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I say it every year, and I’ll say it again – it is ridiculous how much better my life is now that American Idol is back.
To be honest, I didn’t know if I could do this without Simon, but I have to say this Steven Tyler / J Lo thing is really working for me! Tyler somehow manages to be larger than life and completely down to earth at the same time, and I’ve been a J Lo fan ever since she made big asses cool. And I like Randy as the anchor.
And wouldn’t you know, the week that I got the call that I was up for an Idol recap, I had not one - but two Idol experiences of my own! So before we start the recap, get ready for me to name drop like an asshole.
The first Special Guest Star of this week’s recap are Season 10 Idol contestants Mark & Aaron Gutierrez! Last Friday, I was enjoying a late night visit to to LA’s famous Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles – the Crenshaw one, cause of course that’s how us really white girls in cashmere sweater sets roll.
We caught Mark & Aaron on the way out, and me and my friend Brittany, in our drunken, waffled state immediately and quite loudly began imploring them for a song. Now here’s where things get confusing, cause one of them left, but one of them stayed and next thing we knew, busted out a whole, entire Isn’t She Lovely for me and Britt! And now I have a new favorite LA moment, even though I’m not 100% sure which Gutierrez brother is part of the story.
But my brushes with Idol glory weren’t over! On Tuesday, I went to the LA opening of Rock of Ages starring former Idol contestant, former Tinsley Mortimer boy-toy, and consistent source of CB skewering and amusement, Constantine Maroulis.
Oh, and let me throw a little Beverly Hills Housewives into the mix – I downed a couple of vodkas with Ken of Ken n’ Lisa Vanderpump Todd at the bar next door before the show. Of course I manage to meet the man at the theater, the one place Jiggy is not welcome. Naturally. Anyway, there’s that story. What? I told you I was gonna name drop like an asshole.
But back to Idol related – Rock of Ages, which I have been wanting to see forever, was amazing! If you’re a fan of 80s music, you’ll love it and I suggest you check it out. Post show, we hit the after-party, where after several Kir Royales I quite literally bumped into Contantine. And you know his creepy, cheesy camera face? Totally works in real life.
Trust me, it’s hot.
So, I don’t recall too much of the conversation, except that he was very nice and handsome and let me do all the talking…which explains why when I got home that night, I felt the need to do this:
And that my friends is why I have always insisted on writing this shit completely anonymously.
Alright, enough about me – let’s get to the Idols! We jump right back into the drama, as Ryan reminds us that this is the most important audition of their lives. Dreams have began… and dreams have ended. And then, he leads us to “the holding room”, which looks like it might be in a library.
The contestants are exhausted and drained, just the way Ryan likes ‘em. Their fates are being decided downstairs in the theater as the judges “lay it all out on the table”.
We are told that this day has witnessed some of the most outstanding performances in Idol’s ten year history. BUT, the morning began just like any other. Huh. So it’s flashback episode.
And with that, we journey back to the morning. Idol hopefuls drink tea, open doors to their rooms and pose cute for the cameras, tell us they’re tired – it’s a just a regular old Hollywood week morning, according to Ryan. The montage is only notable for the fact that it shows us the people we definitely don’t want to win.
Come on, are you serious?
Plenty of rehearsing for the day’s performance. And then it’s time to hit the stage! Today, the contestants can sing with the backup band, or accapella. So first we have Haley Reinhardt, from Minnesota. She’ll be singing the latest pop favorite burning up the charts, God Bless The Child.
So let’s recap Hayley’s journey – day one, total confidence. But it was short lived, as she fumbled through the group round. She does have a fantastic voice though. Very torchy. The judges go crazy. Steven Tyler even sings along a little bit. J Lo points out to Randy that they almost sent her home the day before.
And then, a “new face” – aren’t they all “new faces”? Isn’t that sort of the point of the whole thing?It’s Ashton Jones, from Nashville. Ashton sings the requisite Dreamgirls song. She’s good. It’s nice. I’m not overwhelmed, but “When you got it, you got it,” says Randy.
And then there’s Thea McGea. And it’s another refugee from the 8th grade choir singing songs my seventy year old Dad listens to. But, I suppose she’s good.
It went over huge on the field trip to the senior center.
It’s clear the girls are on fire, says Ryan. But will the boys measure up? AND the pressure starts taking it’s toll! I spy at least four people in tears. Bring it on. It’s not Idol until there’s hysterical, gurgling sobbing.
And it looks like some of the contestants are “out of sync”. Or, at least that’s what Ryan tells us. People are having to start again. That’s not good. “Wait, is that in G?” asks a lumpy looking contestant in a flannel shirt.
Seacrest gets bitchy and mentions that the contestants aren’t exactly used to working with professionals. Then he goes to the (new) bandleader so they can talk shit on the inexperienced kids.
I’m just like, so over it.
Then comes Frances Coontz, from Santa Ana, CA. She looks like a secretary in a mortgage office in a strip mall.
I’ll have those spreadsheets for you just as soon as I’m done with this song.
Oh, and also she kind of sucks. Tyler makes her start over again. Randy tells her how to sing it. One of them tells her to “grab her key”. They make it sound so simple, like it’s just sitting there on the piano where she can scoop it up and use it to unlock some talent.
Then it’s Clint “Junebug” Gamboa. If the Junebug thing wasn’t enough to fill you in on what a total tool this guy was, there’s also this:
And if there was still a modicum of doubt, Ryan also reminds us that this jackass had been busy making all kinds of trouble on group day, with some kind of last minute power play group swap. Will it pay off? Then the kid starts singing. It just sounds like overwrought screaming to me, but the crowd – judges included – goes wild. He leaves, filled with a shocking amount of confidence, given this:
Wow, and I really didn’t think it could get any worse.
Then comes Kendra Chantelle from Tenessee, another blonde singing an old song. This time it’s Georgia On My Mind. I guess I’m not the only one picking up on this, cause they transition directly to another chick, Sophie Somebody singing the exact same song. This one looks exactly like Ashlee Simpson. But doesn’t seem to be suffering from the acid reflux. And you know, they’re all good but they’re all the same. I wonder if they’ll all make it in?
Then comes Chris Medina – I’m pretty sure this is the guy with the coma wife. He’s going for My Prerogative, which he thinks is a pretty unique song selection until we find out this asshole’s singing it too.
This is a joke, right? Stop wasting my time.
To add insult to the whole thing, this idiot’s from my beloved city of Malibu. And maybe he has a good voice, but I can’t tell because I’m too distracted by all the Gumby faces he’s making. Oooh, and it gets better. These two were actually in a group together on group day, when Gumby overshadowed everyone by jumping all over the stage.
It seems really clear to me that Gumby’s all crackhead gimmick and can’t really sing. Gumby does the song with a band and singers, and Chris has his guitar. But it doesn’t really matter cause neither one of them really impresses me. Not sure what the future holds for Gumby, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of Chris and his sob story yet.
And then we’ve reached the instrumental portion of our show. Ryan reminds us that this is the first time contestants have had the opportunity to play their instruments for the judges. So, first up is Julie Zorilla on a keyboard. Not bad!
Then comes Caleb Hawley who does a Dave Matthews Band thing on his guitar, and who also needs to become acquainted with a hairbrush. Then there’s Colton Dixon on the keyboards, but again with a distraction in the form of a Justin Bieber meets Flock of Seagulls hair-don’t.
Baby, baby, baby….and I ran so far away.
Then there’s Brett Loewenstein, representing the Boca Jews on a guitar. My Mom just told me that he’s from the high school down the street from our house. Whatever. Is he serenading drunk chicks at the local fried chicken joint? Not to be outdone, Robbie Rosen holds it down for the Long Island Jews on the keyboard. Yay for my people, but they both need to find a way out of the nerdy synogogue youth band look.
Next is Casey Abrams, who plays all kinds of strange instruments. And he’s bringing a stand up bass to Hollywood week. He says he feels comfortable with the huge bass. And then breaks into yet another another version of Georgia On My Mind. Gimmicky? Yeah. But entertaining.
But wait! On the heels of Casey’s triumphant bass performance, he runs into a “distraught” Chelsea Oaks, who had to say goodbye to her ex who was voted off the night before. And then today, Chelsea was dealt yet another devastating blow. What could it be? Death in the family? House burned down? Nope – sick roommate. Gosh, I hope Chelsea can somehow find her way through this.
The sick roommie in question actually has to leave the competition, which was pretty sad. Cause I’m betting this was like, her dream or something.
Sorry, sweetie – but how will Chelsea take it?
Chelsea does okay, belting out a Kelly Clarkson song. But not before telling us the the dropout is her “best friend in the entire world”. That was fast. Something about Chelsea annoys the crap out of me, and then she sings and dammit, now she’s a favorite.
It’s been a constant flow of unforgettable performances, Ryan tells us before introducing who he calls a judges’ favorite, Laura Elena. She’ll be singing Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, which she also sang in her first audition. Wouldn’t you want to show us something new? But, she does a great job, albeit with a very misguided 80′s fashion attempt.
Or perhaps she was channeling Miss Piggy, in which case – complete success.
Next up is Jacob Lusk, who does a lot of “doobie-doobie-do”s and then a bunch more vocal histrionics to yet another God Bless The Child. But, the judges and his fellow hopefuls seem to be loving it. He collapses in tears backstage when it’s over.
Clearly, an understated performance.
Then it’s time for John Wayne Schultz, who is Adorable with a capital A. He sings Landslide. He’s got a deep, gorgeous voice, a cowboy hat, piercing blue eyes, a crooked smile and obviously, my number. He’s got J Lo’s too, as she sings along with a goofy look on her face. Oh, and did I mention he’s singing to his Mom?
Take my love and take it anywhere you want, honey.
So then we catch up with “emotional timebomb” Ashley Sullivan, who’s singing a Michael Buble song that she knows cold be cause she sings it to her boyfriend all the time.
She’s found the week to be much more intense than she thought it would be. Then she dedicates the song to her boyfriend, and makes sure to mention that he was in Iraq cause obiously she’s seen which way the cameras are going on this thing and she’s not stupid.
And she’s actually pretty good, but she sings so fast. She sounds incredibly nervous, and has to start again. The judges yell at her for looking at her boyfriend and losing her place. And then she messes up again! “I can’t believe I’m freaking out!” she screeches. J Lo tells her to get control of her emotions. ”So, Ashley falls apart. Again,” intones Ryan, who totally lives for this shit.
By 6:30 PM, we have three young men preparing to take the stage. First up is Stefano Langone, who doesn’t have the best voice ever, but he brings joy to the stage. Then there’s Jovany Baretto, who does nothing for me. And then there’s Jacee Badeax, who we know from before.
He’s not very good at all. He sounds like he’s singing at a pageant, but Randy makes a big deal over him and J Lo tells him how happy it makes her to hear him sing. He must have some backstory I don’t know about.
And finally, we’re down to the last two contestants. First up is Scotty McCreary, the deep voiced country singer who’s apparently been singing the same quirky country song for the whole competition so far. But for this round, his offbeat country ditty wasn’t on the list so he had to go with I Hope You Dance, which was new to him because apparently he only knows one song.
We see his rehearsal, which didn’t look too hot and then he hits the stage with Seacrest telling us he’s relying on his memory to not fail him with the lyrics. He ends up singing about “nuts of wonder”. But he’s not the only one who eats this country song.
This one hopes “you get the fuel to eat but always keep that wonder”. Words to live by.
The judges do not look thrilled. And these two last contestants know it’s not looking good. The girl sobs, and the guy says it was only his deep voice that kept him in this far. Well, true.
“All that remains is one final decision,” intones Ryan dramatically. We cut back to the dramatic music as the judges shuffle through the pictures laid out on the table. While the judges deliberate, the contestants reflect in black and white doomsday flashbacks. And then…the dreaded four room split!
“Four rooms…everyone sharing the same dream. But whose dream will come to an end?” wonders Seacrest. Let’s find out!
In Room 1 is Ashley Sullivan, who melted down on stage, and Brett Lowenstern who proves himself totally worthy of his annoying red corkscrew hairdo by making everyone in the room hold hands. This room also has Jacee Badeaux, who Ryan confirms had “controversy”, Chris with the coma wife and the fucking pop- eyed “Junebug”. This room also includes Laura Elena, Robbie Rosen and Casey Abrams.
The judges enter and tell them they were the most talented group of contestants so far, it was a hard decision…there’s too many backstories in this group, I already know they’re going through. And then J Lo makes it official.
Congrats. You get to annoy the crap out of us for another day.
The Room 2 people hear the brouhaha next door, and start to get nervous. The Room 3 folks are feeling it too, including my own personal Idol, Mark Gutierrez!
Isn’t he lovely?
Room 3 also holds Chelsea Oaks, who has had a horrifically rough day, what with her best friend in the whole world having to drop out of the competition and go to the hospital.
Oh, I’ll be seeing straight in a minute I’m sure – but how are you holding up, Chelsea?
But back to Room 2 – they were right to be freaking out cause Tyler breaks the news that they’re done. The judges give a speech about getting back on the horse, the contestants sob, but no one really breaks down, which kind of ruins it for me. Come on people, what about the dream?
And moments later, those in Room 3 learn…they share the same fate! What? What? What? No!
So, as it turns out I wasn’t serenaded by the next American Idol – not even close. And he knew it when he sang to us too, which makes me an even bigger fan.
Unaware of the other results, Room 4 sits in silence. Tyler gives them a fakeout, and then J Lo tells them that they’re all going through!
Yup, you too!
And now we venture forth to Beatles week, which I think is gonna mean big trouble for a lot of these people.