I've been encouraged to start blogging auditions by some of my readers (If you haven't checked out the recaps at http://www.topidolblog.com/ you absolutely should get over there ASAP). So, even if the "truth about american Idol" posts come down, those should stay up. Here's the first one, enjoy!
1/26/11 - American Idol Recap by Maria Saint
Show begins and apparently it's 8:45 in Milwaukee on 10/2/2010... I don't believe that for one minute. One, we already know that the judges weren't actually there on 10/2, and more importantly, I don't think Steven Tyler has ever been up that early in his entire rockstar life, but I digress. They are singing an Aerosmith song. Imagine that. ST is as rocked out as usual, and Randy is wearing some crazy sweatshirt that seems to be telling us goodbye while smiling at us. Is that a preview of what he's about to do to contestants in this city?
The new intro starts and EVERY time I see it I think I've accidentally changed the channel to Entertainment Tonight. What is up with it anyway? We see the typical crowd shots, the famous local celebrity (Danny Gokey), and a really good view of the wristband line. I love J-Lo's outfit too, even though I don't quite understand what it is. As the judges wait to go in, we get our first Steven Tylerism & ST curse word in the same sentence! Impressive. It was something about slapping babies on the backside, although he didn't say it as nicely and he was very Billy Ray Cyrus for a second.
Auditions today are at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I'm not surprised at all by the location-- I think there is an AI rule that the judges need to be in front of a big wall of glass in front of a large body of water. Is this so they have somewhere to jump if it gets too crazy in there? ST sings (or shouts) a little, and here's the count so far:
Number of times Steven Tyler has sung: 2 Number of times contestants have sung: 0
There are more people from outside of Wisconsin that actually came from there, but that seems to be the deal with all of the audition sites so far.
Scotty McCreery is the first contestant of the day and he's a cute kid. Reminds me of the boy Ben that used to be on that Bravo Model show (http://www.bravotv.com/make-me-a-supermodel/bio/ben-dichiara) combined with the MAD comic book character. He's described as the All-American boy, and his baseball coach speaks, which tells us he's of course going to be good, He's a sweet kid, sings country, and has sang his whole life. As he sings Bye Baby Bunting, someone screams some AWFUL scream in the background-- did anyone else hear that? Scotty sings country and for once Steven Tyler is silent. Fantastic! Bring on the country singers. His voice is surprisingly low and he made J.Lo smile. ST asks for something more modern, he sings more country and allows Randy to talk about something he produced.
Uh oh, time for STism #2 and ST curse word #2.... something about having sex with ducks. Interesting note here is that the camera men cannot keep their laughter in so they are forced to pan out and show you how many people are in that room. Scotty tells us he hears cursing in high school a lot, they let him through, and we move on.
It's 10 am and apparently auditions are off to a strong start although we have only seen 1 person. Another shot of the crowd and the city news, radio, and cameras. Here comes Joe Repka, high fiving everyone. I already know they are setting him up because they've taken him outside to have a private chat with Seacrest. Something about he wants to be in radio. Those are good aspirations, and he seems like a nice enough kid. Seacrest makes him say a radio call about 100 times, and he seems to be taking it in good stride. They show a clip about how he says "I seem to be doing that a lot" -- but I'm not convinced it was in regards to talking like a radio announcer. And here's a note to you, kids: If Seacrest spends more than 5 minutes with you before it's your turn to go in, it cannot be good. Remember that. They then show Joe dancing in a room with a blue AI logo.
I have a new theory, dear readers, allow me to test it out on you tonight. For the past few episodes, I've been noticing that lots of one camera interviews are being done, without Seacrest present, of contestants that are about to go in the room. Two differences here-- one, some people's videos are long and continuous and unedited, while other people's looked chopped together. I have noticed that the long and continuous, open-ended talking videos are of "good" contestants, and the choppy videos are of "bad contestants." I have also noticed that the "bad" contestants generally appear to be in front of a blue screen with AI on it, while good contestants tend to be in a white room, or in another location all-together (but usually the white room). I am not sure if this blue screen is a private room somewhere in the audition site, or a background edited in later, but for now I will call it the "Blue Screen of Death". My hypothesis is that any time you see a contestant in front of this blue screen, they will be portrayed badly. Let's see if this pans out. Back to Joe Repka. He doesn't do well, shocker, but he does diss Seacrest by saying he doesn't listen to his radio program. He sings some Billy Joel and ST of course joins in. The count is now:
# of ST songs: 3 # of contestant songs: 1
Joe fires back with a "I can't help falling in love", upping the contestant count, but ST joins in as well!
ST songs: 4 Contestant Songs: 2
Joe exits, is very good-natured, and gives another call out. Good for him. I hope he gets a radio job.
Next up is the cheesiest segue of all time about radio, and then radio in cars, and then 15 year old Emma Henry. She reminds me of a really young Lindsey Lohan. We see some long tape about how she just learned how to drive (was it a slow news day? I don't remember how "driving" is something no other contestant has done before). She's got a great raspy tone to her voice and is different, sings a Cyndi Lauper song that's perfect for her. I like her, the judges think she will get eaten up in Hollywood. I'm just happy ST doesn't know any Cyndi Lauper. They let her through. Nothing else significant here except that she cried her eyes out, kind of proving the point about her getting eaten up.
ST songs: 4 Contestant songs: 3
Back inside we have 4 contestants all pieced together which is usually an indication that they are all going to be awful, and they are. I'm really surprised by the amount of guys singing Gaga, and even more surprised that they all seem to have the same hand movements and dancing. Not sure if they are moves from a Gaga video, or if this frantic dancing/clapping is encouraged by producers. Ironic that all guys singing Gaga feel the need to dance, although maybe not. They are all terrible and none of them get through. There's really nothing funny or interesting here, except:
ST songs: 4 Contestant songs: 7 (making a mad comeback!)
One contestant asks for a sip of Randy's coke. Randy tells him to go get some Coke Zero outside.
Naima Adedapo is a janitorial worker at Summerfest, is very Rasta looking (colorful jewelry, red/yellow/green, dreads) with 2 beautiful girls. She's original and with a great voice. The judges love her. I think she's really talented, but isn't really anything I've seen before. Definitely talented enough where she doesn't need to be a janitor. Randy loves her colors and all of the judges love her. She sings Donnie Hathaway (another one ST doesn't know).
Back from break and I get a closer look at Jennifer's outfit, although I still can't figure out what it is. I love the pink and silver combination, am just unsure about whether it's a frilly vest, or who knows. But I don't have the time to deliberate that right now. The cameras are zooming around the audition space, and we see people doing limbo with a giant toothbrush (?!?!) and then someone doing gymnastics down a hallway accidentally landing on someone's face/chest. Who gave the guy on the floor that camera to hold? Someone wanted the shot and then asked a poor contestant to lie there and get it for him? And you know they had done that a few times before they actually rolled tape. I feel sorry for the guys but neither of them seem hurt so we move on.
A bad Jenny on the Block, the owner of the giant toothbrush, (a 54 year old dentist-- I hope he got his business out there), and now a Barmitzvah singer, Jerome Bell. Who's got a really big voice. Almost too big. It was very very loud and abrasive to me, but nice tone and great sound. Just overly amplified to me. I guess those Barmitzvah kids are usually really loud. ST does his crazy rabbit-face dance, JLo describes him as "loud, soft, sweet, powerful..." I thought those words were contradictory, but I guess everyone's entitled to a Paula-ism now and then. Jerome is through and everyone is happy.
This brings the total to ST 4 C 11... it almost seems like the show is finally about other people singing!
The next few minutes were about Seacrest trying to explain Bieber fever, I wasn't even listening. Then we see a precious little 5 year old singing. I dont' really care because it brings the total up to
ST 4 C 12
Apparently Bieber fever was to explain 15 year olds and we get our next contestant, Theia Megia. Song is Chasing Pavements by Adele and her voice is extremely mature for a 30 year old, much less a 15 year old... and strange, but in a good way. The judges seem as confused by it as me and they love it as well. Steven makes a comment about how he loves the heat "down there" and I'm really hoping he's thinking about the correct diaphragm. He then finds an excuse to sing something that doesn't even make sense, so we have
ST 5 C 12
Theia is through with all 3 judges saying yes and all of the other 15 year olds get through as well. This is positive, this means they aren't purposely trying to humiliate 15 year olds. They only let the good 15 year olds through to the last round. Producers earn 1 heart point, and they pan to the obligatory boat sailing on the lake behind the glass behind the judges.
Next up is Nathaniel Jones, a civil war re-enactor. They are playing ridiculous music so I automatically know where this is going. They show him running and screaming which I'm also pretty sure re-enactors don't do, and oh, here's Secreast with him for 5 minutes. Great. The positive part of this is Nathaniel screaming "Don't try me, man!!!!" at Seacrest. Ha. Oh, and the quote of the evening: "Hippies believe in sex!" Nathaniel sings the Lion Sleeps Tonight and I really don't see THAT big of a problem with it, I have to admit. It's super high in key, but all the pitches seem correct and it actually sounds to me exactly like the recording, but I think he killed it with the sex talk and war outfit. Plus, NOBODY talks to Ryan Seacrest that way! Nathaniel "becomes another casualty of the day"--- oh Seacrest, you are so witty!
Mason Wilkinson comes in and needs to turn around and compose himself, probably because his feet aren't in the right place on the Idol emblem (either side of the o). He turns around, gets it right, and starts singing a song I've never heard of. On the bright side, ST hasn't heard it either. Randy laughs. Awkward silence. Judges vote no.
ST 5 C 13
Then we have Molly De-Wolf Swenson... graduated from Harvard and has a random White House internship. Nice to know people can "randomly" get jobs at the White House. She gives an interview and no blue screen so we seem to be good (although they do take her picture in front of it). She's also giving long ended sentences so she should be good. Ha, turns out Randy punched her in the face-- hilarious. We also see the back of his ridiculous jacket-- it's telling us to study about organic. Will have to look that up later. She corrects Randy and slips in that she graduated from Harvard and works at the White House so she's obviously proud, maybe a little too proud but she can sing. She's got good range, and it was a decently interesting arrangement. Not one I've heard before. We hear a bunch of contestants screaming during this, not sure if they heard her singing or not. (It seems that they have monitors outside this year, but not confirmed). They let out screams though about a full minute after she ended though so not sure what that is all about. Judges vote, and she's through. I'm left asking the question I have been asking a lot lately-- why are some people super talented at EVERYTHING and others have what seems like zero gifts? Harvard, White House, pretty, good voice. So unfair. But I digress again and Day 1 is over.
Day 1 Homework: Find out what Study About Organic means... The only thing I can find is about a company called Adios (which makes sense given the front of his jacket) and their studies on organic food products... there isn't too much about it except on a food gossip sites, all written this week, none mention Randy Jackson. He's a big proponent of eating health food though so I guess it makes sense. Here's one of the few links I found if you're interested. http://gossipblower.com/2011/01/26/a-healthier-much-more-confident-you-with-adios-and-adios-max/
A ton of commercials more and it now seems like 4 hours from when I started watching this show (and probably feels like 6 hours since you started reading this blog!) Why is the New Orleans episode (the only one I really cared about) 1 hour, and the rest seem like they take infinity and beyond. ST looks ridiculous as always, JL as chic, and Randy's just a dawg. We show the arena again like it's the next day even though we know it's really 10am the day before. One kid sings the Lion King intro though so I guess it's worth it. Wow, under JLo's chic coat she's got the cutest little top with a Treble Clef on it. With Randy's initial sweater on I'd feel like I were in the 50s if it weren't for ST's crazy 70s ensemble.
First up is Hailey Reinhart. She's super talented but I see why she didn't make it last time. She's putting EVERYTHING she's got in there... so many loops and trills and ups and downs that I feel like I do when I puke on rollercoasters, but it was impressive. She's through and she's excited. She runs back to show all of the other contestants. Just in case they didn't see it her Dad lifts her up.
ST curses AND sings, bringing our count up to
ST 6 C 13
Next is someone named Tiwan Strong. He seems kind of crazy, but no blue screen of death, so I'm having good thoughts. He is great. Kind of just like everyone else who sings 50s and 60s music (Twisting the Night Away is his song) but it's positive. I also like his entirely white ensemble. ST likes him, Randy likes him, JLo said he did a really good job. He's through and his family is super excited-- a bunch of screaming women! They practically maul him and it's actually a really cute scene. One of the ladies gets a Charlie Horse, the other starts doing some crazy dancing and kicking. Seacrest is left holding the charlie horse lady which is hysterical as he tiries to figure out what to do and then gives her a leg massage. I wish I had a picture of that scene of them both bent over to photoshop. Seacrest gives her some lame advise about drinking plenty of water and we move on.
ST 6 C 14
Next, Steve Beghun (pronounced "big goon"), a CPA. I guess he's playing hooky so they make a big deal out of it and he seems super boring and says he has no friends. He has the white screen behind him though so it looks good (my theory is holding up so far). He seems like a dork as he can't open the door and makes a bad joke about his name. His voice SHOCKS me. It's half country, half pop with a really sweet tone. He's through and has like 6 people with him... I thought he didn't have any friends? They are all wearing primary colors! He goes back into the tent also to show the contestants his golden ticket. I can't say I wouldn't do the same thing.
ST 6 C 15
Next up is Vernika Patterson singing Loving You and she's been challenged to see if she can make it a 4 for 4 streak for contestants, so there's already a pretty good idea of where this is going. It starts not bad but then she stops. She re-starts, changes keys, changes again halfway through, and yet again in the lalalas until she gets to the right one but still can't hit the high note. I don't know GREAT singers that can sing this song, I don't know why anyone would pick it for an audition. They tell her no and she appears to give instant attitude, but we don't know what happens so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. I hear another massive scream from the other contestants and I finally figure out that it's the reaction to the other contestants with the yellow tickets running back into the staging area. Vernika picks up her things to leave, her mom or whoever wants her to stay to give the exit interview, she tries to escape the other way and there's a cameraperson waiting for her on the other side of the glass door. Ha! American Idol 1 Vernika 0. Oh, and speaking of counts, it's now:
ST 6 C 16... (i was really getting worried for awhile when ST had half as many singing moments as contestants)
Montage of people crying and screaming, many of them are followed all the way to the parking lot and saying get away from me, get the camera away, some hit the camera but all 3 of those people were outside so who knows how long they had been followed at that point. Sigh.
Back inside, we have a Barack Obama impersonator, but he really seems like a Kenan Thompson impersonator. Name is Albert Rogers III. Then comes something about fudge and Eleanor Rigby making for the 3rd ST ism of the day. Randy was rude, he thought it was terrible and a joke. All 3 judges say no, and he's gone. They show him against the Blue Screen of Death and he gives a nice little speech.
Scott Dangerfield is next and ST accuses him of wearing lipstick, to which he says he was kissing one of the girls outside. "Fell in love in the Idol line" is discussed as a possible song... he's a cutie, oh and crap, now ST is singing again. Scott sings and his voice is amazing... this kid gets laid a LOT, I bet. If he doesn't, he will. He sort of reminds me of Clay Aiken but with way more game. Even his posture seems "I am sexy and awesome." Ha. He explodes into the tent and a loud scream erupts. We're now to
ST 7 C 17
Next we meet a girl who is obsessed with Green Bay Packers, yet she is wearing a shirt with American Flags on it-- nothing about her screams Green bay actually, except for the accent. I guarantee you they urged her to run around and do the wave, high fives, lead the cheers, etc. The crowd went with it too so they didn't think it was that weird at the time. But she's billed as the most annoying girl ever. Megan Frazier. She's beautiful and I love her energy.. her notes are on and she actually has a pretty good opera voice. I am really wondering if she's been put up to this. I bet she has. I'd bet money on it. Opear is playing in the background as she walks out, I wonder if it's her singing or not. And who can blame her fandom, after all, her team IS going to the Superbowl!
ST 7 C 18
Time for our first rock and roll chick, Alyson Jados. so far she cries and freaks out a lot. ST is mesmorized by her. He immediately says she looks like she could be one of his ____. Thankfully he didn't finish the sentence. He starts talking in a smoky voice.. "tell me about yourself." -- his next question is "what are you into" and covers it up with "...to sing?" then she confesses she's an Aerosmith groupie. Great. I hope someone rented Alyson Jados a hotel room for tonight. I also hope she's okay with listening to ST sing every 5 minutes. She's great though. I don't know how ST didn't sing along or drum to this one! Finally ST picks up singing with her, they vote and here's another observation about this season, the judges vote in different order each time and sometimes vote no on purpose to give whoever likes the contestant the most the deciding "yes" vote.
ST 8 C 18
Back from the break and they sit us through repeats of all of the people that have been through before. Didn't we just see this an hour ago?
Finally up is Chris Medina who has a story that can top even Danny Gokey's. His financee Juliana was in a terriblle car accident just 2 months before their supposed-to-be wedding. Beautiful girl. Now she's brain damaged and has been that way for over a year and a half and he has been her primary caregiver since then. He sings Break Even which is a great choice. He's good but not great but his story and soul come through in every note. After his touching performance they bring Juliana in and even I'm shocked by how bad her condition seems. There is a big party with judges and family. Note for auditioners #3, if you'er ever an Idol contestant and you're saved for last- that's also a great sign :)
Homework #2: research this story further. I found a website where Chris is trying to raise $8000.00 for an experimental procedure that is not covered by insurance -- as of last night he surassed that mark with a bunch of $25 paypal donations, probably from Idol viewers... if you'd like to visit the site, here it is: http://www.laurusfoundation.org/help-juliana-ramos.php -- Last night, this site was at $9250, now it's over $22,000! Wow for the power of television.
That's it folks. Sorry it's so long. These shows need to be shorter!
Here's our final count:
Steven Tyler Isms: 3
Steven Tyler Obscenities: 2
Steven Tyler Songs: 8 (almost 1/3 of the total # of songs of the day!)
Contestant Songs: 18
# of Contestants Steven Tyler Hit On: surprsingly, 1
J-Lo Cute Outfits: 2
Randy Self-Promotion: 1
Contestants in 2 hours: 18. About 1 every 7 minutes.
Also remember, Seacrest interview before: bad, blue screen of death: bad, white screen: good, camera-man interview before at your house: good, football/baseball coach interview: good, last auditioner of the day: good.