Wednesday, January 13, 2010

American Idol, Season 9, Episode 1: Boston Auditions

I'm a little rusty at this, so forgive me in advance.

I really liked last night's episode, and everyone knows I'm not a fan of the audition episodes. It felt like a kinder, gentler Idol. Simon wasn't nearly as vicious and baiting as he has been in seasons past, and I have to say I like this Simon. Maybe it was the very notable absence of Paula that made him more tolerable. Now, that's not to say when they're in Atlanta tonight, he won't be the same cad he's always been.

I'm not going to do an audition-by-audition rundown, because we won't see most of these folks past the Hollywood round, so why bother to get invested? I'm just going to hit on a few major points:

1. I didn't miss Paula. I felt like the entire IQ of the show shot up about 30 points with her absence. No one talked down to the contestants, the way Paula loves to do in the name of "being positive" and keeping up her reputation as 'the nice judge". All we got was good, honest feedback.

2. Victoria Beckham was a great guest judge. As a member of producer-created group The Spice Girls, she actually has some idea of what it's like to stand in front of a group of strangers and sing your little heart out. She seemed genuinely nice and perhaps more than a little bit shy, which is probably how she got her reputation for being snobby. I liked the way she got along with the other judges, especially with Kara. They were so in sync and it was really nice to have another female judge who offered constructive criticism and was lucid at all times. I especially loved the way Victoria didn't clap at anyone like a drunk seal. It made my heart so happy. And calling Simon out on his eye-rolling without being obnoxious was pretty great. Being a fellow Brit, she could get away with it like no one else.

3. Not as many bad singers. I know, I know. I should write "Many more good singers", but for so long, that's what the producers loved to highlight on the audition episode. I've been saying for YEARS (YEARS!!!) that since this is a singing competition, they really should do a better job of letting us know about the folks that we're going to be watching for the next few months. The so-called "bad" singers that they did highlight weren't shown so much for their terrible singing ability as they were attitude because a couple of them were OK, if they'd just chosen a different song or toned it down a bit. Although, that guy with the hair and the ridiculous clothing, well, he deserved everything he got.

In fact, I didn't see anyone that made me physically ill with hate. There was no Bikini Girl, and that made me really, really happy. That first contestant made me a little nervous. I mean, with the muffin top and the ridiculousness, I was like "Really? Are you really serious with this mess? Do you honestly think that you are American Idol material because of a video game? Someone paid you to audition, right?" I have the video game, too, and I can tell you it has nothing to do with vocal quality and everything to do with knowing the words and coming in on the beat.

For the record: although I do bounce around before I go and perform to get my adrenaline up, I look NOTHING like that. I also, contrary to popular belief, look at myself in the mirror and tell myself how incredibly awesome I am. (I could get away with it, though, because let's face it--I am awesome.) I would also never allow myself to dress that way on National Television. I don't dress that way to clean my floors!

One last thing. Dear Mr. "I Can't Wait Because I Am So Very Important": Newsflash-- you're not. And that's all I have to say about that.

The bottom line? A great episode and I'm looking forward to tonight's auditions in Atlanta. Whoever shall the guest judge be?

Wow, not a lot of snark today. Hmm. I am rusty.


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