Monday, January 27, 2003

Got side-tracked for the past week, so be prepared for a long list. :)

First, America Idol II has hit our shores. ( About time, too! ) And the pilot episode did not disappoint. If you don't know what it's about, where've you been this past week? Pluto??? Anyway, I'm just gonna jump right in and tell you my hot favourites after the first round -- bear in mind, of course, that they didn't show every single successful audition, preferring instead to dwell on the really lousy ones ( the main draw, no doubt ). I pick the twins -- what a knockout rendition of Alicia Keys' "Fallen"! -- and Danny Rodriguez, who sang "Fly Me To The Moon" and stole my heart straight away. :D And get a load of that young lady who sounded exactly like Julie London when she belted out "Fever" -- eerily uncanny. Yep, high-calibre stuff here.

But ultimately it isn't the great ones who stick in the mind. There was Edgar Nova, the Enrique Iglesias wannabe who embarrassed himself dreadfully on international TV, and later showed that he totally lacks insight by arguing with the panel of judges, and telling everyone outside that he'd been chosen for the next round. He needs a psych referral! And don't underestimate the dramatic factor, 'cos two girls who were picked have "potential catfight" written all over them, as one is dating the other's ex-boyfriend, and even though they pretend to be buddies, you can tell that there's definite animosity going on. Hmmm....

The barbs from Simon Cowell are ruthless, but you'll notice that when he's nasty, the contestant usually deserves it. And when he's impressed, he tells it to your face. I just can't figure out how some of the hopeful ones have the gall to go before him, expecting to be complimented when they suck so bad. They're just asking to be hammered, so I don't really pity them.

Well, it's gonna be a tough fight, so let's see who emerges the champion. Check out the website for more juicy gossip and updates.

Second, kudos to the organizers of this year's MTV Asia Awards. It's definitely a lot better than last year's marathon disaster, and the performances were great -- Matchbox Twenty, Missy Elliott, Shaggy, Jay Chou and Robbie Williams stood out. Robbie was especially cheeky during his performance of "Feel", pushing into the crowd and allowing the crazed audience members to grab at him. Way to go, Rob! Hope he'll be back later this year for a full-length concert!

Third, if you haven't heard of or been to Bar None at The Marriott Hotel, you must drop by one of these nights -- preferably a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday. It remains my all-time favourite hangout, and for good reason. Energy, with lead singer Douglas Oliveiro, still rocks! And they're constantly changing their repetoire, so last Friday, they played everything from the likes of U2, Aerosmith ( a dead-on cover of "Walk This Way" ), Guns 'N Roses ( "Sweet Child 'O Mine" never sounded better ), Tom Petty, and even did a cool rendition of "Stand By Me" ( with a guest performance from an audience member, who, thankfully, wasn't tone deaf! ). The dance music in between the sets was good stuff, and the crowd continued to pour in even after 1am. A really happening place, and patrons are young professionals in their 20s and 30s -- very friendly and sociable bunch too, as we made friends with quite a number of those standing near us. So I can't believe the post-MTV Asia Awards show party was at, ugh, Empress Place. No wonder everyone left early. Bar None's the place to be, guys!

Last, take a look inside last week's Time (Asia) magazine, which features Kim Jong Il on the cover. Fascinating issue, with an article on the cloning debate and a small feature on the kooky Raelians. There's also one on North Korea, and offers some interesting viewpoints on Kim Il Sung, as well as the mounting tension over the nuclear warhead crisis. But I especially enjoyed a piece on American architect David Rockwell, who's responsible for the beautiful Kodak Theatre ( home to the annual Oscar ceremonies ). Check out the awesome photos of his other creations ( especially the casino ), and you'll also be surprised by the fact that he was eager to design Singapore's new airport, but was passed over -- probably because his ideas were deemed too "radical" ( e.g. a curbside aquarium, and a giant aviary in the departure lounge ). Sigh, trust the Singapore government to stifle genius. :(

Okay, gotta go do some work. More updates next time!

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