Category Archives: TV Reviews
First and foremost, I have to give American Idol props for opening the show last night with an acknowledgment of the tragedy unfolding in Japan. The American people are the most generous and giving people in the world. I urge you to find a way to donate to the disaster relief efforts in Japan – whether you purchase one of the Idol songs from iTunes, or make a direct donation (you can click here to donate to the Salvation Army’s Japan relief efforts).
Now, on to the show. The theme last night was “Songs from the year you were born”. The good news was – it meant we got a good dose of songs from the ‘80s. The bad news was – we also got songs from the ‘90s. Man, I’m getting old…
Ripley’s guy introduced the judges and Jennifer came out sporting what might best be described as the “Ashthon Jones Memorial Hairdo” – that was some big hair. As they took the table, my wife remarked that Jennifer and Steven appear to have the same hair; hers was just bigger (you’ll be hearing a lot from my wife today…)
Before I dive into the performances, I have a few observations. First, it appears that the contestants were all wearing ear monitors last night. I wonder if that is because of the issues last week with people not being able to hear? Usually the ear monitors don’t show up until much later in the season. Second, while Ryan chatted with Tamara Grey and Mary Murphy in the audience – he completely ignored season seven’s Carly Smithson, who was seated next to Mary. Fail.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s see how the contestants did:
Thursday night must mean its time to crush someone dreams on American Idol and send them home. It’s another three weeks until you make the summer tour, so there was a lot on the line with the first elimination show for the top 13. Over 30 million votes were cast – a pretty good number for this early in the competition. Looks like the level of talent and new judges are working well for the public so far.
Unlike the last time they had a top 13 (season 8), only one person was in danger of going home, instead of two. In danger, because the “Judge’s Save” was announced again for this year. At some point between now and the top 4, the judges can save someone from elimination. It makes for a great moment, but I’m not sure it will change the course of the show. (You may recall that Michael Lynche was saved last year. Last time I checked, he still didn’t win.)
With a helpful introduction from the Ripley’s announcer, the judges took to the stage and the show was off and running. Is it just me, or did Steven look like he had a little bit of a hitch in his step coming out? We got to see a little of the contestants in their house for the first time in many seasons (Ashthon decided to jump on the bed like a 4 year-old), and then the action started. Who got eliminated? Read on and see…
Before I start, let me say one thing to the contestants. If you haven’t been following them this year, all of the top 13 contestants have official Twitter accounts. Here are three observations for you after following them all for a week.
1. Scotty McCreery is a very funny guy.
2. Ashthon Jones feels the need to retweet far too many things written by her followers.
3. Paul McDonald is the only contestant who seems to really understand how to use Twitter. Maybe that’s why he has so many followers.
This week was the top 13 performances. The show opened with the crowd doing the wave and the Ripley’s announcer (again) introducing the judges. The contestants got to choose a song from their own personal Idols this week, and each worked with a producer to arrange and record the songs. Enough of the chit chat – let’s dive right in to the performances.
Time for top 12 girls to take the stage and perform. After a brief intro, Ryan brought out the judges (again with the “Ripley’s” announcer – that’s going to get old pretty quickly). Here’s a question for eveyone, did Jennifer raid Ace Frehley’s closet for her dress? Just curious. Ryan and the judges chatted for a bit, but the night was really about the girl’s performances. So, in the interest of time and efficiency, let just dive right in:
After weeks and weeks of audition, it’s finally time for the live shows to start. Well, I guess live on Thursday – the performance shows this week were both taped earlier. But why quibble – the live performances are here. Along with them come a few changes to the Idol stage and the Idol format. Gone is the small studio stage for the semi-finals. Gone are the three weeks of semi-finals themselves. Gone are Kara, Ellen, and Simon. It’s a year of change for Idol – and so far it’s going well.
Ryan introduced us to the new stage – the stage that will be used all the way until the finals. It’s far more open, the band is off to the left side (glad they aren’t above the stage anymore), and there are seats both beside and behind the stage for the audience. The biggest change is the semi-final format. The contestants get one shot to perform, then America votes for the top 5 guys and top 5 girls, and then the judges get to choose a few wildcards. It makes this round much more high pressure, but also lessens the chance that one of the lesser shown contestants could make a splash over the course of three weeks (remember Kris Allen? Didn’t hear much from him until the semi-finals. You may recall that he won.) They’ve got one shot to state their case. They better make it count.
Before the singing got started, the judges were introduced. Steven got the largest applause, by far. (I will say though – do we really need the “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” announcer to intro the judges??) . Ryan helpfully provided Steven with a self-censorship aid – after dropping the F-bomb himself. Nice. A little build up, a little talking, and it was time for the singers. How did they do? Let’s find out.
Last night was the night. The top 24 was completed. It’s the last show before the judges turn the decision making power over to the voting public. After 6 weeks of auditions we finally got to see who made the cut for season 10 of American Idol. Just one more hour and…wait a minute. You’re kidding right? Another 2 hours of Idol? God help me, these two-hour shows are cutting into my beauty sleep…
Oh well – the show must go on, and so must I. The question is – will Jennifer be able to go on? After the heart wrenching (but correct) decision to send Chris Medina home, Jennifer was struggling to pull herself together. As the drama unfolded, my son piped up from the couch – “Maybe they should have given her ‘saying no’ lessons.” I’ll say it again; my son is a genius.
Jennifer eventually collected herself and the road to the top 24 continued unabated. Here’s how it all went down:
Tonight’s episode promised to take us from the top 61 to the top 40, and then on to the top 24. In a very nice new twist for the season, we also got even more performancesl. In seasons past, Hollywood week marked the end of singing until the live shows. This year, the contestants had to sing not once, but twice more before finding out if the made the top 24. It made the reveal of the top 24 much more entertaining (and also allowed Fox to stretch it out over two nights, and three hours…)
Just after the top 61 were announced, they found out they would be boarding buses and heading out to Las Vegas. Once there, they had 24 hours to divide into duos or trios, and learn a Beatles song. They then had to perform them on the “Beatles: Love” stage. These were performances that included props, stage sets, and multiple cameras. It was a good dry run for the live performance shows, and gave the judges a chance to see how the hopefuls all performed under those conditions.
After the performances, 21 singers were sent home and the top 40 made their way back to LA. In yet another change, each one performed one last time for the judges, then waited for the top 24 to be announced.
It was an action packed show – a full two hours long. I have all the performances, all the insights, and all the snarky comments you are looking for. Dig in and enjoy!
After two action packed episodes, we have come to the end of Hollywood week. The initial solo performances cut the field down from 327 dreamers to 168 contestants. The group performances reduced the field to an even 100. Now it was time for one final moment on the stage before the judges cut the field to the lucky 61 who will travel to Las Vegas to battle it out for a spot on the live shows in two weeks.
This episode also marked the first time we were able to see the contestants with instruments. Who were the musicians and who were the singers? Who crumbled under the pressure? Who rose to the occasion? And most importantly – did Casey Abrams really play the upright bass for his song? Questions abound, as do answers. Read on faithful followers…
American Idol: Season 10, Episode 9 – “When you’ve got your ex-girlfriend and the commander-in-chief…I’m screwed.”
It’s the second night of Hollywood week and 168 contestants are left in the shark tank. The water has been chummed and it’s time to begin on of my favorite episodes of each American Idol season – group numbers. Who will soar? Who will crash and burn? Who will forget the words? Who will be sent home? It will only take two short hours to find out. Buckle up, get your popcorn ready, and let’s get this party started.
With so many people put through to Hollywood this week, it took two full days to winnow the field down to the remaining 168 singers. Those who performed on the first day of the culling assumed they had an advantage, and began forming and rehearsing in groups. Not so fast. In a true Survivor “drop your buffs moment”, Ken Warwick (an executive producer on Idol) informed the contestants their groups had to be a mix of both day 1 and day 2 contestants. You could hear the proverbial needle scratch across the record. It was beautiful.
What followed was an all out scramble for the contestants to break-up and reform their groups under the newly clarified rules. It had to be one of the most drama filled and stressful group weeks in recent memory. With people abandoning groups, reforming groups, and almost leaving the show – the first 40 minutes of the night stressed ME out. I can’t imagine how the contestants felt.
I also can’t begin to recap every single thing that happened. I just don’t have the necessary Soap Opera scripting skills to do it justice. I’ll wade through the things I found interesting or disturbing, and share my thoughts about this marathon episode that was the second of Hollywood week. Here it goes folks – two hours of drama in 30 minutes or less – or your pizza’s free. Dig in!
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!