Wednesday, February 13, 2008

American Idol 7: The First Cuts Are The Deepest

Psst! You, in the 2nd row! Show us what you've got!
Last night was the first of two AI episodes dedicated to finding the top 24 contestants. By the end of Tuesday's show, the 164 hopefuls were whittled down to 50, which are being further cut to 24 tonight. It's a difficult task because THIS YEAR, THE TALENT IS STRONGER THAN EVER!

The following changes have been implemented this year:

* No group day. No group day??? What the frig??? That's my favorite part of Hollywood week.

* The auditions are broken up into three rounds. If any performer gets a "yes" in the first round, they get a free pass to Round 3. If they get a "no," they get a second chance to impress in Round 2, singing a cappella. Everyone who is chosen to go forward to Round 3 then performs any song they want with a band and backup singers. Regardless of their 1st round performance, anyone can still be bounced if they suck in the 3rd round. THIS YEAR, THE JUDGES ARE TAKING NO PRISONERS!

* Contestants are allowed to play - *gasp* - instruments! The mere presence of instruments proves that THIS YEAR, THE TALENT IS STRONGER THAN EVER!

Highlights of Round 1 included Brooke White's groovy little piano girl act, David Hernandez's take on CSN's "Love The One You're With," and my favorite, the Aussie Hottie singing something. I don't remember. I just know he's hot.

I kind of enjoyed Josiah The Homeless's rendition of Mika's "Grace Kelly," but I thought the judges raved a bit too much about him. It was basically an imitation. A good imitation, but an imitation nonetheless. I think Simon and the producers like his TV-friendly "Wah wah, I'm a little ragamuffin who lives in my car" act a whole hell of a lot more than his voice.

A lowlight, but just ridiculous enough to be entertaining, was the guy who I dubbed Antonio Banderas's long-lost brother a few weeks ago. As he was plucking his guitar with his shirt oh-so-slightly open, I kept thinking that he was like a real-life cartoon character. Then Simon compared him to one of those crappy guitar-playing waiters. Yes! He should've been in that Taco Bell Fiesta Platters commercial that FOX kept playing.

While all of the above (except Taco John) made it through, many were given a "no," forcing them to sing for their lives in Round 2. BECAUSE THIS YEAR, THE JUDGES ARE TAKING NO PRISONERS!

In Round 2, contestants took the stage in groups of ten and then each person stepped out to sing a few lines a cappella. I was happy to see some folks get cut who were highlighted in the previous weeks' episodes just because of their sob stories - including two of those beleaguered single parents and the annoying "abstinence girl." However, as always, some folks who actually sounded good were cut to make room for losers like Nerd Boy, Kyle Ensley. Ok, so he seems like a nice kid, but that doesn't mean that he deserves to be a pop star.

Round 3 kicked off with the adorable David Archuleta, a super-cute 16 year-old who rose above a very sappy Bryan Adams song. He will undoubtedly be one of the top guys - probably one of the best contestants overall. And that's a bold statement for me to make in a season where THE TALENT IS STRONGER THAN EVER!

Nerd Boy schlepped out to sing - what else? - Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." The judges were all happy for some reason, and I can only assume that it's because they've found this season's new whipping boy. (See: Scott Savol, Kevin Covais and Sanjaya.) Aha! After looking at Nerd Boy's audition video again, I finally figured out who he reminds me of. He looks like the illegitimate child of Donnie Iris! Ah! Ensley!

Aussie Hottie turned up the heat (at least in my apartment) with a little "Bohemian Rhapsody," and I decided that I still love him even though I think I spotted a wedding ring. If the Aussie is my favorite guy, then the Irish lass, Carly Smithson, is my favorite gal. Down with the Americans! Especially that crybaby jalopy-dweller!

I ended up liking Asia'h, the girl whose father died right before her first audition, much better this time around. On the other hand, I still hated Pageant Princess. After shakily singing "Unchained Melody," Simon gave her a yes but Randy said no, leaving the decision up to Paula. I thought Drunky's head was going to explode when she didn't get to be the unimportant 2nd vote. I thought she would cave into Pageant Princess's whining, but when it went above "mildly annoying" into "migraine-inducing" territory, Paula finally said no to get her the hell off of the stage. Out in the hall, PP whimpered, "I just wish I was given a fair chance like everyone else." Yeah, like everyone else got a chance to sing another part after they were already told to shut up. Bye bye, bimbo!

Ugh. Josiah. Why was so much airtime being wasted on this kid?? He cried like a baby when his rehearsals didn't go well, which was his fault. Then, when the vocal coach offered to let him come back and rehearse again, he went to bed. When he showed up for his last audition, he dismissed the band and murdered "Stand By Me" unaccompanied. When the judges told him he sucked, he referred to his decision to sing a cappella by saying, "It took a hell of a lot of guts." This set Simon off. He really stuck it to him...but then they put him through anyway!! What?? I thought THE JUDGES WEREN'T TAKING ANY PRISONERS!?? How could they keep this kid around in a year where THE TALENT IS STRONGER THAN EVER!??

The show ended with 50 contestants, which would soon become 24...


So, anyway...

The Top 24 were just picked mere minutes ago and there were actually some surprises. The biggest suprise of all is that the judges finally came to their senses and booted Josiah. For some reason, the camera man felt compelled to follow him around for minutes after his cut, documenting every tear and hug. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that FOX gives Josiah his own reality show, where they follow him around while he drives his car/home from town to town, picking up odd jobs and playing a little Casio keyboard in bus stations. They'd call it something really corny too, like Josiah's Journeys or Auto Biography. Ah, who cares. He's gone for now, so let's all enjoy it.

My little country boy crush from the first week of auditions didn't make it through, so Aussie Hottie officially has no competition. And - another surprise - the judges passed on Nerd Boy! I thought for sure they'd keep him around because every season needs one of him. Even in a year like this, where THE TALENT IS STRONGER THAN EVER!

So, with most of the preliminaries behind us, I give you your Top 24. THE STRONGEST TOP 24 EVER!!

David Archuleta
Colton Berry
Joanne Borgella
Robbie Carrico
Jason Castro
David Cook
Kristy Lee Cook
Amy Davis
Asia'h Epperson
Chikezie Eze (best name ever)
Garrett Haley
David Hernandez
Michael Johns (THE Aussie Hottie)
Alexandria Lushington (tee hee...that should be Paula's last name)
Kady Malloy
Ramiele Malubay
Luke Menard
Syesha Mercado
Danny Noriega
Amanda Overmyer
Carly Smithson (the Irish lass)
Alaina Whitaker
Brooke White
Jason Yeager

When it's down to 12, then you'll get pics of these people. AND THEY WILL BE THE GREATEST PHOTOS EVER!!


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Joanne made it, my DVR cut off the last minute of the show.

Thanks for the recap, I'm not sure I would have slept tonight. :-)

Its not gonna be easy juggling AI and BB this year....

Anonymous said...

I wish they would cut Paula. She absolutely is getting on my last nerve.

Gifted Typist said...

BeckEye, I owe a great debt to you for these reviews. Now I know whether to watch or not to watch my dvr'd material.
And if I do watch, I know when to hit the FF button and when to go to the bathroom.

So, from the bottom of my shallow being, thank you.

Writeprocrastinator said...

...Moses said, "let my people go!"

Oh, wait, that's not what I wanted to say. What was it? Oh, yeah, Happy Valentine's Day!

SkylersDad said...

I really liked the 16 year old kid, I hope he goes far!

Amy said...

I might have to start watching now. I couldn't bring myself to before, I just couldn't.

So, do you think they'll get Beyonce on the show at all? I know that would just make you so happy.

Dale said...

You know I'm in love with you right? And this is in a season where THE BLOGGERS ARE STRONGER THAN EVER!

My only unfulfilled wish was that they didn't follow Josiah out to find his car had been impounded. That would have been heavenly.

Coaster Punchman said...

You should be posting with us on American Idolatry! Just sayin.

That whole Josiah thing was a train wreck from the moment he first appeared on the show. It was actually painful - from listening to him "sing" to hearing the sob story (clean car though!) to being forced to watch his meltdowns. I've never been so relieved on AI as I was when they finally booted him.

Nerd boy on the other hand seemed like a nice guy with just a small amount of talent - not enough to go very far on AI but at least he was a normal person. But I think Mindy would kill you if she knew you compared him to that short geek from a few years back whose name I forget at this exact moment. Although Min may have already read this so who knows. I don't think it's started to air in England yet so you're probably safe.

Coaster Punchman said...

Kevin Covais, that's it, yeah.

Have we discerned a Mormon contestant yet? They have one every year; I was almost ready to suspect Josiah.

Turnbaby said...

Well I FINALLY got my ass back over here to find the BEST. RECAP. EVER!

God girl you do a great wrap up--and I am SOOO with you on the Aussie Hottie--I think his name i Michael Johns??? anyway YUM

And Carly Smithson--yeah she's way cool and I think has a lot more range than the nurse.


Barbara Bruederlin said...


Gifted Typist said...

We need more commentary on Drunky

Tanya Espanya said...

I started to comment last night and then my computer died. I should talk to my IT department about that.

Anyhoodle, can you stand any more love crushing? Your review is so perfect! It's like you're here with me, snarking it up. LOVE.

And yeah, that Josiah kid (again with the fake-o name), what a weirdo.

Coffee-Drinking Woman said...

Aussie Hottie indeed... I think I may have just found a reason to actually watch Idol this season... that and the actual instruments.

Bond said...

I like Amanda th best so far....

Are you working PR for the show?/All I keep hearing is the"strongest 24 ever"

So many of these people are close to Pros already...

BeckEye said...

Bluez - Yeah, I like Joanne. If this doesn't work out, she could get on ANTM just to have everyone tell her that she's beautiful, but that the world isn't ready for a plus-sized model.

Suze - Yeah. Heidi Klum needs to come in and say, "Paula, you are out. BeckEye, you're in. Go sit on Simon's lap."

GT - You're so very welcome.

WP - Thanks!

Skyler's Dad - I think he definitely will. All the tweens will spend every waking minute on their phones voting for him.


Dale - I don't know much, but I know you love me. And that may be all I need to know.

Oh, and now I'm imagining Josiah running down the street after his car being towed, trying to stick his key in the door, just like Mr. Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Joy.

CP - Harrumph! I was never invited! It seems like most of you over there aren't too into Idol this year...or maybe it's just because it's still the prelims.

Turnbaby - Thanks! I'm surprised you're still watching the show after Simon's been so outspoken about his dislike for Taylor.


GT - When she comes out of her stupor and does anything, I'll write about it. For now, she's just sitting there half-awake, parroting whatever Randy says. Without all the "dawg"s.

Tanya - I was there. Didn't you see me outside your window?

CDW - I would watch that Aussie Hottie in just about anything. Well, except for another Paris Hilton sex tape.

Bond - Their PR method is just to have Ryan continuously yelling at the camera that this 24 is the BEST EVER! As if the louder he gets, the more true it becomes.

M@ said...

I can't believe how much you love network television!!!!

Travis said...

We finally tuned in during Hollywood week and saw some interesting talent. So we'll watch for a bit and see how things go. Looking forward to you recaps.

Barbara said...

forgive me for leaving a totally unrelated comment but I thought of you when I saw this:

kellypea said...

Okay, so nothing like reading this a week late. LOSER, huh? And I agree that the talent is amazing this year. I don't think I could have sucked up another Sanjanistayahaan-man. Stan.

And yes. The Aussie is a shoe-in if someone can put a clamp on the tweeners this year.


Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

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