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"Idol" Wednesday

By admin Published: January 25, 2007

Update: You can catch the latest podcast with me and Malcolm Abram on by clicking here for the MP3 file. Or, subscribe to the podcast.

Things the audience learned from "Idol":

-- It's OK to mislead your parents, skip school and travel to New York City, because you may get a trip to Hollywood out of it. If there's a surge in teen runaways during the next round of "Idol" auditions, blame 19-year-old Sarah Burgess of East Palestine, Ohio, whose tearful tale got plenty of "Idol" air time -- and a trip to Hollywood -- without so much as a "Kids, don't try this at home."

-- You don't need to know how to talk to go on "Idol." Tuesday night gave us the word "confidentiality" as a synonym for "confidence." On Wednesday, we heard about a song being "interpretated."

-- Don't do a second song unless it is absolutely clear that the judges want it -- and you have a good, prepared second song. Nakia Claiborne of Scottsburg, Va., looked like a lock for Hollywood after her spirited "Dancing in the Street." Paula and guest judge Carole Bayer Sager were interested in hearing her bring it down on another song, but it's not clear on my recording of the show that they wanted her to sing again on the spot. Still, Claiborne did and it was a disaster for her. No Hollywood. As Sager pointed out, Claiborne was flawed on "Dancing" but you could overlook them; not so on the slow song.

-- Don't overreach generally. The Jersey Girls (Amanda Coluccio and Antonella Barba, both 19) didn't win any friends with their attempt at a duet, but they went through to Hollywood on solo turns. I'm not convinced they were all that good, but the show is clearly relishing the soap-opera potential in their competing against each other -- potential demonstrated when Antonella didn't tell Amanda EVERYTHING the judges said.

-- The spirit of Monti Rock III is being carried forward by Ian "I AM a superstar" Benardo, crossover from "So You Think You Can Dance." But that spirit also meant that someone either didn't make it to the judges, or was denied air time, just so Benardo could throw attitude.

-- Also taking up unnecessary air: a 47-year-old contestant evoking Sinatra. He's too freakin' old for the show. Why was he even on?

-- Rachel Zevita, 18, of New York City, is not only going to Hollywood; she's already annoying me.

-- Life begins and ends with "American Idol" for way too many singers. I am thinking of Claiborne's tears, the training regimen for Porcelana Patino of Elmhurst, N.Y. (who did get to Hollywood), the recidivist contestants, the arguments and the begging.

-- Jenry Benjarano, 16, of Rotterdam, N.Y. (part of my old stomping grounds), may go a long way based on Paula's sense that he is "easy on the eyes."

-- Others getting tickets to Hollywood: Jory Steinberg, 25, of Santa Monica and Canada; Hollywood dropout Nicholas Pedro, 25, of Taunton, Mass., and Kia Thornton, 27, of Englewood, N.J.

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