Everyone Has a Cold...
It’s time for the “Everyone
has a cold, including me” edition of The Block Party for the week of
March 10, 2008. I thank everyone who reads the column, picks up the
podcast from the webpage at www.blockpartypodcast.com or the Itunes
feed. And I thank my recording engineer Ivy Reisner, for making me sound
as clear as possible under the circumstances.
We start this week with the top 12. The top 12 of American Idol, of
course. We are now down to the single elimination round. The top 12
singers will be singing songs from the Lennon-McCartney songbook (as
announced last week) on a brand new set. We had four more eliminations
as Luke Menard, Kady Malloy, a very surprising Asia`h Epperton, and a
not-so-surprising Danny Noriega gone. So we have the top 12.
This now brings us to the Block Party Idol Power Chart (TM). This is
where I believe everyone is ranked as of the performances thus far. And
it goes like this:
1. David Archuleta.
2. Syesha Mercado
3. Michael Johns.
4. Brooke White
5. Carly Smithson
6. David Hernandez
7. David Cook
9. Jason Castro
10. Ramiele Malubay
11. Kristy Lee Cook
12. Amanda Overmeyer
Unless we have a major blowup by all of the rockers, Amanda Overmeyer
should be going home this week. It will depend on the performances.
Speaking of which, how good was “Love Is A Battlefield” by Brooke White?
It was just as good, if not better than the Archuleta performance of
“Imagine”. It’s going to be fun to watch. You have 5-6 potential winners
The 2nd piece of Idol news
brings us the return of “Idol Gives Back” on April 9. This Emmy Winning
Telethon raised $76 million dollars last year and this year will feature
such stars as Bono, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus, Mariah
Carey, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Fergie, Chris Daughtry, Carrie
Underwood, Annie Lennox, John Legend and Snoop Dogg.
Now, I am all for charity telethons and raising money. I have raised
money for my own favorite charities. But here’s where I disagree with
the intentions of the show. Does anyone remember We Are The World? This
was where, in 1985, mind you...rock stars from around the world raised
hundreds of millions of dollars for African Relief. And Live Aid raised
even more for Ethiopian and famine relief.
But what happened to the money and food when it was delivered to the
poor starving people? It was hijacked by the corrupt governments of the
people that the charities were trying to help. And it hasn’t gotten
better in over 25 years.
And the worse part about it to me is this. I don’t want to be TOLD to
care about the situation. Idol Gives Back basically says, “Care, dammit!
If you don’t, you are an evil, heartless person.” Well, then, call me
evil and heartless. Because I don’t believe any of the people who are
performing are giving one red cent to the cause.
Last year, Ellen DeGeneres got my credit because she pledged $100,000 of
her own cash. Will any of the people on the show do the same? I doubt
it. Because this is same “do as I say, not as I do” sort of
entertainment spectacular. Sorry, Idol. You aren’t going to get a dime
from me. And if the American People were smart, they wouldn’t give a
And in other Idol news, we
have agenda journalism rearing it's ugly head again. Derrik J. Lang, an
entertainment writer for the Associated Press wrote an article on
Wednesday asking, "Is America Ready for a gay 'Idol'? The article
included quotes from Jim Verraros, who came out after his run as a
finalist on season 1. "It feels like we're closer now than ever to
having an openly gay contestant on the show," he said. "Do I think it
will happen? I don't know. I hope it does.
The article also mentions David Hernandez's recent scandal about working
at a gay nightclub and being a male stripper and Danny Noriega's Youtube
rap about being gay. They also mention the speculation about Will Young
(who came out after he won the first season of Britain's Pop Idol),
Anwar Robinson's gay personal ad in 2005, and of course Clay Aiken.
The problem here for me is that I don't care what the sexual orientation
of a contestant is. As Verraros says in the article, "Regardless of
whether or not a contestant is gay, the talent is there. That should
always come first and foremost."
And that's the point. Mr. Lang wants another "spokesperson" to lead the
way in the entertainment community and be treated as the first person
who is gay and wins American Idol, instead of winning
American Idol and happening to be gay.
I don't care if you are straight, gay, black, white, purple with pink
polka dots. I really don't. If you can sing, bring it. As someone who
knows a lot of gay people in and out of the entertainment industry,
being brought of the closet forcibly is not the right thing to do. I
will admit it will be a brave person who will put themselves out there
and come out during Idol. But I don't want a journalist like Mr. Lang
forcing people to make that decision when they may or may not want to.
And that is agenda journalism at it's worst.
Sad News out of GSN. If the
New York Times is to be believed, the production run of Lingo will end
after 345 episodes.
The writing was on the wall when the online version of Lingo was removed
from GSN.com. Then a spokesman for GSN said they would continue to
broadcast the six seasons that have already been produced.
This is very sad news for me and all the word game fans out there. Lingo
is the best show GSN has ever produced period. One of my favorite
moments ever at a Game Show Congress was at Game Show Congress 2, when a
team captained by Gordon Pepper smoked a team captained by Bob Boden in
Lingo. This was a moment that you had to be there for. And Boden was a
great sport about it.
This is too bad for GSN. I hope that Lingo comes back in some form or
A couple of quick Big
Brother 9 notes.
- The less said about Adam Jasinski, the better...but I have to mention
this. On the live Internet stream, he used the derogatory F word against
a gay castmate and said "he should go back to the gay bar." Not only is
he stupid, he is a bigot too.
- This episode is a bit more frightening. Two people were sent to the
hospital when they had bad reactions to the "slop" they eat as being
part of the losing team. Amanda Hansen, who is hypoglycemic, fainted and
Allison Nichols had an anaphylactic allergic reaction to the slop
according to the Daily News.
CBS is very lucky that they had minor reactions...but come on? Don't you
think that they would have had the medical records of the contestants
and made sure that the "slop" was hypo-allergenic or something? Just bad
planning on CBS's part. And they are very very lucky.
Switching one of my favorite
subjects...food. We go to the Food Network for a moment, as I caught
"Ultimate Recipe Showdown". It is, for all intents and purposes, a
one-hour infomercial for TGI Friday's, as the winners of each show get
$25,000 and a spot on the "Ultimate Recipe Showdown" menu.
The show works like this...Nine competitors over three rounds compete in
a different category like Comfort Food, Cakes, Burgers and Sandwiches.
The three winners of each round have their scores tallied. Highest score
gets the cash and the spot on the menu. Losers get cookware.
But, you know what, it works for me. Guy Fieri is such a damn natural in
front of the TV camera it is scary. This is now his 3rd show on the
network, after "Guy's Big Bite" and "Diners, Dives and Drive-ins" and he
is destined for a lot more. And the chemistry between him and Marc
Summers is very good. It isn't forced and they seem genuinely to be
having a good time.
Check it out. It's a fun hour. And you can eat the results at your local
But the Food Network had
another problem with resume padding. They didn't learn their lesson
after last year's Joshua Adam Garcia's fiasco during season 3 of "The
Next Food Network Star."
Robert Irvine, star of "Dinner: Impossible" was let go after his
qualifications on his resume were found to be padded. Now, I watch his
show and think he is incredibly talented and I am sorry to see him go.
But if you lie about your CV (curriculum vitae), you should be let go.
Hopefully, by the time Season 4 of the Next Food Network Star starts up,
the people at Food Network will get their act together and have a system
where they REALLY do a better job of checking on the accomplishments of
the candidates and not have to go through another round of bad press.
But, the people at Bravo
will have something to whet your appetite. "Top Chef 4: Chicago" will be
on our screens starting March 12. Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail
Simmons And Ted Allen return to whip 16 chefs into shape. The winning
chef will receive $100,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant, a
feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine
Classic in Aspen, a gourmet dream vacation in the French Alps, and will
earn the title of "Top Chef."
This show has always gained top ratings on Bravo, and this season should
be no exception. With everyone back for another season, this is
something for everyone's palate. Another hit for Bravo is ready to be
Someone who was served in
court was NBC as Jerry Buchanan, a Columbus Georgia Lawyer claimed the
"Lucky Case" game on Deal or No Deal was in fact...illegal gambling.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Consitution, he represents Michael and
Michele Hardin, who sued NBC Universal and two other affiliated
companies claiming the 99 cent text messages were part of an illegal
gambling scheme, and that since the 1760's, Georgia law states that
losers of illegal gambling can sue to get their money back.
Joe Loveland, the attorney for NBC, stated the "Lucky Case" game was in
fact not a lottery, but a promotional game. Since lawsuits were filed in
California and Georgia, the game has been stopped.
Here is where I think the lawyers are, in my semi-legal
opinion...engaging in a bit of zealous prosecution. The people who were
playing the game had a CHOICE. They did not have to send the text
messages. They could play for free online at nbc.com. Because NBC put
the option in, they are in the clear. That is why the British game show
scandal happened. They had no other way to play except the pay for play
option, and when the winners were faked...the scandal broke.
This is a case of sore losers trying to milk a buck out of NBC. I hope
we never get to see what's inside this case.
Speaking of the British Game
Show Scandal, ITV reported that the phone in cons of shows like The X
Factor, GMTV and Saturday Night Takeaway have cost the broadcaster a
whopping £76 million, or about $152 million US.
According to London Metro, the spate of problems last year that saw
millions of phone-in votes not counted has cost the company millions of
pounds in lost income from premium rate calls.
Other viewers entered competitions they had little or no chance of
Overall ITV's profits were down 35% in 2007 because of the scandals, new
Good deal. I am glad they lost money like that. This is what happens
when you screw up the public trust.
Some Random News Bits to end
the show with:
- Mario Lopez is heading to Broadway to make his debut. He starts April
15th in "A Chorus Line".
- TBS has ordered a pilot of yet another "Match Game" revival. I have
good hopes for this...but let's hope it doesn't turn into the last
version which was a bit too dirty for my tastes.
- And NBC has some spring/summer debut dates for you:
- May 12: American
Gladiators returns for season 2 at 8p
- May 22: Last Comic Standing returns at 930p, and then moves to 8p
- June 9: Billy Ray Cyrus hosts Nashville Star at 930p
- June 11: Celebrity Circus at 9
- June 24: The Hoff and the Springer return with America's Got Talent at
- And Finally, this week Ben Bailey and Cash Cab quietly came back for
Season 4. This is the little show that could. This is a fun fun show.
Check it out.
Well that will do it for this week. This is Jason Block reminding you
all, don't just play fair...play to win.
Jason Block's semi-legal
opinion can be best accessed through his e-mail at