Thursday, February 16, 2006


AMERICAN IDOL EXTRA: MEET THE TOP 24

The interview videos have been posted on Idol's website, and it's time for us to get to know the people we're voting for, which for the record does not include the Brittenum Twins. Bwahahaha.

Not that I'm gloating or anything.

So anyway, without further ado, let's recap their videos!

Ayla Brown (17, Wrentham MA) has poise and grace. She looks positively statuesque as she speaks. She seems humble enough, so I can't hate on her too much. She reveals that she literally thought her dad was Elvis until she was age 9, which explains where the King has been for all these years. She's a baller for Boston College, which ain't cheap, people. (Member of the 2000 point club! Impressive!) Like every single other Idol contestant that even has one smidge of an ego, she thinks she'd be the best role model since the apostle Paul. She's 17; she's too young to realize that people her age just aren't meant to be role models. Also, like every single other girl, she identifies with Kelly Clarkson. She takes AP Ceramics, and at this point I have to stop the video and do some research. Did any of you out there know they offered AP credit in college for CERAMICS???? I'm going to sue my guidance counselor for not clueing me in on that one. Ayla's cool, and I can see myself voting for her, at least until the Top 12.

Becky O'Donohue (25, Dobbs Ferry NY) is so hot that it makes me want to hit myself. She's just so... wow! Her twin sister, Jessie, is so wow too. She is cutting loose with that Bwaughston accent too. Like Ayla, Becky is a basketballer and she played Division 1 ball at Niagara University (no, I'd never heard of it either). She has a 27 inch vertical, so girlie can grab the boards! Shocker! Hold the presses! She identifies with Kelly Clarkson too. Becky has the look about a million times over, but she's just missing a certain depth...the X factor just isn't there.

Ace Young, (25, Los Angeles CA) Idol's pretty boy this year, had a love interest at age 7. Wowsers, they start off early, don't they? He's been trying at this music thing for a while now, but just hasn't been able to "reach his fan base." He's a self-proclaimed sports junkie, and he gets lots of points for being a George Brett fan. And we have yet another person wanting to be a role model. Yawn! Ace is great with kids. Here's a cushion for you ladies to swoom onto. Not surprisingly, Ace identifies most with Constantine Maroulis. Ace is a nice enough guy, very softspoken, and very tactful. He'll go a long way with the girls.

Bobby Bennett (19, Denver CO) says his toughest obstacle in life has been getting over the death of his great grandma. Wow. The kid has led a charmed life, if that's the case. He wears a turtleneck that makes him look like a woman's roll-on deodorant. He's a singer, but he's also an actor. Could this year see the production of From Bobby to Kellie?? Uh. Let's hope not. Why do they always ask the contestants why they want to be the next Idol? Gee, what do you think? Fame, fortune, et al maybe?? Bobby wants to bring some theatrics to the scene, because as we all know, we've never had THAT on Idol before. Bobby's favorite performer is Barry Manilow, which at this point, if he didn't have a wife, would erase all doubt that he is monstrously gay. Bobby identifies with Ruben because fat boys gotta stick up for each other.

Brenna Gethers (25, Mt. Vernon NY) is the type of person that makes you forget that she's a lady, in that you just really want to punch her right in the mouth. I hate the way she talks. She speaks to people the way a teacher would speak to her second graders. It's all very condescending. She is going to be the most aggravating person of all of them yesterday. She loves Michael Jackson and identifies with Fantasia. While I can handle the latter better than the former, neither are all that great of a choice. If you haven't figured it out yet, she will be getting absolutely no endorsement from this blog.

Heather Cox (22, Jonesville NC) is a doll. Seriously, where has she been all my life, much less all this season? Heather's toughest trial in life to date has been breaking up with a boy. We should all have such troubles. She's a religious girl, so I have to like that about her. When she talks, all I can hear is that gorgeous southern drawl spilling from her lips like honey. She's known by all the other contestants as "The Squealer." I'm going to leave that one alone. She's also a sprinter and graduated college with a 4.0 so there's brains behind those looks boys! She doesn't talk all the role model bull crap; rather, she just comes right out and says she wants to be an Idol because it's a fun job. She identifies with Vonzell Solomon and George Huff. Heather has a crooked toe, but baby, let me tell ya, if you'll just stick to closed-toe shoes, we'll be good to go. I really really like Heather. She has a great personality, is not annoying, and seems to have a head on her shoulders that isn't just used as a support system for hair growth. I expect I'll be voting for her too.

Bucky Covington (28, Rockingham NC) is uglier than a shaved baboon's red butt cheek. His hero is Kid Rock. Pardon me, folks, if I'm not holding out much hope for him so far. He's as country as a mayonnaise sandwich. He blinks. A lot. If he didn't say that he identified with Bo, I was going to go outside and find out which alternate universe I had landed in. He has an identical twin brother. It's hard to believe the world can handle that much ugly.

Chris Daughtry (26, McLeansville NC) is a really likable guy. He likes to paint, loves Richard Marx, adores his wife, and counts fatherhood as the most difficult obstacle that he's overcome in his life. What's not to like? He identifies with Bo, natch, and he cites the band Live as a primary musical influence. I really really like him, and I expect to be voting for him the first chance I get.

Katharine McPhee (21, Los Angeles CA) is a cutie pie and a half. And she can really sing. Katharine takes issue with Idol's audition process, saying that it wasn't fair, and that "they let go of some really good people and kept people who were pretty." Gutsy stance to take there. She's excited that she got to kiss all the judges on the lips, but no word on whether Simon actually does have a forked tongue or not. Katharine wants Idol to be her vehicle to get her to higher heights, since she's also interested in acting. Her favorite performer is Al Green, which is a nice breath of fresh air from the Mariah Careys and Whitney Houstons we've been hearing from since Idol began. Seriously, the girl has style. She identified with Fantasia the most, but I won't hold that against her. She has a twinkle in her eye that I just love.

Kellie Pickler (19, Albemarle NC) is way too over-rated. Y'know, she's probably a nice girl and all, but this whole "let's dress up and act like Carrie Underwood" thing is way way WAY overdone. It's as though she was sitting in front of the TV taking copious notes last year, and now she's putting everything into practice, up to and including Carrie's audition outfit from last year. Kellie managed to make some of her fans mad this week, due to the fact that in her online profile, she defined "American Idol" as "Kellie Dawn Pickler," a statement that was interpreted by some to be a bit arrogant. Kellie burps like a man, by the way. To her credit, Kellie has had to overcome some major life obstacles as a teenager, what with her family issues, and that's helping her gain the support of a lot of fans. Unfortunately, she seems to be subconsciously exploiting this (either that, or Idol's producers are.) And it would be a shame to see others lose votes, since Kellie is neither the best singer nor even the best looking this year. For some reason, she always looks disheveled. She cries a lot, and that gets old fast. Kellie likes a lot of country, but she distances herself from Carrie in the interview, saying she really likes Kelly Clarkson. All that being said, Kellie herself is not an totally unlikable person, but she needs to ditch the Carrie image quick if she wants to win my vote and the votes of many others.

David Radford (17, Crystal Lake IL) is a good-looking kid, and he's sort of a throwback to the Rat Pack era. He states in his profile that his biggest obstacle to overcome was his ego, which is good to know. He doesn't seem to be too arrogant, so we'll let the competition play out a bit. He's been singing since he was a zygote, and he'll school your butt at ping pong. He's into performing in musicals. He identifies with Jon Stevens which is pretty apt. David is a likable guy, a bit of an old soul for his 17 year old body, but still likable.

Elliott Yamin (27, Richmond VA) came out of nowhere in the Hollywood rounds and wowed the judges (and me!) Elliott is a personal hero of mine, since he has diabetes and has to wear an insulin pump. I don't say that sarcastically, because I also struggle with this disease. Elliott's certainly not the best looking contestant, but he can really sing, and you'd never see him coming. He's a big proponent of art and music education. His all-time favorite singer is Donnie Hathaway. He doesn't identify with any previous contestants, which in his case, is a really good thing. I like this guy, and I intend to vote for him.

Kinnik Sky (28, Duluth GA) is another contestant we haven't seen much of yet. She's had a few obstacles in life, not the least of which was going through a divorce. She's one of the older contestants this year. She says she is a bonafide actress, which is always endearing when coming from one's own mouth. Seriously, people, it's cool if other people compliment you, but if you say it, it makes you sound full of yourself. She loves to eat chitlins, which for those of you above the Mason-Dixon lines who don't know, is pig colon. You literally have to clean the crap out of them and boil them in order to eat them. They are disgusting beyond belief. She is in love with Fantasia, but the camera (and this blogger) is quickly falling out of love with her.

Lisa Tucker (16, Anaheim CA) is pure gold. I L-O-V-E love this girl. She's been singing ever since a placenta was a major portion of her life. The only thing that even close to raises an eyebrow about her is that she doesn't eat before a performance, though that probably has more to do with vocals than anorexia. She defines an American Idol as "someone who has something special to offer and who presents themselves in a respectable manner." Do you love her yet or what? She's very dignified and very pretty. Oh, and she can REALLY sing too. She's got that self-effacing attitude, and that carries a lot of weight. She identifies with Kelly Clarkson the most. Nikki McKibbin gets no love again!

Gedeon McKinney (17, Memphis TN) gets to represent my home town after the throne was abdicated by the Butt Hole Twins. So he can't help but be a little bit better. He comes off as a bit obnoxious, but part of that can be attributed to his age. One of his personal goals is to win 10 Grammys within 2 years, which is madly ambitious, since you'd have to basically write songs, shoot videos, and do technical production work just to be able to be nominated for that many. Sheesh, Kelly Clarkson only won 2 this year, so she must be way off her game! Gedeon started singing in church. He designs clothes and shoes. what you hear in the background is the sound of your gay-dar going off. He claims to have designed a store (an icon, no less) in Memphis, but I live in Memphis, and I've never heard of it. He wants to be the next American Idol because he represents "artistry, discipline, commitment, focus, and integrity," but one thing he does not particularly represent is articulateness. He idolizes Prince because he's the only performer who can dance for three hours wearing high-heels, so by now the gay-dar is at a critical level. He identifies with Fantasia, Clay (gay-dar! gay-dar!), Ruben, and Tamyra Gray. I'm not sure about this guy. Who wants to bet he'll be gone before next week is done?

Jose "Sway" Penala (28, San Francisco CA) has certainly grabbed his share of attention. He's definitely got the Filipino vote. Like exactly everyone, he didn't know what to do when he found out he was in the Top 24. We've heard it so much. I don't know why the interviewer keeps asking that question. And, like everyone else, he's been singing since he was a sperm. Sway cooks, ladies, so swoon over there next to the Ace fans, but not unless you like spam & eggs with fried rice. Pardon me while I puke. He doesn't identify with any former American Idols. At this point, I have to say, who are the hacks that came up with these questions??? They should look at some of my interviews (including some upcoming ones with some semi-finalists, so stay tuned!) Sway is a faithful church-goer, which I respect. I think that he's very talented, and I expect him to go far. Whether or not he's winner material remains to be seen, but I'll give him a few votes for now.

Mandisa Hundley (29, Antioch TN) is one of the classiest women I've seen on TV in a long time. Her self-effacing demeanor and her Christ-like way of carrying herself allow no reproach to be offered by one such as I. Though she may be a bit on the heavy side, she has quite a beautiful face and an even more gorgeous voice. When I see her, I'm reminded of Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson, only younger. Do any of you get the feeling that the contestants all were born with microphones in their hand? I think they should really cut this question from the interview, since EVERYONE'S answer is pretty much the same. She cites Kirk Franklin as her favorite performer. She identifies most with Fantasia. Mandisa sucked her thumb until she was 24...five years ago. Wow. Still, I love her, and I'm going to vote for her.

Melissa McGhee (21, Tampa FL) has pretty much escaped notice until recently. She had an abusive father, which is no easy task to overcome, but she hasn't played it up nearly as much as, oh, say, Kellie. Melissa was also a Season 2 contestant, but she didn't quite make it through the first round. She's cute, and she's got that down-to-earthness that doesn't feel as put on as, oh, say, Kellie, but she does have the feel of a certain Ms. Clarkson. She identifies with Kelly's vocals and Carrie's southernness. I like this girl, and I might just put her down as my dark horse to give the girls a run for their money.

Kevin Covais (16, Levittown NY) is about as fresh-faced as they get. I know I've picked on him a bit because he looks like he was just born maybe three weeks ago, but he is also one of my personal heroes in the competition this year as another guy who is coping and dealing with diabetes. He's got a bit of a lisp. If he makes it, maybe one day he'll even be able to shave. I kid because I love. He identifies the most with Anthony Federov because he thinks they look the same age (yeah right, maybe when Anthony was teething.) All kidding aside, I hope the kid does well, even though previous auditions haven't yet been encouraging. If he shapes it up a bit, I might throw him a vote.

Patrick Hall (27, Gravette AR) is a closet trekkie, yet he somehow figured out how to find a girl to get married to. Patrick, by the way, doesn't need any of us to form a fan club. He is his own fan club. He informs us of why he IS the American Idol (not should be, or could be, IS) and further proclaims he has the full package. Better check the bottom of that package for leaks, Pat. He has an adam's apple the size of a basketball. He identifies with Clay Aiken. Again with the trekkie thing! I don't know if he thought that would grab him a few sci-fi geek votes, but I've been told that trekkies don't refer to themselves that way (they're trekkERS...big difference...and I'm ashamed that I know that.)

Paris Bennett (17, Fayetteville GA) is a cute young'un, and she looks just a little bit like a very young Eartha Kitt. As we all know, Paris comes from the loins of Ann Nesby, a musician of note. She looks quite awful, though, in her interview. She's got the whole Rudy Huxtable thing going for her. I don't know if she meant this to be stuck up, but she refuses to consider the fact that she might not make it. She says "not if I make it, WHEN I make it," in such a way that she lost major cool points immediately. She identifies with every single Idol ever. She is a Spongebob freak. In the final analysis, the I'm-so-cute-pinch-my-cheeks angle may not be the way to go, as it will get old. She's going to be called upon to mature as the competition goes on, and it will be sooner rather than later.

Stevie Scott (19, Fair Oaks CA) is so spritely and colorful that I just can't keep my eyes off her. She's cute in a way, but you keep expecting her to sprout wings and float around Neverland sprinkling everybody with pixie dust. I'm saying this as a good thing. If Paris is Eartha Kitt, then Stevie is a younger prettier Carole Kane. She seems to be spiritual, and I like that about her. She seems fairly humble about herself. She's very tall. I really like her attitude. She eats a lot, but has a maddenly high metabolism. I'm gonna vote for this chick.

Taylor Hicks (29, Birmingham AL) is a breath of fresh air in this competition. Notice I said fresh air, not fresh hair. But the graying thing aside, Taylor really is an interesting musician. Keeping the show interesting covers a multitude of sins, in regard to talent. He's already got a steady fan base, and I'm one of them. Taylor's also been singing since conception. Big honkin' DUH, Ray Charles is his favorite performer. He identifies with fellow Alabamian Bo Bice. Of all the performers, I'm most interested in seeing what he's going to do next.

Will Makar (16, Woodlands TX) appears only slightly older than Kevin, so I'm guessing he's at least potty-trained. I honestly don't mean to be rude to the kids this year, but they just don't have it. I'd love to hear them all when they've got about five more years under their belt. Will's voice is good, though. Will started singing when he was five, last week. He is a Brett Favre fan, which I have to give him props for. He wants to be an Idol because he wants to be famous, which is, at the very least, honest. Like everyone else who auditioned at all for Idol, he feels that music is what he'll do for the rest of his life or at least until he's old enough for his parents to steal his trust fund. He mispronounces Michael Buble's name, even though he's allegedly his idol. He identifies with Jon Stevens, and I'm mystified as to why anyone thinks this a good thing. He imitates Chewbacca rather badly. I'm sorry, Will. You just don't have the "it" factor.

And there you have them, your Top 24. Next Tuesday, we'll have 2 hours of the girls performing, and then Wednesday, the guys will perform for 2 hours. Then Thursday there will be a one hour results show. That's five whole hours of Idol in one week! Call the baby-sitter.

Meanwhile, here are all your Top 24 contestants again in Brady Bunch format:

11 Comments:

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Admit it, you're on Simon's payroll, aren't you? I don't even watch AI and I can't believe how much detail you are putting into these posts, amazing!

So fess up, what did you get out of this, an autographed Paula Abdul pic?!?

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Are you suggesting payola? Why I'd never do such a thing (*stuffs his autographed Paula under the bed*)

Would you believe I'm just that big of a dork?

(*points*) LOOK! SARAH MCLACHLAN! (*runs and hides*)

 
At 2:41 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

LOL! That's better than Jewel or Go Daddy ;)

 
At 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey j.d.
You are so wrong about Gedeon. I would gather that you may in fact be a real Striesand fan yourself. Since he is from your hometown I think you should know that there are parts of North Memphis you wouldn't dare to go through so you probably wouldn't know the store since it's not in Wolfchase or Oak Court. But enough about your shortcomings and small minded views let's talk about the boy from your hometown. Did you know that his father was a musician who always dreamed of making it but never had the money or the connections to do it and on his deathbed just a few months ago he told his son to live the dream! I was so moved when I heard that story from one of his family members that I decided he would have my every vote. His mother is now left to raise 7 children on her own. They had to literally sing for the money just to get him to Chicago to audition. In his life he has seen more death than most of us witness in our entire lives and yet he learns to smile and smile big. As far as the gaydar is concerned does it really matter? unless you are looking for a date! You are looking in the wrong place though with him because he and his whole family are just particularly neat metros.

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Well, at least that Gederon fellow knows he can count on at least one vote...

 
At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the way you write. I like even more that you seem to be giving them all the benefit of the doubt, and at least a chance to prove themselves.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Y'know, I just love it when people leave confrontational comments, and then fail to leave a name of any sort.

Believe me, I know North Memphis, and there's no part of the city that I'm "afraid" to go through. I used to live in South Memphis and Whitehaven, which makes North Memphis look like a field of pink flowers. I've ducked my share of gunfire and lived in my share of slums.

Sounds like I've touched the nerve of one of Gedeon's friends or family members? Who knows, huh.

In any case, I'd just love to say that every single Idol contestant hung the moon, but the sad fact is that not all of them are as good as the others, and a few of them seem to think way too highly of themselves, and this is where Gedeon falls in. He's not nearly got the skills or charm that Ayla, Becky, Ace, Heather, Chris, Katharine, Kellie, David, Elliott, Lisa, Sway, Mandisa, Melissa, Patrick, Paris, Stevie, Taylor or Will have. I'll grant you this: I like him better than Brenna, Bucky, Kinnik and Bobbie.

Actually, you know, I do kind of hope he makes the Top 10, because then I can be sure the Idol tour will come by Memphis, but I honestly don't think he's that good, and I suspect he'll either be gone this week or next. Sorry!

 
At 1:24 PM, Anonymous michael said...

I had to share this with someone, although you may have already seen it:

http://garetjohnsononline.com/index.htm

 
At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, please stop picking on John Stevens.

OK, now that I got that off my chest, great review, and insight of the top 24.

Seriously, dude, I like your reviews.

p.s. and it's John NOT Jon, k?

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Noted: John, not Jon.

Sorry, I kept getting him and Jon Peter Lewis flip-flopped :)

 
At 2:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww...And you even put the Christopher Knight clone in the proper Brady Square!

It's eerie, I tellya.

 

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