Archive for January 17th, 2007

American Idol, Auditions 2: Seattle

Tonight’s recap will employ a ratings system. No stars, no letter grades, no thumbs up or down; contestants will be judged on how many beagle puppies they sadden.

Oh, and it should be noted–I got most of these pictures from the contestants’ personal webpages. And if they actually have personal webpages at this stage in the game, it’s likely they’re not Top 24.

So the show gets off on the right foot, though, by bringing back my most favorite terrible auditioner — Brandon “I Shot the Sheriff” Groves. Remember him from last year? Nothing but the chorus, over and over, in full deputy regalia. This year he’s dressed as Uncle Sam and butchering “God Bless America”…badly. I still love him, though, and I think my dog would like him. No beagle puppies were saddened during this performance.

Jennifer “The Hotness” Chapton claims to sound like Mariah Carey, which of course means that she does not. She walks in with a wad of gum in her mouth, and Simon tells her to stick it on Taylor’s face. Aww, poor Simon…he just can’t let it go. Anyway, The Hotness gets rejected and immediately launches into the typical “your opinion doesn’t matter/you can’t sing” sass-and-ass lecture that immediately defines her as a plant. She’s also scary as shit. Three beagle puppies were saddened by her performance.

Do we really have to talk about Darwin Mischa Reedy and her gravity-victimized anatomy? No? Good.

Twenty-eight minutes in, Seattle awards its first golden ticket to Tommy Daniels. Interesting fashion sense, even if the hair is a little too Guarini for my tastes. Anyway, Tommy’s got great taste in music (“Arms of a Woman” by Amos Lee) and a wonderful voice to match–very soothing and John Legend-y. He’s also, erm, confident. Unfortunately for him, the only thing that America hates more than a cocky sonofabitch is a cocky sonofabitch who can actually sing. This may not bode well for him down the road. ETA: TMZ uncovered two prior arrests for Mr. Daniels — a 2004 DUI (that resulted in conviction) and a 2005 for a hit-and-run where he failed to appear for his court date. Daniels calls it “young and dumb.” I call it “I knew he was a cocky sonofabitch. NEXT!”

Blake LewisSauntering in comes Blake Lewis with his Hollister-model wardrobe and his dated hairstyle and his Timberlaking. I hate him already. He doesn’t sing nearly as well as he beatboxes. Very boy-bandy, very nasal, very whiny. The tweens (who are already up in arms over at accusing Sarah Krueger of ripping off Katharine McPhee’s version of “Over the Rainbow,” despite the fact that McPhee ripped off Jane Monheit’s version) will love him. Paula is practically pissing herself over him, and naturally he is put through to Hollywood. Despite that unfortunate turn of events, two beagle puppies were extremely saddened by his Backstreeting.

Shyamali MalakarThe fetal Malakar siblings are just adorable. Adorable. And thankfully, they audition separately. Sister Shyamali turns in a lovely and understated (if a bit uninspired) “Summertime.” I like her. She’s subtly good, in a Norah Jones-ish way, right down to her Ravi Shankar-like musician father. (Too bad Norah Jones probably won’t carry her far in this contest.) Simon isn’t crazy about her, but she goes through. Her younger brother Sanjaya does a little Stevie; I don’t think he’s as good (he’s a little under the pitch in places), but the judges seem to like him more than his sister, and he goes through as well.

Nick Zitzmann is an obvious shill. Two puppies are saddened, but moreso because the producers still think they can pass this shit off as legitimate.

Kissing up to the judges never hurts, which is undoubtedly what Rudy Cardenas had in mind when he pulled out a little “Open Arms” by Journey. (Who was it that played bass for them again? I can’t remember…) I don’t think he’s all that and a bag of chips (too nasal for my tastes), but Paula is ready to Corey Clark him, and he goes through with her and Randy’s approval. He’s followed shortly thereafter by Eric Chapman, who actually does really look like Taylor Hicks, the one distinguishing characteristic being that Taylor Hicks is a phenomenal singer, and Eric Chapman really sucks. I’m momentarily distracted from my television, but when I look back, Eric’s being escorted out by security. Seems as though he pulled a no-no and tried to touch Simon. Hmm. Four beagle puppies were left heartbroken over the mere suggestion that this man could in any way be equated with Taylor.

Jordin SparksAnna Kearns is 6’7″, gorgeous, and rockin’ the sexy secretary look with a decolletage-baring white button-down and black pencil skirt. Now that’s classy. She turns in a somewhat rough “Respect,” but gets her golden ticket. I like her, though I don’t think she displayed enough vocal control to move much further. She’s followed by sixteen-year-old Jordin Sparks, who tackles Celine Dion effortlessly and sails through to the next round. Oh, look — Jordin is already friendly with Simon and Randy. And the much-ballyhooed Seattle auditions come to an end when a dude nicknamed Big Red slaughters BoRhap, and not in a good way, either. A lone beagle puppy whimpers.


Cha-cha, cha-cha-cha.

ETA:Per Gray, “Just To Feel That Way” will be uploaded via MP3 to radio stations early next week (if all goes well, because there “could always be kinks). A/C and Hot A/C will be the first markets targeted, with Top 40 only a possiblity at this point. Thank God.

Inexplicably Mediterranean Taylor.Congratulations…sort of…to Taylor Hicks, whose self-titled album was officially certified platinum. Not jiving with those just-past-gold sales numbers you’re used to seeing? That’s because the RIAA certifications are based on albums shipped (technically, sold to stores), not on albums sold to individual consumers. Ahh, well, it’s still a nice plaque for Taylor to hang on his wall, I guess. And what does Taylor himself have to say about his album sales these days? “I can’t speculate or worry about something I have no control over, like the record-buying public,” Hicks says rather matter-of-factly. “The show was the greatest opportunity I’ve ever had… Now I have to move on and be Taylor Hicks.” Good man.

Also, be sure to catch Taylor appearing with season three winner Fantasia Barrino on Larry King Live this Thursday night.

Recently fugged Katharine McPhee continues to support the theory that she is merely an actress playing the part of a singer (and also that she has the emotional maturity of a fourteen-year-old) by racking up yet another acting gig. This one isn’t so prestigious as a Golden Globe-winning comedy, unfortunately. Kat’s people managed to pester the creators of the Lonelygirl15 “internet serial” into writing a role for Ms. McPhee. Now, silly me, I thought that this whole Lonelygirl15 thing was exposed as a big ol’ sham, with an actress playing the part of the supposed main character. Huh. Oh well. Viewers of the webcast will also be treated to one of Katharine’s songs being played in the background. Oh, happiness. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I’m just jellus that Taylor didn’t get his own cameo appearance in a…YouTube melodrama. That must be it.

The morning after, pt. 1.

So that was…it? I never though I’d say this about an American Idol episode, but that was just…boring. None of the singers put through were phenomenal, and only two in my eyes (Sarah Krueger and the crack baby girl) have any real shot of getting anywhere remotely near the Top 24.* The rest of them? It’s as if they put through middling singers simply for cannon fodder, to get good footage out of the Hollywood rounds when average singers start to crack under the pressure. Now, yes, I know that more people were put through than were shown, and I know that some of last year’s best singers didn’t even show up on our TV screens until the Hollywood rounds (like the woefully underpimped Elliott Yamin, for example). And as Elliott has shown us, America is sometimes willing to overlook a lack of airtime and recognize a true talent. So I’m not freaking out yet.

But at the same time, I know how this show works now. I know that there are three rounds of auditions — first for lowly, cockroach-like producers, then for the executive producers, and then for the judges. The first round is done in groups of four or five, and if you don’t make it, you’re out. And rumor has it that first-round producers have quotas to meet — one has a quota for pretty white girls, another for rockers, etc. Sigh. I have no problem with the fact that Idol is a reality TV show, and it needs compelling characters as much as it needs good singers. But you can certainly find plently of amazing vocalists with marketable sob stories in this country. The show’s just lazy.

*This is assuming, of course, that talent is the determining factor here. Which, as we all know, it isn’t.

January 2007
« Dec   Feb »

What the kids are sayin’

"I hate them all. The judges, TPTB, the blatant manipulation, the songs, the contestants, everything. I'm a die-hard Cook fan, but for the love of god, at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself up there! Please? Syesha was awesome but she ruined it by being completely shameless and disgusting. Yes, being on American Idol is exactly like the civil rights movement, except for the part where you're fighting to make the world a better place."

"All I can say after the disgusting display tonight of favoritism towards the mediocrity that is David A. - good luck trying to market and make money off of that kid, American Idol. (Not to mention good luck dealing with his father.) All the teeny boppers may buy up his American Idol coronation single, but they will quickly forget about him before the album comes out. And I shudder to think of a David A. album - song after song of unrelenting sameness and heavy breathing. Why they are pimping him for the win is beyond me."

"This show was simply a hot buttered mess tonight. And Jason "needs to be arrested for what he did to I Shot the Sheriff. But I hope he stays. He amuses me. "