Sunday, February 18, 2007

American Idol: Hollywood Week

This week on Apparently a Lot of People Know How to Love a Woman:
I think the viewing public has reached a consensus on the fact that Hollywood Week was way too short. I want to get to know some contestants. I want to know who the people are in the quick flashbacks. I want to hear more than three people sing. I want to have an opinion on people besides the ones that producers want in the finals. And most importantly, I don't want what happened to Allison on SYTYCD to happen ever again.

Let's talk about that. I was not an Allison fan during the past season of So You Think You Can Dance. Not because she wasn't the best dancer on the show. Actually, it was precisely because she was the best. The producers showered her with compliments all the time. They predicted her as the winner really early on. As the weeks went by, to me, she seemed increasingly cocky and above everyone else. It's a good thing I watched the routines after the show was over. It's a good thing I was so obsessed. Had I not been, I may have never realized what had happened while the show was airing.

People cheer for the underdog. For the Ivans out there. I love Ivan. But just as Ryan boosted Heidi to the finale with his insulting comments on the first pairing day, Ivan probably held Allison back with his amazing story. Not that it's any of his fault. It's just how things play out. And with the judges constantly telling Allison she was the best dancer ever, it became annoying for me after awhile. As we know with past Idol experiences, constant ratting on contestants often wins them extra votes. Similarly, sometimes when judges compliment a contestant, it's detrimental to their progression in the competition. Allison did nothing to suggest that she wasn't exactly what the judges were complimenting her on. It was the character that they inadvertently prescribed to her. It's unfortunate, but only now do I realize that she was the best dancer, was wrongfully denied a spot in the finale, and should have won the show.

Anyway, I'm afraid that by pushing certain people in our faces, the Idol producers are actually going to cause America to vote the mediocre through to the finals. Then there's always the problem with not showing certain people and not allowing the viewers to built a connection with those contestants. Basically, I just wish there could be equal time spent on each contestant. Or is it even too difficult to ask for some time spent on each contestant?

Here's my rendition of Episode 9, the basic Hollywood round that is usually cut down to two days. And by cut down, I mean even when it was a two-day show, it was short. Now they've given it just one day.

We see some people we met in auditions either get shot down or get through. For some reason, Jorey, the girl who hung out with the Queen of England, gets cut right off the bat, but Perla, the Shakira impersonator, gets another chance. We see the army girl with her husband at war get cut. We see a lot of whining and crying and some excitement. This, by the way, is the girls section. There was an actual attempt at covering it. There are a lot of short snippets featuring Amanda and Antonella.. apparently this week is the Amanda and Antonella week. I need to discuss Antonella later.

I don't even remember what we see. A lot of clips of people getting cut. Some girl's sob story about wanting to please her mom and singing a virtually unknown song. Anyway, it's not until the end of the girls' segment that I find out that two of my audition favorites, Melinda Doolittle and Tatiana McConnico, have made it through. Which I figured since I usually have decent picks. We see Melinda celebrating, but if not for my sharp eye, I could have missed the two seconds they showed of Tatiana on stage being the only one moved through in her group of six. Thank you for deciding for us who our favorites should be, producers. I refuse to listen.. Tatiana is good. We'll talk about that later. I see this being a long recap. Maybe it'll make up for the short week we were given.

Anyway, next we see about three minutes of guys singing. What did they even show? Another military person getting cut. Ugh. This was the saddest recap I've ever seen. They did not even really scan through who made it through.

We get a bit of group drama. Amanda and Antonella have decided to be in the same group. And they've strung on Bailey.. or Baylie, or however it's spelled. She's along for the ride. Some girl can't find a group and is sad until a really sweet guy asks her to join. The boy whose mother doesn't love him enough or whatever is having a hard time finding a group.

Anyway, it is the Amanda and Antonella show, let it be known. We get some Glockson drama tossed in there, too. So Amanda and Antonella are bickering about song choice. It seems like probably just the type of routine they go through where in the end they're fine, but they really just need to yabber at each other. Of course Baylie (I think that's how it's spelled) has not idea how the Amanda and Antonella show works, so she's stressed that their group will fall apart.

They choose a song that neither Amanda nor Antonella knows very well and start practicing. At some point, Amanda gets frustrated and leaves to go flirt with the only group of guys she can find that don't tell her to go away. They were probably too nice. So the other two head off to bed. Then, sometime between that scene and the scene of them practicing the next morning, Amanda and Antonella both do learn their words. So I think they did work harder than the footage suggested. Because in the morning, it's Baylie who is struggling with the words.

Their performance is decent except for the part where Baylie just stands there until Amanda helps her out. Which is actually really nice of her. I think Amanda is aggressive and likes to be the HBIC, but when it boils down to it, is actually a nice girl. This will be mentioned later as well. Anyway, when Baylie is cut, she totally disses the other two and Amanda is rightfully pissed that she got dissed after helping the girl out.

So cut to the Gina Glocksen and Co. drama. It's Perla. They decided to be the Salvation Army and took Perla into their group. Along with Gina and Perla, there are two other girls, one of which is the Marisa girl who cannot stop crying in the next episode. Basically, they've realized quickly what we all knew for awhile now.. Perla cannot really sing. She's been getting through on the fact that she's a spicy Colombian who is dragalicious (def: acts like a drag queen, not meaning she looks like one.. just to be clear).

So in short, Perla is cut and the other three make it through. Surprise.

Chris Sligh and Rudy Cardenas and Blake the beatboxer and some Thomas dude have a great performance that gets a Paula ovation (def: similar to a standing ovation, but without the sanity of a normal person doing the clapping). It is good, but a little boy band-ish, which appears to be the theme of the show. Also, you know what, producers and judges? I call BS on the guys being strong this year. Some are strong. But as a whole, if going back to season 1's "guys whose names end in 'jay'" thing is considered strong, then this show has gone downhill real fast.

So the judges have narrowed it down to 40 contestants, split into two rooms, with the rest of the remaining contestants waiting to be cut in a separate third room. We learn that the Amanda and Antonella show has been split up. And the adorable sibling duo of Sanjaya and Shyamali have also been split up. We first find the Gina Glocksen group is going through and I spot my girl Melinda Doolittle there. I think Chris Sligh was also in this room. It's trivial who was in what winning room, though. Next, the room of Antonella and Sanjaya gets through. This makes for an anticlimatic ending for the saddest room of all. The third room gets the shortest clip of all and we aren't really shown any devastated people.

As the two rooms unite as one happy winning room, Antonella and Sanjaya are both bummed. Sanjaya especially, who goes down to comfort his sister. This is adorable and just wonderful to watch. Children (he's only 17) who actually have some compassion and a total lack of selfishness. Sanjaya was so upset for his sister.. that's really sweet. And I don't see that as being some sort of producer's edit. I could tell from the moment they auditioned.. Sanjaya is the sweetest boy to enter this competition. I don't know how much that'll help him.. we'll just have to wait and see.

And to cap it off, Amanda seems completely happy for Antonella, which to me confirms why Antonella is friends with Amanda. We saw a lot of Amanda's aggressiveness and cockiness earlier in the Amanda and Antonella show. But it appears that the two of them have a great dynamic and perhaps a lot of Amanda's personality was edited in. I have no doubt that she's very aggressive. That's not necessarily a bad thing.. just really easy to edit into the bitch character. Anyway, I'm glad Amanda leaves us on a good note.

Now, I have Episode 10 comments.

This part of the recap is The Narrow Elevator and Long Silent Room:
In a way I love this episode and in a way I hate it. They often show too much of some people and too little of singing in general. This time around it was okay. We'll go over the important stuff.

Sanjaya is the first to make it through. From what I hear, which are only rumors, Sanjaya actually replaced someone in the group of 24 who leaked information about the show and got kicked off. In this case, him going "first" for this portion and last in the dancing segment totally explains it. Otherwise, I'm just seeing things that aren't there.

Next, we get Anna Kearns, the tallest woman to ever make it this far. She is cut and tries to reason with the judges. She says they've never had someone like her and Simon calls her out for trying to use her height as a selling point. She tries to slide out of that and Paula tries to help her, but she was totally trying to say they've never had someone that was so tall on the show.

Then, we get a lot of fast axing. Bernard Williams. Aaron something. And Tami Gosnell. No reason for her cut. Basically, the judges probably told her they were there to sell the Antonella and Sundance show. (No actual connection between the two of them, but they're the ones the judges are really pushing for.)

My favorite, Melinda Doolittle is next, and really? Is this even a question? She's through but not before Simon mixes it up a bit and says she's always been a background singer because someone's always been better than her. She's really excited when they tell her she's through and Simon gives her a hug. Simon has always loved the talented but humble ones and it's really sweet that he's kinda attached to her.

Then we get another background singer, Brandon Rogers. He's good, but not as good as he thinks he is. He's the opposite of Melinda.. he seems slightly outraged that it's taken so long for him to be discovered. He gets through.

Gina Glocksen is next. I think she's next in line in the Antonella and Sundance show. She comes off a little cocky, though, and not just complacent like Antonella is. Oh, by the way, the title of this recap comes from the fact that like ten of the contestants are recapped singing the same song. I know they probably had like five to choose from, but after awhile, I was like, "So how do you love a woman?" So Gina is through, but not without a mention of last year's disappointment.

Jimmy McNeal and Eric.. Johnson? get about two seconds of airtime for their rejections.

Then we get pleasantly surprised by Haley Scarnato. She sings "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" in a clip from earlier in the week. I love that song, even if it is a Celine Dion song. I don't know.. I'm weirdly attached to some random songs. She sang it nicely a Capella, and gets through to the next round. She's wearing really short shorts, but they're the cute trendy kind, not the ass-grabbing hoochie kind. At least she's wearing shorts (See: Alaina Alexander).

Phil Stacey makes it through and I'm not sure what I think of him yet.

Chris Sligh makes it through, of course, but not before inserting his own special funny into this episode. He says the judges are probably wondering why he called this meeting. I like him. I think he's probably a really cool guy. I hate that the show is pimping him out like they did with Taylor Hicks. Chris Sligh is probably going to win. Unless the Antonella Barba story hits theatres first. The jury is still out of whether this show turns Chris Sligh into a really annoying caricature.

Out of the rest of Chris Sligh's boy band group, only the Thomas dude is cut. Blake the beatboxer and Rudy Cardenas both make it. That's impressive. Those guys really chose their group well. I don't want to go into the Blake deal until I hear him sing an entire song with no beatboxing. Right now, I think he's more entertaining than he is a good singer. Rudy Cardenas is unclear with me now as well.

Paul Kim has decided that he will not wear shoes on this show ever. That sounds like a lame gimmick to me. Okay, maybe some of my favorites in the past have also "happened" to wear certain namesake items over and over (Camile's wristband and Jasmine's flower.. and Ruben's entire 205 getup). I just don't like that he's chosen to not wear shoes for no apparent reason. And he's wearing the same boxers that he wore at all the other cuts. Which means he smells gross.

Jordin Sparks is another surprise. She has a great booming voice. She's one of the youngest ones, at 17. She gets through and proceeds to hyperventilate all the way down the Narrowest Elevator Ever.

We get about two seconds of Oliva Quiba-Hurt, Tatiana McConnico, and Monique Vieras getting cut. No explanation again. I like Tatiana a lot. I think she was my Vonzell in the making. If you know me, you know that Vonzell is perhaps my favorite Idol ever, closely tied with Tamyra, the original favorite. Anyway, Tatiana had the powerful voice that Vonzell had. She had great style like Vonzell. And what Vonzell didn't have, Tatiana was one of the smallest girls I have ever seen. Small-boned. But huge voice. Why did she not get through? You're telling me she didn't have one of the top voices in this competition? I'm not happy about this one. I hope a certain someone gets kicked off for not wearing pants and Tatiana can come back.

AJ Tabaldo is moved on. This is his fifth time trying to make it on Idol. And perhaps proof that this season does not have the strength in contestants as past seasons.

Stephanie Edwards is moved on. I don't know anything about her.

Leslie Hunt is a pleasant surprise. She's not the typical female singer. She has a unique style and a unique voice. I'm glad she's in this competition, even if I'm not sure if I'm necessarily going to like her performances.

Nick Pedro is moved on. This is the guy who quit last season and will never hear the end of it from this show, huh?

Alaina Alexander time. Hey Alaina? You forgot your pants. She's wearing what looks like a button-up sweater. It's long enough for her to consider it a dress. But not long enough to not look ridiculous. She talks about how she always cries. She also doesn't want to sit down at first but the judges tell her to stop being annoying and sit down. Then, after they let her through, she asks them what she can improve on. Just go away. You got through. Go. Go put on some pants.

Chris Richardson is a mystery. The clip of him singing is horrible. He got through, though. Don't ask me.

Sabrina Sloan is a real surprise. I've been saying everybody's a surprise, but this one's up there as being possibly a new favorite for me. The girl has a distinct and powerful voice. I'm really impressed. Bring it on, girl. If you're good, no matter what the producers want by not showing you, we'll put you through. This one I'm excited to hear next week.

Jerome Chism is cut. Joelle something is cut. Princess is cut. Yes, Princess. Too bad she wasn't shown at all. Reality TV finally finds its next Princess and we're only shown like ten seconds? Disappointing.

Matthew Buckstein is also cut.

Next is Lakisha, the single mom. We replay her sweet story and apparently she's supposed to be in the final five or something. Right there with Chris Sligh, Antonella Barba, Sundance, and Gina. She gets through, but only after the judges get her to start crying. She's a sweet lady and it's just a shame how they're exploiting her story. Eventually we'll get tired of hearing she's a single mom. Ever heard of Fantasia? Yeah, unfortunately me too.

Nicole Tranquillo, my "Melissa McGhee" of the year gets through. I don't want to explain. Just think about it.

Amy Krebs gets through.

Jared Cotter gets through.

And we're at the final four people, two spots left. We watch Antonella of the Antonella Story and Marisa the nonstop crier go up first. Of course, Antonella is through, whether or not Marisa can sing. I'm sure after Alaina got through, they decided they could only have one lame crier on this show.

And it's Sundance and Tommy Daniels. Who will get through? The one who has gotten through on crap performances round after round? Or the one who slept with Antonella Barba? It's looking like Sundance gets another free ride. Sweet. I don't understand.

The Antonella Story: I don't like how it's developing. I have no idea if I like her or not. The producers have really just spun this out of control. She's the new Kelly Pickler. Except she doesn't even have a sob story. I think the deal is this: a lot of people identify with Antonella. A lot of people have been the second-in-command to an aggressive friend. A lot of people have been in that position and wished to finally be able to outshine the pompous friend. In Antonella's case, it's a success story in the eyes of those who've been there. I'm not that excited to see how they continue to spin this.

And on that note, this entry is way too long and it's way too late. I need to get up tomorrow.



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