February 7, 2006

"American Idol" -- Boston.

I feel like I owe you an "American Idol" post. I know you're dying to talk about the Boston episode. Personally, I'm a little fried. I got home from work today determined to put in my minimum 2 hours on the house, getting the massive thing in shape to put it on the market.

Today's target: outer space! This is a windowless storage room between the studio and the garage that has been accumulating things for more than 20 years, most prominently, a horizontal stack of drawings dating back to 1970. I dreaded looking at this stuff, because it contains the evidence of the folly of a decision to go to art school, made over 35 years ago. You have NO idea how many nudes I stared at and delineated.

Many things I looked at and thought: Why did no one tell me I didn't have enough talent to devote my life to this? There was no Simon Cowell of drawing to tell me to find another line of work. But a few things were fun to see, like the drawings of Woodstock '94, which we watched on pay-per-view. Maybe I'll scan these for you, in the manner of the old "Amsterdam Notebooks."

But, anyway, I've cleared out outer space, and I've hired two teenagers to help me tomorrow, dragging all sorts of junk out to the curb for trash day. There's a lot of progress here in the war against accumulated clutter. I got into the fight today. I didn't just put in the 2 hours I set as my goal. I went 3 hours, and I accomplished a lot. Hungry and dusty, I put the left-over stew on the stove to heat up, and I went upstairs to take a shower, stopping just long enough to answer a phone call. Okay, I didn't time it perfectly. I scorched the stew a little, but it was nice to sit down with a plate of beef stew and a big glass of Cabernet and click on the TiVo'd "American Idol." The stew and the wine and the show all made a lovely evening for me after my hard day's work (which wasn't just about conquering outer space, there was plenty that had to do with making the presumption in favor of concurrent state court jurisdiction into a challenging subject for Socratic inquiry).

But let's focus on tonight's "American Idol."

There was the patriotic rapper that they gave some respect to just because he supported the troops. Lame!

There was the beautiful basketballer Ayla Brown, who belted robotically but made it on athletic attitude. Simon said the brilliant words that could stand as a critique of the whole show: "There's something empty about it all."

I loved the beautiful twins, especially the one with the wrecked vocal chords who crouched on the sidelines and mimed the choreography while her sister sang.

I liked the gorgeous Tatiana Ward, who wanted to show up her grandmother, who disowned her mother for marrying a black man. Tatiana sings "My Cherie Amour," following each intonation of the Stevie Wonder original. They tell her it's old fashioned, even though they've held up Stevie Wonder as the pop music ideal throughout the history of the show. She gets through.

Making me cry this week is Holly Corrente, who works as a music therapist. We see her interacting with a disabled man. They say no.

I'm impressed by Kenneth Maccarone who sings "Believe" in a Cher voice and gets the usual crap from Simon ("Be a female impersonator"), but stands up to him: "I won't dress up like a female. I'm a man."

There were a couple guys that played the Clay Aiken card. One was a joker (Michael Sandecki) and one was dead sincere (Kevin Covais -- "I don't know. I bring youth and excitement"). The sincere boy makes it. God bless him. He looks like one of the Munchkins. "I think anyone over the age of 80 would like you" is Simon's putdown.

And we end with a long, cool montage of the auditions, setting us up for tomorrow night's show: Hollywood Hell Week! Now, we'll get to see most of these supposedly good singers fall flat on their face. They were super-prepared for their auditions, but when they're given something to learn and perform quickly, most will shrivel up into nothings, and we'll wrack our brains trying to remember what was ever good about them.

See you tomorrow!


Ruth Anne Adams said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Maybe we all need to find our own inner Simon.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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Palladian said...

Man, another anti-art school post! The podcast was depressing enough. I teach at an art school here in New York; so while I would agree that parts of your characterization of art schools is true, I would like to think that we're not all losers. We do need some "Simon" personalities, though I would like to think that is partially the job of the admissions department!

reader_iam said...

Even Simon Cowell will one day be over 80, a fact that gives me both comfort and great satisfaction.

A blending of your inner Simon and an outer one or two (...) is closer to the ideal, I think.

And I'm quite fond of the name Simon.

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian: How will you find enough people to fill the art departments? I deserved to get in. I had won a graduation art award at my high school, for example.

Pete said...

Thanks for the American Idol blogging, Ann. Spot on, as usual. Can't wait for Wednesday night's Hollywood week. Fun.

But, hey, no fair mingling a house move blog entry with the American Idol blog entry. These things should remain seperate.

Refreshing comment, though, about your experience with art school. From your prior postings of your drawings, you obviously have talent but not the kind of talent you know you needed to succeed. (I'm the same way about my writing. I wanted to be a writer when I went to college and here I am, a tax accountant. Wha' hoppened? Well, I lacked the talent and discipline to be a success at it.) I liken it to being Salieri in the movie, "Mozart:" I know what makes great writing, I just can't do it.

About Palladian's statement, I'm not sure if the comment was tongue-in-cheek but I DON'T think it's the responsibility of the admissions department. There are plenty of talented enough people to get into art school and writing programs. The instructor should teach and critique and inspire and, yes, be a Simon Cowell if necessary.

wildaboutharrie said...

I thought the Cher guy was funny - acting offended at the female impersonator suggestion when he'd just bragged that he could do Judy Garland. I suspect he IS a female impersonator already and was just having fun.

I wish they'd shown the audition of the girl who said that Simon was afraid of her (did they? I was in and out).

I felt sorry for that girl with the flower in her hair. And for the vocal coach whose two students were rejected. How embarrassing.

Dave said...

"There's something empty about it all."

Kind of sums up the whole show, no?

wildaboutharrie said...

I think that's what Ann meant when she said that the words "could stand as a critique of the whole show".

Dave said...

Wilda: Right. I was agreeing with Ann's assessment.

Speaking of which, here's something I don't understand. What's the show's attraction if it is really so empty? Is it the spectacle of seeing naive people making a fool of themselves? Is it the allure of seeing some genuinely talented person?

Brendan said...

Why are these auditions a magnet for mincing homosexuals and blue-collar shlubs? Do college-educated youths not have musicial aspirations/talent? It just seems that the vast majority of contestants are obvious fairies or high school grads. Curious.

PatCA said...

I too was in Art school lo these many years ago until my exasperated printmaking teacher yelled one day, what are you all going to do with your lives? You can't all teach art! How are you going to earn a living??

Made sense to me. I was chronically impoverished with no parental support. I quit and got a job. Finished in Art History later, MA after that.