Friday, March 29, 2013

Album Review: All That For This, Crystal Bowersox

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The much anticipated release of Crystal Bowersox's 2nd album, All that For This is now upon us, and any fear of the sophomore jinx can be put to rest. This album is a treasure of american music, incorporating multiple genre influences and styles, yet remaining cohesive at the same time.

It's also a lot more sophisticated musically than many of you would have anticipated, but not do to overproduction or gimmicks. All That for This is as organic as Crystal herself, and runs the full emotional gamut from happy, to sad, to joyous, to pain, to thankfulness.

Below you'll find my song-by-song comprehensive summary review of the album. Hope you find it helpful and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Dead Weight -
Vibe: Swaying to the music with a few friends over cold beers.
Genre: Folk rock, country
Meaning: Reminder to embrace today, and not dwell on baggage from the past.
Rating: 8.5/10
The Skinny: Pleasant enough anthem with soaring harmonies.

Movin' On -
Vibe: Dining and dancing at a jazz club on date night
Genre: Jazz, blues
Meaning: Moving on from a failed relationship
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Sexy, sophisticated jazz number with some sassy brass. Love it.

Everything Falls Into Place -
Vibe: Happy, cheerful, song on a sunny day.
Genres: Pop, jazz
Meaning: The joy of unexpectedly finding love and happiness
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Infectious song that you could listen to all day. Guaranteed to make you smile.

Home - 
Vibe: Happy family day with lots of hugs and smiles
Genres: Americana, zydeco, pop, jazz
Meaning: Nothing better than coming home to your family after time away.
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Another infectiously happy song that is guaranteed to make you smile.

Someday -
Vibe: Toe tapping as tears stream down your cheeks
Genres: Folk, synth pop (How often do you see THAT combo?)
Meaning: Crystal pouring out her aching heart following the loss of her beloved friend Mark Brinkman
Rating: 10/10
The Skinny: I could do without the odd synth interlude, but Someday brings me to tears every time. Beautiful song with a great flow.

I Am -
Vibe: Alone on a warm summer night having an anxiety attack
Genres: Latin, jazz, pop
Meaning: Dealing with fears that personal flaws may screw up a relationship
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Love the latin/tropical guitar work and soft horns that add depth and richness to this tender song.

Shine -
Vibe: Digging deep to find inner strength during one of life's toughest moments
Genres: Americana, Neapolitan, Folk
Meaning: Crystal vows that despite heartache and hardship she will make her baby's life a light that shines, and the deadbeat dad who abandoned them will never know how much he missed out on.
Rating: 10/10
The Skinny: A powerful, inspiring ballad that again brings the tears every time. Love the beautiful mandolin work.

Till The Whiskey's Gone -
Vibe: Juke box song at a dive bar with some friends
Genres: Roots rock, country
Meaning: Trying to win your ex back by getting him trashed at the bar.
Rating: 8.5/10
The Skinny: A light, fun, party song to break up the heavy mood from Shine.

Amen To My Friends - 
Vibe: Singing Karaoke with your friends at a party
Genres: Americana, Pop rock
Meaning: Dedication to friends who have helped get you through life's trials and tribulations
Rating: 9/10
The Skinny: A feel good song to sing along with

Stitches -
Vibe: A night at the Grand ol' Opry
Genres: Country
Meaning: Feeling the pain of your child feeling pain
Rating: 8/10
The Skinny: Nice country duet that would have been even better if sung with Crystal's husband Brian, who happened to co-write it. Not that Jakob Dylan did a poor job, but as the old book/movie goes, it's Brian's Song.

Here's Where The Story Ends - 
Vibe - Girls having a topless pillow fight and then kissing
Genres: New Wave, Pop
Meaning: Girl reflecting on her insecurities following a breakup with her boyfriend
Rating: 7/10
The Skinny: Seems out of place on the album. Not a big fan of the 80's/90's new wave genre, and this is the one track I'll be skipping.

All That For This -
Vibe - Having drinks on the patio with an old buddy, and telling funny stories of the old days
Genres: Folk rock, Americana
Meaning: Reflecting on the long, strange trip it's been getting here with your loved one.
Rating: 9.5/10
The Skinny: Perfect ending to a great album, and the rightful title track.

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Kenny Poo scoring summary for All That For This

  • Overall grade: 90.4%
  • Overall rating: A
  • Overall Skinny: Love the album, and could not recommend it highly enough. Grammy worthy.

BTW, you can find All That For This at both iTunes and Amazon. I suggest you get a copy right away, because every music collection should have it. 

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So, what do you think of my review of Mama's LP? Agree with Poo? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

~Kenny Poo

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Idol Top 8: Performance Night

Top 8 week of American Idol Season Meh pretty much stayed true to form. Girls shined, guys were pathetic, yada-yada-yada... can we just drop the 3 remaining sissy boys and get the real competition started with the Top 5 girls already?

Anyhoo, on to the performances and my rankings.

1. Candice Glover - She's been the class of the field every week, and this was no exception. She took the tired, overplayed classic "Heard It Through The Grapevine", and transformed it into a fresh, jazz/blues/soul hybrid with a rock edge. Candice has now established this sound as her own, and she absolutely owns it. She knows who she is as an artist, and understands throttle management; perfectly grasping when to lay down the hammer and when to softly caress. She's a true pro with big time talent, and if she stays with this sound she's cultivated on the show in her post-idol career she can count me in as a big fan.

2. Amber Holcomb - Maybe the best chops to grace the Idol stage in... I don't know how long. Incredibly gifted with insane vocals, and very attractive, Amber is also coming into her own style as a performer. Once again this week, she chose a song not as commonly known ("Lately") and completely owned it, hitting incredibly tough notes with grace, power and ease. The one problem I see for Amber is the interwebs are filled with viewers who don't care for her personality, and find her a bit cold, which explains her bottom 3 last week after a great performance. I happen to think she seems very sweet and likable, but if quite a few others see it differently she could be in for a premature elimination. I wouldn't be surprised if despite her great performance she landed bottom 3 again, but really hope she at least makes it to the Top 5. It would be a travesty for that much talent to go home early.

3. Angie Miller - Guess I'm quite the contrarian when it comes to Angie, because she's been praised as the greatest contestant to ever live nearly every week, and I've found her to be a thin-voiced, overly dramatic phony near the bottom of my list. This week, she got blasted for being a thin voiced phony, and I absolutely loved her performance. I think she took a much needed break from worship songs and cheesy ballads and rocked the house with an edgy rearrangement of Shop Around. She showed us some much needed sex appeal and sass, and picked a song much more in her vocal wheelhouse than the big diva ballads that drowned her in previous weeks. Hope she's rewarded by voters more than she was by the judges and message boards, because I thought she was great.

4. Kree Harrison - Kree did fine. She capably performed "You Lied" (though not nearly as well as Kelly Clarkson did in Season 1), and is now in the holding pattern of good, not great performances that don't really excite anyone. Like many others, I keep watching and waiting for her to just blow us away with a spectacular performance, and all we keep getting is "yeah, I guess that was pretty good". Pretty good is fine and dandy for many, but not a front  runner. I could see Kree slipping into the danger zone if she doesn't deliver a wow performance next week.

5. Janelle Arthur - While Kree seems to have stagnated, the Janelle mojo is clearly on the rise. This week, she took "Keep Me Hanging On", completely rearranged it to fit a folk/country vibe and brought out the 6-string. The judges LOVED it, the message boards exploded with praise as the "wow" performance of the year, and I absolutely remain the contrarian who thought it was boring as shit and didn't go anywhere. The arrangement lacked melody, and had just an OK vocal. Props for originality, but I enjoyed her previous two performances much more than this one.

6. Burnell Taylor - His "My Cherie Amour" was bad, but not train wreck bad. I thought his tone would perfectly fit this song  but he crackled multiple times like an adolescent, and still sings disconnected to the lyrics like an amateur. Some parts were good, but he's not in the same league as any of the girls. Being the best of this group of sissy boys ain't saying much.

7. Devin Velez - All he does is bore the shit out of me, but usually delivers a smooth vocal. This time he tried to sing off the beat to mix it up and all he did was fuck it up. Very unpleasant and awkward to listen to, and he remains disconnected emotionally to every word he sings. Meh, bleh... he is in deep doo-doo this week.

8. Lazaro Arbos - Well, if it's any consolation he was not quite as bad as last week. That said, he was again the bottom of the pack, and it's becoming painful to endure. The saps who keep voting for him out of stuttering pity and cuteness need to cut the shit, because Lazaro just does not belong in prime time. That said, we know he's made of teflon, and will survive to torture us with more terrible singing and whiny excuses for at least another week.

BOTTOM 3: Amber, Burnell, Devin

What say you?

~ Kenny Poo

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Idol Top 9, Mama and Phillip

Top 9 week is normally when the American Idol season has really kicked into high gear for me, but this season it still doesn't feel kick started. Very little enthusiasm or excitement from the performances, just an endless parade of sappy, mediocre ballads sucking the life out of my TV.

That is, except the incredible force of nature that is Candice Glover. Holy shit is this woman a powerhouse, and really the only reason to watch the show this season. If there is any justice, she should be on a one way street to blowout victory. Last night was McCartney/Lennon theme night, and she ruthlessly eviscerated Come Together (SEE BELOW) in a performance that deserves to be remembered among the best ever on the Idol stage.

The only other performance worth mentioning was Amber Holcomb's lovely, refined rendition of She's Leaving Home. Not one for the ages, but worthy of admiration for some exquisite vocals.

Ranking the night:
1. Candice - Blew it out da box
2. Amber - Classy goodness
3. Janelle - Fragile and pretty
4. Kree Harrison - Boring, detached performance with pleasant vocal tone (female version)
5. Devin Velez - Boring, detached performance with pleasant vocal tone (male version)
6. Paul Jolley - More sub-par balladeering.
7. Brunell Taylor - More sub-par balladeering.
8. Angie Miller  Nigel's officially anointed Christ Child criminally over-sang and cheesed Yesterday.
9. Lazaro Arbos - Another embarrassingly bad performance that doesn't deserve further mention.

Predicted Bottom 3: Devin, Paul, Lazaro
Who should go home? Lazaro
Who will go home? Devin. Lazaro has at least another week of pity vote to carry him through.

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Fresh off his stellar performance of Gone, Gone, Gone on Idol, and now done, done, done with his Matchbox 20 tour, Phillip (or P2 as he's now officially trademarked) began his full band headlining tour Tuesday night in Sioux City, SD. One of the songs we didn't get to hear on his acoustic tour was Wanted Is Love, which is among my favorites off his album World From The Side Of The Moon. 

Well, to my delight, the P2 Band absolutely crushed, shredded, jazzed and rocked that fucker (see above). Take Me Away and Wanted Is Love represent Phillip musically better than any other songs in my opinion. Dark, haunting with Jazz accents, they slowly build to heavy rock bangage. Really hope he adds Take Me Away to his set list, too.

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Crystal Bowersox is now providing a free, full preview of her upcoming album All That For This on AOL. It won't be there for long, so click here to listen asap. It's perfect listen at work music, btw. I should know, being on my third listen through as I type. Keep an eye out for a Kenny Poo review shortly after drop date on March 26th.

That's all from me. What say you?

~Kenny Poo

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WTF is Kenny Poo Thinking?

With so many (self declared) brilliant thoughts and opinions piling up in this Poo brain of mine, I've decided that in the spirit of the Vatican naming a new pope I'll magnanimously pontificate my own pearls of wisdom to my beloved followers.

Ain't I sweet?

So, without further ado, allow me to share with you all just WTF Kenny Poo is thinking!

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This week, Mumford & Sons had a Rolling Stone interview in which they had a little whine-fest about that cad from American Idol, Phillip Phillips, who they say stole their preciously unique musical sound and used it for...gasp... ugly commercialism! I've got news for these motherfucking hypocrites: Dexys Midnight Runners released Come On Eileen back in 1982, and M & S couldn't have copied them more if they outright stole their songs.  

Oh, and by the way, Grammy or not, Phillips' album, World From The Side Of The Moon, has a deeper, more diverse collection of music than their cookie-cutter LP, Babel. Maybe these guys should have given P2's album a listen before opening their pompous pie holes? Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, who actually toured with Phillip for a month, had nothing but glowing praise for Phillip's musicianship, songwriting, and overall upside in the music industry. 

Tooraloo-rayay, motherfuckers. 

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Speaking of interview bitch-fests... 
FCOKP (Favorite Chica Of Kenny Poo) Haley Reinhart was in Singapore to promote American Idol this past week, and was brutally slandered on twitter by some wretched, tabloid, cuntface reporter who bashed her as a "lowly, unworthy, unprofessional commoner not fit for the music business". 

Why would she do this? Well, because Haley apparently had the temerity to be irritated at this hack grilling her relentlessly about Interscope dropping her. Hopefully, Haley handles this better next time. Rather than getting a bit curt with her, it would be nice if she'd just punch that bitch right in the cuntface.

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Direct message from Kenny Poo to Haley Poo:  

Listen Up! was a great album, but a bit too girly. What made you so special on Idol was being the cool, badass rocker/jazz siren who women wanted to be like and men wanted to be with. You should get back to that again. I know you've told me you're not going the jazz route now, but jazz can really enhance and compliment the blues rock direction you've talked about. Add a tenor sax to give some smoke, and let your incredible raspy stylings do the rest. Be daring, go hard, and keep it musical instrument heavy/production light. 

Luv ya, 
Kenny Poo

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Speaking of Kenny Poo's girls, there's a lot of great news for my Mamasox. Crystal will be on Jay Leno March 25th, and her fantastic sophomore album All That For This hits March 26th. You can pre-order it now on both iTunes and Amazon. I'll give it a full review after it's released, but her live shows have covered virtually all the material, and left me with 100% certainty that this album will be something very special. Above is a live sampling of two tracks from the album, Someday and Shine. Click here to see the new official video for her single Dead Weight

I have no doubt this album will be well received both publicly and within the industry, and hopefully will sell well, too. Crystal has that magic, prisitine voice and is simply outstanding live. Check her website for tour dates, and definitely see her perform if she's in your area. If you do see her, tell her to get her granola ass to South Florida so Kenny Poo can see her gig, too!

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Finally, FCOKP Pia Toscano needs to be mentioned, because this past week some fans gave her a hard time for not releasing an album yet. Pia addressed it beautifully and with class over at, so I am posting it below for those of you interested in where things currently stand with the raven haired beauty. Seriously, does anyone honestly believe Pia isn't doing everything in her power to release her album? Come on, people!

"Pia here.. Unfortunately, I feel the need to defend myself which is something I didn't think I needed to do on Two very special places I look to for support and as an escape to the negative world we live in.

First off, Jared and I have known each other for years.. He co wrote Old You Back with me and is now doing some co writes on my forthcoming album. We do our covers just for fun as as way to just keep you guys with material while we both wrap up our solo albums.

Secondly, I'd like to address a few specific people on here who I will not name because you know who you are. When I responded to a fan on twitter the other day saying I only have control of a few things, I was simply just stating that I do not control release dates and negotiations at the present moment.. I am blessed with a wonderful team who has been working harder than ever on getting my project out to the public.. Harvey and Damon have created a magnificent project with me that I could not be more proud of.

However the strategy that we have requires a bit more time, as I have been going through development as an artist which is now unheard of these days and the very reason why so many upcoming artist fail. Because they come out to soon and simply just aren't ready. I was once that artist. However, Harvey, Damon, Mark, Tom, Jeff & I are in this for the long haul and are now doing things the right way. No artist emerges over night and in fact ALL of our favorite artists have been dropped and shelved. When you come from American Idol, you are expected to become a star over night, and for some that does happen, but for most it doesn't because it just simply isn't natural. Artists spend years perfecting their performance, music, and writing before they show that too the world.. Which is why they are so polished.. I believe that is the way it should be done in my opinion.

With this now being my second chance, we want to make sure all of our ground has been covered so that we are prepared to face and achieve it all. I am not here to be an over night "Here today, gone tomorrow" success story. I am in this to have a stable career and I am certainly in this for the long haul. Trust me, it would have been a lot easier to just throw in the towel a year ago, but that isn't me and never will be.

So if you are getting antsy and impatient and choose to fire off ill informed thoughts in your mind, then do it...but the truth is, your assumptions are incorrect. Have a little faith & know that our strategy is not public knowledge yet.

Thank you for your support, and to most of you for having patience & believing in me."

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So, that's what Kenny Poo has been thinking. Now, I want to know WTF you're thinking, so tell me in the comment section!

~Kenny Poo

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Idol Top 10: Guys Who Have Nothing

Candice Glover does justice to one of Haley Reinhart's signature songs

Well, they are who we thought they were.

All season long, it's been transparently obvious that the Nigels That Be (NTB) were bound and determined to have a female winner, even if it meant neutering and mutilating the male field into nothing but pixie dust.

Mission accomplished, NTB. This night, like all nights this season, belonged completely to the gals, while the "guys" (if you can call this effeminate collection of warbling pansies "guys") were little more than stage props assuming the fodder position.

Oh, and speaking of worthless stage props, let's end the Nicki Minaj, NOW! She shows up 30 minutes late? Really? She's being paid millions of dollars and can't bring herself to show up for her measly couple hours of work...on NATIONAL TV, before the live cameras role?

Fuck her. She needs to be fired, pronto. You don't pull that kind of shit on the flagship show of the network. It's bad enough that she makes no sense, has a nasal, grating voice even more annoying than Fran Drescher, can't sing for shit, and doesn't contribute an ounce of authenticity to this bloated, chemistry-free panel of tools faithfully spewing the NTB's official marching orders.

With all that said, it is worth noting there were a couple memorable performances, some that were just OK, and, of course, a few train wrecks. Therefore, allow me to break the Top 10 Idol performance night on down in best to worst order... Kenny Poo style!

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1. Candice Glover: "I Who Have Nothing"
If Jordin Sparks was the innocent, heartbroken girl sadly crying her way through the song, and Haley Reinhart was the hot, sultry mistress stalking her two-timing prey, then Candice Glover was the furious woman primed to wipe the floor with the cheating fool who did her wrong. Therefore, I shall not compare any of the three versions. They are each performed from different perspectives, and all delivered brilliantly.

[NOTE: For the record, if you did force me to pick just one, I'd never choose against my Haley Poo. Capice?]

Now, in my opinion, Candice delivered the first true "moment" of the season, and solidified herself as the early One to beat. It was just so real, so sassy, so angry, so powerful, so perfectly on key...I just loved it. This number richly deserved the standing ovation that it got.

2. Amber Holcomb - "Moment Like This"
Her voice is effortlessly beautiful, she's tall, thin and pretty, and tonight she once again nailed an extremely difficult song so easily it seems like she's giving maybe 20% of her full abilities. It's amazing, but it could also become a detriment if she isn't careful. Looking relaxed and cool while blandly delivering high-degree-of-difficulty ballads may also cause the audience to be relaxed, cool and blasé. She did show a few moments of sass tonight, and if she can draw out more of that attitude while she sings the sky is the limit for Amber.

3. Kree Harrison - "Crying"
Not my favorite night from Kree. Crying is a boring song that I've never liked. In fact, I don't like Roy Orbison music, period. He bores me. Tonight, Kree bored me. the song moved too slow, she had no emotion, took no chances, and had no sass. I've been rooting for Kree because she's the one contestant whose music is in a genre I'd buy (provided she stays more folk rock than twang country), and I adore her tone, but she needs to step it up again. Give us more energy, passion, and for God's sake no more Roy Orbison.

4. Janelle Arthur - "Gone"
Have not been a fan of Janelle's voice since the beginning, and tonight it was still a bit flawed, but AT LEAST she sang a song that was uptempo and had ENERGY. I was so starved for some action tonight that I'm willing to overlook some vocal imperfections and reward her with a 4th.

[NOTE: Remember Haley shaking her perfect ass to the "bang-bangs" of "Gone" on the AI10 tour? That was NOICE]

5. Angie Miller - "I Surrender"
Jimmy Iovene called her a pageant bot! Go Jimmy! Go Jimmy! It's your birthday!! So, how did Angie respond? By choosing one of THE biggest pageant ballads of all time. It's a huge song, and other than Kelly and Celine, nobody else should be permitted to try it. Angie is pretty, and has a wafer thin voice with a nice tone, so she needs to stay coloring within the lines to have a shot. Keep picking monster diva songs and she'll be out on her Christian Contemporary ass before the Top 5.

6, 7, 8: Burnell, Devin, Paul - Boring Ballads
These three each gave uninspiring, safe, dull performances that don't merit individual attention in my review. To each of them, I say blah, blah, blah, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

9. Curtis Finch - I Believe
Until this week's performance, Curtis has been the douche with the magical voice. Tonight, he was douche sans magic. His voice failed him, the song was terrible, and he wore a retardulous sport coat. Curtis could be in deep danger of elimination.

10. Lazaro Arbos - Breakaway
Comically bad. Sanjaya bad. Atrocious from beginning to end, and butchered the song's arrangement. Putrid. He's been bad since the beginning, and remains terrible. Lazaro really needs to GTFO, but because of his pimped back story, stuttering, and very effeminate good looks, I think he might sneak in another week over bad edit Curtis.

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REMINDER: Phillip Phillips will bring some much needed testosterone to the Idol stage Thursday night, and perform his new hit single Gone, Gone, Gone. You don't want to miss this; Phil always crushes it live!

~Kenny Poo

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Phillips, Springsteen and Mayer Headline 'Rock in Rio'

"For the integrity of the show, to me this [Phillip winning] is a travesty. The result this year solidifies the reality of idol no longer being a talent show … But a popularity contest. Unfortunately I’m not the first to have noticed. I tip my hat to both Jessica and Phillip. Hoped for a different outcome. #idol”  ~Stefano, 5/23/12
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Gotta hand it to Phillip Phillips... for a "travesty", he's sure doing pretty well for himself these days! His song Home recently went 4x platinum, becoming the biggest selling single by an American Idol alum in history. His critically acclaimed album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, is also well on its way to going platinum, selling 750k copies to date. His 2nd single, Gone, Gone, Gone, is flying up the radio charts even faster than Home did, and is a sure fire bet to go platinum, as well. 

Phillips also just completed a mini European Tour, which followed his month-long tour with Matchbox 20, which followed his acoustic college tour. On deck: A live appearance on Idol, followed by an extended, electric, full band tour headlining mid-sized venues.

Oh, and this just in hot off the press: Phillips will be flying to Brazil in September, where he'll be closing out the gigantic "Rock in Rio" music festival with co-headliners John Mayer and some guy by the name of Bruce Springsteen on the featured World Stage.

Oh, and not to rub it in or anything, but last week Stefano's ex-girlfriend Haley Reinhart tweeted she'd definitely be down collabing with Phillip sometime, too. [OK, so maybe I am rubbing it in. Sue me!]

So, to the Stefanos of the world who have enviously hated the unbelievable artistic and commercial success of  "the travesty" that is Phillip Phillips, how do you like him now?

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You know what? As a peace offering, maybe we should send Fano this lovely t-shirt, giving him the opportunity to tweet a picture of himself wearing it and recant his douchebaggary. Wouldn't that be a sweet gesture from Kenny Poo?

What say you?

~Kenny Poo

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Nigel Top 20

Kangaroo Court executes Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe's Idol Top 20 script

Nothing is more exciting than watching the drama of live, sudden death competition unfold before our very eyes. One wrong move and you're a goner, with life changing stakes on the line. Unfortunately, the "Sudden Death" round of Top 40 cuts on American Idol was neither live, nor a real competition.

In short, we were fed four nights of complete bullshit.

What bothers me more than anything is not that that the results were hermetically sealed long before the the first night of 'Sudden Death', it's that we were lied and cheated out of experiencing great TV by Nigel The Puppet Master, who foolishly and incessantly revels in insulting viewer intelligence.

NEWS FLASH: We aren't nearly as dumb and naive as you think we are, Nigel. In fact, you're showing your own obliviousness by still failing to comprehend this fact after all these years. In a world that's been so dominated the past few years by public corruption and scandal, what we crave now above all else is authenticity.

Yet, there's Uncle Nigel pulling out his good ol' "sucker born every minute" strategy, ordering his four sycophant "authorities" on the panel to con us into believing they're opinions are objective rather than scripted. It's like a fucking infomercial for spray on hair, just with singers instead of balding men.

If Nigel were smarter, he'd have ditched the fraudulent 'Sudden Death' gimmick and given us two weeks of Top 20 performances. No eliminations the first week, just the Top 10 guys and gals singing for actual votes that are combined with the following week's performance night vote totals. Two performance show weeks would allow us to develop closer bonds to the relevant contestants, make the voting a more accurate reflection of the talent, and actually make us viewers feel...gasp...respected..

Now, I understand they can and should cast Idol as they see fit. It's a TV show, Nigel is the overlord, and if he has certain character roles he wants filled, and certain performance styles he want to emphasize, I have no problem with that. Have at it, man. Just DON'T lie to us that you're evaluating singers objectively when you're not. It pisses us off.

Anyway, here's my breakdown of the Top 20. I'm using 3 categories: "Real Talent", "Pretenders" and "Sideshow Acts". The order is 1st name alphabetical, not in order of my preference.

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Top Talent (Top 10)
Amber Holcomb (gal)
Adriana Latonio (gal)
Angela Miller (gal)
Aubrey Cleland (gal)
Candice Glover (gal)
Kree Harrison (gal)
Burnell Taylor  (guy)
Curtis Finch (guy)
Devin Velez (guy)
Vincent Powell (guy)

Janelle Arthur (gal)
Breanna Steer (gal)
Tenna Torres (gal)
Elijah Liu (guy)
Lazaro Arbos (guy)
Nick Boddington (guy)
Paul Jolley (guy)
Cortez Shaw (guy)

Sideshow Acts
Zoanette Johnson
Charlie Askew

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As far as the sideshow acts, I think at least one of them, if not both, will make it through to the Top 10. This will KO a couple of top talented artists who deserve better, but Nigel loves him some exploitation, and will milk the polarizing drama as long as possible. 

It's offensive to me on so many levels.

Zoanette and Charlie are not bad people, just joke auditions carried way beyond the normal boundaries. A recurring joke rather than the typical "pants of the ground" one off. Nigel is the seedy, conscienceless carnival captain putting his freaks on display for the world's collective amusement and laughter. I'm personally disgusted seeing this, because these two pathetic kids are clearly clueless (and perhaps a bit challenged), and think the viewers are laughing along with them not at them. 

Hopefully, they will be eliminated before Top 10. I cringe at the idea of their dignity being trampled every night on a 3 month live tour after the show. Put them out of their misery, and let the deserving singers get their legit chance to make a name for themselves.

OK, enough ranting. These are my takes, what say you?

~Kenny Poo