Friday, January 16, 2009

American Idol Season 8 Auditions: Phoenix and Kansas City

The long lines.
The screaming fans.
The people with talent.
The people with crazy.

This is American Idol.

Ah, you've got to love auditions week. A few weeks ago I heard that AI was making some changes to their format. Everyone knows about the new judge, Kara. I'm still on the fence about her, but more on that later. The other changes I heard about were that more "good" auditions would be shown instead of bad and Hollywood week would result in a top 36 instead of top 24. Now last year I only started blogging at the top 24 but my fans (well, really fan - Hi Natalie!) have requested I start earlier. I can't promise next day recaps like I had last year because so much more happens during auditions and Hollywood week. But I should be back on that schedule by the top 24 at least.

I don't think that AI has been showing that much more in the way of good auditions. OK auditions, yes, but not necessarily good. There are maybe 4 or 5 people I've seen so far that I think "have the chops" to make it to the live sound stage. Yes, I am predicting that "chops" will be the word of the season.

The thing about American Idol that kills me every audition season is that so many people think it is going to change their lives. Really? Really, people? One person makes it a season. One. Odds are it ain't gonna be you. I doubt Sanjaya is making much money off his voice these days. And he even made it to the Top 10. I still don't understand how that happened...

That's the thing about American Idol that makes it so great. It is so very American. Yeah, I know there are many other countries that have it but let's focus on our country first. I've already mentioned the delusions. Americans are also willing to prostitute themselves (no, I'm not just talking about bikini girl) to get on TV. Of course the guy with the weird outfit singing to a banana is going to make it on TV. He and you both know he's pure comedy gold. Americans are also delusional. There really are people who think they have stellar voices. Um, OK. Just because your mom thinks you are good doesn't mean you are. And what's up with those family and friends who just know a person is going to make it? Reality isn't just a TV genre. The best are the people who think just because they have worked "so hard" they deserve a shot at Hollywood week. Puh-lease. If you really worked hard you'd be a welder instead of a kid who lives with his mom. Snap!

The first stop on the AI audition tour was sunny and hot Phoenix AZ. Did you know that this city is rapidly becoming the retirement capital of the US? Move aside, Florida! The baby boomers have no interest in living in the swamp with their parents. They prefer 100 degree dry heat. Ryan Seacrest opens the show with a montage from last season. Is it totally wrong that I recognized every single person show in those clips? No, I'm not obsessed.

AI decided to "reward" the audience with a first audition that was awful. I am immediately disappointed. Then we see the girl who will be DH's favorite if she make it to the top 12: Emily Wynne-Hughes. Rocker extraordinaire. I made fun of Carly for her tatts, I am not afraid to make fun of hers. She sings Barracuda and is quite good. Totally willing to dump her bandmates (and apparently they are pretty popular in LA so they will hate here) which is a good sign. Hollywood or bust!

Then we see a rocker wannabe. Dude is terrible and thinks just because he dresses all Axel he'll make it to Hollywood. Simon is quick to correct his assumption. He is quickly followed by one of those, "I can't believe he's only 16" vocal freaks that probably sings the lead in every high school musical. Simon loves him of course. And he immediately fades away in my mind. We'll see if he reappears after Hollywood week. I doubt it.

A couple more freaks come through (why do their families encourage them!?!) and Kara is showing her nice side. She hasn't been broken yet by the machine that is American Idol. Just wait until her favorites bite the dust during Hollywood week. How quickly things change! Don't get your hopes up on any contestant, new judge. They will all disappoint you some time or another.

The judges put through another cute, 16 year old (Arianna Afsar) and keep the hope alive that this time a David Archuleta will win. They then see the obligatory Kara D. fan that must be introduced just so the audience knows how awesome she is. I'm still on the fence, AI, don't push it! She seems normal at first but the pink cowboy hat and book of songs is a dead give away. Fortunately Kara is not swayed by her fan and she is denied. Not denied is another 16 year old named Stevie who seems pretty cool. She does sing the most overdone wedding song ever ("At Last") but she does it well.

Apparently this is the young/old season because the next contestant let through is a 27 year old who makes his living on an oil rig. Very cool. Interestingly I think it was the same oil rig that was featured on "America's Toughest Jobs". DH made me watch it, I swear. I feel kind of bad for this guy because he's not good enough to make it. He's just not. But his hopes are now up that he can quit his "fifth most dangerous job" and provide for his family.

And then we leave that sweet man to see the horror that is bikini girl. This is when I start to think I might like Kara. Now, I am not going to deny that this girl is hot. Although her body is a lot more hot than her face, IMO. But did she deserve a pass to Hollywood with her mediocre voice? No. But that's what happens when you give Simon the deciding vote. Kara is appalled and I applaud her attitude. Kara shows her how the song should be done and gets attitude in return. Now Kara can sing! Don't worry, the chickie will crash in Hollywood once she's wearing clothes and Simon doesn't remember her.

Also through is a girl who sings, "Let's Hear It For The Boy." As soon as she said she was going to sing that song I knew Brianna was in. I fricking love that song. Yes, I spent hours singing along to the soundtrack of Footloose. What girl born in the 1970s hasn't???

Some random girl who tries to adopt other people's families is through as is the scary effeminate boy who is also creepy but has a good voice. Then we see a smart contestant. OMG. A smartie! Of course Simon does not like that but this kid is so cute. His name is Alex and he sang in a closet until mold forced him out. What an engaging story. He could totally use that on his college essay. He totally riffs with Simon but not in that annoying "I'm trying to one up you" kind of way. He is through as he should be and I'm tentatively putting him on my list.

The last contestant is the ratings grabbing blind guy. And I have to say, he is totally inspiring. Obviously his parents did an excellent job raising him. Yes, now that I'm pregnant I'm all about praising the parents. He is totally through and I would be surprised if he doesn't survive Hollywood week too. No way he'll win the whole thing but America loves a sob story.

I'm exhausted, people. OK, on to Kansas City. This will be shorter as I'm only mentioning the people I really like or really hated.

Casey Carlson. Smoking hot, great voice. Totally in the Top 10. She's already being written about on TMZ. Always a good sign.

Guy who's wife died. I was totally prepared to roll my eyes at this one. Remember how they milked the dead dad last season? But it was his wife, y'all. It was touching. And he has a really nice set of pipes. I see him surviving Hollywood week. He kind of looks like Robert Downey, Jr., don't you think?

Girl who sang the song Simon wrote. He writes songs? Is there nothing this man can't do? Of course she was going to make it through, footprints or footsteps notwithstanding.

Guy with fedora. But he will be dropped early because is pretty high school musical.

Girl who takes care of her 93 year old grandmother. Adorable!

The dorky Anoop "Noop Dawg" who is a graduate student at UNC. He wrote his thesis on BBQ. What is cooler than that? Very nice voice but could use a makeover.

Asa who sang Michael Jackson and did it well even though it is so hard to sing Michael Jackson.

Girl with husband and three kids who's apartment was destroyed by a tornado. At least she wasn't all, "I deserve this because my life sucks." She wasn't as good as the judges thought, IMO, but I think they were worn down by the suckiness of the other contestants.

Sleeping girl who used God as her vengeance. Really sleeping girl? Perhaps you should have practiced instead of sleeping. God will get you now!

Guy who had two cheerleaders. Plus he was totally cabaret. I hate when girls let themselves be used like that. Especially by gay guys.

Jason Castro's brother. Dude was not that good. He's only through because of his whole, "I only started singing 21 days ago BS." And he's very odd looking.

The guy who had a dream about Simon and basically bullied his way into Hollywood. Simon told the other judges they were "duped" and they totally were. Of course he let bikini girl through so he's not really one to talk.

That was exhausting, people. I'm not sure I can do this again next week, but you never know! Now that I'm feeling back to normal I could have the energy for note taking. What did you all think about the auditions. Any particular standouts for you?

I would ask you to reflect on the following: have we ever seen a winner come out of audition footage that airs during audition weeks? I don't think so.


LauraC said...

I'm pretty sure David Cook was shown during audition week, or at least a clip of him. He was definitely shown during Hollywood week because I LOVED him.

Theresa said...

I was definitely underwhelmed by many of the people they put through to Hollywood, but I was impressed by the same few that you mentioned.

I like the new judge. It is nice to have a coherent person that has a decent-sized vocabulary, besides Simon, of course.

Theresa said...

BTW, just saw the photos of Casey Carlson - whoa.

Mommy, Esq. said...

THANK GOD YOU'RE BACK. I've missed you, Idol Recapper Extraordinaire! And my STUPID Verizon Fios is having a war with FOX - 24 and Am Idol are not "taping" - shows up as recorded but doesn't actually record them. Grr. I HATE Fios.

Helen said...

OMG- i just saw on Best Week Ever, the part where Ryan Secrest tried to high five the blind kid- seriously!

I HATE Ryan Secrest

CeCylka said...

I still love most Cristal Parizanski ;))