2/10 American Idol Hollywood Round Three, 54 Remain

American Idol tonight was slightly better than the lackluster and horriblyly confusing Hollywood round one and two last week. It started off with the 72 remaining hopefuls divided into 4 groups in 4 separate holding rooms awaiting their fate and like the movie “Memento” drove us back to the beginning, then forward, then back.

The contestants were to sing solo onstage with back-up singers, live instruments and the whole shebang. They could choose to play their own instruments if they wanted. Ryan Seacrest initially said that the contestants were free to choose any song they liked but the songs repeated itself again and again as the show went on so it became obvious they were given a song list after all.

Hera are the names of those who made it past the judges’ deliberation in round three with some notes on some.

First up who made it was 1 Adam Lambert. He sang great except that he was trying to be a Cher sound-alike singing “Believe” and it just became too gay for comfort as the performance progressed. It wasn’t good at all. His background is in Professional Theater and his performance came off very theatrical not Idol material. If he makes it to the Top 36, we’re not sure if America would welcome a Broadway-American Idol crossover.

2 Matt Giraud was next. Performed a raspy and soothing “Georgia on my Mind” topped with his own piano accompaniment enough to impress all three judges, Paula, Randy and Kara- giving him the standing O.

3 Jamar Rogers sang Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.” He didn’t sing it bad, even gave the song his own twist but we’re not sure America is going to want to keep hearing “California Drea-e-e-e-ming” or “what you do to m-e-e-e” style of singing. It could grow old fast.

4 Danny Gokey’s “I Hope You Dance” has yet again put a giddy, school-girl with a crush, twinkly-eyed look on Paula Abdul. She gave him a standing ovation even before Danny finished his song. Danny Gokey as we have initially said is a very strong contender this season.

mishavonna_henson5 Anoop “geeky-guy” Desai, 6 Jorge Nunez (Neyo’s “Closer”) and 7 Scott “Visually impaired Guy” Macintyre (Chris Daughty “Home’) all made it!

As well as 8 Kendall Beard (performed Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”), 9 Stevie Wright (sang Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly”),

and 10 Kristin McNamara -who belted it out with a huge Kelly Clarkson hit “Because of You”.

11 Lil Rounds did a flawless rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got you” -another strong contender.

12 Mishavonna Henson who we’re seeing for the first time was a Season 7 hopeful who got cut during last year’s round two in Hollywood Week. At least she stayed thru round three this year.

13 Jackie Tohn was shown playing her guitar but we never got to hear her sing! She made it along with 14 Frankie Jordan, 15 Alexis Grace and 16 Kenny Hoffpauer.

Say what?? The over-confident, mentally unstable(?) 17 Tatiana “annoying laugh” del Toro was in Top 54!

So was 18 Nathaniel “Emote King” Marshall who played his own guitar and sang Rihanna’s “Disturbia” while Idol played a montage of all his backstage drama in Hollywood.

Ju'not JoynerThis is where it got shocking! 19 Joanna Pacitti, a recording artist on her own couldn’t remember the lyrics to “If I Ain’t Got You.” 20 Casey Carlson, an early favorite forgot the words to Jordin Sparks “Tattoo.” It was painful to watch and hear them struggle as they fumble and eat the words of the songs. We now question the readiness of these two would be Top 12 contender. Of course Idol “saved” them here but if they couldn’t get over the nerves hitting them- it will be over for their Idol dreams.

21 Stephen Fowler, another good soulful singer also forget the words to Daughty’s “Home” and asked for a “Brooke White.” And he messed up again. He gave up, walks off stage and still managed to get into the Top 54!

We don’t really know what to make of 22 Nick Mitchell aka Norman Gentle. He is one character who could really sing but doesn’t fit all decorum of an American Idol. He sang “Georgia On My Mind” as his alter ego again and was entertaining but we really think he belongs in another show.

23 Ju’not Joyner is another hopeful whose only now making his TV appearance. He added some soul into “Hey There Delilah”, breezes through Top 54.

24 Jasmine Murray gave a disappointing rendition of “Tattoo”. We expected more from her.

megan_corkrey_idolIf 25 Kai Kalama didn’t make such a good impression on his audition, we would have sent him packing. His voice is going. He needs to do something about it- FAST! The judges gave him a break and passed him through.

26 Anne Marie Boskovich, 27 Michael Sarver, 28 Arianna Afsar (wasn’t given airtime on this episode), 29 Matt Breitzke, 30 Cody Shelman, 31 Felicia Barton, 32 TK Hash, 33 Alexander Wagner-Trugman, 34 Allison Iraheta, 35 Angela Martin, 36 Ashley Hollister, 37 Brent Keith-Smith, 38 Chris Chatman, 39 Derek Lavers, 40 Devon Baldwin, 41 Jackie Midkiff,

42 Jeanine Vailes, 43 Reggi Beasley, 44 John Twiford, 45 Lacey Brown, 46 Jessica Langseth, 47 Megan Corkrey, 48 Von Smith, 49 Perrie Cataldo, 50 Ricky Braddy, 51 Shera Lawrence, 52 Keating Holland, 54 Taylor Vaifanua completes the list of Top 54.

Among those who were cut: Michael Castro, India Morrison, Kaylan Loyd, Muna Hiluf and Leneshe Young.

Tomorrow, the Top 36 is revealed in a 2-hour show! Oh brother. See you…

Obama Versus McCain: The Iraq War. Obama Told You So

This is a continuing series on the Primary Issues of the Presidential Election 2008. | Read Round One: McCain Versus Obama on the issue of Health care. | Round Two: Their take on the Iraq War. | Round Three: Obama Versus McCain on Free Trade. | Part One of Round Four on Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels, here. | In Part Two, we think the Democrats, Republicans And We All Are Misguided. | Part Three: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!! | Part Four: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process | Round five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration | Round Six: On the Issue of Abortion | Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action | Part one of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, Obama’s Position | Part two of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, McCain’s Position

So many people in our lives say, after the fact, “I told you so”.  Does it ever help your current situation or make you feel better?  Or does it just make you feel bad about yourself and wish what had gone before never happened?  More importantly, did it ever make what had gone before any different?  We will leave you to deal with these rhetorical questions.

Obama’s approach on this issue is to use exactly that tactic, “I told you so”.  To tell not only McCain, but all citizens, Republicans and Democrats (including Biden) that believed in the war at the time that he (Obama) voted against it.

But the fact is, it doesn’t matter what our decisions were 7 years ago.  9/11 happened, we reacted, it’s over, we are there.  We believe the candidate that should be favored with respect to this issue is the one most prepared to deal with it in the “now” not yesterday.

Vietnam and Korea were American disasters because we did not have the conviction to attack and destroy an enemy that was vastly inferior.  Iraq was not the case.  The US wiped out the Iraqi Army in weeks with almost no casualties.  And we proved something in the process.  That wiping out a nation’s leadership leaves us, by the nature of our government, responsible for that nation.  As Colin Powell put it, “if you break it, you own it“.  And after billions and billions of US dollars spent, indeed we do.

But what do our politicians really want to do now, in 2008?  It seems Obama wants to bail and leave it up to Iraq to solve its own problems.  It seems as though John is saying stay the course, but there is little indication there is a plan as to when it will be over.  With McCain it seems like we could just police Iraq forever.  With Obama, we see some light at the end of the tunnel, but that light might be a bus headed right for us as we emerge.

This is a lose-lose for both sides.  The Iraq war was entered into not as the Democrats would currently have you think.  It was not based on a lie.  It was based on 9/11, an attack on us by radical Muslims and the belief that Iraq was the most rogue of the Muslim nations and had to be held accountable for harboring weapons of mass destruction and for supporting terrorism.  No one now seems to recall, but Saddam was doing his best to avoid UN Inspections and did indeed appear to be hiding military secrets.  Fact is, he just turned out to be a deluded lunatic that lived in a hollowed out tunnel after the war babbling to himself.

Now, what we realize is that even if Saddam Hussein was as dire and evil as he was depicted, the result of deposing him was an unstable Iraq.  Imagine an America where US troops had to circle the streets daily to maintain order.  Imagine what would happen if a nation stepped into our world and destroyed our government, regardless of whether it was led by Republicans or Democrats, introducing total anarchy.  Would you want that government to stay and help restore order or would you want them to get out so you could?  Sounds like the latter is the answer, but the only thing protecting you from the criminal elements is the very occupation force you despise.  So, as Colin Powell presciently pronounced, once you depose the government, you become the government.

One interesting cause of war is what it does to a President’s approval rating.  People think this is unique to Bush, and he is the worst President ever, but facts prove otherwise.

Bush’s approval rating is an abysmal 31%, but from CNN polling director Keating Holland we find… “Bush’s approval rating five years ago, at the start of the Iraq war, was 71 percent, and that 40-point drop is almost identical to the drop President Lyndon Johnson faced during the Vietnam War,”.

“Johnson’s approval rating was 74 percent just before Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964, which effectively authorized the Vietnam War. Four years later, his approval was down to 35 percent, a 39-point drop that is statistically identical to what Bush has faced so far over the length of the Iraq war,”.

America wants a fast victory, and war just doesn’t work that way, especially not occupations.  The estimates at the time of the start of the war were that it would take 5 years or more to resolve things, but it is like a car payment.  The first year, you love the car.  The second year, you start disliking the payment and by the fourth year, you want to get rid of it.

The fact is, however, Iraq has gotten much better.  A tactic called “The Surge” endorsed primarily by George Bush, against the advice of his generals and advisors, has worked.  Bush sent 5 brigades of additional man power to Iraq and the violence has been reduced dramatically.  Rumsfeld and General Casey were sent packing and Bob Gates and David Petraeus replaced them.  And regardless of what the Democrats claim and what the public believes, in this instance, Bush was right.  “The Surge” has been a huge success and that will make it very difficult for any dramatic change by a new President whether it is Obama or McCain.