Your Move, Chick-fil-A

Jump over to my “Instinct in the Round: Gourmet Pizza for Good” blog for my latest post: “Your Move, Chick-fil-A.” It’s time we gave the chicken-sandwich company an opportunity not just to refute claims - but to take a quiet but direct stand for people.

We have a lot of pieces still on sale, too, so make sure to check out the
Gallery page. ARTvision sales will continue until 31 January 2013.

Guest Blogger: Sarah Rosenberg

Shedding Light: A Reflection Amid Darkness

“The details of the news story were macerated all around me.
Twenty children between the ages of 4 and 10 were killed. I thought of my own daughter, still in the middle of her school day, unaffected by this news, surrounded by love and the daily normalcies of her eight-year-old experience. I love her beyond the bounds of my own existence. I would do anything in my power to protect her.

Then it dawned on me: I do not have the power to protect her from this world. I don’t even have the power to protect myself from this world. How will I explain these events to her? How will I console her when she has fears?” (
read more)

ARTvision Is In Full Swing! (And Other Musings)

ARTvision Atlanta is ramping up for an exciting seventh season of fundraising for Atlanta’s own Positive Impact.

We’ve got some exciting newcomers and other returning, legendary artists. Jump over to our site for more!

Also, some new tidbits on to take note of:

New header image. “Torrent” was taken at a clay-pot store OTP - I loved the colors of his planter so I snapped the pic of it.


My Awesome Level 1 Graduate Show @ Automatic Improv

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Yes, that’s me mugging in the middle.

Bryan Raybon: A Swing Dedication by the Lake

On a spectacular Saturday afternoon, family, friends and colleagues of Bryan Raybon gathered at Piedmont Park in Atlanta for a swing dedication in Bryan’s honor. The event was a fitting tribute to a man so many of us knew and loved - and who lost his battle with a rare, aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma late last year. (more)

In Celebration Of 700 Tweeps: Michael Higgins Goes Off

About a year ago, I celebrated 400 Tweeps with a special post with tips and anecdotes as a big “TY” to my followers. Today, as I was approaching the 700-follower mark (706 as of this writing), I started thinking up ways to love on my Tweeps. And it was in that contemplation that the right Tweet came at *exactly the right time to make my day better. (read more)

ARTvision-7 Is Underway!

The announcement of season seven for ARTvision Atlanta, "Uncharted: Travel to Enchanted Lands", fund-raising for Positive Impact officially starts after the 2012 Labor Day weekend. And we’re in need of re-signing existing sponsors, finding new companies and people, and finding a suitable gallery to house our even in early December.

In other words,
we want you!

ARTvision presents a unique opportunity for an Atlanta-area gallery to give back to the community and allow some great works to be shown by national and international artists. From Zurich to California and New York to Denmark, we display works from all over the world that fit the year's theme. We want these pieces to shine in the best light possible. (
read more)

To find out more, visit, or drop me a line.

Carly & Her Sisters: Are 'Call Me Maybe' & 'Dare Me' Separated At Birth?

How important is the hook to a song? It’s critical… and with “
Dare Me” by the Pointer Sisters and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” there’s a thread of both that operates in the same wheelhouse. After CRJ’s (clearly live, thankfully) performance on The Today Show, it’s a good time to bring this out of my head and onto the page.

I can’t explain it - it’s been a gut-level response to “Call Me Maybe” that’s crept into my brain, and probably yours, like a kid with a first-time candy high.

This post also is an homage to
The Pointer Sisters, who, as a kid, I basically worshipped back in the 80s and 90s as the Second Coming. First, the official video for “Dare Me,” here:

And now, the decidedly newer and racier video for “Call Me Maybe,” here:

At the point in both choruses, there’s a hook, a beat, that makes both songs cousins - or perhaps the
Sisters’ jam was the grandmother to this tune. Am I nutty? Well we know that I am - but I’m eager to get your thoughts.

As we found out today, “Call Me”
started out as a folk tune on the acoustic guitar. And don’t hold it against Carly that she’s a Beiber protege.

No matter if you see it like I do, I “dare you” to stop tapping your feet during either of these jams. What do you think?
- WP

Guest Blogger: Shannon Marie King

Chick-Fil-A: A Sad, Divisive Day for Americans

Last night I went to bed ill, literally ill, because of yesterday’s “Support Chick-Fil-A” events. I saw a woman riding down the street on a bike with a, “I heart Chick-Fil-A” shirt. I saw the news “reporting” on the long lines and massive crowds waiting to “show their support” for their fellow Christians. And spoke to a dear friend who was oh so proud that she had gone and supported her fellow Christians in their stand for “the first amendment rights of Christians” in support of traditional marriage. It felt like I was stabbed in the heart. I am a married straight woman, in love completely with my husband and, on most days, happily married. I’m not going to try to fathom how this day has made my fellow human beings of the LGBT community feel. If I am this upset, I can only imagine this was a very painful reminder of just how little our country truly cares for their human rights and their equality. (
read the full post here)

'Call Me Maybe' Never Looked This Good


ARTvision-7 Video Teaser & Artist Call


So Awesome I Had To Share


Should I Start Playing The Vegas Slots?

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I got majorly lucky last night when I scurried to grab my iPad to start shooting during a raucous thunder storm. The first few shots I took were unremarkable - and if I walked away with just one shot of a lighting bolt I’d have been happy.

But along came the Money Shot, pictured above. I posted to
Facebook and got 75+ likes; upon Tweeting I got a bunch of retweets, including ones from CNN’s Rob Marciano and WSB’s David Chandley; and Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, 11 Alive, posted it to its website when I Tweeted it to Jennifer Leslie.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

After some urging on Facebook, I’ve also submitted to The Today Show and The Weather Channel. Stay tuned.


Soap Opera: Is Anti-bacterial Hand Soap Really Necessary?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
If you’re dizzy with details on how anti-bacterial hand soap affects our lives, don’t worry. You’re not alone. According to the
Discovery Fit & Health website, 75 percent of liquid soap contains some sort of germ-killing chemical. But does it really help us? (more)

Blogging At LittleBitHazel On WordPress

For the next few weeks, I’ll be finishing up my blog/travel journal from our trip through Ireland’s countryside. Make sure to jump over to Little Bit Hazel on WordPress for more.

I’ll be cross-posting here, but I’ll be working over there to finish up some of the posts I had wanted to do while visiting.

Meantime, my
Who? and Next sections have been updated. Check them out.

More soon!

From the Vault: Two Blog Posts from 2011

I’ve refreshed and added two popular posts from 2011 - “Covenant Presbyterian: Champions of Progress” and my Social Media “Simple Four.” Make sure to check them out, and watch for more leading up to my trip to Ireland.

It's A Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Gene Colborn

We celebrated a wonderful life this weekend in Augusta at Covenant Presbyterian Church. I’m grateful for the invitation to shoot the event as we remember someone so important to so many people.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
(pictured: at right, Sarah Colborn and her father, left)

To view the pictures in full, go directly to the
Google+ album or visit my SmugMug page. Also, take a look at Gene’s obituary, located here.


A Short Guide To New Features

I’ve added a number of new features to the site, including:

  • Next. In this new tab, “What’s Next?”, you can keep track of what’s coming up for me in the days and months ahead. I’ll be announcing new gigs, book deals, an Ireland blog and articles, and an ARTvision-7 theme - all very soon.
  • New clips. This is now broken down into published articles, blog posts of note and an image gallery. More coming soon.
  • Updated bio. About once a quarter I update the “Who?” section, and there’s some new stuff in there, so make sure to take a look.

More updates to follow I’m sure. As always, thanks for visiting!
- WP

'Idol' 11: 'I Knew You Were Waiting' for the 80s

When compared to weeks prior, tonight’s “Idol” was lacking in a strong theme. Tunes were covered published in the last two years - and we had some mixed results. Here we go:

Skylar Laine
“Didn’t you know” was decent but not as good as the judges thought. She was under the notes in certain places and I’m wondering if we were listening to the same song. And no Randy, it wasn’t pitch-perfect - listen to it again. When people talk about how the judges are out of touch and cheerleading, this is why. Grade: B-

Colton Dixon
“Love the Way You Lie” was stellar. He was actually in tune, which says something for him. Good direction from Jimmy and Akon in coming out of the bridge, too. Sparsely arranged, and a nice departure from the heavily produced version by Rihanna. Kinda sleepy, actually, but I liked it overall. He, however, irritates the hell out of me - but at least we only had to hear “blessed” once in the piece before the performance. Randy was right about his unique interpretation of the song. Grade: B+

Duet: Phil & Elise
A forgettable song sung pretty well. Pretty good harmony but lacking in performance quality or chemistry. Grade: B

Jessica Sanchez
I feel like a broken record with her, but “Stuttering” was, once again, phenomenal. Each and every week this petite thing comes out on stage and knocks it out of the hall - and this week is no different. The emotion of this performance, too, is what will last far above her incredible phrasing and scatting. Incredible, awesome, one of the best of the season for its uniqueness. Grade: A

Joshua Ledet
For the record, Bruno Mars irritates the hell of me. So, Joshua “Mantasia” Ledet had a high bar to cross. Still, he did a great job - he brought Tina Turner flava to a super-ordinary joint. More than anything he SOLD the song in such an awesome way that he has way more believability than many of the other contestants. I like some of his other performances more than this one, but still, good job. Love his calm, cool and collected personae, too. Grade: A-

Duet: Colton & Skylar
Unlike that Bruno Mars song, I love the tune, “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” But this had more a feeling of a college assembly talent show than anything else - more because you just can’t cover Kelly Clarkson and get away with it. Skylar has not even close the range that Kelly does, so, yeah. Agree with Randy - just OK. Hence the grade: C

Hollie Cavanaugh
‘Fuckin’ Perfect’ is just not the same without the “F” bomb, and when you couple that with a performance that skirted along pageantry lines, it was just like, meh. I feel bad for this girl because she’s a good singer that seems out of place in certain situations. She seems timid and lacking that fire needed to go a long way in this competition. Grade: D+

Phil Phillips
Not his best. But he’ll sail through because the tweens will light up those phone lines like bad billboard in Vegas. “Underwhelming” is the right note from JLo, because the song choice was lackluster and didn’t show anything new. Grade: C-

Trio: Hollie, Joshua & Jessica
“Stronger” does not work as a trio. No, no, no. What the hell was Hollie wearing in this bit? there were some cool moments, but overall, it was stilted and strange. A duo would have been better.

Elise Testone
Elise has a great fan base because she’s a mad-awesome singer - and a beautiful girl. “You and I,” arguably Gaga’s best song, was a great choice for Elise. And she delivered it about 90% - it’s just the phrasing for it was just a little off. And that may be because Gaga’s phrasing is so singular that it’s hard to rise above it without sounding weird. The open was great and she showed her restraint that the song calls for, and it was current. Grade: B+

Best performances: Colton, Joshua and Jessica:

At risk: Hollie, Skylar, Elise (outside shot: Phil, for his lackluster choice and performance)

JLo fashion grade, mostly for the odd, S&M mesh thing: C-

See you tomorrow for screen caps, video & results!


UPDATED: Matthew Kahler Headlines 'Listening Experience' at Studioplex

Seat Update! Click through for more.

From Tina Turner’s arena tours to the single guitarist strumming on a subway platform, the music should always be the star of the show.

Such is the case with Matthew Kahler, an Atlanta mainstay and legendary storyteller, musician and artist. I’m lucky to call him a friend, and now, marking our first in a “listening experience” series, Matthew will be performing for 50 eager attendees at Studioplex Atlanta this Saturday night. (
read more)

Promo Video for "Story & Song with Matthew Kahler"


'Idol' 11: 'I Knew You Were Waiting' for the 80s

Ryan Seacrest’s epic travel schedule showed not only in his hosting - but it seemed the contestants were a bit loopy, too. Ryan had been on the Today show earlier that morning talking about his new gig with the Olympics for NBC. Was it throwing him a bone in lieu of succeeding Matt Lauer? Who knows. Who cares?

The performances:

DeAndre Brackensick
I actually liked this joint. Finally, after getting feedback, DeAndre worked his chest voice longer and chose a good song for him. He’s still not a top contender, but for this week, he did a great job and chose well. Grade: B+

Elise Testone
Ironically, “Hallelujah,” was a better choice than “I Wanna Know What Love Is.” The mentors fuck it up again - Elise should have stuck to her guns. I really like this girl even despite her flat moments in this song. I’m hoping she makes it another week because we need to see her more. Grade: C

Phil Phillips
“That’s All” was terrible for me. Where DeAndre chose the perfect song for his style of singing - and even though the Genesis tune technically was in his wheelhouse - it didn’t allow him to do anything with it. He’s a good performer but this missed the mark. Grade: C

Joshua Ledet
Joshua is turning out to be the biggest surprise of the season thus far. “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” was not only a great choice for him, but it was up there with the “moments” other contestants have had (i.e., “Summertime” by Fantasia and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Katherine McPhee). Randy is right - it was mature beyond belief, and didn’t descend into vocal acrobatics like past weeks. Controlled and powerhouse. Great job. Grade: A

Jessica Sanchez
Oh sorry, “B.B. Chez.” “How Will I Know” is an iconic if fluffy song that doesn’t show us any new territory with what we know Jessica can do. Although it was not the best song choice, she had a different command of the stage this week. She’s beyond her time and her age, for sure, but this wasn’t her best. Having said that, the judges are right about her maturity. Grade: B-

Hollie Cavanaugh
The technical glitch with the keyboard might have thrown off other performers, but Hollie stuck to it. Why is it that she seems so bummed after each performance? She was so busy hitting her staging marks that she missed many of her pitch points - and JLo is right. She doesn’t let herself go most times, and it was evident here. Great song, middling performance. Grade: C

(Don’t usually comment on the cheesy duets or trios, but let me say that “I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)” should be a record, now. I’d have Joshua and Jessica record that and send it back to the top of the charts. That’d be a No. 1 record, period. Get that done folks. TIA.)

Colton Dixon
Our resident Bible thumper tackled the oft-covered “Time After Time” with good results. With a Coldplay-esque arrangement, it was a good flavor for him. Make no mistake, though: Colton sings flat. All the time, actually. He’s more style than substance. He’s not as good a technical singer as they give him credit for, even though he finished strong with some great runs. Grade for arrangement: A. Grade for performance: B

Skylar Laine
“Wind Beneath My Wings” needed a new flavor, and a country feel it worked well. The judges loved it, and I was not quite as ga ga for it, particularly given the whimper that the song ended with. Still, a nice way to end the show and Skylar captured the feeling of the song and took it to a new place. Grade: B+

Best of the night: DeAndre, Joshua, Skylar

At risk of bottom three: Elise, Hollie, Phillip (DeAndre may not rise out of the bottom three given his performance position, and we could see Jessica in this slot, too, because of the tepid “How Will I Know” performance.)

JLo fashion grade: B. Waist up was an A, below the waist was like, huh?

See you for results tonight!

American Idol Recap: Twitter Goes Out Front

Evangelicals rejoice! “Idol” led its broadcast with its resident Bible page-turner - and sported, as so many programs do now, both hashtags and contestant handles from the Twitters. The remaining nine contestants, helped on by mentor Stevie Nicks, did a bang-up job tonight. Here goes:

Colton Dixon (“Everything” - by Lifehouse)
For sure, Colton’s faith is stepping in front of himself as a performer, and I now understand why producers had been (unsuccessfully) trying to back him off of mentioning it so much. Having said that, a “Christian Rock” American Idol would be a first, and not out of the realm of possibility. Still, the front end of the “worship” song was flat and untethered; really pretty bad, actually, the rest of the way, too. He was off-key most of the time and probably felt the song more than we did. The judges were SO off with their praise; Simon would have roundly panned that performance. Grade: D

Skylar Laine (“Gunpowder & Lead” - by Miranda Lambert)
Skylar was able to stay in her wheelhouse with this country joint, but the choice was a bit indulgent in that it didn’t show any new territory with her vocals. She’s a good entertainer, there’s no doubt about that, especially following the boring and uninspired Colton. It was a fun ditty, though, if uninteresting. Grade: B-

Heejun Han (“A Song for You” - Donnie Hathaway)
A newly serious Heejun hit the stage with the oft-covered, classic tune. The Asian Michael Bolton was tonally back on target, but he still irritates me with terrible - I mean awful - diction. But this was quite a week-to-week comeback from the train wreck he had with “My Life” last week. I thought it was good but I’m still checked out on Heejun from last week’s awful Billy Joel song. Seacrest was right: “Which Heejun are we gonna get?” Grade: B

Hollie Cavanagh (“Jesus Take the Wheel” - Carrie Underwood)
Really personal moment with Stevie Nicks here - she lost her mother recently and urged Hollie to sing from her heart - and it visibly moved both of them. There’s something about this girl I can’t put my finger on - she’s gorgeous and obviously can sing. But her lower register, and possibly her nerves, get the better of her, as they did this week and last. Grade: B-

DeAndre Brackensick (“Sometimes I Cry” - Eric Benet)
I brought the same baggage in this week with DeAndre as I did with Heejun, with basically the same impressions. The falsetto is just… exhausting. I’m sure it makes many of the ladies swoon, but I don’t get it. Again, the judges are standing for him and they are just totally off. Prince’s annoying affect is safe - for now. Grade: C

Jessica Sanchez (“Sweet Dreams” - Beyonce)
You can really see the technician in this girl - very controlled and disciplined. Nice job on this song, even though I think the choice itself was a bit boring. I think she was going for nuanced, but it was not the best choice for that. Still, Randy was right in her “resolve” in turning the song into a ballad and being so deliberate each week. Well done, but there’s better stuff coming from her in later weeks. Grade: B+

Phil Phillips (“Still Rainin’” - Jonny Lang)
Are we looking at the next member of Fleetwood Mac? Stevie Nicks basically offered it him, so who knows. Looking dapper in a jacket, Phil is always his own man on that stage, which is to be commended. And I agree that covering Jonny was a great choice, but I wouldn’t have chosen that song. He’s great though, even singing a one-dimensional tune. Grade: B

Joshua Ledet (“Without You” - Mariah Carey)
Again, a consistent performer and looking dapper just like Phil. He really pulled the emotion out of the song - no small task given the material. A great arrangement with a terrific, emotional delivery. I guess I’m a bit partial to gospel, so take that with a grain. But he did a great job. JLo called Joshua a “phenom,” and she’s right. Grade: A-

Elise Testone (“Whole Lotta Love” - Led Zepplin)
Part of the challenge of this competition is to win over folks with performances week-over-week, which is no small task in the age of small attention spans. Elise won over a ton of fans this week with this cover - unbelievable. She made a very difficult song look effortless - by far, by a freakin’ mile, the best of the night (sorry Joshua). This was the best of the season so far. She looked great, too. Grade: A

Predicted bottom three: Colton, Hollie, DeAndre (possibly Heejun as a wildcard)

JLo fashion grade: once again, A. Understated and unfussy. We dig that.

See you tonight for results.

# # #


American Idol's Top 10 Tackles Billy Joel

With the catalog of Billy Joel week hitting American Idol’s Top 10, we must resist the temptation to use “car wreck” metaphors to describe bad performances (see DeAndre, below). Tackling Billy Joel is no small undertaking; as someone who performed “New York State of Mind” way back in the day, he’s got complex melodies and iconic phrasing. Still, his songs offer great material for everyone - and it showed in many cases. Here is my take (in order of appearance):

DeAndre Brackensick - “Only the Good Die Young”
Is MilliVanilli trending yet? (Answer:
yes.) The judges are smoking the funny stuff on this one - DeAndre was terrible. DeAndre danced like Debbie Gibson and sang about as well, too. Seems like a sweet kid, but not in the top tier. Will be in the bottom three tomorrow night. Grade: D+

Erica Van Pelt - “New York State of Mind”
F*cking HOT. Dig the new look, too. We’ll wait and see how the rest of the folks did, but one of the best of the night. Randy’s note about going for runs is right, too, in that she’s got terrific phrasing and is perhaps pulling some punches for later. JLo’s note about her being more expressive was great as well. This is a tough song to cover and she did it up nice. Grade: A-

Joshua Ledet - “She’s Got a Way”
As Randy said, “never feel defeated” when you have talent like this. Really strange arrangement actually; I’ve been a fan of Joshua since the beginning, but I feel like this was an opportunity for subtlety that he didn’t take. I’m a huge gospel fan, too, but I really connected with what JLo said about the lyric - we as singers are obliged to tell the story, not just sing the song well. Decent job. He should get through to next week. Grade: B

Skylar Laine - “Shameless”
Forget the song: I’d still like to know who the twink was in the trucker cap at the open. But I digress… Terrible style change fashion-wise - totally out of touch with her country roots. The song felt screechy to me and not all that interesting, and was flat at the front end. It leant itself to the country vibe, given the other covers of the song in that vein, but not delivered all that well. Grade: C+

Elise Testone - “Vienna”
Bluesy, stellar, yummy. Talk about being rewarded for sticking to your guns… These mentors, largely, don’t know what the shit they’re talking about. Let’s not forget that they *almost steered her away from this song, and I still think - after a standing ovation from the judges - she may not garner boffo votes because of it. Still, one of the best of the nights and mad props for making an unfamiliar song personal and emotional. “I’m so happy for you! I just want to shake you and squeeze you.” Another nod to
VAS from JLo. We appreciate your support of BentBlog and The Daily Slap. Best arrangement of the season thus far, too. Well done. Grade: A

Phil Phillips - “Movin’ Out”
Everyone is staying true to themselves tonight - and it’s one of the takeaways from the evening. Excellent job on this joint. Phil rebuked the mentors and did a great job putting his spin on the song - and stayed on his mark style-wise. I might break from the pack a bit and say that he changed it up a bit too much for me. The song has so much groove in it already… some of it wasn’t needed. He can keep on being gray - it looks great on him. Grade: A-

Hollie Cavanaugh - “Honesty”
Whoever dressed Hollie last week should be pounding the pavement for a new job this week. Regardless, she’s a bit of a frump so packaging that great voice seems like a challenge. Much better this week though, which gave her a leg up on a terrible arrangement. The performance did not survive that arrangement though, and it was hard to tell if it was her phrasing or what - but it wasn’t her best job. Grade: D+

Heejun Han - “My Life”
Whoever is advising this kid, if anyone, should be on the street with last week’s dresser for Hollie. Bad Karaoke. Sharp, flat, bad diction, terrible arrangement. Entertaining doesn’t walk the dog in a singing competition - the judges were too kind. In danger of going home tomorrow. Grade: F

Jessica Sanchez - “Everybody Has a Dream”
Once again, stellar. What can you say about a 16-year-old who sings like an established diva? “It takes consistency to win. You have a moment every time you step on that stage.” Randy was right, the mentors and the stylists did a great job all the way around. Fantastic. I’d only caution here that she’s so young, so unseasoned, that it might eventually catch up to her in terms of telling stories week after week. Again, I’m speechless with this budding talent. Stop the presses and give her a contract, now. Grade: A

Colton Dixon - “Piano Man”
This song is ready to made as a cover for the radio. Period. Handsome and confident, he sang the song right in his wheelhouse. My only quibble here is that he squeezed his vocals a few too many times; where that technique should be the “color” of a performance, he went to it too many times. Still, Randy was right, the arrangement was simple and clean. “God use me” was tacky for those atheists among us; he apparently
ignored producers’ plea to tone it down. Still, he’ll sail through. Grade: B+

Top performances: Phil, Jessica, Elise and EVP.

Predicted bottom three: DeAndre, Hollie and Skylar.

Other notes: JLo fashions were spot-on tonight. Grade: A. Plain, uncomplicated and beautiful. The mentors should, in large part, take a step back because they are really screwing up the contestants. Stop stepping in front of the performers and leading them down wrong paths.

See you tomorrow for results! This post also appears on - make sure to check it out. - WP

Update: Well… I got one of three correct. And I meant to change my bottom-three prediction to Heejun, but I got distracted. Happy Erica Van Pelt is the one who ended up excused from the competish - the wrong choice in my view. She’s a talented singer who didn’t have time to find herself. But like in all past years, one can never predict what America will do. Apparently EVP rejected JLo’s “unbalanced” comments in post-judging interviews. She’ll go on the summer tour, though.


'Bent Idol' Debut Post: An Intersection of ‘Idol’ & ‘The Daily Slap’

What do American Idol and Bent Blog have in common? JLo has Violent Affection Syndrome, and she ain’t ashamed.

The connection is simple: the Syndrome,
explained here, affects those of us who thinks someone is so cute it’s aggravating – to the point you want to pinch, bite, squeeze, punch or slap the snot out of them in protest.

JLo reacted thusly out of her VAS when she evaluated our first singer, Joshua Ledet, because she enjoyed his performance so much. I’ll post the video as soon as it’s up. Speaking of Joshua, let’s deep dive into the performances:

Joshua Ledet
He werked that Stevie song, brought us back to church and, with help from ace mentor Mary J. Blige, he hooked in to the driving beat. Well done. He’s about as girly as Jacob Lusk was last season.

Elise Testone
This girl can sing… but “I’m Your Baby Tonight” was totally the wrong song for her – as was “Greatest Love,” her original choice. She seemed visibly upset about her performance and I can see why.

Jermaine “Gentle Giant” Jones
Definitely evocative of Ruben Studdard – perhaps a better singer with a less-tubby charisma. “I Love You,” though, I don’t think is gonna do him any favors in moving him ahead in the competition. A snoozer.

Erica Van Pelt aka “EVP”
“I Believe in You and Me” was a bad arrangement sung by a fantastic singer. I was surprised by her presence with such a huge song. Whitney is a monster to tackle for any singer, and given what she had to work with she did a good job. She just seemed to be way more free and “comfortable” than Elise Testone. JLo was right in that she was playing it safe with her phrasing and delivery.

Colton Dixon
Given the fact that he’s out of his genre, big time, he was tonally on point and actually pretty in touch with the song. Randy was right about the notes flat and sharp – but he created an emotionally hooked-in “rock ballad” out of a Stevie classic. He’s pretty darn cute, too, qualifying for the evening’s Idol Slap Derby.

Shannon Magrane
I get annoyed when I have to wait for singers to get out of their lower registers for the song to become interesting. “I Have Nothing” really did have nothing, though, even when she emerged from the head-voice doldrums. Very karaoke and pretty awful. Next. (PS: could this volleyball player have looked any more gargantuan next to Ryan?) Bad song choice for such a young girl.

DeAndre Brackensick
We were thankfully spared DeAndre’s gratuitous falsetto, and with “Master Blaster” he definitely showed a reggae funk that was new to us. But it was bland and not nearly as good as the (frequently cheerleading) panel said it was.

Skylar Laine
This girl is one to watch – she was out of her element and she still did up “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” with some moxie. JLo was spot-on when she criticized the front half of the song; the second half was unrecognizable compared to the first. Very well done, as expected.

Heejun Han
“All is Fair” was a tale of two performers – one with normally gorgeous tone (painfully sharp in one spot) and terrible diction. He doesn’t close his “t”s and other of those pesky consonants. The “Hugger in Chief” did a decent job but I don’t think he’s gonna go far, despite the fact that we love the goofballs.

Hollie Cavanagh
Lacking in presence but burying the needle on cute, Hollie tackled “All the Man that I Need” and I gotta say I didn’t dig it as much as the panel did. Parts of it were good, other parts, “meh.”

Jeremy Rosado
Always doing too many runs with a voice that rivals many of the others, Jeremy’s “Ribbon in the Sky” was too breathy, and lacked control and gravitas. Randy was right to note that he didn’t believe it.

Jessica Sanchez
Flawless. Definitely a leading contender, especially since “I Will Always Love You” is one of the most iconic songs in the world to cover. I definitely don’t like the early coronation from the judges, though. Steven Tyler’s “you may be the one” is just lame. Just let it be a great performance and don’t pressure this young girl too much.

Phil Phillips
“Superstitious” was the best of the evening. Driving, percussive, tonally perfect – and delivered by the evening’s hands-down Slap. He’s yummy, entertaining and a fantastic singer. His charisma is natural and his confidence is breezy. This guy will make records, period. The most refreshing thing about him? He’s ALWAYS dressed-down casual, and speaking as a writer who works in his jammie pants, I LOVE that. More, please.

Predicted bottom gal and guy: Elise Testone & Jeremy Rosado (possible wild card for bottom dwellers goes to Shannon Magrane)

Best performances of the night: Phil Phillips & Jessica Sanchez

JLo fashion grade: A
Normally a train wreck, this blogger loved the dressed-down look. Keep it up, Jenny.

Oh and Joshua, just remember: that hand movement is not what you said it was. It is called “The Stabilizer.” The record has been set straight.

Writer’s note: this blog will also appear on Stay tuned!

Site Redesign Is Coming

A major revamp of is underway. Check back in late January for updates to all tabs, including more photos, article clips, video links and much more. I’ll have announcements on books projects, photos and much, much more.

Meantime, make sure to jump over to see
ARTvision Atlanta’s progress, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Foursquare and/or Yelp. Also, send me a note anytime! Cheers and happy holidays ~ Will