Thursday, February 18, 2010
American Idol -- The Top 24
It's finally over. From here on out, we get to see everyone perform whether the producers like it or not. Minor catastrophe here -- I left my notebook in my desk and I'm not going to have access to it for a couple of days. I could wait until I have my notes back to write this, but by then the topic would be so stale, I'd have to change the font color to mold. So, I'm going to wing it. I'll write a couple of things I remember wanting to comment on during the show (which will amount to next to nothing since I have the memory of an Alzheimer's patient that just went through electro-shock therapy), then I'll just list the top 24 and my thoughts on them.
Before we get started, I have to address something. Last weekend, I was at a going away party for a friend and I got to talking to someone that I know casually, but not that well or for that long. He said (and I'm completely paraphrasing because of aforementioned memory issues) that he had read some of my blog and he thought it was funny(?) to read the American Idol posts because he's a very good friend of Kara DioGuardi. I don't know exactly what the written version of my reaction is, but it was something between a gulp and YIKES! We'll call it a yulp. It's been a long time since I've written for an audience (or at least one that consists of more than the other people in my head), so I'm out of practice at responding when my words hit close to their target.
I don't feel like I need to apologize because it's all in good fun (mostly). But I do want to at least say this because my intention here is to entertain, not injure, people. When I write about Kara (sometimes referred to here as Satan), I know -- and I hope you all know as well -- that I am writing about her persona as a judge on American Idol. I don't know her personally at all. I have no way of knowing whether she is a wonderful or terrible person. I only see her when she's at work. I know a lot of people that I like socially but would hate if I had to work with them. So, just to be clear, I only think that Kara has built a career as the supreme ruler of the underworld; I do not believe it is her mission in life.
OK. I feel better.
The first hour of Tuesday's episode was the best hour of American Idol so far this season. I could hardly have asked for more. They showed us several excellent final auditions, giving us a real opportunity to form some opinions on who should stay and who should go. I wish they had used the second hour to do more of the same rather than jumping into the decisions, but I hope the producers get feedback that will encourage them to give us an entire audition season of episodes like that next year.
The one thing they didn't do well this year was create drama. The way they organized the rooms made it incredibly easy to figure out which rooms were staying and which was going. There was no way a room that had Katie Stevens, Michael Lynche, Andrew Garcia and Casey James in it was going home. Same with room three -- Ashley Rodriguez, Angela Martin and Didi Benami.
Speaking of Angela Martin, I can't even find words to express my outrage at her elimination. Not only did they cut her AGAIN, but then they had to drain every last drop of drama out of the situation. When Kara went over and sat in the chair with her, I just wanted to slap her.
I had a bunch of other notes on those performances, but I can't really remember any of them so I'm just going to move on to the top 24. Hopefully, writing about each person will jog my memory. After each blurb I will give them a number between 1 and 10 -- one being not likely to make the top 12 and 10 being very likely.
Aaron Kelly -- He's one of only two 16 year olds to make it. Based on what we saw, he's going to have to conquer his nerves if he wants to go on tour this summer. Personally, I think that they should cut all the 16-year-old contestants during Hollywood week. That way, they can still come back the following year. As it stands, if he gets overwhelmed by the moment next week, that's it for him. I say, let them experience the pressure in Hollywood and then take a year to process that and prepare. 4
Alex Lambert -- I didn't see anything to make me think he's going to do well. Of the three versions of I'm Yours that they showed (his, Michael Lynche's and Todrick Hall's), his was the least interesting. Nor were any of his previous auditions spectacular. I'm a little confused as to how he made it instead of Jermaine Purifory and Thaddeus Johnson. 2
Andrew Garcia -- Last week, I forgot to give Andrew a shout out for his cool rendition of Straight Up. I don't know why they thought it would be dramatic to pit him against Thaddeus for the last spot. I never thought for a moment that he wouldn't make it. 9
Casey James -- If Kara and I never agree on another thing this season, we'll always have Casey James. I would love to mock her for the little leg kick she did when he hugged her, but I have a feeling I would have done the same thing in that situation so I'm not throwing any stones. This guy is my new Kris Allen. He's hot and I like his voice/style. 7
Jermaine Sellers -- I didn't really remember much about him, but based on his performance of Man in the Mirror, I'm not surprised he made the top 24. He will have to watch the blaming of the band. That won't help his cause. 7
Joe Munoz -- I couldn't even find a youtube clip of this guy longer than 22 seconds. Your guess is as good as mine how he'll do next week. Of course, with the exception of Kris Allen, people with no screen time before the performance shows don't usually last long. 4
John Park -- They kept telling us that this guy was good in Hollywood, but they didn't show us much. Fortunately for him, only one guy can go home next week so he has a decent shot at making it to week two. 4
Lee Dewyze -- If it weren't for the fact that I'm still a little miffed about Jermaine Purifory going home, I might like this guy more. He's not bad, but I didn't think his rendition of You Found Me was as good as the judges and producers obviously did. He's at the 5:13 mark of this very long clip. 6
Michael Lynche -- So, the buzz a couple weeks ago was that he was kicked out of the top 24 because his father blabbed to a TV station (Idol has strict confidentiality rules) that he made it before the Hollywood episodes aired. I don't know if that was total crap -- in which case I'm glad I decided not to blog about it -- or if something happened to make the producers change their minds because he is still listed on the American Idol website as one of the 24. It would have been an awful lot of airtime wasted if they kicked him off. I don't know if he's the judges' favorite but he certainly seems to be the producers'. 9
Tim Urban -- I reran last night's episode in fast forward after it was over because I could not remember seeing him meet the judges. They didn't show it. He was the only one of the 24 that didn't get his decision televised. That's not cool. There are way too many guys we didn't see enough of. That could end up helping Tim out a bit, because we did see a little bit of him in Hollywood. 5
Todrick Hall -- It's hard to believe this guy is primarily a dancer. He has looked like one of the most polished performers up there. I'm sure that is partly because he's been on Broadway, but still. He's got a lot of poise. 7
Tyler Grady -- I really liked this guy in his initial audition, but then we didn't see much of him after that. With any luck he'll hang around a while. 6
Ashley Rodriguez -- In almost any other year, she'd be the girl to beat. She's pretty; she can sing; she's likeable. But she's getting lost in this group. Still, once she can get out on the stage and sing she should make her mark. 8
Crystal Bowersox -- I loved how they edited the teaser to make it look like she might not make it. Please. In the first season in years that the group of girls has looked stronger than the guys, she stood out as one of the top 3 or 4. There is very little that could prevent her from making it to the top 5. 10
Didi Benami -- Certainly season 9 is shaping up as "Girls Rule!" This will probably not mean much to you all, but trust me when I tell you that what I'm about to say is high praise indeed. I listened to Katharine McPhee's (original) version of Terrified, the song that Didi sang last week in Hollywood. I liked Didi's version significantly more. Brooke White plus Megan Joy equals Didi Benami. 7
Haeley Vaughn -- Here's our other 16 year old. I think she's less likely to choke than Aaron Kelly is, but I still think she'd have been better off with another year of experience under her belt. 5
Janell Wheeler -- I did not remember her struggling nearly as much as they tried to make it seem last night. That said, she's pretty much cannon fodder once America starts voting. I don't see "it" when i look at her, especially up against this group. 3
Katelyn Epperly -- I don't really get her. She's really bland for me. And I thought her performance of Bubbly in the final audition was a mess. As far as I'm concerned, she stole Angela Martin's spot. 3
Katie Stevens -- Katie's only 17 but you can throw out anything I said above about 16 year olds. This girl seems imperturbable. In fact, she reminds me of Carrie Underwood (in temperament and ability at this stage of the competition). 10
Lacey Brown -- I don't know why I keep forgetting this girl. They must have told us three times that she lost the sing-off against Megan Joy at this stage of the competition last year. Talk about a reason to give up singing forever. But, then they showed her singing What a Wonderful World and I gotta say, she might have a shot. Might. 7
Lily Scott -- I'm not sure which got my attention more -- her singing Ella Fitzgerald or the fact that she's apparently one of the undead (I mean, really, look at her). 8
Michelle Delamor -- I can't find any clips of her actually singing. They've talked about her being good, but who really knows. 4
Paige Miles -- Who? I don't remember anything about her before last night. Nothing. Simon said he thinks she's better than she knows. I wish I knew even how good she thinks she is. 4
Siobhan Magnus -- Here's another one I don't think is as good as Angela Martin. I don't think she'll make it to the top 24, but stranger things have happened. 5
So, what do you think? Who's going through to the top 12? Which eliminations ticked you off? Let's hear it.