Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hollywood Week, Part 1

I have something to admit.

I've never watched American Idol's "Hollywood Week". I've sat through the auditions before (well, not all of them like this year), but I usually lose interest until the Top 12 are "revealed". I've decided to watch the whole kit and caboodle this season, so I'll be giving my impressions, based on never having watched this process before.

I like that the contestants get to play their own instruments (this year). One of the things about Idol graduates is that you know they do their own singing. But not every great singer is a great musician, and some good singers may be helped along by showing prowess on an instrument. Or not. But I like the idea of the show making a multi-faceted performer, not just a ballad-belter. Too bad it's only going to be allowed in this round. Although most of the people who "risked" instruments sucked miserably.

Also, I don't remember any of these contestants' stories (except the annoying cheer/dance team girl who blew her first audition in this round... LOL, take that, annoying girl).

Why do they insist on cutting together acts of this show that CLEARLY shows different outfits on the judges, and thus are on different days, and then have Ryan voiceover "at the end of Day One..."? I mean... boo, editing, boo. Also, Ryan keeps saying "the talent is so strong" but I've yet to really hear that in the performances. In fact, every year, Idol consistently delivers Top 12s where, still, half the people apparently can't really sing.

And considering the show only has tonight and tomorrow to remind us who the contestants are before the Top 24 and the audience vote kicks in... I have to wonder why they focus on so few of the contestants' stories? I'm at the point where Ryan has said 48 people passed the first round of auditions (so 116 are having their "last chance" day). And I only remember maybe 4-5 people being featured and sent to the next round before this "do or die" a capella round. I guess that's the Idol way.

And the terrible editing continues, as Ryan's "we'll be back after these commercials" involves saying only four people made it through thus far, but we just saw the judges put through eight of the ten people getting their second chance in the Amy Flynn (annoying, peppy dance team leader) section. Seriously, though, if we don't know who any of those people are... should we care? Because the producers said they were going to be putting more time into the contestants' stories this year, since that was lacking last year. Are any of those 8 people who made it through when Amy didn't going to make it to the Top 24 (considering that until next week this is all pre-shot and judge-controlled... so why waste time building contestant stories if they won't continue in the weeks to come? Other than a few foilers to sporadically care about when they do get eliminated?) On this subject... when does Hollywood Week actually occur? I mean, do the audition rounds air after Hollywood Week so the show can sort of build backwards? Or was Hollywood Week, like, last week (early Feb)? Sigh, I suppose I just don't understand the mechanics of reality shows pulling at viewers' heartstrings.

Okay, I'm up to the final day of auditions (Thursday of Hollywood Week). Wherefore art thou, Drew Poppelreiter? Anyway, what's this round about? If the judges like you, you go to the Top 50, and then they deliberate and whittle it down to the Top 24 sans performances? What's this "group audition day" they kept mentioning?

Whose sound do I like?

Amanda Overmyer - Rock and Roll chick? Yes, please. But can she sing in addition to rock?

Josiah Leming - I'm still not clear what his "mistakes" were over the last year (did he run away from home?) but I do like his sound. His Mika performance was a little more lounge than the actual song (which is ultra-pop) and his original audition was some fine alt-Brit rock. Limited vocal range, though. You can hear him straining on the high notes before he goes to falsetto. Hahah, I totally have Eminem's "Lose Yourself" playing through my head during the frustratingly sob story of his sleepless, preparationless night before the final audition round.

Carly Smithson - Irish lass has got some powerful lungs, man. And a blue tongue (actually a lot of the contestants are suffering some Blue Tongue-itis... craft services must have some fierce collection of of blue Ring/Blow/Tootsie Pops). You know what I want to hear her sing? Some Michelle Branch. She looks a bit like her. What happened to Michelle Branch (and The Wreckers), anyway?

Michael Johns - You know, he wasn't nearly as good as Amanda on "Light My Fire", but he's good looking and Australian, so what the heck. His "Bohemian Rhapsody" later in the program was actually really good.

David Archuleta - As long as this season's young, good-looking, likable boy with a good voice doesn't become Chicken Little 2... I'm on board.

Syesha Mercado - Because every season needs a pin-up soul sista.

But I feel like it's hard to really do any prognosticating because I don't even know who all of the people the judges are going to be sifting through are... so whatevs. Although, hey, look, there's Drew Poppelreiter in the Top 50 room at the very end of the episode. All together now.... aw, shucks.

Finally, I'm really liking this season's "bye bye" song, "Hollywood's Not America". Why can't the coronation ballads the winner has to sing be this good?

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