Thursday, February 28, 2013

AI Season 12- Las Vegas Guys' Elimination #2

Ryan opens in the same place, and I think in the same outfit, as last night. At least he's still wearing a purple tie and a purple shirt, though he has a white pocket square tonight. Once again he promises Sudden Death. I don't think so.

Nicki still has the side-part-blonde-with-black-roots hair. She's wearing a lemon yellow sleeveless dress with    a black and yellow skirt. The armholes appear to be edged with bicycle chains. Randy is in a red blazer and matching glasses. Mariah  has nude lipstick, and cute hair- I think it's lighter than before. It's certainly more full, and softer looking, and longer. She's wearing a black dress with a dangerously low, loose neckline, but at least there are straps tonight.

The remaining 10 Guys rise from the depths. There are a couple of fairly new faces in the bunch.

#1. Mathenee is 26, and a return from last year. He's a dancer and a choreographer, originally from the Bahamas. he's wearing a black leather jacket with the sleeves pushed up, over a white tee, and a sideways ball cap. I hate sideways ball caps. He's singing A Little Less Conversation, and it's not awful, but I have no fondness for this song (or for Elvis in general), or for the dancing. Mathenee's voice is thin and kind of screechy on the high notes.
Keith: compliments Mathenee's range and entertainment value but cautions not to let the entertainment overpower the voice (translation: stand still)
Nicki: thinks Mathenee tried too hard
Randy: questions song choice
Mariah: likes him as a person but didn't love the performance

Note to Mathenee: if you survive until voting opens, you can think about arguing with the judges then. When your fate is in their hands entirely, it's a good idea just to smile and say thank you.

#2. Gurpreet, The Turbanator, explains that he's a Sikh, and he demos turban wrapping, which is actually pretty fascinating. He's wearing bright yellow pants and a matching turban, a white shirt and a black vest. He sings some bluesy song that highlights every one of Gupreet's weaknesses (no volume, no depth, no stage presence). My guess is that he'd be fine in a small venue, but he's totally unsuited for even this size audience.
Keith: not a good song choice
Nicki: Hell no!
Randy: dude, no, really, honestly, that was terrible
Mariah; slightly disappointed

#3. Vincent is a worship leader (one of hundreds on the show this year, it seems). He has also sung backup for many famous singers (including Whitney Houston). He's wearing black glasses, a black velvet blazer, and a dark eggplant shirt. He looks every minute of 39 years old. He's singing something slow and sultry, and he ventures a long way into falsetto city. This is a very controlled performance. Vincent is in charge.
He gets a Standing O from Randy, Mariah, and Keith.
Keith: acknowledges the crowd's overwhelming approval
Nicki: says that Vincent is an old soul, and that 40 and 50 year olds will be throwing their panties at him, like that isn't a horrifying notion
Randy: first time this year- In it to win it!
Mariah: finally, someone singing well!

Note: Zoanette is in the house tonight, and her enthusiasm reaches levels that may involve the need for outside restraint. With tasers.

#4. Nick Boddington, 27, is a bartender, and he looks very like a tall, bald contestant from several seasons past, whose name escapes me at the moment. I don't believe we've seen him without a hat. Tonight he's wearing a jacket with the sleeves pushed up way above his elbows, a white shirt, no tie, and a fedora. His voice is 100% Boy Band, and once again I reflect that the show really really wants a girl to win this year.
Keith: likes the vocal timbre but thinks there was no connection to the song
Nicki: still loves the voice but expected more
Randy: bad song choice
Mariah should really not bend over: says the same thing as everyone else

#5. Unfortunately Josh Holloway is a brunette farm boy from Texas and not Sawyer from The Island. I would watch him every week. This Josh has that very thick, bushy kind of hair that sticks straight up when it's short. He's wearing a blue jacket over a white v-neck tee. He starts out at the piano, and every few notes, he takes his hands from the keys and taps his chest twice. It's weird and annoying. About halfway through, he leaves the safety of the ivory, bouncing and prancing and singing very adamantly. I don't know this song, but I don't think he hit a single note properly. This is a really terrible performance for this stage of the competition.
Keith: clarifies that Josh was singing an original song.(Me: Man, he couldn't even sing his own song on key)
Nicki: should have stayed at the piano
Randy: yo, yo, yo, not wowed
Mariah: loves that Josh is a singer/songwriter but does not love this particular sing/song

(Note: edited to say that he's Josh Holiday not Josh Holloway, which ruins my perfectly good joke. Way to go, Joke Ruiner Josh Holiday)

#6. David Willis is yet another worship leader. He's wearing a red shirt, gray vest and jeans. I'm very glad he ditched his asymmetrical sculpted hair for a close-cropped do. He's playing a guitar (though he's not a White Guy, so he's safe)(for the moment) and singing Fever to an arrangement with a Caribbean beat. I don't hate this but I don't love it either. Where are the gravel-voiced guys this year? Oh yeah, off with the winners of the last four seasons.
Keith: starts with How you doing?, which is never a good sign. Not the best song choice
Nicki has no hidden thoughts whatsoever- they all flit across her face, easily translatable: didn't like it at all
Randy: boring song choice
Mariah: intrigued by the back story but not so much by the performance

#7. Bryant is 23, and he's from Hawaii, and we talk about Hawaii a lot. He's in a black long-sleeved shirt and gray slacks. Given the Hawaii emphasis, I expected him to sing something with an Israel Kamakawiwo'ole flair, and am surprised when he chooses New York State of Mind. Once again, it's okay but nothing more. He did hit one really pretty note at the end, though.
Keith: says that the audience loved it
Nicki: didn't like anything but the last note
Randy: liked everything but the last note
Mariah: admires his raw talent but not so much this performance

#8. Burnell Taylor is a hurricane survivor (lots of them this year too), and has recently lost 40lbs. He's wearing a yellow shirt, a blue jacket, a bow tie, tortoise shell glasses, black shoes and yellow laces. He bears a strong resemblance to Urkel, except his waistband isn't hiked up to his armpits. He stands at the microphone and sings with a lot of hand flinging and knee flexing. As with all of the performances that aren't outright terrible, this is okay without being special. Or particularly appealing.
Keith: looks great, the performance outweighed the flaws
Nicki: would pay to see Burnell right now
Randy: Dawg, didn't love it as much as Nicki, but did like it
Mariah: agrees with Randy

#9. Lazaro, in a pink shirt, bow tie, and black suspenders, looks very much like Chuck Bartowski. I loved Chuck Bartowski. As usual, Lazaro sings with nary a vocal hitch. He has a nice tone and depth, though I think he's rushing the song just a bit. This is my favorite performance of the night so far.
Keith: spends more time commenting on the crowd than anything else tonight. He's flattered that Lazaro sang a Keith Urban song but thought he rushed it a bit too
Nicki: ummmmm, played it safe but smart
Randy: heard a sweet spot in the chorus
Mariah also ummms: worried about Lazaro's emotions overwhelming him.

At least they've all finally learned not to finish Lazaro's words for him.

#10. Let's get this out of the way right now- Cortez, 22, from Texas, is a mighty fine-looking young man with an absolutely beautiful smile.He's wearing a silver gray windbreaker over a charcoal shirt and pants. His singing voice is much higher than I expected- he may be an alto. The band and backup singers are too loud, making it hard to hear Cortez's boy band voice. He does hit the big notes, however.
Keith: loved the song, calling it bold and brave, while noting errors in the performance
Nicki loves her some handsome young men: sexy song choice
Randy: pitchy but good where it really counted (on the big notes)
Mariah: loved it all

Tonight's performances point out, again, that the men are far weaker this year. I didn't love any of them, and I'd be perfectly happy if 8 of these guys went home. But only 5 are leaving. I think Vincent, Burnell, Lazaro, and Cortez will stay, but I have no idea who the hell might make the 5th survivor.

As with last night, there are 20 minutes left to kill. I doubt there will be as many hugs.

Mariah tells David no. Handshakes for the men, hugs for the ladies.
Keith tells Bryant no. And I guess we do have time for hugs all around.
Nicki doesn't even pretend to string Vincent along. He's in.
Randy tells Mathenee no.
Mariah tortures Lazaro, but her smile gives it away. He's in.
Keith says there will be time for Cortez to improve because he's still in, too.
There's no way that Josh is staying, and Nicki tells him so, gently
Randy gives the opposite news to Burnell (and timing alone guaranteed that).

So it's down to Nick and Gupreet, which is a no-brainer, though I would guess that Nick will be going home next week anyway.

Speaking of next week- the votes are open to the public, finally. And it'll be airing three nights running. Lord help us.

Thursday Tab- Lowe 1950 Career Girls

What, no teacher?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

AI Season 12- Vegas Girls Elimination #2

Good grief, can Ryan's pompadour get any higher? His hair has pretty well reached Buster Poindexter levels. At least his lavender shirt, purple tie and matching pocket square are nice. Once again, he warns us of Sudden Death, but I'm almost certain that no one is going to die on stage tonight.

Randy appears to have more hair than usual too. Or it's thicker. Or it's a lot darker. Whatever the difference is, it outweighs the red framed glasses and the gray plaid blazer with sparkly threads. Nicki has her hair in a side part with visible roots. I can't tell if it's a wig or not, but if it is, it's a better one than she's worn over the last few months. She's wearing a rather pretty black and white hibiscus print dress. Tonight I notice that she has really beautiful skin. I really like Mariah's hair- it's softer and fluffier and curlier than usual. She's wearing a black and white strapless dress, and my notes say: BOOBS!

Tonight's 10 girls rise from the depths, and for a change, I think we've seen all of them before.

#1. Melinda Ademi, 19, from Yonkers, is a Season 10 veteran. Her family, as we're reminded, is from Kosovo. She's wearing a black and white leopard print top, black leather shorts, purple tights, and boots. Her performance style is squatty/marchy/prancy and her song has lots of "no no no no" in it (that's not an opinion, those are the lyrics). She has a nice enough tone, but she's also totally forgettable. I'd say that this is Goodbye Melinda.
Keith-loved her performance
Nicki- compared her unfavorably to Mini-Miley last week
Randy- there weren't enough *moments*
Mariah- gently prepares Melinda for the worst

#2. Candice, 23, from South Carolina, also a returning contestant. She has side-swept hair, a white bedazzled jacket over a black top and pants, and red heels. She sings Natural Woman, and omigod, I'd buy this one. Right now. This is one of the best performances of the season. It's controlled and restrained up until it's not restrained at all. I have absolutely no criticism of this performance.
Keith- Standing O
Nicki- confused as to why Candice didn't make it last year
Randy- likes her confidence but wants her to cut loose more (Sorry Randy- I disagree).
Mariah- makes a special point to compliment the smart arrangement

#3. Juliana is only 15, and a high school sophomore. She's wearing a short, summery, white dress which we can barely see behind the massive guitar she's playing. Juliana has an interesting voice- pretty in a little-girl way, but she's also very breathy. There were some iffy notes but for the most part, this is fine.
Keith- mentions the cello-sized guitar and some pitch problems.
Nicki- says Juliana already has a signature sound but wonders if the timidity will play out in the rest of the field
Randy- applauds her for staying true to herself
Mariah- says Juliana is angelic

#4. Jett is 25, and from Seattle. She gave up an academic scholarship to the UW for music. She sits at a grand piano, wearing a sparkly black off-one-shoulder loose tunic top, and very red lipstick. She starts out low and slow, though she builds intensity. Sort of. Her voice is okay but kind of thin. This is a tepid performance.
Keith- compliments the musicianship and the arrangement, but not the singing
Nicki- underwhelmed
Randy- ditto
Mariah- not sure where Jett was going with the song, and not sure it matters

#5. Christabel is 29, from San Antonio. She's a worship leader with three children. And speaking of Buster Poindexter, her's is shaved on all sides and very tall on top. She's wearing a rather grandmotherly white cardigan with lace and an all-over design of black bows, a black shirt, a flared red skirt, huge red beads, black leggings, saucer-sized hoop earrings, and booties. Oh and there's a sequined bow at her waist, which might actually be a belt buckle. She's singing an Alicia Keys song very Alicia Keysish, with lots of head waggle and prancing.
Keith- loved her croaky-cool voice
Nicki- begins with ummmmm, then says she liked the song choice but thought the rasp was out of control
Randy- Standing O. Seriously.
Mariah- wants more gospel

#6. Aubrey is tall, very very tall. She has about 12' of leg, and she's wearing tight, very short dress with a sort of steam-punky sequined design of gears and such. She's singing an angsty song but she smiles throughout. I'm not impressed.
Keith- likes her poise and fire but doesn't mention the singing
Nicki- is obsessed. Praises everything from her voice to her attitude to her confidence to her beauty (at which point the camera pans slowly up from Aubrey's ankles. Given those legs, it's a long pan)
Mariah- thinks Aubrey is limitless

#7. Rachel, from Arkansas, is the smiliest contestant this show has ever had. She's wearing a black top with cut-in shoulders, and black pants. She sings in a lower register than you might expect, and I like her, so I feel like Miss Bingley when I say that she smiles too much.
Keith- gives the band a shout-out. He likes this new side of Rachel, but thinks maybe the song was too big for her
Nicki- loves the new-found confidence
Randy- likes that she sang an uptempo song
Mariah- maybe kind of liked her earlier performances better

#8. Breanna Steer, is 18. She has sort of streaky, sort of blonde hair, and is a hurricane survivor. I can't decide whether she's wearing a very form-fitting jumpsuit, or if it's a black top tucked into very high-waisted black pants, but either way, it's unflattering. She sings a fierce number with a Latin flair. Her voice has a nice tone.
Keith- unfamiliar with the song (note: this is unusual. Keith usually knows every song), but he liked it
Nicki- would give Breanna a record deal right now
Randy- loved it
Mariah: ditto

#9.  Janelle Arthur is our only blonde tonight. She's a three-time contestant. Tonight she's wearing a fringey, orange western shirt, blue jeans and brown boots. She has a nice country voice and the arrangement has a lovely key change. Janelle is pulling out all the stops.
Keith- says it wasn't the best song for her
Nicki- heard a disconnect between Janelle and the music, and that she tried too hard
Randy- (direct quote) Yeah, I mean, but I mean, and I mean... not the right song
Mariah: again ditto

#10. Zoanette, 20, comes to us directly from Crazytown. Her yellow curly hair floats around her head like it's in some sort of non-gravity chamber. She's wearing a black leather jacket over a very tight black tube top, with a leopard print mullet skirt and leggings. This is... well... dramatic. After last week's decidedly batshit performance, I am surprised to hear a rich and deep and HUGE voice coming from Zoanette. She's halfway through the song before I realize that she's singing Circle of Life. I'm pretty sure that the last time we heard that song on this show, JHud was singing it. Zoanette isn't entirely in control of her big voice, or much of anything else, I think, and her slow-deep vibrato is more of a rumble than anything else. But, she's compelling (and suddenly I get a vision of her singing Evelline from The Wiz- don't nobody better be bringing her no bad news).
Keith/Nicki/Randy: Standing O
Keith- loves her unpredictability
Nicki- moved nearly to tears
Randy- Zoanette showed everyone why she's still in the competition
Mariah- proud of her spirit, which is too big to be constrained

So, all 10 have performed and there are fully twenty minutes left. Methinks we'll be having some filler.

My guesses as to tonight's Lucky 5: Candice, Juliana, Breanna, Aubrey, and maybe Zoanette (for the drama, if nothing else).

Jimmy Iovine is in the audience, ready to cast a tie-breaking vote, but as the judges rise from the depths, we learn that he wasn't needed.

Randy takes a good long time to tell Zoanette that she's in (yougotcher filler right there).
Mariah gently tells Melinda no. Ah more filler- hugs for everyone. One at a time, down the entire row. Long hugs.
Keith tells Juliana no (hugs all around).
Nicki gives Aubrey the nod (hugs)
Randy says no to Christabel (huggies).
Mariah tells Candice yes (of course) (more hugs).
Pure logistics tell Jett that she's going home, which she knows before Keith tells her officially (still more hugs)
By the same token, Breanna knows she's in before Nicki confirms it. (even more hugs)

That leaves Rachel and Lauren, a fairly even choice. They're both country, and they're both competent singers (though neither is Carrie Underwood. Or even Lauren Alaina). I wonder if the judges tossed a coin.

However they decided, Randy sends Rachel home. Massive hugs.

So I was 4 of 5 tonight- not bad.

Tomorrow night- the last 10 guys. Woohoo!

More almost-wordless winter stuff...

The Hub took these in town yesterday. I would not advise parking (or walking) underneath this.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's a mystery...

Something odd happened here last week.

With no warning, my daily hits exploded. Exponentially.

I haven't been able to get any sense of where the traffic came from, or if it even actually happened and wasn't just a web counter glitch (which is the most logical conclusion).

Anyone have any clues?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

AI: Season 12- Vegas Top 40 , 1st Boys Elimination

Ryan recaps what happened last night, but I did that already so I'm not doing it again. He walks past the gauntlet of guys, a couple of whom I have never seen before. Big surprise there. Tonight's format is the same as last night's- all 10 guys sing, and five will go home, though no matter how many times Ryan says the magic words, I'm pretty sure that no one is going to die on camera. As with last night, a crispy Jimmy Iovine will cast the deciding vote should the judges reach an impasse.

Tonight, Ryan's pompadour has reached Reagan proportions, and it looks darker to me. I like his pocket square. Keith changes things up with a gray leather windbreaker. Nicki has pink tinged hair, white pants, a very brightly colored print top and several gold chains. Randy is in an extra long blue wool jacket with a velvet collar. It looks like he has pinned a big letter R to this chest. Mariah is a periwinkle mermaid with heaving bazooms.

I laugh out loud as the guys rise from below-stage on the same platform that the judges rode last night. I guess there's no fun in using the Cirque du Soleil venue if you can't play with the toys.

#1. Paul Jolley lost Paul Jolley's grandpa, and Paul Jolley begs a lot, and in general, always looks anxious in his burgundy shirt and Adam Levine hair. He starts on the Stool of Seriousness, and sings in a competent, generic Boy Band voice on a song that sounds a lot like Wind Beneath My Wings but isn't. Oh, it's a Keith Urban song.
Keith is touched but cautions against overperforming.
Nicki tells Paul Jolley to dial back the wide-eyed shtick.
Randy: yo yo yo yo
Mariah struggles to say that she thought it was okay. Mariah's boobs struggle to stay within her bodice.

#2. Johnny Keyser, 23, still looks like every Frat Boy Bully in every Underdog Movie ever made. He stares out of his exceptionally wide, exceptionally blue eyes, and bares his exceptionally white teeth. His very sculpted hair is positively Clark Kentian. He's wearing a white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He starts out wobbly, and even though I don't know the song, I can tell that he's off a bit. But he does get better as he goes along, ending strongly.
Keith is at a loss for words, and that is not necessarily a good thing.
Nicki flirts outrageously but honestly, saying that he's good looking but maybe not so great with the singing.
Randy is underwhelmed.
Mariah also likes the handsome young men.

#3. I'll take a stab at describing the wonder that is JDA (pronounced Jada). His long hair is tied back in a pony tail and dusted with glitter. He's wearing a sparkly bustier underneath a floaty top. He's in flare capris with the legs split from hem to hip. There's a very heavy jeweled pendant strapped around his neck. He's wearing high heels. His blush and eyeliner are expertly applied and his entire face sparkles. Literally. And he needs a shave. He's singing Adele... from the floor... writhing and playing to the camera. He then stands up and slowly stripteases his jacket off, to reveal some sort of complex leather harness apparatus over the sparkly bustier.

I don't have a clue what just happened, but the audience is going crazy.
Keith commends the performance and the originality but thinks it was over-produced (which may be the understatement of the season).
Nicki is enchanted, telling JDA to work it, girl. She commends the performing but mentions that the singing was a little lacking.
Randy also mentions the little matter of no real singing in this here singing competition.
Mariah pretty much quotes everyone else.

I think JDA should have saved it for America's Got Talent, a show that specifically looks for Vegas performeers. JDA is nothing if not Vegas.

#4. Kevin Harris is 28 and from Alabama. He has long braids (dreds?) tied back in a thick pony tail, and nicely trimmed facial hair. He's wearing a dark vest and slacks, and a lighter shirt. He has one black and white check bow tie, tied in the usual place, and another solid black bow tie, untied, hanging around hiss neck. He's singing Everything I Do, I Do it For You, and it's booooooring. Several of his *big notes* don't quite get there.
Keith comments on Kevin's crazy range but otherwise isn't all that impressed.
Nicki is adamant that everything is perfect. Perfect, she says.
Randy trots out the K word.
Mariah dislikes the song choice.
We find out that the multiple bow ties represent Kevin's sons. Huh?

#5. Chris Watson is 25. He's the one who always wears a big head scarf tied at the side of his head, with long hanging tails. Chris has extremely chiseled cheekbones. He's wearing a black sleeveless vest, black pants, and a black head scarf. All three are bedazzled to within an inch of their selvedges. He's singing Dock of the Bay, and man, I didn't remember that he was so bad. I don't think he hit a correct note throughout, though he did prance a lot.
Keith likes his confidence and charisma, but not so much the sound of his voice.
Nicki loves his voice and loves him, and thinks he's very handsome. Nicki is a bit addled tonight.
Randy is with Keith.
Mariah mentions the bad song choice.

#6. Devin (didn't catch his last name), is 18 and a baristo. He's wearing a tan cardigan over a black shirt and black slacks. His hair is styled short and Sleestaky.  Devin is another generic boy bander. He's okay but totally uninteresting.
Keith is unimpressed.
Nicki talks about Devin singing in Spanish. Did he sing in Spanish?
Randy loves it, and also mentions the Spanish.
Mariah mentions Spanish some more.
I was so bored, I didn't even notice when Devin switched languages. That's pretty damn bored.

#7. I am certain that we have never seen 18 year old Elijah Lou (Liu?). Clips from Elijah's unseen audition and performances emphasize how much he loves the ladies, and how much they love him. Elijah is annoying. He has spikey hair with a light streak along the top, and the light shins through his ears. He's wearing a brown leather jacket with the sleeves pushed up, with an entirely different (and clashing) shade of brown leather pants. His voice is Bruno Mars Adjacent.
Keith commends the song choice but says that the vocal was shaky.
Nicki loves him. Evidently testosterone affects Nicki's ears.
Randy says Elijah wasn't great tonight and that he gotta have moments, gotta have, gotta have them. Vocally.
Mariah's bosom quivers in agreement.

#8. Odd Charlie Askew is still odd. He's wearing a black ruffled shirt, sheared velvet pants, and a rhinestone belt he lifted form JDA. His hair is longer than before, and he's carrying a golf club for some reason. He's singing Rocket Man, and he starts out great. Really great- slow and heartfelt, and I am really into the performance until he gets to the chorus, at which point one of Charlie's other personalities takes over the singing. The Karaoke King, I think. The disconnect between the two halves of the song is startling and unpleasant.
Keith says that Charlie is the monster child of Freddie Mercury and Woodstock.
Nicki gives him a Standing O and commends Charlie for playing his weirdness smartly. (Note: I'm not so sure about that... the *smartly* or the *playing*).
Randy wonders where the singers are tonight, conveniently forgetting who put this rag-tag bunch up on stage in the first place.
Mariah likes parts of the performance, but not the whole.
I have a feeling that Charlie is exhausting in person.

#9. Blondes come singly this week- tonight's is Jimmy Smith, a social worker in a dialysis clinic. He has Greatest American Hero Hair, and a leather windbreaker over a denim shirt. He's doing okay with his country ballad. Jimmy is probably the best of the the guys tonight so far, though that's not saying a whole lot.
Keith is honored to hear another Keith Urban song.
Nicki is bored (blondes are not her thing, I guess.)
Randy is also bored.
Mariah likes Jimmy personally.

#10. Curtis Finch Jr.  is a gospel singer. He prides himself on growing up in the church (he doesn't say which one). I wonder how he reconciles that with the nasty way he treated Charlie during the Hollywood Rounds, offering to drive him to the airport because Curtis was there to win, not make friends or help anyone out. I disliked Curtis Finch Jr. then, and I dislike him now. He's wearing a purple suit, and he's oversinging the Oversungest Song in the American Idol Universe: Superstar. I wonder if any of these kids have ever heard the original- Karen Carpenter just sang, simply and beautifully. They could learn from her. Curtis is Joshua Ledet/Jacob Lusking all over the stage. He has a great voice, but I truly don't want to listen to him. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to. For a long time I think.
Keith bows. Literally. And he feels cleansed of his sins. Well, some of them anyway.
Need I say that Nicki loved him?
Randy also overflows with the love, though he tells Curtis to youthen up a bit.
Mariah is moved to tears.

So- who do I think is in? Hell if I know. Only Curtis and Jimmy seem like sure things.

Ryan again points out the 5 silver Stools of Continuation, and the judges once again rise up from the depths on director chairs. Ryan announces that there is a split decision, and that Iovine will be called on to intercede.

Nicki tells Curtis the obvious news.
Randy sends Jimmy home. Listen show- that's a mistake.
Mariah tells Kevin the bad news.
Keith tells Elijah that he's staying.
Nicki sends JDA home. I think he's a definite performer, and an entertaining one at that, but this is absolutely the wrong venue for him.
Paul Jolley gets the split vote, so Iovine is called down to render a Paul Jolley Verdict. Evidently, the other judges already know what Iovine is going to say because otherwise they'd have to revamp the rest of their choices to accommodate the Iovine decision, which, btw, is to let Paul Jolley continue to stay and play. This is also a mistake.
Randy tells Chris to take his infinite supply of head scarves home.
Mariah tells Charlie that he's sticking around. This also feels like a mistake.

We're now down to Johnny and Devin, which is a much tougher choice than last night's final two. Both young men think they've done well enough but both understand that the other is good enough. Nicki says that the choice was not unanimous, but it was not an even split. Johnny is going home (and I suspect that Nicki was the dissenting vote on that one).

So Curtis, Elijah, Paul Jolley, Charley and Devin move on. I'd trade any of them for Jimmy.

Thursday Tab- Saalfield Rhonda Fleming 1954

Miss Kitty was one va-va-voom lady.

Note: Nancy kindly reminded me that Miss Kitty was played by Amanda Blake. Thanks so much Nancy1 So who did Rhonda Fleming play? I picture her in Westerns.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

AI Season 12- Vegas Top 40 Week First Girls Elimination

So, the only time I don't flip the channel instantly from Jon Stewart, I actually miss something that matters-the explanation of a new format for winnowing the Top 40 down to the Top 20. I did catch the words *sudden death*, *only five* and *live audience*. Oh well, knowing this show, they'll tell us a dozen more times tonight.

Ryan, dapper in a nice suit, pompadour and baby-butt-smooth forehead, isn't kidding about that *live audience* stuff. They're at The Mirage in Las Vegas, and the audience is huge. Evidently ten of the ladies will sing tonight and the judges will send five of them home. I like this notion.

Randy is wearing a red jacket with white piping over a blue shirt. Mariah is in a short, tight, strapless leather dress. Nicki has almost real-looking blonde hair (it's not obviously a wig) and a pretty white blouse with a necklace that appears to be made of white ladder rungs.

Ryan explains that Jimmy Iovine, looking particularly burnished tonight, will cast the tie-breaker vote, if one is needed.

#1. Jenny Beth Willis, is 17, and I do not believe that I've seen her before. She has long brown hair, and is wearing a pink and black frothy saloon dress and cowboy boots. She has a country growl, no stage presence, no depth to her voice, and she had to work a bit to get that last note. Keith thinks she's effortlessly confident, which is not exactly the same as thinking that she sings well. Nicki is blunt about not being thrilled. Randy is also not thrilled. Mariah begins by asking how Jenny Beth thought she did, which is never a good sign.

#2. Tenna (pronounced Tina) Torres, 28, is the Camp Mariah survivor. She's wearing a one-shouldered, navy dress with one very sparkly sleeve. Add a swirly skirt and Tenna would be ready for her long-program. She's singing some somber, plaintive love song. I like this better than Jenny Beth's performance. Tenna has a richer voice, and she's showing more emotion. She's getting good critiques form the judges, but she looks terrified. Nicki tells her to ditch the hairstyle, that it ages her.

#3. Adriana (no last name that I caught) is 17 and from Anchorage, though I don't think she looks Eskimo. I also don't think that I remember her. She's wearing a red satin dress with a mullet skirt and a rhinestone accent on the waist bow. She has a nice, bluesy voice with depth.. Nicki asks outright if Adriana is Filipina  and she says yes (I knew it!).

#4. Brandy Hotard, is a 26 year old psych nurse from Louisiana. She has shiny brown hair and looks easily ten years older than her actual age. She's wearing a black wrap-top and matching shorts. She mostly hits the notes but she smiles throughout the sad sad country song. Keith mentions the emotional disconnect. Nicki says that the song screams pageant (and I think I am starting to love Nicki). Randy babbles in agreement. Mariah didn't mind all the smiling. Brandy's face shuts down during the critique, though she later admits to Ryan that she felt no connection to the lyrics.

#5. Shubha Vedula is 17. She's wearing a black strappy top and ill-fitting, unflattering shiny pants. Her black hair is in ringlets. She starts out low and slow at the piano and then gets up and awkwardly dances around, and I realize that the first song of the evening that I recognize is Lady Gaga's Born this Way. Oh my, this is really not very good. Keith says there was too much going on but that he likes Shubha despite the poor song choice. Nicki- wow, she's being brutally honest, saying that Shubha comes off as a blend of Christina Aguilera and Psy. Randy likes her potential but did not love the performance. Mariah dittos Randy.

#6. Kamaria (again, no last name that I caught) is from California, and she sings backup for some Big Names. She's wearing tight black and white houndstooth pants, a white zip jacket, a black leather cumberbund, black lace glovelettes, and a sparkly raspberry bustier. Her hair is in a complicated arrangement with a pinkish bun perched rakishly at an angle just behind her bangs, and the rest of her hair pulled up into a really curly pony tail. Wow, this is not great. It is seriously not great. Keith says Kamaria had no connection to the song. Nicki gives another real critique (imagine that- a judge who judges), Randy: nope. It's just as well that Mariah talks last because she never has anything to say.

#7. 27 year old Kree Harrison, is a demo singer who looks a bit like Rumer Willis. She's another brunette, with an oval face. She's dressed for a quiet evening at home in a peach shirt (I want that shirt) and blue jeans. She has a wonderful gospel-style voice. This is my favorite performance so far. Keith and Nicki give her Standing O's. Randy says she has a natural talent and repeats *Well Done* four times. Mariah was lost in the song.

#8. Mini-Miley Angela Miller is still with the wide and wide-open eyes, huge masses of curly hair, and a thousand teeth. She's wearing a black studded top and black short shorts, black hose, and very high heels. She looks and sounds pageanty to me, and maybe just a bit screechy. Keith gently tells her to dial it back a bit. Nicki brings up Angela's stellar performance last week and compares this week's unfavorably to it. Randy liked it. Mariah also preferred last week's outing.

#9. Isabelle (another no-last-name), from Georgia, is our only blonde tonight. But she wasn't always blonde- back before she lost a whole lot of weight, she was a brunette. She's still nicely solid- and I'm not saying that to be snarky. I think she looks just fine. Unfortunately, she's wearing an unflattering, tight, cream-colored sheath that also only needs a skirt to make it ready for the skating rink. She's singing God Bless the Child and she starts out slow and soulful, but all too soon she turns it into a jazzy shoutfest. Keith and Nicki loved it. Randy didn't love it. Mariah thought she oversang. Oh my, Isabelle towers over Ryan.

#10. Amber Holcomb is 18 and from Houston. She's a return from last year and has the most adorable dimples. She's wearing a red skirt, a black floaty top over a sparkly bustier and blue heels. Amber has an amazing voice. She sings too many runs, but then any runs are too many for me. She's singing My Funny Valentine and I think she's pushing just a bit too hard, but still: wow! Keith, Randy, and Mariah give her Standing O's. Nicki liked it too, so I'm not sure why she didn't stand.

So, we've heard all 10 Ladies. My guess as to The Keepers: Amber, Angela (based on previous performances, not tonight's showing), and Kree for sure. And Maybe Adriana and Isabelle.

Ryan says that Iovine will not be breaking any ties tonight, that the judges were unanimous in their choices. For the first time this season, we see The Silver Stools of Joy- five of them.

In a hilarious bit of stage business, the judges don't deliver their verdict from their usual seats, they rise from below the stage on an elevated platform, all four of them sitting on director's chairs. I see that Nicki is actually wearing a really cute white dress with a flared skirt, and Randy has on shiny silver shoes.

Keith sends Jenny Beth home. She is graceful, though teary as she exits.
Nicki sends Brandy home. She is pageanty to the bitter end.
Randy tells Tenna that she's staying.
Mariah tells Kree that she's staying. (I still want that shirt)
Keith sends Isabelle home.
Nicki tells Angela that she's staying, but mostly based on previous performances.
Randy sends Kamaria home. Kamaria smiles and smooches everyone.
Mariah toys with Amber, but of course Amber is staying.

That leaves just Shubha and Adriana to duke it out for the last stool. Adriana is crying. Shubha says that they're great friends. It's painfully obvious that Shubha knows what's coming.

So, I got 4 of the 5 right, which is not too bad. I like this new format. And I like the notion of judges who give actual critiques. Tomorrow night, we do it again with 10 of the guys.


I haven't talked about books for months. I could fill up weeks with book posts, but for right now, I want to talk about two books that will probably make it to my Best of 2013 List.

Both of these books are YA (young adult) but don't fool yourself into thinking that means that they're in any way soft, or small, or written-down. I'm not providing links because I'm not endorsing one seller or format over any other seller or format- both of these books are widely available and a quick Google will lead you to places of purchase.

This one is so hard to describe- the main character (only called A) wakes up in a different body every day. A has no control over which body, A only knows that it's a different one every day,  and that A never stays in the same body more than one day, or occupies that same body ever again. A also knows that A can affect the host's life but chooses not to, especially given that the host may have to live with the consequences of A's choices on that day. A lives this way, always careful, alway just surviving until the next morning, until A falls in love with a girl named Rhiannon.

This story is strange and beautiful and I loved every word of it. I hope there will be a sequel.

There is another short book, called Six Earlier Days, which features other days of A's life. It may only be available as an electronic book. It's definitely worth reading.

There isn't much I can say about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green without being spoilerish (and take care reading the comments on any page you search), except that it's about a sixteen year old girl with terminal cancer. It's wonderful and sweet and funny and sharp and shattering. And did I mention the terminal cancer? Make sure you have lots of tissues handy.

I'm busy searching out more John Green and David Levithan books- I'll get back to you on them.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I was a Teenage Shivarette

42 Years ago today, a pair of 18 year olds who only knew each other for six weeks, were married by a Justice of the Peace, in a double wide trailer.

(BTW- that is a '65 Vette...)

Imagine, if you will, early 1971 in rural South Dakota. I had only recently moved to the state, and I had heard about this "thing" people did to newlyweds called a Shivaree, but I didn't believe the rumors.

 One night a couple of weeks after our very small wedding, we were wakened around  midnight (oh all right, we were interrupted- we were 18 years old for crying  out loud) by people banging on the sides of our first home, an 8'x35'  trailer (which was in a trailer court, by the way, and why the police  weren't called is still beyond me).

 Our uninvited guests hooted and hollered  and honked and in general made a wild rumpus. They demanded to be let in and  fed and given drinks. Like I said, we were 18 so there was no booze in the  house, and we were likewise very poor and had only a box of cornflakes, a  sack of potatoes and a cinnamon shaker to set out for the crowd. Luckily,  they brought their own food and beverage (of which we partook liberally). 

The  highlights of the evening, as I remember them fuzzily, included having our  mattress taken from the trailer and ferried down the street at a pretty good  clip on the shoulders of three very drunk fellas. Our only set of sheets was  dumped into a full bathtub. Someone very kindly redistributed the potatoes  into assorted nooks and crannies (some of which we did not find until  several months later when we moved from the trailer into a real house).I  remember seriously absorbing assorted bits of sage advice from the older  married ladies (who were probably all of 25 at the time) and being toasted  and teased endlessly. 

I vividly remember Charlie Reinhardt bursting into  tears after spilling sloe-gin and coke down the front of his white shirt.  At about 4:00 am, the crowd departed, leaving a fair sized wad of dollar  bills behind (which came in mighty handy- we were, as I said, reeeeealy  poor), a missing mattress, a couple of people passed out on the living room  floor and a happy 18 year old married couple who were far too drunk to take  up where they'd left off hours earlier. All in all, a fun evening.

 That was 42 years ago, and yes, we're still together. I'm rather sorry the  practice died out.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

AI Season 12- Hollywood Week Girls Final Solo Night

The show wants a female winner so badly that it opens with the news that it has been 6 years since a woman has won. Six long years. Six. They want this so badly they'll allow a guy in veils and glitter to be part of the Top 20 Guys. We'll see how well that works- AI voters love them some white guys with guitars. I have a feeling the only way they'll keep it from happening again is to ban guitars. Or white guys.

Right now though, 47 girls remain. Those 47 will be 20 by the end of the hour. I hope.

Randy is wearing a patchwork wool driving cap and a black wool blazer. The one with the gold chain lapel pin. Mariah is in a  red prom dress with a cris-cross bodice. Nicki is in a pink jacket, a blonde wig, a camo cap, and a huge Barbie necklace. The boobs, which have been neatly tucked away for weeks, threaten to make a major appearance.

Angela Miller, who will to me forever be Mini Miley, is in a black and silver shirt, and jeans, very wide eyes and lots of curls. She sings an original song at a grand piano, and amazingly enough, it's good. Her voice is not to my taste, but she certainly belongs on this show. The judges agree with a unanimous standing ovation.

Candice Glover, still with the purple streaks in her hair, and in black leather, sings Alicia Keyes. She has a great voice, though she's a little screechy this time out. To be fair, it's a screechy song. At least there's no chance that Candice will forget the lyrics given that there are only 5 of them. Candice notices that she does not get a Standing O from the judges, though many of her fellow contestants oblige.

Blonde Janelle Arthur, in a lace top with a ruffly hem over jeans, has a good country voice, with a nice depth and tone.

Zoanette Johnson lives in Crazy Town. In Crazy Town they wear brassy blonde hair piled haphazardly, a leather strappy top, a whole lot of boob, and a table cloth tucked into the waist of her very tight leather pants. Zoanette plans to accompany herself on the drums to a song that she just made up. She goes purely batshit crazy banging on the drums, name drops the judges, drops her drumstick, yells at the in-house band to slow down, and stops it entirely before finishing with a shriek and a flourish. Seriously, I have no idea what's going on here.

So, Candice, Janelle, Jett (who we saw last night for the first time), Mini Miley, and lord help us, Zoanette move on.

Shubha Vedula in a silver one-shouldered dress, sings a Mariah song. Mariah is touched, and sings along.

Juliana Chahayed (someone I've never seen) is wearing a tunic top with keyhole sleeves over black leather jeans. What little we hear of her voice is good.

And here's Kez Ban, who asked Zoanette, of all people, to help her shop for new clothes. Given that, her outfit in't too horrible- a red top with a white sequined circular yoke, detatched blue sleeves, and the fedora. She has her guitar and she says she's going to sing an original song, her favorite original song. Which she does, in her raspy voice, playing totally unconnected snips of guitar chords and notes. The whole thing lasts about 60 seconds of awkward. It sounds nothing like a song. Or music. And with that, Kez Ban is outta here. Maybe. She shills for a job, any job, on the set. She gives a sincere and tearful goodbye interview. I think maybe she's not entirely in charge of herself, that she didn't intend to sabotage herself throughout, which is exactly what she did.

Ashlee  Feliciano is not well. She looks cute though, in a transparent blue top (over more blue) and a black skirt with an uneven hem. She has a nice tone, but Randy rags on her for choosing  the wrong song to sing. Which gives me the opportunity to say for the first time this season: Shut up Randy.

Melinda Ademi, in a silver top, a peach jacket, leather shorts, and tall lumberjack boots, has a really good voice with a lot of depth. She commands the stage.

Kree Harrison's sob story is that she lost both of her parents. She's in a black jacket and blue jeans. her voice is Mary-Chapin Carpenter adjacent, and her song gives Keith GOOSIES!

We didn't hear Lauren sing, but she's through, as well as Kree and Melinda. Ashlee is going home- Randy really didn't like that song, I guess.

All of a sudden, we have 24 hopeful girls on stage. Unfortunately, that means that four more have to be winnowed. Lauren (who we just didn't hear sing), Holly (who?) and Ariel (more who?) are all going home, which leaves one more cut.

To get that cut, we're going to be subjected to a sing-off. First up is Stephanie Schinel, of the very very blonde straw-like hair, red lips, huge eyes, and pastel floaty outfit sings Home (Phil Phillips song, the one you hear on every third commercial), which is really the wrong song for her.

Next up is super smiley Rachael Hale, in a belted beige top with a leather harness like collar, jeans and boots. I don't know the song she's singing, but I know that I'd much rather listen to Rachael.

Luckily, Stephanie is going home. The rest of the Top 20 Girls (several of whom I do not recognize at all), celebrate.

Now it's time to cut the Top 28 Boys down to 20. We get another sing-off. First: Adam Sanders, of the too- tight blue plaid shirt. Oh dear, this song is shrieky and really awful. Next is Josh Holiday, who sings Georgia. This is a whole lot better, though he indulges in some unfortunate stage business, including falling to his knees and splitting the leg of his pants on the final notes.

Nicki calls Peter, Marvin, Devan, Kenny, Will Tony, David Leathers (who went further last year), and... Adam. Those eight go home. Some are philosophical, some are weepy. And Glitter Boy is still in.

So next week, we go to Las Vegas. Ryan promises Sudden Death. I do not think that means what he thinks it means.

Thursday Tab- Saalfield Star Bright, 1960

This book is definitely a reprint, because the outfits are labeled for dolls  #1, #2, and #4, with nary a #3 in sight. But it's beautiful just the same, and I love the die-cut upper edge.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

AI Season 12- Hollywood Week, The Girls

162 Girls made it through to the Hollywood rounds, not that we've seen (or heard) even a fraction of them. Ryan and AI both say that these girls are the best of the best. It's hype, but I also know that they hope it is so. The show wants a female winner. Badly.

Like the guys, the girls are overwhelmed by the big stage and the stress. And as with the guys, we're promised drama, drama, and more drama. And tears (which is very like the guys- lots of weeping last week).

Randy is in a gray suede jacket over a gray shirt. Keith never wears anything interesting, so I'm going to stop talking about his clothes. Mariah has a teeny little leather biker jacket over a blue scoop-neck dress. And by teeny little, I don't mean too small, I mean that the jacket itself barely hangs past her armpits. Seriously, it's the shortest jacket I've ever seen. It's a leather collar with sleeves. And zippers. Nicki is in a straight black wig with with bangs, and a prim high-necked gray shirt (dress? I don't know, we don't see her lower half).

Solo Day #1:

Again, the girls are divided into groups and they take the stage, 10 at a time, each to sing something a Capella. The judges deliberate as soon as the group is finished and eliminations take place immediately. Survivors go on to the group performances.

Angela Miller is a pre-blonde Miley Cyrus in a striped top and a floaty skirt. She tries way too hard.
Victoria, the mariachi singer, is in a sparkly raspberry top and black leggings. She has potential but there were some off notes.
Mariah, the former anorexic, is in a strapless horizontally striped, gray knit long dress. She sings with a whole lot of waver.
Angela and Victoria go through. Mariah is philosophical.

We see lots of cuts, including the large and bafflingly blonde Ashley. I did like Ashley in her audition.

Rachael is in a blue, vaguely Eqyptian top over black leggings and brown knee boots. She's awfully screechy.
Janelle is a country girl, in a plaid shirt and red fringed boots. She has the better voice and tone of the two, but she's still oversinging.
Both Janelle and Rachael go through, and possibly a few more girls from their group because a whole passel of them dance off the stage, all excited.

Candice Glover, from last season, the one Nicki expressed a desire to skin and wear she loves her so, still has a great voice. A really great voice.
Meghan, of the Pocahontas outfit, crutches, and the delayed surgery is all healed now. She's also wearing a great big bow on the back of her head, and short shorts. She oversings.
Of this group, Lauren and Sheila (neither of whom were heard- maybe ever) and Candice are through. Meghan heads home.

Isabelle, in a white sparkly dress and blonde hair sings Summertime with a smile on her face, and without even a hint of soul or heart. She goes through too.

The final solo grouping consists of 4 girls, the only one of whom I remember is Kez Ban, who is evidently a girl, though I'm still not betting the farm on it. Kez Ban is wearing a black leather thrift store jacket, a fedora, and plaid scarf. I can't tell if her hair is still shaved on one side because her fedora appears to be glued on tight. Kez says, astutely, that she doesn't fit in anywhere. Kez appears to be ill and her voice is the worse for it. But all 4 of the final solo group goes through.

Groups- Rehearsal and Perfomance:

The girls seem to have caught wind of the new assigned groups. They're not happy about it, but at least they're not blindsided by the arbitrary selections.

We see portents and predictions of drama, drama, drama, and more drama among the blondes. And we get some major hintage that a little bit of Kez Ban's quirkiness goes a long way. A really really really long way.

The next morning, 19 exhausted (and a high percentage of them woefully under prepared) groups show up to perform for the judges. The groups perform together but they live or die (figuratively speaking) individually.

Randy is gone, Mariah is in diamonds and a tight purple dress. Nicki is wearing a quilted black leather jacket and an exceptionally blingy cap over the black wig.

Warning: I can't guarantee that I wrote the group names, or any of the group members' names, down correctly. I tried, and frequently I failed.

First up, the Swagettes: Melinda, Candice, Denise, Kamarie. These girls are all wearing crazy outfits. They can also sing. And their harmonies are wonderful. All four are through. Yay!

Next Raisin' Cane (Caine? Kane?). We have lots of teeth and thin-voiced country harmonies. They sound like high school talent show contestants to me, but Morgan, Lauren, Brandy, and one other girl all go through. Brandy was the best.

Almost Famous had major drama, and majorly horrible skanky outfits. They... I have no words. They're singing Somebody That I Used To Know in street-corner hooker outfits, and we're not talking upscale corners, either. Only Dasia goes through, and though Dasia says nicely neutral things about the other group members, they are purely nasty (alone, and en masse) about Dasia. Wow.

The Dramatics are living up to their name. Janelle refuses to speak to the other members- she walks off when they talk to her, she turns around, she goes and sits on the other side of the room. They finally give up on her and rehearse on their own. All four go through, and in the post-performance interview Janelle says how much she learned from all of the others in the group. They laugh out loud- at her, not with her.

Shuba, Sarina-Joi, and Aubrey each are the only ones moving on from their groups.

Urban Hue consists of Seretha (of the beautiful little tutu girl and the severely injured boyfriend), Tenna, Kiara and someone else. They all sound terrible but for some reason only Seretha goes home.

Randy comes back. He's wearing a purple shirt that matches Mariah's dress.

I have no idea what the next group's real name is- Poosnaps? Boosnaps? Boot Straps? At any rate, Zoanette (in more hooker wear and impossibly-constructed hair), Isabelle, Erin and Lauren. Only Lauren is sent home, and again I don't know why any of them went through.

The Handsome Women are Courtney, Liz, Shira, and Alicia (whose head is entirely shaved on one side). I don't know if Liz is getting the Hero Edit, but it certainly looks like the other girls ditch her entirely. Liz finally finds them during their pre-performance interview. She overhears them saying really nasty things about her. Alicia demonstrates how she would like to stomp all over Liz. Their singing is pretty bad, and their choreography is even worse, but I chuckle when only Liz goes through.

For You (Youth?) is a mixed bag- one platinum blonde with very red lips, a brunette with a disaster of a headband (around the head, not over the top), a leopard print mini dress and a Gibson Girl bun, and a girl in a regular looking gray dress. Their evening rehearsals are horrible and they decide, in the morning (hours before performance time) to change their song. It goes Badly. Very very badly. Lyrics written on the hand badly. And yet Very Very Blonde and Normal Dress go through. Why?

The Montage of Bad tonight also features many many girls who are unable to memorize song lyrics but who are able to write on their hands and arms with Sharpies.

Dolly (Dali?) Chicks are uniformly annoying. Well maybe not uniformly- Britnee (in an annoying headband), Cree (sulky brunette), Haley (no distinguishing features), and Brandy (maybe the most obnoxious person we see tonight). Each has her own way of making me want to throw things at the TV. Throughout rehearsals Brandy declares herself the leader of the group, as the only one who understands music, as the one who can harmonize and is therefore superior. Brandy is a very hard person to root for, which  makes it all the more satisfying when she is the only one of the group who is cut. Brandy is bitter.

The final group of the night is The Misfits. Now I really loved Kez Ban in her audition and I get it that Kez is unique, and that she's quirky, and that she's not exactly a team player. And that she's ambivalent about being on the show in the first place. I also get it that she's probably challenged in a couple of ways. But man, I don't understand why her group-mates didn't just rise up and kill her. She's that hyper, and uncooperative, and annoying. Every single minute. On stage, Mini Miley and Janelle sound okay (though Mini Miley oversings horribly), and Kez seems to blow her part entirely.

And yet, all four go through.

Tomorrow night, more solo performances, where the 46 remaining girls are winnowed down to 20, and where the final 28 guys are cut to 20 as well. It should be interesting.


Our recent blizzard was nearly tropical, temps never dropped below 25 degrees during the snow fall. Those warm temps and the steady 30mph winds produced the most interesting icicles I've ever seen.

Yesterday, temps got up into the upper 30's on the front porch, and the sun was bright, which made for some beautiful pics.

Man, I love the camera in my iPhone 4.