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Ace Young, 2005/2006 American Idol Finalist
Jessica Biel
Image by dbking
Brett Asa "Ace" Young (born November 15, 1980) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. He came to national recognition upon appearing on the fifth season of the popular reality television talent show, American Idol, although he was eliminated from the competition on April 19, 2006, finishing in seventh place.

Early years
Young, who is of German and Irish descent, was raised in Denver, Colorado, growing up in the same Boulder neighborhood as actress Jessica Biel and American Idol Season 2 contestant Samantha Cohen. He is the fifth and last son of Jay Young, a retired minor-league baseball player, and Kay Whitney, a cosmetologist and member of the Mormon Church (although Young himself is not a member of the Mormon religion, but rather a non-denominational Christian). Young has four older brothers: Josh, Duff, Marc, and Ryan. He was named after his maternal great-grandfather, Asa, and after baseball player George Brett; he has been called Ace by his family since his childhood and did not know his legal name until he was six years old.

Young, who has been singing since the age of nine, attended voice lessons and performed at local shopping malls and recreation centers during his youth. He performed at various venues in Colorado and other western states, most notably at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Young graduated from Fairview High School, his local high school, in 1999, having participated in athletics, choir, and International Baccalaureate classes during his school years.

After his high school graduation, Young opened for Brian McKnight and New Edition, and sang the national anthem at Denver Nuggets games. His first published song, "Reason I Live" was featured in the 2000 film The Little Vampire.

In 2003, Young moved to Los Angeles, California, where he initially worked in sales and home remodeling. During this time, he guest-starred in an episode of Half & Half, playing a character named Ace Blackwell.

American Idol
Young auditioned for American Idol in Denver, wearing a tuque beanie and singing a rendition of Westlife’s "Swear It Again" and was unanimously passed on to the next round. American Idol judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson approved his entry, with Jackson noting that Young was one of the best singers he had seen audition. Simon Cowell disagreed with Abdul and Jackson but also approved Young, with a small "yes". He was introduced as Brett Young, with the name ‘Ace’ marked in quotations. Later, he told them he preferred to be called Ace, and the quotes were removed from his credits.

In the Hollywood rounds, one of the songs he sang was "Emotions," in a trio with Chris Daughtry and Bobby Bullard.

Young was one of 24 contestants to make it to the semi-finals. His first performance, using a falsetto, was a rendition of the song "Father Figure", and he sang more verses of falsetto in the song "Butterflies," for his third performance on March 8. The judges loved both performances. In his second performance, on March 1, he sang "If You’re Not The One," to which he received mixed reviews.

On March 9, 2006, Young made it into the top twelve of American Idol. On March 14, he sang "Do I Do," because it was songs by Stevie Wonder theme week, and received mixed reviews. On the results show, he was one of the bottom three with Melissa McGhee and Lisa Tucker, but was safe.

The next week, on March 21 was 1950s songs, and he sang "In the Still of the Night." The judges enjoyed this performance: Jackson loved it, Abdul said it was the sexiest performance he had done all season, and Cowell said it was one of his strongest performances.

For the third week, on March 28, which was songs from the past six years, he sang "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)." Jackson said it was the wrong song choice for him and he sang it poorly. Abdul was also disappointed with the song choice but said Young sang well, nonetheless. She pointed out Young’s scar, which he had motioned to during his performance. Young explained it was from playing basketball when he tripped and fell on a bar that was supposed to hold a tree up, the bar bent down with him and narrowly missed his larynx. Cowell said the performance was not a great vocal and "quite karaoke," and was not impressed. Young was one of the bottom three contestants, along with McPhee and Tucker.

On April 4, the fourth week of the finals, was a designated country songs theme with Kenny Rogers. Young sang "Tonight I Wanna Cry," and received mixed reviews. Jackson said it was living proof that Young was single, and Abdul said the song was perfect for his range and that he sang an adequate rendition of a contemporary country music hit. Cowell thought Young had made a good song choice. Kenny Rogers also gave him very positive reviews, and later Young said he got the best advice from Rogers.

On April 11, the fifth week of the finals, was classic songs by Queen. He sang "We Will Rock You" and received mixed reviews. Abdul liked the performance, though she mentioned it was a bit pitchy at times, Jackson thought it was okay, and Cowell did not enjoy it, stating, "I think it was a complete and utter mess. It didn’t work—it was all over the place. You were forgetting your words. I mean, it was ‘We Will Rock You Gently’. I really, really, really hated that." Young was one of the bottom 3 contestants, along with Yamin and Covington.

On April 18, the sixth week of the finals, was songs from the Great American Songbook week with Rod Stewart. He sang "That’s All." For this performance, Young had his hair tied back and was dressed up in a McQueen designer suit. Jackson commented that Young stumbled in the middle, but did well overall. Abdul commented that she liked the "new Ace" and called it "a magical night." Cowell said "it wasn’t bad," but while he said the middle was a bit nasally, he called the performance "charming." The following night Young was placed in the "bottom three" with Daughtry and Bennett and was eliminated.

Post-Idol
On April 26, Young performed as a guest on Total Request Live, singing an original song called "Don’t Go" a cappella; the song will be included in his upcoming album. He has also appeared at the grand opening of The Camden House of Beverly Hills (an event showcasing rising stars under the age of thirty), was invited to the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, sang the national anthem at a summer Colorado Crush game and hosted a solo concert at the Pepsi Center. Young continues to perform at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Ace Young is currently unsigned to a record label (as of August 2006), he has been in talks with RCA Records. He was named one of People Magazine’s "Hottest Bachelors" on June 16, 2006.

On October 20 2006 , he released his first single "Scattered," a digital download on iTunes Store.

Young helped write the chorus to Daughtry’s debut single, "It’s Not Over.&quot

Young appeared and sang on the 2006 Walt Disney Christmas Day Parade along with fellow idol finalists Paris Bennett, Kevin Covais, and Mandisa.

Personal life
Young is currently based in Los Angeles, California. His hobbies include playing the piano, football, baseball, and basketball. During his time on American Idol, Young befriended Chris Daughtry, whom he met at the Denver audition for the show. The two lived in the same apartments during the show’s runtime, and following Young’s elimination, he stated that he would step in front of a moving train for Daughtry any time. Fans of the pair have categorized them as "Chrisace" or "Chrace", while Young’s fanbase became known as "Highrollers", a name based off a pun of the name "Ace".

Since 1999, he has worked voluntarily in the Children’s Hospital of Denver, entertaining hospital-bound patients every Christmas. Ace always talks about his love for children and his desire for his own children one day. He has two nephews, Carter and Keeghan, and three nieces, Josh’s daughter (name unknown), Renee and Aspen. Young also has a charity that he has started last year, called Highrollers with Heart.

Albums
American Idol Encores (compilation)

sooooo not necessary
Jessica Biel
Image by arimoore
this is so sad. i feel really bad for all the ladies out there who think they need to get naked to be seen, and for all the magazines who think they need to put a naked lady on the cover to get readders, and for all the readers who think they’re seeing reality when they open a magazine, and for all the little girls out there who see this and think this is what you have to do to succeed.

it’s like women are in a contest, a competition to see not who’s the best actor, the most talented artist, the most skilled professional, but to see how much humiliation they can take, as if this will somehow convince us that they’re worthy of our attention.

well, jessica biel, i’ve got this reponse to your cover: i respected you a whole lot more before you did this, and it’s a shame, because yes, you’re lovely, but you also have skills that you should really be showing that don’t involve your body being stripped on every newsstand in the country.

and to GQ: you SUCK ASS for even having a cover like this, unless you alternate months between boys and girls and put cillian murphy naked on your next cover.

and to the readers of GQ: what the fuck, dudes. write a letter to the editor telling them you care about women even when they’re not naked.

Summer tango, Jul 2010 – 28
Jessica Biel
Image by Ed Yourdon
Note: this photo was published in an Aug 15, 2010 blog titled "El tango hoy está “anclao en Berlín” | Grito Peronista." It was also published in a Feb 9, 2011 blog titled "What’s the Name of These Lacoste Sneakers (Spring 2009)?"

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As I pointed out in an earlier set of Flickr album (shown here, I do not dance the tango, and I know little or nothing about its history, its folklore, or even its steps and rhythms. I’m vaguely aware that it originated in Argentina (and Uruguay) in the 1890s, that a new style known as "tango nuevo" began to emerge in the late 1990s, and that various actors and actresses — including Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Antonio Banderas, Madonna, Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger(!), among others — have performed the tango in various movies. But beyond that, it never really occurred to me that it played any significant role here in the U.S.

That is, not until the summer of 2009, when I happened to return to my hotel, on a business trip to Washington, DC, just as a local gathering of tango aficionados was dancing to their music in a nearby square known as Freedom Plaza. I photographed the event (see my Flickr set Last tango in Washington) and learned from one of the participants that there were similar informal events in New York City, at the South Street seaport, during the summer and fall weekends. When I got back to New York, I searched on the Internet, and found a schedule of upcoming tango events just as my Washington acquaintance had indicated; but travel schedules, inclement weather, and other distractions prevented me from actually attending any of them; by the end of the autumn season, I had forgotten all about it.

For some reason, something reminded me of the tango again this spring — perhaps some music that I overheard, perhaps a scene on some otherwise forgettable television show. In any case, I searched again on the Internet, and discovered that a tango "event" would be taking place on a Sunday afternoon — but not at the South Street Seaport (on the east side of Manhattan, near the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges), but rather at Pier 45, where Christopher Street runs into the Hudson River in Greenwich Village. The event takes place every Sunday, usually from 4-8 PM, and I made my first visit in mid-April, which led to this set of photos.

I decided to come back again in mid-July, even though I knew it would be much hotter … and indeed, it was so hot that the music did not even begin until 6 PM. But then the dancers began to appear, one couple after another, until there were a couple dozen couples filling a large space under a sheltering canopy. And since it was the end of a hot summer evening, tango wasn’t the only thing going on: there were people sunbathing, watching the boats on the river, playing frisbee, or simply enjoying themselves. I photographed a little of everything; you can focus your attention on whatever you’d like…

If you’d like to watch NYC tango dancing on your own, check out Richard Lipkin’s Guide to Argentine Tango in New York City.

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