Monday, May 22, 2006

Cue Twilight Zone Theme

Just found this out 20 minutes ago from an email my travel agent sent. Through some major ( albeit weird ) coincidence, not only did my itinerary get tweaked, it seems my mom and I will be in Germany the day of the World Cup finals.

Let me pick my jaw off the floor for a second.

Although we'll be in Munich, not Berlin ( not that I even knew beforehand, since I have zero interest in football ), I anticipate quite a bit of excitement nevertheless.

And yes, I intend to watch the big game with as many people as possible, probably in the hotel bar or some restaurant nearby.

Place some bets, you say? I'll think about it. :)

Photos a definite must. Will post them when I get back.

Taylor Hicks - The Next American Idol

I last did something like this in 2003, when Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard faced off at the finals. Sadly, Clay was the runner-up despite my strong prediction that he'd win, but as you can see, he's proven to be the much more successful -- and more famous -- of the duo, selling twice as many albums, with a 3rd release on the way.

So yes, once again, I predict that Taylor Hicks will be the next American Idol, though if, for whatever horrendous reason, he loses to Katharine McPhee ( aargh! ), he is, in my opinion, the victor, and will outshine Kat by leaps and bounds.

Heck, perhaps even Elliott will fare better than her, if he cuts an LP as well.

If you've been reading my blog faithfully, you may recall how I first discovered this gray-haired talent -- ie. during his Vegas audition, where he did Sam Cooke and Ray Charles. Goosebumps galore, and I've been a strong supporter ever since.

Some people can't stand him, but hey, they're entitled to their feelings. No matter what, you can't deny the presence of the Soul Patrol, a whopping fanbase that has spread from the US to Europe and Asia.

My favourite AI moments for Taylor:

1. You Send Me - a cover of the Sam Cooke classic that started off simply but ended with a kick so great even Simon Cowell described it as "magic".

2. Crazy Little Thing Called Love -- a lively version of a Queen fav, during which he missed the microphone stand when he tried to kick it. Hahahahaha. :D

3. Livin' For The City -- Stevie Wonder week was tough, but Taylor looked fantastic in a slick black suit, got his groove on and brought the house down with one of his greatest performances ever.

4. Jailhouse Rock -- another high-energy performance which garnered an encore request from the X-Men chick no less!

5. Try A Little Tenderness -- Ahhhh, the best yet! His choice of this Otis Redding number ( which you can hear on Michael Buble's It's Time CD ) switched tempo midway, shifted into high gear and knocked everyone's socks off! Simon correctly predicted that Taylor sang himself into the semi-finals, and I can only hope he will sing himself to the AI title this week.

I don't have anything against Kat specifically, but there're rumours floating around the Internet ( on this thread, for example ), which don't exactly make her or her family look that good.

I suspect a lot of her fans are young, heterosexual males. One of my friends keeps going on about how "so so so gorgeous" she is. I agree she's beautiful, but that doesn't mean she deserves to win. I don't feel her passion, her heart and soul the way I do Taylor's.

We have to keep it real, people.

Anyway, my enthusiasm for the Soul Patrolman hasn't abated all these months, and experiences occasional peaks when something "interesting" happens. For example, a friend in New York City has a girlfriend who met Taylor in LA while in the lobby of the apartment building they both stay in. Wow, what're the odds? She relates that Taylor was very nice and friendly, and even passed her a free CD ( think it's the AI5 compilation album ). She's become a fan -- naturally. :)

I'm also in touch with the founder of, who knows Taylor and his friends personally. It really is a great place. Reminds me so much of the Clay Aiken site I used to frequent.

So good luck, Taylor! Someone owes me a drink if you win! :)

Review of The Da Vinci Code

Caught this last week but didn't have the energy to post till now.

In short, I enjoyed it. Really! I thought it was well done, exciting, intriguing, even moving at times. It's a cool movie.

Stress the word "movie", 'cos I don't for one second believe any of that hokey Jesus-and-Mary-Magdalene stuff. If you have deep reservations, then by all means give it a miss. But if you don't mind being entertained and are able to detach yourself from the surrounding controversy, then it ain't a bad way to spend 2-3 hours of your time.

Plus, seeing the film may help you discuss the issues with those who have questions. A foot through the door of spiritual debate, so to speak.

Indeed, it is very faithful to the novel, down to the nitty-gritty details about the event behind Sophie's eventual estrangement from her grandfather ( a sequence that took maybe 0.10 secs in total -- my mom had to lean in and ask "What the heck just happened?" heh heh ).

The last 5 minutes are the cheesiest, of course ( "You're the last living descendant" blah blah blah ), but I like the exchange where Tom Hanks says Sophie's identity could either destroy faith or renew it.

That, I think, is the crux of this whole mess. You can debunk the Code all you want, but what people choose to believe remains their own personal decision. The concept of free will -- a theme so central to Christianity yet also misunderstood and misused -- may never have been quite this prominent in a mainstream blockbuster.

Next entry: the day of the AI5 finals results.


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