The (Delayed Again) Saturday Report – Hit Me Again

Well, I hope that everyone enjoyed Live 8…

Non-TV related stuff
Actually, it’s a version of Chinese chess…
So as you can tell, this column is not coming to you in it’s usual Saturday timeslot. The reason for that is that I spent the last couple of days in Niagara Falls, Ontario for my bachelor party (or as my brother put it, “chess”). Naturally, I’m not a liberty to divulge what happened, but if you saw a bunch of Asian-Canadian guys walking around Clifton Hill or at the Fallsview Casino, chances are you saw me. Two things I will divulge though – I apparently play blackjack better when drunk, playing flawless basic strategy, and nothing similar to “Very Bad Things” happened.

It’s too bad “T.O.” has been usurped by that idiot on the Eagles
“Toronto Unlimited” is very uninspired name for the Centre of the Canadian Universe (until the oil sands change that around). To paraphrase Tony Shiavone, that’ll put asses in seats (heading to Toronto). Seriously, the best slogan you can come up with sounds like a fifth week comic from Marvel? Then again, some idiot corporate monkeys changed the name of SkyDome to the uber-generic “Rogers Centre”, so maybe it fits.

They’re money and they sure as hell know it
So anyways, thanks to Brendan, for answering my Vaughn/Norton question, although I was looking more for their asshole characters than villains. Like Vaughn’s Ricky in “Made” or Norton’s Worm in “Rounders”. Also, thanks to me being late this week, I’m actually caught up!! Sort of. I guess that’s one of those things that only I get a kick out of…

Speaking of Brendan…
In last week’s The Weekly Pulse Brendan asks how I’m not accused of being Batman. The answer is depressingly simple – there aren’t many Asian comic book heroes. Marvel has Shang-Chi (Master of Kung-Fu), Collective Man, Turbo, Jolt, Surge and Jubilee. DC has Dr Light II and… you know what? Let me ask Mathan and Tim over at The Nexus.

Anyways, everyone knows that if Batman were Asian, he’d be Bat fu’ing thugs down instead of one punching them. Of course, if we went by that stereotype, Donnie Yen would’ve been JJ Abrams Superman…

And while I’m on the subject of comics, IP’s Tim Stevens and Jamie Hatton are going to be in San Diego for the comicon, so look out for a couple of drunken guys wandering/meandering/stumbling around the floor. That don’t look like Millar, Ellis or Morrison, that is.

Raw is… what was I saying again?
Maybe it’s just me, but Maria (or Cleavage McBoobage as Jamie Hatton calls her) and her ditz gimmick are growing on me. Sure, it’s not great, but it allows for the wrestlers with good promo skills to ad-lib some pretty funny looks. And because the segments are short, it’s much more entertaining than the time-wasting Diva Search.

Also, has anyone noticed that of the draft picks that went to Smackdown in 2004, only Spike Dudley remains? It’s also worth noting that only one person who was traded to Raw has made an impact – guess wHHHo that is?

Actual TV-related Content
Hitting you one last time
Well, all five episodes of Hit Me Baby have wrapped up, and it’s time for me to look back at the show, with the benefit of hindsight.

Cream of the Crop:
Arrested Development, Week 1 – One of the few performers to hit on all cylinders for both songs, their reinvention of “Heaven” was inspired, and gave us hope that future performers would also step up and give us some great covers.

Howard Jones, Week 3 – Howard’s never going to be known as a hard rocker, and he wisely stayed away from a cover that would take him down that path. He’s a great pianist, and he was able to show that off during his song and his cover of “White Flag” as well.

Glass Tiger, Week 4 – Sure, I’m biased because they’re Canadian. But online voters agreed in part with me. Like Jones, Glass Tiger stayed within their comfort zone and produced a cover that felt like they could have been the original singers.

Thelma Houston, Week 4 – Yep, two killer performances from week 4, as Thelma showed that she can still sing, and do it better than all the so-called divas of today. And like the others in this section, Thelma knew how to pick the right song, as “Falling” allowed her to showcase her voice and – obviously – impress the studio audience to give her the weekly victory.

Better than Average:
Loverboy, Week 1 – With this group, you should expect the fromage factor to be ramped up. And they didn’t disappoint. Despite the lack of hair, they brought Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” into the days of 80’s power ballads, and made it work.

Tiffany, Week 1 – OK, well Tiffany definitely got points for nearly popping out of her shirt, but she still did a decent job with “Breakaway”, and showed that had she come onto the scene now, she’d still have done well.

Wang Chung, Week 3 – The thing with them was that I didn’t really understand that the Nelly cover was intended to be parody, nor did I really get what “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” was meant to be about. So with the benefit of hindsight, I understand the brilliance there.

Sophie B Hawkins, Week 3 – Anytime you can take a song from one of the most boring pop bands around and make it interesting, I think it’s worth something. Plus there’s just something about Sophie’s smoky voice that I like.

Cameo, Week 3 – The great thing about these guys was that they were there, and they were having fun with the performances, which really is what the show should be about. You’re probably not going to have a career renaissance by showing up on the show, so why not just enjoy it? That’s the difference between Irene Cara and, well, everyone else from week 3. The other performers “got it” as to what the show was meant to be. Irene didn’t, and it showed in the online voting.

Juice Newton, Week 5 – Juice wasn’t going to win her week. The studio audience isn’t geared towards country-pop unless it was a Shania Twain song, so it was up to Juice to just open their eyes towards that type of music. And in that sense, she succeeded, even making an Ashlee Simpson song sound good (although to be fair, that is probably the best song she has).

Middle of the Road:
CeCe Penniston, Week 1 – “Finally” is one of those songs that’s simply grating to me, and I’ve never gotten why it was so popular. But the thing here is that CeCe wasn’t all that bad with her performance, even turning out a decent “There You’ll Be”, although looking back it wasn’t as good as some of the Canadian Idol hopefuls doing it.

The Knack, Week 2 – The Knack managed to give us a pretty good performance of “My Sharona”, but their cover version was one of the more uninspired ones. The band didn’t go out of their way to make “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” special, and thus the song didn’t really have the spark one would expect from the group.

The Motels, Week 2 – The Motels were pretty decent, but it’s hard to get around the fact that the band was The Motels in name only. In reality, we had Martha Davis and a backing group. Aside than that, Martha succeeded in remaking “Don’t Know Why” into a rocker; I’m still trying to figure out if that was a good thing though.

Greg Kihn, Week 4 – Since I’d no idea who Greg Kihn was, I had no expectations whatsoever for him. This turned out to be a good thing, as Greg delievered some decent, inoffensive songs that I had no strong feelings about one way or the other.

Good Effort:
Haddaway, Week 2 – Haddaway gets put this low because I really didn’t think that his version of “Toxic” was meant to be cheesy, so his performance ended up being one with some decent unintentional comedy. Especially since the Hit Me Baby dancers seemed to hit their peak for being out of sync with his performances.

Tommy Tutone, Week 2 – Tommy was similar to The Knack in that they didn’t really make their cover version special, but overall I thought that their performance was weaker – “All The Small Things” just didn’t seem to connect very well with me.

Club Nouveau, Week 4 – This was a case where the singers were trying, but the end result wasn’t up to scratch. The group was out of harmony on their own song, and they fumbled a bit during their cover of “Thank You”. There was also a sense of disappointment, as you’d have thought that Club Nouveau could’ve done much better than they did, even as a last minute replacement for the Baha Men (and thank goodness they dropped out).

Billy Vera, Week 4 – Future performers should take note – most male pop singers are bland and generic nowadays – don’t cover their songs. “True” sucks when sung by Ryan Cabrera, and it doesn’t get any better when someone else sings it. But give the guy credit, Billy really tried to connect with the younger audience, who in all likelihood have not even watched Family Ties.

Shannon, Week 5 – No doubt about it, “Let The Music Play” is an infectious song. And Shannon went full out in her performance, with plenty of movement to get the crowd into it. But her cover of “Foolish” went in the opposite direction, and it never really felt like it got off the ground.

PM Dawn, Week 5 – Had they not had Busta Wyclef with them, I might’ve liked the music a bit better. But the brothers were out of sync covering “Blurry”, and their vocals were sometimes hard to hear – possibly because they forgot the lyrics.

What The Hell Was That?:
A Flock of Seagulls, Week 1 – I don’t know what happened to Mike Score, but he sounded terrible, and as I said in the recap, his rendition of “On The Way Down” was worse than the original. Reiterating what I said in the blurb about Billy Vera, don’t cover today’s male pop singers.

Vanilla Ice, Week 2 – While the initial performance was as good as it ever was (interpret that however you want), his “cover” song basically served as a forum to debut an entirely new song. And I’m not really sure that that’s what this show is meant to be about.

Irene Cara, Week 3 – Like Vanilla Ice, Irene Cara took liberties with her “cover” song, turning it into the network debut of her group, Hot Cara-mel. And the group didn’t have a bad performance, but they were only there to get airtime and to cover for Cara’s singing deficiencies that were very evident when singing Flashdance.

Animotion, Week 5 – “Days Go By”. I’m still trying to deal with the group singing a song which is known mostly for its hook. In a way, Animotion might as well have covered “Call On Me” because their performance really wasn’t about the singing. Speaking of not being about the singing “Obsession” seemed like they used a vocal track, but maybe that’s just me.

Missing Persons, Week 5 – Like I said in the recap, time hasn’t been very good to Dale Bozzio. And her song selection really didn’t work for her. I suppose the idea was to do a sexy rocker number, but she tripped over words and was flat during a very simple song.

That’s it for me this week. See you in seven.