Thursday, January 27, 2011

Trainwreck Idol: Auditions from New Jersey, from New Orleans, and with New Judges

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

I’m running a little behind on my American Idol watching. Last night they showed the third episode, and I’m just now posting my review of auditions from the first two episodes. What can you do?

The odd thing about the first week of audition shows is how bad the New Jersey show was and how good the New Orleans show was. The New Jersey show was two hours and didn’t have as many good auditions as the one hour long New Orleans show. It made it painful for me to watch. I think somewhere along the way the novelty of “look how bad that person is” has lost its appeal, if it ever really appealed to me to begin with. To make matters worse, they were letting some of the bad auditions through.

I tried to be as thorough as I could be without watching the show over and over. I watched the first show, took notes, and then did a quick review fast forwarding through the show in about ten minutes. I watched the second show almost a week later. I was made so gun shy by that first episode that I was afraid to put on the second. I was told that the second was actually pretty good though, and saw a You Tube video of one particularly good audition, so I finally got to it. Then I showed my roommate the best parts of the first episode, and had another chance to review them.

They made a big deal about Jennifer Lopez being uncomfortable with telling people no, but the truth is that all three judges were having the same issue. There was a girl named Rachel who auditioned for Season Six, made it to Hollywood, and then got sent home. Lopez remembered her, and said that this audition wasn’t as good as the one before. Soooo…o… if she’s not as good as last time and didn’t make it last time?

Next was this guy named Caleb. I didn’t like him as much as the judges did. And, um, well that’s all I really got on that one. This is why I wasn’t huge about writing about the auditions. Sometimes there just isn’t much to say.

As is the case with Kenzie, another ok audition. The judges were split about her, but they let her through. I thought she sounded a bit like Alanis Morrissette with a country star twang. My rule with country singing is: the less twang the better. She didn’t have all that much.

Then there was this woman who was apparently a huge fan of Lopez, and she said she saw Selena when she was seven and immediately started singing. She was 21, which puts it at 1997 when she was seven, so I’m guessing she meant the movie. I think Selena died in 1995 or 1996. I only say all of this because I was trying to work out in my head if she meant seeing the singer live, or seeing the movie. I’ve never seen the movie and had never heard of Selena prior to the shooting. Anyway, so this girl popped open her shirt to reveal silver stars pinned to her top, over her breasts, and didn’t sing all that great, so the judges told her no. Well, if the judges from the previous years had been there they would have. These judges sent her to Hollywood. Who knows?

By now we were well into the first hour, and I was wondering why the new generation of kids is so untalented, when this guy named Robbie sang “Yesterday” by The Beatles. He wasn’t great, but he was the first one who I thought might last longer than the first Hollywood week, maybe the second. I guess we’ll see. Part of the fun of writing something like this is to see if I have any sort of intuition about this. The answer is that I don’t, but we’ll pretend that we don’t know that.

Next was Ashley, the Britney Spears fan. I hate to sound rude, but the moment she said she wanted to be just like Brittney Spears, I knew she wasn’t good enough to make it through to Hollywood. Remember what I said about my intuition? She made a sympathy play and got through, even though she sounded… well. Do you know who Ethyl Merman was? Except that Ethyl Merman could sing.

Victoria Huggins was next. I made a note of her last name because she was making a video diary of the experience going to audition. I wondered if maybe she was a You Tube personality, and meant to look her up. When she spoke she sounded like someone from a TV show. Like she could be Kenneth’s sister from “30 Rock.” But it was something else, and I really wish I could remember who I was thinking of. Some 80s sitcom I think. Anyway, I’m not making fun of her for that, just stating my thoughts. She was actually pretty good. [Note: I was thinking of Yeardly Smith when she was in “The Legend of Billie Jean”. I’ll root for her as long as she does this song.
Melinda was ok. Um, all I got on that one too.

The singing waitress, Devyn, I actually liked her though she needs to work on her voice. Well into the second hour and this was only the second person who I saw as potential Top 12.

Then there was Brielle who was also pretty damn good, so perhaps three.

Finally, this kid named Travis was pretty good, so perhaps four. Steven Tyler asked to hear another song, and I think that was a good choice on his part. Travis started with “Eleanor Rigby,” and I wasn’t immediately impressed, but when he did the Jason Mraz song, “I’m Yours,” I could actually see where his talent was.

So the tally was two hours, 51 tickets to Hollywood given out, and only four auditions that I thought were really all that good. No wonder it took me awhile to watch the second episode. But the tally for the second episode was one hour, 37 tickets to Hollywood, and quite a few good auditions.

The first was this guy, Jordan. He sang “Over the Rainbow.” He was a bit shrill at start, but improved quickly. His family was waiting outside, and I think it was his mom, said to Ryan Seacrest, “You look tall on TV.” It was just funny to me.

Perhaps one of the funnier things about Steven Tyler is that he seems to like women with big lips, maybe because he himself has big lips that maybe he even stole from a woman. By that I mean got from his mom’s side. Get your mind out of the “Silence of the Lambs” gutter. Anyway, this girl, Sarah had big lips and a big voice (and surely a big heart… awwww.) She was very good.

Jovany was the next one sent through. I wasn’t as big on him as the judges were, but I appreciate that he auditioned with a Spanish tune. I’m not a fan of most Tejano or Ranchero music, but rock with a Latin flavor is often very good, so I would be interested to see if he does anything of that nature.

Jacqueline was good. What struck me about her voice is that she could easily do both R&B and country. If I was looking for a potential star in the current market, I would probably go with someone like her. But even though I just said that, she wasn’t my favourite… oops, American Idol… favorite.

Brett was this kid who looks like the lead singer of Simply Red. He had a good voice.

This guy named Gabriel did Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” I thought he was doing well, but he overreached and blew it. They didn’t send him through. I’ve been mostly talking about people who made it. The reason I brought him up is that unless I just am not good at measuring tone, I thought he was better than many of the people they sent through in New Jersey, but the judges seemed like they thought he was awful from the start.

Jacee was the kid I saw online He’s amazing. He’s 15, but he looks much younger like maybe 12. Wait. How could that be that he’s 15, but looks 12? He must be a vampire. Only explanation. Anyway, he sang “Dock of the Bay” and really nailed it. I actually hope he at least makes it to the main competition.

Paris was quite good. That’s my whole thought there. And that seems like a good stopping point, because not only am I out of contestants that I took notes about, but I’m out of things to say.

But wait, I remembered something. Her daughter is hydrocephalic (I so totally spelled that right without spell check, go me!). I didn’t note that by her name, and so I forgot to write about it until I was editing to post. She brought Jennifer Lopez to tears. Which now seems like a good stopping point.

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