Wednesday, February 14, 2007

American Idol: Hell Week

The producers of American Idol are beyond cruel. I am not talking about the way they treat the contestants. I'm talking about the way they treat us loyal viewers! We sat through 8 audition episodes, only to have Hollywood week condensed into 2 nights, 1 hour each. I crave more of this drama!

Many people we had gotten attached to in the past few weeks were sent packing so quickly that we didn't even get to see them sing: Porcelana "Queens' own Rocky" Patino, Sean "Fidel" Michel, Jamie Lynn "my daddy's paralyzed" Ward. There were a couple of favorites we did get to see sing but still couldn't really understand why they got booted, like military heroes Jarred Fowler and Rachel Jenkins. You'd think their feel-good-serving-their-country stories would at least get them through a couple rounds.

I was sorry to see Matt "my mom never says she loves me" Sato get booted. He was very likable and his phone calls home always make me teary-eyed. I also hated to see Jory Steinberg sent home so suddenly. Her first audition was a real stand-out. I couldn't believe the judges wouldn't give her a second chance.

The beneficiary of a 2nd and 3rd chance was Sundance Head, who Simon accused of looking like he'd been boiled and singing through his nose in his first audition. He forgot his words in the group number and still survived. This is a testimony to his force of personality and the unique vocal stylings he showed off in his first audition.

I won't miss Perla "Shakira Impersonator" Meneses. While some were hailing her as the second coming of Charo, I thought she made a fatal mistake in singing Shakira for a second time during her first Hollywood audition. I would have cut her at that point since she had put herself in a Shakira box, but the judges gave her one more chance. When she failed to make it work in the group number, she was gone.

It was funny to get a brief glimpse of Robin Troup, who was booted during the group number, where she had to perform with the underwhelming Sundance. Robin had the last laugh - winning the contest to sing with Justin Timberlake on the Grammys. But will we hear from her again?

Of course the most entertaining portion of the show was the pretty girl mafia war between "best friends" Antonella Barba and Amanda Coluccio and Bailey Brown. Hailing from a small town in Texas, Bailey was no match for these Jersey Girls. They chewed her up and spit her out like a piece of taffy on the Atlantic City boardwalk. Bailey was out of her league with these two, but the fault lies squarely on her own shoulders as she froze up like a deer in headlights during the group number and completely forgot her words. Antonella survived and remains a lock for the Top 24, but Amanda got cut after blowing off group preparation by flirting with boys. It's kind of a shame - wouldn't it be fun for Idol to have a true Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan in the mix?

The musical highlight for me, and I'll admit to rewinding and watching it 6 times, was the group song by Rudy Cardenas, Blake "beatboxer" Lewis, Chris "Jack Osbourne for Christ" Sligh, and Tom Lowe. These guys were more in synch than N'Sync in their rendition of "How Deep Is Your Love." They even worked out choreography and harmonies. Bravo!

Tonight the 40 who remain will be whittled down to our Top 24. I hope we get to see a few more performances before the verdict is delivered. Please, Idol, next year give us a couple weeks of this Hollywood Week drama, and cut the audition freakshow shorter.

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