First, a quick recap. Not from me, but a rather entertaining recap on the show from the past seven... eight? seasons of American Idol, showing highlights (Kelly Clarkson winning, Daughtry getting his yellow ticket, Carrie Underwood singing, Pickles!--I love Pickles!, Ruuuuben, etc) and lowlights (Sanjaya, the Crying Girl with Sanjaya, the flake who idolized Clay Aiken, the bug eyed guy, Garret the weird cowboy, etc).
But yes, American Idol is returning. And I will not fail you, Coffee Drinkers. I will not let you down. I can't promise to be here for every single Idol early show (the early rounds) but I will do my darndest to be here every week for the performances and the kick-em-off nights.
Heck, I've thought about making it into a Clouds In My Coffee Idol kind of game... anyone want to play?
American Idol. (cue the music)
Reaching back to last year, we see the winner in his shining moment, in his Now, David "Rob Thomas" Cook... okay, fine, he's no longer a "Rob Thomas"-alike... he's just David Cook. They showed a video from some girl's living room that when Cook was announced the winner, the girls, all wearing Young Archuleta shirts, they began to scream and cry, "Noooooo!!!! Noooooo!!!!" I can imagine this was the reaction when Alabama was playing Utah a few weeks ago.
Why do I enjoy this show so much? Well as much as I enjoy making fun of it, I do actually enjoy some of the winners. And some of the losers. Its entertaining. I mean, you can say, "Its a no talent talent show!" as much as you want, but Carrie Underwood has sold in excess of 8 million CDs, and has multiple country awards and Grammys to go with it. Kelly Clarkson has done likewise. Of course, for every Carrie and Kelly, there is a Ruben and Taylor, who perhaps did well right out of the gate, but haven't done much since, and of course, everyone knows the Daughtry story... And I own both Carrie CDs, both Kelly CDs, Daughtry's first CD, both Pickles CDs (I love Pickles!), Taylor's first CD (the early one, before the show) and McPheever's CD too.
And perhaps you don't like the music of Carrie, Kelly, Daughtry and so on... well, don't like it because its not your thing, not because they happened to break out on a Talent Show competition. Drink that thar' Haterade if you want, but I think the show is fun, and I'm going to enjoy blogging about it, and if its anything like last year, a few dozen of my readers will enjoy reading about it.
Want to make sure we know the rules though... last year, I blogged this:
Here's what you can expect to see in any American Idol audition... at least one of the following:
(A) Somebody in a weird outfit that cannot sing
(B) Somebody who cannot sing that will be bleeped later telling Simon what he can do and where he can go
(C) Somebody who legitimately can sing, but will be refused Hollywood because they aren't "it"
(D) Somebody totally weird, bizarre, whacked out that cannot sing (anyone remember "Panther"?)
(E) Somebody will butcher Celine, Whitney and/or Alicia
(F) Somebody will attempt a Stevie song that should not attempt a Stevie song
(G) Somebody who really is so sweet and nice and you want to be able to sing, but just can't do it, and you feel bad for them....
(H) Somebody who gave up everything to come audition, but will absolutely suck
(I) Somebody who says "I want to sing to share my voice with the world"
(J) And somebody who will sing another song, badly, unprompted, after its very obvious that the first song was terrible
I won't give a blow-by-blow account of tonight's show, just some highlights, and perhaps some names to watch...
We come from Arizona tonight, where it's 106 degrees--this was taped last year, summer I believe. This year, joining Randy the Dawg, Simon the Cynic and Paula the Odd, there's also Kara DioGuari (dee-oh-gwar-dee). She's produced stuff for Celine, The Pussycat Dolls, Jewel and P!nk, and right outta the gate, she fusses with Simon, she gets yelled at by a terrible contestant and fake kisses Paula. Good times.
First up, the guy with the big freaked up Afro, partly Vietnamese, all doing the robot to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough"... I miss black, awesome Michael Jackson. He was the bomb. Seriously, 1991 and before, he was amazing. Anything having to do with Neverland and little boys, bad bad bad.
Tuan Nguyen is doing some "The Way You Make Me Feel", by late 80s, good Michael Jackson, though he's killing the song. He's got the moves, but the tone is awful. And when he doesn't get picked, not only does Idol play "Careless Whisper", he almost cries. I mean, that's just mean. George Michael when you get dissed? Wow.
Here comes a backstory. Emily Wynne-Hughes, with a weird nose ring (that from her profile looksl like a booger), pinkish hair (she should go see Melisssa Clark) and big earrings. She's taking on "Barracuda"... one of my favorite songs, this thing rocks.. And hey, Emily's no Ann Wilson (for starters, she's not 300 pounds) but she's not too bad. With the tattoos on the arms, she kind of reminds me of Carly Smithson--and she tells us that if she makes it, her band can't go on tour. And she goes through... with the background of "Alone" by Heart.
Randy Madden, who is 28 but looks like he's 36, is up next. He also looks like a guy who was a Trekkie, who gets mad when you tell him Han shot first. And he's emotional and crying. Holy poo, man, grow a backbone. Seriously. The headband, which is like five inches high, is too much. He's taking on Bon Jovi, and I'm glad The Lovely Steph Leann is not here, because that blanket she wraps around her would be up over her face (for you new people, that's what she does when she's thinking "oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh make it stop!!!"). And this is where he starts crying... especially when Simon calls him a Drama Queen. In our rules, this one guy just knocked out A, D, I and J, all at the same time. This might be a new record--I want this guy to start cursing Simon! Come on, come on Randy... give me Rule B!! Give it to me!
And all he does is start crying. I was reading "Wild at Heart" recently. This is the pansy they speak against.
J.B. Ahfua is wailing something. Not too shabbily. Paula gave him the "oh, I think I like you..." look. That usually leads to room keys.
So, here's a guy who is all scared, freaking out, and very, very nervous. He's shaking. He's actually trembling. He tries to take on a Carrie Underwood song... and I almost threw up in my mouth. I think Carrie did too. She just called me and said, "Hey Dave. Make this guy stop. I just threw up in my mouth." For whatever ungodly reason, they prompt him for another song... and he actually is singing a song of one of the judges, Kara. He walks out, and I think he throws up in his mouth.
We get a montage of bad contestants, including a music student actually destroy a Tears for Fears song. And we have our first Celine murder of the evening. By a guy. And someone names Shawn--could be a man, could be a woman, either way he/she has a mohawk, and just butchered Dionne Warwick.
The next dude, with a guitar, calls himself X-Ray. He's doing his own song, putting the guitar down, and... well, you know how this is going to end. Good for the audience, causes its stupidly funny, but not good for this guy. Randy cannot even answer when asked "Yes or no..." And he throws down on Rule J, busting up with another song. Badly.
Backstory alert! Sixteen year old, who started singing when she was 6! Arianna is her name, and she even founded a "visit an older person in the nursing home" organization (that's not meant to be mean, thats what it is!) For the first time tonight, I want this one to be good. She's cute as a button, and.... wait for it... wait for it... Yes! Yes! She's got a voice! She's singing "Put Your Records On" by... crap, what's her name? I forget. Doesn't matter. They like her, she's onto Hollywood! Good. I liked this one.
So, 9 people get their golden tickets to Hollywood on Day One.
Jillip wants me to consider a mission trip to Arizona this summer. Watching how hot it is there... wow. I mean, be uncomfortable for Christ? Hmm.
So, Elijah has a Barry White voice. It's so deep. Like, really deep. Like, the guy on The Oak Ridge Boys who says "oh bomp a maw maw" when singing "Elvira" would say, "Man, you got a deep voice." So, he's not doing soprano, we think. Simon tells him right up front, its not looking good.
Naturally, Elijah is doing "My First, My Last, My Everything" by Barry White. Barry has probably millions of conceptions during his music. Elijah will have very few. If any. Not too good.
Lea Marie, a 16 year old chick that you might just want to smack. I want to smack her. She looks cute, until she starts talking, and then you realize just how annoying she is. See, I know chicks who are 16, 17, 18, and aren't annoying. Hot Sister Cheney is not annoying. Courtney Maddox is not annoying. Lea Marie? Annoying. She's a stalker of Kara, apparently, and has brought a scrapbook full of all of her songs that she's written.
I wanted her to stink, because I didn't want another Mikalah Gordon on this show. And she doesn't entirely stink. Just a little bit. The judges told her that she's not ready (Simon says, "Really annoying"). She gives us the "put me through and I'll work soooo hard!" line. Still a no. Thank you! Thank you! But... she promises to come back next year. Oh, I can't wait.
Stevie Wright, who gets her name from Stevie Nicks, shows up. She... is not annoying. She is fun. And she's bringing "At Last" from Etta James. Hmm... not bad... seriously, not bad... started a little shaky, but brought it home, starting feeling it, got int... when did I become Randy?
They put her through--as well they should--but tell her to be more aggressive. And Stevie Nicks plays in the background.
So, they keep showing Bikini Girl, who is coming up. Something about she's going to get into an argument with Paula and Kara... I think I'm going to be objective in this, because I don't think this chick is good looking at all, body or no body.
And who decided there was a demand for Pink Panther 2? I mean, what were the requirements for making a sequel? A promise to give Steve Martin work? Has he sunk to this? If ten people show up to the first one, they make another one? What????
So, a roughneck on an oil rig, ranking as the fifth most dangerous job in the world, is auditioning. I saw Mike do this on "Dirty Jobs", and it looks brutal and dirty. Michael Sarver is bringing it too... reminds me of Josh Gracin, a whole "where did that voice come from??" kind of routine. Off to Hollywood he goes. I like this guy... glad he made it.
Another montage of terrible auditions, and here comes Bikini Girl. And she's just not attractive. Seriously. She loves Ryan, and has already said, "We're going to make out when I get my golden ticket."
Simon and Randy smile, Kara and Paula are a little affronted. Her name is actually Katrina, and while she's doing a little average job on "Vision of Love" (a song that should never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, never, ever be sung on American Idol), she gets a Yes from Simon. Randy then says Yes. Kara then does the whole "here's how it should be done", and now the sparks fly. And she says, "You don't have the chops to sing that", and Bikini Girl says, "You weren't any better" and Paula says...
I feel like I'm watching Kecia Morgan and Jennifer Lambert argue over... who was it, Joey Stephens, in 10th grade?
She kisses Ryan. Ryan stammers. He asks her to jump into the pool, and she does. Then he jumps in after her. Some jobs are just tough.
Oh geez... coming up, a blind guy auditions. Talk about your heartstrings and all that stuff...
And its Kara, like "Air", not Kara, like "Car". Personally, I like her. She's a good addition.
And the next contestant shares the same nickname as Garrett Cheney, "Sexual Chocolate". He has it tattooed on his back. And like Garrett, he got the nickname in high school. And Sexual Chocolate is trying to take on Stevie. Tough. Tough. Tough. And no good. The Chocolate melts.
Here's the montage of the crying, cursing, "this show is a joke" contestants who didn't make it.
I want to like this next chick, but I don't know if I can. Brianna is singing Deniece Williams "Let's Hear it For the Boy" from Footloose... this song is going to be in my head for hours. And she calls Simon "Simee". She attempts to sing, "Killing Me Softly", which is a beautiful song... and boring. Like, if I'm drowsy when I hear it, I'm gone. I actually prefer The Fugees version. I keep rambling to keep from paying attention to Brianna. And they put her through. Ay yi yi.
She freaks out when she hugs Paula Abdul, though honestly, if I were in a contest and the judges were The Goddess, Kate Winslet, Bruce Willis and The Rock, I'd be freaking out too. "Oh My Gahhhhh!!!! I'm HUGGING THE ROCK!!!!"
I'm so ashamed.
A montage of family members lovin' them who made it, and supportin' those who didn't.
Deanna, a country girl, comes up next, alone (no family). She's singing some Otis, and none too bad, mind you. I like this one. She's kinda creepy looking, though, so I don't know how I feel about that yet.
17 year old Cody brings an entourage with him. He reveals that he makes horror movies with his video camera.... if this is bad, Simon will say "This was a horror movie." Cody sings "Wonderful World" by James Morrison. Hey, this kid is good. Seriously, I am a little surprised. And to no surprise, they send him on through to Hollywood.
Geek alert. He taught himself to sing, late at night, in his closet. Got sick off of mold, and he's skipping a Spanish test. Either he's going to be terrible, or he's going to be awesome. Alex is his name, and is pulling out some James Ingram... "Baby, Come To Me... let me put my arms around you, this was meant to be... and I'm oh so glad I found you..." Wow. This kid can sing. I thought it was great. They argue about it, Randy, Kara and Paula send him through.
Montage of bad singers. Most of the putting a knife in "Wanted Dead or Alive". So, apparently, they ask a few singers to sing one song, then they put the clips together to form one badly sung tune. Most of the time, this is not done in front of the judges, so their reactions are usually to something else. Its entertaining, though.
And now we have... Scott the Blind Guy. Singer, songwriter, piano player. I mean, good looking guy, good personality, confident... this is the "ooooh, I'm voting for him 'cause he's soooo sweet!' vote all the way. This may or may not be good.
College at 14, graduated at 19, studied in London? Holy crap! "So It Goes" by Billy Joel, and... he freakin' nails it. We might be getting an early look at The Blind Josh Grobin right here. Actually, I heard a rumor that Stevie Wonder is thinking of hiring an assassin to take this guy out. "I'm the only blind popular singer!"
Scott the Blind Guy goes through. Like he wouldn't. They've been teasing this guy all show, you can't imagine he wouldn't make it.
27 people have made it thusfar from Arizona. But we've got more stops to make, more blogging to do! Tomorrow night... Kansas City, home of David Cook!
Going to bed now.