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Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010

Okay, raise your hand if you miss Lacey. Me too!  It was clear from Tuesday’s Top 11 debacle, a show that will decide the Top Ten and the subsequent summer tour participants, that Lacey was gone too soon. She did show up on Letterman the other night, sitting in with Paul and the band, holding her own with Dave’s quips, and singing a nice, fluttery version of “What a Wonderful World”. Paul put a friendly spin on her getting voted off: “She doesn’t have to go on the tour! That’s the best thing!” 


But, of course, the tour is huge, as most of these kids will never again play an arena as long as they live, and Lacey along with this week’s reject will miss out on a nice payday, a survey of major-market Radissons, and the chance to pose for copious tour merch. In a perfect Idol world, those t-shirts would feature, along with Lacey, the visages of Katelyn Epperly, Lilly Scott, and Alex Lambert cuddling with six others. As cruel fate would have it, however, we’re going to be stuck with some combination of Paige Miles, Tim Urban, Andrew Garcia, Aaron Miles, and Katie Stevens, which isn’t exactly the gorgeous thought that would have this year’s concert promotors rubbing their hands together.


The voting debacle that has jettisoned some of the season’s most-promising performers was a subject of the night’s lead-in. After a bodiless announcer introduced the judges and Ryan—the show continues to tinker with the format—Ryan prompted the judges to offer PSAs about the importance of voting. Randy and Ellen, especially, seemed downright desperate with the knowledge that audiences have gotten things badly wrong and have aligned the worst Top Ten in the show’s history, a nightmare for a show trying to survive while its best-loved judges exit like rats from a burning barn. But onward we trudge, and it’s not all dismal—some genuine talent remains, and on Tuesday, the singers had to choose from any song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. With that in mind, here’s what was Hot about Tuesday:


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Monday, Mar 22, 2010
As Betty Suarez rushes headlong toward her inevitable destiny of inner and outer beauty, it is time to praise all the supporting players that actually made Ugly Betty worth watching.

What do 24, Lost and Ugly Betty have in common? Nothing. Except that I’ve been watching them all from the beginning of their runs, and they’re all ending this season. 


To be honest, the way I’m watching the swan song seasons of these three shows is not even remotely similar either. Lost has taken TV storytelling to a new level with its final act, solidifying its place as one of the best shows ever. I will miss it dearly when it goes. 24 has me riveted again (against my will) with its high wire antics, even as I scorn the perpetually silly contortions required to sustain 24 episodes. I’m interested to see how the writers will get themselves to the end of another day, but am also relieved that I don’t have to spend another 24 hours in real time next year wondering why Jack Bauer never eats or goes to the bathroom.   


Then there’s Ugly Betty. Look, let’s be honest here. We all knew how Ugly Betty was going to end the day it started. You don’t call a show Ugly Betty unless the Betty in question is going to transform into something that we know is most certainly not ugly. That’s what’s been happening over this season. New glasses, new outfits, new attitude. The transformation is occurring on a weekly basis. And with two episodes left, everyone knows those braces are coming off and Betty’ll probably get contacts. Ugly Betty will end her run just as Betty (or even Attractive Betty). Finally.


Tagged as: 24, lost, ugly betty
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Friday, Mar 19, 2010

For the most part, there just is no saving a franchise like Law & Order. I used to admire the show’s writing for having complex story lines that involved fascinating questions of legal ethics.  And I used to project sad romantic notions on Sam Waterston, bargaining that the best you could probably do with a man was one that ignored you, but at least had a passionate commitment to something else that you could admire. At some point, the drama went into the typical freefall of creative starvation. Knockoffs were generated to try to hone in on our fascination with series as if it were just a bunch of fetishes and cliches.


Let’s give them one that only does sex type crimes and one in which Vincent D’Onofrio plays Columbo like he’s a second away from committing a sex type crime. These “other parts” of the Law & Order office made story secondary; instead giving us character hamster wheels like Eliot Stabler. Stabler is Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet doing cop anger, righteous “this is for my daughter” cop anger, every single, stinking week. If he were someone in your life, going through that much repeated emotional extremism, you would have organized a group of friend’s with tranquilizer guns. But Stabler lives in a world with an incredibly irresponsible Human Resources department. It was during this dreary downfall that the marketing people made the unintentionally prescient slogan “Ripped From the Headlines”, which was supposed to mean fresh and topical, but really meant that that had just fired all the writers and started over with a shredder and scotch tape.


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Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010

The shock, the denial, the pain, the guilt, the anger. Still waiting for the acceptance. It’s been a rough week for American Idol after a devastating week of cuts, for a season that can hardly afford it. Last time out, I called for Paige, Katie, Tim, and Aaron to go home. All four survived to make the Top 12, which is a drag, but not nearly as suckful as missing out on a few more weeks of Katelyn Epperly, Todrick Hall, and especially Alex Lambert and Lilly Scott. Fans of both Alex and Lilly have been doing everything from circulating petitions to organizing boycotts, reflecting the general outrage over how America could’ve gotten it so wrong. There hasn’t been this much righteous indignation over voting in this country since hanging chads.


I still don’t think Vote for the Worst is influential enough to swing this thing, by the way, mostly because I refuse to believe there are that many people out there who are devoted to malicious, mean-spirited, bottom-feeding. What kind of person is driven to disappoint the largest possible number of people, anyway? Yes, there are thousands of VTFW voters out there, but total Idol votes number in the millions. It’s much more plausible that Lilly suffered from the three-way-split in the girl-with-a-guitar vote that broke heavily to Crystal and Didi this time. Tim received glowing praise from the judges last week, which played way more into his making the cut. Mike, Casey, Lee, and Andrew all have different niches and voting bases, so when the judges heaped the praise on Tim, it sealed Alex’s fate at the cute-guitar-playing-shaggy-haired-teen-boy fangirls gravitated toward Tim.


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Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010

Parenthood seems to be doing well, its ratings are okay and Entertainment Weekly put it at the top of their “must list”. So now that we know it’ll probably stick around for a while, let’s review what happened in the third episode, in case you missed it.


Everyone keeps describing Zeke as “the patriarch” of the Braverman clan, but I disagree with that. He may be the oldest member of the family, and he occasionally serves as comedic relief, but it seems like Adam’s in charge instead. For example, after Julia complained to him that her daughter was getting too attached to the dubious Racquel during her daddy-daughter “Zen swimming class”, it was Adam who told her to just try to teach Sydney how to swim herself.


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