4/28/2010

AIS9: Top Six Prediction Guess...

Guys, super short post here.

My pick for the bottom three: Aaron Kelly, Chrystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus. (Yep. You read that right.)

Going home: Aaron Kelly. Poor guy. It's destiny.

Back tomorrow with actual, developed thoughts...

4/24/2010

AIS9: Top Six...

When Idol first came on Tuesday night, the first thing I typed was "Thank goodness the show is down to an hour now. I’m so happy to have my life back. Two hours is too long! Little did I know that Wednesday night would be bloated back to two hours. I mean, how else would they be able to include The Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah?

As for my top three prediction, I was 2 for 3. Casey James was in where I predicted Michael Lynche would be. Eh... Oh well. But I was wrong on my guess as to who would be going home. I thought Aaron Kelley's warbled rendition of "I Believe I Can Fly" would have been the death of him. But instead, Tim Urban's take on the Goo Goo Dolls "Better Days" did what the judges couldn't: send him home. With his elimination, my record goes to 4 for 7. Eww... I hope I do better next week.

On to the thoughts...

  • Really, Casey? Really? A guitar solo? You do remember this is a singing competition, right? And, by the way, your vibrato makes you sound like a sheep...

  • Lee Dewyze is totally and completely boring. But the judges are completely in love with him. Seriously? He bores the crap out of me. At least Casey smiles…

  • I noticed everyone is using an orchestra this week. Does orchestra = inspirational?

  • Tim was bad this week. Like, Andrew Garcia bad. He threw away all the momentum he’d built up over the past three weeks...

  • I've also noticed everyone is doing a key change. So inspirational = orchestra + key change?

  • I thought Siobhan had shiny butterflies on her arms. Simon thought they were leaves. Both of us were distracted by them during her song...

  • When Michael Lynche came out and said he was doing "Hero", I thought it was the Mariah Carey one. But it was the Chad Kroeger one from Spider-man!

  • Too bad the arrangement was cut-and-pasted to death. It was just too chaotic...

  • Chrystal Bowersox. No guitar + fancy mic stand + tears + being the only talented contestant left = Season 9 winner. Boo yah...
  • 4/21/2010

    AIS9: Top Seven Prediction Guess...

    Last night's Idol was (as I feared) not exactly "inspirational". Unless you count me being inspired to wish I could just fast forward through the whole thing. (And, just when i was getting excited that it was back to running for only an hour, tonight it's back to two.)

    After a barely shown mentoring from Alicia Keys, some terrible song selections, and a surprise showing of emotions from Chrystal Bowersox, I'm going to go on record and predict this week's bottom three as being High School Student Aaron Kelly, TUrban, and "Big" Michael Lynche. Hopping on the train out of relevance will be Aaron.

    BTW, check out Slezak's pre-show rankings here and post-show recap here...

    4/16/2010

    AIS9: Top Seven...

    Sorry I'm running a little bit behind on this week's Idol results post. What can I say? Taxes tried to hold me down. But like the mighty phoenix, I caught on fire. I mean... I rose from the ashes. Never mind. Gosh, metaphors are tough...

    Anyway, I didn't take any noted on Idol this week. So I don't have any thoughts to offer. But I did want to make sure that I recorded the improvement to my record. After falling to 2 for 4 (50%) last week, I'm back on top. With the elimination of both Andrew "Straight Up" Garcia and Katie Stevens, my record goes up by two. That's right, I correctly called both strike outs this week. Boo Yah. So now I'm 4 for 6 in Idol elimination predictions this year. That's... umm... well i don't know how many percent that is. (I'm terrible at math.) But I do know it means I'm awesome.

    Next week is inspirational song week with Alicia Keys. I'll bring my tortilla chips. Lord knows it's going to be cheesy...

    4/14/2010

    AIS9: Top Eight Nine Prediction Guess...

    For the first time in the history of Idol, a former contestant was brought back to be a mentor. But did they choose someone out of all the past champions that have gone on to be mega-successful (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood)? Did they choose a contestant who didn't win but still went on to become mega-successful (Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson)? Nope. They picked the guy who everyone who works on the show wishes would have won last season: Adam Lambert.

    Now, even though I'm not a fan of the Lambert's, I can honestly say that the guy can sing... really well. And on top of that, he knows how to own a stage. So I can totally see how they'd want to bring him in to mentor the worst group of Idol contestants since... well, ever.

    And you know what? He... did.... great. He actually told the singers when they were doing something wrong and then how to improve. Something no other guest mentor has done. Mainly because they're mostly people who are only there to promote their own songs/CDs/stalled careers (eHEM! Miley! EHEM!!!) But anyway, thoughts are for tomorrow's post. This one's all about the predictions. Did I say predictions, plural? Oh yeah... Because tonight, two people go home.

    Thanks to last week's judges' save of Michael Lynche, two "singers" will be hitting the road tonight. And after last night, I'm going to say that the bottom three are going to be Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, and Aaron Kelly. But more importantly, going home will (finally) be Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens.

    I wonder if Lambert will "push the envelope" when he performs on Idol tonight like he did at the AMA's...

    4/13/2010

    Ministry Lessons From the Retail World: Part 2...

    Since the end of this past October (and while I've continued looking for another job in ministry), I've been working a job at a rather large national retail store chain. There have been times that I've loved it and times that... well, not so much. But I've been learning a lot.

    It's been super interesting to see how a secular, large, corporate, company trains its employees to do the job they're being hired to do. In fact, back in November, I wrote a blog post on some ministry lessons from the retail world. Well, it's been about five months, and I've been thinking about some more things I can learn from my job in the retail world that can help me in ministry.

    Here's a few more things I've learned...


    1) Sometimes the people that we serve don't respond to us the way that we want them to... We spend a lot of time doing things for our customers. We clean the store, put up signs to show sales, organize, assist in finding what they're looking for, do pricing research, restock, train team members, etc. We try to acknowledge each customer when they come into our department or area by asking "Can I help you find something?" But even after doing all of these things with the customer in mind, there are times when they'll snap at us. I've had a customer walk up to me and start a conversation with "I'm very upset!"

    Does this sound familiar? Try switching out my job with a ministry context. Yep. In ministry, everything we do is to help those we've been put in leadership over. But sometimes, no matter how hard or selflessly we work, people still treat us poorly. Or maybe they don't treat us poorly, maybe they just don't respond at all. But their response isn't our responsibility. Our responsibility is to do our best in order to honor God.

    Which leads right into number two...

    2) Sometimes you have to let things roll off your back... There are times when a customer has come into the store already in a bad mood. So, of course, no matter what we do to help them isn't good enough. When I first started at the store, I really let this get me down. But I soon discovered that, as long as I do my best to serve, a customer's poor attitude is rarely my fault. It's usually something that happened on their way in that has them feeling crabby.

    But I've got to say, as someone who skews heavily on the "feeler" side of the myers-briggs, this is something that I still struggle with. It's definitely a discipline to learn to let things roll off your back. At least, for "feelers" it is. But it's important. If you let every arrow the enemy slings at you go through your armor, you won't last very long in the battle. You'll bleed to death...

    3) You've got to give people a chance to shine... When I started working at the store, I found out that I had quite a few bosses. Like, somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 (give or take a few). Now, out of all of those bosses, I worked especially close with three of them. And they're great. Like, really great. And, since the beginning of February, two of them have left to pursue other opportunities. Do you know why? Because they wanted to advance, but weren't getting the opportunity to do so. Both had been with the company for 5+ years.

    Now, I know that in ministry it's not always possible to hire someone on and help them advance up the organizational ladder, but it is possible to give them more responsibility. (Providing they can handle it.) Look for ways to allow a leader to use their gifts and talents. Give them chances to do so! Believe me, they want to!

    4) You've got to take a break... The rules at my job are simple. For every four hour shift you work, you get a fifteen minute (paid) break. For every six hour shift, a fifteen and a thirty minute lunch (unpaid). And for every eight hour shift, you get two fifteens (paid) and a thirty (unpaid). You're required by law to take the thirty. You're strongly encouraged to take the fifteens. They recognize how important it is to rest so that you don't get exhausted.

    You might be thinking "duh". But why is it so difficult for those of us in ministry to understand this?

    One of my bosses is getting ready to go on vacation next week. He told me the other day that he takes vacation just before the holidays (Thanksgiving), and just after (Easter). He recognizes the time of year when the job is most stressful, goes away before to get charged up, and goes away after to recover. So simple... So tough... So necessary...

    And yet, so many of us in ministry fail to recognize this as an important command from God!

    If we don't want to burn out, we've got to regularly refuel...

    4/09/2010

    Austin...

    A few weekends ago I had the chance to travel to Austin, TX for an interview with a potential church (which is a whole story in and of itself). Now, I haven't spent any time in Texas (outside of layovers in airports) since the summer after my senior year in high school. So I was pretty excited to see what Austin had to offer. Also, I wanted to mess with Texas.

    So how'd it go? What did I do? Is everything really bigger in Texas? Let's hit the highlights...

    I landed on Friday at about 2:30pm. After getting picked up from the airport by one of the church's pastors, we met some more of the team back at the church, took a tour, and then headed out for an early dinner. The guys decided that I needed to experience real Texas barbeque, so they took me to a place called The Salt Lick. Here's what was put before me...

    I came, I saw, I ate, I stayed in my bathroom for the rest of the night...

    After heading back to the hotel and checking in, I went up to my room and was greeted by two things. First...

    If a dog is made out of towels, does he still wipe his butt on the ground after he poops?

    Second was something that bothered me for the whole weekend. A door. But not just any door. A door with no handle and locked with a deadbolt. Is it a passageway to Narnia? To the "other world" from Coraline? Is it where they keep the clones in case I die and need to be replaced?

    Naw. It's probably just another, smaller room they rent out to traveler's on a budget...

    I woke up the next morning and went downstairs to enjoy the complimentary Texfast (see what I did there?). I poured some batter into the wafflemaker, and was greeted when the tone went off by this...

    Start in the middle square. Go over one and down one. I was there...

    From there my friend, Cam picked me up to do a little seeing of the sights. First up was something called the Cathedral of Junk. It's basically a collection of junk in a guy's backyard. He's spent twenty something years collecting it and shaping it into a thirty something foot tall structure. Pictures...

    What happens in Trash Vegas, stays in Trash Vegas. Except tetanus. That'll stay with you forever...

    Here's the best shot I could get of the whole thing. I can't imagine what this guys neighbors think. But his grandkids must love to visit...

    But mom, I hate getting all of my shots before every time we go visit grandpa!

    There were tons of paths around the structure. But rather than being paved or lined with gravel or cedar chips, it was covered in shattered and broken glass. Seriously...

    And I had on sandals...

    Another view...

    Same junk...

    There was a surfboard in the yard that people signed their names to so that future generations would know who had come before them...

    Kind of like the Declaration of Independence...

    Oh, look who the John Hancock is...

    Centuries from now, carbon dating will reveal that I was awesome and here on this day...

    On the way out, I saw this. I guess other people can mail their junk in to be put up...

    I've got a pair of old rollerblades with your name on them...

    From there, we headed to the Texas State Capital. And, in the government's effort to stay true to the old saying that everything's bigger in Texas, it was bigger than... than... well, any other capital I've ever seen.

    Well sure it's big. But think of the cost on plumbing bills...

    So, we went in. We walked to the middle of the lobby and looked up into the inside of the dome. I actually laid down on my back in the center of the room to get a good shot. Turns out that's frowned upon in a fancy government building...

    See those tiny marks around the outside of the star?Those are the letters that spell "Texas", not "Taxes" like I originally thought...

    A look around led us to the portrait of George W. Bush...

    Strategery...

    Then, we saw some stairs. So we went up. Since both Cam and I are afraid of heights, I had to stretch my cameraphone out over the edge without looking to get a closer picture of the dome. Looking up...

    More stairs? No thanks...

    Looking down...

    This one was really scary...

    When we walked back outside, I found a statue honoring something or other about the Civil War. I'm not sure what. All I cared about was that South Carolina's name was on the front. Not Texas'. Boo Yah...

    I thought that was President Lincoln with long hair and a goatee. You know, "college" Lincoln...

    I also saw this sweet tree that I wanted to climb. Unfortunately, there was a sign up saying not too. And you know how Texas feels about being messed with...

    It doesn't like it...

    Our next stop was downtown Austin to scope out some of the nightlife. Cam and his wife told me this was some fancy, old hotel. So I took a picture...

    I was in the Marriott. I'll bet this place didn't have state shaped waffles...

    This place was so famous, I forgot the name of it ten minutes later. So we came back the next day to get another picture so I could remember...

    It's The Driskell, Lisa...

    We continued our adventure by finding a great pun...

    With a name like that, you know it's got to be good... or bad...

    And an actual haberdashery! Hatbox was one of the coolest stores I've ever been in...

    Seriously...

    I've been wanting a bowler hat forever! And I finally found one!

    But once I saw the price tag, I knew it wasn't meant to be. If any of you want to donate $68 to the "cover Josh's head fund"...

    I even went back the next day to try on a top hat...

    Mr. Peanut's got nothing on me...

    After an overnight nap, Cam took me down to the river to try to spy Sandra Bullock's house. (We couldn't.) And after that, we stopped in at a barbeque joint to frequent the facilities. But the best part of it was this machine that is used to wash your hands...

    I was like, WHAT!?

    It was basically a car wash for your hands. These little things rotated around them and sprayed out a mixture of warm water and soap. Then rinsed everything off. It was magical...

    I could really develop a hand washing compulsion if I had one of these...

    But what happened next was my absolute favorite part of the whole trip. For so long now, I've been a loyal reader of Ain't It Cool News. And they are huge fans of a local Austin group of movie theaters called The Alamo Drafthouse. Basically, the Drafthouse is a theater that is also a full service restaurant. It's locally owned and run, they throw crazy and weird events all the time (including their own film festival called "Butt-Numb-a-thon"), and you get to eat while you watch a movie. A year or so ago, I added "see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse" to my Bucket List. And, on this day, I crossed it off...

    Making my approach...

    Getting closer...

    Ooh... The anticipation...

    Almost there...

    Wow... I did NOT expect to wet my pants this soon...

    The box office was a lot simpler than I had imagined. And get this! The tickets were only $6.75. That's cheaper than here in South Carolina. Awesome...

    I'll have one ticket to Awesomeland please...

    Here's a pic of the inside of the theater. Every row has a table in front of it. A server comes through before the movie starts (while awesome videos like this and this played) and explains how the food works. You browse a menu, decide on what you want, then write it on a slip of paper and place that on the table in front of you. He comes by, picks it up, and brings your food during the movie. Forty-five minutes from the end of the movie, he brings the check by. Then, at the end, he brings your receipt. Awesome...

    I know it's dark. But that doesn't dilute the concentrated awesome that was all over this theater...

    Finally, on my way home from the movie, I stopped at a 7-11 (we don't have them in SC). Not only was I able to grab my fave drink (vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper), but I was able to get it in a super sweet Iron Man 2 cup. (That's the 14th mention of Tony Stark's Goatee's new movie here on the blog. You know, just in case you're keeping count.)

    This is the Fun Vee. You're looking for the Hum Drum Vee...

    All in all, I had a great time in Austin! I'm definitely going to add it to a list of places I want to go back to...

    4/08/2010

    AIS9: Top Eight Nine...

    When Idol started last night, Ryan Seacrest said that there were some surprising results in store for us... And holy moley was he right!

    I cannot believe that Big Mike got the lowest number of votes. I mean... I'm stunned. His take on Eleanor Rigby was memorable.... if not perfect. I was (once again) two for three on my prediction of the bottom three. (Tim landed in the top three guys!) And with the judges' save being activated on Big Mike, my prediction of Andrew going home is still going to count as wrong. That puts me at 2 for 4 for the season. Blech... 50%. Terrible.

    On to the thoughts...

  • I’m not sure if it was the song (it wasn't) or if it was Aaron (it was), but I was bored out of my mind before he got to the second chorus...

  • Why are all contestants now saying, “If I’m here next week, I’ve got something big planned.” No you don’t. If you’re boring every week, you’ll be boring next week...

  • During the judges' remarks on Katie, Kara sang... LOUDLY. Just when I thought I could like her, she reminds me of why I don't...

  • Like, for instance, how she said something was "classic Andrew". Nothing is "classic Andrew". No one knew who this guy was five weeks ago. And no one will in another five...

  • During the judges' comments on Big Mike's performance, Randy said that Big Mike had earned so much cred, he has artistic license to do anything he wants. And then he was received the lowest number of votes. I take this as a sign that Randy is an idiot... Which I already knew...

  • Chrystal is the only reason that I'm still watching this season. Her use of a digereedoo on Come Together is proof of why... Todd Cooper and Leigh Sarti would be so proud...

  • After Tim's version of "All My Lovin'", Randy said, from now on, he won't compare Tim to the other contestants. Offering instead, that it was a good “Tim” performance. The judges have no idea why this guy is popular. Hey judges, here's a clue: Girls like good looking, talented guys. It's a law of the universe called "duh"...

  • After Randy said that about Tim, Simon said he won’t judge on it being a “Tim” performance. Instead, he said it was a very good performance. Very current. Then he said that he’s proud of Tim for how he’s handled himself so far on the show. This is why everyone cares what Simon thinks, and no one listens to the other three...

  • Umm... Emily Deschanel was there. I love her...

  • Casey James is seriously good on guitar. His performance of Lennon's "Jealous Guy" with only a cello for accompaniment was incredible. Very John mayer-esque. I will be purchasing it as soon as it's available on itunes...

  • I called that Siobhan would pick "Across the Universe" before she even came out. I mean... of course...

  • I have several comments on Lee's version of "Hey Jude". Here we go... It was a perfect example of how these songs are so great, they can elevate anyone. He wasn't on pitch for a lot of it, he looked scared to death, and he brought out a bagpipe, but once the "na na's" hit, everyone was on board. Lee also didn't go for any of the high notes. That plus how he always cuts his final notes short makes me think he's scared to try to hold out a note. It's as if he knows that I think he's not as good as the judges think he is...

  • Wednesday night had one of the worst group numbers I've seen in the shows history. I mean, the lip synching was so terrible, I thought I was watching an old Godzilla movie...

  • No. I don't bother watching the Ford music videos. I fast forward right through that trash...

  • Jason Derulo is a giant joke. First off, if you sing your name at the beginning of your song, you come off as either forgetful or desperate. Second, give Glambert back his jacket. Third, for the correct way to use auto-tune, please refer to T-Pain. You sound terrible. Fourth, Really? Did you just try to end on a Michael Jackson tip toe but couldn’t stick it so you toe walked back three steps? Ugh… You’re the worst...
  • 4/07/2010

    AIS9: Top Nine Prediction Guess...

    Back in season 7, the Idol producers decided that it'd be a good idea to allow the singers to tackle the Lennon/McCartney songbook. And even though that season was vastly superior to this year, I was nervous. But in a testament to how good season 7's talent was (were?), not to mention how incredible John and Paul's songs are, good things happened.

    But when I heard that they were allowing season 9's "singers" to go back to the Liverpool of great songs (ah thank you), I was downright scared.

    But you know what? They weren't half bad. I mean, don't get me wrong. They were still 38% bad. But they weren't half bad.

    And after tonight, I'm calling the bottom three as Aaron Kelly, Tim Urban, and Andrew Garcia. (Even though I really like Tim's take on All My Lovin'.)

    Going home? Andrew Garcia. Please, someone put this guy out of my misery... (Obligatory Lilly mention...)

    4/02/2010

    AIS9: Top Nine...

    I know this post is a day late, but I had to take care of some things yesterday...

    You know what's funny about this season of Idol? It feels like work. I mean, I'm not watching it because I enjoy the performances or even because I'm curious to see who will rise above all others and claim the crown. I'm watching because I feel obliged. Ugh... Is there any chance we can just hand this thing off to Chrystal Bowersox and just get it over with? I'd love to have my Tuesday and Wednesday nights back...

    I was right on all three members of the bottom three this past week, and with the correct prediction of Didi's elimination, my record improves to 2 for 3. Boo Yah.

    On to the thoughts...

  • I think that the new backstage segments after the performances are really interesting. My favorite was after Siobhan's song. I loved that the judges ripped her for the scream and all of the terribly off notes. I loved it even more when she went to the back and was so sad she stood in the corner. Yes. I know I'm evil...

  • Casey picked the perfect song! I loved the way he sounded. But he's super boring to watch. I thought it was strange that Ellen finally chose to actually give an opinion on his performance (negative). Especially since he was so good. But, leave it to Simon. He swooped in and completely invalidated everything she said by saying it was Casey's strongest week yet...

  • Does anyone really care what Randy, Ellen, and Kara have to say? More time is allowed for Simon to speak because his is the only opinion that anyone actually cares about...

  • The song Didi chose seemed to big for her. She needs to choose smaller songs like Ingrid Michaelson . And what was with RYan trying to get her to talk about what the song meant to her?! Clearly, she didn't want to. Awkward...

  • Usher looked like he was trying really hard to look cool by leaning up against the piano and wearing sunglasses inside... Ugh...

  • Tim doesn't blink much when he sings. Scared much, buddy...

  • Didn't I tell you he'd be in the bottom three every week he was on the show...

  • It was smart of Andrew to go back to the acoustic guitar this week. It was also smart to choose a song with a low range. But guess what this led to...

  • Yep. Another mention of Straight Up...

  • It seems like all of the singers are now trained to answer "myself" when asked who they're going to listen to for guidance...

  • I really don't understand how everyone keeps saying how incredible Lee's voice is. OK. He didn't sound so bad on Tuesday. But he looks scared to death when he's on stage...

  • Chrystal is in a completely different league than the rest of the contestants. Simon actually told her to not listen to them because she's great enough already...

  • Aaron's choice of "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" should have resulted in his immediate elimination. That song has been done enough...

  • Did the producers have Reuben Studdard on just to confirm to the public that he's still alive? It can't be because they expect anyone to actually purchase his song or album...