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Grammy Awards: Lady Antebellum, Jay-Z, Mavis Staples win in pre-telecast

 4 p.m. NEIL YOUNG! So, apparently when there’s not a Beatle covering himself, Young actually has a chance. Young’s “Angry World,” from “Le Noise,” was named best rock song. “This is my first Grammy for music, and it’s appreciated greatly,” Young said. “I’m not Mavis,  but I am close.” Young’s only other Grammy came in the recording package field.

3:56 p.m.: Arcade Fire are 0-for-2, and will go home winless, despite likely delivering the strongest performance of the night. No, not biased, just fact. The group was again bested by the Black Keys in the best rock performance by a duo/group field, which won for “Tighten Up.” Arcade Fire had submitted “Ready to Start.” 

3:49 p.m.: Lamest win, this far: Paul McCartney’s “Helter Skelter” for best rock solo vocal performance from his live effort “Good Evening New York City.” Really, Grammy voters? I realize awarding a 1968 song is better than giving anything to Mayer, but Neil Young continues to be ignored by Grammy voters, and, unlike McCartney, he’s a veteran artist who is actually challenging himself.

3:40 p.m. THE MOST DESERVED WIN THUS FAR: Mavis Staples for her “You Are Not Alone,” recorded for local indie Anti- and produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, which was named best Americana album.

It’s a shame the Chicago soul legend won’t be performing tonight, but she’s never not gracious. Staples was near tears as she walked up onstage, needing someone to lower her mike and hold her Grammy.

“Oh my God, that was the shock of my life,” Staples said of winning the first Grammy to her name. “My goodness. It’s been a long time, a long time coming,” she continued before finally breaking down in tears.

“Oh my goodness,” Staples continued. “OK, OK, OK, all right. Give the honor to God and to my father, Pops Staples. It’s because of you, Pops, that I stand here today. I tell you, you laid the foundation, and I am still working on the building … This Grammy took a long time coming. A long time. But it was worth the wait, worth the wait. But I’m going to be around a while. You will not see the last of me. God is not through with me.”

Staples caught a shot of herself on-camera. “They kept telling me all day that I looked glamorous and wonderful, but I didn’t know till I looked up there.”

She also thanked Tweedy for bringing the “young adults, the college kids” back to her, referring to the increased attention the Wilco name has brought to Staples


3:32 p.m.: A thought on the rap genre field wins: So is this Eminem’s year? Suddenly, perhaps, that could be called into question. While Eminem should still be considered the frontrunner for album of the year for his “Recovery,” he took only one award for his 10 nominations in the pre-telecast. His “Not Afraid” was named best rap performance, although Kanye West’s “Power” was likely the critical favorite here. Yet when it came to best rap/sung collaboration, the prize went to “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, which bested Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” with Rihanna. Additionally, “Empire State of Mind” was named best rap song, topping two Eminem singles. “Empire” is the favorite for record of the year.

3:26 p.m.: Best pre-show quote: Pinetop Perkins accepting his award for traditional blues album: “They used to call me Pinetop, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m Pinebottom now.” Seconds later, Buddy Guy’s “Living Proof” was deservedly named best contemporary blues album.

3:20 p.m.: The Grammys deserve plenty of criticism for this year’s show lineup, and one travesty could be traced straight to the pre-show. No, it had nothing to do with the performance, as Buddy Guy and Mavis Staples ignited some fire into a pretty-formulaic pre-show. The problem was that this cast, which also included Cyndi LauperMaria Muldaur and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, was relegated to pre-show duties. Yet the make-shift group’s take on “Wang Dang Doodle,” now a blues standard written for Howlin’ Wolf, was a back-and-forth and call-and-response between the three vocalists. 

3:14 p.m.: BEST ALTERNATIVE ALBUM SHOCKER: Though also nominated for album of the year, the Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” failed to win alternative album this year. The Arcade Fire is now 0-3 when it comes to the alternative album field. The trophy went to the Black Keys’ “Brothers,” an album earlier recognized for best recording package.

Allow for a brief rant: This upset points to the boneheaded-ness of Grammy voters. The Arcade Fire released an album strong enough to score an album of the year nomination, yet said album was not even the best album in its genre field? There is one important difference: The Black Keys record for a major label in Nonescuch, while the Arcade Fire records for an indie in Merge. 

3:08: Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” wins country performance by a duo/group with vocals. This is good/bad news. Good, as the act will likely not win album of the year, but sets Lady Antebellum on track to score best country album. Zac Brown Band took best country collaboration with vocals (CORRECTED: SEE COMMENTS) for “As She’s Walking Away,” but when Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” was named best country song, a songwriter’s award, it all but assured that Miranda Lambert had zero chance of taking best country album this evening. 

It’s also setting up a Lady Antebellum versus Eminem showdown. Settle in, kids.

3:01 p.m.: Looking for jazz stuff? That will also be on Culture Monster.

2:53 p.m.: AND WE HAVE MUSIC (likely better music than you will see in a few hours). Trombone Shorty, whose jazzy-funk touches on hip-hop and pop, is primed for a breakout success story. At the Grammy pre-telecast, he kept things light and upbeat, with horn riffs that seemed to name-check every spy movie and none.

“That settles it, I’m moving to New Orleans,” Spalding said afterward.

2:41 p.m. Classical album of the year: “Verdi Requiem.” Later, our friends at Culture Monster will explain why this is/isn’t important. Or, they just think they’re smarter than me and don’t want me to say much. There’s a feud, ever since I was skeptical toward “American Idiot” and Culture Monster was rah-rah-rah toward “American Idiot.” Today, they can say, “But ‘American Idiot’ won a Grammy.” Exactly. So, I win then. 

2:24 p.m.: My favorite moments from this year’s Clive Davis pre-Grammy party. I did not attend, but I did watch the live coverage on the Grammy site, and I thought it was brilliant. Two moments in particular stood out. One was actor-comedian Ben Gleib asking Keri Hilson to be his valentine. Hilson noted that the best advice she ever received was to “stay single” and “marry” the music (Umm, that’s my plan — stay single and marry the journalism). Hilson jokingly accepted Gleib’s offer, but suddenly, that became the entire interview. Gleib wanted to know what time, where they would go, what to wear, etc., and Hilson wanted out, ASAP. Beautiful.

The second best moment of the party, according to the Grammy online broadcast, was when Lazar wanted to speak with Bill Maher, who I didn’t take for someone who would turn away from a live camera. But no, Maher kept walking, and told Lazar that he didn’t want to miss dinner. Just one year ago, Lazar tried to corral Jon Bon Jovi, who blew her off even more coldly, saying something about how he would not do interviews till the next day.

Let’s back up: The Clive Davis pre-Grammy party is not some “safe zone.” This is a major PR event, one with a red carpet, and one whose  guests are tipped via a press release. Also, the Grammys now throw the party, so shouldn’t being nice to Grammy interviewers be a priority? After all, I don’t think they were going to refuse to give Maher his dinner.

2:12 p.m. As the Grammys head into their mini-Latin portion, Pop & Hiss is going to take a second to show you some other coverage LAT has going on. For some insight into tonight’s performances, that would be here, and if you’re looking for some fancy-dancy red carpet pics from Saturday night’s Clive Davis party, that would be hereCurious about how Bruno Mars partied? We got that too. Did you miss the Dierks Bentley hootenanny with Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum? Read about that here. 

And if you hate me and just want the news straight up, a) I probably attempted to date you at one point and b) you should follow Awards Tracker

2:02 p.m.: Some of the more mainstream categories are rolling out now. Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World” was named best dance recording. Stargate producer Tor Erik accepted, and said to his daughter, “I know I promised you a dog if we won, but I honestly didn’t expect to win. We’ll talk.”

Moments later, in what was surely something of a surprise, U.K. electro and synth act La Roux’s self-titled record was named best electronic album, topping such big names as the Chemical Brothers and BT. In accepting the award, Elly Jackson said, “I didn’t think that was going to happen. I don’t know what to say. I can’t describe how happy this makes us. We made this record in our living room.”

1:52 p.m. And just before 2 p.m. on a seemingly normal Sunday afternoon, the 53rd Grammy Awards officially declared that punk was done/dead/over/had reached its conclusion/had shuffled off this mortal coil. Green Day’s “American Idiot” was named best musical show album, and with that, punk rock, we bid you adieu. A moment of silence. “Glee” producers, the work of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Buzzcocks, the Ramones and Screeching Weasel now essentially belong to you. 

1:46 p.m.: AND WE HAVE HISTORY AT THE GRAMMY AWARDS!!!! Composer Christopher Tin’s “Baba Yetu” was named best instrumental recording. Sigh — so what, ye say? A-ha! Not so fast. “Baba Yetu” was written for Sid Meier’s Civilization IV, a PC game, and Tin noted that this was “the first Grammy to ever be given to a video game,” adding that he hoped more would pay attention to the genre. 

1:37 p.m.: As sure as Justin Bieber’s hair is blond, no Grammy Awards can go down without a John Mayer album being gifted some sort of award. In this case, his “Battle Studies” was named best engineered album. Heading into tonight’s ceremony, Mayer had seven awards to his name, all of ’em, no doubt, deserved.

1:31 p.m.: The very fine Rhino compilation “Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968” failed in its quest to take the best historical album field, which went to “The Beatles (Original Studio Recordings)” in a complete non-shock. Let’s give Grammy voters a round of applause for highlighting a piece of musical history that very few know about. Well done. The album’s producer,  Jeff Jones, got a laugh from the pre-telecast crowd when he said, “I’m Jeff Jones from Apple — the original Apple.”

1:27 p.m.: The White Stripes may have called it quits, but the act’s work was still recognized for a Grammy, as its “Under Great White Northern Lights” was named best boxed or special limited-edition package. The award went to Jack White and Rob Jones. 

1:20 p.m.: And we’re off! Officially, at least. The pre-tel was running a little late, which forebodes badly for the rest of the evening. The stream began with a pairing between Spalding and McFerrin, with Spalding weaving a spider web of bass notes and McFerrin scatting over them, making the minimalist presentation safe for afternoon coffee and scones.

AWARDS! They’ve happened. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” was named best short-form music video, which is a producer’s award that doesn’t technically go to the artist. The video was directed by Francis Lawrence. Meanwhile, the Doors’ “When You’re Strange” was named best long-form music video, awarded to director Tom DiCillo for showing the world more of an act that’s hardly ever been chronicled.

12:57 p.m.: A tip of the hat to the Recording Academy for its live coverage of the all this weekend’s Grammy festivities. There will be plenty of poking fun at the Grammys throughout the night (it’s nothing personal, Recording Academy voters and friends), but the constant red carpet live-streaming is a win. Unlike television broadcasts, there are  no cutaways — just one camera with Shira Lazar and a couple of dudes talking continuously and awkwardly. Just moments ago, Lazar told members of the Nortec Collective that she’d “never been to Tijuana,” and then asked Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine to introduce himself, as she clearly was stumped, and then proceeded to ask him to talk about his hair and inquired what he does to “rock on.”

Let’s be clear: I am not poking fun, as Lazar is near the top of my list of favorite-people-I-have-not-yet-met, and I find the behind-the-scenes peek at red carpet stress fascinating. There are  no producers tipping questions and no generic what-are-you-wearing cliches, just one camera, rolling live, capturing frantic publicists and unprepared interviewees (“I love me some reggae!” Lazar screamed after she found out she was talking to Gregory Isaacs). 

12:50 p.m.: IT’S BRUNCH AT THE 2011 GRAMMY AWARDS! We are live at the LAT HQ — just a few subway stops away from the L.A. Live/Staples Center/Los Angeles Convention Center complex that’s housing all the Grammy festivities. Here’s what to expect for the next 2.5 hours: Awards will come fast, with the major categories, such as rock, pop rap and R&B, being handed out in a rush in the final 45 minutes. If Eminem is going to have a big night, it should be clear by about 3:15 p.m.

Pre-telecast hosts will be jazz nominee Esperanza Spalding and Bobby McFerrin — one an experimental young artist and the other known for a novelty hit. Yet there will be some fine-and-dandy performances during the pre-tel, including appearances from Mavis Staples and Buddy Guy. While surprises can happen, it doesn’t happen that either Staples or Guy will be performing with Willow Smith, as there are no cheesy young-and-old genre mash-ups in the pre-telecast.

Stay tuned to this post, as it will be updated intermittingly during the pre-telecast.  

Photo: A look at the Grammy seating arrangements. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Continue reading here: Grammy Awards: Lady Antebellum, Jay-Z, Mavis Staples win in pre-telecast

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Grammys: Music writer Ernest Jasmin’s predictions

Ah, the Grammys. Rewarding mediocre pop and giving celebrities an excuse to wear dresses that cost more than your car.

Call me jaded, but consider this: Hootie & the Blowfish, Celine Dion and Milli Vanilli have all won Grammys. Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Bob Marley have not.

We won’t even get into the most infamous snubs: Jethro Tull, best metal album – blah blah blah. Instead let’s meditate on the horrifying spectacle of Stevie Wonder on stage with the Jonas Brothers a couple of years ago. Don’t do that to “Superstition,” man!

Still, the 53rd Grammy Awards ceremony will air at 8 p.m. Sunday on Channel 7. (Hey, maybe Justin Bieber will duet with Ozzy Osbourne this year. We can only hope.) And there’s some law that says I, a working member of the music press, should care enough to be making predictions right about now.

I’m a gamblin’ man, so I’ll do it. But I have to give a few nods to some artists who would be worthy of a golden gramophone in an ideal world – you know, a world where their labels had the clout to get them on the ballot.


Nominees: “Nothin’ on You,” B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars; “Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem featuring Rihanna; “F— You,” Cee Lo Green; “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z and Alicia Keys; “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum.

Who should win in this field: Cee-Lo’s Motown-inflected ode to unrequited love is easily the most addictive cut in this bland bunch. But I wonder if all those f-bombs make it too edgy for Grammy voters.

Who will win: Eminem. This single doesn’t come close to his best material, but he’s a bigger name in a game where “popular” equals “good.” The comeback narrative could push him over the top.

In an ideal world: LCD Soundsystem’s raucous, new-wave party anthem “Drunk Girls” would have a chance. Still can’t get enough of that song.


Nominees: “The Suburbs,” Arcade Fire; “Recovery,” Eminem; “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum; “The Fame Monster,” Lady Gaga; “Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry.

Who should win: In 2010, Montreal’s Arcade Fire gave us “O.K. Computer,” an instant classic that poignantly captures the hopes, the heartbreak and the malaise that comes with modern life. It was my album of the year until the last second when I went with Gorillaz “Plastic Beach” instead.

Who will win: Gaga, her bizarre costumes and hits “Telephone” and “Alejandro” were omnipresent in 2010. Hey, even I jumped on the bandwagon before her eye-popping August performance at the Tacoma Dome.

In an ideal world: Just to name a couple more albums that, like Gorillaz, are more exciting than Katy Perry and Eminem at the moment – Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck’s eclectic “IRM,” and Big Boi’s funkafied “Lucius Left Foot … The Son of Chico Dusty.”


Nominees: Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Esperanza Spalding

Who should win: Drake. I’m usually resistant to top 40 hip-hop and the relentless Auto-Tune that comes with it. But those dramatic strings over that slammin’ beat? That stick-in-your-head-chorus? Drizzy’s “Over” really won me – um – over.

Who will win: I’m sticking with Drake. Just don’t let it be that Bieber kid who will only get exponentially more annoying with “Never Say Never” in theaters this weekend.

In an ideal world: Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells packed “Treats,” my favorite debut of 2010, with red-hot riffs and block-bangin’ beats that make you want to get rowdy. They deserve to be on this list.


Nominees: “Emotion & Commotion,” Jeff Beck; “The Resistance,” Muse; “Backspacer,” Pearl Jam; “Mojo,” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; “Le Noise,” Neil Young.

Who should win: From the storm-the-Bastille vibe of “Uprising” to the euphoric comedown of closing opera “Exogenesis,” “The Resistance” was the most epic, ambitious album. (So why didn’t it make my top albums list again? Weird.)

Who will win: Solid tunes plus an exclusive distribution deal with Target created Pearl Jam’s highest profile in years. I’m going with them.

In an ideal world: What? Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” is up for album of the year but not best rock album? How does that work? And what about some love for “Transference,” Spoon’s grittiest and perhaps best album to date.

But enough about what I think.

What do you think?

Head over to Tacoma Rock City,, where you can vote on winners in some of the top categories.

I’ll post some tallies before the big show on Sunday.

Ernest Jasmin: 253-274-7389,,

Continue reading here: Grammys: Music writer Ernest Jasmin’s predictions

What time does the Super Bowl start and what ads should you look for? – Christian Science Monitor

New York

Super Bowl XLV, Green Bay Packers versus Pittsburgh Steelers, is fast approaching. On Sunday, large-screen TVs across America will be tuned in to watch the two teams play for the 2010 NFL championship.

Skip to next paragraph

The Packers are the NFC champion, and are two- to three-point favorites, while the Steelers are the AFC champion and will be playing as underdogs for the first time since Super Bowl XXX.

So, what time does the Super Bowl start? While kickoff time is set for 6:25 p.m. EST at Cowboys Stadium in Texas, the Fox pregame show will run from 2 p.m. until 6. The pregame will include red-carpet interviews by Ryan Seacrest, performances by Willie Nelson and Alicia Keys, a preview of the halftime performance, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

But that’s not what the 15 percent of viewers who tune in solely to see the ads care about. They want to know what $3 million for 30 seconds of advertising buys.

In fact, fully 50 percent of viewers will keep the volume up and actually watch the famously expensive ads.

E*Trade has already sent people scrambling to create their own “baby mail,” based on the talking baby ads that have been running for years and will make a showing in this Superbowl.

As usual, star power will play a role in Super Bowl ads, with singers, reality TV personalities, and actors making appearances.

Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osborne have teamed up to create an ad for Best Buy that’s sure to be very futuristic.

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian will appear in a Skechers ad, and Faith Hill will star in a Teleflora ad.

Eminem will be featured in a Brisk ice tea ad that uses a puppet likeness of the rapper, and comedians Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr will wield chainsaws in a Snickers ad.

PETA, which regularly recieves press for being refused by the networks airing the Super Bowl, made a follow-up ad using bloopers from a previous submission. Viewers will not be seeing the bloopers ad, as Fox, unsurprisingly, refused to run it.

Expect to see ads created by web users, as Pepsi-Cola offered fans a $5 million prize for the winning submision of a home-made ad.

Fifteen films will show ads during the pregame and the game itself.

Groupon, Anheuser-Busch InBev,, Coca-Cola, and Hyundai have also reportedly commited to advertising time.

Many of last year’s ads can be seen online.

Continue reading here: What time does the Super Bowl start and what ads should you look for? – Christian Science Monitor

‘American Idol’ in Milwaukee: Scott McCreary, Chris Medina find ‘the good land’

By Andrea Reiher


January 26, 2011 10:10 PM ET

scott-mccreary-american-idol.jpgWe kick off the Milwaukee “American Idol” auditions with Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson‘s impromptu “Sweet Emotion.” Heh. Ryan Seacrest informs us that this is the show’s first time in Milwaukee for auditions and naturally native son Danny Gokey is there to lend a hand.

In the montage of good ol’ Midwestern auditioners, we spy a girl from Cedar Falls, IA alongside the CF sign, which is our hometown. Excitement. You go, little girl.

But first we have Scott McCreary, an adorable 16-year-old with a very deep voice. He sings “Your Man” and wow, he has such an old-school country voice. The deep stuff is fantastic. Steven Tyler asks for something a little more contemporary and he busts out some Travis Tritt. It’s fabulous. We mean, not everybody loves country, but you can’t deny this kid’s talent. Randy cites his throw-back country voice which — totally. Hope to see this kid go far, what a cutie.

Joe Repka has an interest in radio, so Ryan Seacrest talks with him and it seems to be all in good fun, but has vague undertones of making fun of a not-so-attractive fellow. He does have a decent radio voice, though, but when he sings “The Longest Time,” it … feels like it lasts about as long as the title belies. This is a hard song to sing a capella even for talented singers, which Joe is not. Tyler tells him not to quit his day job.

And we think it’s going to be an amicable, friendly, constructive session, until Joe busts out “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” Oh, just stop. Take the hint, Joe.

Why did we just waste so much time on that? Just when we thought last week’s auditions episodes were so good, they make us sit through 5 minutes of this clown. Blargh.

Thankfully, we move on to Emma Henry, who has some skunky-punk hair. She busts out “True Colors” and has a very crunchy-coffeehouse-Colbie-Cyndi-Tori thing going on with her voice.

Steven Tyler likes her character and says yes, J.Lo says she has a special quality to build on but says no and that she needs to work on her voice. She starts crying as it comes down to Randy, but he thinks she might get swallowed up by the whole experience and she needs to develop her skill. It’s very tense, as Tyler argues for her and she cries and promises to work hard. So Randy caves because he can’t be a meanie.

To the strains of “Don’t Stop Believing,” we get a montage of scary-looking, mentally ill adults who can’t sing. One guy does what he thinks is kung fu, then there’s a woman who forgot to button her dress, a guy trying to shout-sing “Paparazzi” and then a girl who you can tell actually thinks of herself as a good singer and we feel bad for her.

Naima Adedapo is next and she’s got a very fun Jamaican look and a sad story about being a janitor. She sings “For All You Know” and it’s very pretty, she has a nice Alicia Keys quality to her voice and is through with three yes votes.

There is now some footage of a guy doing backflips and landing square on the poor camera operator on the floor and breaking the camera. Yeouch.

We have more bad auditions and — good God, “Idol!” You did so well last week with tightly-edited, mostly good singers audition episodes. This week stinks.

Jerome Bell does a little Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” and it’s … not as good as the judges act like it is. Right? We were a bit surprised at their effusive praise. He’s not awful, but it wasn’t knock-our-socks-off either and he wasn’t completely in tune.

Tonight’s 15-year-old prodigy is Thia Magia and … we know that name. She was on “America’s Got Talent” in 2009 and her call was “I Am Changing” by Jennifer Holliday, which was really good. The night Thia was eliminated, we wrote, “The judges go Piers voting for Thia because she’s progressed (that’s
debatable), Sharon voting for Arcadian and The Hoff voting for Arcadian
Broad. Thia can go try out for “American Idol” in two years, she’ll
be fine.”

Clearly, we are psychic and should take this act on the road.

“Chasing Pavements” is Thia’s call tonight call and it’s … good, but a little stylized/swoopy in a way that we don’t care for, but we can see how some people like it. She’s very talented, though, we remember really liking her on “AGT.” She’s through unanimously, which leads into a montage of 15-year-olds who all make it through, to the strains of one of those soundalike Taylor Swift songs.

Now we have Nathaniel Jones, a Civil War enthusiast who does reenactments. At least he doesn’t call it the War of Northern Aggression. As he enters auditions, J.Lo mutters, “Oh no.” Hee. He chooses “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and does all the parts, so that’s a treat. We feel like we’ve fallen into a David Lynch short play, wherein Civil War soldiers sing 1960s hits to us. Up next, Robert E. Lee on “Wooly Bully.”

Mason Wilkinson takes about an hour to pull himself together enough to sandpaper out “Serenity,” which … why did we watch that? Ugh.

Molly DeWolfe Swensen recently graduated from Harvard and got an internship at the White House (which she applied for “randomly,” like … must be hard to be you, Molls). She first has to point out to Randy that he kind of smacked her in the mouth that morning while running down a line of contestants and high-fiving. HAHAHA. The clip is priceless. Oh gosh, we could watch that 100 times in a row.

She sings “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” with a very nice smoky voice, wow. We did not expect that to come out of this willowy blonde. Steven Tyler wants to jump over the desk and take her right there. Heh. She’s through unanimously.

Haley Reinhart is an auditionee from last season and Steven Tyler is smitten with her curly blodne hair and corn-fed good looks. She sings “Oh Darlin'” and it’s a bit over-done in the runs in that way where you want to punch Xtina in the mouth, but clearly she can sing. Can’t wait to see more out of her, as she gets a ticket with three yes votes.

We have an interesting ’60s throwback with Tiwan Strong on “Twistin’ the Night Away,” which happens to be a favorite oldie of ours. He’s not contemporary at all, but it was so delightful that how can you not put him through? The judges like it and he’s through. One of his poor relatives celebrates so hard she gets a Charlie Horse. Heh heh. Seacrest has no idea what is happening right now.

Steve Beghun, a CPA who is a big, dorky hulk of a man and we really want to hug him. He sings “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” and it’s … interesting. He has to be really careful not to have a Kermit quality to his voice, but it wasn’t bad. Steven Tyler is smitten with his weirdness and he gets three yesses. In his jubilation, Steve picks up tiny Seacrest and puts him on his shoulder like the Green Giant and Sprout. Hey, Halloween costume idea!

Breaking the Golden Ticket streak is Vernika Patterson, one of those people that makes you sad because they really think they can sing but they really can’t. Oof. But then it turns ugly as she starts criticizing the past “Idol” winners and thinking it’s because she’s not skinny. Randy says, “This girl’s not skinny, that first winner.” So who was he talking about? Kelly, obviously, is the “first winner,” but who was the other one? Jordin? Hmm. For shame, Randy. But Vernika storms off with some profanity, leading into a montage of tears and four-letter words. Heh. You stay classy, America.

Albert Rogers III does a decently funny President Obama impression, then sings “Stand by Me” and … whoa. We were expecting him to be good, but he is not. Bait and switch, “Idol.” Bait and switch.

Speaking of bait and switch, nerdy student teacher Scott Dangerfield gets lots of respect (ba dump ching) for his “Dreamin'” by Amos Lee. He has the total Clay Aiken thing going, minus the dreadful Carolina accent. J.Lo is in love and calls him her favorite, to which he adorably blushes. He gets three yesses.

A wholesome Wisconsin family comes with Megan Frazier and they get their Packer fandom all over everything, which is cute. Go Packers, beat Steelers! (ahem.) So she sings “Baby” by Bieber but does it like she’s Ana Gasteyer in the singing Culps sketch. Yikes. J.Lo can barely contain her seething hatred for this weird tom-boyish blonde girl. Snort.

Alyson Jados is the cute version of Amanda Overmyer and her love of Steven Tyler is a little terrifying, mostly because he totally wants to hit that. He says, “What are you into?” and saves it by following up with “What do you like to sing?” Hee.

She sings “Come Together” and it’s good, though we do enjoy her lyrics flub (what are “doo doo eyeballs”? isn’t the lyric “juju eyeballs”?). She’s very Carly Smithson, right? Tyler is scared because she’s all over the place with her pitch (“pitchy,” if you will). Randy says no, but J.Lo and Steven Tyler say yes. 
The final audition sad story of Milwaukee is Chris Medina, who has a fiancee named Julie. She was in an accident in 2009 and suffered a bad brain injury and is wheelchair-bound, hardly able to speak. He says that he has to stick by her, what kind of a man would he be if he didn’t? Goodness gracious.

Chris sings “Break Even” and it’s not just the sad story connection that makes us think of a Danny Gokey-Chris Sligh hybrid, but with a better voice, actually. His falsetto is beautiful. It turns into a bit of a spectacle when the judges want to meet Julie, I mean, this is just too much. We can’t really make fun of this, but we can make fun of the show a bit for getting a little gross about his personal tragedy. Hmph.

Tomorrow night: Nashville! Join us, won’t you?

Source: ‘American Idol’ in Milwaukee: Scott McCreary, Chris Medina find ‘the good land’

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