Nothing Much

It’s snowing. Last Friday it was warm and beautiful, totally a spring day. Saturday was very much the same. A little bit of rain came in on Sunday, and yesterday was cool – but today it’s snowing. Big, wet, cluster-flakes that make it very hard not to act like a second grader at recess. I didn’t realize until I went to open the front door to leave, but fortunately was wearing snow-appropriate duds nonetheless.

I’m still sick. Once my immune system takes a hit, I’m usually a mess for the rest of the season. My lungs are full of gunky goo, and my torso muscles are full of strains after many hours of bodywracking coughs. The worst is when you’re lying down and you cough, but your stomach muscles are in just the wrong place and you can almost feel them tear. We’ve got the basic nasal malfunction going on, too, and this vague sense of having had a bit too much to drink that is making it rather difficult to type.

However, I got promoted to Healthiest Person in the Household this morning when the Mr. came down with the Happy Funtime Stomach Vomitbug. I’ve successfully avoided vomitbugs for the past several years and am currently bemoaning several facts:

  • That Ryan works with people who have small children who bring home vomitbugs
  • That my immune system is in a shambles
  • That Ryan cooked dinner last night
  • That we mix germs in our mutual airspace all the time because, y’know, we cohabit

Speaking of making people sick… it’s that time of year again, the time we all hate to love: American Idol time. (This is all I’m going to talk about for the rest of this post, so feel free to stop reading if this turns your gills green.) We’re down to the final twelve of each gender which means that some halfway serious evaluation can begin to take place and that we’ll be spared the horror of more humiliating audition reels.

Before I get into my IDOL SPECULATION, I wanted to say something in my defense. There’s a lot of people hatin’ on American Idol, and, well, the part of me that grew up spurning popular culture embraces that. For the record, I don’t like it because I’m “supposed” to like it. I haven’t watched it from the beginning and honestly couldn’t tell you who the early winners were other than Kelly Clarkson and the odd Ruben/Clay hybrid. I’m not obsessive about the program – I’m obsessive about the competition. I’m a musician, and I’m not ashamed to say that I like popular music. In fact, I really like popular music. I also have a very strong drive to help young people succeed at stuff, and a strong competitive streak, and I get kind of a vicarious rush out of this. Having been, and been around, competitive musicians my entire life, I enjoy watching this odd little version of the “audition” process. Plus, it’s fun to sit there and critique this poor souls as if I could do any better. What can I say?

Well, I can say what I thought about last night’s battle of the boys. Overall, I really thought song choice was appalling and/or weird…

Rudy – who I swear looks like Adam Sandler – drew the short straw and had to perform first, becoming susceptible to the First Performer Curse. I initially said that his performance reminded me of a wedding singer, and then realized that was probably the Sandler look influencing me. It was a little cheesy, though, but he had good energy and was generally inoffensive. Going first, though, and getting tough criticism from the judges – he’s in trouble.

Brandon the Backup Singer is obviously just a pro. He knows what he’s doing, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

I like Sundance, I really do, but that was just horrible. It was offkey and he looked creepy scary – a creepy scary song like “Nights in White Satin” didn’t help. He’s just done, and it’s too bad.

Paul got me to thinking, and I honestly can’t think of any Asian-American pop stars. What’s up with that? His performance wasn’t great, but it was definitely passable. I’d like to see him really make the songs his own rather than try to just cover them – he was much better when he loosened up a bit halfway through.

Chris R. is probably very good. I can acknowledge that. And he’ll get a lot of ladies voting for him (although, I’d wager, very few men). But seriously. A suit, a tie, an awkward white-man dance, and THAT song? It didn’t do much for me, I’m afraid.

Nick isn’t cut out for this and he knows it. He was petrified. It didn’t feel like he even knew his song, and when his Mama watches the footage she’s going to raise hell with him over his abysmal posture.

Blake may have been my favorite last night. I like the quality of his voice – clear, straightforward. His singing felt effortless, and it was nice to see him being laidback rather than being the manic beatboxer we’ve seen before. He’s going to be interesting to watch.

Sanjaya needs to not let his sister pick out his songs. It sounded like grandma music, and not very good grandma music at that. I’m not sure what to think about this kid, other than that he needs a haircut. As the only young ‘un, will he get the teeny bopper vote? Personally, I found this performance terrible.

Chris S. is the most fun when he’s interviewing, but something about his performance felt off to me. I liked his song choice but I didn’t like his hair. Isn’t that shallow of me? Hey, it’s a shallow show, so sue me.

Jared did a good job of covering this song, with only a few minor pitch issues. It didn’t do much for me – I think the more of this show I watch, the more I crave creative interpretation – but it was well executed.

A.J. freaked me out for no good reason, and in retrospect I think it was the insatiable grin. To me, it was inoffensive and ignorable… but I played it again and couldn’t argue that it wasn’t very good, musically.

Phil started off in the wrong key entirely and it took him ages to fix it. I can’t help but think that a decent musician would have gotten his feet back underneath him much more quickly than that. Once he found the key he was pretty awesome, and I bet the average viewer/voter forgave and forgot his horrific start. I’m a meanie, though, and won’t let him off that easy.

As per usual I tried to rank the contestants from best to worst. I tried to really make it based on quality rather than my personal taste, but that’s always going to be somewhat subjective. The guys in the middle could be shuffled around a little bit, but here’s what Ryan and I’ve more or less settled on:

My Best-to-Worst Picks
Brandon
Blake
Chris S.
A.J.
Paul
Chris R.
Jared
Rudy
Phil
Nick
Sanjaya
Sundance

Ryan’s Best-to-Worst Picks
Chris S.
Brandon
Blake
A.J.
Jared
Nick
Phil
Sanjaya
Paul
Rudy
Sundance
Chris R.

If you’ve gotten this far, and watched – what did you think? Which two do you think will go home? Who’s your favorite?

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