American Idol: “Hollywood Round, Part 1”
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American Idol: “Hollywood Round, Part 1”

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American Idol

“Hollywood Round, Part 1”

Season 11, Episode 8

Tonight I am writing to you from a Mucinex and Benedryl-enhanced haze and a fury that can only be brought on by dozens of sneezes that materialized in my nose but failed to properly execute, so I apologize if tonight’s post is loopier than usual. Maybe it’s actually my finest hour. Probably not, though. Don’t get a flu shot unless you want to get sick. That’s my advice.

If I had my way, American Idol auditions would last exactly two episodes and nothing would happen in Hollywood Week other than people fighting with each other and getting their dreams squashed. Some dreams were squashed tonight, and maybe a few internal organs as well, but not nearly enough to make it a sufficiently exciting Hollywood Week episode.

I don’t like it when “favorites” make it through in Hollywood Week, because they’re hardly ever my favorites; they’re the show’s favorites. Like Johnny Keyser, who looks like he was sent over by central casting to fill the role of “date rapist.” What can I say: I hate a confident, good-looking young man, probably because he is the opposite of me in every way. But it’s not up to me, is it? The judges loved his take on “Dreamin’” by Amos Lee. Fortunately, cocky Johnny’s story was offset by nervous HeeJun Han, who is much more likable, despite the fact that he has sung Michael Bolton twice on this show now.

While it’s nice that the auditions don’t feature the freak shows as much as they used to, I wouldn’t mind watching a little more detailed crash-and-burn during Hollywood Week, maybe because I’m a jerk, but moreover just because I think it’s more interesting to look at what went wrong, or what the fluke was that initially made something go right. It’s not a surprise that one of the pretty girls whom Jennifer nixed during the audition round flopped during Hollywood, nor is it a shocker to see that someone bit it on “Crazy On You” (which sounds wrong even when it’s sung right). For those who were featured in the fail clips tonight, I would have enjoyed seeing what made the judges like them the first time around, especially the one girl who begged the judges to let her sing “just a tiny please?” more for them.

It seems like a lot of women with gravelly voices who look/sound like they’re “been there,” like Erika Van Pelt, are in Hollywood this year, which is cool, but the judges also seem to have a perpetual hard-on for funky white boys. Following in the steps of Casey Abrams is Phil Phillips (the kid who sang “Thriller” to acoustic guitar), who performed “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” and Reed Grimm, who scatted (ugh) to “I Got a Golden Ticket.” I’ll throw Creighton Fraker into that mix as well. Since Blake Lewis, these guys have only gotten in the way of the true winners, and it’s time we said enough.

Some “favorites” who didn’t make it past day one of Hollywood Week, though, included Travis Orlando (the guy whose mother is a horrible woman), Ramiro Garcia (the guy with no ears), Jenny Schick (the attention-seeker who kissed Steven Tyler), and Wolf Hamlin (with so many guys named “Wolf” on the show, why bother telling him apart from the rest?). I can live without them just fine. (Send a memo to HeeJun and CC: Michael Bolton).

In day two of auditions, there was only one noteworthy cut, and that was Jane Carrey, spawn of Jim. I don’t think her rendition of “Looking Out My Back Door” was that terrible, but it was simply a terrible song choice. It was a terrible song choice for anything, basically: Idol, karaoke, a jukebox. I liked Jane, but she chose poorly and had to die.

I liked Adam Brock (I don’t think we saw his audition), the guy who sang "Walking In Memphis," well enough, perhaps because he captured a soul sound without making me think he’s a big phony just trying to appeal to the judges with style choice.

Someone whom the judges love that I’m just not into is David Leathers, the 17-year-old who looks about half that age. He can definitely sing, but I don’t understand adults who melt when very young men sing like very young girls, especially with the pretense that they’re somehow “ladies’ men” on top of that. I have a feeling my opinion wouldn’t have been very popular had I been writing about the Jackson 5 way back when.

The episode ended on a rather weak moment of suspense. After Lauren Mink (adults with disabilities center organizer) seemed to bite it on Heart’s “Alone,” mature-seeming 16-year-old Symone Black stepped onto the stage to sing “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” and then, after her audition, stepped right off, but the wrong way. We have to wait until tomorrow night to find out if she’s okay (I’m going to assume that she is) but I want to know a.) how on earth did that happen? and b.) you should know that this happens all the time on So You Think You Can Dance, and it’s not treated like such a big deal. (I’m not saying it’s not that big a deal: I’m just pointing out that Nigel Lythgoe has seen his fair share of people fall off the stage in his lifetime. Which makes me wonder...what if Nigel just has a plot to maim all of America’s talented youth, albeit in a very inefficient way?)

Tomorrow night we get to the good stuff: the fighting and the crying.

Stray observations:

  • You’d think the people who made it to Hollywood Week had never seen a bed before, by the way they flop and bounce all over their hotel rooms.
  • I wonder what Jennifer Lopez did to her makeup artist to deserve that fresh panda hell she was wearing on day one.
  • I think Baylie Brown is Boring.
  • People who read way too much gossip may be intrigued to know that Jennifer Lopez is bringing up the rear in third place when it comes to the outfit that Kathy Griffin wore first and was then "copied" by Madonna. (That's right, I said it, Madonna knowingly and willingly copied Kathy Griffin. So by the rules of fashion, Kathy is queen, Madonna is princess, and Jennifer is scullery wench.)