If I were an American Idol judge, my thing would be feeling and expressing the emotions of the song. I would be the one to say, when you sing “Groovy Kind of Love” it should sound sweet and groovy and when you sing “Happy Together” it should sound at once hopeful and a bit desperate. I should have a sense that you know and care what the lyrics are about. That’s why my first choice for guest judge would be Liza Minnelli. These kids need to be storytellers, not just belters and cuties. The best Idols of seasons past IMO—Ruben, Clay, Kimberly Locke, Fantasia, Taylor, Elliott, and Melinda—were the ones who could sell a song as an expression of their own passion. This is what makes a singer great more than pipes or panache. But these judges don’t seem to be paying attention to it. (My favorites this week, fwiw, were David for the boys, and Alexandréa for the girls.)
Elsewheres, The Watcher sez In Treatment is the best show on television right now. There ought to be a chart somewhere in the tubes showing which show each critic thinks is the best on TV right now.
I once would have said that Friday Night Lights is the best show on television, and now it's fighting for its life as NBC tries to find a network to share it with. I sort of don't care any more if it lives or dies.
Torontoist visits Hogtown's rep cinemas, many of them favorite places of mine from years past including Cinematheque Ontario, to see how they're faring in this digital age.
And next week I am teaching a subject I want to know more about: videogames. The readings I assigned are from Steven Poole's Trigger Happy, an excellent book available in its entirety for free at that link (we are reading chapters 2 and 8).