Saturday, January 31, 2009

In Lieu of The Forgotten Classic Video of the Week

I know it's a terrible song, but so what. Just sing it, dammit.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

American Idol 8: The Spanish American War on Music

Tonight is a weird night. Evidently, about 22 people showed up to audition in San Juan, Puerto Rico, so AI has jammed the New York City and San Juan auditions into one episode. It's probably a good thing though, because these auditions feel like they've dragged on for about a decade. The sooner we get it over with, the sooner we can get to Hollywood and watch all the hopefuls implode.

The first stop in New York is Jamaica Queenz. She tells the judges that she is so confident in her singing ability that she just quit her job, and she's going to sing "And I Am Telling You." Can't you just taste the horror that is about to unfold? As expected, she is pretty awful and everyone tells her to go get her day job back. A kinder, gentler Season 8 Simon even calls up the girl's boss to make sure she's rehired. Awwww. That should soften the blow of her crushed dreams.

Wait...did Randy actually tell that girl that singing isn't her "skeeze?" So, singing isn't her whore? What?? Does Randy even know what that word means? Or is he trying to create some brand new, funky fresh definition for it? Ugh. That is so not fetch. Stop trying to make "skeeze" happen, Dawg! IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

Now it's off to Puerto Rico, where Jorgay is singing something that sounds familiar. Come again? Jorgay, you know I don't speak Spanish. In English, please! What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? I'm not even mad...that's amazing. Huh? La dee dum da..."myyyy wayyyy." Okay, I got that last part. Well done. I liked you better when I couldn't understand what you were saying though. Regardless, you're off to Hollywood, amigo.

Michigan J. Baier belts out Celine Dion's "I Surrender" and, although it's pretty loud and gets a little pitchy during those last, big notes, she's not nearly as bad as everyone makes her out to be. Simon rolls his head around like he's never heard anything so awful, and the other judges sort of dog pile on her. Honestly, she doesn't sound much different from a lot of the lame girls that they've already put through. Oh, but there's one difference. Those girls were skinny, and this one isn't. Just as Kara is about to do something useful and give this girl some advice, Simon impatiently barks at everyone to say either "yes" or "no," so it's a quick, unanimous "no." As Ms. Baier is taking the walk of shame back out to the holding room, Paula calls after her, "Take the constructive criticism!" Uh, it's kind of hard to take something that was never there in the first place.

Following that, we see a bunch of crybabies and angry rejects talking smack on the judges. One girl wails, "They don't like good singers in there," which I can't really argue with. Then...oh no. Someone's holding another creepy puppet! This one's even worse than the Madame clone from last night. It's like the evil spawn of a Kachina doll and a scarecrow. *shudder*

Back in NYC, Michelle N'gonnadancenaked is yammering something about wanting to uplift humanity and ride a unicorn naked through the Lincoln Tunnel...or something like that. I kind of tuned out. She sings another old stand-by for contestants who like to pretend they have soul, "Feeling Good." She's loud and gimmicky, so she's unanimously voted in to the next round.

Okay, for weeks now in AI promos, and tonight at every commercial break, I have seen this stupid clip of this stupid window screen behind the judge's table falling down. Is it really that exciting? This is the kind of crap you used to see every other minute on TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes. If this thing doesn't actually decapitate someone, I'm going to be disappointed.

J Train Jackie, the token rocker chick, is up next. What kind of a rocker chick sings a Jason Mraz song while doing a really bad impression of his already really bad dancing? Lame. The judges ask her to sing something else, which she doe
s a little better. She's got kind of a cool, husky voice but there's something very annoying about her. And I get the feeling that she will just try to do impressions of other singers every week. In other words, we could have another Kady Malloy on our hands. And no one wants that.

There goes the window screen. Everyone's heads remain intact. Oh well.

Now we swing back to Puerto Rico to gawk at a bunch of pleading saps from the reject pile. There are also a bunch of weirdos who came just to goof off, which makes Simon a bit testy. It kind of cracks me up when Hair Metal Air Guitar Guy comes in and Simon huffs and puffs about what a huge waste of time this is. Do the judges stil
l think we don't know that they purposely let idiots through the first screening?

Really cracking me up is Crazy Rocker/GuyPod
(his nicknames, not mine). All of these auditions were worth sitting through just to see a few minutes of this guy. He hurls himself into a storefront roll door. He dresses up like a rat and gives "rat hugs" to random people on the street. He serenades an ice cream vendor with an original song. It's untitled but it goes a little something like this..."You are selling ice cream/YOU ARE SELLING IIIIIICE CREEEEEEAM!!!!" Holy Cherry Garcia, I love this guy. Therefore, he probably has no chance of getting a golden ticket. He enters the audition room with a huge cardboard cut-out iPod and stands behind it to sing a few bars of Mr. Big's "To Be With You." (I love him even more now.) The judges ask to hear something else and he breaks into a very overwrought love song that prompts Simon to proclaim this performance as everything he hates. I guess he hates humor, fun, and pizazz, then? The vocals aren't the best I've ever heard, but seriously, he's no worse than Enrique Iglesias. Just when Simon thinks it's over, GuyPod whips out a little lion hand puppet, gets on his knees, and holds the puppet up like Simba as he belts out "Circle of Life." I seriously cannot stop laughing. All four judges vote "no," which really gets GuyPod pumped up. He runs out of the room shouting for joy, miraculously appears outside in a Superman knock-off costume and jumps in the pool.
I just found out that GuyPod is Joel Contreras, an actor/comedian/musician who is fairly well-known in Puerto Rico. I guess no one can say he's a plant though, since he didn't make it through.

Now we're back in NYC for the American comedy stylings of Norman Gentle (again, his nickname, not mine). He looks like a morph of Richard Simmons and Jeffrey Dahmer, if you can imagine such a thing. (I would hate to get a look at his Deal-a-Meal plan.) His is the 2nd version of "And I Am Telling You" we hear tonight, and it's pretty awful. Then, while trying to be the gay Jim Carrey, he banters with Simon, whom he accuses of having homosexual feelings for Ryan. Like his song choice, we've all heard that one before. The judges give him another chance, so he channels Kristy Lee Cook for "Amazing Grace." Simon stops him before he can turn it into the 12" dance mix. Somehow, the judges give Norman a golden ticket just for being "entertaining." What?? If they're going to waste tickets, they could've at least given one to GuyPod!! He was much funnier.

Speaking of Kristy Lee, we see a brief glimpse of Kendall Beard (KLC clone and another supposed "plant") along with a couple of other commercial-looking people getting smiles and tickets from the judges. This is immediately followed by bad auditions from a dude who looks like a post-op Wynonna Judd and...hey, it's a Pop-Eyed guy! Gotta like him.

Ugh, what is up with all the back and forth?? We return to San Juan for Lupe the Kewpie Doll, who brings her adorable little brother along on her audition, thinking that his cuteness will help her get a golden ticket. The ploy pays off, as she certainly doesn't get through on her vocal skills alone.

Back to New York again, and my, my, my. Look what the cat dragged in! It's crazy Alexis Cohen from last year's auditions. (I guess neither actressing nor vetenary school worked out for her.) She's swapped the Ziggy Stardust makeup for a more steno pool friendly look and claims to have a more positive outlook on life these days. Unfortunately, her voice has only gotten worse, and she gets rejected again. Forgetting her new 'tude, she flips everyone the double bird and calls Simon an asshole on the way out. But, in all fairness, she said it in a pleasant tone. She's got a nice tone. I like her tone. Tone.

To end the day, we go back to Puerto Rico to hear Patreetzzia. That's how Ryan pronounces her name, anyway. She sings "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and it's just okay. And as is the case with about 85% of "just okay" singers, she gets a free pass to Hollywood.

Only 9 people from Puerto Rico make it to Hollywood week, while 26 from NYC get golden tickets. Of those 26, we only saw 3 (not counting the other 3 we got about 5 seconds of), and one of those was let through as a joke. It should be interesting when all of the semi-pros start popping up next week.

I'm just so glad the auditions are over. Bring on Hollywood. I'm so glad the group challenge has returned. I want to see some bitch-fights and backstabbing. Isn't that why God created reality TV?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

American Idol 8: All These Bland Auditions Needed Was a Little Salt

So, it's time for another crappy audition show and...what's this? OH SNAP! Do you hear what I hear? THAT'S "CRAZY HORSES" PLAYING DURING THE INTRO!!! YESSSS!!!!

I officially love this show again. That's all it took. See how easy I am? Now, if the Osmond spawn would only sing it for his audition like I've been hoping for...but I won't hold my breath.

The AI machine descends upon Salt Lake City, and we're introduced to all of its Shiny Happy People. Randy is a little concerned about the thin mountain air, and probably thinks it's the reason that all the womenfolk are hot for Simon. Meanwhile, Paula is just happy to be where the High School Musical movies were filmed. She may be looking for the next Zac Efron, but she might have to make do with the next Donny Osmond.

Ryan introduces the first auditioner, Osmond DNA Strand #3,658, or "David" for short. We learn that his dad, Alan, has MS (I'm sure my sister the Osmondophile already knew this), and David is also battling the disease himself, though he seems to be in remission now. He is a very nice looking guy, but in an overly virtuous way that almost creeps me out. He comes into the audition room, and Simon asks him if he's a relative of THE Osmonds, as if he doesn't know. David sings a song by Take Six, whoever they are, and sounds like just about any boy bander. Some of the judges are concerned that he's too used to singing in groups and needs to learn to fly solo. But if you think they're not letting him through, you are crazier than a pack of crazy horses. No one can say no to an Osmond. That's one reason why there are so many of them.

What else could follow that wholesome display but an Emo Hooker? The self-professed psychic sings something from Moulin Rouge, completely unaware that the judges were going to rip her apart. Not only did she not get a ticket to Hollywood, but her demonstrated lack of clairvoyance is sure to get her fired from the local pub where she probably gives $5 palm readings on Tuesday nights. Making matters worse, she shoots the cameraman the finger on her way out. Doesn't she know that's an offense punishable by death in Utah?

Emo Hooker starts a trend, as we're now treated to a montage of wackos, including a guy who might be part lion.

The zoo continues when Simon's #1 Fan brings a giant pink bunny man into the audition room as his "good luck charm." The judges don't find his rendition of Del Amitri's "Roll to Me" (accompanied by some bunny hopping) charming in the least, so this guy is out of luck. On their way out, the bunny man molests Simon, who seems to enjoy it. Hmm. I never would've pegged Cowell as a Furry.

Now, to prove how nice Utahians(?) are, we're treated to a montage of the judges rejecting a parade of auditioners who respond only with smiles and lots of gosh-laden niceties. Then Ryan gives the crowd in the waiting room a little pep talk, so I'm guessing that this is the part of the show where the auditions take a turn for the better.

Amy Milfhouse does a very nice version of "You Know I'm No Good" to everyone's delight. I like this girl, but I wonder if we really need another Amy Winehouse. Duffy's attempt didn't go over that well. Well, whatever, I probably shouldn't complain because it's been a while since the judges have put a really good singer through. Milfhouse, whose real name is Frankie, gets a golden ticket and Ryan beats me to the "Frankie Goes to Hollywood" joke.

Next up is Multi-Tat Single Mom, who sings "Can't Help Loving Dat Man" in a very smoky jazz club style. I like her. If she had broken into "I Love to Sing-a," I would have liked her even more. Paula is bordering on loving her. Simon picks her as one of his favorites and that out of everyone he's seen, he will definitely remember her.

The judges are in a good mood after Tat Mom's performance, and we get a montage of several giddy people with golden tickets, offset by one soulless white boy. In Utah? Whodathunkit?

Chad Michael Dylan Priestly sings "When I Look to the Sky" by Train while Kara looks at him like she's trying not to throw up. I notice that she wears this expression a lot. I'm guessing that she's probably just trying to choke back the urge to sing over everyone. Anyway, the judges all hate the Train song (as well they should), so Chad follows it up with a smash hit by...Raffi?? What's wrong with this kid? And what's up with this song? It sounds like it was written by Hillary Clinton. Somehow, the judges see past the horrible song selections and average boy bandish voice and send him off to Hollywood.

The next montage exists solely to prove that not everyone in Utah farts rainbows and pisses moonbeams. Suddenly, everyone I see is dejected, crying and...holy shit! Someone actually auditioned with a creepy Madam doll! Oh, thank God they didn't show that, because I would not have been able to sleep tonight. This crazy blur of wailing and gnashing teeth (and yodeling) is already making me want to hide under my covers.

Oh-oh. Now we're introduced to Too-Tall Taylor, yet another auditioner who can hula. Doesn't she know her Idol history? Being skilled in the hula is generally a kiss of death. Just ask Sanjaya and Ramiele. However, she can probably scare the judges into doing whatever she wants because she's freakishly large. Also, they've been pimping her during all of the pre-break promos, so I'm guessing she'll be fine, hula or no hula. Before she even sings, Randy compares her to another 16-year-old Amazon, Jordin Sparks. Like Jordin, Taylor has a pleasant enough voice, but she's more of the same old same old. Kara babbles about how she spied on Taylor in the bathroom. Okay. Paula thinks she has a good tone to her voice. Paula also thinks that if she uses the word "tone" enough, people will believe that she actually knows anything about music. Simon and Randy love Taylor, so we'll all see her again next week.

Tonight's show closes with this episode's Very Special Contestant (VSC) - Rose the Hippie. Rose's Dad died when she was 13, and her Mom died two years later, leaving her an orphan. She lives with her best friend, whose family treats her as their own. Rose's brother starts to say that sis didn't handle their parents' deaths so well, but he kind of trails off. He cryptically says "it was tough," so I'm guessing that drugs and partying were involved. Most of the VSCs this year have gotten on my nerves, but I actually don't hate this story. Rose seems genuine. I want her to do well, but her take on "I Feel the Earth Move" is not very good. I might even have to throw down the "pitchy" card on this one. Simon looks a bit dazed, and Paula tells Rose that she has a beautiful face and aura. And..."oh yeah, you need to work on your vocals." The judges all agree that Rose has a better personality than voice, but they all put her through anyway because they know it's nothing that Auto Tune can't fix.

And that's it. I wasn't expecting much from the Land of Archuleta, but Salt Lake's auditions turned out to be the best so far. However, my favorite moment came after the show, when Ryan asked Simon about the girl he said he would definitely remember and Simon goes, "Yeah. What was her name?" Said without a hint of irony. Glorious.

Tomorrow night, the auditions are finally over as we get a mixed up melting pot of auditioners from New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. As for next week, Ryan promises that ALL HELL WILL BREAK LOOSE in Hollywood! If last year was the BEST SEASON EVER, I guess this year will be THE HELL-BREAKINGEST SEASON EVER!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Idol 8: What a Bunch of Jaxasses

Hey, did you know that Jacksonville was named after Randy Jackson? Didja? Huh? Isn't that funny? No? No, I guess it's not. Could someone please tell the producers this?

The auditions kick off with Justin Guarini, Jr. doing a strange version of "Let's Get it On," complete with fake harmonica, beatboxing, and other random sound effects. His voice doesn't actually sound too bad, but he's obviously not taking this whole thing very seriously. A point for him! Simon says that the song is good in parts, but the cornball gimmicks kind of ruin it. The other three like little Justin though, and put him through to Hollywood.

Lady Bow Wow brings her Shih Tzu to the audition with her for moral support. Or maybe she's hoping that it takes a dump on Simon's lap. Who knows. My knee-jerk reaction to this stringy-haired annoyance is hope that the judges will send the dog to Hollywood and this girl back to Hooters - a feeling that doesn't change much once she sings. If I ever wondered what a Britney cover of "Superstar" would sound like (I haven't), now I know. Kara also calls her out for mimicking Britney, which, in pop music industry speak, is a compliment. Everyone loves Lady Bow Wow's creaky door vocal stylings and she gets a golden ticket.

Suddenly, for no reason, Kara thrusts her breasts out like a hen looking for a mate and starts baiting Simon into kissing her. He just smiles and nods at her while swallowing his vomit.

Gun Moll Moreno screams a Chaka Khan song off key. Go figure.

Next up is Miss Placed Confidence, who thinks her version of Anita Baker's "Caught up in the Rapture" is all that, and she brings her mom in to back that up. The judges tell her no, but are actually really nice for a change. Simon is being quite charming. I'm toying with the idea of rekindling our fake relationship this season. (Any of you narcs tell Michael Johns and I'll grind you up for gator food.)

Candidata tells us she's a beauty queen, and has the tiara and sash to prove it. I'm guessing that she was a contestant in the Miss Trans-America Contest because...whoa. Fug. She opts for the old audition stand-by, Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," which I assume will be a hot tranny mess. She starts out sounding like she's doing a weird impression, but then she's actually kind of good. Shocking. I think I can see her Adam's apple. Not shocking. Paula isn't getting enough attention, so she throws a faux tantrum and threatens to leave the room. This is all obviously a ruse to lure Candidata behind the wall so she can ask her if she has any blow. I assume the answer was yes, because before you can say, "sniiiiiiiiiff," Candidata is on her way to Hollywood.

Darin Darnell sings a Boyz II Men song and is not interesting enough for a nickname or a link. The judges cut him, and Kara tries to be "urban" by telling him, "We did you a solid." Good grief.

Randy's #2 Fan asks if she can bring in her friend who is, oddly enough, Randy's #1 Fan. Randy is happy to get any attention and lets the girl get all up in his Dawgness, and even lets her sit on Santa Jackson's lap to watch the audition. Upon seeing this, Paula immediately jumps in Simon's lap, leaving Kara without a partner. She begs Seacrest to come in and sit on her, and when he complies, she bounces him on her knee and gropes at his nips. Determined not to cry, Ryan goes to his happy place. In the midst of all this, there is an audition going on, and a bad one at that. There's a 99% chance that anyone who auditions with "Loving You" is going to suck, and this girl doesn't beat the odds. Ryan, who has been counting the "la la las" until his release, springs out of Kara's lap the minute the song is over and runs out of the room. The judges then unleash the old "oh, this audition was a joke" routine on Randy's #2 Fan until she cries. Like the girl they did this to last week in Louisville, I'm not convinced that this reaction is genuine. She was smiling and generally goofing off the whole time she was half-speaking the song, and as soon as Simon said anything, she fell apart. ACTING! Brilliant! THANK YOU!

At the end of Day 1 in Jacksonville, nine people make it through to Hollywood and, of those, the three that we've seen are only marginally talented. I'm guessing that no one from Jacksonville will be represented in the Top 24.

To kick off Day 2, Gabrielle Union shows up! She better bring it. She brings something to her version of Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)," but I'm not sure what it is. A cold, maybe? She doesn't have a bad voice, but she's obviously a graduate of the Chrustin Richardslake™ School of Nasally Singing. Simon thinks she's cute and, more importantly, commercial, so give that kewpie doll a golden ticket!

The Unabomber's biggest dream is to live in a house with marble floors. Not surprising, then, that a wild man like this treats a feel-good song like "Walking on Sunshine" like a funeral dirge. He gets the boot, and only perks up when Ryan says, "We'll see ya," as if he thinks it's a come-on. And, come on, it probably is. Ryan has to get the smell of Kara off of him somehow.

Anne Marie obviously can't smell Kara well enough, because she sticks her nose up the new judge's rear the minute she walks into the audition room, and even sings a bit of some Kara-penned piece of junk. The producers must really like this girl, because the judges play "Pretty Woman" with her, by telling her to leave the room and come back as a "superstar." Groan.

The next auditioner introduces himself as T.K. Hash, causing Paula to whip around in her chair yelling, "Hash! What? Where?" Then she realizes it's just some guy who tried out last year and she goes back to sleep. T.K. sings "Imagine" in Little Lord Archuleroy style, and the judges tell him it's too over-the-top, with too many runs. Uhhhhh, aren't these the same judges who hailed Archie as the Messiah after he did the same exact thing? Oh, right. This is American Idol, where the judges' comments do not have to be consistent or coherent. At any rate, everyone agrees that T.K. has improved since last year, so they give him another shot.

Do Rag-a-Doodle is a crybaby street musician who sings "Jumper" with an affected, whiny, almost-British accent. The judges say no, and he reacts like Simon is his Dad, who just told him he's not allowed to borrow the car tonight. Ugh. Upon leaving, he whines some more about how he's gonna make it, and then kills any chance of that by looking like an immature douchebag when he barks "don't touch me!" at his Mom when she tries to comfort him. I wish he would step out on that ledge. Just end the misery, dude.

The show is about to end, but not before Anne Marie returns, looking remarkably similar to the way she did before. All she did was take off her jacket and slap some makeup on. She sings one of the most boring songs in the world, "Bubbly," and the judges shower her with praise and a golden ticket. Ah, the power of eye shadow.

Only seven folks from Day 2 make it to Hollywood, for a grand total of 16 from Jacksonville. I guess this is what happens when you go looking for young talent in a city full of retired seniors and clueless tourists.

Tomorrow night, it's off to David Archuleta's home state of Utah. Prepare for a visit from the Little Lord, and hold onto your hats for The Osmonds 2.0. Well, maybe just one Osmond - Alan's son, David. If he makes it to the Top 24, I hope to gosh that he covers this at some point. I would definitely vote for him.

This Just In...

Rumor has it that Paul McCartney is thinking of tying a third knot, this time with girlfriend Nancy Shevell, who has plenty of her own money.

I'm so glad that Paul finally found a woman who can stand on her own two feet.

Am I the first one to make this joke? I don't know, but let's just pretend that I am.

EDIT: Bluez's comment just gave me an idea. Whoever can come up with the best pun related to this story gets a major award.

The Songs Remain the Same

Hey gang, I'm over at Starpulse today with an American Idol post. (Shocker!) This one is basically an advice column for aspiring Idols on what not to sing. Something tells me that 90% of them won't listen to me, though.

Come, look, read, laugh, love, leave me comments.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Look at Cupcakes That Way, Too

From this weekend's episode of The Soup...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Forgotten Classic Video of the Week

Your weekly trip through my memory banks is making a stop at 1987 this time around. Despite being a pretty big hit, this song has, sadly, become rather obscure. But you'll probably remember it (and all of the lyrics) if you've ever loved an emotionally unavailable jerkoff. This is "Don't Shed a Tear" from Paul Carrack's album, One Good Reason.

Although this was Paul's only Top 10 solo hit, don't shed a tear for him. He had plenty of success with bands like Ace ("How Long") and the kind-of-lame Mike and the Mechanics ("The Living Years," "Silent Running", more kind-of-lame stuff).

Of course, most people remember Paul as the lead vocalist on Squeeze's "Tempted," a song that only hit #49 on the U.S. charts, yet remains the band's best known (and sometimes, depending on who you ask, ONLY known) song here in the States. Now, Paul has a fantastic voice, but he's no Glenn Tilbrook. As much as I like "Don't Shed a Tear," and his vocals in general, I've always been a bit miffed at the guy for taking all of Glenn's rightful glory. Especially since he only sang lead on a tiny handful of songs while with Squeeze and just happened to get lucky with the one that everyone remembers. I realize that this isn't Paul's fault, but I'm not above shooting the messenger (or another metaphor that might be more apt).

I guess what I've tried to say here (in my usual rambling fashion) is that I do like Paul Carrack very much, but every time I hear Glenn's meager two lines in the second verse of "Tempted," I wish that he had sung the whole thing.

I shouldn't shed many tears for Glenn Tilbrook though. After all, he got to meet me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American Idol 8: While Kara's in Louisville, Can Someone Slug Her?

Seacrest kicks off tonight's auditions at Churchill Downs by announcing that Louisville, KY is "known for the most exciting two minutes in sports." However, I'm sure everyone will try their best to make sure it also becomes known for the most unexciting 60 minutes in TV history.

The first auditioner of Day 1 is obscure '80s porn star, Busty Velour. Her turn-ons are deer meat, the smell of burning trash, and threesomes with her parents. Turn-offs are book learnin', combs, and singing in key. After mangling an already putrid Mariah Carey song, Simon tells her that her presence in this competition would be like "a donkey in a horse race." She reneges on her promise to keep a "positive attitude" no matter what the outcome, and fires off a bunch of delusional nonsense in the hallway. Then, with mama beaming proudly, Ms. Velour spontaneously breaks into Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You," and I'm so glad she did. Otherwise, I never would have known that the lyrics are actually "I learned to pee on the safe side so I don't get hurt." Oh! It's not a song about parental neglect; it's a song about the hazards of long family road trips!

Next up is this year's most controversial contestant, Joanna "The Real Annie" Pacitti. Why all the controversy? Well, despite Ryan's assertion that she's been "trying to make it in the industry for years," she's actually had a pretty decent career by most of these wannabes' standards.

As this article from VFTW reveals, Joanna started her career as a kid in the Broadway production of Annie, was signed to both A&M and Geffen Records, and has had songs featured in several movies. She also worked with pop tunesmiths Linda Perry and the ubiquitous Diane Warren on her 2006 album, and reportedly has friends in high places with 19 Entertainment - the management company that handles most of AI's winners and successful runners up. It's all a bit fishy, much like Carly Smithson's ties to Randy Jackson prior to her Top 12 status last year.

While the AI producers tried to be very hush-hush about Carly's musical past, this year they at least attempt to address Joanna's right up front by having Kara blurt out, "I know you; you were with A&M" the minute she walks in the room. Smooth. Joanna responds by yelling Pat Benatar's "We Belong" and crying a lot. Surprise, surprise - the judges say she's great and put her through to Hollywood. The producers try to make us feel bad for this obvious "ringer" by having Kara say, "Awwwww, it's been rough for you." Please. I'm sure it hasn't been as rough for her as it has for the thousands of other people who are still waiting on line and don't have the benefit of knowing anyone in the industry.

I'm only interested to see if this girl goes completely mental at some point during the competition. Judging from her reaction at losing Annie on this old video from ABC News, I think she has real Sean Young potential. She might just start showing up to rehearsals dressed like Annie and calling Randy "Daddy Warbucks."

Someone who obviously has no music industry ties is Billy Bob Bolo Tie, a distant relative of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned for administering to John Wilkes Booth's injuries on the night he shot Lincoln. He tries to give Mudd a good name by singing a George Jones tune like he were et the tractor pull. Not good. The Mudd name is still mud. As he's being dismissed, Bolo Tie innocently says, "Take care and be careful," which all the judges immediately take as a threat. Paula, in her elementary school librarian costume, informs the poor rube that "you don't say that to people." But telling someone you want to squish him, squeeze his head off and dangle him from your rearview mirror is perfectly acceptable and not threatening in the least, right?

David Chokachi's Cousin sings Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough" like it was a Rascal Flatts song. What??? Oh, beach boy, you just got on my bad side. You do not cover Paul Muthahumpin' Rogers unless you've got the chops!! Simon dares to voice the opinion that the Baywatch extra ain't all that, which causes Kara and Paula to have a full-on PMS rage fest. They all argue and then Kara promises to stop talking! YAY!! Oh no, wait. She's lying. She's still talking. Now she's trying to go under the table and take Paula with her. God, ladies, the guy's not that cute. If that was Michael Johns, I could understand you wanting to go under the table. But then I would have to knock you bitches out.

The show is running almost as long as my recap, so they throw in a quick montage. This one features lunatics of varying degrees, including my favorite, Mr. Zebra. He sings, "Hello Mr. Zebra, can I have your sweater 'cause it's cold...cold...cold." I can't tell if that's an original song or something by The Cure. It's pretty awesome either way.
(EDIT: Two lovely readers have hipped me to the fact that this song was written by neither Mr. Zebra nor The Cure, but by Tori Amos. She would've been my 5th guess, after Morrissey, Bjork, and a pack of wild lions.)

The Piano Man sings us a Gavin DeGraw song tonight. The judges must have been in the mood for this melody, 'cause he's got them feeling all right. I feel nothing. I think this guy probably kills at the karaoke bar but I don't think he'll go far, even though he reminds Simon of Season 4's third runner up, Elliott Yamin. Eh, maybe. He annoys me though by becoming the 4,000th person today to pull the fake sad face/I-didn't-make-it routine when coming back out to meet his family, only to whip out that golden ticket and say, "Ha ha! Fooled ya! Bow down to my comedic skills and originality!"

Super Nerd studied YouTube videos to learn to sing, so he should be great. He not-very-amusingly butchers a song I've never heard of, and then blames his suckage on the dry air. He tries to wet his whistle by taking a drink of the "water" in Paula's cup, and boy is she outraged. And nervous. Luckily for her, Super Nerd doesn't blab about the odka-vay in her up-cay.

It's the end of Day 1 in Louisville and there hasn't been a Very Special Contestant yet. What gives? Surely, there has to be at least one person with a sob story. I mean, this is the South for crying out loud.

Day 2's auditions begin with Memphis Mama, who loudly sings about Dr. Feelgood, but not the one who makes Mötley Crüe feel all right. This is all a bit over the top for me, but the judges put her through because she's got a "commercial face," a cute baby, and a husband in military school.

Before the break, we learn that there will be a VSC after all! And she used to be homeless!! Somebody better warn The Blind Guy that his stock has just dropped.

The VSC will surely be saved for last, so for now we just get a montage of "boring" singers...within a show full of boring singers. Interesting.

Wootie Woot is up next with CCR's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain." He really wants to know if you've seen it - especially you guys all the way up in Alaska. That's why he's singing so loudly. Of course, Kara had to sing back-up to divert more attention back to herself, and then everyone started shouting. When Ryan heard a bunch of guys moaning and yelling, he came rushing in to see if he could help. However, Ryan was not needed, and neither was Wootie Woot, who went from 60 to zero in two seconds when the judges said no.

Gangly Girl's claim to fame before today's audition was her brief appearance earlier today on the local news. She sings "Before He Cheats," sounding amazingly like a truck being keyed. Kara suddenly notices on GG's fact sheet that she was voted "Most Humorous" in school and mocks her by coyly cooing, "Oh, I see...this is all a joke." GG's blank stare turns to tears, and it's clear that this is NOT a joke to her. Kara feels badly and asks Paula to hit her for being "mean." Sadly, Paula does not comply. I'm sorry, but I think this whole scene is just that - a totally scripted moment to show the harsh realities of the music biz and serve as a cautionary tale to the deluded throngs of fame-chasers.

More harsh realities of the music biz are revealed during a montage of typical looking and sounding pod people who all make it through to Hollywood.

Finally, this episode's Very Special Contestant is revealed! The Poor Girl was raised by a single mom, has a deadbeat dad, moved in and out of shelters, and doesn't know what it's like to not struggle. You know, I've never been this poverty-stricken, yet 90% of my socks have holes in them and I'm wearing the same winter coat I bought in college. So, excuse me if I don't shed too many tears for The Poor Girl, with her stylish ensemble and bling. what's going on here? Oh yes, the singing competition. Can The Poor Girl sing? Well, she performs an original song called "Natty," and though I have no idea what it's supposed to be about, she has presence and, yes, she can sing. In fact, she sounds like just about everyone else on the radio, which prompts the judges to label her as "original." They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means. Regardless, she gets the last golden ticket of the day.

Tune in next week when AI heads to Jacksonville, while the Steelers get ready to head to Tampa Bay! I expect the latter to be a much more exciting and successful trip.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

San Francisco Auditions: Vote NO on American Idol 8!

AI's boring audition process continues tonight in San Francisco. FOX has mercifully cut the newest episodes down to an hour, but there will still be at least one Lifetime story.

As a show of support for San Fran's gay community, the high percentage of gay auditioners, and the budding romance between Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest, AI has refused to let any Mormons through during this round. Yeah, that'll show 'em! At least until the audition tour hits Salt Lake City next week.

For all the people who think gay marriage is unnatural, take a look at the straight couple who got engaged and married outside in the audition line. I can't think of anything more beautiful than a man and woman entering into the holy bonds of matrimony, purely for the love of getting 15 seconds of fame on FOX and maybe a few more on their local news station. *single tear*

Speaking of unnatural acts, Shakira Munster is the first auditioner up today, and she spares no detail when describing to Ryan how wonderful she is. She sings an Aretha Franklin song and, although not the train wreck that I expected, she's not the diva that she is trying to be. She launches into some other song, and Simon rightly tells her that she is just trying to copy other singers with much bigger voices. The girl starts to go a bit nutty, and Paula sees her as a kindred spirit. For some reason, the judges decide to put her through to Hollywood on the strength of her insanity. Then Shakira does her fake "crazy laugh" on cue about a hundred more times before we're finally saved by a commercial break.

After the break, there is a montage of bad singers wearing bad clothing, including Joseph and The Asinine Techni-Plaid Dreamcoat. He sings something by Simply Red, but clearly thinks this is an audition for Dreamgirls. And I am telling you, he is not going to Hollywood.

Hey Zeus is doing it all for his children. After doing a bland version of an Usher tune, he brings his two sons in to give the judges their best "I'm hungry" faces while he tries out Simon's favorite, "Unchained Melody." Simon says no, but the other three cave to the kiddies and give the astoundingly average singer a golden ticket. Simon then tries to prove to the children that he is a nice guy by hugging one of them with all the warmth of a cyborg.

Sir Rubik has arrived, fresh from 1985! He teaches Ryan how to solve his cube, and then sets music back by 50 years with a horribly whiny version of "Ooh Baby Baby."

While some random, buff dude terribly serenades Paula, Randy lets it slip that she "wants a baby." Oh oh. I hope Hey Zeus checked to make sure both sons were with him before leaving the building.

Now there is a montage of Kara and Simon bitching at each other. The editors are really trying to make Simon look like the annoying one, but it's not working. It also dawns on me at this time that Kara reminds me a lot of Lacey Chabert - which further explains my immediate dislike of her. Sure, Lacey was fine in Mean Girls, but as a faithful watcher of Party of Five, I can't tell you how many times I wished that simp would've tripped over her violin, sending her hurtling out the third-story window. Hey, why not. It would've just given The Salingers one more thing to cry about.

Next up is Akeelah Asscucumber who teaches us many new words like:

* traysheea - aka the windpipe
* learnix - the upper part of the traysheea, where the vocal cords are located
* accapellaly - singing with no music
* eractitate - ummm...excite? agitate? I give up.

She brings her "Singing for Dummies" printouts along for some last-minute studying, then storms the audition room with an original song about making sweet, sweet love to some unlucky guy. When Simon tells her that the song sucks, she tries "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman" and hits some sour notes. She begs them to let her start over because she wasn't singing from "the right rectum," nor was she singing from her "liginagicle cartilages." Hmm. She may not be singing from her ass, but she's certainly talking from it. And talking from it. And talking from it. She's got diarrhea of the mouth, and the judges don't seem to care. Well, except Kara, who's in a big hurry to get Akeelah out of there.

With the crazy chick gone, we are treated to a montage of okay singers who win trips to Hollywood, including Dane Cook's ex, Raquel Houghton, whom VFTW has identified as one of this year's plants.

Cheryl Tiegs, Jr. shouts her way through "Summertime," to the astonishment of the judges. Simon says she seems drunk, and not just "one or two bottles" drunk. Like Paula Abdul on a Wednesday night drunk.

I appreciate the producers trying to finally throw some man candy our way, but Bangs McGee is way too metrosexual (and that may be undershooting the mark) for my taste. Kara takes a page from Sarah Palin's play book and gives him a little wink. Bangs ignores it and then sings a nice, but not very rockin' version of "Bohemian Rhapsody," which confuses everyone a little. They all think he has a good voice but that it's a bit too "theatrical." Kara then tries to pick a fight with Simon in a desperate bid for more screen time. Finally, the judges all decide to put Bangs through, and he celebrates by giving Paula a hug and a hand-kiss. Kara turns into that annoying friend who always tries to steal your dates and is all, "Uh, can I get some? I want a kiss too!" Being a gentleman, Bangs obliges, but is so not into her.

We close out the show with - what else - this episode's Very Special Contestant, The Good Son. (No, it's not Macaulay Culkin trying to make a comeback...but don't worry. That will probably be on VH-1 this summer.) The VSC has supposedly given up all of his hopes and dreams to take care of his sick mother, yet he is somehow now able to try out for American Idol. What happened? Did one of his no-good siblings finally decide to take a turn helping out mom? Or is this all being slightly exaggerated? I wonder. The Good Son has a pleasant voice and seems like a nice guy, but he's gonna have to really step up his game if he wants to beat out The Blind Guy and The Grief-Stricken Widow for a spot in the Top 24.

Wednesday night, the gang rolls in to Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby and birthplace of Ned Beatty. I tried many horse-related puns and some singers-as-squealing-pigs jokes, but they all fell flat. So, I'll just end this by saying that nothing interesting ever happens in Louisville, and I don't expect tomorrow to be any different.

Ain't No Party Like an Obama Party, 'Cause an Obama Party Don't Stop

Monday, January 19, 2009

Now I'm There

Have a gander at infomercial icon Vince in all of his nut-slappin' glory over at Fire That Agency today. He's got something new to sell you, and he doesn't have all day.

Eye Boogers

The Steelers Are Heading To Tampa!! - Sunday's AFC Championship game was a little too close at one point, but my boys prevailed over the Ravens in the end. Now it's off to Florida for the chance to win a record sixth Super Bowl. Keep waving those towels, Steeler Nation! Here we go!

Dying To See A Movie? - On Saturday, one day after a man was shot at a premiere for Notorious, the Biggie Smalls biopic, four men were stabbed at an after-party for another showing of the film. Will this senseless violence never end? Why, just last night, several bitches and hounds were injured when a fight broke out at the premiere of Hotel For Dogs. There have also been many reports of psychotic outbursts and even suicide attempts during recent screenings of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. At this time, authorities don't believe that there is any connection between any of these events.

What Rhymes With Joaquin? - Retired actor/professional weirdo Joaquin Phoenix busted a few rhymes at a Vegas club over the weekend, re-introducing himself to the public as an aspiring rapper. Then, it appeared that he begged for bus fare home before falling off the stage. The stabbings never happen where they should, do they?

It's Obamapalooza! - Stars such as Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, U2, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, and Beyonce performed at the inaugural concert on Sunday...just one more over-the-top event to ensure that even those of us who voted for Barack will be kind of sick of him by the time he actually is sworn in. As far as concerts go, it wasn't bad, but mild compared to the shows we're all used to by now, thanks to huge productions by bands like the Rolling Stones, Guns 'N Roses, and Iron Maiden. I kept waiting for the statue of Abe Lincoln to get up out of his chair and start pumping his fist in the air. I was kind of let down when he just sat there.

I'd Like To Dedicate This One To Michael Johns - Kelly Clarkson's new album, All I Ever Wanted, is due out on St. Patrick's Day but she's recently released the first single, "My Life Would Suck Without You." Click on the link to download the tune. I don't feel bad giving it away for free because it's already being offered for free on VH-1's website. I'm glad to see Kelly bouncing back after watching her last record, My December, unjustly tank. True, it wasn't as immediately accessible as her mega-hit album, Breakaway, but I thought it was commendable that she wanted to do something a little different. I guess she's over that phase now though, because this new song is pretty much a Nicki Frenchified version of "Since U Been Gone." Well, at least we know that the formula still works because this is catchy as hell.

Friday, January 16, 2009

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Ridunkulousness for This Message...


You da man. Finally, someone worthy of fame and heaps of praise. God bless ya.

Oh, and please consider switching over to JetBlue because it's the only airline I fly, and I'm still nervous every time I do.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Forgotten Classic Video of the Week

This week's vid is for a Rick Astley hit that is neither "Never Gonna Give You Up" nor "Together Forever." Yep, it's the other one. You're welcome.

Wow, I had forgotten how clingy and needy Rick was. Perhaps if he hadn't come on so strong so fast with his constant declarations of everlasting love, things could've worked out. But by the time he got around to proclaiming that "It Would Take A Strong, Strong Man" to ever let us go, his obsessive behavior had everyone a little freaked out. And follow-up singles like, "Leaving Is Not An Option," "Not Acceptin' This Separation," "Pick Up The Phone (I Know You're Home)," "Your PFA Can't Stop My TLC," and "Loadin' My Gun With Love," only made things worse.*

* Rick would never tell a lie, but I might.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol 8: Insert Very Original "Kansas Shitty" Joke Here

The next stop on the AI audition tour is Kansas City. Ever hear of it? Probably not. Evidently, it's some little town that no one ever heard of until David Cook put it on the map.

In an effort to blend in, and at the risk of breaking out into a hetero rash, Seacrest dons a plaid work shirt and some Wranglers. He looks fairly mannish, I suppose. However, if the producers ask him to really get into the Midwestern spirit by shucking some corn, he and his manicurist will strenuously object.

Although King David is not on hand to pass on his crown to the next Chosen One, Ryan promises a visit from another Season 7 cutie who is not Michael Johns. Later.

First, we meet Chel-C Skat Kat. She's a typical deluded wannabe who brags about her "powerful" voice before she slaughters "Without You." Perhaps it was a mercy killing. However, Simon shows her no mercy by comparing her vocal stylings to the sound of a "cat jumping off the Empire State Building and then hitting the floor." The Dawg, eager to take a swipe at a cat, chimes in "huh huh ha, yeah, and then, uh, after it hits the floor, then there's a siren." Okay then. Kara calls her "sweetie" and she and Paula give Chel-C the old "well, at least you're pretty" routine. Unfortunately, this girl missed at least three opportunities here to fight back. What she should have said: "#1 - Simon, if you jump off the Empire State Building, you hit the ground, not the floor. #2 - Randy, nothing intentionally funny has ever come out of your mouth. Stop trying. #3 - Bitch, I ain't your sweetie." But whatever, I'm sure Chel-C will be fine. Cats always land on their feet. I've never tested that theory from the top of the Empire State Building, but boy I'd sure like to. Is that legal?

Leona Lewis Part Deux is up next and she covers a Leona Lewis song (shock!) that just happens to be co-written by Lord Cowell (awe!). Simon loves her, he loves his song, but most of all, he loves himself. Lucky for Leona II, he hates originality, so she's off to Hollywood.

In case you've all forgotten that David Cook is our current American Idol, his big noggin is plastered all over the newest Season 8 promo. The ad's tagline is "Dreams Begin Again." Huh? When did the dreams start? Why, it was just last year that Randy told my beloved Michael that this show isn't about dreams. Hmm. This must be one of the big changes we were promised for this season. The ban on dreams has been lifted. Yay. Unfortunately, a new ban on hot men has been imposed because I still have yet to see one.

K.C. Casey is a lovely girl who is sure to get through to Hollywood on her looks and personality alone. May I just say that I adore this girl's dress and her hair....oh, her hair. That is the exact hairstyle that I dream of having one day. Of course, my dreams don't involve the pain and expense of extensions, which is the only way I could ever transform my thin, wimpy locks into such a style, so there goes that idea. Oh hell, suddenly I made this all about me and now I can't remember what Casey just sang. She sang it well, I do remember that. Everyone likes her. Kara waves her hand towards Casey's body and says, "I see a package here." What?? She's crazy. Casey is so not a tranny. She's a very pretty girl. Shame on you, Kara Digiorno. You're just jealous.

Tragedy! We must now endure the vocal stylings of Opie Gibb - some big rube who thinks he's Don of the Discotheque. During his version of Aretha's "Think," I can only think of how much he sounds like Mary Catherine Gallagher. Stunned that he doesn't make it to Hollywood, he sadly hustles off, but stoically refuses to give the cameraman the satisfaction of seeing him cry.

That's okay though, because there are soon a string of other rejects who are more than happy to openly weep for the home viewers. Some crazy broad with cornrows will even collapse to the ground screaming as if her kneecaps have just been shot out by Plaxico Burress. Sheesh, people. Not getting to star in lame Ford commercials for the next several months isn't the end of the world, you know.

Ryan makes the first of many promises to introduce us to tonight's Very Special Contestant (VSC), whose emotional story will make you forget all about that lame blind guy. Pffftt, like vision is important. That blind guy is so 24 hours ago.

Ooh, there's a new show coming to FOX starring Tim Roth. The premise (about a crime-solving band of facial expression experts...seriously) looks pretty stupid, but I do enjoy Mr. Roth. I may have to check that out.

Back to Idol, and back to more dejected rejects. I don't know what all these people are so sad about. They can pretty much all sing better than me. Damn. Now I'm depressed.

Rat Pack Jack swings in, emitting a sonic boom to the tune of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Jeez Louise, his voice is deafening. Everyone in Munchkinland can probably hear him. I think that last note even popped Glinda's bubble. The guy can obviously carry a tune, but he's just so damn loud. Well, you know who loves it then. Yep. The Dawg can't resist anyone who brings tha noise. All the judges vote yes, and Kara-cha DiGregorio says, "I think you have a really big instrument." Whoa. No wonder she has the worst reputation at St. Bernadette's.

One of the most heartfelt stories ever heard on Idol is yet to come. You haven't forgotten about tonight's Very Special Contestant (VSC), have you?? Okay, good. Don't forget. We'll get to him soon. Ryan promises. Maybe around 9:50-ish.

For now, we're treated to a not-so-surprise visit from last year's 4th-runner up, Jason Castro. No, he's not trying out again, he's here to support his brother, Michael Castro, who apparently just took up singing, like, 20 minutes ago. The younger Castro is just as dumb as big brah, but not nearly as cute. His hair is even worse than the dreads, if you can imagine. It looks like a menstruating hen is perched on his head. (Sorry guys, I know nothing turns you off more than "lady talk." But get over it. It's part of life, you weenies.) Michael does a fair impression of Gavin DeGraw and cruises through to Hollywood, to the delight of his very unsurprised family. Kara Didgeridoo says she likes him 'cause he's "ballsy." What's up with this chick tonight? Jeez. Sometimes a microphone is just a microphone, lady. Enough with your phallic fixation.

As if right on cue, some weird dude in a yellow suit sings a song about a banana. He's actually pretty hilarious. Immediately, I like him a whole bunch. He's a little fruity, but has a strange a-peel. Tee hee. Even my puns can't save him though, and he slips out of my life as quickly as he slid in.

Baldy McBurly sings a nice version of "Ain't No Sunshine," and although Randy dismisses him as "just a bar singer," the other three send him to Hollywood.

Tone-Deaf Twotone follows that with the scariest audition I've ever witnessed. This chick looks like a heroin addict, but is trying to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" through a yellowed, fake pageant smile. The judges are pretty brave to say no to her. I'd have been afraid that she was going to stab me in the throat with my own pen or summon a demon crow to peck my eyes out. Creeee-py.

It's quite obvious that Lisa Loebish is one of the favorites this season. She's the only one who has a camera man come to her house to take footage while she hangs out with her dear, crazy old granny. She then sings Janis Joplin's "Cry Baby" pleasantly enough and waltzes through to the next round.

Suck-N-Pepa dedicate a rap about being a morbidly obese cookie addict to Randy, so mad props to them. But they're not here just to screw around - they're really serious about getting on the show. Well, at least Pepa is, anyway. After Suck pretty much lives up to her name, Pepa wins the judges over by singing well, yet still managing to sound like any number of other female pop/R&B singers.

Jamar sports the tiniest fauxhawk in the world and shouts his way through "California Dreamin'." Even though no one called Rat Pack Jack on his volume modulation problems, everyone complains that Jamar is a little loud. But, what's this? He's the VSC's BFF? Well, then. Welcome to Hollywood! Go on with your loud self!

Ooh, there's a new show coming to FOX starring Eliza Dushku. She's on the lesbian list, folks. I'll have to check it out. And this show's premise actually looks pretty interesting.

Finally, tonight's VSC is revealed as The Grief-Stricken Widower. I don't know if that necessarily puts him ahead of the blind guy in the sad story competition, but the widower definitely has the edge in the vocal category. He sings "Heard it Through The Grapevine" pretty fly(ly) for a white guy, and suddenly he's being labeled "one of the best." Paula thinks he's in the pocket, so you know what that means. Drink up! He's also probably the cutest guy so far. I'm kind of digging him. He's got a Robert Downey Jr. thing going on. Wait a I one of those sick women who is drawn to broken men? Is grief really nature's most powerful aphrodisiac?

More importantly, how is this show not over yet? I'm gonna have to zoom through this like a witch on a flying bicycle.

Some nondescript guys sing songs we just heard last night and make it through. Several unattractive girls make fools out of themselves. Not even his own personal cheerleading squad can help Theatre Boy bring it on. The Obviously Mentally Deficient Guy gets ribbed by the judges for your pleasure.

Mister Cleo breaks up the monotony a bit. He's a kooky guy who predicts he's going to Hollywood because Simon told him so in a dream. He sings "With You" while making a lot of odd facial expressions and jerky dance moves, but I'm actually thoroughly entertained by him. The judges don't seem sold, but after promising that he can sing very, very, very, very, very well, they give him a golden ticket. Yay! He and his family and friends celebrate by dancing around outside like they just received an Extreme Home Makeover.

More commercials. If my obsession with this ridiculous program over the years hasn't made me enough of a dork, the swift realization that I MUST see Hotel For Dogs the instant it comes out assures me that my transformation is complete.

And now, the last two auditions! Thank God.

Sleeping Booty mangles Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You," and because they're masochists, the judges allow her to attempt that dog whistle note. When she doesn't make it through, she warns the judges repeatedly that God will smite them. Yeah, tell them something they don't know.

Finally, Baby Mama tries to outdo the VSCs who have come before her. She's living in a hotel with her husband and three kids because a tornado destroyed her house. Nice try, but her family is all still alive and she has two perfectly good eyes. She also sings quite well, but she still sounds awfully familiar. Randy describes her as a mixture of Fantasia and Mary J. Blige, which would've been a compliment if he hadn't used the F-word.

Tune in next week to see a giant bunny-man molest Simon. BeckEye out.

This One's for My Girl, Paula

Since last night's Idol premiere was excruciatingly boring, I've decided to liven things up with the Unofficial Season 8 Drinking Game. I hope you'll all play along at home. I'll leave out the obvious things like taking a shot every time Randy says "dawg." The idea is to get drunk, not end up a vegetable.

Take a sip every time:

  • Simon rolls his eyes
  • Randy mentions his stint with Journey
  • Anyone says "pitchy"
  • Any contestant dedicates a song to someone who died
Take a shot every time:
  • Simon rubs his nipples
  • A contestant back-sasses Simon
  • Kara calls someone "sweetie"
  • Paula uses the phrase "in the pocket"
  • Randy reminds everyone that he knows Mariah Carey
  • Ryan and Simon have some type of homoerotically-charged exchange
  • You hear that House is about to face the toughest case of his career
Chug a beer if:
  • Paula makes a clear, valid point

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

American Idol 8: Rise of the Phoenix

So, I stopped at the grocery store earlier tonight and, as I was reaching for the milk that will surely go bad well before the expiration date (stupid NYC), I heard a radio promo for the American Idol premiere, featuring a very excited announcer proclaiming that tonight is the moment we've all been waiting for! I rolled my eyes in disgust, then quickly checked the time and high-tailed it out of there so I could be firmly planted in front of the TV when that moment arrived.

Don't think the eye-rolling is over, though. Mine or yours. It's only just begun.

The opening montage showcases the glory of life, all set to "What a Wonderful World." I'm glad that the economic downturn and slow but sure implosion of the music business hasn't shaken the AI producers' confidence any.

Just as I'm about to wretch from all this self-aggrandizement, I see possibly the greatest thing I have ever witnessed on this show. Did they show this last year? If so, how did I miss it? "It" is a home video of a gaggle of tweentard girls anxiously awaiting the results of AI 7. They all have their David Archuleta tees on and are holding on to each other for dear life, writhing in agonizing anticipation. When David Cook's name is announced, their melodramatic reaction is priceless. I doubt they would've screamed louder had Cook been standing outside their house, lobbing grenades through the living room window.

Oh, Idol, you're my favorite mistake. How I've missed you.

Oh, House promos. How I've not.

The first stop on the audition trail this year is Phoenix, AZ, birthplace of Stevie Nicks and home to Alice Cooper, both musical legends whom most of these AI hopefuls wouldn't know from a big hole in the ground. Or a canyon, even.

The first of this future crop of Celebrity Rehab patients is Viet Cauc, so-called (by me)* because of his half Vietnamese/half white heritage. Who knew that combo could spawn a kid with such an afrotastic hairdo. I think he might be Rosann Rosanna Danna's great-grandson. V.C. makes a lackluster attempt at Jacko's "The Way You Make Me Feel," complete with awkward near-miss crotch grabs...and then...something that resembles tap dancing. He ain't bad. He ain't nothin'! He ain't nothin'! And he ain't going to Hollywood.

Cliché Lauper is up next. She's got many different shades of hair! She has tattoos and facial piercings! She's in an all-girl rock band! She's singing "Barracuda!" Simon likes her because she's "different." I'm sorry, is it 1982? Because that was the last year she was eligible for the "different" category. She has a decent enough voice, but everyone gushes way too much over her. VFTW has already outed her as one of this year's plants, so I guess the gushing makes sense.

Rockin' Randy pleads with the judges to give him a chance, since he's 28 and this is his last year to try out. I'm sorry but, again, is it 1982? Because that was the last time this guy saw 28. And age confusion is not his only problem; this dude thinks that dressing like a cool '80s rocker will actually make him one. But the weak voice and lack of anything resembling stage presence trumps the all-black wardrobe and endless supply of do-rags. Oh, not to mention that when he isn't singing, he's crying like a little girl. There's no crying in rock 'n' roll!

Some 16-year-old named D.J. or J.D. or J.B. or O.D.B. or something makes all the judges very smiley with his inoffensive voice, boring musical taste, and overall blandness. Shock of all shocks, he makes it through. He is this year's David Archuleta, minus all the squinting and lip licking.

Michael Grrrrrrr looks like the bastard child of Bilbo Baggins. But once he starts singing, I can immediately tell that he's actually the bastard child of Gollum and Cher.

A string of weirdos parade through the audition room, paving the way for Soul Glow, a really weird dude who sings a song called "Cactus Baby" for the amused panel. When his "vocals" turn into the utterings of a trained seal mid-song, they cut him off. He keeps begging for another chance until Marcellus Wallace finally has to usher him out of the room.

Well, well, well, what do we have here? Why, it's Aqua Fresh, a cute, perky 16-year-old girl with a dazzling smile and a professional-looking coif. When she's not getting all As in school, she likes to visit the senior home! Oh goodness, will she make it through?? The suspense is killing me! Yep. She does. Even though she can carry a tune, everyone was so blinded by her teeth that they forgot to tell her that her version of "Put Your Records On" was a totally unoriginal and uninspired imitation.

There is a montage of a bunch of guys using their false, yo, followed by a bass singing - what else - a Barry White song. He sounds like a demon with a third-grade education. So not sexy.

Not only is Pinky the cowgirl Kara DioGuardi's biggest fan (and an aspiring songwriter), but she's got super spirit! I wrote her off as annoying at first glance, but she actually seems like a sweet kid. She doesn't have a great voice, but I swear she sounds exactly like Aaron Carter. So it's weird that the judges tell her no. Simon should eat that shit up. Anyway, after Pinky gushes some more over Kara and leaves the audition, Kara snipes, "That's my fan...what does that say about me?" Uhh, I don't know...that you're a bitch? Or, uhh, that you write craptastic music that only hyperactive children can tolerate?

Right about now, three big questions are weighing heavily on my mind:
1. Where the eff are all the hot guys? They couldn't find even one Aussie expat in the bunch??
2. What in the name of all that is holy is up with Cowell's flat-top? Is he trying to look like Mr. Buzzcut?
3. Is Kara DioGuardi going to continue to call everyone "sweetie" in that maddeningly condescending tone for the duration of the season??

Here comes Stevie, yet another 16-year-old. She keeps mentioning that she was named after Stevie Nicks, as if that has anything to do with whether or not she can sing. She does one of my favorites, "At Last," quite well though, thankfully not mucking it up with a bunch of Xtina-style melisma. She's my favorite so far.

Blue Collar McBuffcakes breaks out a little East Coast swing by Boyz II Men, and it's aight. Nothing earth-shattering, but a pleasant enough Southern-fried Motown Philly cheesesteak.

After all the constant hyping of her all episode long, Bikini Girl finally shows up. Obviously, this chick's hero is Megan from Rock of Love, who wore her little slutkini everywhere. So, hey, if AI doesn't work out for her, maybe she can catch up with Bret's tour bus. She's not going anywhere yet though, because the two male judges immediately put her through to Hollywood despite the fact that she's not a very good singer. Wow, all the spontaneity that was left in this show has just been sucked out with Simon and Randy's very scripted, bug-eyed, awooooogah response to Bikini Girl. Then, of course, the requisite meows and hisses are exchanged between Bikini Girl, Kara and Paula. After getting her golden ticket, Bikini Girl chases down Seacrest whom she promptly kisses on the lips, which seem to be hermetically sealed.

Next up is...hey! It's Sexual Chocolate! Wow, in the same episode as Soul Glow. Who'da thunk it? I'm suddenly having a craving for a McDowell's burger. And, even though I have a moratorium on "The Greatest Love of All," I would like to hear the Sexual Chocolate version right about now. No such luck, though.

Bubbilicious brightens the judges' world with her peppy personality, but no one is really loving her voice. It may not be the greatest I've heard, but she's better than Bikini Girl for sure. Still, it looks as if this poor girl isn't going to make the cut. Kara and Randy say no, but Paula says yes, leaving the decision up to the mean one. Bubbilicious gives Simon her best doe eyes...and what happened then? Well, in Phoenix they say that Lord Cowell's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then the true meaning of AI shone through and Simon found the strength to say, "Sweetheart, you're through!" Fah who for aze, everyone!

A quartet of pretty good singers close out the show - Southern Belle with her smoky version of "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," Emo Boi's unexpected coffeehouse hipster routine, The Standard-Issue Dorky Kid who can actually sing (but has the mannerisms of a chicken while doing so), and The Very Special Contestant (VSC) who is a Blind Guy this time around. At least he's not the usual sad sap with a sob story but not much talent, yet sticks around anyway purely for the Lifetime TV moments. He actually has a really nice voice. And it doesn't hurt that his friend/aide is totally cute. He's no Michael Johns but...*sigh*...who is?

Tomorrow night, it's off to Kansas City to hunt for another David Cook. Who wants to bet that all of the rejects will be forced to sing off-key versions of "Time of My Life" for the public's amusement?

*I can't be bothered with learning all of these auditioners names at this point in the game.


Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

My photo
I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

"You're like an idiot savant of terrible garbage entertainment." - Falwless

"You're my hero." - Candy

"Get yourself a life. Better yet.....eff off." - Ann Onymous

"There's no one like you." - Klaus Meine