Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Idol that Saved Pittsburgh

First... shaaaaameless plug.  For those of you who don't know, I co-host a podcast with my buddy Mikey and produced by Tommy Mac, which is downloadable on iTunes, or from our website, The Deucecast (as the podcast is called). I only mention this because last night's show was pretty good, actually, including a heated debate not only on the serious subject of the American education system, but also on the serious subject of whether comedies deserve consideration in awards programs like The Academy Awards.   Click to the site to get the show, and give it a listen.  Mikey and I's nasally drone can wear thin, but we do what we can.

And as soon as I can figure it out, I'd like to some video podcasts on this here site too... and, a change in address is coming.  Great things are afoot at Clouds in My Coffee!  Oy!

Now... just saw a commercial on Fox for a show called "The Finder", with Michael Clarke Duncan.  Its an indication of how much network tv I've avoided when I tell you that I've never, ever even heard of this show.

Seacrusty is strolling along a suspension bridge, telling us its the first time the show has been in The City of Champions, that being Pittsburgh.  You ready?






As usual, the opening montage displays the past Idol winners, and some Idol success stories... thought I am a little surprised when Lee DeWyze shows up--I feel like he's to Idol what the Star Wars Christmas Special is to George Lucas... they just want to forget the whole thing and pretend it never happened.

Right off the bat, its a 22 year old Asian dude who tells the camera he's not sure if he's good enough, and he's not sure if he can be the next American Idol.  He says he likes to sing R&B, but is singing "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" by Michael Bolton.  His name is Heejun Han, and holy crap... he's actually not bad.  Like, he's pretty good.  I'm a little shocked here, cause Idol usually sets these guys up to fail bigtime.  Wow.

He's better than some of the putzs we heard yesterday, and heck, I'd send him straight to Hollywood.  He's like, William Hung with talent!  Randy the Dawg loves him, Creepy Uncle Stevie says yes and J-Lo approves.

Speaking of Michael Bolton... I'm a fan.  There, I said it.  Okay, well, to be more specific, I'm a fan of 1988 through 1995 Michael Bolton.  Everything he's done from "Can I Touch You There" and on, I didn't like.  But his early solo stuff is fantastic.

I got $90 in iTunes money for Christmas, and this video was one of my first purchases.  

I actually started typing out some Mike Bolton stuff, but thought it would be better served as another post.  You know, so I can discuss in more length my favorite stuff.  Look for that in the next few days, all you Mike Bolton Fans--I'm talking to you, Brad Latta!

We are back from commercial, and the room is filled with those who are ready to sing for Randy the Dawg, J-Lo and Creepy Uncle Steven.  Up next is a dude who has been performing with his family for years.  Reed Grimm, 26, comes in and actually sings a jazzy version of... yes, the "Family Matters" theme song, complete with scatting.  I didn't just make that up.  And it was awesome.

Of course, all three YES votes send Reed to the Holly Wood!  Kinda reminds me of The Eliminated Casey Abrams.

Aaron Marcelles busts out some "Change is Gonna Come" and sounds awesome.  Chase Likens, 20, does some country and isn't as good as the three previous, but still, very good.  We see quick clips of people who have made it, including a spitting image of a 20 year old Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Two girls, one who is a self-proclaimed singer.  The other is a self-proclaimed "Planker"  Yes, she says that she is planking the other chick to Hollywood.  Which essentially means, she's lying very still and straight.  Thats it.  I dislike both of these girls immediately, one for daring to actually tell the nation she is a Planker, and the other for associating with such riff-raff.

I love the fact that as she is walking out with her Golden Ticket, Idol
plays Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor"
They give her a whole segment, but all she's doing is LYING DOWN!!!  Dear goodness, I freaking plank every night for at least 4 hours.  Geez.

Samantha Novacek sings a little country, with her sister planking in front of her.  I'd give Samantha a Golden Ticket just for kicking her idiot sister in the stomach right now.  J-Lo loved the song.   Creepy Uncle Steven loved the tone, the voice, all that.  Randy the Dawg liked the vibe alot.  Sammy N gets a YES from all three.

Creepy Uncle Steven says what I--and hopefully you the viewer--had been thinking... "Did her sister really come out here to plank?"

So, I'm assuming the next audition will be terrible.  It has to be.  We've had a hot streak of several in a row that have been great.. surely they will give us something for fodder, something I can make total borderline inappropriate jokes about.

So this guy decided to write a song on the way to Idol from NYC... Creighton Fraker sings a little ditty about the judges, and has a really, really, reeeeeally annoying voice.  Like, really.  J-Lo says, "If Timberlake and Jamiroquai had a baby..."  That is a perfect analogy.

Creepy Uncle Steven praises him, then asks for another song.  The judges are lapping this up... but this guy... he's a diva.  He's going to Hollywood and will be a diva.  Maybe the Idol Producers know this will make for great drama, but I'm not a fan.   I put him with obnoxious Braided Hair Sista from Savannah's audition.

By the way, I really want to see Tom Hardy, Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon in "Spy vs. Spy"... okay, correction, its called "This Means War".  I swear I thought this was called "Spy vs Spy"... anyway, it looks kinda fun.  And, despite my better judgement, I want to see "One for the Money" with Katherine Heigl.  I have not read the books, though they are on my list, and The Lovely Steph Leann is on book six or seven by now.  However, Katherine Heigl has burned me so many times on her movies... yet, I still want to see it. Darn you Heigl!  Darn you for taking my money on your promises of goodness and consistent deliveries of badness!

 Yes, it looks stupid.  But fun and stupid.

And we're back. Evan Franckewitz, 15, is our first Beiber of the year.  Coming from Ohio, we have a BACKSTORY ALERT!  Mom and Dad are so proud--they just said so.  Randy the Dawg says, "Who do people say you look like", and he says, "Justin Beiber".  Evan... excuse me, its EBEN (who does that to their kid?  the only way that name works is if your last name is "flow".  Seriously) is going to sing "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers, one of my top 30 favorite songs of all time.

First, its a respectable attempt.  Not great, but decent.  Secondly, this guy is far, far too white to sing this song.  That is a soul song, and this kid, talented as he may be, has no soul.  Of course, the judges give him a Golden Ticket.  And Idol plays Beiber music as he comes out of the audition room.  I predict he ends up crying at some point during Hollywood Week.

Travis Orlando is back!  He sang last year, didn't make it very far, and this year is here to sing "Isn't She Lovely".   No joke, I think this guy is pretty good.  Not incredible, but good.  And J-Lo is telling him that he's not getting all of his voice out?  Creepy Uncle Steven is saying he's not sure Travis is singing with passion?  Really?

BACKSTORY ALERT!!   Travis' mom walked out on the family for another man after he left Idol last year, then he got evicted, then his dad got sick and lost his job and they moved into a shelter.  Holy crap, really?  Perhaps whatshernuts has room in her tent in the woods.


Randy the Dawg gives a hesitant YES, and so does J-Lo and Creepy Uncle Steven.  This guy sounded better than No Soul Beiber earlier, so I am not sure why the hesitation is there.

Of course, homeless high school drop out Travis is holding an iPhone--and thats at least a 4, if not a 4G, with a very nice case.  Hey Travis, thats my tax dollars at work.  Your welcome.

And we're back, with J-Lo running late, Creepy Uncle Steven and Randy the Dawg kick off Day Two in Pittsburgh with an impromptu jam session for the Idolites.

Up next, a "mobile DJ", who says she moves in and out of bars for a week or so performing, and she does wedding singing.  Erika Van Pelt, 25 , is singing "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow".  Okay, so there is a scene in "Spaceballs" where Lone Star (Bill Pullman) and Barf (John Candy) try to rescue Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga).  Before they open the door, however, they hear her inside singing "Nobody Knows the trouble I feel... nobody knows but Jesus..." in a very, very low voice.  Not quiet, but low in tone.  Barf turns to Lone Star and says, "She's a bass!"  That was the first thing that popped in my head when Erika Van Pelt starting singing... however... I like her.

She does sing a bit low, but sounds really good.  I can't decide if I think she's cute or way un-cute.  Its like a mild version of The McGriddle Effect.

She goes on to Hollywood!

Twenty minutes left in this show, and not a single rejection?  Whaaaa?

Oh, here we go... they show the faces and reactions of a few rejections, but mostly to highlight a sound-effect box that Creepy Uncle Steven has obtained.

Here comes Shane Bruce, 19, from West Virginia.  He's a coal miner.  That's miners, not minors.  And he's sporting no less than six earrings.  We see him entertaining the fellow miners with a version of "In the Still of the Night", and I know one of those guys is thinking "This is the pansiest thing I've ever heard.  Pick up a shovel, you wuss."

He's going to sing what he says is a song from "Shrek".  You know, "Shrek", that Hallelujah song that plays in there?  Of course, he speaks of the legendary Jeff Buckley tune "Hallelujah", featured in "Shrek", but also in a disturbing scene in "Watchmen" and has a ton of plays on my iPod, because its a feeeee-nominal song. Jason Castro also did an incredible, show stopping version of this some years ago.

 One of the best Idol performances ever.  Also, one of the most depressing songs ever.

Judging from Randy the Dawg's expression, Shane Bruce ain't cutting it.  J-Lo nervous bites a pen.  Creepy Uncle Steven stares blankly.  He takes the rejection well, though... they tell him to work on it, and come back and audition again.

And in a genuine awwww inducing moment, when he comes out, he looks on the verge of tears, and his mom hugs him and whispers, "You'll always be my Idol."  Wiping tears, he admits he didn't do as well as he wanted, but wanted to try again.  I hope this guy does come back.

Here's the montage of rejections, 53 minutes into the show.  Lots of tears, lots of  "I want this so bad", lots of "I will be back!".

Finally... the last segment of the night... BACKSTORY ALERT.

Hallie Day, 24, from Baltimore just got married six months ago.  She dropped out of high school at 13, moved to New York at 16, became an addict, and finally found her way home, even with no mom or dad around.  And after a suicide attempt with some pills, she hit rock bottom.  Finally, she met a dude who became her hubby, Ryan.

"He's loved me more than anyone else ever has," says Hallie.  That's a pretty good story--good job, Idol.  She has to be good, after all this.  She's singing "I Will Survive"... not my favorite voice of the night, but a darn sight better than some of the stuff they've sent to Hollywood already, so I'm sure she's headed there.

And she's on her way!

All in all, Pittsburgh sends 38 to Hollywood with the Golden Ticket pass.  Next week, on Sunday, its San Diego, California, following the San Fran-NYGiants game... and I'll be there, blogging, with The Lovely Steph Leann on the couch, blanket in hand!  And probably Campbell in the other, but still.

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