So now, we are caught up. After a whirlwind session of watching Idol after Idol after Idol, and just engrossing myself in the Hollywood Group Night, its finally time to watch Idol, on the night its on, around the time it came on. Novel idea, eh?
Does anyone else notice the Pepsi Max commercial that comes on Fox 6, with a Pepsi Max can next to the words "Enjoy the Show", right before a show sponsored and lathered in Coke product placement?
THIS IS AMERICAN
Okay, so I did fib a bit. Its actually 753p, and the show has been on for about 55 minutes or so. But I'm watching the beginning before the show actually goes off the air, which is a new thing lately.
We see all 100 contestants sitting in an auditorium, awaiting the judges' decision. Earlier that day, they had sung one by one, giving their final musical case for making the Semi Finals. They survived the first line of ten, then Group Night, and now here they are.
Haley Reinhart is up first. Her future hangs in the balance. She's going to be singing a day after barely making it through Group Round. J-Lo had told her she made it through by the skin of her teeth... no pressure. She kills it. The judges are grinning, as Haley is making Steven Tyler nod his head in agreement. Good job. Redemption for Haley.
Here's someone we have never even seen before, in this whole show thus far. Ashthon Jones, singing "I Am Telling You I Am Not Going", and wow of wow is she awesome. Creepy Uncle Steve smiles as he stares at her. She did great.
15 year old Thia Megia is doing "What a Wonderful World", and the chick winning streak continues. I liked Ashthon and Haley better, but Thia's got it. That sweater she is wearing, however, looks like it was sponsored by the Letters S and A(wful).
Of course, they can't all be great. One guy makes the mistake of tossing the band under the bus by blaming them for their missed line or bad notes. And one chick throws up all over "Hey Soul Sister" by completely picking the wrong song. Clint "Jun Bug" Gamboa is up now, and he's the guy who orchestrated the ouster of JC Badaeux in Group Night. He sounds a little loud and screechy for my money on "Georgia on My Mind", and his Harry Potter glasses are a little disturbing, but overall, not bad.
Kendra Chantelle sings "Georgia" as well... gotta be honest, one of my least favorite good songs. Not her performance, just the song in general. Its a good song to be sure, just one of my least favorite songs. Does that make sense? Another chick named Sophi does it too.
Funky Chris Medina is up next, and is doing Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative", while Carson Higgins is doing the same song too--both were in a group together. Funky Chris Medina does it fun on guitar, while Carson has the full band backup. He says, "If its my last day, I'm going out with a bang..."
This particular audition is big because the contestants can play their own instruments, and Julie Zorilla just won me over by doing piano on Sara Bareillis' "Love Song", which is probably my favorite song of the last ten years. A couple of piano players and guitar strummers are shown as well, including Robbie Rosen and Brett Lowenstern.
Casey Abrams comes up now, bringing his... stand up bass. For the first time on Idol, ever, someone is using a stand up bass. And I didn't even recognize "Georgia on My Mind", but his voice + bass = unadulterated awesome. Awesome. My favorite performance so far on this entire season of Idol.
Here's the Ex Girlfriend Chelsee Oaks, who watched her ex boo get cut the night before, and is now watching her friend Jackie bow out of the show. Jackie, who was dating Nick, who got cut in round one, is ill and is forced to quit. Ex Girlfriend Chelsee channels that angst into a somewhat shaky, yet genuine turn on Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You". Well done, ex girlfriend.
Georgia girl Lauren Alaina sang another one of my least favorite songs, this one being good is subjective, "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing", on her first audition in Nashville, and is now singing it as her final shot at the next round. Not a fan of the song, but the performance is swell.
Here's Jacob Lusk, someone who shone last night for the first time so far this season, is doing "God Bless the Child" and is owning it. He sounds feeeee-nominal, and is now a frontrunner. The contestants in the audience are jumping up and down, cheering and going nuts, and the judges give him a standing O. That was awesome. My next favorite performance of the entire show. And when he gets outside to his mom and grandmama, he breaks down in tears. Once again, another great Idol moment.
John Wayne Schulz, cowboy hat on, is up next and is singing "Landslide" by... well, its Fleetwood Mac, but lets be real... The Dixie Chicks have the definitive version of this, for my money. J-Dub Shulz is pretty good though.
Here's Overdramatic Ashley Sullivan singing "Everything" by Mikey Buble. I really would kinda like her to go home. She is a little too much over the top, and I'd like to see her go back to the Waffle House, or wherever she is from. And... right in the middle of the song, she messes up the words and has to start over. And onstage, she begins to fall apart. I'm a little amused. Is that bad? She walks offstage in tears. Seacrest says, "So, Ashley falls apart. Again." You said it, Seacrusty.
Its 630p in the City of Angels, and we got three guys coming up... Stefano Langone is doing another of one of my least favorite good songs, "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder. Jovany Barreto is doing a acapella version of "You Sang to Me" by Marc Antony. And JC Badauex is doing "Time of My Life".
The final two contestants is Deep Voiced Scotty is doing The Lovely Steph Leann's least least least favorite songs that doesn't involve the rap genre... that would be Lee Ann Womack's overplayed, overdone "I Hope You Dance." Her disdain for that song is well documented here on Clouds, so much so that she's threatened to haunt my life forever if I play that at her funeral, even just to be funny. Well, I am looking forward to her seeing this here episode of Idol, and Deep Voiced Scotty decided to do this song, even though he had to learn the words earlier in the day.
And thanks to the subtitles that Fox offers us, we can tell that Deep Voiced Scotty sings the lines, "I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. I said this zone zoo talk and nuts of wonder. Nang da wonger un your jeans your fightin' chance."
Tatynisa Wilson, who we have never, ever seen, bought her ticket out of Idol by singing, "I hope you never lose the wonder of your senses. You get the fuel to eat but always keep your hunger. May you never take advantage of this broken. Then thunn oh oh oohhh. I hope you dance. I hope you dance."
By the way, the lines are actually, "I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger. May you never take one single breath for granted. God forbid love ever leave you empty handed. I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens. Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance... I hope you daaaaaaance.... I hope you dance..."
Personally, I like the song. I'd take "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" by Lee Ann over "I Hope You Dance", but since the latter is about hope and faith and the former is about a one night stand following a night of drunk desperation, perhaps "I Hope You Dance" is a more inspiring song. Don't know what The Lovely Steph Leann's problem is.
Deep Voiced Scotty says, "I don't think I deserve to go on, to be honest."
So now, the solo auditions are done. And now they wait. The judges go back and forth, picking pictures, using definite, using probables, arguing over the borderlines, and cutting some right out of the gate.
Who is an Idol in the making? And who has sung their last note?
The contestants are split into four groups of 25, into four different rooms. Two rooms move on. Two rooms are done. Dude, I love this stuff.
J-Lo, Randy the Dawg and Creepy Uncle Steve make the rounds now. Room One has Overdramatic Ashley Sullivan... though if I am in a room with her, I'm fearful of a breakdown. Also in this room, red headed Brett Lowenstern and young JC Badeaux. Randy the Dawg tosses out the words we never heard last year--"This is the most talented group we've ever had." Room One moves on to the next round. Robbie Rosen, James Durbin, Casey Abrams and Lauren Alaina all move on.
Room Two hears the cheering of Room One, and they know it might be bad. And if you watch Idol in previous years, you know its bad. Room Two didn't make the cut. All 25 are out. Some sit in stunned silence, some shake their heads like they knew it, and some begin crying.
In Room Three, Ex Girlfriend Chelsee Oaks is one of those who are cut. I will say few memorable faces are in these two rooms, so had we seen the list of names, you could have guessed One and Four were gold.
Room Four is unaware of the news. J-Lo drops the bomb on them and Carson Higgins, Julie Zorillo, Deep Voiced Scotty and others move on, and the two rooms run in the hallway together like a big friendship mesh.
And next week... the Fifty becomes Twenty Four when they enter a The Beatles round. One day to learn their song as 26 more goes home, getting down to our Semi Final Round...