Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oops!

So I completely forgot to post yesterday's Holy Week readings from Annie and I feel so, so bad because it was oh, so good! Yesterday was an interesting day though. On top of a 13-hour work day, I got news that Dad had a mild heart issue and had a stint put in but he's doing great now. We'll not great, what with all the poking and proding going on. But great, considering the circumstances.

So here I am, asking for prayers and posting yesterday's and today's readings. Enjoy a little Jesus.

Tuesday's reading:
1. The authority of Jesus questioned
Matthew 21: 23-27
Mark 11: 22-27
Luke 20: 1-8

2. Jesus teaches in the temple (Warning: This is a lot.)
Matthew 21: 28-23: 39 (22:41-46 should be titled "Jesus shuts everybody up".)
Mark 12: 1-44
Luke 20: 9-21: 4

3. Jesus’ feet anointed
Matthew 26: 6-13
Mark 14: 3-9
John 12: 2-11

Wednesday's reading:
The plot against Jesus
Matthew 26: 14-16
Mark 14: 10-11
Luke 22: 3-6

I'm continually amazed at the words that I'm noticing in these readings that I've never really taken note of before. Like in Luke 22:3, "Then Satan enter Judas". Wow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

American Idol - Top 10

THIS. Is American Idol.

Soul and R&B Week.

And...wait for it...Usher. Love him.

Siobhan Magnus ("Through The Fire") - OMG. Can I please point out again how extremely weird she is but how extremely intrigued I am about her? I just hope she doesn't go down the "Adam Lambert" path. And, OMG, what is she wearing on stage?!?! It looks like a monkey and a raccoon got together and dressed her.

Ok, this was bad. It was not her best performance at all. There was that one note that she just couldn't seem to nail over and over again. Her high notes are getting a wee bit screechy and her lower register is kind of nasal-y, as my Mom would say. The whole thing was just weird for me.

Casey James ("Hold On, I'm Comin") - I love this song for him. And I loved this performance. I love this vibe for him and I hope goes this way, toward the Jonny Lang vibe, rather than toward the Daughtty vibe. Not that I have anything against Daughtry. Love the band. I just think there's a lot of that vibe out there and not enough of the Jonny Lang vibe.

This was HOTT. And thank you, Simon, for disagreeing with everyone else.

*** And let me just rant her for a second, if I may. I'm sick of the judges saying stuff is "safe" and they "want to see more range" or whatever. The "safe" excuse has become a cop-out for the judges because they have nothing else to bad to say. I think they are looking a person who is consistently in their element and doing what they do and calling that safe. That's not safe. That's someone who knows what kind of artist they want to be and showing the world how good there are at doing that.

Rant complete.

Michael Lynche ("Ready For Love") - This was great. Although we've seen him with the guitar before, I thought this really showed a different side of him. The past couple of weeks he has kind of established himself as the big black guy that can kill some love songs. This was a great spin on a good R&B song, an honest performance. Stripped down without watering it down. I loved just seeing him sit and play and sing. I was afraid that Kara would say something about connecting with the audience and looking at them more but she didn't. You know, sometimes just doing a stripped down, honest performance connects with an audience more than looking at them does.

DiDi Benami ("What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted") - I never would've categorized this as an R&B song. And while we are on the subject, every time I hear this song, I go back to that scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Kathy Bates is in a dress made of Saran wrap. It's weird.

This whole performance was, again, a little weird for me. I can't put my finger on it because I like her so much and I like the originality of her voice, but it was weird. It did have some bright spots in it but I just don't know. Randy said it "kind of flat-lined" and I get what he's saying there. It was one-dimensional. It never went anywhere. You know, you expect performances to build up or escalate and this one just didn't. And Kara's right, she's completely lost herself and it was over done. The hair, the dress, even the arrangement -- it just didn't fit the song.

Tim Urban ("Sweet Love") - I feel like this performance was just a guy singing a song in tune and nothing else. There was nothing special about it. No vibe. Nothing. Funny, Randy just said the same thing. Except he used the word "swag". I don't think my white girl-ness can handle that word. The song was just weird. I feel like he should've chosen something more modern like Boyz II Men or Usher. And yes, I looked and those were both on the list. Along with Brian McKnight.

Andrew Garcia ("Forever") - Ok, I had to pause it before the judges comments because I wanted to say this before I hear what they have to say just in case they don't think the same: Andrew Garcia is back. That's was a great rendition of this song. It was honest, it wasn't flashy and it wasn't him trying to do something he doesn't look right doing. In this case, a guy just singing a song was perfectly fine because this. is. his. element. Great.

And Randy just said "Andrew is back." Thank you for agreeing.

Katie Stevens ("Chain of Fools") - Just like last week I called Aaron Kelly taking on Aerosmith, this week I called Katie Stevens doing Aretha. It's funny that Randy just compared her to Christina Aguilera because I was just thinking the same thing. Yet, again, we all know she can sing. This is her niche. I'm just still not a fan.

Lee Dewyze ("Treat Her Like A Lady") - This kid just keeps banking the HOTT points with me. He's just so precious and talented. That was a guy on stage with a guitar and somehow it was so much bigger. AND...I BELIEVED IT! Kara is so right. If that is what his record is going to sound like, I will buy it. Wow. Simon just said, "Understand this is the night that your life may have changed forever." Those, my friends, are some humongous words.

It was so great. Period. Nothing left to say.

Crystal Bowersox ("Midnight Train To Georgia") - Oh. My. She's playing the piano. I just can't believe that she can get much better.

Brilliant.

I kinda just want to turn the TV off now because what's the use in watching Aaron Kelly after that???

Aaron Kelly ("Ain't No Sunshine") - Ok, we've established that this kid can sing. No doubt. I just feel like his personality on-stage doesn't match his personality off-stage and that makes his performances come of a little unauthentic. It's just a little over-the-top for me compared to what he's like in interviews and such. Like Katie, he's good, I'm just still not a fan.

So my top three are:
1. Lee
2. Crystal
3. And it's a tie between Casey and Michael.

Bottom three: (Based strictly on performance)
1. Tim
2. Didi
3. Siobhan

My prediction for who is going home? Proabably Didi.

Until next week...

Walden. Out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Perspective

Dear Blog Family,

My tremendous apologies for neglecting ye olde blog for the past, well forever, except for the American Idol recaps. My life has been a complete blur for the past three weeks, save a couple of sweet moments with friends. And I use that term moments literally.

Work has completely swarmed me and held me underwater for a good 10 days. Good thing, I spent all those summer days having "underwater breath holding" contests with my pool rats friends. It seemed to have come in handy recently.

I'm just now getting back to where I can stand on my own two feet and after tomorrow, I think I'll be able to take a few steps forward. And forward toward Jackson might I add. I'm so pumped to go home and see family and friends and spend a Sunday afternoon somewhere else besides a softball or baseball field for the first time in a month.

With all that said, you may be wondering why I titled this post "Perspective." And if you weren't already wondering with that (which I'm sure you weren't), you are now.

Okay, I'll tell you. There are two reasons.

Reason One.

Today started kind of sucky with some parameters being put around me that I thought were unfair. I saw it as me being treated like I didn't know what I was doing and like someone below me would be treated. Although that truly may be the reason for the parameters, I sucked it up after a good 4.2 minutes of sulking and told myself, "Katie. You can either continue to sulk about it or you can suck it up and take it like a big girl and learn from it."

So, I listened to that little go-getter voice in my head and decided that I could continue be in a bad mood everytime this happened or I could suck it up, realize that the parameters have been set to help me to my job better, which will eventually help me be a better person.

So, I change my perspective, put a smile on my face and decided to run with it.

Reason dos (that's two in Spanish for those of you who didn't catch that).

I realized today that it is Easter Week. I mean, of course, I've know that Friday is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter Sunday, but just today, I realized that it is HOLY WEEK.

That's huge for me as a Christian.

This week marks a series of events that culminated in one of the greatest life-changes for me.

All those years ago, a sinless man died for me so that I could live freely, out from under the fear of sin and hell and death.

He died so that I could know what true love is, what redemption is, what sacrifice is.

He died so that I could be free to do the things that he wants me to do.

He died so that I wouldn't be afraid to do those things and he died so that the whole world could be with him one day.

He died because he knew that there would be nothing in myself that could merit a life with him.

He died because on the day when I stand before God and he asks me what I've done to earn a place in heaven, I won't have to list a bunch of good deeds. Because we both will know that there is nothing in me that could measure up to what he's done for me, in me and to me.

I've realized that I haven't been paying attention to the good part of Holy Week. I've usually just waited until Good Friday, thought about what that meant, and then on Sunday, I go to church, sing some songs and then have a big lunch with my family.

This week, I want to focus on what the week is about. What leads up to what happens on Friday and Sunday.

Annieblogs has posted and will continue to post for the rest of the week, the outline that her bible has for each day of Holy Week. I'm going to read it, along with the readings that I'm already going through with my church. (We're in Judges. Good times.)

I wanted to post them here as well for you guys who aren't faithful readers of Annieblogs, which if you aren't, shame on you because she is hilarious and talented and well, you've just got to read her stuff.

She gives all the passages from each of the gospels and I would recommend reading them all. You can look them up or click on the passage and read it a Bible Gateway. It's so neat to see the different perspectives. Ha, see how I brought that full circle.

I love hearing the same story from different people because there are things in one that aren't in the other and different personalities point out or emphasize different things in the story. It really brings the story to life in a different way.

So, read on people. Read on. And I'll see you in another three weeks. (Just kidding, there will be an American Idol post up this week. I can't slack on my duties.)

Palm Sunday:
Matthew 21: 1-11
Mark 11: 1-11
Luke 19: 29-44
John 12: 12-19

Monday:
1. Jesus curses the fig tree
Matthew 21: 18-22
Mark 11: 12-14

2. Jesus clears the temple
Matthew 21: 12-13
Mark 11: 15-18
Luke 19: 45-48

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

American Idol - Top 11

THIS. Is American Idol.

Billboard's #1. Who wants to be Aaron Kelly sings Rascal Flatts?

And really? You bring Miley Cyrus in to "mentor" the Top 11 on Billboard's Top 100. Wow.

But I love that she's sitting by Adam Shankman. He's one of my top five favorite gay men on TV.

Here we go...

Lee Dewyze ("The Letter") - I love this kid to death. He's got a Danny Gokey vibe and y'all know I love me some Danny Gokey. His confidence tonight is so great and I love this arrangement. As I've said before, it really doesn't matter what he sings, I'm going to love it.

I love Ellen's pen analogy. She's funny.

Paige Miles ("Against All Odds") - This is an obvious choice for her. It's a belting song. She's a belter. There you go. For the first 30 seconds of this song, I felt like I was at the middle school talent show. I give her props for pushing through this throat issue but, honestly, this. was. not. good. Pitchy and airy. And you could tell that she knew she wasn't doing well at all either. It's like she just gets progressively worse throughout this whole process. I know that she can sing. I know she can. But this whole voice this is not helping her. She needs to see a doctor about it.

Tim Urban ("Crazy Little Thing Called Love") - Ok, first, I never knew Queen did this song. That's just random.

Ok, this was good. But not great. I liked seeing him move around a bit and get into his personality more. But as upbeat as this song is, it was boing. It's the same melody over and over and it was a little karaoke.

It still was better than Paige.

And Simon has a point with the song choices. People are just choosing songs because they are "fun" and "different" and they "like them". Seriously. Those are not criteria for people in the music industry. They have to be smarter than that.

Anyway...

Janis Joplin and Aerosmith are next. Let me guess of Crystal and Aaron which one does what. I was wrong on the whole Rascal Flatts thing but if Aaron comes out and sings "Don't Want To Miss A Thing", I will go run screaming into the ocean.

Aaron Kelly ("Don't Want To Miss A Thing") - Okay, this kid has too much makeup on and...is that lipstick he has on? Are we trying to fuel another Adam Lambert here? And someone somewhere owes me some amount of money. And I won't go run screaming into the ocean because it's probably just a wee bit cold. So, you called my bluff on that one.

Mark Chesnutt version. Somewhere Hollie is choking on her cookie cake because I actually knew that little piece of country music trivia.

This was so very predictable and there wasn't really anything special about it. It was good. But I guess I'm a little biased. Remember, I'm not a fan. He reminds me of Billy Gilman. Anybody?

Crystal Bowersox ("Me And Bobby McGee") - I love that everyone else just signed her guitar and Miley wrote on it like she was writing in a yearbook. "Stay Sweet. Stay Cool. LYLAS!"

Ok, first. She looks beautiful. Second, she just kicked that song's butt. Period. Nothing else to say. Amazing.

Mike Lynche ("When A Men Loves A Woman") - His voice is smooth as silk and although he's a great performer, it's so genuine. You can tell that he loves what he is doing and feels what he is singing about. He's so good.

Randy's so right. He needs to sing "the I-don't-know-what out of who you are" every time. He knows who he is.

Andrew Garcia ("I Heard It Through The Grapevine") - I don't know what to think about this. I want to love it because I love him and I love what he stands for. The song didn't work with the kind of voice he has. I don't know what it but this wasn't it. He's so original and different than any other person. I hate that they keep comparing every performance of his to "Straight Up". I feel really bad for him.

I think he knows who he is as an artist. I just don't think that kind of artist thrives in this competition because it is so structured.

Katie Stevens ("Big Girls Don't Cry") - Finally, she sings something from this era! I totally bought this even though it was pitchy. For the first time in this competition, I actually like her. She can sing, no doubt. This was just a good fit for her. I bought her as a pop/R&B singer right here.

Casey James ("The Power Of Love") - Oh. My. Goodness. This seriously is one of my top 5 favorite songs. I heard this for the first time, not when I first saw Back To The Future, but when I heard it as the finale for a Colonel's Classics show when I was about 10. Then I heard it again when I went to Universal for the first time about three months later and rode the Back To The Future ride. One of my all-time favorite rides. It just has a lot of great memories attached to it and I love the melody and lyrics. Okay, thus ends my tangent.

Back to Casey. Not much to say. LOVE. LOVE. LOVED this performance. This was a great song for him. I don't know what they are talking about. He smiled and had fun. And let go. Isn't that what they've been asking everyone to do?!?!

DiDi Benami ("You're No Good") - She rocked this song. This was the perfect song for her. It fit her voice. Yeah, it was a bit pitchy but I don't think it was THAT pitchy. Kara does has a point. It did feel like she was playing a character. Simon is way out of line.

Siobhan Magnus ("Superstition") - This is going to be interesting.

Oh my gosh, she is so weird. BUT she is so good! She is a completely different person on the stage than she is in her packages. It's so weird. But this girl can sing and she can perform. She sometimes toes the line of being Adam Lambert-esque, which is really bad in my book. But she's not quite as annoying.

For me, Paige and Tim are on the line tonight. It just depends on how the people vote. I don't know some people will say Andrew Garcia is going home but I think most people are still holding out for another "Straight Up" moment. Going on vocal performance, Paige is going home but we shall see.

Walden. Out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Gladness


Let me tell you something right now. Whatever power it is that March Madness has over the disposition of human beings, someone should figure it out and bottle it up and sell that junk because. MY GOOD GRAVY, that is some magical good stuff.

Madness. That's what it is. But this year, more than any other (I guess because being 26 makes you more observant), I have noticed the magic that the NCAA Basketball Tournament brings to sports fans and non-fans alike.

People who don't even care anything about college basketball are filling out brackets and glued to the television for 12 hours a day, all in the name of being right.

That's my kind of day right there.

No. Really kidding. Although, I do love being right. And I don't mind 12 straight hours of basketball.

However the other day as I was watching some games at a restaurant with friends/coworkers, and as I began to realize that the crowd had trickled out and we were just about the only ones there. It didn't matter. We never even noticed. Our eyes were fixated on the jumbo flat screen as we cheered on teams that we had never would have cheered for before. I mean, really, I can count on my thumb how many times I've rooted for New Mexico and Baylor and Georgetown in any type of athletic competition.

But as New Mexico and Tennessee and Wake Forest hit their final shots last night, I found myself cheering louder than I have all year (outside the confines of my apartment) and giving hi-fives and fist bumps to people I barely knew.

And maybe talking a little trash as well.

It all brings this back to one main point for me. The reason I love sports. The reason I'm so passionate about this thing that consumes my life day after day.

The reason?

Sports brings people together. How many times have you been to a football game in the freezing cold or the blazing hot temperatures, and it comes down to the wire? This is go hard or go home time for your team. Your team either has everything to gain or everything to lose. One play and your world is rocked. You're either bear hugging the stranger in the seat in front of you, holding hands with the person beside you, or passing the Kleenex to the row behind you.

It's the championship basketball game and you've already sat through two overtimes. Two free throws is what it all comes down to. And you find yourself participating in superstitions with the people around you.

Or its the biggest baseball game of the year. Against your biggest rival. A lot at stake. Your best player, who has been "O-fer" all day, steps up to the plate with two outs. Do you look on? Or do you shut your eyes and throw up a prayer to heaven for the walk-off homer with the person sitting next to you?

It's all about team. Cheerleading is as far as I got to being on any kind of team, unless you count kick ball in fifth grade recess.

But it's also about coming together for a common purpose. And hope. You know we all inevitably HOPE our teams wins. Even though your team may be down 45-3 at the end of the third quarter, (if you're like me) you still have that hope of a miraculous comeback. I guess that's why I never leave a game early.

Anyway, that was my small sports-fanatical schpiel for the week. I hope you enjoyed.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check my brackets.

GO TEAM!

Go check out Jon Acuff's humorous take on NCAA brackets and gambling. Because we all know, when it comes to gambling, filling out an NCAA bracket doesn't count.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Idol - Top 12

I almost didn't blog about this because, well, Mississippi State played basketball at 9 p.m. tonight and well, Mississippi State athletics comes before American Idol. However, I decided that since I've neglected ye olde blog here lately, I might as well do the AI recap. Plus, Hollie is going to want to discuss tomorrow so...

THIS. Is American Idol.

Rolling Stones week. I'm interested to see how this goes. I imagine some very random song selection. However, all will be better since I have a fantastic new television.

Here we go...

Michael Lynch ("Miss You") - Fun fact on Big Mike: He played football at Central Florida and his defensive line coach there is the defensive line coach at Samford now. Anyway...

This guy has some serious falsetto. I just...there's nothing else to say about this guy than that he can just flat out sing and perform. He's just so consistent. And he's not really trying to be someone he's not. I feel like that's what most people come on this show and do and that is their mistake. They try to be someone they are not. Mike Lynch is Mike Lynch there on the stage and that's fine with me.

Simon needs to stop commenting on people's dancing. He knows he can't dance either.

DiDi Benami ("Play With Fire") - This was a little rocky for me. I love her voice but at times I felt like it was a little slow and maybe sometimes she was behind the music a little bit. I think it was a good song for her voice and she showed a different side of herself. Kara started talking about her intensity right as I was about to type about it. She definitely had and intensity and an emotion in it. She connected with the song and through that she connected with her audience. I don't think she's in trouble at all.

Casey James ("It's All Over Now") - Ok, how precious is little baby Casey James? So precious.

This is totally his vibe. If you are a Needtobreathe fan, you understand this next statement. He has an interesting Bear Rinehart-ness about him. I loved this performance and if he makes this kind of record, as Randy said that "bluesy-kind-of-fire-ish-Stones- rock-it" vibe, I will buy it without hesitation.

And Ellen is so funny.

Lacey Brown ("Ruby Tuesday") - Sidenote: Does anyone else think she looks like Martina McBride or is it just me?

Yeah, I just don't know about this. This was definitely a performance. Like Simon said, it was very thought through. I still love her voice and I liked the arrangement but I guess it followed three really good performances so it just wasn't up to par for me I guess. I still like her though.

Andrew Garcia ("Give Me Shelter") - I love this guy to no end. But. I don't love him without his guitar. I don't know what it is, there was something missing tonight. Like Simon said, I do hope he lasts another week because at some point he is going to do something huge and I hope it's sooner than later.

Katie Stevens ("Wild Horses") - Okay, first of all, this song is in a key that is way too low and I know the reason she did that so she could belt it. I know where she's coming from on this. I think I'm just a little bitter towards her because I think she's too young to be in this competition. Her whole persona is very predictable and so is her voice. I'm just into the interesting people this year I guess. I mean it was good, but I just wasn't into it. I'm sorry, I just can't be un-biased in this situation.

Tim Urban ("Under My Thumb") - I think Tim Urban is the cutest thing on this earth right now. However, I just don't see him as the American Idol. I mean I could easily compare him to Chris Allen but he still wouldn't measure up. The performance was just a little weird for me and I think the only part that I enjoyed was the bridge. I think I've said this before but I see him as a college circuit performer, not on mainstream radio.

Siobhan Magnus ("Painted Black") - I first must say this: the hair doesn't match the outfit. Now that I've said that, I'll say this: She kind of reminded me of Adam Lambert with this performance and that's just a little too close for me. And Kara just agreed. However, the girl has some serious pipes. Besides a few notes at the beginning and the very end of that very high note, it was pretty great. Like Kara and Simon said, she definitely had the best interpretation of her song.

Lee Dewyze ("Beasts of Burden") - I'm going to go ahead and say again that I have a slight crush on Lee Dewyze and if I were to meet him, I may or may not hyperventilate while trying to keep my cool. But that's neither here nor there.

Ok, four bars into this and I love it. This didn't even feel like a Rolling Stones song. Actually, that was a hot performance. Loved the arrangement. Loved the sound. Love him. Period.

I disagree with Simon on the "shining moment" issue. I thought this was a shining moment that set him apart from the other contestants.

Paige Miles ("Honky Tonk Woman") - She's rocked this performance but there were definitely some definite pitchy parts. I don't buy the country vibe and she sounds a lot like Kelly Clarkson which makes me want to compare her to her. It seemed a little karaoke or pageant-y. It was definitely better than last week but not my favorite of the night. I'm sure she'll be back next week. Especially considering that she had laryngitis, that was pretty darn good.

Aaron Kelley ("Angie") - I'm holding a little grudge against this guy because I think he took Alex Lambert's place in the Top 12. He's also one that I think is too young for this competition. And someone needs to teach him another move so he can stop moving from one side of the stage to the other, taking a shoulder width stance and rocking from side-to-side. I'm not going to take away from the kid's talent; he can definitely sing. I guess I just have a grudge to get over. I still think there are better contestants.

Crystal Bowersox ("You Can't Always Get What You Want") - Love this song. This girl is head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. How much? An insane amount. How has this girl not been discovered yet. I'm watching this and it feels like I'm watching a guest appearance. She is so good. I call top two right now.

I'm going to go ahead and say that Tim Urban is going home. I love the kid but everyone else was just better. But tomorrow will tell.

Walden. Out.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

American Idol - Top 8 Guys

THIS...is American Idol!

Let's do this.

Lee Dewyze (Owl City's "Fireflies") - Ryan just intro-ed this and I'm intrigued.

Ok, I was confused the whole time but I surprisingly loved it. I was bobbing my head and everything. The kid can sing and he just rocks anything that he sings because you can tell that music is his passion. Ellen's right. I'm crushing a little. He's still one of my top three.

Alex Lambert (Ray Lamontagne's "Trouble") - I love this song. LOVE. THIS. SONG. I'm excited to hear him sing it. And can I just say that I want to take some scissors to this kid's hair every time I see him on stage.

I'm going to go out on a limb and call "dark horse" right here. This kid has an amazing talent but I feel like he's still not confident in it. He's much more, MUCH MORE, confident in himself than when he started this whole thing, but he's still got a ways to go when it comes to stage presence. But with that said, this was a perfect song for him and I do kind of agree with Ellen that his innocence and vulnerable-ness (vulnerability?) is what makes him so lovable. People can't help but to cheer for him. And I think having the guitar gives him a little more confident. It's his safety blanket. Like Kara and Simon said, he really just needs to let go and just sing.

Tim Urban (Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah") - Oh, dear soul. I love this song. (I feel a little trend coming on like last night. These American Idol people must be stalking me.) After Justin Timberlake recorded this for Haiti Relief, I bought it that night and have listened to it on repeat for a month. AND I loved when Jason Castro did this too. AND have you seen his I Am Second video? He talks about singing this song.

Ok, somebody get this kid an acting gig because he is precious. And he looks like he could just fit right in on That 70's Show. I don't know what it is about this performance but I didn't really dig it. There really was nothing bad about it. He sounded okay. And he did a good job but I just wasn't digging it.

I might just need to go back and watch it again. Except that I probably won't.

Andrew Garcia (Christina Aguilera's "Geanie In A Bottle") - SAY WHAAA?????

Genius. Shut your mouth Kara and Simon. That was genius.

Casey James (Keith Urban's "You'll Think Of Me") - As a non-country music person, I've never heard this song and he made me want to go download it. This is the deal with Casey James. The kid can sing and he's H-O-T-T hot. It doesn't matter what he sings. He knows what kind of artist he is already. No searching there. Still in my top three.

Aaron Kelly (Lonestar's "I'm Already There") - Dear to the goodness, all the country music. Ok, I had to pause here because I'm already annoyed with his confidence. I applaud that the kid is confident in his talent but right now it's coming off a little cocky and that makes his performance unauthentic. He's pushing it a little too. With that said, he can sing and he knows what kind of artist he wants to be. He has the tools but they need some sharpening. I won't be voting for him.

Tu chez, Kara. The story of the song did not fit the singer. To which Aaron Kelly says, "I was trying to tell the story. That's all." Let me say this: In my experience, stories always work better when you are the main character. And my dear, you are 16 and you don't have kids at home that you are calling. Didn't work.

Toddrick Hall (Queen's "Somebody To Love") - I really, really love this song. Makes me want to get up, take a shoulder width stance, pump my fist and sing very, very loudly. Mainly because it should totally be my life anthem right now. Can somebody find me somebody to love? Seriously? Because The 'Ham is in a serious dude drought.

You can tell this guy has been on Broadway. There is not lack of "performer" in his bones. He just redeemed himself from last week. Last week, I thought he was going home. This week, not so much.

Sidenote: Simon completely just insulted him by telling him that he was a Broadway singer. The last thing someone like him, who has been on Broadway already and is now on AI, wants to hear is that he is a Broadway singer. He knows that already. Obviously, if he wanted to be a Broadway singer, he would still be on Broadway. He's trying to re-invent himself and I don't think Simon is on board yet.

Michael Lynch (Maxwell's "This Woman's Work") - Every time I hear this song I think of this from So You Think You Can Dance at which at sat my little self in my living room and ugly cried for about 20 minutes after.


A couple of thoughts: I feel like he's singing to his wife. He reminds me of a friend from high school. It just thundered so wicked hard that my apartment shook. Yikes.

What a way to end the show. That was crazy good. There is nothing else to say about that. Because I'm ugly crying again.

The guys are definitely the stronger group.

My top three are still Mike, Andrew and Casey James (I can't just say Casey. I have to say Casey James.)

The best performances tonight were Mike, Alex and Toddrick.

I think Tim and Aaron are in trouble. At least, that's what I think.

Here's my top 12:
Mike
Lee
Andrew
Casey James
Alex
Toddrick
Crystal Bowersox
Lilly
Siobhan
Katelyn
Didi
Lacey

But we shall see after tomorrow!

Walden. Out!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

American Idol Top 16 - Girls (Which is really Top 8)

Okay, seriously, Ellen is cracking me up with Simon right now in the beginning. Too funny.

But...

THIS...is American Idol.

Katie Stevens (Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway") - The verse was really bad for me but when she hit the chorus, it surprised me. She can belt it but I feel like she is a one-trick pony. She can belt and her upper register is great but her lower is totally not there. And I just really didn't like this song for her. Ellen makes a point that she made the right choice with the young song but I still feel this wasn't a good song. I feel like she wouldn't done better with some Jordin Sparks or something like that. I also agree with Kara that she hasn't really found herself and that her voice is much older than she is. I just didn't feel her in it. I'm going to go out on a limb and say she'll make it to the top 12 but I might change my mind depending on what the others do.

Siobhan Magnus (The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun") - Can we first talk about how annoying it is that her name is spelled "Siobhan" and it's pronounced "Chavonne". So annoying. Just had to get that out there. Ok. This is a really brave open with the acapella here and I'm loving it. I'm going to go ahead and say that she is the dark horse. She's got an incredible voice and I love it because it's so surprising coming from her. I love her soul and reckless abandon with these big notes. I noticed her last week, but this week I'm liking her.

I totally agree with what Randy, Ellen and Kara said. If you didn't watch (Anna Little), sorry. They basically said she's "the bomb dot com."

Lacey Brown (Brandi Carlisle's "The Story") - This is such a great song, FYI. She hit her vibe right on the head here. I love her voice. She kinda sounds a little like Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn with a little Stevie Nix tied in there. I knew Randy would say that would be boring but glad that he liked it. I'm glad he's not in a bad mood this week. Kara - "effortless singing" - tu chez.

Katelyn Epperly (Carol King's "I Feel The Earth Move") - I love love love this song. I love that she's playing the keyboard again. She's like a girl version of Matt Giraud (sp?). I love her voice too but it felt a little karaoke/cover-ish. It was a safe choice so, like Ellen said, I don't know that people will vote for that. Of course, I never vote because I never watch in real time and the voting is closed by the time I watch.

(P.S. Can someone PLEASE separate Kara and Simon?!?! It's getting a little gross and distracting. If I were Kara's husband, I'd be a little pissed off. There has got to be some massive pole-like column thing (technical term, of course) under that table to make Kara sit so close to Simon. Or maybe they are paying her 500,000 bucks more to sit that close.

Dede Howeveryouspellherlastname (Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon") - Still love her voice and her story. She reminds me of Brooke White for some reason. This was definitely one of her best performances. Actually, her best. I'd forgotten all about last week. She bounced back and stepped it up big time. This is her vibe. She's staying. Point. Blank. Period.

Paige Miles (Charlie Chaplin's "Smile") - I've loved this song since I saw My Girl 2. She is mega shaky here. This is one of those songs that you just sing. It's not one of those that you try to change it up too much with runs and stuff. I hate this because I liked her so much after last week. To me, she took like 800 steps backward. It makes me sad. Totally the wrong song for her. And for the competition. At this point, I think that it's all well and good to love a song and want to sing it but you can't choose songs like that on this show. I love "Sweet Caroline" and "Ants Marching" but I wouldn't go on AI and sing them.

Crystal Bowersox (Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason") - Ok. I know I've said this about just about every song tonight but seriously it's like the theme tonight is the soundtrack to Katie's life. This song takes me back to sixth grade. And Waterland. I don't really know why other than I probably heard it at Waterland sometime. Really, why is she on this show? She doesn't need it. I don't understand why she hasn't made it up until now. Unless the makeover has something to with it. This chick is miles above every other girl and most guys in this competition. She will be in the final three, if not the final two and maybe the winner. SHE. IS. NUTS. TEAM BOWERSOX!! And she's so humble!

Lilly Scott (Patsy Cline's "I Fall To Pieces") - I'm not a country fan but again, I love this song. I love Patsy Cline. She's so classic. This is not my favorite performance of Lily's at all. I feel like she's pushing it a little bit. However, with that said, she's still one of the top three girls.

Tonight, my top three are Crystal, Lily and Siobhan with Lacey and Dede really close behind.

I feel like Katelyn and Paige are in trouble. However, I'll rather Katelyn stay over Katie just because I think Katie is so young and could use some time to figure out who she is as an artist and I don't think American Idol is going to help her do that.

So, there you go...

Walden. Out.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

American Idol Top 20 - Girls

I think I'm going to start opening and closing my AI posts like Ryan Seacrest. So...

THIS. Is American Idol.

First observations first. Simon sounds like he's fighting a little cold. Crystal looks like she's rebounded pretty well from her hospital stay. And I've got to admit that I'm a little upset that I won't be seeing Casey James perform tonight.

Crystal Bowersox (Credeence Clearwater's "Long As I Can See The Light") - Okay, first, she looks so pretty. Whoever convinced her to wear makeup was a genius. That's all I'll say about that. From the first note of this performance I felt like I was at an actual concert and not at an audition. Because let's face it. Every week on AI is just another audition. This girl is genius and her voice is insane. The arrangement of this song was brilliant. This is her vibe and I probably won't think twice about purchasing this one on iTunes, which is something I don't do often. She's my favorite of the season.

Haeley Vaughn (Miley Cyrus's "The Climb") - This is a predictable choice for her. And she kinda looks like Minnie Mouse a little. So Disney Channel, if you are watching, American Idol has the Miley Cyrus/Raven Samone combo you've been looking for. Hire her now.

This girl can definitely sing. She made it a little bit her own and I think it was better than last week. It started out great and then she just lost it a little towards the end. She's 16 though. She's got a long road ahead of her and she's got time to work. I can't believe Kara just compared her to Alex Lambert. That's apples and oranges Kara. Apples and oranges. She's a dead ringer for High School Musical 4: Frat-tastic Voyage.

And she's going to go backstage and cry now.

Lacey Brown (Sixpence None The Richer "Kiss Me") - The first two notes were horrible but it definitely got better. Kara's right. This is her vibe. I kind of agree with Randy that it was a little Karaoke but I also think it wasn't that bad. She sounded better than last week and she had great energy. There's just nothing that stands out for her to me except for her cute hair. Simon's right. I had really forgotten what she sang last week and forgot that she has that great tone. She's got to make her mark if she wants to stay. I'll go ahead and say she'll be back.

Katie Stevens (Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On") - If I were her mom, I'd be a little afraid that she knows how to say "Give me a kiss" in six different languages and I'd never let her leave the country.

Cute shoes.

She reminds me a little of Katherine McPhee. Onto her performance, I liked it. Much better than last week, and I know I keep saying that but I guess that's the point of this competition. To be better every week. I kind of wish she would've sang a little Miley Cyrus myself. I liked it. But that's really all I have to say about it. I agree with Simon that she needs to find herself. But she's 17. I mean come on. I'm 26 and I still don't know who I am. So...

DiDi Renami - (Bill Withers' "Lean On Me") - Okay, I'm going to go ahead and admit that I remember her for her dress that she wore in the initial audition. And her story. I forgot that she had such a great sounding voice. There were a couple of pitch problems but she handled the song well. I just don't like when people sing songs like "Lean On Me" for American Idol because it makes it hard for me to take them seriously. I associate that song with youth camps and school assemblies. Not with American Idol. And the last time I heard someone cover that song was when DC Talk did it in the early 1990s. Two decades ago.

I love her voice but she needs to step it up if she's back next week.

Michelle Delamor (Creed's "With Arms Wide Open) - I love how everyone prays before they go on stage.

I was a little skeptical about this song selection and I think I was right. This was bad. Brave choice. But it just didn't seem right and something definitely went wrong at the end. That's all I'll say.

Except I see where Kara is coming from.

And I did like her outfit.

Lily Scott (Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come") - She's so authentic that it doesn't matter how she sounds. I thought last week's performance SOUNDED better but this was definitely emotionally (if that's the right word) better. She connected. She's still one of my favorites. She's got it, as Ellen just said. So talented and so marketable. Even her name is marketable. Nothing else to say.

Katelyn Epperly (Coldplay's "The Scientist") - Love Coldplay. Loved this. This was a good color on her. I was into it. It was a little slow but that's Coldplay. She's beautiful and I loved her voice tonight. She'll be back. If she had done what she did last week this week, she wouldn't be back. But she will be back.

Paige Miles (Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away") - Chick can belt. She sounds a lot like Kelly Clarkson too. She's good. I noticed her tonight. When Ryan said "We'll be back with Paige," I was like, "Who is Paige?" What did she even do last week? I don't even remember from her package. I'll remember her now. I don't know what Simon was talking about.

Siobhan Magnus (Aretha Franklin's "Think") - Okay, she looks a little bit like Minnie Mouse too. She's kinda weird to me. I don't remember her from last week. What did she sing? I was about to say that I didn't like this one bit and then she pulled out the Adam Lambert screech-yell. And I actually liked it. And props to Ellen for the Snuggie analogy. Genius. She is a no inhibitions kinda person and it's great. But she's so weird!

So my top three are -- Crystal, Lily, and Katelyn with Paige really close behind.

My predictions about who is going home are -- Haeley and Michelle. DiDi is a possibility too. But I love her so much.

Okay...

Walden. Out.

This just made my night

This just showed up in my Twitter feed. A little slice of home.

          @KatieJWalden william made you something :)

Thanks to "Da" or Amanda for the help with the arts and crafts. And thanks to my sis for the sweetest voicemail I've ever gotten. And the translation.

Definitely the brightest part of my week.

5,000 Question Survey (Part 7)

601. Do you have a lust for life?
I don't really know how to take this question. Is this the same as a zest for life? A passion for life? I guess. Living life these day is exciting and I'd like to do more of it.

602. Do you want to get more out of life?
Oh yes. More than you know.

603. Would you want to learn to:

Convert to Buddhism?
Nope.

Cure a hangover?
Nope. There's a purpose for this.

Lie persuasively?
I think I already know how to do this. Maybe.

604. What character from a movie is most like you?
Amanda Bynes in anything. Mostly in What A Girl Wants in her search to figure out what she wants to do with her life.

605. Are you comfortable with the idea of your own death?
Um, I try not to think about it but I know that if I were to die today where I would end up. So I'm comfortable with that.

606. How do you feel about arranged marriages?
It's not for me but I think it would be an interesting study as to how many of them last. I bet a good number do.

607. What do you hate that everyone else seems to like?
South Park

608. What do you like that others seem to hate?
Marshmellow Peeps

609. If you had to be named after a month, which month would you pick?
June

610. Is time more like a highway or a meadow to you?
These days it's like a highway. I think I'd like to be more like a meadow sometimes.

611. What is your favorite movie?
The Wizard of Oz

612. Which would you choose to be back in the day: a warrior, an alchemist, a minstrel, a bard, an oracle, a peasant, or a merchant?
A minstrel. They performed.

613. What is your favorite song lyric?
That's a hard question for me but right now I think it's: But the baby in her womb is the Maker of the moon, he's the Author of the faith that can make the mountains move. The song is Labor of Love from Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb Of God.

614. What will you never run out of?
Love

615. If you could force someone to fall madly in love with you, (anyone you choose) would you do it?
I don't want to force anyone to fall madly in love with me. I want them to love me because they want to.

616. Have you ever seen the Disney movie The Black Cauldron?
Don't think so.

617. Have you ever read The Black Cauldron by Alexander Lloyd (or any of his other books in the Prydain Chronicles)?
Nope.

618. Have you ever written a paper the night before it was due?
Too many times to count. My parents can attest to this.

How about the day it was due?
No. Too much pressure.

619. Is there a movie you have watched so many times that you can quote it line for line?
Let's see...Dennis the Menace, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Wizard of Oz, Remember the Titans (I pretty much know the whole opening monologue), A Time To Kill, Hitch, Mary Poppins

620. What is your favorite season?
Football season! Ha. No really, it's summer.

621. Do you mind being described as cute?
Don't mind at all.

622. What is the tackiest object in your home?
I think my apartment is pretty cute. No tackiness.

623. What do you think people are most ignorant towards?
I think different people are ignorant towards a lot of things dependent on where the person lives. Where I am, it think it's still the race issue.

624. What is it that makes you an interesting person?
I don't know. Ask the people who think I'm interesting.

625. What makes other people interesting to you?
Their story. The background that has made them what they are.

626. How open to suggestion are you?
Pretty open.

627. Is Michael Jackson black or white?
He's dead now. But he's black. You are what you were born.

628. Are you often lonely?
Not often.

629. What’s the most unusual pet you’ve ever had?
A beta fish

630. Have you ever threatened an authority figure?
Threatened? No. Stood up to them? Yes.

631. If you had to choose would you rather make all your decisions henceforth with your head only or with your heart only?
Head decisions have no emotion in them. I'm an emotion person. So although it may hurt a lots, I'd have to go with heart.

632. How imaginative are you?
Pretty imaginative.

633. Do you like the Counting Crows?
There's probably one or two songs I like but I'm not a fan.

634. If you took this survey from the diary (5000 Q Survey V2.0) did you note me so I could read it?
Nope.

635. Are you more tense or laid back?
I think I'm more laid back except for in certain situations. My job has made me more tense lately.

636. Does your happiness depend on anyone else, or are you happy no matter what any one says or does?
For the most part, I'm happy no matter what but it does matter to me what certain other people think.

637. What do you think of the idea of putting the bible into the format of a fashion magazine to attract the interest of teenagers?
Whatever gets people to read the Bible.

638. How often do you drink to get drunk?
Never

639. Would you consider yourself to be diplomatic?
I would say I'm pretty diplomatic but I can be straight forward too.

640. Do you think that most of the classes you have taken were taught in such a way as to make plain the relevance of the subject matter in your everyday life?
I'd say there were a few in college. I enjoyed all of my grad school classes except for research and development which was pointless and in high school it depended on the teacher.

641. Do you remember Crystal Pepsi?
Yes! I loved that stuff!

642. When was the last time you spent a night away from home?
The last time I went to visit my parents.

643. Some people say that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Is that true?
No. I was asked a lot of dumb questions this weekend.

644. What is the most interesting TV channel?
Discovery

645. Name one song you could live without hearing ever again:
Lips Of An Angel by Hinder

646. Do your pets understand you when you talk?
Of course.

647. What are three things you HAVE NOT done that might surprise people?
Never been to the West Coast.
Never been to a Mississippi Braves game.
I've never been to a College World Series.ss

648. Have you ever had a secret admirer?
Actually yes. Had one in high school. Creeper.

649. Have you been to a museum this year?
Not in 2010.

650. Do you ever watch porn?
Uh, no.

651. Do you think that it would be a good idea if people served in the army, navy or air force for a while before they were allowed to vote?
No.

652. If you were required to do this to vote, would you?
Maybe

653. Do people often give you weird looks?
Yep.

654. Do like Japanese cooking?
Yes.

655. Do you care for stray animals?
Not now.

656. Which animated movies have you seen and what did you think of them:
A Charlie Brown Christmas - One of my favs.
A Garfield Halloween - never seen it
The Secret of Nimh - never seen it
The Last Unicorn - never seen it
The original Lord of the Rings cartoons - never seen them

657. Are you ambidextrous (equally good at using both hands)?
yeah. I just write better with my right.

658. Do you always say; “bless you” after someone sneezes, or do you hesitate?
Usually, always.

659. If you and your friends could go away for 2 days over Halloween weekend where would you go?
The beach

660. Which of these animated movies have you seen and what did you think of them:
Watership Down
As the Wind Blows
Grave of the Fireflies
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Only seen this one and I love it.
Spirited Away

661. Do you feel that society is male dominated, female dominated, or neutral?
Still male-dominated, quickly becoming female-dominated

662. What words offend you?
I'd rather not say and it offends me that you would ask me to say them.

663. They’re just words. Can you get over it?
nope

664. Have you ever looked into different religions?
Not really.

665. Which ones have you looked into?
n/a

666. What do you think of Satanism as a religion?
I don't like it.

667. Do you like it better when your classes are taught sitting in rows or sitting in a circle?
It doesn't matter to me. As long as the content is interesting and the teacher makes me want to learn.

668. Have you ever read your own tarot cards?
Nope

669. Which ones do you like better, the three old star wars movies or the 2 new ones?
Old ones

670. If you scream in outer space does it make a sound?
I'm sure it would.

671. If you saw The Queen of the Damned did you want to be a vampire/Goth afterwards?
Never saw it so no.

672. If you saw SLC Punk did you want to be punk afterwards?
See answer for 671.

673. What is your favorite zombie movie?
Don't have one. Not really a zombie fan.

674. Best kids birthday party: ceramics, chuck-e-cheese, roller rink, bowling, sleep over, movie theater
Chuck E. Cheese no doubt but these kids today have no clue. Ever since they took the robot characters away, it's just another glorified pizza parlor. I always had a swimming party myself. Also did the sleep over thing once and a movie.

675. What were your parties like when you were a kid?
Awesome.

676. Best teen (about 15-16) birthday party: ceramics, chuck-e-cheese, roller rink, bowling, sleep over, movie theater, house party, catered in a hall, restaurant, family trip, concert
House party or restaurant

677. What are/were your 15-16 year old parties like?
Don't think I had one at 15. My Sweet 16 was a surprise party at my church.

678. Best 18th birthday party: ceramics, chuck-e-cheese, roller rink, bowling, sleep over, movie theater, house party, catered in a hall, restaurant, family trip, concert, club, pool hall, college party
My 18th birthday I was at the beach with my family. I spent it at Joe's Crab Shack. They made me put a tutu on and dance on the table.

679. If you are 18 what was your party like?
See 679.

680. Best 21st birthday party: ceramics, chuck-e-cheese, roller rink, bowling, sleep over, movie theater, house party, catered in a hall, restaurant, family trip, concert, club, pool hall, college party, bar, Atlantic city/Las Vegas trip
I'm sure most people would say bar. I spent it at a bible study.

681. If you saw The Craft were you interested in wicca/paganism/magic afterwards?
No way. A little creepy.

682. What are your top 3 priorities?
God, family, friends

683. If you saw fight club did you want to get into a fistfight afterwards?
Nope

684. What is your favorite smell?
Cinnamon

685. Give everything below a humor rating (1 = laugh your ass off, 2 = lol, 3 = smile, 4 = lame, 5 = not funny, 6 = offensive):
People falling
Rape jokes
Sarcastic comments
Blonde jokes
Dirty jokes
God/religion jokes
Long-ass jokes
Death jokes
Pain/sickness jokes
Animals doing cute stuff
Bodily functions
Knock jokes
Ethnic jokes
Puns
Ironic situations

I think all of these have a certain level of humor in certain situations. Not going to generalize.

685. If you saw Cruel Intentions did you want to have lots of meaningless sex afterwards?
Uh, no. And what's with these questions.

686. Do you get at least three hugs per day?
Not anymore.

687. What should someone never say to you/call you if they want to remain on your good side?
Never question my intelligence

688. If you saw Trainspotting did you want to do drugs afterwards?
Seriously. This is dumb.

689. Do movies have a great influence on you?
Not really.

690. Do you have a favorite reality TV show?
Big Brother, AI, SYTYCD, Project Runway

691. Are there certain roles that people are pressured to play in society or can they basically do whatever they want?
This doesn't make sense.

692. How does the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake compare to the original movie?
Didn't see it so I have no opinion.

693. Have you ever held a magnifying glass over an insect to burn it?
No.

694. Have you ever pulled the wings off a fly, butterfly or any other insect?
No.

695. What would you think of a guy (if you're into guys) or a girl (if you're into girls) who wanted to take you to the park to feed the birds and look at the turtles and fish in the water on a date?
Sounds like good times to me.

696. Do you use public pools?
Yes

697. Do you use public bathrooms?
Yes.

698. Do you use public showers?
Yes.

699. How old will you be in 17 years?
43

700. Would it effect you at all if you knew that a very large meteor was headed towards earth that would impact in 17 years?
No. Not really.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

American Idol Top 20 - Guys

I've decided I'm going to blog my opinion on AI this season. It probably won't go past tonight but we'll see.

Here goes...

Big Mike - Love this guy. I agree with everything that the judges said tonight. He was a completely different person on that stage tonight. Although, I didn't think last week was THAT bad, he definitely stepped it up this week. And he is definitely a performer who commands the stage.

John Park - No doubt that this guy can sing. He showed it in his initial audition but I think that he's losing himself now here in Hollywood. I kind of feel like he's pushing himself to be something that he's not and so he's not singing like John Park. He's singing like he thinks people want him to sound and it's coming off kind of unauthentic. I agree with Randy that it was definitely the best vibe for him but it was pitchy. But way better than last week but I just don't think he'll be back next week.

Casey James - Ok, first can we talk about how he bought and restored his own house? My goodness, the things you can do if you aren't help captive by the DVR masters. His guitar is a pretty color blue and he's not bad looking either. This guy could sing the phonebook and I'd buy it just because he is so authentic and believable. The vocal (as Randy just said) wasn't that great but he's just so infectious.

And can we talk about how bad Kara's hair looks?

Alex Lambert - Ok, first this kid has got to change his last name because he's three letters too close last year's runner up and that doesn't conjure up good thoughts for me. And I love that he made up his own language in sixth grade. That's just so nerdy that it's cute. I love the tone of this kid's voice. And I think this was a good song for him. The guitar also helps. He looks more comfortable with it. But we have GOT to do something with that mullet!

Todrick Hall - I loved the way he changed the song up last week but I think it came off wrong. He's definitely innovative and I appreciate that. I loved his audition and the song he wrote. he was actually one of the ones that I remembered. This week, I just didn't really like this performance. I don't know what it is. He was pitchy and I just don't think I like that song. I agree with Randy that this kid just needs to sing. He's trying to do so much more with it than he should. That's one thing I've learned from listening to my sister and my mom. Just sing the song. If you're good, you don't need to show out.

Jermaine Sellers - I like this guy but there's just not much to say about him. He can sing but so can everyone else on the show and there's just nothing special about him.

I agree with what Kara and Simon.

And Jesus is my homeboy too, J.

Andrew Garcia - Ok, before this guy even starts singing. I love him. His rendition of Paula Abdul's Straight Up in Hollywood week was insanely ingenius. This dude is mad talented. And I can't wait to here him.

First, I love this song. And I love his voice. There is nothing else to say. He and Casey James are in the same boat as far as I'm concerned. I'll be surprised if they don't make it to, at the very least, the top 5.

And can I just take this time to say that I wasn't so sure about Ellen coming on the show, but I've been pleasantly surprised with her. She's definitely giving the people's take on it and I like that a lot. Plus, you've got to admit, she's funny.

Aaron Kelly - Again, this kid can sing. He just reminds me of a David Archileta/Clay Aiken combo and that's kind of annoying. He's definitely got a country vibe hidden in there somewhere because we heard it last week and you could kind of detect it this week. Kara made a good point. You definitely know when he steps on the stage that you know what you are going to get. He'll be back next week.

Tim Urban - He's precious. This definitely a better song for him. This is his vibe. However, I just don't think he's as good as the others. I like him over John Park but that's not helping him anyway. Two people gotta go home this week. I see him as a performer making the college circuit. Actually, I see him leading worship at Campus Crusade. I know that's weird. Ellen had a good point. I'd love him on Glee. I'd like to see him back next week but who knows.

Excuse me while I put my eyes back into my head after what Simon just said. Tu chez, my British friend.

Lee Dewyze - I LOATHE this song. I won't go into all the reasons why but I would be fine not ever hearing again. But with that said, this guy has an interesting voice. I like it, but he gets pitchy a lot because he pushes too much. I think it he can learn some control, he'd be great. He's been in my top three guys for a while. I definitely liked last week's performance better but I totally like him. He's cute too. And he's got that cute Chi-CAH-go accent.

My top three guys:
Casey, Andrew and Lee with Big Mike and Alex in a very, very close second.

Can't wait for the girls tomorrow. I hope Crystal is feeling better. She's definitely my favorite girl.

Well, Hello There

So, it's been about a week since I've posted and I know all four of you are wondering where I have been. I have a lot of things that I want to write about but just haven't really found the time to.

(P.S. Today it snowed for about the sixth time in two months here in The 'Ham. That's redonk. And I still need to post pictures of the best snow we had a few weeks ago.)

It seems as though life has decided that kicking me in the butt is going to be its new hobby for a while so I've been trying deal with that.

Last week was a tough one, culminating with me sitting out in 40 degree weather for 12, 13 and 8 hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Such is the life of a softball sports information director. Like Fergie said, G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S. Yeah. Don't be jealous.

(Sidenote: Any time I can't remember how to spell glamorous, I channel Fergie.)

Saturday took a toll on me that I haven't seen in a while. I reverted back to my five-year old self and threw a fit that would give my two-year old nephew a run for his Elmo Store money. After a day full of dumb questions, frigid temperatures, the one thing I was glad about was that nothing technically went wrong. Except, I spoke too soon. As soon as I could see the light at the end of the proverbial ice-covered tunnel, things went spiraling quickly and I went right down with them.

After apologizing to the appropriate people, and talking it out with the parental units (my absolute favorite thing in the world, although frustrating at times), I sat myself down in my empty apartment and had myself a good cry. I told God I never wanted to be that person again and then yelled and yelled and yelled at the devil to "get thee away".

Sunday wasn't much better but I handled it better because the only thing getting me through the day was that I could end it at church. Needless to say, as I was walking out the door to go to church, the problems kept arising. However, I knew in my heart that I needed to get to church more than those problems needed to be fixed. They would be there waiting for me two hours later, and I would have a better attitude to deal with them.

Funny thing is, my pastor was preaching on Leviticus. And I ugly cried. Who knew Leviticus could make you ugly cry? But let me tell you, that there third book of the Bible is chock-full of some amazing truth and is not one of those that should be skimmed lightly very often.

By the grace of God, my pastor spoke some truths into my life that I had completely forgotten, hence my dealing with things in those last couple of days in the absolute wrong way.

Leviticus 16 is all about the Day of Atonement and it shed some needed light on how I look at myself through the eyes of God.

So many times I expect too much of myself. I convince myself that I should be good at everything that I do and that I should be able to do everything that I do at my job right the first time. And in that, I'm continuously setting myself up for failure.

(Funny thing is, I give the complete opposite advice out to those who come to me down about themselves. I tell them that they can't expect to be good at everything and that we all make mistakes. Funny thing.)

In my professional life, I get offended when people attack my work, when they point out the negatives and never acknowledge the positives. And in my personal life, although I proclaim to not care what other people think about me and am quick to give my opinion, I'm forever fearful of disappointing those who are close to me or who are counting on me to do a good job at something.

This affects my walk with God immensely. When I'm drained and have hit my limit, I rarely look to my God for help. As I look back at my fit, I realize that I never once, not once, stopped and breathed and asked God to give me a good attitude in the whole thing. I quickly succumbed to the frustration and acted in an embarrassing angry way. Which was sinful. And then I beat myself up about it.

I let satan chew away at my self-esteem with the guilt and shame of the situation and meanwhile I can't hear God telling me that he's already forgiven me.

So the main truth that I must remember at all times is this:

I am sinful. And I deserve death. No doubt about it.

But...

The great thing about God's grace is that I don't have to sacrifice a goat or a bull or a lamb to cover over my sins like those people in Leviticus 16. I don't have to put my sins on the head of a goat and send him far away into the wilderness never to be seen again.

Why?

Because God already did that.

In Leviticus, the Israelites had to present an annual sacrifice on the Day of Atonement to atone for all the sins of the people throughout the entire year. (Meanwhile, they do it just about every day as well.) A priest enters an earthly sanctuary and presents the blood of a spotless animal to God to cover over the sins of the people. God saw the sins of the people and was satisfied with the sacrifice of a substitute in the animal.

But that sacrifice would need to be repeated the next year. And the next. And the next. And it's a reminder of the sins that the people committed.

Now in the New Testament covenant, we have an abiding sacrifice in the death of Christ. A sacrifice that was made once and for all. Jesus is our high priest entering a heavenly sanctuary. And it's made possible because of the blood of a sinless man.

God saw our sin an was satisfied by the sacrifice of His Son. His own Son! It's a sacrifice that doesn't need repeating. Because it lasts forever. And it doesn't remind us of our sin. It removes our sin. Just like that goat in Leviticus 16:21-22, God placed all of our sins, even those fits we have in frustration, on Jesus Christ and sent them away to a place never to be seen or heard from again.

Isn't that just awesome to ponder?

Now, if I can just remember this the next time I decide to throw a fit.

Because fits aren't cute.

Especially when you are 26.