What I’m Into Lately: February 2014

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It’s finally Friday guys! And it’s the last day of the month. This feels like cause for celebration or at the very least a bit of introspection and reflection. So sit down, pour yourself a cuppa’ and let’s talk about what we’ve been into lately – what are you reading? What are you watching? What is making you fangirl hard? I’m linking up again with the lovely Leigh Kramer to share all those things and more!

Firstly…

What I’ve Been Reading:

  1. Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz  Finished February 4, 2014 – It’s hard to judge this book fairly having already seen the Lifetime tv show based on the book, however loosely. There are some things about the show I liked better and some things I liked in the book, but having seen the show first I couldn’t help but prefer it. I found the characters on the show to be more fully fleshed out and well rounded and a little more likable to boot, but there were aspects to the book that I found really interesting and I love how it intersected with another of Cruz’s series, the Blue Blood books. The cliff hanger ending has me intrigued to read more, but maybe not right away.
  2. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (February Book Club) – Finished February 17, 2014 – I’m glad I finally took the time to read this book – I started it once years ago and left it unfinished, balking at the complexity of the many stories being told in one book. I think appreciated it now more than I would have back then anyway. This is a fantastic story that touches on a lot of subjects that anyone can relate to – from being a mother to a daughter, a sister, a wife – hardships faced, adapting to new cultures and continually learning to pick up the pieces of our lives and start anew when needed. I think this will be a book that stays with me for a long time.
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Finished February 19, 2014 – I read this book basically in one day – it was a mad, crazy, obsessive daylong reading spree in which putting the book down felt painful and wrong until I’d finished. My apologies to the children, husband and pets neglected on February 19, 2014.In many small ways, it felt like this book was written exactly for me – like the author had captured a piece of my soul and put it on paper. While I can’t necessarily relate to the WHOLE story (don’t have a twin sister or a psychologically diagnosed mental illness – also don’t write fanfiction and am significantly older than 18) – so much of it I could definitely relate to and I quickly found myself rooting for Cath and waiting for certain plot events to come about. I, simply put, loved this book and kinda wish I could read it all over again today. – Full Review –

Right now I’m 2/3rds of the way through The Last Word by Lisa Lutz and entering that reading phase where you are torn between the impulse to read frantically until it’s done or maybe savor it so that it will last just a little longer. Which urge will win? Only time will tell!

Movies We’ve Watched:

The big one is that we took the kids to see the LEGO Movie and we all loved it even more than we were expecting to. I guess I honestly had no expectations going in at all other than that the previews were cute and my son likes LEGOS a lot (duh) but it was a truly terrific movie and “fun for the whole family” as they say – with a surprise ending that I didn’t see coming and a song that will be stuck in my head forever.

We also watched An Extremely Goofy Movie on Netflix which was cute – Goofy’s son Max goes away to college and the Goof takes it pretty hard and of course hilarity ensues, as it does. I’ll admit, it made me cry at least once – but I’m becoming a pretty easy crier so that isn’t saying much.

TV Shows I’m Fangirling Hard:

So American Idol is back on for Season 13 and I continue to be really pleased with all the changes they’ve made and how the contestants have done and how awesome Harry is. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the incredibly sped up process of getting to the Top 13 but I think they have cleverly let us get to know the contestants all along without making it too obvious and I’ve already begun to root for a couple of the singers and can see my ideal Top 3 beginning to take shape – Majesty and Alex would definitely be in there for me right now, how about you?

Anyone else watching Under the Gunn? It’s so interesting to see how each of the mentors approach their role on the show and what it means for each of the contestants. I still much prefer the classic Project Runway, but I am enjoying the show so far.

And guys, I’m still totally fangirling over the Shamy kiss on Big Bang Theory? Did anybody else head to the internet to watch it just one more time or was that just me? I really loved this week’s episode, too. Who would think that buying a kitchen table would be that catastrophic? Everyone.

Aside from all our other usual television habits (which I won’t name because that would turn into a long, embarrassing paragraph) we’ve been watching the original Star Trek series on Netflix lately along with Parks and Recreation and the last of the classic Doctor Who episodes. We’re all caught up now with everything Netflix Instant has to offer us and stuck waiting until the fall for New Who. Between that and the lack of Sherlock in my life, I’m likely to go into Brit Withdrawals soon.

Oh and online I’m still madly loving on Emma Approved and by that I mean Alex Knightly of course. Did anybody else notice him in a commercial on tv recently? I think it was for taco bell but I’m honestly not sure. Apparently I need to stop fast forwarding through those occasionally.

Awesome Stuff I Read Online:

Here are a few fun links that I might have shared in a Weekend Links post that I’ll share here instead I don’t have to post twice today.

I didn’t read this so much as see it online and squeal and shriek and email a link to my husband because, seriously. I want one now. (for Whovian friends)

The 50 Best Read Aloud Chapter Books for Kids at My Mommy Style

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup? Yes please.

Lastly some videos that are must sees:

Jim Parsons SNL Promo (sorry, can’t embed this one but it’s worth it to click over!)

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weekend link love: february 21, 2014

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Is anybody else kind of relieved that it’s finally the weekend? It’s been a long week here with the weather generally ruining every plan I tried to make – which means another long week inside. Silver lining is that I have more great links to share with you guys this week.

Enjoy these links while we wait impatiently for Spring:

Your welcome.

My favorites on American Idol so far…

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We’ve finally finished Hollywood Week of American Idol‘s 13th season and I can kinda start to tell everyone apart now. It’s tough when there are still THIRTY contestants, but the producers have done a good job highlighting the front runners throughout the auditions and Hollywood Week to the point where I think we all knew who was getting in for the most part even before they told us the results. 

After watching this week’s Hollywood Results, I tried to think about who I liked at this stage – whose albums I would consider buying, who I think has that natural star appeal (and who is trying way too hard to seem like they do) and who seems like they could go the distance. I’ve been very wrong in the past – but I’ve also championed my share of winners in these shows and I like to look back and see at what point I noticed my eventual favorites.

So for the sake of posterity (or because I have a bad memory and need to write this down now before I forget) – here are my ten favorites at this point – the 5 girls and 5 guys that caught my attention in a good way.

My Top 5 Girls (so far)

  1. Kenzie Hall – Her performances seem to be hit or miss, according to the judges – but I took notice of her singer songwriter take on a Macklemore song that really brought to mind the amazing Rebecca Loebe who once semi-recently covered a Kanye West song that continues to be one of my favorite things ever (and yes I know a lot of you don’t know who I am talking about, that’s okay – I’ll forgive you if you go check out her music immediately because seriously, AMAZING… Okay, finished? Let’s move on). Has this been done before? This take a rap song and turn it on it’s nose because you are a tiny white girl? Yes of course – but she did it WELL and now I want to hear what else she can do immediately.
  2. Austin Wolfe – She is fantastic. I’ve loved her since her initial audition and continue to be a fan. She has that charismatic something that I think will make her very marketable and a voice to back it up.
  3. Jessica Meuse – She has a great, edgy voice that is going to make the judges talk about Janis Joplin a bunch and her pink streaks are super cute. Another that I  loved from the beginning – but cautiously because the drama whirlwind that surrounded her in Hollywood Week has left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. Hopefully none of that follows her to the live shows.
  4. Majesty York – Seriously, it’s like her parents just KNEW when she was born that this child was going places and I could almost hate on her for that except that I really like her, and she has such a strong voice. I like when nice people are talented.
  5. Bria Anai is another amazing voice with a wacky personality. Her lipstick can be distracting sometimes but she makes up for it with that voice and you know, the utter dorkiness. I like dorks.

My Top 5 Guys (so far)

  1. Maurice Townsend – He is so charismatic – I think I could watch him all day AND he can sing, too! How great is that? Loved him since his audition, continue to love. He just seems like the real deal.
  2. Malcolm Allen is another great voice, and another charismatic kinda guy. I think it’s important that a celebrity can hold an audience’s attention and also that they take the music seriously and so far I think he has both things going for him.
  3. Sam Woolf – He is a little sleepy for me personality wise but his final song really touched me and his grandfather seems to think he is the greatest guy everrrrrrr. He is sweet and he has a nice voice and I wouldn’t hate it if he won.
  4. Alex Preston – It took awhile but he is growing on me slowly. This sounds really shallow – but his overall look kinda throws me off and makes me want to lock my doors maybe, but I can’t deny that he has a great voice and also that he really seems to love music and I love that in an artist. Musically – in the way that he performs on stage – he reminds me of John Mayer which coming from me is a HUGE compliment. So there’s that.
  5. Neco Starr is coincidentally one of the two guys vying for that final coveted spot in the Top 30 and he’s the one who got my vote. I think he is like a young Bruno Mars, in that he has a similar kind of stage presence and swagger. I’m not sure if he’s up to snuff vocally compared to some of the other contestants but I see potential and definitely want to hear more from him.

Who are your favorites so far?

What I’m Into Lately: January 2014

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It’s kind of hard to believe that January 2014 is already coming to a close – like didn’t this year JUST start? Aren’t we still shakily recovering from ringing in the new year (and by that I mean, letting our children stay up WAY past our their bedtime and then being forced to get up with them the next morning only to discover that we are way too old for that crap and they annoyingly don’t seem any worse for the wear)? 31 days later and I don’t know about you, but I’m still recovering.

So while I ignore the morning in the comforts of a puffy robe and a second cup of coffee, let’s gossip about all the books, tv shows, movies, etc. that we’ve been into this month. I’m linking up again with Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into lately.

What I’ve Been Reading:

I read four books this month, which for me is like a major deal, but to be fair, two of them were awfully short – though still really great reads:

  1. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt (January Book Club) – I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. Very interesting, whether you agree with them and their findings or not. – Full Review –
  2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – I thought the premise of this book was fascinating and the plot kept me intrigued throughout. I also felt the book was attempting to do an AWFUL lot and that it occasionally read as cheesy, over done and sometimes predictable, but being a young adult novel I can kind of over look the predictable aspects. All in all, I think it was a very funny and satirical look at the commercialism and typical coming of age issues that young girls are faced with, in the midst of a very atypical story.
  3. Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman – This was such a fun, quick read. terrific illustrations also. I’m looking forward to sharing it with the kids.
  4. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle – I don’t know if I would have enjoyed this story as much if I weren’t such a huge fan of the BBC series, Sherlock, but since I can’t (yet) go back in time and unsee the show, I’ll just have to base my feelings of the book around the fact that I’ve seen the show also and thus knew the major plot points. However, the original story is actually quite a bit different from the tv show’s version and there were things I genuinely liked about each. I didn’t really care for the middle part of the book where they leave Sherlock and Watson to further explain the back story of characters that I won’t name here, cause you know, spoilers. But at the same time, I think the backstory was necessary so overall, I did enjoy the book and I’ll definitely be reading more of Doyle’s Sherlock stories soon.

Right now I’m kind of reading three books at once but mostly just one. I got randomly sucked into Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz, which the show on LIFETIME was based on, somewhat loosely. This may be one of the rare instances where the tv show is a bit better or at least feels more cohesive and thought out, but maybe that’s because I saw it first? Not sure, either way I cannot seem to put the book down in a guilty pleasure sort of way.

Movies We’ve Watched:

Most of the movies we’ve been watching lately are old school children’s movies of the past – we’ve been doing a lot of family movie nights with the aim of giving our kids a “proper education” – i.e. Mary Poppins, Shrek, The Emperor’s New Groove, Night at the Museum – all massive hits and massively enjoyable. In particular it was really cool to see Dick Van Dyke dress up and act like a an old guy in Mary Poppins and then see him actually be an old guy in Night at the Museum. He is always such a great actor to enjoy in general.

TV Shows I’m Fangirling Hard:

I don’t feel I can properly begin this segment without squealing uncontrollably over Sherlock. This may be the best show on television which makes it all the more brutal that we get just three episodes a season and then seemingly ages in between said seasons. Like everyone else in the world, I’ve really been enjoying this season – just as massively enjoyable as the previous ones. I’ve been spending a lot of time with this coffee mug:

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I know, right?

When I’m not being utterly and thoroughly Sherlocked, I’ve also been enjoying:

American Idol – Is anyone else so, so, so pleasantly surprised with this season of American Idol so far and we’re still in the audition round which I usually delete because I just cannot deal with all the  drama. They’ve done such a good job keeping that to a minimum and the judges are just so amusing and wonderful to watch. I feel like they really took to heart the major complaints that I guess I wasn’t the only one making and are really delivering an upbeat, honest, funny show.

Under the Gunn – I’m still on the fence about this show but I enjoy the mentors they’ve chosen and well Tim Gunn and I think I’m a big enough Project Runway fan in general that I’m likely to stay interested in keeping watching the show even if the premise is a bit dubious to me. It kind of feels like Project Runway: The People Who Couldn’t Make It Onto the Actual Show but it’s still fun to watch.

I know Doctor Who isn’t actually on yet but I’ve really been enjoying the snippets and teasers we’ve gotten so far online and I’m preemptively really excited about the next season. We’ve also been watching more of the Tom Baker era series on Netflix and I continue to adore him.

Other shows I’m still watching and loving: Castle, Bones, Melissa & Joey (they’re finally together!!!), Reign, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother (love the mother), New Girl, 2 Broke Girls (so funny), The Mindy Project (OMG!!!!!) and probably other stuff, too.

Awesome Stuff I Read Online:

These are the things I would have mentioned in a Weekend Link Love roundup today aka I spent a lot of time on buzzfeed this week:

Time-Traveling Amazon Reviews of Next Season’s Doctor Who – Are there any better fans than Doctor Who fans? I think not.

The Sherlock Guide to the UK – Makes me want to take a field trip like immediately.

Literary Valentines for the Romantic Reader – I kind of adored these madly.

Peter Capaldi used to be in a punk band with Craig Ferguson – this made my week.

Little Girls Design Amazing Super Hero Costumes – this is just amazing.

Lastly some videos that are must sees:

Weekend Link Love: June 24, 2014

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Can I just say how grateful I am that it is finally Friday? This has been a long, trying week for me – stuck at home most of the time with a sprained foot and too much time on my hands, unable to really get much done. The upside to this is that I’ve read a lot of cool things online this week in between ice packs, pain killers and constantly trying to do too much too soon.

Here are some of the best things I’ve read this week:

Nursing home makes calendar of residents posing as iconic movie roles – this is kind of breath taking and really cool.

Stop the Mommy Wars: An empowering photo series – Do you think the “Mommy Wars” are still a thing?

Aerie gets real and stops photoshopping it’s models – Such a great, empowering first step towards giving young girls more realistic role models, though I think we still have a LONG way to go.

This interview with Harry Connick Jr. at EW is a perfect example of why I adore him so and why this season of American Idol is the best I’ve ever seen (so far). I think the simple statement that “I’ve been enjoying watching the audition shows for American idol and not deleting them immediately” really says it all.

59 Slang Phrases from the 1920’s that we should start using again – This article is just darb. I wonder what my local coffee shop would think of me if I went in and asked for some noodle juice? I’m guessing they’d think I was a pretty Dumb Dora!

The 7 Phases of Taking Kids out in the Snow – Per usual, Mommy Shorts pretty much nails this one. Funny and oh so true.

We’ve got a big road trip coming up this summer (I hope) – this printable travel game at The Art of Simple looks like a must have boredom buster!

Need more? How about 100 years of fashion in 100 seconds?

Lastly, there are no shortage of funny spoofs on Frozen, but this one found at *Very Clean* Funny Pics pretty much sums it all up perfectly:

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Why I’m optimistically hopeful about this season’s American Idol.

american idol season 13I think we can all agree that the past few seasons of American Idol have been… tumultuous, to say the least. Between judging panel drama and a heavy focus on, well, craziness, and likely a lot of ploys to get extra publicity / viewers with the influx of musical competition shows all clamoring for our attention.

American Idol has definitely been getting the short end of the stick lately and after last season, I wasn’t sure if I would keep watching. I found myself completely disagreeing with the judges and getting super annoyed at the crazy that just seemed to burst from the show at high speed. It felt less about music and more about Look At ME!!! And it wasn’t for a lack of talent – last season had some amazing talent and America even managed to crown a really worthy winner. It just wasn’t an enjoyable process to actually watch. I thought I might be done.

And then the media started to talk about potential judges for Season 13 and I found myself getting increasingly hopeful. The judges that were chosen are, in my opinion, perfect.

Keith Urban was the only judge last season that didn’t annoy the crap out of me and he seems to genuinely want to be there and involved in the process. His only downside is that he’s sometimes too nice, but I was very glad to hear he was coming back this season so that it wouldn’t be an ocean of new faces. So yay there.

I was pretty disappointed when Jennifer Lopez chose not to stay on Idol as a judge as I think she did a really good job, so I’m thrilled she’s back. She’s a sweetheart, massively talented and not an egomaniac or crazy. Yay again!

And who hasn’t watched Harry Connick Jr. mentor on Idol and think, “Put that man in a chair!” I was so glad that the powers that be agreed with me and that he agreed to come on as a judge.

I think all three  judges have good chemistry together and balance each other out well. Harry does a great job of being honest without being cruel and I love that he shares more technical feedback – already just in the main auditions, he has proven what a good judge he will be.

Also the entire atmosphere of the show feels lighter and more optimistic and upbeat, something this show was in dire need of. They focused way less on the “crazies” in last night’s auditions and I really appreciated the lack of drama. Maybe this is just Idol making the obvious needed changes, but if it means being able to enjoy watching the show – how can I not be all for that?

What do you think of this season’s judging panel and the auditions we’ve seen so far?

What I’m Into (November)

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I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer a bit late (but better late than never, right?) to share the things I’ve been into for the past month.

what I’m reading

Right now I’m reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. My book club is discussing it next week (ack!) and the odds of me finishing on time are a bit iffy but I’m going to try. This book is intense and complicated and fantastic and occasionally awful, but not in a literary way so much as a “how many times are we going to torture, kill and humiliate this person?” kind of way.

Imagine if you could go back and relive your life over and over again – what things would you change and do differently? This is sort of the premise of the book and in the beginning the main character seems to just keep on dying every ten minutes in awful ways that made my mother heart hurt. But gradually she lives longer and longer and it oscillates between feeling like a story about all the ways you can die / be hurt / suffer and feeling like a story about all the ways we can survive / overcome / be better. It’s hopeful and despondent all at the same time. So it’s fascinating and I’m enjoying it as much as you can enjoy that kind of book, but I’m taking for freaking ever to finish it.

Some nights I’m just too spent from my own realities to deal with such a heavy book and on those nights I’ve been reading As You Do by Richard Hammond (of Top Gear fame) instead. This book reads as though Hammond is actually standing next to you talking. His writing style is VERY similar to his talking style which I suppose could be a good thing or a bad thing but I consider it a good thing. I’m not super far into the book as I’ve been trying to be more diligent about getting through the book club pick but I am really enjoying this one so far. It’s a collection of stories from his adventures on Top Gear and other ventures. I actually bought this book for my husband and he LOVED it so much that I felt inclined to read it myself. So far so good…

what I’m watching (tv)

Anyone else still going a little bit spastic inside over the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode? My husband and I watched it that night and kept squealing like fan girls and theorizing little bits and pieces to death (Emergency Awesome has some fun easter egg /hidden references from the episode) . The next afternoon we watched it with the kids (we always give the new episodes a trial run before letting the kids watch, just to be on the safe side) and squealed all over again. I’m both anxiously looking forward to the Christmas special and apprehensively dreading the end of the 11th’s tenure. I hope Peter Capaldi is amazing, I’m sure I’ll get used to him eventually as I did the others.

Can you believe the contestants that have been eliminated on X-Factor so far these past couple weeks? The results have been surreal to me and I’m not sure if it’s because I am just not the same target audience as the people that are voting or what, but I mourned the loss of another Top Fave last week. ::sniff:: I doubt that my vote would have made much of a difference but I do sometimes wish that people who DVR and watch the show later were given a chance to vote. Do you think the results would have been different if everyone who watches could vote and not just the people who watch it live?

what I’m watching (movies)

We took the kids to see Frozen the day after Thanksgiving (otherwise known as stab each other for video games day) and I think the whole family fell in love. I was jonsing for a good “Princess Movie” and this totally hit the spot. BB of course now wants Anna and Elsa everything and I can’t say I’m bothered by this very much. We may have to buy the DVD when it comes out and possibly the sound track because I cannot stop singing, “Do you want to build a snowman?” Such a great movie.

in my kitchen

This year for Thanksgiving I was basically the Queen of Desserts. I made:

My MIL’s famous rum cake and a delicious apple pie (this recipe’s crust was the first pie crust I’ve ever made and I think I’m going to go ahead and officially swear by it) as well as a peanut butter dip which was basically a peanut butter pie (I loosely followed this recipe) minus the crust with a bunch of sliced apples to dip in it (though I confess my favorite thing to dip in it is a spoon!) and a sweet potato casserole (this recipe has become a staple for me, this was my third year using it and I can’t imagine straying from it now).

The peanut butter pie dip that I made ended up being so far from the original that I feel the need to share what I actually made and pretend that I can call it a “recipe”

Jen’s Deviously Good Peanut Butter Pie Dip

  • 1 pint (16 oz) of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • most of a 16 oz container of creamy peanut butter, we’ll say 12-14 oz. (I just used what was left of my barely touched container, you could probably use a full 16 oz container or less if necessary).
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Beat a pint of heavy whipping cream in your mixer until it’s thickened enough – I don’t think I ever got mine truly “whipped cream”ish but I was starting to get bored so after awhile I moved on to the rest of the recipe.
  2. Beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Fold in the “whipped cream”. Gently spoon into a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat. If you can control yourself. Yield: 8-10 servings.

On a non-recipe note, can I mention again how obsessed I am with the orange clove scented counter top spray from Mrs. Meyers? I may have snagged a bottle of the orange clover dish soap and a scented candle at Target today…

stuff I loved online

the entire ‘Doctor Who’ history in one amazing tapestry (awesome)

after a year of parenting, one thing is certain (sweet)

Moms: OK is good enough (amen)

So what have you been into lately?

The X-Factor: My Top 3

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!

Last night two of my personal Top 4 favorites for this season’s X-Factor were sent home. As a DVR-reliant, non-voting fan I can’t really blame America for these results and would actually argue that in today’s DVR-dominant society that one evening to vote isn’t really enough to get an accurate look at America’s opinion. I think they should drop the next night result show, give America one week to vote and then announce who is moving on at the start of next week’s show. But that’s just my humble opinion and there are probably lots of smart, money-driven reasons why this wouldn’t work.

All we can do now is move on to next week and focus on the acts remaining, wishing the contestants who’ve been voted off all the best in things to come. After watching last night’s performance, I had to add one more person to my list of favorites, bringing me to a list of 3 Acts that I think are super awesome and should totally win.

WARNING: I repeat: SPOILERS COMING!! You have been warned!

My Top 3 Acts Are:

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Alex and Sierra continue to make me smile each week and continue to deliver interesting, unique performances that don’t pander to what the media hype machine think they should be singing and thus give us a truly accurate representation of what they are all about and what an Alex & Sierra CD might sound like. The sound? Is one I’d buy and possibly see in concert.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say they are everything that is great about music and in all honesty, they are my favorite act this season (a decision made simple to declare since Khaya was sent home – ridiculous, by the way!). I applaud them  for taking artistic risks with their performances and not playing it safe.

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Josh’s performance LAST week was better than this week, but this week’s performance was still solid and he frankly just has it. The problem for him will be consistently bringing it and upping his game each week before the judges call him boring or predictable or some other adjective used to make their own contestants sound better. It’s seriously hard to take their judging seriously when they are also competing.

All that aside, Josh has a great voice and a lot of determination and drive – not to mention his whole career ahead of him. He is just a baby really and in some ways it is his young age that makes his talent all the more impressive, but impressive nonetheless it is.

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Why didn’t I include Jeff Gutt in my list last time? Honestly just because I was determined to have a Top 4 for some reason and also, though Jeff is consistently good – he hasn’t always been consistently great and sometimes I wonder if the judge’s lengthy portrait of him as the single dad who can’t seem to catch a break just puts a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t like it when I feel like I’m having my heart strings intentionally pulled for the sake of a vote, which may be why I’m hesitant to get behind some of the season’s other sob stories. I will decide I like you when you deliver a performance that makes me sit up and pay attention – not a story that all humans agree is moving. ::steps off soap box::

Last night Jeff delivered that kind of performance – of Bohemian Rhapsody of all songs, no easy feat – and it kind of put everything in perspective for me. Single dad or no, if he can rock that song without it seeming forced or karaoke, then he has more chops than I’ve been giving him credit for. Maybe he is still finding that sound that makes HIM unique, yes even after all these years, but he really can sing (and perform) and so if I could have my dream team of a Top 3 Finale, he would be my third choice.

Who would be in your Top 3?

My top picks for X-factor

Now that we’re a few weeks into the latest season of X-factor, I’ve started to find myself speculating on who I think could win, whose albums I’d actually buy, etc.

I don’t necessarily agree with the judges week to week and often question how legitamite their feedback really is when they are also competing with each other and are thus biased. I’ve seen them slam performances I enjoyed and vice versa.

So all that aside, here is my current “dream team” – the people I’d most like to see make it to the finals.

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I think Alex and Sierra are incredible. I always enjoy hearing their creative interpretations of songs and find that they consistently deliver a great performance. They also have a very clearly defined niche so there is no question about where they fit into the music industry.

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Josh has really grown on me lately. I wasn’t sure at first but his performance this week really wowed me. Covering Straight Up by Paula Abdul was a risky endeavor but he pulled it off without being too karaoke or ridiculous. Major kudos to him!

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Khaya has one of the strongest voices in the competition. Period. I cannot believe how great she is at such a young age and I would definitely buy her album! She has a great, unique voice and she consistently delivers.

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Tim gets a lot of grief but I adore his voice. I know he still struggles with nerves so maybe he lacks a bit of swagger but he has one of my favorite voices this season so I am continuing to root for him. I think with practice he will be amazing.

There are certainly other great artists on the show who have done great but these are my four favorites at the end of the day.

Who are you rooting for?

momma loves equality. and macklemore.

It’s a pretty big day for equality – today the Supreme Court issued rulings on both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. For all the newsy stuff, check out NPR’s coverage on these rulings. They also have an article about What’s Next For Gay Married Couples.

I don’t really have anything of importance to say about all of this – other people will say it better. I’ll just be over here in my office listening to great music and being happy for the people I know who will be effected by these rulings. I am loving me some Macklemore lately – his whole album, The Heist is fantastic. If you haven’t heard it yet, I really recommend it.