Wednesday, May 28, 2008

American Idol Update

I have lots of Idol news so I will start with the newest Idol............ David Cook told Regis and Kelly on "Live with Regis and Kelly" that he went out on a date with Season 2 contestant Kimberly Caldwell. He said that there would most likely be a second date.

Almost Season 7 Semifinalist Josiah Leming was signed to Warner Bros. Records about a month and a half ago, and he confirmed it to mtv news on Tuesday (May 28, 08).

Justin Guarini has a new website and you can check it out here--- (everyone notice that he's growing his hair back!)

Nikki McKibbin and RJ Helton will be recording a duet together in the very near future according to Nikki's manager Joe Cannizzaro.

Clay Aiken's fourth studio length album On My Way Here (which is also the first single off the album) is in stores now.

Carrie Underwood has a music video out for her new single, Last Name. You can watch the video on her official youtube site --- . Miss Underwood is also touring this summer, here are the dates--- .

Bo Bice is also spending his summer on tour--- .

Taylor Hicks will be joining the cast of Grease this summer in the role of "Teen Angel", according to his myspace page.

Kellie Pickler's new single "Don't You Know You're Beautiful" has been released and it is the first single off her upcoming sophomore album; here are Ms. Pickler's tour dates for the summer and fall, .

Ace Young's self titled debut album will be released on July 15th. His first single, "Addicted" is on the radio right now, and Ace's album release party will be at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT on July 15th.

Bucky Covington's new single "I'll Walk" is playing on the radio right now, and you can see him on tour this summer--- .

Jordin Sparks is touring with Ms. Alicia Keys this summer, and has been nominated for a BET award with Chris Brown for "No Air" (they are up for Best Collaboration, be sure to watch June 24th on BET).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Quote Book

English was my favorite subject all four years of high school; it was the only class where I felt I could really get away from the drama that was high school. English class was my escape through novels, plays, and poems-- I could go anywhere from Hiroshima in 1945 to France and England in 1775 to the Salinas Valley in California in the early 1900's. Junior Year English was special for a handful of reasons. The summer before my junior year, I read three books that I found to be influential, yet freaky: The Once & Future King, Brave New World, and 1984. I also was in the class of the new English teacher that everyone was raving about. The summer following my junior year, I read the autobiography of Malcolm X which is not only one of my favorite books, but a book that changed my life and continues to impact me to this day. However, by far the most important thing that happened that school year was that I started a quote book.
My English teacher had a quote book, it was black and leatherbound. One day he was looking for it in his bag, and when he found it he took it out and read us a quote that pertained to a novel we were reading. He should have made starting a quote book a class assignment, but he didn't. I thought it was such a brilliant idea that I started one of my own the same week that I was introduced to the concept.
A quote book is exactly what it says it is, it's a book that you fill with your favorite quotes. My quote book is a small 3x6 blank book with a picture of Monet's impression sunrise on the front. It's a little bit beaten up from going in and out of my book bag all the years I went to school, high school and college. Now it has a special place in the drawer next to my bed. If I find a quote worthy of going into my quote book, I write it down and then write it in my quote book at my first opportunity. I have an impressive collection of quotes, and it's something I plan to continue doing. I love the idea of having all my favorite quotes in one place. I want to share some of my favorite quotes from my quote book with you, and I urge you to not only share some of your fave quotes with me, but to start your own quote book.

"If you love someone, tell them right then and there, or the time will just pass you by" -- Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding

"The tragic thing about death is that it tranforms life into destiny" -- Malcolm X

"Dream as if you'll live forever, life as if you'll die tomorrow" -- James Dean

"If the mind can conceive it then the man can achieve it" -- LL Cool J

"When I'm away from you for more than an hour, I can't stop thinking about you. I carry you in my spirit, I pray for you more than I pray for myself" -- Shemar Moore in Diary of a Mad Black Woman

"True friends is when two people can travel in opposite directions and yet still are side by side"-- Anonymous

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together"-- Marilyn Monroe

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Dueling Davids Go Three Rounds on Idol Finale

Round 1: Clive Davis' Choice---

01 David Cook (D.C.) sang "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" made famous by U2. David sang the hell out of that song; first off, I love it and second is that it is such a tough song to sing. He made it sound not only easy, but amazing. Simon called the performance "phenomenal".

02 David Archuleta (D.A.) sang "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" made famous by Elton John and George Michael. I liked the changes that he made to the song, and I thought his vocals were on point. Simon called it arguably his "best performance of the season".

Round 1: Cook

Round 2: New Song Contestant Choice---

01 D.C. sang "Dream Big". The song was not great but I think he did the best he could with the song that he chose. Simon said it was supposed to be a winning moment but it didn't feel like one.

02 D.A. sang "In This Moment". I disagree with Simon saying that Round 2 went to Archuleta. I did not think that either contestant did a better job than the other.

Round 2: Too Close To Call
Round 3: Contestant's Song Choice---
01 D.C. sang "The World I Know" made famous by Collective Soul.
Here are some words from Paula: "You're standing in your truth .... and you deliver songs with integrity and originality". Simon called David, "one of the nicest and most sincere contestants we've ever had". For me, David is such an honest performer, and he has been on my list since day one. I treasure every performance from "Hello" to "Billie Jean" to "Eleanor Rigby" to "Innocent". He is amazing and so deserving of being in this moment right now.

02 D.A. sang "Imagine" made famous by John Lennon. I feel like this was one of David's best performances from the season. That being said, did he have to sing a song that he sang in the past that we, as viewers, can recall for ourselves in his repetoire? Simon's comment about this finale being a knockout could not have been more wrong.

David Cook should have been coming out for an encore and to grab his trophy.

Round 3: Cook by a hair
n.b. Photos are from

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Summer at the Movies, The Hits, Misses, and Toss Ups Thus Far

Hit: Viewers and critics alike already know that Iron Man is a bonafied hit. Reviewers have praised Downey's performance, and the cast (which also includes Terrance Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Bridges) has already signed on for two sequels, the first scheduled for an April 2010 release. The movie raked in $98 million on opening weekend (the tenth biggest movie opening weekend of all time) and $51 million the second week.

Misses: With Patrick Dempsey as its star, you would think Made of Honor would be a hit, but many critics called the movie a predictable chick flick. The $100 million budget meant that Speed Racer, a film based on Japanese anime needed to be a hit, but instead it was a big bust, or rather, as some critics declared, a "cinematic pile up". It's really too bad because the cast made up of Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon, and Matthew Fox is a stellar group of actors.

Toss Ups: Baby Mama (starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) made a profit, but was it clever funny or stupid funny? I think the latter. What Happens in Vegas received generally bad reviews, but stars two charming and comedic actors: Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz.

n.b. Both images shown in this posting are the promotional posters for the movie.

Why Is Cyberspace Such a Cruel Place?

The story made news all over the world, and then, today while I was surfing the net I finally read something that made me believe that justice may have been served.

This story begins in early Fall of 2006 in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri; thirteen year old Megan Meier began communicating online on MySpace with a 16 year old boy named Josh Evans. Evans wrote that he was from Florida originally and had just recently moved to Megan's neighborhood. He also wrote that he was being home-schooled and did not yet have a phone number that he could share with her so they could talk. The two became online friends and communicated online regularly.

Then in mid October of 2006, Josh Evans' messages to Megan began to change. He wrote, " I don't know if I want to be friends with you anymore because I've heard that you are not very nice to your friends," and "the world would be a better place without you". Meier told her mother Christina Meier about the messages, and the two reportedly argued over Meier's use of vulgar language in her online responses to the messages.

(Megan Meier photo courtesy of Tom Gannam/ AP)
Twenty minutes following the argument, on October 15, 2006, Christina Meier found her daughter hanging in her closet. Despite efforts to revive her, Megan was pronounced dead the following day. Megan had previously been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and depression and struggled with feeling overweight.

Josh Evans had been her outlet, her family even said that since communicating with him, her spirits had been lifted. The once described, "bubbly, goofy girl," by her parents had become bubbly and goofy again, and then her feelings were hurt and she was dead.

There was only one problem, six weeks following her death, Ronald and Christina Meier (Megan's parents) found out that Josh Evans was all a lie, in fact he didn't even exist.

Josh Evans was the creation of a parent, Lori Janine Drew who's daughter was once friends with Megan Meier. Drew created the MySpace account with the knowledge of her daughter and characterized what happened as a "joke". She told police that she planned on "gaining Megan's confidence and finding out what Megan felt about her daughter and other people".

The neighborhood mom who found out about this cruel joke and told the Meier's said Lori Drew even "laughed about it" and had every intention of "mess(ing) with Megan".

In December of 2007 Missouri prosecutors decided not to file any charges against Drew and they cited lack of evidence. However, federal authorities in California did not feel the same way and decided to take on the case because MySpace is a subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media based in Beverly Hills.

At the same time that this was happening, Meier's aunt, Vicki Dunn had just read an article written by Steve Pokin in the St. Charlies Journal about internet harassment (also referred to as cyber crimes). Dunn contacted Pokin and shared Meier's story and then it became international news.
Today, May 15, 2008 a federal grand jury indicted Lori Drew for her role in Megan Meier's suicide. According to the Associated Press, "Lori Drew was charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization for her part in an alleged bid to get information that was used to inflict emotional distress on Megan Meier".

According to MTV News, "Earlier this year, one of Drew's employees, 19-year-old Ashley Grills, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she created the fake profile but that Drew wrote some of the messages to Megan. Grills says she wrote the final message about the world being a better place without Meier, intending to end the online relationship because Grills thought the hoax had gone too far".

Tina (Christina) Meier's said in a local newspaper that she did not think that anyone involved in this cyber crime meant for her daughter to commit suicide but she finds it "vile" that an adult would be involved in something like this.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Top Three Go Three Rounds on Idol

The final three on Idol sang three songs tonight; the first was a judge's choice, second was contestant's choice, and third was producer's choice.

01 David Archuleta sang "And So It Goes" made famous by Billy Joel (Paula's Choice)-- I liked the performance but I didn't think there was anything special about it.
Score: 4.0

02 Syesha Mercado sang "If I Ain't Got You" made famous by Alicia Keys (Randy's Choice)-- I thought she sang this song well, but I think that I expected more than what she delivered. She did change quite a few notes, but as Simon said, it wasn't enough.
Score: 4.0

03 David Cook sang "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" made famous by Roberta Flack (Simon's Choice)-- This was an awesome song choice by Simon. I was impressed with how Simon changed this song, and to quote Simon, "Round one goes to Cook and Cowell".
Score: 5.0

01 David A. sang "With You" made famous by Chris Brown-- I appreciate David singing a song this is very different from what he is used to stylistically. It did sound good in his vocal range, but was it believeable? Not really. It was like a "chiwawa trying to be a tiger," according to Simon.
Score: 3.9

02 Syesha sang "Fever" made famous by Peggy Lee-- Syesha chose the perfect song for herself and worked it. The song was vocally fierce and I loved it.
Score: 5

03 David C. sang "Dare You To Move" made famous by Switchfoot-- I thought this was a cool choice of song, and it made me really happy to listen to him sing it. I kept wishing I could hear the whole song; Paula made a good point. It's tough to take a three and a half minute song and cram it into a minute thirty.
Score: 4.25

01 David A. sang "Longer" made famous by Dan Fogelberg-- This song is more David's type of song stylistically. He sang the song well, and I believe it was his best vocal of the night. Simon was right in the respect that it was too mature for him.
Score: 4.4

02 Syesha sang "Hit Me Up" made famous by Gia Farrell-- I did not like the song choice at all, and I think the producers did her a great diservice by asking her to sing this song.
Score: 4.2

03 David C. sang "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" made famous by Aerosmith-- David sang this song better than I thought he would. Simon proclaimed it, and I agree: David won the night.
Score: 5

Sunday, May 11, 2008

America's Next Top Model Cycle 3--- Where Are They Now?

Some of the ladies from America's Next Top Model Cycle Three have hit the big time and I am going to tell you all about it. In general, this group seemed more successul than the last two, quite a few of the ladies are still signed to model management agencies.

7th place- Toccarra Jones is currently signed with Wilhelmina Models, and has been on the covers of Be, The Next Level, Black Man, Black Hair, Braids, and King (two times). She hosted "Take the Cake" on BET, and is currently appearing on "Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp". She has modeled for Rocawear, and you can stay up to date with Toccarra on her website : .

5th place- Norelle VanHerk is currently signed with Dreams Model Management, based in Hong Kong.

4th place- Ann Markley, according to sources on Wikipedia, signed with Elite Model Management and MC2. She has modeled for Ford Fusion, ELLE girl magazine, Gioia, Joie, Rojas, Heatherette, GQ magazine, Target, and L'Oreal.

3rd place- Amanda Swafford is signed with Storm Model Management and was on the cover of Bliss The Magazine. She has also done ads for Levi's.

2nd place- Camara "Yaya" DaCosta was recently cast on "All My Children" as Angie's (Debbie Morgan) adopted daughter Cassandra. She is signed with Ford Model Management, and has modeled for Target, Olay, Sephora, and Garnier Fructis to name a few. She had a lead role in the movie "Take the Lead". She was also in the following music videos: "Gold Digger" by Kanye West, "Pullin' Me Back" by Chingy, and "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston.

Winner- Eva Pigford (Marcille) dropped being managed by Benny Medina and Tyra Banks in 2006, and then dropped her last name, and changed it to a variation of her middle name. Eva and her boyfriend Lance Gross (actor) make plenty of Hollywood appearances, but critics doubt whether or not she has enjoyed mainstream modeling success. Eva has appeared in the following videos: "Baby" by Angie Stone, "I Get Money" by 50 Cent, and "DJ Play a Love Song" by Jamie Foxx.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


This is a new link for Syesha "A Change is Gonna Come". I also remembered that I wanted to post Gedeon McKinney's version from two years ago. - Syesha

I could not find the video, but you can listen to the performance on his myspace page---

The Top 4 Take on Rock N' Roll on Idol

01 David Cook sang "Hungry Like the Wolf" made famous by Duran Duran and "Baba O'Reilly" made famous by The Who--- In the first song, Simon siad it was good not great, because David didn't make it his own as he usually does. The second song was a grwat improvement and we saw the David Cook that we are so used to seeing. He is someone who is consistent, and he never fails to take whatever song he sings and make it sound current. David "Hungry Like the Wolf" David "Baba O'Reilly"
Score: 4.5

02 Syesha Mercado sang "Proud Mary" made famous by Tina Turner and "A Change Is Gonna Come" made famous by Sam Cooke--- Overall, I have to say that I am impressed with the way Syesha has stepped it up in the past few weeks; she really continues to rise to the occasion. In "Proud Mary", Syesha showed that she is a natural born performer, although the vocals were not great, her performance shined through. Syesha blew me away singing "A Change Is Gonna Come", she was inspiring and her showmanship was stellar. Her vocals were so on point and I was shocked when Randy challenged that. Syesha "Proud Mary" Syesha "A Change Is Gonna Come"
Score: 4.9

03 Jason Castro sang "I Shot the Sheriff" made famous by Bob Marley and "Mister Tambourine Man" made famous by Bob Dylan--- I love Jason and I have talked about all his wonderful qualtities at length, but this week is different. The first song was a trainwreck; i don't think it was a good choice for him. It was a little bit too predictable, and I agree with Simon, he shouldn't have touched the arrangement. In his second performance, he did improve except for the fact that he forgot some of his lyrics. His vocals were solid and he did channel Bob Dylan a little bit. It was a valiant recovery. Jason "I Shot the Sheriff" Jason "Mister Tambourine Man"
Score: 3.3

04 David Archuleta sang "Stand By Me" made famous by Ben E. King and "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley--- "Stand by Me" was the perfect song for David to sing because it came across as so sincere and he sang with his heart. Paula said David communicated "joy" with his eyes. Simon said of David's second performance, "you didn't beat the competition, you crushed the competition". I don't think I would go that far, but I do think David A. continues to be a consistent competitor. David "Stand By Me" David "Love Me Tender"
Score: 4.5