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Monday, June 06, 2011

Live blog of The Voice's first quarterfinal round

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Voice: Judges use Battle Rounds to choose a strong Top 16

Please check us out at our new blog location: From the Capn's Pen @ Wordpress.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lieber and Stoller night (aka the night American Idol lost me as a fan)

Read it at our new location:

Moving to Wordpress

Due to the recent (and very public) problems experienced by, we are moving our American Idol blog to WordPress. The new address is:

We hope you will continue to follow us there as we follow the American Idol season to its conclusion, as well as blogging about shows like The Voice and X-Factor. We are also working on adding a new feature: Netflix movie reviews. This feature would focus on reviews of titles available for instant viewing through Netflix.

Thank you for your loyalty to us at our Blogger site. We look forward to seeing you at the new and improved WordPress site!

(As always, our old posts will remain available on this site, but we are also importing them into the new site.)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

UPDATED ODDS: James is solid, Haley moving up; Lauren becomes vulnerable

At long last, American Idol didn't give us a surprise Season 10 elimination. After watching Pia Toscano, Stefano Langone and Casey Abrams hit the bricks before their time, much-maligned Jacob Lusk finally got his AI pink slip. That leaves a very solid Final Four, though you might be surprised to find out who is most likely to win and who might be in line to go home next.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

American Idol Top 5: Haley rules; Jacob, judges fall flat

This review is a little late, and it's going to be a bit abbreviated. But frankly, a lot of my interest in American Idol is waning, and I'm hearing that from a lot of my friends and family, too. After a promising start of the post-Simon Cowell era, Idol has managed to kill a lot of the good will that fans have had toward the show. I've promised myself and my readers that I'll stick with it until the end of Season 10, but after that I'm not so sure. By next year, there will be other options and perhaps different loyalties for many fans. But for now, we have the Top 5 on Idol that will tonight be reduced to a Final Four. Last night's show had some high and low moments, but if you listened only to the judges, you'd get a different perspective than the one I'm about to present

Friday, April 29, 2011

UPDATED ODDS: Casey gets the surprise boot; Haley, Jacob survive into the Top 5

The second surprise elimination of American Idol's Season 10 is much less likely to cause a stir than the first. It's not that people won't be surprised that Casey Abrams was shown the door instead of color coordination-challenged Jacob Lusk. Most of America was certain that Jacob was heading for the door. But Casey's time was drawing near, so the outrage over his elimination will be limited, if evident at all.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

VOTE: Who do you think will win American Idol Season 10

Vote in our Quibblo poll now!

AI Top 6: Haley and James impress, Scotty trails; voters not likely to agree

In reading the outline of the new show The Voice, there's a key phrase that stands out. "The television audience will help to decide who moves on." The operative word there is "help." It's a word that American Idol has never embraced, and it's one that's likely to knock out one great vocalist after another until only the weakest one remains as the champion. OK, so that's a bit pessimistic, but what else are we left with when the Idol who continually plays it safe and fails to impress critics is constantly seen by experts and bookies as the one most likely to win. Last year that Idol was Lee DeWyze, and his victory in Season 9 came as close as anything to putting a nail in Idol's coffin. This year, the nail driver is equally likable, but he's just as handy with a hammer. (Note: Stick with me on this one. The review of the Top 6 is just ahead...)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"The Voice" one-ups Idol at its own game

We've given it ever chance. We really have. For 10 years, we've devoted countless hours to American Idol and its pursuit of the "next great American singer." We've watched as the great (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood), the good (Jordin Sparks and David Cook), the so-so (Fantasia and Taylor Hicks) and the ugly (Lee DeWyze) were crowned as America's next singing "idol." And in recent years, we've watched the show disintegrate into a popularity contest controlled by teenage girls and their mothers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"The Voice" tries to steal some of Idol's thunder

It's an understatement to say that American Idol is a juggernaut. The show is as strong as ever in its tenth season, even after losing Simon Cowell to his X-Factor launch this fall, and even after adding two judges who have little but sunshine and lollipops to offer each week.

UPDATED ODDS: Stefano eliminated, AI 10 becoming a three-horse race

It was bound to happen eventually. After three previous trips to the Bottom Three, self-admiring vocalist Stefano Langone was finally shown the door. That's not to say that we think that he deserved to go just yet. Our pick for the worst of the week was Scotty McCreery, and the one we thought would and should go was Jacob Lusk. That said, few tears will be shed over Stefano's exit because he was living life on the bubble and was struggling to find a strong, core audience.

Top 7 Idols play to fan bases; another male likely to leave

This week will be a quick post. My "day job" requires a lot of time in the week preceding Easter, so I'll be cutting to the chase. As much as I'd love to skewer AI and it's foolishness (such as the horrific pre-show reunion of the six eliminated Idols and the in-vain search of Paul McDonald for something known as pitch), I simply don't have the time. So we'll be cutting to the chase with a brief review of each performance followed by our updated odds to win and to leave the Idol stage.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Live blogging the Top 7

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

UPDATED ODDS: Plus what the Top 7 Idols should sing

As we move into the Top 7 of American Idol, the producers have given the cast a theme that is the musical equivalent of tofu for most of them -- "Songs From the 21st Century." With a theme that broad (somewhat narrower than the moon, but broader than the Pacific Ocean) makes predicting exactly what the Top 7 will sing a virtual impossibility. But we've come up with some ideas about the types of songs they should sing, based upon what they need to show voters this week.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sanity returns to Idol as first male is eliminated

After five weeks of American Idol 10, it appeared that the Americans didn't want their Idol to be a girl. Week after week, Ryan Seacrest had the tough task of telling a female that their Idol journey was over. And when Haley Reinhart ended up in the Bottom Three tonight, it looked like that trend was going to continue for a sixth week.

UPDATED ODDS: Chances high that a guy will be hitting the road

After last night's disappointing Movie Night, very little has changed in our odds to win or for elimination. Of course, based on the way last week went, who really knows who's going home? It certainly won't be based on talent, at least not necessarily. So going into tonight's elimination, we offer you the updated odds, but admit that when it comes to Idol these days, no one really has a clue anymore.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

American Idol 10: Top 8 Idols fall flat with movie songs

I'll admit that I'm still more than a little hacked about the way-too-early elimination of Pia Toscano last week. But Pia's exit aside, I was still hoping for a strong night of "Songs from the Movies" from the Top 8 on American Idol 10. It didn't happen. From the very opening number it was clear that a season that started with great promise is starting to unravel, in part because of the foolishness of the Idols in choosing their songs, and in part because of the complete unwillingness of the judges to offer any real criticism. So tonight, I'm going to start doing what they won't do. I'm going to pick apart these performances so that you'll have at least one opinion that is something more than sunshine, lollipops and roses.

UPDATED ODDS: Plus, What the Idols Should Sing in Movie Week

One week after the unexpected exit of Pia Toscano, the Idols will tackle the theme of "Songs from the Movies" for only the fourth time in the show's history. This is a theme that could have used a big voice, but there are some solid choices for the remaining eight Idols. Please, God, just don't let any of them sing songs like "Flashdance (What a Feeling)" (Julia Demato, Season 2), "My Heart Will Go On" (Diana DeGarmo, Season 3), "Endless Love" (Danny Gokey, Season 8) or "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (performed seven times, and never well).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pia Toscano signs with Interscope records

In our last entry, we left no doubt about how we felt about Pia Toscano's much-too-early exit from American Idol. It has been rightly ranked as one of the most shocking eliminations in Idol history, and we consider it to be at the top of that list. The other two biggies for us are Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson, who went out at number four and seven in their respective seasons. Pia's status as the presumptive frontrunner and her elimination in ninth place is the reason she ranks ahead of the others in shock value.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

AI10 Shocker! Pia Toscano eliminated (aka Something stinks in Idol-land)

On Thursday night's American Idol elimination show, we entered knowing a few things:

  • Paul, Stefano, Haley and Jacob were in danger of elimination.
  • Casey and Lauren were on the bubble of the Bottom Three, but were certainly safe.
  • Pia, Scotty and James weren't going anywhere but the Top 8.

American Idol: Solid Rock and Roll Hall night sets up first male elimination

In the first four eliminations of American Idol 10, we've seen more than half of the ladies exit stage left. Each of them had their quirks that seemed to rub the viewing public's collective nerves. First came Ashthon Jones and her wild hair. Then Karen Rodriguez and her bilingual lyrics. Then the double dip of Naima Adedapo (too reggae) and Thia Megia (too young and naive). That has left us with all six men and just three ladies. Now in week five, something is ready to give.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Updated pre-show odds: Pia leads the pack, Paul and Stefano in line for exit

As we head into this week's performance show centered around the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not much has changed. The leaders who have led all season are still leading. The stragglers who have been struggling as of late are still at the back of the pack. And unless we have another shocking vote (ala Casey Abrams two weeks ago) we will see American Idol cut loose someone who has absolutely no chance to win Season 10.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

What the Idols Should Sing in Rock Hall of Fame Week

This week, Idol revisits a theme that it has only touched once before -- the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was the inspiration for Season 7's Final Four. In that season, each Idol sang two songs supposedly from the catalogs of artists in the Hall (though eventual winner sang "Hungry Like the Wolf," a song from Duran Duran, which is not in the RHOF.) What we now know is that the songs are from the Hall's "Songs that Influenced Rock and Roll" exhibit. (Yes, "Hungry" is in that list.) The "Influence" list expands things a bit, and it changes some of our original selections. Today, we offer you an updated set of suggestions for the Top 9 of American Idol 10 from a theme broad enough to drive a truck minivan through.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Updated American Idol 10 post-elimination odds!

This week we correctly picked two of the Bottom Three (Naima and Paul), which happened to also be the two we thought would be tabbed for elimination. While the pick of Naima seemed to be an easy conclusion, the fall of Paul into the bottom group seemed to be a bit of a surprise.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Double elimination for the American Idol Top 11

Updated odds! Pia emerges as the leader (again) and Casey rises toward the top

Last week's surprise elimination revealed a need for us to change a few things in our odds, so this week we will start to present both "Odds to Win" and "Odds to Go" (which is obviously odds of elimination). Before we get to the odds, here are some notes after last night's performance show:

Pia, Casey and (surprise!) Haley dominate on a strong Elton John night

After a week that saw one of the wildest elimination nights in Idol history, the Top 11 got the chance to make their case with the Elton John catalog. Once again, this season's cast proved that it is at least one of the strongest in the series' history, if not the best overall. That doesn't mean there weren't some clunkers on this lot. While some of this year's model were zooming down the road toward their goal of winning, a few picked up a nail or two in their tires, and are now in danger of being towed off to the junkyard.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Live blog of the performance show!

Remember that we'll have a live blog of the performance show Wednesday night at 8 p.m.! Be sure to bookmark this blog and be here when the Idols take on the Elton John catalog!

What the Idols Should Sing in Elton John Week

Eight years ago, American Idol had its first-ever Elton John night, celebrating the catalog of one of the greatest singer-songwriters to top the charts. That night brought us highs like Jennifer Hudson's outstanding "Circle of Life," lows like Camile Velasco's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and oddities like John Stevens' "Crocodile Rock." But that was one of the weaker and stranger casts in Idol's history. This year, singers like Stevens, Velasco, Jasmine Trias and Jon Peter Lewis wouldn't even stiff the Top 24, let alone make the finals.

Monday, March 28, 2011

James, Casey surge in Idol rankings

Two days before this week's performance show James Durbin has a slight edge on Pia Toscano as the favorite to win Season 10 of American Idol. Both carry the same odds, but James technically has a mathematical edge. Scott McCreery is still hanging on in third place, and Lauren Alaina completes the top four.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The semi-complete anthology of Rebecca Black "Friday" links

If you haven't yet heard of Rebecca Black or her viral YouTube hit "Friday," you're either dead or over the age of 15. My 49-year-old brother sent me the link to her song today, but I'd already heard of this about 10 days ago (from the E! show "The Talk").

The very fact that I saw it first on a parody show is an indication that it hasn't exactly been received with rave reviews. In spite of the video's almost 60 million views, about 90 percent of the 1 million+ people who have rated it have done so negatively. This hasn't stopped Rebecca (and her almost guaranteed Lohan-like stage mom, who plunked down $2,000 to get this song made) from making plans to cut a full CD. (Undoubtedly, they've been influenced by encouragement from the likes of Lady Gaga, Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell, none of whom probably heard the tune before they gave it the thumbs up.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Idol shocker: Casey hits rock-bottom (but gets the save)

Earlier in the day, Idol mogul Nigel Lythgoe dropped a hint that tonight's results would be a shocker. Big shocker there; Nigel says that in a lot of weeks that the results are exactly what we expect. Tonight, however, he was dead-on.

Updated odds! New co-leader after Motown Week!

As we continue to tweak our methods a bit, some new developments have arisen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review of American Idol 10: Motown Night

First things first: with more than 50 #1 hits and 400 charting songs in Motown's history, you'd think that the Idols could choose some tunes that hadn't been done in previous seasons. Instead, only two of the 11 remaining Idols chose songs that had never been performed on the Idol stage. The other nine chose retreads, and some chose songs that had been done several times. One thing I'm looking for is originality. As good as this cast is, they're not exactly blazing new trails.

Update: Change in odds format

On another forum, a poster informed me that the way I present odds is flawed because the total odds add up to far more than 100 percent. After looking at it, it seems that he was correct. So in an effort to more accurately present the odds for winning (and still for entertainment...), here are the updated pre-show odds. Nothing changes in the rankings, but the differences between the Idols is a bit different:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What the Idols Should Sing In Motown Week

This week the Idols will tackle the Motown catalog, and undoubtedly we will hear a number of repeats from the four previous Motown weeks (in seasons 1, 2, 3 and 8). However, I'm hoping for a bit more originality than that. I'm hoping that the Idols will break new ground and sing some classics that haven't been tried during previous Motown nights. So below are my ideas for the Idols. Some of these songs have been sung in other Idol weeks, but never on a Motown night. Let me know what you think, and what songs you'd suggest for the Idols:

Pia still strong at the top; Naima takes over the bottom of the rankings

As we head into this week's performances of the third week of American Idol, there is little change at the top of the leader board. Pia Toscano is still a strong favorite to win Season 10, though Scott McCreery and Lauren Alaina are nipping at her heels. James Durbin is also still in the mix, as well, but early favorites Casey Abrams and Paul McDonald are fading quickly into the pack.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

30 Days of "Fun With Music"

On my Facebook page, I've been posting on a 30-day list of songs in different categories. It's been pretty fun and we're nearing the end, so here's the entire list (including the final three days that haven't been posted yet). After this we'll be doing a "30 Days of Fun With Movies," which is an original list of categories that I've come up with. I'll be posted that here from time-to-time so be sure to check in for the updates!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another week, another perfect prediction

Once again, our method of ranking and predicting who stays and who goes on American Idol has hit the center of the target. This time, we perfectly predicted the Bottom Three (Naima Adedapo, Haley Reinhart and Karen Rodriguez); indicated that Naima would be the one most likely to be declared safe first; and predicted that Karen would be the one to go home. While we respect other methods of making these predictions, we maintain that it's not enough to simply make broad windows of safety and risk. Making more specific, more targeted picks that say specifically who will be in the Bottom Three and who will go home means that we're more likely to get these picks dead wrong. Of course, there is by no means any false satisfaction in getting the picks exactly right. We hope that by making more exacting picks that you will continue to refer to this site as one source of information about your favorite TV talent show, and that you will tell others about us. Again, please make sure to follow us on Twitter here.

New favorite on American Idol

After only three performance shows, a new leader has emerged as the odds-on favorite to win American Idol 10. Pia Toscano, on the heels of back-to-back-to-back dynamic showings, has leapfrogged the entire field and is now our pick to not only reach the Top Two, but to win the entire competition.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Updated pre-show odds, 3/15

As we head into this weeks performance show on Wednesday, some interesting things are beginning to shift in our Idol odds. Scott McCreery is beginning to challenge Lauren Alaina as a co-favorite for the title. Nipping at their heels is Pia Toscano, whose back-to-back showstoppers has made a lot of people take notice of her. Falling back are several folks, most notably Jacob Lusk and Thia Megia. Jacob has an unbelievable voice, but his misfire on "I Believe I Can Fly" has chased away some fans. And Thia's poor showing on Michael Jackson's (er, Charlie Chapman's ... uh... Chaplin's) "Smile" has a lot of folks shying away from her as well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This week's odds proved to be completely on-target. We had an all-female bottom three with Karen Rodriguez, Haley Reinhart and Ashthon Jones. (Though I suspected Naima Adedapo would be the third girl in the mix instead of Karen.) Karen was first out, leaving Haley and Ashthon. And Ashthon was the first contestant eliminated from AI 10.

Girls dominate Idol at both ends...

The girls will be the big story tonight as Idol makes its first cut. As is so often the case on Idol, talent and actual performance will have very little to do with tonight's bottom three. If performance had everything to do with things, last night's bottom three might include favorites Paul McDonald, Jacob Lusk, Scott McCreery or Thia Megia. None of them measured up to what fans have come to expect. Yet all of those four have made huge connections fans, and will undoubtedly be safe.