Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Presidential Power Rankings # 17

April 25, 2007


1. Hillary Rodham Clinton (1)
2. Barack Obama (2)
3. John Edwards (3)
4. Al Gore (4)
5. Bill Richardson (5)
6. Joe Biden (6)
7. Chris Dodd (7)
8. Dennis Kucinich (8)
9. Wesley Clark (9)
10. Mike Gravel (10)

Boring! Boring! No changes. Maybe something dramatic will happen on MSNBC this Thursday to shake things up, but it raises the question; if candidates debate on MSNBC, does anyone even hear about it?



1. Rudy Giuliani (1)
2. Mitt Romney (2)
3. John McCain (3)
4. Fred Thompson (4)
5. Tommy Thompson (5)
6. Sam Brownback (6)
7. Mike Huckabee (7)
8. Newt Gingrich (8)
9. Duncan Hunter (9)
10. Ron Paul(10)

No changes either, but I notice that even though I did a very nice thing for Tommy Thompson and raised him a few places in my standings,the punditry seems to be all over him for his Jewish comment. Hey, he meant well at least, and its not like Brownback and Huckabee are giving me much reason to notice their campaigns.

American Idol- Top 6

Last night, the Chicago Bulls blew out the Miami Heat to take two games to none lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs, and since I was focused, on that, I did not get to watch the very special “Idol Gives Back” performance episode until very late. The results will be coming tonight and I have a few things to say about this week’s show, so I am going to do so in a quick and probably disorganized way.

For starters, all the money that is being raised for charity by this week’s American Idol events is obviously a very good thing and I like the fact that people such as Rupert Murdoch and other right-wing Republican corporations are showing how compassionate they and capitalism can be. The theme of the night was “songs of inspiration and hope” or some crap like and while all of the 6 finalists did pretty well in my view, it made for some odd television. There were sappy and even depressing video vignettes about how horrible people in third world countries and our own United States have it, and the tone it set, made it a little more difficult to focus on such a Hollywood pop culture production when it came time to sing.

But then right before the last singer was to go on, there was the longest and most upbeat video tribute of all, which focused on Americans who devote their time to help feed the hungry in Los Angeles and it just struck a different and more optimistic tone than the rest of what they had featured. Jordin Sparks then went onstage and performed a very emotional rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (a song that certainly inspired a great American named Bob Dole during a very difficult time). The fact that Jordin closed out the show, with that number, after that particular introduction, kind of makes me think the American Idol producers recognize her as their potentially most marketable Idol winner and are trying to make that happen.

But anyways, last week, I once again incorrectly predicted that Phil Stacey would be sent home, but was happy that instead it was the performer I had ranked at the bottom that week, the one and only Sanjaya, who appears to be enjoying his time in the media spotlight this past week with appearances in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C.

As for this week, here is how I ranked them 1-6. Once again, I think everyone did well, but all three girls are better than all three guys, and it is really hard to make a judgment for me between the top 3, but I did it anyway.

1. Jordin Sparks
2. LaKisha Jones
3. Melinda Doolittle
4. Phil Stacey
5. Blake Lewis
6. Chris Richardson

Who will go home? Well, I think this one is as tough to predict as any week. It will not be Jordin. Whether she wins American Idol or not, I have a feeling she is going to be a big star eventually. I also seriously doubt it will be the supremely talented and well-seasoned Melinda (although a website that claims to be able to track the phone calls makes it seem like she may very well be vulnerable). Otherwise, I would not be surprised if it is any of the other four.

Let’s briefly examine some things….

The judges had some harsh words for LaKisha and said she shouts too much when she sings. Maybe it is the rock fan in me, but I like that. The Sister has a big voice. Let her use it. I like the way she can put emotion songs. But she may have made a mistake by choosing a signature song for the second week in a row of a former Idol winner.

Phil went into this week, once again, as the odds on favorite to get voted off. He still might, but I think he had a strong performance and might have saved himself.

Blake’s voice sounded good on John Lennon’s “Imagine”, but it was less challenging than the songs chosen by just about all of the other finalists. He picked a classic song too, but I wonder if he may have alienated the Idol viewing audience, in a show devoted to hope and inspiration, by selecting what is basically an ode to Atheism. People who are in bad situations or who dream of a better future typically find more solace in believing in a supreme being, not wishing that there was “no religion.”

I do not think Chris was horrible, but the song “Change the World” might have been a little boring and the fact that he kicked off the show could also be to his detriment. Vocally, I think the other 5 were all at least a bit stronger and it would be appropriate for him to leave. But coming on the heels of last week’s controversy and misunderstanding over the Simon Cowell eye-roll, the judges seemed to be reluctant to criticize him at all.

As I said, it could be just about anyone who is eliminated at this stage in the game. At least anyone but Jordin… and probably Melinda too.

I do fear though, that on the heels of being in the bottom two last weeks, and how the Fanjayas are likely to vote now that their hero is gone, the loser this week may be LaKisha. And that would be wrong.