Last night was the series finale of 30 Rock followed by an hour of The Office which I still like despite all the cast changes. Once those two shows were over, I felt like turning off the TV and reading so I didn’t even watch American Idol until this morning. I’m sure my delay has impacted your lives and I apologize for the terrible inconvenience.
Karl Skinner started out the Oklahoma City auditon show with a white boy’s rendition of James Brown’s I Feel Good. Had he chosen something not so over the top, he might have made a good first impression. His guitar playing was nothing to write home about. I couldn’t tell if it was his voice or the guitar but one or both of those was terribly out of tune. Nikki was right about the guitar hampering his performance. I wouldn’t go so far as to say there was a monster inside of him though. Maybe a feral beagle but not a monster. Mariah’s comment, “Elvis had a guitar” made me wonder who she thinks is relevant today. Is he the only person she could think of that sang and played guitar without the guitar getting in the way? ” His comment of “Whatever people want me to do, I’m going to do it.” was spoken like a true people-pleasing, fame-whore and it pleased Randy immensely who was already delighted Karl’s audition. In the end, he got all four judges to vote yes. Of all the people I’m looking forward to seeing in Hollywood, Karl is probably the most personable albeit the least talented.
The string of awful singers that followed got me thinking because as pathetically dreadful as they all were, none of them were the certified wackos we’ve seen in previous years or even the night before when the punk-songstress butchered Adele. They were all just bad singers. Karl was more of a wacko than any of these people. Have the producers decided enough already with the bush babies, flamboyant and talentless gays, borderline street people and the general psychotics?
You can’t blame Nate Tao’s parents for not being more supportive of his singing ambitions. Too bad they can’t hear how well he sings. Stevie Wonder songs are usually death for singers in this show but he nailed it.
When you see newlywed ventriloquist, Halie Hilburn, coming to an audition with her dummy, you are lead to think “Wacko alert” but photos of her as a child doing her act clued you into her history as an experienced performer and not some delusional nutcase. Not only that, she exhibited enough self-awareness to know who she was. And if that wasn’t enough, she has a husband so you know she’s not some loner sitting in her basement waitng for her big break. She had a decent voice. She sang in tune, with expression and dynamics. Three judges gave her a much deserved yes while Randy was perhaps thrown by the presence and the actually quite good yodeling of the puppet. But do they really expect us to believe Halie dumped her performing partner just because the judges told her the puppet was holding her back?
Zoanette Johnson butchered the national anthem with her vibrato-heavy but she was fun to watch. She’s still a wacko but she wasn’t an awful wacko. Somehow she managed to get a unanimous yes from the judges but Randy (and I) have our doubts. After she left, Mariah commented, “That was a wreck.” Yep. That was.
Anastacia Freeman’s singing was comparable to her ability to walk in stilettos. She was aware enough to ask if they were laughing at her but delusional enough to believe them when they said they were not. They definitely were. I loved the “cheap dramatization” of God speaking to her telling her to go to American Idol and definitely not The Voice or X-Factor.
It’s sad to think 16 year-old singer Kayden Stephenson is pretty much middle aged. Talk about tearjerker. Of course they gave him the golden ticket. They aren’t heartless schmucks. Unfortunately the kid really wasn’t really that good. Based on his talent alone, I can’t imagine him getting through the rigors of Hollywood. Given his condition and the physical demands of Hollywood week, I’m kind of surprised he even auditioned. It wouldn’t surprised me if they cut him before the torturously long and stressful group round that extends long into the wee hours of the morning.
Steven Tyler’s surprise appearance at the end made me remember how much better he was as a judge than the new ones. As the season has progressed Nikki has become less alpha, less nickname crazy and thus less objectionable but I still wish she weren’t there. Mariah has said nothing memorable or valuable yet. She’s a bump on a log. A talented bump but a still a bump. Keith is trying to be funny and is occasionally but he’s very low-key and droll especially compared to the very out there Steven.
I’m glad the audition rounds ended already and Hollywood week is upon us. The auditions went on just long enough to whet our appetites and to acquaint us with the new judges but they didn’t drag on and on like they usually do. If you look for it, you can find the names of the top 24 and only one singer from tonight is there. Most of the names are totally unfamiliar to me.