Had a road trip to Johnstown, Pa., and back today but I am back at HeldenFiles HQ and ready for more "American Idol," or, as I have been thinking about it, "the search for a singer I might care about when we're down to the top 12." The search has been frustrating so far. Notes from watching the show after the jump.
Ryan says they saw over 103,000 people this year and we're down to 72. Hollywood has been "exhilarating and packed with drama." Tonight they get to sing with a band and backup singers. "This is do or die," says Ryan, following that with the absurd declaration that "the best will move on." Best what? Singers? Personalities? Personal stories?
Day 4 of "a long and grueling hell week." the 72 have done solos and are waiting to see what happens next. So we didn't see the solos? WTF? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it's a flashback!
Rehearsals, order of performance chosen, seemingly at random. Ryan explains AGAIN that they can perform w/band, etc. No judges comments expected. Adam Lambert, who reminds me of that annoying guy on "Rock Star: Supernova," leads off. "Believe," by Cher. Does it slow and dramatic -- a Whitneyesque Cher song. Paula nods approvingly.
Matt Giraud accompanies himself on keyboard on "Georgia on My Mind." As I so often say about "Idol" contestants, I would love to hear this guy in a bar somewhere. But I'm not sure I would go out of my way to see him. Paula, Randy, Kara give him a standing O.
Cut to the people waiting in the "holding room" later in the day. Then best buds Jamar Rogers and Danny Gokey perform. Jamar sounds pretty good; nice green jacket; Kara especially seems impressed. Danny also OK on "I Hope You Dance," very much suitable for some icky "Idol" ballad. though I liked Jamar better. Shot of Simon smiling. Paula stands and cheers during Danny's song. Four singers, no stinkers so far.
Anoop Desai. Very hot. He could win. Jorge Nunez. OK. Scott MacIntyre (blind guy) at the keyboard, doing "Home." Another big-"Idol" kind of voice, but wobbly in places. Paula gave him a standing O but -- he says without apparent irony -- "I didn't see that." Kendall Beard, "Before He Cheats," adequate. Stevie Wright, some real shaky spots. Lil Rounds, all right. Kristin McNamara, from last week's Hollywood-round soap opera; Ryan pranks her about Nancy wanting to apologize -- psych! That Ryan is such a joker. But Kristin still sings all right. I haven't had a goose-bumper yet, although Anoop is as close as I've been tonight.
Mishavonna Henson, who made it to Hollywood a previous season, fair but not much range.
The groups get moved to four separate rooms. Promo for more drama with Tatiana, from last week's craziness.
After the break, spotlight on Tatiana del Toro, including counts of how many different songs she does during auditions and Hollywood. Her solo from this go-round includes some really terrible music. Paula at one point has a quick-frozen smile. Tatiana thinks "I did awesome." Alexis Grace, another "Before He Cheats. Kenny Hoffpauer, Jasmine Murray -- she did not do well. Wacky Nate Marshall, with guitar, song intercut with earlier Hollywood confrontations; not impressed.
Mega-ringer Joanna Pacitti, gets nervous and her perf is, says Ryan, "a disaster." Other problems: Casey Carlson, Beachwood's Stephen Fowler. Terrible vocal and -- has been promoted -- asks to start his song over. Ryan recalls Brooke White asking to start over during a live show. Stephen gets another chance, botches again, leaves with a clunk of the keyboard. (And wasn't there something earlier about botching the words and being gone?)
Question of some kind of balance in the judges' picks. Tatiana is summoned from what looks to be the doomed-contestant room. Then, of course, a break.
Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle; was Nick, but still silly, on group-sing day and Simon still didn't like him. On the last day, he went as Norman Gentle, and another "Georgia on My Mind." This reminds me of a long-ago performance by Tiny Tim of "Earth Angel." Randy laughs. Paula applauds.
Judges have made their decisions and split the rest of the group. Anne Marie Boskovich, in the same room with Nick. Did "I Hope You Dance," as did many of the other singers. Good in spots, but trouble with the high notes. Ju'not Joyner, who Ryan says has been "flying under the radar" but getting through. Very good in his final Hollywood perf.
Meanwhile, Tatiana goes in the room with Anne Marie, et al. "Now all of them are second-guessing today's performances," says Ryan. And, "Coming up: the agony continues." I know I'm in agony. Get on with it.
No, more flashbacks. Kaylan Loyd. "If I Ain't Got You." Not bad, not thrilling. Stopped before she's done; Kaylan was in tears. Leneshe Young who "stole the hearts of America" with her homeless story. Fair vocal at most.
Kai Kalama, whose voice was feeling the effects of a rigorous Hollywood week. (So says Ryan, anyway. Maybe he just wasn't great.) Oil rig guy Michael Sarver. He has the look of someone singing better than he actually is. (Try the eyes-closed test.)
Simon has to go to London, so Randy, Paula and Kara get to tell people their fate.
"Room 2's decision." Nate, Stephen, Joanna, Jasmine, Sarver, others. Randy says the performances were "sporadic." But everyone in the room gets to stay.
In another room, India Morrison, did well in the group sing. Solo audition was baaaad. And her room is out; goodbye also to Michael Castro, Kaylan Loyd and Leneshe Young. By my count, everyone else should get to go on; they have to have enough people for some suspense in the next show, so one room would seem to be all they dump.
But the show plays it for suspense. Room 1 with Adam Lambert, Danny, Jamar, others. Looks like a sure-bet room. And it is. Also Anoop, Scott, Lil, Jorge.
Last room, where Tatiana has been relocated. Also Nick/Norman, Ju'not, Anne Marie. Tatiana is crying through the whole run-up to the announcement. But the group goes through. Bleh.
Tomorrow: The remaining contestants face the judges as they announce the last 36. And one, maybe some, maybe all, will be asked to "sing for your survival."