by Becky Tennant and Bethany O'Neil
Editor’s note: Hey Tubers, please welcome back my crack team of American Idol addicts/writers, Becky and Bethany. They watch all those embarrassing hours of Idol auditions, so you don’t have to. Tune in each week to get their take on the show, now aptly titled “Idol Chatter with Becky and Bethany.” Ladies…
It is 2008, and that means another season of American Idol. We are back again this year to offer up our crazy opinions and insights into this show that has become part of American pop culture. We aren't too proud to admit that we live vicariously through the contestants and three judges, Simon, Paula, and Randy, for a few months out of the year. Each week we will give our opinions, yes they are OUR opinions, and predictions about what season number seven will have in store for us. This week’s blog will be a little longer than most, since it is the season premiere, so please hang with us and enjoy our Idol Chatter....
We begin the New Year and new season with a different insight on Simon Cowell. Becky had an opportunity to be part of an interview with the cranky Brit himself and found out that Simon actually does have a nice, gentlemanly side to him. He was very polite, and there was no trace of Mr. Cranky Pants. Amazing. Yes, we know! And if you actually watched the season premiere, you, too, were also witness to a much more sensitive Simon.
There were times when it seemed he was going to become physically ill, while some of the contestants auditioned, such as when "Udi" sang. Simon stated that he was "slightly disturbing." Other "disturbing" moments for Simon - and for us - were during Christina Tolisano's and Alexis Cohen's auditions. Just looking at Simon's face, you knew that he really didn't know what to say to these ladies! And of course the moment when Douglas Davidson began singing "Livin on a Prayer," we knew that Simon would be brutally honest with him. But so far he hasn't gone beyond calling someone "demonic." That’s progress. Of course, it is early on, so we’ll see if this changes. Our prediction though for this season, is that Simon's softer side will prevail.
During the interview, Simon talked about how it is "torture" for him to sit through some of the auditions, but he also stated that this year there are definitely better singers than the previous years. He is predicting that there is a superstar among the group. Let's hope so. The last couple years have been mediocre, compared to the Kelly and Carrie years.
As a whole, all three judges seemed to be in great spirits, and Paula looked fantastic. Let's hope that this season she will stay coherent and look as put together as she did on Wednesday night. They all got along well too, the usual bantering that goes on was still there, but it seemed like it was all in good fun, instead of the actual sparring that was in full force during previous seasons.
The first week of auditions was surprisingly OK, there weren't too many "WOW" contestants that really bowled us over though. You would think that with the thousands of people auditioning there would be somebody, but it is early, so we’ll cross our fingers.
During the Philadelphia auditions, Angela Martin, from Chicago, became a favorite, and her story about her daughter didn't hurt her chances either. Kristy Lee Cook, Beth Stalker, and Brooke White, AKA Mary Poppins, were also stand-outs among the contestants. Overall, 29 people got the golden ticket to Hollywood.
Promising hopefuls from the evening in Dallas were; Kady Malloy, whose rendition of "Unchained Melody" prompted Simon to state that she was, “so far, the best contestant." Kayla Hatfield also received a pass to the next round, but we were less that thrilled with her performance. Her personality and "story" gave her the extra points she needed to win over the hearts of the judges. But will it work on them in Hollywood? We don't think so.
Brandon Green, who has a gross habit of peeling his fingernails and saving them, got the pass, as well as, Zpia Easley, (awesome hairdo and vocals,) Alaina Whitaker, Colton Swon, Nina "mini-dress" Shaw, Kyle "future Mr. President to you" Ensley, and the cutest farm boy we have seen in a long time, Drew Poppelreiter. Hopefully, he will be able to burst out and blow us all away, because he is good. And we are going on the record as saying "his tractor isn't the only sexy thing about him!"
From Dallas, only 24 were given passes to Hollywood. Not a good number, considering this is season one winner and superstar Kelly Clarkson's stomping grounds.
Both Philadelphia and Dallas offered up an array of weirdos vying to get the judges attention and to annoy Simon. As we mentioned earlier, Alexis Cohen and Christina Tolisano were a handful. They really had delusions of grandeur. Alexis, the sparkly wanna-be-veterinarian was flat out strange, definitely not victorious. Then, with Christina, the Star Wars super fan and Princess Lea look a like, you have one wacky mix. Come on girls. Someone should have warned them that they couldn’t sing. And who knows what was going on with Douglas Davidson? That was just really hard to watch. He kept on going and going and going. Finally, security escorted him out. Let's hope that he bypassed home and headed straight for a little R&R at the local hospital. Hard to watch, yes, but, we know, it is good TV.
We are, of course, saving the best for last. We can't end this week’s wrap-up, without mentioning the silver-and-white swan of the evening, Renaldo Lapuz. Renaldo brought life back into American Idol. (Set aside the fact that he reminds us of one of the hosts from the Japanese show Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.) The guy came out there in a most impressive white-and-silver feathered outfit, with Simon's name printed on his hat, and brought brotherliness to the show. It was truly touching to watch him serenade Simon with his song about being brothers and love. And the best part about it was when Paula, Randy, and Ryan all got up too sing and dance along. It was one of the funniest, weirdest, and most touching moments in “Idol” audition history in our opinions. Let's just pause for a moment and remember the warm, fuzzy feeling we got from Renaldo and his song, and of course when they zoomed in on Simon's face at the end......priceless.
Next week we are off to San Diego, where we are almost positive that there will be more losers than winners. The next few weeks will definitely drag on. The audition process is our least-liked part of the show. We want a singing competition! By the way, did we mention how hot Ryan Seacrest is looking this season? A little meat on a man’s bones sure makes a difference...WOW!
Will we find a superstar amongst these chosen few, or will we find anther lukewarm performer? Who knows, but in the meantime visions of Renaldo, on You Tube, and his heartfelt song to Simon will keep us entertained until we get to the top 24. We will be back next week with more Idol Chatter.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
by Becky Tennant and Bethany O'Neil