Tuesday, January 13, 2009

American Idol - The Arizona Auditions

We get a montage of the past seasons. People like Kelly Pickler, that guy who threw water at Simon, the guy who looks like Gollum, crying Sanjaya girl, and the Hoff. There is a winner montage to compensate for the bad contestants, ending with the last winner David Cook. It seems like yesterday that David Cook beat David Archuletta, but the past is past and we are at a new season. The executives have promised us less bad performers and focus a little more on storyline/development of the good contestants. There are some changes in format, but we’ll get to that when we get whittled down to the top 36. Any who, we get video of pre-teen girls crying about Archuletta losing. Cook interviews about how winning idol has changed his life.

We get a montage of a whole ton of people who think they have the chops. We get the new edit this year. It’s all about the journey this year. Ryan stands in front of the Grand Canyon and explains that we start this year in Arizona. It’s hot. The crowds are pumped, but sweating profusely.

Randy, Simon, and Paula walk in. Let’s introduce our newest judge: Kara DioGuardi. She has an impressive resume for songwriting and has penned songs for fellow idol contestants Kelly Clarkson, David Archuleta, Carrie Underwood, and Katherine McPhee. We get a montage of Kara being a crazy judge who could hold her own with Simon.

Our first person up is Tuan Nguyen. He has hair and he attempts to sing and drill/tap at the same time. He drinks some water to keep himself well hydrated. He wants to be Michael Jackson/Britney Spears and he sings “The way you make me feel.” It’s sub-par and the judges laugh the whole way through. Randy was entertained, but it wasn’t good. He is rejected, but gets a montage to “Careless Whisper.”

Emily Hughes grew up to having a singer mother. Her mother gave up singing to take care of Emily. She is a singer in an all girl rock band. She sings “Barracuda” and it makes Paula smile. Simon liked it and called her different. If she makes it, she breaks up her all girl band. She hopes that maybe she can get her band mates back if she wins. They all pass her through. She gets cheers through the audience. We’ll find out what happens to her and her band in Hollywood.

Our next contestant is Randy Madden. He says he’s 28, but he definitely looks older from how he dresses. He says he has no training and he tears up during the whole process. He attempts “Livin’ on a Prayer” and tries to gives it his own spin. Simon calls it “wimpy” and Randy tries singing it again. Simon calls it cliché. He starts to cry as Simon criticizes him. Paula tries to be positive and Simon pesters her. Kara tries to comfort Randy as well. The four say no. He gets a cry montage as he leaves.

J.B. Ahfua actually gets some time to sing and he sings well. The four say yes. He explains to Ryan that it’s his opportunity to help his family. He gets no storyline whatsoever.

The waiting room laughs and has fun after J.B. succeeded. In comparison our next contestant, Michael is quite nervous about the whole situation. He doesn’t feel well about the whole thing and the contestant next to him tries to console him. It doesn’t work. He makes it in front of the judges and sings “It starts with goodbye.” The noises that come from mouth are incomprehensible. Randy had to cover his face in laughter. Michael wants to come back, but Simon says no. He then attempts a Kara song and Kara is a little shocked. He gets rejected. Outside he’s sweating profusely, sits on the floor, and eats a banana.

We get a montage of bad singers. Will Kunick butchers “Mad World.” D.J. Bradley kills Celine Dion (well, her song). Shawn Vasquez squeals through “I’ll Never Love this Way Again.” Speaking of bad contestants, our next contestant “X-ray” is excited and comes in with a lot of energy. X-Ray sings the song “Cactus Baby” and puts down his guitar. Why do you bring a guitar if you’re not gonna play it. The song is obscene but quite catchy. Randy is laughing too hard to reject him. The four all pass on “X-ray.” He has to be escorted away.

Our next contestant is the bubbly, young Arianna Afasar. She created “Adopt a Grand-friend” where she cheers up the senior citizens. Simon makes a crack at Paula being a senior citizen. She sings “Put Your Records On” and she is light and has a nice lilt to her voice. Simon likes it. Paula calls it stunning. She gets four astounding yes’s.

There were nine others who made it to Hollywood on Day 1. After day one Kara loves her job.

Day 2. Everyone is all smiles. Clearly they don’t know what to expect. We get a montage of several bad high keys sung by previous rejects. That’s never a good sign. We get someone who reminds anyone of “Chocolate Rain.” His name is Elijah. He has a deep baritone. It’s apparently his real voice and it amuses the judges. He sings “My First, My Last, My Everything” and he’s quite deep and slow in execution. The judges snicker and Simon calls it part of a horror
movie. Paula thinks that he’d make a good voice actor.

Lea Marie Golde is a pink cowgirl from Connecticut. She calls herself a cross between Madonna and Hillary Duff. She spins and falls over. She is Kara’s biggest fan. She wants to show her songwriting book to Kara. She hands her book over to Kara and Kara takes a look while she sings “Everytime We Touch.” She sings the whole song through her nose. Simon rolls his eyes. He calls the singing “annoying.” Kara appreciates her writing. Lea tries her best to convince them, but the four reject her.

Stevie Wright was named after Stevie Nicks. That’s some big shoes to fill. She giggles her whole way through. She sings “At Last” and she has a very beautiful voice; she easily hits the highs and lows. The judges are wowed by her control in her voice. Simon wants to make sure that she has to be more competitive in her spirit. The judges pass her through. Paula compares her to Kelly Clarkson.

Michael Sarver works at an oil rig. It’s the fifth most dangerous job. He’s a family man and he wants to make a change. He sings “Thank You” and executes a good country voice. He has a soul in his voice. Randy thinks that he doesn’t look like how he sounds. It’s a yes for everyone.

We get another montage of bad singers. Some are yellers, others just have bad hair, and even more suffer from bad make-up. Up next is “Bikini Girl.” She flirts with Ryan. Simon is quite happy for how she dresses. She lightly sings through Mariah Carey’s “Vison of Love.” Simon gives it a yes. Kara doesn’t get why both Randy and Simon liked her. Kara thinks she has no swing. Bikini Girl tries to hit high notes and Kara tries to reject her. She counters her by saying that Kara’s voice is not better. Bikini Girl, aka Katrina, made it through. The girls hate her, but she made it through. It’s the flaw of having four judges, since it seems that you only need two to make it through. She runs to Ryan and kisses him. He’s flustered. She jumps into the pool.

There is some more Kara montage. No one knows how to pronounce her name. At one point Simon calls her “Golda.” Simon continues to call her “Car-a.”

Speaking of names, our next contestant is Eric Thomas aka “Sexual Chocolate.” He’s in awe in front of the judges. His nickname came from high school. He sings some Stevie Wonder, but he’s not amazing. If he fails, apparently his mother will buy him a car. They reject him.

Brianna Quijada is a ball of excitement. She screams “oh my gosh” all the way to the judges. She sings “Let’s hear it for the Boy” and she sings like a pixy. Simon thinks that it was her personality that let her get through to the judges. Paula asks her to sing “Killing Me Softly.” She’s all nervous and Simon pesters her. After calling Simon “Simey,” she muddles the words, but does a decent job. Simon likes her spirit, and although Randy and Kara say no, Paula and Simon say yes. She gets hugs and makes it through.

There is a family montage. The moms and other family members are the support. Unfortunately Deanna Brown has no family and asks random people to be family members. She is reminiscent of Kellie Pickler. There is a husky tone to her voice as she sings “Sitting on the dock of the bay.” A husky version of Dolly Parton. The judges like the interesting voice. The judges love her and she goes to Hollywood. She calls her mother and she screams.

Cody Sheldon is from Michigan and has a flank of family. There is a dark side…he makes horror films. This makes the judges eyebrow raise. He sings “Wonderful World.” He has an interesting tone to his voice. Kara doesn’t think that his voice and his look don’t go together. Nonetheless, he emerges with the yellow slip of justice.

Simon asks contestants “Which countries that they would be popular in.” Alex Wagner-Trugman gives some interesting countries, including Canada. He used to sing in the closet and got a mold cold. He has a dry sarcasm. Simon makes “out of the closet” jokes. He attempts “Baby Come to Me” and although he wiggles through the whole thing, he has a beautiful sound in his voice. Randy likes the tone; it worked in a weird way. He sarcastically tells Simon that he could sing “God Save the Queen.” Simon says no, but Randy, Kara, and Paula say yes. Randy compares him to Joe Cocker.

There is a western showdown montage. There is a group song to “Wanted Dead or Alive.” All of the singers are bad, except for Bikini Girl. There is some air guitar for extra measure.

Our last contestant is Scott Macintyre. He’s 23 years old. He’s blind, but can see a little bit of tunnel vision. He learned how to play classical music and is wonderfully fluent. He’s conquered the lack of sight (he even dances!). Can he conquer the judges? The interesting fact that he has was that he graduated college at 19. He sings “And so it Goes” by Billy Joel. His voice is pretty, but because of the lack of sight, he looks aimless towards the judges. The judges love him and they all say yes. Ryan tries to give him a high-five.

There were 27 tickets given out. And after a montage of winners jumping into a pool, Bikini Girl trips the camera man. Next time: Kansas City.

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