Friday, June 20, 2008

The New Kids Revival

Last night, while flicking through channels on TV, I happened upon the Much Music Video Awards '08, just as the hostess was announcing "the moment you've all been waiting for...Here to perform for the first time in 15 years...The New Kids on the Block!!"
I'm not going to lie. My first reaction was a snicker. An evil little snicker. Like, oh my God, how lame. That is soooooooo not cool.
But then, out came these guys on the stage, and they didn't look so different than they did 15 years ago. OK, so they dressed a little more slick. And they looked more mature and grown-up. But they didn't look ancient. In fact, I think some of them are more handsome now then they were back then.

Then they did a little medley of their old hits: "Step By Step", "Hangin' Tough", "Please Don't Go Girl", and "The Right Stuff". They had all the cheesy old dance moves, but instead of snickering at them, I realized the people in the crowd were loving it, and I started to love it a little too. It was like I had been transported back to a fun time when I spent hours in my basement, trying to match their dance moves, imagining myself as one of their back-up dancers. My sneer had turned into a smile, and I was enjoying every minute of their performance, reminiscing about my old Donnie doll and how much I used to love him & the rest of the guys.

Suddenly I wasn't thinking of this reunion as pathetic. I was starting to think it was pretty neat.
Then they sang their new single, "Summertime", and be damned if the thing isn't still stuck in my head. It's catchy. It's like old-school NKOTB with a new modern twist. Almost has me thinking I might have to buy their new CD.
It's a little weird. It's been 15 years since the New Kids faded out of the music scene, and for a long time in between, they were considered a joke. "Remember when we liked the New Kids? How stupid were we?"
Then there came the spawn of new-age boy bands in the late '90s: The Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, 98 Degrees, and so on. They were always compared to those legendary pioneers in baggy colourful pants, muscle shirts, and goofy hats - and eventually, they were laughed off the stage too.
But now, the New Kids are back, and something tells me, they just might be cool again. At least for this summer. And I know one thing for sure: I'm not going to get caught up in negativity in dwelling on how lame it all is. I'm going to embrace it and re-discover those innocent years of being the New Kids' biggest fan. Opportunities to return to our childhood don't come along very often, so we should all jump back on the NKOTB bandwagon.
It's the New Kids Revival. And I, for one, don't want to miss it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kids' TV: Not What It Used to Be...

OK, so the comments section on my last Blog has convinced me that it's time we all sit down & talk about our old favourite TV shows. The ones we watched as kids, before we started school, or in the evenings after supper, or the wonderful Saturday cartoons.

In the past few years, I've had to dive back in to the world of kids' TV, with my nephew Caden around, and also with some of my friends having kids. I've been introduced to the new television programming out there for children: Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go, Franklin, Little Bear, The Backyardigans, Toopy & Binoo, Four Square - oh, and my personal favourite: The Mole Sisters. Who the heck names a kids show "The Mole Sisters"? And why would kids want to watch the adventures of two moles that are sisters? It's just weird...

When Stacy bought Maddy an old videotape of The Elephant Show with Sharon, Lois, and Bram recently, it brought me back to my childhood. Remember that show? Remember how much fun it was? They sang and played instruments and played games with kids...and it was always interesting to see what michief Elephant was getting into.

It got me thinking about other great shows I used to watch faithfully. Join In - I loved that show. Today's Special - it was the best! With Muffy the Mouse and Jeff the mannequin that only came alive at night, after hours. And those were just the shows in the evenings.

Before I went to school, or on PD Days, or in the summer - you didn't miss Mr. Dressup and Fred Penner in the mornings. Then there was Under the Umbrella Tree, with Iggy the Iguana, Jacob the Bluejay, & Gloria the Gopher. And of course, there was Sesame Street. Where would any of us be without Sesame Street? And I mean the good old Sesame Street - not this hokey Sesame Park or Elmo's World that they've come up with since we graduated from kids' TV shows. They suck!

I also used to love The Flintstones and The Pink Panther - they were usually on around lunchtime, and I have fond memories of watching those shows and eating a grilled cheese or macaroni. Ah, the good ol' days!

I haven't even touched on the Saturday cartoons - Dennis the Menace, Inspector Gadget, My Pet Monster, The Smoggies...I could go on and on. Those were some good shows, and lately, there doesn't seem to be anything like that on TV. Maybe on that Retro Toon channel - but they don't show enough of them. Oh! And those old Bugs & Tweety shows! I used to love watching those on Saturday evenings!

Where did those days go? Seems like only yesterday.

But now I'm stuck watching Diego and Toopy and The Mole Sisters. *sigh* Kids these days just don't know what they're missing...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Apologies, PIGOTT Brothers!

I felt fairly stupid when I sat down to watch Canadian Idol last night, and very early on, Ben Mulroney made reference to the Pigott brothers. After I spent all of yesterday's blog gushing about the "Spigott" brothers, I couldn't believe I had made such a silly error. The truly funny part is that I actually thought I had researched yesterday's Blog - I went to the CI website ( to make sure I got names right, etc. Apparantly between their site and my blog, "Pigott" became "Spigott". (I also spelled "Tetiana" wrong - but that's a tricky one to remember. Why can't people just name their kids easier things to spell? Like "Mookie". I didn't have any trouble with "Mookie".)

Anyways, when you think about it, I should have known that "Spigott" was wrong. I mean, try to say "Sebastien Spigott" five times fast. No parent would ever inflict that on their child.

Well, at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter if their last name is Pigott or Spigott or Presley, 'cause both boys were put through to the next round. At the start of the night, we were told that the judges' task was to whittle down the remaining contestants to the Top 22. By the time the show was winding down, 18 people had been selected already, and 11 of them were males, and neither Oliver nor Sebastien had yet to present themselves for the verdict on their fate in the competition.

I thought they were a shoe-in, but I admit, I was a little nervous. But I had an inkling that maybe they were going to let in more than 22 people, or that they were going to load up on guys, and go with less girls.

Sure enough, both of the Pigotts went through, and then a couple more. That left two final people to go before the judges, fully believing they were going to be cut because there were no spots left. But ta-da! This year it's 24. Welcome, kiddies!!

The other moment on the night worth mentioning was the heart-wrenching performance by Omar. At his first audition, Jake told him he needed to emotionally connect with his songs. So Omar told the judges before his final performance that he was going to sing a song that he had never heard before that had him in tears for an hour during his practice. He then proceeded to explain to them that in December, an attempt was made on the life of his younger brother, and he succumbed the day before his 25th birthday. At this point, the tears were already flowing, so when he started to sing "Break it to Them Gently" - well, just bust out the Kleenex, folks, it was a bawl fest.

Omar made it to the Top 24 also.

I really like the group they selected this year. They all seem mature, professional, and prepared. Can't wait to see how my Pigotts do!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Call Off the Contest...

...'Cause I already know who the winner is!

Of Canadian Idol, I mean.

I've been watching faithfully since the first episode of auditions. That very first night, these two brothers from Toronto, Oliver & Sebastien Spigott, both presented themselves to the judges.

Oliver went first, and he absolutely blew them away with a song I didn't recognize but instantly fell in love with. Idol judge Jake Gold told him that through all the years they've been doing the show, his audition might have been the single best audition ever.

Then they brought in Sebastien. Oliver was a tough act to follow, and not surprisingly, little bro paled slightly in comparison when he played "Blue Moon of Kentucky". They told him he wasn't as talented as his brother, but that his good looks and charisma should carry him on. Both boys were handed gold tickets. On to the Top 200.

So for the past few weeks, I've endured the rest of the audition process, all the time comparing each new performer to the Spigotts, thinking, "No, you aren't as good. You're not even close. You lose." That's right. No one has even been as good as Sebastien, let alone Oliver!

Last night, I was finally reunited with the Spigott brothers as they began the process of weeding through the Top 200. For awhile, I had started to think that Sebastien had backed out of the Top 200 - they seemed to focus solely on Oliver. They showed his solo performance on Day 1 - which was so good, the judges gave him a free pass - but Sebastien was never even mentioned.

Finally, in the latter part of the show, I got my first glimpse of Sebastien when special guest co-host and Canadian singer Jully Black busted down his hotel room door to see him, Oliver, Tatyana and Mookie preparing for their group performance. It was around this time that I realized I might be starting to like Sebastien better than Oliver after all. He just looked so cute.

The Day 2 group performances were a range from amazing to complete bust. As far as I could tell, two groups separated themselves as "Super Groups". This one group led by the red-head British dude who reminds me of Clay Aitken (unfortunately, 'cause they boy can sing, but when you start thinking Clay, it's never a good thing), and Ollie & Seb's group. The judges loved 'em both.

But for me, it was still all about Sebastien and Oliver. They were amazing, of course, as one would expect two brothers who have played together all their lives would be, but the fact that they found two other competitors in Tatyana and Mookie who blended so well with them in their unique rendition of "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" - they weren't just really good. They were professional. They were a step above everyone else - a mile above everyone else.

They were amazing.

(Sebastien and Oliver)

So as far as I'm concerned, the contest can go on, but there's really no point. The clear-cut run-away favourite is Oliver, and if, by some chance, people take a dislike for him because he's so awesome, then Sebastien can be the dark horse. Like I said, I think I'm already more in love with him anyways. Either way, I can thank Idol for introducing me to two brand new talents that I might never have heard of before - the Spigott brothers have already made it worthwhile.

As long as there's no atrocity like last year's far-too-early elimination of Greg Neufeld (it still pisses me off), Oliver and Sebastien may be the first two siblings standing side-by-side in the Final 2.

I can't wait to see it all unfold!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Detroit Takes Home Stanley Cup

Last night, after the Detroit Red Wings finally defeated the feisty, never-say-die Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, I sat watching the Red Wings being awarded the Stanley Cup. Hockey's greatest prize. They passed it on from player to player, each taking a victorious twirl around the ice, while the sea of white in Pittsburgh watched on, and my mind started to drift...

First, I thought of that same scene at this time last season. Except at this time last year, it was the Anaheim Ducks celebrating their claim on hockey's Holy Grail, while I sat watching with tears pouring down my cheeks, knowing my Sens were so close, yet so far away.

Then, I thought back to a Saturday night this past January when my Sens met up with the Detroit Red Wings in their only meeting of the season at Scotiabank Place. It was pumped up to be a clash of the titans - the Red Wings the far-and-away leaders of the West, while Ottawa was sitting pretty atop the standings in the East.

The Sens won that night, and I truly believed back then that my team was well on their way to another appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. Hopefully they'd be able to repeat their performance that night against Detroit four more times to win that glorious trophy that every player in the NHL covets and desires.

Alas, that victory against Detroit was the beginning of the end. It was just a tease. A horrible, twisted tease. We all know how the rest of the season and playoffs went for the Sens. Dismal. Grisly. Painful.

So last night, as I watched the Red Wings celebrating their victory and laying their claim on the Cup as the best team of 2007-2008, I couldn't help but feel a little bitter; a little sad. Last year, we were almost there. And this year, we couldn't even compare.

Thank God that horrible season is over. Hopefully next year will be better.

And congratulations to Detroit on their win. They deserved it.