Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Y'ever eat deer jerky?" - American Idol

For those of you who have eaten deer jerky, you know it to be salty and difficult to chew and swallow. This is not unlike American Idol. So far this season, we’ve been repeatedly told how this year has the most talent ever, but I’m still waiting to see it. Now it’s early, and we’re weeding out the lesser talent, but normally by this point in a season, I’ve found a favorite. I’ve found someone that is either likable or talented, or both, but so far I’m just tuning in, not really cheering for anyone. Hopefully, someone will step and win me over in Hollywood. For these Hollywood auditions, I’ve decided to break down the contestants as I watch them live (aka tivo’d), so that my initial, raw, reactions come out. If Paula, Randy and Simon must judge on the spot, then I must. It’s only fair. Now let’s get to it.

The show gears up with Seacrest robotically going through his intros and we don’t have any side stories about the rednecks from the sticks who have never flown before, so we can assume that this year’s contestants are far worldlier than the likes of Bucky Covington.

The biggest highlight of this year’s Hollywood auditions is that the rules have changed. Take a moment, prepare yourselves: the contestants can use instruments if they choose. Earth shattering adjustment, I know.

Simon also points out that the 164 will either make it into the top fifty immediately, or they must come back to sing the last day, where those left will “sing for their lives, and it's gonna be a bloodbath.” Nothing like referring to the tears of wanna-be singers as a bloodbath. A bit morbid. A bit over the top. Now that’s the Idol I’ve been missing.

Brooke White opts to play keyboards while singing "Beautiful". I’d toss her out, but let's wait for the judges’ reactions: Simon really likes her. He compares her to Carly Simon. And they all love her. She’s through. If nothing else, shouldn’t they just bury the first one up just to let the others know they mean business?

Lorena Pinot from the Miami auditions is horrible singing Shaina Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.” Oddly enough, so do I after that painful kick to the balls.

Amy Flynn tries to hit her big note and is surprised by how awful it sounds. Now she knows how we feel. Take a seat, Amy.

Leo Marlowe gets Simon’s best comment so far: "You have the stage presence of a flea."

Simon begins to hate the keyboards, and the instruments in general. The new rule is backfiring already. This does not bode well Jake Mellema, whose drum kit is being wheeled out for his version of “Hooked on a Feeling”. This is horrible, who do you think you are, Jake, Phil Collins? Simon, per usual, sums it up perfectly: "nothing redeeming except that we stopped it early."

I begin to think the judgs are being soft when they put David Hernandez through. He's good, but he's no American Idol. I'm not sold yet. Simon compliments that he's very comfortable up there. I think these guys are being too easy.

Amanda Overmyer steps up next with her version of Light My Fire by The Doors, and I must say, I really like this version. I cannot believe I'm falling for Crazy Hair Lady. Each year, one contestant steals thunder, and votes, with their hair. Nadia Turner did it first in Season Four, and last year there was no escaping Sanjaya’s locks. Randy loves it. Paula loves. Amanda’s in.

And now we’ve got the I-Forget-the-Words montage to “Stuck in the Middle with You."

Josiah Leming, from Atlanta, is up next. We all remember him, living in his car, going “wherever the wind blows.” Oh my god, this sounds HORRIBLE. Josiah tries to hit falsetto. Dude, go back to your car. No wonder you're sleeping there. Randy and Paula love it…I'm shocked. Simon says this is the one he's going to remember. I am utterly shocked.

Ramiele Malubay is a little Asian with a big talent, which is the opposite of Paul Kim, who was like Yao Ming, but sang like Tattoo.

Kyle Ensley steps up, and Simon walks out on him. That was easy enough.

Now groups of ten will be called out to sing a few seconds of a capella, so, according to Simon, "It's do or die."

Amy Flynn, who earlier learned not to shout into the mic, is practicing “Love Will Bring You Back” with her vocal coach. That’s right, she brought her vocal coach. When she takes the stage, she sounds harsh. Really harsh. Nothing will bring me back to listening to you, Amy.

What I like about Jeffrey Lampkins is not just that he’s 300 pound black dude, but that he’s a 300 pound black dude who’s got no problem singing about “pecan pie and chocolate swirl.” It’s fitting, and he jumps like a maniac when he makes it through.

David Archuleta, a mere 16 years old, steps up with “Heaven” by Bryan Adams. He actually sounds good for a kid. I like it, but you can see the ceiling on him. He’s only going to get so far, and I’ll say it won’t be as far as Paris Bennett in Season Five.

Kyle Ensley, the debate teamer that Simon walked out on the day before, goes with “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban. I thought this was a Better Midler song, but whatever. Wrong again. Kyle does really well with the song, Simon apologizes for walking out, and they put him through. There’s a lot of Kevin Covais in Kyle. He’s got potential.

Michael Johns, an Aussie, is up next with Bohemian Rhapsody. On “Mama,” I can tell he's got it. He delivers a great showing, never pushing too hard on the high notes. Man, takes me back to Wayne’s World.

Carly Smithson made it through in Season 5, but alas, this Irish lassie had Visa problems and couldn’t continue on. Singing “Alone,” the song that Carrie Underwood brought to Idol fame, is a huge mistake. Bad song choice for me. I hate it. Annnnnnd, all three judges like it.

Josiah is last to go. He explains how hard it is to choose from a pack of 200 songs. He's crying, crumpling, defeated. They are building him up to lose, making him look like he’s unprepared and sleep deprived. He takes the stage, thanks the band, and asks them to take a seat. Pretty big risk. He sings Stand by Me, “because I hear it in my head.” As he starts, I can’t help but think he wishes he had the band now to cover that voice of his. What’s up with this British singing accent? It’s really awkward. Simon nails it: “if you're going to dismiss the band, you better be ready to bring it.” Despite all admitting they didn’t like it, they all give him a yes. And now he's crying. Again.

Now we’re down to the top 50 and the judges will knocked that down to 24. 12 guys, 12 girls.

The top 24 show starts off with shameless Jumper plug. Hayden Christensen and Seacrest are atop the great pyramids. Gotta love Fox.

The actual elimination show is horrifically boring. Contestants are called, they ride an elevator up to the judges’ room, they walk across a dramatically large room, and they are put through, or sent home.

So without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, your American Idol top 24!

Alaina Whitaker – I don’t remember her.

Alexandrea Lushington – Cool Bond Girl name.

Amanda Overmyer – Unique raspy voice, a Janis Joplin throwback, but most importantly, crazy hair. Do not underestimate how far this can take her.

Amy Jean Davis – Again, a contestant I don’t remember.

Asia’h Epperson – pronounced like “Asia”, so the ‘h are just for style points really. Asia’h is actually really good, and sounds like a pop singer, plus, she’s gotten Simon’s endorsement already.

Brooke White – Never seen an Rated R movie. I think she’ll hang around for a bit, a top six female.

Carly Smithson – A shoe in for top six with the luck of the Irish on her side.

Chikezie Eze – “Inglewood, Inglewood always up to no good.”

Colton David Berry – Completely forgettable. He’ll be out in two weeks.

Danny Noriega – He’s a little gay guy, and he’s fierce, but he’s no Christian from Project Runway.

David Archuleta – This 16 year old will be a fan favorite, and the judges seem to have taken to him as well.

David Cook – He’s going to get the Daughtry comparison continually, but I actually like David.

David Hernandez – He’s a bit soft for my liking, but a good voice and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the top 6.

Garrett Haley – Who is this guy? We’ve never seen him before, but I like that he lists both Steve Perry and the Backstreet Boys as his musical influences. That should be interesting.

Jason Castro – Another guy we’ve seen very little of. He’s got dreads: could he be the first to go with a Reggae style? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Jason Yeager – Boring.

Joanne Borgella – This former plus-size model got past Simon without any Mandisa or Frenchie jokes. Quite a good start.

Kady Malloy – Again, we’ve got another contestant that I don’t think we’ve seen. The producers have snuck a few past us. I get the feeling they are going to advance far, these newbies.

Kristy Lee Cook – Not only do I love her quote—“rope it, ride it, wrestle it, cowgirl it”—but she’s also got the three names going for her. She’s my redneck favorite.

Luke Menard – Again, stranger.

Michael Johns – I dig the Aussie. I think he can do well. The accent will get him bonus votes with female voters.

Ramiele Malubay – Definite a pop singer. I think she’s a real cotender.

Robbie Carrico – I actually grew up with a Robbie Carrico, so I’m a big fan. Granted, it’s not the same guy, but nonetheless, I feel close to him.

Syesha Mercado – I don’t think it’s a good sign that she lost her voice during Hollywood. This is a long competition, and if you’re a singer without a voice, what are you really?

So there they are. No big surprises and I’m ever so thankful that Josiah got relegated back to living in his car. That dude would have really gotten on my nerves.

1 comment:

Cengiz said...

I have a really good frined that grew up with Robbie as well. Went to High School with him. Her name is Nancy. Random...I know. Thought I'd share. That's how I roll.