American Idol Season 10 Top 12 Pre-Results

Casey AbramsThere is a flu going around the American Idol mansion with 12 contestants in Season 10 remaining. It’s best to get the flu early and make it through to the next round while there is a greater probability that someone will royally stink up the place with their song choice or performance without the flu and then let someone get booted because they stink with fewer people remaining because they got the flu late. Last night, it looked like Casey had recovered from whatever put him in the hospital, but Paul, Lauren, James, and Pia were all affected in some way.

I voted last night based on some strange mix of how awesome they were last night and how much I want them to stay in the competition. I left those with raw talent up to those with a sure-fire fan base (Pia Toscano and Jacob Lusk) even though I didn’t care of last night’s performances from either one. Seriously, did the judges zone out on Jacob’s last 15 seconds and miss the same dog-howl notes that I heard loud and clear? If you’re going to pile on the pitchy for 4 others, you have to lay it on him, too. I’m an equal-opportunity pitchy judge, especially when I didn’t hear it from 2 of the ones they dug into for that singing sin.

I watched Casey Abrams performance 6 times just because I’m a Smells Like Teen Spirit glutton for punishment and just now loaded up some YouTube love for him while I’m writing this. I also played back Paul’s performance one more time before moving on to other DVR programs of my fancy. I have to respect the contestants who 1) know themselves 2) know their music history 3) combine the two into a great show. Those were the people I voted for with my text plan as follows:

  • Casey Abrams: 15 votes
  • Lauren Alaina: 6 votes
  • James Durbin: 5 votes
  • Scotty McCreery: 4 votes
  • Paul McDonald: 3 votes

Moving on to the bad performances/impressions/songs of the night. I know, that’s why you REALLY come here, so I won’t leave you hanging any longer. It was hard for me to limit myself to 3 picks. Correction, it IS hard  – considering that I’m writing this on the fly and removing the better ones if I come up with a worse one. How’s that for how bad the entire lot was?

  • Haley Reinhart – She won’t be able to recover from all of the things that went wrong: singing a “Whip Me” Houston song, those awkward tights, and her epic lipstick malfunction. The camera crew doomed her when they cut in close enough to see 3 smudges on her face and lipstick stuck between her teeth. It was so bad, it looked like she’d just had a 2-hour make-out session and forgot to tidy up before coming home to awaiting parents. It was nice of Ryan to come out to dab some away, but the damage was done.
  • Karen Rodriguez – She didn’t do anything to change anyone’s mind about her from last week. She’s still some sort of Latin ambassador or poster girl in my mind. Her whole notion (egged on by Jennifer) to switch between English and Spanish lyrics is getting old. It’s one thing to sing a popular (J-Lo or Shakira) song completely in Spanish and another entirely to appeal to or appease people by switching in the middle of the song. Have some substance to your performance next time, okay?
  • Stefano Langone – I still can’t get past seeing Matthew Broederick on stage. He’s just “okay” ever since Hollywood week.
  • Thia Megia – Girl, you’ve gotta know who you are. Enough with the ballads. I think we have another David Archuleta case where the parents are picking the songs.
  • Naima Adedapo – She’s still bothering me by hanging on there. Tina Turner, she isn’t. Bad song choice for her.

My picks for the Bottom Three: Haley, Karen, and Naima.

Going home: Haley Reinhart. You just can’t sing Whitney Houston AND smear your lipstick all over and still expect to stay. It’s never a good thing when the judges lead with how good someone looks – that means they don’t have anything else nice to say.

American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Pre-Results

Pia Toscano

My Front-runner: Pia Toscano

While I’d say that the overall performance quality of the contestants last night was far superior to those of the first week, some people still don’t have a clue about how to pick a song and make it entertaining. I don’t care if you “had fun” up there. I have to be entertained. It almost seems like the producers are picking favorites by helping some with their arrangements more than others. A couple were almost completely derailed by their arrangements.

I voted for everyone who entertained me and one whom I think was just lost due to some outside pressures. Those whom I voted for are italicized and bolded.

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Personal Idol
1 Lauren Alaina Any Man of Mine(Shania Twain) Shania Twain
2 Casey Abrams With a Little Help from My Friends(The Beatles) Joe Cocker
3 Ashthon Jones When You Tell Me That You Love Me(Diana Ross) Diana Ross
4 Paul McDonald Come Pick Me Up(Ryan Adams) Ryan Adams
5 Pia Toscano All by Myself(Eric Carmen) Celine Dion
6 James Durbin Maybe I’m Amazed(Paul McCartney) Paul McCartney
7 Haley Reinhart Blue(LeAnn Rimes) LeAnn Rimes
8 Jacob Lusk I Believe I Can Fly(R. Kelly) R. Kelly
9 Thia Megia Smile(Charlie Chaplin) Michael Jackson
10 Stefano Langone Lately(Stevie Wonder) Stevie Wonder
11 Karen Rodriguez I Could Fall in Love(Selena) Selena
12 Scotty McCreery The River(Garth Brooks) Garth Brooks
13 Naima Adedapo Umbrella(Rihanna) Rihanna

For our little observation of the night, it should be illegal to wear fluorescent green shirts in the audience because there are still black lights, and it’s disrespectful to contestants to see them when the lights are down low.

Bottom Three

I think the bottom three may be too close to call between the people who don’t have the fanbase and those who were bad but still have enough fans. I’m going to give it a go, anyway:

  • Ashton Jones – Did you seriously think you could pull off Diana Ross?
  • Karen Rodriguez – Love the song, but I think she’s going to annoy people with her pro-latina mumbo-jumbo. It’s unattractive to everyone who isn’t latino/a. Come one, “go white people!” seriously, you can’t do that, so she shouldn’t either.
  • Haley Reinhart – I would have fallen asleep if I hadn’t vowed to not fall asleep this season.

Who I’d like to see go home is Naima Adedapo. I don’t think she’s very marketable as she is, but maybe with this reggae twist she did last night, she might change my mind, but please stop with that bright red lipstick – I keep thinking you just devoured raw meat and didn’t wipe off the blood. Way too red, girl. As for Stefano, I think he has enough high school girls voting for his Matthew Broderick face.

Who I think will go home: Ashton Jones – she barely made it in anyway, as a wildcard.

American Idol Season 10 Top 24 Pre-Results

After 3 hours of Top 24 performances this week, there were precious few highlights. Never before as it been so easy to summarily scratch off 10 singers in one results show. Isn’t it amazing how these people stood out in Hollywood week and are so wretchedly karaoke (or worse) for their first live broadcast?

I have a couple of words of discouragement for 2 singers, in particular.

  • Jordan Dorsey, Usher is looking for you. He wants to beat you to a pulp for so fully plagiarizing one of his videos that you probably saw on YouTube.
  • Rachel Zevita, sex sells, but what was that? Who are you? Your family only cheered because they didn’t want to crush you.

Now that those are out of the way as the worst, I am more in the right frame of mind to elaborate on who I voted for and why, in order of talent, not necessarily popularity:

  1. Pia Toscano – I thought my next singer was a great performance, but Pia’s “I’ll Stand by You” was da bomb! If it had come later in the season to get the whole song, I’d buy it off of iTunes, for sure. Perfect tone, pitch, and stage presence.
  2. James Durbin – Wow! That reminded me of Adam without the mascara and boy toys. His highs are absolutely full voice and he exudes “rocker” in a way that has to make Steven Tyler smile on the inside, too.
  3. Lauren Alania – That girl is a total package combination of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. I even called it while she was singing, to have it echoed by the judges was pretty cool. She’s not only good, but a 16yr old favorite.
  4. Thia Megia – Pure. Solid. Beautiful. She could record or perform – today. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that she’s a perfect pitch prodigy, to be able to sing so confidently with an a cappella opening like that.
  5. Casey Abrams – I didn’t like his song choice, singing “I Put a Spell on You” in a pretty creepy way like that because I think he came across as an ex-loser who finally had some attention, but I can’t fault his execution of the vocals. Please work on your faces, though.
  6. Jacob Lusk – I agree with the judges during Hollywood that he put out the best performance ever on Idol, but he dropped down a couple of notches for me with these others being so spot-on.
  7. Paul McDonald – He’s got the quirkiest movements I’ve ever seen on stage that didn’t make me laugh out loud or feel bad for them, but the dude can sing. I love his tone. It’s a perfect coffee house sound, but it may be lacking for what the Idol crowd wants.
  8. Scotty McCreey – Pure country. I’m not an old-time country fan, but I think I could like his stuff because he doesn’t do any twang – it’s more of an accent. I do wish he’d stop leaning over to one side to sing and pulling his mouth to the side, though. I’m sure he’ll really come around when he gets behind his guitar again.
  9. Haley Reinhart – A good ole Mid-Western girl who can sing. She’s not the best, but I wouldn’t count her out yet to see if some more time on stage and more coaching brings her up to another level.

As for the rest, they can go home and I wouldn’t care. If any of these people go home and two other people get in from my bad list, I’ll be suspicious of America’s hearing and/or taste.

A Year in Review and 2011 Goals

“What a year!” would be an understatement to leave it at that. We’ve had our most extreme ups and downs we could have imagined short of catastrophe and triumph from catastrophe – thankfully nothing catastrophic happened in 2010.

Being a man of few words unless pressed by emotion or assignment, I present to you two lists: our peaks and our valleys.


  • Graduated from the University of South Florida with my B.A. in Professional and Technical Writing after a 13-year journey through college, work, medical, marriage, home-buying, starting a businesses, and more college.
  • Started writing as Fatboy and got serious about taking control of my health, which yielded a 12% increase in my pulmonary function in 2010.
  • Saw a 32% increase in gross revenue (with very little expense) over 2009 with our business that will be celebrating its second year anniversary in 32 more days on Groundhog Day – during a reported recession that was apparently not known by my clients.
  • Prepared financially for 2011 by saving for our medical deductible and driving the workload so hard we were both able to take a week-long vacation in June to celebrate graduation and also this entire week off to relax with my parents staying with us with a 5-day trip up to Ohio to celebrate Labor Day with my grandparents on a spur-of-the-moment ticket purchase just to “get away” on Southwest, like the commercial says.
  • We are having the time of our lives!


  • Started off the year at 27% lung function, which would have put me on the double lung-transplant list this year if my numbers didn’t improve with IVs. Obviously, my peaks show that things got better.
  • We got hit really hard financially between February and June… and then from August to the end of October – another understatement. We had to pay out the nose for all of my $1,500 deductible and $500 pharmacy deductible by the end of February and the expenses just kept rolling in while my co-insurance covered 80% for the next $1,500 out-of-pocket. We had to do the whole thing over again with the next bullet:
  • My wife finally went to get tested for allergies ($1,000) and the news wasn’t good – and neither was the news that the two meds they put her on weren’t covered by her insurance ($150/mo each). In the end, we both hit our maximum out-of-pocket expenses for the year and probably tallied up close to 35% of our income in medically-related expenses for 2010.
  • To top that off, she has been practically diet crippled by the whole process of shots and a new allergy diet that started out really helping out, but has left her unable to eat anything with any amount of corn, soy, or wheat lest her throat start to swell. Go try to find anything at the store without any of those 3 items in it. It’s not easy, but we are sort of managing.
  • I had my 9th sinus surgery in October, my first since we’ve been married. That in and of itself isn’t a valley. The valley is that by Dec. 5th, a CT scan showed my condition to be worse than before that surgery and I’m scheduled for surgery #10 on the 6th with another surgeon with a new year’s deductibles to meet right off the bat.

Goals for 2011

I absolutely groan every New Year’s when I see resolution after resolution go up on the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter. They’re meaningless! Positively a bunch of feel-good mumbo-jumbo about stopping smoking, eating better, losing weight, and exercising more. The less bad ones are at least something with thought in it like business resolutions, but those still weigh in light and superficial.


Because they aren’t goals. They are wasteful aspirations of the heart and soul with no thought as to how to accomplish them or drive through to the finish to see them done. “I want to be a better parent to my kids” is a waste of breath and neurons if there is nothing actionable or accountable involved. Here’s how…

A goal is a pre-determined action or result of an action/behavior that is measurable and has a specific time frame. A goal has to be something you could fire yourself over if you were someone’s boss and they failed to achieve this measurable item within the time frame allotted. If you can wiggle out of your own “goal” then it’s a resolution.

  • Write it down.
  • Visit the list frequently (at least weekly).
  • Give the list to someone else to ask you how you’re doing.
  • Have fun crossing off your goals as you reach them!

That’s it for this update and tip. I’ll catch you on here sooner than the last entry’s time lapse – it’s on my list.