January 25, 2006

"American Idol" -- San Francisco.

Heidi Fairbanks: She looks like Jessica Simpson, and she sings opera! But she's awful on the pop, and they reject her.

"I've been singing since I was 2 years old," says Shawn Vasquez. Why do people think that means anything? Doesn't every little kid sing? Anyway, he's ear-splitting. And he has this season's male affliction: singing like a woman. "Dude, that was the loudest, weidest..." says Randy. "It is almost non-human," says Simon.

Jose "Sway" Penala: He's good. Simon: "Very soulful!" Lots of yesses follow.

Matthew Paulson: he sees himself as "Clay-like." He calls himself Wolfie because he loves wolves. He sings a horrible Clay Aiken song tunelessly. He's stunned to hear he's terrible. Simon adds the exclamation "Hideous!" Gratuitous!

John Williams -- fresh out of the military -- sings weirdly ("Why does he do me that way?") then rips off his shirt and dances weirdly. He gets through anyway.

Katharine McPhee has a voice teacher mom but she sings "God Bless the Child" really prettily. And she's very pretty too. Simon: "Absolutely fantastic." Randy: "Absolutely brilliant." Paula: "Absolutely beautiful." Simon: "Very, very, very what is happening today." Most positive response to an audition I've seen on this show.

Shalicia Carlisle sings badly then launches into a spoken word performance about a baby crying in the ghetto. She's asked to sing something more cheerful, which she does, picking at her hair and flipping it about. She hits on the unfortunate lyric "What did I do wrong?" which cues Simon to stop her. She says she quit her job for the show, and Simon telephones her boss and gets her the job back. Very cute.

16-year-old Shawna White is adorable, with braids. Simon doesn't like her, but she gets through anyway.

Marcus Phillips, an "all-terrain entertainer." But he's all falsetto, even when rapping.

Jayne Santayana seems to set off a fight. Randy to Simon: "Is there a different radio playing in your head?" This leads to an edited together fake-story of fighting among the judges, which culminates when a woman with very large hair auditions. Her name's Deborah Dawn Tilley, and she says she's 27 but she looks 50. The fight ends up being about something Simon said back in Season 2, which Paula reminds him about. He walks out. It looks fake, but Ryan tells us it's not. Randy and Paula carry on without him. I assume he had some other commitment and this was a way to try to make something cool out of losing him on the panel.

Manuel Viramontes drinks hot sauce to warm up and carries a picture of a Saint Manuel which he kisses to get ready. He sings "Riven [sic] in the Sky" in a bizarre voice.

In sum: Katharine McPhee!


RogerA said...

Professor Althouse: I am having a severe case of cognitive dissonance here: you are a porche 911 AND an American Idol commentator (Ok, and the law professor thing). I know--deal with it.

Doug said...

Okay, let me ask an honest question.

So far, only one American Idol winner --- Kelly Clarkson --- has achieved anything approaching superstardom. I'd put Carrie Underwood in at a close second. The rest ? Have you heard Reuben or Fantasia on the radio lately ?

I didn't think so.

The question is this..........what does winning American Idol really mean. Unless you have real talent and star appeal, it would seem to mean maybe a slightly successful career in music, but nothing more.

I pretty much stopped watch AI after the second season, but I will admit that I was hooked during the first season and am not at all surprised that Kelly Clarkson is where she is today.

Marie said...

It's just like America's Next Top Model. It's fun to watch but yet sad at the same time because they stress out and work so hard and you know winning does not mean they'll achieve stardom.

Ann Althouse said...

Roger: This blog is all about cognitive dissonance. But I've been blogging "American Idol" since I started blogging. This is my third season of it. I've made it my job to blog it. But, really, it's quite bloggable.

Pete said...

And I for one thank you for blogging American Idol. (I've been remiss in my thanks, so sorry about that.)

Doug, I know you've heard about Clay Aiken. No, he didn't win American Idol but he's had at least a modicum of success. SO, let's see, there's Kelly Clarkson, Clay, Carrie. . . Not a bad run, actually. No, AI isn't a guaranteed ticket to superstardom but it's a start.

Jennifer said...

To add to Pete's list, Josh Gracin if you listen to country.

Paddy O. said...

American Idol is an open door to a notoriously fickle business. Kelly Clarkson just about fell flat on her face as well, but somehow got good counsel to split from the American Idol producers and find her own voice.

Plus, if there were a tournament of champions for American Idol, a sing off between all the winners, Kelly Clarkson would win again.

She's the only real superstar because she's that much better than the rest.

By the by, cognitive dissonance is what makes coming here so fun. It's like going to a restaurant where there's no menu, and the courses depend on the wide ranging moods of the chef.

jinnmabe said...

Carrie will be as big as Kelly, just in the country arena. Josh Gracin has had some success in the country arena as well.

Bill Millan said...

Interesting quote:

Randy said somewhere in the mix of the temper and scandal, is one of the most talented groups of contestants ever. Including America's new "Paris", who's already stealing headlines.

As for Paris' status as a frontrunner going into the Hollywood Round, Simon said the columnists who claim a winner has already been crowned have it all wrong. "There's no clear frontrunner like there was last year," Cowell said.

Bill Millan said...

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - On Wednesday night, there was "American Idol," there was "Lost" and then there was everything else.

Fox rocked for the second week in a row with its 8 p.m. edition of "Idol," pulling in a cool 32.1 million viewers and a 12.9 rating/32 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, beating its combined broadcast network combined in the hour, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research.