Monday, January 31, 2011

Nashville Auditions Recap

Nashville Auditions recap -

We start our auditions with Darius Thomas "let's see the highest note you can hit"  -- I'm not sure that asking a high school student to sing a high note and then laughing at him when he does is really THAT funny.  And, seriously, was the montage imploding buildings really necessary?

One positive thing about this, it brings our count to Steven Tyler songs: 0,  contestant songs: 0  - the first time the contestants have taken an early lead!

Then it's a quick recap of Nashville, you know, the usual "this city is famous for music" blah blah, of course we mention Carrie Underwood, blah blah-- I'm beginning to think there are Word documents on some Idol writer's laptop somewhere of pre-written intros that they just use depending on what city they're in.  Thank goodness tonight's show is only an hour long.

Pretty cool that the auditions are at the Grand Ole Opry- does that mean contestants get to say they once sang there?   Almost makes up for the lack of glass and water behind the judges that I'm so used to.

Christine McCaffrey is next interviewed and they're playing the "dum de-dum-dum dum" music in the background... you regulars know what I mean here.  Every sign points to her being "bad".   Crappy music, 5 minute interview with Seacrest, but there's no Blue Screen of Death... (read my previous audition post for recap on that theory).   Oh wait, there it is!  Theory still intact!  She seems sweet as can be, a dental assistant who likes saving puppies and chasing rainbows, or something like that.   Another behind the scenes insider moment-- I'm almost positive they are asking her leading questions here, "Why are you a superstar?"  "Why are you going to make the world a better place?"   Because I don't think ANYONE talks like that.  Or do they?   Maybe this girl really is nuts because she starts singing as soon as she walks in the door, including something that sounds like whale tracking sonar and is making my dog go INSANE.  She sings "I Hope You Dance"  and I'm thankful for another country song b/c ST is still silent. Randy is being exceptionally rude and she leaves, but not before they interrogate her about whether Steven Tyler said yes or no.

Chelsee Oaks & Rob Bolan come in next and they are exes who have been singing together since the day they met.  They're here even knowing they may accidentally run into each other at auditions, but, no big deal for them because they confess that they even lived together after they broke up.  Rob says that they aren't friends when asked, right in front of his ex-girlfriend, which leads me to believe that this is all for show (they are both professional singers knowing full well what this would do for their career if they got some screen time)--  there was no NEED to tell judges that they were exes because their last names are different, so because they volunteered that information, I'm pretty sure they are using it to their advantage here.  I feel like I'm watching a dating show at some point, or Judge Mathis...  would somebody please sing something? Finally the music comes and their duet is AMAZING--  I'm not sure picking a hopeless love song was a great choice given their situation, but their harmony and blend is absolutely ridiculous (in the best way).    They both have great voices separate and together and judges make a good point about them being able to hold up well emotionally (probably because that part was staged), but I'm okay with it because they are talented.  Of course "I need you now" is the exit music they play here, clever song choice of AI.    One of the most interesting things about this was when she came out of the room she went to the big crowd of people, he went alone to Seacrest.  Cameraman #2 picks up on new-boyfriend looks pissed.   Ha.  Maybe it's not fake after all.

I'm really liking this Nashville place and all this country music, because, it's an Idol first-- we're now at:
Steven Tyler songs:  0     Contestant songs: 4  (I'm counting the duet because you never know when ST will make a mad comeback!)

We're back, and it's 10:00am.  Why is it always so important to announce that it's 10:00am?

We now have a girl with a bow on her butt, a girl who can do freaky things with her tongue (and our first ST flirting of the day, including him making some weird animal noises), and a biker/cow-herder/tattoo-artist/cowboy?  Allen Lewis.  This guy is cool because he reminds me of Willie Nelson 80 years ago and before the drugs.  Seacrest makes some joke about him being a pop singer.  Ha.  Stay out of it, Seacrest.    He makes a STism about Vanilla and Chocolate ice cream. He refuses to stop singing but isn't that bad.  Not great, but not bad.  Lots of power and enthusiasm, my friends would love him at our weekly rock and roll karaoke night. Allen is not through and he gives us this heart-wrenching speech about living your dreams, and everyone gets turned down, etc.  It's half motivational and half bizarre.  Maybe he's Willie Nelson after the drugs.  On his way out we see him high-five another contestant who's waiting in the area between the curtains.  I wrote about this in "The Truth About American Idol auditions"  blog  (if you haven't read it you should)-  so it's nice to get a visual of it here for you guys.  If you want to go back to that point it's at the 17 minute mark of this episode.  As they walk out you see the big heavy black curtain (that I also blogged about)... Nashville is providing some awesome exhibits for me here (one of the few good things about this episode so far, other than that it's only an hour).

ST songs: 0  (he's got to be sick or something)   Contestant songs: 5

Our next contestant is gorgeous, young, sweet, Miss Teen USA 2009, and looks great in a bikini.  Of course she's good.... talented people have everything.  We'll probably hear that she's rich next, too.  Or works at the White House.  Or something.  Oh and her name is Stormi.  You've got to be kidding me. I want a cool name with an i on the end!  Stormi Henley sings "Father can you hear me?" and it's not bad, as expected.  Not awesome, but she's beautiful, so I'm sure she's through with flying colors.  ST makes some kind of comment about her voice being "squeaky and tight"  and asks her if she's "ridden it harder"  or "let it loose" and I suddenly get the feeling we're not talking about her voice anymore!  EW, ST.  Can you be less obvious?  ST likes her (duh),  JLo turns her down (good for you), and I'm sure Randy will let her through.   He says it's just okay and she decides to play a game of peek-a-boo with him.  I'm not kidding.  What an interesting way to get through... I think it's an Idol first.

ST songs: 0  (he's got to be sick or something)   Contestant songs: 6

Back from break and we're informed of their second favorite time, 4:00pm.   So we've only seen 5 interesting contestants in the last 5 hours?   I guess that's on track with the television show though, we're about 22 minutes in and have we really seen anybody that interesting yet?

We get a montage of 3 failed contestants, and you don't even see why they failed which is super un-interesting.  They even show one girl crying but didn't show not even one second of her audition.  LAME.  There's some guy dressed like Cruella De Vil meets Darth Vader, and they don't comment on that either.  Why show people for a tenth of a second and not elaborate?  They must be trying to set us up for some special outtakes episode or online-only "see what you missed from tonight's episode here"  thing.  Wouldn't surprise me.  Tricky Idol producers!

Next we have a girl who lives on a farm, Adrienne Beasley. Her parents look nothing like her, they're playing cute country music (not that dum dee dum dum stuff), so you know she's going to be good.  Let me go get my kleenex to prepare for this sob story.  This is pretty interesting though because not only is she African-American (parents are white) but they're also country and very very old.  That's pretty cool, I guess.  And she sings country but has a very soulful voice.  That makes her very interesting and combined with the backstory, she's Idol gold.  And seems like a genuinely good person.  I like this girl.  Judges like her too and she's of course through.  She makes the standard call to a parent who's not there, and he's so cute... the old country dude wants to know who's paying her way.  He also says that "he's tickled"  which makes me let out an "aww" out loud.

ST songs: 0  (LOVING this country thing!  Or maybe a producer gave him a talking to after last time.  Maybe my blog did it. Who knows.)   Contestant songs: 7

It's Day 2 and we see more about Nashville and more about auditions.  All of the judges are in standard black and white again (not even any good outfits today? Come on!)

Our first contestant of the day is a girl who talks about how she grew up singing and has all of these titles, including "Junior Regional Soloist" or something like that.  She doesn't sound crazy and I actually think she's going to be amazing.  But, uh oh.... she's in front of the "Blue Screen of Death" -- will my theory pan out?    Blue Screen of Death = bad.  Let's find out.  She still sounds pretty competent when talking about people's reactions to her voice, a little cocky, but nothing we haven't seen before from a good contestant (Paris Bennett anyone?) so I'm beginning to wonder if I'm perhaps wrong.  Kameela Merricks busts out an absolutely awful version of Chaka Khan, and I realize that my theory does indeed hold water.  Randy continues on his rude streak, JLo is being kind of snotty today too, I've noticed, and ST is really nice and out of character.  And still no singing!

ST songs: 0  (he's got to be sick or something)   Contestant songs: 8

Here comes the hour 2 set of rejections:  a guy dressed like a Blue Man who's name is displayed as ?  (mention note to self, if you don't want your name publicized when you audition this is the way to go!) singing A Moment Like This,  foreign beauty Polina Kozhikovasinging "I will survive", Patrick Counts singing an undeterminable country song (I don't really listen to country though, in his defense), still no singing from ST but he puts his hands on his throat-- maybe he's got a sore throat.   Aww, poor Patrick breaks down crying outside and they play some old sad song from some movie where a cowboy must have just lost his horse.   Now the crying montages:  lots of people crying, walking to their cars, some shooting the bird, but once again-- some of these people are on the street or in the PARKING LOT so who knows how long the cameras have been following them for?  (Again, read my earlier blog if you haven't already). 

ST songs:  0,  Contestant songs:  11  (I'm now bored with this game... thanks for ruining the fun whoever put a lid on Steven Tyler!  Guess they're getting ready for the live shows, he hasn't cursed once this whole episode either)   We finally had a judge who wasn't boring and now this.  Great. Just great.

Are we seriously only 36 minutes through this episode?   I'm about to start crying!

Jackie Wilson has the jitters (and is wearing the most casual outfit I have ever seen from ANY auditioner, with the exception of my beloved "Brick" from New Orleans auditions), but she can sing and has a great voice.  Randy joins in with drumming.  Still no musical action from ST.  Can't wait until the next audition to see if he's back to "normal."   The judges clap after Jackie's audition and it's well deserved. Three happy judges and she's through.  Please get a shorter top and longer skirt next time Jackie.  I say it because I really like you.  Oh, and by the way, as for the old woman and old man waiting for her outside -- she made out with the old man when she came out, guess that wasn't her dad- we hope!

We're back and the first thing we see is a girl in an evening gown.  She's a self-described recording artist and the way she's posing, I already know where this is going.  But no blue screen of death?  So sad.  Maybe her dress being the exact same color wasn't good for the Blue Screen of Death.  Or maybe my theory isn't correct.  So far though, I have yet to see a good contestant appear before the Blue Screen of Death.   And that radio kid from last time didn't go before the screen-- I guess if you're really exceptionally strange, they let you walk around and explore the land with Seacrest.  She goes into see the judges and I love that she only has one cd for the three of them.  Hilarious. Latoya "Younique" Moore singing crazily and flails her cd to boot while she performs.  I don't feel sorry for this one because she gave herself a nickname.  A mis-spelled nickname to boot.  Randy tells her she's annoying (look who's talking!)  and they make a big deal of her number falling off (I don't know how that happened, I had the worst time getting mine off afterwards).  She walks out of the room still singing.

Now for some good guys: Paul McDonald does a great Rod Stewart, Jimmie Allen is precious, and full-of-energy with a golden voice,Danny Pate is good (even though he's a ST suckup).... oh, but he got ST (and Randy) to join in singing!   Wow!  +5 for that!   Jennifer Lopez gives him a "cheerleader yes" and he calls her Selena.  +10!   All three of these boys are through and Danny Pate might be one of my new favorites.. based purely on personality.

ST songs: 1  Contestant songs: 16

Matt Dillard comes next and they are playing "Falling Slowly", which loosely translates into:  there's no way this kid will be cut. Ever.   Video montage of hundreds of foster children confirms that.  Great story though, genuinely nice guy.  Looks like a John Deere poster boy, but sings... Josh Groban?  Ha!   He's not great but has a good tone and isn't bad.  He looks nervous in his cowboy hat and overalls, but he's got a golden guitar pick hanging around his neck so that gives him some instant credibility.  He says he can "pretty up". The boys say yes (JLo says no) and he's through.

We're almost done and they show us the auditorium filled with people with camera/phones swaying them in the dark.  They did this in New Orleans too, and it's a cool effect, but they've shown it on every audition.  Boring.   We're about to see the "best contestant ever"  according to the last 55 minutes and all of the previews/commercials.  Honestly I wish they would just let us decide that for ourselves- they KNOW we are going to stay tuned to see who is in the coveted "last spot of the day" -- it kind of ruins the Susan Boyle type surprises when they... well, that's not true, the video montage would have given it away.   We see Lauren Alaina who is a cute little Kellie Pickler type.  She's also 15, so she of course must be jaw-droppingly incredible because she's a 15 year old in the last spot.  She's got a cousin who has a brain tumor that she looks up to - we see a lot of "this is how good I am because I had a fundraiser for my cousin"  kind of stuff... I hate when they do this-  rather than let it come out throughout the course of the show they almost make me dislike a person I would have otherwise loved with forcing how great they are down my throat.  But overall, I really like this one, she seems like a nice kid. 
She walks in and ST is singing her name in Hey Jude for no reason. Awesome way to up my counts at the last minute, ST!  Lauren is dressed like a Lisa Frank factory just blew up but she's cute despite all of that.  Doesn't really look 15 at all, but I guess it's true.   Lauren is as good as promised and she's one to watch.  Has a big star personality too.    Kid brings her family in and does a duet with Steven Tyler (I think she may have sung his song way better than he did, in fact!) Glad these auditions ended on a high note (pun intended!).

Final counts:
# of ST songs: 3
# of contestant songs: 19
# of ST flirting attempts:  3
# of ST isms: 0 

Please comment if you have something to add, and stay tuned for the next blog.  It will be after the next set of auditions, if not before!   

Until then,
Maria Saint


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