The drama was thick on last night’s “American Idol.” This year’s crop of 24 was being selected. That meant either lots of celebration or lots of tears. Here’s what The Beehive’s Idol watchers have to say:
Wednesday’s segment of “American Idol” almost felt anti-climactic. To slash a field of 40 to 24 in less than an hour (anybody ever notice how many commercials Fox crams into an A.I. hour?), you have scant time for pleasantries and “better luck next times.” Yeah, the producers try to build in drama, like keeping the 40 together in a “holding room” so they can count to 24 each time a contestant returns from the judges. But it feels perfunctory.
Funny, though, that the producers had time to squeeze in a shameless plug for the movie version of “The Simpsons.” Gee, what a coincidence, it’s a Fox series. A.I. producers had to make sure you knew the boys got a sneak preview. And, to hammer the point home, the movie’s director reminded the boys what day it opens (I’m not going to contribute to this promo by telling you the date).
But it wasn’t all contrived. The usually crabby Simon Cowell seemed to genuinely delight in the reactions of successful semi-finalists. He even had some fun giving good news. “We have decided (long pause) not to exclude you,” or “I’m sorry to tell you, sweetheart … you’re going to be seeing a lot of us.”
I’ve got a few personal favorites already:
– Lakisha Jones, the working mother of a young daughter, whose voice towers above the others. And she’s got heart. Tears were rolling down her cheeks before the judges could give her the news. And Simon told her she’s a great singer.
– Melinda Doolittle, the backup singer with a terrific voice but self-esteem problems. Maybe it’s that combination of talent and humility that makes her so appealing.
– Paul Kim, who entered because he didn’t like the impression that tone-deaf William Hung gave people about Asian singers. His is a rich, husky voice. Only drawback: Stop talking about your lucky underwear.
– Chris Sligh, How can you not like this guy? Sure, he looks like Jack Osbourne, but he can sing and he’s got personality and a disarming sense of humor. Who else would saunter up to the judges and say, “You guys are probably wondering why I called this meeting today.”
There was one mystery — the judges’ inexplicable choice to put Jason “Sundance” Head in the semis. He underperformed in Hollywood and knew it. And then, in trying to console the guy he beat out for Slot No. 24 — Thomas Daniels, just as bewildered as the rest of us — he clumsily tells Thomas: “If I make it big, I’ll make you my bodyguard.” Wow, thanks Sundance.
I do have one HUGE concern about A.I. this season — the buzz that the producers may snag Michael Jackson to appear. I’m begging the AI producers, PLEASE don’t hire this kook! You’ve got monster ratings already. You don’t need him. Can you even depend on the loon to show up? What about the outrageous demands he will make?
You’ll turn A.I. into a massive freak show along the lines of the ongoing Anna Nicole Smith “Who gets the body? Who gets the baby?” fiasco. It’s just plain frightening and disgusting.
Mike Oz says:
As shocked as I am to say this, I think the judges on “American Idol” got everything about right in picking this year’s final 24 contestants.
But a few scattered thoughts:
– I think Sundance Head has potential and I’m not mad at him being in there. But Tommy Daniels should be there, too. Blake Lewis? Come on. That kid should be the third or fourth member of a boy band somewhere.
– Did Simon really say Chris Sligh wasn’t one of the best singers? He sounds great to me. At this point, he’d get my vote. Plus, he seems like he’d actually make good music. I don’t care how well he can cover “Somewhere, Over the Rainbow.”
– Did Randy really say, “It’s time to keep it real and bring down the truth.” The time to “keep it real” was 1999, dawg!
– What happened to our New Yorkers? Remember Jenry Bejarano, the 16-year-old Paula was ready to take home with her? That guy was good. I didn’t see him in either of this week’s shows. And Rachel Zevita — the opera singer girl who said a New Yorker needs to win “Idol” — what happened to her?