American Idol: Season 10, Episode 8 – “Aren’t you hurt by this, or after ten years are you washed out emotionally?”

American Idol: Season 10, Episode 8 – “Aren’t you hurt by this, or after ten years are you washed out emotionally?”

It’s here.  Last night was the first Hollywood Week show for Idol this year.  The week that separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls- at least according to Jennifer.  The week that starts the journey towards superstardom for some, and crushes the self-confidence and dreams of others. The week that gives us the meltdown maker that is the group number.  The week when we finally get to see the contestants perform with backing music for the first time.  It’s going to be a lot of fun!

  • Brett Lowenstern was the “first” contestant to perform for the judges.  Smart move starting the show off with one of the strongest singers in the field.  He was very nervous, but with a little encouragement from Steven and brisk shaking of his impressive head of red hair, he was off.  He slid in to “Let It Be”, but took hold of the song with power.  I can’t believe he’s only 16 years old.  He receives enthusiastic applause from the other contestants and sails through to the next round (along with a small group of unnamed and unrecognized other singers).  Brett is one of my favorites.  It will be a shame if he doesn’t make the top 10.
  • Rachel Zevita and Thia Megia where shown next.  I don’t really remember Rachel, and didn’t really care much for Thia during her first audition.  They both made the next round, but nothing they did really changed my opinions of them.  Perhaps they would be good filler for the top 36 (or 24, or 49, or whatever they have planned for this year).
  • Casey Abrams got just a brief moment on screen, and received an easy yes.  His song had a bit of a jazz feel to it, (it was “Lullaby of Birdland” by Ella Fitzgerald)  and everyone in the theater loved it.  He got a standing ovation from many of the contestants in the crowd.  He still has the Seth Rogan vibe going on, but he also throws off a bit of Will Ferrell at times.  If they bring “Elf” back to Broadway next year, Casey might be the man for the part.
  • I liked Victoria Huggins at her first audition, but what was endearing then quickly became annoying during Hollywood week.  It was all just a bit too polished, perfect, and pageant-y.   She came to Hollywood with plans to stay.  As she so eloquently put it – “I am the next American Idol – Duh”.   During her song, she tried to get the crowd clapping, but they just sat there stoned-faced, like British Royalty at a Metallica concert.  She was sent home packing – a prospect made a little more daunting by the fact she brought 11 bags with her to Hollywood.  Wow.
  • Four much more entertaining singers walked across the boards next.  Up first was Paris Tassan; the single mom with a special needs child.  She sang “My Heart Will Go On”. It was a gutsy choice, but she was a little flat on the money note.  James Durbin, the talented singer who suffers from Torrets’, hit the stage next.  He blasted through “Oh Darling”.  Steven loved it, but I was reminded how quickly Adam Lambert’s screeching vocal became annoying towards the end of season eight.  He needs to be careful not to become a one trick pony like Siobhan did last year.  Stormi Henley, the former Miss Teen USA who Jennifer called the “smallest voice we’ve ever heard” was third in the group.  She sang “Stay” by Sugarland – but it appeared that Jennifer had a point during the auditions (perhaps she should have sang “Go”).  Last up was Lauren Alaina, the 15 year old who sang “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” with Steven in Nashville.  She sang “Unchained Melody” – Simon’s favorite song (too bad he wasn’t there to hear it).  She smoked it again, with a rendition that sounded somewhat like “Amazing Grace” at the end.  I remember why I liked her so much – can’t wait to hear more from her.  After the final tally, everyone but Stormi made it through to the next round.  At least she still has her looks.
  • Chris Medina was our next singer, and his performance provided the classiest moment of the night for me.  You may recall that his fiancé was in a terrible accident before their wedding, and he is now caring for her.  At his audition, she was brought in to the room and Steven told her that Chris sang so well because he was singing for her.  It’s one of my favorite moments on the show so far.  Before Chris started singing last night, Steven asked how she was doing.  Chris was obviously touched by the thoughtfulness of Steven.  So was I.  Steven Tyler is a good man – no two ways about it.  As for the audition itself – Chris was not as good as I would have liked.  Still, he’s one of the emotional favorites this early in the burn, and he made it through.  He broke down after the news, and was genuinely overcome with emotion.  If he makes it to the live shows, I think he will be popular with the voting public.
  • The singing after the break started a little rocky.  Steven had to give everyone a pep talk – told them to bring their best.  The segment focused on three of the younger contestants.  Jacee Badeux, the baby faced 15 year old who auditioned in New Orleans, performed first.  He sang “The Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts.  What a pure, clean voice – and the crowd loved it.  I was afraid Hollywood would eat him alive, but he’s started off well.  Robby Rosen, the kid from New York with a bit of Travolta charm, was up next.  He sounded good singing “Moody’s Mood for Love”, with a strong blend of breathy softness and control.  Last was Holly Cavanaugh, the emotional 15 year old who broke down from nerves in her audition.  No sign of the nerves last night.  She sang with confidence and conviction, and sounded great (even if it was a Miley Cyrus song…).  They all sailed through without a hitch.
  • Four of the faces we saw in earlier auditions were eliminated next.  Steve Beghun, the Ben Roethlisberger look-alike accountant; Sarah Sellers, “You had me from the moment you laid eyes on me”; Jacquelyn Dupree, the niece of Randy’s high school football coach, and Heidi Khzam, the belly dancer from LA.  I hope they at least got a few free drinks from the hotel minibar.
  • During the goodbye montage, Casey Abrams gave eliminated contestants hugs.  He said he didn’t know why exactly – it just seemed like they needed a hug.  It was a genuine expression on his part, and spoke to who I think he could be on the show.  America is going to take a liking to Casey.
  • Day two of Hollywood week started with 163 contestants vying for a spot in the next round.  Oh look – the Idol hopefuls are arriving in a Ford Focus.  Let the product placement begin!  The judges arrive and Steven skips his way up to the stage door.  “Of course you are going to edit the skipping, right?”  Not so much…
  • A quick montage of – you guessed it – “nickname that singer” contestants.  We had Forgot the Words Girl, Cracking Voice Guy, Annoying Voice Girl, Forgot the Words Girl 2, How Did That Guy Get Through Guy, and Missed The Note By That Much Guy.  I’m pretty sure none of them made it through.  Again – hope the minibar was good to them.
  • Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks were in the spotlight next.  Rob talked to Ryan and admitted he still wasn’t quite over Chelsee.  Just to make it more interesting, the producers decided to have him room with Nick Fink, and Chelsee room with Jacqueline Dunford – the sickeningly sweet lovebirds from Austin.  Ryan asked Chelsee how they were ever going to get on with their lives while they still share a sink.  Yeah – let’s take Rob’s wounds and continue to rub a little salt around in them.  Rob continued to endure the awkward situation, but told the camera “My mother is the only woman I trust anymore”.  I feel bad or him, but I think the storyline they are developing around him is going to be very appealing to the voting public.  Rob sang first with “I Am So Lonesome I Could Cry”– and killed it.  His voice was amazing, and rich, and filling.  He may be my favorite of the season and should definitely make the top 10.  Chelsee was up second with “Up to the Mountain”.  She was good, but nowhere near the same league as Rob.  Both made it through.  I wonder if they will choose to sing together during the group number?
  • After a long build up, we finally got to Nick Fink and Jacqueline Dunford – the lovebirds from Austin.  Nick sang first with “New Shoes” and he was terrible.  The jacket was pure Vegas lounge act and he still had that sh*t eating grin on his face. (As I was watching, I wrote down – please eliminate him).  Jacqueline was a little better, but still didn’t impress me.  Could we see the end of the “early favorite” power couple?  Please, please, please say yes.  I want to see some tears and emotional destruction.  After the break, we find out that – Nick didn’t make it and Jacqueline did.  Just when I thought I couldn’t like Nick less, he embarrassed himself by begging for another chance when the decision was announced.  No dice – Randy reminds everyone that you get one chance.  Nick then proceeded to sing his way out of the auditorium.  Not content to hit bottom on the class meter, he got upset when Ryan wasn’t more upset that he had been eliminated and broken apart from his true love.  “Aren’t you hurt by this, or are you washed out emotionally after ten years?”  Newsflash for you Nick, the world does not revolve around you, and your entitlement attitude surrounds you like the stink lines around Pigpen.  Some, I’m sure, felt sorry for him.  Not me.  I’m glad to see him go.
  • A series of encore performances from the auditions was on tap next.  Scotty McCreary, the deep voiced country singer from Milwaukee, reprised “Your Man”.  Jackie Wilson, the forgettable country singer with the surprisingly old boyfriend, brought back her version of “Until You Come Back”.  Jerome Bell took a turn again with “Let’s Get It On”.  Of the three, Jerome impressed me the most. They all made it thorough with the songs that got them to Hollywood.
  • At last, we made it to the end of the show – and a promised shocking result.  Up were two hopefuls – star-chested Jersey girl, Tiffany Rios, and Travis Orlando.  I have to admit; I don’t remember Travis at all.  Tiffany made a mockery of herself during her first audition, but somehow squeaked through.  Travis evidently had a touching backstory.  Before she even started singing, Tiffany alienated everyone in the audience by proclaiming – “I’m tired of seeing people trying to do what I know I can do”.  Nice.  She was okay – but that star laden bikini top will continue to haunt her (and me).  By the way – could she have put any more glitter in her hair?  I’m just sayin’.  Travis sounded terrible on his song.  Let’s see – we were promised a shocking ending.  Whatever could happen?  Oh yeah – Tiffany gets through and Travis is eliminated.  I didn’t really see him as a frontrunner, so I wasn’t floored.  I am, however, already tired of Tiffany.  Let’s hope she and her Diva attitude self-destruct in the group round.

And that was the end of the show. Of the 327 standing at the top of the hour, only 168 made it through to the next round.  Were there any shocking eliminations last night?  Not so much.  Nice try by the producers building up Nick Fink and Travis Orlando – but I felt precisely no emotional let down when either was let go.  (To the contrary – seeing Nick go was a bit of a pick-me-up.)

As the show closed, Ryan rattled off a list of other contestants who had received face time during the auditions, and had now made it through to the next round: Clint Gamboa, Julie Zarillo, Naima Adedapo, The Gutierrez brothers, Molly DeWolf, Emily Anne Reed, Stefano Langone, and Ashley Sullivan.  Honestly, I’m too tired at this point to really care all that much about them – aside from Ashley.  I still love her – she’s good TV.  If any of them make it through the groups, I’ll give them all of the attention and focus they deserve.

Next week promises the elimination of some favorites and the emergence of some new stars.  The group numbers are always one of the highlights of the show for me.  I wonder who will self-destruct this year.  We continue to move ever so closer to the live shows.  Tune in next week to see how it all goes down.  Until then – Word Zombie out.

Here’s a recap from the show – sans music.

© 2011, The Word Zombie. All rights reserved.

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