Wednesday, January 17, 2007

American Idol Season Premiere: Minneapolis and Seattle go Auditioning!

Thank God American Idol is back. Really, thank goodness it is back!

There was a lot of anticipation that led up to yesterday, the first day of auditions, and the first show of the season. I got jittery. Unless you were one of the many unlucky souls (or soul-less) that actually auditioned over the summer of '06, this was the first time we've seen Ryan Seacrest, Simon, Randy, and Paula since last May. Boy we were overdue.

Let me explain how thrilling it was to hear Randy's voice again--it was thrilling! Simon has always been my favorite judge, not just because he "tells it like it is," but because he is often the most balanced and articulate, and I dare say the most respectful judge if the contestant is responsive, at least halfway talented, and otherwise self-aware. Though it had been so long, and when I heard the first rumblings of Randy's tenor a feeling of peace came over me. It was like a familiar voice you take for granted, like a dad's or a brother's. I missed him!

Paula was another story. The past week we've seen her now infamous bit on a local newscast, apparently inebriated, but perhaps much worse. There is too much speculation as to what's wrong with Idol's most bouncy and accessorized judge, so we should simply say for now that she was "tipsy." This chapter in Paula's life remains "to be continued" until the E! True Hollywood Story debuts...

Paula hardly spoke during the Minnesota shoot. She must have been soused those days, too, and so much so that the producers called in pop singer Jewel to provide a (coherent) female perspective. I wish she wasn't there, though. I wish it were the original three---why where you wasted, Paula?! It ruins the dynamic, which is too important to compromise at the outset of season 6.

And so, audition season is off.. a lame start.

Minneapolis: a disaster.

I cannot be forgiving of this city's auditions; they were dull, absolutely. Though, out of the gray came a few names that I predict will strut their stuff in the coming months:

1) Denise, aka "The Crack Baby"
What a way to intro yourself, right? I mean, she literally said, "I was born a crack baby." (gag) And of course, she has an amazing voice—she really does. People are going to like this one because she's a good sob story, of the likes of Kelli Pickler (from last year, Season 5). But like Pickler, American won't end up picking Denise. She's simply "good," kind of how Paris Bennett turned out to be (also Season 5).

2) Jarrod Fowler, aka "The Airforce Guy"
He's got a good attitude so I like him off the bat. He's in an armed service, so America likes him off the bat. Plus he can really sing (the point of the competition, after all), and is definitely more interesting and dimensional than Denise.

3) Rachel, aka "The Chick in the Army Reserve"
She talks to the picture of her husband who's in Iraq. It's cute. She's got a good attitude, too (boot camp does wonders, I guess), and a fantastic sense of humor. Good voice, and in fact one of my favorites of the night.

But the best part of the Minneapolis auditions was the return of Simonisms. According to Simon, one who auditioned named Michelle was "confident without being irritatingly precocious." Who talks like that? Simon does! Fantastic!

Night Two: Seattle

If Minneapolis was a disaster Seattle was the DMZ, or a nuclear test-site of auditioning nightmares. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of crippling delusion so many contestants suffer. "Tone deaf," "horrible," "a mess," are just a few of the ways these people were described.

One person claimed a dry scratchy throat for her poor performance. Fool! Have you seen the auditions on television before? You should know better, contestants, than to declare such superficial ailments.
She asked for a drink of water.
Simon: "You could lie in a bath with your mouth open."

This one did not make the cut, needless to say.

A few prevailed:

1) Thomas, aka "The Guy Who Slept behind Trash Cans the Night Before Auditions"
He was smooth, soulful. I'm looking forward to this guy, despite his ego creeping up on him.

2) "The Twins" (I don't know how to spell their first names)
Very cute twin brother and sister of Indian ethnicity, who I will enjoy watching compete against one another. Sibling rivalry! Hurrah!

3) Jordin Sparks, aka "The 16 Year Old with Big Hair"
She's great! She's a mix of Diana DiGarmo and Jennifer Hudson (neither of whom I originally liked). Simon thinks her smile is too cutsie. Randy and Paula made fun of him. Judges' rivalry! Hurrah!

Signing off for now. Until next Tuesday when we’re treated to American Idol Memphis Auditions Edition! I expect great things.


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