Wednesday, February 7, 2007

FEBRUARY 7, 2007

Can you tell I'm smiling wide this morning? It's because the auditions are over and the real season of Idol is about to start. Yes, it's "The Best of the Rest" tonight... but we're less than a week away from the real competition heating up.

Last night, there was the regular share of non-talented contestants, but we saw at least three who have a shot to advance. First, Haley Scarnato, 24, sang Bonnie Raitt, and had a good voice, but very subtle personality. Then Bailey Brown (this year's small town girl with big dreams) sang Faith Hill and also went through. But, CLEARLY, the best of the night was the final contestant Jimmy McNeal. He's been my favorite so far, singing his rendition of "Cupid". He's a natural, and he tops my list of the people to watch in Hollywood.

With that said, here are my Top 3 going into Hollywood...

1) Jimmy McNeal... see above.

2) Sundance Head... Burly, genial son of '60s hitmaker Roy Head was a bluesy delight delivering ''Stormy Monday'' in Memphis and scored a big win.

3) Sanjaya Malakar... Younger half of a potent brother-sister combo tackled Stevie Wonder without sacrificing melody for melisma, and despite having had no airtime since Jan. 17, he remains top of mind.

Of course, we haven't seen everyone yet... and lyrics are always a problem in Hollywood!

In other Idol news, check out these websites. First, Entertainment Weekly has been keeping a weekly "power rankings" of their favorite contestants. And second, could the Top 24 already be leaked? If you dare, check here.

Finally, Jennifer Hudson in a bit of trouble... She railed against the show this week calling it "cruel" and "torture". Randy Jackson struck back saying while Jennifer deserves all the credit for her work in Dreamgirls... she may not have been cast if not for American Idol... I'd tend to agree. For what it's worth, Jennifer has amended her comments saying it's not Idol that's cruel, but Simon Cowell.

Breaking up with someone is never easy. . . unless, of course, they're stalking you. . . or they suffer from rotten-crotch. So here are five tips from on how to end your relationship the RIGHT way. . .

1) GET IT OVER WITH QUICKLY: Don't play games when you know it's getting towards the end. Try not to manipulate the person into thinking that it's THEIR fault the relationship has ended. . . just be honest.

2) AVOID CLICHÉS. There's nothing worse than someone breaking up with you and using some lame line like, "It's not you, it's me" or "I don't deserve you". Those lines have been used so often that everyone knows they're just B.S.

3) DO IT FACE-TO-FACE. Sure, it's a lot easier to break up with someone these days thanks to voicemail and e-mail. . . (--or even FAX. . . just ask PHIL COLLINS.) But it's also COWARDLY. Meet them at their place or at a neutral location. . . and take separate cars. . . so you can literally go your separate ways.

4) GIVE FEEDBACK GENTLY. It will only hurt the person more if you LIE about why you've ended the relationship. So be frank about when and why you stopped liking them. . . and what led to your decision to break up. Just try to be gentle about it.

5) DON'T CALL OR E-MAIL AFTER YOU BREAK UP. Give them space to recoup and get over the shock of the breakup. Even if you left your favorite t-shirt or something at their place. . . it's best to just leave it there.

A new study at Rice University in Houston, Texas, finds that people who go to work in BAD MOODS are actually BETTER workers. They're the most creative problem solvers, the most motivated and the most detail-oriented.

The guy who figured this out is Jing Zhou, an associate professor of management at Rice, who led the study. He says the happier workers tend to think things are going well and that there aren't any problems to be solved. . . so they don't work hard until a crisis.

But workers who are in bad moods are pessimistic. . . which is actually HELPFUL in business. It helps them see potential problems before they come up. . . and come up with better, more thought-out solutions for them. They are also more likely to get pay raises and promotions faster!

They also work harder and pay closer attention, because their bad mood focuses them. . . and makes them want to get it right without having to go back for revisions.

Yesterday, we told you about "J.P.", the guy who had planned to propose to his girlfriend during a Super Bowl ad. But CBS decided not to air his ad during the game. . . since it was shot amateur-style. . . so the proposal never went down.

But J.P. took it well. . . and changed his plan. He bought an ad during his girlfriend's favorite show, "Veronica Mars", which aired last night at 9:00 P.M. on The CW.

The ad only aired regionally, and only cost $1,000.

Turns out, J.P. is actually 27-year-old Rand Fishkin of Seattle. His girlfriend is 26-year-old Geraldine DeRuiter. . . he's been with her for five years. . . and, yes, he proposed to her via commercial.

Click here to see the commercial.

Click here to see her reaction.