Friday, February 29, 2008

AI Voting Update

I feel pretty good about my picks! I guessed both women who were voted off, but missed on both men....even though I was close! Of course, at this time, I'm picking who I think SHOULD get voted off, not who I think WILL get voted off. I'll do that later in the game. I guess I should have given more credit to the viewers for pegging Robbie Carrico as a "poser." In the meantime, I'm beginning to have a strong suspicion that Danny Noriega will be this year's Sanjaya! He's got "Vote For The Worst" behind him. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

American Idol-Help Please!!

It's early in the competition for American Idol, but we've learned some lessons so far. Let's hope some of the contestants have learned some lessons too. First and foremost, we've learned the value of a good producer. SO many of the contestants have chosen the absolute WORST songs for themselves. A good producer would have nixed these poor choices immediately.
The women made horrific choices for the most part. The only singer who came close to choosing the right song was Brooke White, although in her case, I didn't think she quite pulled off the song itself. The rest chose songs which just didn't fit their individual talents. I know it was 70s night, but they might as well have chosen "Billy, Don't Be A Hero," "The Night Chicago Died" and "Seasons in the Sun." Even though I think this season's worth of female talent pales in comparison to last season's female talent (Melinda Doolittle, Jordan Sparks, LaKisha Jones), there is some talent there: Karly Smithson, Kady Malloy and Ramiele Malubay. All three chose horrible songs to sing Wednesday night.

Carly is one of the "retreads" this season. Someone who had a record deal a while back, but lost it. She was even chosen for Idol Hollywood last time around, but had visa problems and had to back out. She and Kady both chose Heart songs and both efforts were so far beneath Ann Wilson's talent, it stuck out like a sore thumb. It's kinda like an earlier blog, when I mentioned that NO ONE should try to sing "You Can't Make Me Love You" after Bonnie Raitt. Ramiele made the same mistake tonight. Amanda has potential to stand out, IF she stays more in the Blues-Rock genre. Randy mirrored my comments following her performance tonight.

On the men's side, more bad choices. The mens' "retread," Robbie Carrico, a former member of a boy-band which had lukewarm success before losing their record deal has some talent, but to me, has always looked like he was "trying" to look like a rock singer, more than actually BEING one, in other words, the dreaded "poser."

David Cook, the bar-band singer from Blue Springs, Missouri looks and sounds like.....a bar-band singer from Missouri. Not bad, but he's not on the Critter Club circuit anymore (Eagles Lodge, Moose Lodge, Elks Club, etc)

I actually like, Jason Yeager, but the one guy singer who stands head and shoulders above the rest is David Archuleta, the 17-year-old kid from Utah. Those who know how much I deplore "child prodigies" know: 1. How much it must pain me to admit this and 2. This kid must really be good. (I'm not a big fan of child prodigies because they haven't matured enough to really feel the depth of emotion they're portraying in song, and because.....they're taking money from us older artists who have a mortgage payment due.) The kid is really good though. I don't know if he's got a "silent producer" in the background, or getting some help, but he's made great choices so far. I always thought Sundance Head would have at least made the top 10 last season if he hadn't made such bad song choices. On the other hand, Melinda Doolittle, who had a world of talent last year, helped herself by making great song choices. I think she also did indeed have an "advisor" (producer) who helped her with her song choices.

So who should go? Well if it were my vote and my vote only: Danny ( 2 snaps), Luke, Alaina and Alexandrea.

We'll see who's left standing Thursday....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hannah Montana

To gage to success of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, you need only to stroll through Wal-Mart. I did the other day, and walked by a display of cereal boxes with her picture on each box, and then by 3 other separate displays of dolls and other accessories dedicated to her. Whew. This girl has already made more money than I will in my entire lifetime. In fact, more than her father, Billy Ray Cyrus in HIS entire lifetime. It's a monument to her charisma, and to our country's obsession with youth. Is there anywhere to go but down for her? Probably so, but in the meantime, she's striking while the iron is hot, and that's what it's all about. You wonder if she'll end up like so many child stars, like Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan, etc. I hope not. She seems to have a solid foundation with her family, including Billy Ray.

I've met Billy Ray several times throughout the years: When he was a nobody, when he was at the top, and then after the wave of popularity had passed. The thing that struck me about him was that he was the same guy, all the way through.

The first time I met Billy Ray Cyrus, was at the old Time Out Lounge at the Executive Inn as I was preparing for a Telethon of Stars appearance. He and his band of buddies from Eastern Kentucky were playing a bar gig, including several bar standards. It was a nice enough show. Several girls were going nuts over him, but hey, he was a good looking guy. He did announce he was going to play an upcoming single which he planned to release and then launched into "Achy Breaky Heart.' We all started giggling, thinking it was the WORST song we'd ever heard, but hey he was a nice guy and we all had a good time.

A few months later, I was listening to the radio and a song came on. After just a few notes, I already knew what it was. "Achy Breaky Heart." I almost ran off the road. In retrospect, it was a tribute to how good the hook to the song was. I had only heard it once, months ago, but instantly knew what it was.

The next time I saw and met Billy Ray, was in the showroom at the Executive Inn. He was a big star. The thing that struck me about him was that he was still as humble as ever, and even more so, I was struck that his band was the EXACT same band he had earlier in the lounge. They were his friends. In the music biz, when someone hits it bigtime, usually the 1st thing that goes is the "old band." The managers, producers, agents want the artist to have a more professional band of Nashville "hired guns." Bill Ray had stayed true to his guys though. I always thought that was great.

A few years later, I met Billy Ray again at a show. This time, his star was on the way down, but he was the same guy I had met years earlier at the Timeout Lounge, and he STILL had the same band. I thought to myself, here's a guy who's stayed true to himself, and true to his friends and bandmates, the whole way through. There aren't many like that. In fact, he may be about the only one I've met. No doubt, it kept him grounded, and said a lot about what kind of person he was, and what kind of values he had.

I hope he's been able to pass those values on to his daughter, Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus. Even if she's made more money than her dad, it would be the most valuable thing she could ever receive. In the meantime, I'd really love it if Hannah Montana would record one of MY songs. I promise, I'd stay grounded.....forever!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Love songs

In case you ever wondered what my favorite love songs were, I-List Paducah made a list:
Here it is!

Lew Jetton’s Top 10 Never-Fail Love Songs

10. It’s Ecstasy, Barry White
“If I had Barry White’s voice, I could sound sexy reading the phone book!”

9. Lady Blue and Song for You, Leon Russell
“I love both of these songs so much, I can’t choose.”

8. You Are So Beautiful, Joe Cocker
“Another great one. It’s hard to beat Cocker for putting emotion into a song, and what stronger emotion is there than love!”

7. Save The Best For Last, Vanessa Williams
“Undoubtedly the most talented, the most famous and the most disgraced of all Miss Americas, Vanessa Williams’ voice has always moved me, and this song of hers is my favorite.”

6. Call Me, Al Green

“Al Green’s voice, along with Teenie Hodges guitar. What a combination.”

5. Unforgettable, Natalie Cole
“This song always brings chills to me, whether it’s solo, or the ‘unforgettable’ duet with her dad, Nat King Cole.”

4. Sexual Healing and Let’s Get It On, Marvin Gaye
“Without a doubt, two of the sexiest songs, sung by one of my favorite singers. Before Sexual Healing, Let’s Get It On was Marvin Gaye’s signature love song.”

Editor’s note: Anybody else needin’ a fan? Mercy!

3. Superstar, Luther Vandross
“Originally titled Groupie, this Delaney and Bonnie song was recorded so many times. I guess the biggest selling version was by the Carpenters, but Luther’s soaring version is by far my favorite. When you break it down, it’s really a very sad story, but so beautifully told by Vandross.”

2. I Can’t Make You Love Me, Bonnie Raitt
“I’ve been blessed to have witnessed a few magical moments. One was being there in person as Bonnie Raitt sang this song in Mississippi, not long after Katrina, with the great Jon Cleary on piano. You could have heard a pin drop in the packed hall. It’s such a great song. I’ve heard so many singers sing it. After her, they should never even try.”

1. Someone to Watch Over Me, Etta James
“Probably the most beautiful version of one of the most beautiful songs ever.”

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Mind Is Racing...

Sunday was the 50th running of "The Great American Race", The Daytona 500. I've enjoyed NASCAR for years and used to make the trek to Talladega each year, however I must admit my love for NASCAR lost a little something with the death of Dale Earnhardt a few years ago. Nonetheless, the Daytona 500 is one of the races I watch every year. This year was no exception. Off the top of my head, I:

Loved the old race cars making their way around the track on this 50th anniversary.....especially those Superbirds. I always thought they were the coolest cars ever!

Wondered what all the fans are going to do with their #8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr tattoos. I guess they could add another 8, but it would be off-center. I guess that's why Mama said never get a tattoo, unless it was Mom or Jesus. Those 2 are forever.

Caught lipsynching: Chubby Checker (but he looked great for his age!)

Wondered why Ford doesn't run Crown Victorias. If the Fusions are faster, how come the cops aren't driving them? Can the 2008 NASCAR Fusions take voice commands like the "stock" ones?

Assumed the Toyotas would last longer, get better gas mileage and have higher resale value than the other race cars.

Wondered why On-Star doesn't sponsor the in car communications.

Found myself missing Dale, Sr running round that track.

Wondered if Ashley Judd thought her husband was less sexy since he left the regal European Formula One circuit for the popular but less regal NASCAR circuit.

Thought the "car of the future" performed wonderfully! It allowed drivers to recover from taps, etc that in the past would have sent them spinning into the wall and causing those "chain reaction" super speedway wipe outs.

Wondered if some "fans" were sad there weren't more crashes.

Wondered what ever happened to Dick Trickle?

Took off my hat to Ryan Newman. Even though I really like Dale, Jr , I thought it was great for a team besides Hendrick Motorsports to win. Maybe this season will lend itself to more competition than the last several. Let's go racin'!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The New Tornado Alley

When most of us think about "Tornado Alley," we think of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, but when it comes to the more powerful, killer tornadoes, "Tornado Alley" is the Mid South. Over the last 10-15 years, there have been more F-2 and higher tornadoes in the Memphis radar region than any other, with Paducah coming in second. Of course, the people of Jackson, TN don't need to be reminded. Tuesday's devastating tornado was just the latest round of powerful tornadoes to rip through the city, and/or the surrounding area during the last several years. Jackson has taken direct hits 3 times since 1999.

This is especially heartbreaking to me, as I'm a native West Tennessean and worked in Jackson for 6 years in the 80's. Over the last 10 years, dozens have lost their lives in Jackson and rural West Tennessee. On Tuesday, the death toll wasn't bad considering the nature of the powerful, long-track tornadoes. It's a tribute to more people taking storm warnings seriously and being more prepared.

Tuesday night, I was actually playing at the Lourdes Foundation Mardi Gras Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois, but my thoughts were further south, with my family and friends in the Ken-Tenn and West Tennessee. Beginning in early afternoon, I was tracking a troubling storm in Northeast Louisiana, which was moving northeast. I had a feeling it was headed our way, even then. These are the times I miss working as a meteorologist, because these are the times I felt like my 25 years of experience in the area, really made a difference. I feel protective of my lifelong friends and neighbors in the area. Needless to say, it's a short list of meteorologists who I trust to deliver severe storm and tornado warnings.

Sure enough, I watched as a few hours later, it turned into another tornado outbreak in West Tennessee.

Here we go again. The tornadoes moved through the Memphis area, to Jackson and then on through Puryear. A few tornadoes and funnel clouds made it into Southeast Missouri and into Christian County in Western Kentucky. At least 2 television stations in Memphis, and WBBJ-TV in Jackson, TN stayed on the entire time, from mid-afternoon on, to warn viewers about the tornado tracks. They are to be commended. No doubt they saved lives. Even though at times WBBJ had only a partial signal, they kept doing what they could to warn viewers in West and Northwest Tennessee. Of course, sadly, they've been through the drill before.

They also stayed on to warn viewers throughout the tornado outbreak in 2006, in which tornadoes moved through Caruthersville, MO, across the Mississippi and into Dyer and Gibson Counties in Northwest Tennessee.

In 2006, just as the tornadoes were ripping into Dyer County, WBBJ continued with live coverage and provided warnings and live tracking all the way through the event. They don't have the bells of whistles of other stations, but they do have genuine dedication to the area. Of course, I've known their Chief Met, Gary Pickens for more than 25 years, so I'm not surprised at all. For all he's done the past several years in West Tennessee, he deserves a crate full of Emmies. By staying on continuously, these stations lose a lot of advertising money, but if they hadn't, we could have lost a lot more lives.

For all the times we gripe about local TV news & weather, there still are some dedicated people who, like me, truly do care more about saving lives than anything else. My hats off to them!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Against All Odds...

I guess I didn't want to get my hopes up. That's why I didn't want to allow myself to toy with the thought that the New York Giants could beat the undefeated Patriots. After all, the Giants had struggled through a good portion of the season, even though they were unbeaten themselves, on the road. The Patriots were sooooooo good and had weaseled out of so many jams the last few weeks of the season. It just seemed they had lady luck on their side, along with all that talent. I learned a long time ago though, that the best team doesn't always win. The team that PLAYS best, usually wins. On Super Sunday, it was the Giants.
Bridget got an e-mail from her old HS classmate, and my friend as well, Giants GM Jerry Reese Wednesday. "Wow!, We did it!"
As the time ran off the clock, we broke out "the good stuff" we had been saving for just such an occasion.

Two great things happened this day. Jerry, one of the "good guys," had achieved the top of his profession in his 1st year on the job. The old expression, "It couldn't happen to a nicer guy" certainly applies, or a harder working guy. That's Jerry. Jerry was always a hard worker. For some reason, when I see Jerry I always remember what my buddy Hutch told me once. Hutch played against him in high school. He said the hardest hit he ever took was from Jerry. "He hit me so hard I peed blood!"

I also had to toast my favorite team while I was growing up. Yep.....the Miami Dolphins. 1972 had been like a dream come true to me growing up in West Tennessee. I didn't hate the Patriots, but yeah, I wanted them to least one.
The PATS did lose just one, but it was the BIG ONE. That's why they go down as the worst 18-1 team ever. There have only been 2 other 18-1 teams: the '85 Bears and the '84 49ers. While the Dolphins and the Patriots both came into the Super Bowl undefeated, most probably don't recall that the undefeated Dolphins took the field as three point UNDERDOGS to the Washington Redskins. How's that for disrespect. The Patriots came into their Super Bowl as double digit favorites, which made their fall so much more surprising.

I raised my glass to Jerry and took a sip of champagne for a fellow West Tennessee kid, who through sweat and perseverance, grew to reach the pinnacle of sports. Then I raised my glass, along with Zonk, Nick, Mercury, Manny, Bob and Paul, and toasted a part of my West Tennessee childhood, that I won't have to share, at least for another year.

If you go by this season's records, the Patriots will face perhaps the easiest schedule in NFL history this fall. It's a little early to start worrying, but I've kinda got it in the back of my mind. Gosh, I hope the Patriots lose, at least once....