January 24, 2007

"American Idol" goes to NYC.

Yes, they're in NY, but they don't look any more urbane/hip/sophisticated than the people in all those other cities. They're all from Queens, right? Queens, Long Island, New Jersey.... Or anywhere really. They just need to show up in NY.

The worst thing about today's show is revealed at Minute 2. There's a guest judge. That never works out well. What's-her-name -- Carol Bayer Sager -- is given the Paula seat between Randy and Simon, and our girl Paula is all the way over on the left. Boo! We see pictures of Sager glammed up in 80s hair and makeup -- almost, but not, Pat Benatar. Well, she looks like Pat Benatar in the stills, and Joan Collins in the real-time photography. Who is she? She's written various songs -- "Groovy Kind of Love" -- and she was once married to Burt Bacharach. Big deal! She's not going to say anything interesting.

First up is Ian Benardo, who, we're told, has a sense of entitlement. In profile -- I don't wanna be mean, but... --- he looks like Zippy the Pinhead. He's funny when he says that after people see him, they're going to forget about "Taylor Who?, Carrie Under Where?" (Underwear!) When Simon Cowell asks him the classic question "Why are you here?," he gives the answer everyone could give, a big sarcastic "Duh" face and then "To try out for 'American Idol.'" He sings "Gloria," but it's not "she comes around here about midnight" "Gloria." It's some other "Gloria." Simon tells him it's "rubbish," and he's all what is that some British expression? Rubbish? Who even says that?

In the second segment, we get some truly annoying contestants. A 19-year-old woman who lies to her father and skips school to pursue her "dream" gets too many minutes on screen crying about her ordeal, including a phone conversation with said dad where he learns she's "going to Hollywood" and just basically says wow, great. So much for that problem. Then we get a woman who seems to think Greek ethnicity is enough. She doesn't make it. Neither does Ashanti, a young woman who's actually gone to Hollywood in two past seasons, and wants to snag a slot again this year. When they tell her no, she goes into the hammiest pleading ever... fortunately, to no avail.

Two kind of nice and pretty best friends both make it through, and we're tipped off that their friendship will get tested in Hollywood.

A really great singer named Kia Thompson does Aretha Franklin and is proclaimed the best of the day.

Then it's Day 2... there were a few more singers, including a nice opera-singer girl who gets through. There were some delusionals and another medley of bad singers. But I was getting bleary-eyed in the second hour. Enough already! These 2-hour shows are killing me!

ADDED: Here's the TWOP recap, which makes me want to add that those best friends are named Amanda Coluccio and Antonella Barba, and that dad-calling girl is Sarah Burgess. Now what was Opera Girl's name? I like her, but apparently not enough to remember her name.

Some names to memorize: Jenry Bejarano (he's 16, he's black, he's adopted, and his mother's Bolivian), Jory Steinberg (she was Canadian, but now she's Santa Monican), Porcelana Petino (she worked out to get in shape for the show and wore the lowest cut jeans you can wear on TV without a digital blur... in front!), Chris Richardson (a decent-looking white guy is good so they rave... blah blah blah... Timberlake!), Nicholas Pedro (he quit in Hollywood last year because he forgot the lyrics to "Build Me Up, Buttercup," and now he's back).


Anonymous said...

I could have done without the two friends from Jersey - went on far too long, and the second one (the untrained singer) was definately the better of the two.

What is with CBS channeling Alexis Carrington anyway? I thought hair and shades like that were over in '89?

Some great singers tonight, but I wasn't too happy that AI's producers decided to open and end the show with two obvious (at least to me) people with psych issues.

But man, that 16-year old kid just was the bomb!

Maxine Weiss said...

Off topic: (I don't watch AI)

Drudge didn't break the embargo. The Whitehouse wanted the speech released early so as to get the jump on Hillary's webcast.


Peace, Maxine

LoafingOaf said...

I'm tired of the audition phase. Was nice to see two more cute girls get through though - the classy and confident Canadian, and the cocky New York opera singer who sang some Jeff Buckley and has sexy eyebrows.

I wasn't too happy that AI's producers decided to open and end the show with two obvious (at least to me) people with psych issues.

The show and the hosts do treat people badly and I've debated with myself whether I should watch a show put on and judged by such assholes, who btw have as little musical taste and talent - but almost as many psych issues - as the worst auditioners. (Seacrest is a charming man though!)

I dunno...the show is fun and a guilty pleasure, so whatever. I've rationalized that most of the seemingly disturbed auditioners are probably doing performance art. With a couple cases this season so far, though, I wish the producers hadn't exploited them so much. I'm kinda torn on it.

Dave said...

"Yes, they're in NY, but they don't look any more urbane/hip/sophisticated than the people in all those other cities."

I don't watch AI, but I do know NYC and its environs cold. The presumption that everyone in NYC is "urbane/hip/sophisticated" is as tired as it is naive. To be "urbane/hip/sophisticated" is to have both the money and the educational and cultural references to avoid, as the urbane/hip/sophisticated refer to it, the dregs of "flyover country."

The vast majority of people in New York City have more in common with the Sopranos, educationally and culturally, than they do with, say Rufus Wainright or Jay-Z (two very different, prototypically "urbane/hip/sophisticated" people who frequent New York.) That is, as in every other place, most people in and around NYC are working class or else middle class and have little time or cash flow to consider whether the appropriate jeans to be wearing to the next gallery opening are from Mavi or Paper, Denim & Cloth.

MadisonMan said...

The vast majority of people in New York City have more in common with the Sopranos,

They have their own TV shows? Wow, Dave, it's so cool that you're here to share your endless knowledge of all things New York! Is it true that bagels in New York are good?

mango said...

The vast majority of people in New York City have more in common with the Sopranos,

This is ridiculous. A huge percentage of New Yorkers have a ton in common with people from flyover states, Third World countries, etc, because for the most part, that's where we're from. We just like to pretend that we're classier than the people back at home.

milwaukee39 said...

To think, I missed all that to watch "Friday Night Lights"

Joe Baby said...

What about Jewish girl who wanted to be the first American Idol who could not sing, but the handlers could teach her, etc.


JodyTresidder said...

I don't come to Ann's blog often enough these days (since boobiegate) to know who is the pyscho republican and who the drippy liberal. So I'm too afraid to second anyone's partial comment!

But even after 13 happy years in NY as an expat, I still can't get enough of MadisonMan/Dave -type snark. Just cracks me up!

And Ann's AI comments contain some of the most beady-eyed, intuition-rich wit on the web.

Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

I could not believe that girl who went without her parents' permission. If I were here father I would be furious. She tells them she's staying over at a friend's house in Ohio, and instead goes to NYC to camp outside in a line for 2 days. Yes, it probably was perfectly safe, but the lying was awful, especially when she forced her dad on the phone and tearfully "confessed." Like he'd be proud of her and not mad since she'd "made it to Hollywood."

And all the judges just thought her trash-the-parents antics were just terrific!

Leland said...

I thought they went easy on the contestants yesterday.

Many of the singers who did get through have problems enunciating regardless of how well they could hit a note and stay in tune. I include in this the opera singer, who did have a beautiful voice but I had an impossible time understanding her verses.

I have no idea why Chris Richardson got through, but maybe the comparison with Justin Timberlake is appropriate (I'm unimpressed with Timberlake too).

I thought Kia Thompson was good, but not my style.

I thought Nicholas Pedro deserved his second chance.

I liked BFF number two overall for the night. She had a voice and style which was unique and nice to listen too.

Maxine Weiss said...

You know, you really need a substitute (surrogate?) for readers who don't watch AI..

..and those of us who won't read the NYT.

It seems to me if you don't watch AI, and refuse to read NYT...you are completely out of the loop on this site.

Peace, Maxine

Kurt said...

Maxine--I would say that that can be one of the beauties of this blog. You don't have to read the NYT or watch AI to keep up with them. I used to read the NYT daily, but now it's only once in a while, unless I see an article mentioned here (or on another blog) that looks interesting. And although I do watch American Idol, I live on the west coast, and I have been known to preview the night's episode based on the comments here (and elsewhere) to determine if it's worth watching.

Hey said...

I'm not a regular AI viewer (hate nearly all reality shows, the manipulation and self delusion is too much) but caught some of this. Missed the twins, and the AI site seems to be down... desperately waiting to see what I missed (yes, Simon is my hero).

Just an FYI on Jory Steinberg. She was in Les Miserables in Canada. Professional singer and actress, big voice, knows what she's doing. She's the girl that sung the national anthem at lots of sporting events and was a pro since she was a little girl. Hence meeting the Queen, Prime Ministers, royalty, dignitaries...

It looks like she's moved to California a few years ago to pursue her career, and aside from making a tour of running events in the beachy areas of Southern California not much has happened. The usual move to LA and suffer story. hope that AI goes well for her and that it provides her with the boost that she needs.

A question to the more regular viewers: how common is the professional singer on the show? Obviously Jory and Rachel Zevita are pros, as was the backup singer. From a bit of TWOP it sounds like Kelly was as well, and I think Bice might have been. What seems to be the split between actual amateurs and people just using AI as a PR vehicle (the talented folk, not the idiots seeking attention)?

Anonymous said...

This morning on KDWB-FM, the 19-year old from Ohio was on, and her story wasn't quite as dramatic and maudlin as she made it out to be last night. Apparently she's tried out twice previously, and never made it past the producers - her dad was against her going to NYC to try again because he was concerned that she wouldn't make it, and have to deal with the disappointment again. Hardly the "my father doesn't approve of me" routine she was trying to sell.

I love Seacrest, I think he makes the show!

Adam said...

Rachel Zevita was OperaGirl, and there's no reason why a 19-year-old can't head to NYC for an audition without dad's approval.

Elizabeth said...

"The girl" who skipped school and didn't tell her parents is 19 years old. She's an adult. She can go where she wants, when she wants.

Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

Not if she's on her parent's dime for school, or for anything else. If she wants to be independent, she needs to really be independent. He who pays the piper calls the tune.