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All right, dolls. This is it. First I’d like to thank Flippy and T.Vo for sharing writing duties on this one, cause I am obsessed with American Idol, and have been since the day this show first aired.
Let me take you back to 2002 – Season One. I was working for a very, very confused company in New York who I somehow managed to dupe into paying me to basically do nothing. They kept telling me to “hold on, we’re just getting organized, and then we’ll let you know what we need from you.” This went on for about a year before I finally got bored and moved to LA. And not only were they paying me to sit around and do nothing, they even hired me an assistant to help me do it! He was just as happy to be paid to sit around as I was, and we spent our days doing crossword puzzles and taking long lunches at Rye Playland, where we would eat sandwiches, and then play baci for an hour. It was lovely.
One day, one of the brilliant executives noticed that we were taking daily three hour lunches, and informed us that it had to stop. Not for the sake of working, mind you, they were still deep into their “getting organized” phase, but nonetheless, the days of picnic lunches and baci were done. Crosswords weren’t enough to keep us busy. And then, we were saved by American Idol.
From the moment the first show aired, we were both hooked. We would spend the whole day talking about the contestants and the show. He was a Nikki McKibbin fan, and I was (don’t judge!) for Justin Guarini. We both agreed that while Kelly Clarkson had a fabulous voice, she was missing that “X Factor”. For the record, I have uttered the word “X Factor” approximately 9,128,756 times since my Idol journey began. It’s one of my most important criteria. Obviously, I was wrong about Kelly, as evidenced by the fact that Since U Been Gone has now reached VIP status on my ipod. It’s my go-to song for everything.
I never said I was psychic.
In the beginning, I prided myself on backing the top performers. My picks didn’t always win, but they always made top two. First, there was Justin. I was for Ruben Studdard from the start. Then I was a Bo Bice girl. Another one of my jobs is as an airline stewardess, and shortly after the end of Season Three, I was working the 8 am flight from LA to New York when I overheard one of the gate agents say that Bo was currently boarded on the 9 am flight. I literally flung my tray of pre-departure mimosas at a passenger and took off down the concourse.
The 8 am flight took a delay that day, but I make no apologies, cause I met Bo, and let me tell you, that guy has a great ass. It was during Season Four that my picks started to go wrong. While I was understanding when George Huff had to go, I was devastated when LaToya London was voted off. I still think she was robbed. I have met Fantasia, and while she is an absolute sweetheart and a great talent, she really wasn’t for me. And I was very annoyed with her work ethic when she starred in The Color Purple. Sixty missed performances is unacceptable. Especially when you’re working for Oprah.
Oh no she didn’t!
My losing streak continued into Season Four. First, I strongly backed Mandisa. From the moment she opened her mouth, I declared the season a complete waste of time, as I was convinced we already had the clear winner. When she was scandalously voted off, I fell into a deep depression, and could not even speak of Idol for days. But I bouced back with Chris Daughtry, who I still love.
But when Chris was gone, I had no one. While she was a very pretty girl, I just did not have the McPheever. And when it came to Taylor Hicks, my friend Fabulonista said it best. When I tried to explain his appeal with the old standard: “Well, he’s got that whole ‘be yourself’ thing going”, she replied “I don’t know where this ‘be yourself’ thing came from, but I don’t like it.” Thank you very much, Fab. The concepts of “being yourself” and “X Factor” are indeed diametrically opposed.
Last year, I was heartbroken when America’s favorite backup singer, Melinda Doolittle was sent home. I remember where I was when it happened. I had just returned to my friend’s apartment chocked up with Fatburgers, Fat Fries and Diet Coke. We were just about to gorge before we watched the results show, when his roommate came home. “Do you believe it about Melinda Doolitte?” he asked me incredulously, having heard the news from the east coast broadcast hours earlier. And again, devastation. Thank you very much America – like any proper LA girl, I only allow myself Fatburger a few times a year, and now it was ruined.
Maybe this year.
So there’s the backstory. When each season ends, all you’ll hear out of me for days is, “I can’t believe it’s over. I already miss it so much.” I’ve taken break-ups of long term relationships better than I take season’s end of American Idol. But when it’s back…I am overcome with a heady rush of joy. Everyone in my life knows this. No dinners or cocktails on Idol night. Phone calls are avoided during Idol airings, and people are undeservedly understanding when I abruptly hang up on them at the end of the commercial breaks.
It’s all I ever want to talk about. When I meet a new person, the first thing I will say to them is, “Do you watch Idol?”. For the next four months, I will spend an embarassing amount of time reviewing every last detail of the contestants. I will critique and applaud song choices. I will debate contestants’ degree of “X Factor”. I will start calling people “dawg”, chuckle at Paula’s pill fueled antics, and extol my love for everything Simon Cowell. My inexplicable crush on Ryan Seacrest will deepen. I will shake my head disappointedly when the contestants turn in poor performances, and accuse everyone of being “pitchy”. Do I have any idea what “pitchy” even means? No. This will not stop me from throwing the word into every conversation that I have.
I think it’s this.
Which brings us to tonight, the results of Hollywood Week. This is a huge night for the season. I have to be honest with you, I’m not too interested in the early rounds of auditions. I know America loves their William Hungs, but I find those performances to be a direct attack on the integrity of the Idol process. It’s during Hollywood Week when I really start to pay attention. So I can not be more excited to be recapping this. One of these hopefuls will be our next American Idol! I have chills just writing it.
But Wednesday’s night of results is pretty much performance free, so I needed the Hollywood Week night on Tuesday to prep. Of course, I had eighty million errands to run on the other side of town on Tuesday, and with Hollywood Week’s 8 pm start time rapidly approaching, I knew there was no way I was making it home in time to watch.
So I called Flippy. “Wouldn’t it be great to watch American Idol together tonight?” I asked hopefully. “Can’t, I’m live blogging Big Brother with Fozzie.” Ah, the busy life of a recapper. So I called Fabulonista, who doesn’t really give a crap about American Idol, but is supportive of my obsession, and also lives in a fancy Beverly Hills pad that I thought would make a very comfortable viewing spot.
As predicted, while Fab wasn’t crazy about the idea of watching Idol for two hours, she was happy to help the cause. We set up shop on her bed with a cadre of snacks – orange flavored dried cranberries, dried bananas and such. And then we have this conversation.
ChickBomb: I am very proud that we are eating such healthy snacks.
Fabulonista: It’s not healthy. It’s sugar-coated fruit.
ChickBomb: It’s still fruit. That’s healthy.
Fabulonista: So if I dip this carrot in chocolate and sprinkles, is it still healthy?
ChickBomb: Point taken. Pass me a carrot.
And then we get down to business. Hollywood Week was a whirlwind! People getting kicked off, tears, plenty of unfortunate wardrobe choices, tears, nerves, tears, and have I mentioned tears? Oh yeah, and there were a few kick ass performances. I’m pretty sure I have my top two.
So, with the research done on Tuesday night, I made sure to get home in time to park myself in front of the television for Wednesday night’s results show. Of course I still managed to be late, and I didn’t tune in until 8:08, but I’m pretty sure all I missed was a montage of the auditions, and Ryan’s repeated insistence that this is going to be the most talented top twenty-four evaaaaah!
So the first victim I see is black haired, kohl rimmed Carly. Carly had auditioned for last season’s Idol, but then she had some kind of immigration issue and I guess America kicked her out. Of the actual country, not the show.
But Carly’s scrappy, and hustled on back from whatever country she hails to track American Idol down and prove that American or not, she’s the one! It’s the first of a million fake outs, as the judges tell her the audition in San Diego wasn’t her shining glory, but she had some nice moments in Hollywood. Carly cries and tells the judges she’s sorry. In addition to this being the most talented top twenty-four, it is also by far the weepiest.
Welcome to Hollywood! Oh wait. La Migra! Run!
Paula finally calms Carly down with the news that she’s in! Doesn’t work though, Carly just keeps crying. They tell her to let go of the nervousness. She sobs in response. Then they send her down in the elevator to the holding tank where the rest of the Idols sit. And yup, still crying. I don’t want a weepy Idol. Next, please.
Ryan pokes his head in the screen to inform us in his super-serious stage whisper that we’re back, and it’s intense. And then he passes it off to David. David’s a little funny looking, a condition he tries to distract from with what I’m sure is considered a pretty funky haircut in whatever unfashionable part of the country he’s from. He played the guitar in his audition, and Simon didn’t like it. I don’t even remember the guy from the night before, and when they replay a clip of his audition, I realize why. David does nothing for me, but he’s in. Big whatever.
Next, it’s Goth Amanda, trotting down the rocker path that Bo Bice and Chris Daughtry blazed years earlier – although now that I think about it, she may be the first girl to travel this road. She reminds me of the singer from Evanescence. I don’t think she’s our Idol, but she’s good, and she’s in!
Yay! Now you can afford conditioner!
And then it’s time for some losers. Ryan tells us that everyone’s replaying their performances, dissecting each detail, much as I will be once this thing really gets in gear. We see a montage of some crap performances, and then we see the people responsible for them get bad news from the judges. Thanks losers, now back to the people who may actually have a shot.
American Idol is not the place for everyone, Prince Ryan snootily informs us, but is it a place for David Archiletto, he wonders aloud. Hmmmm…is it a place for David Archiletto? HELL YES IT IS! Archiletto is one of my top two so far. I don’t know what he sang in his audition, but in Hollywood Week, he sang “Heaven” by Bryan Adams, and I swear, the television set emitted a little blue cloud that transported me right back to slow dancing in junior high. When he finished, and as Fab pointed out, the judges actually let him finish, I awoke from my reverie with a goofy smile and declared, “He could be the one.” He’s adorable, likable, he has a lovely voice, and come on, “Heaven”? I’m torn between wishing I was much younger so having a crush on him wouldn’t be weird, and wanting to adopt him.
Of course, the judges do the fake out on sweet, angelic David. He’s only sixteen, they argue. Well, so was Jordin Sparks. And come on, they let him finish his song yesterday, and when he finished, they all had the same goofy looks on their faces that I did, even Simon. Of course David’s in! He’s so happy, and they compliment him on taking the fake out like a man. And this is the best, as he practically skips out of the Moment of Truth room, he actually interrupts his “thank you’s” to wish the judges a nice day! Awwww…hearts and bunny rabbits and flowers and loooooovvvve. So fucking cute.
Puff puff give, yo.
Ryan appears again to add dramatic quality and once again remind us that this is THE FINAL JUDGMENT. And then it’s time for Kristy Lee Cook, who failed to impress on Day One of Hollywood Week, and then was forced to SING FOR HER LIFE! Dear Lord. I hope she makes it. I love this show to pieces, but I don’t think Kristy Lee Cook needs to die for it.
Kristy Lee was pretty good though, she was just nervous. So she makes it. After the elevator ride downstairs, the first to congratulate Kristy Lee is Brooke White, who looks just like Kristy Lee.
Brooke has a super cool, smoky voice, but she messed up playing the piano in her audition so she’s worried. And surprise, surprise, Brooke’s another crier. I might be crying too though, if I had those curly bangs. Really honey, get a flatiron or grow ‘em out. They just look wrong.
Brooke really wants this, and I find her a little bit annoying, maybe it’s the curly bangs, I don’t know, but I really do like her voice. When she hits the Moment of Truth Room, the judges ask her how she’s doing. “I’m great!” she barely sputters though her sobs. Simon tells her that if they say no, it’s pretty much over for her, which was so harsh that it’s obvious she’s going through. And sure enough, Randy chimes in to tell her she’ll be seeing a lot more of them. Brooke’s in! Tears for everyone!
Next, is Danny Noriega, who tells us he’s hoping the pretty people are getting the good news. His lack of humility makes me want him gone. Then I see a clip of his overwrought performance, and I really want him gone. One Jessica Simpson is more than this world needs already, thank you very much. We don’t need a male version, but Danny Noriega is in. Bummer. Nobody vote for him, ok?
Then it’s time for a montage of winners. Yay winners! There’s a dude with dreadlocks. Someone named Luke, who looks cute. A girl named Alexandra Lushington, whose name I just love. How fabulous to have “lush” right there in your name. The judges are on a roll, Ryan informs us, and then it’s time for Ramiele.
Ramiele’s a big voice from a little body, and the judges don’t even bother teasing her. Ramiele’s in, and Paula’s really happy to give her the news. We get a clip of Ryan interviewing Ramiele, cause it’s in his contract that he gets screen time with anyone significantly shorter than him. And Ramiele must be seriously tiny, cause even Ryan looks like a giant next to her.
Actual comparison to a Hot Wheel.
Next, it’s bad news for some Howdy Doody looking guy who I remember for being completely unmemorable. This leads off another loser montage, which I’m not going to bother recapping, cause who cares? They’re losers. Bring back the talent!
And then comes Michael Johns, who is pretty damn hot, and old enough that I don’t feel like a pedophile for saying it. He’s another rocker dude who sang Bohemian Rhapsody for his audition. This is a great song, and I’m a huge Queen fan, but this was not a good song choice for an audition. Plus, while I like him overall, I felt it was a little, well, pitchy. Yeah, I said it. Still don’t know if I used it right, but I don’t care.
Plus, do we really need to be reminded of this?
But Simon loved it! He called it the best audition of the day, and I’m not arguing cause I like a little man candy on my TV. It was unanimous, the judges tell him, he’s in! Michael says very little, but what he does comes out in what sounds like a British accent and all my pitchy problems with him are out the window. Hot British rocker? Slap some leather pants on the guy and keep him forever.
Next, it’s Syesha Mercado, who’s been a bundle of nerves all day. Syesha lost her voice on Day One of Hollywood Week, and spent the rest of the week trying to make up for it. Ryan questions if she’ll make it through, given her weakness at such a crucial time. I was thinking the same thing. No joke, these contestants’ voices get put through the war on this thing. If she’s going hoarse before she even starts, well, she may need to do some vocal training before she’s ready for Idol.
But when Paula starts bullshitting her, I know Syesha’s in. Paula asks her how she spells her name, and then points out that her name has the answer, cause it has the letters YES in it! Oh Paula, you’re so damn clever. I’m filing Syesha with Brooke in the talented-but-annoying drawer.
The next contestant is Robbie Carico. Robbie’s another rocker. Fine by me. Who sang another Bryan Adams song. Not fine by me. This time it’s “Everything I Do”, one of the cheesiest songs ever. I know, I know, its not like “Heaven” is deep poetry or anything, but at least it embraces its cheese. “Everything I Do” is one of those songs that really boring people pick to for their first dance at their wedding.
Way too soft rock.
So I’m down on Robbie, cause of the song choice (I’m telling you, I could write a dissertation on song choice), and the judges tell him it was not unanimous, which means Simon agrees with me, but Robbie is in. He’s got a Bucky Covington thing going, which is not all bad, but I don’t think he’ll be making it too far.
When we come back from commercial, the room looks emptier. Ryan’s back to point this out to us, and remind us that this is the FINAL JUDGMENT. Slots are getting taken, and the people left in the room are getting more and more nervous.
Then it’s Asia’s turn. Asia’s Dad passed away the day before her audition, which we were told about last night too. We all know how Idol loves to exploit family matters. Remember Phil Stacy from last year? His wife went into labor during his original audition, and we never heard the end of it.
But anyway, Asia’s awesome! Not only is she fantastically talented, and a great performer, but she’s worn an outfit to her audition that Fabulonista and I both liked enough to comment about, and that’s saying a lot. Plus, you’ve got to have something pretty special to pull off an all white, midriff baring ensemble. Asia pulled it off, AND accessorized with a big, fabulous necklace. May-juuuh points. She blew the judges away, they tell her, then welcome her on board for an amazing ride. Asia’s in!
To combat the fabulousness of Asia, the next person we see is David Hernandez. David doesn’t do anything for me. He has a very blank look on his face. It wasn’t unanimous, they tell him, but he’s in. Because Simon’s brilliant, he flat out tells David that he was the one who said no, and that David has a lot of work cut out for him to even have a remote chance of winning. I say, don’t even give the guy that much hope. He’s filler. And, another crier.
And speaking of tears, the next victim is Josiah. This lame kid cried all through Hollywood Week. I swear, we saw at least ten different clips of him bawling. And then, when it came time for his final chance with the judges, Josiah dismissed the band and did it acapella. And if that didn’t have big, huge, gigantic mistake written all over it, he introduced his song with the comment that he was going to sing it “the way it sounds in my head”. I can relate, Josiah, cause sometimes when I’m singing in my car with the music turned all the way up, I think I sound really amazing, so I turn the music down to prove it, but for some reason, it just doesn’t sound the same. So I keep the music on dumbass, like you should have!
What’s really irritating about Josiah, besides his name, is his overconfidence. First, in thinking he was good enough to forgo the band. Second, in thinking that even though he knows he totally ate it, he still thinks the judges will be sending him through. Finally, because once he gets in front of the judges, he “admits” that he was overconfident. Which he still is, making the mea culpa pretty much moot. I’m really amped to see this dork knocked down a peg, and apparently the judges are too, cause this time they tease him like he is going to make it, and then they lower the boom! They tell him it was a bumpy ride for him in Hollywood, but taking all that into consideration…it’s a no. Ha!
Josiah is shocked. Shocked! They feel bad for him, even Simon comments that he’s a nice kid, but he was way to big for his no-talent britches, so he’s outta there. He makes it out of the Moment of Truth room intact, but starts losing it in the elevator.
“So, after this….how do you keep going?” asks Ryan perkily. “I have no idea,” Josiah replies miserably. Damn Seacrest, why don’t you just give the kid a cyanide cocktail while you’re at it? Ryan pats him on the shoulder, as Josiah whimpers and desperately shakes Ryan’s hand, as if this will somehow prolong his Idol experience.
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Josiah keeps sobbing as he bids everyone farewell. “Be awesome! Be great!” he instructs them, as he leaves, so that he can claim every great Idol performance hereafter as his doing. “I told him to be awesome! I told him to be great! It was all me!” Josiah will boast, as David Archiletti is crowned the winner.
God, are you there? It’s me! Josiah!
And then, we’re down to the final four. Two boys, two girls. And the boys go first. It’s Colton, an albino-looking guy who I do not remember at all, versus Kyle, the nerdy boy. They both kind of sucked, and neither one of them will probably make it past the first round, but if one of them has to go, it should be Colton. Kyle’s got that nerdy thing going, and that can take him places.
Well, it wasn’t unanimous, but the winner is…Colton! Really? I thought the nerdy kid made for better television. Again, Simon does not mince words, as he tells Colton, no offense, but Kyle should have made it in. “You’re not the best singer,” he continues to Kyle, “but you have something that people would have enjoyed. And I’m very disappointed.” Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but Kyle was most definitely the better choice of the two. Anyway. Now on to the girls.
It’s Carmen from Nashville, versus Joanne from New York. Joanne is a plus sized model, with a plus sized penchant for overly dramatic performance. But she blows away Carmen, who hops around the stage in what looks like a poorly choreographed pageant routine. Plus, Simon loves Joanne.
The final straw is when they judges ask them both how they think they’ve done. Carmen says she doesn’t feel like she did herself justice during Hollywood Week, but Joanne says Hollywood Week made her fall back in love with singing, and when she said it, it sounded pretty heartfelt to me. Well, I guess Carmen didn’t get the memo that this was FINAL JUDGMENT. This one was unanimous, and it’s Joanne!
One more montage of the losers (Why? Why not show a montage of winners?) before it’s over. One of them keeps carrying on about how he’s happy to not be missing turkey season. Another loser says to be happy, love life and love each other. Spew all the peace and love bullshit you want, guy, you’re still out.
Those burns make you look so thin!
And there you have it dolls, this is our top twenty-four! Ryan introduces us to them, as they do silly dances around the stage, and I die of excitement! Then he reminds us that starting next week, WE have the power, and WE call the shots! Yeah! Maybe that’s why I love American Idol so much, it gives me just a little control in this crazy, mixed up world.
Kisses & Happy Idoling! CB