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Archive for the ‘AI 7 Auditions’ Category

Come one, come all! The Live Blogging experiment continues tomorrow night at 8pm EST/7pm CST/5pm PST. Just click here and join the fun! I make lots of irreverent comments, take polls, show videos, and everyone can add their own POV to the proceedings. What better way to watch IDOL than with others!

See you there — carry on!

J

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…since I can’t seem to get my act together to post my recaps in a timely manner (noticed that I skipped last week?). I’m going to attempt to Live Blog tomorrow night’s Omaha auditions so now YOU can get in on the action AS IT HAPPENS instead of just reading what I have to say. If it works, I’ll use this format for most of the series (there will be nights I have to work…sorry…) – if not, well, I’ll have to decide whether or not to keep up the blog.

Only one hitch…WordPress does not support iFrame, which is the platform used for live blogging.  That means I’ll have to redirect all of you to another blog on Blogger in order to try this.  Ugh – why can’t things just be simple??

Anyway, if you’re into experiments, then check out tomorrow’s live blogging attempt here 

See you there!

J

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“Yo, Adrianne…!” Idol is back and if the first two shows are any indication, it’s a leaner and less meaner edition of what we’ve come to know and love over the last six seasons.  A balanced package of good and bad auditions, more heart wrenching background stories from the get-go and Simon grows a sympathetic hearts?  YIKES!  It’s Christmas all over again! 

 

So far I’m digging what has come out of the first four hours and first two audition stops – ok, we had to have the obligatory bad impressions of Kelly Clarkson hits as well as shots of crowds in hot stadium seats singing for the cameras  but for the most part, the editing was tighter and moved through the worst folks faster than Taylor Hicks was dropped from this label (big mistake, Arista, but that’s another blog).  We haven’t seen anyone with instruments yet, but hopefully that is forthcoming.  I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing some good musicianship but I am struggling a little with the number of semi-pros supposedly auditioning and making it to Hollywood (Carly Hennessey and Kristy Lee Cook come to mind).  I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to wanting to find the best UNTAPPED talent in AMERICA but some of the back-stories  are  compelling enough on these folks to want to give them a shot.  I guess I’ll wait and see if Hollywood takes some of them out and see who makes the top 50(?) this season.  Now, I still wish they would bring back the wildcard round…

 

Let’s get on to my 10 second takes on the featured contestants from the first two stops.  First up…

 

“Philadelphia Freedom, shine on me…”

 

Joey Catalano – “the biggest loser…NOT!”

I was pleasantly surprised by the nice, smooth voice  because after the build-up I wasn’t sure what would come out of his mouth.  For a change I wasn’t disappointed by the great personal package/bad voice syndrome — and he’s a gentleman to boot!  Looking for more good things to come from this young man in Hollywood.

 

Yuka – “walk like an Egyptian”

Wasthis guy for real???  Likes Mr. Bee Gees, eh?  Ouch.  At least Simon didn’t totally blast him for being a bad singer.

 

Melanie Nyema – “Taylor’s Backup singer”

Up beat personality… nice voice… but Mindy Doo she ain’t.  Bit of a let down.

 

James Lewis – “the tour guide”

Anyone who says he’s unique makes me nervous – Moses couldn’t go down any further that where that dude sent him.  The canary yellow suit didn’t help, either.  Reminded me of LOUD MOUTH FROG

 

1st set of forgettables:

Nick Stano – “Clay Aiken, he ain’t”

Sybill White – “too many musical personalities to deal with”

Zhengzhong Yu – “too sing song for me…”

 

1st set of brief but great voices:

Junot Joyner – “now THAT’S what I call the blues…”

Jose Candelaria – Even in Spanish, it was good!

Jonathan Baines – I liked this kid a lot!

 

Temptress Browne – “Mama’s little Linebacker”

In waaay over her head but what a sweet girl.  Simon really was nice to her and I like that he’s showing  his humanity a bit more, particularly with those who aren’t trying to use the show for their 15 minutes of fame (nah…folks don’t really DO that DO THEY?)

 

Mark Hayes – “he thinks he’s funny… HA!”

Never sing a Christmas song to audition…doesn’t work unless you’re Bing Crosby.

 

“Udi” Sampat – “Hammer-time?”

Sings like an accountant and I should know (my hubby is one and he can’t sing either!)  Nice, delusional fellow who should stick to counting beans.

 

Alexis Cohen – “one scary vet”

Sings on pitch and could make it as a cover band singer but definitely NOT as an AI contestant. However, how much do the producers wind these people up?  It’s just not necessary and it’s NOT good TV, trust me.

 

Angela Martin – “a good mother”

Good, strong voice but I agree with Simon that she needs to lose the “wedding singer” posture and develop her own style.  Her back story will have everyone rooting for her and her daughter.

 

Loud — LoudER – LOUDEST!

Alyse Wojciechowski

Teresa Anello

Brandi Park

 

And in the totally WEIRD category…

Milo Turk – “the worst singer-songwriter EVAH!”

 

Kristy Lee Cook – “Outback cage-fighter”

Very country, mellow alto, more like Carrie than Kellie.  I didn’t notice the 60’s vibe but on second listen, I could hear it. She could also be our first “ringer” of the season – someone who has already tried to make it and failed.  We’ll see.

 

Ben Haar – “A Max Klinger wanna-be”

Any guy who dresses like Princess Lea and looks like Jabba the Hut is bucking for a Section 8!

 

Pedro Rivera – in a word, NO!

 

Shekhinah Bathyehudah – “Channeling Patti LaBelle…”

…and badly, I might add.

 

Paul Marturano – “Paula’s latest stalker”

He actually has a decent voice but the song was way too creepy – ingenious but creepy nonetheless.

 

Beth Stalker – “Little Liz”

Lovely alto voice that’s more suited for cabaret work but Randy & Paula put her through anyway.  Shouldn’t make it past the Hollywood Round.

 

Chris Watson – “A legend in his own mind…”

…but he CAN sing and he IS good.  Hubby thinks he’s a pretty boy and I agree.  Hopefully the judges will chew him up and spit him out in Hollywood.

 

Christina Tolisano – “Princess Lea, duh…”

A strangely, wooden performance.  She can sing but had no affect whatsoever.  The costume did in any legit chance of getting the judges’ attention.

 

Brooke White – “the Nanny”

Sweet voice and heartfelt deliver.  She’s GOT to be a Mormon.  Reports are that she’s another ringer.  Hummm…

 

After Philly, the groups heads south:

“It’s a kinder, gentler audition process deep in the heart of Texas…”

 

Jessica Brown – “Rehab Momma”

Compelling back story, seemed to catch the attention of the judges from the get-go,

nice, country sounding voice – sounds like a recipe for a golden ticket.  Wonder if she’ll get through the Hollywood Round unscathed? 

 

Paul Stafford – “big time baseball man”

Elliot Yamin he is NOT but seems like a lot of fun to hang with. 

 

Beth Maddocks – “Kelly wanna-be”

A “disaster” of an audition, fur sure.  High, shrill and lifeless. No ma’am.

 

Esteban Deanda

Victoria Metz                3 “bad” (and not in a good way) Amigos

Drucilla Wideman

 

Alaina Whitaker – “Carrie looks like her”

Big, strong country vocal with a big, strong country ego to match.  Will probably go out clubbing in Hollywood instead of practicing because she obviously doesn’t need it…*ugh*

 

Gregory & Mia Tobias – “Opera twins”

It sounded like a butchered version of something from “A Light in the Piazza” but it was so bad I really can’t be sure.  Opera it wasn’t.  Confusing it was!

 

Bruce Dickson – “The 19 year old Virgin”

Ok, this back story is the oddest one I’ve seen in the seven years of Idol.  I thought he shouted too much but I thought he had a good voice.

 

Pia Easley – “a model background singer”

Looks a bit butch for me but she has a great sound.  Ought to be interesting when she gets to Hollywood.

 

Brandon Green – “a most unusual collector”

I can’t resist but… at least it wasn’t like nails on a chalkboard!  I thought he shouted a tad and he didn’t need to because he could hit those notes but he sounded good.

 

Kayla Hatfield – “a true survivor”

Wow! Another Joplin clone but this one had more of the voice to handle the song and got the sympathy vote from Simon, no less.  Won’t last past Hollywood.

 

Another group of “thanks, but no thanks…”

Erick Maudlin

Charles Markham

Tristan Clements

 

Kady Malloy – “a very impressionable gal”

She has a great voice and can mimic some of the recent “greats.”  The advice they gave her should be taken as gospel before she gets to Hollywood.

 

Douglas Davidson – “I don’t want what he’s on”

Too weird for words and a monotone to boot.  Just what was in that water bottle? By the way, didn’t he look a little like Bill Gates to you?  

 

Angela Reilly – “the newlywed”

Another wedding singer but with worse moves.  At least she could carry a tune but not very far.  No need to but the new hubby on the spot – how rude!

 

Kyle Ensley – “the politico-in-training”

Broadway nerd meets QUEEN – yikes! BUT…he did have a decent voice and sang with conviction ( I disagree with the academic comment).  Won’t last past Hollywood but he will be interesting to watch. 

 

Tammy Tuzinski – “her heart will go on…but her voice…”

Is there a personality in this person?  Or a voice?  Talk about your “deer in headlights.”  Unfortunately, that was painful.

 

Colton Swon –

Whoa!  Strong voice, different hair but you can tell he’s in a bar band.  I’m glad he went through on his talent but Hollywood will be another story.

 

Ok, what was with all the cross-gender craziness?  Stoopid.

 

Drew Poppelreiter – “I guess his tractor’s sexy…”

All-American boy with a decent voice  who will get chewed up and spit out in Hollywood. 

 

Kyle Reinneck – “guy-liner from hell”

Rocker dude with a bottle tan?  I’m confused.  And the singing (or lack thereof) confused me even more.  Daughtry has nothing to worry about.

 

I was waiting for the Kelly Clarkson tribute and I wasn’t disappointed – drat!

 

Nina Shaw – “Kelly’s Homegirl”

What’s with the “old fashioned” critique?  I’m with Randy on this one – I liked her voice.  I think they made her a tad nervous with all the bantering before she sang (rewind it and see what I mean) and that may have taken some wind out of her sails but I figured she’d at least make it to Hollyweird.  From there, it’s anyone guess…

 

Renaldo Lapuz – “Liberace Meets William Hung!”

Well, at least he sang with conviction and reckless abandon…AND…he got a hug from Simon (priceless!).  Now, let’s all link arms and sing…”I AM YOUR BROTHER…”

 

Next stop – SAN DIEGO and the return of the Statute of Liberty…See you then!

 

 

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Howdy!

With the 7th Season of American Idol looming the distance, the Rewind of Season 2 just about to premiere, and other Idol competitions going on continually around the globe, I’ve been doing some thinking about the franchise in general and our version in particular. From what I’ve read, not all Idol competitions are conducted in the same way – for example, contestants in other countries are allowed to play instruments while performing. Also, over the last 6 seasons, there has been a lot of adjustments made in the American format, some good and others not so good.

Since the last season brought much criticism and lower ratings, perhaps this is a good time for the average fan like myself to play “Thursday morning director” and make some suggestions as to how the show can improve before it begins its next outing. Who knows – maybe someone will be listening…?

Here are three suggestions for the honorable producers to consider – if they haven’t already done so:

1) Bring back the Wildcard round!
I believe this step in the competition was used for the first 3 seasons and then dropped in favor of the 12 guys/12 girls elimination. I think it could still be used because it could give one guy and gal, particularly one who may not have gotten a lot of air time up to this point, another chance at the final 12. Remember, if it weren’t for the wildcard, Clay Aiken would never have made the finals in Season 2.

2) Bring back the Guest Judge/Mentor!
I know I’m bias but Barry Manilow is the best example of this. When he was asked to be a judge in Season 3 he asked if he could work with the contestants and the rest is Idol history. However, probably because of Simon’s alleged dislike of guest judges, the mentors only show up to work with the group and then disappear (or reappear on the results show to hawk their new CD). I believe if a mentor has spent time helping the cast, he or she should get a final say on their performance. It also gives the fans another view of the performance, especially during the middle of the season when we are sick of the usual “I’m feeling it, dawg,” “You’re so special” and “You’ll never make it in this competition” type of dribble. A fresh set of ears is a blessing at that point. (BTW, Barry was on Seasons 3 & 5 so that means he should be back again this year – especially if there is a 70’s night! He has proven to be the best mentor on the show.)

3) Give us less bad auditions and more of the Hollywood Rounds!
Last year the producers, in perhaps a drunken stupor, decided to chop up the Hollywood Rounds and condense them into one night because it wasn’t “good TV” – thus not allowing the fans to see more of the talent or back stories of the contestants (a HUGE complaint about Season6 in general). The editors should be able to combine and compile enough film on these rounds to both keep us interested and provide us with the emotional angst to get us behind our favorites. On the flip side, the ever increasing number of bad audition shows really don’t keep fan tuned in the rest of the season because the folks who fancy those episodes are all about watching train wrecks than good singing. The fans who vote passionately are the ones that should be served or they will continue to fall away as they did last season.

Ultimately, the main focus should always be on the contestants and their quest for the title. The more we know about them and their road to Idol, the more invested we become in their outcome. The show has proven that it can produce that type of TV and get both great ratings and loyal viewer. They can do it again. I’m sure of it. Sometimes returning to one’s roots is the best thing.

Now, may some of you out there have your own “three wishes” for the upcoming season so why not share your vision with the rest of us? Let us and TPTB know your concerns and maybe it will help to give Idol the boost it needs going into Season 7. Leave your comments below and let the voice of the people be heard!

Carry on!

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By Andy Dehnart (Reality Blurred)

 

Simon Cowell plans to make a film based upon American Idol, which he says will use real people in the leads and be “the musical version of ‘Rocky’ — an underdog story, a feel-good film.”

Star Struck “is set behind the scenes of a TV singing competition in the vein of ‘Idol’ and the Cowell-produced British show ‘X-Factor’ and follows 10 contestants trying to make it to the top,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie will be written by “Jonathan Harvey, who followed [Cowell] around for the past two years,” but it does not yet have a studio attached.  Still, Simon wants to release the film next summer, probably timed to debut right after the conclusion of American

Idol 7.

 

The filmmakers want “authenticity,” so “the leads in the film — playing participants in a TV singing competition — will be cast through nationwide open call auditions similar to those used on the reality shows,” the paper reports. And “Cowell will be at the auditions for the movie. And just like a singing reality show, ‘Struck’ will open with clips from the auditions.”

 

That seems beyond ridiculous; why not just make a documentary about the show instead of faking everything that’s already happening? With impossible-to-follow logic, Simon argues, “To enjoy the film, you’ve got to watch the actors and believe that they are contestants on a reality show.” Yes, except we’ll know that they’re fake, you twit.

 

Cowell nor the paper mention American Dreamz, a fictional film that was essentially a quasi-satire of the show. However, despite starring real actors, it did horribly, opening in ninth place and ultimately earning just $16.5 million worldwide, and only $7 million in the U.S.

 

Pasted from <http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/american_idol_7/2007_Aug_02_simon_cowell_star_struck>

 

I think I’m in agreement with Andy on this one.  Why not just do a documentary on Season 7?  I think folks would more than likely want to plunk down their $$ to get a behind-the-scenes look at IDOL because we all know that the truth is stranger than fiction.

 

Maybe they have something to hide?

 

What say YOU America?  Which would you rather see – fiction or reality?

 

Let’s carry on a conversation…

J

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    Found this in my Google alerts today – nice to know they are FINALLY admitting it!  Read on, McDuffs!

     

    At TV’s summer press tour, Nigel Lythgoe admits that last season suffered by focusing more on famous mentors than on contestants — and says the show can learn from ”So You Think You Can Dance”

     

    By Tanner Stransky


    At Sunday’s TCA press tour panel for Fox’s summer hit So You Think You Can Dance, a lively discussion about what makes certain finalists on the dancing show stand out from the rest turned into a much more interesting back-and-forth about what Dance can teach its bigger — and much more powerful, in terms of ratings — older brother, American Idol. Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of both shows who also serves as a sharp-tongued judge on Dance, said there’s plenty — and that we should all expect some changes on Idol next season. ”We realized we made mistakes on Idol last season,” he said. ”We were so engrossed with the mentors and didn’t really focus on the Melinda Doolittles of the show. We didn’t know them as much as the Kellie Picklers of last season.”

     

    Lythgoe is referring to the marked difference in the ways the two programs showcase their contestants: In recent seasons, Idol has tended to shun details about its singers to instead focus on the big-name stars who come to the show to perform and work with the contestants, especially in later episodes. Dance, however, spends quite a bit of its airtime featuring the back-stories of its dancers and their struggles to get on the show.

     

    ”We’re all attached to them a little more,” Lythgoe said about Dance‘s focus on its contestants’ lives. ”I think that’s affected us all a little bit more. There are little emotional hooks that come out.” As for an Idol tune-up plan for season 7, Lythgoe revealed the production team is always looking to ”tinker with the program,” adding that ultimately he’d like to see the Idol contestants be as strong as his prized top 10 on So You Think You Can Dance.

     

    And what of Sanjaya? Of course, the faux-hawked menace snuck his way into the discussion. Speaking about the top 10 dancers seated behind him on stage, Lythgoe said: ”There isn’t a Sanjaya here, although I do think Sanjaya helped the last season of Idol. I think there’s enough talent with enough great stories to warrant the fact that we are basing it on their talent. No one needs to alter their hair on this program.”

     

    Pasted from <http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20047678,00.html>

     

     

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My hope is that they find better talent in the heartland but I still think they need to audition more folks in Boston. Here’s what we’ve got so far:

July 30 – San Diego, California (Qualcomm Stadium)
Aug. 6 – Dallas, Texas (Texas Stadium)
Aug. 10 – Omaha, Nebraska (Qwest Center)
Aug. 14 – Atlanta, Georgia (Georgia Dome)
Aug. 18 – Charleston, South Carolina (North Charleston Coliseum)
Aug. 22 – Miami, Florida (AmericanAirlines Arena)
Aug. 27 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Wachovia Center)

The northern US seems to be conspicuously absent from this list and living in New England I don’t consider Philly to be that far north to count. Hey, it’s their loss but I just hope the judges do a better job at weeding this coming year than last.

Carry on!

J

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