Thursday, January 31, 2013

AI Season 12 Oklahoma City Auditions

The commercial Voice-Over informs us that this is the last audition show before the Hollywood Rounds. I can only say: YAY!


Randy is wearing a black wool jacket with some sort of gold medallion chainy thing on the lapel. Keith is wearing a dark tee shirt with a leather windbreaker. Mariah is in a black and silver sparkly transparent top over a dark bra, and a short blue skirt. Nicki is ready to officiate at the Superbowl.

First up is Karl Skinner, a 26 year old newlywed with a lovely, ample wife. He seems a tad hyper and even a tad more odd. He has red hair, a plaid shirt and a guitar. He sings I Feel Good, with a little bit of that James Brown shuffle dancing. I can't quite figure out if this is horrible or if it's inventive and clever. The judges ask him to play the guitar, and okay, he's good, in a raspy Jack Johnson way. Of course, the four idiots want him to hop into a box right then and there. But at least they send him to Hollywood.

We get a montage of bleeding ears, bad rapping, and delusional auditioners.

Nate Tao's parents are both deaf, and so he's adapt at ASL. He's wearing a white shirt and a black tie. This show has always wanted a good Asian Boy Bander, but I'm not sure Nate is him. He sings For Once in My Life, and it's okay but nothing exciting. He gets 4 yesses, but Randy's right- Nate does look like an accountant.

I will bet the farm that Hailey Hillburn has a pageant past which includes her 17 year old dog puppet Oscar. Hailey is a ventrilloquist, and she brings Oscar with her in front of the judges. That's all I have to say about Hailey, except that for some reason the judges put her through. Sometimes I hate this show.

Zoanette Johnson is 19. She's wearing a yellow top,a fur vest, and a pink belted dress with a very very short mullet skirt. I don't know if she's wearing black shortie shorts or black undies, and I am annoyed that Zoanette has forced me to wonder about it.  She has a booty and she's not afraid to shake it. Zoanette sings the Star Spangled Banner, if singing is the word I want to use, until she forgets the words and Mariah has to help her. Zoanette is purely insane. I am very glad when she finishes so I never have to see or hear her again... except... the judges send her to Hollywood.

I'm going to take back every good thing I've said about this season.

The next montage has lots of tears. Lots and lots and lots of them, even from the guy who makes it through.

Anastacia Freeman, 25, is also crying. Anastacia is not a pretty crier. And then she falls down. She's lumpy and unkempt and she's wearing a terrible top. She sings Unbreak My Heart. She stops in the middle and asks the judges if they're laughing at her, and then she believes their lies. Afterwards, she tells them that God told her to audition. Literally. Given the judging weirdness tonight, I'm surprised that they actually send her home. Anastacia is bitter and nasty. Worse yet, she's a litterer.

Kayden Steventon is 16 years old, but he looks 10 and his voice has not changed. I don't need to see him with a breathing machine to know that he has Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that took two of my first cousins. Kayden is undeniably cute, but he has a hard time finding enough breath to talk, and he doesn't have nearly enough for singing. He sounds a bit like a young Michael Jackson or Donnie Osmond, but his voice is thin and I wish wish wish that they'd send him home right now. But of course, they don't. They aren't doing this kid any favors by putting him through.

So 45 kids got Golden Tickets in Oklahoma... oh wait... there's one more auditioner. We segue back to the judge's chambers, where a tall, ungainly blonde stumbles in. It's immediately apparent that the blonde is in drag. Moments later, we see that she's Steven Tyler.

Steven Tyler in red lipstick, a blonde wig, high heels and a dress.

I'll let that sink in for a moment.

Steven Tyler in red lipstick, a blonde wig, high heels and a dress for no reason that I can figure out. He's just there.

So, next week the Hollywood rounds begin. The real show.

It's about damn time.

Thursday Tab- Queen Holden Hair-Do Dolls

More wigs than you can shake a stick at.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

AI Season 12- San Antonio/Long Beach Auditions

Two cities tonight, two hours... sigh... Texas, California, boat, horns, tension. Unfortunately, this is American Idol.

Day 1 San Antonio, in a really beautiful theater venue.

Randy is wearing a black and white quilted leather jacket. The white portions look like some sort of coded lettering. Keith is in another plaid shirt, this one half unbuttoned to expose the spiky edges of a chest tattoo. A raven exploded all over Mariah's very low cut red top. Tonight I realized that I have been spelling Nicki's name wrong... oh well. She's wearing her long straight blonde wig, and a totally ordinary casual white sweater. I can't see her lower half, so I don't  know if she carried the theme through or not.

Vincent, 29, was cut last year in the Hollywood rounds. He's bald and easily looks 40. He's wearing a striped shirt, burgundy jeans, and his suspenders are down. Vincent loves him some Mariah. He has a great voice and gets 4 yesses.

Darek and David are brunet brothers. Even in their pre-audition interviews, they're annoying- talking over each other and assuring themselves and each other just how good they are. Unfortunately for Darek and David, they can't sing together, and I'm fairly certain that they also can't sing individually. Nicki tries to be kind (actually, Nicki always tries to be kind), but all four judges say no. The clueless siblings argue and whine and talk back to the judges, and in general even wear Nicki's good will down. They continue to complain for as long as any camera will watch them.

Savannah Voitin has a five year old daughter. She has lank, dark hair, and is wearing a sparkly black tube top under a red shirt. She is not in good enough shape for her low-slung, ripped jeans. Her lipstick is applied in a way that hints that Savannah has no real idea where her lips begin and end. She says she will sing At Last and surprise of surprises, Savannah has a marvelous voice. I did not expect that. She's in dire need of a stylist, which I hope she finds in Hollywood.

Ricky Jo has red and black hair and is a nasally horror.

29 year old Christabel Clack's hair is piled on the top of her head like a soft serve ice cream cone. She's wearing a purple and black striped top with a peplum, black leggings and bootie stilettos (bootielettos? stilooties?). She has three adorable kids, and does well by Alicia Keys.

Ann Difani, former Miss University of Arkansas, was nominated by her husband, and surprised by Randy Jackson at a Razorbacks game. Ann Difani's jaw unhinges to an astonishing degree. She's wearing a green shirt, blue jeans, and slouchy brown boots. She manages to have both straight and big hair. She sings some Faith Hill song and has a nice voice. I am underwhelmed but she moves on.

San Antonio Day 2- same lovely venue.
Randy's wearing a no-collar gray wool jacket with a medal on the chest. Keith is wearing yet another plaid shirt. Nicki is in still another cabbie hat, this time purple over a black straight wig.  Mariah is in a maroon sleeveless dress. Both ladies are sporting considerable boobage.

Victoria Acosta, 20, is a Mariachi singer. We see several clips of her in ethnic costume, singing with her band. For her audition, she's wearing a flowered black tight strappy top over black shorty shorts, and very very red lipstick. She's singing some Fergie song and sounds as good as Fergie does, for whatever that's worth. Everyone thinks her voice is fine but that she isn't connecting with the material. Randy asks her to sing something Mariachi, which she does. This is much much better, and obviously the kind of music she should concentrate on.

We waste time with a montage of terrible singers.

Next is a tall boy with asymmetric lanky blonde hair. He looks maybe 15 but is in fact 19. He says he's a black woman trapped in the body of a white boy, and that he just loooooooves to dance. We'll get this out of the way right now- this kid is gay. He says his name is Papa Peachez. Oy. He sings a really terrible original song, and I do mean terrible- his voice is affected, his posture is the pits, and something he sings is bleepered out. Nicki says yes. Mariah reluctantly says yes. Keith and Randy say no. In San Antonio, Randy has the final says, so I think we'll be rid of PP, but Randy inexplicably caves and sends him through. Again: Oy.

Sanni M'Mairura is 16. His father came from Kenya, his mother from Tanzania. He's a dancer who appears to be able to dance, unlike most people who claim that skill on this show. He's wearing a red plaid shirt and a sleeveless denim jacked, and a backward hat. Sanni is maybe just a tad overconfident as he sings some obscure Michael Jackson song. It's overwrought and nothing about it appeals to me, but I'm in the minority on Sanni.

The last San Antonio auditioner is crying even before he goes in front of the judges. Adam Sanders is beefy, wearing a black and gray plaid shirt and black jeans that are too tight. His speaking voice is very feminine. He sings I'd Rather Be Blind and has a big voice, though little Rachael Crow did a much better job with this same song on The X-Factor, and she was only 13. I think it's far too too too too, but the judges give Adam a Standing O.

Day 1 Long Beach, on the Queen Mary.

California has traffic (who knew?), so Randy, in a gold wool blazer, and Keith in a black blazer over a purple knit shirt, go it alone for awhile.

Shuba Verdula has ringlets and is wearing a red dress with a lace bib over black leggings. She's singing a Christina Aguilera song exactly the way Christina Aguilera would. She gets 2 yesses, which is all she needs.

Mariah finally arrives in her blue negligee. I think from now on, unless I mention otherwise, you can just assume that Mariah's bosom is fixin' to fall out of her top.

Brian Martinez, 21, may be the palest person I've ever seen. He's upright, but I'm not sure he's actually alive. His singing voice rather makes me think otherwise.

Matt Farmer has an incredibly cute little three year old girl, whose booster seat is in the front seat of his car, which is an absolute no-no. Matt is an injured Iraq veteran who was told he'd never be able to father children, so the cutie was a miracle and a gift to him and his wife. He carries her into the audition with him, which seems like overkill to me- I mean, he's a wounded soldier, that's enough of a sob-story for this, or any, show. He sings Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come, which was Taylor Hicks's audition song. It's not surprising that I am not impressed, and from the look on her face, I don't think the little one is either. But Matt gets the nod.

Stephanie Sanson is 16. She has purple hair and is in a band with her sister. The band is called You Only Live Once, which does not bode well. She says she's going to sing an Adele song, and then commences to jumping and screaming and bouncing off the walls. They say no immediately and the 16 year old flips them off. Her mother must be so proud.

Somewhere along the line, Nicki finishes rehearsals for the American Music Awards show. She arrives in a pink curly wig and a black and white cap and dress topped by a zebra fur coat (maybe faux, maybe not) with a lion ruff collar.

Jessiah is 16 and adorable in her captain's cap, blue and white polka dot ruffled skirt, and red and white top. She sings something in a competent jazzy voice but is interrupted by a siren. There is confusion as everyone is ordered to evacuate. The fire alarm is later found to be false, and they file back in and start over. Jessiah takes up exactly where she left off, totally unruffled. I like this kid, and so do the judges.

Is this the boat where the X-Files episode was filmed? The one where Mulder goes back in time and kisses Scully and she pops him one in the jaw? Where CSM was a Nazi and Skinner an American sympathizer? I think so.

Last auditioner of the night is Micah Johnson, age 24. A surgical error during a tonsillectomy left Micah with a permanent speech impediment. He's doing speech therapy but there is an obvious hitch in his spoken language. The judges are skeptical, but he's the last one of the evening, so they should know better. And so should we- Micah has a rich, deep voice and his speech impediment disappears completely while he sings. Keith sings along, and all four judges say yes.

Day 2 Long Beach/Queen Mary

Randy is in a dark brown quilted leather jacket. Keith's plaid shirt is half-way unbuttoned again. Mariah is in a one shouldered, unflattering purple caftan/toga (caftoga? togtan?). Nicki is in the long blonde wig, and a fairly sensible blue/brown/white sweater. Maybe it's a dress, but whatever it is, it's not nearly as batshit crazy as most of her outfits.

Tall, thin Rachael Hale is a motormouth. She babbles constantly in a summery red dress with an Egyptian neckline. Rachael sings People Get Ready, which Crystal Bowersox absolutely killed in her season. Rachael is no Bowersox, but she moves on. No friends or family greet her, so she celebrates alone with Ryan.

Brianna Oakley is 16. Brianna has a very high forehead and very curly hair- she makes me think of paintings of the young Elizabeth I. Brianna found early success on some show hosted by Maury Povich, but was bullied afterward by her former school friends. I don't mean to be unsympathetic but something about this story feels off to me, forced. She sings Up to the Mountain. Her voice is shrill and I'm not sure she was entirely in tune, but the judges love her.

Matteaos Hernandez is 21, and the last auditioner of the night. Matteaos is very short, but he is not a dwarf or a midget. He's just short. Very short. So short that Ryan towers over him. When Matteaos says that he was bullied, I have no doubt that he's telling the truth. Matteaos is wearing plaid shorts, a blue tee shirt and an argyle vest. Get Matteaos to a stylist, stat.  Matteaos also sings A Change is Gonna Come, and he does a much better job with it than Matt Farmer did, though Matteaos's voice is pretty nasal. He's crying before the judges finish sending him on through to Hollywood.

I'm not clear as to whether 50 kids from Long Beach were given tickets, or 50 combined from San Antonio and Long Beach. It was a bunch anyway. Oh, and that tension between Mariah and Nicki that was hinted at during the opening montage never materialized. This show is such a tease.

Tomorrow night: Oklahoma!

Sunflower Progress

Tonight is American Idol, so I'll be worded out by then. In the interim, I'm making progress on the Sunflower Needlepoint.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pretty Pictures

Time for a compilation of Photo A Day Challenge pics. Explanations below each, if needed...

 They uploaded in a wonky order, and it doesn't really matter which day they were posted, so nevermind about that. Anyway, the theme of this one is Parking- taken in the mid 70's, from the observation deck of the Space Needle.
Two Things: ones the ruled my life for half of this month

Water: aaaahhhhh  The pool temp was 86 degrees that day...

Ready: my Verismo coffee system. It only uses Starbucks pods, but it makes a very good latte.

Street: Main Street, in Deadwood, SD

Shadow: After a nasty storm

Paper: What else would I use?

Watch: Antique pocket watch. It doesn't work, but it's still pretty

 What I do: These days, I recap American Idol

Window: Stained Glass

And a shot not used for the Photo a Day Challenge- my back porch today:

We got about 5" last night.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Bit of Publicity

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader did a nice article on South Dakota writers. I never know, after an interview, if I've said anything particularly stupid, but if I did this time, they left it out. I just wish they had asked for a current picture- this one is about five years old.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Endings and Beginnings

 I finished the Santa Tree Needlepoint, learning once again that twenty-three year old embroidery floss does not match new floss even if the numbers are the same. But the recipient wants this as a pillow, so that  slightly-mismatching border won't show once it's assembled and stuffed (those edges will be in the natural shadow). It really won't show if I add some braid or piping to the outer edge, which I think I will do.
My technique still leaves a lot to be desired (I understand that Continental Stitch is not the go-to for large areas, but I have not yet mastered the Basketweave Stitch). But the back looks fairly neat just the same. My Grandma always said that the back of an embroidery should look as good as the front... or as close as the back of anything can look. Since this particular back will never be seen again, it doesn't matter, but I do try.

I've already begun my next project.
Last summer, we drove around the countryside on a blazingly hot day and took pretty pictures. I've always been fond of this one, and my youngest sister is very fond of sunflowers (and the color yellow), so I decided it would make a good subject (and a great gift). This is the original photo- it's a lovely pic, but there's not enough visual interest in the lower right corner for it to make a good needlepoint project as-is.
I fixed that with a clone tool. I love the clone tool.
Then I went to Be Funky, and I cartoonized the image.
And then I flipped it and printed it on an iron-on transfer.
And then I ironed it on 18 count needlepoint canvas, and I chose floss colors.

And then I started work.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

AI Season 12 Baton Rouge Auditions

We're in Louisiana. Down on the bayou there are snapping turtles, gators, and some toothless folk.

Randy is wearing a white shirt with red and black polka dots. He's in his home town of Baton Rouge and he wants to look really good so Mariah freshens his makeup. Yeah, I don't know either. Keith is wearing one of his signature dark plaid shirts with rolled sleeves. They all look to be made from thin fabric and that probably costs $800 per yard. Mariah is in a royal blue sleeveless tank dress... made from leather. Nikki is in yet another cap, and is ready for her night job as Randy's chauffeur. No one is foreshadowing tension tonight, so I assume everyone is getting along swimmingly.

Megan Miller, 22, is the current Miss Baton Rouge. She is also on crutches, with a heavily bandaged leg that is infected and in need of surgery. In fact, she has left the hospital in order to audition. I'd say she'd best be good- good enough to make up for endangering her life and for dressing like Pocahontas. She's singing Something's got a Hold on Me, which is not the song I thought it was. She has a rich voice, which she uses to sing too many riffs. But the judges love her.

Charlie is 17. He's a mass of awkward red curly hair. His parents say that he has some sort of syndrome- not autistic and yet not- not autistic. He does really good bird whistles. I don't  know if he's as hopeless as we're supposed to think he is, but I like him. He's wearing a crisp blue/purple/black plaid shirt over a black tee. He starts with some Queen song, and he sounds fine. Charlie then segues into Nature Boy. It's lovely and this is not an easy song to sing. Nikki strays into Steven Tyler Inappropriate Comment Territory about whether or not Charlie has passed puberty. Charlie is interesting, and I'll be watching him.

Maddie Assel was nominated by her grandma. Randy surprised her with the news while singing with some street musicians.   She has honey blonde curly hair, red glasses, a black flowered top and a floaty black skirt with an uneven hem. She sings Oh Darlin', and she's trying way too hard. Way way way too hard, but I like her voice, and so do the judges. I don't suppose this show will teach  her to dial it back, but I can always hope. She goes out to meet her Grandma, who has been dancing around in an askew feathered mask, handing out beads, and waving an umbrella. I do believe that Grandma is schnockered.

The theme from True Blood plays over a montage of horrible singers. The show really does want to do bad things to us, but we knew that already.

Paul Jolly is 22- he has a calling to sing, and a dead grandpa. I think I may have a calling to say Paul Jolly over and over. It rolls off the tongue so easily. Paul Jolly. Paul Jolly. Paul Jolly. Anyway, he's a handsome kid in a robin's egg blue shirt and white jeans. He has a nice voice but he's oversinging terribly, making weird faces, and swaying a lot. Paul Jolly gets a golden ticket, Paul Jolly does. Paul Jolly.

Beefy, hyperactive, annoying Chris Barthel has dyed his hair a brassy blonde. Nikki nicknamed him Mushroom, for some reason. He sings one of Adam Lambert's songs, sorta. Nikki wraps herself in a blanket and says incantations over Chris's head. He gets a no-no-no-no.

Well, now here's a first for American Idol- the next auditioner is Dr. Calvin Peters, a real physician, in his residency for rehab medicine. He's a handsome young man in a burgundy long-sleeved, skinny tee and jeans. he sings in both higher and lower registers. It's not my style but he's going through. I wonder how this will affect his studies.

Michelle is blonde and wearing a glittery forehead band. Can we all just agree that forehead bands are stupid, glittery or not, and dispense with them altogether? Yes? Good. Breanna is in a tight white dress, and Brandy is in a black tee shirt. All three girls have growly voices and all three go through.

Alissa is solidly built, with long straight blonde bangs that hang into her eyes. Alissa kills Natural Woman, and not in a good way.

Dustin Watts proves that firemen are not all automatically hot. It's not that he's homely, he isn't. He just looks like a big lunk. He sings in nice country voice, however, and Nikki hits on him. I don't think he'll make it past the Hollywood rounds.

Ryan announces the last Louisiana auditioner, which means that this is just an hour-long show. Woohoo!

Burnell Jones, 19, is a Katrina survivor, and frankly, I'm surprised that he's the first one we've seen on an episode of a show that loves sob stories that is based in LA. Burnell is wearing blue shorts and what looks like yellow tails in the front. At first I think he's ready to play flag football, but when he turns, I see that he has a yellow sweater tied around his waist. A yellow sweater with really long sleeves. Those suckers are hanging low. Burnell sings something from The Color Purple, and oh my. This kid is fantastic. Keith is transported to a better universe- he's so enchanted that he laughs out loud. Mariah cries, and Nikki gushes. The best proof of Burnell's talent is that Randy Jackson is bereft of cliches. Mark my words, Burnell is going far.

34 others, besides Burnell, got golden tickets in Baton Rouge. Next week: San Antonio

Thursday Tab- Allers Family Journal

I think these were magazine paper dolls, and I think the language is German. But I know they're adorable.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

AI Season 12- Charlotte Auditions

Did you know that Charlotte has a race track? Evidently I was supposed to know that already. Oh well.

The TMZ yahoos and everyone else in the media world buzzed and buzzed over the feud between Mariah and Nikki. I don't believe in it, or at least I think that the original incident was prodded and embroidered and increased and roiled to an incredible degree just to drum up viewership, because lord knows, no one would tune into this silly show just for the singing. At any rate, whatever happened, we'll see it tonight, and for some reason, that is supposed to excite us.

Randy is channeling Simon in a black v-neck tee shirt. Keith is in a blue short-sleeved plaid shirt. Mariah is in a green knit dress with a black belt and a whole lotta cleavage. Nikki is in a huge pink cotton candy wig (which sticks out on the sides but is strangely flat in the back), and a rather cute white puffy-sleeved dress with a demure high neckline. Well, it was cute until I saw the bubble hem, but still, it's far more normal than anything else I've seen her wear.

First up is Naomi Morriss, 20. Naomi is wearing a home-made studded bra which barely contains her heaving bosom. This studded bra (and the nearly uncontained flesh) peek proudly from an orange blazer, all worn over a very tight black skirt. I do not say this lightly: she looks like a stripper. She's singing Respect, and oh... it's so, so, so terrible. I'm glad it's terrible. I don't ever want to see (or hear) Naomi again. Mariah looks like she's in physical pain, Nikki is playing nice and complimenting the outfit. The guys are hyperventilating. Thank goodness they all say no.

What's with the Pina Colada song? They keep playing it in the background. Does it have some connection to Charlotte?

Joel  Nemoyer, 20, is hyper, geeky, clumsy, and a trainwreck. He wants to sing lying down because he got that nifty idea from American Idol itself. It's worse than I thought it would be because in addition to terrible singing from the floor, we get several shots from the nostril cam. .

Brian Rittenberry, 27, is a big guy, a book keeper with a son, and a wife who I fully expect to be dead (long sad story about cancer). I'm glad to learn that she recovered. So it's a Happy Sob Story. Anyway, Brian sings Let It Be in a nice, gospel-style voice, and his very happy, living wife gets to plant a big smooch on Keith Urban's cheek. Happiness all around.

Keith shares his snacks with Nikki. How sweet.

Jimmy Smith is 25. He has shaggy blond hair, and he looks like a smug surfer boy. Jimmy, however, says he's country through and through. He auditioned online and was selected, so here he is, singing in an adequate voice with terrible breath control. The judges love him.

A quick montage of yesses: Sarina-Jo (I didn't write anything descriptive, but I did remember the hyphen), Haley Davis (in a filmy top and black bra), and Na'Chelle, whose upper range only dogs can hear. And a bunch of other happy people whose voices we don't get to hear.

It's obvious that we're supposed to be really excited about the coming meltdown because we keep getting hints and portents and foreshadowing and The Music of Impending Doom. They're going to be so disappointed that I don't care.

Scotty McCreery drops in and smiles encouragement at the throng.

Matthew Muse, 23, is very very tall. He wears a cowboy hat over his greasy hair, which makes him look even taller. He has a scraggly mustache and beard, and I'm tired of him already. He thinks he sounds like Brad Paisley, and he walks around as he sorta sings. He's completely hopeless and has no idea how bad he really is.

Randy hopped on a school bus to get Isabelle Gonzales, 16, from her high school. Isabelle is a normal, adorable kid, and she's very surprised that her aunt nominated her for the show. She's wearing a blue flowered dress and has bobby pins in her hair and booties on her feet. I like her jazzy voice. She bobbled a bit at the end, but she's as cute as a bug's ear and was plenty good enough to move on to Hollywood. Her family celebrates with Silly String.

Taisha Betha, 21, is the only girl in a rock band. She has long hair, a nose ring, a striped knit shirt, and skinny jeans. She says she's an alternative rock singer, but then she sings Folsom Prison Blues, sounding pretty much like any girl who sings that song. She's a little breathy but okay. Then she sings a snip of Alanis Morrissette which isn't nearly as good as the Cash bit. Keith and Nikki say yes, Randy and Mariah say no. For some reason, Keith has the deciding vote tonight, so Taisha goes through.

They keep trying to convince us that tensions are rising. We keep not caring.

I didn't catch Summer's last name. She's blonde and is wearing a floaty peach and cream zig-zag striped top. She's okay, but not great. And here's how things unfold: Nikki likes her. Keith asks what kind of music she wants to sing, Summer says that she did the *country thing* and is now ready to move on. Keith is visibly offended at the dismissal of his genre. Randy says that Summer should sing Country. Mariah is earnest and also thinks that Summer should sing Country. Keith pointedly says that it's a singing contest, and on that alone, he votes yes (meaning that Summer herself can drop off the face of the earth for all he cares). Mariah and Randy both say yes but they make it sound conditional, only if Summer agrees to sing Country. Nikki is confused and annoyed and very much not liking the notion that the auditioners have to climb into their little boxes and stay there, especially if it's not the box that they want to get into (she has never watched this show, I guess). Mariah responds snottily. Nikki responds more snottily, and then with a bleep, Nikki walks out, and production shuts down for the day.

That was it. That was the Big Feud. The Huge Dustup. The Major Setback. The Media Buzz. The Ratings Bonanza.

God, this show sometimes. I can't even.

You know what I can't even more? The fact that Nikki was right. Words I never thought I'd type.

Day 2- oooh, can you feel the tension, the angst?

Randy is in a blue and white stripey preppy sweater. Keith is in a blue tee shirt with some sort of orange duck (or maybe it's a woodpecker) on it. Mariah, unsmiling, is in a purple dress with a deep neckline and a highly superior attitude. Nikki looks like a psychedelic cab driver, in yet another ridiculous hat, and long, straight, pink hair. Unless I say otherwise, assume that her lipstick always matches her hair.

Brandy Hamilton is pretty, and here's something else I thought I'd never type in conjunction with this show: I love her outfit. She's a solid gal, wearing a tight black and white horizontally striped knit dress, black leggings, and an orange sweater. Somehow, this looks terrific on her. Brava Brandy! Brandy sings Etta James, but not the one we usually hear. She has a big, lovely voice and gets four yesses. On her way out, she lectures the judges, telling them that they make everyone sad when they fight. I roll my eyes, but Nikki looks abashed.

Ashley Smith, is 22. She is wearing an ugly, cheap blonde wig that is carelessly styled, dark glasses, a stained pink shirt, and white lipstick. She also has nose jewelry that hangs from the nostril divider, like a bull ring. Ashley is a motormouth- talking and moving constantly. Ashley clomps in front of the judges and declares an intention to sing Carrie Underwood's Cowboy Casanova  a song that sounds pretty terrible even when Carrie sings it. Everyone braces for the onslaught, but you know what? Ashley has a good voice. Ashley may even have an excellent voice. I want her to go clothes shopping with Brandy Hamilton before they all get together in Hollywood.

Nikki likes nicknames- she gives one to every single auditioner. Most of Nikki's nicknames make no sense at all. You know what else makes no sense? Nikki's clothes. We see clips from future episodes and there is some batshit crazy coming our way.

Janelle Arthur, 22, has interestingly highlighted blonde hair (I'm not being snarky- it is interesting, and really kind of pretty, all sort of stripey). She's wearing a long, layered, floaty sundress and feather earrings. Janelle was a child of the musical theater. Her voice is not my style, but she's fine and is going to Hollywood.

Ah, the Bad Singer Montage. But not the Angry Bad Singer Montage, for which I am grateful.

Rodney Barber looks like Darrel from The Office. He's a street singer with lots of hair restrained by a black bandana and an oddly perched purple ball cap. Rodney used to be homeless, and now he helps other homeless folks. Rodney has a rich, unadorned voice, and he sings without too many runs (always a plus in my book). He moves like a street singer and not a stage performer, so it'll be interesting to see how he develops.

Keith leaves for a concert, so Randy moves in between Nikki and Mariah, though they appear to have called a truce.

Candice Glover was cut last year in Vegas. She has purple and black hair, white pants, a pink sleeveless top (over a black bra- sigh), and a very pointy necklace that looks like it would be painful in a hug. She needs some makeup. Candice has a Big Voice. A Huge Voice. She's this year's Jennifer Hudson. Everyone loves her. Nikki says that she wants to skin Candice and wear her. Yes. Seriously. She actually says that.

Jo'Brio Barber looks very much like someone we saw last week, but I guess not. She's a cute girl in a shortie denim vest and floaty skirt. She hunts, fries, and eats frogs- just the legs, though, not the gooshy belly. Everyone makes croaking jokes. Jo'Brio sings very well,-excellent tone, and does not indulge in a single run. The judges overlook that whole frog-killer aspect and send her to Hollywood.

Brad Harris, 28, is wearing a yellow and gray striped knit shirt, and a driver's cap. He brags that he did a lot of head banging. Literal head banging. I think there may be some residual damage there. He says he used to rap under the name B'akon, which leads into a whole discussion about bacon. He sings A Whole New World (one of Ruben Studdard's best performances in Season 2, back when this show could still surprise you). It's awful. It's worse than awful. The judges are rude to Brad, refusing even to shake his hand on the way out.

Finally, the last audition of the show, which means we're in for another Sob Story. Seretha Guinn is 26. She's a hairstylist and the mother of a purely adorable little girl named London. Seretha's boyfriend was seriously injured in a car accident- so seriously that he's still recovering. Seretha's boyfriend does not know that she is auditioning, and Seretha thinks this will be a wonderful surprise for him. Surprise, Seretha's Boyfriend- your girlfriend is going to leave you and your daughter for months to be on a reality singing show. Aren't you happy?

Seretha comes in with London (resplendent in shy smiles and a tutu) who is carrying a stuffed Hello Kitty that is nearly as big as she is. Seretha explains that London loves Nikki and even has a pet name for her, and that London wants to give the stuffed Kitty to Nikki. I groan a bit when Seretha says she's going to sing Fresh Prince of Bel Aire, because how in the world are the judges going to be able to send her home in front of that adorable little girl? Not to worry- Seretha has one of those high, jazzy voices, and the song is interesting. She sings another, more melodic, song, and that's good too. She's good to go.  Nikki cries, and now Seretha gets to surprise her healing boyfriend. He'll be so happy for her.

37 Golden tickets were handed out in Charlotte. Tomorrow: Baton Rouge

Santa Tree Needlepoint- Almost Done

It's going to be made into a pillow, so I need to extend the design area about 4 squares all around. I decided to work the background colors (snow and night sky). I'm thrilled with it
Now on to the next project.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

More trip pics

Did you know that if you've had one serious case of bronchitis, that you're susceptible to recurrences? I know that now.

But I think I'm on the mend, and I'm easing myself back into every-day stuff, like posting more of our Cannon Beach trip pictures. Aren't you happy???

Some of our favorite haunts were closed for off-season renovations (like the bakery- oh no!), but we were still able to visit a few of our favorites, like this market.

Which has benches outside for political discussions...
They're probably not far enough apart.
This fence (on a residence) blows me away.
This is a gallery- I love the weathered look (maybe it's on purpose, or maybe it really is just an old building, either way, I love it).
Our younger son's favorite shop, and his belated Christmas present.
These buildings are new and right across the street from our motel. Insomnia coffee made the best mocha latte I've ever had.
The Hub, standing on our front porch.
A smart birdie who knew if he stood there and looked at us pitifully, we'd pass french fries out to him.
Down on the beach.

And one last view of Haystack. In twenty-six years, I have never left Cannon Beach thinking that I'd spent enough time there.