Pondering American Idol Season 10 (2011) – What do you think?

Hey there…

I have to admit that we’ve been watching American Idol since probably season 3 or 4. I resisted at first, but after a while the pull of some sort of live performance musical show reeled me in. And along with the rest of the fanatical audience, I got used to listening to Simon, Alvin, and Theodore… wait. That’s not right. Simon, Paula, and Randy. That’s it… I got used to the trio over the years and the banter rarely changed. Same schtick different show.

Even when Kara DioGuardi joined the panel, things really didn’t change much. But I did like it last year when Ellen DeGeneres joined in Paula’s absence. She added a unique vibe as an individual, focusing more on keeping the performers comfortable while at the same time letting them know what she thought with humor and class.

This season, the tenth (hard to believe), we have a big shake-up and to be honest I wasn’t sure I was going to like the new set of judges.

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I’m not a big fan of Jennifer Lopez. Sure, she’s beautiful and talented. But the promos really focused on the glitz and glamour and damn if it got annoying quickly. And Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame would add an entirely different vibe with his rock star personality. Then there was good old Randy Jackson still in the seat as well.

However… I started this past Wednesday wanting to see 15 minutes of the first episode of the new season. And after all the build-up with Ryan Seacrest, I was actually surprised to find myself enjoying the interplay between the judges.

I’m still not sure about J.Lo, but she’s not as big a cheerleader as Paula Abdul, so I’m hopeful.

As for the talent this season, I haven’t agreed with everybody they’ve shoved through to Hollywood. But my wife and I do agree that Hollywood Week is going to be a zoo just with the sheer number of people going this year. They’ve already put 50 or more people through in just three hours worth of show, and you know we haven’t seen everybody perform.

So as always I’m left waiting for the drama of Hollywood Week to be over (and it’s not for a few weeks yet) so the real competition can begin. What will season ten bring us? We’ll have to wait and see.

What do you think so far? About the judges, the talent, the title changes at the beginning – whatever you want to contribute to the conversation, leave it in a comment below.


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Congrats to Iain Harrison – the Top Shot 2010 Winner!

Hi all…

Wow. Talk about a nail biter.

Four contestants – Pete Palma, J.J. Racaza, Chris Cerino, and Iain Harrison – went into the field during the final episode to see who would become the first person to be Top Shot in this new reality competition series. And host Colby Donaldson, Survivor: The Australian Outback runner-up, played host to the entire 10-week series on the HISTORY channel.

We were rooting for Pete, the last member of the Red Team still standing, but it was not to be. Pete went home after being bested with a pistol exhibition. The goal? To knock more targets to your color than your opponent did. And just as quickly as you knock one from Red to Blue, your opponent can shoot it back to Red again.

J.J. beat Chris and Iain beat Pete, which set Pete against Chris to see who would move on. Unfortunately, though Pete looked great early on in the challenge, Chris eventually got the better of him and that was the end. All that remained were Blue Team compatriots to see who would get to the end.

In the next round, J.J., Chris, and Iain were playing almost a game of “HORSE” where the first contestant (drawn randomly) was able to pick a weapon – pistol, rifle, etc. – then pick a target and a distance. If they hit it, they got a point. The contestant with the most points at the end won the round. J.J. got a little cocky and couldn’t deliver when the chips were down – sending Iain and Chris to see who would be the last man standing.

The last round was awesome. The two contestants started at opposite ends of a course laid out from knives to rifles. Each contestant would stay at a station until they hit the target, then move to the next station, repeating the process until they got to the last station to hit distant targets with a rifle.

It was amazing how close Iain and Chris were as they went through the course. Each time you thought one or the other had an advantage, the other would catch up. And in the end it came down to only a round or two difference.

But Iain was the victor! He gets the title of “Top Shot” and the $100,000 prize to do with what he wants.

Honestly, this whole series – from June to this past weekend – was fun to watch. I’m not much of a competition fan – I’ve kind of burned out on shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Hell’s Kitchen. But HISTORY put together a show that was unique in the people it brought together as well as the challenges they were put through.

Congrats to Iain and all the contestants. It was fun to watch and I can’t wait until the next season. Hopefully they’ll bring Iain back to talk to the contestants and have an even more interesting mix of new and historical weapons to challenge the competitors!

For more information about the series, check out the Top Shot website at the HISTORY Channel site.


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Farewell to Kelly Bachand on Top Shot!

Hey all…

We’ve been watching Top Shot! on the History Channel since it started a few weeks ago. And at the top of the list of contestants we were rooting for was Kelly Bachand – the youngest competitor in the field. Unfortunately, Kelly was sent home along with Adam Benson this week in the episode “The Shortest Fuse”.

Honestly, I have no idea how the guys were able to shoot that fuse as it scurried across the board to the explosive cap. Not only was it tiny, but it wiggled around!

I’m not a huge weapons guy, but I can appreciate the skill and talent of those who have it. Kelly managed to compete against folks twice his age and come out on top more times than not. So he did an amazing job throughout the competition.

Now we’re cheering for Kelly’s “Red Team” teammate – Peter Palma. Though I have to say there’s a couple of folks at my house rooting for J.J. Racaza too.

Next Sunday is the season finale and we’ll see who, among the 4 competitors left – Peter, J.J., Iain Harrison, and Chris Cerino – walks away with the prize.

Again, best of luck to Kelly in everything he does and hopefully we’ll have another great episode this Sunday! Go Pete!


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