Thursday, January 19, 2012

AI Season 11- Savannah Auditions, Jan. 18, 2012

Well, my little hot buttered buttermilk biscuits, here we are again. Season 11 of American Idol. We open with a recap of previous winners, where they almost, accidentally, say Taylor Hicks's name. We're told that many of this year's auditioners have watched the show for most of their lives, and it looks like a fair portion of them took home movies of themselves doing just that. Sigh. I realized however, after a season of The X-Factor, that I really missed AI. I even missed Randy Jackson.

We start with bits and bobs and clips. Whoa, someone just joyfully punched Ryan Seacrest in the jaw. Speaking of the Wee Sea, my guess is that he has a very old-looking portrait of himself locked up in an attic somewhere.

Oh my, not only are we going to see old home movies of the auditioners, we're also going to have to watch current films of Their Journeys. I can tell already exactly how this is going to go.

The judges arrive. Randy is in a white shirt and Sally Jessy Raphael glasses. JLo is wearing coral pleated shorts (I repeat: coral pleated shorts... words that should never be in the same sentence), and a glittery, floaty, crop top. Her hair is in a ponytail, and she's wearing lots of bling. Steven is dressed like a Red Hat Hippie.

David Evans Jr. is 17 but he looks 12 at the most. He's annoying and arrogant, and could use a bit of time with an orthodontist. He beat last year's winner, Scotty McCreery, in a talent contest, so he must have *something*. He's singing Remember the Rain- oh, he's a Bieber Wannabe. Or maybe Wayne Newton. The judges love him, but he makes me tired already.

Gabi Caruba is 16 and shaky. Very very shaky. She's also a champion tap dancer, who says she knows what's in Steven's head when he closes his eyes. Trust me, we don't wanna know. Gabi starts to sing, and Steven makes that face. Cabi's voice is okay, thin but not unpleasant. She gets three yesses.

We get clips of a few more who make it: Brian Faulk, Neco Starr (who is wearing suspenders to hold his low-riders up, while his tee-shirt is tucked into his undies. I'm not kidding), Molly Hunt (whose voice makes my ears bleed), and Elise Testone (Janis Joplin Lite).

The list was obviously stacked, since the entire morning roster was sent on to Hollywood. It's time, I guess, for the first basket case. Unhappily for her, it's 19 year old Jessica Whitley, whose voice has to be heard to be believed. I'd rather be an unbeliever.

26 year old Sean Kraisman thinks that he looks like Ryan. Sean is wrong. He does have the spoken inflections down, but the singing voice is barely so-so (which is how I imagine Ryan's singing voice). He takes the rejection well.

Shannon McGrane is 15 and very tall. She is also self-conscious about her big feet since she makes a point of mentioning her shoe size (Honey, don't worry about it-it's not a big deal). Her dad is (or was) a Major League pitcher and she has lots of sisters, who are all invited in to meet the judges. Steven utters the season's first inappropriate comment about an underage girl (Papa is not amused). Shannon's voice is bluesy and good, but she's upstaged by Mama singing and emoting behind her. Shannon is young, which means that we're going to be stuck with Stage Mom for awhile.

Next up, a streak of terrible singers. SOP.

Amy Brunfield, 24, of Gatlinburg, TN, lives in a tent in the woods, and frankly, looks like she lives in a tent in the woods. She has some  of those terrible Juliette Lewis corn rows, a slinky black sparkly dress, and a rhinestone necklace. Aieee, they light their tent with a tall candle- Fire Hazard! Amy's voice is obviously untrained, but there is potential. I'll be curious to see what happens with her.

Joshua Chavis is 23 and wears his hat backwards. He's a rather excitable young man. He is also clumsy. He is also not exactly a singer. Oh my, he is also a weeper. And a shouter. And a bird flipper.

15 year old Stephanie Renee is all pink and sparkles and a bit too much cleavage. She's singing Carrie Underwood much better than most of them sing Carrie Underwood. Her singing voice is much more listenable than her speaking voice.

I just noticed Taylor's picture behind Randy. Maybe they're going to acknowledge his existence this season.

Skyler Dixon, 16, auditioned with her brother last year, and she's going it alone this year. Or rather, she wants to go it alone, but when the judges find out that Brother Colton Dixon is outside as part of her support team, they bring him in and put him on the spot. Skyler is visibly underwhelmed with this development. Skyler sings first and sounds okay, though her style is not my style. Then Colton sings, and he sings better than his sister, though it's still not my style. The camera cuts to Skyler, who is shooting death rays with her eyes. Both of them make it to Hollywood. Skyler pretends to be happy to be competing with Big Brother again.

Lots of rejectees, and crying crying crying crying crying.

Lauren Mink is 25. She's a perky activity director who works with disabled adults. She needs to stand up straight. Her voice does not appeal to me, but I suspect she'll make it. Yep- JLo gets *goosies*. As Lauren dances around with her identical mother, her short dress gets rucked up. Mother firmly tugs it back down.

Savannah Day 2: Guess what? It's hot in Savannah. Who knew?

JLo is in more pleated shorts (is she trying to make this a thing?)- this time red and deep pink. The pink is a long sleeved secretary blouse with a floppy bow at the neck. Randy is in black, with red glasses. Steven is once again dressed like an old lady.

Mauwena Kodjo is from West Africa. It's apparent early on that he is deluded as to the extent of his talent. This is going to be a disaster. He tries to sing Rascal Flatts, and it's even worse than I expected. Okay, this is what I hate about this show that I love: Randy sends this incredibly untalented young man out  in the streets to sing for strangers. He brings back a sort of confused Grandpa (who thinks Mauwena is from Kenya, because he asked him if he was a runner), and four adorable little girls. All of them are tone-deaf. Mauwena is rejected again, so we wasted time with this poor man, humiliating him unnecessarily (yeah, he started it by auditioning, but this was cruel), when we could have seen more good singers. Like I said, the thing I hate most about this show that I love.

Ashley Altise has multi color braids and is either wearing a hair net, or she has her own hair braided intricately to look like a hairnet. She has on camo leggings, mismatched stilettos, and a leather vest. She's obviously unhinged. She sings Come Together and it's a complete and total mess. And... omigod... all three judges say yes. Yikes!

W.T. Thomson is blond and beefy and looks to be about 35. He is also an expectant father who quit his job to audition. Too bad he did that, because he's not good enough to make it past the Hollywood Week, at which time he and his poor wife, and maybe their new baby, could be homeless. In a bit of flashback/flashforward nonsense, we find out that W.T. goes through. W.T. should gather up his young family and go back home.

Erika Novak says that Steven Tyler is her future ex-husband. She laughs with her demented laugh, and stares with her crazy eyes, and I think maybe Steven should think about hiring more bodyguards because this chick has Stalker written all over her. At least the judges tell her no, though she takes the opportunity to hug Steven and then grab his ass. Randy, who cannot bear to be left out, begs for an ass grabbing as well, which Erika provides.

I did not catch Birtney's last name, but she's an NBA Cheerleader. She's all boobs, legs, heels, and blonde hair, all of which are on (I suspect) permanent display. Her voice is good enough to move on, though Steven Tyler actually gives her constructive criticism. JLo says no, but the guys say yes. I say: give me a break.

They've been hinting at the final guy all night and it's finally time to see if he lives up to the hype.

Phillip Phillips Jr (which means that there is a Phillip Phillips Sr) is 20 and nice looking. He works in his dad's pawn shop. He comes in wearing a plaid shirt with the top couple of buttons undone (showing a surprisingly hairy chest), and carrying a guitar, which he lays down at the edge of the stage. He sings Superstition... hmmm... I don't love this, but it's the first time I've heard someone do something completely different with that song. Then he picks up his guitar and starts to play- oh man, this guy can play. Then he sings, and it's much better than before. It takes awhile before I realize that he's singing Thriller. I don't think this is our winner, but I'll be interested to see what he does next.

That wraps up Savannah- there were lots of Golden Tickets. Tonight (since I'm writing this recap on Friday morning) we're in Pittsburgh.

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