Tuesday, April 26, 2011

American Idol, 4/20 & 4/21

Here's my updated list from worst (6) to first (1). Not my picks, but how I see America voting.

6. Jacob Lusk (buh-bye)
5. Haley Reinhardt
4. James Durbin
3. Casey Abrams
2. Lauren Alaina
1. Scotty McCreery

Stefano had to go last week. And Jacob is next. Haley will be in the bottom 3 with him this week again. And joining them will be (surprise, surprise!) James Durbin. People are getting tired of him now. And Casey is showing his diversity by singing old songs one week and current rock the next. He's a bit too corny to go farther than 3 or 4, with the likes of the country folk gittin' all them thar votes (Scotty and Lauren), but Casey will pull in more votes than James.

So the only drama this next show will be James in the bottom 3. Listen to all the boos in the audience (which is not representative of the rest of America.)

If there are any comments to this post, then I will write a new one much sooner after this week's show. If not, then I'll go on to bigger and better things.

Mr. Mallow
of Mr. Mallow and the Roasters

Saturday, April 16, 2011

American Idol, 4/13 & 4/14 2011

There can only be two possible reasons for the reaction of the judges to Paul's leaving us last week. Either the judges were told by the producers to tone down the weeping and gnashing of teeth that they displayed the week before when Pia left us. Or, they simply agreed with the decision of the voters. J. Lo practically begged America to please, PLEASE, don't get rid of another girl. That was a sorry sight from her Wednesday night.

I tend to agree with the voters that Paul was one of the bottom three. His leaving was not unexpected, though I know many of us feel there may be weaker contestants. I'm thinking Jacob Lusk and Stefano Langone in particular. They are due to be relieved of duty in the next two weeks.

And so, with seven contestants remaining, it's time I made my predictions for the winners and losers - in order. Here goes, from worst (7) to first (1) ... based on performance and my impression of the fickleness of the voters.

7. Jacob Lusk (buh-bye)
6. Stefano Langone
5. Haley Reinhardt
4. Casey Abrams
3. James Durbin
2. Lauren Alaina
1. Scotty McCreery

Not the order I would put them in (I'd have Haley winning the whole thing). But, I think I've called how America is going to vote. It's a country year for sure, for sure, good buddy. A woman will not be able to win it this year. And James & Casey are a couple of deviations outside the bell curve to survive to the final night. The good ol' boys & girls sorely enjoy a right good duet. And Lauren & Scotty don't disappoint. Scotty will, of course, win over Lauren because more girls are voting for boys than there are boys voting for girls.

What do you think of my order above? Am I a marshmallow short of a s'more? Am I full of doo doo? Go ahead and tell me I'm wrong and show us your list. I can take it, but will the rest of the blog readers agree with me or you?

Just leave your comment below anonymously and Roast in Peace!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

American Idol, 4/6 & 4/7 2011

Pia leaves us tonight. Did America get it right? Are the eight that are left so much more talented than she? What do you think happened?

I thought for sure someone else would be leaving tonight. I'm afraid that Pia just waited too long to loosen up and break out of the ballad mode. Great voice, but the people voting have no patience for that kind of singing (and neither do I, for that matter).

Some contestants have an unfair advantage by virtue of their voting base. For example, I don't care for Scotty or Lauren. But all the down-home country folk south of the Mason-Dixon line are casting their votes for them. And we've seen country win this thing a time or two in the past.

Iggy Pop? That was a 64 year old dude up there with his shirt off singing. What is the Rock world coming to? Next, they'll be foisting Steven Tyler on us, for crying out loud.

Go ahead. Leave us a comment.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

American Idol 3/28 & 3/29

We were down to the top eleven going into this week's competition. Should Casey Abrams have been saved last week? He looked shocked that the judges used their save for him. I do think the judges got it right and he deserves to go on tour this summer. And Casey was not in the bottom three this week.

Did America get it right this time? Sending home Naima Adedapo and Thia Megia? I think America got it right, though both of them can sing much better than many in the top ten from years past. And, they do get to go on tour with the other idols this summer.

As for the remaining nine contestants, one did out-sing all the other, in my opinion. Haley Reinhart sang "Benny and the Jets". She looks happy to be there, has a great sounding voice, and is easy on the eyes. The judges also thought she sang well and Randy said it was the best performance of the night. I agree. It may be too early to predict this year's winner, but I'm going out on a limb and say Haley.

Speaking of the judges, they are so much better than in recent years. I've noticed that they spend all of their time focused on the contestants, giving good feedback, listening to the performances, and very little time arguing, or cajoling, or otherwise carrrying-on with drivelish banter, as was seen in Paula, Simon, or Kara. The real winners this year are we, the fans, who are not distracted by the judges' antics. Yea!!!

What did I like? I liked the duet of Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery. Country music is not my bag, so-to-speak, playing in a rock band and all(Rusty Volume), but they pulled it off and they should continue with that in the future. Very marketable in many parts of the country (the country part of the country, that is). I liked the singing of Haley Reinhart.

Who do I predict will leave us next week? I don't know if one or two will be going away, so I'll give who I think will be in the bottom two and who I think will be going. I think Pia Toscano and Stefano Langone should be in the bottom two this coming Thursday, based on past performances. Stefano needs to smile more (pretend he's not bored and that he cares what happens) and try to keep those eyes open! Maybe a bit of eyeliner would help bring his eyes out more. If he's not gone this week, then next. I think we'll say goodbye to Pia on Thursday. Pia reminds me of a Stepford wife. (Ask your mom what I mean by that, Megan). Pia only slips out of her comfort zone when forced to, like when singing the Katy Perry song, "Teenage Dream" with Thia and Haley on Thursday's results show. Thia is too young to be there in the first place (and she's gone), Haley performed that song very well, and very believably (I loved her voice), and Pia is too old at 22 (and looks way too old) to sing that song. Pia is not memorable. Unless she can break out of the Ballad-shell she is in, she will be gone Thursday. And do something with that hair!

So what did you like or not like? Who will be leaving us next week? Leave a comment below!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

American Idol, 3/16 & 3/17 2011

Did America get it right? Should Karen Rodgriguez have been the Idol contestant to leave this week? I say yes. With the level of talent we've seen this season, anybody who leaves will have supporters who think America got it wrong. But this year, any one of the top 12 or 13 at this stage of the season could have made the top 5 in recent seasons.

The reason for the better talent pool is obvious. Better judging. Have you noticed how the show is focused on the contestants and not on the judges' antics? Paula is not slobbering drunkenly on Simon's arm. Simon is not insulting the contestants and the audience. Ellen is not fawning over every contestant telling them they are wonderful. Kara is not ... doing whatever it was she did ... and more importantly, we will not have to suffer through one of the songs she writes for a contestant to sing ... Gag Me!

Steven, Jennifer, and Randy are a fine mix of talented (been there - done that) music industry professionals. When they talk, every contestant listens ... and learns.

Ryan is much more comfortable this season. His banter with the judges is friendly, allowing him to ask pointed followup questions to each judge about a contestant's performance, without fear of babble from a Kara or Paula, and without fear of rebuke from a pompous @$$&*!&.

No longer do the judges rush through the end of a show because they won't shut up. Too often in the past, the show was focused on them and not the contestants, leaving the last contestant to be almost forgotten or preempted by the next Fox show. All has changed now for the better. I don't yet know if the talent warrants a trip to see the top ten at the Idol Tour this summer, but the final five should be exciting as we wind down to the season finale in May.

I don't think a clear winner has yet emerged. Do you see one yet? Comments?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Punxsutawney Phil - NMRI Newest Member

It was bitter cold. Still, hundreds, perhaps thousands of people from around the country, joined Punxsutawney Phil on Gobbler’s Knob to await Phil’s forecast for an early spring, or six more weeks of winter. Mr. Mallow from the National Marshmallow Roasters Institute was in attendance, having been invited by the Groundhog Club's Inner Circle to oversee the many marshmallow roasts and S’mores creations that traditionally occur on this cold February morning.

What a time was had by all. We found out the most important news of the day when Punxsutawney Phil was pulled from his stump and set atop it to make his prediction. Phil was offered his usual treat, but ignored that. We could all see his little nose twitching at some odor in the air. We all smelled it, too. The unmistakable scent of hot roasted marshmallows wafted to the top of the knob.

That’s when Phil stood up on his hind legs, surveyed the crowd and leapt like a flying squirrel onto the shoulder of one of the news media cameramen in the front row. From shoulder to shoulder, Phil followed his nose to the edge of the crowd, where Mr. Mallow stood holding his SmorStix roasting skewer with a freshly roasted, golden brown, succulent sweet marshmallow waiting to be devoured. “What could I do but offer the beautiful gooey orb to that plump guinea pig?” asked Mr. Mallow. “I’d certainly had my fill that morning for breakfast, and now was the time to share.”

It took us more than an hour to get Phil away from the roasters and back to his stump on the knob. We could see the satisfaction in his eyes as he stared out at the crowd, having informed the Inner Circle of the coming spring weather. No, he had not seen his shadow. And yes, it will be an early spring. But more importantly, Phil informed the crowd that he would become the first rodent member of the National Marshmallow Roasters Institute. We certainly welcome him into our fine organization and we will be back next year to Gobbler’s Knob again to make Phil’s day a sweet one indeed.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Walking Continuum

One of the goals at the National Marshmallow Roasters Institute is to put words of similar meaning on continuums. (Someone must tackle this!) Below is our first cut at The Walking Continuum. Click on the image to see it full size. Study it. Then, click the Back Arrow in your browser and tell us what you think?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Idol Thoughts

We've updated the Mallow Roasting Color Continuum at the National Marshmallow Roasters Institute with the "OOPS" color (i.e., Charred). We know those of you who have so vigorously advocated for this update will be happy.

I watched American Idol this past week, and now it is getting good. I am amazed at how much better the show is without Ellen Degeneres, Kara Dioguardi, and Simon Cowell from last year. All the show needed was 3 talented judges who are more interested in finding good singers rather than infighting and making themselves the center of attention every week. So much of an improvement is this year's talent that the ones who were let go last week from the top 24 were more talented than most of last year's top 10.

I'm looking forward to this week's shows and will resume my Idol Blogs. This should be good.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Mind of Mallow

Over the course of the past month, I have gained a plethora (some would say a surfeit) of twitter followers. What is it about the Mind of Mallow that one would find interesting or "followable"? (Is that a word?) Is it the nature of our National Marshmallow Roasters Institute's Virtual Think Tank to be followed? Is it our business philosophy, "Common Prizes - Not Compromises" that leads the lonely twittering heart to the precipice of Mallow and back? Is it simply the love of Mallow Lore, the foundation upon which the NMR Institute is built?

No, sad to say. It is much less than that. Every one of the followers Mr. Mallow has gained recently is simply a consultant networking his or her twittering heart out in order to make a buck. No matter that what they are consulting is common sense. They have simply jumped on the social media train, as has Mr. Mallow. Their purpose is to strive to get as many people to hop on their train. The problem is, their train has not left the station. There is no direction home. And many of them jump from train to train, from track to track hoping to be invited to the next seminar in the club car where they can spew their "wisdom" to the desperate masses.

Mr. Mallow will have none of it. It is naturally expected that Mr. Mallow will reciprocate and follow his followers. To paraphrase Bush 1, "Not gonna happen - Wouldn't be prudent." To be sure, Mr. Mallow will follow others on Twitter, but only if they understand the Mind of Mallow. Mr. Mallow follows Plush Puffs Gourmet Marshmallows, GottahaveSmore, TLCMallows, AllMarshmallows, IPickUpPennies, and others who have that certain ... je ne sais quoi ... Mallow Mindset.

Do you have what it takes to be followed by Mr. Mallow? Go ahead and find out by following MisterMallow. We'll put you to the "Twit or Treat" test. Simply put, are you a Twetcherous Twit or a Twonderful Treat?

Dwell not long in the Mind of Mallow

Thursday, February 3, 2011

American Idol, Thursday 2/3/2011

In the words of Grandpa Simpson, "Worst episode ever!"
I truly cannot believe what a waste of an hour the LA show was. Amazingly lame singers that the producers dwelled on for some reason. This may just be my last blog entry on this season's American Idol. I don't think I can take any more of this.

Comments? (I hope not. I hope you had something better to do than watch that episode!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

American Idol, Thursday 1/27/2011

The judges were bringin' it tonight, Dawg! I enjoyed the interaction between the three. How intimidating would it be to sing in front of these three. Everyone knows Randy from his past years on Idol. Jennifer Lopez has done it all in the entertainment industry. Aerosmith, with Steven Tyler, is one of the top 10 bands of the last 5o years

I liked Randy taking on the bad guy role and all of them recognizing talent when when it was there. Randy will be a nicer Simon Cowell. Not quite as abrasive or rude to the contestants or audience, but still telling the singer her singing is terrible.

Steven Tyler, we find out, is very encouraging of the singers. He lets the bad ones down easy and praises the good ones well. His asking them to belt it out, or let it out, is just what most of these wanna-be Idols need to have heard before, but didn't. Sing from the diaphragm! The singer who really sang from her diaphragm was the African-American girl from the farm who was raised by white parents. She knows how to belt it out! And best of all, she is in tune. She may go far, if she gets the right songs.

Jennifer Lopez is the taskmaster, piano teacher, not quite the Tiger Mother, but I wouldn't want to sing in front of her. She has the gravitas to be taken seriously as one of the best Idol judges.

No, we did not see all of the contestants that were let through. That's why we're judging the judges at this time. We'll wait until Hollywood to get settled in for the eliminations. But have we at last found three judges who can ensure that American Idol returns next season? Maybe.

I predict we're going to see much better talent sent through than we saw last season. Sure, the top 2 or 3 last season were good. But this year, we may just see a final 10 worth buying a ticket to see on the Summer Idol Tour. We're keeping our roasting skewers crossed for good luck!

After four shows, Idol is turning out to be not so annoying as early episodes in years past. I don't think we'll see hollywood be the zoo it has been before. If you have not been watching, I think you'll notice a difference this season. Bottom line:
Better judging - Better talent let through - Better show format.


American Idol, Wednesday 1/26/2011

At this point in the AI season (3 shows in) we can really only judge the judges. We get only snippets of the good the bad and the ugly contestants. So how do we judge the judges here at the NMR Institute? Between bites of our S'mores and sips of our hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, we look at their comments, jokes, and insightful knowledge of the contestants' abilities.

Randy Jackson talks straight to the contestants and after ten or eleven years, we are reassured that he is truly able to discern the talented from potentially talented from the talentless. I've come to realize that he has an ear for good, on-pitch singing and will let a contestant know when they do not meet the standard for moving on. He is likely to be swayed by tears and in a split Yes/No between the other judges, he will give a contestant the benefit of the doubt. I agreed with Jennifer that the 15 year old girl who drove with her family from Colorado should not have made it through, but her pleading sobs brought a yes from Randy.

Jennifer Lopez showed that she really does not have a problem saying 'No' to contestants with limited talent. That 15 year old should have been told by the other two judges to come back when she is older. Jennifer rightly told the girl it was a 'No' and she would get chewed up in Los Angeles. What a refreshing judge after Paula Abdul, Ellen Degeneres and Kara Dioguardi. Jennifer is alert, knows talent, and knows what it takes to make it in the business. Very combobulated! She may turn out to be the best judge we've had in all of AI - Simon Cowell, notwithstanding.

Steven Tyler has not yet added a lot to the show. He could add so much to the show and to his image. I fear he is being laughed at by the majority of the audience (the majority of the audience likely being under 21 years old if the ages of the contestants are any indication of the target demographic.) We now know what Steven's signature comment will be, and the ducks have all gone into hiding. I think he quit maturing when Aerosmith had their first hits 3 or four decades ago. Will he step it up and become a judge on par with Randy and Jennifer? Dream on!

I've visited Milwaukee and it seems like a nice place to live and raise a family. A bit cold at times - understatement notwithstanding. I ate at some fine restaurants downtown and felt safe walking around. I drove to Walnut Grove and walked along Plum Creek (a la Laura Ingles Wilder) and had a beer and tour at the August Schell Brewery in New Ulm. Yes, a very nice place to visit in May through October. It was American Idol's first time in Milwaukee, but I hope it's not the last.

Do you have any ideas where you'd like to see the show go next year? Birmingham? Boise? Baton Rouge? Allentown? Akron? Apalachicola?

Bonus question: What has been my favorite word to use in this blog? - combobulated notwithstanding.

Go ahead – send a comment

Thursday, January 20, 2011

American Idol, Thursday 1/20/2011

Tonight's American Idol was twice as good as last night's because it was half as long - just one short hour. Did you notice how they did a montage of the lame, untalented contestants? And they gave the good and not-totally-lame contestants the bulk of the time. Hallelujah for small favors to the audience. So far, so good.

Steven Bleeping Tyler was not as obnoxious as last night. Still, it's hard to get over a 62 year old man trying to act like a 22 year old. It's heck to get old. Randy was getting all Simon there for a while. He told one singer "That was terrible". Is he the bad guy this season? Jennifer was better. Not so worried about saying "No" to the bad singers.

I don't like the 15 year olds in the competition. I believe American Idol should only allow 18 and over to compete. But that's just my opinion. 15, 16 and 17 year olds are in just too much of a hurry to become ... something. Like all other teenagers in this information age, they need everything now. And American Idol is willing to give it to them. But they lack that certain, je ne sais quoi? Gravitas? Experience? Maturity? ... Yes, all of the above.

Did we see the next American Idol from Nawlins tonight? Maybe. Let's hope there is someone who'll blow us away with their talent in Los Angeles. I liked the black guy from Baton Rouge who teaches piano and voice. I liked the last girl, also, who had the special needs child. Both sang well and could move on. There are many we did not see tonight and last night who made it through. I expect Hollywood will be very good.

Stay tuned for next week's competition.

Prediction: The Green Bay Packers will play the New York Jets in the Superbowl. Brett Favre will perform the ceremonial coin toss for his old teams. Let's all petition for that!


American Idol, Wednesday 1/19/2011

We learned one thing last night on the first episode of American Idol. Steven Bleeping Tyler is not someone we want to invite to our next marshmallow roast with friends and family. Could he be more inappropriate? Mr. Mallow thinks not! The things he wants to do with ducks and his opinions on the skirt length of sixteen-year-old girls are best left to discussions among inmates at the county jail, not on the supposedly family-oriented American Idol show.

Comparing this first show to previous years' first shows, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they kept the lame, no-talent acts to a token minimum and focused on people who could sing, or at least were not totally without talent. Sure, they had to throw in the one or two contestants who were obviously going to get the boot, but I did not have to fast-forward through my DVR recording of the show as much as in years past.

I don't look forward to the cliches and stereotypes from N'awlins. But, could they be any worse than those we heard from the crowd in Joisey? Fuhgeddaboudit! I got ya stereotype right hee-ah.

Bottom line:
Did we see the next American Idol the first night? No. Were there too many sixteen and seventeen-year-old contestants? Yes. Is Steven Bleeping Tyler a dirty old man with a potty mouth? Obviously.

Steven Bleeping Tyler will eventually be told to tone it down (and will). Jennifer Lopez will get more comfortable saying no to the talentless and will turn out to be one of the better judges we've seen. Randy Jackson will bring it, Dawg, as always! And Ryan Seacrest will continue to smile all the way to the bank until the gig is up.

I'll understand if you don't watch until we get down to the final 20 in February. I'll provide my voting sheets before then so we can all follow along like last year.

Jerry Grinstead
President & Director of Social Media
National Marshmallow Roasters Institute

Monday, January 17, 2011

American Idol 2011

Another season of American Idol starts Wednesday, January 19th at 8:00 PM on FOX. Randy Jackson is back with two new judges. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Jennifer Lopez will try and get our attention.

Will anybody be the bad guy now that Simon is gone? Rumor has it that none of the judges want to take on Simon's role. How will that turn out? I guess I'll just have to watch the first couple of shows to see the judges' chemistry. I expect you to watch and be ready to comment as well.

What are the odds we'll all want to go to one of the Idol Tour shows next summer? As you know, I went two years ago to see Adam Lambert, of course, and old 'what's his name' who "won" that year. And last year, there wasn't anyone I really wanted to see (maybe fellow Buckeye, Crystal Bowersox) so we decided to stay home. Odds are not good that I'll want to go at this time. I'll say 1 in 10: a 10% chance I'll be going.

So here's the upcoming schedule. Don't miss that first show! You'll regret it!

Channel Date & Time
FOX Wed, Jan 19 8:00 PM
FOX Thu, Jan 20 8:00 PM
FOX Wed, Jan 26 8:00 PM
FOX Thu, Jan 27 8:00 PM