American Idol: Chastize me over Elvis Presley’s grave

As guest blogger, I will open in the only way I should: by offering my sincerest apologies for not getting the blog for last night’s “American Idol” completed in a more timely fashion. I’ve been battling an allergy attack since yesterday (the result, I feel certain, of all the dust I kicked up in my office while scouring the joint for tax receipts), and, quite frankly, I feel like crap. But I know Mike’s got a lot going on these days, what with his big move and all, so I was always going to do this for him. I just had to build up my strength, which I have now done, so with my cup of hot lemon tea with honey sitting by the keyboard, let’s get to talking about who got the boot.

Things kicked off last night with a medley of Elvis Presley songs – “Burning Love,” “Teddy Bear,” “Return to Sender,” and “Viva Last Vegas” – which neither did damage to the reputation of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll nor did it any favors. The best part about “Burning Love” was the cute moment where we saw Katie working her knees for all they were worth, and Lee’s vocals on “Teddy Bear” sounded like those of a lounge singer, but I actually kind of dug it. Otherwise, though, I was pretty underwhelmed by the performances, and when “Viva Las Vegas” kicked off, all I could think of was how much better the Dead Kennedys did the song.

From there, the program went green for a minute or so as we were treated to a Ford-sponsored commercial with several of the contestants performing a version of…wait for it…the Polyphonic Spree’s “Light and Day / Reach for the Sun.” How completely and utterly surreal, but it sounded a damned sight better than any of those Elvis covers.

Moving on to the first of the night’s departures, Cap’n Seacrest narrowed down the playing field to three contestants:

* Casey, whose version of “Lawdy Miss Claudy” Mike described as “not bad at all vocally, but just a so-so rating on the entertainment meter.”
* Aaron, who offered a take on “Blue Suede Shoes,” which Mike called “cheesy but not horrible.”
* Andrew, who Mike buried in the Not So Good column last night, saying, “It wasn’t awful, but not at all star quality and easily the worst of the night.”

So long, Andrew…and, really, was there ever any doubt that you’d be one of the two players leaving the game tonight? But, hey, at least we got your version of James Morrison’s “You Give Me Something” as a farewell, which served to remind us that, all things considered, America probably made the right decision.

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My Most Memorable Interviews of 2008

I recently went back and counted up how many interviews I’ve done for Bullz-Eye since I first came aboard the site, and I was astounded to find that – counting both one-on-one conversations as well as teleconferences – the number tops 200. Wow. Anyone who thinks that I don’t work hard for my money, I say to you that the figures speak for themselves. Looking back at the list of folks with whom I’ve chatted during the course of the past year, I find myself thinking the same thing I think every day of every year: it might’ve sucked to do all of that unpaid freelance writing for all those years, but it was totally fucking worth it. And with that bold statement, allow me to present a list of the interviews from 2008 that still remain fresh in my mind…for a variety of reasons.

* Best-received interview of the year:

Tom Smothers. I’m used to hearing from my friends when I do an interview that they enjoy, but I heard from several complete strangers that really loved the conversation Tom and I had about everything from the censorship of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” to the night John Lennon and Harry Nilsson were thrown out of the Brothers’ show at the Troubadour.

“Harry comes in with John Lennon. Well, he told John Lennon, ‘Tom likes hecklers. It helps him. It gets him through his show.’ And every time there was a silence, they were hollering out things like, ‘God fucks pigs!’ I mean, it was really filthy! Blows were thrown, and it just got wild. The next day, I got flowers and all kinds of apologies from Lennon and from Harry Nilsson.”

* Most politically-incorrect interview of the year:

Tony Clifton, the former alter ego of Andy Kaufman that’s now being performed by Bob Zmuda. To say that Clifton works a little blue is the understatement of the century, but it’s more than just dirty jokes; his whole act is one where he unabashedly says things that he knows will piss people off…and if you don’t know it’s an act, then it’s really gonna piss you off.

“Some people say that, with the repertoire I’ve got and with the rapport between the band and me, a few people have quoted it as being like Buddy Rich. I call ‘em like I see ‘em, just like Buddy. But Buddy was coked up most of the time, and I don’t do that. I prefer the Jack Daniel’s. I’m fucked up most of the time during the show. I have fun with the band. I call ‘em niggers. And I got a few Japs in there, I call ‘em Nips. I got everything mixed up in that band, like I say. I call ‘em the way I see ‘em. Listen, lemme tell ya this: you know why I get away with it? ‘Cause I got black people in my family. Yeah. And I’ve got the rope to prove it. Look, the blackies are good. They’re good for the sports and for the music. See, the Jews are good at making the money…or at taking the money from you.”

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