My “Idol” days might be numbered

I’ve watched American Idol nearly from the start. As the mom of a newborn that summer of 2002 it was fun to watch while I fed the baby.

I was draw in by Kelly vs Justin. (Although, I’m happy to say I never did watch the movie.)

The next season, I weighed in on the Clay vs Ruben debate. I still think Clay was robbed.

I’ve been through seasons that thrilled – getting goosebumps listening to Fantasia sing “Summertime” and watched as Simon Cowell accurately predicted that Carrie Underwood would be the most successful Idol.

I also stayed loyal during those seasons that seemed a little sub-par. Season six with Jordin Sparks versus that beat boxing guy. Not real riveting.

Then there were those years of picking cute, youngish white guys. (Wait. Aren’t they still doing that?) What are their names again: David Cook, Lee Dewyze, Chris somebody. Alright. That’s okay. The voters have spoken.

I even sat through the changes in judges. I liked Ellen DeGeneres and gained a new appreciation for Jennifer Lopez. (I didn’t realize she was that nice.) And Steven Tyler….well he never really gave any feedback of any kind, but it was fun to see what he would wear or (s)wear.

But I might be calling it a day with this show. Not for the contestants, which based on last night’s show seemed pretty run of the mill. We heard from people who endured hardships to pursue singing and starry-eyed teenagers looking for a break. It’s not for them that I’ll stop watching. In fact, I’d like to see more about them.

It seems last night’s show was more about the judges: Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson. And who am I kidding? It was mostly about the first two. These two (overimpressed with themselves) women bickered most of the night. Poor Keith Urban was stuck between the two of them, squirming like a distant cousin at a dysfunctional family dinner. Poor guy. Probably questions his career decision with this one. Couldn’t he have just stayed down under with his lovely wife?

It wasn’t good TV, like some have claimed. It was irritating and obnoxious, much like Minaj herself.

This was just the first episode, so the loyal soul inside me says to give them another chance. But I’m busier now. My newborn is now almost 11 and I think we’re both a little over this.

A Downton Abbey Tease

Like a morsel of food to a hungry man or a drop of water to the parched, today we Downton Abbey fans got just a small taste of what we really need.

A look ahead to season three.

During the American Film Institute’s tribute to Shirley MacLaine, actress Elizabeth McGovern introduced a clip of Maclaine’s first few moments at Downton.

You might remember it was all the buzz last year when it was announced that Maclaine would make guest appearances as Lady Crowley’s (McGovern) mother Martha Levinson.

How would she interact with the snooty but colorful Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith?

Well, we need wait no more. Here’s a clip from the award show broadcast on TVLand courtesty MSN’s TV Buzz Blog. Forgive the poor quality. But pretend you’re watching a pirated tape from the black market. Kind of feels that way for Downton fans like me waiting for a fix.

But that’s just what this is…a small fix. After all, those of us in the United States won’t see Season three start until January of 2013 on PBS. Until then, watch and savor.

http://social.entertainment.msn.com/tv/blogs/tv-buzz-blog.aspx?blog=2080&feat=8074f259-ea02-419f-a956-4bec04943526

Your Voice Has Been Heard – Now What?

Thanks to the thousands of you who voted in “ON TV’s” latest polls on who should win American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. It’s always fun to hear from readers on who their choice would be.

To recap: On TV readers chose Jessica Sanchez over Phillip Phillips to take the crown 54% over 46%. America obviously disagreed giving Phillips the edge.

The Dancing with the Stars vote was even closer. Get this: Katherine Jenkins beat out her male challengers in the narrowest of margins. She had 33.79% of the vote compared to 33.33% for Donald Driver and 32.88% for William Levy. A razor thin victory that didn’t translate to the real competition (Driver beat Jenkins who finished in 2nd with Levy in 3rd).

My point is with all of this. We need to do more polls. It was fun! Now I want to know what you want to talk about.

I’ll warn you this blog tends to reflect the things I like to watch. That’s what you can do with a blog. (If you don’t like the shows I write about, you can start your own blog with Areavoices. Just leave a comment here and I’ll tell you how. End of shameless plug.)

So what will you read about here in the future? In addition to Dancing with the Stars and Idol, I like Modern Family, Smash, Castle, Hot in Cleveland, Ghost Hunters, Who do you think you are, Survivor and just about anything on the Food Network. I abhor The Bachelor franchise. More on that in a later post.

But let me know what shows you like. I’ll try to oblige you and write about them. But again, if I don’t, I’d love to read what you have to say about them. (Okay, sorry that was one more shameless plug, wasn’t it?)

American Idol: The Voice vs The “It” Factor

American Idol has set its final and ironically the two people standing at the end could be the poster children for two other singing competition shows.

Jessica Sanchez:

Throughout the season, the 16-year-old California native has been “The Voice.” From her early days of slaying Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” to last night’s performances of Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey, she’s proven no one has stronger pipes. Both sweet and powerful, it’s amazing to think that ginormous voice comes from such a tiny little body!

If American Idol picked its’ winners solely on voice (more along the lines of what NBC’s “The Voice” does) Sanchez would be a lock. But as we’ve seen for years on AI, it’s not just about the voice. Contestants such as Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry were sent home before their time. While the angelic-voiced Katherine McPhee finished second to Taylor “Personality Plus” Hicks in season 5.

So while Randy Jackson might have called Sanchez, “one of the best singers in the entire world” her victory is not a lock. In fact, she was set to be eliminated earlier this season only to be rescued by the judges. Will her fan base be there this time?

Phillip Phillips

From day one of the competition, no contestant better defined themselves than Phillip Phillips. The pawn shop worker from Georgia knew who he was and hesitated veering from it. Even saying a polite “no” to a shocked (but still dapper) Tommy Hilfiger’s wardrobe suggestions.

And while he has defined himself as Phillip Phillips, the audience is still trying to figure him out. Is he part Dave Matthews, part Bruce Springsteen? No matter the case, fans like what they see. In fact, he’s one of the few contestants who has never been in the bottom three. (Carrie Underwood boasted a similar honor the year she won.)

His strength is not the voice. Sometimes, he sounds great. But other nights frankly, it’s been a little cringeworthy. But Phillips seems to get away with it because, in my opinion, he has the “it” factor. (Close enough to Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” for me). Phillip is the good-looking, aw-shucks, guy next door. But there’s more. A certain star power, charisma that was perhaps most evident in last night’s rendition of “We’ve got tonight” by Bob Seger. Swoonworthy, for sure.

“OnTV’s” Bottom line:

Jessica Sanchez: Sanchez will benefit from the loss of Joshua Ledet. She’s more likely to pick up his voters than Phillips who isn’t know for his vocal strength. She also benefits from Hollie Cavanaugh’s departure two weeks ago.

Phillip Phillips: Phillips has recent history on his side. Since 2008, voters have awarded top honors to cute, young guys. Some of whom, didn’t boast the best vocal chops in their seasons either. Will Idol voters carry on their streak?

What wins this year? The Voice or The “It” Factor? You decide.

Forget Obama and Romney – This is the real dead heat!

After one day of voting, “On TV” readers are torn. I mean big time. When asked who they’d like to see win “Dancing with the Stars” this time around it’s a dead heat between William Levy and Donald Driver, each garnering 35% of the vote.

But Katherine Jenkins is no slouch. She’s close behind with 30% of the vote.

Polls are still open. Weigh in and we’ll give you the final results of our poll after the mirror ball trophy is awarded next week.

Who should win “Dancing with the Stars?” Vote now!

If last night’s results show told us anything it’s that YOUR VOTE MATTERS! First place finishers Maria Menounos and Derek Hough were sent packing. They finished with a nearly perfect 59 out of 60 points for their two dances Monday night. But they still managed to received the lowest vote total when you combined judges’ scores with audience vote.

The biggest surprise of the night might have been the pass to the finals given to classical singer Katherine Jenkins and her partner Mark Ballas following a back spasm Monday night which nearly leveled her at the tail end of her routine. She finished a full 3 points behind Menounos, but obviously garnered more audience votes.

Hearthrob William Levy and his partner Cheryl Burke finished in second with 58, followed closely by Green Bay Packer Donald Driver and his partner Peta Murgatroyd with 57.

The judges have remarked that this has been the most talented cast in Dancing with the Stars history. In any other season, any of these three finalists would easily be the favorite. Not this year.

The power is with you. Let us know who you’d pick.

Desperate Housewives: Thanks from a (formerly) Desperate Mom!

I’m a little melancholy today. Not overly sad or distraught. Just a little wistful and sentimental.

Last night I said “goodbye” to an old friend, “Desperate Housewives.” Yeah, I know it’s just a TV show and truth be told my old friend and I had drifted a bit in the last few years.

In the early years of our friendship I waited all week for my dose of suburban scandal, intrigue and humor. But lately, it hasn’t really been appointment television. I might watch the TiVoed episode of my old friend later in the week.

So the melancholy doesn’t come from losing my favorite show, but rather from marking the end of an era.

Desperate Housewives came on the air in 2004. At the time, I was mother to a two-year-old and a newborn baby. Life was hectic, crazy and even a little desperate. So when I could squeeze out an hour of television on a Sunday night, it was comforting to spend it with my buddies Susan, Gabrielle, Bree and Lynette. Especially Lynette. While I could live vicariously through the other women and their choice of designer clothing and stilettos, it was Lynette who brought me comfort.

Lynette was a woman struggling to keep it all together. As the show began, she was a stay-at-home mother to 4 children. She was often overwrought and disheveled. One day as her sons were misbehaving during a garden party at a neighbor’s pool, she jumped right in with them and carted their soggy butts back home. Ah, an inspiration for anyone who’s had to deal with a bratty kid in public. As the show progressed, she went back to work and had to try and juggle the demands of being a full-time working wife and mom. Sound familiar?

I remember in the early years of the show, I’d always watch while I folded my umpteenth load of weekend laundry. I was usually crabby that I hadn’t gotten enough done over the weekend to prepare us for our busy week ahead. I’d watch as I bathed my toddler and baby. (Actually, not really watching just listening as the TV played in the bedroom nearby.)

As my kids became preschoolers I had to convince them to turn off Penny and Pals so I could walk down Wisteria Lane instead. (My petitions to ABC to allow Penny Andrist to become a Desperate Housewife went unanswered. That would have solved all my problems.) Once they surrendered the TV, I’d have to half-watch it as I bribed and cajoled them to get to bed already!

But as they started elementary school, the tides turned a bit. They started to find something else to do while mom watched “that scary show!” From glimpses of promos, they began to think the show was as violent as a Jean Claude Van Damme movie. (Actually, for the suburbs, Fairview did have its share of murder and mayhem but it wasn’t really that bad). I didn’t argue with my kids assessment of the show since it meant they would give me an hour’s worth of peace. That didn’t happen very often.

So here we are 8 years later. My life is a lot easier than in was in 2004. My daughters are 10 and 8 and the work they require is a fraction of what it once was. They’re just a blast to hang out with. (In fact, I didn’t watch last night’s series finale until later because we were spending time out in the yard playing.)

So Susan, Gabrielle, Bree and Lynette (especially you Lynette) thanks for hanging out with me. Our time together was fictional and make-believe. But as I navigated my way through those early mommy years, you helped make my reality a little less desperate.

Welcome Back American Idol! What do YOU think?

Is American Idol leading us on?

The pop culture staple is back for Season 11 and if you judge on its premiere episode last night, it’s going to be a season full of strong talent.

Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler (in their second season as a panel) traveled to Savannah, Georgia and found a deep pool of Southern talent. Right out of the gate, they were impressed by boyish looking teen David Leathers, Jr. The self-proclaimed “ladies man” actually beat last year’s AI winner, Scotty McCreery, in a local singing contest a couple of years ago. Leathers showed the judges why, with a voice much like a young Michael Jackson. He quickly got his golden ticket to Hollywood.

Leathers started a string of “You’re going to Hollywood” contestants. In all, the panel sent 42 singers to the next round – one of the strongest showings by a single city.

But did producers give us this episode first to lull us into believing this would be the year we’d hear greatness again like Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson?

That remains to be seen.

What’s obvious is American Idol’s Modus Operandi is unchanged. A few great singers, a handful of crazies, and lots of sob stories.

They introduced us the a woman from Tennessee who’s currently living in a tent in the woods. She wore a borrowed dress to sing in front of the judges. She’s going to Hollywood.

We also met a man who quit his job when he wasn’t able to take time off for the AI audition. His pregnant wife encouraging him along the way. He also got a pass to Hollywood.

I don’t want to be a cynic. But I wish both of these contestants had been a little stronger. I’d love to see them win it all – modern-day Cinderella stories, but based strictly upon what I heard I’m not sure that’s going to happen. The voices were okay, but not as strong as their stories.

AI is about making good TV. It’s up to the voters to decide who they’d choose. Votes, often cast not just on singing ability, but the narrative of the contestant.

All singing aside, what I enjoyed perhaps the most from last night’s show was Steven Tyler’s antics. Both his sometimes inappropriate and incomprehensible comments and his star power. For some reason, women of all ages still lust after the 63-year-old rocker and he loves every minute of it. And I do too. For example, I got a huge kick out of the contestant who introduced herself as Steven Tyler’s “future ex-wife.” She was there to meet Tyler. But to do that she had to sing. She did and she wasn’t great. No trip to Hollywood. But she did get a hug from Tyler, including a squeeze of his butt.

I hope that doesn’t end up being the best part of the Season.

Question: Who did you like from last night’s episode?

The wardrobe on this show is driving me nuts!

I ask you a simple question today. I’m a little irked. Why must women on primetime television either being sex kittens or queens of frumpville? There’s no middle ground. Case in point: Body of Proof on ABC. I really love the show. It centers around Dr. Megan Hunt played by Dana Delaney, a former neurosurgeon who is now working as a pathologist solving murders through examining bodies. A modern-day Quincy. But Quincy never dressed like this.

On any given day, you’ll see Dr. Hunt go out to a crime scene stepping over dead bodies in 5 inch platform pumps. Once back in the lab, she works on the bodies while still dressed to the nines. Can those shoes really be comfortable on the hard tile floor of a medical exam room? Her boss, played by Jeri Ryan isn’t much different. This hard-charging woman shows up at press conferences in low-cut blouses and tight skirts. Seriously? When is the last time you saw a county official on the news dressed like that.

On the flip side, Detective Samantha Baker played by Sonja Sohn. Apparently producers want her to be one of those stern and serious police officers. None of that Charlies’ Angels stuff. But they go overboard. Her wardrobe consists of the same ugly grey or black suit with a plain colored shirt underneath. She looks like Elliot Ness. And of course, it looks like she’s wearing orthopedic shoes.

I look around my office right now. I don’t see women dressed like any of these three people. My female co-workers are dressed appropriately. Practical but feminine and fun. Let’s send some of these producers or costumers to the real offices of America. I know TV is supposed to be fantasy. But just watching these women makes me want to jump off my stilettos.

The new Frank Sinatra?

I’ve found a new love. His name is Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. and he is one swingin’ cat. Scooby Dooby Doo. My husband is well aware of my new love as he observed me watching Landau on “America’s Got Talent” last night. If you didn’t see it, I urge you to take time out of your busy day right now and check it out. I promise you won’t regret it. Not only does this car-washing West Virginian sound just like Frank Sinatra, but he has that “it” factor. He’s infectious. I can’t help but smile each time I watch the You Tube clips. (Attention bosses: I promise I’ve only watched these clips about 64 times today.)

I’ll post both his first audition from a few weeks back and his follow up last night. I didn’t get around to voting for him. I know, I know, put my money where my mouth is right? But I had lunches to make and kids to put to bed. By that time, it just seemed like a lot of effort to find the phone. I know it’s pathetic. I just hope the rest of America voted him through to the next round so I can vote for him next time. What can I say, “I’ve got Landau under my skin.”

In honor of Sherwood Schwartz: My top Brady moments

Sad news today. The creator of “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island” has died. Sherwood Schwartz was 94. He was currently working on adapting “Gilligan’s Island” to the big screen with his son Lloyd. He died at home surrounded by his family.

How many of us grew up watching Schwartz’s shows? I can’t begin to count the hours I spent with an afterschool snack in hand watching Gilligan and Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy. So in honor of Mr. Schwartz here are my top ten Brady moments. (Maybe you guys can weigh in on Gilligan moments too).  Rest in Peace Mr. Schwartz! You’ve made a lot of us smile.

10. Peter’s voice changes – While attempting to record a song, The Brady kids notice Peter’s voice is cracking. In their infinite wisdom Mrs. Brady and Alice know his voice is changing. Smart women. The debate starts as to whether to include Peter’s cracking voice on the record or kick him out of the group (very un-Bradylike, I know). In true Brady fashion, Greg writes a new song about puberty. Very edgy. Even today, when my voice cracks I’ll say, “Geez, who am I Peter Brady?”

9. Bobby and Cindy get lost in the Grand Canyon – this three parter was the first time the Brady’s left the studio and their astro-turfed lawn. It made this list, because I find it really amusing how unbothered the Brady parents seem to be that Bobby and Cindy get lost, like it’s a minor annoyance. They’re eventually found eating beans out of the flashlight with a Native American boy.

8. Mrs. Marcia Dennist – Okay, I know it’s spelled “Dentist” not “Dennist” but I had to write it this way because Marcia’s pronunciation of “dentist” cracks me up. The whole show revolves around the self-centered Marcia daydreaming about her groovy young dentist. Far out.

7. Greg Brady: Cheerleading judge – Greg is put in charge of picking the head cheerleader at Westdale high school. It’s a completely ridiculous premise that three high school boys would be the entire judging panel for something like this. But never let reality get in the way of a good sitcom. Anyway, a beautiful (although a little smarmy) girl starts hitting on Greg. He’s dumbfounded by her attention. But one day she tells “Greggy” that isn’t it weird that she’s trying out for head cheerleader while he’s a judge. The problem is Marcia is too. What is Greg to do? All ends well when Greg decides he will vote for the best candidate, who ironically is played by Rita Wilson, the future Mrs. Tom Hanks. Marcia is cool with it. The smarmy girl is not.

6. Aloha Brady Bunch – In their second three-parter, The Brady’s venture to Hawaii where Mike’s architecture firm is working on a building. (Wouldn’t you like to work for a company that pays for you, your wife, six children and housekeeper to go to Hawaii?) The story revolves around a tiki idol that Bobby finds at a construction site. It brings nothing but bad luck and eventually Vincent Price into Brady world.

5. “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” – Enough said.

4. Davy Jones – Marcia promises her junior high that she can get Davy Jones to appear at the school dance (another example of Marcia overestimating her importance). She ends up sneaking into his hotel room (how did Mike and Carol allow that?). In the end, Davy surprises Marcia at her house while her 5 siblings look on and giggle.

3. Pork Chops and ‘Appleshauce’ – Peter thinks he has no personality, so he decides to become Humphrey Bogart. When he finds out what Mom and Alice are making for dinner, he goes around the house repeating, “Ahhhh, pork chops and appleshauce….” It’s nearly impossible for me to eat pork chops and applesauce without repeating this line.

2. The Silver Platters – Inspired by The Osmonds and The Jackson 5, Sherwood and Lloyd Schwartz decide to turn their actors into singers. In this episode, Jan screws up and the kids need money to pay for their parents’ anniversary present. Naturally, they go on a local talent show and sing a couple of songs. I love how they keep ‘singing’ while their lips stop moving and they start bowing. Classic Brady.

1. Oh my nose! Marcia dumps nice wallpaper salesman Charlie to date the “Big man on Campus” Doug Simpson, but after Peter and Bobby hit Marcia with a football (They say it was by accident, but as established Marcia had it coming in so many ways) her nose swells like a balloon. Doug dumps her when “something suddenly came up.” Marcia learns that it’s what’s inside that matters. And she figures she’ll get discounts on wallpaper.

I know there are so many more. Please share your favorite Brady and Gilligan moments by commenting below.

RIP,  Mr. Schwartz.

West Virginia’s Susan Boyle? I’m a fan!

I admit it.I’m a sucker for the underdog. I love to see the little guy rise to the top. I think I’ve watched Susan Boyle sing “I Dreamed a Dream” on “Britain’s Got Talent” at least 4 million times. I haven’t seen anything like it in two years. As much as reality show producers try to milk it – try to promote someone as the next Susan Boyle – it usually falls flat.

And I’m not going to claim the video I’m posting here rises to Boylesque levels. But it is awfully fun! I just discovered it last night while watching a rerun of “America’s Got Talent.” I really haven’t watched the show this season, but as I was folding laundry last night, I needed company. Just something to provide a little mindless chatter while I rolled socks and tried to figure out why I had orphan socks. Where did the mate go? Anyway, I took notice when a man named Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. took the stage. He’s a car washer from Logan, West Virginia who has never auditioned before. His personality was infectious as he chewed gum and joked with the judges. It was hard not to root for this guy. And then when he started singing….ahhh….so cool. Frank Sinatra himself would be proud.

If I ever do laundry again and find myself watching the show (NBC, Tuesday 7pm and Wednesday 8pm), I’m voting for Landau. Watch for yourself!

Landau Eugene Murphy

Star of “Grease” and “Taxi” dead at the age of 60.

How sad to hear about the death of actor Jeff Conaway. He’s best known to most of us as Kenickie in the 1978 film “Grease,” or as Bobby Wheeler in the TV sitcom “Taxi.”

I remember watching him back then. I loved the “Summer Lovin” scene where he danced on the bleachers along with John Travolta and the rest of the Thunderbirds.

Fast forward about 30 years and the scene was much different. After leaving “Taxi” and failing to launch is movie career, Conaway appeared in reality shows such as “Celebrity Fit Club” and “Celebrity Rehab” in which he showed up in a wheelchair and blacked out on camera. Just last year he broke his hip and together with his drug and alcohol problems, it further compromised his health. Conaway had been in a coma for the last two weeks before family members decided to take him off life support.

Despite his last tough years, I hope we can all remember him as Danny Zuko’s wing man! RIP Kenickie!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0mhYLF-914

Whew! Well that was exhausting!

You’ve heard of feast or famine? When it comes to TV in May its finale or famine. Any TV watcher will tell you the end of May is just exhausting. (As exhausting as it can be to be a channel surfing couch potato). This week, we are being overwhelmed by finale after finale. Feast.

But within a week or two, the networks will start to pull out those summer replacement shows, most of them so bad they couldn’t make the fall lineup. (Remember, that classic summer turkey “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” You knew it was bad when they considered Rod Blagojevich’s wife a celebrity.)

But let’s not dwell on that, we’ll be in the summer TV misery season soon enough. This week is definitey a feast. Consider last night. Here’s what you had to choose from:

Dancing with the Stars: The winner is named. If you missed it, Hines Ward came out on top. See my last post. I called it. Sort of.

Country Idol…errr…I mean American Idol: Part one of the finale. Lauren and Scotty perform. I predict Lauren will win. Can I be two for two?

The Biggest Loser: Winner named (I have nothing to add since I don’t watch this show. I do have a life you know.)

Glee: Finale. The kids go to NYC and break into song. I love it.

And if you’re like my husband you ignore all of those shows and flip back and forth between the NBA game and the Twins game.

Whew! That was an exhausting evening. Who could keep up with the channel flipping?

And it’s not over yet. Not only does American Idol crown their winner tonight, but the queen of all things, Oprah Winfrey has her finale today at 4:00pm. 

I’m not sure my DVR can handle all of this. Good thing we’re not far away from “I survived a Japanese game show.”

Dancing with the Stars – 4 factors that will decide the winner

So as we head into tonight’s “Dancing with the Stars” finale how do you begin to figure out who’ll win? It’s like comparing apples and orange and kiwi fruit. All three of the stars bring something different to the table. Hines Ward: the football player with style, Kirstie Alley: the outrageous entertainer, and Chelsea Kane: the Disney sweetheart with flash. If you see what the odds makers said at the beginning of the season (and  yes there are odds makers who handicap this kind of thing) this season is shaking out the way it should.

The website JustBet.com had Ward the favorite followed close behind by Kane. Alley was only slightly down the list. By the way, it you think it’s weird for them to put odds on a ballroom dance show, consider this: they’ve also put bets down on who would win the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Their favorite was Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. I guess Hines Ward isn’t up for that one.

So who’s your personal favorite (for DWTS not the Nobel thing)?

Take the odds makers for what they’re worth. But here’s my breakdown of the 4 factors that will decide the winner and who has the edge in each.

The WOW factor: This has to go to Chelsea Kane and her partner Mark Ballas. They’re the youngest pair by far and won’t have trouble pulling off the major stunts and tricks. Ward’s partner Kym Johnson is still nursing a neck injury and Kirstie and her partner Maksim Chemerkovskiy aren’t know for their flips and lifts.

The sympathy factor: Ward and Johnson recovered beautifully last week from what could have been a devastating accident. During practice, Johnson suffered partial paralysis after they attempted and failed a lift in practice. I had to watch with my hands over my eyes. It was that disturbing. But just days later, after their first dance after the accident they became the first couple this season to score a perfect 30 points. They, and some of us in the audience, were in tears.

The relatability factor: This one has to go to Kirstie. You have to love a slightly overweight woman in her 60′s taking on a professional athlete and a skinny Disney chick. In fact in my fruit example above Kane would be the kiwi fruit. A whole lot more of us in America are apple-shaped.

The likability factor: I’m going for Hines and Kym on this one. It’s got more to do with the professional partners than with the celebrities. All three of the celebrities seem like great people. But I think Ward’s partner, Kym, seems like the sweetest pro on the show. Maybe her former celeb partner Donny Osmond rubbed off on her.

So that’s it in a nutshell…my four factors that will decide the winner. Since Hines captures two out of the four, he will win. Right? Maybe? I think. What do you think?

“Italian Chipmunks” on American Idol?

I know it sounds weird and I certainly don’t mean it as an insult. In fact I think these guys were the best part of American Idol last night.

Here’s what happened: After riding bikes for quite awhile last night I didn’t have time to watch the entire show. But my 9-year-old daughter and I decided to whizz through the show to see who made it to the finals. I’ll get to that in just  a minute.

So we zipped through the hometown celebrations. Tears, cheers, interviews with local radio – you know the drill. Only the accents were different.

It was the guest performances last night that caught our attention.  Not so much the one from  Nicole Scherzinger (whom I only know through “Dancing with the Stars”). She was fine. She sang some song. My daughter asked if she was a Kardashian.

But then these three guys came on stage and started singing what sounded like opera. Could it be opera on the Idol stage? Yup. The name of the group is Il Volo, a trio of Italian teenagers. They sang,  ”O Sole Mio” and it was amazing! My daughter was less impressed, but made a pretty astute observation. She said “they’re kind of like the Chipmunks. The hot guy in the middle, the skinny guy with glasses and the sorta chubby one.” I’m not sure what troubles me more, my 9-year-old calling some guy “hot” or the fact that she thinks Alvin the chipmunk is hot. Even so, take a look at the photos. I think she’s right.

But I guess I can’t write this post without telling you who made it to the finals. It’s Lauren (Yay!) vs Scotty. Country/pop versus traditional country/country rock. Should be a good matchup. I’ll run that down later.

For now, I have to go download “O Sole Mio” by The Chipmunks, err…I mean Il Volo.

Who will make it the American Idol final?

Let me start by saying that Haley Reinhart is one smart chick. The 20-year-old bluesy rocker watched with the rest of us last week as America gave the boot to metal rocker James Durbin. So what does Miss Reinhart do? She pulls out all the stops – choosing a Led Zeppelin song for her first number last night. Brilliant, I say, brilliant! The girl is gunning for Durbin’s voters. Well played Miss Haley. I think she has a good chance to get them. While Zeppelin isn’t really my cup of tea (little too screamy for me) she’s did a great job with it. Seems to me real Durbin fans are more likely to cast a vote for her than  traditional country guy Scotty (I’m kinda like Randy Travis) McCreery or country pop cutie Lauren (I’m kinda a mix between Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood) Alaina.

If it were up to me, which it should be, I’d pick Lauren and either one of the other two. How’s that for taking a stand? My point is this: all three of them were just fabulous. It just comes down to the genre of music you like most. I just enjoyed Lauren the most.  If you’d like to see or hear what they sang just go to American Idol.com .

Then, I’d love to hear from you. Who’s going to make it to the finals next week?

Before we get to see that next week, we have to endure the tearful, exuberant hometown visits tonight.  I’m not all that interested in that. Maybe,  I’m just jealous.

Welcome to On TV!

I love TV. At times, in my life I’ve been embarrassed about that. It’s not as high brow as the theatre, as star powered as the movies, or as cool as the music scene. But maybe that’s why I like it. TV is always there. It’s in our homes providing news, information, and entertainment whether we’re dressed to the nines or in our robes and fuzzy slippers. It’s a comfortable companion that doesn’t ask much in return. I love that after a busy day at work or playing with my kids I can snuggle into my bed and turn on the tube. I can lose myself in a crime drama or an overhyped reality show.  Don’t get me wrong. I know Americans watch too much of it and we’re getting fatter as a result. Remember the phrase: everything in moderation. It can’t be all TV all the time. But when it is TV time, let’s talk about it and have fun with it. So take this blog for what it is – a chance to celebrate television, the good, the bad, and the “I can’t believe I’m watching this.” I want “On TV” to be our online water cooler where we can discuss what happened last night or tout our favorite shows. I’ll throw the topic out there, but I’d love to hear your comments.