Ok, so I know I have fallen off the wagon blogging here... I've been focusing on my lunch blog.
But I can't let a new season of American Idol begin without marking it with a blog post!
Lots of changes this season. Nigel Lythgoe is back as producer. Simon and Kara are out. Steven and J.Lo are in. I'm not at all sure how I feel about any of these changes, but as always, I'm looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.
J.Lo's entrance is in a sparkly jumpsuit with built in saddle bags. Nuff said. Steven Tyler wants to find a Janis Joplin for this generation, and urges hopefuls to sing like they do when no one's looking. J.Lo wants to be the compassionate one, and claims not to be in the business of crushing dreams. Randy is excited for the new table.
Also welcome, Jimmy Iovine as on-staff mentor. We'll see about that, too.
First auditions are in NJ. And Seacrest was welcomed to the NJ audition arena by Constantine Maroulis.
First in is Rachel Zevita auditioned in Season 6, made it to Hollywood, and was cut the first day. JLo remembers her from her previous audition. She has a really nice voice with good control. I worry that she has a phglemy sound at times, but her transitions between octaves are good. JLo thinks that it wasn't the best audition. Steven thinks that she didn't show the fire that she has. He wants to "let her in the door, water the flower, and watch it grow." She's through to Hollywood, but it's tentative.
Caleb Hawley is up next. Steven was digging him for sure (providing percussion). I forsee Steven being the sound byte king of this season. The judges dig him (a lot) and he is through.
Kenzie Palmer is 15 (they lowered the age limit this year). She's a musical theater student at a performing arts school. And she has an awesome voice. I don't know about her presence. Steven agrees with me. JLo does not. Randy sees what Steven was saying, but loves her voice. And so Kenzie is through to Hollywood.
Montage of unheard Golden Tickets.
Then comes Achille Lovle from the Ivory Coast. She declared that she was singing Dress You Up by Madonna. Instead, she bellowed something completely unintelligible. Steven said that she needed to reign the wild horses in. Achille said that her vocal coach was working on her accent, but Randy said "it's just not your thing, baby." She got the first no votes we saw, and Jennifer was feeling horribly and was ready to go home after the no. Get used to it, babe.
Montage of annoying Jersey stereotypes. Uck.
Tiffany Rios demonstrated the proper technique for teasing hair. What is this, 1983? She wants to make Jennifer Lopez proud. She broke into tears as soon as she got up on the audition stage, and got a hug from JLo. Oh, and she's singing an original song. With accompaniment fro her boob stars, jingling along. It wasn't the worst I've heard, until she went up super high. She was allowed to sing a second song, for which she covered up the boob stars, because it was a more emotional song. It's a Celine song (I'm Your Lady), and it wasn't embarrassing. If she laid off the oranging, I could take her more seriously. I expected her to suck and she didn't. She's through.
Montage of terrible singers. Steven got some practice with the no's. JLo Paula'd it up and couldn't say no. She seemed physically pained to deny people.
Robbie Rosen was in a wheelchair in kindergarten due to an illness. (Sinnovitis? Not familiar with it). He's 16. He's singing Yesterday, and he's good. Good control, nice tone. That annoying slight exhale I dislike at the end of phrases, but not too terrible about it. He got a wow from Steven, who appreciated the arrangement. He got a lot of happiness from the judges. Randy liked how he marinated the notes. He's through.
Steven had a fan club. And he appreciated the pretty ladies, too. Didn't Paula get in trouble for that?
Chris Cordiero is a proud 18 year old Boy Scout. He made a PSA video for his Eagle Project against texting and driving. Wow. He has no charisma at all. And a really stupid hat. JLo wondered if he was dressed to go fishing... And he's predictably terrible singing My Way. His mother, in the hallway, singing to Seacrest, seemed to be much better than her son...
Wow. Nervous burper. That's gross. And he's awkward in many other ways, too. His name is Michael Perotto, and he sounds like a singing muppet. My husband says he sounds like Gomer Pyle. JLo told Steven to make him stop. Steven wondered if he ate a lot of paint chips as a child, and said American Idol has higher standards, to which Michael busted out something he thought had "higher standards." Steven said "What we have here is a failure to communicate." JLo said that he sounded like he was singing in an imitation of someone else's voice. Steven said maybe he's a natural for Broadway. Randy said that he shouldn't sing anywhere.
Ashley Sullivan has a nervous laugh when saying that she is the next American Idol, and said that she might be the first Awkward Idol. And she's a huge Britney fan. Carries a Britney picture in her pocket for good luck. She's singing a song from Thoroughly Modern Millie, and it was really good! Very musical theatre. Wonder if she has anything more modern. JLo said that her thing was more for musical theatre and less for American Idol. Ashley said that she wants to be the first musical theatre pop star, and thinks that pop needs to get with Liza Minelli. I kind of really love her. Randy gave her a no, but the other two gave her a yes and she's to Hollywood. Steven said that wanted to personally work that into something good.
Victoria Huggins is from North Carolina, and I find her precosiously obnoxious. She does video updates. Wow. I kind of want to punch her. She doesn't have a bad voice, but I don't think she connects with the lyrics of the song at all. Steven was amazed at how proud she was of herself. JLo thinks she's adorable. Steven made a crack about her knee length skirt, and she "yo-yo dawged" Randy. And she's through. Man, I hope that she doesn't make it far.. she's worse than DiGarmo.
Melinda Ademi is stunningly gorgeous. She's from Kosovo and her family escaped during the war. Her father got a Green Card in a lottery. Wow. I am so happy that she has a great voice, too. And nice control. She's in. Hurrah!
Devyn Rush is a singing waitress in Times Square. She's singing God Bless the Child, and I love her voice and her attitude. Nice scatting! Steven said it was delicious. JLo was totally surprised. Randy thought that her look and her voice were bait and switch, in a good way. He said that she has a really good ear. JLo reminds her that she needs to believe in herself and dress the part so people can see that she's the total package.
Montage of painful singers. Steven can't help himself from singing along. He has me laughing my butt off.
Yoji "Pop" Asano has been imitating Michael Jackson since he was 2, or actually before he was born. Wow. That's dedication. He hated the Party in the USA song by Miley Cyrus, and so decided to sing it. I use that term loosely. He's doing Michael-esque moves, but he has no vocal talent and it was painful. And that brings us to the first singing montage, all to a that stupid ass song, some good and some... well... just dreadful. Yeah. Yoji is NOT through.
And montage of awful... as the judges tried to let people down lightly.
Brielle Von Hugel is from Statten Island, and her dad used to be in a doowop group. He has survived throat cancer - and here I was suggesting that he sounds like Mo from The Simpsons. Oops. And she's quite good. They loved her and invited her dad in. She's through, though JLo thinks she has a little work to do.
Travis Orlando has a twin brother who is completely different from him. He's from the Bronx, and they have been in shelters after their dad lost his job, and the area was really bad. He sings Eleanor Rigby, and he's got a really different and cool take on it. They asked him to sing something else, and he busted out I'm Yours by Jason Mraz. I really really like him. He's only 16. Wow. And he's in.
Ok, so I am more than pleasantly surprised by the new season. I don't miss Simon.
What's that I said?
That's right, I don't miss Simon. The new judges are good, and the singers are good so far. Not too much spotlight on the embarrassments, and that makes me happy. Hooray!
And what did you think?
Tomorrow, it's New Orleans.