As the lead-up to Season 10 of “American Idol”, one channel in this region is showing Season 9 of the show almost 24 hours a week. Sad to say- probably for me- it makes for compulsive viewing. But then again, I have a compulsive nature.

Yes, it was a week season, but, until now, I never realized just how truly awful it all was- that Finale which really showed up the amateurs from the professionals, the stupid comments from the judges, average being proclaimed as “great”, the vastly bloated and mawkish Simon Cowell Tribute Night aka the Finale, and, all in all, a year when nothing went right. Plus, nearly every contestant was more than a little “pitchy”.

Watching Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James and the rest of the contestants and all those sessions with “mentors”, well, it’s almost laughable-  now- though not as hysterical as the drivel coming from the mouth of judge Kara Dioguardi and that moment when Perez Hilton stood up and introduced audiences to some bloke named Travis Garland who he claimed was “better than Justin Timberlake”. Boy was he “pitchy”- and he was singing to playback.

Where is Travis Garland today,anyway? Since Joy Behar bitch-slapped the doofus on her show- one of he highlights of 2010- where is Perez Hilton? What happened to his record label with Warner? And his search to find- please no- the Next Great Boy Band?

In fact, where is anyone from Season 9 of “American Idol”? Where is Kara Dioguardi? “Big” Mike? The two young kids? The young girl? Siobhan Magnus whom I still believe can “make it” whatever that means?

Lee DeWyze has apparently released his solo album, I’ve heard the single and, well, so? It’s like listening to “old” Hootie and The Blow Fish in 2010/2011.

I listened again to his version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelulajah” which all the judges had multiple orgasms over and went, eh. And then, eh? Someone like Adam Lambert, or Chris Daughtry could have nailed that song to the wall.

With the huge gospel choir, the almost bombastic brass made the version sound like lousy Elvis during his Vegas Years. It was pure schlock.

How many songs does Simon Cowell actually know? His “X Factor” winner Alexandra Burke has also covered this same song. As did other “X Factor” contestants JLS.

Hell, even “X Factor” in the Netherlands exported the same song and with the 2009 winner- Lisa- singing it.

One has to wonder if not for Jason Castro singing this song a few years ago on “American Idol”, whether Simon Cowell would even have known it?

The song when sung by television talent show contestants is  pure Simon Cowell Schlock Pop and if this song choice for DeWyze compared to the drab song choices for others,  the fawning over each other- Cowell and DeWyze- wasn’t a fix- a worse fix than Paula Abdul fawning all over Cowell with her “To Sir With Love” outburst and looking for a new gig she never got- I don’t know what is.

As for all the others “Idolers” from the ghost of seasons past, where are they- not that I am looking?

Apart from Carrie Underwood who has a permanent place in the American Country Music pantheon, the others seem foot loose and fancy free and playing the occasional mall.

Frankly, some are spending more time in places like Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines than back home- and where work must be tough to get.

In a city like Singapore, they easily make around US$100-150,000 a show. Tell me, they can make this kinda money in the States? One seriously doubts it. And forget “chart action” and “sales figures”- not when ship-outs, exports and “accounting” is involved. And not when one can buy a Number One anywhere in the world.

A talent like Adam Lambert should be on a show like “With Jools Holland” in the UK, but that’s not happening. Why isn’t things like this happening for him in the UK? I can guess, but, who really knows? Shut out? Ostracized?

In the States, is, this time, the ghost of American Music Awards past present? Not even a Grammy nod- though, sorry, Glamberts- I never thought the solo album made the grade. It was 14 tracks too long. Did all that pre-hype kill the television Rock star? The media: They build ‘em up to bring ‘em down.

Bring on “American Idol” and Season 10- it’s always “good television”- and let’s see if new music partner Universal Music can take new talent and make them more than good karaoke singers.

Leave that to Cowell and Company and some 16-year-old singing, well,  “Hallelujah” on his “X Factor”.



When Eminem did it all those years ago- marrying his rap with the chorus from Dido on “Stan” it all worked brilliantly. It is still a great record.

Puff Daddy and his crew rapping and using “Every Breath You Take”? Hmmmm. It bordered on the corny.

Watching a re-run of, I think, The American Music Awards,  there was the combination of someone named B.o.B onstage with Bruno Mars.

Immediately, I broke into the same kinda sweat that overcame me when seeing Jay-Z Yeah Yeah and Yo Yo rapping on “Yesterday” with Paul McCartney. I guess at sixtysomething, Macca wanted to be current. He came across more like a very sad try-hard currant.

Here now, however, was Mr. B.o.B- and he is B.o.B-ing up wherever there is a melody to ruin- taking a very pretty Bruno Mars song and killing it- chopping it off at the knees with his hic-cupping. As in the remake of “The Time Of Your Life” by Black Eyed Peas and now called “Time [Dirty Bit]“, hic-cupping when rapping on tracks is the new auto-tune.

It made me think of “the new Michael Jackson” featuring Akon. Many, like will. I. am and Quincy Jones have distanced themselves from this “new album” by “The King Of Pop” saying that MJ would never have released it in what many claim is a half-baked and cosmetically patched together manner.

Would Michael Jackson have wanted Akon to rap on this “new track”? And that horribly mawkish intro: “We love you, Michael”.

But this seeming “necessity” and poor “formula” to have some guy raping about gawd knows what and having a “real songwriter” or musician playing second fiddle by “lending” them his chorus, is like the tail wagging the dog.

How the publishing splits work on “duets” like this would make for interesting reading.






Just to prove that everything old is new again and how some people and their music remain timeless and ageless, a group of us received this video today of the great Asha Bhosle, the Godmothr of Hindi Music and the Voice behind so many Bollywood movies.

What some may not realize is that Madame Bhosle has sung with everyone from Michael Stipe of R.E.M. to Robbie Williams and David Bowie and was the inspiration for the UK hit some years ago for Cornershop titled, “Brimful Of Asha”.



Who knows if “Love means never having to say you’re Sorry”, but watching Actress Ali MacGraw on “Oprah”, all one can say is “Love means never having to say you love Ali MacGraw”.

Talk about a grounded woman who was one of the most most beautiful women in Hollywood and still is, today, in that she is her own person, she has had her ups and downs, she has loved and lost and with her turbulent love affair and then marriage with Steve McQueen being probably one that is remembered by many and which began on the set of “The Getaway”.

Steve Mcueen would come often to Hong Kong on shopping expeditions as he had “his” Tailor Cheung here.My old man who worked at the Hong Kong Hilton at the time had introduced the Actor to the tailor- he got three free suits as his commission- and I was lucky enough to meet McQueen- shorter than I had imagined- and later on Ali MacGraw who was jaw-droppingly beautiful- the kinda girl you always wanted to marry. [I did and totally screwed that up]

Still, watching her on “Oprah” and speaking which such candour, such honesty and with such a knowledge of where she wishes to be and giving her opinions with the current pre-occupation with face-lifts and what she calls “duck lips”, Hollywood, yoga, meditation, the fire in which she lost everything, how she goaded the head of the film studio- Bob Evans and then her husband- to produce what became the movie “Love Story” and her relationship with co-star Ryan O’Neal made for memorable viewing.

Love is ageless and so is Ali MacGraw who, by the way, admits that she has no idea what “Love means never having to say you’re Sorry” meant. Does anyone?

If you haven’t seen this interview, you should- no matter how young or old one might be. There are some important life lessons to be learned and taught listening to this incredible lady.

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