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Nov 28th
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Yowza

jamesdurbin_museThe James Durbin show just keeps rockin' along on American Idol. Last week he was the closer, and brought down the house with his raucous "Heavy Metal." In this week's random shuffle, he was the evening's second performer on Music of the New Millennium night; typically, he brought the show to a premature climax with his powerhouse delivery of the anthem, "Uprising" by Muse

I love Muse. I've seen them live onstage, and I can tell you, covering one of their songs is not for the fainthearted. "Uprising" is probably one of their best known numbers, played incessantly on TV a couple of years ago as the driving theme song for the sci-fi series "V." But as usual, James put his own stamp on the number.

First, there was the production: he marched out of the wings with a corps of drummers who circled the stage, pounding out the beat, while James sang. Then there was the performance itself. James sang the busy lyrics with power and clarity, but while the song builds in intensity, it doesn't afford the opportunity to hit those high wailing notes that he loves. Undaunted, he created his own drama by singing two of four lines in the final chorus an octave higher. ("They will stop degrading us!") In a word: yowza.

"That's going to be the best performance of the night—and you're only number two!" enthused judge Jennifer Lopez. "Dude, you are unbelievable out there!" Randy Jackson chimed in.

Granted, there seems to be less and less to fear from the competition as time goes by. Scotty McCreery played it country safe with a laid-back version of LeAnn Rimes' "Swingin'." Ditto Lauren Alaina, closing with a sweet, but uninspiring "Born To Fly" by Sara Evans. Jacob Lusk channeled Luther Vandross with an emotional "Dance With My Father," and sang beautifully (although Jackson did suggest he not hold back, and learn to "bring it" like James). Haley Reinhart did a pretty strong vocal on the Adele song, "Rolling in the Deep," but the backstage clips of producer Jimmy iovine instructing her to look for the "heartache" in the song were illuminating for a singer who doesn't always seem to grasp what her lyrics mean. Stefano Langone, too, sang a fairly confident cover of Ne-Yo's "Closer," but only after we saw clips of Iovine trying to explain to him the "difference between whining and begging, and sexy." Ouch.

Then there was wild-card Casey Abrams, who confounded expectations again by coming out with a guitar and a back-up band to work out on the Maroon V rocker, "Harder To Breathe." He lost a little of the song's relentlessness, but otherwise gave an accomplished performance. Besides which, there's just something indefinable about Casey, something sly and fun that makes you just want to see what he'll do next.

On the other hand it's easy to define James' appeal—he's exciting! He also understands the science of performing. The production he envisions for his number every week (no doubt honed during all those years in local musical theater) is light years ahead of what any of the other contestants ever thinks of. And you certainly never hear Iovine lecturing James about what his songs mean.

What does America think? Tune in tonight, 8 pm, for the next round of judging.

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Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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