Thursday, February 05, 2009

American Idol 8: Hooray (or Not) For Hollywood

The first two rounds of American Idol's Hollywood week just finished up with nary a recap from moi. What is going on?? Am I learning to prize things like family QT and sleep over this stupid show? Oh come on. I slack one week and you people think I've suddenly gotten my priorities straight? Not bloody likely.

As I mentioned yesterday, Tuesday's episode really didn't deserve its own write-up, so I'm actually glad that I didn't have a chance to blog it. This all worked out just fine. So, without much further ado, here is your combined Hollywood Week, Part 1 recap.

Tuesday: Hollywood Week Round 1

Cue the dramatic opera music. Cue Ryan’s hyperbole. THIS IS THE BIGGEST SEASON YET! How do we know this? We’re promised lots of bleeped-out swearing during Hollywood week.

We start with 147 hopefuls who are sent to “Idol Boot Camp,” a new feature this year. The workshop helps the contestants with vocal coaching and image styling before they even set foot on stage. Then Barry Manilow shows up and and everyone forgets what they just learned.

In the first round, the idea is to whittle the group down as quickly as possible based on how well (or poorly, depending on your POV) each contestant sings a line or two. They take the stage in groups of eight and pass the mic down the line.

(I guess I have to start using people's real names now, so if they were featured during the audition rounds, and I can remember what I nicknamed them, I'll add a parenthetical note.)

Lil (Baby Mama) Rounds yells “I-Eeeeee-I Will Always Love You-Ooooooh-Ooooh –I” to the squealing delight of all the judges. Big surprise – she’s in. So is a bunch of other people who we don’t actually hear singing.

Dennis (Mister Cleo) Brigham sings badly and Simon doesn’t like his face, so he’s out. But not before showing the most outrage he can muster, which basically consists of attacking Simon’s fashion sense (is there an easier target?) and telling the panel they “suck as judges.” Then Captain Obvious finally leaves the building.

Nathaniel Marshall appears and I can’t figure out if he’s got a bunch of mouth piercings or a bad case of the herp. He sings a very plodding, obscure song and then cries a river while proclaiming his love for music with an unintentionally funny soliloquoy. “It’s on my SKIN! It bursts out of me every time I’m on stage!! I want this more than anything!” Nathaniel makes it through to the next round based on the strength of his “theatrics.”

More people make it through, including Anoop Desai, Jasmine (Gabrielle Union) Murray, Rose (The Hippie) Flack, and Michael (Jason’s Brother) Castro.

Von (Rat Pack Jack) Smith proves that he can be louder than he was in his first audition, and Simon calls this audition “indulgent nonsense,” before piling on a ton of other insults. Oh, and guess what? Von makes it through to the next round! Why not? Jorge (Jorgay) Nunez and Stephen Fowler also make it through. We never saw Stephen during the audition rounds, probably because he doesn’t have a sob story. But he has one of the stronger voices I’ve heard so far.

The judges harp on everyone’s song choices. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Nick (Norman Gentle) Mitchell acts like he’s auditioning for a part in Nathaniel’s cabaret show by singing “And I Am Telling You” again, just to prove that he’s not very original along with being a not-very-good singer. All of the judges find Nick/Norman hilarious, even though he’s about as funny as Kenny Banya.

Unsurprisingly, Nick/Norman makes it through, as do Frankie (Amy Milfhouse) Jordan and Scott (The Blind Guy) MacIntyre.

(J Train) Jackie Tohn Joe Cockers her way through a Sue Tedeschi song and stays alive, much to my dismay. This girl reminds me of someone I know and can’t stand, so I don’t think I’m ever going to like her, no matter how well she can sing. And she can’t sing that well anyway.

Danny (The Grief-Stricken Widower) Gokey sings that Seal song I hate, and his bud Jamar Rogers sings something I’ve already forgotten. They’re both okay, and they both make it through to the next round, along with a bunch of familiar-looking people whose auditions we don’t get to hear.

Katrina (Bikini Girl) Darrell is back, and tries out Faith Hill’s “Breathe” this time around. Once again, she proves that she can sort of carry a tune, but is by no means a great singer. Once again, Kara and Paula hate her but Simon and Randy act like horny idiots…even though Katrina is not wearing a bikini and is clearly not even the prettiest girl there. But, she’s good for at least one more day of manufactured drama, so they keep her around.

A bunch of people better than Bikini Girl don’t make it, including Jessica Furney, the Lisa Loebish girl who we met visiting her grandmother in the old folks’ home. That sucks. I really liked her.

Michael Sarver
(Blue Collar McBuffcakes) sounds a lot like every other male pop singer, so he makes it through, as do David Osmond. And although Emily Wynne-Hughes (Cliché Lauper) disappoints the judges with a half-assed rendition of a No Doubt song, they still let her slide.

After what seems like an eternity, Round 1 is over and 40 people are sent home.

Wednesday: Hollywood Week Round 2

Now we move on to Round 2, otherwise known as the Group Round. Ryan promises talent, tears, swearing, and sabotage. Any promises of quality television? Don’t be silly.

The field has been narrowed to 107 people, who are all required to form teams. Everyone seems to find a group, but there are a few odd people out, including Tatiana (Shakira Munster) Del Toro, who remains odd even after finding a group to join.

Of course, Tatiana’s group doesn’t get along, mostly because Tatiana is a psycho. One of the girls even compares her to Satan. Feeling as though she’s being “thrown under the bus,” Tatiana starts weeping to anyone who will listen. She tries to join a group with Kristen McNamara, Nancy Wilson (no, not THAT Nancy Wilson), and Nathaniel Marshall and, although Kristen agrees to let her in, the other two want nothing to do with her. However, moments after Nancy relents, Tatiana decides to go back to her group. Nancy flips out and confronts Tatiana, who loves the extra camera time.

As for Nancy and her group, hilariously dubbed “Compromise,” the fighting begins when Kristen decides she wants to rest her voice. Nancy yells at Kristen and makes her cry. Nathaniel does a weepy scene like he’s auditioning for the part of the son in Kramer vs. Kramer II. Everyone is destroying everyone else’s dreams! Why can’t we all just get over ourselves and get along? Boo hoo hoo hoo! Reality TV life is HARD!!

We check in on another group, “The Divas,” which consists of Katrina Darrell, Rose Flack, Jasmine Murray, and some other girl I’ve never seen (Lauren Barnes). The Diva drama begins when Katrina (who else) decides to go to bed while everyone else is still rehearsing. Katrina goes to her room and conveniently leaves the door open so the cameraman can zoom into the darkness and pick up the sounds of her tiny, fake sobs.

The next morning, The Divas check on Katrina, who says she’s not feeling well. Apparently, her 15 minutes of biniki-clad fame have exhausted her to the point where she can’t even get out of bed. Poor thing.

The other groups try to get their acts together in the last few moments before auditions begin. Emily Wynne-Hughes barks orders at her group. Team Compromise still hasn’t learned what their group name means. Kristen accuses everyone else of being too dramatic. Nancy goes off and practices by herself. Kristen and Nathaniel take turns staring at the camera and sighing heavily.

Since Rose mentions several times that Katrina has “given up,” it should shock no one that she actually gets out of bed and returns to the group. She offers up an apology along the lines of, “I’m sorry guys, but I really needed more camera time. Er, I mean sleep. Yeah, yeah, that’s what I meant, camera time. Woops! Said it again. SLEEP. Honestly. That’s what I needed. Now…which one of these cameras is on?” *pose*

Bickering time is up, and the groups all head to the auditorium. When the judges arrive, Simon warns everyone, “Forget the words…YOU’RE OUT.” He forgot to tack on, “unless you have a really good sob story or a stunning rack,” but he probably assumes everyone already knows that.

First group of the day is “White Chocolate,” made up of India (1/2 of Suck and Pepa) Morrison, Justin Williams, Kris Allen, and Matt (The Piano Man) Giraud. They sing the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” in perfect harmony and with a bit of a rap touch. They all make it through.

We see Austin (Chad Michael Dylan Priestly) Sisneros screw up the words, so he’s out. Julissa (Candidata) Veloz’s whole group seems pretty bad, yet while she and random girl teammate are cut, Jorge Nunez and Nick/Norman make it through.

The next group, “Action Squad,” featuring Emily Wynne-Hughes, Alex Wagner-Trugman, Ryan Pinkston, and Anne Marie Boskovich, sing “Don’t Stop” with absolutely no harmony while attempting sad, very Brady dance moves. When they start singing lyrics that don’t exist in any song, least of all theirs, it's clear that someone is going home. Those someones are Emily and Ryan. Emily cries, and after slipping the cameraman a $50, he gives her some more screen time, which should help her band (the one she abandoned) sell a few more tickets to their next show. And if her band tells her to go to hell, she’ll just have that much more free time for drunk driving. Ryan Pinkston, meanwhile, thinks that Paula is to blame. For everything. He saw an evil in her eyes. (Effects department brings up an image of Paula with red, demonic eyes.) Oh please, she’s not the devil. Her eyes are just really bloodshot.

Now there is a montage of horrible groups being insulted by Simon. At least, we have to assume that they’re horrible because we don’t actually get to hear most of them sing.

Danny Gokey’s group (The Rainbow Coalition…seriously) sings “Somebody to Love” a cappella. Simon tries to pretend like only Danny is going through but then he lets the other group members, Jamar Rogers, Taylor Vaifanua, and some other girl, off the hook. They’ve all made it.

Michael Sarver, Adam (Bangs McGee) Lambert, Matt (Baldy McBurly) Breitzke, and Jesse Langseth all make it through while being singled out as examples of “incredible singers,” even though Adam just does a lot of dramatic screeching.

The Divas finally take the stage and surprise no one by being pretty lame. Rose hops around like her feet are on fire while Jasmine sings through her nose. During judging, Katrina claims she has scoliosis and had to go to bed early the night before because she’d been in heels all day. Sorry, honey, the time for sob stories was weeks ago. Her time is up, and of the four girls, only Jasmine makes it through. Bikini Girl gets a few more poses off before leaving the stage, and Simon says she’ll go far. A much more accurate prediction is that she’ll get some attention from the blogs and media at first, will probably be asked to appear on the Idol finale months from now, and then everyone will promptly forget her, forcing her to make a sex tape with some high-ranking official and “accidentally” leak it to the public.

The Osmond and the one girl who can really sing (Deanna Brown) are cut. I hope Nick/Norman is happy.

Now, Tatiana’s team (Tatiana, Muna Hiluf, and 2 other chicks) is up. It isn’t that great and the judges wince through the whole thing like their ears are bleeding. So, it only stands to reason that they keep everyone. Afterwards, Tatiana cries tears of joy and babbles about nothing in particular. She makes about as much sense as the judges’ decisions.

The last group of the day is Compromise. Before going onstage, Nathaniel leads them all in prayer. God must be watching something else, because Nancy effs up the words, Kristen screams, and Nathaniel performs like he’s trying out for a part in The Boy From Oz. Nathaniel and Kristen make it through, causing Nancy to cry and call Kristen a “bleeping bleep” on the way out. Then, Nathaniel cradles her in his big, strong man arms (heh) while she moans about how some random blonde girl killed her dream.

To finish out the day, a bunch of people no one knows get cut, including one pretty cute guy. I swear this season is going to have THE UGLIEST GUYS EVER!

At the end of Round 2, only 75 contestants remain. The final day of Hollywood is next week.

I find it strange that Joanna Pacitti wasn’t featured at all during these two days. Makes me wonder if she was required to audition at all, or if her golden ticket read: Proceed Directly to the Top 24.

EDIT: To all the ladies upset about my "ugly guy" comment...yes I agree that Danny the Widower is kinda cute. He's got a chubby Robert Downey, Jr. thing going on and seems sweet. However, he's the only guy out of 75 that I would want to have breakfast with. That's pretty sad. So either there are no really good-looking guys getting through this year or Michael Johns has just desensitized me to hotness, and now anyone who doesn't reach his level of the sexy is just a troll under a bridge.


popsavant said...

I'd say Wednesday night (Hollywood group day) was the FIRST actually entertaining show of the young season.

I've got an idea if they ever revive the whole "Idol Gives Back" thing... if you make a donation, you're entered in a lottery to be allowed to personally scathingly cut one person during Hollywood week. Since Bikini was already taken care of, I'd have given Tatiana the ol' heave-ho. Can't stand her.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

You rinse before lathering? Holy fuck! I've been doing it wrong!

BeckEye said...

IR - I have no idea what you're talking about.

By the way, I forgot to tell you that this blog is about me picking on everyone else's faults. Not the other way around.

But I still have no idea what you're talking about. :)

Candy's daily Dandy said...

hmmm...UGLY GUYS? I thought the rocker dude with the black hair and eyeliner was pretty hot and has great pipes! I like Danny Gokey too. Great story.

Is Joanna Pacitti the pretty girl with the black hair and blue eyes that had the recording contract that "didn't work out"?

red said...

I'm actually totally in love with the grieving widower. That dude can sing!

CDP said...

I actually watched it last night, for the first time. Tatiana appears to be genuinely mentally ill, and might possibly be enhancing her mental illness with drugs. Truly crazy.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Hey! You changed it! Now I look foolish...

Damn you and your ability to turn the tables...damn you!

Fancy Schmancy said...

Truly entertaining stuff. So much for my prediction about Rose, though. Too bad, I have a thing dirty hippies with white dreads.

Mike said...

Still jonesing for Johns eh! How sad that you have to settle for portly Downeys.

Ahhh life is hard!

Falwless said...

I would like to state for the record that I called dibs on Mr. Danny Gokey, Grieving Widower, way back when he auditioned. You ladies best step the fuck back.

Maybe we just haven't seen everyone yet, Becky. Remember we weren't treated to the likes of Michael Johns until Hollywood week? Well maybe there are still to come some hot surprises... we can hope, right?

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

"and Simon says she’ll go far."

By "far", do you think he means Playboy or Penthouse. Or Super Bowl touchdown celebrations in Arizona.

And don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about.

popsavant said...

By "far", do you think he means Playboy or Penthouse.

Katrina wouldn't make the cut for the high-budget publications... I'm thinking perhaps something around the quality of the street racer magazines is about right for her.

Kristi Mantoni said...

Group day was awesome!!! I was entertained almost the entire time! Too bad about the DUI thing, I liked Emily when she auditioned. However, she sucked this week.

Ian said...

No eye candy for you this year, huh? It's not so bad being a male fan of this show. We have a plethora of beauties to look at like...Tatiana! And...and...crap! Oh well, it's all about the music, right?

words words words said...

Great recap :) My only quibble is that I love Adam Lambert's voice. He's my current co-fave with the Widower Gokey. I actually don't like any of the girls very much, especially after they cut poor Jessica Furney, who I had a crush on.

Bikini Girl makes me madder and madder the more I think of her. She traded on being pretty and she's NOT EVEN PRETTY. I'd give any female a day's pay to wait for her in an alley. She and Tatiana and Kristen (who killed her group and wound up the only one getting through) can all go take a flying leap.

I also suggest christening Anoop Desai "Anoop Dogg".

BeckEye said...

Fran - Anoop already dubbed himself "Anoop Dogg" during his first audition. I have a problem with calling someone a nickname that they gave's just kind of lame. It's why T-Bone never worked out for George Costanza.

words words words said...

I didn't realize he'd named himself that. I guess just call him Koko :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I tried to read it all, I really did, but despite your wonderfully wacky humour, it's still about American Idol.

popsavant said...

On the subject of nicknames, I would like to suggest "Winehouse Frankie" for Frankie Jordan... it would work well as her hobo name, for all you John Hodgman fans.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree about the ugly guy thing. So sad. But it totally explains why I'm very unenthused this season. *yawn*

Chancelucky said...

Even the "good" groups made me yawn. So far, not so good for this season. It's really just not that fun to watch group members yell at one another, sound bad when they sing, then treat each other poorly afterwards.

Gwen said...

I am totally crushing on widow dude. He makes me feel 12 again and giggly.

Dale said...

I was about to pretend I'm too good to read your recaps but I'm glad I'm not and I did. Can't you just come here and watch the show with me so I can hear you blogging out loud? I promise to laugh at every single thing you say, as I should.

Sunny said...

To validate my incredible bad taste, I had an appreciation for Banya.

lulu said...

Katrina looked kind of like a mad hen. Her eyes were far too close together.


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