Friday, February 10, 2006

American Idol 5 - First round of eliminations

(Stealing from Sara again and again and again...)
One hundred and seventy five singers were chosen from those often-painful moments, and most of them will hardly be able to unpack their bags before they're sent home.

Half of the hopefuls are sent on a sightseeing trip, while the others prepare to sing onstage at the Orpheum Theater.

Each performer chooses one song from a list of 12. Most of the girls seem to have chosen Olivia Newton-John's Hopelessy Devoted to You. What, no There Are Worse Things I Could Do? Rizzo gets no respect.

Surprise, we're given extended time with Kellie Pickler, who producers may as well reseve a slot for in the top five. She's all over commercials and promos and on the web.

Kellie, with her country accent and sad backstory (her dad is a jailbird), is awfully sweet. But she's also a little more experienced than she pretends to be. She nervously admits that she has never sang with a band or had voice lessons. That may be true, but she failed to mention that she advanced to the finals on Gimme the Mike! Charlotte and is a beauty-pageant regular.
Amateur? Hardly.

Nevertheless, the judges love her, despite a thin and rangy version of said Olivia song. Don't get me wrong, I dig Kelly's voice, but I hate to be told who to vote for. (Remember Carrie Underwood?) Just crown her already.

Paula Abdul looks smitten with Patrick Hall, who has a nice, but unassuming, voice. It's the same droopy look she gave Constantine Maroulis. Simon says Patrick is "like Clay Aiken, but likable." He makes it to the next round.

Ronnie Norman from Tyler and Steven David from who-knows-where are two of this season's most arrogant, obnoxious contestants. They both sing Shai's And If I Ever Fall in Love. And the judge's don't. Both -- YES! -- are sent home. I'm glad they are gone too.

Sixteen-year-old Lisa Tucker looks great and had one of the best early auditions. This time, she seems a little below pitch, but her voice is mature and supple. She moves on and stands as a true testament to pure talent. You don't need flirty posturing or high-pitched drama to make a mark. Just a great voice.

We're now up to Paris Bennet, the chirpy niece of gospel/soul singer Ann Nesby. Paris is awfully cute and sings LeAnn Rimes' Can't Fight the Moonlight. It's good, but not the best song choice for her. Of course, she makes it. I hope she doesn't win it all. Sounds too much like Fantasia to me at this point and I didn't like her voice either. Latoya London should have won that year.

Gray-haired soulster Taylor Hicks sings The First Cut is the Deepest, and Simon says he looks like someone's dad. I have to agree. He's talented, but I can't see young viewers falling in love with him.

At the end of day one, 41 contestants move on.

Day two: Megan Zieger is incredibly nervous because she says she has laryngitis. It shows in her off-key and cracked vocals. The judges cut her some slack, and she advances to the next round.

The Britnam twins, who made headlines after they were recently arrested, sound nice but are a bit cocky and overbearing. And those beards have got to go. I hate them.

Derrell and Terrell are also a bit too cutesy onstage. Too many hand movements and bug-eyed moments, but they're safe for now. The same can't be said for twins Joshua and Jarrett Simmons, who are sent home. Boo hoo.

One of my faves, Gina Glocksen, gets a quick plug. She has a clean, warm voice that would sound great on disc. She's safe.

The littlest cowboy, Garet Johnson, is up next. He's sweet and shy and awfully sincere. He cries when he arrives in Hollywood. He cries when he sees the ocean. His audition is just OK, but he makes it. I'm tired of this poor kid.

The Britnam twins mouth off about some of the advancing contestants. Who really cares? Not me. Did I mention that I hate these guys?

The rest of the show is a scattershot montage of colorful auditions. Chris Daughtry, the psuedo-rocker with the shaved head, puts all his Scott Stapp-edness into it, and the crowd goes wild. The word "poser" comes to mind, as does the name "Constantine."

Ace Young, the show's likeliest heartthrob, already has a fan site. He has an average voice -- at best -- but he breezes through. Must be the great hair. And those puppy-dog eyes. And the way the girls sigh. Expect him to make the Top 12 -- and likely the top five.

On the other hand, Mandisa Hundley works it out with a natural, charismatic showing. She has one of the biggest, best voices of the bunch. My fingers are crossed for her.

Katharine McPhee, an early fave, gets her turn on a Dionne Warwick tune. She has a lovely voice, but she's nervous. Still, she makes it and remains a strong contender.

Finally, we get to Dave Hoover, the crazy guy from Chicago. We've been teased all hour with his audition, and it's a predictable mess. He doesn't make it, thank goodness. Next!

In the end, 66 singers have been cut and 99 are left for the next round: group songs. You think tonight was dramatic? You ain't seen nothing yet. Hmmm not so many comments from me, that's what happens if I wait 48 hours, I have already forgotten some of this. :-)
Tubular: Hopelessly devoted, but to whom?

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