What the hell happened on “American Idol?”

Let me get this straight. Carly Smithson did a helluva good job singing “Jesus Christ Superstar” and gets booted from “American Idol.” Meanwhile, Jason Castro butchers “Memory” and remains on the show. There is no justice in the world.

It’s a shame that Smithson is gone. I liked her voice. I liked her charming Irish accent. I even got to tolerate her tattooed arms and her freak of a husband. But its not surprising that she didn’t become the next Idol. Even though the show’s stylists softened her look, Smithson isn’t the sweet girl next door. She is the girl who looks like she can drink most people under the table.

Eventually, Smithson will thank the show’s voters for showing her the door. Most almost Idols seem to have better careers than the people who win the contest. I guess it’s because the expectations of them aren’t as great.

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Hillary Clinton shouldn’t pop the champagne corks in PA yet

As expected, Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary.  It’s hardly a shock since she had the support of the state’s popular Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

But Clinton supporters shouldn’t be rejoicing yet. As of 9:43 p.m., results from the suburbs of Philadelphia weren’t available. Obama should do well there, picking up plenty of supporters including my father whose vote was canceled out by my mother who backed Clinton.

Regardless, it certainly was a lively day in my home state.

“Throughout the day, turnout has appeared strong in most sections of Philadelphia and the suburbs,” according to the The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Election judges in many precincts said more voters had turned out to vote by noon than have normally shown up all day during a typical primary.”

Obama has been gaining ground in the Keystone State for weeks, chipping away at Clinton’s once-insurmountable 20-point lead. The Illinois senator surely didn’t help himself with the so-called “bitter” comment and the hoopla over his former pastor Jeremiah Wright.  Media pundits also criticized his performance in the recent televised debate in Philadelphia though I thought he held his own against a barrage of gotcha questions from the moderators.

From MSNBC:

Obama said Tuesday that he still expected to lose, but only narrowly, and his staff painted Clinton as an opponent on the ropes.

“They were so confident that their own Pennsylvania spokesman said Clinton would be ‘unbeatable’ in Pennsylvania,” the campaign said in a memo to reporters. “The Clinton campaign needs a blowout victory in Pennsylvania to get any closer to winning the nomination.”

Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s chief spokesman, maintained that the size of Clinton’s victory was immaterial. Targeting his pitch to the Democratic officeholders and other superdelegates who hold the balance of power at the party convention in Denver in August, he said a win was a win.

Not quite. Clinton needed an overwhelming victory in my home state in order for her campaign to have enough gas to last until the convention.  Even under the best of circumstances, winning in Pennsylvania gives her tank a few more gallons but is hardly a fill-up. Obama’s lead in pledged delegates is too large for New York senator to overcome.

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Carly Smithson steals show on “American Idol’s” Broadway night

Carly Smithson belted out a great rendition of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, which stole the show on tonight’s “American Idol” salute to Andrew Lloyd Weber which was filled with one awkward performance after another.

Jason Castro, in particular, butchered “Memory”: from “Cats” and may finally be sent home. Brooke White looked like a deer caught in the headlights.  David Cook managed to do a decent job with his number from “Phantom of the Opera” though I didn’t think it was as great as the judges did. David Archuleta muddled through his performance.

The point of this eludes me.  Isn’t the show called “American Idol” not “Broadway Idol?”  Do most pop music fans really care about musicals? Not if they are under 40. Blame the decline in arts education for that one. That’s why most of the contestants had no clue about how to sing musical theater.

Andrew Lloyd Weber was the most entertaining of all the mentors. He actually gave Archuleta good advice to keep his eyes open which he managed to do for the most part.  Smithson also wisely took his advice to sing “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Castro, White and Archuleta may wind up in the bottom three

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Barack Obama easily wins Pennsylvania debate

My home state of Pennsylvania is turning into the political equivalent of the Shoot Out at the OK Corral. Lots of ink has been spilled, video shot and cyberspace occupied with talk of the importance of the Keystone state and tonight’s debate televised on ABC.

A couple of observations:

  • Moderators Charlie GIbson and George Stephanopoulos tried mightily to zing Obama on every ridiculous controversy from the “bitter” remark to his lack of enthusiasm for wearing flag lapel pins.  Obama generally handled himself well.
  • Hillary Clinton continues to whine about everything. Her remarks about her grandfather the factory worker were a bit much. I doubt that she changed the minds of many Pennsylvania voters with her attempts to smear Obama.
  • Neither candidate was particularly convincing about Iraq. Will Hillary Clinton really pull out of Iraq if the generals on the ground tell her that the results would be disastrous?
  • Are either of them really not interested in being vice president?
  • I still don’t understand Clinton’s explanation for “misremembering” about being under gun fire in Bosnia. How can you forget something like that?

Obama won the debate and may squeak out a victory in

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Kristy Lee Cook is gone as Brooke White survives

Kristy Lee Cook got the hook tonight from “American Idol”, proving that occasionally the show is about talent. If Brooke White had been axed, I would have thrown something squishy at my TV.

To be sure, Cook has a decent voice but she isn’t in the same league as White or Syesha Mercado or Carly Smithson for that matter.  Amanda Overmyer, the rock-n-roll nurse, had more personality than any of the contestants that are left in the show.

Cook managed to do some decent performances. She survived being in the bottom three countless times and a disastrous performance on Beatles theme night. Being a pretty all-American blond has its perks.

The show. now, is starting to get interesting.

Syesha Mercado is hanging in there despite getting lukewarm praise from the judges. Carly Smithson has softened her biker babe look. The tattoos and the foreign accent are two strikes against her. Brooke White, though outshines them all. I am expecting her and David Archuleta to be the final two left in the competition.

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Mariah Carey and “American Idol?” Why?

When I saw it was Mariah Carey night on “American Idol”, I wondered whether the producers wanted to purposely drive away viewers. Do people really want to hear power ballad after power ballad? I felt like I was at a high school dance.

The cream is rising to the top.  David Archuleta is still the man to beat. He was great again last night, but Jason Castro is emerging as a dark horse albeit a goofy one with dreadlocks. David Cook, the one who cribs his arrangements, did a decent job tonight too. Unlike everyone else, I wasn’t surprised that Michael Johns got booted. He was coasting on his good looks and Australian accent for weeks.

Carly Smithson remains vulnerable. America isn’t going to put up with her tattooed arm or her husband’s tattooed face. Brooke White’s wholesomeness isn’t starting to wear thin. I’m starting to wonder whether the girl ever farts. Syesha Mercado may also be in the bottom three since she keeps picking big songs and just can’t deliver them.

The results show should be good.

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Michael Johns never lived up to his potential

When I first saw Michael Johns, I thought I was looking at the next American Idol.

He had charisma, charm and an Australian accent that turns women including my wife weak in the knees.  Week after week,though, Johns gave performances that were lacking any connection with the audience. He turned into a boring pretty boy with nothing to say.

There are tens of thousands of guys like Johns in bar bands across America. They spend their lives toiling in obscurity, hoping for a shot half as good as the one given to the Aussie heartthrob. He blew his chances in a big way. In 2010, Johns will be opening up for Taylor Hicks on the Idol has-been tour.

His departure on tonight’s show was deserved.

Jason Castro is now a marked man.

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