Somehow it warranted two hours of non-stop coverage. Man, these 2 hour shows are killer to re-cap! So, let’s get it on….
The Hollywood Bound
Kellie Pickler’s Mom abandoned her when she was little and her Dad is a drug addict and in jail. Poor Kellie seems pretty sad. At least she has her Grandfather to take care of her. Unlike another Greensboro contestant, Kendra Winston, who’s sad story TOTALLY P’WNS Kellie’s–she had NO relatives at all and ended up in foster care….but I digress.
As far as Kellie’s singing, I agree with Simon–I thought she oversang. Her vocals were really shouty in spots. She sang “Since U Been Gone” and “Broken Wing” in a very average way. Interestingly, I hear she made it all the way to the Top 24–despite performance problems in Hollywood.
Sergeant Steven David, Jr. I found him annoying and cocky at first, but then he opened his mouth and did Marvin Gaye justice. I thought he did a nice soulful version of “Let’s Get it On”. He had great control and his vocal tone was really expressive without being showy. The little side story with Paula was cute. Here is Steven carrying Paula–the surprised look on her face is ’cause she’s just noticed his wife, who just walked into the room.
Halicia Thompson performed the theme song from the TV show “A Different World, ” and did a damn fine job. I loved her confidence and sense of humor and her natural vocal style. I laughed out loud when, after saying the producers asked her to kiss Simon, she whips out a piece of plastic in case Simon wanted “protection.” He didn’t, by the way…
Kendra Winston wins Saddest Contestant Story of the night. Poor girl was in 42 foster homes before she was 15. She became emancipated, had a baby, married a bad man, had more kids, left him. But then, she decided to straighten out her life–got her GED, scholarship to college, got out of public housing, and now look–she’s on American Idol! The producers LOVE these backstories–especially Tales of Overcoming a Bad Life–like Kendra’s.
Oh yeah, she was there to sing. She sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” I thought her vocals were just a’ight.
She had one of the funniest lines of the night. When Simon said no to Hollywood, she smirked and said, “It doesn’t matter ’cause I’m going.” Even he laughed.
Chase Bush. Uhhm. No. I really found this contestant with his feminized voice and mannerisms really hard to watch. And it has nothing to do with a gay or flamboyant style. When I look at Chase, I see an old fat woman with a man’s voice. I found the whole package really jarring. I’m not sure how his style would fit into any kind of pop genre–he’s very cabaret and could probably do very well there.
Simon, of course didn’t put him through. And, to prove that Idol producers could really give a fig about GLADD, Simon’s comment to Chase that, “I almost imagined you in a dress, ” was not edited out. Unlike Charles Berry, who was insulted by the comment–Chase tells Simon he’s game if it will get him to Hollywood.
I’m tempted, but I’ll refrain from making a really really obvious joke here.
Tons of my buds love this guy, Ryan Baysda. I have very little appreciation for pop/country, so Ryan didn’t really do much for me. He sang “God Bless the Broken Road, ” which is actually a pop/country song I really like. Just think, if Ryan won. And heh, I could see it–he’s good looking and has a nice voice–he and Carrie Underwood could be King and Queen of the country prom.
Paris Bennett. I’m smitten with her, as is just about everybody else I know. All the water cooler talk this morning in my office was about Paris. Even a co-worker, who only glances at Idol when his kids have it on stopped dead in his tracks when he heard her sing. She’s a young girl who sings like an old soul. I was really impressed with the fact, that instead of singing some tired R&B oldie or Whitney tune, she picked a country and a jazz tune, and nailed them both. She seems young and emotional, so I hope she holds up under the pressure. Her grandmother, Ann Nesby is in Sounds of Blackness.
I loved Tyra Juliette Schwarz. She’s New York, she’s East Coast, she’s down-to-earth and she has an awesome, smokey, husky voice. She sang “In the Still of the Night.” I’m psyched to see the East Coast representin’ among all the southerners. Nothing wrong with southerners, it’s just that Idol has an over-abundance of them.
But I suspect Tyra is just a little too ethnic, citified and funky for the Idol formula. I hear she makes it pretty far in Hollywood, but not quite as far as the Top 44.
I wrote about Jordan Southerland way back when I started this blog in November. The big question then was whether he made the Top 44. I’m pretty sure he didn’t. Based on his audition, I don’t think he should’ve. I found his voice pleasant, but nothing special.
They Could Have Made it to Hollywood IF…..
Chonna Clepper, whose single mom worked as a stripper to “put food on the table” had me cracking up when she called Ryan short and corrected him when he said 5’9 was an average height for males. I also thought her singing voice was unique. If she hadn’t worn her PJs to the audition she might have gotten through. Or maybe she wouldn’t have been noticed at all. It’s hard to say. I still think the judges should have said yes.
Ditto this guy, Shawn DeSalazar. If he hadn’t dressed like some kind of reject from a 70’s prom, if he had just s-l-o-w-e-d down his version of “Old Black Magic, ” if he had just brought his precocious and extremely cute little brother into the audition with him, (hee) he might have moved on to Hollywood. Good voice–wrong look–adorable brother.
And Ditto–Ditto Richard Garland. The Ventriloquist act just distracted from the fact that he actually could sing. He sang “Flying without Wings” and was better than some coughacecough of the other contestants put through. He also didn’t have the right look. Not exactly handsome, just kind of average.
The Funny Auditions
I have no doubt in my mind that that Marcus Behling’s audition was set up by the producers, but I just didn’t care. I thought it was hilarious. His rendition of “She’s Out of My Life” with the impossibly long notes was hysterical. Since it was obvious he was in on the joke, I could sit back and laugh guilt-free. When he told Simon that he used Randy and Paula’s DVD for singing tips, I was SURE it was set-up, but I was still laughing. Marcus taking the DVD–which he just happened to have with him–and smashing it to bits with a hammer was contrived, but somehow perfect.
It seems like people either loved or hated the segment with Super-Diva Rhonetta Johnson. The fact that she was promo’d at every break was annoying and weakened her impact–By the time we finally saw her, it felt anti-climatic. Dang, I wanted to see some hair pulling and bitch fighting! But still, when she walked out of the audition shouting a stream-of-consciousness diss at Paula Abdul, I just about died laughing. Ditto the subtitled bit at the end. Here’s my favorite below.
And naturally, it turns out that Rhonetta has a nice rap sheet. She’s been arrested for: DWI, driving with a revoked license, open container, providing fictitious information to an officer, larceny, disorderly conduct, communicating threats, and resisting arrest. And, check out her mug shots. Skeery.
The Road To Hollywood: