I watched American Idol for the very first time last year. I didn’t start watching until it was down to the final 24. So tonight was my first glimpse at the auditions.
I’m not saying that there weren’t some talented people that showed up for auditions in Philadelphia. There were several in fact and I’m looking forward to watching them in Hollywood.
But it’s going to be a long road to Hollywood.
Sure the auditions were filled with people that had no business trying out. You have to wonder what kind of friends these people have. I’m all for letting people try to live out their dreams. But seriously, some of these people need better friends. Friends that can nicely (and least nicer than Simon) tell them that singing is not their thing.
But aside from the talentless, what I really found painful was the show itself.
We weren’t seven minutes into the show, with only one contestant under our belt, when it was already time for a commercial break. With the writer’s strike leaving good advertising opportunities at a minimum, the advertisers must be flocking to Idol, because there was a commercial break every 7 to 14 minutes. In a two-hour show, that’s a lot of commercials.
If that weren’t bad enough, each break was preempted by a “what’s to come segment” that took all the surprise out of upcoming performances. What’s the fun of watching the performance when you already know if they are heading to Hollywood?
Enough of my rant, here are the highlights:
Simon is not all heartless. Not only was he the only judge not to blatantly laugh when Philly native and tour guide James Lewis performed a less than stellar version of spiritual “Go Down Moses,” he volunteered (along with Paula and Randy) to walk 16-year-old Temptress Browne out to help break the news that she didn’t make the cut to the mom she didn’t want to let down.
Apparently “I Love Rock N Roll” was the audition song of choice if the montage of contestants butchering the song was any indication of the numbers who chose the song. I don’t think I can listen to that song again any time soon.
Some of these people are just mentally unstable. I’m not talking about the strange costumes, but the attitudes. In fact the show did a whole segment on disappointed contestants using foul language – just what I needed to watch three-minutes of people being bleeped out.
But swearing was the least of the worries. Paula has a stalker or two she needs to worry about. Paul Marturano wrote a “love” song for her that he performed that talked about breaking into her house and stalking her.
And Ben Haar, who showed up in a belly dancer costume, went as far as having his chest hair waxed on camera to please Paula – an image I could have lived without.
And in true Simon-fashion, Simon made a few enemies including Christina Tolisano, a Star Wars fan from Enfield, CT who insists that Idol has no diversity and Alexis Cohen. An Allentown, PA native, Cohen had a real upbeat personality until she was passed over. Talk about 180 degree turn around. As soon as she exited the room, the explicative started flying. This woman was scary. Let’s hope she doesn’t catch Simon alone in a dark alley.
Milo Turk didn’t let his age (too old by contest rules) keep him from trying to impress Randy and others with his original song “No Sex Allowed.”
In all 29 auditioners in Philly got invitations to Hollywood. Here are my top three choices in no particular order
Kristy Lee Cook, 23. sold her horse to pay for her flight to Philly. But this horse training, kickboxer from Selma Oregon’s rendition of Amazing Grace earned her a place in Hollywood. I liked her sound. She’s got a bit of a country thing going for her.
The fact that Simon said Chris Watson looked like a star is probably a good sign. The Cracker tune he chose, let this 20-year-old Dover, DE native’s voice shine.
And finally, there’s Angela Martin, a single mother from Chicago whose heartbreaking story of a daughter with Rett Syndrome was just as touching as the voice that delivered Stevie Wonder’s hit “Signed, Sealed and Delivered.”
I was surprised at how far away people came to audition in Philly when there are several other audition sites. But I guess I’ll just come to an understanding that there are some things about Idol contestants I will never understand.
Until tomorrow night.