It was Kansas City in tonight’s Idol. It was rather forgettable with a number of talents and twirps. There were a couple of performers that were outstanding. Casey Carlson was a gal that had an incredibly unique voice and obvious talent.
Another woman stood out- Lil Rounds sang as well as many past contestants that moved on to the finals.
A music teacher named Daniel “Danny” J Gokey was clearly a contender as well. If he can prove he has some diversity, he will be in the finals for sure. (View his audition below.) Update: We found an unofficial fan site for Danny Gokey this early on in the game! Is this crazy or what?!
Tonight’s talent looked pure. Last night, a rocker named Emily Wynne-Hughes was anything but new and pure. As it turns out, she is the lead singer in a band that has performed and toured and that has CDs available on Amazon.
We don’t think people like Emily belong on Idol. There has to be some line drawn between those that have raw undiscovered talent and those that are already professionals exploiting Idol to gain more exposure.
That said, in tonight’s episode nothing really stood out that would make us remember this particular set of auditions come the finals. So if you missed it, just watch out for Daniel J Gokey. We think he is a finalist.
We had taken a bit of a hiatus because there was nothing in reality television we have cared much for since Amazing Race finished its season. Amazing race, in our judgement, was great this year, but not as popular in the ratings. It just did not draw interest, which is a shame because it gets the adrenalin flowing.
Idol, though, is timeless. It could run forever. We will always search for that one singer that stands above the rest and drives towards a dream we all have as we crack on the high notes in the car on the way to work or in the shower.
We love Idol as it gets into the meat, but the initial shows are little more than entertainment. It reacquaints you with the judges. This year we did indeed get our fourth judge. It was obvious in this show that the intent was not to offset the other judges, but to create a kind of kinky girl girl thing behind the table. We will see how that plays out, but it was a nice change from the boring Simon/Paula nonsense.
The show brought on talent from Arizona. It was entertaining. One gal that not only had the pipes, but she had the thighs. Katrina Darrell came on with a bikini and wowed the judges with her body, then with her vocals. We are not sure what she will do to follow up on a bikini that barely covered her derrière. Kara DioGuardi noted that she had quite a nice one. (watch her audition below.)
There were a number of talents and fools. The usual rule was followed. If they look like a joke, they almost always are. There are occasional deviations from the rule, but in general, it follows. We are not sure if that is the intention of the show, however, in trying to find the beautiful people and discarding the not so beautiful even if they can wail. This is television.
This was just the start, and it gave us a feel for the judges, but it was nothing you have to watch just yet. The primary reason to watch the show at this juncture is to see those few people that may be standouts and the freaks that make us laugh or squirm with embarrassment.
It is also the phase in which we see that the judges are completely useless other than as color. Anyone could listen to ten seconds of the talented and put them through and can the rest. It takes no talent whatsoever. Honestly, it is perhaps the case that the judges do help later on in the season, but at this juncture they are pathetic. For one contestant they tell him he should be in a rock band and get more seasoned. Then they tell another contestant either you are born with it or you aren’t. When you think about the millions they make judging people with more talent than they ever had, it is kind of sad.
Still, they are part of the ‘greatest’ show ever on American television. So we still respect their tolerance of days of auditions for only a few million bucks each.
As a final note, as we sign off, we would like the show to add a new prop to eliminate the uncomfortable moments we consistently see at the end of auditions. As the failures are ejected, we see all kinds of pathetic begging and other awkward moments. We would love to see a trap door or stage hook incorporated. If after ten seconds or so, the performer sucks, you pull the handle, the trap door opens and they are gone. No begging, no whining, no swears or tears. Just off to the basement.
It is much too early to judge how this season is shaping up just yet. 27 performers were picked from Arizona alone and the most interesting shows will come when this has been whittled down to 10 in the entire competition. But if you like freaks and making early guesses as to who gets through to the finals, it is their time.
Our early pick for this week was Emily Wynne-Hughes of Los Angeles, CA, who brought some talented rock singing to the audition. She can rock and we think she could make it a ways, although we don’ see her becoming a finalist.
Another that caught us off guard was Arianna Afsar of San Diego CA, who we do see becoming a finalist. (Watch her audition video below) But Arianna makes us wonder. Where do all these people with teeth whiter than white come from? Are white teeth somehow correlated with American Idol and singing talent? Their choices seem a bit too perfect.
We are certain there are plenty of ugly folks with green teeth that can wail, and we are positive there are a ton of gorgeous people with pearly whites that sing worse than a donkey in heat. Somehow, Idol seems to conveniently eliminate those talents from the stage before we get to see them.
We are sorry. During our coverage of the Olympics, we dropped the ball on this one. American Idol has added a fourth judge. That is so they have an extra judge in case of a tie. Whoops, perhaps the show could use a second grade math exercise there.
Kara is a Grammy nominated songwriter of reasonable repute, but few will know who she is. We are guessing that shouldn’t matter much though. Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell were of limited notoriety before they started collecting their huge paychecks for criticizing talent that ultimately gets voted on by America.
Fox apparently is taking a big risk on this added attraction. From Paula Abdul’s input, there was no test to verify the chemistry of the group with a fourth judge, and there are considerable risks placing a new personality at the forefront of the show.
As we indicated above, the math of adding a fourth judge escapes us. It escaped Paula as well, “”That’s gonna be weird if it’s a split decision. I’m sure Simon will get to make the final call. It takes the fun out of all the hard work I do to push those kids through.” In other words, it gives the strongest say to the guy with the loudest mouth, Simon Scowl.
We will reserve our judgment on Kara at this juncture, but we question Idol’s messing with the recipe for the world’s most successful reality television show.
Season 8 of American Idol premieres January 2009 on FOX.
Directed by John Pritchett (live shows), Bruce Gowers (live shows, 2002-2008), Nigel Lythgoe (audition shows), Ken Warwick (audition shows)
Presented by Ryan Seacrest, Brian Dunkleman (season 1)
Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson
Country of origin United States
Original channel FOX (repeats on Fox Reality)
Original run June 11, 2002 – Present
American Idol is America’s favorite reality show without question. And it is one of ours too, shallow as it may seem. The show is professionally presented and always draws the best performances, although many of our favorites are the botched horror shows during the early auditions.
The judges are all great at calling the show, with Simon’s honesty telling the real story most of the time. Although he has botched plenty, like last year’s final. The stages and camera work are all exceptional. And the show’s costume designers, professional accompaniment, and the presentation are exceptional, making what start off as reasonably talented amateurs into seemingly seasoned professionals by year’s end.
And who doesn’t dream of being Kelly Clarkson or David Cook or Jordin Sparks up on that stage and wowing millions, in some cases after having no exposure whatsoever? And doesn’t every contestant appear a winner, when a fourth place finisher like Chris Daughtry becomes a downright American icon pulling off hit after hit in his first year as a professional performer. Or Kellie Pickler, who got eliminated in the final ten, only to show up with a new set of breasts and a top country hit “In My Red High Heels“.