The opener last night in Boston was mostly a feel-good show. All of the singers that made it to Hollywood seemed nice, and many of them were remarkably nice. None of them stood out to me in any way but that they were just, well…… nice. Even the rejected were mostly nice about it.
The one rat at the picnic was that creepy serial killer look-a-like, who tried to make up for all the niceness by scaring the hell out of everyone. I just hope that he doesn’t own a hockey mask.
Tonight, as they say, was completely different. I didn’t hear anyone that stood out obviously as a strong contender, but there were a couple that I’ll have a hard time forgetting. There was more snarkiness, and a ton more personality. Since Idol gets thousands of contestants in every city to pick from I’ll assume that this was deliberate editing. Going the other way, they might have been simply cooperating with the overriding tone of the city. Atlanta was certainly fun, and the show brought that out nicely with the auditions that they picked.
The Good- Jermaine, the guy that is taking care of his mother with spinal bifida. His trills were lavish, and his control was outstanding. I loved his energy and he was charismatic yet understated. My only quibble is that his high range might not be strong enough. In the 2 years that I have been watching high range power, and control and command rules over just about everything else as a must-have. Mallory, she sang “Piece of my Heart”, from South Dakota. She is a knockout and she can sing, but I am not sold that she has any dynamic potential. She reminded me a lot of Christy Lee Cook from 2008. Cook finished 7th, I think. Mallory could do that.
The Unique- Holly, guitar girl. Underneath the ridiculously overstated southern belle personality was a girl that can flat sing her butt off. We’ll all get to see her a lot. She has tons of charisma and she seems to be one of those people that can banter like Charles Barkley can. Remember Tatiana and Normund Gentle? Holly looks like she’ll fill that role this year – by herself if needed. Ski bo Ski- He’ll need to tone down the whole “I’m the God of everything, especially women” routine or he’ll get bounced right away, but he can really sing and he has a lot of charisma. I liked him, he was fun. I’ll get sick of him pretty quickly if he keeps that up. Vanessa- No chance to win, and probably no chance to even make it to the end of Hollywood week because of her accent and her extreme style. Still she can really, really sing and she is just a ball of fun. She is just a bumpkin from a small town in Tennessee, a character out of a Faulkner novel. I am tickled by her genuine “happy to be here, lets have fun” vibe. I’ll be rooting for her. She was probably my favorite one on the show tonight.
The Ok- Keia, miss congeniality. Nice kid, and she has a good voice. I am not sure that she will stand up under pressure and be able to sing in tune. Miriam- The first of the three girls that were shown in one piece and given the Hollywood pass. Her voice was too vibrato I think. I dont envision her advancing very far. Noel- Second girl, the one with braces. She had a nice, rich tone to her voice. Her sample was too small to get any sense of her over that. Tisha, third girl. She showed some nice finesse and she sounds like she has some experience. She could be a sleeper, but I didn’t hear enough to call her a contender. For example, no high notes to judge her upper range. Carmen, the BFF who made it while her friend didn’t. Ummmm….. She could sing, but her audition was staged more like a novelty than a serious audition. If she goes deep in the competition that audition will make the producers look pretty silly. Brian, the cop. I might get some flak for this, but I wasn’t sold by all of his vocal gymnastics. I’ve seen the type a lot, and they always fold up and sing out of tune when they have to deal with stage sound, hot lights and a band that doesn’t play the song like a karaoke machine. I won’t say no way, but I want to see him in the midst of the madness of a full stage setting before I believe in him. I know a guy that can hit drive after drive, iron shot after iron shot perfectly at the practice range, but on the course he can’t get the ball off of the ground. The sight lines are different, and the eyes play tricks. This guy can sing by himself. Can he sing out there on the course? In my experience, most of them can’t. Plus I hate cops (kidding)….
The Bad- Duwan, the first auditioner, choked his audition and then sang very nicely in the elevator afterwords. Get him a shower stall, and we might have something. Christy May, the overbearingly bubbly tv show host. How much coffee did she drink before her audition? She was way too hyper, and it ruined her performance. I don’t think that she can sing well enough anyway, but she can sing a little. I’m relieved that she didn’t make it, I guess. Her endless grinding self promotion didn’t seem like a producer’s trick. I have a sinking feeling that she is always like that. Imagine being her husband, coming home to her after a double shift at work. I’d want to relax, maybe watch sportscenter and nod off, and she’d have the twister board out. Every Single Night. Jesse, the guy that almost died three times. Well, he sure died tonight. I kinda liked him, he seemed like a nice kid. I’d probably have to spot him five wedges in a game of trivial pursuit, but he’d be a good sport about it. The Ugly- Mary J Blige was the guest judge. It’s probably not fair to “judge” her by a few auditions, but man was she harsh. She’d laugh out loud at the weak contestents, and she generally acted like a spoiled child on her birthday. In her defense this is not her gig, and she did show some respect for a couple of the good ones. Lamar, the bleep ya’all guy. He shouted everything, oversang and over everythinged everything. He has some pipes, sure, but he is a jerk and I am guessing that he is also a bully. Mary J. made it all even worse by acting like he might have a gun. She thought that it was all funny. Good job, Mary J, keep that stereotype going……
The Good, Bad, Ugly, Unique and Kinda Cool- General Larry Platt. “Pants on the Ground” will probably be in stores, on itunes and on the charts by the end of the month. Why else would they have a 62 year old auditioning for the show (on national tv, 30 million watchers) when the age limit is 28? I loved the song, and I am totally on board with getting it on the radio.
I don’t think the winner will come from the ones that made the show tonight, and I am not all that sure that any of them will make the final twelve. I think that there are seven cities holding auditions. It’s quite a feat just to make it to the semifinals (final 24 this year), and a huge accomplishment to make it to the final twelve.