Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

American Idol: Hollywood Round 1

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So how did we like Ellen her first time at the judges' table? Since the episode didn't overly focus on her other than at the very beginning, it was hard to tell, but I was pleasantly surprised by her ability to say, "I'm sorry, I don't love it," since on her stint on So You Think You Can Dance she didn't want to say anything bad to anyone.  She explained that her expertise came from her ability to stand on a stage and please a roomful of people, which was helpful when she was telling Skiiboski not to be so creepily aggressive, yet I wonder where that skill was when it was time to tell Crystal Bowersox to get rid of the white-girl dreadlocks.

This is the part of the show where the contestants' fascinating backgrounds stop helping them out.  Vanessa Wolfe, the girl from Tennessee whose ONLY OPTION of getting out of her small town was reality TV, didn't make it.  Neither did the young lady with the brothers with Downs Syndrome, or the Italian guy—instead of begging for a second chance, he should have gotten his tiny old grandma to come out and weep, rosary in one hand, rolling pin in the other.   

The people I liked the most didn't really have a story; I dug Haeley Vaughn, Mary Power, Didi Benami and Crystal (the black country singer, the P!nk-type, the Kara-song-singer, and white dreads, respectively).  I even had to hand it to Casey James, the fella who took his shirt off for Kara—once he got his guitar in his hands he, unlike a lot of other contestants who made it through on some sort of gimmick of joke, actually made Kara look smart for liking him.

One theme that seems to be left over from last season is the "retexturing" of popular songs, IE white people taking pop or R&B songs and singing them with acoustic guitar.  Kris Allen had good results last season with his version of "Heartless" but the subsequent singers who pull it seem to hope they'll seem very original with their choices.  It worked on Kara, anyway, who liked Andrew Garcia for doing "Straight Up."  At least Simon still remembered though that beatboxing + Idol = suck, and so reminded the one random beatbox guy who somehow snuck into Hollywood.

For the kickoff to the big week I thought it was a boring beginning, but tomorrow night the singers break into teams, and that’s when the crying really begins. You can’t see me now but I’m rubbing my hands together in anticipation.

Stray observations:

—I hope that Skiiboski served as a reminder to Randy never to let someone through just because the other judges like him as a joke. Of course he was the guy who didn't want to leave the stage. 

—I was surprised that Simon seemed to enjoy Ellen's gags, but then again, she's the first person with a brain stem to appear on the judges' table so maybe he's just happy to have someone there to hang with. 

—Vitamin water? VITAMIN WATER?!

—The ultimate way to show your son you love him is to get his name tattooed on your back, where you never have to look at it. 

—"Move on Up" is such a great song; I hope we can all agree on that.