Tag Archives: Katie Stevens

Shuffleboard, Glee, Killer Whales, American Idol… Guess, I’m no longer hibernating

So I wasn’t going to blog this week. I am in April hibernation (it’s not going very well). But two things happened yesterday that has forced me to write a blog: a weird interaction, Glee returns, and the compulsory American Idol review.

Bizarre Brother-Sister Relationship

First thing, first… Alyssa, you missed another semi-adventure, but they’ll only continue with Booger now in town.

Okay, so last night (like every week) was $2 Tuesday at my favorite local watering hole. Last week they put out a new shuffleboard table. For those of you who don’t know, the house I lived in during law school had a legit shuffleboard court in the backyard. By legit, I mean the one with the clay disks and shuffleboard cues. The type of shuffleboards you see on cruise boats.

Look I’m Asian, we have a knack for doing well in skilled games. Don’t hate, it’s just true. So naturally we hop on the shuffleboard table. My first partner was the hommie Justin, we ran our first two games. We decided to switch it up and I gained one of my best friends Booger as my new partner. We again ran legs. By running legs I mean we were playing against some dudes, about 7 points down. Boogs comes through with a 7 point round I followed it up with a 4 pointer by knocking my opponents puck off the 3 zone and leaving my puck in it’s place. Muscled up homeboy in his size small Hard Rock t-shirt was furious. Basically I have a secret spin to my table shuffleboard game, if you think you have skills meet me at a bar. I’ll bring the quarters, you bring your tissues.

The point of all of this happened when Justin and I were partners. We played against a big dude (by big, I mean beer belly big) wearing a polo shirt with some martial arts patch on it. He was on Justin’s side. On my side was this feisty little girl (by little, I mean her head came just above my elbow) wearing a shirt trying it’s best to expose her cleavage.

Mmm... Hayley

So we’re playing, she’s getting all feisty. She pops on Paramore in the juke box. I’m going to stop right here. Look I’m in love with Hayley Williams, even more than Siobhan Magnus (discussed below). No, but seriously my boy works for Fueled by Ramen and has her phone number. He’s discussed my obsession with her, that she actually finds hilarious (meaning he didn’t paint me as a creeper, props Slice). He also said that he’d give me her number. I just fear asking for it, because I know I’ll just call her and say, “What are you doing tomorrow? Nothing? Sweet let’s get married and make babies.” So you now know how I felt when Paramore came on.

Turns out this feisty lil girl loves her just as much evidenced in her line, “I will have sex with Hayley.” Anyway she’s all bouncing around, getting all up in my biz. So the beer belly dude is about to shoot, she leans over and is pulling down her shirt screaming, “Shoot it here. Shoot it here fag.” I’m thinking, “Man these two have a bizarre relationship and I wouldn’t want to ever be in their house.”

Every time he shot she’d do the same thing (of course she did it for Justin also, but that’s besides the point). Midway trough the game we find out that Beer Belly and Elbow Height are brother and sister. The worst part is that Beer Belly was encouraging the antics of Elbow Height, it actually got worse. I’m a fan of awkward situations, but not at all of obnoxious drunks (yes sometimes I’m that guy, I’m usually not a fan afterwards).

When I found out they were brother and sister, I kinda got sick a lil bit. Between rounds they were getting awfully close to each other, seriously it was awful. I turn to Boogs and said, “Man if that was my sister, I’d tell her to put a jacket on.”

Anyway Elbow Height starts talking about her daughter to me. Then was all asking what I was doing later. Being the guy I am, I respond, “Not baby sitting.” She gets all bent out of shape, and pulls down her shirt, and goes “Even for these?” Being the guy I am, I actually held back. What I was going to say was, “Dude is your brother the father of your kid? And I’ve seen better.” Thankfully, Justin felt my flow and we ended the game in a blistering manner.

I was feeling a bit hung over this morning, but not from the $2 drinks… rather from that awkward ass scene with Big Belly and Elbow Height. I’d fear Elbow Height reading this blog and the fact that I may see her again at $2 Tuesday, but I’ve concluded she probably doesn’t know how to read.

Glee One-Liner

I actually just got into Glee a few weeks ago. I’ll thank a certain friend for making me watch the entire first half of the first season with them. It should be known that I’m a fan of singing, especially in shows and movies i.e. Amadeus, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, and anytime Family Guy or Cartman breaks out into song. (Seriously click on those links, especially Cartman singing Asia’s “Heat of the Moment”).

So it shouldn’t surprise you that I think Glee is on point. Further it should not surprise you my favorite line from last night was (thanks to Maggie for reminding me):

“Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?”

Oh man that get’s me. And now I feel like I can repeat it without sounding homophobic. Dolphins are definitely not Killer Whales. For those who don’t know, the Panda will die by getting eaten by an Orca, quite possibly a pod of transient Orcas. Seriously, it’s in my prophecy along with a pool with a lion rock facade. You doubt me? What’s your prophecy?

American Idol Top 9 Redux

So the biggest news of this week for American Idol was the fact that last week Michael Lynche was saved by the judges. Rightfully so. That’s the bummer about this show, it’s really up to teenie bopper texters to vote for who remains. Before I get into my opinion of last night’s episode I’m going to put it out there, Aaron Kelly and Andrew Garcia will be the bottom two. Despite Andrew’s pre-Idol YouTube following, I just don’t think he’s grown and done enough.

What else can I say about Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox? Not my favorite performances, but both of them did a stand up job once again this week.

Siobhan Magnus, not your best and I fear you’re slipping a bit. But my babe has soul and I love it. You looked your hottest tonight, yes please with a cherry on top. And I hate cherries. She’s got the POWER vocals. Don’t back down Darlin. Though she did lay the best line by a contestant ever on American Idol, “I’m not just one kind of singer or one kind of vocalist. And if I can’t even label myself, I don’t think it’s even necessary to be labeled. I just love to sing.” If you know me and categorizations, I hate them. That’s it I’m flying down to LA to give her a proper hug. The Panda is in love. Siobhan = Bamboo.

Katie, you sassy little girl. Lovin it. I think of everyone she has the most potential. She has a Christina Aguilera attitude in her voice. Calm down folks, I don’t think she’s the next Christina Aguilera. I can only hope she can surround herself with the right people. I can see why my boy Jack is in love. I’m gonna take que from Maggie though, what is up with her outfits? Not that I’m a fashion guru in any sense, but I have some stylz (with a z). I smell good anyway, I bet she smells good. Playin. However hen she ages a year, I’ll give my true opinion. Jack, easy buddy.

Michael Lynche, not my favorite performance. But Big Mike proved he should’ve been saved last week. I wanna kick these teenie bopper text voters in the teeth. Too aggressive? Maybe, but damn. His vocals are silk. I enjoy the Marvin Gaye and Al green steez. Yet I still question where his niche is to sell records. Unlike Siobhan, he’s not unique enough. And I fear he may get lost in the money mongering label mix. He needs the Panda as his manager. Hit me up Big Mizzle.

Casey James can jam. Reminds me of Doyle Bramhall or Derek Trucks. And for all intensive purposes, those two sell records. I could get down with some Jack Daniels and Copenhagen and jam with him. I’m all about the blues rock, feelin it hommie. Just keep rockin it and swing that axe, you’re a musician dude. Stick to it and don’t forget it.

Aaron Kelly (my Moms’ favorite) has a good voice. The thing I dislike about the judge’s commentary to this date is that they judging him on his age. They want him to be like that lil bro-bag Justin Bieber. But seriously Aaron has a great voice. But if he is to succeed in this biz, he needs to believe in himself. He needs to believe that he has talent, unlike said Bieber. Hopefully that will come with age. Shit I know kids out of law school with no clue on who they are. Own it youngin.

I’ve said it before, but why is Tim Urban still on American Idol? Now my problem is magnified, last week’s performance was decent (I mean he did what he had to do for that particular Beatles song). This week, albeit nothing show stopping, but he came through again. Obviously he’s not near my top three Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze, and Michael Lynche (in that order). But hey, during Elvis week all the contestants ran the risk of sounding like glorified karaoke singers, dude did all right. Not at all saying I’m a fan now.

Andrew Garcia, sorry my dude. Ask my friends, especially girls, I’m all about the cheeze. But for a second week in a row, that was excessively cheesy. You can get away with it with your song choice during Beatles week, but this week was not great. My dude, I’m one of those who was a follower of you on YouTube, but I believe your time has run out. If by chance you return next week, grab your acoustic and spill that soul brotha.

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Wondrous Wednesday

I kinda pinned myself into a corner and now must stick with the blog theme of the week… Days of the week. I have a sneaky suspicion this will turn into a music blog, seeing how it was American Idol night last night.

So I might as well drop my first music video of this post. Simon & Garfunkel’s “Wednesday Morning 3 A.M.” If you’re looking for a Wednesday song, this is the one you should listen to. Though it was recorded in 1964, it still is a very relevant song.

Wednesday. Known as “Hump Day.”

Wednesday. The name of my endearing friend Alexis’ cat, affectionately nicknamed Dubs. RIP Wednesday, you’re the only cat that I can say that I miss our cuddle times.

Wednesday. My good friend (and best neighbor/cook) Alyssa had an on point thought about Wednesday last night (on a Tuesday), “Wednesday, half the week is over. It’s all downhill from there.” I cheers to that.

I’ve been fortunate lately to fall into great conversations with great people. I’m not ready to blog about such ideas, yet. But like one of those made for TV dramas, there was my obvious foreshadowing.

Instead, this is now my apparent weekly blog about American Idol.

John, Paul, Ringo, George - Musical Legends

Big week in the eyes of the Penning Panda. First it’s getting down to the nitty gritty of the top 9, it’s time for the cream to rise. Another reason why this was a big week, is because the contestants were to take on THE GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME, The Beatles. Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I think The Beatles are THE GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME. The contestants were asked to give their renditions of John Lennon and Paul McCartney written songs. John and Paul, saints? Well in name yes, but pretty much some of the best lyricists. Look, how many decades has it been and their songs are still relevant? As my dawg Randy Jackson would say, “Know what I’m sayin’ dude?”

Oh and the following paragraph there is a smattering of links to videos, I HIGHLY encourage you to click on em… there are some songs in here that you may not know about, but SHOULD. Picking a Lennon or McCartney song, the possibilities are endless. I have my favorites, sure. “Something” is the greatest love song of all time. “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” is just a solid jimmy jam. “In My Life” might be their best song (actually that’s a hard statement to make, but it is one of my favorites). The acoustic version of  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a masterpiece by George Harrison. The trio of “Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/In the End” could exemplify my life on almost any day. Basically the fanatic I am, I could think of a Beatles song for ANY occasion. Pop music owes The Beatles. And the at times simplistic lyrics carry so much weight. Most people don’t know about their non-number 1s. But I can excuse it, there’s a reason they are number 1s. You don’t think The Beatles are current? Well if Rock Band isn’t current, then you could make that argument.

Now if it was me on American Idol, these would probably be the two Lennon/McCartney songs I’d choose from: “Oh! Darling” and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” in Eddie Vedder fasion.

Now to the actual American Idol show. As I said I was already on the critical tip being Beatles week. Slightly nervous that they would ruin the songs, I was pleasantly impressed. For what it’s worth I believe that almost all of the contestants had their best weeks. I also had to raise my glass of beer (because I had one or four in my hand while watching) to the show in it’s entirety. I have to say it was one of the best all season.

Yes, yes, and yes I still love Siobhan Magnus. So basically these blogs are Siobhan infatuation posts, sorry. She chose to sing a song that SO MANY have butchered in the past. “Across the Universe” is one of those Beatles classics that you can’t do too much with it or else you’ll miss it’s essence. Siobhan’s high note has almost became her trademark, but this week she strategically placed it. I’d agree with Randy that it may be a bit sleepy, but technically I though it was an awesome rendition. I mentioned the high notes, but her falsetto was on point. One of her best performances this season? Probably not, but she kept it real… and for her to succeed in this industry that’s what she needs to continue to do. Oh and I love “amazingly weird.” Love it.

To the rest of the highlights. I’m not going to post Tim Urban’s “All My Loving”, but hey he sang within his range and kept it Beatles poppy. His ass still needs to go home, or go try out for Glee. He’ll probably stay, damn you teenie bopper texters.

Andrew Garcia gave a pretty good performance of “Can’t Buy Me Love“, a little cheezy, and that’s what you can fall into when you sing a Beatles song. I had high hopes for my dude, due to my YouTube following of him pre-Idol. All I’m gonna say is, stick to the acoustic my man.

Aaron Kelly’s “The Long and Winding Road” unfortunately followed the title of the song. This young buck can sing, no doubt. But it’s starting to become repetitive. He needs to come out swinging, loosen up, and connect with the songs. As it was a good rendition, it didn’t leap off at me. You need to find your “moment” son.

Michael Lynche is my dude. I thought his song choice of “Eleanor Rigby” was a good one. I’d agree with Simon that it had a bit of a musical flavor to it. But I mean with the strings and the meaning behind the song, that’s the essence, and Big Mike hit it. Here’s my thing, Big Mike will probably be in the top 3 when it’s all said and done along with Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze. The difference between Big Mike and the other two, is that I really don’t know what kind of album he’d put out. He’s an entertaining dude and can sing well. But I have trouble seeing him sell many records. I could be wrong though, I gotta admit he’s been a pleasant surprise all season. For singing contest purposes he’s been solid every week.

I’ve always thought Casey James would be a good headliner to a rock band. He can definitely, definitely rock his axe. I applaud his song choice of “Jealous Guy“. It is one of those unknown songs that when you do hear it, realize that it could’ve been a hit for anyone other than the Beatles. Like I said Casey could be and probably will be a great frontman, but his acoustic flavor tonight was on point.

All season I’ve been pushing for Katie Stevens to break through. I dig her voice. I think her ceiling at age 17 is pretty damn high. But like Aaron Kelly they’ve been struggling to find the right song. I believe they are trying a wee bit too hard to compete with the more mature contestants who know themselves a bit better, and that only comes with age. My boy Jack said Katie Stevens’ performance of “Let it Be” was life-changing. Normally Jack and I are on the same page with music. First this is definitely a big song, like “Across the Universe” you can’t do too much with it. But what Katie did with it last night, was pretty awesome. THIS was the performance I was hoping for all season. Life changing? Jack there’s only been one life changing performance on Idol, Carrie Underwood’s rendition of Heart’s “Alone.” But if Katie can keep it up, she can be a dark horse. And like I said she has mad potential.

I’ve said this early on, Lee DeWyze could make an album right now. It would sell like chestnuts on a street in NYC during Christmas. The folky/rock tone of his voice is solid. The judges get on his case because he does not have confidence. I just think the dude is a cool customer and wants to perform the best he can. The recent weeks he has been doing just that. When I heard he was singing “Hey Jude” I thought he had the potential to kill it, and he did… but not in the deathly way, in a great way. Keep on keeping on my dude.

Crystal Bowersox. She is my favorite in this competition. I seriously believe she has the best artistic talent that I may have ever seen on American Idol, and I watch A LOT of American Idol. People keep comparing her to Janis Joplin, a good comparison sure. But I think she has it a bit more together than Janis. She’s great on the guitar, knows when to tone it down, and seriously knows how to rock and bring it. Her style, whenever she finally records albums, is definitely an injection of soul/rock/honesty that contemporary music needs these days. That lead in applies to her version of “Come Together“. Crystal is a professional to the P. I love Siobhan, but Bowersox knocks my socks off.

Still Love Siobhan, but Damn Crystal Bowersox is POWER

Let’s be honest. I’m pretty much continuing these weekly blogs for my love of Siobhan Magnus. Unfortunately, I have to admit that tonight’s performance was not her best. Ugh, seeing the tears in her eyes the Panda just wanted to grab the private plane and give her a Proper Panda Hug. But, I’m hoping the teenie bopper fans recognize what she’s done as a whole so far this year and keep her around. I still love her.

My favorites remain the same, but I’m going to have to reorder the list: Crystal Bowersox (by far the best voice in the competition), Lee DeWyze (the best male vocals), Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus, and Aaron Kelly. I have sleeper bets on Andrew Garcia (he’s my dude) and Katie Stevens (she definitely has a voice, but really needs to find her song and connect with the audience). Why that Tim Urban dude is still in the competition, I really don’t know. Didi Benami has such a unique voice, but like Katie, she really needs to find the right song. Casey James, he’s definitely a concert performer… but doesn’t really bring anything new. I could see him jammin on a side-stage at SXSW.

So on to the videos for my peeps. The first is Crystal Bowersox’s rendition of Gladys Knight & The Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia”. She’s definitely a professional. Stepping up every week, but I’d have to say vocally this was her best performance.

I also have to give props to Lee DeWyze. I agree with the judges, it was by far his best performance… and once he learns how to connect with the crowd he could be a force. But with him and Crystal Bowersox, I can see them both making records right now and they would sell like heaters in Alaska. Here’s Lee’s jammin version of The Temptations’ “Treat Her Like a Lady”.

Finally… Andrew Garcia, my dude. He’s definitely been struggling since Hollywood Week. His cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” was simply butter. But finally, my dude, came through tonight and if he can keep picking the right songs and does like I know he can do he’ll be right back in it. I’m going to post his creative money “Straight Up” cover and his super sick acoustic rendition of Chris Brown’s “Forever”.