March 24, 2011 - Idol Motown Night Doesn't Disappoint
Every season American Idol hypes the current singers as better than ever, but for the first time in several years, it's true. Motown night featured some very solid performances. The highlights: Jacob Lusk displayed the depth of his rare talent with Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "You're All I Need to Get By." Naima Adedapo, after a couple of shaky weeks, connected with Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street," adding a unique touch with some African-style dancing. Casey Abrams put his bizarre trademark on "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," proving yet again he's a true original. Thia Megia received good reviews from the judges, and I've liked her so far, but the 16-year-old was clearly in over her head this time taking on Martha's "Heat Wave," missing and/or slurring lyrics, alternately singing well, then getting lost in it all. Hers was the only weak performance of the night.
My only real problem is that they've done Motown night so many times, I'm ready to move on - how about Cameo-Parkway night, Phil Spector night, Rockabilly night, whatever...c'mon, Nigel, let's mix it up!
March 16, 2011 - Tiny Tim Tip-Toes Again in New Fright Flick
Check out the TV promo running now for the horror film Insidious, opening April 1. The spot uses Tiny Tim's 1968 hit "Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips With Me" to interesting effect, sounding like it's coming through a telephone receiver while quick-cuts of scary scenes appear onscreen. Some people used to be creeped-out by Tiny Tim; now they have reason to be flat-out frightened!
The Beatles have songs popping up all over...the latest episode of Glee, while titled The Original Song, nonetheless has a few throwbacks. The Fab Four's contribution is "Blackbird," performed by Kurt (Chris Colfer) and the Dalton Academy Warblers.
March 3, 2011 - Etta and AI: "At Last" Another Classic
American Idol gave us a pleasant surprise Wednesday night as top 12 female-rounds contestant Lauren Turner belted out an energetic version of Etta James' "Seven Day Fool," impressing all three judges and myself as well, very happy that she dug that deep for one of the greatest, but not best-known, James singles. A few weeks ago, a version of Etta's "All I Could Do Was Cry" came up in the AI audition rounds by Tiffany Rios, so it appears the word is out that Miss Peaches' catalog has far more to offer than just "At Last"!
Naima Adedapo made a fast move to the forefront of the hopeful AI finalists with her take on "Summertime," which of course dates back to Porgy and Bess in the '30s, but enjoyed great exposure in the '50s and '60s with varied and terrific versions by Sam Cooke, The Marcels, Rick Nelson, The Chris Columbo Quintet and the 1966 smash by Billy Stewart. Naima's first-rate rendering did them all proud.
March 2, 2011 - "Light My Fire" Flame Snuffed Out on Idol
The 12 male finalists took the American Idol stage Tuesday evening, and the results were more uneven than things appeared in the audition rounds. Brett Loewenstern delivered a cringe-worthy "Light My Fire" that I'm hoping none of the surviving members of The Doors tuned in for (or Jose Feliciano, for that matter). Mr. Loewenstern does possess a unique look and personality, but based on this performance, he won't be making it into the semi-finals.
February 28, 2011 - Hall Pass Packed Soundtrack Triumphs
Warner's Hall Pass starring Owen Wilson and SNL's Jason Sudekis opened in the number one spot at the box office over the weekend. The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice," The Marmalade's "Reflections of My Life" and the often-used "Son-Of-A Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield are all featured in the movie.
Megamind just hit the shelves on DVD. The animated film features yet another version of Elvis Presley's 1968 revived classic "A Little Less Conversation." This time it's the "Junkie XL" remix.
February 7, 2011 - Zombie Glee and Montez Free-For-All
Glee continues to rework a Way Back blast into an occasional episode. Tuesday night it was The Zombies' "She's Not There" performed by cast member Finn Hudson.
Microsoft's Bing ads took a bizarre turn recently with a spot featuring a loud, squishy supermarket food fight mob while Chris Montez's "Let's Dance" played, semi-drowned-out, though Chris' right-channel stereo vocals can be heard during the melee. The commercial is part of Bing's chaotic "Search Overload" series.