Wednesday, February 08, 2006

American Idol Hollywood Part 1 - First Blood

Ahhh, the fruits of our labor. Hollywood. We've watched with anticipation each week hoping to catch a glance of the next big thing in their Idol infancy. That is, if your idea of the next big thing is selling a bunch of copies of your CD on an end cap at Target. But maybe this year will be different. Maybe I will actually like one of the Idol contestants for the way they sing and not the way they eschew fashion trends or make the audience aware of their nervous ticks...or sausage fingers. We have a fighting chance here, after all this is Hollywood where dreams come true! 175 talented young men and women have braved long lines, pouring rain, peeing in 7-11 cups and various other maladies to get here to the Orpheum theater in Los Angeles. At the end of this week only 12 guys and 12 girls will remain. The producers show us a montage of the city auditions as well as clips from Carrie's crowning last year. It is uplifting. I feel so connected to each of these contestants as I have been writing about them (however poorly) for the past 3 weeks. I can't believe that I have devoted so much time to Idol this year, I can't believe that someone from my home town of Gravette, Arkansas has made it to Hollywood, I can't believe that I am actually ACTUALLY pumped about this!
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Like tradition, the 175 are split into two groups (I'm guessing they either split someone in half or just sat the small cowboy on someone's lap). The first half audition today while the other half get to take an open air omnibus with a Union Jack painted on the side around the sites and smells of Los Angeles. Bus courtesy of Wee Britain, California! For those "in the know" this is not a cool way to be seen around Los Angeles. You're welcome.
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During this first round, each contestant will perform one song from a list of twelve. Imagine the juke box at say, a Perkins Restaurant and there you go, the list of twelve songs. On hand for the vocal assistance is long time American Idol larynx chanteuse Debra Byrd along with Michael Orland (who is missing an "O" in his last name) to tickle the ivories. OMG! GASP! Patrick Hall sighting #1! He is standing around the piano with the rest of the first group about to go on. Let me tell you one thing, Patrick can sing like nobody's business this I know, but what I am curious about is if he is studying Michael Orland(o) because aside from having a set of pipes on him, he can play a mean piano! Seriously, most of the pianos around Gravette are lousy drunks, and mean! I'm just so proud seeing him there. I know, I sound like every Grandma that made it to an American Idol audition, I just don't have my photo t-shirt from Wal-Mart made yet.
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Oh, the catch tonight is that there are no second chances. If the judges don't like them singing this one song then they go straight back home. Yikes!
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Kellie Pickler is first up tonight. You remember Kellie right? She is the Sonic hottie who lives with her Papaw because her dad is a no good druggie. Hey! Speaking of Sonic, have you seen the Sweetheart Brownie Blast yet? No? Damn, what is wrong with y'all! According to their site it's "the sweet taste of cherries and chocolate brownies blended together and topped with little brownie bits. Think of it like the brownies mom used to bake except very, very small. And in a cup." Someone at Sonic is after my own heart with writing like that. Must be someone very smart and very sexy. Ultra sexy. Ultrexy! Kellie sings "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and it sounded great just like I remember her sounding during her audition. You know what else sounds great? A Sweetheart Brownie Blast! Will you be my valentine? Simon thinks she is all over the place but thinks it is nerves and lets her stay. She leaves without asking for his Sonic order. Much like at a real Sonic.
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I'm about to go crazy y'all!!!! Patrick Hall is the first guy to be shown tonight. They actually get it right and say that he is from Gravette. You go GRAVETTE, ARKANSAS!!! He is wearing a nice jacket over a tee and jeans. Okay, it's a very Ryan Secrets ensemble but I know Patrick and he does wear it better than Ryan so I'll cut him some slack. I am not sure of the song but it is amazing! Or rather, he sings it amazingly!!!amazingly!!! Randy picks up on "the look" and tells him that he doesn't look like a star but sounds like one. We'll take it! Paula says he is gifted. Simon is snarky and says "You are half Clay Aiken but likeable." Whaaa? Was Clay Aiken not likeable? Oh honey, Simon baby, that wasn't really Clay Aiken back in Boston. Tsk, what are we going to do with you. Patrick makes it to the next round!!! Yeah!! Whooo hooo!! I'm just glad that I finally got to see him get some much deserved air time.
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Back to the tour group. Wheeeee! We're on the 101 and it's 30 degree's outside! This is genius! It's not like we have to make sure we don't catch colds or anything what with our auditions being tomorrow. They visit the Hollywood Bowl and take lots of pictures of the empty auditorium. It's like, such a profound moment. Ugh.
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Back at the Orpheum (if my head doesn't snap from all the back and forth I don't know what!)Ronnie Norman and Steven David Jr. are about to go on. You remember Ronnie and David right? Ronnie is the guy who thinks he is the rub on tattoo in your box of Cracker Jacks. He is so full of himself (how full is he!) that he believes people think he's the shit when really they are shouting "you're a complete egotistical jack ass and a total shit!" I've never been good at insults. Sorry. Steven David Jr. is the married army guy that Paula tested her new track suit with the Velcro crotch on during the auditions. Ronnie comes up first and gets a chuckle out of the crowd because, you know, they are laughing at him not with him. Anyway, the judges ask him if he is a comedian or something to which he replies "I'm not a comedian, just a likeable guy." Ummm, yeah. Let's get a vote people. Raise your hand if..... anyway. He sings "If I ever fall in love again" which is the same song that Steven David Jr. sings. It's judgment time and Ronnie is super cocky grinning and pointing with approval out at the audience. Hilariously, the three guys in the back row which include both Ronnie and Steven are told they are lucky because .... they made it this far but are going home. Ha! The judges pulled a Secrets! Talk about your mood reversal. Ronnie actually tears up. It's even better because I think that Ronnie did a pretty good job during this audition but the judges just knew that no one would get behind such an ass bag that they axed him early. Ha! Ryan is having a field day with the voiceovers, he points out how Ronnie is crying! Hilarious!
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Back to the tour group. So far no one has gotten hypothermia. They are on Hollywood Blvd looking at all the stars on the Walk of Fame. Sigh... Lets make sure we see Ryan's star. Don't you people know that dogs have peed there! As well as Dakota Fanning!
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Back at the Orpheum Paris Bennett is about to tear it up! She tears it up, chews on it for a while, thinks it tastes like imitation, spits it back out, realizes that it is fat free so what the hell and spits it back out again. Sort of. It makes me think she has maybe a wee bit of an unfair advantage though because she is so good. Not just good, but Aretha good. Mahalia good! I hate the name Paris though. It cheapens it all a little.
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Whooop! Back to the fun kids. They are now at the beach. Brrrrrrrrr. Uh oh, Megan Zieger is having trouble with her voice. Maybe it was the open air bus ride, no? Or those really bad hot dogs from Pink's? Garet Johnson, the little cowboy that could, has never seen the beach in his life and he is about to explode cowboy juice all over the place. I mean that in a very non-pervy way, as if he were going to literally explode. Just saying.
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Back where it is warm, Taylor Hicks is about to take the stage. We here at the Skinny Tie Report really like him. Maybe not as much as Patrick Hall but still, really a lot. Although I still can't stop thinking that this whole Joe Cocker herky jerky thing creeps me out a little. I know that everyone is saying that he looks really old with all of that gray hair but I don't necessarily think that's what makes him seem more mature, it's his song choices. If all you're going to do is sing Muddy Waters and CCR and the like then I might start buying it.
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End of Day 1. Party in the Highlands!
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Now it's the first groups turn to go out and get pneumonia. I think even the losers from the first day get to take the tour bus. Well, really there are no real losers if they made it this far. Except for Ronnie Norman. He lost. Didn't he.
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I am supposing that we are supposed to feel all sad for Megan Zieger because she has a small case of laryngitis. Ooooh poo! Timing sucks honey. Come audition time her voice is very much warbly and all over the place. The crowd pulls together and rallys around her. She moves her voice a key lower and begs the judges for mercy. Actually she is begging. It's pretty sad. We'll see, she seems awful moody for my tastes. I know she has a lot riding on this and losing her voice isn't something she can control but still if she moves on, not my favorite Idol so far. The judges make their decision based on today's performance alongside her audition and she is allowed to move forward. Be prepared for more drama tomorrow folks! When she hears that she is staying, she screams real loud. Yes, that laryngitis will be healing up real soon.
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It's funny because now all of the Day 2 kids laryngitis. Well, most of them are just lying or making up excuses which is exactly what I would be doing if I was there. Of course if I was there I would have gotten there on my excellent hand clapping abilities, and I'm pretty sure that Hand Clap Idol hasn't even begun to spark in the genius mind of Simon Fuller yet. Yet. yet. I wonder if all of this sickness going around has anything to do with oh.....open air bus rides!

!! The tour group makes the same Hollywood Blvd. stop that the first group did. Some of them lay on Ryan's star. I've done that... kinda. Kids, don't try this at home.

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At the Orpheum, The Brittenum Brothers do their thing on stage. Derrell goes first and then Terrell after him. Both of those boys need to iron their shirts. Terrell is a little more diva than Derrell if that matters any. I just knew I needed a way to tell them apart. I am assuming that Terrell is the one who will be saying that line from the previews "My spirit has been broken" tomorrow. Paula liked Terrell's audition back in his audition city a little more than today's performance but both brothers move on. Terrell is a little unhappy with Paula's comment. Ooooh, cat fight!
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In one fail swoop we get to see Brett "Ace" Young, Chicken Little and one of the Crooner guys all make it through to the next round. Or as we in the industry like to say," tomorrow." Okay, hear me out but I have to say that without a doubt, Ace is gonna be the thang this season with all the little chickadees, moms, grandmoms, Friendster-types and some guys but can I tell you, I think it all comes off a little forced? Maybe it's just me. I don't know. We'll see.
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Don't forget about the other set of twins! The Simmons twins are next. Joshua Simmons goes first. He is actually a little more professional and easier to listen to than the Brittenum brothers. Well, the Brittenums are currently in jail in real life so who cares. Jarrett Simmons, his brother, is just as nice. Sadly, the Simmons brothers are out and it looks like we are stuck with the loud mouthed Brittenum Boobs. My spirit has been a-broken. Indeed.
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Okay, the tour group gets to go into the Magic Castle, which is almost reason enough for me to try out next season regardless of their disregard for hand clapping. Once inside, the group is treated to magic tricks, illusions, magic illusions, magic Trix, and magic eye tricks courtesy of one of the contestants. Ewww.
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Has everyone taken their sugar shot yet?! Well if not, it may be too late! Garet Johnson is next ready to kick up his heels and lasso him a spot in the Top 12. He says has been so excited he hasn't been able to focus. He hasn't gotten the practice that he is used to. What, singing to the turkey's? Why not? They have that in L.A. I don't think his performance sounded as good as his audition but you gotta factor in the cuteness element. Even when he says "Holy Crap" it's almost endearing. The judges let him stay another night. Oddly he is not told to work on his look.
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Ugh. More of the Brittenum Brothers. Apparently they are mad about something. They think there are people who moved on that are clearly not deserving of it. Anyone got a mirror? Please! Oh well, I bet whoever is sharing a cell with them right now is wishing for a dull rusty knife. Pass!
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Rocker Chris Daughtry is here to remind us of the potential that rockers have to win this American Idol thing finally. This dude still rocks out. More than Constantine and Bo even. For sure. He does a better job impressing me here than he did in his audition. Chris is a charmer, comfortable on a stage and flashing his smile to the audience. All this charisma makes me think back to his wife and how she was crying thinking about letting him out of the house unsupervised.
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Finally we have Dave Hoover. Remember this barefoot monkey freak from the Chicago auditions? This was the guy that Paula and Randy put through for no apparent reason just to piss Simon off. Dave storms into the room shouting "People of the Universe! Honorable Overlords. You are now in the presence of Dubba Dubba Dubya..." Wait, Dubya is here? I tried to write it down word for word just in case you were wondering. His performance is a total mess but at least he got a trip to L.A. out of it. Hey, was "Bat Outta Hell" even one of the 12 choices?Did anyone but Dave choose it for their song? My guess is that he is going home.

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End of Day 2!

I apologize if it seems as though my writing was sporadic and distracted this evening. I blame it on technology. Here's what my poor DVR had to keep up with tonight:

8:00 - 9:00 American Idol
9:00 - 11:00 The Grammys (to catch the Gorillaz!)
9:00 - 10:00 Lost
9:30 - 10:00 Kath & Kim (brilliant)
10:00 - 11:00 Project Runway (also brilliant)

2 comments:

Kelly L said...

Hi Betamike:
I am at a conference in Dallas this week and while watching the news on the stairmaster this morning, I was treated to a replay of the Patrick Hall performance....on CNN!!! Gravette, AK proudly displayed below his name (you go, Gravette!!!) Thanks for helping me find a way to enjoy idol without the effort of watching the show. :) Kelly

James said...

Great job! These get better & better. I love AI from Hollywood week on. I also enjoyed the "Wee Britain" reference. My DVR got a workout recording the Arrested Development 2 hour finale last night, which was really 4 new fantastic episodes. Oh how I will miss that show...