Television Catch Up

Hello, I am Zin!

Now that Food Network Star is over, I am not blogging any TV shows, but there is some very brief follow-up and some add-in I want to do so I am combining it all together!

Food Network Star: I did manage to watch the first episode of The Sandwich King, the new show Jeff Mauro won this time around. If I were Giada, I would tell him, “More energy!” I think they are prepping him to get out of the kitchen and be Guy Fieri Lite, because he spent half his time in a Chicago beef stand (the Chicago version of our New England clam shack, I guess). Apparently Chicago takes beef sandwiches seriously. He spent four hours making a pot roast (and a day and a half marinating a jardinaire, which is basically high-calorie crudites) to make a pot roast sandwich and call it Chicago beef. Ok. He also made figs and cheese on foccaccia. Ok. There was something about it has to be stinky cheese. He used Fontinella, which I do not think is that stinky, if I am thinking of the same thing – but I could be wrong, cheese is not my strong suit. He said it is made from Fontina and cheddar and other non-stinky things, which seems rather bizarre, or maybe he said it tasted like a combination. To me, stinky cheese is Limburger. I once ordered a cheeseburger to go at the grill across the street, and got it with Stilton because I thought it sounded cool (I did not know what it was) and on the way up in my elevator I wondered if someone had left garbage in the elevator all day and it still smelled. I was pretty upset when I found out it was the cheeseburger I had just bought. Now that, to me, is stinky cheese. And Jeff? Please, please, please! There is no “m” in “sandwich”!

Anyway, Jeff was subdued and I felt bad for him, like he was the horse that was broken, except that was Chris. I hope he is enjoying it! I do not think I will bother with his show any more. I suspect he will be off doing something about Chicago Diners and Dives pretty soon. But it is not like I am very good at predicting!

The Glee Project I did not blog about this, but I looked forward to every episode and even rewatched some of them! I confess: I am a bit of a gleek. The second season was pretty bad, but I still want to put Kurt in my pocket and carry him around right next to Mondo (I am going to have a collection of Tiny Pocket Gays pretty soon, they just make me feel better! Maybe I will even add Rachel Maddow, though she is in a very different category but she still makes me feel better – I have her website on my Favorites list just so I have a teeny little thumbnail Rachel Maddow smiling at me every time I open something). So The Glee Project was sort of the Next Glee Star except it was a lot better because everyone really had something to offer, even the people who went home really fast. Well, maybe not the first guy, he was a bit of a pill, but who knows what they edited out. And there was the guy who quit because he couldn’t keep on kissing girls seeing as he is a Christian and he does not think it is ok to kiss one girl when he is dating another (though he managed to kiss the pretty girl and only drew the line when it came to kissing the fat girl. To be fair the pretty girl kissed him and he was surprised, so surprised he had to call his mother and confess his sin. I am not making this up!).

And the final result was the most rewarding of any competition show I have ever seen! Everyone won! I actually thought of a 60 Minutes episode I saw about ten years ago, about “trophy kids” how an entire generation has a room filled with trophies just for showing up, because it is the era of “everyone wins” and employers were complaining because nobody seemed to know how to actually make an effort, they felt they should be rewarded just because they made it to work and not even all that late! So I thought, this is the result, reality shows where There Are No Losers (except all the people who were eliminated before the finale of course – sorry Matteus, and poor Hannah, they still believed right up to the very end, but in the end kids it always, ALWAYS comes down the Beautiful People and One Black Diva).

It was really an amazing show because none of them were jerks! Oh, sometimes there was some snivelling and a little hint of Mean Girl, and some Hey Me Tooism, but all in all they were pleasant and quite talented. I have become interested in Wicked because of “Defying Gravity” and you may see the Gregory Maguire book appear in this blog some day! And I am kind of happy all four finalists won, because they are all pretty good and I hope this will be a good step for them. I just hope someone will also see Hannah and Matteus and Cameron and Ellis and McKynleigh (I am not sure if that is exactly how her name is spelled, but it is spelled with a lot of bells and whistles like the “y” and the “eigh”).

So Samuel, of the dreadlocks (I have a well-known love of dreadlocks) and the smoky gaze, gets seven episodes on Glee, and then we will see. He was a lot of fun. When Do-Not-Kiss-Me,-I-Am-A-Christian-Cameron finally left, leaving Ryan Murphy to long for another actor to play the Christian character he has been dreaming of (because, you know, the actor has to be Christian, it is not enough to just play a Christian – is it ok to restrict hiring actors on the basis of religion? I do not think you can insist your secretary or your chef or your accountant be a certain religion, but show business always has different rules), Samuel stepped up and declared he loves Jesus SO MUCH he has a tattoo of “Jesus Christ” on the back of his neck (but we never saw it). That was to make up for saying he did not really want to play someone gay because his mother would be upset but he explained to her it was only acting and she realized it is ok as long as he is not actually gay. Seriously, show business has very different rules, there are places where you would get fired for saying things like that, but the rumor is Ryan is displaying his broad-mindedness now and embracing other views. Ok. I see Samuel as another Susie from FNS: tell me what you want me to be, and I will be it! Then in twenty years they write a memoir about how they gave up some aspect of themselves to be a Star.

And Damien gets seven episodes too, because he won, too. He is adorable, I have to say. He is very Irish right down to his brogue. He performs in Celtic Thunder, which PBS airs ad nauseum. Oddly, he turned into a swing singer. He insists he can not dance but he moves nicely. He is pleasant. He has these eyebrows that operate independently. The plan – at least what was muttered on the show – is to have him be a foreign exchange student, and poor Brittany can not understand a word he says but has a crush on him. I can see that!

They were very clear that Alex did not win, but he gets two episodes anyway. Which is good, because as the episodes went on, it became clear that Alex is the Voice of the group. Absolutely amazing, powerful, soulful, just beautiful. Alex is a guy, and I am still trying to figure out if that means he has always been a guy or if he is in transition, because he could be either a guy or a girl. He is gay, by which he means, I believe, he is attracted to men. And of course he is black and in high school, so he is living the nightmare they portray on the show. I do not think I ever saw him really smile. He played in drag a couple of times, and he is very good at it though he has not yet learned to walk in high heels. He sings girl songs just like Kurt does, which is sweet (one of my favorite lines of the terrible second season was “I make my living singing the female parts”). And he sings the hell out of them. Listening to him at the finale, it was clear, he was in his own league, and I am glad he got some recognition and will get some exposure on Glee. I think as he heals from his adolescence, which is not even over yet, he can become a real Force.

And Lindsey, who they tried to make the bitch. “I am a trained soprano so that is why I can nail it” she declared in the first episode, just so we knew and did not think she was just some scruffy kid who happened to sing. She is tired of being perfect, the pretty girl. She is more Rachel Berry than Rachel Berry. I have to confess, I came into Glee late – about halfway through the first season – and I thought Rachel was “the popular girl” for about three episodes before I realized she was “the obnoxious one”. Because everyone is a type on Glee. And that is who Lindsey is. She sings real pretty, though. And she is pretty.

So I am looking forward to seeing these people (I will not call them kids – they are not kids, even if they are going to play kids on TV) on Glee in a month or so! And I very much enjoyed The Glee Project and am sad to see there will be a second season – because it will not be the same. They will try to “drama” it up, people know what to expect now and will bring in what they think they want, and it just will not have the off-the-cuff strangeness about it. But I will watch it anyway!

Project Runway Season 9: No, I am not the one blogging this, but of course I watch it! And I have to say that the thing with Anya getting help is going to come back in a later episode. Maybe one of the people who helps her is going to get jealous that she is in the top three and s/he is not, and they will point out to the judges that maybe she is not the prodigy they think she is; or maybe Viktor will (stupidly, IMHO) forget his restraint and will start bitching; or maybe she will not get help one week and will send out a dress that is unfinished and Heidi will say “What Happened?” and it will all come out and the judges will be Shocked. Except – people help each other all the time! There is nothing against the rules about it! And in fact I would like to see Michael Kors try to make a jumpsuit in twelve hours, go ahead, I want to see that! But the way they are playing this, it is going to come back. And then I will say my favorite words: “I told you so!”

The Sing-Off will be back for the third run in the fall! I have mixed feelings! I loved it the first year as a surprise Christmas week special! It was so nice, in that week when nothing is on TV, to watch such a fun show! Then they expanded it a little for the next year, but it still was basically taped in the summer and broadcast in December with one finale night. Now they want to turn it into American Idol, and that makes me sad! It will screw up the college and high school groups for one thing. It means more pressure to put on a good show, not simply to present the groups and have them go for it. I suspect it is going to be much more pop and rock oriented – no more Sweet Adelines or Whiffenpoofs or Old Black Men (I still get searches for “old black men on the singoff”). I loved that it ran for three nights straight, and that will change. I hope they do not bring audience voting into it until the very end! The good news is that Pussycat is gone. I am not familiar with her replacement but she is not part of a Vegas dance troupe and that counts in her favor! And Ben Folds of course will be back. In spite of my reservations I am looking forward to it!

Thank you! That is all!

The Sing Off, Finale, 12/20/10

Live final show. There’s no more competition so it’s mostly a concert until the last 3 minutes when the winner is announced.

The show opens with a group sing of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”

Committed sings “Motownphilly” with Boyz II Men. I don’t know the song, which may be why it seemed meh to me, or maybe the acoustic techs weren’t quite on top of things yet.

The previously eliminated Whiffenpoofs sing a brief phrase of “Nevertheless” as a segue to commercial. It’s nice the cut groups are back but it was not in tune at all.

The Backbeats sing “Think of Anything” with Sara Bareilles. I don’t know who she is. I just wish she wasn’t there. Something’s very wrong with this, though it could be my neighbors playing something that’s coming through the walls. No, a volume increase doesn’t really help. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to sound? Um, I don’t think so.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town sings “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with Nicole Sherzinger (aka Pussycat). She can sing, I’ll give her that. Jerry is carrying a cane, decorated to look like a candy cane. I hope he’s all right. He’s the only lead so far to actually sing lead with the guest star.

The previously eliminated Eleventh Hour sings Justin Beiber’s “Baby”, good god (no, I didn’t recognize it, I had to look it up), as the segue to commercial – very short segment on air but they were in tune, sounded much better than the Whiffenpoofs.

Street Corner Symphony sings “Gone” with Ben Folds. I wonder how they decided who gets to sing with whom. Sounds like they had a lot of fun – Ben says, “Watch me, eyes here!” and “we laughed, we cried, all in 2 ½ minutes”. Ben isn’t known for his extraordinary voice, and it sounds off. The SCS lead sounds a little off too. This was a lot of fun, nicely done. Nick gives him some musicbabble (arpeggiated harmonies) which is fun, too. But I think I’m biased. For Ben Folds, that is. And for SCS, for that matter.

The previously eliminated Groove for Thought does “Cooler than me”. They sound good though it’s very short.

The Backbeats, Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town, and Sheryl Crow do “Long Road Home” with her playing acoustic guitar (and another guitarist) which is CHEATING! I like Sheryl Crow. I like the song. But this is wrong. I’m thinking they couldn’t get it together in the time they had. Sure, she has a new album coming out but can’t she hawk it some other way? I’m really angry. This is an a cappella competition, if she can’t do a cappella or doesn’t want to or they can’t get up to speed, or she doesn’t like the way it sounds, too bad, cut the song. Not right.

Everyone sings a phrase from his, her, and their favorite Neil Diamond song. Cherry Cherry, I Am I Said. Sweet Caroline (oh, that was so much fun last year, they don’t do it justice this year at all). All kinds of things.

Street Corner Symphony, Committed, and Neil Diamond (who has a new album coming out, surprise surprise), sing “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone”. I adore Neil Diamond, I have many of his early albums, but he just isn’t soul. Oh my god, he sounds like William Shatner. But the groups are terrific on backup. And they do it a cappella, thank you very much. Of course, they have an advantage in that they all know the song.

A special holiday treat. Everyone shares what’s special to them – love family, blah blah, Ben mixes it up with “six days to New Year’s Eve party” and a paean to gifts of underwear. Boxers, Tighty whities, it’s all ok. Everyone does some sappy pop Christmas song. The nice thing is Courtney gets to sing. And the big dreadlocks guy from Committed (I love dreadlocks, I think every reality contestant with dreadlocks this year has been someone I loved). Oh, and Nick sings a couple of phrases with them.

The Backbeats go to Hope Gardens, a transitional housing center for homeless moms, to bring a Christmas tree. Then they sing “Firework”. Kenton gets to sing second lead – he’s really quite good at singing and he moves well too. And he put the group together just for this show. I hope he gets something cool out of this, he’s quite talented. The judges talk about their depth, they can do all kinds of things with so many talented people, and they give Kenton props. Yay Kenton, I think he’s the icon of the season. Ben wants a Courtney action figure. Maybe Courtney is the icon of the season. Pussycat talks about sundaes, Kenton is the bananas, Courtney is the cherry on top. Pussycat is definitely NOT the icon of the season. She wasn’t this bad last year. I think they asked her to dumb it down, though why she would agree to that is beyond me.

The previously eliminated Men of Note do “For the Longest Time” to segue to commercial. Hmm, that was their weakest song, why would they do that? It was too short to figure out if they’ve improved it since August. It sounded better than the Whiffenpoofs. I think my cat and I would’ve sounded better than the Whiffenpoofs’ segue tonight. And I have tremendous respect for the Whiffenpoofs as an organization. I went to a concert of theirs once, a long long time ago.

Well, they’ve gone through all the special guest stars, I wonder what’s next – more heartwarming visits to wretched unfortunates? Yes, I’m cynical, but I’ve been on both sides of the equation.

Committed visits Suva Intermediate School’s afterschool program for underprivileged children and sings with them, play rugby with them, dance with them. Then they sing “Hold My Hand”, and they do a nice job of it, but don’t really bat it out of the park. It’s nice to see Dreadlocks sing again.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town visits Ability First, a program for adults with physical/mental handicaps. Then they sing “Love Train” which is ok. I think the whole “foundation of a capella” thing has been pushed a little hard.

The previously eliminated Pitchslapped does “I Got the Music In Me” and they sound pretty good. I wonder if maybe the auditory gremlins that messed up the first couple of groups got exorcised. Or maybe they just put the better groups last, because they aren’t singing in order of elimination. Or maybe the Whiffenpoofs just didn’t give a damn and didn’t bother to work it up.

Street Corner Symphony goes to Little Kids Rock (music education group), and give out Fender guitars, which is cool. Then they sing “Fix You” by Coldplay, which is amazing. The other groups join them little by little which is also amazing. Ok, it’s sappy, but it’s really really nice. But I think I’m biased. When the judges take turns saying nice things about SCS, Ben says they bring Rock and A Capella together and they’re the most likely in the competition to draw dirty pictures on walls. Did I mention I love Ben Folds? I only have two of his songs, Mr. Jones Part II and Brick, and damn, I have to get more.

It’s time for the top two groups to be announced and the two losing groups to do their swan songs. Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town go out. I’m glad they were here. Nick kind of grabs the microphone away from Jerry in the middle of a sentence, I think the live show thing has a tight timetable. They sing “Hit the Road, Jack” which is perfect. Jerry needs help getting down the stairs but he never misses a beat and improvs beautifully. The Backbeats go out next, sing “Goodbye to You”.

Which leaves Street Corner Symphony and Committed, and 20 minutes…which means 10 minutes for retrospective, a few minutes for commercials, three minutes for suspense and two minutes for congratulations and thank yous.

My Retrospective:
Street Corner Symphony
Round 1 – Everybody Wants to Rule The World
Round 2 – Hey Soul Sista
Round 3 – Creep; Come On Eileen.
Round 4 – Beatles medley; Down on the Corner

Committed
Round 1 – This Love
Round 2 – Apologize
Round 3 – Every Breath You Take; I Want it That Way
Round 4 – Usher medley; Let’s Stay Together

The previously eliminated On The Rocks sings “Final Countdown” as a segue to commercial.

Committed wins. They get a Sony recording contract, $100,000, and a trophy. I suspect the trophy isn’t foremost in their minds right now.

Street Corner Symphony sings “Drift Away” as their swan song, which is also perfect.

Committed sings “We Are the Champions” – they get a little lost in the lead-in, but I’m amazed they can sing anything at all, seeing as they’re all adrenaline-flooded and teary and they’ve been bouncing around hugging for ten minutes. And suddenly some sitcom is on. A bit abrupt.

I’m going to miss this show. Still, I don’t want it expanded. I think what makes it special is that it’s only a few shows (five this year) over a few weeks, at Christmas. If it were a full-season thing it’d be less fun. I also wish they’d put the kibosh on the “guest stars” thing as a way to pimp new albums – use guest stars who are relevant, last year they had Bobby McFerrin which was terrific. But of course anything on TV is selling advertising and they have to make money off the show… I just like the small-time dorky feel of it and wish they’d keep that instead of turning it into some ratings extravaganza.

The Sing-Off Round 4 – Superstar Medleys and Judges’ Picks

Group Number: “Little Help From My Friends”. A really good rendition – and I say that as a devotee of Joe Cocker. Jerry Lawson absolutely slays it halfway through with a scream to nice leaning choreography, he and all the other leads are terrific, the bass guitar line is wonderful. Very nice.

Two groups will go home today, one after the Superstar Medley round, one after the Judge’s Pick round. The live finale on Monday will show the remaining three groups. Viewers can vote until Sunday morning, details at end.

First round, Superstar Medleys.

On the Rocks – Elton John. The Bitch is Back; Benny & the Jets (lead has perfect voice on opening, weakens halfway through segment, does good falsetto. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, the lead pushed or sounded nervous or something. They do very good “ahh” harmony to open and close the set. Still, I love Elton John and while it was very good, it was still a choral interpretation of Elton John – I think that’s an arrangement problem, they executed it very well except for those two lead issues). Pussycat loved it, first time she’s heard them so clean. I don’t know about the first time, but they were very clean and precise and blended well. Ben says good blend and good energy, Bitch was too complicated, Benny could’ve been slower, Sun was great. Shawn liked changing up the leads. I think he meant they were distinct in vocal style.

Committed – sings “Joy To The World” as an interstitial-intro. I really like that they give them the opportunity to do these little things in between. I love their styling, turquoise shirts, grey suit pieces, pink ties. Usher medley: DJ Got Us Falling in Love; You Got it Bad; Making Love (Into the Night) (I think these are the songs, I’m guessing); nice jazzy ending, kind of reminded me of Groove for Thought. I didn’t know the songs, I found it rather bland and even throughout, though well done. Best line of the night is from Ben: “You’ve taken this journey from, I don’t know, birth control music to that”; seamless switch in percussion, very nice; Shawn, great transitions, kept the bounce that Usher songs should have, saw some movement from the church boys; Pussycat saw the holy spirit moving through them; not many groups can move from the church to the club (which is nonsense, many many black singers from Aretha to Fantasia to Marian Anderson started singing in church, and quite a few white country singers as well).

Street Corner Symphony: Beatles. Eleanor Rigby (good choice, lots of instrumental, good lead); Help – nice instrumentals, bass is great, lead works; Hey Jude (fantastic choice for a cappella singing) great lead, sounds like Paul – wonderful crescendo to nananana part, got some rock in there. I loved this, but that’s probably because I know and love the songs and they had a good arrangement. Shawn – began with some rhythm problems, liked that they kept it simple, second lead looks like John Lennon (they all do, like the early Beatles and sort of have the little British edge), Ben says they weren’t tuned at first but they tuned themselves, nice left handed bass, great beat box, but why wasn’t it in all along like in Hey Jude? Pussycat liked it.

Backbeats – Do “white Christmas as an interstitial-intro. Lady Gaga. Uh oh. Everything I know about Lady Gaga comes from Glee, and from her visit to Maine to rally for the repeal of DADT, bless her heart, I’ll always appreciate her for that, whatever she sings. Poker face; Paparazzi; where are my keys I lost my phone; I don’t know, I guess they were good, I didn’t hear anything off, but I don’t know enough to see the fine points. Pussycat thinks we don’t know how hard this is. Yes, we do, you don’t have to tell us every 15 minutes, it’s very hard, and these groups are all very good. Shawn thinks they were really good; Ben loved the percussion in Paparazzi, glad they share the limelight.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town – Otis Redding. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay; Try a Little Tenderness Nice second lead, with rhythm change; Respect (I think they could’ve done a little more with this, got me out of my chair, but it was good). Ben liked the transitions and second lead, a couple of pitch issues in Tenderness, but lots of energy. Shawn says epitome of class style and experience; Pussycat got goosebumps, of course she would.

Now they kick someone off. Hmmm. Me, I think Jerry Lawson has had a good run and they should stop while they’re ahead. They just aren’t doing things at the same level of difficulty the others are, and now things have come to the point where that matters.

On the Rocks is off, which, well, I’m ok with that, they have 15 guys and they haven’t shown a lot more than the six guy groups, so this works for me. I’m very glad they introduced me to that Kyrie they did the other night. They do a very cute little speech incorporating something from each judge, and “Final Countdown” is their swan song which is cool. Interesting, the judges sounded like they had more complaints about Street Corner Symphony but I’m thinking they gave them credit for really getting into their set, looking and acting and sounding like the Beatles, and for being six guys against 15. That’s just my guess but it makes sense. Not to mention SCS really hit it out of the park the other night. I do think Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town got a pass for rep but when six old men can keep up with college kids and 20/30-somethings, doing a lot of music that isn’t really part of their lives, they can have a pass.

The next round is Judges’ Request

Committed – “Let’s Stay Together” – rev. Al Green – rolling leads, nice use of falsetto, nice thick chords and good percussion that is almost subconscious. Nice, very nice. Shawn loves Al Green, likes how they didn’t reinvent the song, smooth, great leads. Pussycat, liked the minimal choreography, something about candy, oh shut up lady. Ben appreciates choreography with stools, me too, likes the complex harmonics of the backup. What would it mean to you to go to the finals: well, duh, God has brought them a long way, what did you expect them to say, thank God we don’t have to waste all this talent in church any more?

Street Corner Symphony – “Auld Lang Syne” as the interstitial-intro. The judges pick “Down on the Corner” – woo-woo! Wonderful percussion – Love Love Love the riff they do, and the last chorus echoes the way it’s supposed to – not crazy about the very end, but that’s my opinion. Ben – judges picked the right song, they nailed it, made a classic sound modern, excitement built naturally, nice work. Shawn, glad they kept it original, playful, soulful, white boys got funky, arena a cappella, arenapella. See if that catches on. Pussycat, alive and kicking, she hears everyone individually and together.

Backbeats – “Landslide” – one of my favorites. Starts with pings. Love Love LOVE the cello! Oh no, the lead blew “ocean”, that’s interesting, she’s been so perfect, she has a very nice soft low voice. Full chorus nice. Very thoughtful, I liked it, that one bobble. Pussycat whines about competition. Ben thinks they’ve grown up, nailing hard things, innovative arrangement, delivered emotionally, very nice. Shawn saw the sound, it was that beautiful, lead has sincere eyes. If group went to finale: blown away. Yeah, like they’re gonna say “oh, really, that’s nice I guess.”

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town – They do “Silent Night” as their interstitial-intro. “House of the Rising Sun” – ok, now there’s a song for ya. Now that was nice. Different, the very beginning threw me but I think that’s because it was not what I was expecting. Now I’m glad they didn’t go home. Great backup, nice switchups. I’ve heard similar versions, really nice. Shawn – turned it into a gospel, see sound. Ben wants the Coen brothers to make a movie out of that soundtrack. How would they feel about getting to the finale: no words, second chance, preserving the art of a cappella.

I have no idea who’s going home. They all nailed it with the exception of a tiny bobble on one note of “landslide” but nothing close to axe territory. I don’t know, I want to hear more from all of them. I can’t say I’d send Jerry Lawson home now, not after that performance, I retract what I said earlier, they’ve earned their place. But I can’t say I’d send anyone else home either. Maybe Committed, just because they blew me away a little less than the others, but that’s probably the song, they did a great job with it. It’s like Season 6 of Top Chef as the Fab Four was cut to three – someone very talented is getting cut tonight. I don’t know.

Ha! The judges couldn’t decide either, they’re all going to the finale. I think that was phony – come on, they don’t make snap decisions that involve live TV time and crew, then again, this was filmed last August so I guess they had plenty of time to plan ahead. I have to say, I’m relieved, because I don’t see how they could’ve justified sending anyone home.

Now it’s the viewer’s turn. Vote until Sunday, December 19 at 9:00am eastern. 10 votes per method. Or go to nbc.com (I haven’t double-checked this, you might want to verify phone numbers).
Committed: 1-877-6-SING-01 (1-877-674-6401) or text 1 to 97979
Street Corner Symphony: 1-877-SING-02 (1-877-674-6402) or text 2 to 97979
The Backbeats: 1-877-SING-03 (1-877-674-6403) or text 3 to 97979
Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town: 1-877-SING-04 (1-877-674-6404) or text 4 to 97979.

The Sing-Off Round 3 – Rock Hits and Guilty Pleasures

Only one group will be cut tonight. Each group will do two songs – one, a Rock Hit, and one, a Guilty Pleasure. I think I enjoyed the Guilty Pleasures the most last season – “Come Sail Away” comes to mind.

The group number is Green Day’s “Twenty-One Guns”. Another song I’ve never heard before, not bad at all.

Backbeats – Bon Jovi “A Bad Name”. Lots of bass and percussion, great harmony, good choreography, a little muddled, too busy for my taste but that’s rock. Pussycat wanted them to step up a little more, slow the tempo down, make a meal of it. Ben thought the arrangement was much better right after the bridge. Shawn also thought it got better towards the end.

Street Corner Symphony – they do Burning Ring of Fire as an interstitial-intro, which is amazingly cool. I’m such a dork. For their rock song, they do Radio Heads, “Creep” – another song I never heard of, it’s hilarious, I don’t think it’s supposed to be but it’s wonderful. Wow, that was amazing. They worked up the dynamics and tension, really great, started off a little scary, I was wondering what they were doing, but wow it really worked. Ben liked it, great lead and the chorus really came together. Shawn was glad they didn’t have any choreography (yes!). The lead showed his range. Pussycat thought the instrumentation was better than the original. I’ve never heard the original but I’m going to agree with her anyway. I may download this. For my “wallow” playlist. 😉

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town – Stones “Satisfaction” – I don’t think I’ve ever heard the words before – are those really the words? They stomp on the stage! They’re great – the first line or two was really slow, and, well, a little creepy, with this old guy doing subtle hip rolls, hmm, I don’t know, but it got great real quick. Shawn calls them true professionals, says that’s what rock was, fun and flirtatious (before it got all depressed). Pussycat got satisfaction, I’m so glad. Ben thought of listening to Otis Redding when he was a kid, something about the speakers and shaking his butt, I’m not exactly sure what he was saying and I think I’d rather not know.

On the Rocks – “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – now this was a stupid song. They did a good job, but standard as far as I can tell. Good energy, lots of volume, but it was a big shrug. Very good percussion, though. Last week Ben told them he wanted them to be more artists than entertainers, and I don’t think this is it. Pussycat loved the choreography; of course she did; she wished the lead had “owned” it more. Oh, I think he owned it completely. Ben congratulated Jonah on his “posterior hump maneuver”, but isn’t sure there was a transition from entertainer to artist (told you so), and he couldn’t tell where the pitch center was. Still, it was fun for him. Shawn thought it was a heavy song and wished there was more bottom, that the lead had more of a rock edge.

Groove for Thought – David Bowie’s “Changes” – the opening didn’t work for me at all, the lead was vague. Oh, that song, now I get it. They aren’t exactly rocking it out. The lead isn’t really pleasant to listen to, uncertain on pitch, breathy, sounds nervous, and I think she forgot the words or just tripped over her tongue in one place near the end. Shawn thinks they could sing a menu and make it sound good and the lead has a lovely voice (?) but it’s not rock. Pussycat agrees, they need more diversity, more than jazz, and she noticed the lead lost her place towards the end. Ben said it wasn’t rocking out but he was moved, and yeah, there was a mistake at the end, but they were good. I don’t know, I think they just put themselves on the chopping block.

Committed – they do “Down by the Riverside” as an interstitial-intro. Police “Every Breath you Take”. Great bass guitar. There’s kind of an annoying whine in the first verse. Love the bridge. Double leads, cool. Great variation. Ended with a sax riff, not so much, no. But very good overall. Ben wants to write ten pages on what they do right, and how they think well, and they don’t make convincing thugs; but it isn’t rock: “I’m a big fan but I can’t say that rocked.” Shawn says he would’ve liked to have heard it more melancholy, not his favorite arrangement. Pussycat agrees. I’m surprised. It was more choral or even jazz than rock, but the song isn’t exactly a screaming-smashing-guitars thing.

Guilty Pleasures:

Backbeats – “Love Shack” by the B52’s. Leader says they’ve been doing serious songs, so it’s a good time to get silly. Yep, silly but fun and very good, great choreography, good bass, nice to hear the leader singing lead, and the girl from last time (Courtney?) singing, well, screaming, if only one note. Ben’s happy. Nicole’s happy. Shawn, hot & fun, fell into character.

Street Corner Symphony – time to unpractice. “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. That was a bunch of songs. I think they did the job. I didn’t particularly like the song or the performance but they did what they were supposed to do and they had to do all those styles. Shawn liked the toura loura louras, Pussycat says they should unpractice more often, Ben was impressed with how they did five different rhythms.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town – This one is for the ladies. Commodore’s “Easy” – amazing falsetto. Jerry Lawson kind of reminds me of the guy that spoofs the former governor of New York on SNL, maybe that’s why he creeps me out a little, he kind of stares. Pussycat thinks it was easy. Ben liked the bass line, loved the falsetto, and that everyone has a different personality. Shawn, loved the bass and falsetto.

Groove for Thought – I missed them, will pick up later. Judges loved second song.

On the Rocks – “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister – wow, a pop kyrie? Cool! Wow. That was great – I missed the intro, but loved it. I loved the song. Ben thought it was strange they waited until the guilty pleasure to show their artistry, and I agree. Great lead vocal, sweet harmonies, fun, amazing. Shawn – felt like he sprouted wings, flew over the Grand Canyon, saw deer and birds and… hi! I think he’s making fun of the song. Pussycat loved it. Uh oh. But I’m going to download this and it’s the first song I’ve wanted to actually own. They did “Pour Some Sugar On Me” as their rock song and this as their guilty pleasure – I think they got their songs mixed up.

Committed – Back Street Boys, “I Want it That Way” – nice, I was in and out so I didn’t see it all, but it sounded great. Pussycat says “It was so warm and then you just busted it out” which, yeah, I have to agree with that. Shawn liked it, Ben loved the lead vocal, A-Plus.

It’s hard to tell who’ll leave, because several groups did a good number and a mediocre one – Backbeats did “A Bad Name” kind of meh, but “Love Shack” was great. Street Corner Symphony did “Creep” and “Come On Eileen”, I think they won the night with two great performances. Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town did “Satisfaction” and “Easy”, I’d give them a B on both but the judges seemed very happy with both. On the Rocks did their songs in the wrong order but did well on both, I just didn’t like the first song. Groove for Thought did “Changes” and whatever their second song was, I’d cut them because “Changes was so awful, but the judges seem to love the lead’s voice. Committed did two Bs by me but the judges seemed happy. We get down to “On the Rocks” and Groove for Thought and I’ll be very unhappy if it’s “On the Rocks”…

Whew, Groove for Thought is out. Not that I didn’t like them, I just liked the others more, and I thought their first song had real problems. “That’s Life” is their swan song – perfect choice. I think it’s a matter of style really.

The Sing-Off – Round 2, Weds 12/8/10

Opening number by all groups – “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. I just thought of this – last year someone on TWoP said Kara Saun, from the first season of Project Runway, did the styling. It was all scarves and sweaters, there’s a brief snippet in the opening credits that looks like it. I wonder if she’s doing it this year.

On the Rocks, University of Oregon – “Live Your Life” by T.I. and Rhianna. Did Lady Gaga last night. 15 men. They had a YouTube video. They wanted to try rap. Wow, they are such white boys, this could be interesting. Not bad, but the lead sounded a little out of breath sometimes. Maybe it was just he looked like he was out of breath, he was really bouncing around. Ben is looking for them to transition from entertainers to artists. Ouch. But I think he meant it as a compliment, that they’re ready to move on. Considering they have 15 guys singing, they should be pretty good, though, especially against groups with 6 or 8 people.

Street Corner Symphony from Nashville – “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train. They’re worried that the range is very high. Doesn’t really sound like they’re struggling. Wow, they did a slide that was great, also a rhythm switch in the bridge to a second lead, very nice. Shawn loves lead’s voice and the bridge; Ben says great blend and percolation, leads, wants to hear him sing a little lower and do something sad in a lower register.

Eleventh Hour – high schoolers – “Just the Way you Are” by Bruno Mars – Opening harmony seemed slightly off. Opening lead is too low for her voice. A little draggy in tempo towards the end. The lead had some slight problems. Pussycat likes the lead (last time she said she’s a star, I don’t quite see it, maybe she’s encouraging her because she’s young?), could’ve blended better. Shawn thinks it’s sincere; intricate arrangement, a little struggle to stay in key. Ben, sometimes came apart because of the clever arrangement, lead is covering a large range; good percussion; not totally in tune at end. He doesn’t tell them what he wants to see on Monday, I wonder if that means something.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town – “Mercy” by Duffy. Dang, I love them. I love the falsetto. I love the less frenetic choreography. I love the flower in the lapel. Ben: “Jerry… Mr. Lawson… You’re cool! Though from me that might be a dubious compliment.” Not singing like backup, singing full out, which works great. Pussycat: “Yummy.” Shawn – bouncy, bass got down. I’m not that familiar with this song – it reminds me of “Rehab”, the Amy Winehouse song the Sweet Adeline group did last year. Funny the old folks should do similar numbers. Probably because they’re all 12-bar blues riffs, classics. Apparently this Duffy is Welsh. I’m obsessed with Welsh folk music. Interesting she does American R&B too. That’s what’s so cool about music.

Now they kick someone off – I’d say the high school kids, Eleventh Hour, and from the judges’ comments, they had the most criticism. In fact, I don’t think there was really any criticism about anyone else. I wonder if that’s how it really happened, or if that’s just how they edited it? I’ve seen too many manipulated reality shows. How did they pick which four went together? Because that could determine who goes home. It’s slightly different than the first show.

Yes, Eleventh Hour, the high schoolers, are off. Interesting, the announcer (I forget his name, from another boy-band) said On the Rocks was criticized by Shawn for harmonies, I guess I missed that.

A break featuring Nota, last year’s winners. They sing “I Got A Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. They just released an album. Their second lead isn’t all that good IMHO, actually. But it’s a fun thing. They’re really good, I loved the clips they showed.

The Backbeats – “Breakeven” by The Script. Really nice job. Lots of dynamics. Great breathy effects towards the end. Second female lead was meh, male second lead was very good. But the lead was spectacular. Shawn – lock on melancholy harmonies, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths; when lead sings, he believes it. Ben – worried about the higher dynamic, but it held together, the arrangement was really good, split the lead, great percussion (she was on last year’s show), gives props to Ken?Kevin? who put together just for the show, did a good job. Pussycat – their percussionist is the only female percussionist in the competition; the male lead was great (she didn’t comment on the second female lead).

Committed – “Apologize” by One Republic. The first verse almost lost me, the lead was a little wobbly, but then they got into it and it started to cook. Lots of percussion, lots of harmony. Ben – bell tones again, I need to figure out what he means by that, I know what I’d mean by it but I’m not sure it’s the same thing. Shawn loves the riffs, the blends, the movement, he really loves them. Pussycat is talking about orgasms again. I think I missed the boat on this – I thought they were good, but not that kind of good (I’m talking about Shawn and Ben here, not Pussycat). Last time, they were that good, but not tonight. Maybe if I knew the song I’d feel the same way.

Groove for Thought – “Cooler Than Me” by Mike Posner. I love the string bass! The jazz chords aren’t really my thing, again with Manhattan Transfer, nice in small doses, but they do it very very well. I thought they were great. Shawn – cool, lead is cool, hat is cool, backup is cool, they’re just what cool is. Ben – lead is star; bass is great; harmonies were sick (good sick), soprano clicked, difficult on judges.

Whiffenpoofs – “Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble. They’re proud they don’t use beatbox, they come from a choral tradition. Oh no. The second lead did the opera thing. Uh oh. This is why I hate choral arrangements of pop music, and it’s the first time I’ve heard it on this show. Very Kings Singers – and I adore the Kings Singers, I have so many of their classical and folk CDs but I don’t like their pop songs. Pussycat loves it because she performed to this song on DWTS. Shawn loves enthusiasm, but leads weren’t that strong, very entertaining, have an element no one else has. Ben heard Broadway, leads good, bass good, harmonies good, didn’t notice choreography, except for some conducting.

The judges convene – with great sadness, I must say the Whiffenpoofs are the ones to go. That breaks my heart, but I don’t think this is their kind of thing. For me, I wouldn’t want to see anyone else cut, and the judges gave them the most criticism.

So the Whiffenpoofs are cut, and they sing some “I’m on my way, home sweet home” song, I wish they’d sung the Poor Little Lambs thing. But I’m probably the only one who thought of that. I’m such an old fart.

For the record, I made my picks for elimination before the announcements, I didn’t go back and edit (except for spelling, typing while watching is not that easy). I wish Top Chef and Project Runway producers (and American Idol for that matter) would pay attention – this show is very satisfying to me, because my impressions match with the judges and aren’t thrown by editing it to create false suspense. It’s been pretty clear to me at least who’s getting eliminated every time, and that’s how it should be, the criteria are laid out, the evaluations are clear and honest, there’s no showing only the negative comments so they can claim later we didn’t see it all. And the judges are on point, specific, and I never think, what the hell, what were they listening to? when they’re done. Ok, Pussycat (I should call her by her name but she annoys me) is there to talk about orgasms, but once in a while she comes up with something good. Ben and Shawn, they’re as good as it gets. They do this show right – I sure hope it doesn’t become a big hit so they have to ruin it to make it bigger.

The Sing-Off

I’ve been looking forward to this – a cappella singing competition – since they announced there’d be a second season. Last year was a little later, more of a fill-in when all the shows went on their Christmas break, it was so unexpected and light and low-key and fun, but this is fine, too. Second installment is Wednesday.

Yay Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman! Wait, the Whiffenpoofs are in this? The real Whiffenpoofs? Isn’t that kind of unfair? Wow, they’d better be really good. I always thought they were a little too “square” for this, more sound-oriented than performance-oriented. We’ll see. Oh, the Pussycat Doll is wearing April, which just makes me hate her more. Both Pussycat and April, that is. (non-Project Runway people won’t get that).

Eleventh Hour – High School kids – nice, bland. Justin Beiber song. Ben Fold gave a shout-out to the bass and percussion (which is pretty cool), as well as saying it was great they sounded like they had more people singing than they did, but it was the stupid homecoming-queen lead who thought it was so great that the Pussycat Doll told her she was a little star. Sigh. Everyone wants to be a star, but without the bass and the percussion, it’s just another singer.

On the Rocks – Oregon college group – lady gaga – kind of garbled, but maybe that’s the song. Good but not great. Ben called them on pitch but said he thought they were going to be great, which is a wonderfully nice way of saying “Better luck next time and congrats on doing a song everyone likes so much it’s ok you didn’t quite cut it musically.”

Groove for Thought – Seattle – jazz oriented. A couple of music teachers plus a father-daughter team They remind me of Manhattan Transfer. Stevie Wonder “I Wish”. Ben liked it, wants edgier bass, but good energy on lead. Reminds Shawn of Take Six.

Pitch Slapped – Berklee College of Music, Boston. “Good Girls Go Bad”. Not bad, the female lead was a little bland. Shawn and Ben both thought they had a lot of high and some low but no middle. Ben doesn’t think the high dynamic is their strength – ouch.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town – or, Old Black Men from Oakland, CA. This is more my speed. The Drifters, “Save the Last Dance For Me”. Yeah! They only do very basic line choreography, it’s great 50’s do-wop. Jerry Lawson has a sad story about falling out of music after 40 years, been singing for 61 years, which is 3 times longer than most of the others have been alive, so I’m thinking they’ll be around 2 shows before they’re mercifully cut on the third. They really aren’t the same style or caliber, but they are more what I’m looking for. This reminds me of that LA Law episode… Wow, Ben Folds tells the story about the songwriter, that he was in a wheelchair from polio and sang this to his wife. Awwww….

Oh, so now the judges have to kick one group off. I think the oldest and youngest are safe. I’m thinking it’s gonna be Pitch Slapped or Oregon (I didn’t get the name of the group). I’d say Oregon.

Nope, Pitch Slapped (Boston, Berklee) is out. Hey Hey Goodbye – good sing out song, and someone was killing the descant, if they’d sung like that they would’ve stayed in.

Whiffenpoofs – Yale – wow. “Grace Kelly” – never heard it before, I love it. Unfortunately, I think they’re the wrong style, they have a quasi-director. The lead was spectacular, leaping registers. Ben says he likes that they don’t do some of the things (beat-box) that are now standard in a cappella. I’m not sure if that’s a dig or not. Pussycat thought it was brilliant. Shawn appreciated the drama of the dynamics. The only thing I’m really worried about is the direction at the beginning and the end (they dropped it in the middle when the lead was vocal director). But, overall, wow. I admit I’m biased. In fact, right now if this contest came down to the do-wop old men and these guys, I’d be very happy. But then I’m an old fart. And I have to admit, I do like beatbox stuff. I haven’t heard anything really great yet tonight, though.

Men of Note – Cherry Hill, NJ – Billy Joel, “For the Longest Time”. The lead was a little scary; it’s a very hard song to sing, needs excellent pitch, flexibility, and breath and he didn’t have it. I like they changed up some places. Terrific song choice. Not the best performance.

Street Corner Symphony – Nashville, TN – gospel, bluegrass, country. Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” I don’t like the song but I think they did a decent if not terrific job. The little bits and pieces in their intro were better. Ben really liked it, so I accept I didn’t get it. Shawn didn’t say much specifically but seemed happy. He complimented the lead – yeah, he was smooth.

The Backbeats – USC – two of them come from a group that was on last year, but I’m not sure which one, the SoCal? They formed specifically for this show, one guy behind it. Beyonce, “If I Were a Boy”. The lead was great, terrific build-up. Good work. Ben’s happy. Shawn’s happy, loved the lead.

Committed – Huntsville, AL – Christian church group. Maroon Five’s “This Love” – Very Nice! Wow, started out Barbershoppy, got all hip hop, went jazzy. Six guys who went from gospel to pop, really amazing. Shawn is amazed they did a Maroon 5 song that way, I don’t know the song but I remember some Maroon 5 and yeah, it’s very white and this was very black. Pussycat Doll does her Paula Abdul imitation, complete with stoned expression. Ben loved the bell tones. Bell tones? Whatever, I agree, they rocked.

Now the judges have to kick someone off – I’ll be very surprised if it’s anyone but Men of Note. There’s no way they’d kick the Whiffenpoofs off first, they loved the last three groups. Me, I’d put Street Corner Symphony as backup for elimination, but I don’t think the judges would.

Yep, Men of Note is out. Sorry, guys. “It’s Over Now” to sing out. I’m very happy with the results. Wednesday they have to do hit songs. They did snippets, and I confess, I just barely recognized a couple of them out of eight. I just don’t listen to pop music that much. Now, if they did classical or folk…

TV Catch up

Television – Time to catch up.

Parenthood – the families seem based on everyone yelling at the same time, with no one listening. No wonder they’re all screwed up. Then we have mom who finds out her boss, who she’s been seeing, has a “friend” from college and wants her daughter to talk to her about college (Berkeley). I don’t know if this is a big thing for people, but it strikes me as ridiculous, pushy, and thinly veiled jealousy. And cheater Camille, now reconciled with ex-cheater hubby, finds out the art class she’s taking is going to be taught for 2 weeks by her illicit amour, and she tells hubby so he won’t think she’s sneaking… why doesn’t she just skip the first two classes? No, she decides she’s going to do it, and hubby raises a very good objection – all this therapy, having him expose his feelings, and when he does, she says, too bad, and goes and does what hurts him anyway. And autism mom gets all upset that a little girl didn’t invite her kid to her birthday party (autistic kid doesn’t seem to care) and corners her mom to finagle an invite, and the mom basically says no, my autistic little girl doesn’t like your son because he’s a poor loser and she doesn’t want him but somehow the invite gets issued anyway and it makes no sense to me. The situations are great, but someone was on acid when they resolved them.

Chopped – a very special Thanksgiving episode, short on thanksgiving. That means some canned cranberry sauce, some pheasant, some brussels sprouts, some ham, but no turkey, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or even string beans and canned fried onions. And noki mushrooms for dessert, yummmm! In some ways, Lance and Madison killed this show,because they showed what it could be and isn’t. Sue Torres was a judge, and I’m trying to figure out where I know her from, her Wiki bio says she was an Iron Chef judge but I’m sure I’ve heard of her somewhere else, I feel like I’ve seen her cook – contem Mexican, Suenos is her restaurant. It’s almost boring when Zakarian and Conant aren’t there sneering and Alex isn’t there to give her fisheye, glaring over her fork at the contestant before saying, either “My chicken is raw” or “this is the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.” Of all the shows I stopped posting about since quitting TWoP, this is the one I miss the most, except I looked at the thread a few days ago and found no one’s been posting much. I think it’s just kind of folded. If they have Lance back for a redemption round, that’ll be great, but who knows, it might fold before then. Unless it’s being used as a training ground for new tv chefs who want to be judges.

Glee – I found this so charming the first year, though I only saw the second half of it. There was an arc that made sense, interesting characters and situations, good music. And this year everyone’s mean, and overall it doesn’t make sense since Sue declared peace in the first episode and every week has to find another reason to go back on that, or to attack something that will impact the choir without attacking the choir. I think it was a show naturally meant to have a life cycle of one year, and there was no way to continue it without having Sue backtrack on her “win Regionals or you’re toast” threat, but they continued anyway since they were taken by surprise by good ratings. Big mistake. Should’ve quit while they were ahead, or at least come up with a different overall arc.

House – This is another show that’s a muddled mess, but that goes back a long time, and there are redeeming qualities that make it worthwhile. First being I love medical stuff. Second is the edgy humor, which can range from silly to really sardonic and obscure. It seems to work best when he has a newbie to drive crazy, and he has that now, so once we got over the hump of “oh my we’re having an affair” introspection, it’s going a little better. I still don’t understand what happened to 13, other than she didn’t want to renew her contract or she got a better offer. Each episode in itself is kind of interesting, it’s the overall arc that doesn’t work for me, and hasn’t for a long, long time.  Oh, but the music, well, the music is really cool.

I’d Do Anything – And it’s back to the Torture of the Locket. Sometimes I wonder if I’m watching the same show as the judges. All three of them gave glowing comments to someone, I don’t remember her name, and I was shaking my head, and by golly, who’dve thought, ALW comes in and says “your pitch was really off in a lot of important places” which made me think, hmm, I guess he is a musician and I’m glad someone is paying attention. But overall it’s pretty stupid, I think. I enjoy it because I like the music. What can I say, it’s all boring ballads, with a couple of boring peppy numbers thrown in, it’s the most boring music this side of Lawrence Welk, made for me.

TC:JD: The good news is, Morgan didn’t win, so the Bad Guys didn’t sweep this year after all. I’m sill undecided about Yigit, he had his asshat moments. I have a feeling Danielle’s spread wasn’t quite as good as they kept insisting it was, because she sounded like the winner. But Yigit, he works for Daniel Boloud, (sp), how bad can he be? Of course, in these things it isn’t about skill, it’s about functioning under pressure with time and ingredient restrictions. I’m sure any of them could put out a marvelous spread given 3 weeks lead time and unlimited funds. It was a very disappointing show, all around, and I hope they either learned something (a little crazy is fun, too much makes for chaos; when the bad guy shows qualities that are beginning to end up on the evening news in sad stories about teen suicide, maybe you should pick a less bad bad guy; Gail is very sweet but needs some management training pronto) or they quit while they’re ahead.

Top Chef: whatever they’re calling the revenge of the losers round. I’m really looking forward to it. Dec 1. I don’t recognize half of them, especially the girls – one of those blondes is Jen, one is Jamie, one is Casey, but they all look alike to me. Right now I’m pulling for Richard, but I hope Marcel sticks around a while unless he’s really given himself over to this bad boy personna, in which case the hell with him.

The Sing Off: YAY! Another season! I heard on TWoP they filmed this back in August. Last year they ran it just before Christmas, it was such a gift since everything was reruns that week and nonsensical holiday cheer, and this show was perfect. They’re running it earlier this year, I guess they don’t want to waste it, but that’s ridiculous, it was made for that time period. Oh well. I wonder if the Pussycat Doll will be back. As long as Ben Folds and Bobby McFerrin are back, I don’t care what nonsense they throw at it. I’m just glad they didn’t try to turn it into a weekly series. I still wish they’d require a Rennaisance or Baroque number in the first round, but I guess that’s pushing it.