Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trimming The Fat In Hollywood Week

After what seemed like months of audition episodes, we're finally to my favorite round on American Idol - Hollywood week! With the judges letting 323 people through to "Hollywood" (actually Pasadena), there was a lot of fat to be trimmed here, and a little over half of that total managed to survive the first round here.

The thing with this show that has always bothered me is that they have a tendency to introduce us to certain singers in the audition rounds, with these elaborate packages and what not, only to see them get cut early in Hollywood, sometimes with no fanfare whatsoever. So if anyone created ... that was a waste. Michael Slezak is going to need to find a new favorite now that Sarah Sellers has been cut. Fans of accountant Steve Beghun might think about hiring him to do your taxes before making plans to see him live in concert. And annoyingly perky robot-child Victoria Huggins and her 11 suitcases are also gone, so VFTW has one less person to try to take credit for. Also gone are Jacqueline Dupree (whose uncle coached Randy in high school football), Heidi Khzam (the bellydancer from LA), Stormi Henley (Miss Teen USA) and Nick Fink (half of the annoying "Idol power couple").

Nick Fink's exit was just embarrassing. He sang a pretty weak version of Paolo Nutini's "New Shoes" and, of course, the show tried to build some suspense by putting him and his "girlfriend" Jacqueline Dunford in separate lines, with only one making it through. Jacqueline's "Bring It On Home To Me" was way superior to Nick's song, although it was still a bit over the top for me, so it' was pretty obvious who'd go. And indeed, it was Nick. Homie wouldn't take not for an answer, though, and he kept asking for another chance. When he got his final no, he exited the theater walking backwards and singing, while the girlfriend turned her back and kept walking without him. EL. OH. EL. She looked so NOT conflicted or sad about him being cut. Either she's extremely selfish or their relationship is so fabricated that she doesn't give a rat's ass. Or both.

Nick and Jacqueline's Hollywood roommates, ex-couple Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks did not suffer the same fate, with both surviving the first round of cuts. If Idol wants to keep them on the show so that they can sing together again, I'm all for it. I like these two a lot (although I would like to see something more modern from them at some point).

Speaking of modern songs, I do wonder just what is on the list of songs for Hollywood because there were a whole lot of oldies being sung in this round. Thia Megia (Charice v2.0) sang "Summertime". Casey Abrams (Seth Rogen v2.0) sang "Lullaby of Birdland". Lauren Alaina (The Chosen One v10.0) sang "Unchained Melody". Robbie Rosen (wheelchair boy) sang "Moody's Mood For Love". They all got through.

Tiffany Rios also sang an old song - I think it was "All I Could Do Is Cry" by Etta James, but she went off the rails with her melismatic screaming at the end so I'm not 100% sure. Dis bitch ... she started off her performance by saying "I'm tired of seeing people try to do what I know I can." o_O The best part of this whole thing was the immediate cut to the audience when she said that, and some dude making an Antoine Dodson-like "You are so dumb. You are really dumb" face. Tiffany is making it so easy for the producers to set her up as the polarizing figure this year, and I'm sure they were salivating over the possibilities for her in the group rounds!

Many of the contestants with the big sob stories survived the first round - Brett Loewenstern (he was bullied!), Paris Tassin (she has a special needs kid!), James Durbin (He has Tourettes! His dad died! He's poor! He can't afford diapers!), and Chris Medina (his fiancee is brain damaged from a car accident!). And the show of course reminded us again what their stories are (as if they didn't ram it down our throats enough earlier!). These other sob story people went through too, but I guess their stories aren't "compelling" enough to tell us again, or they don't think we need reminding since it just aired yesterday (and I'm totally okay with that!): Julie Zarrilla (her parents fled Colombia!), Emily Anne Reed (her house burned down!), and Stefano Langone (he was in an accident that almost killed him!).

Slightly less annoying than the constant reminders of people's sob stories are the people who sing the same damn song in Hollywood as they did in their audition (waves at Kristy Lee Cook). Really, Scotty McCreery, Jackie Wilson and Jerome Bell? You can't sing anything else, you one-trick-ponies? This isn't a one-day competition - versatility is kind of key on this show. I mean, you're not going to do a concert of the same song over and over again.

Completing the list of people identified as making the cut were: Rachel Zevita, Jacee Badeaux (what a sweet voice he has!), Hollie Cavanagh (LOL that she can only sing Miley Cyrus songs without going woefully off pitch, but damn was she shouting this song or what?!), Clint Gamboa, Naima Adedapo, the Gutierrez brothers, White House intern Molly DeWolf, and crazy Ashley Sullivan.

Next week - another one of my favorites - the Group Round!

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