Its the biggest season yet. They've traveled across the country, and auditioned over 100,000. Now, 147 of the best singers in the nation take the stage at the Kodak Theater. In a few short months, one of them will be voted the next American Idol, and this year's talent is truly unbelievable. Getting by the next five days will be the toughesst challenge of their lives.
Its a test of courage. Its a test of stamina and strength. You only get. One. Shot. One chance to make yourself stand out. Cause in the end, there can only be one American Idol.
Get ready for Hollywood Week.
Sorry about that. I figured if Seacrest can say all that, while showing footage of crying kids and weeping contestants using bleep words, then I can say what he said to get you pumped up!
Personally, I'll be glad when American Idol goes back to just two episodes per week--the performances and the cuts--so I can blog normally. I gots much to say about much topics, but stupid Idol is keeping me pre-occupied! But, I continue on, because Mindy D'A expects me too. And Scott Latta. Do you still read Idol updates, there, Scotty?
The judges come in, seeing all 147 contestants on stage. Honestly, I vaguely remember some of them. Simon informs them that they have one single shot this particular day. And they are giving each Idol wannabe a make over, and tips from a vocal coach to help them be better--something they had not done before.
And who should stop by but the man who writes the songs, the man who makes the whole world sing, the man who can't smile without you... No, not Brad Latta, its Barry Manilow! And like Brad, I'm a Fanilow. I just can't help myself.
The day works like this--half of the contestants are on one day, half are out sightseeing, and tomorrow, vice versa. They take the stage in groups of 8, passing the microphone one to the next, singing whatever they want, a capella. And, as Seacrest says, "They are either in. Or they are out."
This is kinda brutal... I'm digging it! And it begins...
Lil Rounds attempts to sing "I Will Always Love You", always a mistake. Lil Rounds--she has a name that sounds like a bad rapper--and she does well with it. The next guy takes on Stevie Wonder, "For Once In My Life". Always another mistake. After each group performs, they put them in two lines... one line stays, the other goes home.
Asia, Alexander and Lil Rounds make it from the first cut. The other five are cut. And gone immediately. Dennis, the guy who just blew it with Stevie, comes out on stage and... tries to sing. And he curses Simon all the way up the aisle out the theater. "America is gon' be made cause y'all cut me" is his final words. I know I'm freakin' steaming right now.
They show some footage from the other group touring Hollywood, including one girl who should NOT be wearing a bikini. Back in the Kodak Theater, nerves are killing the contestants. Kara praises Lil to Seacrest, but she and Paula say they have very little to work with so far.
Nathaniel Marshall sings "The Anchor Holds" by Ray Boltz. Ya know, when Boltz came out of the closet, that killed his credibility with me completely. Nate goes on this whole tangent of "Music holds me like an anchor when I'm freaking out in my life, music is on my skin, its just bursting out of me..." I really want to pimp slap him. I officially can't stand Nate.
Anoop, our first Muslim comes out, as does Jasmine Murray. Finally, Rose Flack... and they give her a backstory for her rehearsal, and how they didn't go well! Seriously? Rose is just struggling to find her own voice in the midst of so much talent. I'm struggling to not laugh in the midst of so much crying. Is that bad?
She tries "Dock of the Bay", which I cannot hear without thinking of that Hines Root Beer song. Do they even make Hines anymore? "Sittin' on the dock o'the bay drinking Hines"
The entire group of 8 make it to the next round, including Nate. Sheesh.
Von Smith is in an upcoming group, with Steven Fowler and Jorge Something or Other. Fowler, who sounds like John Legend, does his thing... I like this guy. I'm digging on the Fowler, and he sang STEVIE and did it right! Fizzy in the Hizzy!
Jorge Nunez wails on some Jon Secada's "Angel" and does it right. Jorgizzy in the Hizzy! Von Smith comes up and wails on some... thing. I don't really know what the song is, but he's screaming it. Simon just trashes it, as Fowler and Jorge step back. As does Von. Those three make it through, the other five don't. Vizzy in the Hizzy... barelizzy.
Song selection apparently is killing the performances. We see one after another coming out of the theater, saying, "I picked the wrong song." Nick, aka, Norman Gentle, is up next. His real name is Nick Mitchell, but he's here as "Norman Gentle" again. He sings something indecipherable, mumbling and grumbling and moaning and something. Actually, he doesn't sing all that bad... he just puts on the terrible act.
So, I gotta wonder... is this guy being pushed onto the producers? For the sake of entertainment, are the people in charge pushing him through? Cause he makes it. And if he makes it to the semi-finals, HE WILL MAKE IT TO THE FINAL 12. That's just how this works, folks. The people of this country will vote for him. I mean, look at our president... the worst guy will get the votes.
The fact that Sanjaya made it as far as he did already kicked Idol's credibility in the shins. If Nick Norman Gentle gets to the Top 12, he'll make it to at least the Top 6 or 7. And screw the shins, Idol's credibility will be have a cap popped in its a*# by a glock. Just sayin'.
The second half of the contestants take the stage finally, after half the Day 1 contestants are gone.
We get a glimpse of Jackie Tohn, who I vaguely remembered liking in all the ways I hated Simba last year. If you aren't standing in Jackie's line when they make the decision of the group, you have to think you're screwed.
Another montage of "That was the wrong song" and "This isn't going to work" and "I don't think you've got it". And this leads up to Danny and Jamar, BFFs... Danny is the one who lost his wife. Youch.
Jamar is singing a soul version of "California Dreamin'". Danny says, "Hello, Simon, Randy and, uh, Kara, I'm going to sing 'Kiss from a Rose'" while Paula looks around in confusion. Being a Seal fan for many years, I can say that Danny's version was pretty spot on. Liked it much. And they go on to the next round.
Here's a montage of "You are staying" and "You are great" and "You are what we need in this competition", but we know this goodwill won't last.
Coming back from break, who do we have but Bikini Girl, Katrina. Simon loved her. Kara didn't. Just to be clear, Kara is a billion times better looking than Bikini Girl. She's singing "Breathe" by Faith Hill. And not very good, mind you. Kara says, "I thought you were better than the last time at first... but then, I think I was right." Bikini Girl and Kara and Paula argue, while Simon laughs while he practically drools on himself, as does Randy. And the entire group makes it through. Yuck.
Jessica Furney, taking care of her granny, didn't make it. Patricia Roman didn't make it. Shelby Wilbur didn't make it. Remember Jeremy Starver? He was the oil guy... and he's got a great voice. Jesus Valenzula comes up, sings "Lately", by STEVIE and Jodeci (I like the latter's version better, honestly).
And Jeremy makes it through, and they cut Jesus. How do you tell Jesus that he can't sing? I'm not going to be the one to do that.
Finally, the last line of the day takes the stage. David Osmond, of that Osmond family, comes up. As does Erika Wesley, then Emily Hughes, the punk chick from Phoenix. She's going to sing "Put a Spell on You" from the 40s... but then on stage, she changes her song to "Excuse Me" by No Doubt. A song she hasn't rehearsed at all. And the judges tell her they are disappointed.
She makes it through, though, with Osmond and a few others. But not Erika. Who has spent her whole life being a fighter. Who stays onstage to beg for another shot. She was the only one of the group of 8 to not go through. She argues with the judges. The judges argue with themselves. They tell her no. She walks off.
The dream is still alive for 104 contestants. So only 43 got sent home?
TOMORROW... its the group day, one of my favorite episodes of the entire season... where egos collide, where drama overflows, where personalities clash and breakdowns break down. Dig it!
On the eve of our 5th Anniversary Vacation at The Happiest Place on Earth, The Lovely Steph Leann and I (wow, thats a lot of capital letters...) are doing what is important... packing? No! Paying bills? No! Finishing off the rest of the milk that, by the time we get back, will be expired by five days? No!
We start off on Hollywood Day 3... after the first two days of Cut 'Em Fast Outta the Line, its group night. The people are scrambling to form their groups, and if you remember Bad Laughing Girl (ah heh heh heh ah heh heh heh), she's driving her group nuts.
Montage of groups practicing... some feeling the love... others falling apart. Young Rose is in a group with Bikini Girl, which is a bad mistake all the way around. Personality clashes abound, name calling prevails and while Danny & Jamar's group sound insanely good, some of them are having meltdowns.
"This is everything to me!" Bad Laughing Girl cries, "This is not a game to me!" which is good because everyone else is really not taking this seriously. Bad Laughing Girl runs to another group--one girl tries to take her in, Nate the Pansy says no, as does another girl who ain't having none of it.
Bad Laughing Girl then leaves the new group who ends up taking her in... she rejoins her old group, and her new group has a fit. Get rid of them all. So, both teams can move forward... cause I was sweating it.
Nate the Pansy, The Blond Chick and The Black Nancy Wilson finally seem to be working it all out. Bad Laughing Girl (I think her name is Tatiana, but frankly, it doesnt matter...) is still having issues with her group, at 230am on the balcony. Perhaps they should just toss her over the side. I kid! I kid! Ah heh heh heh Ah heh heh heh.
And one of the chicks is just calling her out, in front of the others. Love it...
Wait... back in the other group, Nate the Pansy is the mediator between The Blond Chick, who wants to rest her voice, and The Black Nancy Wilson, who wants to keep working. There is yelling. There is tears. There is Nate the Pansy.
Over in Team Bikini, she doesn't seem to care, but Young Rose is just freaking out. And crying. And as they show the subtitles of what is being said in the room, Katrina (Bikini Girl) says something... then "roomate" says something. I look at The Lovely Steph Leann and say, "Wait... roomate is spelled roommate, right? Two M's? So a top five television show broadcast across the country can't spell roommate?"
All this, while Nate the Pansy is at his pansy best, crying his eyes out about his dreams and hopes. I just threw up. Laughing.
Its the next morning, everyone is waking up, some barely having slept at all, while The Lovely Steph Leann rolls her eyes when Bad Laughing Girl laughs. The Idol Bikini Team goes and wakes up The Bikini Girl who isn't feeling good...
For me to say The Blond Chick is the most sane of her group, a group that includes a black chick named Nancy Wilson, about ten shades darker and 200 pounds lighter than the Nancy Wilson from Heart, and Nate the Pansy. The Idol Bikini Team leave Bikini Girl in her bed, conked out.
Thankfully, there are some groups that are actually working together, and sounding pretty good. Even Bad Laughing Girl's group seems like they have their crap rollin'. During roll call, Bikini Girl doesn't show up... but lo and behold, here she comes... she's whining about how tired she was, and how little sleep she got, whining to a group that collectively probably got about four hours sleep amongst the other three.
"Teach me what I missed," Bikini Girl says. And two of them... no three of them... get up and leave.
Finally, its show time! And just when you thought things couldn't get worse, Simon lays down the smack... "Forget the words--you're out." FINALLY! Thank you for this, Simon... this was annoying to see someone who can't remember the words during the early rounds continue to go through.
White Chocolate gets up (group name, not an insult) and does some Jackson 5, "I Want You Back" and sounds AWESOME! Paula is up, Kara is clapping, Randy and Simon smile, putting all four of them through.
Seacrest: "The contestants in the audience are clapping outside, but inside they are saying 'damn'"
And we witness an obliteration of "Get Ready" from Smoky Robinson... two make it, two don't. And Nick, aka, Norman Gentle, make it. Sheesh.
The Action Squad group are up now. They are singing "Don't Stop" from Fleetwood Mac, and doing a pretty decent job at it. Simon doesn't look pleased, though, and some words are forgotten. Now, the judges are laughing... except Simon. Two people make it, two people don't, including Emily, who I can't tell you who she is except that I liked her in previous episodes.
Group day is taking its toll on the contestants, including the judges. We see a montage of Simon throwing out "terrible" and "horrible" and "excrutiating" and "blankity blank" to the groups and the other judges.
And Danny and Jamar are up now, and I really like these guys... their group is singing a capella and doing a great job on "Somebody to Love". As a matter of fact, it was fantastic. Simon even loved it. All four make it to the next level.
Another group gets cut. And another. And another. Oilrigger Jeremy is up with his group, with a few guys we've seen before, and this chick, Jesse... I like the whole group. "Some Kind of Wonderful" is their tune, and it was awesome.
So, now its The Idol Bikini Team up next... Lauren, Bikini Girl ("I hate the way she sings" says The Lovely Steph Leann), Young Rose (who forgets the words) and Jasmine are singing "Mercy". Simon says, "I guarantee you didn't work together last night." Simon asks them to name some names of who's to blame. Who makes it? Jasmine stays. Everyone else, including Young Rose and The Bikini Girl (who posed) are out. Kara calls her a name.
As they start to say goodbye, Bikini Girl just blows them off. The Lovely Steph Leann calls her a dirty name. Okay, she doesn't it, but you get the picture.
Even the Osmond kid got cut. Austin Sisneros is out. Deanna doesn't make it. Young Rose doesn't make it.
Bad Laughing Girl's group get up, trying to sing "I Want You Back"... and sounding like total crap. Like, me, Mikey, KT and Mindy D'A with a head cold could do a slambang job compared to this. And the result? They all go through... wha...? And Bad Laughing Girl cries on television.
Here comes The Blond Chick, The Black Nancy Wilson and Nate the Pansy, who tried his hardest and this is his dream and this means so much to him and music is what he leans on and.... sorry, I just put a fork in between my fingers. To stop the pain.
Duffy's "Mercy" is their song, and Nate the Pansy is singing in all his gayness glory. The Black Nancy Wilson tries to take it on, while The Blond Chick wants to bring it home. Simon accuses them of blowing the backup vocals on purpose... The Blond Chick leans over to pat The Black Nancy Wilson on the arm, and The Black Nancy Wilson shrugs her off... and Nate the Pansy and The Blond Chick made it. As Nate the Pansy hugs The Black Nancy Wilson, she throws him off, curses at The Blond Chick and exits the theater.
So... group day is over. Seventy five people made it to the final day of Hollywood. This is where they sing individually, then they put them in different rooms and tell each room whether they made it or not...
I'll do a recap of that when I get back from The Happiest Place on Earth, as well as Survivor and The Amazing Race!