2/4 Hollywood Round 2: Group Competition. Get Your Act Together Fox!

We find this part of the competition normally fairly annoying, but this year, Fox did a majorly amateur job.

The general idea of the group competition is to let the people group up to compete for a chance at getting through.  What one would think is that everyone would want to cooperate and get down the basics to get through.  But instead, it generates a bunch of bickering and infighting.  Some viewers may find it enjoyable.  We find it childish and foolish.  Whoever choreographed this show should have been sent home along with those eliminated.

emily_wynne_hughesTheir show focused on several drama queens, one of which was a she-man-boy, and doesn’t really let you see what you want to see.  We got some shocking eliminations, and we never even saw the performance that lost it for the person eliminated.  They build the contestants up in the auditions and show them as possible contenders then in the end, won’t give them their time of day when cut! For example, David Osmond was eliminated, which was a shock to the system.  But we never even got a chance to see him utter a single lyric.  Instead they focused on a group of frantic fruit bags that couldn’t seem to rehearse.

The bottom line came down to a quote from Simon though.  You forget the words, and you are gone.  So, a woman that was incredibly promising as a finalist, Emily Wynne-Hughes, got eliminated because after hours of practicing, she could not remember 30 seconds worth of lyrics.  And she is a pro!!

Bikini Girl, Katrina Darrell went home too.  She just couldn’t get out of bed.  Major prima donna, and major loser sacrificing a great chance.  But she got more camera time than most of the winners in the process.

rose_flack_hollywood75 people got through, way too many to cover in this article.  Fox did not provide the names of those that did get through, ran through only partial performances of most and spent half the time promoting the basket cases. Adam Lambert, Danny J Gokey, Jasmine Murray, Kristen McNamara, Taylor Vaifanua, Matt Breitzke, Michael Sarver, and Jamar Rogers are few of the names they named moving on to the next round. Was it a quick glimpse of  Anoop Desai we saw before the end credits? Jorge Nunez, Nick “Norman Gentle” Mitchell(!), Casey Carlson (Did she or didn’t she?!), Megan Corkrey and Jackie Tohn all made it and we didn’t hear a single line from any of them! Whatever happened to Kai Kalama, Michael Castro and Scott Macintyre?

Rose Flack is gone.  She too could not remember her 30 seconds of lyrics.

One thing you do learn is that if your group stinks, you can still get through by beating your partners.  So, in some instances, the strategy is to refuse to practice and then outperform your partners on the song.  The partners get eliminated, and you move on.  It is a risk, but it works for some.  Some pretty angry people got eliminated and realized that being stabbed in the back is part of this industry.

2/3 American Idol Makes It To Hollywood!

The early rounds of eliminations in Hollywood don’t draw the audience of the latter shows.  Perhaps it is for the same reason some fast forward through a movie to the more exciting scenes.  This part just isn’t all that thrilling.

The show also, at this juncture, misses out on why some people are eliminated and others made it through.  We see that many names make it, but we don’t see them perform.  Similarly, many are cut, and we don’t know the reason because their audition was snuffed from the television airwaves.

Nonetheless, we do get a glimpse of the real stars at times, and this week there were several that stood out as being on the path to the finals.

Lil Rounds, who is indeed rather round, is from Memphis and wowed the judges.  We thought she was a bit harsh at times, but there is no question, if she smooths out her tonality, she could be in the top 10.

Dennis Brigham of Glen Carbon Illinois looked like a Halloween character while performing, and didn’t have the vocals to be here.  He was real rude to the judges on his way out the door and back to his job in floor maintenance.  But we do give Dennis one thing, he called Simon’s wardrobe right on the money.

Nathaniel Marshall of Malone, NY was fairly good on the vocals, but was boring.  His emotional outburst was over the top and embarrassing.  We don’t think he has the talent to make the top 10, Top 36 even but he survived round one of Hollywood.

anoop_desaiAnoop Desai from Chapel Hill, NC is incredibly talented and the voice that emerges when he sings is clearly finals material.  If he makes it in the industry, though, we think he may have to change his name.  We just can’t picture people talking about going to an Anoop concert or seeing Anoop live!

Jasmine Murray of Starkville, MS was a killer in dress, form and function.  She moves on and also looks like she could well be finals bound.

Rose Flack, well, what can we say.  Rose is from Rathdrum, ID and is as different an individual as we have seen make it on the show.  Her voice is unique, but it may not be powerful enough to get to the finals.  Whether her unique tones can carry her is difficult to call, but we will see her again, because she broke through tonight.  From her recent attire, though, we are thinking Rose could be performing for two if you get our drift. (She didn’t make it in Round 2 of Hollywood week!)

Stephen Fowler of Beachwood, OH sings almost like a pro.  He has range and power in his voice, but knows how to harness it so it isn’t painful when he makes his delivery.  He is in and we could easily see him in the finals.

Jorge Nunez from Carolina, Puerto Rico can wale.  He seems a bit odd in his attire, but he could sing anyway.  Finalist?  Not sure just yet, but certainly worth watching.

Next up is someone we have not liked.  Von Smith of Greenwood, MO.  We find him just the opposite of Stephen Fowler. While Fowler controls his voice, Smith seems unable to do so.  When challenged, it is more like he is yelling at the mike.  If he can’t tone it down and take control, he won’t make it much further.

nick_mitchellNick Mitchell was back as “Norman Gentle” from Stratton, VT, or Mars, we are not sure which.  He is comical and maybe should come back on Last Comic Standing, but he survived this week.  His voice isn’t top notch though, and the talent is broad this year, so we don’t see him getting past the next round.

Jackie Tohn of Silver Lake, CA has the name to be a rock star.  She has that raspy Janis Joplin style voice and pulls it off well with a Janis performance style as well.  We shall see if she can break out of that niche when challenged and push farther.  We do like her, but we are not sure if a niche style like hers can persevere on Idol for long.

Jamar Rogers of Milwaukee, WI sang the same song as at his original audition and made it through.  We don’t see him as a finalist or going to the Top 36, but he is unique.

Our favorite in this competition to take it all is the next performer and a friend of Jamar.  Danny Gokey, also from Milwaukee sounds like he is already making professional CDs.  He is a Church Music Teacher, and he is teaching everyone at Idol music.  While he doesn’t come across as arrogant, he does have a confidence about him.  He knows he is good.  We do too.  If we had to pick a winner today, he would be it.

katrina_darrellNow it was time for the ultimate performer.  Bikini Girl!!  Katrina Darrell was fairly good.  Not outstanding, but certainly worth a pass onto the next round.  Paula and Kara seem not to like her, but we think that is all a staged act to keep things interesting.  Katrina wore more clothing today and we think she may have to go back to the bikini to stay in the competition to the Top 36.

Jeremy Michael Sarver of Jasper, TX is a big lad, and he is also a great singer.  We haven’t gotten enough of a feel for him and have not liked his choice of songs, but think he has a shot at continuing for a bit.  He was good enough to push through this night.

Jesus Valenzuela of North Highlands, CA was not as fortunate.  We thought he did as well as some others that made it, so were a bit surprised.  He wasn’t the next American Idol, but he ain’t bad, so we feel he was shortchanged.

David Osmond, of Provo, UT could have made it using a different route than Idol, but he would have been medicre.  If he makes it on Idol, he will be more famous.  We may see more talents saving themselves for a run at Idol rather than the standard route because it is more cost effective.  He will likely be a finalist. (UPDATE: We were wrong!)

Emily Wynn-Hughes of Los Angeles, CA is of a similar vein.  She has sung and performed professionally.  But this route, if she can pull it off, can make her a much bigger star than she would otherwise be.  No surprises, the pros get through to the next round and will likely be finalists unless something really really goes wrong along Hollywood week. (Something did go wrong!)

There were others like Casey Carlson who made it that we didn’t hear.  We are sorry we cannot comment on them.  But we will as soon as we hear them.

1/28 American Idol 8 Audition: Simon Gets A Bunch of Flack, And HE LIKES IT!

The Idol auditions this year were missing something. The entertainment factor was not there for us. Perhaps it is getting old? We certainly hope not. Tonight it was Salt Lake City. The crowd waiting for their opportunity to perform was enormous, so this isn’t dull to them!

The show kicked off with the next Donny Osmond? Well, maybe not, but he is related. David Osmond, whose dad is Allen Osmond the oldest of the performing Osmonds came to find if he has what it takes to be an Idol. Allen and David have MS and David was an inspiration, singing strongly and getting his golden ticket to Hollywood.

Next, it was time for the Idol freak run. A series of freaks came out to perform and make fools of themselves. Tara Mathews of Salt Lake looked, dressed and sounded like a beached whale and gave the one finger salute on the way out. Aleesha Turner of Herriman, Utah looked and sang like a nervous chipmunk. Gone. We have no idea what Katie Sullivan of Orem Utah was doing or thinking, but it wasn’t music. Rich Kagel‘s cross eyed look came off clownish. Not a horrible voice, but you can’t be a joke and make it through on this show.

Chris KirkhamThis was especially true of the next act. Chris Kirkham was no freak, but he brought along his friend dressed in a rabbit outfit as a good luck charm, and carried Simon puppets into his audition. He sang well enough to qualify, but the judges were so annoyed by the props, he got expelled before he had a chance. He was good and normal looking but made himself into a freak show. We hope he comes back next year without the rabbit.

The next series of rejections didn’t even get the time of day. These weren’t really the freaks, but they weren’t talented. It made you appreciate the plight of the judges having to listen to so many hopeless hopefuls.

Then, finally, a memorable performer. Frankie Jordan of Hollywood, CA is attractive, has a great smile and a unique style. We are not sure of her range, but she will get the chance to demonstrate it because she got her ticket to Hollywood, but I guess that will just be like going home.

Another unique talent and possibly the best we have seen so far in the auditions was Megan Corkrey, performing on her 23rd birthday. She ironically told the audience that she just chose to get a divorce, but sang “I gotta love one man ’til I die”. Still, her talent and unique personality stood out and she has the potential to be a finalist.

Next the show did the usual success run, where they show talent after talent we didn’t get to see running out with their ticket to Hollywood. We don’t like this part much, because we want to see the talents and we don’t like the fact that some get their names in lights and others get passed by so quickly. Delete the cameos and show the talent.

Andrew Gibson took up some useless time. It was cute but you knew they were going to just send him back home. They had talent they could have shown, and they showed this instead.

Taylor Vaifanua

Austin Sisneros of Riverton, Utah was not bad. He got a golden ticket, but we do not think him capable of being a finalist. Jarret Burns of Orem, Utah was quite good and made it. But then there was another run of freaks and general pain.

The final two gals were what Idol had been building up to. Taylor Vaifanua of Hurricane, Utah is a great talent reminiscent of Jordan Sparks. She is another giant at 6’2″ in heels. She pushed through with a unanimous decision and we would find it difficult to object.

The last performer of the night to make it through was quite unique in her personality. She has lost both her parents over the past four years and still has a pleasant and friendly personality. Idol had been giving us short glimpses of Rose Flack of Rathdrum, Idaho throughout the show, and Idol let her be the grand finale of the Salt Lake episode. She is incredibly pretty with a spectacular smile and a very innocent girlish personality fitting of a 17 year old. Her voice did not have the range of the other strong talents on the show, but her personality and look were so strong it didn’t matter.

Now, it is off to New York and Puerto Rico!!

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