Thursday, March 2, 2006
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
I Hate Snow!
(with Twins and American Idol Thoughts)
Good morning everyone! Have I mentioned yet the our Minnesota Twins will be on TV tonight. Their first official spring training game of the year will be against the Boston Red Sox and air on Fox Sports North starting at 6:00 central time. I might just be a little bit excited! Johan Santana and Carlos Silva will be on the mound!
Last night was Wednesday night, normally that is Texas Hold 'Em night for me, but last night I didn't go. Why, you ask? Well, weather reports told us to expect five to eight inches of snow. By the time I was thinking about leaving, we already had at least five inches on the ground and the wind was blowing by my house. So, I just stayed home, and I'm glad I did. First, I was able to watch American Idol live, rather than taping it and watching it later. I then watched the initial episode of Free Trip, which was really funny. Then, I ventured outside and looked at my driveway. Actually, I looked at my sidewalk first. I had just shoveled that off at about 5:30, but there was a good eight inches covering that again, and the rest of the driveway is just as deep. I shoveled that and then shoveled out an area about 50 feet by 40 feet. And that took me 45 minutes. So, I am going to write up today's blog entry, or most of it, and then go back out there and see if I can shovel the next 40x50 chunk of driveway. Of course, I will have to do that about three or four more times to get my entire driveway shoveled out so that I can drive out to go to work in the morning. What I wouldn't give to have the money to buy a snow blower, or a four-wheeler with a front-shovel!
Speaking of money I wish I had... Part of the reason that I write about all the snow up here (besides so you will feel sorry for me!) is because my sister called me last night during an American Idol commercial. Apparently she was looking at flight prices yesterday for flights down to Ft. Myers next week. You see, she is on spring break next week. She told me that a roundtrip ticket to Fort Myers next Thursday (and back next Sunday) would cost about $300. OK, I wish I had that much money at my disposal. But then factoring in a hotel room for three nights, food and a rental car, and I just don't think I could do it. I think that she was just kidding about seriously going, as nice as it sounds. As I was shoveling excessive amounts of snow, by hand, I was thinking that Ft. Myers sounded really, really nice!! Oh yeah, I figure it out in my head. I have just enough vacation time as I would only need to use about two days. I could probably afford the flight. Maybe there is someone with the Twins that reads this and would be able to hook up a Twins blogger up with a car, a hotel room, some food and some tickets! I started thinking about how that would be a nice, fun idea for the Twins to consider. They could invite a Twins blogger down to Ft. Myers for a week and let them participate, or at least be on the field and meet players. I figure that I played some college ball, I could help them out. I can throw BP for awhile. I can hit fungoes and fly balls. I can shag fly balls. If they had an extra set of gear, I would be willing to be an extra bullpen catcher. Who am I kidding? I'd be happy to be the water boy! Of course, as I was thinking about it and presenting it as a good idea, the Twins management may see it and think it is a good idea. Then they would invite the Twins Junkie or Batgirl or Aaron to Ft. Myers. I mean, it's kind of like Buck O'Neill bringing the Negro Leagues to the forefront and keeping it as a hot topic, and when a group decides to elect 17 people from the Negro Leagues into the Hall of Fame, they forget to elect O'Neill himself.
But anyway, I hope you will understand when today's posting is relatively short (for me) today. I will post links to lots of Twins-Related articles and follow that with my American Idol Thoughts... and then I'm going to shovel more! ICK! But, let's get it started.
Twins Thoughts & Articles
Here are some links to some great Twins, and baseball, related articles from yesterday and today. Again, feel free to leave some comments, or e-mail me if anything strikes your attention or causes an opinion.
First up, Dianna sent me a link with several pictures of spring training. There are plenty of pictures of Scott Baker, Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Carlos Silva, Adam Harben and even Jason Miller. So check it out!
Francisco Liriano threw two scoreless innings yesterday in the team's 2-0 exhibition win over Concordia University (St. Paul). In the same article, Gardy says that Justin Morneau has really put in his time and appears to have made some adjustments and is really for the new season.
I am happy to report that it is likely that Luis Castillo will not play in the WBC, electing to stay and train with the Twins. Great news! He is still officially undecided, but he is leaning toward skipping the Classic.
Robert Falkoff discusses the Twins organization's philosophy on allowing walks to opposing hitters and how the Twins were quite stingy in that department a year ago.
I had been checking out the Phillies home page every night to see if there was any mention of Chris Coste this spring. Well, last night, I forgot to look and missed this article. Apparently he went 4-5 with a homer and five RBI in the team's intrasquad scrimmage on Monday. The article is about how he and Peter Bergeron are two minor league veterans trying to make an impression.
David Dorsey wrote a nice article and Q&A on Jason Kubel's recovery.
Dorsey also wrote a very nice preview of the team including a look at position locks and position battles.
Former Twins 2B (for a very brief time) Bret Boone announced his retirement yesterday. He went to training camp with the Mets as a non-roster invitee and decided that he just could not compete in the same way he was accustomed to.
Members of the Concordia (St. Paul) team discuss what a dream it was to get to play an exhibition against the Twins!
Pat Neshek writes that his name is penciled in to pitch an inning in tonight's Twins/Red Sox game. So, there is another great reason to turn on FSN tonight!
Aaron Gleeman announced #32 on his list of the Top Twins Players of All-Time.
Jason Williams writes an article on lefty Dennys Reyes. The Twins team is his ninth in nine years.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, spring training or anything else? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
American Idol Thoughts
We're back to it, and it is going to be a busy week of American Idol action. After the girls sang on Tuesday night, it was the guys turn to perform last night and for the most part, they did well. Yesterday I wrote a big lead-in on my American Idol thoughts and opinions before commenting on the girls' performance. Today, I am going to get to my thoughts on the guys' performances right away. But first, how about this interesting picture of Becky O'Donohue, taken two years ago with her twin sister for Maxim Online. At the time, Maxim was looking for models for their fantasy baseball story, and Becky and her sister were chosen. Apparently this picture is now going to start making its comeback. Enjoy!
Taylor Hicks - Easy
Vocally, he was really good, but I wouldn't say spectacular at all. He missed a bunch of notes. He is safe to advance, but he really will have to pick it up a bit next week to advance much further.
Elliott Yamin - I'm in the Mood for Love
Last week, I was not impressed at all. I was shocked when Simon told him the he potentially may have the best male vocals the show has seen. This week, I saw it. He was excellent. He sang a great Stevie Wonder song that I wasn't a big fan of, but he nailed it. I thought the performance was perfect vocally. He showed great range and wonderful timing. Not a great stage presence, but I think he will get better. Count me in now as a fan!
Ace Young - If You're Not the One
A great Daniel Bedingfield song that I thought he would be able to nail. But vocally, he wasn't even close throughout most of the song. He was flat. He was pitchy. I think he is working the Constatine Maroulis eye thing way too much that it is becoming creepy. I just really did not think that he was good at all.
Gedeon McKinney - Change is Gonna Come
After he sang Shout last week and entertained the crowd, but not so much the judges, he may have picked a perfect song. It was an old Sam Cooke song, one I was not familiar with. However, Gedeon was incredible. He showed a strong deep voice but hit each note high and low. He is fun, exciting and has a great presence of fun on the stage. I really was impressed with him tonight.
Kevin Covais - I Heard it Through the Grapevine
When Randy and Paula were both so complimentary of Kevin's performance, I was surprised. But when it was Simon's turn I said, Here comes the reality. Fact is, he looks like a good kid, and he has a good voice. No question about that. However, his voice is nowhere comparable to anyone left in this competition, especially among the guys. He seemed shaky and just not strong enough. It really was a bad song choice. He wanted to have fun, but he didn't even do anything on stage. If he makes it past this week, it'll be another example of the voters picking a story and listening to the wrong judges because Covais just does not fit in with the rest talent-wise.
Jose "Sway" Penala - Overjoyed
Another Stevie Wonder song, and again, I thought that Sway was great. To me, he sounded just like Stevie Wonder, and I wonder if that is the problem that the judges had with his performance. In terms of being on key and showing range and power, he did it all. I was shocked when the judges bashed it because I thought he was excellent. However, we saw it with Nikko Smith a year ago, the judges and fans just to not like or appreciate the R&B sound. Sway is Motown. He has the perfect all-around voice with a great falsetto. I would buy his album. But, I fear there is a chance he will be eliminated.
Will Makar - Lady
Here is another example of me completely disagreeing with the judges, and I'm surprised that at least Paula didn't like it. Will is young and he showed excellent depth in his voice, but he also worked in higher keys. The first word I wrote when I was writing notes was just "WOW!" This is a nice Kenny Rogers song, and Will sang it very well. I thought he was nearly perfect vocally. I just don't understand.
Bucky Covington - The Thunder Rolls
I don't like country, but I do like Garth Brooks songs, and this is one of the good ones. I was not at all a fan of Bucky a week ago. I still do not think that I am, but I thought he did the right things this week. He added a rock-tone to the song to make it his own, and I think it could have worked. Vocally, Bucky is probably the second worst singer in the group. I thought he was OK during the verses, but when he rocked out, he just needed to be stronger. But again, he did something he could have been good at, he tried hard and he wasn't horrible. He did make a song his own and it was the right choice.
David Radford - The Way You Look Tonight
Radford went back to his crooner voice this week, although again, I don't think he ventured real far from it last week either. I thought he was good, but far from great. He missed more than a few notes throughout the song. Obviously for him it was a good song choice. I would have thought he would have been a little more comfortable, but he just looked a little nervous out there. I think he'll advance, but I guess we will see.
Chris Daughtry - Hemorrhage
I am so not a fan of rock music. I really didn't like much of what Bo Bice and Constantine did a year ago. But Daughtry is so much more advanced than either of those two. I could actually see myself listening to a Daughtry album. Vocally, he was great (which is unusual for me to say about a rocker as I don't think it is important). He was very good when just singing, the chorus and such, but when it came to rocking, he was strong and his vocals were perfect. He may have made himself a favorite!
SethSpeaks Ranking of the Top 10 Performances (from last night)
1.) Chris Daughtry
2.) Elliott Yamin
3.) Will Makar
4.) Gedeon McKinney
5.) Jose "Sway" Penala
6.) Taylor Hicks
7.) Bucky Covington
8.) David Radford
9.) Ace Young
10.) Kevin Covais
Who I think will be the two eliminated contestants on tonight?
1.) David Radford - By my rankings, I wouldn't vote him out, but unfortunately I think that the two I have ranked the lowest have enough of a fan base already to probably stick around. Radford would be the one I have right above them, and the judges were not kind to him.
2.) Jose "Sway" Penala - I don't think he deserves to go, certainly not now as he is one of my favorites to listen to. However, the judges were harsh, and I suppose he works within a genre that has not been successful in American Idols past.
There are just a couple of notes that I feel should be made at this point in the show:
After the second week of performances, I think there are probably seven guys and seven girls that are worth listening to, but I would say that we are probably at a point where there are three or four that you would have to rank well ahead of the others (Yamin, Daughtry, Bennett, Tucker).
Genre is so important on this show. It is about what the voters like. This year, there are several genres within this group of ten singers. I wonder sometimes if people vote for the genre type as much as actually listening to the performance. Chris Daughtry is the rocker. Ace Young sings the girly songs. Gedeon McKinney is all about soul. Sway Penala is R&B. Bucky Covington is a little bit of country. David Radford is a crooner. Elliot Yamin can do anything.
The judges definitely have an effect on what happens. It's funny that what each hears is different most of the times. Simon frequently says something about watching the show on TV after the show to hear what the performances really sounded like. If he, or any of the other judges, hears something different and wants to change an opinion, they can. However, voters can only call in for 2 to 2 1/2 hours after the show, and many of them vote according to what the judges may say.
Paula Adbul contributes very little. It is literally cliche after cliche. Usually they are more positive, but also there are negative cliches. She actually rarely contributes anything concrete to the program.
I am definitely finding myself agreeing with Simon more and more as I watch the show from week to week and season to season.
Remember, tonight is the elimination show, two guys and two girls will be eliminated from further competition. Will I be even close to right in my predictions? We'll see. If you've made it this far, be sure to check out the thoughts on last night's episode over at Curlio.com. Also, check out The Baseball Savants site for his thoughts on the show and the performances!
Tell me what you think. Were any of my opinions completely off-base? How would you rank the performances? Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!
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