Friday, January 15, 2010

American Idol Audition Episodes January 12-13, 2010

I'm not a huge fan of the audition episodes. There are far too many of them and they are far too manipulative. They already know who the top 24 are when these episodes start airing, yet they waste our time with back stories of people that are going to be cut the first day of Hollywood week. I understand it makes for good television in some instances, but it's at the expense of people that could actually do better in the voting episodes if we'd ever heard of them before the night they unveil the final 24.

Last year was a total train wreck. I have two words for you (Kara style): Nick Mitchell and Tatiana Del Toro. So, it's not a process I put a lot of stock in for figuring out who is going to get to the top 12, let alone win it. There was no way you could have predicted Kris Allen would win from the amount of airtime he got before the semi-finals. But, you know the saying -- in for a penny, in for a pound. Plus, I'm hoping if I write about the things and people that stuck out for me it will help jog my memory when I'm trying to figure out who the hell these people are the first night of the performance shows.

Since I don't think I have any flow to what I'm about to write, I'm just going to do it stream of conscious bullet style (or something like that).

The big news came before the show even aired on Tuesday, with Simon's announcement that this is his last season. After hearing that -- and that he will be bringing X Factor to the U.S. next year -- I started thinking that maybe it wasn't Idol that got rid of Paula after all. Simon has said more than a few times that he doesn't want to work without Paula. If he knew he was leaving (which he almost had to) already, maybe he gave Paula the heads up so she wouldn't be locked into an Idol contract and therefore unable to join him on X Factor. That's just me making shit up, but it's as plausible as anything anyone else has made up so far.

What's with all the Posh-bashing? She was a delight on Tuesday. She was super sweet to the contestants, but she also seemed like she was actually paying attention and trying to be constructive, which is more than you can ever say for Randy -- sorry Dawg, just keepin it real. Damn that was a long sentence. My only moment of disappointment with Mrs. Beckham came when she sided with Kara during Kara's meltdown on Andrew Fenton, the arrogant whiny guy.

My favorite line of the night, from Derek Hilton (he sang Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word and didn't go to Hollywood) -- "I started grajutating to music."

One of the other reasons I hate the audition shows is because I'm a total sap and I always get drawn in. Boom. First audition. Maddy Curtis, with the two Downs Syndrome brothers. And immediately I'm reaching for the tissues. But I did think she sounded great as well.

Another favorite from Tuesday was Tyler Grady (two broken arms). I figured he was going to be good as soon as they started talking to him because he seemed like he had something going on upstairs. He didn't appear clueless about what was about to happen, which was a nice change from most of the others. And when was the last time someone showed up for an American Idol audition and got compared to Jim Morrison?

More water works for Katie Stevens and her grandmother with Alzheimer's. They just go right for the throat with, "She's probably not going to remember me for much longer, so I want her to see me succeed in my dream before she forgets who I am." I got choked up just typing it. And again, great audition. She sang At Last and did a really good job.

I have one last asterisk in front of someone from Tuesday night (that was how I denoted being impressed), but I have no recollection of Leah Laurenti at all other than the notation that she sang Blue Skies.

After Tuesday's show I was cautiously optimistic. It was mostly not offensive. But that optimism was short lived. Wednesday was definitely more like the 10-car pile ups we're used to.

I thought Mary J. Blige was mostly very good. She definitely was more willing to offer an independent opinion. Often, the guest judges seem to hang back and just echo whatever the consensus is. Mary was more of a pioneer. However, I do not appreciate the guffawing at people that may or may not know how bad they are. And shouldn't she know better. Maybe not, because she probably didn't have to deal with anyone laughing in her face. It was just very Mean Girls to me.

There weren't very many asterisks from Wednesday's auditions. I do remember liking Keia Johnson (Miss Congeniality), but I'm not sure she was particularly good. I think I maybe just liked her.

Vanessa Wolfe was another stand out for me, but again not necessarily because of talent. She was the girl from the really small town in the south that felt trapped and was auditioning to get out of Vonore, Tennessee. I was so relieved when she started singing and she wasn't a disaster. If they had gone through that whole story of how this was her one chance to have a life and then she sounded like (to use a phrase they used last night) a bag of cats, I would have been really upset.

I never compare people in auditions to previous contestants because you can't tell from a few lines what someone's like, but I instantly liked Mallorie Haley (Piece of my Heart) because she reminded me -- physically -- of Katharine McPhee.

Is it OK if I just ignore the whole Ski(i)bosky episode? And the BFFs?

They went on and on about Bryan Walker, the singing policeman, but I thought he started way better than he finished so I'm going to hold off jumping on that bandwagon just yet.

I think that's all I've got for this week. Anyone I missed that you think might do well? Bring it on.


  1. janet here -- yes! you forgot the guy who had cancer. OMG was he adorable and if my ears were working, he sang well too. i also thought posh was more than bearable. at the start i thought, oh no, how could anyone perform with THAT staring at you but i was surprised at how encouraging she tried to be. perhaps she was flashing back to all the times she'd stood in front of someone and they'd said, "sorry, honey. you're just not a singer." as you say, that never happened to mary j. i too got sucked in by all those heart-wrenching stories so i guess the manipulation totally works! i thought the "blue skies" chick may have had the most interesting (if not the most technically perfect) voice i heard so far. there were a few forgettable people with big voices that i said, "oh, they are going to fizzle in hollywood." wish i could remember who they were. anyway, here's hoping for another interesting year, made all the more compelling by your analysis the next day!

  2. Glad the new season started, and glad to be reading your American Idol post once again.

  3. I would not be surprised to see Paula on X Factor. Do you know if she'll be on there?

  4. I really liked the Italian guy, Amadeo... really smooth. I totally agree about guy who had cancer, he was great...

  5. I'm going to break my sort-of rule about not responding to comments on my blog (because I want people to feel free to say whatever they want), but only for the American Idol posts because they were always a dialogue last year and I liked that.

    Anyhoo, Justin Williams (the guy with cancer) was a complete oversight on my part. I really liked him as well, but I didn't put the asterisk in my notes so I forgot.

    @Rick, I don't know for sure that Paula will be on X Factor. That's just my guess.

  6. Darn you Petr! I postponed reading this blog so that I would not be tempted to start watching American Idol. I watch enough TV (and some of which I am quite ashamed - Duggars anyone?). I need a job stat! However, I love emotional back stories and your review included just enough to cause me to set the DVR for the next episode.

    I actually think Posh is quite cute when I've seen her on other shows - not sure exactly why she is typically disliked.