Wednesday, February 10, 2010

American Idol, Season 9, Episode 9: Hollywood Week, Part One

Yeah, yeah, I know. I didn't recap Episode 8. To be honest, and I know that you're all going to be shocked, I didn't watch it. I didn't see the point in more auditions of people we'll never see again, so I was very charitable and let Richie watch Ghost Hunters instead. I know, I'm an awesome wife. I'm a giver.

Anyway, after an exhaustive (so says Seacrest) and an exhausting (so says Josie) audition process, 181 golden-ticket holders finally get to converge on the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. Now the journey can truly begin!

We are finally, finally introduced to new judge Ellen DeGeneres. I like that she addresses my concerns about her qualifications to sit on the panel with Simon, Kara, and Randy--because she cares so much about my personal concerns. I like that; it makes me feel important. Ellen tells us that she knows what it's like to stand on a stage and try to please a room full of people, and apparently, like Simon, she loves to give Ryan Seacrest a hard time. This reads good things, people. She doesn't take herself too seriously AND she proves to be terrifically funny all night long while being refreshingly honest. I'm taking this on a day by day basis, and for the first round, I'm a fan.

Ok, so let's get to the contestants! So many singers, so little time and brain power. And also, talent.

Phase One: Sudden Death. The judges bring the contestants out in groups of 8. Contestants can choose to sing a cappella or with an instrument. They get one shot, and if they blow it, they're out. No second chances here. Standouts in Phase One:

1. Katie Stevens: The very first contestant we hear sing, and she chose Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life". I <3 style="font-weight: bold;">Andrew Garcia chose to use his acoustic guitar to sing his own arrangement of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up". I'm not going to lie, I loved it. Certainly better than Paula's, and that's coming from someone who locked herself in her room with her Karaoke machine and sang Paula's version religiously every day of the 8th grade. If this guy doesn't make it to the Top 12, I will be shocked.

3. Vanessa Wolfe's hair looks a lot better straight. Why on earth she chose a Blind Melon song to sing instead of sticking to her country roots, I do not know. I mean, of all the song choices in the world, why choose a song sung by a guy with a whiny, shaky voice when you're already nervous? Oh, bless her heart. You could hear the nerves all in that poor girl's voice, and she paid dearly for it by not making it to the next round. Thankfully, though, she's young enough to audition again next year. She'll be stronger, tougher, more jaded, and ready for Hollywood.

4. I do not like Haeley Vaughn. She is a bit too cocky for her 16 young years, like hse is the be-all and end-all of singers. I'm sorry, my friend, but you are not. It's contestants like her that make me dislike contestants under the age of 18. She has pageant girl written all over her. Too slick, and I need more real.

5. Mary Powers (you remember her, right? FauxBenetar?) thinks that her entire family's life is going to change because she made it to the next round in Hollywood? WOW. Lady, you have no idea what's coming, do you?

On Day Two of Phase One (WOW. That is very complex sounding, isn't it? It's really not. Just more contestants we vaguely remember from a couple weeks ago singing.) Simon totally jinxes the contestants by telling them to not forget the lyrics. But here's the twist! Instead of us being shown a bunch of contestants that, you know, forgot the lyrics, the contestants press on and REMEMBER their lyrics! How crazy is that? It's like they were saying "Take that, Simon!" You go, random American Idol contestants I won't remember tomorrow or next week. Anyway, stuff happened on Day Two:

1. Jay Stone completely blew his chance for making it to the next round by doing stupid things with his voice. Yeah, I know all about Blake Lewis, blah blah, but at least Blake sang SOMETIMES during the competition. On Project Runway, the rule of thumb is to not bore the judges with ugly, unimaginative clothes. On American Idol, the rule is that gimmicks will only get you into Hollywood. Don't annoy the judges. What really rubs me the wrong way about this guy is that if you actually heard him sing, he has a nice voice. GAH.

2. Lilly Scott sang Ella Fitzgerald and I fell a little bit in love with her and her crazy hair. She has a very unique voice, and I look forward to hearing more.

3. Before he went on the stage, Michael Lynche got a call from his wife telling him that she had gone into labor. Dude, all I'm saying is that you better make it far, like Top 10, or you will NEVER EVER live this down.

4. I am also seriously angry with Justin Williams for taking a happy, lovely, joy-filled song like "Fly Me To The Moon" and making it sound like a funeral song. Frank Sinatra is rolling over in his grave as we speak, wishing he could send some of his Vegas goons to get this guy for ruining his song.

5. The Barney girl with the whip didn't make it to the next round! I'm really surprised. I thought she was pretty good. Obviously, though, not good enough for me to write down her name! HAHAHA, I make myself giggle.

6. Y'all, my heart is broken. Like, I wanted to adopt Maddy Curtis and make her another sister of mine or something. She is so sweet and adorable and had such a pretty voice. She sounds way beyond her 16 years, and has a mature personality to match it. She realizes that life isn't all about her, you know? When her mom was comforting her, telling her there was always next year, I was rocking myself on the couch, saying the same thing!

7. Oh, Casey James. I think you're supposed to be this year's eye candy, with your blonde hair and your unbuttoned shirt and that makes me want to roll my eyes. Like, roll my eyes alot, and continuously. Please, American Idol, do not try to tell us who we should be crushing on this season! I cannot deny, though, that he is talented, and plays his guitar well.

I love the shot of Ryan "directing" the contestants where to stand on the stage, like he does that kind of thing all the time. Sure, Seacrest, whatever. You probably had to read the script three times to make sure you got this shot right. Oh, Ryan. You make me giggle. Oh, back to the folks who sang.

8. DiDi Benami (ooh, it rhymes!) decided to sing a song that Kara wrote. Smart move. The decision to play an instrument AND sing the song well? Bloody brilliant. I like this girl (haha, I'm sooo Randy); she's very Colbie Caillat. She has this whole cool California-girl vibe going on, and I don't even know if she's from California or not. However, I do take issue with her crazy getup. Neon pink tights? Brown cowboy boots? Grey strapless dress? Yikes. Makes my eyes bleed. Apparently, she's not only competing to be the Next American Idol, but also looking to take the crown away from Katharine McPhee, Idol's Crown Empress of Bad Clothing Decisions.

9. Crystal Bowersox (She's going to have to change that last name. It's not musical at all and sounds like a piece of gentlemen's clothing from the turn of the century or something. Very unflattering.) As unflattering as her name may be, she sang and played an incredible arrangement of Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman". Like Andrew Garcia before her, she made it sound fresh and new. And you know you're good when you can get your fellow competitors to sing back up for you. Now that's a following. She seems really nice and humble, too. That's something I can get behind. Hmm. Since I lost Maddy to Hollywood week, maybe I can love Crystal instead. Something to think about. We'll see how group rounds go Wednesday night.

That's right! Group rounds begin tonight! WOO! It's my favorite night of the year, folks. Time for the tears, and the tantrums, and the attitudes and the sharp objects with which to stab our teammates in the back! Yes! THIS is American Idol!


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