Thursday, January 21, 2010

American Idol Auditions Jan 19-20 -- Two Hours of Torture

Note: My spellcheck program wants me to spell the words likable and lovable, but I prefer to use the e in both.

I'm torn. On one hand, I'd like to write two sentences and be done with this post so as not to waste more time on what might be the two worst episodes of AI I have ever seen.

On the other hand, I really feel like ranting uncontrollably about what a disgrace they were. I'm sure you can imagine which path I'm going to choose.

Making matters worse before they even began, the hi-def channels for NBC and Fox have been pixelating horribly all week. Every 4th word was garbled for the length of both episodes. Even if the episodes had been fantastic, I would have still ended up with a headache by the end. So I started off in a foul mood. What ensued did nothing but aggravate the situation.

Maybe some people will disagree, but they really could have just put a cardboard cut out of Shania Twain in that chair and it would have had the same amount of charisma. It's not that she was a bad judge. In fact, I made note of the fact that during the first audition of day 2 in Chicago, she was the only one that didn't laugh at the guy. I'm generously chalking that up to her being courteous, but I think it's equally possible that laughter is out of her personality strike zone.

This next complaint is going to be the theme of virtually the entire post, so get used to it. Twelve minutes into Tuesday's episode we had seen exactly one person sing, Katelyn Epperly (Syrup & Honey). And even that wasn't all that compelling. I wasn't really drawn in by the back story of her father leaving, probably because she didn't seem all that affected by it. Her voice was OK, but I wasn't blown away.

The only bright spot from day one was Angela Martin. I remember her from season 7 when her father died a week before they went to Hollywood. I'm not sure she's really good enough to make the top twelve, but I love that she keeps coming back with a good attitude.

From the whole first day in Chicago, we saw four auditions and the rest were montages. Plus they wasted all that time on the chick that came in and pretended to faint. In less than an hour, they did just about everything I hate in the audition episodes.

And then for day two, they were even worse. In addition to Curley Newbern and all the laughing, we had to watch five bad auditions in a row before they showed us anyone that got through. They skewed the numbers a little by showing that montage of three good auditions at the end of the episode, but really we only saw five good auditions (with any kind of back story) in the entire episode. If the Chicago auditions were really that bad, then don't waste an hour of my time on them. Fold them into an episode from a different city.

The first half hour of Wednesday night wasn't much better. What was the point of Theo Glinton? And then we had to endure the happy hi jinx of Kara and Kristen Chenoweth. For reasons I can't really put my finger on, I've never really liked her. There's something about her face that creeps me out. So watching her become fast friends with Satan didn't really do anything to change that.

OK. I did get a giggle out of Ryan saying "shit" on the air. At the very least he has a much smaller pole stuck up his ass last season and the beginning of this one. I'm going to go way out on a limb and says he's on the verge of becoming likeable.

I'm going get out this one last piece of venom. 18 people made it to Hollywood from the first day in Orlando and we saw four auditions (and only three of those were golden ticket auditions). If they used a full hour for the first day of Orlando, they could have crammed all of Chicago in to the last half hour after day two.

Nonetheless, things finally got rolling after Theo. Seth Rollins (Someone to Watch Over Me), the guy whose son is autistic, was the best audition of both nights up to that point. I am a little concerned though, after seeing how upset his son got when he couldn't go into the audition with him. How's this kid going to handle his father being gone for possibly several months? I hope whatever good that comes from this experience outweighs any damage that it does to his psyche.

Jermaine Purifoy (Smile) was another one who was back for a second try. I don't really agree with Randy's assessment that he was the best of the day, but I liked his voice and his humility. If he keeps that going, he'll probably make the top 24.

I really don't trust the producers of this show, so I always get really really frightened when they start showing someone like Shelby Dressel, the girl with nerve damage that kept her from smiling correctly. I breathed a big sigh of relief when she went through. I don't think she's good enough to go very far, but I am glad that so far this year they haven't exploited people with mental or physical challenges just for what they think are going to be laughs (yet).

Thanks to how badly the episode was pixelated on my TV, I couldn't really tell which part of Jay Stone's audition (Come Together) was beat boxing and which was just distortion. Either way, I was was a little surprised that he went through (although his voice wasn't bad when he sang straight).

Then we got another montage of three girls with no back story or any sense of their personalities. Based on what little we saw, I'd say Janell Wheeler (House of the Rising Sun) was the best of the three of them.

Get ready, because I know you're not expecting this comment. Without Kristen Chenoweth there the second day, I thought the chemistry between the three of them really worked. I don't know if it's because there wasn't another woman around to threaten her, but even Kara was approaching tolerable in that last half hour.

I'm not really going to indulge the whole pants-splitting drama of Cornelius Edwards. What I really need to say about that audition is the name of the song is Proud Mary, not Rolling. Idiot.

It's a good thing there is not only a specific number of people that can go through to Hollywood, because if there were then giving Amanda Desimone (I Wanna Dance With Somebody) a golden ticket would have been criminal. Instead, it's just pointless. Her sister Bernadette has a small chance in Hollywood, but Amanda is getting cut at the very first opportunity.

There was a time when I wondered if AI was rigged or fixed, because they are very secretive about the voting and really how would anyone know. But if you watch enough audition episodes you realize that they are so incredibly bad at faking anything, we would certainly know if the voting wasn't right. Case in point, Jarrod Norrell (Amazing Grace). Are we supposed to believe that the loud crash we heard off camera when he was led out was what led to him being handcuffed. C'mon. He was a terrible singer and certainly a little disturbing, but nothing about his actions while they were leading him out of the audition room or when he was lying on the floor being cuffed or even while he was being taken out of the building suggested he was dangerous enough to warrant all that. If you want to go to all that trouble for drama, at least tell him to slap Kara so we can all get some enjoyment out of it.

I totally liked Matthew Lawrence, both his voice and his demeanor, but man they are really scraping for good back stories when they foist a loveable, hard luck armed bank robber on us. I do agree with Kara on this one though; he's good enough to possibly make the top 12.

So what about you all? Were you as irritated by this week's auditions as I was. Or was I just cranky because I have to sit around all day tomorrow waiting for Cablevision to come out and fix my high def channels?


  1. As always your blog makes me laugh. Thanks for keeping me up on all the important developments on AI. I've never really watched the show but thanks to you I feel I could hold my own in a discussion about the show around the "water cooler" at work.

  2. janet here -- ok, the shows were so bad that i mostly abandoned last night to watch "the middle," "modern family" and "cougar town" on ABC. i flipped back and forth a bit so i was spared kristen chenoweth, whose face also, oddly, weirds me out. i am tiring of this whole audition process and AI pushing on us the contestants they are big on. just a few observations. stunned that shania twain talks like that. perhaps i've never heard her talk before? but, ugh. guess i expected a sweet country girl. also, what's up with randy's watches this year? there the one that looks like a child's swatch ... no, a child's toy swatch with a secret decoder ring and magnifying glass inside and then there is the one where you can read the time from space. another annoyance of mine this year is how many times the judges express total shock and surprise when someone can sing well. what is that about? does it have something to do with their looks? have we learned nothing from susan boyle?

  3. Love your blog! This is my first time around with AI. I succumbed to the hype, partially to bond more with my mom who raved about last season! I may have to find another way to bond with her, cause it's been painful so far. I hate all the judges, though loved MJB the first week and am strangely attracted to Simon. I'm hoping the actual non-audition shows will draw me in more. Keep on blogging!

  4. I looked up both words and adding the e is an accepted variant of the word.