Welcome back AI fans (and those who aren’t).. Last week if you’ll recall I spent a lot of time griping about the judges. I also spent some time discussing what types of music I would like to see but those are my tastes, not those of the general public it seems. Oh well, I’m not the type to buy music anyway so what I think of it doesn’t really matter. In fact, it’s been about 5 years since I bought a CD and it was from an independent artist. Before that, it had been at least another 5 years. With that in mind, let’s get to this rant, I mean, recap.
My biggest complaint was about the judges last week and one in particular. The Dawg, Randy Jackson. I still think he’s quite stale on this show and should have been replaced when Simon left. Some of you disagree with that sentiment and that’s perfectly fine. Different strokes. The complaint in general was that these shows seem to be more about the judges than the contestants. The opening show this week, Jan 23, didn’t do anything to change my mind on that fact. They open the show, revealing all the primping and preparing these people go through at the beginning of the show and it continues throughout the day. The nature of television I’m sure, they are no different than any other TV personality. After all..we wouldn’t want the dawg’s nose to shine or his skin to appear splotchy, now would we. It seemed throughout the show that he required more primping than the two other divas at the table.
Let’s get to this supposed diva feud, shall we? I’ll be the first to admit that when I first heard about it, I was team Mariah all the way. Not that I particularly like her (or dislike her) but I was quite certain that I would not like Nicki Manaj. So, lesser of two evils for me. Now, again, one of my judge gripes about this show is the way they insist on pigeon holing the contestants into one genre or style or another. Then when they get what they asked for, they (the judges) attack them for it. All through this episode I could see Nicki getting bored with the others doing so and her eyes began to roll and steam came forth from her ears. It all came to a head when one contestant sang a country-esque song and said she had ‘done the country thing’. That didn’t set well with Kieth Urban and he along with Randy and Mariah chose basically, to take her to task about it. Trying to get her to say what kind of artist she wants to be. To the point where Nicki had had enough of what she saw as them badgering the contestant to the point of confusing her about what she wanted to do. Nicki had finally had enough of it, had some parting shots as she got up from her seat and left the studio. Then we get to see all the TMZ and Access Hollywierd coverage of this big Nicki vs Mariah feud that had been brewing and finally came to a head…. and TV drama is made. The ‘feud’ wasn’t between Nicki and Mariah, it was between Nicki and everyone else on the panel. You know what? I agree with her. The judges, and especially Randy, do this same stuff to the contestants on the Live shows too. That isn’t to say that there hasn’t been any bickerson bickering between the two but each gives as good as she gets and right now, I say, there is no feud between them. Just differences of opinion. Of course, I haven’t followed it so I am only reporting what I saw on the show (with some overall anti-judge bias).
I’m going to touch a little bit more on the judges, particularly, Nicki Minaj, before I move on to contestant highlights. She’s a strange character in front of us but I tend to believe that’s what it is, a front. We know she’s a rapper but she seems to have a genuine interest or appreciation for other genres. What I’m saying here is I expected her to hate everything that wasn’t hiphop, R&B, or rap music. (that’s based only on where she has made her money) Not the case, she gives each contestant a fair shake from what I can see and I have to say it’s kind of refreshing to see from a judge on this show. Her crazy wigs and outfits aside, for now, I like her. Speaking of her wigs, it seems she has two personalities and the wig dictates which one your going to get. If she’s gone short hair, she’s a little more brutal and / or impossible. If she’s gone with long hair, she’s more easy going it seems. What I can’t tolerate, is her fake (?) British type accent. Mariah does it too. Are they doing this for Kieth’s benefit or is Nicki really from one of those countries? I don’t actually know. Speaking of Kieth, twice now he’s left the panel to do other things. Prior engagements I suppose but it seems he should have cleared is calender (except for his wife getting a NY Film award) to do this show. You can tell when Mariah likes a singer because she gets this proud mama relaxed look on her face. Opposed to when she doesn’t like them, she looks scared (they all do) or shocked. Randy, well, you all know what I think of Randy..
Let’s get to some contestant highlights. If you’re watching, you all saw the end of the show last Thursday when the guy who was born in Cuba came to audition. Lazaro. He had a terrible stutter or stammer that he acquired at the age of 6. Growing up, people didn’t know how to deal with it, so he was pretty much a loner. Now, I know they wouldn’t be featuring this guy in the pimp spot (last of the show) if he couldn’t sing. Turns out that this guy who can barely string 2 words together in under 2 minutes can in fact sing, and Well. He did Bridge Over Troubled Water and kind of knocked it out of the park (they were in Chicago by the way). Obviously he made it through. I’m sure we will be seeing him on the live show at some point but I don’t know how far he will go. I think once it becomes a real contest, he’ll garner some sympathy vote but that’s only going to carry him so far. While he’s good, there are better ones there already. Somewhere within that same show was 15yo Isabelle. She came in with a note and handed it to Keith and asked him to sing a duet with him, Baby It’s Cold Outside. He was a sport about it and did some. She has a real nice voice and can sing quite well. 3 yes and one no. Guess who? The Dawg.. Really Randy? Also in this mix was an anorexic girl.. She was real emotional about it. Sobbing up a storm. Said that during High School she lived on one slice of cheese per day. I don’t know anything about that condition so I really can’t speak on it but I can say that, with all her hallmark moment sobbing, her eyes were completely dry. You be the judge of that. She made it through by the way. Also, and I think this was one of my favorites of the night. A woman named Kez Bon (I think her real name is Kelly). She’s a character and at first during the preview reel, I thought she was a dude. Only because of the eyebrows. Someone toss that chick a pair of tweezers. She brought her guitar into the audition but didn’t play it at first. I don’t remember what song she sang but I really liked it. Especially when they invited her to pick up her guitar and play it, which she did, and Well. To say she seemed eccentric would be an understatement but the gal can sing. Last one that I’ll mention from last week is Clifton. About 20 years old IIRC, and his parents have never heard him sing. He sang a Luther Vandross song while his parents snuck in to hear it. Mom cried, he made it through. Okay… By the way. Kieth feels like a scratching post sitting between Nicki and Mariah as they bicker back and fourth. Enough of last week.
Let’s get to fight day. I’ve already described it above so I won’t rehash it again. They are in Charlotte NC at the speedway. All you Nascar fans are familiar with that place I’m sure. Scotty McCreary was there to help pump up the crowd. I don’t particularly care for the guy but he appears to be wearing his Idol fame quite well. Here are some of the notables. After the primping of the judges, particularly Randy (I know he’s put on the forefront of this as a joke) we meet Naomi. She makes her own clothes and that’s where her talent lies, if you like her style. Her singing… No. She had a 3 note range and they were all flat. Next up is Joel. He references ‘science’ from something like Season 5 when they had someone lay on the ground to sing (we saw Daughtry doing this being coached by David Foster and crew). Ummm, No. This is followed by Brian, a book keeper. First Hallmark moment of the night. His wife had cancer of the appendix. The tumor had grown to the size of a basketball (?) and she was going to die. Well, she didn’t. She beat it. I have to admit, I got a little misty eyed with this one. I am always happy to hear that cancer can be beaten. Anyway, Brian says his wife asks him to go to the basement when he sings. I don’t know why, he’s great at it. Turns out, wife is a huge Keith Urban fan and of course, she got to meet him. Nice. He made it through. Then there was a montage of yes votes including one who could challenge Mariah on the octave range. Next in line was another Isabelle. She was a nominee (her aunt) and the dawg presented her with her idol number at her school while the principal was talking about SATs. Aunt was there so total setup and I doubt it was really a surprise to anyone there. The girl has some singing chops though, she made it through. We saw Aisha who is the singer in a rock band. She auditioned with Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. I thought it kind of sucked and yes, I can do better (in this case). They had her sing something else and the judges were split 2:2. I guess when there is a tie, someone breaks it and in this case, it was Keith, since they were in Charlotte. Then, we get to Summer. She is the country-esque singer that touched off this feud between Nicki and Mariah. I felt bad for Summer having to stand there and witness this and thought it extremely rude of the judges, the way they treated the whole thing. It would have been one thing to excuse the contestant and then have their hissy fit debate but to do it in front of a contestant is just all kinds of wrong. The show is still about the judges. Nuff said. That was the end of day one in Charlotte. Day two, went more smoothly especially since the whole world knew about the feud by now and the first contestant, after being given the yes, exited stage left asking them not to fight, it makes her sad. Awwe… Following that was Ashley. She’s a chunky black girl with blonde hair. She’s just full of life and just loves to randomly talk to people, regardless of what they are doing. She even busted in on an interview. I’m sure it’s all for the cameras that they chose to show this to us. However, in her audition, she opened her mouth to sing, and wow. Expect to see this girl on the live shows unless something better comes along. There were some other auditions then we met Rodney. The Voice Of Charlotte as he calls himself. He was once homeless and had to sing for his supper basically. Now that he has a home, he still sings on the sidewalk to collect money to help others. I like the guy’s attitude but his singing left me kind of flat. He wasn’t bad but there was no wow for me. Keith has to leave to go to NY for his wife’s award and now Randy becomes the scratching post. We get to see Candice. She was cut in Las Vegas last season. When asked who people compare her to (these are all pre arranged questions, I’m convinced of that), she says Joshua Ladet. You remember him, my church singer from last season (3rd place). I didn’t know what to expect from her but she did, go to church as they say. Yes for her. Next we have a frogger girl. That means exactly what it sounds like. Her passion is to catch frogs and eat the frog legs. She says they taste like chicken. The panel disagrees and are completely grossed out by it but, she’s a good singer so she makes it through (and promises to make them some frog legs in Hollywood). There were a couple others and we meet Seretha (?).. She pulled out Idol tricks 329 and 632. Boyfriend in a bad accident (and doesn’t know she’s at the audition) and 3 year old daughter with her, during the audition. The daughter is a big Nicki fan and has a gift for her. Looked like a hello kitty doll. Nicki later took pictures with the kid.. Nice. Seretha auditioned with the theme from Fresh Prince of BelAir. Right away, I groaned. A rapper, the type I hate the most. However, she sang it and it was a pleasant surprise. Kind of a Chris Renee (X Factor S1) surprise. Then she sang another song and of course got her golden ticket. End of Charlotte auditions.
Last night, they were in Louisiana. Baton Rouge I think. This is The Dawg’s home town. Touching on a few highlights (because this is extremely late). First, we meet Megan. She’s had an accident 3 days prior and it requires surgery to repair her broken leg. She told the doctors to FO when they wanted to do the surgery the same time as the audition. She will be going from the audition directly to the hospital to have the surgery. So she hobbles in there on crutches and the temporary cast, wearing high heals, and really knocks her audition out of the park. This is one I’ll say didn’t get a sympathy vote because she really was good and she didn’t play any poor me cards (the producers let us know that her surgery went well and she should be healed in time for Hollywood). We meet Maddie, who was nominated by her grandmother. Yes. Then the montage of miserables complete with video of pigs, snakes, lizards, etc. Then we meet Chris aka Mushroom (compliments of Nicki) who decides to take on an Adam Lambert song. Big shoes to fill on Idol and he didn’t even come close. He was entertaining but, No. Then, Dr Calvin.. When I first saw this guy I thought he was a teen but he’s 27 in his third year of residency. He gave up singing for education but has decided to dust off the vocal chords and give it a shot. Well done Doc. He makes it through. Last of the night (only an hour show, YAY!) was Burnell, a Katrina survivor. He did his thing. His grandfather is also a musician who plays several instruments but Burnell plays none. Promises to learn one though.
There was at least one in all this mix who is in school for musical theater. I don’t remember which night but I mention her because she Can Not Sing. I think she has a twin sister and her mom thinks she can actually sing. I suspect twin disagrees. Twin is correct, Girl can’t sing at all. It was a no for her.
There you have it my friends. I’m sort of caught up with the contestants and the shows. Future recaps will focus more on the contestants and far less on the judges and won’t be such tiresome reads. If you made it this far, thank you for sticking with me. I’ll see you next week for San Antonio Texas and California.