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AI Top 6 Results – A Very Special Episode of Punky Brewster.

What’s worse than a results show?  A results show for an AI performance week that I wasn’t all too thrilled with.  In retrospect, Shania Twain week was bland for me – no one had a true “moment” (although Casey came close).  And while I like Shania, I could have maybe done with an all-Reba night.  Hell, I’ll admit it – I just want SOMEONE to do Reba’s “Fancy” on Idol.

Why is Shakira singing during country week?  Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts I can understand, but the “My Hips Don’t Lie” gal?  Not so country.

Rascal Flatts is up first – not a huge fan of the Flatts, I must say.  This song is going to put me to sleep, so fast-forward, I will!  Sorry guys – I know I am from Texas and I should like Country more, but if it ain’t Dolly, Willie or Lyle, I lose interest.   The lead singer look like he’s wearing a shirt Casey should be wearing.

Ryan mentions Shakira and Rascal Flatts will perform together later in the show.  Ah, Shakira and Rascal Flatts together – you’ve got your peanut butter in my chocolate!  No, you’ve got your chocolate in my peanut butter!  Who are we kdding? It’s two great tastes that taste great together.

Six minutes in and we still have not seen the Idols until the Ford Commercial., which has something to do with vampires.  I Bet Siobhan is LOVING this.  Craig is too – he loves Vampires.  Well, that was silly – lots of make-up and contacts for not much effect and Big Mike ends up fending off the vampire Idols with extra garlic.

On to the results!  Wait!  False alarm!  It’s a shill for the new Shrek movie.  Banter with Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz ensues, blah, blah, blah.  Next!

NOW, on to the results.  Siobhan is first – lots of heaping praise again.  She says it was “wicked cool” to sing a Shania song in front of Shania.  She heads to the far left side of the stage.  Aaron is next – again, repeat of the praise from last night.   Aaron goes to the center of the stage.  Michael Lynch is next – He waves to his “people.”  Simons tried to describe what the British term “wet” means.  Doesn’t succeed.  Michael stands on the opposite side of Aaron, next to Ryan.  Lee is next.  He explains he initially did not want to do “You’re Still The One” but changed his mind later.  Lee is asked to stand next to Siobhan.  I’m not sure how they are separating everyone tonight.  Casey is paired with Michael.  Crystal is asked to stand next to Aaron after Ryan asks the judges if she should be nervous for her performance last night.

Siobhan is asked to stand next to Casey and Michael and they are the Bottom 3.  That was an awkward making of the Bottom 3.

Carrie Underwood is up next, introducing some new band, Sons of Sylvia.  It’s like power-country pop.  Not liking this so much – it’s Emo-Country.  Ick.   Tivo to the rescue!

This week’s results show is all about the other artists’ performance…where was the group sing lip synch?  Lady Antebellum is next – I thought the girl in Lady Antebellum was blond?  Shows you I am so not into what the kids are listening to….

Next week’s theme is Sinatra!  Harry Connick Jr is mentoring.  Love it!

Shakira and Rascal Flatts are next – this should be an odd combo.  Shakira is playing the harmonica.  My god, just looking at her earrings make my neck hurt.  Shakira always sounds like she needs to clear her throat, like there is a fair amount of phlegm in her voice.  I want to make her cough.  I’m fast-forwarding through this.  But I stop it just in time to hear Shakira give a Casey Kasem quote to Roosevelt (WTF?) about stars.  Whatever.

Back to the results.  Love how Ryan asks Mike how it feels to be back in the bottom 3 again (“Well, I think it sucks” should have been the answer).  Ryan fakes out Mike and he is sent back to the couches first.   It’s down to Casey and Siobhan.  I don’t want Casey to go and honestly, I don’t want Siobhan to go yet, either.  But between the two, she is annoying me more each week.

When they come back from the break, we find out Siobhan is going home.  Ryan says she has a great work ethic and a laser-like focus.  Laser-like focus?  I’m afraid I have to disagree on that – she was all over the map as of late with her singing.  And her “I’m Quirky” constant labeling was growing a little bit tired (as we see again in her goodbye package, where we are reminded of her Punky Brewster persona from the auditions).  Just because you SAY you’re quirky does not make it so. She chooses “Think” as her sing-out song and it’s OK.  A little lackluster – she’s going through the motions…this is a defiant song and she’s smiling.  Oh, Siobhan – I know you can hit those crazy notes…you just need to learn what to do with that big voice before you can get better.  Question of the week: if Big Mike had not been saved, would they have saved Punky?  Only Simon knows for sure….

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AI Top 6 – Insert Country Joke here

AI Shania Twain week!  I usually hate country week – something tells me I am not going to like t much more when it’s just “Shania Twain” week.  Country music even more narrowly defined.  Yea.

The intro for this week’s show is over the top; everyone lined up while Ryan describes them: “A Painter, a High School Student, A Glassblower, A Mother, A Father, a Construction Worker.”  It makes you feel for Lee and Casey….of all of those labels, theirs are kinda of the lamest.  But AI MUST GO ON!

Twinkie (ala Ryan Seacrest) mentions AI raised over 45 million dollars for IGB.  Good for us!  And he reminds us we’re only one month away from the finals.  Really?  It’s that close?

So tonight is the music of Shania Twain.  She comes across well in her little intro package – not too humble, not too cocky.  And she acknowledges that having four guys singing the songs of a country Canadian woman as being somewhat awkward.

First up is Lee – You’re Still The One” is his song – just the little clippet we hear at the beginning makes you know this is going to be OK.  Just OK.  I am a still not a fan of Hinder, Creed, et al, so I am not 100% sold on Lee’s vocals.  I like the subdued way he starts the song.  Am I just now noticing that he is Lee DeWyze with a capital W?  Oh, Lee, do not go all Trenyce on me and change the way you spell your last name!  The judges loved his version.  I thought it was a good, but I still think he’s straining when he sings…he’s likeable.  And honestly, this is the best he could do on Country night.  And either Ryan is wearing lifts, or Lee is also smaller than I ever noticed tonight.

On to Big Mike and “It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing.”  Shania really seems to love his song choice.  I kind of like how he makes the song not sound so country.  He’s like a cooler Rueben – you know he’s never going to sing a Carpenters song like Superstar– he’s all neo-soul.  One of the swaybots totally loses it during this song- she is so gonna get kicked out of the swaybot nation as she loses track of the beat during Mike’s song..  Uh oh.  The Judges like it generally, but Simon thinks it is some British term called “wet.”  Which was Simon’s fucked up way of saying he thought it was effeminate.  Ugh.

Next up: CASEY!  Yea!  He’s doing one of Shania’s exclamation point songs: “Don”t!”  Yet the song has nothing to do with an exclamation point.  It’s a totally sad song.   Seriously, Casey does this song good.  Love how during his pre-interview pimp spot, he totally cops to going through the motions last week.  Yea!  He’s behind the judges (so how can they really judge if they are not watching the performances)?  I think Casey’s vocal interpretation is inversely proportionate to the complexity of his guitar playing, I thought this was a lovely performance….mainly because I hope he was singing the song to me.

Crystal is next – she’s singing an older Shania song – one that I remember from my San Antonio days when we actually listened to FM radio and that was all that was San Antonio radio had to offer. “No One Needs to Know Right Now” is her choice.   Crystal pretty much admits this is a nationwide plea for her boyfriend to marry her.  Oh honey. You just lost a few points in my book.

It’s a very “Alison Kraus interpretation” Crystal is going for – but it’s not 100% working for me….the bluegrassy blandness doesn’t quite mesh with the song lyrics to me.  This is fine by me and I can totally give her pass on this week – and hell, the Idol judges agree with me!  But she’ll be fine this week – maybe a bottom three scare, but hell, there are only 6 people left! It’s hard to avoid the bottom three when the bottom three represent 50% of the playing field!

Someone in the audience is holding a sign that says “Siobhan vs Crystal.”  I hope this means they want a Siobhan and Crystal final, not a catfight brawl between the two gals.

Aaron – OK, if there was a week Aaron didn’t wholly suck, it should be country week – this is his genre!  “You Got A Way” is his song, which we find out later he’s tweaking the lyrics from being about a lover vs being about a mother.  It’s a slight lyric tweak, but ick.  We find out he’s singing towards his own mother.  Ewwwww.  That kind of shades the whole performance for me.  I was bored.

If we did not know that Aaron is 17, we are reminded not once. but twice. during his pre- and post-show packages.  Are TPTB pimping Aaron for the #3 spot??

Siobhan is next – Singing Shania’s first #1  song ever – “Any Man of Mine.”  Shania nails the Siobhan critique– this song is about attitude.  But her performance is oddly disjointed.  Not only is she out of tune, but she is not getting the idea of what this song is about, let alone keeping up with the many syllables and keeping in rhythm.  .  This is a big old hit mess to me.  Of all of the songs, this was not my favorite by a long shot.  But the judges loved it.  Am I off here?

Wow.  I honestly have no idea who is going home tonight.  Whomever I liked, these judges did not, and vice versa…this is anyone’s week!!

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AI Top 7 Results – TIMMEH!

Idol gives back…and it takes away.  As in, it takes away 2 hours of your life and never gives it back.

Obama is in da house.  And he tried to imitate Randy with “you’re all my dawgs” stuff.  Michelle Obama comes across much better with her chiding Simon to be nice.

Now, you all know my hatred for all things results shows, right?  I have a confession – I’m watching the show a full hour later, in the hopes of fast-forwarding through the crappy performances.  I’m sorry, I just can’t handle the bad performances, the shticky movie promotions, it’s all so banal and annoying.

Ryan and the crew are at the AI Studios, Queen Latifah is in Pasadena.  Why do they need 2 locations?  I do like Queen Latifah…wait, did she just say Jeff Beck is performing?  Wow.  Color me impressed….

Top 12 sing along.  This is so obviously pre-recorded.  I hate this.  It actually sounds auto-tuned.  But I do like the fact that they brought back the top 12 to perform.

Jennifer Garner is visiting Kentucky.  These visits always make me sad…I like how they are focusing on education and reading for kids – it is so important.  Not that eating and heat isn’t important.  But reading and education can help break a cycle.  Is it horrible that I someday want IGB to focus on music education in schools?  Or is that too frivolous?  I don’t think so…

Ryan is sitting next to Posh Spice.  Maybe Posh is here to ask for help with an eating program ‘cause the kids in Kentucky probably weigh more than she does.  I’m being mean.  Sorry.  Girl looks like a praying mantis, though.

Sully’s back!  And he’s making a metaphorical pitch that his saving 155 lives by landing in the Hudson is like giving money to IGB!  I feel a little bit dirty.

Russell Brand + Jonah Hill = shameless movie promotion.  Ben Stiller did these type of silly promos much better in seasons past.

The top 7 are on the couch!  Are we on to results??  Please, please, please, please…..nope.  Back to Queen Latifah.  And the Black Eyed Peas.  Time to fast forward.  Wait, are they sampling Rob Base in this song?  Eh, I don’t care.  We get shots of the audience – Common!  Well, he’s in a movie with Queen so naturally he is there.  But Todd Bridges?!  Seriously, Idol can you not get better celebs in the audience for this???

We go from BPE “Rock That Body” to a story about a pregnant mother and child dying of malaria.  It’s pretty jarring.  Can’t really comment on that one – it’s a crime that such a treatable and preventable disease is still prevalent in Africa.  But I can blame the producers for thinking that would not be a clumsy and awkward transition from Fergie to dying mother.

On the results!  Oh wait…another skit.  George Lopez is up now.  And he’s judging the judges….Kara looks petrified when he is talking to them.  But I am so stealing “Lionel Pitchy” as Randy Jackson’s nickname. Cute boy joke about Kara gets a cut to Casey…just when he thinks he’s gotten away from the Cougar rap, they suck him back in.

1st true mistake of the night – when the Ford video starts, the audio people still have the mics for Ryan and George Lopez hot, not the music bed for the video.

On to the Results! They are pitting 2 against 2…Casey v Crystal is first.  Duh, of course, Casey would be in the bottom three.  I knew it – he needed to step it up this week and he just did not bring it.  Casey knew it the minute Ryan said one of them was safe and one was not.  Lee v Aaron is next.  Again, no contest – Aaron is in the Bottom 3.  Lee!  You lost major points by not hugging Aaron when your name is announced.  I know you had a hard scrabble life, but its called CLASS.  Hug your fellow Idol.

We check in with Queen Latifah – Jeff Beck and Joss Stone?  I might actually listen to this.  her accent is kind of ruining this, though – apparently she can’t “stained” it instead of “stand” it.  She’s not as good as thought she would or should be, but she’s is trying to channel a little Bettye Lavette, which is good.  I will take this over BPE any day of the week.

David Arquette is in the house.

OK, here is a truly sincere question for IGB….is it odd that we’ve gone from US Education help to Malaria to women dying in childbirth all in one hour?  Should IGB focus on one charity for better affect?  Or is the everything but the kitchen sink approach OK?  Discuss.

Ban Ki Moon in da house!  And Morgan Freeman!  And he’s talking about education again.  And PE.  I’m getting charity whiplash.

Alicia Keys is next.  Oh.  Yikes.  Alicia is having a visit from Lionel Pitchy tonight.  On a sartorial note: Alicia is gorgeous, do not get me wrong.  But a pleated, satin pantsuit does not flatter many people.  I admit, I fast-forwarded through most of that song.

Common introducing Carrie Underwood.  Never thought I’d see that.  Carrie looks like she is going to prom!  At least that what that flower on her wrist combo’d with the tea-length dress is telling me.  I love you Carrie, but I’m fast-forwarding.  Or I’ve got to get some wine.

OK, glass of wine in hand, I walk back to Carrie Underwood talking about donating 0.36¢ a ticket to Save the Children on her upcoming tour.  0.36¢?  Let’s do the math:  I did a quick search online and her tickets for her next show are $55.  0.36¢ is .06%!  Honey, you can do better than 0.36¢.

Bill and Melinda Gates!  I wonder if that interview was in his house in Medina…that’s a tony part of Seattle for those peeps who do not live in PNW.

Wanda Sykes kills on her monologue…she is in my head.  I’d like more of her and less of the bloated performances, thankyouverymuch.

Back to results!! We get a 3-way now: Siobhan v Big Mike v Tim.  This one could go any way…Siobhan is wearing a bumpit tonight!  How cute is Tim – he immediately smiled HUGE when he heard Mike was safe and he’s in the Bottom 3.  Aww….he gets more props than Lee right now.

David Cook is up next!  The song he’s singing in Ethiopia, something about “Heroes come and go”?  Why didn’t someone sing that last night?!

Annie Lennox is stranded in London so we get a tape of her performing.  I love Annie Lennox.  She sounds great.

And now we have an all-star band doing Stairway to Heaven.  Mary J Blige can usually do no wrong with me.  Craig is very suspect of this…but he likes it.   I did too…

WOW.  They are going way over – we’re 5 minutes over!  As am I – this is a looong recap. Especially for a results show.

Ben Affleck makes a pitch after Simon’s visit to Arizona to meet the Doctor who is a saint.   Ellen gets in her two cents about climate change.  Is that part of IGB.  And now we have Elton?  How fucking long is this show going to be??  He’s singing Your Song – editor’s note: this song was ‘our song’ between me and my senior year boyfriend Mike Dhunjishah.  I don’t think I’ve heard it since my prom.  Fast-forward!

On to results!!  Casey is GIANT next to Tim, Aaron and Ryan.  Again, Tim with the “I’m so happy for you hug” when they say Aaron is safe.  And you can tell Tim  knows he is going home when it’s down to he and Casey.  Poor Tim…he lasted longer than anyone thought.  And he was better than Sanjaya, I’ll give him that.  But he should be tried at The Hague for crimes against humanity for the atrocity that was “Under my Thumb.”

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AI Top 7 – Idol Gives Blecch.

It’s Inspirational week! I usually hate this week on AI – it usually inspires nothing in me but to gag for the poor song choices and over blown dramatic vocal acrobatics that invariably follow.  But I do love Alicia Keys!  She has a great voice, a great spirit – if anyone can save AI inspiration week, Alicia Keys can

First up – Casey James with “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” by Fleetwood Mac.  Here’s the deal with Casey – he needs to NOT pick lightweight songs like this.   It makes his talent looks effortless, which is not a good thing.  We want our idols to sweat.  Regardless of what you think of this performance, his guitar playing is sick (sick, in a good way).   The judges get this right somewhat when they critique him.  I still think they give Casey a harder time than Crystal, though.

Lee Dwyze – “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel.  Lee gets the pimp interview spot where Ryan is a douche and asks him how he feels about his BFF Andrew leaving.  Nice transition after the interview when Ryan and Lee wait for Video to start.  I love it when they screw up the direction (Get us the Alicia video stat!).  I have to admit, this was the song I was most excited about when I heard the spoilers.  Not sure I like it sung so hoarse, though.  Something about Paul Simon’s pure voice makes this song so special.  But Lee’s chorus almost makes up for it.   Where are the bagpipes? Kidding!  That comes from Michelle Haines, BTW, FTW.  On this one, I am not agreeing with the judges as much – it was good – better than Casey but not THAT much better.  Am I wrong here?  Help me out…

Sully in da house!

Tim Urban is up next with “Better Days” by Goo Goo Dolls.  Calling Pat Boone!  Pat Boone, your mid-90’s angst rock is waiting for your whitewash treatment!  This is a good song choice for Tim.  It started to so well….but then he kind of never goes anywhere with it.  It’s the equivalent of leashing up your dog and then just wandering around your front yard. Overall, a good song choice.  If they give him more praise than Casey, I will plotz.  Thankfully, they don’t.  The Judges did not like that.

Aaron Kelly is up next and I am so disappointed he did not do Josh Groban!  This kid cannot pick a song to save his life.  He’s doing “I Believe I Can Fly” by the child rapist RnB superstar, R. Kelly.  He’s sung this song since he was five?  UGH.  Alicia’s shrug says it ALL – “if he can hit that note, then {shrug].”   She does not have faith in our little Aaron. Oh look, the SWAYBOTS are back during his performance!  I cannot stand Aaron.  This is so pageanty. Do they have male pageants?  That was a hot mess to me.  I could care less what the judges think.

Siobhan Magnus and her butterflies are up next with the dreck that is “When you Believe” by Mariah and Whitney from the movie The Prince of Egypt.  Seriously?  THIS is what you chose Siobhan? Oh, you disappoint.  Alicia loves her, though.  Siobhan starts her song and – are they sabotaging her?  Her mic sounds awful….I can hear every breath and every P syllable.  This is a banal song, honestly.  Kara uses the Broadway word in her critique.   Simon cuts her down to size.  And then they give her more rope to hang herself by letting her blather on about why she chose the song to begin with.  Make her stop talking! And make her pick better songs.

Michael Lynche is in tha house!  Singing “Hero” by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger.  He’s making a Nickelback song sound like Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” if you ask me, and that’s a good thing. This performance is much better than the rest of tonight’s so far.  I’m enjoying this far more than I expected.  I think the judges are nitpicking a bit in their criticism, esp. Kara.  Simon has got to own up that his producers chose that song to be on the inspiration list, therefore he should not question it’s authenticity to being inspirational.

Crystal Bowersox is up last with “People Get Ready” – The Impressions.  No guitar – its about time, Crystal!!.  How tall is Alicia Keys?  In the opening video, she is towering above Crystal.  Crystal looks gorgeous on stage – it’s the perfect gown for her – just a little bit rock n roll, but elegant enough for the song.  Crystal proves she can sing without the guitar – I’m now 100% sold on her.  She gets so emotional at the end – she says it is because her dad is in the audience.  And Crystal’s dad is apparently Sam Elliot when we see a shot of him.

On a final note – I’ve always suspected that AI used other footage – from the rehearsal perhaps-  to create the montage recap at the end of the show, showing us short clips of the singers with their phone numbers.  Tonight, I have PROOF they use rehearsal footage: Crystal’s footage showed her singing her last note and she is NOT CRYING!  Hello?!  This is so obviously from earlier footage, because Crystal was bawling at the end of her performance.  I don’t know why that bugs me so much, but it does. Still not enough to derail me from the I Heart Bowersox movement.  She and Casey are my faves this year and tonight solidified it.

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AI Top 9 results show – Idols give back one week early (by voting off the right people)

Results show.  God how I hate you.  We get the recap of last week and the Big Mike save (and again, we get to see how unenthusiastic the other Idols are that Big Mike made it through – but, less I share the wrath of Rainey – Go Big Mike!).  Adam puts all into perspective: “Two people are going home this week– if you want to win this competition, you’ve got to wake up.”  Sadly, we all know not many paid head to Adam’s sage wisdom…

Brooke White is performing!  Nice!  I liked her last season.   Is that Elliott Yamin behind Randy???  I hope so…love me some Elliott Yamin.  I also like the idea of Simons Cowell being labeled “SiCo” by Ryan (pronounced “psycho”).

Groups ings time – No more lip-synching, guys – this sucks!!  OK –as a former RTF major, I gotta say, I LOVED the schadenfruede the director pulled when halfway through the lip-synch melody, there was a 10-second shot of the fucking STAGE FLOOR right before the whole “Viva Las Vegas” medley.  Total fuck-up.  Love it when they make horrible production mistakes like that.  But I still miss the days when these group-sings were live and you could actually judge an Idol a little bit about how they sang live in a group.  Not this season….

Ford Focus commercial. They are singing a Polyphonic Spree song!  Awesome!  I do love this song….cute commercial.  I have to admit, the commercials are much better this season.  They actually are better than the group sings, if you ask me.

On to the results!  Casey is up first.  He’d better be safe or else I am going to CUT MIKE.   Casey vs. Aaron vs. Andrew.  Well, we know Andrew is going home.  So Casey and Aaron must be safe (fuck, I went for Aaron in the pool).   OK – Non-sequitur – during this moment, we get the first look at Kara’s outfit tonight.  WHO THE HELL IS DRESSING HER?  That outfit looks like an Alexis Carrington cast-off and not in a good way.  Non-sequitur, over.  Ryan gets to the results quickly – Andrew is gone.  It is about time.  Casey and Aaron look somber (and I have to point out, love the blow out hairdo, Casey!).   Andrew gets to sing out….god, listening to this sing-out, it reminds me of what was wasted with Andrew – he was so good at the beginning, but now, this is so meh.  But I still like him; honestly, I want him to do well after this, really.  Unlike certain past idol castoffs, I want him to do well.

Off to Africa for a quick tour of Elliott and Kara and the orphanage Elliott went to a few years back – Editor’s note: being a child of Exxon (My dad worked for Exxon in Houston, Texas for some 27+ years) I loved seeing the hardhats with the “Esso” logo on them – Esso was Exxon in the USA back in the 60’s and my dad had a nostalgia for Esso materials. Maybe not so much now that he’s a flaming liberal, but still.

Brooke White and Justin Gaston sing some song.  I have to be honest, after the first minute, I fast forwarded.   She is looking at him like “please be on key” and he is so not on key.  I liked Brooke a few years back…I just think she was too delicate for Idol.  Granted, compared to Didi Benami, she was a Trojan horse.  But still, it is a competition and you have to have balls to make it in this show.

Back to results!  Casey and Aaron are safe.  Staring with Lee – he mentioned he no longer feels like every performance is an audition.  On to Siobhan – I kind of like her bat-shit crazy hair tonight.  Ryan moves on Katie before giving any results.  And then Ryan moves on to Big Mike.   No results yet.  They give Mike a chance to refer to “the people” yet again when he is asked a question.  Moving on the Crystal – she looks gorgeous tonight.  I like it when he hair is down.  And Teflon Tim is next.  Crystal is the first declared safe – she has a harmonica she blows on while walking back to the sofa.  Siobhan is also declared safe – I think they missed an opportunity to milk the results – Siobhan was in danger this week, dismissing her so fast missed out on a lot of good drama.  She was not the best of last night.  Lee is up next and is declared…..safe after a looong walk back to the sofas. I hate the fake-outs.

Adam is performing next – I am so excited!  I loved Kris Allen and Adam equally.  I loved their relationship – religious goodie-goodie and gay awesomeness = heaven.  God, I love his performance.  I didn’t like Adam at the beginning of last season- I thought his “Black and White” was awful, but I love him now and he is a painful reminder of how bad some of this season’s idols are.

Alecia Keys is next week’s mentor!  That actually makes me excited!  Even though it is “Inspirational Songs” week.  Ugh.  What “Idol Give Back”, it takes away, too…

Back to results!  Tim is sent back to safety…It’s down to Big Mike and Katie.  It’s funny how no one congratulates Tim when he’s back to the sofas.  And Mike is declared safe – Katie is going home.  Crystal and Siobhan seem very upset that Katie is gone.  I kind of miss the pre-taped packages we used to see when the Idols would leave – I want to hear Katie singing “At Last” instead of this Beatles crap.  OK – we do get the pre-taped stuff, just after the sing-out

I think I actually feel good about how America voted this week.  I feel refreshed that we won’t see Andrew or Katie next week.  Does that make me a bad person?  Maybe I can appease myself by donating a lot of money to Idols Give back for that last thought.

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AI Top 9 – Rainey Quinn is in the building!! Elvis, though, has left.

I’m watching American Idol this week with a very special guest star – Rainey Quinn!  Eight-year-old AI savant Rainey is the daughter of our AI Pool, Amy Gentry and boy does she love Justin Beiber.  I will be asking her opinion on all of the Idols as we watch and relaying them to you, my dear pool members, as maybe she can help explain why Tim Urban is still around in the Top 9.

Before we get to the singing, we hear all about Elvis and this week’s mentor, Adam Lambert.  Lovely banter between Ryan and Adam in the audience nets us this gem: My tongue is not nearly as talented as yours….Oh Ryan.  You scamp.  I’m not even touching that with a ten-foot tongue.

Crystal Bowersox starts off the evening with the gospel tinged, “Saved.” I have a new Idol drinking game – Let’s drink anytime someone says the word “Authentic.”  Rainey is doing the left-right head shake during this song – the “Oh no, you din’t” move.  We’re grooving here in the LFP!  Rainey gives Crystal a thumbs up.

Between songs, Rainey points out that she does not like Kara’s outfit and hair tonight.  So there.  And we all think Andrew Garcia just picked his nose in front of millions of people before that commercial break…

Andrew Garcia is doing “Hound Dog” – one of those songs no one should pick during Elvis week.  It’s just too cheesy and iconic, even for Elvis.   Ryan really starts drilling down on Andrew during the pre-interview – keep the pimp interview light and frothy, Seacrest!  You can tell Adam did NOT like Andrew’s performance during rehearsal.   After all that pep talk from Adam to bring the energy up, Andrew comes out of the gate asleep.  But Rainey likes it.  At least its not corny, but it is just sleepy….no energy.   Although I did not like the song, I think Randy was mean in his comments – I did not think it was karaoke.  Ellen wants more swagger but recognizes he did something different.  Simon and Kara think it was lazy and boring.  Rainey liked Andrew better than Crystal.

Between singers, we get to meet Ryan’s mom!  She is adorable.

Tim Urban is up next and I’ll grant him this – during his interview package, I love how he just comes right out and says he hopes he can convince people he does understand the lyrics.  He’s singing “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.”  The girls will eat this up.  He’s acoustic – Adam is right, he has good guitar work…he really takes off on the second verse.  He’s flat on chorus.  But overall, it works.    Rainey’s verdict?  “Meh.”  Not even the Justin Beiber hair can save Tim from Rainey’s wrath.  She was bored.

Lee Dewyze is doing “A Little Less Conversation.” Adam, thankfully, doesn’t talk about Lee’s nerves; he talks about Lee needing to smile, which is spot on.  Lee’s playing like a nice jam, not an angry misogynist rant – Rainey and Amy are jamming…it’s bluesy goodness.  Rainey likes it, but can’t exactly say why she likes it.  She says she doesn’t need a reason.   I did not realize how short Lee is, but standing next to Ryan, he seems teeny with a huge head.

Aaron Kelly is next, doing “Blue Suede Shoes.”  Seriously?  This kid cannot pick a song.  Adam is dead-on with his assessment – Aaron sounds good when he growls, let loose, when he owns it.  But alas, the performance is karaoke. Yet, surprise! Rainey likes it!  Now we know where his votes are coming from…but did we have any doubt? I’m thinking Aaron missed an opportunity; he should at least be wearing Blue Suede Shoes with his Member’s Only jacket (the latter is courtesy of Amy Gentry, thankyouverymuch).  Rainey is booing Simon’s comments on Aaron’s performance.

Siobhan Magnus is up with her hot-mess hair, singing “Suspicious Minds.”  I envision she needs to sleep with a scarf around her head after that ‘do’s been “set” like my grandma used to get back in the 70’s. I love how they play up the Siobhan/Adam mentor session (aka Screech vs. Screech) and it just ends up very tame between them. The beginning of the song is sleepy, almost Vegas-y, very Shirley Bassey.  The second half was fantastic – I love it when she lets loose and her screeches were perfect for this song.  Not sure her talk about not knowing who she is was a good thing after the judges commented on her performance.  Rainey is “eh” about her…thought her outfit looked like a giant bandage.  Amy thinks she looks like a cross between Shelia E and Sheena Easton.

Mike Lynche is doing, quite possibly, the most cringe-worthy Elvis song of all time: “In The Ghetto.”  Adam thinks Michael should be even more theatrical and actor-y.    After the song, all I can say is “wow” – that totally changed my mind on this song…a cheesy song just became relevant in Big Mike’s hands.  Rainey is in Hea-van: she LOOOOOOVED it!  Seriously, she asked us to vote for Big Mike a gazillion times at the end of the show.

Katie Stevens growls enough for both her and Aaron Kelly before the break and she’s singing “Baby What Do You Want Me To Do.”  Katie is trying way too hard.  And yet, it’s still not enough, not gritty enough. She does need to get angrier as Adam said, she still felt so neutered to me.  Maybe I jut don’t buy her left-right head strutting as an equivalent to “sass” or “grit” or “soul.”   Rainey’s verdict?  She loved her but not as much as she loved Big Mike.

Casey James – “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.”  Casey is singing an old school song – I kind of get worried when he chooses these obscure tracks.  Oh god, he’s in the field of swaybots!!  No!  But I love what he does – but here something I’ve got to point out.  I love Crystal, she’s consistent bluesy-goodness.  But why does she get the free-pass when Casey essentially does the exact same thing as she does week after week and he gets panned?  I have to admit; his performance was my first time this season to break out the phone.  I voted for Casey.  If he were to leave because Big Mike got saved last week and now 2 peeps have to go home?  Big Mike, I will hunt you down and cut you, I will be so mad!  Rainey is totally indifferent to her mothers and my obsession with Casey.  Fine, she can have Justin Beiber…I’ll take Casey James any day!

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AI top 9 Results show – Shocking! Shocking, I tell you!

Confession to make – I hate results shows so much, I actually “watched” the first 23 minutes while drinking a glass of wine, reading the latest Newsweek and NOT WRITING A DAMN THING.  Then I realized I should probably write something…so I am pausing it during Jason Derulo’s performance (admirably not lip-synched or pre-recorded) to catch up on what I’ve seen so far:  pointy-pose, cheese-fest, awfulness of the Idols Lip Synching to a Beatles Medley; a recap of what the judges are giving away for the Idol Gives Back Auction (Hells no, I am not signing up for Randy’s singing lessons); and finding out in a supreme fake out that all three girls are safe this week (yea for me for not listening to my gut that Katie was a goner this week!).  OK, now I can un-pause and watch Jason Derulo in real time (whom Craig just asked me if he borrowed something from Adam’s closet – personally, I think he looks like the new Chris Brown, but this song is a Lady gaga rip-off).   Ooohh….what an awful director’s effect with that black and white shot..  Like we needed the sepia-toned slow-down jam.  Ugh.  I’ll admit he’s better than Usher last week.

And now we have Asthma boy (that was my nickname for him 2 seasons ago for those of y’all who were not part of the pool back then), David Archuleta.  I hated it when he did this song back in AI7.  I felt he neutered it and I was offended that he chose not to sing the line about imaging no religion.  Sigh.  These kids just bludgeon Lennon/McCartney.  Archie sounds like he’s finally gotten some breathing technique, his voice sounds so lovely.  Good for Archie!  Still not going to buy his album.

What is with the feedback this season?!?  I just heard a ton of it when Archie started speaking after his performance.

Back to the results!  All Dude bottom 3 – it’s about time.  And it’s time for the whole, “let’s-pit-two-groups-against-each-other” time.  I hate it when they try to pit group vs. group.  And Ryan, stop asking Lee if he has self-doubt.  It’s becoming a self –fulfilling prophecy.  This season has been as subtle as a sledgehammer.  Big Mike is next – he stands on the opposite side of Lee.  Casey is next.  Still not loving the ponytail he is always rocking on results shows.  I think Casey’s nickname this year is “The Dude.”  I am making it so.  He stands next to Lee.  Yoda is next.  I mean Aaron.   Aww, he’s wearing a mini-me version of Casey’s Jacket.  He stands next to Big Mike.  Tim goes towards Lee and Casey.  Andrew is going to the Big Mike/Aaron corner.  I think, immediately, it’s Big Mike’s group going home as Casey + Lee = no fucking way are they going home, even with Tim in their midst.  Ah, the old “who do you think is going home” is asked to Ellen – I would refrain from ever answering this were I in her shoes.  Tim seems SHOCKED when it is announced he is not in the Bottom 3.  And Big Mike looks pissed.  They send Aaron back to the sofas and you know, Andrew is thinking, “uh-oh, I’m doomed.”  Big Mike might be thinking about the “people” either his fans or the lonely ones.  You know, maybe that was his problem – a few weeks ago, he clumsily answered a question by Ryan about why he’s on AI and he said it’s for “the people” meaning his “fans.”  Well, last night, he sang about all the lonely people, where do they all come from with all the empathy of Mr. Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life.  Sounds like his ego could use a little knock down.

Ri-Ri is up next – is she live?  Or is she Memorex?  Here’s how you know if they are pre-recorded: where did Big Mike and Ryan go (and all the other Idols previously on stage) when they show Rihanna descending the stairs at the top of her performance? Where did the judges go?  Is everyone all of a sudden gone?  It’s ‘cause she recorded this after last week’s results show.  This is so not live.    She may be singing and lip-synching, but it’s prerecorded drivel.  Meh.  Notice how it sounds the exact same during the chorus even when she’s playing guitar yet NOT singing or holding a mic?  Even more meh.  So not impressed.  Sorry, Ri-Ri.

I have to say, Ryan is off the coke this week. Much more calm.

Down to Andrew and Big Mike….two fathers trying to make a better life for their families (editors note: why do we not hear about Crystal trying to make a better life for her family?  She’s just a good mom.  Sexist jerks.).

Andrew is declared safe….and he looks numb.  Crystal looks like she’s about to bawl…you know she is upset Oh, good, he’s singing This Women’s Work…I know some hated this, I loved it.  Mike’s wife is bawling, too.  This should be some good Teevee, cause the judges actually can save someone worthwhile, no matter what you think of his theatrics. Big Mike seems calm.  Kara appears to be building the coalition of the judges.  Milk it, Ryan.   Milk it, Simon.  And he’s saved!

Is it just me, or was Mike super UFC-fighting-championship-cocky when it was announced he was saved, pounding his chest, no smile, etc?  I think that’s his issue – he’s overconfident.  Lee needs to worship at the ground he walks on to gain a little bit of that confidence.  But still, Mike has yet to hit a true bum note, never had a horrible stumble (like Crystal and Casey, he is uber-consistent, even if you don’t like his style).  So I have no problem with the save being used on him.   But if The Dude is in the bottom 2 next week, Big Mike, I will cut you.

FYI for pool-players – no one wins this week, this week’s money rolls into next week and I’ll need TWO vote-offs next week!  Woo-hoo!!

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AI Top 9 – Lennon/McCartney week finally redeems itself (a little).

Back from Dreamgirls!  It was a good show, thanks, Amy!  On to AI: when the Idols first walk out, all I can think is “Really, Siobhan?  WTF are you wearing??” and that Casey looks hot in a white suit jacket.  Aww – Macca actually recorded a nice little good luck note!  But that was kind of cheesy when he got to the word “McCartney.”  It was like he was channeling Big Mike there for a bit, pointing at himself.  Yea, Paul, we know who you are, even if these Idols don’t.

I’m warning you, I’m fast-forwarding through a lot of crap that Ryan asks the judges…mama is tired.

Aaron KellyLong and Winding Road.  Aaron is known as Yoda amongst the group.  Nice Coke can product placement with the Jedi Mind Trick.  And of all the Idols, who do you think has the best Yoda impression in this film?  I’m going with Andrew.  When we get to Aaron explaining his song choice, it just solidifies that some of these kids have no clue.  The Long and Winding Road was one of the last songs of the Beatles.  McCartney wrote it.  Legend has it, it was the end of the end and this ballad solidified it.  And Aaron sees the song as representing his long road ahead.  Yea, right, Yoda.  Whatever.  Bland, bland, bland.  I really have nothing to say about that performance.  It just kind of lies there…meh.

Katie StevensLet it Be.  Katie is getting lots of Prom invites!  Or she’s being stalked.  This is kind of creepy.  Katie admits to being a whore…she wants to see your phone bills before you take her to Prom. These kids have no fucking clue about these songs, do they?  People – it’s called Wikipedia and despite what you may have heard, it can be fairly accurate, especially when it comes to this particular Beatles album.  Yes, this was a song about letting it be, to get through a bad time, but this was written about the struggles of band breakup, amongst lots of drug usage and lots of drama.  Ugh.  Katie is shrill for this song.  She’s sharp throughout the whole thing.  At least Aaron’s blandness was in tune, I will give him that.  Man, I am not agreeing with the judges on this one.  I think we know who TPTB want to stay in this game – they are laying on the compliments THICK.    I will take Kris Allen’s version over this dreck any day.

Andrew GarciaCan’t Buy Me Love.  Kim Jong Il gets to show us if he can keep up his good streak.  Andrew seems respectful in his interview, but then again, he chose a lightweight song.  Is this Ska?  This is weird – it’s trying to be all Pink Martini, and it is not working.   I can see what he is trying to do, but he has no idea how to arrange the songs and ix-nay on the eesy-chay (nix the cheese, as in those cheesy 60’s era horns).

Mike LyncheEleanor Rigby.  What do we learn about Big Mike? Big Mike snores.  And he likes to talk in falsetto when walking into a room.  WAIT.  His family had a band called the Lynche Mob?  That is bad.  That is so bad, I can’t even make fun of it.  On to the song:  it’s a little more R&B for me…a little more Maxwell, less Lennon.  But eventually the arrangement finds its emo groove.    But I’m not sure it works 100%.  It’s like he’s just pointing out all of the lonely people, but not really having much empathy for the lonely people…or wondering why they exist.  Just look at the lonely people.  But, so far, it is my favorite tonight.  Simon uses the dreaded “musical” term.  Uh-oh, that can be the kiss of death.

Crystal BowersoxCome Together. 
Crystal gets the pimp interview.   It’s interesting how everyone has such nice things to say about Crystal, more so than any other contestant.   Compare her film vs. what they all said about Big Mike.  Carly did a killer version of this a few years back; Kris, not so much last season, but I think she’ll do this fine.  She nails the druggie-culty-aesthetic of this song.    Aww, she gives some love to the didgeridoo player.

Tim UrbanAll My Loving.  I am so tempted to just skip this performance.   In Tim’s film, we, of course, get him smiling a lot.  The swaybots are in full effect….I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to the whole song.  He picked the right song.  I thought Randy was mean, “it was a good “Tim” performance.”  Simon actually kind of liked it!  Good for Tim.

Casey JamesJealous Guy.  Everyone thinks Casey’s pretty.  Especially Andrew.  Wow.  Casey sounds like Eddie Vedder.  Well, this will stand out.  Absolutely.  I predict people will now seek out the original song.  I loved it.   He finally stepped it up, in my opinion.  Casey looked touched by Simon’s words.

Siobhan MagnusAcross the Universe.  I swear her outfits just get worse and worse.  What the hell is she wearing – does she know we can see her? I get the “weird” thing, I get it, really I do, it’s your signature, I loved Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, too.  But honey, we have got to show you how to dress.  Did I hear feedback on her mic?  WTF?  She sounds great.  I like it when she doesn’t screech.

Lee DewyzeHey Jude. Aww, Lee’s film just focuses on his anxiety.    Did Crystal just name-check Danny Gokey (as in Andrew and Lee can have lots of “Danny Gokey” babies??).  I thought she’s claimed to have never seen Idol before? Lee starts and he sounds….how should I put this, he sounds small at the beginning.  The tempo feels off…very middle of the road to me.  I hope it builds it up during the chorus.  And now he has bagpipes!  WTF.  This is odd….I would not necessarily bring out an instrument that sounds like a bleating sheep to sing with on AI.  Not a great comparison.  And yet, throughout this whole mess, I still like Lee.  I get the sense some producer just said to him “Hey, wouldn’t it be great to have a bagpiper come in?  I mean, Crystal has the didgeridoo….c’mon!”  not my favorite, but not the worst of the evening.

It’s 12:30, Craig is fast asleep and I am signing off, not sure who is going home just yet.  My only thought on the recap when we see the minute-long replays: the makeup lady was having way too much fun with glitter eyeshadow on all the gals.

PS – And how was Dreamgirls?  It was great – a perfect appetizer to American Idol since it starred Syesha Mercado (she was very good) as Deena.  The guy playing James “Thunder” Early was awesome – truly great.  Effie was great except for her one big moment – the “And I Am Telling You” moment.  I have to be honest, she sounded more like this.

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Kitchen Confidential of an Amateur Cook.

I went to lunch a week or so ago with a new friend, one with whom I am discovering I have a TON of common interests, and we started reminisce about Anthony Bourdain’s first tell-all book, Kitchen Confidential.  I really see that book as a turning point for me.  Before I read this book (in 2001 – I bought the first edition of the paperback), I considered myself an OK cook  Not great.  But good.  After reading the book, I realize I have my own rules, much like Mr. Bourdain’s rules for not eating fish at a restaurant on Monday and avoiding most specials at all costs.  While I ignore Mr. Bourdain’s (I’m sorry – Tony’s, as I hear he is liked to be called) advice on Garlic Presses (he hates them, but I am a horrible mincer of garlic so I love my Wusthof garlic press), I do take most of what he says to heart about butter, shallots and such.

I love his new show on the Travel Channel, No Reservations and I understand this week, he’s not necessarily visiting a locale to discover their food secrets, he’s going back to the kitchen – to Les Halles, to other friends kitchens, to teach us techniques.  I can’t tell you how I am looking forward to this episode!  And it made me start to realize that I have my own cooking rules or techniques that maybe I should share…

1. When sauteing meat, always take the it out of the pan before making your sauce.  I can always tell if a recipe is going to fail if they ask you saute chicken breasts or pork in a pan and then leave them in the pan at medium-high heat throughout the entire cooking process of the pan sauce!  That chicken breast will be so shriveled and dry by the time you are done making a sauce, not even my dogs would eat it (OK, that maybe be harsh, but still).  Brown the meat on both sides until almost done (about 160-165 is “done” for chicken breasts, so I remove them around 150), then remove it, put it on a plate and let it sit covered in foil until ready to return to finish cooking in the pan sauce.  Or cook it until done and then hold in a 200 degree oven until ready to plate.

2. Know how to cut and cook meat for stir-frying.  When you are cutting any meat for stir-frying, cut against the grain, not with the grain.  The longer the protein fibers in each individual piece, the more they will retract when heated (aka, turn tough).  You want short protein fibers, aka the grain.  Also note, the above rule goes doubly when stir-frying: brown the meat, then remove before doing anything else.  If you let that meat stay in the pan until you’re done with the onions, broccolli, sauce, whatever, that meat will be mean and tough.

3. While we’re speaking of Stir-frying, please get rid of your wok.  Seriously, that thing is not meant for residential ranges and the anemic btu’s we have at home, even if you have a gas stove.  Your 12-inch skillet will give you much higher, consistent heat, brown your meat instead of steam it and reduce your sauce that much faster.

4. Don’t touch your meat!  When you put a piece of steak, or chicken, or fish, down into a pan or grill, DON’T TOUCH IT!  Resist.  Let it sit for a good couple of minutes before you even think about flipping it.  Get a nice crusty brown outside before moving.  Flipping it back and forth will only dry it out.

5. Never clean the pan mid-cooking.  So you’re browning some chicken breasts and the directions tell you to remove the breasts and hold them while softening onions.  But first, the directions tells you wipe out the pan.  Don’t do it.  Ever.  Keep going with that dirty pan…that yummy brown stuff on the bottom is called fond and it will make your onions and/or pan sauce or whatever you’re going to do that pan next taste even better.  Trust me.  Even if it looks burnt to high heaven, it will make your food taste better.  Trust me!

6. Never add garlic at the beginning of a dish.  It will burn.  Toast it for 30 seconds or so right before you’re about to add any liquids.

7.  Dried Spices need blooming. I don’t care when a recipe tells you to add any dried or ground spices to a dish, it is always best to do it at a point in the recipe when you’ve just finished softening and/or browning something in oil.  My favorite time?  Right after browning and removing meat, usually the next step is to soften onions/veggies in the rendered oil: towards the end of this process, add any dried spices to the pan and let the oil “bloom” in the spices for a minute or two before adding liquid to the pan.  Your house will smell fantastic and your recipe will be even better.  Fresh herbs, however, need not be bloomed…add them in towards the end of cooking for that final flourish.

Gosh, as I am typing these, I am realizing that I have a ton of rules – many I’m not even listing here!  In honor of the rules above, here is a recipe that uses all of these rules at once – Penne ala Vodka with Chicken.

Penne ala Vodka with Chicken

1 pound Penne pasta
3 strips Bacon, minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin slices against the grain
1 onion, diced
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
3 heads garlic, minced
2 cans whole, peeled tomatoes, drained, reserving liquid (try to find whole tomatoes canned in tomato juice, not puree – puree is usually not as fresh tasting as juice)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup Vodka
1 bunch basil leaves, torn (about 1 cup or more – I like a lot of basil)
½ cup heavy cream (or more to taste)
Salt & Pepper

Heat a 12-inch skillet (not non-stick) on medium heat, add bacon and cook until very crisp.  Remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel-lined plate.  Reserve for garnish on final dish.

While bacon is cooking, take the cans of tomatoes and drain over a bowl in a fine-mesh strainer, reserving the liquid.  Lightly crush the tomatoes by hand, letting the juices drain with the reserved liquid.  Remove and discard any hard, green cores from the tomatoes.  Drain thoroughly.  Keep the liquid, as you will need this later!

After bacon is done cooking, salt and pepper chicken.  Increase pan heat to medium-high and add only enough chicken to bacon drippings to cook without crowding (add olive oil if you need more fat – you also may need to cook the chicken in 2 batches).  Do not move chicken for at least 2-3 minutes – let it brown at least on one side thoroughly.  Using tongs, turn pieces of chicken that are done to brown on other side until all chicken in browned well (may not be 100% cooked through– that’s OK, you’ll cook it through later when you add it back to the sauce).  Remove chicken with slotted spoon and keep warm in an aluminum foil covered bowl.  Repeat until all chicken is browned and removed from skillet.

Add more olive oil, if needed – you want about 2 Tablespoons or so in the pan.  If you have more than 2 Tablespoons, just pour some out.  Add onion to pan and decrease heat to medium.  Cook onion for 7-8 minutes or until soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic, dried oregano, dried basil and tomato paste and stir constantly for 30 seconds or until you can smell the garlic.

Increase heat to medium-high; add now-crushed tomatoes plus the one can of drained, diced tomatoes to pan.  Stirring often, cook tomatoes over highest possible heat until most of their moisture is gone, about 10 minutes.  You’ll know you are done when the tomatoes have a drier, almost a jam-like consistency.  Add ¼ cup vodka and cook until moisture evaporates and the sauce is jammy again, about 5 minutes.  Add enough of the reserved liquid to skillet to cover tomatoes (usually about 1-1/2 cups) and cook on highest possible heat without burning for about 10-15 minutes until thickened.  Add torn basil during this stage.  Stir every minute or so during this time to ensure there is no burning – you want to get the sauce to reduce down quite a bit, from soupy and wet to a good thick sauce.

While tomato sauce cooks down, start cooking your penne, reducing the cooking time by 2 minutes.  You want the pasta al dente, or not quite done, as the pasta will absorb a lot of sauce when combined.

When tomato sauce is thickened, add cream and reduce heat to medium.  Add chicken back to pan (along with any juices rendered in bowl) and heat thoroughly for about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Sauce should be a nice, pink color – add more cream if you like a richer sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss with 1 pound of cooked penne.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and reserved minced bacon sprinkled on top.

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AI Top 10 results show: the night we find out how much Ryan weighs.

It’s 10:05 as I type this – I’ve knocked out a few emails, made a few calls, and I now find myself able to take a moment and watch the results show from last night.  Even if I am late with the recaps – you will still get the recaps!  I am adamant about giving you your money’s worth!!

We start off with a Clash of the Titans/American Idol comparison.  Heroes are not born…they are made.  Whatever.  Sometime tells me Mamasox was born with that soulful wail whilst Paige, no matter how hard Simon tried, was never gonna be made into a hero with that warbling, cracked voice.  And the Clash of the Titans comparison even goes so far as to call Ai an “Epic Battle Between Men and Gods” (aka, the Idols are “Men” and the Judges are “Gods”).  Nice sexism, AI.  And please, do not feed the Gods’ egos anymore.  Except for Ellen.  She gets funnier if you feed her, I think.

That was a really awkward promo plug for Clash of the Titans, dontcha think?

Ruben!!  The Velvet Teddy Bear!  He looks good!    This song is boring.  He deserves better.  Even Elliot Yamin is getting better material than this.  But he does have a nice voice.  Again, Ryan looks Lilliputian next to Ruben (can you tell I love that word?).  And of course, they have to drag the other big, black guy to stand next to him.  What would have been funnier is to pull Aaron next to Ruben, since he’s even tinier than Ryan!  Wait.  WTF?  WTF IS BIG MIKE WEARING ON HIS HEAD??  The newsboy cap is fine, but….is that a RAT TAIL?  Big Mike, no.  That is so wrong on so many levels.  Go back to the sofas.

Ford commercial – that was kinda cute, Kung Fu Fighting.  I can believe Siobhan as a Kung Fu Fighter – that girl can probably kick some ass.   Where was Lee?  Maybe walking pneumonia was in effect that night?

Finally, we’re getting our votes on!  Or, maybe not.  Ryan starts asking some questions. Ryan actually notices the tail.  That is so awful.  Andrew’s wife, with her Mohawk, looks like she’s a fan of Siobhan’s.  Andrew’s mom is cute.  More Clash of the Titans promo.

Now, we get our results on!! Lee is first.  He rambles a bit about watching the performance back.  And Lee is….safe.   My man Casey is next.  Damn he is FINE.  Ryan tries a fake out…but he is safe.  Siobhan looks very serious while this is all going on.  Aaron is next.  Ryan teases him about being too young to ever fall in love.  Ryan is a bit manic tonight.  Simon kind of nails it.  Oh, Simon….you know Ryan has to fill 44 minutes of time when he could give results in about 5 minutes.  And Randy suggests to Aaron to sing loves songs as if he were singing about the love he has for his parents.  Dude already seems to have that nailed down, Randy – he’s as bland as toast.  But he’s safe.

So they are pitting Siobhan vs. Katie for drama.  You know one of them is in the bottom and this is the fake out to have people think Siobhan is in the bottom.  She’s wearing those damn same boots again.  Ugh.  I like how she is no-nonsense – I am not defeated, I have no excuses, it just wasn’t my night.  I like her more and more and hope next week she is back on track.  She seems very serious tonight.  Katie gives a smart answer to faux fight about what type of artist Katie could be.  You know, Siobhan is cool – when they say Katie is in the bottom three, you can see she is confused…relieved yet sad…she breaks down when Katie is lead to the bottom three.  Is that because she’s shocked she’s not in the bottom three?  Or is she sad for Katie?  Something tells me both.  I don’t think Katie deserves to be in the bottom three.

Simon is annoyed with Ryan.  Join the club, Simon!  After the break, Justin Beiber is in the house!  {editor’s note, when I spell-checked this entry, the computer suggested “Beiber” was misspelled and wouldn’t I prefer the word “Beiger”?  How telling.} He looks like a young Ellen to me.  I just do not get the teenage androgynous look.  But hey, that’s why we have Tim Urban on stage, right?

OK, I’m going to admit, I am fast-forwarding through Usher.  I really could not care less about his performance.  On fast-forward it looked like a scene from Fosse.

Back to results!  Didi is next.  Yea, we know what is happening here…she’s in the bottom 3.  Big Mike is next.  Of course, he is safe.  Big Mike needs to beat Ryan up…he does give him a Kung Fu lift.  Don’t do that, Mike – you know how that can screw up a guy who’s messed up on coke!  Crystal is next.  And she is safe, of course.  Tim and Andrew get to mano a mano vote.  Tim actually gives a coherent answer to why he is always smiling.  I would have asked Tim why his interpretations are so vapid.  Andrew is safe, Teflon Tim is sent to the stools.   The Bottom 3 gather in the middle of the stage, they send Katie back to the sofas immediately.

I fast-forwarded through P Diddy.  Sorry, I just can’t go there.  Back to the results:  Didi is announced as the lowest vote getter.   Even Tim’s friends look shocked.  Ryan is really pumping Didi to give it her all…I kinda think he’s trying to get her to cry.  She sings Rhiannon.  I love that let the peeps sing a song of their choice instead of the song that got them booted off.  She sounds lovely.  But they do not save her.  They are so saving that save for someone else.  Sorry, Didi!  I didn’t love you, but you were never my least favorite.

Next week – Lennon/McCartney Songbook.  Has this ever been a good theme?  Why do we keep doing it every frickin’ season!?  Oy….