--- the Buzz to here ---



6:48 pm:   At long last, the finale is here! 12 minutes and counting!

6:49 pm:  Anybody out there willing to take a chance and call this race right now?  ‘Cause I tell you what, I really have no clue who’s gonna win.  Who knew Banshee Boy and Choirboy would end up being so evenly matched as the last ones standing?

6:51 pm: A’s take:  “Adam has a bigger persona, but that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily better.”  Well said, honey!

6:53 pm: So, I’ve heard that, among others, the celebrity guests tonight include my beloved Cyndi Lauper, Queen Latifah, and Lionel Richie.  But will anyone be able to top the surprise appearances by Ryan Tedder and my all-time fave George Michael on last year’s finale?

6:55 pm: A is stunned to learn that Kris is a choirboy!  I need to teach that boy how to read Entertainment Weekly!

6:58 pm: Anyone enjoy “Glee” as much as I did last night?  That show was infinitely more fun than “Idol,” as it turned out.  I should have live-blogged that!




6:37 pm (NOTE: all times central): No agricultural emergencies delaying my progress this year. We’re actually startin’ early!

6:39 pm:  Last year’s “Idol” live blog was the first thing that really put Brandon’s Buzz on the map in terms of garnering some attention from the online world, so I’m very excited about tonight!

6:44 pm: Assuming that Adam was always a slam dunk to make the finale (and Paula predicted it twelve full weeks ago, so there you have it), I still think an Adam / Alison faceoff would have provided the most bang for our entertainment buck.  But I still think we’re in for a riveting evening of music, madness, and mascara tonight.

6:46 pm:  Let’s set up the cast of characters.  In one corner, we have Adam Lambert.

6:47 pm:  Because Adam screeches, shrieks, screams, wails, and just generally irritates the piss out of me, he will be known tonight as Banshee Boy.

6:48 pm: Adam is a glam rocker following the obvious David Bowie template — at least visually — but when he opens his mouth, he sounds like the love child that Robert Plant and Siouxsie Sioux might have created in an ill-fated night of passion.  (You might think I mean that as a compliment, since I rather like and admire both of those people, but I really don’t.)



and then there were two

posted at 11:55 pm by brandon in idolatry

An Adam / Allison finale would have been more sonically fascinating, I think. (I continue to believe Allison was the vocalist with the purest raw talent that the show uncovered this season, and it was a crying shame that Uncanny Karaoke managed to outlast her last week.) But I also think this impending Adam / Kris showdown has the potential to be very interesting, and the great thing about it is, Kris, with that knockout reinvention of Kanye West’s “Heartless” last night — talk about saving your hole card for when you most needed it! — beat listless ol’ Danny fair and square. Let the games begin, boys.



Regular readers of this blog may or may not know that once upon a time, I was writing a novel.  (I say was because, even though I often refer back to it in my mind’s eye — twenty or thirty times a day, easy — and have come to quite enjoy torturing myself by toying with the notion of revisiting it in a serious way — an idea that I’ll one day make a concrete reality — I haven’t set finger one upon it in years.)  The book is about a hundred different things — and is driven by and populated with every bit as byzantine a constellation of backstories and bystanders as you’d reasonably expect from an author who is also a soap fan of nearly three decades — but, primarily, the book is about a guy.  Jeremy.  Early 30s.  Recovering alcoholic.  Hasn’t spoken to his brother in a decade over a ridiculously lopsided family inheritance which failed to break in his favor.  Doesn’t know how to admit it, but is still madly, hopelessly, irrevocably in love with the very first object — a flaxen-haired, brutally forthright gem of a gal — of his intensely loyal affection.


It may not make a hell of a lot of sense here in the boiled-down synopsis (and, truth be told, it may not make much more sense in the actual book), but Jeremy was once a successful trial lawyer in Boston, and is now a warbling piano player in a smoky Florida nightclub.  (It’s a long road from there to here, that seemingly wonky transition, and the minutiae therein aren’t terribly relevant to the particular yarn I’m spinning for you now, so let’s just go with this:  as increasingly detached as the repetitive tedium of his daily existence as an attorney made him feel, that’s how increasingly fulfilled Jeremy is by the fresh thrill of plugging his mind and heart and hands into the concrete joy of creation, and of imagination, as a piano man.)




Wouldn’t it be my luck that I would start writing a marvelous post, only to have the story contained therein change dramatically before I would have a chance to shepherd the composition to Buzz-worthy perfection? Such is the case with
Ms. Joanna Pacitti, who was already well on her way to becoming “American Idol” season eight’s bona-fide front-runner until the producers decided — amid a new swirl of controversy a la last season’s inclusion of the ridonk Carly Smithson (who, under the moniker of Carly Hennessy, released a high-profile Ishtar-level megaflop album at the beginning of this decade, and who was derided heavily last year for competing in what is ostensibly designed to be an “amateur” competition) — to deep-six her for eligibility reasons, as it had come to light that, even though she at this point no longer has a recording contract, Pacitti did have past working relationships with more than one executive at 19 Entertainment, the company which owns and produces “Idol.” It’s a devastating break for her: unlike Smithson last year, who, with her faux-tough-chick sensibility and demeanor, was never gonna go all the way (and whose needless desecration of Bonnie Tyler’s all-time classic “Total Eclipse of the Heart” still rankles my ass, all these months later), adorably fresh-faced Pacitti actually had a decent shot to win this thing.


If Pacitti’s name rings a bell with you, it ought to: three years ago, she released a dynamite debut record called This Crazy Life, which sounded very much like something Avril Lavigne would come up with if only Avril could hit more than one note. (I swear to Jesus I mean that as a compliment!) Life initially received a burst of attention for its fun (and infinitely more tuneful) cover of Dashboard Confessional’s breakthrough smash “Screaming Infidelities,” but there was so much more interesting material to be found on this record: for the life of me, I don’t know why the brilliant “Ultraviolet” wasn’t chosen as the radio single; “Your Obsession” matches pound for pound the haunting creepiness of Sarah McLachlan’s 1994 touchstone “Possession”; and if “Just When You’re Leaving” isn’t one of the saddest faded-love songs you ever heard, kindly ask someone to slap some sense into you until you’ve reversed your foolishness.


Meantime, we get our first real look at “Idol’s” top 36 tonight, and I’ve already been warned by my new pal Michael Brainard (an actor I recently interviewed on Brandon’s Buzz Radio) to keep an eye out for his good friend Jackie Tohn, whose Joplin-esque voice is already causing quite a stir in the “Idol” blogosphere. I already had money down on Pacitti, so my best guess is that the remaining contestants are breathing a heavy sigh o’ relief that she’s been shown the door. Game on, folks.




6:50 pm: OK, this is more like it. Hey guys, are we ready for two bloated hours of movie previews, pitchy performances from has-been former stars, and the coronation of a new American god? Yup, me too. Can’t wait!

6:54 pm: So, I have a bit of housekeeping to take care of before the show starts. Here’s what I get for not paying attention last night: neither Archie nor Jughead actually sang the true 2008 American Idol Coronation track last night. Because of last year’s “This is My Now” trainwreck (which, some say, unfairly tipped the scales in favor of Jordin over the more electrifying Blake when they both had to sing it in ’07’s performance finale), the producers decided to let each David pick their favorite from the top ten entries in the songwriting contest, and decided to save the winner for tonight’s show.

6:56 pm: The winner is called “Time of My Life” and it was written by a guy called Regie Hamm, whose name you may or may not recognize. He released a terrific album called American Dreams in 2003, and I’m pretty sure nobody but my deranged ass owns it. And/or loves it.

6:58 pm: At some point during this evening’s festivities, I’ll figure out how to link to Amazon’s Regie Hamm page so that you can check it out. It’s a very good album.

7:00 pm: It’s finally here! Is David Cook wearing a Nehru jacket, for the love of Jesus?!




7:10 pm: Due to an agricultural emergency (don’t ask), I’m a little late in liveblogging the “American Idol” finale. That’s what I get for hyping this to you people!

7:11 pm: At any rate, dinner is ready (and a tad burnt), the TV’s on, and we’re ready to go. I haven’t missed a performance yet, but I’m fifteen good minutes late in introducing you to the cast of characters. Screw it; we’ll do it on the fly.

7:14 pm: Good lord, Daddy Clive is picking songs again. Remember that year he picked “Open Arms” for Elliott Yamin and he blew it?

7:15 pm: Who put Andrew Lloyd Webber in charge of the peanut gallery?



no rsvp necessary

posted at 10:11 pm by brandon in idolatry

After a brief hiatus (for which you can blame A — he popped into town for the weekend, and we spent that time alternately vegging at the movies — if you miss 21 on the big screen, do NOT let it (and the wickedly handsome Jim Sturgess’ exhilarating, star-making performance, not to mention typically snarky work from Kevin Spacey) escape you on video — and making pigs of ourselves at our fave restaurants — and if, by some cosmic accident, the poor woman who waited on us at Marie Callender’s Friday night is reading this, please know: A did NOT mean to take your head off when you asked him that benign salad question), the Buzz is back, and with a major announcement, to boot: the end of “American Idol’s” seventh season shall blissfully cross paths with this here spankin’ new multimedia platform of mine (which today celebrates its one month anniversary) tomorrow and Wednesday, whereupon the Buzz will venture into uncharted waters and take its first stab at liveblogging.


A and I have a tendency to IM each other while watching the big, splashy events (y’know, the Grammys, the Oscars, etcetera), and since I’m rarely at a loss for witty sarcasm during these moments, he always tells me that the world at large should be privy to these confabs. This week, at their discretion, they will be: both Tuesday and Wednesday evening, starting at 7pm central daylight time (perhaps a bit earlier, if I’m feeling especially fired up), the Buzz will document urry riveting second of “Idol’s” epic Battle of the Davids as it happens, and you’re all invited to join in on the fun. Set an alarm if you must, but don’t miss this.



the long goodbye

posted at 3:00 am by brandon in idolatry

I’ve spent the past thirty-some hours, Syesha, trying to summon something even remotely interesting to say about you and your tenure as one of this year’s top twelve. And to my dismay (and even slight horror), there’s just nothing there, my darling. Despite the fact that you never once had a true knockout performance, you were expert at straddling the median (even in your best weeks, you weren’t as good as Brooke or Michael, two unfortunate victims of your phenomenal lucky streak; neither, however, were you as abominable as Kristy Lee or Jason, each of whom now flank the incomparable Sanjaya as “Idol’s” most stunningly inept semifinalists). Most weeks, you were so unassuming that America seemed to altogether forget how unremarkable you really are.


Consider this, Ms. Mercado: the “Idol” highway is liberally littered with the carcasses of contestants who well inhabited your very niche, and be they ridiculous (season five’s Mandisa, anyone?) or sublime (how many folks still believe “Idol’s” original diva Tamyra wuz robbed all those years ago?), you’ve managed — save one, who ended up winning the whole enchilada by plumbing the American songbook and brilliantly fleshing out, of all things, a Gershwin tune (!) from the ’30s — to place higher than any and all of them.


As I whispered in Brooke’s ear two heartbreaking weeks ago, there is nothing you could have done to alter last night’s verdict. Syesha, you could literally be Whitney, and it would still have been all for naught: ever since Mr. Cook turned Lionel Richie’s shockingly schlocky “Hello” into the coolest grunge ballad this side of “Plush,” the forthcoming David Squared face-off has been in the cards. You must have known your great fortune — however remarkable heretofore — was never gonna derail that train.


Simon predicts a “humdinger” for next week. Get yourself a front row seat, Syesha, and watch the fireworks unfurl.



requiem for a doofus

posted at 2:11 am by brandon in idolatry

Notwithstanding, for sure, your ingeniously flukish performance of Jeff Buckley’s (by way of Leonard Cohen’s) “Hallelujah,” I never had much use for you, Jason. Your dull, dirty hair — which, I swear to Jesus, I want to wash for about three or four days — is easily the most fascinating thing about you. You’re almost certainly not cognizant enough to feel guilty about robbing my beloved Brooke of another shot to build on the momentum of her sensational comeback last week; after all, sir, you couldn’t even summon, when you needed it most (!), the ONE lyric from “Mr. Tambourine Man” — the one about the jingle jangle morning, natch, and something tells me you’ve known a few of those, am I right? — that even people who can’t sing that song on a bet know!

Not since the outrageously outmatched Nikki McKibbin squeaked into season one’s top three has a more obviously underqualified contestant reached “Idol’s” vaunted upper echelon, which I s’pose proves as handily as anything could that old canard about fooling all of the people some of the time. Chin up, Jase: in time, you’ll become the most famous opening act at luaus the world over, and you’ll recall — no doubt with wistful, flippant fondness — the season you and your stringy, matted mane magnetized a nation’s entire electorate toward voting with its thumbs for the happy busking hobo.

Fare thee well, Mr. Castro. Your pumpkin awaits.


Admittedly, Brooke, I’m biased.

Sixteen years ago this August, an astonishing flame-haired raven name of Tori Amos cajoled her incomparably seductive self into my life and instantaneously hurled my very being straight and plumb off its axis. For reasons that aren’t remotely relevant to this particular conversation — though they merit (and will almost certainly eventually win) their own future blog post — 1992 remains, in its own way, the single most important and noteworthy of my 32 years on this planet. Thanks wholly to unrequited, emotionally draining crushes on Craig Doughten and Annie Lennox — and, all these eons later, it remains a fair toss-up which of those two people was more unattainable, despite my daily access to no fewer than one of them — it was the first year I got really serious both about writing and about music appreciation. Quite true, I had always loved music — hey, I still remember, and with the fondest grace in my heart’s most sacred quadrant, Dad driving his downright giddy eight year old son up to the TG&Y to buy anything that contained “Karma Chameleon,” and trust me here if nowhere else: yes, Brooke, an eight year old’s palms can sweat, honey — but ’92 tore across my mind like a gale, like an huracán.

Nothing was left standing.



So, Carly.

I never really cottoned to you or your pretentious tattoos. (As one of the three hundred (!) people you bought your debut album seven years ago, I have yet to forgive you for your wobbly, pitchless cover of Danielle Brisebois’ shamefully underappreciated classic “Just Missed the Train.”) And I found your thoroughly atrocious desecration of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” a few weeks back to be unconscionable. And I mistrust entirely anybody whose singing accent is diametrically opposed to their speaking accent.

Still, strangely, seeing you go this evening broke my heart into eighteen pieces, especially since your too-early exit means that foppish Jason survives another week. If that dreadlocked fool subjects us to a sleepy take on “Red, Red Wine” or “Love on the Rocks” during Neil Diamond night next Tuesday, I’m personally holding you and your Judas complex responsible.

Bye bye bye, Carly. You’re already missed.