Just some random thoughts, starting with the debut of season seven — can you believe it? — of American Idol.
The season started with auditions in Philadelphia, which naturally caught my interest. I thought they made the city look good, taking a lot of close-ups, much of it around Penn's Landing and Old City. They even had Benjamin Franklin pop in and say, "Welcome to Philadelphia."
And they showed a sequences of the sun setting over the Ben Franklin Bridge. The auditions, however, were held many blocks away, at the Wachovia Spectrum, which was, interestingly enough, where The Gryphon and I saw the season five American Idol finalists in concert.
photo from IdolStalker.com
The show featured the usual assortment of fairly clueless people, along with some genuinely talented ones. One of the most amusing was a girl who said she was 23 but was so thin she looked about 16. She was dressed like a 1980s rocker chick, including glitter eye makeup, and was pretty out there. I found myself wondering what sort of medication she was on.
A heavyset guy showed up in a belly dancing costume, and they refused to listen because his chest hair was too distracting. So he actually went and got it waxed. When he came back, they only let him get about five seconds into his song, as he was that bad. No surprises there.
The most touching audition was a young woman who wanted to do something to support her morbidly obese mother, who has to be wheeled around in an oversized wheelchair and needs oxygen all the time. Unfortunately, her singing was mediocre, and when she got the news she wouldn't be advancing, she began weeping openly. All three of the judges gave her a hug and then helped break the news to her family, who were equally supportive.
Near the end was a girl wearing Princess Leia hair buns and a Star Wars belt. She seemed to think the reason she was chosen was because she was too much of a "dork." However, an objective ear could tell it was the quality of her singing. They've been willing to advance quirky people in the past, such as an Elvis impersonator they met in Las Vegas, so if she's had the talent, they would have advanced her, no questions asked.
Unwilling to face facts, she stood outside, bitching to someone on her cell phone about how they only took the stereotypical "pretty girls." Meanwhile, the producers showed a montage of all the people who passed muster in Philly, which turned out to be a wide range of body types, ethnicities, and fashion choices. Definitely not just "pretty girls."
The saddest thing is that she, herself, is a pretty girl. She just needs to lose that chip on her shoulder that makes her see the world aslant.
This week, I didn't see quite as many Resolutionaries in the gym (my name for the newbies who show up every January). Have they given up so soon? I did notice one guy, who found a really creative way to use the shoulder press machine, also known as the military press.
To use it properly, you sit with your back resting on the back support, and push up, extending your arms over your head in a controlled manner, like so:
This Resolutionary seated himself facing the back before grabbing the handles and raising them over his head. I'm not exactly sure what muscle this would work, but doing it this way would, at the very least, put extra stress on the back.
Again, while it looked like a silly idea, I was in the middle of a set of exercises on another machine. By the time I finished and looked around for an attendant to notify, he'd finished his set.
I'm beginning to make some progress towards my fitness goal, and am just a pound and a half shy, as of today, of where I was on my wedding day (woo!), before our honeymoon splurge in Orlando. Once I reach that weight, I'll be a third of the way towards my goal of 15 pounds weight loss.
Speaking of fitness, I've been watching NBC''s The Biggest Loser. Of course, I had to tape it last night, because of American Idol. I find the show inspirational, as people work hard to get in shape.
Last night watching the weigh-in, I was struck by a number of female contestants who weighed 200 to 220 pounds, which was my top weight about seven years ago. I saw them and wondered, "Was I ever that big?" Honestly, I hardly remember it. That extra weight was something I wore like a bad coat. I was always me inside.
It's not how you dress, girlfriend; it really is your singing.