Tuesday, January 13, 2009

American Idol Season 8 Kick-off / Arizona Auditions

Hello everyone! Welcome back! Is it time for this again already? When I wrapped another victorious season of Idol Blogging in May of 2008, I thought for sure that I'd be refreshed and ready to go by January '09. Yet, here we are...and I've been dreading the return of Blogging Season! Okay okay...I'm all talk. If anyone knows me, they know I'll write novels about anything given the opportunity. Thus, the return of American Idol and LOST gives me the opportunity to blab on and on for 2-3 times a week until May! Lots of new nicknames to be invented right in this very space over the coming weeks. But I don't know how we'll ever top our nicknames from prior seasons! Season 5 - Mr. Tumnus (Elliott Yamin), Chris Daughtry and his love for his mic stand (Molly), Season 6 - the Lisp King and Queen - Chrith Sthligh and Lakithsha, and of course the king of them all....THE ARTICHOKE from season 7 (gool ol' David Archuleta). I have no doubt that someone will introduce themselves and beg me and the Idol Addicts community for a name! And we will be willing to oblige as always!

Now, I threaten every year to do less with these audition blogs. I've made it no secret that I am sick and tired of the auditions process. I usually take a "play it by ear" approach and see if I make the time to get these things done. Here's the thing...there's no strike this year, and there's tons of TV to watch. So you guys are just gonna have to take what you can get and I'll try my best to fulfill your blog-reading needs! The only other rule about knowing when to find the latest Idol blog posted is that LOST rules all! If it's a LOST night (i.e. Wednesday) starting January 21st, my priorities will be in getting that blog ready for the Thursday Morning distribution! Oh right...and if you watch LOST and are not reading the blog, there's no time like the present to start!!! (http://www.lostaddictsblog.com/) Other than that...we all know that once we get into the Semi-Finals and Top 12 - I will be doing some pretty darn entertaining blogging over here! (I always find time!)

(note, if you're looking for just a recap of the Tuesday night episode, skip past the blue text!)

So, even though this is the audition blog, what I normally like to do in blog #1 is catch up on any crazy Idol news that has happened in the "off-season." And boy, this year did not disappoint! Here we go!

  • Clay Aiken has finally come out! Is everyone with me that Clay himself was the last to know? Not that there's anything wrong with that! (come on, you knew that was coming!)

  • David Cook's album David Cook is pretty darn good. Have you bought it yet?
  • Kelly Clarkson has a new single called "My Life Would Suck Without You. " Sounds like she's returning to the Pop World to try and save some face. Call it what you will, a return to the success formula or a massive sell out! Either way, this will probably be a more successful stint than the drama surrounding her previous effort, My December. New album will be released March 17th. I can almost guarantee she'll be making an appearance on the show this season for promotional purposes. Anyone want to take that bet?
  • Then there is Album Sales champ Carrie Underwood. She's still raking in award after award and touring like crazy. She's unstoppable! Rumors are that we're getting younger mentors this year. And they mentioned some to be successful artists in their mid 20's. This seems like a perfect opportunity to bring back the most successful Idols to share some lessons learned about the Music Biz!
  • But besides all of this, there is really only one reason I wanted to take a stroll down "off-season" memory lane and it is because of this. Do you ever need a good laugh? Then you're in for a treat! Check out this little gem. Yes, my friends, The Artichoke has a Crush! and he knows it's never going awaaaayyyyyyaaaayaaaaayyyaaaaayyyyyaayayayyaaaaaayyyy!!!!!! You can never get enough playing piano on the dock by the lake or wooing the ladies with your guitar at a 16 year old's lake party, or helping your crush out of the lake when boyfriend just laughs and watches. Note a couple minutes in that ol' Davey has a Brad Pitt Post-it stuck to his head! The laughter just never goes stops! Simply fantastic for all the wrong reasons! (but damn if that that song doesn't get stuck in your head!)

    (Sorry for the foreign subtitles...it was the only one i could find that I could post on the blog!)

Okay okay, enough of the past and onto the new season. If you haven't been keeping tabs, lots of rule changes are in store this year. First and foremost, we have a new Judge. Singer/Songwriter Kara DioGuardi who has worked with zillions of artists, not to mention 3 of the most successful Idols (Clarkson, Underwood, and finalist Daughtry). She seemed to be holding her own in tonight's episode, but we won't really get to see her true self until we go LIVE in a few weeks. I've read that we're going to have an extra week of Hollywood this season (hopefully this means less auditions!). They really want to build stories behind the people getting through to Hollywood. And, we are reverting back to season 1-3 style of Semi-Finals with a Top 36 instead of 24. Each week of the semi-finals will reel in different contestants that made it past Hollywood and they will compete for various seats in the top 12. The 4th week being the WILD CARD week where the Judges will pick 3 contestants (and maybe like outed Clay Aiken, the most votes that week will get someone into the final spot?? Not sure) UPDATE: Apparently 3 people will be voted in for 3 straight weeks and on the 3rd week there will be a special Thursday Wildcard episode where the judges pick the final 3 to get in. I believe song availability is changing this season too. We're going to be getting less theme weeks, more relevant songs for these young contestants to choose from. And the mentors are supposed to get younger. I have not heard any names mentioned yet. (but come on...perfect opportunity to bring successful idol winners back!)

I could probably keep rambling on about stuff, but we're going to find this stuff out as the season progresses. The following is more of what these auditions blogs will look like going forward. Just highlighting who got into Hollywood and to start taking our initial stabs at who might go the distance! Here's the 11 of 27 that were featured making it in from Arizona!

  • Emily Hughes - 21 - Rock Girl who didn't tell her band she was auditioning. Her hair is kinda crazy. Paula made a bold statement and said she's definitely top 5 (wow with the first girl that gets in Paula? Don't waste any time or anything!). She might be someone to watch though. And since we're echoing back to the first 3 seasons with rule changes, it would seem fitting that we get a girl with some pink hair in the top 12 (Yup, only name I can remember is Nikki McKibbin from season 1, but I know season 2 and 3 had one too!)
  • J.B. Ahfua - 28 - God Bless you! (get it? because the last name sounds like someone sneezing! Oh come on I'm rusty!!) Really there's not much to say about this guy...he kinda faded into the background of the 2 hour onslaught. But he had a decent voice. I'm gonna venture a guess and say he will not be our next American Idol. Hey, Paula isn't the only one that can be bold!
  • Arianna Afsur - 16 - Not sure if I'm getting these spellings right, but for the first blog of the season I think I'll get a pass! She started singing at 6 in Disney World and started the "Adopt a Grandfriend" program. Everyone loves a Philanthropist teenager! And the judges thought she was as cute as a button. She's good. But you know those young-ens really need to impress me to win me over! We'll see!
  • Stevie Wright - 16 - Yep the girl named after Stevie Nicks. Also a young-en that Kara saw hints of WOW and Paula compared to Kelly Clarkson's vocal strength. REALLY Paula???? I mean the fact that they both auditioned with "At Last" begs them to be compared right off the bat, but in a positive way so quickly? I just don't know. Maybe they just didn't show enough of this girl. But we all know the 16 year olds rarely have enough life experience to be competitive down the stretch. Jordin Sparks being an exception but mainly due to lackluster talent in the top 12 (Sanjaya anyone?)! I just feel like a broken record in season 8 so far!
  • Michael Sarver - ?? - The Oil Rig man that kicked it with some Boys II Men in the audition. I kinda like this guy already. Which makes sense since Simon said he has the Likability factor. And you really didn't expect that voice to come out of him (Thanks Randy, my dawg!). But here's the thing. BOYS II MEN???? Come on man, that's just embarrassing! (That CD is collecting dust in my attic and never made it to my iPod. Of course, now that ol Mikey reminded me of the tune, I may just have to dig it out!)
  • Katrina Darrell - aka Bikini Girl - One big eye roll for this one. They hyped it up for the entire first hour. She obviously was selling her image and not the voice to back it up. A.I. looked at this as an opportunity to make the Male judges look shallow and the female judges look catty. Except that the only person that ended up making sense was new judge Kara in my opinion (and finally we have a judge that can actually sing!). If we're judging this competition on vocal skills, she doesn't really have them. Yeah, she could sing but not strong enough for an Idol winner. So my opinion is she makes it to Hollywood and that's about it. There's one of these every year isn't there? Bonus eyeroll for the Pre-Scripted Make-out scene with Ryan.
  • Brianna Quijada - aka "Girl that got in on personality and no voice" - This was an example of the judges feeling guilty because she was so nice. I mean come on, she couldn't sing! Not well enough to move on at least. Anyway, she is moving on...and we'll see if she improves!
  • Deanna Brown - The one that showed up with no family support. She did a bluesy version of "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay" and it was pretty darn good. Apparently, she's tried to crack into the music biz before and couldn't make it. Definitely a unique voice and I could see her taking that uniqueness for a little trip in this competition. Sometimes it's too tough to get a read on people from the little audition snippets, so as always, we'll see!
  • Cody Sheldon - 17 - Horror Film maker guy. I didn't really like this guy either, but I guess his voice was good enough to go through. If he makes it into the top 12, I foresee me making a lot of Dawson's Creek references, so you all better brush up on your Capeside knowledge!
  • Alex Wagner-Trugman - 19 - Dorky guy that tells the worst jokes ever. Gotta give him props for making Randy sing with him during the chorus of "Baby Come to Me." He wasn't too bad. And he was memorable enough to make an impression (not to mention all the "into commercial hyping" they did for him.) We'll see where he goes from here!
  • Scott Macintyre - The mostly blind piano player/singer. I liked this guy. Obviously, it's tough not to like a guy that overcomes a disability to perform so well. But, I also like him because he gave props to Billy Joel (an inspiration to all of us pianists!) and sang "And So it Goes" Nice stuff. I can see this guy being around for awhile just for the intrigue by the nation. Is he good enough to go all the way? Well, we'll just have to wait and see on that too!

The bad auditions weren't really even worth mentioning. Except maybe Sexual Chocolate....REALLY?????? And the Spaniard named "X-RAY" and Nervous Guy singing Carrie Underwood. Oh and creepy girl with pink cowgirl hat that loves Kara D. and wrote 100 songs at 16 and put them all in a nice little binder. Very very creepy! But that's all I really can say about the bad ones. They just don't interest me anymore! (but I still laugh sometimes)

Whew, well one blog down, 50 bazillion to go! Most of these audition ones will be brief (especially on LOST Wednesday! you've been forewarned!). But I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings as always, and I look forward to accurately guessing the right Idol by the end of this season one more time! See you tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Mike! It's good to see you back! I'm trying to recap the auditions this year too, but my detail-oriented-ness makes it a huge pain. No one at the auditions last night really struck me as potentially being the next Idol, but some of them were pretty good. Stevie Wright probably had the best voice out of them all.

I guess it depends on what the powers that be are going for this year. Last year it seemed like they were really trying for a rocker, and they got it with David Cook. Of course, if Artichoke had won...well, I guess it would've been like they had a male counterpart to Kelly Clarkson or something.

My brother got me into "Lost" last month. He borrowed the first two seasons on DVD, and before I knew it I was watching Seasons 3 and 4 on the internet. I might be checking out your "Lost" blog as well. Good luck with the new season of recapping!

Mike V. said...

Thanks Ian! and thanks for remembering to come back and check out the blog. I agree, no one really struck me last night as an Idol winner. And I've scarred Stevie with the "Curse of the 16 year olds" lol I need to see more before I can be sold.

And I'm sorry but I can never, EVER, EEEEVVVVVER...consider the Artichoke as the male counterpart to Kelly Clarkson! 2 different playing fields in my opinion.

Nice! You're in for a real treat with the LOST blogs. They definitely get my primary attention. Why wait to check it out? Start reading the archived ones for the episodes you're watching. And good luck catching up by next Wednesday!

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