Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Who says that AMERICAN IDOL stretched twelve one-minute performances into two endless hours? They NEEDED all that time just as I need all this space to review it.

But before we get to the contestants, I have to ask my co-reviewer/daughter, Annie, “What advice would you give the performers?”

I really think they have to perform their best and sing well. And look good. And be pretty. Back to you, Dad.

Thanks, Annie. And now my dog, Rex. It’s a big night for these kids, Rex. What should they keep in the back of their mind?

“Woof, woof woof, woof. Woof woof, woooooof woof wooooof.”

Good advice. And it gives the performers something to think about that never would have occurred to them.

Now the rules, and pay attention because they’re a little different this year. Every week for three weeks we’ll take nine hours to select the best three and then have a wild card show to select four more then have a sing-off with them and the La Mirada Dinner Theatre production of RENT. Then it'll be June and we can begin narrowing down the Top 10.

We’ll get to the actual performances right after this break.Link
This Monday will be my annual Oscar review right here on this blog.

Welcome back. The theme this week is any song from any era that ever charted on Billboard. In other words, the kids are restricted to every song ever made.

Jackie Tohn, who dressed like Minnie Mouse in leather, sang the only Elvis song people don’t know is an Elvis song. But she has great personality and should be a finalist. Then America met her parents, realized she's Jewish, and that cost her every vote from the south.

After the break, Ricky Braddy.

Starting February 25th I’ll be hosting Dodger Talk again every night on 790 KABC, home of McIntyre in the Morning and airwatch traffic with Captain Jorge to get you to work on time.

Ricky Braddy did a lovely version of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You”. But I still have no idea who he is. Neither does anybody else because the number to call to vote for him is 1-800-IDOLS-0?

But he too has lovely parents. They wore cute matching “Braddy Bunch” T-shirts and Ryan interviewed them for seven minutes. If you’d like to vote for them the number is 1-800-MOMDAD-2.

Alexis Grace was next. Her father had long hair. This is significant because he got more face time on Fox than Obama during his inauguration. Paula said to Alexis, “you have something so large inside you”. It was Paula’s first veiled penis reference of the night.

More in a moment but first, Ted Danson and Neil Patrick Harris were in the audience. Ted played Sam Malone on CHEERS and Becker on BECKER. Neil played Doogie Howser on DOOGIE HOWSER and currently plays Barney on HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. Ted also appears in DAMAGES on FX. Not that I’m padding.

Brent Keith followed. After a screw up where they started running Stevie Wright’s video he sang “Hicktown” where he’ll be returning to. Now this break:

Every Friday I answer readers’ question on my blog. What’s yours?

Stevie Wright said her biggest influence was the Jonas Brothers so it’s no surprise she sang 19 year old songwriter extraordinaire, Taylor Swift. She was awful. We’ll never see her again. Stephen Wright has more charisma.

Anoop Desai sang “Angel of Mine” and was then taken into custody. Police question whether it was really him singing. (Note: SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE reference. If you didn’t get this joke you will be lost Oscar night.)

Casey Carlson is cute but not cute enough to overcome her hideous rendition of Sting. I thought these people got weeded out. What the hell was Hollywood Week for anyway?

Michael Sarver – Best performance of the night from an oil rig worker. I see petroleum in his future.

Ann Marie Boskovich is next… after the break.

My book, IT’S GONE, NO WAIT A MINUTE!” is still available on Amazon for one cent. Get it now. Don’t wait for the price to go down.

Ann Marie Boskovich was the 247th contestant to sing “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”. She came in 200th.

Stephen Fowler killed “Rock With You”. Jackie Tohn’s parents could have done it better.

Tatiana Del Toro – The Devil’s Daughter. Kills us to say it, but she was infuriatingly good.

And finally, Danny Gokey. Great singer, immensely likable, widower. He’s a shoo-in for the top five as long as he doesn’t sing Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey” .

That’s our post for tonight. Remember my Oscar review on Monday. Woof woof.


I won't be reviewing the next few weeks because, well, who can devote the time?


Unknown said...

NO! I just found you and now you're stopping! Not fair...just like American Idol and life. I'll live. Great recap. I'll be back for the Oscars.

By Ken Levine said...

Don't worry Kristi. It's just for the next few weeks... which will be the same as this week. Plus, I'll be in Arizona getting ready for baseball. But once AMERICAN IDOL gets serious the reviews will resume.

Anonymous said...

That’s our post for tonight. Remember my Oscar review on Monday.

Remember? I keep reloading every five seconds. Gets me closer to Monday. ;)

Cap'n Bob said...

Tuesday night was my first time watching AI this year. I gave up after five singers. I just don't care and, like all the past winners, I have no intention of buying their CD's after the competition. But I do like to read your take on it, Ken.

Anonymous said...

Ken! If you need a place to stay in Arizona, my Uncle Bruce has room for you. Technically, he's not my real Uncle. Just my Dad's best friend from childhood.
Let's face it. Hotels suck. Germs everywhere. G-d knows what on the sheets and blankets. Bedbugs. I watched an undercover investigative piece on PrimeTime Live or 20/20. When they swabbed the bedding, there were rogue semen stains everywhere plus a vast array of bacteria from staph to e-coli....Anyway, have a great time in Arizona. Maybe we'll see you at the Grand Canyon or something.

Anonymous said...

Any chance your dog Rex will start his own blog? I found his comments to be the most cogent remarks on AI I've read in weeks by anyone. He's certainly smarter than Tatiana. Rex should really replace Seachrest.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Rex was just quoting Randy.

Anonymous said...

"jbryant said...
I'm pretty sure Rex was just quoting Randy."

JB, what a TERRIBLE thing to say abour Rex! Rex is far more intelligent, and vastly more articulate than Randy.

After all, Rex is a dog, not a dawg.

Anonymous said...

The only way to watch Idol is to DVR it. That way, you can scan through all the feel good bullshit, listen to a couple bars of the song, decide the singer sucks and move on. I watched Tuesday night's debacle in 25 minutes. And that included listening to Danny's entire song.


And thank the lord Tatiana is gone. I sure hope the judges don't make her a "wild card" pick.

Looking forward the Oscar Recrap Ken!

Nathan said...

C'mon guys. A show of hands.

Am I the only one who thought Bambiland was joking with her first "Tatiana-Love" comment the other day?

Oh. I was?

Ooops, musta been sincerity-impaired that day.

WV: PARPHO -- Charlton Heston's response to Edward G. Robinson -- "Where's your Parpho now, Dathan?"

Anonymous said...

"Jayne said... The only way to watch Idol is to DVR it."

I TOTALLY disagree. The best way to watch AI is not to and just read about it here on Ken's blog. That's what I do and I find it way more entertaining.

WW "vampora" - an Indian vampire

Anonymous said...

I am very proud to say I have watched Merkin Eye-DULL only once in my life.

I much prefer Rex's profane reviews.

Tom Quigley said...

I spent a week watching AMERICAN IDOL last night... And I only watched 15 minutes of it... Found a special on one of the cable channels about the mummified remains of the victims of Pompeii to be much more lively and entertaining...

Mary Stella said...

I say Anoop gets picked by the judges as a Wild Card. Paula wants him bad. I also say that three weeks in, the stylists manscape his eyebrows.

Chris said...

I was working in an office that was swept up in American Idol when it first debuted and, as I was literally working next to the water cooler, I was treated to a lot of discussion about it. At one point, one of my coworkers looked in:

"Are you watching American Idol?"
"Nope. I'm not really interested."
"But you really like music!"

Nice to see that some things don't change.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to say that I have never been proud of either watching or not watching a TV show.

Anonymous said...

A great review, Ken. Much more entertaining and substantial than the actual AI episode. And Rex's comments are particularly insightful.

I'm a fan of AI, but it has become unbearable. The ratio of pointless cheese to actual substance has increased even more this year, as impossible as it seems. And the new format for the top 36 is nauseatingly manipulative (shocking, I know).

Notice that there is a pattern to their group of 12 selection: there is one or two good singers, about three decent ones, and the rest are crappy, including a mandatory one drama queen per group. Presumably this is done to make the voting process "easier" and "more equitable" or whatever the reasoning was. One thing is certain, these are not randomly selected groups.

The only positive thing about AI this year is that the losers are not required to sing at the end anymore. That was cruel and unusual. (To think of it, cruel and unusual is what watching the AI this year has become. A sign of inevitable decline?)

Anonymous said...

It's taken me seven years of Idol and 3 years of America's Got Talent for the light above my head to finally click! Of course, they don't pick the 36 best singers! If they did, and nine really, really good singers got eliminated in the first week, there goes at least 2/3rds of the audience favorites.

Now if you have say, 4 good and 8 mediocre singers, and the top 3 get through, you'll probably keep the favorites of 85-95% of your audience.

Verification word: homsom The early 90's family band that sang Nnnbap.

The Curmudgeon said...

Here's my Friday question, submitted Thursday evening in the hopes that last in will be the first answered:

What do you think of Seattle signing the now rather senior Junior for a second go-round? In responding, feel free to expound on your views of the "Steroid Era" -- given that you witnessed some of it from the broadcast booth.

Ed I. said...

If your daughter is helping you with your recaps, please disown her. I have never read anything so off-the-mark in years. If this is going to be anything like her rambling nonsense with her "partner", i will gladly bow out.

It's not 1965 anymore - the music today is actually better.

Anonymous said...

A while back, I bought "IT’S GONE, NO WAIT A MINUTE!” I read it. Had many laughs. Gave it as a gift to a comedy writer friend like me who also loves baseball. He loved it too.
It was the best penny I ever spent. You're as witty as the person on the penny. And have had more success in the theatre. At least you got out with your head intact.

Anonymous said...

"SpoonieLuv said...
If your daughter is helping you with your recaps, please disown her...
It's not 1965 anymore - the music today is actually better."

Yeah Ken, tell your daughter to stop living in the years before she was born and realize that this is now, and today's music is much better than that of her pre-youth. This is what happens when old farts in their 20s think they know something about contemporary music.

After all, I'm sure that the reading devotion of "Spoonieluv" means far more to you than your daughter.

Spoonie, in 1965 we had The Beatles, Bib Dylan, Janis Joplin, and the Rolling Stones (not to mention Hermann's Hermits and The Dave Clark 5), so I can't agree that the music today is better. Of course, we were still mired in songs with melodies, and weren't yet singing enlightened lyrics about slapping bitches and killing cops.

And Annie, I sent a number of readers from my site, who looking in vain for my Grammy review (non-existant. I AM too old.) over to read your piece, and they all loved it, but then, they were old farts too.

Anonymous said...

Um, Spoonie -- if you think today's music is better, shouldn't you have hated this installment of AI? After all, hardly any of the songs performed were from "today." "A Little Less Conversation," "Rock with You," "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic," "Saving All My Love for You," "Angel of Mine," "Natural Woman," "I Ain't Never Loved a Man" -- not exactly the current hit parade. And some are even from the dreaded '60s. So what was your point again?