HollyWOOD!

Hello there, Idoloonies!

I LOVE HOLLYWOOD WEEK! Phew. It felt good to get that off my chest. What’s not to love? With the rigors of this stage of the audition process, complete with the sure-fire meltdowns of the “group competition”, it just makes for flat-out good television.

But, if there’s one lesson we learned from last year–taught to us by a one Andrew Garcia– it’s that pure musical brilliance shown at this stage of the game could be the tip of the iceberg, but it can just as easily be a shot of ingenuity that goes down in flames. (How’s that for the use of clichés?)

For those favored contestants that make it through this level, it’s going to be crucial that they not only keep their vocal stylings fresh, they are also going to have to show they have the chops to make any song shine…even the ones on the list that the producers are serving up each week. After all, the Idol-verse’s sole purpose in life is to try to suck out the originality out of each contestant. And I, for one, hope that they can step up to the plate.

I should probably issue some sort of disclaimer here. My standards are higher this year. Some might think me harsh, but I’ve learned my lesson from seasons past. Have I misjudged some of these contestants? Only time will tell.

Let’s not kid ourselves. I have thoughts. Lots and lots of thoughts. Now, absolutely no one at all has asked me, but as my blog gives me the opportunity to foist my opinions out in to the internet universe, I DO have some favorites that I hope will go the distance and some that I think are mostly hype. So let’s get started.

Let’s call the first category: I-can-tell-that-the-Idol-producers-really-want-me-to-like-them-but-I-can’t-see-them-going-the-distance:

Chris Medina

How you know him: During the auditions, we heard his story. His fiance was in a car accident only months before their wedding and is now crippled and not the same girl anymore. He stuck around. His response? “What kind of man would I be if I left her when she needed me the most?”

Now, did I cry my face off when I watched Steven Tyler hug his fiance after the audition? I could say “no” but my sodden Kleenex heap tells a different tale. Do I have a deep respect for the type of person that he is and question if I could be that selfless…well…ever? Of course! But let’s keep it real here. I don’t think his voice is strong enough to sustain him. I think people like him for him…not for his musical talent.

Jaycee Badeaux

How You Know Him: He’s been compared to Justin Bieber and is now famous for being ditched by his group during group week. Everything I’ve seen of him up until now shows that he is a level-headed kid that is sweet and kind and…let’s just say it…precious. 

I think he’s handled himself with maturity that a lot of people don’t have at even double his age and he does have a good voice. But I gotta say, I don’t see him defining himself as an artist. I don’t think he knows enough about who he wants to be musically to cast a vision through this competition and make it more than a glorified karaoke situation.

Let’s call this next group the I-wish-they-already-had-cds-out-because-all-I-want-to-do-is-listen-to-them-sing-on-repeat.

Casey Abrams

How You Know Him: How can I put this? Casey looks a little like he was plucked out of “Fiddler on the Roof” and placed onto the Idol stage. He’s calm, quirky, fun, and wicked talented. For his last Hollywood solo audition, he lugged an upright bass (for the first time in Idol history, mind you) and totally ROCKED it in a way that I wish iTunes would appreciate.

If Casey can stay true to himself and not get swallowed up, I think we have a first-rate contender on our hands. Okay, I admit it. He’s my favorite so far. Just imagine the conversations he and Ryan could have!

Lauren Alaina

How You Know Her: Her original audition (which was fantastic, btw) ended with her whole family in the audition room and her singing “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” with SteTy backing her up. Her group sang to SteTy on stage and she was the only one to make it through. Not enough? Well her raspy, powerful voice is very distinctive and I could listen to her a LOT. And I’m hoping I will.

 

Brett Lowenstein

How You Know Him: Two words. Carrot. Top. And while the producers want me to love him for his background of being picked on in school because he’s different, I mainly just love him because he can sing. Really really well. And anyone who has to deal with that hair day in and day out has staying power. Trust me.

And finally, this group shall be called I-like-what-I-have-seen-so-far-but-still-need-more-information.

Haley Reinhart

How You Know Her: I’m not actually sure that you do. She was first to perform for the last solo round, but I can’t recall seeing her before that. Still, her rendition of “God Bless the Child” made me remember her name and the girl has a voice. I think some of the stylizations were a little forced and screamy but she could easily do very well.

Thia Megia

How You Know Her: Again, maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but I don’t remember seeing her before the last round of auditions. But let me just say, I  liked the liberties that she took with “What a Wonderful World” and I loved her tone; like an Urban Norah Jones.

 

Carson Higgins

How You Know Him: He gives the impression of being a tall, blond goofball. He showed up a few times through Hollywood Week and always with humorous one-liners that made me smile. He could be a breath of fresh air in the frenzy of the competition. Again. Think of the interviews with Ryan! I’m not convinced that he has a strong enough voice to carry him, but if points were personality, I think he’d have a lot of them.

Robbie Rosen

How You Know Him: Hmm. Without any “Extreme Makeover: Idol Edition” story to mark him, I’m not sure how you know him. He got my attention because he sang my current favorite song (“Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, if you’re wondering). I personally think he’s got a fantastic voice but his youth showed in trying to re-write too much of the melody. So, jury’s out there.

 

James Durbin

How You Know Him: If memory serves, this is the dude with Tourette’s whose screaming style makes me reminisce about Adam Lambert’s stint on the show. Dude can sing. That said, I don’t think he has the control that Adam had, so the road might be a bit rockier. But if we all had Rocky Road, the world would be a better place. 🙂

I suppose we can’t call this summary complete without a they-should-never-be-allowed-on-the-stage-again category, can we? They could already be goners. It’s hard to tell when the contestants are divided from one gigantic group into 4 slightly smaller gigantic groups. So, take away my Nancy Drew ribbon. So what?!

  • Frances Coontz – Dear sweet Frances (bless her heart) managed to sing in a TOTALLY DIFFERENT KEY DESPITE THE BAND playing the correct key RIGHT BEHIND HER! That takes a special skill.
  • Ashley Sullivan – This emotional basket case was the one who wanted to “go home” during the group section of the audition, messed up words to her final solo and completely lost it, and kinda has the look of a recovering druggie. Sure, I thought she was pretty hilarious in her audition, but the things that were endearing about her are now sapping me of emotional energy. Alls I can say is, bless her boyfriend!
  • Tatynisa Wilson – Not sure if we ever saw her before her final solo, but her chosen song “I Hope You Dance” was in a dreadful key that was about two steps to high for her. Ouch!

And we’re OFF! 🙂

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