Thursday, January 25, 2007

American Idol Week Two: Memphis and New York City Go Auditioning!

American Idol ebbs and flows with excitement, and though last week's tour through Minneapolis and Seattle left us listless, Memphis and New York City kicked some serious ass in the audition room.

I noticed something that the producers are making us more privy to this season, which is that Simon Cowell is always on his cell phone. And sometimes more than one. As he arrived to the second day of auditions in NYC he had count 'em three cell phones on hand: one stuck to his right ear, and another two collapsed into a small silver pile on his left shoulder. He must be popular. What an efficient multi-tasker he must be, too, to be able to juggle so many conversations at once.

Speaking of Simon, he finally uttered one of my favorite one-word criticisms: "horrible." It's a classic.
I'm waiting now to hear other recurring favorites like "pure." That one might not come out for a few more weeks, though he is back to labeling things "cabaret," which I like very much, and is usually a spot-on assessment when he chooses to use it.
There was a new snarky Simonism last night that filled me with delight: "That comes under the category of annoying." Surely it's the best quote of the night.

I am also beginning to find Simon rather sexy, but I digress. I still don't like how he condescends to Paula on occasion, but I have to say that on Paula's behalf, she was in tip-top shape this week, and didn't look even a little bit drunk. In this week's Us Weekly she is also quoted in the "Loose Talk" section confirming again that her interview with a Seattle TV station, in which she appears slurring and disoriented, was due to technical difficulties. She says she had a Birmingham TV station talking to her in one ear, and Seattle in the other.

In Memphis she was her usual smiles and enthusiasm, and the same goes for her appearance in New York. So far this season, she sounds sharp and articulate--at least compared to previous seasons where she sugar-coats contestants with lines like, "I think you are a star." I don't believe this is what any contestant wants to hear from a judge, because ultimately it is not constructive, and rather misleading. Not all of them are stars. The top 5 at best will go on to make celebrity names for themselves.

Kelly Clarkson is the only one from season one to make it big, while the flavorless Justin Guarini (look how annoying he is!) hangs dully in her shadow . Last year's Idol was probably the season that yielded the most marketable singers. Idol winner Taylor Hicks and runner-up Katherine McPhee (whose self titled CD debuts on January 30th) are the biggest names across the airwaves, but we've heard, too, a lot from Chris Daughtry and even the good-looking, if somewhat boring Ace Young. Seasons past gave us some surprise stars like Jennifer Hudson (who's now nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in Dream Girls), but generally, the contestants who don't win have a sticky start to stardom.

The judges are under fire recently for being too harsh on the hordes that show up for auditions. But I have to wonder how these critics expect Randy, Paula, and Simon to react to the delusional and tone deaf who so often plague the auditioning room. I mentioned last week that Simon, clearly Idol's most blunt judge, can be rather responsive and encouraging if the contestant is a) good, and b) self-aware. The bad contestants have to show up because they are entertaining, and because they are the life-blood of the show during auditioning. The judges could take them with a grain of salt, but if they are too lax with the mediocre, or just plain bad, they end up sounding condescending with praise that leads the contestants to failure. The judges say it over and over, "We're looking for the best." "Good" just doesn't cut it.

Last night in at the New York auditions, Ashanti, a singer who was back to audition for her third time, pleaded with them to let her go on to Hollywood with such disgrace and melodrama that it became embarrassing to watch. These are the kinds of contestants that need to learn how to bow out with decency, so as to avoid the backlash from Simon, which in Ashanti's case ended with a terse, "Get over it."

I always look at auditioning season as a lesson in manners, and it's astounding to see how many contestants just don't have any. Instead they come out of the auditioning room cursing and name calling, and when the words get too dirty they are happily bleeped out with that bubbly blue American Idol logo over their lips, while being escorted from the building by security.

Speaking of swearing, Simon, Paula, and Ryan all said swears last night! Ryan called Simon an @!*-hole, and I think that's what Paula called him, too. Maybe things are feistier this season?

And here's a short run-down of the people I liked this week: "Sundance," Melinda Doolittle, Kia Tompson, Jenry, Jory, and the girl who said she was "militant" in her training (though she was kind of annoying).

Next week: Birmingham and Los Angeles auditions


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was impressed with that young opera trained girl who sang perfectly in multiple styles.

But Nashville Star is still superior.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Matt Singer said...

I am now calling Kerpius Termite Art's "(Wo)man on the Idol Beat"

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome. I am soooooo on the beat, dude. Oh, and R. Emmet---I loved the opera singer, too. I have really high hopes for her, she's funky.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This past week Melinda finish the vocals on her CD!. All of that happens quickly then you will see her CD on shelves this Fall! Also, keep your eye out for her first official single that should be hitting airwaves in the coming weeks. Melinda is going to be throwing a lot of music at us in the coming months so get ready!
We have new website to support Melinda Career. I'm one of her backups who support Melinda from the beginning. Melinda have her own topic in the forum. She keep us update with all what happen with her album and everything with us. She is a amazing person. Come join us.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news for you Melinda Doolittle fans! She’s set to release her debut album titled, Coming Back to You on Hi-Fi Recordings in January 09. Produced by Grammy-nominated producer Mike Mangini (Joss Stone, Run DMC, The Jonas Brothers), Coming Back to You was recorded with a team of live musicians in Nashville and New York City. The first single, “It’s Your Love” will be released to radio in October. UPCOMING SHOW: 10/19/2008 3:00 PM Host Name Tyler Graves Show Name Moments With Melinda - Show 4 Show Length 1 Hour Show Description In this episode of Moments With Melinda, Melinda will discuss her new single "It's Your Love" as well as her upcoming debut CD! Fan calls will be accepted Call-in Number: (646) 716-9978 If you want more info .melindasbackups

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melinda Doolittle in her first-ever Nightclub engagement

November 17-21, New York City

FEINSTEIN'S AT LOEWS REGENCY, the nightclub proclaimed "Best of New York" by New York Magazine, will debut MELINDA DOOLITTLE in her first-ever nightclub engagement from November 17 – 21. The “American Idol” finalist will perform an intimate evening of jazz standards, pop hits and Broadway classics, in addition to selections from her CD, Coming Back To You. All shows are at the Regency Hotel (540 Park Avenue at 61st Street). For ticket reservations and club information, please call (212) 339-4095 or visit and

12:49 PM  

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