Wednesday, March 19, 2008

MARCH 19, 2008

The Beatles theme from last week continued on American Idol last night with the Top 11 doing the songs of Paul McCartney and John Lennon...

Punker Amanda Overmyer started off the night with a bluesy take on "Back in the U-S-S-R." Randy Jackson warned of a pitch problem and graded her with "seven out of 10." Paula Abdul said she was ahead of the beat. Simon Cowell said it "was predictable, a bit of a mess in parts. It's the same thing week after week."

Country-leaning Kristy Lee Cook did a sugary take on "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." Randy said it was "a little boring and safe." Paula agreed. Simon said, "You need hypnosis. You are not a good performer. It's like musical wallpaper. You notice it but you don't remember it."

David Archuleta did a big a big Broadway belt of "Long and Winding Road." Randy said, "You have brought the hotness back to your game. A little safe but very nice." Paula said it was wonderful. Simon said, "Last week was a mess, this week I thought you were amazing."

Aussie Michael Johns did a smoky version of "A Day in the Life." Randy said, "It wasn't one of your best performances." Paula said, "You lose a connection with the audience." Simon said, "It was a mess. You didn't hit the right notes. The song went all over the place. You have to start sorting yourself out. That was not good enough."

Brooke White wore yellow and sang "Here Comes the Sun." Randy said, "It was awkward for me. You were never really connected to the song." Paula said, "It could have been a little more challenging." Simon said, "I thought the performance was terrible. From the horrible dancing to the lack of conviction."

David Cook donned black leather for a rocking version of "Day Tripper." Randy said, "You keep it interesting. Another song at a David Cook concert. Another solid look." Paula said, "You are ready to go sell records." Simon said, "I don't think it was as good as you thought it was. You have lost your element of surprise a little bit. It was a bit predictable and I didn't like this version."

Irish import Carly Smithson did a slow soulful version of "Blackbird." Randy said, "Another great performance. Very nice. Very controlled. Very cool." Paula said "You have an amazing tone to your voice. The arrangement was beautiful. Capital 'F' for fantastic." Simon said, "I don't think the song choice was a smart thing to do. It was a bit indulgent."

Jason Castro left the guitar at home and did a fun loopy version of "Michelle." Randy said, "Good choice. Very subdued by you. Don't know if I really got it." Paula said, "You have a very distinct charm but I feel like you get a little disconnected when you are away from your guitar." Simon said, "Your face sold that. You are very charming. The goofiness makes it work."

Syesha Mercado did a diva-like rendition of "Yesterday." Randy said, "Took some liberties and in my estimation a very good performance." Paula said, "That vulnerability is what sets you apart." Simon said, "Probably your best performance so far. It wasn't incredible, but you chose the best song."

Chikezie did "I've Just Seen a Face," starting slow as a ballad and building to a big country-flavored finish with harmonica. Randy said it had "some good parts and some bad parts." Paula said, "It is so pure. You did it again." Simon said, "I thought it started it off okay and then you played the harmonica which was atrocious and it turn into 'Achy Breaky Heart' at the end. I thought it was gimmicky."

Ramiele Malubay ended the night with "I Should Have Known Better." Randy said, "I wasn't jumping up and down but I liked it." Paula added it was "better than last week." Simon said, "It sounded like Chikezie was on the harmonica. I like you but the track sounded terrible. You picked a really mediocre song."

Here's your official elimination pick...
Bottom Three: Kristy Lee, Amanda, Ramiele
Out: Kristy Lee

The ladies took the floor last night's for part-two of the two-night premiere of A-B-C's hit reality show Dancing With the Stars, and they definitely gave the men, who danced Monday night, a run for their money.

Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi blew the judges away with a foxtrot that garnered a near perfect score and landed her solidly in first place with Mark Ballas. Actress and entrepreneur Priscilla Presley also bolted out of the box with returning professional Louis van Amstel with a foxtrot that put them in second. Despite her inability to hear the music, actress Marlee Matlin turned in an energetic cha cha cha that positioned her and newcomer Fabian Sanchez in third. Nerves were definitely a factor for Broadway star Marissa Jaret Winokur, who completely missed dance steps, placing her in fifth, while Monica Seles landed in last place -- proving that grace on the tennis court doesn't necessarily translate to the dance floor. Actress Shannon Elizabeth, who came in fourth, could be a dark horse in the competition if, as the judges advised, she can get her long, shapely legs under control.

~~ Argument (ar*gyou*ment) n.
A discussion that occurs when you're right, but he hasn't realized it yet.

~~ Airhead (er*hed) n.
What a woman intentionally becomes when pulled over by a policeman.

~~ Bar-be-que (bar*bi*q) n
You bought the groceries, washed the lettuce, chopped the tomatoes, diced the onions, marinated the meat and cleaned everything up, but, he "made the dinner."

~~ Blonde jokes (blond joks) n.
Jokes that are short so men can understand them.

~~ Cantaloupe (kant*e*lope) n
Gotta get married in a church.

~~ Clothes dryer (kloze dri*yer) n.
An appliance designed to eat socks.

~~ Diet Soda (dy*it so*da) n.
A drink you buy at a convenience store to go with a half pound bag of peanut M&Ms.

~~ Eternity (e*ter*ni*tee) n.
The last two minutes of a football game.

~~ Exercise (ex*er*siz) v
To walk up and down a mall, occasionally resting to make a purchase.

~~ Grocery List (grow*ser*ee list) n.
What you spend ½ an hour writing, then forget to take to the store.

~~ Hair Dresser (hare dres*er) n.
Someone who is able to create a style you will never be able to duplicate again. See "Magician."

~~ Hardware Store (hard*war stor) n
Similar to a black hole in space -- if he goes in, he isn't coming out anytime soon.

~~ Childbirth (child*brth) n.
You get to go through 36 hours of contractions he gets to hold your hand and say "focus,...breathe...push..."

~~ Lipstick (lip*stik) n
On your lips, coloring to enhance the beauty of your mouth. On his collar, coloring only a tramp would wear...!

~~ Patience (pa*shens) n.
The most important ingredient for dating, marriage and children. See also "tranquilizers."

~~ Waterproof Mascara (wah*tr*pruf mas*kar*ah) n.
Comes off if you cry, shower, or swim, but will not come off if you try to remove it.

~~ Valentine's Day (val*en*tinez dae) n
A day when you have dreams of a candlelight dinner, diamonds, and romance, but consider yourself lucky to get a card.

A former employee has stepped forward to ‘dish the dirt’ about what it's like to work as a tech support rep in a Verizon DSL call center. Learn about how the supervisors aren't really supervisors, the numbers and call times the reps have to meet to keep their jobs (and the sneaky tricks they use to meet these numbers), and more...

7. The Supervisor You Are Talking To Is Not An Actual Supervisor
When the call center first opened, and a customer would demand to talk to a supervisor, they would actually end up talking to a supervisor… not today. Now, there are approximately 10-15 designated people for each center to handle angry-customer calls now.

6. The Metrics That Rule Our Lives
• Handle Time (15 min): During an 8 hour shift, an agent must achieve an average handle time of 15 minutes. This timer starts from the time the agent hears a beep in their headphone to notify them that the call has started to the time they set themselves as ready to take another call.
• Hold Time (2-3 min): If for any time the agent puts you on hold, they are supposed to only leave you on hold for no longer than 2 minutes.
• Quality (88%): Every Agent is supposed to be graded approximately 2x a week on their calls.

5. In order to meet their 15 min handle time, agents will transfer the customer back into the queue to talk to another agent to make it look like it was a phone problem. Agents also just hung up on a customer and make it seem like an accident to meet their call time.

4. Customer Service Is More Important Than Technical Ability
The problem this creates is a barrage of customers whom are fed up with the lack of technical knowledge the support staff has. Verizon did however introduce a solution to this problem Premium Technical Support.

3. "Premium" Technical Support Means They Had 1 More Week Of Training
They are not under the same pressure as the normal agents. They do have more technical ability then the regular agents however the training is only a week above the normal technical support folks.

2. "Quality," The Department Everyone Hates
Even if you go above and beyond, and have an amazing rapport with the customer, you can still lose your job for failing your ‘quality’. Some of the fun tidbits from quality include the agent must say the customer's name three times throughout the call. They must review what they have done with the customer, use the "outstanding" verbiage, brand Verizon and they can also ding you for little things like saying "tech" instead of "technical".

1. We Must Implant The Word Outstanding In Customer Brain's To Score Higher
On Satisfaction SurveysAgents are required to mention at the end of the call something along the lines of "I hope I've provided you with outstanding service today." Verizon contracts out a company to call back customers who have recently called into Technical Support and perform a survey about the service they received. The customer is supposed to rate the service from "poor" to "outstanding". So basically they want to embed that word in your mind so that you rate them higher.