Thirteen reasons why Melinda Doolittle should not win American Idol

 

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For this week’s Thursday Thirteen (Fridays in Manila), I write down 13 reasons why American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle should not win American Idol. I love Melinda, and every week she comes out and does her thang better than most of the other finalists, but here are some reasons why she shouldn’t (and probably won’t) win.

1. You know the Simons (Fuller and Cowell) are going to piss in their pants if they get another Idol who we know is not going to get airplay on Top 40 radio.

2. The number of people who are starting to get turned off by her act of humility is growing by the week.

3. Her singing skills are impeccable – but her song selections say old old old. Sure, she gives a fresh turn to the songs, but they’re still our parents’ music, not ours.

4. She can carry the uptempo songs vocally, but watching her can be a bit off-putting; the woman can’t dance.

5. If this were Seasons Three, Four, or Five, there’s no way Melinda would’ve won over Fantasia (or Jennifer Hudson, hehe), Carrie Underwood, or Taylor Hicks. Well, maybe she’d beat Taylor Hicks, but I can’t see Melinda outselling Daughtry or Elliott Yamin.

6. She is the perfect shock elimination for 4th place this year. Isn’t that usually the case? Tamyra Gray? Latoya London? Chris Daughtry? ;) Okay, so Anthony Federov and Josh Gracin, notsomuch.

7. As the weeks go by, she starts to get predictable. We know what happens to talented but predictable performers, don’t we, Latoya, Tamyra, and Vonzell?

8. She has no neck. Joke!

9. If you think packaging a gray-haired 30-year-old Southern rocker named Taylor Hicks was difficult, imagine packaging a 28-year-old back-up vocalist with no real sense of style.

10. Every Idol has rabid fans, but if Melinda’s fan demographic is anything like Hicks’ Soul Patrol, then Melinda’s chart-topping future ain’t burnin’ so bright.

11. I just can’t see Melinda filling stadiums throughout the nation like Carrie or Kelly Clarkson.

12. Is it me, or is she starting to look more smug with every passing week? Did you catch the look she gave Ryan when he asked whether she was getting tired of all that praise?
And the 13th reason why Melinda shouldn’t win…

13. Melinda deserves so much better than to become another Taylor Hicks.

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Yamin debuts at #3 on Billboard 200!

Elliott Yamin debuts at #3 on the Billboard 200!

Our boy did it!

American Idol 2006 third-place finisher Elliott Yamin’s self-titled independent debut sold 90,000 copies to debut at No. 3 this week on the Billboard 200. Yamin’s Hickory Records release makes him the fifth finalist from last year’s show to reach The Billboard 200, joining winner Taylor Hicks, runner-up Katharine McPhee, sixth placer Kellie Pickler and fourth-placer Chris Daughtry, whose self-titled RCA album holds tight at #4 for a second week.

Congratulations, Elliott! Hope your album has legs!

Meanwhile, this goes out to all of us Elliott fans who believed!

[audio:Believe.mp3]

We can’t always be white sheep

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Last night, Nathan said something to his Mom that took both of us by surprise. We have no idea where he learned it, but you can bet both of us were taken aback. A lot of prayer was offered that night for our three-year-old.

How often have we said something that we knew wouldn’t be received well, or done something that we just needed to do, even if we knew it wouldn’t necessarily be good for us? Me, quite often. My life is littered with dumb decisions.

If we’re lucky, the persons we told about our stupid actions, the persons who knew better will rarely tell us “I told you so.” Still, Someone very important has never told us, “I told you so.” Instead, He forgives us for walking away from Him, and welcomes us back into His arms. We just need to pray and tell Him about it.
Now some people believe prayer is just you talking to yourself. Believe that if you will. I believe Someone listens to me when I pray. That Someone – my God, the God of Abraham, and my Dad and Jesus’ Dad – understands that more often than not, I will screw up, and acknowledges when I am contrite and truly sorry for having done something I know won’t please Him. Like I should be to Nathan, God is an understanding Father, and will never take your decision to do something – even if it is obviously against His will – against you if you return to Him and genuinely say sorry for having done it.

After all, we can’t be all expected to be white sheep. We weren’t created like sheep. We’ve got minds of our own and a free will that, more often than not, comes back to bite us in the butt. What else can we do but run to Him before we get into bigger trouble?

Getting bulges in the right places

I have impressive bulges, but they’re in all the wrong places. Instead of situating themselves on my arms, pecs, calves, and Y-fronts, they’re lumped on my stomach and butt. At the moment, I look like a Michelin Man, but without the vapid smile and bloodless complexion.

It’s been two days since my first “workout.” After 15 minutes of cardio warmup that pretty much had my legs feeling like jelly, I did more legs, then arms, then abs. The training program I got at Slimmer’s came screaming back to me, and it was with that program that I went through the routine.

Two days later – as can be expected from months of relative inactivity – my long-dormant muscles came back to cuss me. My arms ache, my abs ache (even my side-abs; I didn’t even know they existed!), my legs ache. I feel like I’ve been run over by a steamroller. That, of course, didn’t stop me from walking an hour from the office to SM Makati to conduct some errands, and back. At this point, I feel like I’m making real progress. Some of my officemates are saying there’s noticeable change. Yay.

I look at some of my sophomore college photos, and I remember what it was like to be fit. At the end of the year, I promise myself, I will be.

Meanwhile, here’s a sample of some of the music I play on my (U)Nano while I work out. Not a big fan of dance-dance, but pop-rock with beats like this, I like, I like. Call My Name by Charlotte Church is one such track.

[audio:CallMyName.mp3]

Elliott Yamin sings ‘Sharing the Night Together’

I’ve always loved Sharing the Night Together. This lovely little song holds many memories for this child of the 80s, and while the song never really meant anything to me (read: never had anyone to ‘share the night’ with while that song was popular), the tune and the lyrics always bring a pleasant little smile to my face.

Imagine my shock and utter glee when I learned that Elliott Yamin actually has a version of this song! Elliott’s Sharing the Night Together improves on the original in my opinion, infusing a soulfulness that adds new meaning and listening value to the song. Amazing work, Elliott! My wife is going to flip! Lyrics after the jump.

Do you like Elliott’s version of Sharing the Night Together? Leave a message! :)

[audio:SharingTheNightTogether.mp3] Continue reading “Elliott Yamin sings ‘Sharing the Night Together’”

What’s going on with Martina Hingis?

Martina Hingis lost to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open. She has only reached one semifinal of eight tourneys this year – and that tournament she won, thankfully, but in getting there, she defeated Nicole Pratt, Samantha Stosur, Elena Dementieva, and Ana Ivanovic, hardly roster names in the women’s field.

It’s frustrating watching Marti lose so early in competitions this year, all to lower-ranked players. Save for a loss to Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, Hingis has lost to lower-ranked players every time. Out in the first round of Medibank and the Dubai Duty Free, to the same player: lower-ranked Jelena Jankovic. Out in the second round of the Qatar Open and the fourth round of the Pan Pacific to the same player: lower-ranked Daniela Hantuchova (who, in certain angles, by the way, is HOT). A loss to lower-ranked Dinara Safina (Mondial), and now, the Sony Ericsson, to Radwanska, who is ranked 49th. Forty-ninth!

This was Hingis’ worst loss since tumbling out to 112th-ranked Virginie Razzano at last year’s US Open. If it’s any consolation, Marti reached US$20M in prize money, joining Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport, and Martina Navratilova.

My officemate and fellow Hingis fan Raymond and I always enjoy picking Marti’s game apart, and I can expect a feisty discussion later. In a game where physical strength and speed are essential, mental strength is the great equalizer, and Marti has been lax in this field. She herself said she needs to “recharge” her head.

Meanwhile, I blame Marti’s slump on her mekmek of a fiance, Radek Stepanek. Maybe if she were engaged to a hotter tennis player, she’d have more drive. Joke. ;)

Yamin delivers possibly best Idol debut album to date!

Cathy and I asked our cousin Joemel to buy us a copy of Elliot Yamin’s self-titled debut album, which we will enjoy upon his return to the Philippines in April.

Meanwhile, I downloaded tracks to give the album an advance listen, and I will stake my reputation as a musician, music reviewer, and Idol fanatic in what I am about to say.

Elliott Yamin delivers arguably the best debut pop album from any Idol contestant from any previous season to date.

Of course, such a sweeping generalization, especially in the light of the success of Kelly Clarkson’s, Carrie Underwood’s, and Chris Daughtry’s debuts, is going to be torpedoed by many. Hey, all these artists’ albums are also stellar in their respective genres, so don’t crucify the reviewer. Elliott’s album is more pop/soul/R&B, which I think works for his unique, unforgettable voice.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the songs. The best part about Elliott Yamin is that it highlights – sans studio gloss – the voice of the Virginia native. Yamin went into the studio without the powerful backing of the Simons and Clive Davis, and it shows in the raw power of Yamin’s vocal. The result is an album chockful of songs that spotlight the man’s incredible voice.

First radio single Wait For You is a radio-friendly slow jam intended for adult R&B stations that can cross over into adult contemporary and pop. Advanced single Movin’ On is a shining, shimmering, pumping, toe-tapper of a track that will get your head bobbing to its irresistible beat. Elliott also reworks signature song A Song For You into an even more vocally-driven torch song. How this man made this track sound fresher than he already did on American Idol is a testament to his talent and versatility.

Power ballad I’m The Man has an unforgettable melody, and the gospel chorus on Free absolutely soars. Trainwreck builds up to a crashing chorus in a good way, and, well, don’t get me started on Take My Breath Away.

Yamin deserves every ounce of success he gets. His voice is one of the finest to ever come from any season of American Idol, and, if this album is any indication, Yamin’s career will be a bright shining one for years to come.

Buy Elliott Yamin today! You won’t regret it.

Here’s a sample: Elliott’s stunning retake on A Song For You.

[audio:SongForYou.mp3]

‘Til next time, Tina

My dear friend Tina is leaving for greener pastures. I can’t blame her, because she’s perfect for the job.

When a friend leaves, one tends to go through a rush of conflicting emotions. Like Blanche Devaraux, I call it magenta. You’re not exactly blue knowing she’s leaving. You’re happy for her but a little green with envy because her career’s on the uprise. You’re a little scared for her new beginning but you’re not exactly yellow. You’re upset with her for leaving but you’re not quite red with anger. There’s no color to describe it, so we use ‘magenta’ because it’s an ugly color and it’s not quite anything.

Ugh! Thanks to Tina, I’m magenta! Oi vey!

Anyway, Tina, dearheart, I wish you happiness, contentment, fulfillment, and joy in your new undertaking. I pray you continue to turn to God for answers to the questions, and encourage you to remain faithful to Him and His direction for you.

[audio:Friends.mp3]

This is my parting gift for you, Tina. Lyrics after the jump. Continue reading “‘Til next time, Tina”