Welcome to the Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.
A few random thoughts for today ...
I thought Betty White did a masterful job hosting Saturday Night Live. She was funny and game for anything the writers threw at her, which, sadly, was mostly the crass shock humor you expected, but hoped would be kept to a minimum.
The show clearly didn't know what to do with her, other than stick to its theme of "Look, here's an 88-year-old woman making jokes about her hot muffin and saying the 'Wizard of Ass.' " Clever stuff, SNL.
For that, the show enjoyed its highest ratings in 18 months.
White seemed to be having a ball, and that's what matters most. Her monologue was the best part of the show, along with her role as a confused elderly woman answering questions from a census worker (Tina Fey) in a sketch that closed the show.
It's about time SNL had her as its host. It's a shame, though, that it couldn't have happened much sooner, when there were still writers on the show equal to her talent.
OK, here's what we know. Crystal will be singing the National Anthem Friday night at Fifth Third Field for a Mud Hens game.
After that, the plans remain vague. Typically, when the top three American Idol finalists return home, there's a parade and a performance. I would expect the same for Crystal.
Where will it be?
Elliston is her home, but anyone who's been through the tiny collection of homes and farms -- it's too small to be considered a town -- knows residents there will have a difficult time putting on a big homecoming, though it's certainly possible if they have assistance from Ottawa County, where Elliston is located.
There have been some talks about Ottawa County hosting an event at its fairgrounds, but nothing definite so far.
Toledo, meanwhile, is taking a wait-and-see approach to it all. There's the budget issue to consider, as well as not wanting to step in and claim Crystal as the city's own, as most of the national media has done already. But certainly Toledo offers the biggest venues and biggest crowds for any regional performance and parade.
Ultimately, American Idol and Fox are calling the shots on this, with, I imagine, significant input from Crystal. I'm guessing she'll split her appearances and, perhaps, performances, in Toledo and Elliston/Ottawa County.
But, again, that's just a guess. As soon as The Blade has confirmation of the plans, we'll get it posted.
What I do know is that Crystal's showing on American Idol is the best thing to happen to northwest Ohio in a while. In a time of mostly dour news for the area as it claws and scratches its way out of a dark hole, Crystal has given residents a much-needed jolt of optimism about their future.
It's no secret the 24-year-old single mom's had a tough life, and to see her succeed on the American Idol stage is proof of the possibilities for anyone in Toledo; an example of, if she can do it, why can't I? That's something to be celebrated and embraced by everyone in northwest Ohio. Here's hoping it will be.
And speaking of Crystal ... BEFORE she makes her triumphant Toledo return, there's a little thing called a Tuesday performance and Wednesday results show she has to get through.
On Friday I posted some suggested song choices for her to perform on this week's theme, "Songs from the Movies."
Apparently, the choices may be much more limited than I thought, based on the 50-song selection at iTunes:
(Everything I Do) I Do It for You Bryan Adams
(I've Had) The Time of My Life Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
A Whole New World (Soundtrack Version) Brad Kane & Lea Salonga
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In The 5th Dimension
Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) Christopher Cross
Beauty and the Beast (Soundtrack Version) C line Dion & Peabo Bryson
Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
Can I Have This Dance Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron & The Cast of "High School Musical"
Can You Feel the Love Tonight Elton John & London Community Gospel Choir
Can't Fight the Moonlight LeAnn Rimes
Danger Zone Kenny Loggins
Don't You (Forget About Me) Simple Minds
Endless Love Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
Evergreen Barbra Streisand
Eye of the Tiger Survivor
Falling Slowly Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
Flashdance - What a Feeling Irene Cara
Footloose Kenny Loggins
Gangsta's Paradise Coolio
Ghostbusters Ray Parker, Jr.
Gonna Fly Now (Theme from "Rocky") Bill Conti
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? Bryan Adams
I Believe I Can Fly R. Kelly
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing Aerosmith
I Will Always Love You Whitney Houston
I'm Alright (Theme from "Caddyshack") Kenny Loggins
Into the West Howard Shore & Annie Lennox
Iris Goo Goo Dolls
It Might Be You (From "Tootsie") Stephen Bishop
Jai Ho A.R. Rahman, Sukhvinder Singh, Tanvi Shah, Mahalaxmi Iyer & Vijay Prakash
Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley
Kiss from a Rose Seal
Let the Riverrun Carly Simon
Live and Let Die Wings
Lose Yourself Eminem
Moon River (From Breakfast at Tiffany's) Audrey Hepburn & HENRY NICOLA MANCINI
Mrs. Robinson Simon & Garfunkel
My Heart Will Go On C line Dion
One Night Only Jennifer Hudson, Deena Jones & The Dreams
Over the Rainbow The Wizard Of Oz
Purple Rain Prince & The Revolution Purple Rain
Separate Lives Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin
Stayin' Alive Bee Gees
Summertime Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Superfly Curtis Mayfield Superfly
Take My Breath Away (Love Theme from "Top Gun") Berlin
Up Where We Belong Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) Tina Turner
Will You Be There (Single Version) Michael Jackson
You'll Be In My Heart (Soundtrack Version) Glenn Close & Phil Collins
SO, only two songs from my suggestions, "Purple Rain" and "Mrs. Robinson," are on the list.
It's not a favorite of mine by a long shot, but I think Crystal could do well with "Take My Breath Away." I had considered "Let the River Run" for my list as well, but stuck with another Carly Simon song, "Nobody Does it Better" from "The Spy Who Loved Me."
"Over the Rainbow" is obvious and is one of those all-or-nothing kinds of songs; a swing for the fences and hope you connect performance. At this rate, maybe Crystal should play it a bit safer.
Last season, the seven finalists who performed the same theme played it mostly predictable, including two Bryan Adams songs, "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You)" and "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" both of which are on this year's list as well.
Expect more of the same on Tuesday.
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LINK: For all of Kirk Baird's Culture Shock riffs