It's that time again! It's sort of sneaked up on me this year, since I've been so busy, but I know you guys are looking for my critiques, and who am I to disappoint?
A little bit of what to look for this year: I am going to attempt to be more positive this year while at the same time keeping the same comedic edge that I tried to have last year. There are several reasons for this, many of which I've already gone into, and many of which should and would bore you to tears.
So, with that said, game on!
Another look at Taylor and Katharine, and the well-deserved title going to Mr. Hicks, in case you forgot what happened on the biggest show in all of TV last year. There are glory shots of Kelly, Fantasia, J-Hud, Carrie, and all sorts of other reasons why American Idol should pat itself on the back until bruising accrues. I didn't really need to see Elliott and Mary J. Blige, though. Not my favorite performance from one of my faves from last year. At least I think that was Mary J. Somebody much nerdier than I will doubtless correct me.
And now for the cattle calls. There are thousands of people lined up with average to no talent, all of whom fervently believe they're the next American Idol.
There's the obligatory rejoicing over going to Hollywood versus the crying and spazzing over not.
And oh the wannabes. Contestant 6417 starts it off by singing...uh...something. No clue what.
Title sequence...just barely different from last year. Taylor peeks in at the end. Hi Taylor!
There's a recap of Prince's performance from the finale. And lest you think it pointless, we find that it has all been shown to segue into the fact that the first auditions are in Minneapolis where 10,000 people (!!) auditioned. That's probably the best group singing of "1999" I've ever heard, if not the only one. Jewel is the guest judge tonight. Surely she'll let all the contestants in on the secret of how to sell one successful album and then summarily throw away your career with a series of crap albums. Oh well, at least she's somewhat hot.Jessica Brody
is Jewel's biggest fan. I already don't like her, but that's mostly because she reminds me of an ex-girlfriend that I'm not particularly proud of. She's a makeup artist, and her affect is about as shallow as a mason jar lid. I get the feeling some cheer squad is missing its captain. She wants to inspire us. I'm sorry, but makeup artists shouldn't have such horrid makeup without technically attending clown school. Jessica starts out with all the charm of a pit viper, only not as articulate. Lovin' the way she's rockin' the blonde hair and black roots. She breathes for a couple of eternities and then commits the ever-so-common faux pas of performing the guest judge's song. Granted I didn't like this one from Jewel either, but for this one, I'd much prefer William Hung's version. Big time no. Jewel thinks it'll take a little work, which is like saying that Ground Zero was a little dusty after 9/11. She freaks out and begs for her chance. And the first wannabe with no accurate sense of self slinks out the door...eventually...to be surrounded by supportive, yet delusional family members. Let the wailing commence! I feel dirty after watching the director's cut of the rejection. Can we move on?
After the break, more clowns...
We're back in Minneapolis, and Seacrest is just as metrosexual as ever. Do you know how much work it takes to make your hair look intentionally unkempt?Troy Benham
felt that emphasizing the Amish was the way to go. He also believes the sky to be green. There's the obligatory lie about how he's never seen the show or heard of the judges. Somehow he heard about it, so I guess the Amish do have the internet. The sad thing is that I think he has a bit of talent, but he's really hoping to score a Borat sort of gig. News flash bud: Sascha Cohen has that one on lock. Let's give this one a miss.
How did I know that "Jesus Take the Wheel" would get beaten to death this year? The guy who tried to do Cons had a great rock voice, but he was obviously a goof.Jesse Holloway
has a unique vocal range, in the sense of having a range equalling only one note. He is unique because he can hit some notes that Mariah Carey can hit, as long as they're that one note. Who are the people talking behind Jesse? Could they talk louder so I don't have to hear this? Celine Dion's husband would be turning over in his grave right now if he weren't technically still alive. Jesse then exits to go get some water all of a sudden. We can only hope that no water fountains work within 20 miles. And just like that, he's back. Someone really needs to fix that loud door! Apparently there was estrogen in that water, because he comes back singing like his jock strap had been tightened with a torque wrench. The hiding of the faces by the judges is back. Jewel, fortunately, has never shown one iota of emotion in her music, so she is set up rather well to handle this. What is this with the extended scenes??? Cut and move on, please? Still, they poll the judges, and everybody says no except Paula, who has recently trademarked the word "Pass." Jesse goes out, puts in his bluetooth, and goes on and on disrespecting and embarrassing his family for generations to come.
After the break, hey there Matthew Buckstein!! One of the Brokenote Cowboys returns.
As long as there is Seacrest, t-shirts under blazers will always be stylish. At least if you're 5'5 and under 125 pounds. Charles Monroe Moody
has dressed as Apollo Creed from the Rocky
movies. Dude, he's 40 if he's a month. He sort of looks like Jimmie "J.J." Walker, only less sexy. If he says "DynoMITE!" I will punch the TV. He has a somewhat pleasant voice, but he kinda lost me with the nieces in foster care. Personality-wise, I'm hating him. I think his voice might be okay if he were taking it seriously, but I mean...how??? Simon says no. Paula is confused. Or drunk again. And we're three for three on people not knowing which door to exit through.Denise Jackson
gets the package treatment, so I smell golden ticket. She's got the Kellie Pickler story this year: born a crack baby, horrible home life, and all kinds of heartbreak. She's softspoken, likable, goofy, and I'm okay with her. She looks a lot older than 16. Now THAT'S a gap between the teeth. Jewel looks jealous of it. She belts out the Jennifer Hudson version of "And I Am Telling You (I Am Not Going)" from Dreamgirls
. She does it rather well, even though she's no J-Hud just yet. This girl could use some work, but I'm liking her chances. I'd love to see more. They all like her, and there ya go. She's in like Flynn. Makeover and some coaching, and this girl could be ready to go.
After the break, though, some very non-Denise contestants...
We're back, and wow how beautiful Minneapolis is!
Denise celebrates some more. It's still easy to like her.
And now for a lame A.I. production piece, bemoaning how people forget lyrics. Yeah, that's never happened before. All that to bring us...Tashawn Moore
, who wore a tie to impress by dress, only she slung it over her shoulder, and stylistically speaking, she's about as appealing as herpes. She's going to sing "Kiss" as performed by Prince. Or at least that's what she says. Honestly, I couldn't tell you for sure what this is. The only thing I'm fairly certain of is that she wants women, not no girls. She then drops the f-bomb. By f-bomb, I mean "fart bomb" because this one stinks. Lesbians across the country are going to send this girl hate mail by the truckload. More and more extended scenes about wanting women and not girls. Act your age and not your sue size. Or something. I just get the feeling that this girl has a kid abandoned somewhere in a hot daycare van even at this very moment. Make it stop. Please? Poll the judges already. No, no, no, and no. Duh. Other door.
Miss Teeth flirts with Ryan, asking if he has a girlfriend. Teri Hatcher is unavailable for comment. She rocks the latina thing, even though she pretty much looks like Elizabeth Berkeley, the whitest girl ever. I think her name is Perla Meneses
, and she calls Simon "see-mone." I don't think actual spanish people do that, but then again, I'm so white, I'm almost clear. She starts singing Blondie's "Call Me," trying to sound latin, but she sort of slips into a Melissa Etheridge accent and tone by the end. Randy wants her to sing "Hips Don't Lie," which she does decently well, even if she's not coordinated enough to do the hip shake. Randy sort of likes her spunk. Jewel thinks she's cute and perky, but ultimately average. Paula liked the second song too. See-Mone thinks she didn't pick the right song. Unanimous yes. Wow. Wasn't looking for that. Not seeing her getting too much farther, but I've been wrong about this before. I wish her the best.
After the break, military aircraft and cursing jags...
The girls are rockin' the golden tickets, and the guys are tanking like Paula on nickel beer night. I recognize one of those guys from Hollywood last year, but I can't remember his name. There's probably a good reason for that.
The guy who I thought was Matthew Buckstein is obviously not. He's going for the cowboy thing. He is so unique, and thank God that Carrie Underwood didn't have the look that he has. Matthew Volna
is going to do Johnny Cash a favor. People are going to have to run out to the stores to buy John's album so they will be able to like this song again. I am a fan of this song, and I'm a bit mad that he's wrecking it. Jewel asks if he's serious, which he obviously isn't, but he isn't going to let us know that, at least not consciously. Wow, good job going out the right door at least!Kah'reem Copeland
sucks. Period. Dane Cook's retarded brother ain't great either.
We're transported out to the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, which is a heck of a ship. Production package must mean that some soldier is going to get a golden ticket. Jarrod Fowler
is apparently the one. Hmm...Josh Gracin redux?? He's going to sing "Bless the Broken Road" as done by Rascal Flatts. It's horribly overdone. It's not altogether unpleasant, but it didn't hit me the right way either. I agree with Simon that he has the likability factor. Paula says yes too. Jewel becomes the first to use the word "pitchy" or more accurately "pitchiness" this year. Big yes from everybody. Good job, soldier! You military people out there, isn't it against military rules to wear your uniform for these kinds of events? I'm thinking it is.
After the break, disses, misses, and ... some other stuff.
It's hour two. I wonder if the A.I. premiere might eventually just last all day. When season one was airing, the auditions were covered in only one show. Ah, the good old days.
La la la la...I can't hear the promo of 24
, which I have TiVo'ed but haven't watched yet.Rakel Gracia
shows us all how to completely blow. I feel like I lost a little bit of my talent watching her. Trista Giese
is a big fan (no pun intended, right Ryan?) of The Wizard of Oz
. Trista, baby, no matter what you do with the rest of your life, please don't EVER do your Cowardly Lion impression again. Like, ever. She doesn't even have to have Listerine to gargle. I think this is a surgical issue, not a musical one. How embarrassing for her! I'm sure she's sweet, but I mean, dang. She's unique, for sure, but then again, so was Saddam Hussein. Byebye. Other door, sweetie.Stephen Horst
is obviously not going to help out the guys this year. He's got the smashing good looks and style of a third-generation hillbilly inbreed. He's a vocal teacher. Or at least a good con artist. He picks on Aerosmith with "I Don't Wanna Miss You." I see bankruptcy in this guy's future. Doubtless that all the parents of his students are cancelling their checks to him, because he sucks on ice. On the one hand, it's great to have him as a teacher, because he can show you exactly what NOT to do. Sign up for Gedeon McKinney's class instead. Paula says it had too much vibrato, which is Paula's way of saying "Pass, you talentless spaz." Randy grows a pair and breaks his foot off in Stephen's backside. Simon plays off the obvious irony, while Stephen goes on to explain that he has been singing since he was three. This segment has been on since I was in the womb. Move on! Jewel sits there, because someone forgot to animate her in these film cels.
After the break, guys crying...
Back for more... Michelle Steingas
is 19, looks like Rachel Blanchard, and can sing country superbly. Just please stop with the snapping, sweetie, and you'll have my heart forever. I love her voice. She's got a great look, a great voice, and she gets my vote. The judges like her big snuggly bunches. I sort of see a Top 12 contestant here. Unanimous yes, and as quickly as she came in, she exits so we can see longer segments of hideous people. Oh, and now she can quit her job, apparently, even though you don't get paid scale until you're in the Top 24, which would leave her unemployed for nearly half a year. I still like you, though, Michelle.
And now for a montage of unemployed or soon-to-be-fired people, including...Dayna Dooley
's boss flew her up to the auditions, bringing on the obvious boss-banging-the-secretary innuendos. She's going to sing Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Somthing Good." I kinda knew she'd be horrible. Birds fell dead out of the stratosphere when she hit that high note. Dogs around the world are howling. I, like Jewel, wanted it to be good, but it was not good. Un-good. Anti-good. Time to bring in the boss, because Idol just can't have enough schlocky segments. The boss wasted his money. Yeah, yeah, let's move on. She can sort of sing when her non-sexy boss is present, but not really. She sings a shamefully seductive song, which doesn't help. She was better this time, but big no from me. Randy goes no. Jewel doesn't commit either way. Paula and Simon say see ya. I want to work for Gary now, but it looks like he doesn't have any openings.Matt Sato
has some slick hair, with a life-threatening melanoma-esque zit on the end of his nose. God bless the adolescent. He's going to sing "California Dreamin'" and he does it in a breathy, wish-I-was-in-N'Sync sort of way. He's reaching for the high notes. I sort of like him, but I wonder how durable he is. I think he'll get through, but with the track record of 16 year olds in this competition...well, who knows? I like him, though. We'll see.
I'm really confused as to why people cry so hard after the initial audition. There's still such a long way to go.
Anyway, after the break...more stuff...
Memphis Idol fans might wanna watch the news after the show, since Gedeon McKinney will be appearing and explaining Southern dominance in A.I. I met Gedeon once, and he's super-nice, so no digs from me. Like I said, get him as a vocal coach. He charges $70 a session.
Anyway, we're back.Rachel Jenkins
is a man's woman, and she works on cars. She's going to make some guy a great husband. Or scratch that, she already has a husband who's off soldiering in Iraq. She's also in the reserves, and she wears her uniform against regulation into the auditions. She's cute-ish, and altogether too bubbly about her hubby being in Baghdad. I think she's going to be good. Let's see. She sings "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." And I was right. She's good. I think she needs to quit patting her stomach, though. I know it's hard to know what to do with your hands, but that ain't it. She blew a key change, but other than that, she was great. Simon nails it...she was great, but then she fell apart. Jewel says the same thing Simon said. Can we get a female judge on here that actually has some teeth? Simon says yes. Paula is all bout yes. So are Jewel and Randy. I'm happy about this one. Good job. I like her sense of humor.Sarah Krueger
has hair, and lots of it. She sings "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and I honestly like it better than Katharine McPhee's version last year, even though it's obvious that she used that version as inspiration. I like! I think the judges are going with me on this one. Unanimous yes.
Woohoo, no Hollywood contestants that I completely dislike so far!
When we come back, we'll wrap up this Minnesotan love fest.
rocks the goth look, though I didn't think real goth people actually liked Idol. Something tells me this girl is not widely accepted among her peers, though.Jason Anderson
would like to entertain people with his dueling plungers. He murders Michael W. Smith in front of the entire nation while twirling his batons. I could not be less impressed if someone had farted in my face. It was completely useless, as Simon says. Judges say no, because they can't just go ahead and open fire on him. Oh boy, we get to see him dance like a palsied duck. He's supposedly angry, but he's a horrible actor, hamming it up for the camera. This is a guy who wanted to get on camera, and that's all. Bye bye, hoser. Counselor Seacrest attempts to console the bereft, or at very least to make himself look better by standing next to grungy people.
Brenna gets to go in now, looking as fabulous as a bloated corpse can. She's BFF with American Idol. SO not goth. She stalks Ace Young, who apparently drew her a tattoo, though I doubt if he knows it. She's going to sing "Under Pressure" as done by Queen and David Bowie. Is anybody shocked that she is incredibly void of talent? Speak now. And speak loud so as to drown this chick out. I prefer Brenna Gethers to this Brenna. She's horrible at singing, and even more horrible at acting. One of the things about knowing neurolinguistics is knowing when people are acting or lying by the ways their eyes move. She walks out, desperately hoping to get a few more moments of camera time.
After the break, I guess there's more. Go figure.
If you're not listening to it, my show is on Idol Waves right now.
Now it's time for a tribute to Prince by people who can't even talk, much less sing. We've seen several of these people tonight. We get it. They aren't good. Well, except for the latina chick, who's sorta not bad. Josh Flom
has caused a shortage in hair gel in whichever geographical area he comes from. The girls are going to love him, I'm sure. He aspires to be the next Chris Daughtry, though unfortunately this competition is about being the next YOU. He's going to sing a Fuel song. Is his last name "Flom" or "Phlegm?" This is really bad, really affected, and just about as pleasant as a colonoscopy. Randy does a spot-on impression of Josh, and pretty boy looks to be going home. He seems to feel like he's making a song his own by making it sound like other people, I guess. He goes out searching for anyone who can teach him who ABBA was. I can't wait to hear "Dancing Queen" done in the style of Brett Scallions. Boy, is this going to suck. In order to sing like that, you almost have to have an entire tree trunk shoved up your lower orifice. He does "Copacabana," and Bobby Bennett has never sounded so good. Jewel is concerned about his voice. I'm concerned about my ears. Randy says no. Jewel says uh-uh. Paula goes Pass. Simon is an instant no. Time for the cry. Chris did open doors for rockers, but the key is this: HAVE TALENT!! Poor kid. Just remember, rockers don't cry (or perform ABBA.)
After all this, only 17 people made it to Tinseltown. Did any guys get through? I forget. If not, who cares?
Tomorrow night, Seattle. Should be painful. No shortage of ugly people. I'll see ya then!