Tuesday, March 05, 2013

American Idol, aww yeah!

American Idol Top 10 Ladies Night...

Zoanette chose "What's Love Got to Do With It," by Tina Turner. A really rough start to the song. And middle. And end. She's got a really aggressive sound, but this doesn't seem like the song for it. Yeah and that shriek at the end was pretty painful. The audience seems to love it, but I don't.

Judges reactions: Keith says it was "an interesting song choice." Nicki straight up tells her "that wasn't it." Someone got blanked out for swearing.  Randy used 4 yos, so you know he means business. "That was a mess, babe." He kinda repeats himself 5 more times. Mariah says this "wasn't her favorite performance that" she'd done. But YOU GUYS ZOANETTE IS PERSONALITY UNBRIDLED, WE LOVE HER. Not.

Breanna picked a song that was a little high pitched for her, because that opening was painful. PAINFUL. "Flaws and All," by Beyonce. (I had to look that one up, I didn't know it. Is it because Aubrey did Beyonce great last week.)
Judges reactions: Keith loves her song choices. But to not out-Beyonce Beyonce. Nicki calls her "sexy lady." And disagrees with everything Keith said. "You sounded like you were straining throughout the performance." DAMN RIGHT NICKI. Randy "I agree with Randy." Mariah says "I feel like that was a unique song choice for you."

Aubrey sings "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie. Nearly a paint by numbers cover. I kinda wish she'd do SOMETHING different from Fergie's original, because I'm hearing both running through my head. Also, she has a hard time with the pace Fergie sets in the song. Still, she's better than the first two. Oh, except for that really bad "yeahhhh" she did toward the end.
Judges reactions: Keith "could hear [her] personality." He wanted her to "soar more at the end." I don't buy that. Nicki says she doesn't even hear Keith. She loves Aubrey's humility. Randy thinks "we all love you." I got bored and didn't hear the rest of Randy or Mariah's commentary.

Janelle was dismayed by the judges' reactions last week so she chose a slower song this week. "If I Can Dream," by Elvis Presley. This is more suited to her voice. Much much much better, but I'm still mad over Rachel losing out to her last week. But yeah, this is the girl who we saw in Hollywood Week, goddamn.
Judges Reaction: Keith: "I loved that, baby." He says she's got a classic country voice. Mr Jesse said she sounded like Patsy Cline, so I can dig it. Nicki said she wants to eat Janelle. Randy copied all three of them, even Mr Jesse who he couldn't hear. Mariah says she's "an American sweetheart kind of thing."

Tenna Torres talks about her hair, and how Nicki told her to change it. Now she's got a different head. This didn't work well for Erika Van Pelt last season, so let's see how it plays out.  She's doing a Faith Hill song called "Lost Lyrics," which I love. Waaaaay too much vibrato for my taste. She sounds like a goat. Otherwise she's doing pretty well.
Judges Reaction: Keith loves the song, and says Faith is a great singer. He wants her not to get distracted by the camera. He was too busy paying attention to the camera to notice the goat. Nicki was distracted by Tenna's boobs and wins because she actually told Randy to shut up.  LITERALLY. And Randy copied all of Keith's ideas.

Angie...ie Angela Miller is doing one of Colton's songs. Apparently she changed names over the last week. But yay! I loved Colton last season, so I am excited to see her cover his song. Let's see! Song is called "Never Gone," so it's one of those great Christian songs that could be interpreted as not about God. We heard Colton perform it during the tour, but I really like her vocal on this song. This girl is IT, as Nicki has been saying all night. Or well, she said "not it." Anyway, best of the night so far.
Judges Reaction: Keith is singing "Angie" by the Rolling Stones at her, he's so excited. Nicki says "trumpets should sound when you walk into the room, girl!" Nicki yells to Nigel to get her Angela's album asap. Randy says "Angie is what they say, she's going places!" And rehashes everything the other two said AGAIN.

Amber decided to do "I Believe in You and Me," by Whitney Houston. At least it's not Mariah. I guess Mariah songs will be hard to come by because she's sitting at the table now. YAY. This girl's got mad control over her voice. Where was Nigel hiding her all these weeks? She's great!
Judges Reaction: Standing Ovation. Keith says it's the perfect song for her. Nicki said something, but I wasn't paying attention. And Randy informs us all Amber is in it to win it.  Mariah says everyone will love her.

Kree "takes on" a Faith Hill song. Keith clearly loved it as he's the only one on his feet. I enjoyed it, but I was trying to figure out the name of the song. Keith used the name of the show as a pun.  He's talking music and I have no idea what he's talking about, but it sounds about right. He says she fits in with the tradition of country music artists. Nicki went with her British accent for this and decided she married Kree now. "I'm just trying to do my wife proud," Kree says.  Hur hur, Randy's decide Kree's in it to win it.

Adriana is our youngest girl.  She's from Alaska, and singing "Stand Up for Love" by Destiny's Child. Apparently Beyonce is this season's Mariah and Whitney, where everyone sings her songs. It's a really pretty rendition. And she's dressed really pretty. But she's a little nasally. I also feel like she's talk-singing. If that makes sense.
Keith says that wasn't the best song choice for her. Says it took too long to cook. "Do you really hope you're wrong, Keith?" Nicki smartmouths. She says that Adriana needs to work on it and she should come back next year.  Randy went with the "pageanty" line.  I keep accidentally ignoring Mariah. Whoops.

Candice did "Ordinary People" by John Legend.  I ...I think I would listen to Candice nonstop. This girl OWNS it. It just comes easy for her. Randy and Keith were nodding and bobbing along to the song. Stealing Nicki's line for Angie...I want Candice's album now. YES YES YES AND MORE YESES.
Judges Response: Keith gives a Standing O. Well deserved too. "The level of singers tonight is crazy. Through the roof." Nicki salutes her, and says "That's it, that's my comment." Randy couldn't figure out how to copy her. And now he's copying Keith. He thinks we need a wild card. Probably, but Mariah says "thank you for that performance."

I'd select my best of the night, but it's the same as my top 5 list. Here's MY top 5:
Candice, Kree, Angie, Amber, and Janelle.
Who will be top 5  on Thursday? I'd love to say the same group, but I worry about Amber's popularity. I think that Zoanette, with the VFTW vote could be a spoiler, but also look out for Adriana, who comes from Alaska and could get the pity vote. Amber or Janelle could tumble. The other three seem to have established fanbases.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reality Singing Show Time!

NYC American Idol auditions

So much has been made of teh dustup between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, but no one is talking about how much I want to see some fool try to sing one of Mariah's greatest songs to her. SERIOUSLY. You know someone did. The woman is a great singer/songwriter (haters may hate), an amazing singer. She was one of the best mentors this show had (S7: See David Cook's choice of "Always Gonna Be My Baby").
Also, millions of Americans just realized that Keith Urban, a country star -- was actually Australian.
Of course, this appears it to be the season of focus on the judges again. We're 17 minutes in, including a couple of commercial breaks, and we've seen one audition. First auditioner who isn't a joke is singing a Mariah song. At least this one's not horrible.

And of course Randy Jackson asks himself how he votes. It's not American Idol if Randy Jackson isn't trying to steal the spotlight.

Oh and of course it's time to make fun of the Asian teenager who has an accent and thinks he's the next Justin Bieber. Mariah gave a wonderful reply to the kid, telling him that if he really does love music, he could consider DJ. But Randy tries to ruin it of course.

I think the theme of this season is clearly SHUT UP RANDY.

aaand we have achieved white guy with guitar and sob story. So he's the winner of season 12, right? Whoa, he was sent away. I'm shocked, because he broke out both the Jason Mraz and Bon Jovi.

Another quirk this season is allowing people to be nominated to Idol. Totally stolen from The Voice -- Carson Daly hand delivers invites to the blind auditions, and for some reason they send Randy Jackson to invite the white girl with guitar plays. And apparently a capella auditions are a thing of the past if you're a dude or lady with a guitar.  Randy told her to play the guitar and Nicki won't let her sing again. So unfair.

After an hour and 15 minutes I've heard 2 people who could sing and one who I guess could outside of her screeching (Israeli megastar). I know it's episode one, but SHOW US THE TALENT JFC.

Also I love the girl with the country singing both Carrie Underwood and Nicki Minaj -- then Randy tried the pigeonhole crap with her and got Keith Urban thrown under the bus.

And again with the tired trope of pushing the Asian dudes who can't sing. Way to play to stereotypes, Idol.

So we heard like 5 people actually going through. Let's hope that next episode has a little bit more in the way of auditions.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


So here's the second part to my 2012 book recap!

What's the best book you read this year?
I can't decide between Emma Donoghue's Room and Jo Walton's Among Others.

Any other reading highlights?
I also loved Bernard Beckett's Genesis, which was a great throwback to older sci-fi stories, and Miserere, by Teresa Frohock. This was the year of sci-fi, I think.

What's the most challenging book you read this year?
Genesis and Room were pretty tough, but the winner probably was Perfume, by Patrick Suskind.

What's the worst book you read this year?
Self-published tripe: Henry VIII's Seventh, by Steve Farndon. What a load of BUNK. And poorly edited to boot.  I think His Last Duchess, by Gabrielle Kimm would be my least favourite published book.

Which authors featured most prominently for you in 2012?
Mira Grant, even though I was ultimately disappointed by Blackout.

Were you part of a reading challenge? Did you meet it?
I had a goal of 120 books, and 52 from countries around the world. I missed the former by 6, the latter by a lot. It's really difficult to do!

Are you signed up for any in 2013?
Just to read 115, since I missed that number last year.

What books did you get for Christmas? 
Weird-O-Pedia, and the box set of The Hunger Games series. I also got amazon gift cards that I will use to purchase many more books.

What books are you going to buy next? 
Ettiquette and Espionage, by Gail Carriger (comes out Feb 5). The rest I decide upon when they're up on Kindle Daily Deals or I suddenly learn of their existence.

Which books are you most looking forward to reading in 2013?
Definitely E&E, along with the books I got for my birthday -- including two Alison Weir books I hadn't acquired before. I also plan on finishing Elizabeth Chadwick's oevre.

(these questions I stole from last year's post)

Unexpected Terrible Book: I think I was most surprised that Empire State by Adam Christopher was so terrible. The concept was great but the execution was so BORING.

Worst Series: This was more about ultimately unsatisfying conclusions to trilogies: Mira Grant's as well as Jacqueline Carey's Naamah trilogy.

Unexpected Surprise, Nonfiction: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. JUST KIDDING. No, it would be While the World Watched, by Carolyn Maull McKinstry.

Unexpected Surprise, fiction: Miserere, Teresa Frohock

Best Series of the Year: I still love Kelly Gay's Charlie Madigan series. If you're not reading them, and you like truly kickass lady heroines, you should check that series out.

Best Young Adult Novel of the Year: A Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events #1, Lemony Snicket. YES I REALIZE THEY HAVE BEEN OUT FOREVER. YES I AM A SLACKER.

Most Important Book I Read This Year: The Nuremberg Trials, Ann Tusa and John Tusa. This was long and detailed but totally worth it.

Right now I'm reading books 4 and 5 of the year!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

End of the Year Book ROUNDUP!

This book list is all 114 books I read last year. Missed my ultimate goal by six, missed my LY by 1. Not too shabby, though.

01 The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas (started at the tail end of 2011)
02 Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
03 Bossypants, Tina Fey
04 Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man, Chaz Bono
05 The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, Julia Quinn
06 Among Others, Jo Walton
07 The Virgin's Lover, Phillipa Gregory
08 Miserere, Teresa Frohock
09 Some Dream for Fools, Faisa Guene
10 4000 Years of Uppity Women: Rebellious Belles, Daring Dames, and Headstrong Heroines Through The Ages; Vicky Leon


11 Islands, Alistair MacLeod (I had been reading it off and on in 2011)
12 Blood Rights, Kristen Painter
13 Perfume, Patrick Suskind
14 Right Hand Magic, Nancy Collins
15 The Borgias and Their Enemies: 1431-1519, Christopher Hibbert
16 Rapunzel, Leila Bryce Sin
17 The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily; Nancy Goldstone
18 Zazen, Vanessa Veselka
19 The Sum of Our Days, Isabel Allende
20 Fear of Landing: You Fly Like a Woman, Sylvia Wrigley Spruck


21 Flesh and Blood, Kristen Painter
22 Bad Blood, Kristen Painter
23 Timeless, Gail Carriger
24 Of Blood and Honey, Stina Lecht
25 This Side of the Grave, Jeaniene Frost
26 Empire State, Adam Christopher
27 Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History's Most Notorious Women, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
28 Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages; Leland Gregory
29 Finnikin of the Rock, Melina Marchetta
30 Heidi, Johanna Spyri
31 The Hour of Dust and Ashes, Kelly Gay
32 A Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs


33 Go the Fuck to Sleep, Adam Mansbach
34 Ladies Coupe, Anita Nair
35 The Warrior's Path, Catherine M. Wilson
36 The Nuremburg Trials, Ann Tusa
37 For the Sake of Sin, Suzie Grant
38 The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, Mary Seacole
39 Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, Logan Marshall


40 Game of Survival, Marijane Meaker
41 Smilla's Sense of Snow, Peter Hoeg
42 The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England, Susan Higganbotham
43 The Loss of the SS Titanic: Its Story and Its Lessons, Lawrence Beesley
44 Vixen; Samantha Derr, ed.
45 Naamah's Blessing, Jacqueline Carey
46 The Hangman's Daughter, Oliver Potzsch
47 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Jeannette Winterson
48 Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired My Eating Disorder, Natasha Holme
49 Blackout, Mira Grant
50 Countdown, Mira Grant
51 The Lost World, Arthur Conan Doyle
52 Wicked Desires, Eliza Lloyd


53 The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution, Thomas P. Slaughter
54 Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory, and Justice in Guatemala, Ana Arana
55 A Cold Day for Murder, Dana Stabenow
56 Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance, Mitzi Szereto
57 After the Apple: Women in the Bible: Timeless Stories of Love, Lust, and Longing; Naomi Harris Rosenblatt
58 The Castle of Otranto, Horace Walpole
59 Far Above Rubies, Cynthia Polansky
60 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Graeme-Smith
61 Vlad: the Last Confession, CC Humphries
62 The Forever Queen, Helen Hollick
63 America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines; Gail Collins


64 Henry VIII's Seventh, Steve Farndon
65 Steamlust: Steampunk Erotic Fiction, Kristina Wright
66 Taking Instruction, Cheyenne McCrae
67 Fed, Mira Grant
68 San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the Californa Browncoats, Mira Grant
69 On Call in Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story, Dr Richard Jadick
70 Veil of Pearls, ML Tyndall
71 Island in the Sea of Time, SM Sterling
72 Sicko, I Set You Free: A Treasury of Erotica for the Easily Amused, Soren Narnia


73 World War Z, Max Brooks
74 50 Shades of Romney (Hint, They're All White), Tim Young
75 Futility or The Wreck of the Titan, Morgan Robertson
76 Isaac's Army: The Jewish Resistance in Occupied Poland, Matthew Brzezinsky
77 Romans de la Table Ronde: Erec et Enide, Cliges, Lancelot, Yvain; Chretien de Troyes
78 Shadows Before the Sun, Kelly Gay
79 Different Strokes: How I (Gulp) Wrote, Directed, and Starred in an X Rated Movie; Lawrence Block
80 The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair, Robert J. Duperre, ed.
81 Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
82 Kidnapped at the Altar, Laura Jean Libby
83 Gregor the Overlander, Suzanne Collins
84 Grace Doll, Jennifer Laurens


85 Deadgirl, BC Johnson
86 Navajo Code Talkers, Nathan Aaseng
87 While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement, Carolyn Maull McKinstry
88 Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, Sandra Cisneros
89 John Dies at the End, David Wong
90 Pollyanna, Eleanor Porter
91 Dark Futures: Tales of Dystopia SF, Jason Sizemore ed.
92 Time Up, Justin McLaughlin
93 The City of Refuge, Diana Wilder


94 The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R, Carole DeSanti
95 Breakdown, Katherine Amt Hanna
96 For the King's Favor, Elizabeth Chadwick
97 The Gate: 13 Dark and Odd Tales, Robert J. Duperre ed.
98 Room, Emma Donoghue
99 Master of Disguise, Antonio J Mendez
100 After the Rising, Orna Ross
101 City of Women, David Gillham


102 Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic, Jennifer Niven
103 Out for Blood, Kristen Painter
104 Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Michael Oren (the book that ate November)


105 The Kings' Mistresses: The Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna, and Her Sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin; Elizabeth Goldsmith
106 The Ships We Sail, Miriam Oudon, ed.
107 In My Skin: A Memoir, Kate Holden
108 The Bloodletter's Daughter, Linda Lafferty
109 Russian Disco, Wladimir Kaminer
110 Genesis, Bernard Beckett
111 Gathering of Waters, Bernice McFadden
112 Bitten: Dark Erotic Stories, Susie Bright,ed.
113 The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket
114 His Last Duchess, Gabrielle Kimm

Coming Soon: A Summary of The Best/Worst/Other these Were!