Friday, March 04, 2011

Idol Chatter review of American Idol’s March 3, 2011, episode — Top 13 announced!

Last night, 11 members of the Top 24 were sent home as the Top 13 singers were announced on American Idol. After 40 million votes, viewers chose five male and five female contestants, while the judges chose another two females and one male. To read about how it all went down, click on one of the links below to read today’s Idol Chatter column:

Times & Transcript: American Idol picks Top 13 contestants

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Reaching the point where we just don't care if it snows again

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

At this point - especially if you live in the Greater Moncton area - you just have to sit back and laugh at every snow storm that hits us. They just keep coming and coming like some sort of cruel, sick, sadistic joke.

In fact, they've been so frequent and non-stop that I've just thrown up my hands in surrender. I don't care if it snows every day until the end of April (well, I do... but you know what I mean), because I'm at the point now where we might as well go for a world record if it's going to keep snowing like this.

Yes, we're at the point where we might as well go for the gusto. This winter is kind of like the moment just before you decide to shave your head if you're going bald. At some point, you decide it's inevitable, so you help it along. Or if you're off your diet and decide, "To heck with it!" and eat an entire cake.

Well, we're at that point in the winter of 2010-2011.

Dear Mother Nature: Let's go for the world record. Has anyone seen the mountain of snow in the Highfield Square parking lot? It will still be there in June. And how about the so-called "snow dump" off Harrisville Boulevard? They could hold Olympic ski events there, I think.

This is one of those good ol' winters that our parents and grandparents keep talking about. You know... the ones where they claim to have walked to school with snow up to their eyeballs on Christmas Day? Of course, it was uphill both ways. And this was intermingled with stories of having to get up so early to do their chores that they hadn't even gone to bed yet.

Yeah, Mother Nature, we're so far past the point of no return at this point that you might as well wallop us into the next universe with snow until May. Make us good and ornery for when the tourists come this summer.

I can just imagine some poor unsuspecting tourist arriving here in July to find the entire province angry, pale and bitter after having spent the past seven months indoors, isolated from the world due to blizzard after blizzard. On the plus side, though, we'd have arms the size of tree trunks from all the shovelling! That would explain the record number of New Brunswickers participating in the World Arm Wrestling Championships this year.

I can't see cars driving by my house anymore. The banks are so high that the only things I can see are high-sided vehicles such as city buses and delivery trucks. And it goes without saying that there is nowhere left to put the snow that I have to shovel every five minutes.

What's a Canadian to do? I really don't mind the snow, but this is ridiculous. And while it's ridiculous, I can't do anything about it, so I just sit back and laugh.

I do admit, though, that the amount of snow on my roof concerns me a bit - not because I really think there's anything to worry about, but because everyone is so paranoid about it that I'm starting to doubt the confidence I have in the construction of my house and garage. But here's the thing: I literally cannot get around my house to clean the snow off the roof even if I wanted to. I'd need snowshoes!

Not a bad idea, actually. Snowshoes would be quite practical at times like this. At least they would help me get around to the side of the house to check out my heat pump, propane tank and the exhaust of my dryer. For all I know, they're under 10 feet of snow.

I usually get my propane tank filled in January and have seen the truck slow down a few times in front of my house and just keep going. Getting access to the tank before spring seems pretty much like a dream right now. Until the snow melts a bit, it will be impossible to get to. Luckily, I have a big tank so I doubt very much that I'll run out, but maybe the propane company could outfit their drivers with snowshoes to make it easier to access tanks this winter. The lack of access must be hurting sales a bit.

Last fall, weather prognosticators were predicting an "old-fashioned winter" like we used to have - one with lots of snow. Boy, were they on the money! This has been a brutal year. While the plowing companies got away with murder last year with no storms during the entire latter part of the winter, they're paying for it this year - in spades! And with near-record high prices for gasoline, it couldn't come at a worse time.

Mother Nature: I want a divorce. You're normally an OK kinda gal. You get temperamental just like most people - me included - but you've gone completely off your medication this winter. We have to break up.

And Old Man Winter: I know a nice warm place for you to take a nap - the local crematorium.

As for Jack Frost, the next time I see you painting decorations on my window, I'm getting out my fly swatter. You'd better be wearing a swatter-proof vest and a helmet, because I've pretty much had it. And trust me, you won't survive getting swatted now that all this shovelling has given me so much upper body strength. You won't know what hit you. Nothing will save your skinny little cold behind from getting splattered against my icy window.

And to the month of February, 2011, don't let the door hit you on the way out. We'll never forget you, but for all the wrong reasons.

Idol Chatter review of American Idol's March 2, 2011, episode -- Top 12 girls

Last night on American Idol, the Top 12 girls performed for their survival. Tonight, five will go through to the final Top 12, while others will be given an opportunity to perform on next week's wildcard show.

There were definitely some excellent performances last night, while two or three were just not up to snuff! One contestant got the only standing ovation from the judges of the two live performance shows aired so far this season.

Tune in to Fox at 9 p.m. Atlantic / 8 p.m. Eastern tonight to find out which 10 contestants were chosen by voters to move on in the competition!

To read my review of each performance and the judges' comments, click below:

Times & Transcript: Top females sing to stay in competition

Daily Gleaner: Five contestants will make their way to next round

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Idol Chatter review of American Idol's March 1, 2011, episode -- Top 12 guys

Last night was the first live performance show of American Idol's 10th season and we were treated to songs by the 12 remaining male contestants. Each performed a song of their own choice. With only a couple of exceptions, everyone did quite well. The only contestant who was roundly criticized was Jordan Dorsey.

Of the 12 who performed last night, viewer votes will put through five. The same goes for the female contestants tonight. Of the two or three spots remaining (still rumours of a Top 13 vs a Top 12), they will be chosen by the judges as wildcards.

To find out what the boys sang, my thoughts and an overview of what the judges said, click the links below:

Times & Transcript: Top 12 contestants perform

Daily Gleaner: Competition for Top 12 heats up (judges' comments were largely edited out - FYI)

The Top 12 female contestants perform tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Idol Chatter column returns to Moncton Times & Transcript and Fredericton Daily Gleaner

With American Idol's live voting shows starting up again this week, today marks the return of Idol Chatter to the Moncton Times & Transcript and Fredericton Daily Gleaner. Columns will run in the newspapers on Thursdays and Fridays.

This week, however, is a bit of an exception with four columns running consecutively from Tuesday (today) to Friday. The first is today's roundup of what's happened since last season -- new judges, slightly different format -- an overview of some early favourites and my thoughts on what the show needs to give it some extra oomph in its 10th year!

Links to the columns are below.

Times & Transcript: American Idol returns with streamlined format

Daily Gleaner: Idol Chatter returns

I'm looking forward to the next few months of writing about American Idol. Agree or disagree with my analysis and predictions? Feel free to post a comment. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately.