Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mom - Open Heart Surgery

You may or may not know but Mom had Quadruple Bypass Surgery on Friday, Dec 21st. I created one of those Caring Bridge websites because it's much easier to get info out that way. Her site is:

If you visit the site, be sure to sign her guestbook and let her know!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sumner Life Acoustic Showcase

On Sunday, we had the most wonderful service! Our friends Richie Scholl and Amy Stroup gave us a mini-concert... as well as myself and Jonathan Lee and Matt Underwood. Alex Jackson was soooo sweet to learn my songs and play percussion for me!!! It was so uplifting and ministering and fun and cool and wonderful. The unity and energy in the body of Christ was just uncontainable. If you weren't there then here is a little sample. Honestly, very little of the concert was filmed - so some of the best parts were left out - but this gives you a glimpse of how it was. :-)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Something Borrowed, Something Boo-Hoo

Alright, so part 1 of my Manifesto has been posted and the chips will fall where they may. Though I can't endorse the movie, we all know what happened to Jerry McGuire when he wrote his manifesto. God help me.

But, in part 2 of my latest ramblings, I will actually be borrowing from John Bevere. Everytime I get my feathers ruffled about something, Aaron always says "You need to read 'The Bait of Satan'". Aaron is so good about just letting things roll off his back. Me, not so much. I'm working on it, with God's help.

So, I took it upon myself to read (some of) it. It's good. Really good. I really like John and Lisa Bevere - moreso Lisa because John can be a little doom and gloom for me sometimes... but still, they are REALLY awesome. Yes, I used the word awesome.

So, here is an excerpt that particularly spoke to me:

There is a deceptive, deadly trap that imprisons countless Christians, severs relationships and widens breaches between us. It is the snare of offense, and many believers are unable to function in their calling because of these wounds and hurts they have received. They are handicapped and hindered from fulfilling their God-given potential. Jesus made it very clear that it is impossible to live in this world and not have the opportunity to become offended (see Luke 17:1). If you breathe air and walk this earth, you will have a chance to become offended—guaranteed. Therefore, it is important for us to be prepared and armed, for our response to offense determines our future.

Ok, so that slapped me in the face. Here I thought I was being passionate. Turns out that sometimes I'm taking the bait of satan. Ouch.

Here is another part I liked:

The enemy uses offense to bring people into captivity. Paul says, "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition…so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV). Wow! Those in quarrels or opposition fall into a trap and are held prisoner to do the devil's bidding. They are unaware of their captivity and don't realize their hearts are spewing out bitter waters rather than pure. When people are deceived, they believe they are right even though they aren't.

Another word for that is "delusional". It's so easy to see when someone ELSE is being deceived or delusional... very much harder to see it in ourselves. Ouchy wowchy.

And my last little excerpt:

The truth of offense is this: Those you care about the most can offend or hurt you the most. You expect more of those you care about, and the higher the expectations, the greater the opportunity to be offended and fall into the devil's trap. In Psalm 55:12-14 David laments, For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. …But it was you, a man my equal, my companion, and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng (NKJV). Most often it is a fellow believer who has hurt you, and this causes the offense to go deeper; it feels like a betrayal.

The other plague that results from offense is the sin of lawlessness, which, simply put, is disobedience to authority. A person who has been offended by an authority figure will shy away from authority to avoid being hurt again. This is the reason Jesus says that in our day lawlessness will abound, and as a result the love of God in the hearts of believers will grow cold; but he who endures to the end will be saved (see Matthew 24:12,13).

After ministering in thousands of churches, I have had the opportunity to see the direct correlation between lawlessness and offense. One of three things happens when a person is offended by someone in authority. First, they'll avoid all forms of authority. This often comes in the form of leaving churches, marriages or places of employment in order to escape the chance of being hurt again. Second, they become spiritual vagabonds or wanderers. They will stay as long as those in authority behave exactly as they desire, but if they don't, they run again to the next relationship or organization. The third behavior of those who will not let go of an offense is that they become spiritual zombies. They may stay in the place where the hurt occurred, but they never reach their potential because they refuse to forgive and release the person who hurt them. This is tragic because life holds so little joy for them, and others miss the blessing that their lives were intended to bring.

Alright, so I know this was a little long, but it's good. God, help me not to take up offenses for myself or others (i.e. Aaron) so that the enemy may use me. God fights for us. He hates injustice more than we do... and HE is capable of righting every wrong as He sees fit. Yes, it hurts to be treated unfairly... to be spoken of untruthfully... but Jesus went through the ULTIMATE betrayal and humiliation in our place.

I'm going to try and rest in that knowledge today. :-)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Late-night, cold medicine Manifesto, Part 1

Ok, so Aaron is teaching on the life of Moses right now and it's got me thinking. Poor Moses had to put up with an incredible amount of grumbling and complaining. Hmmm. So then I got to studying Luke 6 and Philippians 2 and that got me thinking some more. What has happened to us - the modern day Christian… specifically those of the charismatic vein?

Lately, I have found myself getting wounded and exasperated with people who call themselves Christians and yet show no signs of being "Christ-like" at all. What I see is selfishness, hate, unforgiveness and judgment…just to name a few adjectives. Aren't we supposed to be different? Aren't we supposed to be the ones who love? Ugh. Puke. Where is Christ in our version of Christianity?

Oh, wait. Am I not supposed to say things like this because I'm a pastor's wife? Well please bear with me. I'm a human. I would like to believe I'm entitled to some raw emotions. And don't think that I'm necessarily talking only about the people in our church...

There is such an overwhelming sense of "I love you... as long as you are meeting my expectations" and "I love you... if I feel like it" or my favorite: "I love you... as long as you never do ANYTHING to piss me off because if you do then I will forever keep a record of it in my mind and things will never be the same between us." Are you getting the picture? What happened to grace? What happened to preferring one another? [Zechariah 7:10-13: 'Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. 
Be compassionate with each other. Don't take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don't plot and scheme against one another—that's evil.' "But did your ancestors listen? No, they set their jaws in defiance. They shut their ears. They steeled themselves against God's revelation and the Spirit-filled sermons preached by the earlier prophets by order of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. And God became angry, really angry, because he told them everything plainly and they wouldn't listen to a word he said.]

Grrr, of course I'm preaching to myself right now, too. And I know my husband is going to be like "Oh, Beth... why?" But I can't help it. I see these things and my heart cries out "NO!" If we have to walk on eggshells around each other and can't speak the truth in love, then what have we come to? [Luke 6:26: There's trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.]

Yes, it’s easier to just keep quiet. You don’t step on any toes like that…but that’s not the way God made me.

Anyway, here are some passages I’ve been studying and meditating on tonight. First is Philippians 2…

1-4 If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process.
14-15 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society.

Next is in Luke 6…

31-34 "Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that's charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.”

And now I am very tired and must go to bed. I love God’s people. I really do. It’s just church people that exasperate me sometimes. ☺

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Various Photo Albums, etc.

Morgan and kids

I have taken tons of pictures while being in KY. (Almost 400 at last count.) If you click on each of the pictures, it will take you to the online album. There are captions for your viewing enjoyment. Ha!

My Deer Encounter

Summer fun in KY - day 1

Funniest video ever!
(Ok, so this last one wasn't actually taken in KY... but it's darn funny!)

Friday, June 01, 2007

There's no place like home...

Ahhh, home! This is where the magic happens.

On Tuesday, me and the kids traveled to my hometown to visit my mom and family. The drive was wonderfully uneventful... and absolutely GORGEOUS. This is the second best time of year to make the drive. Of course, Fall is the best... but this is a close second! Everything was so lush and alive. Even Abbey just stared out the window at times and commented on how beautiful everything was and how much life was in the hills.

When we arrived at my mom's house (the house I grew up in!) I got out of the car and the smell of honeysuckle completely overwhelemed me. So many memories came flooding at once. Seriously, the smell in the air is remarkable. You know, you can take a picture of a beautiful sight that you want to share with others... but you can't bottle up the smell of good ole nature. It's almost a shame.

So far, this has been one of the best trips home we've had... except for the fact that Aaron isn't with us yet. He's coming next week with my mother-in-law! We can't wait.
All day Wednesday, we went to my uncle's pool with all the kids in the family and took pictures, laughed, goofed off, etc. Oh, did I mention that Lincoln didn't have an accident the whole 5 hour drive here? Everytime we stopped, he had on a dry pull-up - AND... (drumroll) he seems to be completely potty-trained all of a sudden. It's about time, I know. He's the baby. He's just a little spoiled. But he's darn cute.

Last night, we went out to eat for my nephew's 18th birthday and then took the kids to see Shrek the Third. It was really cute. There was 12 of us and we laughed so hard at the movie. After that, I took Abbey and Morgan to Walmart for 2 hours. There's not much else to do in P-burg! Well, I say that, but mom's house stays buzzing with activity. Literally, from about 30 seconds after we pull in people start coming over. Mom's house is like a big revolving door. The kids love it. I think they would stay here if I let them... which I won't! I would miss them too much! My niece, Morgan, usually stays with us when we come home and she lets me sleep in while she feeds my kids breakfast. Does it get any better than that?

I love being home. I feel safe here. This is where the magic happens.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bon Jovi night - my thoughts

I must say I went into tonight thinking that no one but Phil Stacey could pull off a Bon Jovi song... and if the truth be told, I was probably right.

Let's get right on down to it, shall we? My throat is hurting like the dickens - whatever that is - and my benedryl just kicked in. Yeehaw.

Phil - Rocked. The. House. Seriously, he could NOT have picked a better song. I KNEW that he was gonna kick some butt tonight. He has pipes. He gets my award for most improved contestant. Most everyone else peaked WAY too early... but not Phil. He waited until just the right moment (which, imho was "Every Breath You Take") to pull out the big guns and join the competition for realsies. I like this guy. He's nice. He loves his wife and kids. He's a Christian. And boy, can he sing. (Funny: Abbey watched with me for the first time all season. She said "He's good, but he screamed that last part." I said he didn't. We got into a mini-argument about it. Tee hee.)

Jordin - Is that Sanjaya? What the...? Ohhhh, we're halfway there... Whoa-oh, Jordin's now living on a prayer. Her singing that song was so dang uncomfortable, I wanted to fast-forward through it. I haven't had that urge since Scott Savol and Anthony Federov were in it. It just wasn't good. That's 2 weeks for Ms. Sparks. I think she has enough fans to push her above Lakisha and Chris... but you never know at this stage in the game.

Lakisha - My first thought with Kiki was "What the heck is she wearing????" And then she said she didn't want to sit so people could see her slimmer side. Honey. No. Now, I have no room to talk... but come on. Not a flattering outfit. She sang the song better than any she has in awhile... but for Simon to kiss her? He slaughtered Phil - which was highly uncalled for, I might add - and was giddy that Lakisha sang well. Blah. Too little too late, I say. She should've been singing like that the past 2 months.

Blake - I was sooo nervous going into his song! Jon Bon Jovi made it seem like he was going to do the polka or something. I actually liked it, but I want to go back and watch it again because I was so scared of what he was going to do, I couldn't enjoy it. It was original. By FAR the most original thing anyone has done on Idol ever. Yes, he was very pitchy throughout the song... and yes, his stamina seemed to slip towards the end. BUT... he pulled it off. I say, kudos to Blake for having some guts.

Chris - I was a little scared for Chris tonight. He has such a pinched voice, and Jon Bon Jovi's is so open... I had no idea what he was going to do. Now... let's get something straight. If Lakisha wants to resurrect Carrie Underwood and Fantasia, then whatever. But for Chris R to attempt a song that Chris Daughtry rocked out on last year? Not his smartest move, I was thinking. Here's the deal. It wasn't horrible. SOME of it was even original and good. But when he would sing "ALIVE" from the back of his throat... I wanted to claw my own eyes out! (I'm hormonal, can anyone tell?) Project and focus that sound, Chris! Cover the vowel a little, for heaven's sake. Don't that have a vocal coach? Anyway, hopping down off of my soap box... definitely not the worst of the night. That spot belongs to Jordin, unfortunately. Until...

Melinda - I didn't dare to predict what song Melinda was going to sing... I just knew she would give it her all and make it her own. I was not wrong on that... I just didn't love it. She tried. She really did. Worst Bon Jovi song to pick, I think. That didn't help her. The section of the song where she was dancing back to back with that awkward guitarist was just straaaaange. Aaron walked in during that part and we had a good laugh. That guy was trying so hard to be cool and it just wasn't working. Melinda looked more "rock" than he did, if that tells you anything! As always, it's hard to pick on her voice... except that I didn't think it fit the song at all.

Here is my ranking for tonight's show:

1) Phil
2) Melinda
3) Blake
4) Chris
5) Lakisha
6) Jordin


Who SHOULD go home? (Remember it's TWO this week!) Chris and Lakisha
Who WILL go home? I honestly have no idea.

Love to all!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"Idol Gives Back" and it's about time

Ok, so after raking in gobs and gobs of money, American Idol is finally using their power for good and not evil. Yay.

The quote of the night came from Simon. It was something to the effect of: "I can't believe that there are millions of people... some even kids... starving all over the world and even in LA" I know I misquoted that but that's about the jist of it. Where have you been, Simon? Tangled in your own chest hair? Oy.

And, we're off!

Chris starts us out much the same as he did last week - off tune a little and with a musician on stage with him. Thankfully 2 things happened. One, it wasn't the out of tune fiddle player from last week - my goodness! And two, once he stood up he got his breath support back, got in tune and gave a MUCH better performance. His runs were really good. If we could erase the first part of the song from our memory, I'd say the Chris of old was back!

Melinda - Ok, what can I honestly say about her? Vocally, she kicks everyone's butt because she is flawless. But... how can I say this?... flawless is not getting it for me right now. I didn't get the chills I was expecting from her tonight, and thought it was just a little boring. Sorry! Don't shoot me, millions of Melinda fans. I WILL say that she looked absolutely gorgeous tonight. Loving the extensions and makeup! Go, girl!

Blake - Are the judges on crack? I will admit - at the risk of being flogged - that I do NOT like the song "Imagine". That's right. HOWEVER... Blake sang it with emotion and COMPLETELY IN TUNE for heaven's sake! And... drumroll... he didn't OVERSING it, as most people feel they need to do with this song. Is this the twilight zone that Paula was the only judge that finally came around and said what needed to be said about this performance? It had meaning without theatrics. I loved it, despite the song selection. Nice job, Blake.

Lakisha - Oh, good Lord. Does this girl have the sense God gave a goose? I mean, seriously. Did she learn NOTHING from last week? You don't pick Fantasia's Idol winning song and try to recreate that moment! No, girl! I thought it was completely horrendous. I could barely listen. Granted, it was better than last week... but still not good. I'm sorry.

Phil - Phil is going country again... with a souful flare. I thought this was pretty darn good. He brought his own style to it instead of trying to do it JUST like Garth. He did drop out on some of his bottom notes, and it was a little boring for me... but for some reason I just really like Phil.

Ok, so Ryan sets Jordin up by saying she's next with a "Showstopper". That sealed her doom, right there.

Jordin decided to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" which reminds me of Honor Choir in High School with Ms. Frazier - Ahhhh, good memories. Now... let me just say that I think Jordin is a cutie and a sweetie and has a good voice. HOWEVER!!!!! If that was the performance of a lifetime... more specifically the best performance EVER on all 6 seasons of American Idol... then I need to just give it up. Have they gone mad? Besides her trusty goat-vibratto (that I mention EVERY week), she also had a shaky voice through the first half of the song. Her pitch was all over the place. She demolished the high note at the end. Almost every Kelly Clarkson performance from season one beat the snot out of this one. I still get chills when I think of Fantasia singing "Summertime" from THE FLOOR in season 3. I'm sure there was some Carrie Underwood song that caught my attention at the time - she can flat sing. And who can forget almost everything Chris Daughtry sang? But this, my friends, was NOT a great vocal. I'm sorry, it just wasn't. Even Aaron looked around from what he was doing and said "She's not doing too good, is she?" It occured to me that maybe she was emotional. Yes, it's hard to sing when you're emotional... especially when you're 17. But the best performance ever? Something is going on... why are they kissing her booty? Hmmm...

It's hard for me to rank them this week. I'm going to do my PERSONAL top 3 and bottom 3.

Top 3 - Melinda, Blake and Phil
Bottom 3 - Jordin, Chris, and Lakisha

(I really hope Blake doesn't get kicked off because next week is BONO week and it would be a travesty for him not to get to work with Bono! I'm just saying...)

Who SHOULD go home? Lakisha has got to go.
Who WILL PROBABLY go home? Chris
Who won't go home? Melinda and Jordin

It's a toss up, though.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Yee-haw! American Idol goes Country!

I'm typing as I write tonight...

1) Phil sounds awesome... I wish he had a little more energy in his body. But, he really sounds really really great. Overall, a pretty good performance. I'm glad they put him first. Abbey was in the bathtub and could hear him and several times kept yelling "He sounds GOOD."

2) Jordin is up next. Martina gave her some great advice in telling her to plant her feet and sell the song with her facial expression. Man, did she take that advice to heart. She is selling it so far. Ok, she lost t a little when she went up to the chorus. This song is hard. What I like about Jordin this week is that somehow she got a lot of the goat-vibrato out of her voice and added some SMOKE. It did her well. I like that huskier sound in her voice. Keep that, Jordin!

Ah, there is Constantine and his smoldering look at the camera! Ahhhh, love it.

3) Sanjaya. Oh, my. He looks ridiculous. What is up with that hair. "Something to Talk About"????? Of all the songs he could do, he picked the most tired song in the world? Why, Sanjaya, why? For about 5 seconds last week, I actually wasn't repulsed by the fact that you were still in the competition. (When I wasn't looking at his scary facial hair) This week, he is PAINFUL to listen to!!! Argh! I'm in pain! My ears! My ears! If he beats Phil out this week, there is no justice in the world.

I love that Debbie Allen is cracking up at Simon's declaration that Sanjaya was horrendous. He was.

4) Lakisha is next. I'm shocked that she picked "Jesus, Take the Wheel" I bet Aaron 5 dollars that she would sing "In My Daughter's Eyes" Oh well. It definitely sounds different from her than Carrie. Not sure I like it. Oh, brother. She just got to the chorus. Disaster! The song is out of her range. She is not singing - she is screaming. You can barely even hear her for the band. They are overpowering her. I hated it. This could be her demise. She should've picked a different song.

5) I'm scared for Chris. He is starting out pretty shaky... and MY GOODNESS! The fiddle is so off-tune!!! Come on, American Idol. Get a real fiddle player. The whole song for Chris was OFF. His worst song pitch-wise to date. If America has any musical ear at all, it will be between Chris and Lakisha for the bottom 2. Oh, no! I forgot that Chris is from Virginia. He sends his condolences out to the victims and families at VT and he looks like he's going to cry. Awww, now I feel bad. He might've been having a hard time because of that. Well, maybe people will take that into consideration.

6) Melinda is looking hott tonight. She looks like someone trying to win American Idol tonight! She is getting sassy. Why on earth did I doubt for one second that Melinda would have trouble with Country Night? I liked this performance better than any of hers in recent weeks. Ha, Simon asked her to lose the look of surprise as he prepared to compliment her. She did well with the challenge.

Oh, I just love Blake. He's up next and he just mimed holstering a gun... and it looked cooler than any mime I've ever seen.

7) Blake is closing out the show with Tim McGraw. Hmmm. But what song? Ok, "When the Stars Go Blue". Never heard of it. It's not his best vocal ever... but I like that he put his "Blakeness" into it. He is definitely having some pitch problems with this song. I like his falsetto. he should do more in that range. He had trouble bringing it down from the falsetto, though. I liked the beginning a lot - the softness of it. He might've done more with that feel. I didn't care for the crescendo and the more upbeat parts seemed a little forced. I am a fan of crooner Blake. They should've put him in the #6 spot and had Melinda close out the show. My opinion.

Here is my ranking for tonight! (The top 3 were verrry close in my mind.)

1) Phil
2) Melinda
3) Jordin
4) Blake
5, 6, & 7) Chris, Lakisha & Sanjaya - They all stunk as far as I am concerned.

Seriously, I don't care how much Sanjaya's fans love him. He stunk. No gimmick could mask it. Last week, he was tolerable... even OK. This was just ridiculously bad singing.

Who should go home? Sanjaya. Who will? Chris

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I think I am going to have to eat a little crow. After getting so much flack about Chris, I went back and listened to his performance again. It seems that the first time I watched it, I caught the first line... and the last 30 seconds, thanks to my husband walking in and starting a conversation with me. After going back and listening to the entire song, I can see where people thought it was pitchy. It indeed was in places. Now, I thought the ending rocked... and I like him. But if I had it to do over again, I'd probably rank him 5th or 6th.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Latin Night on Idol

Ryan starts out the night with the quip "American Idol - the show that YOU control." Yeah, right. We all know the producers manipulate the votes however they want. The man doth protest too much, methinks.


I have to admit that I was expecting Jennifer Lopez to be completely useless, but she wasn't too bad. Maybe I'm going soft, but I thought she was really cute and sweet. She is a better actress than a singer, that's for sure.

Melinda started us off with "Sway". I'm very frustrated with Melinda. Come on. Give us something. I really was hoping for something contemporary. Her dress and hair weren't Latin at all, and she has a stylist and hair girl. And I swear I thought I was watching a 50 yr old Chita Rivera, except not as exciting. Bo-ring. But, she has her fans and she's staying put. At least I think...

Lakisha was next with "Conga." I gotta tell you, I picked Lakisha to be in the bottom 3 PRIOR to the show. I just feel like her time is drawing to a close. She never takes the advice of the mentors, and she has been boring me to tears. Wait... did I see some eyebrow movement from Lakisha this week? Has she been reading my blog? Ha! I honestly thought she was a bit awkward and the song is soooo tired. Of course, she didn't sing bad. She never does. Observation: I don't think Paula likes Kiki.

Chris was one of my original favorites, but has been letting me down lately. Tonight, he did NOT disappoint. I thought his performance was one of his best. And ok, J-Lo had something useful to contribute by suggesting he change the key. Yay. The song really showed off his range and was great for his voice. It was the Chris R of old. "Smooth"? Oh yes, it was smoooth. Me likey.

Haley. Haley, Haley, Haley. Simon said what everyone was thinking. "I think you have a very good tactic at the moment, Haley: Wear the least amount of clothes as possible." It's the only thing keeping her in this competition. Her little kick of the heel as she walks move is getting old. It's the third week she has used that move. If I'm being honest, Haley doesn't have the worst voice and I actually think she has improved over the weeks. She used to really lose it at the end of every song when she would try to improvise. However, I do not LIKE her voice. It's so Ethel Merman. There's no place for that in pop music today. I really really really want her to go home. On a totally shallow note, her makeup was not flattering.

Phil is wearing a hat! He has a hat on for J-Lo and a hat in his performance. I was really hoping he would do some Jon Secada, but instead he did Santana - and I love Santana. Phil sounded amazing on this song - even with the enormous crack at the end. Big deal. He handled it. What bugged me was that he didn't get "nasty" enough with it. I wanted to see him get down and dirty with it. He sounded good, but played it too safe and nice. Ah, I'm voting for him anyway because I want Haley to GO HOME.

Jordin looked beautiful tonight. She's gorgeous. But WHY oh WHY did she pick this God-awful song? It did not fare well for her voice, in my opinion. I was ready for her to bust it out tonight. She had the weird goat-vibratto going on again. And there were a few pitchy places... but she's 17, she's adorable, she had fun... so who am I to complain? I like her.

[Paula seriously acts like she took one too many pills tonight. She's. So. Lethargic.]

Blake. Oh, Blake. I would SO buy his cd right now. He is such a breath of fresh air - for this show, if for nothing else. Great song - "I Need to Know" - perfect for him. Great performance. He remains interesting week after week and has proven himself to be a star. Thank God he didn't moonwalk. Again, me likey.

Sanjaya - I can't believe I'm going to say this... but Sanjaya wasn't bad tonight. I actually wouldn't have minded it if he didn't have that gross facial hair going on. That just creeps me out. But vocally, it was actually nice. I have to agree with Randy that Sanjaya is one smart cookie. He played the gimmick long enough to get people's attention and get a following. Tonight, he changed it up and stayed put and sang. Brillliant. He knows how to get people talking around the water cooler, you have to admit that. I'm not a fan, but I will give him his props for tonight.

Hang on to your pants. I'm going to rank tonight's performances based on what I THINK and what I think only. I'm not dumb enough to think that this is the way America will vote.

1) Chris R.
2) Blake
3) Phil
4) Sanjaya
5) Melinda (yes, you read that right)
6) Lakisha
7) Jordin
8) Haley

In my opinion, Lakisha, Jordin, and Haley had the 3 worst songs. For that alone, they deserve to be in the bottom 3. But beyond that, I didn't think their performances were anything spectacular, either.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Who will butcher Tony Bennett???

Let the games begin... Good God, could we start with Simon buttoning his shirt? My eyes! My eyes!

Blake - "Mack the Knife" Soft Gangster, Mr. Bennett? Ok, moving on. I KNEW Blake would do well with this genre. He is a crooner at heart. I'm liking the attire. Bravo!!! He tore it up. He seriously, totally, completely rocked it out. Pitch problems, Randy? Shut up. "Hip cat" said Paula. I'll buy that. 7 out of 10, Simon? From you, alright. He did better with the #1 spot than anyone has in quite a few weeks. Nice.

Phil - "Night and Day" Is Phil growing his hair out? Wouldn't this have been the perfect night for Phil to wear a hat? Ok, I'm done talking about Phil's head. Wow, I really think he sounds nice on this! I'm surprised, because I thought he would maybe not do as well with this. There were a few spots where he could've done a little more umph and kept the pitch a little more steady...

Melinda - "I've Got Rhythym" [sarcasm alert] Mr. Bennett said Melinda was the best singer all day... and Melinda was SHOCKED. Wow. She's never heard anything like that. Ok, on to the singing. Quite possibly the BEST singing EVER in the American Idol competition, all 6 seasons. Seriously. [Oh, Simon, PLEASE button up your shirt. Gag.] I predicted that Melinda would clean house tonight, and she does not disappoint.

[May I just interject how fun it is to watch this show with my dear friends/family Shelby, Scott, and Sherry!!!!]

Chris - "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" He starts out dancing - and it looks cool. Instead of staying true to the genre, Chris is trying to put his own spin on it. Bottom line, he is way out of his league. Randy, are you on crack tonight? Paula, I know you are. Compared to Blake and Melinda, he wasn't even close. The judges liked it. I agree that it was pretty entertaining - his voice is just not smooth enough for this genre, in my very humble opinion. Chris has been one of my faves from the beginning, but I am running on fumes in the compliment department with him. His voice sounded tired.

Jordin - "On a Clear Day" I had predicted that Jordin would do well with Mr. Bennett tonight, but I didn't think she sounded that great. The beginning of the song was not that great.... but then she got cooking. When she sings the word "Clear" she pinches the sound and gets a funky vibrato thing going on. The middle of the song was by far the shining part. The beginning and end were not the be all and end all for me. But that's just me. I'm aware that there are gobs of Jordin fans out there. She's not going anywhere.

Gina - "Smile" Wah! Tony Bennett is making me cry. He is so sweet... and he reminds me of my daddy. I had very little hope for Gina being able to pull this genre off is she had tried to adapt it to her rocker-self. But, she sang her butt off and showed emotion and was great. I didn't care for her look. The braided hair was distracting to me. Last week was the pinnacle for Gina, but this week was good vocally, too.

Sanjaya - More than ever, this little boy is weirding me out. This week was worse than the pony-hawk for me. EWW! I'm sorry, but the weird stubble and slicked-back hair is just down-right creepy. Ok, did I just see what I think I saw? After Simon patronizingly said "Incredible", the little boy responded with "Welcome to the universe of Sanjaya!" Oh yes he did. I ran it back and watched it again to be sure. One quick thought about his singing before moving on. Honestly, if Sanjaya would STAND STILL and sing, he wouldn't be half-bad. He was so out of tune throughout most of the song ot was pathetic. He could even get the hook line of the song - "Heaven" right. Just stand still and sing.

Haley - "Ain't Misbehaving" As she has done in the past, Haley started out singing well. I actually thought she sang the best ever... for her. But, who in the crud can get past her cleavage and hemline??? Get some clothes on, girl. I am just OFFENDED that she would pull the T&A stunt week after week and subject us to her sleaziness. And how much longer will America fall for it? I can't believe the judges had so little to say about her. That was just weird.

Lakisha - "Stormy Weather" Now, that was awesome. I had become quite bored with Lakisha's performances. She is awesome, but was just playing it safe. This week, she got back to the Kiki we all love. Sassy is right. Kudos for the dress and chocolate lipstick. Loved it.

Here is my gut-level reaction for this week:

1) Melinda - if she ever deserved 1st place, it's this week
2) Blake - I was a fan before, but now I'm a believer
3) Lakisha - Mama hit a home run
4) Haley - yes, that's right... if I closed my eyes, she didn't sound bad
5) Gina - again, if I closed my eyes, she was really good
6) Jordin - the middle of the song saved her from being in my bottom 3
7) Phil - pleasantly surprised, but still bottom 3 this week from me
8) Chris - not the best vocals, but an "A" for effort
9) Sanjaya - there are no words. Just BAD. Reminds me of Michael Jackson.

Who SHOULD go home? I have no qualms saying "the universe that is Sanjaya" should spontaneously combust.

Who will probably go home? Phil or Gina. I hate to see Phil go and I hope he doesn't, but he just might.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gwen Stefani's in the house!

When I was living in Texas, my dear friend Eilene Carver took me and a very pregnant Samantha Dennington to the No Doubt concert. It was pouring the rain and it was an outdoor concert. Lots of people decided to stay home and we by-passed our lawn seats for the shelter and enjoyed a FABULOUS concert. Up until that point, I wasn't sure how I felt about Gwen Stefani. "Don't Speak" was one of my least favorite songs because it got completely worn out. After the concert, however, I was a fan. Gwen was immaculate. She sang great (spot-on), commanded the stage and entertained us.

So, obviously I was thrilled to learn that Gwen was coaching the Idols this week! Yay!

And now, here I sit on my bed... in my QUIET house... with my nifty new laptop watching American Idol. Don't disappoint!

Lakisha - "Last Dance" (Donna Summer) I gotta tell you, even though I like her performance last week, I was getting really bored with both Lakisha and Melinda. They are both great, but falling into a one-dimentional trap. She sang really well this week, though, and THANK GOODNESS she did an upbeat song. I just wish her eyes showed some emotion. What is up with that??? Bottom line, though, I am just tired of the oldie R&B schtick from her. I wanted something contemporary and hip. Ahhh, I remember when I was in 3rd grade, Donna Summer did a TV special. We taped it on our new, very expensive BETA (if I remember correctly) VCR. I watched that thing over and over. Good times.

Chris S - blah, they're gonna start with a viewer question. Wait! Chris somehow found his sense of humor! I have missed that! "knitting, crocheting, playing the bongos in my boxer shorts" Ha. Keep that up, buddy. "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" (The Police - have I died and gone to heaven?????) Ha! Gwen just outted Chris for having no sense of rhythm. My goodness - "He was definitely off" she said. Well, the woman speaks the truth. Honestly, this is one of my all-time favorite songs by one of my all-time favorite bands. Chris, do NOT screw this up. Ok, I'm gonna un-pause and listen... he's starting out a little rough. He looks highly uncomfortable and is a little wobbly with the pitch. The band sounds good. Whoa, the echo is out of control. He is definitely having trouble with the tempo. I don't mean to be so hard on him... but if you're gonna sing Sting, you better be ON IT. Shoot... Blake should've done this song. Go, Paula. She's dancing as usual. Paula and Randy hit the nail on the head about him not being "in the pocket."

[side note - Paula's hair looks the best it's looked all season]

Gina - I probably would've cried, too, Gina. "I'll Stand By You" (The Pretenders) Ok, dang, Gina is kicking some major boo-tay. I don't even like this song and she's making me like it. She actually reminds me a little of a young Chrissy Hynde. This song was PERFECTLY in her key - yay! She's been singing songs too low for her. My goodness, her voice sounds amazing up high like this. Well, CRUD. She pretty much botched the last line - went all out of tune and stuff... but I give her major kudos for the rest of the song. IF she keeps this up, she could stay a little longer. Just sing, Gina. You can sing!

[oh no! They just showed a teaser - no pun intended - of Sanjaya's hair. The look on Ryan's face was priceless!!! Why do I get this sick feeling that he's going to sing "Just a Girl" from No Doubt???]

Sanjaya - SERIOUSLY???????????? "Bathwater" (No Doubt) Oh goodess, I love Gwen more than ever. "He chose the song. Good luck." He is just silly. He got so busy shaking his silly hair that he FORGOT his words. Ok, so there were a few moments where his voice didn't sound THAT BAD... but he absolutely should NOT be allowed to sing a Gwen song. Sorry. Ok, i have to run it back and watch/listen to it again. (You were right, Jackie) I'm in shock. He's so brazen. I can just see him be-bopping around town in a convertable with his friends singing this song at the top of his lungs, thinking he's got it going on. Huh uh, think again, Sanjaya. But sadly, he'll get some psycho votes from tonight.

Haley - NOOOOOO! True Colors is one of my favorite songs - I'm actually working on a cover of it with my nifty new laptop - and Haley is going to BUTCHER it??? Please, no! Ah, once again, Gwen wins my heart "Her alternate melody is just so unnecessary" Alright, let me un-pause it and dare to listen... Easy on the show choir hands there, Haley. The first few seconds of the song were actually not bad. Then... it just gets too Musak-y. You know, Muzak - elevator music? Yikes, the ending is bad. I don't love it. She irks me. Ok, so she has some fans. Ha ha, Paula gives the ultimate slap "But, you're a pretty girl." Ugh - Haley may be the nicest person in the world, but she reminds me of those sorority girls that got on my ever last nerve in college.

[oooh! They just showed a peek of Phil and he has on a hat tonight! Yay! I may be able to watch him while I listen!]

Phil - "Every Breath You Take" (The Police - again! I love tonight!) Yay, Phil! I really really love his voice. I would probably buy his cd, because that's how much I love his tone. Ewww, when he hit the high note at the end of the bridge (which he hit very nicely), one of the backup singers was really off. But... nice! Shut it, Paula... what do you know about singing anyway? Awww, Phil's wife is so cute.

Melinda - "Heaven Knows" (Donna Summer) I am probably the only person in the universe that is not really looking forward to Melinda's performance tonight. I'm just so bored with her and Lakisha. But, here she goes - let me take a listen. Oh! An upbeat song! Thank goodness. Cute hair! Bad outfit - you were right again, Jackie. Ok, she is acting more like someone in her 20's tonight. Finally. Ah, well, maybe 30's. The girl can do no wrong when it comes to singing. She's awesome. Lovin her hair -she's making me want to go get my air cut and flipped! [Uhhhh, Paula? Are you going to just repeat everything Randy says tonight? I just had a thought that Randy probably leans over to Paula before the end of every song and tells her what to say so she doesn't sound like a spaceball... too bad it doesn't work!] Hmmm, awkward moment. Ryan just called Melinda out for always looking so surprised when she gets compliments. She didn't bite. She's playing dumb. Now, she is awkwardly hugging herself. Weird.

Blake - "Lovesong" (The Cure, or 311) Oh, how do I love this song? So, so much! I was an avid lover of The Cure waaay back when... and then 311 redid this song on the 50 First Dates Soundtrack (maybe before then, who knows?) I'm glad Blake is doing this song. Hopefully there will be no opportunity for moonwalking. Oooh, I love what he's doing with this song. Dang, I feel like I'm at a concert. He's NOT oversinging it. I like this guy! I really like his voice. It's fresh, ya know? [Randy.. what??? Not jumping up and down? Boo. Paula, how did I know that you were gonna love Blake? Simon and Randy, this performance was NOT boring. It was MUSICAL!!!!! MUSICAL!!!!! Learn what that is!!!!]

Jordin - "Hey Baby" (No Doubt) Hmmm, I don't know. I am not lovin this. Besides her crazy outfit not looking good, she just doesn't sound that good. BAD outfit. Ok, so towards the end, she started doing some funky stuff with the song that I actually liked. But, it started out iffy. She was out of tune in places. I agree with Paula that she needs to stick with these fun, young songs. This is a hard song to sing on the verses. She sounded a little winded at times. But, she had fun. She's cute. [I went back and listened again and it was actually better than I originally thought.]

Chris R - oh, I'm so hoping that Chris steps it up a notch this week, because I like him and when he was in the bottom 2, I didn't like it. "Don't Speak" (No Doubt) Ok, I'm liking this... except for the little bobble where he was out of tune. There is a good vibe to his version that makes me actually like the song. There were a few moments where he seemed unsure of what he wanted to do with his runs and ad libs... but he ended up pulling it off. It wasn't the showstopper I was expecting for the last song of the night, but it wasn't bad. [Once again, Paula... HUH? Ok, so she likes him...]

I actually REALLY enjoyed the show tonight! Gwen and I must have the same taste in music. I'm sorry no one picked Hella Good - my fave No Doubt song. Other than that, I like it.

[I just had a weird thought again. Think about the song choices for tonight. With the exception of MELINDA and LAKISHA, every contestant chose a hip song from the 90's and beyond. The 2 R&B girls picked Donna Summer songs. Is Gwen REALLY a Donna Summer fan? Orrrrrrr, did they stick that in there to give those 2 girls something comfy to sing? Hmmmm, makes one wonder. I need to go back and watch the beginning and see if they say anything about Gwen really liking Donna Summer. Hey, I wouldn't blame her. Like I said, I was a major fan in the 3rd grade and she really impacted my musical tastes. ]

Anyway, here are my rankings:

1) Gina
2) Phil
4 & 5) Melinda & Jordin (I couldn't decide. Melinda probably edged Jordin out, but I give J points for keeping it hip and modern.)
6) Chris R
7) Lakisha (boring and forgettable)
8) Chris S
9) Sanjaya (that's right)
10) Haley (blah)

Who should go home: about 5 weeks too late, but both Haley and Sanjaya! Who will probably go home? Haley (I was right 2 weeks in a row on this... but I have a feeling there will be a surprise this week. Like Chris Sligh. I don't know why. I just do.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm a little late...

OK, so all in all I thought British Invasion night was pretty darn good. At first I wasn't very excited because - and this is admittedly naive - I don't care for the Beatle's. Ok, I said it. Moving on...

Ryan was a bit of a nerd tonight. More so than usual. Who wrote his script?

Haley - "Tell Him" I predicted that Haley would bounce back a bit this week. Ok, so she has legs and figured out how to use them to get votes from the perverted men of America. Ahem, Simon must be one of them. "Naughty little girl"... how did I know he was going to say that? She doesn't have a heinous voice... but still I don't like it. She was solid, as far as Haley goes. She showed some personality and didn't do as much of that awkward armpit showing move that she usually does.

Chris R. - "Don't Let the Sun See You Crying" Chris did really good. I like him, even if his voice is nasally. It just doesn't bother me for some reason. Maybe because he sings on pitch? Singing out of tune is a major pet peeve of mine. Anyway, he redeemed himself, even though I thought he did as well as possible with the song "The Boss" last week. The acoustic guitar at the beginning was a very nice touch.

Stephanie - "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" Ok, so Lulu (who I am LOVING, by the way!) suggests that Stephanie sounds like - queue suspenseful music - Beyonce. Stephanie acts like she's never heard that comment before... and that it's a GOOD thing. That is the one thing that has increasingly irritated me about Stephanie. WE ALREADY HAVE A BEYONCE. She's a superstar. Bottom line, Stephanie may have bought her ticket home with this performance. It was not very good.

Blake - "Time of the Season" Call me crazy but I like his performance last week better. Maybe it's because the MOON WALK hadn't worn out it's welcome just yet. This week? Welcome worn out. Blake - you're the mod one. Please stop moonwalking. It gives me the creeps. Aside from all that, when he sang "who's your daddy?" while walking to stage right... well, I liked it. :-) He's still one of my faves, just because he's different and sells it. Just... stop... oh my! No, Ryan! Nuh uh... Ryan just tried to dance and sing... awww, man. He just ruined the "who's your daddy" part for me. Great. On a lighter note, I just ran it back three times to laugh at it. Hilarious.

Lakisha - "Diamonds are Forever" Ok, now this was actually kinda cool. Lakisha can sing, there's no doubt. I loved the artistry she used by have the sparkly lights with all her bling bling. She was totally in character - despite the lack of emotion in her eyes, but that's another blog - and she sang really well. I thought the judges were CRAZY. However, I do not think girl in her mid-20's when I think of Lakisha. Sorry.

Phil - "Tobacco Road" Hmmm. He sounded better in rehearsal. I really really like Phil's voice. The guy can WAIL. And lately he's learned how to start a song without it sounding weird. However, some of his dance moves had me recoiling and wishing they hadn't happened. I root for this guy, ya know? And is it just me, or was there something all over his shirt? It looked like when my kids put their hands on a dirty car and then wipe their hands on their shirt. ??? It's obvious that the producers want him off the show. I hope he stays.

Jordin - "I Who Have Nothing" The kick-butt award of the night goes to Jordin. She was beautiful. She sang in tune. She belted the crud outta the song. She worked it - nice emotion!!! SOOOOOO much better than the train wreck from last week. Wow. I like her much better when she is singing than when she is talking. Quirky.

Ha - Peter Noone just slammed Simon. Simon does not look amused. Doesn't feel too good, does it?

Sanjaya - "You Really Got Me" Really? I mean, really really? Where to start... 1) the crying girl. You gotta be kidding me. She's so overwhelmed by the mere presence of Sanjaya that she's reduced to tears, much like Americans during the British Invasion? Pigtail girl, get a hold of yourself. Where are this girl's parental units? Somebody should be responsible to tell her that she and Sanjaya are likely batting on the same team as evidenced by this:
2) Sanjaya was a wild man. His tongue stuck out... peace signs flying... hair everywhere. Shudder. It was uncomfortable to say the least. Wait! Did he just do a semi-hula in the middle of his song??? Good Lord. 3) His mom had on a t-shirt that said "Momjaya" 4) Again, pigtail girl. She comes up and gives him a hug and I fear they will have to call paramedics. Oy.

Gina - "Paint it Black" One of my favorite Rolling Stones songs. It was ok. I can't say that Gina has kicked it up a notch every week. She has kinda hit a plateau. It wasn't bad, but she had some moments that were out of tune. Thank God for Lulu suggesting that she change the key! That made a big difference. Gina sounds much better in her upper range. She has more control.

Chris S - "She's Not There" This was a great song choice for Chris. It showed that he can definitely sing. I loved the "Bringing Chubby Back" sign. Very clever. Starting in the audience was an ok move... but he seemed a little distracted and either ignored the audience and sang well... or slapped some high fives and got ahead of the music. This has been a common mistake with Chris, getting ahead of the music. Hmmm...

Melinda - "As Long as He Needs Me" As usual, I have nothing bad really to say about Melinda. She is top-notch. It wasn't the most "chill-bump" performance she has given, but for her that's still better than most. I wasn't familiar with the song like I was with most, and sometimes I thought she might've been botching the melody. But, being the pro she is, she either covered quickly or I was just wrong.

I really thought Peter Noone and Lulu gave the contestants some solid advice which was evidenced by their improved performances. Overall, I thought everyone did better than last week.

Here are my rankings:

1) Jordin
2) Lakisha
3) Blake
4) Chris S.
5) Melinda (this is no reflection on Melinda. The first 6 in my mind are almost a tie)
6) Chris R.
7) Haley (though it pains me to even write that)
8) Phil
9) Gina
10) Sanjaya (entertaining just because he's so ridiculous... and pigtail girl was a riot!)
11) Stephanie

Who deserves to go home? Both Stephanie and Sanjaya - bring AJ Tabaldo! Who will go home? Stephanie, I think.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Top 12 - here we go!

Brandon - Nooooooo!!!!! This song???? I am sitting here in stunned silence. My mouth is agape. Ok, the dance break TOTALLY threw him. Don't you know that he could've crawled under the stage when he messed up? But let's go back to the song choice... terrible!!! Horrid. It barely worked for Phil Collins and it certainly didn't work for Brandon. He sounded out of breath the entire song. I really feel sorry for him... but I don't know how long I can continue to make excuses for good ole Brandon.

Melinda - Ok. I admit I did get chills at one point. Ive heard her better. And, of course, there was the lovely "astonished" look on her face when she got a standing ovation. She was like "Who me?" Yes, girl! You're the one that just sang. And, aww, paula is crying. Bottom line, she "brought it".

Chris S - Ok, is this Diana Ross or Coldplay? Gosh, why am so mean tonight? Personally, I miss Chris's glasses. I appreciate his effort to put a modern, contemporary spin on a Diana song. I'm just not sure it worked for THIS song. I thought it was rather boring and very one dimentional. Sorry.

Gina - She sounded really good at first, but ended up screaming it toward the end. The arrangement was not good... and I can say the same for every song so far tonight.

Sanjaya - Ok, I'm just gonna say it. Did he sneak his sister in, in his place? Is that his sister? I'm quite sure I had a look of horror on my face the entire performance. The hair????????? What is up????? I can absolutely say that I am NOT jealous of his hair tonight. Diana asked him "Do you dance?" Hello! Didn't you see the clip on his hula dancing last week? Good grief. And the ending of the song was just downright uncomfortable. So odd. [I know why Diana thinks he is "love". He reminds her of Michael Jackson... except he stinks as a performer.] Bless his poor little heart, though. He could actually get some pity votes.

Haley - Besides the extremely bad vocals, the outfit looked like a garbage sack. Oh, my goodness, she just messed up. [I'm typing as I watch] What is the deal tonight? Shoot, I had her picked to go home tomorrow night, but now everyone will probably feel sorry for her. And as far as Paula saying that the audience never even notices when someone messes up... those of us not on drugs totally noticed.

Phil - [Did you notice how Diana seemed to be staring at Phil's head when he walked in? Ha! His head is weirder than hers. Yes, Jackie, I said weirder.] I'm gonna go on a limb and say that this was the best song choice Phil has made. He actually sounded really good. No, Simon, he wasn't shouting. He was SINGING and it sounded good. He has a powerful belting voice. He was by far the most "interesting" of anyone who has performed thus far in the evening. [I just went back and listened to it with my back turned. It was even better that way.]

Lakisha - Ok, so this song was right up her alley. She doesn't look a bit nervous. In fact, she looks like she's having a blast and was meant for the big stage. I wasn't expecting much from her tonight, and she showed me. Good job, girl. SMILE, though!

Blake - Love the song choice. Blake is looking dapper. The electronica arrangement is killer. I can certainly do without the constant breakdancing, however. He got off on the rhythm toward the end, but right before that I liked what he was doing with the vocals. Not his best performance, but still likable.

Stephanie - Love Hangover was the perfect song for this girl. After her performance last week, which I thought was very weird and forgettable, she redeemed herself. I just wish she would stop trying to be Beyonce. I can't say it enough. Is it becoming a trend for her to botch one high note every week? I hope not. All in all, it was a very good performance. Much better than last week.

Chris R - This guy has yet to bore me... until halfway through the song tonight. He started out really good... but lost control of the song about halfway through. It just got away from him. I would've loved to hear something else from him... but I didn't hate it.

Jordin - I didn't recognize this song. I didn't like it. Bad dress. Not a good performance. What a letdown from last week's Heartbreaker. That's all I'm going to say.

Here are my rankings for tonight's performances:

1) Phil - seriosly. His vocal was almost flawless to me.
2) Stephanie - that's right.
3) Lakisha - only because I liked her song better than Melinda's
4) Melinda - she's adorable
5) Blake - I loved his arrangement but his breakdancing got to me
6) Gina - not bad
7) Chris R - yeah
8) Chris S - to me, there is a HUGE gap between the 7 and 8 spot, though
9-12) Brandon, Haley, Jordin, Sanjaya - I hate to say it, but I almost thought Haley did better than Brandon and Jordin. Tie for last for the 4 of them, though!

Who should go home? Sanjaya. Who will probably go home? Brandon.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

AI gals - from 8-6

I need to make this snappy - not much time. Forgive my pithiness. (Look it up, it's a good word)

Jordin - I bet Gina G was kicking herself for not picking this song. But alas, Jordin rocked it out with Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker". I thought she did a really good job, and thankfully redeemed herself from the awkward "brother-love" rendition of Reflection from last week that she slaughtered.

Sabrina Sloan - I was a huge fan of Sabrina's, but can I just say that she had not actually gotten better each week? Her voice seems to have gotten worse for some reason. I'm in the minority, but I loved her song choice - I just think she needed to be a little stronger with it... nastier, if you will. Oh well. I don't think she's in too much danger of getting voted off, but what do I know?

Antonella - My mama always taught me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all. Next!

Haley Scarnato - I'm going to ignore my mama right now and tell you exactly what I think about Haley. (Sorry, mom) If this girl doesn't get voted off, I may puke. Everything in my being cringes when she takes the stage. Her rendition of that horrible song was even more horrible. Ewww. Blech. Gag. Next!

Stephanie Edwards - Ok, so she won my heart the first week with the Prince song. And she did really good last week, even though she sounded just like Beyonce. But, singing like Beyonce to a Chaka Khan song? Huh uh. Her power notes sounded strained, and that hurt me. Are these people worn out? I still like her. I think she has staying power.

Lakisha Jones - Let's consider this: 2 out of 3 weeks, Lakisha has sung songs that have, in essence, said "Don't you dare even think about walking away from me you little man, you!!!!!" She frightens me a little. Yes, she can sing. And yes, she's looking better each week. But, show us your softer side, Lakisha. We all know you have the power.

Gina Glockson - Ok, so last week when Gina decided to resurrect the SAME Heart song that Carrie Underwood had done 2 years ago, I knew it was time for me to take action. So, I got on the American Idol website... went to the message boards for Gina... and SUGGESTED a song by Evanescence. (sp?) I'm proud to say she took my advice, hardee har har, and went with "Sober". This was soooo her style. Although Gina still irks me a tad, I think she is moving in the right direction.

Melinda - What can I say about Melinda that hasn't already been said? She's brilliant. She's cute. She has the stage presence of a hundred performers. My only advice? Do something just a little more contemporary in the coming weeks. Surprise us. We know you have the chops. I dare you to sing a song without smiling.

Here are my ratings for the gals:

1) Melinda
2) Jordin
3) Gina
4) Lakisha
5) Stephanie
6) Sabrina
(LONG PAUSE because they are not even in the same league...)
7) Haley
8) Antonella

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

American Idol guys - from 8 to 6

1) Blake Lewis - No clue what song he did (ok, it was "All Mixed Up" by 311... still clueless). I think he's a great performer and has a great voice. He will end up in the top 12. [ok, it turns out that I actually have 311 on my mp3 player. Who knew?]

2) Sanjaya - Ok, so the secret is out. Now we know why Sanjaya was picking the songs he was picking. He STINKS at contemporary stuff. John Mayer??? Come on! Not even close. And he didn't even make it his. And if he was even remotely interested in changing his image, doing the hula dance with that creepy smile on his face was NOT the way to go. And... I'm jealous of his hair. It was gorgeous tonight.

3) Sundance - I'm confused... did he do good or not? I can't tell. At times, he seemed to be doing really well... and then at other times it seemed like somebody was off. Was it him or the backup singers? I'm going to have to run it back and watch it again to be sure. I'll be back with confirmation. [Ok, I just went back and watched again. HE was the one definitely off at times. The backups were a highlight.]

4) Chris Richardson - I wasn't sure for the first 3 seconds of the song... but then he made me a believer. It worried me that he was going with the ballad, but I was excited that he was doing Keith. He made it his own and he made it work. I really, really liked Chris tonight. So far, I'd put him on top.

5) Jared Cotter - Well, well, this preppy little R&B singer. He was definitely PITCHY as heck in places... but when he was on, it was my favorite of all his performances. He seemed like he was losing his breath on the faster parts. He's a cutie, though, and I'll bet he makes it to the top 12.

6) Brandon - I respect Brandon. The fact that he plays classical piano ups the ante. He has fabulous stage presence. He started the song off awesomely. The song was WAY too repetative. But, I hope he gets into the top 12 because I think the best is yet to come from Brandon.

7) Phil Stacey - Can I just get a big ole "Yeehaw!" for Phil wearing a hat tonight? However, it was a weird hat... so I was still a little distracted. As usual, the beginning of his song (a Leeann Rhymes song, no less) was strange. His tone at the beginning sounded a little weird to me. He did good on his belty stuff... but I do not think he did well with his song choice. I will say one thing about Phil: He may have a weird looking head, but I like his sense of humor.

8) Chris Sligh - Ok, so not the best song choice. There were some shining moments, and overall I think he will make it to the top 12. He brought his humor back in the intro - that was good. More humor is needed to keep us from being bored. [I went back and listened to this again - my kids were climbing all over me the first time - and it was much better than I first thought. It was dead-on pitch and nearly flawless. The song choice hurt a little, though.]

Overall, I think the guys were incredibly BORING tonight. Very disappointing. I do hope the gals "bring it" tomorrow night.

Here are my rankings for tonight:

1) Brandon
2) Chris Sligh
3) Chris Richardson
4) Blake Lewis
5) Jared Cotter
6) Sundance
7) Phil Stacey
8) Sanjaya

Truly, I think Brandon could get voted off and give Phil a spot. I don't know why, but I just have that feeling. Brandon's a MUCH better singer, though.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

American Idol - Top 10 girls/ladies/women

Ok, so you know I go to church on Wednesday nights... so that slows me down from watching the gals' performances. I have to get my LOST fix immediately upon getting home. Then, by time I worked Lincoln through another night without his pacifier, I was zonked and couldn't stay awake to watch it. (Did I really say that? The poster-child for Night Owls is getting old.)

Anyway, here we go...

Gina G - (Alone - Heart) She was ok. I honestly thought the backup singer was not blending with her toward the end. And yes, contrary to popular belief, it is the backup singers job to BLEND, not the other way around. She did a pretty good job at the beginning - but I agree with Simon (gasp) that her outfit didn't really go with the vibe she gives off. Having said that, she actually looked the best she has looked the entire show.

Alaina - (Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Poops) Ok, if she would stay on the softer side, she might do ok. I was surprised with how she sounded at the beginning of the song - a song I can't stand, by the way. I suggest a Sarah McLaughlin song.

Lakisha - (Midnight Train - Gladys & the Pips) Of course she can sing Gladys Knight. And of course it sounds good. But, I was bored. Lakisha, you blew us away last week... now take some risks now while you can before they have you singing Sheena Easton's greatest hits in week 4 or something.

Melinda Doolittle - (Funny Valentine - her own version) WOW. And not just because she is from good ole Tennessee, either. It would be so easy for Melinda to be "normal", but she makes the most of every opportunity. She took control of tht song and did not let go. I love her!

Antonella - (Because You Loved Me - Celine) WHAT? They're not going to to address the photos? Oh, well... she took care of that herself. She really stunk. I honestly thought she did better last week with the beginning of the Aerosmith song. She reminded me of someone that was drowning or something. When she sings softly, she isn't too bad - usually. But tonight, nothing could save her in that song. Not even her looks.

Jordin - (Reflection - Christina Aguilara) Ugh! Could she pick a worse song? Maybe, but I can't think of one. She started out really wobbly and off-pitch, and never came out of it. It was bad. She is a better singer than that. I hope she gets some grce this week. She's going to need it.

Stephanie Edwards - (Dangerously in Love - Beyonce) I'm not real familiar with this song, believe it or not... so at first I couldn't tell if she was off or on. I think she actually did a pretty good job until one of those held-out notes at the end. She did WAY better last week. But, I think she'll stick around to the top 8 or 9.

[Side note - Didn't Randy Jackson have that same exact shirt on last week? Come on, Randy. With all the stars you "work with", can't you afford a more diverse wardrobe?]

Leslie Hunt - (Feeling Good - Nina Simone) Oh, snap girl. Ok, so I was snacking on some cheese and crackers when the song started. When Leslie started her "scat" (and I use that term LOOSELY), I completely lost my appetite. What can I say? She might've walked away with a smidgen of dignity if she had just STOPPED before the scat part. Aside from that, the beginning wasn't too bad but once she tried to take it bigger, she was just lost... Like a little strawberry blond puppy. Ironic that she's a dog-walker.

Haley - (Queen of the Night - Whitney) Oh. My. Word. Did I just see what I thought I saw? Tell me no. First, her dancing was just completely awkward. Could you even call that dancing? Muscle spasms, perhaps? I'm not trying to be mean, but she was so out of her league. When they say her performances are caberet, it's because SHE IS CABERET. Thats not going to change. It was just painful. And when she tried to flip up into her falsetto while glancing over at the boys, she totally lost it. I could go on and on... but I don't want to.

Sabrina Sloan - (All the Man That I Need - Whitney) Sabrina is one of my favorite singers, but she didn't capitalize on the song. If I was going to choose a Whitney song to perform, this would be the one because it actually is one of the easiest - in my opinion. Anyway, as good as Sabrina is, she really faltered on the climax of the song... and the ending was very wobbly. Oh, well. Better to get the bobbles out now, because I'm sure she's going to the top 12 and she'll want to be flawless then.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

American Idol - top 10 men/boys/guys

Let's break it on down:

Phil Stacy - Why do I like this guy? Because he's a pastor's kid? Mmm, I don't think so. I do wish he would go back to wearing a cap - sorry! It's just a tad unnerving. OK, so the first line made me perk up my ears - it was really good. Then, from there until the chorus it was semi-shaky. The bridge and ending was really good. His tone is so, so nice. And I just found out that his dad apparently pastors a church here in Hendersonville. Who knew?

Jarod Cotter - This guy was much better this week. His song - though overdone - was a better pick for him. However, he was a little boring with it... unless you were looking right at him. The guy is cute, and that will get him down the road easier than his voice.

AJ Tabaldo - He has really surprised me! He's so expressive with his voice and has close to immaculate pitch. Thank you, AJ!!!! He did "Feeling Good" and absolutely made it is own, which is not an easy task. I would buy his CD. I'll just say that right now.

Sanjaya - I can say with some certainty that Sanjaya is going home. When you're 17, for heaven's sake, don't keep doing songs that make you seem 85 yrs old. This dude has a good voice - he is on pitch and has a great tone - but he has proven 2 weeks in a row that he can't pick the right songs.

Chris Sligh - Not my favorite song... but still one of my favorite singers. I like his confidence and I like his voice. He was very subdued this week - no wisecracks. I miss the wisecracks! Bring them back!

Nick Pedro - I just love Nick's voice. His stage presence - or lack of - KILLED me last week. He literally looked like a wet dish rag. ANYWHO... he completely redeemed himself this week. I loved his voice on this song. His tone makes me melt. (Not in THAT way... get your mind outta the gutter. I'm speaking musically.)

Blake Lewis - Hands down, he's the best. No one can touch him. Simon's an idiot on this one. Even if it was a carbon copy of Jamiroquai's Jason Kay, he's one of 2 - maybe 3 - guys on the show that could even pull THAT off. I like him. And for the record, he's made me start liking beat-boxing. Never thought I'd say that.

[side note - Paula looks better this week. I can see her eyes.]

Brandon Rogers - I don't think this was the best song for him. I love love love the song, and it has become quite the popular song to cover of late. However, for him, he needed something more. Come on, Brandon. Kick it up a notch. Simon, you're a butt tonight. I wanted to use another word, but I know Aaron will read this.

Chris Richardson - Hmmm, Chris must not have read my blog from last week. I suggested that he keep the mic in front of his mouth while he's bopping around. He had trouble again this week with that. What he DIDN'T have trouble with, however, was rockin it out to Jason Mraz. After seeing his performance, I have to say that he actually did better than Blake. For tonight's purposes only, I put him in 1st place. Nice.

Sundance Head - I really liked him in the first audition. Did I say that last week? Anyway... I think... ok, we had Bo 2 years ago... we had Taylor last year. This year, it's not about the rockers. Sorry. You're good at what you do. But it's about Blake, Chris R, Chris S and AJ this year. Maybe even Brandon if he can shake it off.

For this week, here are my standings:
1) Chris Richards
2) Blake Lewis
3) AJ Tabaldo
4) Nick Pedro
5) Jarod Cotter
6) Chris Sligh
7) Phil Stacey
8) Brandon Rogers
9) Sundance Head
10) Sanjaya Malakar
This does not reflect my overall view on the men.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Now for the ladies...

Let's just get on with it...

Stephanie Edwards - I LOVED her song - my man Prince! I think she is a true performer and will go far in this competition.

Amy Krebs -I have liked this girl from the first audition. She has some pitch problems, but I liked her take on the song - a song which has been sung to DEATH... but it wasn't too bad. I think Simon was too hard on her.

Leslie - There is always one contestant that irks me each year. There is someting about her that just does. She did ok, but just ok. I don't know what Simon was trying to say to her... but she definitely has no business singing Aretha.

Sabrina Sloan - Wow, this girl can sing. Great tone. Great control. Great stage presence. I loved her from the start. She doesn't disappoint. One of my faves.

[side note - I do think Ryan Seacrest provoked Simon at the beginning of the show. He was actually in a good mood for once, and Ryan just kept pushing. There is something strange going on between the two of them.]

Antonella - She is beautiful, but I just don't think she has the experience needed to get her through to the top 12. I think the first few bars were surprisingly good - I liked the style. I think she will get votes because of her looks, and I think she just has to grow a lot more and she will end up being a good singer someday.

Jordin Sparks - I really like this girl. She did a great job mixing it up a little and getting rid of her "sugary" image. Very exciting. She will go far, if America has a brain.

Nicole - I can honestly say I do not remember her at all. When she started her performance, I almost choked - she was that bad... and weird. Her lower register was just bad and strange. Her upper register was fabu! She has confidence, I'll give her that.

Haley Scarnado - What I remember of this girl from Hollywood was that she was just ok. I don't "love" her voice, ya know? Her song choice made me want to puke, but oddly enough it was very well-suited for her. She s very theatric, which I hate in pop music. And let's be honest - AI is pop.

Melinda Doolittle - Go Melinda, go! She did Aretha and Tennessee proud. What a performer she is. She seems so sweet, too... not that being sweet will win the competition. Ha!

[Once again, what in the world is going on with Paula's hair???]

Alaina Alexander - This girl is so cute. She started out so bad on her performance, and didn't get much better. She didn't have the breath support or stamina to get past her nerves. It was really out of tune.

Gina Glockson - There is something about her that irks me... but one thing I will say for her is that her lower register was IN TUNE! Thank you, Gina!!! Boring boring boring song choice. If we wanted to hear Celine, we would, ya know? [haven't heard the judges comments yet] Ok, Simon just said the same thing. She did well, but the really high note was strained. She hit it, but it was strained.

Lakisha - Whoo! The girl got NASHTY with her song. I had chills upon chills. I love her heart and passion. She is hungry for this. Nice. She may not win, but she will go on to be a star.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maybe I'm a little TOO into this, but here we go...

Ok, so it's at this point in the season when people start asking me my opinion. What season, you ask??? American Idol season, of course!!!! ;-) So, I will do my level best to blog after each performance show with my comments about the contestants... and maybe even the judges, audience, host, etc. Who knows??? Hey, this is just for fun so feel free to disagree. Just... if you do... keep it to yourself. Ha!

Rudy Cardenas – “Free Ride” I enjoy the upbeat songs at this point better than the ballads, so thanks Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! Ok, but seriously his hip thrusts are killing me. His upper range is amazing, though.

Brandon – he’s actually ok. Not really one of my favorites for some reason, but I’m always glad when a backup singer can step out!

Sundance – He was an early favorite for me. But “Knights in White Satin”??? Come on! I think he’s going home based on this one performance. He’s a better singer than this.

Paul Kim – Started out terribly on “Careless Whisper”, and didn’t get much better. If his barefoot gimmick can get him some votes, he’ll be darn lucky. It just wasn’t good, dawg.

[side note – Paula looks horrible tonight! Bad hair… bad eye makeup.]

Chris Richards – I like him. However, he SERIOUSLY should’ve stood still if he wasn’t going to hold the mic at the beginning! Ok, I love “I Don’t Wanna Be” so he scores points with me for choosing that song.

[side note – Everyone seems so nervous tonight! The guys last year seemed a little more seasoned???]

Nick Pedro – I like this guy. I love the tone of his voice. Not the greatest stage presence… but he’s kinda a humble guy. He has some pitch problems, like just about every other guy that has performed tonight so far!

Blake Lewis – He is one of my favorites of all 24. I think he has a great voice, a great style, and he’s talented. He chose a Keane song, which fits his voice… but doesn’t necessarily transfer on the idol stage, ya know? But, who cares? He rocked. Reminds me of Maroon5's Adam Levine.

Sanjaya – ok, so he was much better than his sis. He needs a haircut. His smile is cute, and borderline creepy at the same time. Ha! I don’t know quite what to say about his performance. He can definitely sing. I was kinda bored… but his dynamics were good. Make sense?

Chris Sligh – Another one of my faves. Not just because of the humor-factor… although I would vote him into the top 3 just for the Hasslehoff comment alone. Great song choice – MUTE MATH!!! Good performace. Not flawless - his timing was a little off, but I forgive him.

Jarod Cotter – He seems to have a good personality. Boring song choice, and I hope it doesn’t hurt him. Definitely had some pitch problems – but when he didn’t he sang it well. Make sense?

AJ Tabaldo – He did really well with the upbeat song choice. A little boring… but not bad. He actually has a great soul voice and seemed at home on stage. He needs some help with his wardrobe, though.

Phil Stacey – Ok, the beginning was SCARY. I was seriously scared for him. But then when he kicked it in, he rocked. Great tone, great voice. (He must never do that mealy mouthed singing again.) Also, he is a pastor’s kid!!!! So yay, go Phil!

More on the ladies after their performances!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy V-Day to me!!!!

I have never been a fan of Valentine's Day. Ya know, if you need an actual OCCASION to love... then, what good is love? ;-) Alright, that's a little melodramatic, but then again so am I!

So last night, Aaron and I went to Green Hills mall to eat at the Cheesecake Factory for our Valentine's Day outing - we never go out on the 14th because it's just too darn crowded.
Anyway... after our dinner - which was fabulous - we went to the Apple store to look around. I have been longing for a macbook to have as my very own so I can play around with Garageband and record some of my music. I have been ok with the chances of that being very slim, however. Good things come to those who wait. Right?

A friend of mine recommended I get a macbook and keyboard (music, not computer) to get started with. I walked in to the store and got a little freaked out. This is a big step. Not just the money... but just knowing that something that I have alternately dreamed about and pushed aside in my mind was so tangible.

To make a long story short, my wonderfully sweet and caring husband INSISTED that I get the computer AND keyboard. We would've gotten the usb microphone but they were sold out. YAY!!!!! I was too tired last night to fool with it, and it has now been 12 hours and 33 minutes and I have yet to fire that baby up (I'm on the old computer now) and get going.

You know... I want to clarify that it's not like Aaron would never ALLOW me to get this. It's just that we like to think and act as realistically as possible in life. This has been a WANT, not a need... and with 3 small kids, there are plenty of needs to focus on without getting off-track with wants. And basically I always knew that once the kids got to a manageable age, I would start feeling the itch to make music again.

Oh, and here's another thing. I lead worship every Sunday and I love it more than anything. Because of the type of music that we do at Sumner Life, I usually end up feeling creatively satisfied, in addition to feeling like I've actually just worshipped the Lord. However, because that's the only musical/creative outlet I have right now, I have found myself getting into a rut. Lately I have been walking around the house singing... and everything sounds like I'm leading worship. There's nothing WRONG with that... I just want to keep more variety in my world. I grew up being able to sing any type of genre and I don't want to let that get too far away.

Well, I didn't mean to write this long. I'm just really excited!!!!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Psalm 55:8-14, 16-19, 21 (NLT)

8 How quickly I would escape—
far from this wild storm of hatred.

9 Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans,
for I see violence and conflict in the city.
10 Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,
but the real danger is wickedness within the city.
11 Everything is falling apart;
threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.

12 It is not an enemy who taunts me—
I could bear that.
It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—
I could have hidden from them.
13 Instead, it is you—my equal,
my companion and close friend.
14 What good fellowship we once enjoyed
as we walked together to the house of God.

16 But I will call on God,
and the Lord will rescue me.
17 Morning, noon, and night
I cry out in my distress,
and the Lord hears my voice.
18 He ransoms me and keeps me safe
from the battle waged against me,
though many still oppose me.
19 God, who has ruled forever,
will hear me and humble them.

21 His words are as smooth as butter,
but in his heart is war.
His words are as soothing as lotion,
but underneath are daggers!

How interesting that David - in the midst of a constant threat from outside sources - wrote about what can happen when people that are supposed to be "on the same team" hurt and betray on another. You expect these things to happen outside the workplace, church, sports team or even the home. But we're often caught by surprise when it comes from our safe place.

In the scripture above, David is writing about being betrayed by a friend. In my life, though, it reminds me to look within myself and be careful not to hurt those who count on me. It's especially precarious because I'm a pastor's wife. It shouldn't be, but it is. My prayer is that I can truly be a blessing to people within our church, and not to ever cause hurt. Reading this passage illuminates to me how hurtful it can be when the pain comes from within.

I thank God for David and all of the psalmists who refused to be "religiously correct" and wrote very pointedly about real life.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Circle of Life

Today, I had to run to Sam's to pick up some pictures. The boys were starving, so we grabbed a few pieces of pizza and sat down at one of the tables.

Because their slices are so big a gooey, I made the boys wait for me to cut theirs up before they devoured it.

As I was cutting, I looked over and there was the sweetest couple sitting at another table. They looked to be in their late 70s. The lady was in a wheelchair. The man (I'm assuming her husband) was cutting her pizza into tiny bites so she could eat it.

It's so ironic to me that sometimes we end life the same way we begin it.