Wednesday, February 4, 2009

AI Season 8: Hollywood Week Round 1

This is it, kids! The home stretch until the Top 36. Hollywood Week is always kind of a blur. I am trying to remember if the editors do a good job of highlighting the Top 36 or a shitty job. I'm going to guess a shitty job. Why? Because producers love the tears and drama. Much more satisfying to see a "never will be" than the potential American Idol.

Ryan welcomes us to the Kodak Theatre which is a much bigger venue than past Hollywood weeks. 147 singers will take the stage but only 36 will make it through for America to vote on. According to my calculations there should be 149 contestants. I'm going to guess that 2 dropped out or were removed for personal reasons. Perhaps a hidden past involving naked pictures? Or being sent to jail for a DUI? Those were past infractions anyway. For the first time, the potential contestants were put through boot camp: publicists, stylists, vocal coaching, etc. Barry Manilow (American Idol whore) stops by to offer encouragement. Dude, you weren't that good last year as a mentor!

Per usual, the contestants were split up into 2 groups for Round 1. The first half will have a short time to perform a capella and are immediately judged in or out. The other half gets to explore tourists traps. We plunge immediately into the first group to be judged. Lil Rounds is up first and decided Whitney Houston is the way to go. Do these contestants never learn? I didn't think she sounded that good but Kara gave her a standing ovation so she is obviously through. She gets a non-prompted mention by Kara later in the show so I have a feeling that Lil Rounds will be one of the Top 36.

Dennis Bringham was annoying in his Kansas City audition and equally annoying in Hollywood. A dismissive Simon "thank you" was all I needed to know he was not going to make it. Asia, Alexander and Lil are through, everyone else is out. Dennis tries to fight his dismissal but it's a losing battle. I really hate when contestants talk back to the judges. But frankly, it's is the judges' own fault. They have been known to bend during the city auditions if a contest pleads his or her case well enough. So of course they think the same tactics will work in Hollywood.

Ryan interviews Paula and Kara about the talent but they aren't encouraged. We are shown a quick clip of Frankie who was not given encouragement from Simon during Round 1. TMZ gave out a spoiler that she is still on the show so she must be another Top 36 finalist.

The next group includes Nathanial Marshall who was the gay guy with arm tattoos. He sings a ver lovely song I don't recognize. And he's good. Paula and Simon question his song choice and Nathaniel overshares how music "saves him". Then he starts crying. I would laugh but Paula and Randy are encouraging. Kids today. They feel so much. Gah. Suck it up! Perhaps my New England upbringing is getting the best of me here...

Then comes Anoop from UNC. I really liked him in his auditions. Simon said he needed a little more style and he appears to have at least ditched the button down shirt and shorts look. Anoop was good again. He's followed by Jasmine from Jacksonville is up and also quite good. Kara calls her a natural talent. And let's not forget Rose Fleck (aka "my mom and dad died and I don't wear shoes anywhere don't you like my gross dirty feet" girl). The judges remember her immediately. She lost some confidence in rehearsals but picks a great song for her audition. I really like the tone of her voice. She may not have the range of other singers but she is very distinctive.

Perhaps not surprisingly, all singers are through to the next round!

Next group features Steven Fowler who I totally don't remember. He's a good looking black guy with a nice set of pipes. Even though he picked a Stevie Wonder song (even worse than Mariah or Whitney!) he did a great job and Randy really digs him. He is followed by Jorge Nunez (San Juan auditions) who I think over vocalizes but has a great voice. I have a feeling even if he doesn't do well in American Idol he has enough exposure to get a Latin recording deal.

Von Smith is one of the annoying musical theatre contestants that always seem to sneak through. He picks a very weird song and sounds cabaret while mixing it with weird facial expressions. I think the last note was a sour one. Simon called it indulgent nonsense. Right on, man.

All three are through. And Von is very, very lucky.

Montage of song selection criticism. Song selection was emphasized in the boot camp so basically these contestants are dumbasses. Montage of people leaving because of bad song selection.

Nick Mitchell (aka Norman Gentle) was up in the next group. I can't believe he was let through from NYC. He decides to stay in character and sings in a very gay, over the top manner. I'll give him a dash of comedic relief. But a very small dash. Randy and Paula seem to think he has real talent but I'm skeptical. But once again, my opinion means nothing to the judges so Norman/Nick makes it through.

Quick cuts of blind guy and Frankie making it through.

Montage of people who passed this round.

The second group steps up during Day 2. But first, we are treated to a mini car commercial as they are on their way to the Kodak Theatre. Can't wait for more of those (eye roll) during the season!

Jackie Tone (28) babbles annoyingly at the camera. But she still has that cool Janice Joplin voice. I question her longevity. Paula and Randy both express their admiration for her. Needless to say, she's in.

Montage of "life long friends" coming out of American Idol. Ah, the joys of youth where everyone is your BFF unless they are your frenemy.

Montage of rejections. Keep 'em coming! These recaps are tiring.

Danny (28) who's wife died. So sad! And his friend Jarmar. Jarmar was a bit over the top vocally but he has a nice set of pipes. Randy is a big fan. Danny does a great job on a Seal song but doesn't really "own it". But I like his raspy voice. Paula gushes. They are both in.

Montage of praise from the judges.

Bikini Girl greets us back from commercials. She has a name but I refuse to dignify her with it. Especially as she keeps up the attitude in her interview and claims that Kara doesn't like her because she is jealous. All the other contestants seem to recognize the bikini girl. Gah. I hate that shit. She tackles Faith Hill "Breath" and does a pretty poor job. Kara and Paula try to let her down gently but Simon and Randy are no help. And somehow she makes it through. Again. And kisses Ryan again. He would totally tap that shit if she wasn't on the show and they have clauses against it.

Jessica (took care of her grandmother) didn't make it. Sharon with the cute dog was out. And Patrica who brought a million relatives to her San Juan audition is also out.

The next group includes Jeremy who is the guy with the 5th most dangerous job. He works on a oil rig. I really liked him in his original audition and think he did an even better job here. He's not conventionally handsome but he has presence and seems like a nice guy. I predict he will be another Top 36.

He is followed by Jesus (took his cute kid in with him for his audition) who is not nearly as good and shouldn't have made it to Hollywood to begin with. Simon is bored. Jeremy is in, Jesus is out.

Last line is up. First up is Emily Wynn Hughes who gave up a European tour with her band. They must be so pissed! She decides not to sing the song she practiced and picks a No Doubt song instead. Bad move. Kara calls her on it. But if you like her type, no worries, she is through. She will be another Top 36 because the judges seem to love her. I'm not won over and wonder what they are not showing us.

Also through from this group is David Osmond (yes, one of those Osmonds) and Alex who was slightly dorky guy. I totally heart Alex!

Erika does not make it and asks for another chance. The coolest thing about her is that her job is listed as FBI Agent! How cool is that? I'm not really sure I buy it though. Doesn't the FBI have high standards? The short clip we saw of her twangy voice was not good. She isn't too pushy but still annoying to try and get that second chance.

4 other folks were passed through. It's a blur at this point.

104 contestants are through to Round 2. DH is disgusted they couldn't cut it down further. I hear ya! It's going to be a long week.

Montage of happy contestants.

Tomorrow is group day. I hate group day, especially the stupid contestants who don't practice and sink their groups. Or somehow make it through. But it will still be fun!

Moment of silence for the idiots who really thought they had a chance at being an American Idol.

SJ out.


Jordan said...

How in the hell do Danny and Jamar get put in the same half of Hollywood contestants AND in the same group of 8?? Doesn't that give them a slight edge over the other contestants since they won't be as nervous singing with each other there?

"He would totally tap that shit if she wasn't on the show and they have clauses against it." More like he would totally tap that shit if he wasn't totally into penis.

I hear rumors from your sister of an American Idol pool??? What are the details and where do I sign up?

Mommy, Esq. said...

I really thought Jesus made it - are you sure? Also, Simon let BG (bikini girl) through to be funny. Seriously. I also did think Kara is one of those insecure types b/c she mostly writes songs for others and doesn't perform and is secretly jealous of those that perform (even though she makes more money off royalties). Paula on the other hand is pretty cool about girls even though they are prettier and younger and more talented (vocally) than she ever was. She's just a nice person and pretty cool when she's taking her meds.

Theresa said...

The NY Post has a list of the rumored Top 36, if you google it, you should find it.

I have the framework for a pool all set up. Let me know who wants in. We'd start it after the top 36 are picked.

Anonymous said...

okay bobbie, enought with the tv need to wean yourself from this mindless stuff because you will no longer have any inclination or desire to follow anything on tv. your mentor and mother