Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Preview: American Idol - Top 12 Girls

Yesterday I wrote about the top 12/13 guys and today I'll discuss the girls.  After last night's episode, the girls better be unbelievable tonight or we may be looking at a pretty lousy season.  I thought the guys were collectively "blah" last night - no terrible performances but nothing great either. 

I still don't have a grasp on how the voting is going to work in these semi-final rounds.  Seacrest seemed to hint that as many as 8 guys might be voted off already this week?  That can't be true, can it?

Anyway, as with the guys, I'll give a rundown below of each girl and how far I think they can make it in the competition.  For clarification, if I say "Ceiling - Semi-finalist" that means I think the contestant will not make it to the top 12.  The semi-finals are right now.  Without further ado, and with an added feature, here are the Top 12 girls:


Baylie is your classic cute blond contestant.  She has a nice voice, but gets a little more credit than she deserves because of her looks.  Every year Idol has a cute blond make it to the top 12 and then fizzle out somewhere in the 6-10 range.  This year is no different.  Ceiling:  Top 10.


Brielle belongs on Jersey Shore, not American Idol.  She is known not for her singing voice, but because her mom was with her every step of the way in Hollywood and was pretty much the most obnoxious person ever.  She did get a ton of screen time, and if someone coaches her up right and tells her to drop the Jersey-tude, she might have a shot.  But I doubt it.  Ceiling:  Semi-finalist.


I think Chelsea is pretty legit.  She sings country and has the Idol look down pat.  From the few performances I saw, she sang great and would seem to be a front-runner.  But is the Idol audience tired of country yet?  I think they might be.  Ceiling:  Top 6.


Wait, he's a guy?  And he performed last night already?  My bad...let's move along.


Elise has that raspy voice thing going for her...which I guess is nice.  I'm just not a big fan dawg.  She seems a little too old for Idol - and as a girl, that will hurt her.  I can't remember a female contestant that was in their mid-late 20s that made it very far.  Can anyone else?  Ceiling:  Semi-finalist.


Erika got a lot of much needed screen time in the audition and Hollywood rounds.  That is probably the best thing I can say for her.  To me, she is one of the weakest girls, and probably gets lost in the "blond shuffle."  There seem to be 27 blond girls who are all similar.  Ceiling:  Semi-finalist.


To be honest, I have NO clue who this girl is.  That cannot be good.  Plus, her name is almost identical to the girls following her.  Therefore....Ceiling:  Semi-finalist.


This girl got a bunch of screen time, I think because she was cracked-out and her chubby, unattractive boyfriend/husband saved her from that lifestyle?  That is my recollection anyway.  Good voice + solid screen time = Ceiling:  Top 12. 


Hollie I think was the last girl to make the top 12, and was chosen over a few girls who had a lot more screen time.  Therefore, she must be decent, right?  I did hear a few clips of her performances and she sounded surprisingly good for such a young girl.  I think she could be a dark horse here.  You know, as long as she doesn't get confused with Haley or Hallie or...  Ceiling:  Top 5.


I know she is a little older and that conflicts with what I said earlier about girls in their mid-20s not having much success on Idol, but she is my pick to win it from this group of girls.  I am basing this mostly on a few clips I saw of her during the final elimination show from last week...but she sounded great!  Good personality...and she's not a blond, so she won't be lumped in with the 5 girls above.  Ceiling:  Winner.


This girl can blow it out the box (my second Randy Jackson-esque comment in this blog).  She is young so she can get the teeny bopper vote.  And she is the only non-caucasian girl, which should score her a few extra votes as well.  It is between Sanchez and Hirsh for the top girl in my mind.  Ceiling:  Winner.


Shannon is best known for being about 7 feet tall and for getting hit on by Steven Tyler while her dad was in the room.  Also, I think her dad was a former MLB pitcher or something....doubt that gets her any votes.  She is reasonably attractive and has a solid voice.  Based on her previous screen time, I think she can last a few rounds and make the top 12.  Ceiling:  Top 12. 


Skylar is another country singer, and every time she has performed for the judges, they mentioned that she "is like a young Reba [McEntire]."  I'll put $100 on a Reba reference tonight...and give you 10-1 odds as well.  She has a good voice, is personable and should be able to hold her own with the other country girl, Chelsea Sorrell.  Ceiling:  Top 8. 

Tune in tonight so you can hear Randy, J-Lo and Steven gush over how amazing these singers are...evne when they sound like crap! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Preview: American Idol - Top 12 Guys

Season 11 of American Idol has finally narrowed the contestants down to 24 semi-finalists:  12 girls and 12* guys.  Today, the 12 guys will perform, tomorrow the 12 girls and then on Thursday one or two or four of the contestants will be sent packing.  Idol seems to change up the format for this semi-finals round every year.  Some years they eliminate 2 guys and 2 girls each week until they get to a final 12 - and I am guessing that is what they will do again this year.  Either way, Ryan Seacrest will tell us for sure about 11,000 times tonight...American Idol...on FOX...8pm!!

*Idol always likes to mix in a gimmick or two each season, and this season is no different; they will add a 13th guy to the mix in a "surprise" fashion tonight. They have narrowed it down to four hopefuls, and I will include them in the preview below.

I admit to being an avid American Idol watcher and feel that I can handicap the field fairly well at this point.  Surprisingly, I feel like I know what works and what doesn't on Idol for both the judges and the American voting audience better than the contestants.  You would think they'd learn after 11 seasons that song choice/persona is 90% of the battle...but they never do.

Anyway, below is a preview of the top 12 guys.  I will preview the top 12 girls tomorrow and then will have a post later in the week explaining the American Idol Fantasy "League" that my buddy Mike and I have been doing for the past 4 seasons.  Yes...I said American Idol Fantasy League.


As I said, Idol decided to add a 13th guy to the semi-finals this year, but they haven't told us who that will be.  They did narrow it down to four hopefuls:  Jermaine Jones, Richie Law, Johnny Keysar and David Leathers, Jr.

Richie Law is the annoying-as-hell country guy who is best known for his conflict with the Asian guy, Heejun Han, during the Hollywood group round.  He has no shot at the 13th spot, but if somehow he does make it, he will be amongst the first guys booted back home. 

Johnny Keysar apparently didn't even make it to the final cuts in Hollywood, but had his name thrown into the ring for this 13th spot anyway.  I don't remember much about him, but rumor has it he is a good looking guy who J-Lo loves.  That at least gives him a chance...though I doubt he makes much noise even if he's selected.

Jermaine Jones is a momma's boy as we found out in Hollywood and he has a super, super deep voice.  I just don't see him as an "American Idol."  He did get a lot of screen time in Hollywood though, and is my dark-horse for the 13th spot.

David Leathers, Jr. is my pick for Lucky No. 13.  He was a popular contestant from the very first episode of Season 11, when he nailed his audition and claimed his middle name was "Steal Yo Girl."  Some compare him to a young Michael Jackson and I could see him making the final 12 based on popularity alone if he gets the 13th spot.


Lots of talent...but I don't remember much about him.  There are two black guys in the semi-finals this year and both have a lot of talent.  However, black guys just do not have a great track record on Idol, ever since the early days of Ruben Studdard.  Ceiling:  Top 10. 


Adam got a shitload of screen time in Hollywood, which usually bodes well for contestants early on in the semi-finals.  He reminds me of a mix between Danny Gokey and Taylor Hicks, which is a good thing since Gokey finished 3rd and Hicks won (miraculously).  I'm just not sure he can win - might be a little too "old" based on recent Idol results.  Ceiling:  Top 5.


Honestly, I have no clue who this guy is.  Reasonably good looking dude, which helps.  And I have heard he sings country.  Hard to predict his ceiling if I don't know much about him, but there is probably a reason for that.  Ceiling:  Top 12. 


Colton has the benefit of significant screen time, thanks to the fact that he made it to the final cuts in Hollywood last year as well.  He has the right mix of personality, looks and voice to cruise to the top 12.  However, there is a reason he didn't make the top 24 last season...he just isn't that great.  Ceiling:  Top 10. 


Sometimes my feelings towards a particular contestant cloud my judgment...and this is one of those times.  Dude just rubs me the wrong way.  A little too eccentric for my tastes and probably a little too old for the current Idol voting demographic (read: 10-18 year old girls).  Ceiling:  He's hit it. 


DeAndre has a very nice falsetto...but that's about it.  Oh, and he has crazy hair.  That combination might keep him around for a week or two, but I doubt he makes the top 12.  Ceiling:  Semi-finalist. 


Kid is only 15 and has some talent.  If he can play the right cards ("hey look girls, I'm a cute little 15 year old boy just like Justin Bieber was/is") then I think he can cruise to at least the top 12.  I'm just not sure he's talented enough to make it much past there.  Ceiling:  Top 8. 


Heejun is another guy who benefits from LOTS of screen time in Hollywood.  He has the hipster look going for him, which may or may not work to his advantage.  And he has a really, really strong voice.  However, he has major dictation problems.  In the past, contestants who have an accent that seeps through during their performances (Stefano from last season) have a tough time making it past the top 5.  Ceiling:  Top 6. 


I don't like this kid.  Not sure why, but I don't.  I admittedly did not see much of him during the Hollywood weeks, but he annoyed me and that probably means he'll annoy some voters as well.  Ceiling:  Semi-finalist. 


I must have missed the episodes where this guy was featured, if at all, because the only performances I saw were brief clips shown in last week's elimination episodes.  But I will tell you what - dude can sing!  I know I said black males do not have a great track record recently, but this guy could buck that trend.  Ceiling:  Top 3.


Yes, that is his real name.  And believe it or not, he is probably the front runner right now simply because he is a combination of the past 3-4 male Idol winners.  He can play the guitar and make popular R&B songs his own (David Cook), he is a good looking guy that is still young (Scotty McCreery) and he seems genuine and likeable (Kris Allen).  Ceiling:  Winner.


Reed is uniquely talented and that got a lot of play during Hollywood and his audition.  He reminds me of last year's Casey Abrams - who also was quirky and very musically talented.  I am not sure how strong his voice is...but if his uniqueness plays up to the audience instead of annoying them, he could be one of the last males standing.  Ceiling:  Top 6. 

There you have it.  Without seeing any live performances, I would say the front-running guys right now are Phillip Phillips, Heejun Han, Joshua Ledet, Adam Brock and Reed Grimm.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Mini-Mailbag

As Michael Jordan once famously said....I'm back.

What better way to kick off the 2012 blogging season than with a mini-mailbag?  And I'll steal, and slightly alter, a gimmick from Bill Simmons.

As always, these are not actual e-mails because I have no actual readers...

Q:  Where the F**K have you been?!?!?!
- The 10 people who actually read this blog, Anywhere, USA

A:  Great question.  I have no excuses.

Q:  It's now 2012 and since we haven't had a new blog post from you in over 2 months, can we get some predictions for the 2012 year? 
- Jeremy Lin, New York, NY

A:  I actually meant to write a blog post on 2012 predictions that I could then come back to in January of next year to see how I did...but yeah, no excuses.  Instead, I'll tackle the topic by making predictions for each remaining month in 2012.  February - Tiger Woods will win the Accenture Match Play event that starts tomorrow and ends on Sunday, February 26, 2012.  March - I will swear that I'm not going to run my annual March Madness pool because I kind of lost interest last year once I moved it to Yahoo and let the interwebs do all the scoring, but then I'll cave at the last minute.  Also, Peyton Manning will be released by the Indianapolis Colts, then sign a massive contract with the Washington Redskins.  April - Tiger Woods won't win the Masters which will ruin my April 8, 2012 weekend and the Detroit Tigers will be a .500 team at the end of the month before catching fire in May.  May - a horse named "Linsanity" will win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but fall short in its bid for the Triple Crown thanks to a horse named "Melo-Yellow".  June - the Detroit Red Wings will win the Stanley Cup and the Miami Heat will win the NBA championsip.  Also, the city of Cleveland will light itself on fire.  July - there will be a bomb threat/terrorism scare prior to the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Tiger Woods will win the 2012 Open Championship.  August - the Washington Nationals will be leading the National League East and Kevin Lawlor will laugh during his vows.  September - Peyton Manning will re-injure his neck after playing in only 2 games and will miss the rest of the season; Redskins fans will burn down Daniel Snyder's house.  October - the New York Yankees will beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series and the NBA will start without anyone noticing.  November - the surprise team in the NFL will be the Seattle Seahawks, who will be leading the NFC West.  December - the World will end. 

Q:  Is there anything more annoying than how crowded the gym is during January and February every year?
- Meat Head, Venice Beach, CA

A:  No.  When I eventually do my "Pet Peeves" blog post, this will be at or near the top.  In September, I can go to the gym, get on any treadmill I want and use any free weights/machine I want without a wait.  Now, I have to park 3,000 miles away and ride a damn stationary bike while waiting for a treadmill to open up.  Thankfully, February is almost over and the New Years' Crew is about ready to return to the couch.

Q:  I know that February is basically the worst month of the year for sports, but you have to admit, it is a pretty good time of the year for quality TV.
- David Milch, Deadwood, SD

A:  Great point.  There is a lot of quality TV on right now, with more to come in the next couple of months when Mad Men and Game of Thrones come back in April.  A quick rundown of some quality shows on TV right now.  Mondays - "Alcatraz" on FOX is a pretty solid show so far.  Tuesdays - FOX's "New Girl" has really grown on me and I would say is the best new comedy series of the past few years.  And I have been DVRing "The River" on ABC, though I still haven't watched an episode yet.  Wednesdays - I am still a sucker for "American Idol" on FOX, and this season has been pretty good so far.  Also, ABC's "Modern Family" and "Suburgatory" are still staples on my DVR.  Thursdays - the NBC comedy lineup is always solid, they just need to get the right mix.  It should always be "30 Rock", "Parks and Recreation", "The Office" and "Community" in some order.  I am really enjoying CBS' "Person of Interest" as well.  Fridays and Saturdays are awful for TV and I typically either watch sports or my friends get drunk.  Sundays - as always, the best TV night of the week.  I got hooked on Showtime's "Shameless" recently - probably one of my favorite shows right now.  "Pan Am" just ended its season on ABC and I have a feeling it won't be back.  "Luck" just started on HBO and as with all HBO shows, I think you need to give it a few episodes before it really gets going.  But it seems very promising thus far.  And I continue to DVR "House of Lies" on Showtime, though I've only seen 2 episodes.  All in all, a good lineup of shows.

Q:  Will we be getting regular blog posts from you in the future, or will this be like the last time you were "back", meaning you will post two or three blogs and then go dark for another two months?
- Jarry Lameson, Mechanicsburg, PA

A:  Only time will tell...