Either way, I'm retiring last year's limited glossary. Say goodbye to the handful of last year's singers who earned a silly moniker from me, and say hello to this year's crop. I'm sure I'll come up with more.
- CBX - Crystal Bowersox, if her name were an airport code
- GHA - Grandma Has Alzheimer's girl, Katie Stevens
- TAG - Token Asian Guy John Park
They're also continuing with the Idol institution of product placement by flying everyone to Vegas (cha-ching!), putting them up at The Mirage (cha-cha-ching!) and they're singing in the same stage that houses the Cirque du Soliel (cha-cha-cha-ching!) show, Love (cha-cha-cha-cha-ching!). I hope all the product placement dollars they're getting are being used to buy a nice deep catalog of songs the kids can choose from this year so we won't have to hear "Against All Odds", "Hallelujah", "Imagine", "I Will Always Love You" and "Band of Gold". Ever. Again.
Mrs. High Lord and I went to Vegas back in October and we had the opportunity to go see Love. Mrs. High Lord's friend is a big Beatles fan and she wanted to see the show. Instead we opted for O, which kicked some serious rear end. I recommend it for everyone.
What I don't recommend for everyone is 15 year olds singing on Idol. I think we've already seen more crying this year than usual, but on one level that's good because it means they're showing more people who actually want it (or at least think they want it) instead of the clowns who just want to be on TV.
They're back in groups, this time in duos or trios, and singing a Beatles song they picked out of a hat, which is almost like the Wheel of Death™ I proposed several years ago, only without the actual wheel, but the idea of being at the mercy of sheer random chance is oddly appealing to me. The only thing better would be Screw Your Buddy™ night.
We get a nice little montage of several groups crashing and burning, but nothing of the groups who did well. We did, however, see some footage of PCC and her boyfriend (Where's he staying? Is he stalking her? Maybe he's psycho, too . . . Do the other singers get conjugal visits?)
In the past, if you got whacked before the voting rounds, they were eligible to return in subsequent seasons. Does that still apply this year?
First up are T/AG and Stefano singing "Get Back". Aside from James's screeching, it's not bad. Fast, up-tempo songs are always good.
BFFs Pia and Karen are up next, and I think Pia's Maxim looks have already charmed Steven and Randy; they're already a nice refreshing big of female eye candy for me compared to all the guys that have been on the screen so far. Karen is also pretty good
Haley needs to go. Naima is okay, but what is "grounds cleanup" for occupation? Like Haley, Jacob needs to just sing the song and leave out all the runs and vibrato and other vocal crap.
So far the judges have gushed over everyone. They did this to us last week; opened with three strong performances and then a string of rejects.
Is Rachel going to a funeral? Why didn't her two sing-mates get any face time? Same thing for Lauren.
Each year, Nigel, Ken and the judges are contractually obligated to say, "This year's singers are the most talented group ever!!!!" Based on the first dozen or so singers to be shown tonight, I have to take that statement at face value this season. I just hope the field is deep and that the actual best singer wins, not the biggest sob story or the person who is left standing as the other singers's competing fanbases take each other out.
For me, the trio of Jerome, Lakeisha, and Tatynisa has the been the highlight show. I think they had the best chemistry, the most energy and the best performance. The judges give them some mixed criticism after softballing everyone else. WTF?
Kendra and a guy who needs to be introduced to Mr. Gillette (I forget his name because she's so hawt) are next they they get nicer reviews than the previous group. His name is Paul by the way.
"We're going to the place where Britney Spears got married, and she's my hero."
If I had a daughter and she ever uttered those words, I'd send her to a convent in the mountains of Nepal and string up her groom. Not that I'm wishing ill up on PCC's prospects of domestic tranquility, but the two components of that statement just seem to be tacking into the winds of prolonged happiness. Of course, Idol probably goaded her into getting hitched on screen and paid for the limo. I hope they also paid for the Honeymoon suite at the Mirage, too.
Teenagers Melinda and Thia are next, after we are reminded that their vocal coach verbally eviscerated them on national TV. The judges try to say nice things, but the bottom line is that they were not good. Jennifer (inexplicably) likes Thia.
Next up are PCC and Sophia and they're singing my favourite Beatles song. They "make it their own" and it just doesn't work for me. I think their voices are annoying, but at least they tried. The arrangement didn't do them any favours, but I'm not going to hammer them for trying something new.
Scotty, Lauren and a Denise also try something new with my second favourite Beatles song, and they have some interesting choreography. I'm happy to hear Scotty singing something other than his country voice. It wasn't awful, but it surely wasn't great. If you want to see how "Hello, Goodbye" should go, here it is:There are some more singers who wrap up the singing portion of the show. I like that they're showing a wide swath of the singers and not just a few, as they've done in the past. While there is still a face time disparity, at least it's more than just Gokey, Archuleta and Adam Lambert.
The judges put the first group through, and then whack crazy Carson and OIG. At least she has another job to fall back on (not to mention a degree from Harvard). PCC also gets the axe along with a handful of others. Surprisingly, she accepts her elimination with no tears and takes it with grace and what is actually a reasonable amount of dignity.
The remainder get a bus ride back to LA for one more round of singing and then final judgment.
In other news, my captain is now at the level cap, giving me three level 65 LOTRO toons: a hunter, a minstrel and a captain. There's a new update coming sometime in March, so I'm hesitant to really start grinding for the Helegrod or Anuminas gear or finding the "perfect" legendary weapon/item because supposedly big changes are coming. I've also got a 31 rune-keep, 22 champion and 23 guardian, and I'm debating which one to work on next. Remember to hit me up on Elendilmir if you want to try the game out; I'm Vraeden or Vuvuzeyla and an officer in The Druadan.
Next we get to see some of the 40 remaining singers as they face the judges. Most everyone at this stage is reasonably good, which is in stark contrast to seasons past when it seemed that a lot of people were advanced at the request of the producers and not based on their vocal talents.
I hate this part because it seems so contrived and intentionally cruel, both to the singer and to the viewing audience. One thing I've noticed that the new judges seem genuinely invested in the singers, which is a sharp contrast to years past, when Simon was simply bored, Paula was just whacky and who knows what the hell was going on with Kara and Ellen. Jennifer in particular seems to have a hard time with the saying "No" and eliminations part, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
After this season, I hope that Jennifer and Steven both decide to stay with the show for a couple more years. Of course, I could still stand to see Randy depart and be replaced with someone like Harry Connick, Jr. or Barry Manilow.
I checked the schedule and it seems that tomorrow's 2 hour show will be devoted to the 24 people who will be singing for votes, so I'm not going to devote too much time to the last hour of tonight's show. Suffice to say that what I've seen this year makes me believe this season will be better than the last couple in terms of overall talent. I also like that many of the drama queens and sob stories have already fallen by the wayside so maybe this year truly will be about the singing, just as the first few seasons were (at least until the powervoting starts).
The big (and dramatic) shocker from tonight is Chris Medina (and his face time and brain-damaged girlfriend) getting the boot. I think he was a borderline singer who got through Hollywood based in part on sympathy, but from what I heard in Hollywood rounds, he just seemed to be a weaker singer than some of the others. Of course, they put Thia through, so not everyone who made it was necessarily good.
Tomorrow night will be the remainder of the eliminations spread out over two hours, so check back then.
High Lord. Protector of the Shire. Out.