesome choices for Inspiration week were Chris Richardson doing Eric Clapton's "Change the World" and Blake Lewis doing John Lennon's "Imagine." LaKisha Jones had the balls to do Fantasia Barrino's "I Believe." Awesome song, but give us a fucking break, LaKisha. This week, I shall embarrass you the same way I did Sanjaya last week.

See, she's working the bobo dance and everything. In other news, streaming the John Tesh Radio Show online from Orlando's Magic 107.7 worked like a charm. So, good news there.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

John Tesh.

I had things pretty good in Orlando. Aside from obvious things like friends, my apartment in Pegasus Landing afforded me some mighty fine luxuries. I lived right next door to a Moe's Southwest Grill, so like... when you hear about people "living the life?" That was pretty much it right there. I also used to listen to The John Tesh Radio Show every night. It was a good show, because he would play lots of soft rock and pop while intermittently giving me fun facts and intelligence for my life. It was just a nice relaxing way to fill the ambience in my room between Pegasus Landing shootings. I get the show here in LA too, but there's a few minor differences.

- Instead of playing from midnight to 5am (the chillaxed overnight stretch), it plays from 7pm to midnight. Which is when I'm generally doing other things.
- Instead of playing all those good tunes, it plays Christian music, because it's a Christian station.
- The reception sucks.

The closest station I have that plays John Tesh at the time I want is in Palm Springs (110 miles away). I suppose I could stream the Orlando station online, which would give me my old Orlando Tesh from 9pm to 2am, due to the time zone difference. Maybe I'll give that a try. I don't think I would have thought of this plan if I hadn't decided to write about it in this blog. I guess blogs are useful.


Monday, April 23, 2007


As long as I'm only talking about TV shows, let me say this. I love Entourage. But with every week, I am becoming more aware of its most damning flaw-- it is the only show I watch that always feels like an incomplete first half. Can't we see about extending this fucker next season? Comedy can be done in the hour-long format. Look at Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal. I know these aren't technically comedies; they're hilarious dramas. But then, so is Entourage.

We're three episodes into this season, which is actually not a real season, but part 2 of Season 3, part 1 of which aired last summer. It kinda works that they split it up like this, because they left us on a motherfucker of a cliffhanger, but next time, I hope they just let the season run intact. I don't care about spreading the good times out. I prefer to see shows in localized stretches, from premiere to finale, like 24. Here's my thoughts so far on Entourage, Season 3 (part 2).

3.13 -- Less Than 30 -- This was the one with Vince's birthday. I particularly loved Ari's storyline. I think it's great that he's suffering not because he lost a big client, but because he genuinely loves Vince, and it will be good to see how they ultimately reunite. Not sure what the hell the title means; although I guess it's a reference to Vince's age.
3.14 -- Dog Day Afternoon -- It's a good show, don't get me wrong. But you know how in every sitcom, you have the important A storyline, and you back it up with some fun B and C plots? This was like two B plots glued together.
3.15 -- Manic Monday -- Better than last week, but I was shocked when the credits started rolling in what was basically the middle of the action. It's clear from these last two episodes that the writers have good stuff on their hands, but they have no idea how the hell to package it.

There's only five episodes left in the season. I hope they're a little more self-contained, without completely ignoring season-long arcs like Dog Day Afternoon over there. All I can say is, if Vince and the gang aren't having hour-long adventures next season, they better start airing 'em two at a time. Or I'm gonna start paying waiters to take away Doug Ellin's meals before he even touches his fries.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Revised American Idol Loser Wish List.

This week saw the astonishing dismissal of Sanjaya Malakar. This was a shock to everyone on the planet. First, Ryan Seacrest divided the Top 7 into two groups: First group was Sanjaya, LaKisha, and Blake. Second group was Phil, Jordin, and Chris. He then asked Melinda to stand with the group she thought was safe. Obviously it was the first group, which contained two of the better singers (and Sanjaya), but Melinda sat down in the exact middle of the stage and made Ryan look like a dick. She basically invited him to go fuck himself. Despite this setback, Ryan still amazed the shit out America by revealing that it was the second group that was safe. In retrospect, this should have been obvious from Ryan's little choosing game.

So, looking at Sanjaya, LaKisha, and Blake, I simply prayed that Blake would be given a reprieve. Because it was either him or LaKisha leaving. One good singer was going home that night; that much was true. Sure enough, Blake was safe, and I knew LaKisha was done. In a matter of seconds, I buried her in my heart. And then Ryan Seacrest uttered a combination of words that successfully released my bowels from my body.

"Sanjaya... you... are going home tonight."

I daredn't dream it was possible, but truly, it was. They showed a montage of Sanjaya making an ass of himself week after week with an insert of Sanjaya bawling his eyes out live on camera. Sanjaya then reprised his song from the previous night, Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About." This song is about a person who falls in love with another person because of all the rumors that they're already an item. Now, I think this would have worked as a metaphor for his inexplicable tenure (people think I should be here, so let's create a reason for it), but it doesn't work because he still sucks. Plus, I think he just chose this song as a blunt commentary on the fact that no one can stop talking about how much he sucks. The lyrics don't exactly fit, but Sanjaya as a human being never made much sense either. He disrespectfully changes the chorus from "how about love" to "other than hair," then forgets the lyrics for the billionth time during his run on the show.

Here now is my revised list of who I want to leave the show, and in what order:

1. Phil Stacey -- He's actually decent half the time, but come on. Enough already.
2. LaKisha Jones -- She really wowed me when she busted out with "Think" for her audition and immediately followed it up by belting out "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" on her first week out. But that was like eight weeks ago, and now it's time to make way for closers.
3. Chris Richardson -- I dislike his nasal sound, but he did kick ass on Tony Bennett week, so I'd keep him over LaKisha, mainly because I'm splitting the black female vote in my head for the sake of variety. He is also the only one who looks cool when they do those lavish Ford commercials.
4. Jordin Sparks -- Doubly impressive because she's only 17, but I don't know if she could necessarily win it. Here Jordin, have third place.
5. Melinda Doolittle -- Finally came out of her ancient song coma on country week, which earned her major points from me. But still doesn't thrill me as much as...
6. Blake Lewis -- Do more beatbox!

Another growing concern of mine is the man-on-the-street interviews Ryan Seacrest has taken to doing the past two weeks. Last week, he went around the Farmer's Market the morning of the Wednesday live results show. I told my brother we should hang out there all the following Wednesday, so he would interview us, but this week, he was at the Kodak Theater, which made it a good thing that we didn't bother to try to go anywhere that day. Now it's going to have to be a guessing game to anticipate where he's going to be so I can be interviewed on American Idol. But since I don't really give a shit about doing it, I won't think about it any further. I already have two forums where I share my Idol thoughts anyway-- this blog, and out loud in the room as I'm watching each week. What I could be doing is making more of an effort to get tickets to either the Tuesday live performance or the Wednesday live results show, as I probably owe it to the big Idol fans who would give their right nut to attend, but can't because they're not local. But I probably won't kill myself over this one either.

I now close with a video of goodly Fantasia Barrino peforming "Something to Talk About" back in Season 3, in what will hopefully be the last humiliation Sanjaya Malakar has to suffer in my purview.

See, Sanjaya, this is the kinda show I was hoping to see before your smiley ass came along.

Now get the fuck off my TV.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Celebrities exercising and American Idol.

Yesterday, I was hiking at Runyon Canyon and I saw two celebrities. I normally don't anotate my celebrity sightings because they happen so often in LA. But these were special because I was by myself, and usually, every celebrity I see is pointed out to me by someone else because I'm always too busy looking at my feet. Anyway, while stopping at the point with the bench that looks out over all of LA, I noticed none other than Jenna Lewis (of Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: All Stars, and that blow job video) jogging by me. She was running kinda fast, but I'm pretty sure it was her, because as she ran past me, she gave me a blow job. The most agonizing part of this sighting is that I almost wore my Survivor shirt that day. I had pulled the Survivor shirt out of the closet, then thought, "No, I want Family Guy," and put it back. What the hell does Jenna Lewis care about a Family Guy shirt? I can now add this to my official list of Survivor sightings:

1. August 2, 2005 -- Johnny Fairplay (Survivor: Pearl Islands) at Saddle Ranch (CA).
2. May 13, 2006 -- Tina the lumberjack (Survivor: Exile Island) on 5th Avenue (NY).
3. April 11, 2007 -- Jenna Lewis (Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: All Stars, blow job video) at Runyon Canyon (CA).

My second sighting was of the guy who played Fausto in Nothing But Trouble. This guy is hilarious. He's been in a million things, so whoever you are, it is certain that he has already somehow touched your life. You may remember him as the guy in Angels in the Outfield who has to keep getting food for the kids, or the hairdresser on Seinfeld who has to use tomato sauce to get the B.O. out of Elaine's hair, or Alessandro... from Alessandro's on Friends when Monica is paid a visit by Alessandro... from Alessandro's after giving his restaurant a bad review. Further research shows that his name is Taylor Negron, but I'm more comfortable thinking of him as Fausto from Nothing But Trouble, considering that is his magnum opus.

I will also mention American Idol, because every week, the wrong person is going home. Before last night's elimination, I composed a list of who I wanted to leave, and in what order.

1. Sanjaya Malakar -- obviously, the worst singer.
2. Phil Stacey -- can't take him seriously.
3. Haley "Legs" Scarnato -- who is occasionally good, and often wears very little.
4. Chris Richardson/Jordin Sparks/LaKisha Jones -- all fine singers who I have no emotional attachment to.
5. Melinda Doolittle -- the best singer, but has an ancient song-choosing style that I can never identify with.
6. Blake Lewis -- all-around, my favorite remaining contestant.

Ryan Seacrest teased us with the possibility that Sanjaya might be in the Bottom 3, but it turned out to be Phil Stacey, Haley "Legs" Scarnato, and Chris Richardson. So at this point, I just want Phil to go. Last week, the Bottom 3 were Phil, Haley, and Gina, and the immediate reprieve was given to Phil, whom I don't like, and the loser was Gina, who was my favorite song chooser. So I was feeling pretty bad this week. But I regained some hope when the immediate reprieve was given to Chris, leaving Phil and Haley with their necks on the chopping block. Sadly, tonight's feast consisted of Haley. Which was understandable, I suppose, considering she completely massacred Gloria Estefan's "Turn the Beat Around" the night before. However, when she performed the song again last night, she was one million times better. She was more relaxed, she walked and danced all through the audience, and she didn't let the fast-paced lyrics trip her up. It was a great performance! Where was the disaster we saw not 24 hours ago? She must not do well under pressure. Sucks for her. But sucks even more for America. Next week Sanjaya gets to do a country song.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

I speak in fact.

Four days ago, my brother and I went to Grauman's Chinese Theater for the world premiere of Disturbia. It seems that, to fill the house, they invited a bunch of regular people to come enjoy the movie. We were let in, not through a back alley, but on the actual red carpet leading to the front door. This momentary bob in the balance of the universe must have thrown the rest of my reality out of order for the rest of the night. The movie itself turned out to be lots of fun. Then we got our parking pass stamped by a parking validation guy on the way out of the theater lobby, but when we were pulling out of the garage in the car, the parking attendant charged me $3, looked at the ticket again, and claimed that it was not a real validation. I told him it was officially stamped by a man with a validating stamp at Grauman's Chinese Theater. He asked to see a receipt to prove we had been to the movie, so we showed him our official giant tickets (the size of a door hanger) that had a picture of the Disturbia poster on them, but he said he couldn't accept that (in retrospect, I should've pointed out the specific seat number on the bottom of the ticket). So he charged me $10 for parking. I asked him if I could see what an actual validation stamp looks like, for future reference. He said he couldn't show me. He pulled one out and flashed it at me really quick, but claimed I wasn't allowed to see it. So, that's great for the next time I go to this theater. I guess he's afraid I'm going to go home and get started on a fake validation stamp with my stamp-making kit. I asked him how I was supposed to know if my next stamp at this theater is a true validation if I'm not even allowed to see what it looks like. He said to just tell them to give me a parking validation next time I'm there. THAT'S WHAT I DID THIS TIME, DICKHEAD.

The way I see it, I just paid the universe a $7 fine for not being able to talk sense into a stranger. This is not the first time something like this has happened. Maybe I should work on that. I think my main problem is that I fundamentally hate arguing, to the point that it is leaving me at a disadvantage when fruitcakes like this try to have a fuck with me.

Then, on the way home, my landlady called me and said my brother's rent check had been rejected by the bank because he wrote it in pencil. Now, I had watched my brother write this check out, and he had used a pen, so I told her that, and she reinforced that the bank said he had used a pencil. If you ask me, the bank couldn't read my brother's typically illegible handwriting, and my landlady probably just misunderstood. I'm sure it didn't help that he wrote that particular check out at 4am while he was half asleep. I just wrote a new check and sent it to her. This was not a major inconvenience, yet worth noting because it's just weird to have two people in a row tell me that I am wrong about things I know to be true.