Thursday, January 29, 2009

American Idol: New York City and San Juan Auditions

Well my friends, we've reached the end of the auditions! And it couldn't come soon enough. Thankfully, it has come a week sooner this year. They want to spend more time in Hollywood this season. We'll see if it pans out over the next 2 weeks. But for now, we have 2 more cities to recap! And with this being the 3rd Idol blog of the week (and the limited audience reading the first 2), I'm burned out. So let's cut to the chase! Here's who got in!

New York City Auditions

  • Melinda Camille - 21 - Crazy lady with cleavage bearing dress that likes to dance naked and send a message to the world of uplifting humanity with positivity. Huh???? Oh well, after all of that nonsense, she ended up sounding pretty good. But, will American buy into the craziness? Time will tell.
  • Jackie Tohn - 27 - The female rocker girl. She tried to pull off Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." It wasn't too bad. She has a crazy Raspy voice. Then again, so did Amanda Overmeyer and look how she turned out! She sang a 2nd song and apparently the judges saw enough to let her through. Well, she's different so that may be good for the competition to mix things up. We'll see!
  • Nick Mitchell (aka Norman Gentle) - 27 - A man with a voice but couldn't pass up being silly. He really was doing well with "Amazing Grace" until he jazzed it up too much. Paula and Kara loved the guy, and the judges ended up giving him another shot. But in the great words of newbie Judge Kara "you don't have a shot in hell but I like you!"
  • Ashley Hollister - 21 - She made it in and we saw 2 seconds.
  • Kenny Hoffpauer - She made it in and we saw 2 seconds.

San Juan Puerto Rico

  • Jorge Nunez - 20- Bad Dancer guy that sang "My Way" in Spanish. He has a big voice and sounded pretty good. But definitely sounded better in Spanish. He's going to need to sing in English though if he wants to get further. Remember "Besame Mucho" that Sanjaya sang? ouch!
  • Monique Garcia Torres -16 - The girl that brought her 9 year old brother in with her. She sang okay, but I would've been fine if they just let her brother into Hollywood! Too many 16 year olds this year!
  • Kendall Beard - 23 - She made it in and we saw 2 seconds.
  • Patricia Lewis Roman - 20 - Last girl of the San Juan audition. Her parents got married at the audition location. She sang "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" which I thought sounded pretty good. Simon went into his predictable rant of how she'll always be a 2nd rate Whitney. They let her sing a 2nd song which she did in Spanish and she ended up getting in. Don't know if she'll be good enough to win or anything but she deserved to get to the next round.

Highlights of the bad was the inevitable return of Philly Auditioner Alexis Cohen. (you know the one from Allentown who said the song written about her town was Bon Jovi instead of Billy Joel! I'm still upset about it!) She was just as bad as ever. Then there was the guy that jumped into walls and was a human iPod. Just bizarre! And the girl that kept bragging about all the competitions she won. It was nice to see her be awful!

So 9 from San Juan got in and 26 NYC. There's quite a lot of faces from the 8 cities that we haven't been introduced to. Will they show us them over 4 weeks in Hollywood? You'd think they'd take that extra time (2 weeks) to show us them. And then we'll be getting 12 more people into the Semi-Finals this year. But we'll explain that whole process as we get closer.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings through the auditions. I'm sure you know that I'm glad they're over! I'll see you next week as we begin the Hollywood Round!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

American Idol: Salt Lake City Auditions

Okay folks, I gotta say I'm excited. Not excited about tonight's episode, but about the preview for Thursday's episode. Remember back in the day (yesterday) when I said I had no idea what the Thursday episode was about? Turns out they are granting my wish this year. LESS Audition episodes. Instead they're cramming the final 2 cities into one hour (i hope!) and then we move to Hollywood NEXT week! woo hoo! As for Salt Lake City, home of the Artichoke? Maybe some real contenders coming out of here. But at this point, not worth dwelling on them too much. Here are the 6 of 12 we saw get in:

  • David Osmond -28 - Apparently, there are more Osmonds out in the world than just Donnie and Marie. Go figure. This one was son of the infamous Alan Osmond who had to leave show-biz due to M.S. (which David also is a victim of). David has a bit of John Locke in him where he is sometimes in a wheelchair, and sometimes he's on some magical Island where he can walk around and be a great singer. (Sorry if I spoiled the 3rd episode of season 1 of LOST for any non-watchers out there!) Anyway, he was pretty good. I'm not sure if they were just trying to add drama, or if there's a chance that David could go far in the competition and end up in a wheel chair at some point. Kinda depressing. He seems to be a guy that Idol wants to support this season.
  • Frankie Jordan - 26 - They hyped her up as the next Amy Winehouse (do we really need another?). That being said, she did sing well and had a distinct voice (if you call sounding like Amy distinct). And because I have nothing else to say about her I'll just also say she's a stay-at-home mom. There seems to be tons of these. My question is...who's gonna watch these kids when the moms go off chasing their dreams this year?! Daddy still has to bring home the bacon!!
  • Megan Corkrey - 23 - If you can get past any Carly Smithson comparisons (crazy tattoos all down her right arm), this girl is pretty good. She ALSO has a child, but divorced the bacon provider! Good thing she can sing, because based on what we heard and the judge's reactions, she could be a top 12'er. (here's the question, have i mentioned top 12 more than 12 times this season yet? I think I've been careful!) Let's see how America votes in the Semi-Finals! Also one thing to note, this is the first of 2 auditions that Simon said "you're one of the few that I'll remember" (yikes, i wonder how many times he used that line!)
  • Austin Sisneros -17 - Ugh...Can you say David "The Artichoke" Archuleta part 2???? He's the class president of his senior class and is auditioning "to inspire people" bleh....put me out of my misery now! Oh wait I'm not done, when his Train song (incorrectly sung by the way) didn't win them over, he decided to get more hip with a RAFFI song! I really do hope he gets far. We'll need a new vegetable for his nickname! I'm throwing it out there for suggestions. Best suggestion gets to write tomorrow's blog for me! (just kidding)
  • Taylor Vafuna - 16 - may have messed up that spelling, but it's LOST day folks, can't go rewind and find it! Okay, so she's another 16 year old...but she could play in the NBA or something (yes that means she's tall!) Anyway, I guess she sounded okay. Kara heard her sing in the Bathroom so she must be good! Whatever, she could pass for something other than 16, so if she goes further, maybe I'll be fine with it (a la Jordin Sparks, as Randy compared her appearance to)
  • Rose Flack - 17 - The ultimate sympathy yellow ticket. The judges liked her vibe and her look. And I'm sure they were tipped off that she had been gradually orphaned over the past 4 years. Don't get me wrong, that is sad stuff. But she really didn't wow anyone with her voice. Even Paula said that she needs to work on her vocals. If this is a SINGING competition, we shouldn't be letting people in if they're not good singers! But whatever, let her go to Hollywood and see the world! And of course Simon also told her "you are one of the few singers I'll remember" DOY!!!

The best was when they showed a clip of Ryan afterwards telling Simon that he liked the girl that Simon said he'll remember and Simon asked "What was her name?" Ahh good times. The bad singers aren't worth talking about. Plus, looks like I may have to throw another recap out there tomorrow night at some point. So I'll save some strength! New York City and San Juan tomorrow then we're off to Hollywood! See you then.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Idol: Jacksonville Auditions

Another day another audition! Jacksonville was no different than the others. Dare I say it, maybe it was worse? The judges shared in my distaste though, at least on day 1 of the auditions. The 3 people we saw them let in on day 1 were just horrendous. In fact, the only person I thought was decent was the person they made leave and come back later. But we'll get to that. Some of the bad auditions were a little humorous, even if a little staged (the sitting on the laps anyone???) And, any episode of Idol where they show Randy from the 80's rocking it out with Journey is worth a little praise!

But, let's get on with our tiny recap of who we saw got in (we saw 6 of 16 that got a golden ticket):

  • Joshua Ulloa - 22 - The Justin Guarini look-a-like. Okay, so Justin is from Doylestown, PA which isn't far from me...but come on. You NEVER want to compare yourself to that guy! And this guy didn't do any extra favors for liking him with all of his silly sound effects during his audition. I agree with Simon. Parts of the audition were good and others were just awful. We'll see if he tones himself down a bit in the crazy department. But I don't see this guy lasting.
  • Sharon Wilbur - 25 - This is the girl with the dog and the Britney Spears twang when she sang the word "Baby." She also had some weird mannerisms. Just a gimmicky audition with the dog...and then Paula and Kara kissing? Whaaaat? Anyway, again..I'm not seeing a winner here.
  • Julissa Veloz - 19 - Okay, this girl was just insane. She wants to be the first Latin American Idol, and is some Florida teen pageant winner or something. But if the last 2 people I mentioned had some nervous ticks and twitches, this girl topped them both. She sang a Whitney song and tried to be a Whitney CLONE. And in the process, I think she changed keys 3 or 4 times. Simon said it best when he said she was better than he expected but she didn't make it sound nice. She just gives off an uncomfortable vibe. I don't think I can get past that!
  • Jasmine Murray - 16 - She sang well, the judges ate it up. But come on, look at her age. I don't think I even have to say what I always say one more time. The age says it all!
  • Ann Marie Baskovich - 22 - (take 1) She saw Kara in Nashville sing a song that no one knew. And Ann Marie sang it for the judges. The judges made her leave and come back and be someone different. Not sure I understood what that all meant. But she went and did some kind of crazy make-over and came back. stay tuned.
  • T.K. Hash - 23 - Auditioned before, Simon didn't remember him. Paula claims his voice improved. I dunno. He turned "Imagine" into some crazy R&B note sliding roller coaster. And, yet again, in the process changed keys several times. My favorite is when he was MAN (woman) enough to admit he was inspired by the Artichoke's rendition last year. (the only performance of Davey's that I'll claim was good. But it still irked me because it was him!!) Anyway, I can see T.K. being a guy that's a little full of himself with his crazy runs and stuff. Maybe he'll prove me wrong.
  • Ann Marie Baskovich - TAKE 2! - She came back with her make-over and new attire. And wowed the judges with a little Colbie Callet "Bubbly" And I'm man (woman) enough to admit that I love that crazy song! Anyway, she's a likable person, has a marketable look, is relevant and she sounds good. That, my friends, is the combination that American Idol and us viewers strive to find! I'm not saying she's going to win or anything. But she has a strong chance at getting to the top 12. But let's get through Hollywood and the Top 36 first!

So how about that crazy dude with the guitar that broke down when he couldn't play it in the audition room (and why can't they when they're now allowed to play instruments later? I guess because the show is mainly about finding a good singer). Man he flipped out! And what's with all the nerdy scientists coming out this year to compete? That would be an interesting show all to itself! Other than that, I'm all out of commentary on the night.

I see on my TiVo that there is a Thursday episode this week. I'm not too thrilled about that folks! I thought we would be getting that next week for the "best of the rest" episode after the auditions. So, stay tuned on if you'll be getting 3 blogs from me this week. 2 audition blogs a week is already pushing it! :-) Anyway, hope you enjoyed my ramblings. We're getting there...soon enough we'll be in Hollywood. Stay the course! See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American Idol: Louisville Auditions

Okay everyone here we go! Another So-So audition episode. This is about the point where the novelty (not so novel anymore!) wears off on me. While hour episodes are wonderful, there simply isn't enough time to show a lot of people or get to know anyone, unless they want to make us feel bad for the unemployed and self-proclaimed homeless. Tonight's formula was pretty much the same as the San Fran formula except we had 2 days of auditions instead of 1. So we saw 3 out of 10 get in in day 1 and then 5 out of however many get in in day 2. (but 4 were those really quick ones again). Bad auditions? Well they were not worth noting again except for Kara making a girl cry by telling her her audition was funny! Whoops! Here's the quick recap of who got in

  • Joanna Paciti -27 - An L.A. implant from Philly! So Kara knew who this person was because apparently she was on the A&M Label for a little while. I guess Idol is learning their lesson from years' past and being upfront about some people having prior contracts. Obviously, this girl was good if she's been signed before. But we'll see if she lasts through the grueling Idol process. Carly Smithson didn't fare too well last year! Of course, those crazy tatoos didn't help!
  • Brent Keith Smith - 28 - The dude that sang that Bad Company song. He wasn't so bad. Simon didn't like the song choice and thought he should've picked something more emotional. This is one case where I need to hear more to make a judgement on this guy. We shall see!
  • Matt Girard - 23 - Dueling Piano Player guy. Well, you gotta love the Dueling Pianists! They're a fun time! This guy had a unique voice and wasn't too bad with rendition of Gavin Degraw's "I Don't Wanna Be" Simon was reminded of Elliott Yamin. The man can carry a tune, and playing the piano always wins points in my book (except in the case of the Artichoke last year!) Let's see if he can take the momentum through Hollywood.
  • Alexis Grace - 20 - Stay at Home mom who's fiance' is in Military School. She has a pretty powerful voice that you wouldn't expect. The judges loved her, and Kara made some inappropriate comments about how she should celebrate. Family Show Kara! Stop drinking from Paula's cup! She could go a few rounds in this competition. We'll see how she does with song selection.
  • Leneshe Young - 18 - Ugh, Cry me a river homeless girl! Haven't we seen this clip before like, I dunno, in every single audition episode? Now now, don't get me wrong. I'm sure they've had it tough. But I'm also sure that the family exaggerated their trials and Idol exploited it even further. Anyway, to the audition. She's from Cincinatti and performed a song she wrote called "Natti." Creative! Simon thought so. They liked her "current" vibe. Naturally, I didn't see anything too special with her. I guess we'll see if American can identify with her hardships and decide to keep rooting for her.

And then the 4 quick clips we got. They all sounded good to me and would've liked to hear more:

  • Kris Allen - 23 - Business Major
  • Felcia Barton -26 - Bar Singer/Mom
  • Ryan Johnson - 27 - Railroad
  • Shera Lawrence - 23 - Otherpoedic Office Assistant.

Ugh...are we there yet? I guess we have 2 more weeks of the audition craziness. Expect more blogs like this for them! Don't worry, I'll turn things up for the LIVE performance episodes as always. So, next week is Jacksonville, Florida. We'll see if things improve! See you then!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

American Idol: San Francisco Auditions

Hello everyone and welcome back to another edition of Idol ramblings! Thankfully not much to report tonight from the San Francisco auditions (Gotta love the 1 hour episodes!). Out of the 12 people that made it to the next round they showed us 4 in-depth and then a quick shot at 3 more. And you know what? I didn't see much that impressed me except Broadway guy (since they raved and raved about him being the best they had seen so far). But I guess since I have a few minutes we'll go through the normal audition exercise! Here's who we saw make it in:

The In-Depth 4
  • Tatiana Del Toro - 23 - Puerto Rican girl who didn't want to audition in Puerto Rico. - This girl was just a trainwreck and I'm not quite sure how she made it through. Of course, they were trying to fool us with the editing into making us think she had an ego with nothing to back it up. But that laugh...the Idol editing team really overdid that annoyance. Her voice wasn't AWFUL, but it wasn't fantastic either. She was borderline crap and it makes me wonder about the talent we DIDN'T see get into Hollywood. They only let 12 in after all! Her psychic predicts top 12 for her. I predict 1st round Hollywood exit! I'm with Simon on this one!
  • Jesus Valenzula - 29 - "I use my kids to get through to Hollywood, now take me seriously!" - I think I pretty much said it all already. This guy was definitely not good enough but he used his cute kids to win over the 2 female judges and Randy. Simon would've probably let him in too if he didn't already vote no. Again, he could hold a tune but that kinda reminded me of Christina Christiansen (forget exactly how to spell) from season 1. Now after watching that season on Idol Rewind a couple years back, I realized how bad everyone besides Kelly Clarkson and Tamyra Grey really were! Put that voice on a dude...and you have THIS GUY! No thanks!
  • Adam Lambert - 26 - Hollywood, California - was starring in the LA tour of Wicked - This was the best of what we saw tonight and he screamed Broadway Star. Not necessarily a bad thing. You just can never tell. Clay got pretty far in season 2 trying to fight the Broadway stereotype. Where did he end up? Well in SPAM A LOT the Musical of course! I mean, if they ever made QUEEN - The Musical then I'd recruit ol' Adam to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in it without question! I'm going to keep the jury out on this one until I see more. I want to see him with a backing band and singing a song that isn't meant to be theatrical in the first place. (we all know Freddie Mercury was a one of a kind performer!)
  • Kai Kalama - 26 - Musician by Night/Mother Care-taker by day - This was the sob story of the night. Kai has had to postpone his life dreams to take care of his mother who has a Seizure disorder. I can't make fun of it, it's actually a very noble thing! But I guess I can make fun of his singing right? Again, he's not awful, but I think he only got the press because he had a unique look (Adam Duritz-ish from Counting Crows but less dreads more curls) and had the story. Definitely needs work with the stage presence as the judges stated, but I did Carrie Underwood! By no means am I comparing ol' Kai to the Most Successful Idol! I just don't see this guy having the longevity for the Idol campaign, but he is a working musician, so maybe I just didn't like the song he was singing in the audition. We'll see.

The Quick 3
Not much to say about these 3 since we got about 5 seconds of each of them, so here they are!

  • John Twiford - 27 - Music Teacher from Sherman Oaks California
  • Allison Iraheta - 16 - High School Student from L.A.
  • Raquel Houghton - 28- Waitress/Bartender from L.A.

As for the rest? Well, none of the bad were very funny tonight. There was the crazy lady who brought her notebooks on how to sing from muscles in the body that she invented herself (along with the awful songs she invented herself!). You always gotta love a contestant in denial! Randy's random comment about Paula wanting a baby was a stroke of editing genius. Rubix Cube Guy was a good time I guess. I can never figure those crazy things out! But then again, I can carry a tune and this guy couldn't! We'll call it even.

So that's it from San Fran! Tomorrow is Louisville, Kentucky. Don't forget it's also premiere night for LOST! So expect a blog of this length or shorter for Idol and don't forget to look for the LOST BLOG Thursday morning too (if you're a fan naturally)! See you then and good luck with all of your TV Management in the coming months! I know I'll need it too!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol: Kansas City Auditions

Hello everyone! Another fun filled 2 hour night of auditions. As much as I am tired of the auditions, they seemed to have struck a good balance this year in making them tolerable. The judges are funny again (all in the editing!), adding all the various tunes between each audition is a nice touch too. And while they have not eliminated as many bad auditions as I thought they were intending to, they've eliminated most of the ridiculous ones and just stuck with people that most likely think they're good when they're really not. And that was always the appeal of the auditions for me! Anyway, K.C., home of David Cook, seemed to have a decent pool of talent. (I missed how many they said got in and too lazy to rewind...but I think it was around 30??) A couple of these people I thought might find their way to the top 12 (depending on what groups they'd be placed in the semi-finals of course!). So let's not waste time. Here are the 13 folks that we saw make it in:

  • Ashley Anderson - 20 - NJ - Did her homework and picked a Leona Lewis (Simon's British creation) song that just happened to be "co-written" by Simon himself. Wait a sec...Simon writes songs???? yikes. Well, with a name like "Footprints in the Sand" I guess I can see that. The girl was pretty good. Like a little Leona Lewis clone. I don't know what else to say about her at this point. Just smart song choice. Almost as smart as Kristy Lee Cook picking "God Bless the USA" to perform on "American" Idol!
  • Casey Carlson - 20 - Minnesota - Did anyone catch when the blurb came up as she was singing with her info that she's a "Bubble Tea Maker"? What on earth is that?! Anyways, Casey sang her Vanessa Carlton song pretty well. Nothing too fancy. Good enough to get to the next round. Her fate can go either way at this point. I can see her being good enough to make the top 12, or not even making it to the semi-finals. All depends on Hollywood and the songs she picks and how she performs! (can you tell I couldn't think of anything to write about her?)
  • Von Smith - 22 - Dude with the hat. Woaaaaa buddy...lasso in that voice man! Yeah, he could hit some pretty impressive notes. But he seemed to be lacking control. He just kept going for them no matter how awkward it made the judges and the eventual viewing public feel. Yeah, good enough to get to Hollywood, and he could be great. But, I could settle for less screaming!
  • Michael Castro - 20 - Yup, we thought we finally put the Castro family behind us last year. But no fear, Jason Castro used his Idol Celebrity Status to move his little brother Michael up in the line. So what's the difference between Michael and Jason? Well they both are bad at interviews. And while Michael said Jason is more girly, Michael seemed to be the one that LOOKED like a girl. Was he wearing Make-up?! Anyway, he told the judges that he never tried singing until 20 days before the audition. WHAT??? That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Anyway, he didn't sound "AWFUL" but he definitely sounded like he had been singing for longer than 20 days. I'm sure the judges were more lenient on him because he was Jason's bro. But he may have earned his way in on his own. We'll see if he can keep it up!
  • Matt Breitzke - 27 - Bald guy with goatee and is a Welder by day! He used to do the bar scene but then got married and had a kid. He explained how he needed to provide for his family so his music ambition took a back burner. I got a good laugh out of Paula laughing and mimicking Simon when he said "I get that." Anyway, I thought Matt was pretty good. As the judges said, he has a lot of heart and ambition, and that will resonate with voters should he get that far.
  • Jessica Paige Furney -?? - The girl from the land of Oz who takes care of her 93 year old grandmother. Also apparently a guitar player. She sang some Janis Joplin and sang it pretty well. The judges were unanimous and loved her. I think she has potential to stick around for awhile as well. Crazy though...we have 6 more cities to hit, not everyone can make that top 12! I have read that this season had the most talent of all seasons (which Ryan stated tonight as well). Maybe that's why they created a top 36 instead of 24!
  • India McClain - 22 - (and sister) - Used her sister Asia as a gimmick to rap in front of the judges (something about stealing cookies?) and then sang. It was nice of Asia to want the best for her sister. But I really didn't see all the hoopla around India. She was okay I guess. But whatever, yellow ticket and she's moving on!
  • Jamar Rogers - 26 - The bartender who came with his best friend Danny (next on list), and with a nice crew cut (or mini-mohawk? I don't know what you call what he had!). He got in but he did kind of overdo it like the judges said. I'm sure they just showed him because he came as a 1-2 punch with Danny. But you never know, Jamar could be good enough to make it past Hollywood too.
  • Danny Gokey - 28 - The Music Teacher has kind of a sad story with Danny (one that he didn't hesitate to bring up to the Idol Cameras. I'd like to think he didn't do that for a sympathy vote....not that he needed it!) His wife passed away 4 weeks before the audition. But he whipped out a fantastic rendition of "I heard it through the Grapevine." One that blew all of the judges away and blew me away! I am marking his name in blue because I think he is one to watch. There's no way I'm declaring any winners this early in the audition process, but I can see this guy going pretty far in the competition with who we've seen so far. And that's all I can really say about it right now!
  • Anoop Desai - 21 - The Geeky Guy that studied the Folklore of BBQ or something like that! And yet ANOTHER guy that picked Boys II Men's "Thank You." Did they make a comeback recently that I wasn't aware of?! Definitely needs an image make-over but man can this boy sing! He earned his yellow ticket!
  • Asa Barnes - 28 - Band director and Dad who sang Michael Jackson. It was borderline good but he made Simon laugh when he said he picked the song because he liked it.
  • Dennis Brighan - 19 - This one was kinda ridiculous. The guy that had the dream of Simon saying he was one of the best. Come on....he was AWFUL! And the judges, besides Simon, got guilted into letting him in. He won't get far. That was just silly.
  • Lil Rounds - 23 - Yep not a fan of hers. She's a mom of 3, survived a tornado. All touching stuff. But once the judges said she reminded them of Fantasia, I realized why I didn't like her. Hey so that style of singing isn't for everyone. Doesn't mean she's not good. I just don't get it. But they were flabbergasted at how good she was. My favorite part of this audition was the husband's reaction to her getting through. He was just like "ooohhh ****, now I gotta watch these 3 kids by myself for 5 months!" ahhhh good times!

So, we've seen a little more of Kara now. Snap judgement: Maybe her "thing" will be to tell good contestants "I Like you, you have that VIBE!" I think I heard her say that a few times. We still have many more times to see her before we can really get a good read on her.

The bad auditions tonight? They were a good time in general. No real standouts except Michael Nicewonder and his original songs. That had me laughing really good. Oh and the "Just call me...JAZZ" girl! what city was next? New York maybe? They showed NYC but then they went on and pretty much previewed the entire audition and Hollywood process. Since when do they do that so early? I know they were trying to entice us, but you can't help but think "hmmm...maybe I can stop watching now until the semi-finals since you just showed me all the good stuff!" Ahhh but we all know that I am incapable of waiting that long to write! And with that, I will say so long until next week! See you then.

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!!! ( 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 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!