American Idol Season 10: My Rundown

This year’s American Idol, I assume, would be the biggest because it’s the 10th season of the show. It turns out to be just another season. Well, it was big because three judges from season 9 left the show, leaving Randy Jackson and  several vacant seats on the judging panel. Then Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez entered the picture as the new Idol judges.

This is not my favorite AI season mainly because of the judges’ way of delivering their critiques. Jennifer Lopez is so sweet and emotional. She is so  sweet to the point of sugar-coating her critiques way too much. Steven Tyler is a lazy judge. He says what he wants to say but he misses on the things he NEEDS to say. But he is staying for the next couple of seasons together with this season’s biggest annoyance, Randy Jackson. He was not this annoying during the past seasons. His critiques are redundant, sometimes mean and oftentimes pointless. Yes, it’s their job to help America get it right but they tend to make way for their bets too much.

I wasn’t really focused on this season. I can stand not finishing an episode, which I didn’t happen during the past seasons.

Enough of this hate for the judges. It’s time for the contestants.

This season had top 13 contestants. 10 of them were voted by America while the three were wildcard contestants chosen by the judges. Weird arrangement, right?

13.  Ashthon Jones*

Aside from the fact that she has too many H’s in her name, there’s nothing really notable about her. Although she has fire when she performs. I don’t even remember her from Hollywood week. She left the show too soon, yeah right.

12. Karen Rodriguez

She is forgettable. I think she may not have gotten America’s vote if not for her Spanish singing skills during the qualifying round. The judges loved her then, and they say first impressions last. Hers lasted for two weeks.

11. Naima Adedapo*

The jazzy, reggae singer who sang pop at some point of the competition. She was told that she was off-key during her earlier performances, and she didn’t understand why. She also showed her dancing skills on the Idol stage. One thing good about her is that she stayed true to herself, America thought it wasn’t good enough. She was the first casualty of the double elimination due to the judges using the season’s save the week before her elimination.

10. Thia Megia

The judges loved her because she has such a matured voice for her age. She sings songs way too old for her. She was so young that she had a hard time understanding what the judges said to  her. When she tweaked her performance, the judges didn’t dig it. When she stayed true to herself, the judges didn’t like it. She was the other casualty of the double elimination. But I still think she’s better than Charice.

09. Pia Toscano

Her elimination made the headlines for days. She was one of the early favorites due to her smooth voice and wide range. She loves ballads. And when the judges asked her to step out of her comfort zone, she did a Whitney Houston song, made an upbeat arrangement but sang the song a la Whitney. The judges actually believed her. She was eliminated way too early, yes. Amazing looks plus smooth vocals and all but she lacked stage presence. And did I say that she looked amazing all throughout her stay? She looked like a star even before America decided not to vote for her.

08. Paul McDonald

The first guy to be officially eliminated. He sounded like a screeching something and his moves onstage were awkward. He has a distinct sound that is only his. He has a distinct screeching sound. But among the rockers this season, he has the vibe of a true-blue 80’s rock star. No gimmicks, no grand stage setups – just the awkward moves and the flashy clothes. And the flashy smile.

07. Stefano Langone*

This guy is the last wildcard contestant standing. He makes fairly good choices with songs. He chose, during most parts of the show, songs that are known by the majority. He would make a good cover singer. Although there’s nothing very exceptional with his singing. He tried to pull-off a Ne-yo song and he got eliminated. He tried to dance and he got eliminated. Maybe he could be a part of Glee. No.

06. Casey Abrams

The guy the judges chose to save. He was a mad singer. I mean, he comes off mad when he sings during the earlier part of the competition. It was later on revealed that it was really his style. He and his magical beard (aka his personality) have such a strong commanding power on stage. He can do rock and he can do jazz. He can kiss JLo because Jennifer doesn’t want him breathing on her face. He can do a good growling duet with Haley. He can crack jokes. He was eliminated.

05. Jacob Lusk

The second most annoying person this season next to Randy. The diva. He sings with his sky rocketing vocals. He moves his hips in such a way that you’d feel uneasy watching. He chooses weird clothes during shows. And at some point, he preached about looking at the mirror. He was worthy to be on the show. But not as long as he stayed. America finally got it right only after he murdered ‘No Air’.

04. James Durbin

One of the judges’ favorites. He was good. He knows what he wants to do on the show. He is a showman.  He wants to introduce heavily produced heavy metal numbers on the show. His story won him the hearts of many. The judges praised him even though he was off-key and his falsetto’s not doing any good for his number. He sang ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ at some point and the judges praised the level of difficulty of his song choice. He was set to be on the finale, but America said otherwise.

03. Haley Reinhart

The judges thought she has some kind of identity crisis during the earlier part of the show. She did country, pop, jazz, rock and all but she has consistently joined the bottom group. It took her some time before she gained the ‘best performance of the night’ trophy. I have to admit that she’s good. And she growls a lot, too. She’s tough on stage. She’s not fazed by the judges’ bashing and constant questioning about her song choices. Then the judges and Jimmy Iovine gave her the hardest song during her last week. They said she did good. It was reverse psychology according to America.

THE TOP 2

Lauren Alaina

She’s as young as Thia, but her edge against little miss Megia is her youthful vibe on stage. Her voice sounds sweet and perfect. She sounds better when she sings upbeat songs a la Carrie Underwood. She’s everybody sweetheart. She managed to save herself from elimination during weeks of not-so flattering song choices.

Scotty McCreery

He’s almost as young as Lauren, but he sounds like a real country guy. He stayed true to his talent all throughout the competition that he sometimes sounds boring. It was only during the latter part of the competition when he tweaked his performances a bit. It was a good strategy for him to pull surprises during the home stretch of the season.

*wildcard contestants

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images from americanidol.com and justanotherpixel.net via Google Images

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#130: Rich Asuncion on FHM May 2011 + FHM 100 Sexiest 2011 Partials

I know, it’s better late than never. I wasn’t really all giddy about buying this issue. Maybe it’s due to the mixed reviews I read about this one from the FHM bullboard. But I bought it, anyway. And it wasn’t really a knockout. Part of this judgment is due to the fact that I bought books along with this magazine. I’m more excited with the fact that I have new books.

I was actually hinting about Rich Asuncion gracing FHM for May on my last FHM post. Her camp released publicity reports of her doing an FHM shoot in Boracay. Oh, well.

COVER

The cover is stunning. It has the same effects as Misa Campo’s- simple, crisp, clean. This issue’s good as far as the cover’s concerned. Yes, better than last month’s cover.

COVER STORY

May is the last month of summer and FHM decided to end summer on a beach, with Rich Asuncion, nonetheless.

Rich is beautiful, no questions about that one. She actually looks like a much younger Dawn Zulueta.But the concept used on her is overused and bland. Her poses are redundant. There are girls who can pull-off a good beach pictorial, but Rich didn’t. Her photoshoot could have been better, a-la Jackie Rice’s FHM cover. Sayang lang.

I get that they chose colorful articles of (non)clothing and a calm back drop to get a mabango and malinis effect. They achieved that. I just feel like Rich is not well-motivated. I mean her poses and facial expressions are bland.

Her interview’s fine. She knows what she has and what she can do with it. Rich also knows what she want. I have always admired her wisdom. And yes, she’s talented- more talented than her Starstruck contemporaries Kris Bernal and Jewel Mische.

It wasn’t really that bad, it’s just that they can do WONDERS with Rich. Again, sayang. Hope she’ll do FHM once more to make up for it.

FEATURED READS

One for the Donaires, one for basketball, one for OPM and one for vegetables.

I never thought I would enjoy reading about the Donaires, but for some reason, I did.

Nonito is a good boxer. Intelligent boxer nga daw. He and his wife has good communication skills, evident to some TV interviews they had.

FHM did well on covering not just Nonito’s boxing life, they also presented him as a photography enthusiast. It’s just saddening that his issue with his family was blown out of proportions.

The basketball article was good, as well as the vegetables. Those article were accompanied by nice illustrations. It’s fun to know more about the bahay kubo.

The one about OPM songs was almost good. They should have given that one more space. The lay-out of the article itself was a bit tacky. Warren Espejo, on the other hand, did well on the collage. He’s responsible for the good artworks on spot.ph.

FEATURED GIRLS

These girls own a star on this issue. Their photoshoots are better than the cover girl’s. It would’ve been better had FHM made Rich do a concept like any of these girls’ photoshoot.

Jinri Park, oh Jinri Park. She is just lovely. Chinita, silky smooth skin, nice lips. Plus she’s a full-blooded Korean with Filipino values, like radio and tv godesses Sam Oh and Grace Lee. Lovely.

I think she appeared on GMA’s Comedy Bar. She’s one of those ‘beer-gins’ who sheds clothes before serving food and drinks to live studio guests.

FHM veteran Nika Madrid made a splashing comeback on this issue.

Need I say more? I really hope that FHM do a cover with this kind of concept. It would be amazing even if the cover girl would want some ‘cover’ on.

Other babes featured are Bench Body model Barbara Baretto and Tahiti Cora as the May Girlfriend.

***

It wasn’t really a good issue, not also a bad one. It’s the type that won’t make you really worried if you failed to purchase. The featured girls are the best part of this issue.

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It has been almost two month’s since FHM opened the voting for the 100 Sexiest for 2011. Unless you are living under a rock, you probably know that FHM releases updates every week via their newsletter called the Bullpen. Showbiz news reports also uses the same FHM updates to inform non-FHM readers and subscribers about the ongoing poll.

Here’s the rundown of the updates:

UPDATE 1

UPDATE 2

(Cristine Reyes takes the 3rd spot.)

UPDATE 3

UPDATE 4

UPDATE 5

It’s always a neck to neck battle on the top 5 of every partial results to date. It has always been the same names in there.

Angel Locsin grabbed the top spot  on the first update which covers the first nineteen days of voting. She has since failed to maintain her standing up until the most recent unofficial tally.

Marian Rivera grabbed the lead from Angel on the next update which covered an additional 10 days after the first one. She has maintained her lead up until the 4th update.

Cristine Reyes, although considered a strong contender, has yet t grab the top spot on any of the updates.

Sam Pinto has shown a strong potential during the first four updates. And she even grabbed the top spot on the most recent update. Kudos to Sam and her fans.

Solenn Heussaff (and her fans) seems to be a little quiet about this poll. She peaked at number 4 during the 3rd update but she holds the 5th spot on the other updates. I hope her fans would pull off a surprise and provide more votes for Solenn on the weeks to come.

Jennylyn Mercado has been on the sixth spot for four consecutive weeks until Valerie Concepcion grabbed the spot on the recent update. I am still surprised that Valerie has been on the top 10 for three weeks now. I never knew her fan base is that strong. It helps that she’s appearing on two TV networks.

Ellen Adarna is considered as an underdog on this list. She is well known by FHM readers and netizens but not  by the greater mass. Still, she holds a firm position on the top 10.

Katrina Halili‘s fans still love the two-time sexiest woman, although not with the same flare as before. She has been on the bottom of the top 10 for 3 weeks but still holding on, while contemporaries Iwa Moto and Ehra Madrigal figured in on the 29th and 24th spot, respectively, on the third update. (Ehra figured in on the 10th spot during the first update)

Non-FHM cover girls Rhian Ramos, Anne Curtis and Lovi Poe also figured in on the top 10 at some point. With Rhian staying on for three weeks, peaking at number 7. Anne Curtis entered the top 10 on week 2 at the ninth spot and has yet to appear on the updates that followed.  Lovi, on the other hand, holds the ninth spot on the two most recent updates.

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I am glad that Sam Pinto grabbed the lead this week. That opened up the opportunity for someone new to be the Philippines’ Finest. I mean Angel, Marian and Cristine are sexy in their own ways but it’s about time to have someone new up there. Enough of making history like three-time sexiest, two-time sexiest without posing for FHM and the like. I am still for SOLENN and SAM. They might pull off a surprise in the weeks to come.

Voting is open until June 15th. Yeah, vote wisely.

**images from FHM.com.ph and FHM’s Facebook

REVIEW: Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan, Bob Ong

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nito ko lang nabili ang 8th book ni Bob Ong. Actually nakalimutan ko nganghindi ko pa nababsa ‘tong librong ‘to, eh. Naisipan ko lang dumaan sa NBS para humanap ng librong bibilhin at noon ko lang naalala na wala pa nga pala akong kopya ng Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan. Na-excite nga ako nung nakita ko.

Binili ko. Kasabay ng The Lost Symbol ni Dan Brown. Hindi ko mapigilan na bilhin ng sabay kasi matagal-tagal na din akong hindi nakakabasa ng bagong libro. Tutal may budget naman, hindi na akong nanghinayang gumastos para naman may iba akong mapaglilibangan aside from reading (and re-reading) my magazines. Plus ibang kaligayahan ang hatid ng novels compared sa ligayang hatid ng FHM.

Wednesday, May 18,2011

Ang init. Summer pa naman kahit na may mga panaka-nakang (naks!) na pag-ulan.

Wala naman akong masyadong ginawa maliban sa routinary na pagluluto ko ng breakfast/lunch food.

Naligo.

Matutulog sana ako kaso naalala ko na may mga pwede pala akong pagkaabalahan maliban sa pag-check sa Twitter at Facebook gamit ang cellphone ko na ilang buwan na ding walang load.

Inuna ko muna yung FHM May 2011. Thumbs down.

Tapos ayun na. Binuksan ko na yung Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan…….

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This book by Bob Ong is a good one. It’s good because it’s different from Ong’s previous books in terms of structure and story-telling. It’s good because despite of it being different, Bob Ong still managed to incorporate his unique and very distinguished ‘touch’. Different body, same soul.

It is said that part of the book was from the real journal of the real Galo. And yes, this is a GOOD suspense-horror book.

I have always admired Bob Ong books. I started reading his work when I was in second year high school. He was my hero then. I even wanted to be Bob Ong when I grow up. I was a big fan before everyone started picking-up his books. Then came those misquoted Bob Ong quotes which made me ask myself if I missed any BO books because I don’t  remember reading some of the Bob Ong quotes doing the rounds on the internet and the SMS world. (It turned out that people are making up quotes.)

I loved Bob Ong’s books because they are very easy to relate to. I’m guilty of shedding a tear or two when reading his books despite  he pokes on very easy-to-relate-to story he writes.

‘Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan’ is actually a story based on journal entries by a 16-year old student, Galo. He chronicled his struggles as a student, as a lover, as a teenager trying to fit-in a family that is not really his, as a grandson and as a man trying to save his sanity. This book tags us along Galo’s journey from the noisy streets of Manila to the quiet but mysterious community of his grand mother’s rural home.

Galo escaped the cruelty of his life in the city by staying with his sick grandmother only to be haunted by the ghosts of his past.

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Mabilis akong naka-relate sa kwento ni Galo dahil may mag pinagdaanan siya na malapit sa akin. Muntikan pa nga ko maiyak dun sa entry nya nung sinabi nya na “ang bata bata ko pa, ganito na mga problema ko” (or something like that.)

May problema sya sa pag-aaral, may problema sya sa lovelife, may mga problema sya sa pera, may mga problema sya sa pamila. Madali maka-relate sa kwento ni Galo dahil at some point, napag daanan naman siguro ng lahat nang mga iyan. Hindi man sabay-sabay, makaka-relate at makak-relate pa din.

Hindi ito ang typical na horror-suspense novel. Actually, hindi nga ito typical na Bob Ong.

Easy read ang istorya ni Galo sa Maynila- may kontrabida, may support, may extra at may leading lady/ladies. Hindi mo iisiping horror ang binabasa mo.

Pero pumasok ang pagka-horror nung bumalik si Galo sa probinsya ng lola nya. Mula sa mga weirdong imahe hanggang sa weirdong ayos ng bahay ng lola nya.

Kailangang malawak ang imahinasyon mo para marambaman mo si Galo at ang mga nararamdaman nya. Kung gagawin kasing pelikula ‘tong librong ‘to, hindi sya magiging typical na Pinoy horror na mananakot na lang basta may pagkakataon. May build-up ang bawat character sa istoryang ito. Ipinakilala ni Bob Ong ang mga character at ginawa nya munang kampante ang mga mambabasa na kilala na nila ang mga tauhan sa kwento. Eventually, inilabas  niya dark side ng mga character. Plus magiging kakaiba ito kung gagawing pelikula kasi hip-hop ang soundtrack. Frustrated rapper lang naman si Galo.

Palibhasa nasanay ang ilan sa ‘slapstick’ na horror kaya nanibago ang iba (base sa ilang reader reviews na nabasa ko) sa horror story na ito.

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Beneath the witty, funny and the scary parts of ‘Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan’ are the real-life undertones of the story of Galo.

First, the importance of a family in the character building of a person.

Galo grew up as an angsty child. He was ‘handed down’ from one relative to another because his Biological parents were not there for him. Add to that the feeling of being unwanted given by his current foster family.

Teenagers nowadays are afraid of vulnerability.

Galo taught himself to be callous just to save himself from explaining how he feels. He doesn’t want to be misunderstood further. He kept his angst to himself via his journal. He doesn’t want t come off weak especially in front of his foster family.

Teenagers nowadays don’t bother to explain their feelings anymore because they don’t want to be misunderstood.

Sex is still an issue we opt not to talk about in large groups.

Galo and his friends even started laughing when the priest preached about sex during a Mass in their school.

Not all Filipinos are open to the idea of talking about sex in the open. Some still think of sex as something untouchable when in fact, premarital sex and sex outside relationships are very prominent nowadays.

Religion has become something optional to some.

Religion is actually the turning point of Galo’s story. He and the kids who became his company were trapped in an unending quest to know the reason behind the weird rituals Mama Susan and her group perform.

Unlike sex, religion is something our country is known to be very fond of. But the sad truth is that majority practice sex more than their respective religions.

When the reality gets too cruel, we try hide it from ourselves.

Galo’s journal has become our means of knowing the truth about his life, but it turns out that he is hiding some truths from himself. It was until later in the story that Galo’s wrong deeds were revealed- things he never wrote on his journal as he did it. Things that he was running away from.

Some of us are afraid of the ghosts we create. Not everybody is confrontational when it comes to the ugly truth. We see what we wanna see and hear what we wanna hear, so we can say that we’re happy.

Huwag mong bibigkasin ang hindi…

mo naiintindihan(?)

I assume this line from the start of the story is just Bob Ong’s way of telling us that we should not go into talking about things we don’t fully understand for doing so may lead to problems.

(It kinda beats the purpose of me, writing this whole thing.)

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Wow! Ang dami kong nasabi tungkol sa librong ‘to. Teka. . . parang hindi naman galing sa akin ‘yung iba dito ah. Biro lang. Hindi ako nag-plagiarize nang sinuman.

Hindi ko nga pala i-trinanslate yung mga Latin phrases or paragraphs. Sakit lang sa ulo. Ipinagpalagay ko na lang na Latin phrases or paragraphs sila.

‘Yung mga imahe nga pala ay hindi akin. Nakuha ko ang mga iyan sa Google, na kinuha naman ang mga iyan sa kanilang respective owners. No copyright infringement intended whatsoever, peram na lang ng images. Pretty pleasee? (May ugly please ba? Kung meron, yun na lang. KTHXBYE)

5 out of 5 sa akin ang librong ito. I find to be less boring compared to Ong’s 7th book. Maybe it’s the story telling that sets this book apart from BO’s previous fictions. Plus na-touch nga ako dun sa kwento ni Galo sa Maynila.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011