Wednesday, January 31, 2007

American Idol - Los Angeles Auditions

Slowly but surely we're getting there, the end of auditions. I guess they're really going to want us to tune into next Wednesday's "Best of the Rest" episode because they only showed us 3 people get in tonight of the 40 contestants they sent to Hollywood from Los Angeles (Yeah, seriously? "You're going to Hollywood" isn't a very big deal when you're already in L.A.!). Meanwhile the judges said that at least 4 from L.A. they could see making the finals. What gives?

So with Olivia Newton John Guest Judging, and Paula returning to her subdued state, we suffered through a majority of ridiculous auditions. Panthers were impersonated, Compton couples flirted with Simon and showed off their Grills, children of former Rat Pak Back-up singers showed that talent isn't always passed down in the genes, and we learned that dedicating 2 years of your life to winning American Idol is not recommended if you just can't sing. Of course, perhaps Randy and Paula teaching you how to sing like a star may even make you worse!

Maybe some of you out there shed a tear with Paula when 64 year old Sherman Pore came with his petition of 300 signatures to sing on Idol as he dedicated his performance to his recently deceased wife. A touching moment.

But you know me, I want to hear the talent. And there wasn't much to see tonight! But here's what they showed us:

  • Alaina Alexander - 24 - "Feeling Good" - I just did not see Simon's fascination with this girl at all. Poor Alaina had almost given up on singing, but she was going to give it one more chance. Her audition just didn't impress me at all. I guess she had a bit of a unique lower voice. But, I sided more with Randy on her pitch problems. And I just dropped my jaw when Simon gave his strong thumbs up. We'll see if him really really liking her translates into America really really liking her.
  • Brandon Rogers - 28 - "Always on My Mind" - This was the only guy I thought showed any top 12 potential. And yes, it's yet another BACKGROUND singer trying to become a Prime Time Player. He has backed Anastasia and Miss Aguilera herself and is frustrated that he has not had his own shot at stardom yet. Well, he has the likability factor and a good voice. Now he just has to show his versatility in Hollywood and beyond.
  • Brian Miller - 18 - "Change is Gonna Come" - Apparently, this guy was in season 5 also. Seems like a recurring theme this year. If he wasn't good enough last year, what makes him think this year will be any different? Randy, Olivia and Paula let him in based on the voice. Simon focused in on his "forgetableness." And it makes sense to me. But maybe America will get behind him just to spite Simon. It's happened before (Since I'm on good behavior right now, I won't name names!)

I think I'll go for a record. This may be my shortest Blog ever! Only 2 more Auditions left folks! We hit San Antonio next Tuesday and then Wednesday see more talent that the producers have been hiding from us. See you next week!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

American Idol - Birmingham Auditions

Well, I am not sure there is much to say about American Idol's visit to Birmingham, Alabama. The town boasts the Idol talents of Bo Bice, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks. I guess any good producer would figure if you have 2 Idol winners and a runner up all coming from the same town, there must be more talent to dig up there! Well, the judges let 20 through to Hollywood but we only saw 5 that got in on day 1 when Paula was there in all of her glory. Seriously, how do you go from completely sane one week, back to drugged and bizarre the next? How can Paula be so naive to think that we're the weird ones for thinking SHE'S on something? But, alas, it makes for some good TV (I didn't say QUALITY TV! Just Good!)

Gonna be real short tonight folks. No need in wasting our time talking about 50 Year old Big Bird siblings, Paula teaching Simon what brushing "Dirt off your shoulders" really means (Seriously, Simon expand your music library with some Jay-Z dude), Long haired Opera Wonders, or the obviously staged BRANDY audition that was kinda funny because Randy and Simon were having a good time with it. I'm with Simon with some of these auditions. "I just don't understand what this show is anymore." But, it's the producers that give these people airtime. Do they think this is what America really wants to see? I still just can't get on board with it!

Anyway here is a summary of the so-called "TALENT" from Birmingham:
  • Katie Bernard - 19 - The Squeaky Talking Voice Girl performed "House is not a Home" Man, she has one crazy speaking voice. But seriously, who REALLY talks that weirdly and then is able to carry a song? While she could carry the tune, she did get a little crazy with it and it was really nothing special. Randy and Simon split on the Hollywood decision probably intentionally to show off Paula's crazy behavior one more time. And true to form, Paula lets Katie come to Hollywood just because it will annoy Simon. Yawn... I don't have high hopes for Katie.
  • Tatiana McConnico - 17 -This girl had a decent voice. Randy went as far as calling her "A Natural." Not sure if I'd go that far. I don't see this girl being remembered once she gets to Hollywood. But you never know. We all know I already make up my mind early on these young ones when it comes to this crazy show!
  • Bernard Williams - 26 - "Rock With You" - To sum up his attitude in one word: Arrogant. Says he wants to prove Simon wrong that no one from Birmingham will win this year. I thought his auditions was decent. Not something I am interested in hearing, but the voice was there. Simon thinks he has a lot of potential. Paula for some odd reason thought he was out of tune.....maybe that's the other voices singing in her head? And regardless of his arrogance, in what scenario is it acceptable to use the phrase "humble pie please!" ??? Paula, I think the answer is NEVER AGAIN, PLEASE!
  • Jaimie Lynn Ward - 17 - Yep, the "Blue Eyed Bombshell" T-shirt says it all. Or does it? I don't even think I remember her story correctly but it had something to do with her non-chalant tragic past where she lives with her Grandmother and her Daddy who is paralyzed. Why is he paralyzed? Well, duh, he shot himself in the neck silly! Jaimie's Step Mother (Daddy's wife) was cheating on him and Daddy caught her in the act multiple times and shot her and THEN shot himself. You follow all of that? Naturally, this guy isn't in jail. Simon's subtle eye roll (caught on my tivo) pretty much sums up my thoughts of anyone who bought the story (ahem...PAULA!!). So, did Jaime's story dumbfound you? I actually think more people were dumbfounded by Paula giving a decent synopsis of Jaimie's singing voice. Simon and Randy agreed with Paula that her voice is good when she doesn't try to power through. This causes her voice to get "nasally." "First Time for everything" right Simon? Well, it would be if the powered vocals weren't excruciatingly awful! I, personally, thought the whole audition was atrocious from the Story to the Golden Ticket. I didn't even think her softer singing was too great. But whatever. She's in Hollywood now. Maybe she has some more stories to tell before she is sent home!
  • Chris Sligh - 28 - This guy I can see going through to the top 12 and then possibly even going further. He did a nice version of Seal's "Kiss from a Rose on the Grave" which made Paula act strange and jump out of her seat. But it's more of the sense of humor and unconventional look accompanying the decent (not spectacular) voice that will help out the "Sligh Guy" down the stretch. People will remember him, the judges will remember him in Hollywood, the producers are putting him on the commercials. I'm sure people are already picking him as their favorite as we speak. David Hasselhoff is already programming his Cingular Wireless Device to Text in some votes and shed some tears.

Anyone else get more out of tonight than I did? Don't be bashful. Please feel free to share your thoughts. There are a select few of you out there who do post your opinions and try to set me straight, and it is highly encouraged! We all have our opinions. Maybe there are people out there that think this is by far the best auditions of Idol that have ever graced our TV's. SHARE!

Anyway, tomorrow is Los Angeles. And, I don't want to scare anyone, but I think I may have been incorrect about the auditions ending this week. I checked my TiVo and it says next Tuesday is more Los Angeles Auditions and Wednesday is a "Rest of the Best" Auditions episode. I guess this is to please some of the people that just want to see more of the good auditions. They really know how to milk these audition episodes don't they? I did some quick math and it all checks out. After this week: 1 more week of Auditions, 2 weeks of Hollywood Episodes, 3 Weeks of Semi-Finals and 11 Weeks of the Top 12 puts us right at a May 23rd Season Finale.

When you see it all spelled out there, kinda scares you from watching anymore doesn't it? Try looking at that and thinking about it in number of Blogs to be written! Anyway, we'll get through it together! See you tomorrow in Los Angeles!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

American Idol - New York (New Jersey) Auditions

Ahhh more auditions. Anyone tired yet? Once again the antics of the judges proved more entertaining than the actual entertainment. The missing Simon on Day 2 after a late night out at the bars. Paula, Randy and the guest judge having to field the auditions without the mean Brit. Ryan dancing with the contestants and their parents and wearing a winter coat and gloves with a New York backdrop (even though the auditions took place in September). Paula and Simon fighting over how mean they should be to male contestants who sing perfectly in a woman's voice. Yes, this is one of the reasons that keeps people coming back. There are always familiar faces on American Idol year after year. And it helps in the transition period where we have to become familiar with this year's crop of talent. Of course throwing in the Useless Guest judge of Carol Bayer Sager did almost nothing for the episode (Yeah, I just threw this sentence in to at least let you know she was there! You may not have realized even if you watched!)

I almost don't even want to highlight the bad, because some of them flirted on the line of ridiculous. Who am I kidding? They were insanely ridiculous. I mean Ian Benardo, reject from So You Think You Can Dance? Seriously? Are we supposed to really think he just showed up without the Idol producers asking him to? Well, he may have....but it was just stupid. And how about the girl that wanted to be an American Idol but knew she couldn't sing? Are there people out there really this crazy? The only thing crazy about them is that they know how to get on TV. That doesn't change the fact that they're all idiots. Speaking of idiots, the guy in the Space Suit? I hear rumors that he is an intern from 610, Philly's local sports radio station. Good times.

Now, I will admit that Ashanti Johnson's return (after making it to Hollywood twice before) made for some quality entertainment. Even if they forced us to laugh by adding in the Soap Opera music to her monologue to the judges. Staged or not, it was pretty funny how dramatic she was about it. But the last girl that they hyped up all episode, ISADORA? (First Name Julie, we get it Ryan). That was just too much. Are we really supposed to believe that the producers didn't tell the judges to just stare aimlessly into time and space for 10 seconds so they could get it on film? Ahhhh "reality" TV! Gotta love it!

I'm sure everyone is tired of me complaining about the auditions. But I'm sure I'd hear more complaints if I didn't write SOMETHING! Plus, we only have 1 more week of auditions to go!

Okay, onto the talent. Personally, I didn't see anything that rivaled my top 2 from Memphis. Actually, I take that back. Maybe one. Golden Ticketers listed in order of appearance:
  • Sarah Burgess - 19 - "I didn't tell my parents that I skipped school and left Ohio for a trip to New York!" Now, as we all know, American Idol is all about packaging up contestants with a nice story to help us all fall in love with contestants. Boy did they do a number with this girl. Sure, she helped out a lot. I swear she was watching Lauren Hill in Sister Act 2 before she showed up to this audition. You know, where the mother refused to let her Sing because she needed to get an education. But then She went ahead and sang in the choir anyway...and by the end....all was fine and the mother was proud. Well, take that story....add in some fantastic fake crying (i mean, how did she make those tears come but still sound like she was acting??), and a semi-decent voice...and you got yourself a ticket to Hollywood. Simon liked her persistence at her singing career, but wasn't thrilled with the voice. Of course she looks kinda like Mandy Moore too, (Anyone see the movie American Dreamz? Ironic, isn't it? Mandy's character did fake crying too!) Simon, Paula, Randy say "I like You" Carol says "I like TV" Thanks Carol. Sarah calls Dad, gets some more fake crying going, and Dad says that's great! ahhhh Now Whoopie can take her habit off one more time!

    All that being said, I think some people will like Sarah and root for her. We'll see if she can get to the voting round!
  • Amanda Coluccio - 19 - Jersey Girl #1 - Always fun to watch Simon and Randy drool. Well, these 2 girls walked in trying to be the first Double American Idol winner. Anyway, without getting into how dumb an idea that is, they were awful as a duo. Separately, they did much better. I wasn't thrilled with Amanda though. I thought she was very flat on some notes. And Simon pretty much let her in because he didn't care either way (didn't really matter, the other 3 bozos said yes).
  • Antonella Barba - 19 - Jersey Girl #2 - The "untrained" voice of the duo proves to have a bit more raw talent than her counterpart. To me, she just seems like a potential top 24 that you THINK might go far, but never does. But hey, I've been incorrect before, just not often!
  • Kia Thornton - 27 - Ugh, do I even have to talk about this girl? The judges loved her. To me, it's just another Gospel singer. She pretty much just screamed the song.....100% yes they say? 100% No from me. But I'm sure she'll have a little more success than CRACK BABY.
  • Jenry Bejarano - 16 - The first ABSENT SIMON audition. I'm sure it would've ended up the same way. He was pretty good. I don't understand how he's 16, since he looks like he's at least in his mid-20's. Paula gave him those "Corey Clark" you know the girls will like him. But 16??? Even if he doesn't look like it, my rule still applies! He will not win!
  • Jory Steinberg - 25 - A Canadian that has met the Queen of England. Great story! Was a great audition. I think this girl definitely has the potential. And probably the best audition I heard tonight. I hope she gets to the top 12 just so I can start thinking up nicknames for her. So many possibilities!
  • Porcelana Patino - 27 - Our very own singer "in training." Yep she dropped 15-20 lbs in a year and got in crazy shape for the audition. Too bad she didn't train her voice as much. I wasn't very impressed. It seems like Idol is a sucker for these "FEEL GOOD" stories. I mean think about how much it would stink to have gone to New York, not told your parents, not get through to Hollywood...but still end up on TV?!?! Or if you worked hard all year to get in shape for an audition, and then get rejected? Or audition for Idol even though it may mean the end of your Opera career????
  • Rachel Zevita - 18 - Like my segueway? This girl was just strange. She sang some Jeff Buckley, some Opera, a sappy Ballad "Get Here" and thoroughly confused the judges. What does she want to be? "I want to be me, a singer/songwriter and a rockstar!" Wow.... She definitely has a voice. But I don't think it's quite ready for primetime yet. Welcome to Hollywood Rachel, hope your Opera friends are forgiving!
  • Christopher Richardson - 22 - The Justin Timberlake look-a-like, need I say more? He got in. Paula couldn't stop staring at him. Simon thinks Chris will come back and surprise everyone in Hollywood. I thought his voice was pretty good, not the best. But, I already know the girls are pulling for this guy. If he looks good, then they'll think an okay voice is 100 times better than it actually is. That all being said, I'm sure he'll stick around for awhile. And I sure hope he does so we can hear more words like "interpretated!"
  • Nick Pedro - 25 - The Season 5 Quitter. Does anyone actually remember this guy quitting last year in Hollywood? I guess I could check the blogs from last year (way too lazy for this), but he may have just been edited totally out from the beginning since he quit. Anyway he came back for Redemption and sang some "Fly Me to the Moon." I didn't understand Paula's fascination with this guy. He had a nice tone to his voice, but it just seems too weak for the long haul. Of course, I say this, but I keep forgetting that we're in a new age of Idol. An age where Taylor Hicks has won! SOUL PATROL!!!!! Maybe Nick will prove he can also play the harmonica and dance around in purple blazers and lay on the stage with Ryan and simulate back spasms! Oh blogs are going to be fun this year, aren't they??

Well, there was no way around the long blog this time. It's just numbers, and I couldn't leave any Hollywooders out! We saw 10 of the 35 New Yorkers that have made it to Hollywood. Will New York defy the odds this year and have some serious contenders? Winners have come from Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Alabama.....the odds are stacked against the New York crew. And, since Ruben, Taylor and Bo are ALL from Alabama, the Idol Team has returned there to recruit more from the people who refuse to not where 205's on their attire, the people that will NOT change their hair color or CUT their hair. And we'll be there Next Tuesday to see it all!

Until then, breathe a sigh of relief that we are done 2 weeks, 1 to go. Then you can look forward to me complaining about 2 weeks of the Hollywood Round!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

American Idol - Memphis Auditions

Well regardless of your political stance, we can all thank "Dubya" for one thing tonight. He spared us from 2 hours of auditions! So this meant they stopped wasting our time with some lousy BAD auditions and crammed in the talent, right? Nope. Of the 22 people that made it through in Memphis, we saw 5 of them. But this is part of the beauty of Idol. These people we see in the ads and early audition episodes, are clearly the contestants that the producers of Idol are pushing. They want America to start making attachments with these people. But, usually there are people that make it to the Top 24 that didn't get much publicity and SOMETIMES these people can make a surprise run into the Top 12...maybe even the top 2! (Bo Bice anyone???)

Anyway, to sum up the bad auditions, we had a Flamboyant Male Cheerleader backed by and entire Marching Band, a no personality Ashanti wannabe, a rapping dancing idiot who dedicated his audition to his girlfriend, an obsessed Paula fan whose wife left him (that was actually a good time), a mostly cleavage bearing Disco Inferno performance (leading Paula to cover up her shirt in embarrassment for her, and Simon's "you're a handful" comment), and of course Robert Lee Holmes. You know the "I'm not going to dance, just gonna do a little movement" Elvis Fan who "rocked" out to Burning Love and ended the story of the music of Robert with a period"." Semi-Funny stuff, but you know my thoughts on this already! 6 Years and I've had enough!

So did the homeland of "THE KING" bring us any talent? Well, surprisingly YES. For a year that Simon has announced the competition is wide open, they showed some heavyweight competitors tonight (2 to be exact). Here's who got in tonight:

  • Danielle McCulloch - 18 - The blonde haired girl that sang Aretha's "Baby I Love you." Alright, fine, I'll agree with the judges that she had a unique sound. But I will disagree with Simon and Paula on being impressed. I don't think it's a sound that America wants to hear on a weekly basis. She had a bluesy style but I was bored seconds into the performance. I don't even think it was all on key. Simon was more impressed that she could sing the way she did for her age. Well, that's never a promising sign for the long haul. If she makes it to the Top 24, it's because Simon will fight for her or because he likes her appearance. Otherwise, I'm saying it's a Hollywood exit for her. Yo Dawg, Randy, good call on this one! Stand up to Simon!
  • Sean Michel - 27 - Well here's one guy that used a gimmick to get in the door but could actually sing. This guy has been growing a beard since before he was born and likes to go by the names of Castro, Jesus, and Osama Bin Laden. Yes, and these are three names you usually hear in the same sentence! (only on Idol!) This guy pulled out some Johnny Cash and had a serious sense of rhythm. I still wasn't sure on his singing abilities, but he seemed to be able to carry a tune. I say this guy is a wildcard for a top 24 spot. But the big question will be, will he make a political stance on keeping his beard and long hair throughout his run on the competition? (kinda Like Taylor speaking for all the young grey haired wonders last year?) Well I'm intrigued. Let's keep Castro around a bit!
  • Phillip Stacy - 28 - Ahh yes what a story. His 2nd daughter was born just before his audition. And he gives the PC answer that he would rather be with his daughter than on American Idol. ummmm dude, then why is there even audition footage of you? I thought this guy was okay. Nothing special. He had a decent voice, but I think he just got the sympathy vote because he was having a good day already. And Idol knew America would dig the story and want to see the little tiny baby at the end of the episode....PLEASE! Spare me the gooey cheesy icky moments! This guy is not even good enough to win, why bother getting invested in him? In fact, I'll say this. If he wins...I will stop writing American Idol blogs!
  • Melinda Dolittle - 28 - Ahh the background singer lacking confidence to step up front, but wants to get over her fear. The story just writes itself (maybe Robert Lee should write it!). Well, boy did she belt out some Stevie! Judges were impressed saying it may have been one of the best vocal auditions in Idol History. I was pretty impressed myself. Confidence always plays a big factor though. It'll be interesting to see her run on the show. I have no doubt she'll be in the Top 24, but how will she perform in front of a live audience? There's no reason this girl shouldn't make a long run into the Top 12. But we'll see!
  • Jason "Sundance" Head - 27 - son of Roy Head who had a number 1 single "Treat Her Right" back in the day. This is the guy with the crazy goatee from the commercials. Well, I know Idol wants me to do this, but I like this guy a lot. He's got a great personality, even had enough of a sense of humor to make fun of his own confidence in his interview. But the biggest reason I liked him is that he was soooo wearing one of my shirts from Old Navy! No the biggest reason was his voice. He may not look like an Idol, but he has some kind of appeal to him and the voice was powerful and flawless on his rendition of "Stormy Monday." And when Simon usually makes a statement like "I'd be amazed if you are not in the finals," that's usually a pretty good sign that big things are to come. Will be interesting to see how he will command the stage though. And you gotta love Simon's other great comment about how he "totally blew Taylor out of the park" Simon is clearly still bitter about Taylor winning last year and America turning the show into a popularity contest over talent. I would be too, considering Taylor's album sales!

So, overall not a bad show. We saw some decent talent, had some sappy stories, and had some ridiculous auditions. Not much else you can expect! Unfortunately, we'll be back to a 2 hour show on Wednesday when we hit the streets of New York! (ummm was East Rutherford New Jersey! Yes, the good ol' meadowlands!) Who will come out to challenge the early Memphis front runners? We'll find out soon enough!

Question to end on tonight: Did anyone notice that Paula was completely normal in tonight's episode? I was thinking this through all of her comments and her normal reactions to performances. Of course this was until she was clapping along to Robert Lee's Elvis performance and hurt her finger in the process! Ahh good can she top this tomorrow? We shall see soon enough! See you then!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

American Idol: Auditions Week 1B - Seattle

Well it seems last night's MOST WATCHED episode of American Idol (37 Million viewers) was met by mixed reviews. I talked to some people that loved it, and others that agreed with me in the disappointing premiere. Well, I can't speak for everyone but I thought tonight's episode was more on par of what I expect in an Auditions episode. Much more banter between the "3" (key number) judges, more awkward interviews with Ryan and the contestants, some better talent, and some more realistic AWFUL auditions. Don't get me wrong, some of them were still probably merely spotlight hogs, but at least they were more entertaining than last night's! Also don't get me wrong, I'm not an Auditions Convert. I still am not a fan! But I, at least, could sit through the episode without rolling my eyes half the time! Anyone that knows me, know that my eyes, for the most part, may as well just stay in a rolled position! It's one of my natural talents!

Speaking of natural talent, let's move this blog to Seattle for tonight. That's right, the dreaded city where the Idol crew has not re-entered since the unbearable auditions in season 1 (which I really only recently watched on American Idol Rewind!) Why did they return? Are they gluttons for punishment? Something tells me they WANTED to find 2 hours worth of material for the 2nd half of their Season Premiere. Well, they weren't let down. As expected there were tons of awful auditions, but more than the bad singing, it's now more interesting just to see how our 3 judges react. And, how much better were the judges with no distractions from their normal chemistry? NO MORE GUEST JUDGES PLEASE (yeah right)!

  • Paula was still drunk, but she was somewhere between "Season 4 Drunk" and "Season 5 Drunk," which means she was pretty much normal. She danced to Baby Got Back when the PINK ARMS lady was rapping, she turned in her chair to laugh so that she wouldn't upset the bad contestants (umm Paula, that might be worse!), and she got happy when people remembered her 80's hits. No doubt, Paula was "STRAIGHT UP" a good time tonight.
  • Randy was in touch with his INNER Journey again. Seriously Randy, you played bass for them on like ONE tour! Stick with you Mariah story!
  • Simon....well he kept making his faces. One thing I just don't understand is why I always find it amusing every time Simon tells someone "This is the worst audition that i have ever heard in my life" seems like it is still as funny as the first time I heard it!! He ALWAYS says it! And I just never get tired of it! Are Americans that easily amused? Maybe it's just his accent we find funny? Well, keep an ear out for this know he'll say it throughout the whole season. See if you find yourself laughing along each time!
There were tons of Bad Auditions ranging from return guests (Season 5's "Sheriff" Brandon Groves) to aspiring N'Sync stars (Monkey look-a-like Kenneth Briggs). I have a hard time talking about Kenneth Briggs' new best friend Jonathan Jayne, otherwise known as the non-animated version of South Park's Eric Cartman. This is mainly due to the fact that I think he may have a mental disability. The judges seemed awfully nice to him. He also tried his hardest to sing well and was genuinely happy with his feedback. But boy did he sound like CARTMAN!!! Anyway, I'd say worst tonight was a tie between the 2 the Idol producing team hyped up the most:
  1. Darwin "My style is a sexy" Reedy - What's there to say about this girl? She looked just like her mother and defined herself as SUPER SEXY. Ryan Seacrest made a SEXYBACK joke which always is worth a few "ha ha's" Actually, as bad as the performance was, everything leading UP to the performance was a little more entertaining. The rapidfire questions from the judges to the Mom and Daughter. Paula's stunned looks. Darwin's Canadian-Like accent was a good time too, eh? And then...she sang.........and then she danced and she uttered the words that everyone wanted to hear someone JUST like her ask "Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Dontcha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me? Dontcha???" Simon? "NO"
  2. Nick "Software Engineer Super Nerd" Zitzman - Wow, they really hyped this guy up didn't they? If this one was an act, it was a good one. Because the guy was truly bizarre. He hit the "HIIIIIIIGHS" and the "looooooows" and everything in between. All of his computer nerd friends told him to audition. God I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall when this happened. Were they serious? Or did they know that it would end up being a highlight of Idol's visit to Seattle? Regardless, if there are really Instrumental Demos of Nick's out there....I hope he starts selling them on ebay, because that's gotta be some good stuff. They didn't edit any of this guy's performance and we endured pretty much the entire UNCHAINED MELODY in all of its awful glory leaving Simon with only one thing to say "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS THAT?" I don't know Simon, but thanks for showing us!


Surprisingly, Seattle DID hide some decent talent among the dreadfully awful (it's so hard not to say that in my head without Simon's accent). Here they are in order of appearance:
  1. Tommy Daniels - Quit his job to "take an elevator to the top." Well maybe he has to work on his metaphors, but his singing chops are pretty good. And huge props to him for giving Amos Lee's "Arms of a Woman" (can be found on The Last Kiss soundtrack) some airtime. Yes, I like to listen to the occassional "CHICK" song....this coming from a Man who forces people to see Kelly Clarkson with him in concert, probably doesn't come as a shock to anyone! Weird thing is that this was Tommy's 3rd audition on Idol. They didn't go into specifics, but could he have been THAT bad previously? or did he not pass the screening round? Or maybe he didn't even get TO the screeners. You have to think with over 10,000 people at each audition location, that not everyone even gets to audition. But who knows? Anyway, Tommy seems to have a good shot at moving on to the semi-finals. But we have 4 more cities!
  2. Blake Lewis - ahh Beat box boy. Not only is he a Beat Boxer, he's a CHAMPION Beat Boxer. Well congratulations Blake! You've impressed Paula Abdul! I'm on board with Simon that this guy was just arrogant, obnoxious and just not as good as he thought he was. Could he sing? Yeah. But I didn't like the meshing of his song with some beat boxing in between. Well Dipsy and Doodle let him through so we'll see what happens. They also let Taylor in last year when Simon didn't understand their fascination with him. For some reason, I don't think Blake will get the kind of following Taylor did.
  3. Shyamala Malakar - SISTER Malakar of the Brother/Sister combo - Both of these kids were pretty darn good. They got their skills from their Dad. Shyamala did a little sampling of "Summertime." I'd say right off the bat it was better than Fantasia's highly acclaimed version in season 3 (but I hate Fantasia so that's not saying much!). Maybe she needed to work on her nerves a bit. But she has a nice personality and could ride far into this season.
  4. Sunjaya Malakar - Sunjaya was a bit more shy than his sister, contrary to Paula's snap judgement. But he did pull out an amazing voice for his rendition of Stevie's "Sign Sealed Delivered." And the best part is, he's 17! (not 16!) So if he does happen to win American Idol (which he won't), my rule of no 16 year old ever winning still applies! As we've learned with Lisa Tucker and Paris Bennett last year, even with amazing auditions, the young teens just can't go the distance with the theme nights and song choices. It's pretty much a proven fact at this point. Maybe Sunjaya can make me a believer. Doubtful dude! Doubtful! But great audition!
  5. Rudy Cardenas - The Venezuelan! Rudy pulled out some Journey at the end of a long Day 1 and once he hit the high notes, Simon put a stop to it with an immediate "NO." The dude was actually pretty good. It may remain a mystery of why Simon didn't like him. But Dingus and Doodleberry let another one through without Simon's help. This followed by bringing Daniel Powter's "BAD DAY" song to IDOL one more time! Which reminds me, are we going to have a new elimination song this year? Will it ever be as big as that gut wrenching BAD DAY was? Ahhh weeks away kids...weeks away!
  6. Anna "THE GIANT" Kearns - So this girl is TALL and was kicked out of the military for having a weak heart. Why does this scare me for her run on American Idol? She sang okay I guess, but was ridiculously loud as Simon stated. Simon tried to give some criticism and Doofus and Drunk just growled at him.......simply bizarre. Anyway, they let the "giraffe" in and we'll keep tabs on this situation in Hollywood!
  7. Jordin Sparks - Former NFL Giant Phillipi Sparks' daughter. Man that wilkepedia website is insane. They already know that Jordin is going to Hollywood! Anyway, she was really good. Simon pulled the "CUTSIE" card on her. And this can only mean one thing! Yep, she's 16!!! The last person I recall him calling CUTSIE was Diana DeGarmo, who made it to the final 2 against Fantasia, but was ALSO 16 and had that Bubblegum feel to her. I, personally, didn't notice it as I was too blown away by the voice. But a first impression is a first impression. Usually these young-ens wear their welcome with me quite quickly. Good Luck Jordin!
Well, I tried to keep it short, did I succeed? There definitely was more to write about in tonight's episode than last night's. This could be promising for next week's trip to the great state of Tennessee and home of the KING, Memphis. Until then, be thankful that 1 week of auditions is complete and there's only 2 to go! (I HOPE!) See you next week!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

American Idol Season 6 Premiere - Auditions Week 1A - Minneapolis

Greetings Idol Phanatics across the Globe! (Yes, I'm just going to assume that my Blog Fame has gone Global now!) Welcome to the American Idol Blog, the one that started the craze in me needing to write about every show I watch or people asking me to write blogs about shows THEY watch! (and yes, I still am not getting paid for it!) So here's the big question folks. Are we really ready for yet another season of awful singing, fantastic unintentional comedy, awful INTENTIONAL comedy, unnecessary guest appearances and potentially a COUPLE of showstopping performances that this season will bring? I'm going to guess that America is more than ready and willing to crown a new Idol and submit his or her name (and a few of the near winners) into the Idol Money Machine.

And what a machine it has become! You can't turn around these days without seeing a former Idol contestant in your face on a TV Show, a Billboard Advertisement, a song on the radio, SYNDICATION (American Idol Rewind anyone? I'm watching!) and some former contestants at awards shows winning prestigious awards (Kelly - Grammy's, Carrie - CMAs, Jennifer Hudson - GOLDEN GLOBE? wow!) Did I mention Thanksgiving Parades? Did I really need to wake up Thanksgiving morning to Ace Young singing with his falsetto voice (lip synching, might I add!) with weirdly dressed teenage girls dancing around him? Ahh gotta hand it to Philadelphia for booking "talent" for their parade!

But come on, we all get caught up in it from time to time. And we all have our favorites. I know some Claymates out there are probably enjoying floopy haired Clay's follow-up album and the Soul Patrollers of the world will support Taylor and his mediocre single "Runaround" until the very end. Chris Daughtry is also finding some success with his band titled similarly to the likes of Van Halen and Bon Jovi, aka "DAUGHTRY." And a slew of other Season 5 contestants released albums this year as well. And Ugh....Fantasia has herself a hit Hip-Hop single....gag me!

Then, of course, there are some of us that just like to stick with supporting the REAL Talent that came off of that show! (oh come on, you know I'm bound to have at least ONE low blow per week!) Last year I gave you a status on how I spent the "off-season" fueling the Idol Machine and I shamefully told the tale of going to see Kelly Clarkson in concert. Well folks, this year was NO different! Well maybe a little different. I think I finally realized how ashamed of myself I was this summer when I forced my girlfriend to go to a Kelly Clarkson concert with me fully knowing the show was already sold out. And yes we bought high priced scalped tickets to see it! I still am shaking my head in disgust at myself over the whole thing! (You see a wise straight man, would tell you that it was the girlfriend forcing him to go! Not me! I'm coming clean!) I think some of my shame comes from the fact that the show this summer just wasn't that good! It was way too big of a production and Kelly wasn't quite up to the challenge. She did much better last year with just singing and rocking out with her band than she did this year with the huge light show, set pieces and remixed songs. It just didn't work for me. Oh well, we'll see if she gets back on track in March when her new album debuts! In the meantime, Carrie Underwood has been on quite a roll with her 4x Mutliplatinum album success and her recent tour with Brad Paisley which I was fortunate enough to see twice! I gotta say, this show was fantastic and even has me coming around on country music! Carrie really put on a spectacular show. I was sold when she busted into a little Guns N' Roses "Sweet Child of Mine" and actually pulled it off! No shame in seeing that concert, not even twice! I'd go again if they were still on tour! And I encourage everyone to climb on board of the Carrie Underwood Train. She has a bright career ahead of her. My only advice for her would be to not bring Anthony Federov to another Country Music Awards show. And if she's going to stick with NFL Quarterbacks, she might want to find one that actually CAN hold a football for a kicker in a big playoff game!

See? The Idol craze has officially taken over life as we know it worldwide. The Brand has been merged into our daily lives and FOX, Clive Davis and the Crazy British People behind Idol couldn't be happier! Because what does all of this IDOL MADNESS translate into? MONEY, RATINGS and POWER. Why Power? Anyone notice how Friday Night Lights decided to leave Tuesday Nights and move to Wednesday at 8, out of Idol's way? No accident folks. How about LOST moving to Wednesdays at 10? The truth has set in.....NO ONE can compete with Idol. Not even huge ratings hits. So everyone has cleared the path for this to be the highest rated season for the show yet. When on earth will this madness end? I'm hoping for sooner than later. I just can't imagine what a few more seasons of Idol will do to the music industry! But when you pull in ratings like they do, it just seems like it will continue for as long as Simon Cowell is alive and getting paid millions to bring his tight t-shirts and snide comments to the show. It will last as long as Paula keeps on taking her meds or drinking that juice that makes her so ummmm so....."intriguing!" It will last as long as Randy has a Dawg Pound and can think up a few new words or phrases per year to use the whole season. STANDING O DAWG, We Got a Hot one RITE HEEEYA! And of course, it will last as long as Ryan Seacrest can maintain his status as the most boring person alive while continuing to make mediocre jokes that the world seems forced to laugh with! Well, I don't know about you....but I just can't say no to that winning formula! So sign me up for one more year! onto Recaps! I know I promise this with every blog, but I'm gonna try to stick to it this year. The Auditions....while funny and entertaining to watch, I just don't see much BLOG material in them. Last year, I documented in detail the BEST and the WORST that performed at EVERY.....SINGLE.....AUDITION. And knowing me, I'm probably going to be swayed into doing it again. But I'm going to try and keep the Audition Blogs simple and try to just point out some noteable performances. Some people who actually might have a chance down the road. When this blog really should start to get interesting is when we hit the Top 24 and then definitely when we hit that Top 12. Obviously, this blog is an exception since I feel the need to tell you all about myself before starting off a season of Idol! So buckle your seatbelts kids....IDOL is about to begin, again!!
WEEK 1A - Minneapolis Auditions
Okay, so I wrote everything above BEFORE watching tonight's episode. Now all I can say is thank God for TiVo. I feel sorry for anyone that watched tonight's show with commercials! Sometimes it seemed like there were more of them than the actual show! Of course, maybe all of those previews for next Monday's 24 were better than tonight's episode because let me tell was HORRIFIC! I've never been afraid to tell people that I'm no fan of the Audition episodes. But for some reason, most of America just takes it all in. I can't get past the whole concept that most of it is staged. You saw it yourself...they fill up the stadiums and arenas with 10,000 people (100,000 auditions in total)....everyone is screened by various groups of judges before they narrow it down to the group that will meet our infamous "TV" Judges (and Guest Judge Jewel...conveniently promoting a new album!) I'm sure I've mentioned this all before, but how are we supposed to accept the fact that these PRE-judges let in all of this bad talent to see Simon and crew? Do the Pre-Judges talk them up and tell everyone how good they are? Only to see their hopes and dreams crushed on National TV? I dunno, but the whole formula just seems OLD now and there is just nothing very original coming our way (yet....I know...we're only in Minneapolis so far). And the worst thing is....there wasn't really much Talent that we saw either. Even of the people that COULD carry a note, No one really wowed me. Is this the best America has to offer? I sure hope not or this is going to be a long long season. Here are some "high"lights of who got through:
  • Denise Jackson - aka "Crack Baby" - A 16 year old girl with pizazz but with a tortured past. Yes folks it's a cross-breed of Paris Bennett and Fantasia Boringo. If America likes her story, we may see her for awhile. But boy did I find her atrocious!
  • Perla Mendeses - aka "Shakira 2.0" - Well...they thought she was INTERESTING enough to go to Hollywood. And they like her singing Shakira like Simon said, that will limit what she can do. And well...who needs another Shakira? I guess we'll find out.
  • Jarrod Fowler - aka "Token Navy Guy 2007" - He wasn't too bad on the Rascal Flatts tune. Randy pulled out the normal "Pitchy" card in his descrption but it's okay...SIMON thinks American is going to like this guy! Wonderful!
  • Michelle Steingas - aka "That Blonde girl we saw on the commercials" - She was good. Picked a weird song. But is she an Idol? Too early to tell, but doubtful. But it's okay...Simon thinks America is going to like this girl! Wonderful!
  • Matt Sato - aka "ZIT NOSE" - Well he's 16 and he has a mature voice. We've heard it all before. Has a 16 year old ever won this competition? I've yet to see it! But he's got a sad story that he couldn't afford to sing professionally because his parents are struggling...ooooh can you hear America crying everyone? It's okay if you weren't....because our buddy MATTY was crying when he got his Golden Ticket! Like a little 16 year old baby! awwww It's okay Matt, just pop that zit and you'll feel a lot better!
  • Rachel Jenkins - aka "Token Army Reserve Girl who only joined the army because her Husband was in Iraq" huh??? also known as "I'm cool because I talk to a picture of my husband on National TV!" - She started off her audition well but faltered at the end, but it's okay. Simon thinks America is going to like this girl! WONDERFUL! (Wow...Simon is getting repetitive this year, isn't he?)
  • Sarah Krueger - aka "I'm trying to be Katharine McPhee but I'm not!" - They just threw her audition in like a 1 minute clip of her singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and then they just said she was "refreshing" refreshing she only got 1 minute of airtime! niiice Sarah! Good Luck!

The rest was just more of the same ol' BAD auditions. And I already explained how they all seemed fake. You had your Wizard of Oz singing Lion girl, your Disney Theme Park singer (Randy/Simon banter was mildly amusing on that one), The secretary whose Boss is in love with her and flew her out for an audition, the American Idol obsessed fan who loves ACE YOUNG (need we say more?), the URBAN AMISH GUY? Seriously???, The rambling guy who thinks he can sing like Mariah Carey, another cowboy wannabe, the list goes on and on and we've seen it all before. And of course somehow, after the judges crushed all of these contestants' hopes and dreams, they were still able to get them all to come back and sing a line or 2 of their hometown hero PRINCE's "Kiss." I still don't know how they do this!

Before we close up shop for the night, let's have our first PAULA ABDUL WATCH of 2007. Did anyone notice she barely said more than 3 words in every audition? Was she edited out for being obscene? It seriously looked like she was being held up by puppet strings...she kept falling over...flopping her arms about and just looking pretty much incoherent. At times I was wishing JEWEL was always the 3rd Judge. But what fun would THAT be? If this is any indication of what we can expect from Paula in season 6, then there might just be a reason to still tune in!

I know I'm being harsh on the show tonight, but come on! This was pretty bad! And we have 5 more cities to go through in 3 weeks? (or is it 4? I always forget). Whatever it is, it's way too much! I'm sure they'll give more attention to the Southern States' Good Singers. Remember, all 5 of our Idol winners have come from South of the Mason/Dixon Line. I don't know why this year would be any different!

Well, tomorrow is Seattle. And from what I've read and now what we've seen in the looks like there are absolutely NO good singers to come out of Seattle. I may be forced to blog about these crazies that they dug up to be on the show. It's okay folks, week 7's ABBA THEME NIGHT will be here before we know it! YES!!!!!

But I promise you, my sarcasm will NEVER go away! Have a great day and see you after the Wednesday show!