The open-mouthed gasps. The bugged out eyes. The OMGs. These are all components of the “Idol Shocker.” (Hey, get your mind out of the gutter!)
Hollywood Week and the cuts made there are known for being full of drama, tension and uncertainty. (e.g., “Was my rendition of Jason Mraz’s ‘I’m Yours’ better than the other 17 versions today?”) But the only “Idol Shocker” this week was, well, that there wasn’t one.
Yes, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor a few times. But that was only because I was yawning.
I mean, honestly, was there anyone watching Tuesday’s show who couldn’t predict which of the three rooms would be cut from the competition and which would continue on to judgment? They didn’t even try to spread the talent out!
Room 1 was full of the superstars — Crystal Bowersox, “Big” Mike Lynche, Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens and Lilly Scott. Room 3 was full of talented people, too — Didi Banabi, Aaron Kelly and Janell Wheeler.
But Room 2? Well, save for rocker mom Mary Powers, you know it’s bad when the voiceover goes something like, “You remember this guy,” followed by an off-the-mic, “Wait, what’s his name?” (OK, so maybe that’s not exactly a transcript.) Anyway, the point is that Room 2’s Idol Dreams are over.
As for those who made the cut, they then went on to yet another cut. No, there was no final performance. Just another cut right after the Room 2 cut. (Huh?) I’m guessing that the point of this one was to add drama (fail!) and to get a full three hours out of telling people “yes” or “no” individually (pass!).
This was a scene with which we’re all familiar. The only difference was that instead of an intimate “library in a mansion” setting, these assessments were given on the stage of the empty Kodak theatre under hot, red talk-show-esque lights — the perfect platform for breaking down in front of millions! (Sorry, Oprah.)
Contestants go in one by one to learn their fates and the judges do a lot of double talk and play with their emotions. First-timer Ellen seemed to take particular pleasure in her ramblings: “It’s hard to tell somebody that has a great voice that they’re not gonna go through because it doesn’t make sense ‘cause you have a great voice so I’m not gonna tell you that you’re not going through I’m gonna tell you that you’re going through.” Whew!
As much as I adore Ellen, that old trick is grating when anyone does it (especially Seacrest with his “We’ll find out … after the break” routine). Speaking of grating, let’s talk about a few of the contestants who made it through to the Top 24.
For those of you who will miss the cockiness of Mary “I’m pretty intimidating” Powers, we offer Todrick “I’ve never had a voice lesson” Hall. Does anyone else think he comes off a little entitled? He’s the one who worked with Fantasia in “The Color Purple.” He’s also the one who — allegedly — took money from unsuspecting Nashville families to produce “Oz, The Musical.” The problem? The show was canceled and some say it was never even in production.
Then there’s Haeley Vaughn. I can only take cutesy if you can back it up, cowgirl. The flower in the hair along with the blue eyeshadow and the boots? Didn’t your mom tell you to always take off one accessory before leaving the house? And the screaming! You call that singing? I can barely forgive Taylor Swift for her bedazzled guitar (or that Grammy performance), but I overlook it because she’s a talented songwriter and a shrewd businesswoman.
As for the rejections, they ranged from irritating to heartbreaking. Perhaps Kara trying to sit in a one-person chair next to Angela Martin was meant to soften the blow of rejection but it was just awkward. Martin, whom the judges called “a star” and “a great singer” will not be eligible next year. She’s lost her dad, her mom is missing and she has a child with health issues.
This has got the blues written all over it. I can’t see a reason why they chose not to keep her, but I hope she goes on to be as successful as Jennifer Hudson.
Thaddeus “I’m not ‘Bubbly;’ I’m ‘Man in the Mirror’” Johnson was another heartbreaker. But come on, he and Andrew Garcia were the last two left with only one spot up for grabs. Did he really think it’d go to him? Still, it was sad to see this big boy cry like … a girl. “I don’t understand how you can do great and not do anything wrong and still get let down,” he sobbed, all the while with a video camera light blaring in his face. It’s bad when you’ve got to escape with your mom to a stall in the bathroom of Hollywood & Highland to do have your breakdown. But, hey, who hasn’t been there?
Of course, all of the Room 1 and Room 3 performers mentioned above made the cut. Joining them were Casey James, Alex Lambert, Lee DeWyze, Katelynn Epperly, Jermaine Sellers, Lacey Brown, Siobhan Magnus, Tyler Grady. Then there was a mini-montage of people I don’t remember seeing. Ever. Michelle Delamor, John Park, Ashley Rodriguez and Joe Munoz.
And who the heck is Paige Miller, for the love of Paula?
While Michael Lynche was rumored to be disqualified for his dad violating the confidentiality agreement, it looks like he’s here to stay. Not appearing is Chris Golightly, the curly-headed foster kid. The word on the street is that Golightly initially made the Top 24 only to be disqualified due to confusion over an old contract. Taking his place will be Tim Urban.
While I usually find Hollywood Week to be entertaining, this time around it was a bore. That’s OK, though. My voting finger’s getting itchy anyway. I smell a frontrunner in Crystal Bowersox.
And it smells an awful lot like patchouli.