Did you all watch the lunar eclipse last night? We had one of those perfect cold, clear nights where you can see twice as many stars as usual--like a million party lights spinning across the sky. I walked outside at 10:01 pm (right after Idol, of course; see below), and the moon was already starting to turn doomsday red-orange at its left edge.
I found it so compelling that I bundled myself up and stuck a lawn chair in the middle of the yard. I turned off the back porch and kitchen light, and I got half a glass of red wine in a takeout cup. I sat and watched, with breaks to warm myself up, until the moon disappeared into a tiny silver sliver.
The s.o. agreed that the eclipse was cool, but he wasn't willing to sit outside for as long. He visited a couple of times and watched the sky with me. It was eerie and beautiful. Unfortunately, he was indoors during one of the strangest moments of the evening.
For a little while around 10:30 or 10:45, the entire world went quiet and the only sound I could hear was the blood whooshing inside my head. Then a couple of dogs a few houses down started baying and barking. Suddenly I heard an alien sound from the woods: like the whinny of a horse, only flutelike, with the top of the octave held long and clear. It repeated eight or ten times, and then it was gone.
Afterward I ransacked the internet until I was pretty sure I had found the sound. I think it was this.
And now for something completely different: my opinions of the American Idol top 24's performances.
Favorite guy: Jason Castro. He's one of the guys who has had practically no camera time prior to this week, so he was a complete unknown. We were also biased against him from the start because he has silly white-guy dreadlocks. But I loved every second of his "Daydream." He was vulnerable and tender and showed fantastic control. He seems as sweet as can be, too, and appealingly geeky. I hope everyone else is as taken with him as I am!
Runner-up: David Archuleta, who I think is well on his way to becoming America's sweetheart. The kid is incredible.
Overrated: Michael Johns. It pains me to say it, because he is capable of great things, and he seems like a really nice guy. But I really didn't need to hear an imitation of Eddie Vedder singing "Light My Fire." I'm baffled that the judges seemed to like it. I can only assume it sounded better in the room than it did on TV.
Favorite girl: Brooke White. By a mile, actually. She doesn't have the most amazing pipes of the group (that honor would probably go to Carly Smithson). But she has IT. She has Carly Simon-ness, Carole King-ness. Her folksy, mandolin-tinged version of "So Happy Together" is the one performance of the night that has stuck with me note for note. I'm a little tired of the "good girl" sideshow that Simon's comments seem to have ignited, but if it makes viewers notice her, I'm all for it.
Runner-up: Asia'h Epperson. Do you know how hard it is to sing Janis Joplin and have it sound fresh? And, might I add, more soulful and funky than the original?
Overrated: Syesha Mercado, who has one of the best voices of the group, yet managed to squander it completely on a song that didn't show off any of her capabilities. I am beginning to think I may despise the song "Tobacco Road." No, wait--I know I do.