I watched American Idol last night rather than listen to the blather of idiots talking about the Democratic Primary Election in Pennsylvania. It was a lot more fun. Go David Cook!
This is the first season of American Idol that I have ever watched. I just never got around to it before. Before this past year, I didn't watch television more than a couple of hours a week. Then my roommate had my television connected to his Dish-thingey. Now I get three or four hundred channels in high definition. Lucky me. Whereas I used to read about a dozen books a month, now I struggle to read two or three. I don't just casually watch AI, I watch it with half a dozen dedicated Idol enthusists. We have a pool of sorts with a nice chuck of change to the person who successfully predicts the season's winner. The rules of the pool requried our picks be made when the the top dozen contestants were chosen. There are six contestants left on American Idol: Syesha Mercado, Carly Smithson, Brooke White, Jason Castro, David Archuletta, and David Cook. My money is on David Cook. I've also made money on side bets over who gets eliminated each week.
Bye bye, Brooke. She stumbled over the lyrics, and if my memory serves me correctly, this is the second time she's done that. The first time it was less obvious, but the one last night was bad. I'm not a fan of hers. She's pretty and has loads of talent, but is totally lacking in charisma. She has appeared to be on the edge of tears since her opening audition. Tonight when she's sent home, I expect gushers. Somebody wake me up when she's left the stage.
I'm also ready for Jason Castro to go away. He annoys me much the same way Tiny Tim annoyed me back in the 70s. Anybody remember him? Think tip toe through the tulips. Maybe it was his rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow while accompanying himself on the ukele. To be fair, Jason can sing better than that, but he is about as vapid as I've ever seen on national television. His is so vapid that he gives stoner's everywhere a bad image. He had never heard of Andrew Lloyd Webber before American Idol. By his own admission, he has never seen a staged musical. I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say he's probably never seen nor heard an opera. Mitigating in his favor have been his incredible blue eyes. They're startling. Simon (yes, that one) said a few weeks ago that if AI were on radio rather than television, Castro would never have made it as far. I think he's going to be around for a few more weeks because he has connected to a fan base. I have no idea who those people are, and I wish they'd stop it so we can be rid of this annoying creature.
In my cynicism, I suspect the producers of American Idol of manipulating the results somehow in order to achieve a pre-ordained outcome. Was it coincidental that half a dozen of the final contestants are rock singers? Right now I suspect them of working overtime to keep one or two of the women around to the final showdown between Archuletta and Cook.
David Archuletta is a very sweet and tender White, Mormon Michael Jackson. He's been trained and groomed by his stage father since he was in diapers. He comes across as an innocent. Maybe he is. He has a promising voice, but I don't feel any emotional connection to his singing. All of his songs have sort of a sameness to them. He is, however, technically proficient and incredibly cute. I suspect he's a ringer, though. He won Star Search a few years ago, so he didn't exactly wake up one day and say, maybe I'll do American Idol. He's got a huge following among pubescent girls. They recognize one of their own.
My favorite is David Cook. He has an interesting voice, and most importantly, he sells his song. I actually went on iTunes and bought his recording of Billie Jean, a song made famous by Michael Jackson back in the 80s. David did a version of the song arranged by Chris Connell. He got a bit of bad buzz on the Internet because credit was not given to Connell for the arrangement and it appeared that the judges thought is was David's own. David also has a charismatic stage presence. Whether he wins American Idol or not, we're going to have plenty of opportunities to enjoy his music. He's here to stay.
So there's my take on American Idol. On the other side of the television dial we had the same inane crap being spewed by the many commentators of news as entertainment. Last night's buzz word was "close the sale." Obama just can't "close the sale." That phrase was used on all networks about once every two or three minutes, all night long. They were still braying it this morning as well.
These commentators are more like town gossips than anything else. That they influence the outcome in any way whatsoever speaks to the tragedy of our system of politics. Gossips have the ability to influence people's perceptions. The pundit-gossips have determined for us that Hillary's a bitch, Obama's an unpatriotic, secret Muslim who can't "close the sale," and that John McCain is an "independent maverick" that relates to Joe Six-Pack because despite the fact that he's married into incredible wealth and has never had a job off the public payroll, he is not "elitist" like the Democrats. This same group of gossips determined that Dubya was a regular guy, unlike that blowhard Gore and that Frenchified Kerry. And people keep eating it up, election cycle after election cycle.
I haven't had much to say lately, blogging wise. Oh, I'm just opinionated as I ever was, maybe more so in some areas, less so in others.
There are greater currents flowing through our lives other than my simple drama. First, peace be unto you, all of you. Shag semeach pesach. Happy Passover. Even to the ones I don't like a lot. Passover begins Saturday night. As a Christian, a Jewish Christian, a Protestant Jewish Christian, an Episcopal Protestant Jewish Christian, as a Pentecostal Protestant Episcopal Jewish Christian, as a Buddhist Pentecostal Protestant Episcopal Jewish Christian, as ZEN Buddhist, Pentecostal Protestant Episcopal Jewish Christian -- (by now I think I've covered my paths to enlightenment) -- I wish each of you Pesach shalom! Jewish or not, we have all been slaves in Egypt.
May there be peace in Israel. May there be peace in Iraq. May there be peace in this country, our home. May there be peace between thee and me. May we all celebrate peace Next Year in Jerusalem! as well. Amen.
Jay Leno has apologized for his crude attempt at humor employing homophobia and bigotry. On March 19, Leno attempted to get Ryan Philippe, who portrayed one of the first openly Gay characters on daytime TV, to Gay it up for the camera. "Say that camera was your gay lover," Leno said to Phillippe. "Give that camera your gayest look. Say that camera is Billy Bob who's just ridden in shirtless from Wyoming." To his credit, Philippe declined the invitation.
Leno, who considers himself above accusations of homophobia and racism because he has one Gay friend and one Black friend, was offended at the suggestion that he was homophobic. It took a website devoted to his enlightenment that caused him to reconsider.
Pictured above is Armistead Maupin giving Leno his Gayest look. And just below is one from me. Leno has apologized for being crass and offensive. Okay, I made that up. What he said was "In talking about Ryan's first role, I realize that what I said came out wrong. I certainly didn't mean any malice. I agree it was a dumb thing to say, and I apologize." No, Jay, it didn't come out wrong. It just wasn't funny.