February 9, 2005

Simulblogging "American Idol."

I prepared for tonight's simulblog by reviewing parts of last night's show. If you remember, I made a harsh accusation: the show is using overdubbing to make contestants sound better than the performance heard by the judges. I stand by this observation. I wrote:
Regina Brooks -- sings really well -- though again, I think it looks overdubbed. But she doesn't make it! Well, I think it was overdubbed, so I don't think we heard how she really sounded.

I watched the performance again closely, and the mouth does not at all match the soundtrack! The show is using too many fakey tricks to supply the entertainment value. I think that's a mistake. There were so many bogus things about last night's show. One I didn't mention before is that when the judges are telling contestants that they made it, they do that old Regis Philbin "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" trick of looking all sad, as if they are about to deliver bad news, and then -- wow -- it's good news. What a cheesy old gimmick! Is that all they've got?

8:00: Tonight, the kids are put into groups. They have to work together. But some of them don't like each other. Well, I doubt the drama is going to be all that good, because we immediately get diverted into an irrelevant sequence about one contestant's mother having trouble breathing. The other early conflict involves a group of three guys, one of whom seems to have a serious mental deficiency. We're asked to laugh at this young man, but it doesn't seem funny.

8:11. Two contestants confront one woman who can't learn the words. She's dragging them down! (And she doesn't even seem to see the problem.) Another set of contestants gets up the nerve to kick out the parents. A third set confronts the guy who seems to have a serious mental deficiency: "To me, you seem a little bit anti-social."

8:20. The first trio is freakishly mismatched. Seeing them dance together is weird. "You were definitely in some sort of a group," says Randy. Two of them make it. The one who doesn't didn't sing badly, he just could not dance. The second group includes the woman who couldn't learn the words, and she pretty much just sings "Oh" for the whole song. They call her on it. How hard is it to learn "baby, baby, where did out love go?" asks Simon. Word-forgetting-girl loses. We see her stalking down the street. She turns to the camera and says "I'm a very beautiful person." Ah, too bad! A very beautiful person who could not learn the words.

8:32. Anwar Robinson is good, and his whole group makes it. Then, there's an awful group. Ah, this whole segment is too filler-y to summarize.

8:41. The group with the seemingly mentally challenged man does a cool harmony at the end, and one member is dropped and it's not Scott, the seemingly mentally challenged guy. The one who loses carried a teddy bear during the routine. There's a group of three guys that leads to a big fight among the judges, but the upshot of it all is that the cute blond guy gets a reprieve. The rocker guy is ridiculous trying to sing "Can't Help Myself." Well, what do you expect? Why would a rocker guy come off well singing "Can't Help Myself"?

8:51: "I can't love nobody else, I just love myself" -- that was an excellent attempt at the lyrics. A horrible threesome makes it through. Why? The need to equalize the males and the females. That was just pretty weird. Or was it "the braveness that we took" in choosing a godawful song. Now the guys are crying over the opportunity they've been given.

End of show!

UPDATE: About my suspicions that there is overdubbing, several people have emailed to tell me that I may be seeing the picture out of synch with the sound if I am using any of the following: digital cable, TiVo, HDTV. Of course, I am using all three. I still think I see the problem only some of the time, but I'm going to settle down and assume it's some technical glitch at my end. But I'm not going to back down about thinking Marlea Stroman's quitting was staged. It fit the theme of the evening too neatly and seemed bogus.

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