Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hollywood Week #1

Hello Idol Fans,

Another season of American Idol has dawned, and it's about time this Idol guru makes his voice heard. I'll be weighing in on all things Idol every week, so enjoy!!

Before I even mention the performances, what was with that startling Ford product placement via Danny Gokey? Don't we usually only have to endure these during the top 12 results shows? And in general, I keep trying to determine why the episode felt hollow...probably the age-old Idol dilemma: too much Seacrest dramatizing and not enough actual performance time. Simon loves to remind us this is a signing competition—so why not show us more singing than happy Hollywood touring?

Bellyaching aside, there were actually some people to get excited about…

Jasmine Murray—Anyone singing an obscure Kelly Clarkson song wins points in my book, especially when they have the voice to pull it off.

Anoop Desai—I think he'll take revenge for all the fallen Sanjayas, John Stevens and Anthony Federovs of idol seasons past, because he is a geek who can ACTUALLY SING. Imagine that. Clay Aiken 2.0?

Danny Gokey—Save the sob stories for those who need them (sorry Rose Flack), because this guy’s got it. Besides the startlingly good song choice, he just has stage presence. He’s one to watch.

But so many more contestants I wanted to get behind fell flat…

Lil Rounds—Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good diva. There has not been one big-voiced balladeer to cross idol’s stage that I haven’t rooted for (well, maybe that gay-hating Mandisa). But divas, know thy chops—and don’t touch that Whitney song unless you have Hudson-sized confidence to back it up. For someone who claimed to be so humbly unaware of her talent in her first audition, Lil only went on to pick the biggest ballad ever, and handled it shakily at best. If Lil studies the bible of Fantasia and Melinda, she’ll fair much better…

Rose Flack—What happened? Did boot camp really drain all this girl’s charm? I was appalled to see the lifeless, jittery mess Rose had become during her rendition of Dock of the Bay. I hope she realizes she doesn’t need the best voice, she just needs to own whatever voice she does have, and she’ll sail through.

Von Smith—Can anyone guess who the next dark horse will be? Idol always needs that one contestant people either love or love to hate, and I think that will be Von. He has the kind of polarizing quality that idol producers dream of, and I’d be shocked to see him not make the top 36. I’m particularly excited about him being a potential male Latoya or Syesha (who were prone to shouting themselves). If he learns to harness that big ol’ voice, I think there could be magic.

And then there are the contestants that I just can’t understand…

Nathanial Marshall—Despite eliciting a surprisingly lucid criticism from Paula, his bursting skin routine really, really grossed me out.

Jackie Tohn—No. Funny, but transparently so; she lacks the true charm Rose once wielded. And sparkly fanny packs can only distract from mediocre vocals for so long…

Speaking of gimmicks…Norman Gentle? Katrina Darrell? These felt like slaps in the face to an idol diehard like myself, especially when someone like grandma-caring girl gets the boot without so much as an explanatory note.

Hopefully group night provides more singing and less nonsense...


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