2016 Year in Review

I think most of my year has been consumed with running, but here are some highlights:

RUNNING HIGHLIGHTS:

According to Strava, I ran 790 miles (since May, when I started using Strava) – consuming 108 hours of my life. So if you figure I ran a similar amount Jan – April, I ran about… 1,580 miles in 2016! (For comparison, Seattle is 1,420 miles from Phoenix, by the fastest road route).

I ran (clearly, as evidenced above) some races:

Marathons: Carmel Marathon (PR, BQ) & San Antonio Rock n’ Roll Marathon (PR,BQ)
Half Marathons: None!
15K: Boise Race for the Steaks (PR- first time I’ve ever placed in the overall Female Top 3!)
10K: Fall City Days 10K
5K: Snoqualmie Turkey Trot, Run with the Fishes (PR, first sub-7 min/mile race; Issaquah)
Random Distance Runs: Roche Harbor Fun Run, where some guy beat me right at the end and I learned to never to let off the gas. Even in a fun run.

Most importantly, I got a good qualifier for the Boston Marathon at 3:31:43 – a good enough time to actually make it into the field! See you in Boston on Patriot’s Day, 2018!

Boise 15K
Between the two of us, we won EIGHT steaks at this run (2017 Resolution: Eat less beef).

Biggest social media moment: Getting re-tweeted by Meb Keflezighi, Olympic Silver Medalist in the Marathon (2004), winner of the NYC Marathon (2009) and winner of the Boston Marathon (2014)

Meb Quote.png

Biggest Fashion Moment: Discovering that Michelle Obama, one of my favorite people in the world, wore a similar dress in her White House Christmas Card / Canada State Dinner, that I had in my closet:

jason-wu-quote

TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS:

Bill and I continued our tradition of accruing airline miles (and a desire to stay at Alaska Airlines MVP level), with trips to:
Carmel, Indiana (Family + Marathon)
Florence, Italy (Wine and History)
Ravello, Italy (Wine and Views)
Venice, Italy (Wine and Canals)
Milan, Italy (Wine and Fashion)
Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington (Boat Trip!)
Maui, Hawaii (Sun!)
Chicago, Illinois (Pearl Jam!)
Boise, Idaho (6th Wedding Anniversary + Unexpected Victory)
Austin & San Antonio, Texas (Marathon)

ITALY:

Other, Easy to Find Photos from Our Trips:

OTHER RANDOM FAVORITES:

 

Favorite Live Show: Tie between Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field, and Bruce Springsteen in Seattle (so, the only live shows I went to in 2016)

Favorite New Thing that Makes My Life Easier: Blue Apron

Favorite New Thing that Ups My Style Game (Considerably): Rent the Runway

Songs that I Actually Downloaded from iTunes in 2016: Patience, Civil War, Don’t Cry, November Rain (Guns N’ Roses); We Belong (Pat Benatar); It’s All Coming Back to Me Now (Celine Dion); Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead); Hello, When We Were Young (Adele); Strange Tales – the full album (Lord Huron)

Favorite Podcast: Bill Simmons w/Cousin Sal – NFL Lines

Favorite New Shows:  The Night Of (well, mini-series) and Westworld

Best Sports Moment: Seattle Sounders FC winning the MLS Cup (FINALLY)

Worst Sports Moment:  Ohio State’s phantom first down and no PI call at the end of the Michigan game

Thing I am MOST Excited about for 2017: Going to Africa!!! (so. freaking. excited).

Thing I am LEAST Excited about for 2017: Donald Trump – a person so thin-skinned he can’t even ignore SNL making fun of him – being President of the United States of America (not surprising, if you know me).

2017 Resolutions:  Eat less beef (it’s just one of many things that is killing the earth); be more conscious of my environmental footprint, run 1,750 miles.

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2015 Year in Review

Each one seems to get shorter than the last! While technically I have the same amount of time in the day (unless something really crazy has happened, that I’m unaware of…)… I feel like it’s work – workout – cook – sleep – begin again! So this 2015 Year in Review may be a bit shorter than in years’ past. Still – 2015 was a good one!

States and Provinces and Countries, Oh My!: Indiana, Texas, Chile, California – twice, British Columbia and Alberta – Canada, Maryland, Florida, & South Carolina. More or less in that order.

Favorite Songs from 2015 (well, they might not actually BE from 2015): Fool For Love, Lord Huron (one of whom went to school with Mr. Sesh. Which is weird/funny).
Shake, Head and the Heart [how has this not been on my list before?]
Chandelier, Sia [the video has a mere 1 billion views on YouTube]
Dearly Departed, Shakey Graves
Rollercoaster, Bleachers

Three Big Moments from 2015:

Chile Trip – In February, Mr. Sesh and I commenced our first trip to South America, heading first to Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park, and then north to the Atacama Desert (making packing a interesting feat). We both LOVED Chile, especially Patagonia. It probably didn’t hurt that we stayed at two amazing Awasi properties, either.  Special shout out to our amazing guide Kura and the best bartender in the Southern Hemisphere (or the world), Santiago at Awasi Patagonia. Cheers!

Kind of the Best Drink Ever
To be clear, there are… literally volcanic pumice stones in my drink. And it tastes amazing. Santiago, my hero.

Ran the Baltimore Marathon – I decided it was time to do a second marathon, as I’ve recently become a wee bit obsessed with “getting that Boston jacket.” (Mr. Sesh: “Technically you could probably just BUY one…”). It’s also been about four years since the first one, so the memory of the agony of training (and racing) had faded significantly. So on October 16th I ran in my second marathon, the Baltimore Marathon, and completed the race in 3:55:00 – shaving 36 minutes off my first marathon time. Good. BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Thus, I’m all signed up for the Carmel Marathon on April 16th an aiming for a sub 3:40:00 to qualify to apply for Boston (let’s not even address the fact that might not get me IN to the actual race).

Leslie Baltimore Marathon
I was…super not happy at this point.

Opened Chasing Rabbits Dog Bakery – Not sure why I buried this, it probably should have led the charge… but I am now officially a small business owner! Chasing Rabbits Dog Bakery was launched late in 2015 and it’s been off to a smashing (with friends and family) success! 😉 We’re appearing at local and regional craft fairs, and have a full e-commerce site (as well as an Etsy site). Our treats are made with natural, human food-grade ingredients, in small-batches. And, most importantly, dogs LOVE them! Probably because they’re filled with bacon and peanut butter and all sorts of other goodies…And yes, I’ve eaten them. They taste boring to me. But to a dog – delightful!

Motley Zoo Official Photos_2
Motley Zoo Animal Rescue Yappy Holidays Craft Bazaar – Our debut! (Photo courtesy: Motley Zoo)

Here’s to 2016! To Italy, and to making Chasing Rabbits Dog Bakery a success, and to QUALIFYING FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON! (all three of those best be on the 2016 Year in Review!)

2014 Year in Review

A quick recap of what was good about 2014:

Arthur and Team Peak Performance
This Could be the Meatball That Started it All. Or it could be just another meatball. (Image: Team Peak Performance)

Favorite feel-good story: Team Peak Performance Adopts Arthur, The Stray Dog (or perhaps it was vice versa…) I’m a sucker for a feel good dog story (Derby the Dog and his 3D printed prosthetic, Thai beach dog… you name it, I read it and cry at my desk [happy tears]). For some reason, this one stood out more than all the others. You’ve probably seen this by now, since it was widely reported on both social media and mainstream news media. Team Peak Performance, from Sweden, was participating in a grueling adventure race, The Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador, when the team captain shared a bite of food with a stray dog. This dog must have REALLY liked that meatball, because he proceeded to follow the team on their challenge. And nothing would stop him. Nothing. I can’t tell this story as good as the photos can, so take a look at a short format of the story on You Tube, and, if you don’t mind reading English subtitles, a longer format of the story via this Swedish production. And of course, you can keep up with Team Peak Performance and their new friend on their Facebook page.

Derby and his 3D Printed Legs
Because you can’t have too many feel-good dog photos. Here’s Derby and his 3D printed prosthetics, schooling his owner on a jog.

Favorite Songs (Added to my Ipod in 2014…regardless of when they came out): 1. The Safety Dance – Sleeping At Last. You’ll hardly recognize it from the original version. 2. Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men. It makes me think of both an enchanted forest and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. 3. Sorrow (Acoustic) – Bad ReligionEvery so often, I hear this song on 107.7 The End and this year, I finally downloaded it and was like “Why did I wait so long to download this???” 4. Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon. My local alternative (is that still a thing?) radio station began playing this a few months ago on very, very light rotation (as in, barely played it). Now it’s everywhere, even Dancing with the Stars. 5. Riptide – Vance Joy. Ditto. [ps- this album was apparently recorded in Woodinville, WA – he’s Australian] 6. Can’t Go Back – Little Big Town. I don’t listen to country music so I’m not sure where I picked this song up (probably a TV show, probably Hart of Dixie) but I love it. 7. You+Me – Rose Ave. Starbucks generally does a good job with their free downloads, and this is by far my favorite of 2014 (and possibly, ever). PS- if the female lead sounds familiar, it’s because it’s Alecia Moore, aka Pink. 8. Flashdance…What  A Feeling – Irene Cara. How has this song been out of my life for so long? 9. A Life That’s Good – Lennon and Maisy Stella. These Nashville girls (real sisters AND fake sisters) are good. Really good. And they’re like, I don’t know… 16 and 10 years old? 10. If It’s The Beaches – Avett Brothers. The Avett Brothers are one of those groups that I SHOULD like, based on the sound I generally tend to be drawn towards. Yet this is one of the few songs I like (excluding the random breathy talking part in the middle…).

Cheese Car
If you go to coastal Oregon, you go to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It’s just what you do. WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT, JOEY.

Life Stuff! States I visited in 2014: Oregon, Alaska, Florida (twice!), California, New Mexico, Indiana, Michigan (just long enough to grab Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor) Crazy Mileage Runs to Achieve Alaska Airlines MVP Status: 1 (Spokane, the least likely of mileage run cities) Random Obsession: The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which had me tippe typee texting away with my friend Kim until the wee hours, with things like “OMG has CNN gone to the press conference yet? AM I GOING TO HAVE TO WATCH THIS ON FOX NEWS??????????”; and prompted me to read the definitive guide on the Air France Flight 447 crash (I’m now capable of sprinkling phrases like “the pitots were clogged with tiny ice crystals” into any air disaster conversation [conversations that were alarmingly frequent in 2014]).

Running Lady
This is the type of running form that delivers consistent PRs.

Races Ran: Cinco de Mayo 1/2 Marathon – 1:45:53 – 5th in my division Fall City Days 10K – 46:32 (PR) – 3rd in my division Snoqualmie Ridge Turkey Trot 5K – 22:10 (PR) – “1st” in my division (thanks to a gender dispute) Seattle 1/2 Marathon – 1:44:06 (PR)  – 27th in my division   Highlights From 2014: 1. Boat trip to Prince William Sound: Well, I guess I should say boat trip ‘IN’ Prince William Sound, since I did not have to do the hard part of getting the boat up there and back. We flew in to Cordova, and out of Seward and it was gorgeous for the entire trip (minus the first 4 days we were stuck in the incredibly tiny town of Cordova). One tiny paragraph doesn’t do it justice; I’m hoping to post an actual account, and if I do, I’ll link it back here! 2. “How Did This Get Made?” Live Taping: Mr. Sesh and I occasionally do “DINK” (double income no kids) activities and this definitely falls under that category. We both love a podcast called “How Did This Get Made?” – which is basically just three comedians reviewing terrible movies with the underlying tone of, “no, seriously, how the HELL did this get made?”. I’m not describing it well, just give it a whirl. Every few months they do a live taping of the podcast in Los Angeles, so Mr. Sesh and I jetted down to L.A. for the weekend to watch the taping (we got to meet Paul Scheer and brush past Adam Scott [ok fine, maybe HE brushed past US]. And the next morning we did brunch at The Ivy and got a table right next to the street, on the patio. Seriously, I don’t know how that happened. It was amazing. I paid 90% of my attention to spotting celebrities and eavesdropping on the ladies next to us and 10% attention to Mr.Sesh (don’t worry, he was doing the same). 3. Seeds planted for the beginning of my dog bakery business: Somehow this year I got the idea that I want to start a dog bakery business, so hopefully in 2015’s year in review, there will be an entry entitled “Started a dog bakery business!”. Woof!

Prince William Sound
Just a nice little Prince William Sound photo…for the road. Here’s to 2015!

2013 Year in Review. Music, TV, Life. All in One Handy Post!

A few of my favorite things, from 2013:

Favorite Songs (not all actually FROM 2013…):
The Head and the Heart – Shake. This album seemed a little uneven compared to their stellar self-titled debut, and it’s a pretty weak from a “music cred” stand if my favorite song from the album is the first single, but… but it is.
Shovels & Rope – Birmingham.
I got this as a free iTunes download (quite possibly in 2012, but who cares) and I immediately became a huge fan. I also spent about 100 listens thinking they were dropping the N-word (which seemed weird, for a folk-duo) until Mr. Sesh google’d the lyrics and set me straight. Ahem… “Nickajack” is…apparently an “ill-defined area” in the rugged Appalachian foothills (I knew that $3 donation to Wikipedia was worth it!)
Wolf Gang – Suego Faults. This has probably been on my iPod for quite some time, and I can’t believe it hasn’t ended up on a previous year’s list… I think I got it off of Gossip Girl (or, for some reason I thought Friday Night Lights, but that does not make sense given that the album was released in 2011 and the show ended in February of 2011…). One of those songs that doesn’t really fit in a category, and not my typical “sound,” but there is something I find irresistible about it.
Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen. This is the song I like to blast really loudly when I need a boost (traffic, shitty work situation, general ‘bad day’, etc).

Songs I like that are embarrassing to admit: Blurred Lines (laughable), Wrecking Ball (better than her previous songs at least), Wake Me Up (country-dance-pop?)

Song I think I would have really liked if I had remembered to ever download it from iTunes: The Killers – Shot at the Night (maybe next year…maybe next year)

Googling "Claire Danes Crying Face" really delivered, but I didn't want to scroll too far for fear of revealing anything in Season 3.
Googling “Claire Danes Crying Face” really delivered, but I didn’t want to scroll too far for fear of revealing anything in Season 3.

Favorite New Show:
Homeland.
Yes, I know it came out a few years ago. Not all of us have the luxury of Showtime (just HBO). Sister Sesh bought the Season One DVD and we devoured it in weeks, and then finally (thank god) Season Two came out on DVD in September and it was EVEN BETTER. I mean, it’s TOTALLY ENTHRALLING TO WATCH A CRAZY CHICK AND A TERRORIST OUTSMART EACH OTHER AND THEMSELVES WHILE LIVING COMPLETELY EFFED UP LIVES.

I have nothing else to add on the television front, because everything else that came out in the fall of 2013 (that I had time to watch) sucked. In fact – I think Sleepy Hollow is the only new show I still watch and I feel my interest fading. Quickly. On a positive note, Community begins tomorrow! Yay!

I liked to think this guy was bicycling down the boardwalk with ice cream, but...he may have been an exterminator.
I liked to think this guy was bicycling down the boardwalk with ice cream, but…he may have been an exterminator.

Big 2013 Amazing Life Moments and Fun Things I Did (a regularly-formed sentence simply would not do it justice).

These are in no specific order, lest people Get Offended or Think I Am Shallow and Callous (hahaha. ha. ha).

1. Going to the Maldives. So far and away the best vacation I have ever been on, it can’t really even be touched by anything else. I mean, we were living in a luxury hut, over the ocean, with a private pool, in the Maldives…for…like… seven nights. Sharky and Ray, turtles, eating, dragging Mr. Sesh to the gym every day, private wine cellar dinner, suntanning (well, sort of, since it was 90+ degrees), swimming, snorkeling, jumping in our pool and taking endless photos to try and get the perfect “we love life and life loves us!” shot… every day was perfect. PERFECT.

2. Going to Dubai. And then we went to Dubai, which is literally the most surreal place I have ever been. It was like being on a movie set. Completely fascinating, but impossible to tell if it was fascinating in a good way or a bad way. Like a bad car wreck (well, no, I guess car wrecks would only be fascinating in a bad way…). But go. Go if you ever have the chance. It’s like a really gigantic Las Vegas, but with all the “sin” parts hidden behind closed doors.

3. New Babies for Family and Friends. 2013 was apparently the Year of the Baby because suddenly all my sisters and some of my friends suddenly had babies. Like, babies, that just…came out of the woodwork. Babies! Warm, tiny little babies that occasionally drooled and spit on me but redeemed themselves with their general cuteness.

Just me, hanging out with my camel.
Just me, hanging out with my camel.

4. Another Good Year for Running. Mr. Sesh told me runners reach their prime in like, their 30s so…good news… this aging thing is finally working in my favor! This year I recorded personal bests in both my half marathon (Fall City Half Marathon 1:44:34) and 5K (Snoqualmie Turkey Trot 5K 23:17). 2014 goal is to run my second full marathon, which… is probably causing Mr. Sesh some grief (you know, because he must always stay one ahead of me).

5. Buying our First House Together. In July, Mr. Sesh and I bought our first house together. We learned a few things about our new house and we’re still learning (ask him about setting up the Nest). But we both love it and so far haven’t found any reason to pack our bags and run screaming out of it (ghost, demon, insect infestation, etc).

States and Countries Visited in 2013: Maldives, UAE, Indiana, Canada, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Florida, California

Sports Teams that Better do Better in 2014: Michigan football and the Seattle Sounders. I mean, HOW CAN YOU BOTH BE SO BAD IN THE SAME YEAR? Michigan basketball was my only sports highlight in 2013 and even they lost in the NCAA finals. I mean, even one of my fantasy football teams went 4-7. GUH.

Here’s to 2014 – Treat us well.

The Day American Idol Ruined Madonna

This is already untimely, so without further ado:

1. Heard it Through the Grapevine, Candice: Was too busy finding the WordPress app to pay attention but I imagine it was good.

2. Janelle and Kree are singing the Motown classic, Like a Prayer: It’s like every Saturday night I had in college, except Jodi Foster and Ricki Lake were on lead vocals. Instead of me.

3. For Once in My Life, Lazaro: What’s the over/under on how far into the performance before he face sweats? 7 seconds? Also… Hashtag Gold Lame.

4. Someone should probably tell Nicki Minaj that Smokey Robinson does not look that young naturally.

5. Zumba mention! Drink.

6. Is it just me, or does Ryan seem even more robotic than usual?

7. Keep Me Hanging On, Janelle: Remember those days when they didn’t have backup singers on AI? I sometimes miss those days. Also… She’s looking a little cross-eyed.

8. How many times has Keith been to Detroit outside of doing concerts? Exactly. #DetroitVsEverybody (if you want to look like Keith or say…show your love for the D)

9. Tracks of My Tears, Devin: Smokey’s reaction to Devin saying he was singing this song. “Ohhhhhh…..weeee! Oohhhhhh….wee! Ok….” (Just imagine a squealing, scared pig.). Also, clearly there’s a stylist on the AI payroll whose fashion icon is TinTin.

10. Candice, Squirrel Head and Amber are singing The Supremes. I may have to start calling Squirrel Head something else, now that she has a hairbrush … like Disney Era Miley.

11. So hashtag pow is now a thing. Or #pow

12. My Shari Amor, Brunell: So Rick James is now a flautist? I mean, aside from dead. He’s dead right? I mean, no one could still be alive after that much cocaine? Right?

13. Nicki thinks Brunell is dressed like a doctor. I think he’s dressed like Ashton Kutcher during his Kabbalah phase.

Shoulder pads and white running shoes needed ASAP
Shoulder pads and white running shoes needed ASAP

14. Shop Around, Disney Era Miley: no seriously, what is going on with her hair? Also, if she was wearing white running shoes, she’d be the perfect 1980s working woman in that dress.

15. Sometimes I can’t tell if Keith is more proud papa towards DEM… or creepy uncle.

16. Some Stevie Wonder song that i Should know the title of, but don’t, by Amber: Her mouth is just… Incredibly huge. However, best performance so far.

17. Tour de force=fucking amazing (?)

18. The three guys sing something. Let’s be real… They’re just going to get picked off one by one anyway.

19. Wow. There was some serious bus throwing.

20. Don’t Play That Song, Kree: I actually really like Kree and I don’t have much snark left in me at this point. And the fact she can walk in those shoes is admirable.

XOXO,
The Sessionista

PS:  No really….why was “Like a Prayer” on Motown night? Other than the fact that Madonna is from Michigan. Because you know… so is Ted Nugent.

American Idol: Hashtag Pow

It’s that time of year again where I get to stay up until midnight writing snark about people I don’t know! Yay! At this point in the competition, I don’t know anyone’s names, I just call them by nicknames like “that girl,” “that other girl,” “that guy that’s sort of bad” etc. Luckily in the opening sequence everyone is being introduced and telling us what they want to be and who they are (all I caught was Angie saying she was an Irish girl, in a Southern accent).

This woman has somehow earned the right to judge you.
This woman has somehow earned the right to judge you.

Out come the judges, which means we get to see Mariah walk without assistance, which I was beginning to think was physically impossible. There’s no Nicki Minaj which is unfortunate, because I have been DYING to see what she looks like from the waist down (well, if by “dying” I mean “interested, but not enough to do a Google Image search).  Apparently Nicki is stuck in traffic.

Out come the kids and everyone is wearing a slightly uglier version of what they would have chosen for themselves. Somebody must have stolen Lazaro’s pink shirt while he was sleeping because it is nowhere in sight. Sad face. The theme for the night is “Music of Past American Idols” which is appropriately vague.

Curtis: Curtis wants to be a modern day Luthor Vandross (can you be a modern day Luthor Vandross? I mean, he’s technically modern day already). Great! I can’t wait for his churchy ballad. He’s singing Fantasia “I Believe.” I’m going to be sad if there’s no church choir (although if there’s not, I’m mollified by his paisley smoking jacket. You know Randy is plotting how to rip it off of him). Yay! There’s that choir. No robes, but close enough, since they streamed out in a line in a dramatic reveal. Do you think any of these backup singers ever tried out for American Idol? $100 says yes. At least one of them, at one point in their life. Keith likes it. Randy calls his jacket “fly” (ha!). I give this a 7.  Maybe a 7.5 for the bold jacket choice.

Ryan just walks off stage left, while talking, as the show goes to commercial (finally, he’s cracking. It’s happening. IT’S HAPPENING.)

Janelle: Janelle is telling us about how she saw Steven Tyler at the Idol Mansion (not at all creepy) while almost flashing her cooch. I’m hoping they remind us that she’s a fitness instructor which is…not going to lie…kind of hard to believe. She’s singing some song that Scotty McCreery did on the show by Montgomery Gentry (I could have that wrong. Listening, watching and typing are two tasks more than I am capable of handling). So I guess by “Idol songs ” we mean “songs that at one time were sung on American Idol by a winner.” Her backup singers look like they’d rather be getting root canals. I actually like Janelle –  she seems really comfortable on stage. She had some bad notes and she has a habit of pulling the mic away while doing big notes (which is probably a good thing given some of those notes were off). Nicki is suddenly back. Wearing a hoodie and sunglasses (I actually thought it was a seat filler at first). Keith thinks it’s “great.” Nicki is not a huge fan of her song choice (but I’m not even sure Nicki was there for most of the performance, so it kind of doesn’t count). Randy concurs with Nicki. Mariah thinks she has a “star aura.” I give this an 8, in part for the shadowy stallion on her t-shirt.

America, Meet Paul and Devin.
America, Meet Paul and Devin.

Devin: The first of the Ambiguously Gay Duo is up! He’s singing a Carrie Underwood song, “Temporary Home” (we’re treated to a some good Carrie Underwood Before She Thinned Out and Got a Stylist footage). Devin has a nice voice but I am super bored. On the plus side, it’s giving me two minutes to eat Mr. Sesh’s ice cream (to be clear, that is not a euphemism). Keith thought it sucked (mmm… my words, technically), Nicki took her glasses off and thinks it was wonderful. It just occurred to me Nicki maybe didn’t have time to go to wardrobe and is literally wearing a sweatshirt and t-shirt. Randy thinks it was lame and Mariah expects more.  I give this a 5 for being snoozy.

Angie: Squirrel Head is up next (Mr. Sesh: “Who’s that chick with the big pouf on her head?” Me: “What?” Mr. Sesh: “The chick with the squirrel thing on her head.” Me: “Oh. Right. Angie.”) and Jimmy Iovine thinks she acts like a pageant girl (which… I do not see). She’s singing “I Surrender” by Celine Dion, because that’s not pagenty at all (apparently I missed the season that Celine Dion won American Idol). The squirrel on her head has been groomed so it looks more like regular hair, but the 50 Shades of Slutty Dominatrix dress doesn’t disappoint, nor does her epic, classic camera-following gaze. I thought this kind of sucked, and I think she’s normally pretty good. Maybe the song is just not my thing. Keith (who is quickly becoming the coherent Paula of the group) is a fan, Nicki is making some borderline creeper comments about Angie’s legs (and her ability to walk in heels, which, frankly, I’m jealous of ALL of these 18-year-old girls who can walk in heels). Randy kindly drops the “in it to win it” phrase and Mariah thinks it was “stellar” (then the audience sort of pauses and claps awkwardly. Mariah is great at making what are supposed to be grand, dramatic statements that completely fall flat).

Paul: The second half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo is up! Side note, how is this guy named Paul? He is not a Paul. Sorry. He’s just not. Someone (Jimmy Iovine) needs to tell him that. Also, Paul Jolley. Paul JOLLEY. I mean, there is no way this guy hasn’t performed on a cruise ship (although he did say he has never sang Broadway…so… maybe not). Another Scotty song! Well, “Amazed,” as done by Scotty. He’s trying really hard not to over sing/over perform it…it’s like you can see him trying to control his forehead and eyebrow expressions. Like a giant botox commercial. Also, there are falling rose petals on the video boards. Good to see they’re going to phone that part in again this year. Keith loves that song, Nicki’s sexual appetites are stimulated (which seems to make Mr. Jolley pretty uncomfortable). Randy thinks Paul’s been listening to Jimmy and “all of us” because god forbid he not get credit, and Mariah (who is mastering “exasperated”) says something that I completely failed to write down. For the second time tonight I have written ‘and Mariah’ and then nothing. I give this an 8.

Candice: Candice (who is wearing, to put it bluntly, a shit ton of makeup) is singing I (Who Have Nothing), which Jordin Sparks did back before she was collaborating with that douche bag Chris Brown (which, if we’re getting technical, was before we all KNEW that Chris Brown was, indeed, a douche bag, so I can’t be too hard on her). Candice has a pretty good voice. And Candice has a timpani player. Candice will win this all, and she better remember to thank her timpani player when the confetti is raining down. Randy thought it was “the greatest performance on this show of this Season 12 ever” (or similar). Mariah should lobby to go first sometimes, because we’ve all checked out by the time she begins to speak (well until she got in that comment about Ryan knowing how to work a skirt. zing!). I give her (Candice, not Ryan) a 9.

This pink shirt is more famous than I will ever be.
This pink shirt is more famous than I will ever be.

Lazaro: I’m still sad he’s not wearing his pink shirt (but he’s dressed like he’s doing the jive on Dancing With The Stars, so there’s still some blog fodder to be had).  Oh wait. Wait. There it is. The pink shirt. In the interview sequence. He’s singing “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson. Lazaro needs to take camera following lessons from Angie. The Richie Valens thing is kind of working for him from the neck up though. The Ronald McDonald shoes are not. We’ve gone from cracked desert to Windows 95 start-up screen (thanks mr. sesh) to generic pink clouds, which makes me think the guy operating the video board finally discovered what happens when he hits the “random” button. Keith asks Lazaro a question and then immediately regrets it. As does Lazaro. Randy starts with “For me” which is NEVER a good sign. Mariah talks about vulnerability and obstacles (“whatever they are” Read: I’m talking about your stutter, but I’m not going to say it). I give this a 7. I don’t like this song, but I do like Lazaro. And I want to see if the Pink Shirt makes it for 10 straight weeks of screen time).

Kree: Every time I see Kree I try to figure out who she looks like. Right now I’m thinking Demi Moore meets Liv Tyler When She Was Rounder meets the Biggest Kardashian Girl. She’s singing “Crying” by Roy Orbison/Carrie Underwood. I think Kree is one of the most commercially viable contestants they have. I don’t know if she has enough pizzazz (or teenage power voters) to win, but she could probably churn out a few country albums before fading into obscurity. Also, is her name really Kree? That seems contrived. Keith drops the annoying, overplayed “sing the phonebook” comment (which no one would want to listen to even if it was Whitney Houston at Her Peak Before Being Ravaged by Cocaine). Nicki tells us she eats waffles when she’s not working. I just realized Randy has a giant + Boy shirt on and a pin that says HI. Why have I not addressed Randy’s outfit? I’m slipping. I give this song a 7.5 because I was, well….bored. Again.  But her eye makeup was good. So… there’s that. Also, she goes in for the full frontal Ryan hug and then calls him Randy. I like her even more now.

Burnell, before discovering that magic that is the tapestry hat.
Burnell, before discovering that magic that is the tapestry hat.

Burnell: I still can not reconcile in my head that Burnell of the Tapestry Hats is the same guy that tried out looking like he just got off a shift at the local cannery. It’s like he tried out, then someone sent him through a Hipster Factory and now he wears dorky hats and glasses. The bad news for Burnell (who is singing Reuben Studdard [there’s a career to replicate…]) is that the stylists took all his signature looks away and now we’re all like “wait, who’s this dude in the leopard print shirt?” Also, side note, he’s wearing the same jacket at Paul Jolley. Times are apparently tough at American Idol. Keith thinks it’s great. Nicki admits she was obsessed with Reuben’s first album (he had an album?), I can’t score this because I wasn’t really listening. Sorry. My dog was doing something cute so I got distracted.

Amber:  Little Miss is predictably singing Kelly Clarkson “A Moment Like This”… Jimmy calls her pretty, which she immediately translates to “beautiful.” She does sort of look like a young Whitney (like, literally looks like her, not necessarily her voice). Hmm. Where do I begin with this? The song is way too fast so it loses all of its grandiosity because there’s no build up. Her outfit is all sorts of awful (get a glimpse of the mini boot/flats which she has paired with her flowing evening gown…)…and I think the fan guy forgot to start it going until about 30 seconds in. All the judges are DYING over this performance (apparently it was more exciting in person). Mariah says, I’m not even kidding “hashtag pow,” after previously mentioning twitter (Read: “I’m cool. I use Twitter. LOVE ME!!!!”)

Predicted Bottom 3: Devin, Curtis, Janelle (or maybe Amber. I know. Bold choice, esp given the pimp slot at the end).

Things I’m going to like about this season: Keith Urban’s accent, Nicki’s facial expressions (which have no filter), Keith Urban’s t-shirts, Nicki’s Hello Kitty mirror.

Things I’m going to hate about this season: Nicki’s fake British accent, Mariah’s worthless commentary, the fact that two hours of my life are sucked up by this shit.

XOXO,

The Sessionista

Off-Season American Idol News: Ryan Seacrest Will Outlive Them All

Good lord, I spend enough time writing about American Idol while it’s actually airing on TV, and now suddenly is blitzkrieg of American Idol news from left right and center (or from E! Online, US Weekly and Entertainment Tonight).

Apparently according to credible sources (and actual official statements, which normally no one waits for anymore), the judge’s table is being abandoned like it’s en fuego, with Steven Tyler leaving, Jennifer Lopez “considering” leaving (she’s clearly just being polite and/or waiting for a massive cash offer to keep her in place) and rumors of Randy Jackson being fired (because really, you’d have to pry his cold, dead body out of that chair before he’d leave voluntarily).

I find this all to be a bit of non-news really, since no one cares much about the judges since Simon Cowell and his tight, white, nipple baring t-shirts left the show. Well, and the sheer joy of anticipating a Paul Abdul live, on-camera meltdown. I will, however, miss JLo’s bipolar fashion sense (exquisite designer mini-dresses followed, inexplicably, by “dropped a deuce” leggings…I’ve cried physical tears over this). I will miss nothing about Steven Tyler because I have fast-forwarded over everything he’s said on the show.

And Randy, whose exit is clearly inevitable, well… I will miss him most of all. Who else is going to name drop with such clever abandon? Who else will send me into peals of laughter with his hideous faux prepster outfits? Whoever produced giant watches and ugly pins is surely weeping right now. And the creator of the Randy Jackson Name Dropping tumblr.

I mean, he actually APPROVED this artwork.
I mean, he actually APPROVED this artwork.

The most disturbing thing to come of this is the list of potential people to replace this trio of non-judging judges (because really, the most critical thing that has been said of anyone in the last two seasons is “I wasn’t really feeling it, dawg.”).  Adam Lambert’s name keeps popping up, which may be enough for me to close up shop on American Idol. The mere thought of him shrieking all of his critiques makes my brain hurt. The only plus side would be the undoubtably terrible outfits he’d choose (aka “blog fodder”) and all the angry social conservatives out there who would have their knickers in a twist over a (out) gay judge for this bastion of all things shiny and good.

Apparently keeping infant twins in Louis Vuitton is expensive, because the other name I keep hearing is Mariah Carey. Which, if Randy does somehow escape Nigel’s guillotine, would be awkward…you know, when it becomes apparent that Mariah is not, actually Randy’s “good friend.” Although would quite enjoy the sharp decline in Mariah audition songs and her diva antics. In short, I’d approve of MC being on the panel.

XOXO,

The Sessionista