The Great Wall of China Myth – Can you See it From Space?

We’ve all heard that the Great Wall of China is the only man made structure visible from space with the naked eye but is it? I’m a scientist, trained to be sceptically in all things but I never even questioned this ‘fact’ until I stumbled upon this report from NASA. If anyone should know the truth of this it’s NASA so what do they say about this.

First of all when we say ‘visible form space’ what do we mean exactly? Visible from low earth orbit? Visible from the moon? or further. Well lets take low earth orbit (LEO) first and work out from there. LEO is generally defined as 160 – 2,000 km but the International Space Station orbits at between 319.6 km and 346.9 km so If we can’t see it from here then then we don’t need to worry about seeing it from the moon!

Who better to find out about this myth than from one of China’s astronauts, Yang Liwei who was sent into space in the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft on October 15, 2003 and orbited at a height of 343 km. He completed fourteen orbits before landing in Inner Mongolia on October 16th. No doubt he was looking out for the Great Wall but he said on a television interview that the Earth was ‘very beautiful’ but he didn’t see the Great Wall.

Photos taken from the International Space Station by Leroy Chiao do seem to show some small sections of the Great Wall although the photographer himself says he couldn’t see the wall and is not sure if the picture really shows it.

What does NASA’s chief scientist for Earth observation say? The wall is very hard to see from space as it is made of materials which are almost the same texture and colour as the surrounding land. It is also very narrow at just ten meters wide and is very hard to pick out from its surroundings.He agreed that one photograph taken on November 24 1904 does seem to show a small section of the moon due to some conditions, such as snow on the wall and sunshine, that helped to make it more visible.

So if you can’t see the Wall from LEO it definitely won’t be visible from the moon which is around 370,000 kms away but let’s see what the first man on the moon says about it. Neil Armstrong was asked many times if he could see the Great Wall from the moon and his answer was he could not see any man made objects. The moon is a visible as a sphere from earth with continents, oceans and lakes visible but is the  Great Wall visible?  No says Armstrong. Other astronauts that also said they couldn’t see the Great wall from space include Buzz Aldrin and Jeffrey Hoffman. Armstrong also said he’d asked shuttle guys if any of them had seen the wall from space but no one had.

Credit NASA

One way to see the Great Wall from space however is to use radar imagery. The wall shows up clearly in images taken from the shuttle Endeavour using Spaceborne Imaging Radar and can be seen in the image above as an a orange line. The wall can also be seen using ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) below which uses fifteen difference electromagnetic spectrum bands to produce images.

What man made structures can you see from space? The most famous are the pyramids at Giza which are clearly visible in photographs taken from the International Space Station. You can also see reservoirs and dams, large city buildings, airports and other large structures. But the Great Wall of China? No sorry that myth is clearly just that, a myth!

Ricky Braddy – Closing a Door & Opening Window

Ricky Braddy is one of the luckiest people who got into the Top 36 contestants who will move on to the next round in Hollywood out of all the millions who tried their luck and auditioned. This 25-year old guy auditioned in Louisville at Kentucky. Ricky Braddy was one of the first 12 contestants who performed and unfortunately, he did not garner a lot of votes that will make it enough for him to move on to the next round and become one of the 12 finalists.

He earned his Commercial Vocal Performance degree from the Belmont University in Nashville at Tennessee. His love for music really rooted from childhood because Ricky Braddy started to learn how to sing when he was just 4 years of age because of his participation in the church choir. Right now, Ricky Braddy is currently living in Nashville in Tennessee, but he really grew up in North Carolina in Elizabeth City.
When his batch performed, he sang the song “A Song for You” by Leon Russell and the judges felt that there was something missing about his performance. Maybe the song was not right for him since the judges gave him a different comment when he was still auditioning. As a matter of fact, Paula Abdul even gave him a standing ovation when he auditioned in Louisville.

Who would have thought that this guy actually as a fan site called “The Braddy Bunch” and was technically started by his parents because every single time that he joined a contest, his parents always make it a point to wear shirts with the text “The Braddy Bunch” printed on it; and of course, this eventually where the name of Ricky’s fan club came from. Recently though, this specific fan site of Ricky Braddy has been threatened to be shut down because it accused the site of giving Ricky unnecessary and unfair exposure. This was after her parents mentioned the name of this fan site on national television. But word has it that The Braddy Bunch Online is already backed up and running again for all the supporters of Ricky!

Although many people are really supporting the talents and capabilities of Ricky, it still was not enough to put him and let him enter the next round and be part of those who will be included in the slots of the 12 finalists. Of course, others are agreeing with this outcome of the competition while others are not happy with it because they feel that Ricky deserves more time to show other people and the world what he’s got. There are also other people who are hoping that Ricky can have another chance in the competition through the wild card process. But even if Ricky does not get another chance in the competition everyone knows, not only his supporters, that this is not the end of his singing career; rather, it is just the start because for sure, many doors will open up for him in the future.

So it is just right for everyone, most especially his supporters, to continue watching out for the things that he has to offer for everyone.

Playseats: A New Age In Gaming

Not further than 5 years ago, nobody knew what a gaming seat was. Now they are quite popular among gamers of all ages. Video games have this quality: the better and the more realistic they are, the more addictive they get. This pushed game makers to the extreme of seeking new ways of offering their clients the illusion of a reality inside their games, via all kind of specialized accessories. 3D glasses were a nice invention. Joysticks, driving wheels and precision mouse models made the fun of a few generations. Yet, something was still missing in the driving games sector: the driving seat feeling was simply not present. Indeed, using a joystick is better than the keyboard, the driving wheel is better than the joystick, but the regular desk chairs were not living up to the standards.

Here’s where playseats enter the stage: they are special seats which allow attaching the driving wheel and the pedals, thus making them feel very much like a racing car seat. Playseats can make an excellent Christmas gift for kids, provided that they are fans of computer games like Need for Speed. In this article we are going to offer you reviews of a few of the most popular gaming chairs.

Playseats Classic Game Seat

This chair which looks very similar to a racing cockpit can be used with most video game systems such as PlayStation, Xbox 360, Nintendo or GameCube. It comes without a driving wheel, so you’ll need to purchase it separately. The wheel can be easily installed on the central console of the chair. The console is suitable for most Logitech wheels, although there were some reviews on the internet saying that it’s not compatible with the Logitech G25 Racing Wheel, because of the pedals length.
This Playseats chair is adjustable to the user size, therefore it fits both adults and children of minimum 8 years of age. So, when the kids get enough of their favorite game, their dad can have some entertainment too. The seat is comfortable and it’s made of good quality materials, which are non-flammable. It’s nice that the chair has a folding seat, so it takes lesser storage space. The maximum weight capacity of the Playseats Classic Game Seat is of 235 pounds and it’s dimensions are 51.2 x 20.5 x 38.6 inches. It is available in black, blue or red. Prices may vary between $160 and $300.

Playseats Evolution Gaming Seat

Priced at $330, the Evolution video gaming seat from Playseats looks more like a living room furniture item rather than a computer accessory, while offering all the comfort for the addicted gamer. This chair offers all the features of the Classic model, being also suitable for ages 8+ and adjustable to the user’s height. It’s nice that the game seat comes with holes that fit the G25 wheel and pedals platforms, so those would be very easy to attach.
If your driving wheel comes with a Velcro stripe, make sure to attach it, for e better gaming experience.

Playseats World Rally Championship Gaming Seat

This one comes with a price tag of $600, which is not cheap, that’s for sure. However, for this money you get an extra strong seat with high profile side bolsters. The ultra high-density foam helps the seat maintaining its shape for a long time. The upholstery is a very nice suede fabric branded with the WRC official logo. The integrated side head protection system could protect the user even in case of an accident (well, if this was a real driver’s seat, but it’s still a nice addition, because of its cool shape).
The drivers wheel support is fully adjustable and it features a quick release handle, so adjusting the seat is very easy to do. It’s a cool piece of furniture, yet only a true fan of the World Rally Championship would probably be willing to spend that kind of money when he can have pretty much similar stuff for half price. But as always, branding comes with a price.

Nick Mitchell – Defying Factor

Nick Mitchell, also known by the name of “Norman Gentle” is one of the lucky 36 finalists who were chosen out of the millions who tried out to become the next American Idol. And the place where his future was decided is in East Rutherford at New Jersey. He was also known as “Norman Gentle” because on the day that he auditioned, he guised himself as someone by alternative name mentioned above. After he sang “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” of the Dreamgirls and “Amazing Grace”, it was amazing that the judges voted Nick Mitchell to go to Hollywood considering the way he fixed himself, red headband, huge glasses, and a glittering shirt. Everyone was given the impression that he was not really serious in pursuing a career in singing. This is probably the reason why all of the judges except Simon Cowell, agreed to send Nick Mitchell to Hollywood.

He is 27 years old and attended and finished his studies in Manhattan College and Western Connecticut State University but basically, he just grew up in Brookfield in Connecticut. Before he joined this competition, American Idol, he worked as a comedian who often performs in Connecticut and/or Manhattan.
Because of the impression that he gave people when he auditioned, many people feel that he is different from all the other contestants that were chosen. This is probably due to the way he carries himself and the way he acts towards other people. But even though he was perceived as such, he just keeps on fighting along with all the other contestants.

A friend and former classmate of Nick Mitchell, Bob Appleby, tried to make other people understand the personality of the childhood friend. He said that even then, Nick is really naturally friendly; someone who easily made friends with everyone. What he loves to do back then is sing a song and make the people around him laugh that’s why he got famous for playing pranks on other people just for fun. Bob said that all those years, Nick grew up developing that personality in school – elementary, junior high, and even high school. The funny thing about it, Bob said, is that until now he is still like that. Appleby even said that he is really glad that Nick is now given the chance to make the whole world happy as well like he used to.
This is not actually the first time that Nick has appeared on national television because he played the character in “The Wendy Williams Show” a year ago, after he sent his video tape dancing around his own living room while singing the theme song of the said talk show. The executive producer even said that when he saw the tape, he knew that Nick deserved a chance to shine.

So look out for Nick Mitchell because he may be the person who will change the views of people who are stereotyping those people who they feel is right in being given the title of American Idol.

Love Movies That Make You Cry

Love movies are great. At least this is what many people think. The more they make you cry, the better they are. Isn’t it funny, how we like to cry at movies, although we usually don’t see crying as being pleasant in our real life? Human beings surely are contradictory in their feelings. In order to feed your human nature, please find below a brief overview of several love movies that would make most girls cry (and maybe some guys too):

Love Story (1970)

Made after a novel written by Erich Segal and directed by Arthur Hiller, this movie was launched under the tagline “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. It is the love story between the student Oliver Barrett IV (played by Ryan O’Neal) and Jennifer Cavalleri, a Radcliffe music wonk (played by Ali MacGraw). Soon after they got married despite all obstacles, she discovered she was sick and almost dying. It’s a simple story that touches you for a lifetime.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Made after Jane Austen’s novel, with the screenplay written by Deborah Moggach, the movie is a love story between one of the five daughters of Mr Bennet, Elizabeth, and the snobbish Mr. Darcy. They both had a great dose of humor, which makes a big part of this movie’s charm. Like in the previous movie, the lovers had to overcome obstacles raised by the society, as one of them was rich and the other one poor, so they were supposed not to make a family together.

Love Actually (2003)

Directed and written by Richard Curtis, Love Actually was nominated twice for the Globe Awards. The action takes place in London, before Christmas, and it’s the romance and love life of eight people who fall in love, who marry, then divorce, who get connected and go through a lot of funny happenings. Some of the actors won the BAFTA Film award for their performance.

The Notebook (2004)

This drama was made after a novel by Nicholas Sparks, under the direction of Nick Cassavetes. The main action takes place in a nursing home: an old guy is reading a story to an old lady, a love story which in the end proves to be their own story. As the epic advances, she starts realizing that the old man is reading her life story and that he’s her loved one, she’d lost so long ago. It’s a really touching story. The two protagonists die at the end of the movie, hand in hand, happy and peaceful.

A Walk To Remember (2002)

Directed by Adam Shankman and written by Karen Janszen after a novel by Nicholas Sparks, this drama is the story of two teenagers: a popular student gets punished and does some community service work, where he meets the reverend’s daughter, Jamie, and falls in love with her. A true love, clouded by a terrible secret and an unexpected end of the story which makes it a truly memorable love movie.

Autumn in New York (2000)

A romantic drama and the love story of two people: a 48 years old upscale restaurateur (played by Richard Gere) and a 22 year old girls (played by Winona Ryder) whose life is threatened by a tumor. The movie was nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001, for the Worst Screen Couple. Even so, the story remains touching and this movie is one of those who make you cry.

The English Patient (1996)

Directed by Anthony Minghella, this love movie has won 9 Oscars. The action takes place at the end of the World War II, when a young nurse is taking care of an injured pilot. He has a series of flashbacks which take the viewers into a love story between him and a married woman.

Gia (1998)

Directed by Michael Cristofer, who also contributed to the script, this movie is inspired from the life of a real person, Gia Carangi, a top fashion model who was famous in the late 70s. Played by Angelina Jolie, Gia is a girl who had a sad childhood, but who managed to escape it and who finally died to AIDS at only 26 years of age. The movie won two Globe awards.

Becoming Jane (2007)

This is the biography of Jane Austen, based on her letters and directed by Julian Jarrold. Jane Austen is played by Anne Hathaway who makes an outstanding performance fro which she was nominated in 2007 as Best Actress for the British Independent Film Award. This love movie won the People’s Choice Award in 2008 and got multiple other nominalizations in various film festivals.

Steel Magnolias (1989)

This is one of those love movies that make you laugh and cry in the same time. It is the story of a group of friends living in a small community, the Chiquapin Parish. The movie is directed by Herbert Ross and it features Julia Roberts in a secondary role, for which she got an Oscar nomination as Best Actress in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (1990).

These are only ten choices of love movies worth to be seen, but the list could go on for a longer while. If you got to read this far, please feel free to add your favorite love movies in the comments section below.

In Choosing a Dance Mat to Enjoy

Rhythm is something that people are born with. Everyone shares the love for music as well as gliding and moving along with it. If you are a frustrated dancer or one who simply enjoys grooving, you may find that the Dance Dane Revolution is a great stage for you to make your dancing dreams a reality. The best thing about this dance game is that it is fun and easy. Everyone can follow the steps with ease and it is for everybody to enjoy from children to adults. But before you jump start your career in Dance Revolution, one of the essentials you have to get is a dance mat. There are numerous kinds and models to choose from and they also come in different shapes and sizes. But it is important you pick the right item that suits you best.

Before the choice gets confusing, here are some guidelines that you can follow in choosing the dance revolution mat for you to enjoy.

  1. Mark the play area. The first thing you have to do is make room at home for this dance revolution game. You have to size up the space and get a dance mat that will fit in perfectly.
  2. Count the dance fanatics. Along with the size of the dance mat to get, you also have to consider how many items to buy. The reason why so many people enjoy the game so much is the competition that comes with it. You can get at least two so you can have a duel with a family member.
  3. Consider your budget. You may consider the game an investment but make sure not to overspend. The dance mats can cost anywhere between $20 and $1200.

The choice for a dance mat can be overwhelming given the variety, but it can really improve your video game experience. But you do not have to pull your hair out to make the decision. The pointers shall help you make the right choice so you can start to enjoy dancing as you like it.

How To Become A Vampire

So, do you really want to become a vampire? A real life one? Do you want to drink people’s blood? Bite them from their necks? What else? Howl at the full moon?

Hey, my dear reader, if you’re here, it could be from one of the following reasons:

You’re in desperate need for an original Halloween costume but you want to stay within the classics limits, so all you can think of are vampires, skeletons and creepy, rotten masks to scare the hell out of your neighbor’s kids

You’re a big fan of the New Moon movie and of Robert Pattinson

You’re a dreamer and you can’t tell dreams from reality anymore

Vampire stories seem to be fascinating people across different cultures. Each ethnic group has its local version of vampires. This could be an explanation for the success of movies and novels based on this archetype. For instance, Africa has Adze, which is a vampire spirit dwelling among the Ewe, takes a firefly shape and drinks blood but also coconut water and palm oil.

Arabia has Algul, a female vampire living in dead cemeteries. In Malaysia, vampires appear as cats, they threaten children and they are known as Bajang. When they take the shape of a woman, such vampires are known as Langsuir. Scottish people have the Baobhan-sith, the beautiful maiden dressed in green, that lures and kills her victims.

Filipinos believe that vampires were the ones who planted taro on their islands in the beginning of time. Their vampires are called Danag and they drink human blood. Even Aztecs had a witch-vampire, the Civatateo, who was supposed to be a woman who died in childbirth, and who killed babies ever since. Ancient Babylonia and Assyria had Ekimmu. The ways to become an Ekimmu were sudden death, improper burial or sometimes unfulfilled love.

Greek mythology knew Empusas, a vampire serving goddess Hecate. There’s even a vampire of unknown origins, the Incubus, who paid nightly visits to female victims, and who was believed to be able to get them pregnant.

If we were to count which country has the most vampires, I think India could easily win, with about ten species of vampires with different origins and habits.

Basic Steps in Becoming a Vampire

Study all types of vampires known and decide which one is closest to your preferences. I’m sure most of you know how human blood tastes, as sucking the wound from a paper cut is quite a common gesture. And we all handle lots of papers when we are young.

Find a contact lenses shop and see what models they have. Usually, it won’t take long until finding some really spooky ones, so your vampire eyes are relatively easy to obtain.

For decent vampire clothing, you’ll need a Halloween costumes shop, but that’s not a must. You can always shred some old pants and a long T shirt and stain them with some red dye.

Teeth are important, as they will be your main blood sucking tools. Vampire teeth kits are available for purchase in any party accessories shop, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

That’s basically the external transformation, which is easy and relatively cheap. However, if you’re serious in becoming a vampire, then you need to start behaving like one, you need to start thinking like one, you need to change your living habits so they match the vampire style. I’d suggest you try this for one month before buying all your vampire arsenal, then see if you’re still keen on doing it or you’d better ask a girl for a normal date, buy her flowers and take her to a movie. You know, being a vampire could affect your love life, as there aren’t too many girls dreaming to be drained out of blood by their lovers. You’ll probably need to use a vampire dating website and honestly, I don’t know if there are any. And even if they were, I very much doubt they’d be populated with too many female users. The average girl’s mind is at clothing, beautiful make up and boys and not at how to become a vampire.

Babysitter Games

Being a babysitter is a big responsibility for anyone, whether you are a teen or an adult. Making it a fun experience for both you and the children is another story. You might be going into a babysitting job thinking you’ll have an easy time of it, get to watch movies, play on your iPhone, and chat on the phone with your friends. Sure, you may get a job like that if the kids are put to bed right away, but if they are up and awake you will need some ideas to keep them entertained. No question about it, you are the entertainment!

Here are a few ideas and tips for babysitter games and other activities that will help you keep the kids entertained. Who knows, they may like the experience so much that they’ll request you back!

Crafting

Plan a crafting activity that can be done with the children you are babysitting. You will need to choose something that is able to be done by each of the children’s age groups, but it is often easy to modify a project for younger children by helping them out or making it simpler. It is fun for them to make a craft item that they can give away to someone else, such as their mother for Mother’s Day, or something for Father’s Day, or perhaps a Grandparent is having a birthday.

One idea for babysitting crafts is to make tissue paper flower bouquets. At your local dollar store, get different colored tissue paper and some children’s scissors and craft glue. Making tissue paper flowers is as easy as cutting long strips of tissue paper, rolling it up and gluing it every now and then. At the end, glue it and begin to peel back the layers to make them appear like petals. Instructions for making these and other types of tissue paper flowers can be found online.

Birthday cards are another fun thing to do with kids. Bring over a few scrapbooking supplies and help the kids make a birthday card for Dad.

Board Games

Most families have a selection of board games in a cupboard somewhere. Ask the parents, before they leave for the evening, where they are kept. Kids are always asking adults to play games with them and this is a good opportunity for them to get the games out of their systems, plus it will keep them entertained. Explain the game rules to the children and play along with them.

Card Games

Card games like Uno, Memory, or Go Fish are easy for kids to pick up. Some of these are good for educational purposes as well. If the family does not have any card games, then bring some of your own along. Bringing a selection of things such as babysitter games with you that the kids do not see that often will make them more interested in playing along.

Movies

The family that you are babysitting for will most likely have a selection of cartoons and movies on DVD that you can show the children, however it is more fun for them if you bring something from your own collection. Make sure the parents are ok with you showing it to them first!

Internet

There are many kid-friendly websites that have online games for children. Both educational and recreational games can be found. Again, make sure the parents are ok with you allowing the kids online, supervised, while they are gone. They may have rules about t.v. and computer that mean the kids have limited watching time per week.

Educational Babysitter Games

Using your babysitting time to teach educational games and activities with the kids is something that the parents will really appreciate. Doing homework isn’t necessarily fun, but with the right attitude, kids will go along with it. There are also a lot of educational games available on the market which will help in this manner, but you can also make up your own.

Here is one idea:

Using index cards, print a letter on each card. Hand out each child a set number of cards as well as yourself. Play the game similar to Uno, where one card is placed upright next to the deck of leftover cards, face down. Going around the circle, in order, have each child play a card of a letter that they can 1. say the letter name, 2. say the letter sound, and 3. say a word that begins with that letter. (Depending on the age of the child, you may want to have them just do #1 or #2 instead.) If they get it right, they can ‘play’ the card. This is a fun game that I do with my 5 year old and he loves it!

Reading

All kids like to be read to, especially before bed. One of the best ways of entertaining children and introducing them to the wonders of the written word is to pick a good story book and read it to them. We’re not talking a board book or small children’s book that a child can read themselves, we are talking a big long work of fiction. One that is a book that you bring and read to them a chapter or two each time you babysit, providing it is a regular job. It will keep them asking for more! Check with the parents first, but here are a few ideas of books to get started: Charlotte’s Web, Treasure Island, Little House on the Prairie,Chronicles of Narnia, etc.

Game Jar

Prior to the babysitting job, cut a bunch of strips of paper out. Write an activity on each strip of paper, fold it up and put it in the jar. When you are at the house, this is a great babysitting game to play with the kids. Allow each child to pick out one piece of folded paper. Then all of you will play the game or activity that is on the paper. After playing the game, then let the next child pick out a paper and then everyone play that game as well. Let them each have a turn. Make sure the activities are doable or it won’t make sense to the kids if you have to say no to it.

Coloring/Drawing

Bring coloring books and crayons with you when you go babysitting. Make these special books that you bring on the job and take home when you leave. This will help make them special to the kids. If they see them everyday, they will be less interested in playing with them, but if you take them away when you leave they will want to see them again.

Babysitter games are easy to come up with. If you are looking for more ideas, take a look online and see what else you can come up with. Check in your games closet at home and bring some of your own board games over. Or, best of all, put yourself in the kids’ shoes. Think like a child and decide what you would have wanted to do if you were that age. You most likely end up with a lot of babysitter games that you can use for future babysitting jobs.

Arianna Afsar: Girl Next Door

It is indeed true that the United States of America has become the melting pot of the world and this is manifested by one of its most popular reality TV shows, American Idol. Over the years, the singing competition show has accumulated contestants from different backgrounds and heritage.

Another American Idol trend is that its contestants, as well as its winners, have been getting younger and younger. 2007 winner Jordin Sparks was only 17 when she won and last year’s finalist, David Archuleta, was the same age as well. Both trends are seen in a current American Idol contestant, Arianna Afsar, a teenager of Bangladesh heritage who has just turned 17 years old. She is part of the Top 36 and is set to perform with the rest of Group 3 next week.

Arianna Afsar first wowed the judges when she auditioned in Phoenix Arizona (although she is from San Diego), singing “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae. The judges were won over by her sweet personality and her clear, jazzy voice. She received four yeses and got the yellow ticket to Hollywood. While Hollywood week was tough for a lot of the contestants, what with the group fights, cracked voices, and stage fright – Arianna survived Hollywood week and moved on to the next round as part of Top 36. Fans of Arianna Afsar will have to wait until next week to find out if Arianna will get into the Top 12 of American Idol season 8.

Arianna Afsar is no stranger to the stage. She began singing when she was 6 years old and has joined a number of teen beauty competitions such as the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen Competition and went on to be the runner up for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Competition in 2005. Arianna first began singing musical theater with roles such as Cindy Lou in the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Just recently, Arianna starred as Gabriella Montes in the “Disney’s High School Musical” production of J* Company. She also uses her singing talents for the good and has founded the “Adopt a Grandfriend” group and often entertaining the elderly with her voice.

Arianna also sings pop songs and has a repertoire of more than a hundred. She has also sung the national anthem in a number of games of the San Diego Padres. However unlikely it may sound, Arianna Afsar is also a very studious girl. She has mentioned that her favorite subject is Math and she once took advanced classes for the subject. Arianna goes to Westview High School in San Diego, California.

While Arianna may not have an off-the-charts personality that might keep American Idol fans fascinated, her smooth voice, pleasant charm, and attractive looks have the potential to bring her far in the competition. As the judges always say, it’s not just how good your voice is, but it’s also about the song choice. We will see next week whether Arianna Afsar chooses the right song that can carry her over to be a Top 12 finalist.

Alexander Thugman – For People Who Like Personality and Nice Boys

If you adore nerds, witty personality and nice good boys, this American Idol aspirant may just be the pick for you. Alexander Thugman wins the heart of many American Idol viewers, not just because geeks are in, but because there is something very endearing about this 19-year college old student. There might just be a place for him in this season’s top runners.

From Studio City, California, Alex went to Phoenix, Arizona to get to the American Idol audition. Dropping responsibilities in school, even just for a day, is a big deal for someone as grade-conscious as Alex. “I missed a Spanish test for this. If I don’t do it, I’ll probably get a B.”, he narrated. It seems that Alex has musical dreams that he could fulfill outside university.

Upon entering the audition room for Idol, Simon makes a remark “You just came out of the closet.” An average male teenager would have not been able to respond to such words, but Alex comes back with to Simon with a witty remark saying that he used to practice singing in the closet. Alex Thugman is truly no average teenager.

Alex, seemingly timid and shy, sang “Baby come to me” by James Ingram. Although Paula mentioned that she found the audition surprising. Randy has attested that Alex’s voice has a weird tone, yet he congratulates the contestant for singing in pitch. Alex managed to impress all three judges except Simon who did not find anything extraordinary with his audition. Nonetheless, three yeses had gotten Alex through to Hollywood.

“It actually worked,” Randy Jackson defends as Alexander Thugman leaves the room with a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Hollywood week became tougher for Alex. The judges remained undecided until the last minute. To help the judges make the decision, Alex was called to render a song of his choice to convince the judges to choose him to stay. The catch is that he had to sing against one of the other contestants. The sing off was an emotional challenge for Alex since he had to sing against Cody Sheldon, who has come to be very close to him throughout the competition. Cody failed to impress the judges, thus making the judges lean towards Alex’s favor.

Alexander Thugman may not boast of the best voice in the competition, but his endearing personality helps him advance in the competition. At age 19, he is now part of American Idol Season 8’s top 36. From a regular responsible student, he is on the race towards becoming the next American Idol. He just needs a little more work for him to stand out in this competition. As we all know, wanting to get to the top may not be enough to take him there.

Simon did make a strong remark on Alex’s audition day, “You cannot do well in this competition”.