Friday, January 28, 2011

Big Pimpin' In Nashville

My biggest beef with American Idol over the years has been the producers' inability to let fans make up their own minds without a little maniuplation/pimpage. They have their vision of what they want the show to be and who they want to succeed, and they drop anvils on our heads to make sure it happens.

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has been all over the press and twitter talking about a 15 year-old girl whose voice rivals Kelly Clarkson. We finally got to see what he was talking about at the end of the Nashville auditions. Lauren Alaina, a personable blonde from Rossville, GA with huge pipes, came in and blew the judges away singing Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's "Like We Never Loved At All". She also sang an "impromptu" "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" with Steven Tyler, showing she wasn't just a country singer.

Here's the thing (ew, Kara DioGuardi flashback! Sorry!): If Nigel hadn't been hyping this girl to the high heavens and invoking the name of Kelly Clarkson (I think at one point he even said she was better than Kelly. Oh HALE NO.), I might have been as blown away as the judges were. But between hating the pimping before her episode, hating that they added a sob story on top of the pimping (her cousin Holly has a brain tumor), the pimping at the end of the performance (Steven Tyler basically ending the show saying "I think we found the one") and expecting someone to out-sing one of the best singers out there right now, Lauren's performance was just met by a "she's good - we'll wait and see" shrug by me.

As much as I get annoyed by all the back stories, I must admit that two actually got me in this episode. The first was the audition of the two exes and former singing partners, Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin. They came separately but were brought in together into the audition by these oh-so-not-subtle producers who smelled a great story a mile away. The judges asked the duo to sing together (they did The Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody"), and boy do they sound great together. The harmonies! They also had them audition separately, and they sounded good solo as well. Rob had a really cool blue-eyed soul vibe going on during his "What's Goin' On", and I love the huskiness in his voice. Chelsee showed a powerful sweetness in her voice singing Brandi Carlile's "The Story". The judges, and especially Jennifer Lopez, want them to get back together. Not even going to lie, so do I. He's clearly still in love with her. And I caught that look from the new boyfriend. Methinks he might be a little worried. Hmmm ...

The other audition story I enjoyed was that of Adrienne Beasley, an African-American woman who was adopted at a young age by a white couple. Her parents seem SO SWEET, and she clearly adores them just as much as they adore her. I was rooting for her so hard, but unfortunately was not as impressed by her audition as the judges were. She has a good voice, but that "something" in her voice that impressed Steven Tyler was something I thought was lacking. I thought she was lacking a little color in her voice when she sang Lady Antebellum's "American Honey".

I wasn't swayed by the story line of overalls-clad Matt Dillard, whose family takes in a ton of foster kids into their home. Matt surprisingly sang Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" while looking like Jethro straight off the farm. He's not really good enough to go through, but Steven and Randy surprisingly put him through. The guys also put through former Miss Teen USA 2009 Stormi Henley despite having a thin voice. She's better than some of the other people they've put through on looks alone (Bikini Girl!) but that was a total guy move.

Also going through to Hollywood were Paul McDonald ("Maggie May"), Jimmie Allen ("Sunday Morning") and Danny Pate ("Papa Was A Rolling Stone"). One of my favorites of the night was Jackie Wilson, the 28 year-old who shocked Ryan Seacrest by kissing who I'm sure he thought was her dad but was instead her much older boyfriend. LMAO. Jackie sang the crap out of "Until You Come Back to Me" (I was personally hoping for "Higher and Higher").

Trainwreck audition of the day: Christine McCaffrey, who walked into her audition singing/making cartoon-ish noises and then butchered "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. She actually thought Steven Tyler had said yes to her. He said, "I'm going to say no", and she replied with "Awesome!"

Most offensive moment: Tattoo artist Allen Lewis said to the judges, "Everyone's got their own flavor of ice cream. Mine's vanilla and yours may be chocolate" while the camera was on Randy. :|

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