Witt's Twaddle

Siobhan Stands Out on Rolling Stones Night

Posted in Everyday by Witt on March 17, 2010

The first night out for the top 12 was dedicated to the Rolling Stones — you know, they 
sing that Susan Boyle song, “Wild Horses.” I love that song!

In fact, Katie Stevens chose to do the Susan Boyle song, and managed to come up with a 
new, power-ballad interpretation in a belting voice. The judges agreed this 
was her least problematic — which is to say, most successful — performance. “This 
is the first time I think you connected with a song,” said Simon. “Well done.”

The wildest moment of the night was Siobhan Magnus, made over in a sleek 
dress and curled hair, singing an intensely melodramatic cover of “Paint It Black.” 
The Judging Four were thrilled, especially when it ended with another of her 
roof-rattling shrieks. “Like Snooki’s pouf,” Ellen said, Siobhan had risen above everyone 
else. Kara thought it was the best turn of the night, and so did Simon: “The standout.” 
He added, however, that a lot of people would hate it.

That includes me. She looked like a French pop star struck by lightning.

Crystal Bowersox, the one singer you might have expected to have a knockout 
with this sort of blues-rock, didn’t quite connect with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” She 
just sort of strummed along, comfortably and even respectfully melodic, but the song 
didn’t build to anything. “This is the first time where I think you were beaten by somebody,” 
said Simon, “and that was Siobhan. … You’ve got to come on that stage, and you’ve got to kill.”

The disaster of the night? That would be Tim Urban. He sang a reggae “Under My Thumb,” perhaps 
trying to sound like early Police. The sexual aggression of the original was gone, and that left 
nothing. “I felt like I was at a resort and drinking a pina colada,” said Ellen.

Didi Benami cemented her comeback singing a slowed-down, sexed-up “Playing With Fire.” It 
didn’t really convey the threat of the lyrics — she’s not a singer who carries a lot of matches. 
But the judges were pleased. “Didi, you’re on fire tonight,” said Randy. Kara: “You got dark.” Ellen 
liked her phrasing: “You made the word ‘fire’ two syllables, which I thought was gr-eat.”

Casey James had rollicking fun doing “It’s All Over Now” with his electric guitar. Ellen made a 
cute little joke about not being about to appreciate him as a straight sex symbol — that his 
appeal doesn’t work for “people like me … blonds” — but she thought he was “fantastic.” Simon 
carped that it felt like an audition — Casey wasn’t pushing himself. “There’s got to be more.”

Lacey Brown sang “Ruby Tuesday” to a stupid string arrangement that made it sound like the 
Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” Ellen thought it was “a tiny tiny bit sleepy.”

Andrew Garcia took “Gimme Shelter,” with its rumblings of danger, and turned it into something 
like a lounge performance in the shadow of the apocalypse. The judges were split. Ellen called it his 
“best performance yet.” When Kara complained that he had defanged the song’s imagery of war, 
Simon countered: “Did you want him to come onstage with a tank?” Well, yes.

Lee Dewyze’s version of “Beast of Burden” particularly impressed Kara (“You are growing faster than 
anybody… Tremendous growth”) and particularly frustrated Simon — he thinks Lee has yet to have 
that big “moment” of onstage electricity, and should. He does have a way of just … standing there.

Paige Miles, who’s had a troubled run up to now, nonetheless happens to have a very good voice — 
and despite laryngitis, and hardly any rehearsal, still pushed her way through “Honky Tonk Woman.” 
The judges seemed to think she’d at least recovered some of the ground that had been 
slipping away in recent weeks. ENOUGH ground, though?

Aaron Kelly, in a simple, understated performance, managed to capture the tender sadness of 
“Angie.” The judges all ranked it as one of his best nights yet.

Michael Lynche was confidently smooth on “Miss You.” Kara, invoking Mick Jagger himself, praised 
him for being “hot onstage.” Simon, though, cautioned that his moves were a bit corny and “a tiny bit desperate.”

This led to a weird faceoff between Simon and Ryan.

Ryan asked Simon to clarify his criticism and Simon, in effect, told Ryan to mind his own beeswax. Ryan at that 
point marched down off the stage, leaned across the judges’ table and tersely informed Simon he was 
just trying to make it clear that Michael understood Simon’s critique. “I’m actually trying to help out a little, buddy,” he told Simon, as if they were having an altercation in a diner. Simon waved him back toward the stage.

What on earth did any of it mean?

Most in danger: Tim, Andrew, Paige, Lacey.

Reblogged via Tom Gliatto for People.com

9:33pm, 17 March 2010.

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Meet the “American Idol” Top 24 – Minus Ineligible Chris Golightly

Posted in Everyday by Witt on February 19, 2010

Following last night’s completion of Hollywood Week on American Idol, eliminations weren’t scheduled to begin until next week’s episodes. However, just hours after the Top 24 were revealed last night on Fox, AI producers issued a statement saying curly haired contestant Chris Golightly had been deemed ineligible for Season Nine. Producers added that Tim Urban, who initially didn’t make the Top 24 cut, would replace Golightly. Watch the former contestant in the video up top.

USA Today’s Idol Chatter spoke to Golightly after news of his dismissal broke out, and the singer said a misunderstanding over a previous recording contract led to his forced exit. Golightly says his former manager informed 19 Entertainment that he was still under contract, but explained that his contract ran out a month prior to his audition for AI. After a series of mix-ups, Golightly says it was established that he was in fact free from his previous contract, but by that point Idol producers had already recruited Urban to fill the vacancy. “Since then, I’ve left them voicemails, but they’ve screened my calls,” Golightly told Idol Chatter. “They don’t even answer me. Nobody.”

As Rolling Stone previously reported, there were rumors that Michael Lynche, another Top 24 finalist, would be dismissed from the competition after members of his family reportedly broke the show’s strict confidentiality agreement by revealing he’d made it through Hollywood Week, but as of today Lynche is still a contestant.

In other Idol news, for the first time in six years, AI came in second place in viewers in its time slot, taking the silver medal to the Winter Olympics’ gold. Did Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White make you miss Hollywood Week? Familiarize yourself with American Idol’s entire Top 24 with our gallery of videos below. So far, Tyler Grady has attempted to step out as the season’s “rocker,” citing Jim Morrison, Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant — as well as the whole 1970s — as his primary inspiration.

  • Tim Urban
  • Aaron Kelly
  • Alex Lambert
  • Andrew Garcia
  • Casey James
  • Jermaine Sellers
  • Joe Munoz
  • John Park
  • Lee DeWyze
  • Michael Lynche
  • Todrick Hall
  • Tyler Grady
  • Ashley Rodriguez
  • Crystal Bowersox
  • Didi Benami
  • Haeley Vaughn
  • Janell Wheeler
  • Katelyn Epperly
  • Katie Stevens
  • Lacey Brown
  • Lillian “Lilly” Scott
  • Michelle Delamor
  • Paige Miles
  • Siobhan Magnus

Reblogged via RollingStone

Who’s your pick?

11:35pm, 19 February 2010.

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Ellen DeGeneres Is Firm, Funny On American Idol Debut

Posted in Everyday by Witt on February 10, 2010

Ellen debuts as judge on American Idol's Hollywood Week

Ellen DeGeneres kicked off her debut as the new “American Idol” judge in impressive fashion on Tuesday night  (Feb. 9), bringing a healthy dose of honest critiques and well-timed punchlines to the first night of Hollywood auditions.

Before even the first note was sung, though, DeGeneres started her “Idol” tenure by addressing the 181 aspiring finalists gathered in the Kodak Theater. “People say, ‘What do you know about music?'” DeGeneres said.  “I’ll tell you what I do know. I do know what it’s like to stand onstage and try to please an entire room full of people. That is a hard thing to do.”

The daytime talk show host and comedian proved herself to be more than capable at judging musical talent. When Orlando-based 22-year-old Antonio “Skii Bo Ski” Wheeler unnervingly paced his way through a rendition of the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” DeGeneres was brutally candid.

“You frighten me,” she said, triggering a few laughs among the contestants watching from their seats. “You were stalking us. You were like a leopard behind a cage.” When Wheeler countered, “This is the American dream!” DeGeneres replied, “Of course. But seriously, don’t frighten your audience — don’t get so intense. Sexy and scary; it’s a fine line.”

Many debated whether DeGeneres would get along with her new judging partner Simon Cowell — especially in light of reports that they had clashed during taping of the Hollywood rounds — but the two showed no signs of a feud.

“So this is it, huh? I come on, you leave,” DeGeneres said to Cowell, who laughed awkardly. The British judge will leave “American Idol” when this season wraps and bring his own singing competition show, “The X Factor,” to the U.S.

Like Cowell, DeGeneres didn’t shy away from giving stinging feedback to subpar auditioners. “I’m tired as it is, and that almost put me right out,” she told one contestant. “It was crazy, I think, in a bad way,” she said to another, then, “You should put some shoes on, dear — it’s filthy here. Hollywood is a disgusting town.”

The singers who did earn raves included 17-year-old Katie Stevens, who sang Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life”; Tennessee waitress Didi Benami, who performed Kara DioGuardi’s own song “Terrified” while strumming an acoustic guitar; and 24-year-old Crystal Bowersox, who gave a no-holds-barred performance of “Natural Woman” that even moved her competitors to jump in on background vocals.

Disappointment came for 20-year-old Vanessa Wolfe, a standout from the Atlanta auditions who made a questionable song choice in Blind Melon’s “No Rain” and was met with a mixed-message, Paula Abdul-esque critique by DeGeneres. “You’re unique — I think you have a unique quality that you should embrace and just accept who you are,” she told Wolfe, who was eliminated soon after.

The absence of Paula Abdul, whom DeGeneres is replacing, was felt most deeply during 24-year-old Andrew Garcia’s audition. Garcia – the early frontrunner of Season 9 so far – keenly chose to sing Abdul’s hit single “Straight Up” and revamp it with a brooding, acoustic arrangement. “You just owned that moment and interpreted something in a way similar to the way Adam [Lambert] did last season, when he would take a song and flip it,” said Kara DioGuardi, despite the fact that Garcia’s rendition sounded more like Kris Allen’s stripped-down version of Kanye West’s “Heartless.”

“That was genius. Paula would be screaming and yelling and clapping and dancing and dying,” DioGuardi also said, and DeGeneres chimed in — “She would be doing this for you right now,” while clapping with her hands held high above her head.

Longtime “Idol” fans will have likely recognized the gesture as the signature move that Abdul often pulled when she was especially excited by a performance – she’d thrust her arms into the air and often rise from her seat, beaming, and sometimes even cry, as though something truly amazing were unfolding before her.  DeGeneres’ quick nod to Abdul made it clear that the departed judge’s knee-jerk, giddy excitement — often a source of pleasure for “Idol” viewers whether they knew it or not — is likely gone for good.

“American Idol’s” Hollywood round continues Wednesday night on Fox.

Courtesy of Monica Herrera of N.Y. via Billboard.com.

Reblogged at 11:28pm, 10 February 2010.

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2010 Grammys

Posted in Everyday by Witt on February 1, 2010

Lady Gaga opens the big show in a sparkling mint-green space ‘tanga’ then ends her performance with a duet with Sir Elton John. She takes home two Grammys.

Photo: Kevin Winter

Photo: Kevin Winter

Stephen Colbert reports with the new Apple iPad. He won Best Comedy Album.

Green Day performs with the cast of the upcoming Broadway musical, American Idiot. Snags the Best Rock Album trophy.

Photo: Kevin Winter

Beyoncé rocked the house with a medley of ‘If I Were A Boy’ and a cover of an Alanis Morisette classic. Biggest winner of the night with six.

Photo: Kevin Winter

Then came Pink, ala Cirque du Soleil wearing only STRAPS! Most scintillating performance of the night, in my opinion.

Photo: Kevin Winter

The Black Eyed Peas in their Michael Jackson inspired outfits pumped up the crowd with their new single ‘Imma Be’ and their Grammy winning song ‘I Gotta Feeling’.

Photo: Kevin Winter

Photo: Kevin Winter

Tony Stark AKA Iron Man AKA Robert Downey, Jr. introduced the next performers, Jamie Foxx and T-Pain. Slash played licks from the Guns N’ Roses song ‘November Rain’. They take home Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals.

Photo: Kevin Winter

Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks! Yeah! Taylor grabs four Grammys including Album of the Year.

Photo: Kevin Winter

All Star performance of ‘Earth Song’ with 3D Michael Jackson.

Photo: Kevin Winter

Maxwell sang his Grammy winning single ‘Pretty Wings’ and a duet of ‘Where Is The Love’ with Roberta Flack.

Photo: Kevin Winter

Encore ‘Forever’ performance. The Grammys saved the Best for Last!

Photo: Kevin Winter

Photo: Kevin Winter

Photo: Kevin Winter

Photo: Kevin Winter

See y’all next year!

9:02pm, 1 February 2010.

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Parachutes

Posted in Everyday by Witt on January 21, 2010

Taken at the National Geographic Store in Vivo City, Singapore

Arguably. One of, if not, the best album to come out of the last decade — Parachutes.

“For YOU, I bleed myself dry” from the song Yellow.

Track list:

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Shiver
  3. Spies
  4. Sparks
  5. Yellow
  6. Trouble
  7. Parachutes
  8. High Speed
  9. We Never Change
  10. Everything’s Not Lost

8:14pm, 21 January 2010.

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Just Bad Romance, Love Game. Poker Paparazzi Face. Dance!

Posted in Tech by Witt on January 7, 2010

Here’s some Lady Gaga like you’ve never seen before.

Starring Yale students Sam Tsui and Kurt Hugo Schneider.

8:09pm, 7 January 2010.

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