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Idolettes Sing for Their Lives in Famous Shopping Mall Theater


This year the "American Idol" Hollywood round will take place in "the legendary Kodak Theatre," show host Ryan Seacrest says. It's "one of the world's most famous stages," he adds, driving the point home. It is, in fact the most famous theater ever built in a shopping mall.

"Idol" has moved the Hollywood round to the Kodak and added an American Idol boot camp at which the wannabe Idolettes will meet stylists and a "glam squad" for reasons not made clear, since the auditioners don't wind up looking appreciably better this Hollywood Week than in years past. They have also been given vocal coaches, whom they can now ignore weeks earlier than Idolettes in seasons past.

Most Famous Theater Ever Built in Shopping Mall's American Idol Boot Camp also includes an American Idol Talking To, by no less a faded celebrity than Barry Manilow, who lectures them on what it takes to become a star.

He offers such pearls of wisdom as "these judges want you to win, believe it or not. They want you to be the next American Idol, so good luck."

About half of the 147 auditioners who made it through to Hollywood -- you do the math, my head hurts -- perform the first day. The other half have their photo taken with the Hollywood sign in the background while learning they can't actually walk right up to the sign unless they are Alec Baldwin making that Hulu Super Bowl ad, and I'm not sure Baldwin didn't use a body double. Then, based on first-hand knowledge of Los Angeles traffic, we estimate they just had time to get over to Beverly Hills to have their photo take in front of a Beverly Hills street sign before it was time to head back to whatever hotel they're shacking up in and call it a day.

This year the Idolettes will be trotted out in packs of eight. Each sings a cappella and, after all eight have sung the judges will tell them they're either in or they're out, Seacrest explains. Isn't that Heidi Klum's line?

Half of 147 is a lot of singers. Here are the highlights:

Lil Rounds picks a Whitney song which is The Kiss of Death on "American Idol." But, for reasons never explained, new judge Kara DioGuardi and returning judge Paula Abdul give her a standing ovation, which, Seacrest explains, will from here on out be called a "standing O."

Dennis Brigham's voice is lame-ish and his facial tics are pronounced "insane" by judge Simon Cowell. Lil is through; Dennis is out.

"You all suck as judges," Dennis says, and then steals our heart when he tells Simon that for someone so rich, his pants are very cheap -- a situation made only worse by "that cheap and very lame shirt you got on." Really, how can you not love this guy?

Nathaniel Marshall sings a song that involves holding on to one of two notes for as long as humanly possible.

Simon wonders what was the inspiration for that song. Nathaniel says he'd been hoping he would ask, launching into an explanation as to how he was one of those kids that had been through a lot and music kept him from freaking out because he just wants this more than anything and how it's "on my skin, like it just burst out of me every time I'm on stage and I don't know why."

The judges have no snappy comeback line so he gets through to the next round.

Rose Fleck, beautiful orphan child, is having a slight meltdown being surrounded by so many Idolettes. "I didn't realize that I don't have that great a voice," she says, looking very forlorn, adding that she does not want to let down her dead father, with whom, you'll recall, she had been very close. She sings "Sitting on the Dock of the bay" and the judges continue to like her distinctive voice, sending her on to the next round along with the other seven in her pack.

A bunch of guys make it through, including Von Smith, despite his hilariously over the top performance that Simon -- the only judge worth listening to -- calls "over-indulgent nonsense" and "the sort of thing a child would do when they're learning to sing, at 10."

But Von gets to go on.

Cue up the Bad Song Choices Medley here....and then it's time to Send in the Clown.

That would be Nick Mitchell. Who tried to shed his Norman Gentle stage gag after his successful audition in fly-over country -- he's seen throwing the costume into the trash -- but ultimately can't because (we are sure we are going to find out in some Very Special Episode of "American Idol" yet to come) he plays the clown to hide the pain of fill-in-the-blank. So Norman's back for Hollywood Week. Think Phil Silvers in bermuda shorts and a headband. Simon hates Norman and says he suspects Nick is actually a deeply boring person. Paula, Kara and fourth judge Randy Jackson gobble Norman up. Paula says she suspects Nick has got talent and skills when he's "all stripped down." The American Idol Decency Police are put on red alert.

Jackie Tohn, aka Annoying Rocker Chick, plunges into our Life's Too Short category with her manic performance and post-audition blather: "We are friends -- best friends. What's your name again?" I rest my case.

Danny "Lost My Wife" Gokey and his BFF Jamar Rogers both survive. Paula even gives Danny a standing ovation, calls him "fantastic" and says he's ready to make records.

Cue up You Guys Are Great Medley here....and then it's time for Katrina Darrell, the Nasal Bikini Chick.

Katrina has studied at the Paris Hilton School of Clueless. During the fly-over auditions, "Idol" judge Kara, a professional singer, tried to explain to Nasal Bikini Chick how she should have sung her song the right way. Now, Katrina confides that when that happened, "the first thing that went through my head was 'Wow, she's insecure!'"

This time, after Nasal Bikini Chick performance, Kara confines herself to saying that NBC started off better than last time, but then her voice got thin and "off." Paula agrees. NBC says she loves to have the music around her. Normally, Simon would have made mincemeat of an Idolette who said that, with some searing "If you can't sing a capella you're outta here" gag. But Simon instead says he absolutely agrees with NBC and it would have sounded better with music. Yeah, if the music had drowned her out. Randy agrees with Simon. The American Idol Decency Police are informed all their vacation plans are cancelled, effective immediately. KBC is among those in her pack who survive to sing another day. "Bring your pole tomorrow," Kara mumbles. We love Kara.

Roughneck Dad makes it through; the other dad does not.

The best part of this episode is we get to see that Super Bowl Hulu ad again -- Fox parent Newscorp is one of the partners in Hulu. Alec Baldwin may be the real American Idol. And, in this week's "Fringe" episode, on after "Idol," the hot agent chick investigates some dweeby guy who turns into Harry the Bigfoot from that 80's movie on an airplane. What will they think of next!

Back to Hollywood Week. As if it isn't bad enough, one of the Osmond Brothers Junior is in this competition, but now he's in the most famous theater ever built in a shopping mall, singing a 1936 tune by Jerome Kerns and Dorothy Fields -- "Just the Way You Look Tonight" -- and on the strength of that performance, is sent through to the next round.

What is this, Branson, Missouri?

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 4, 2009; 6:41 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Next: Bikini Girl, We Barely Knew You

Comments


Simon is passing the twit pig in a bikini on to the next round to stir the pot. Wait 'til the public gets a chance to vote (if she makes it that far.) I hope Kara keeps slapping her down. I don't think she's any match for Kara.

She may be able to sing, but her twit pig attitude is going to 86 her.

UGH!


Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 4, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I really like Rose. I hope she can calm her nerves! I do not like that Katrina. Hope she's gone soon.

Posted by: MILW | February 4, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for the coffee-spewing Phil Silvers line.

Posted by: mgavaghen1 | February 4, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

People have vocal or facial "tics" not "ticks." Still love you.

Posted by: meg47 | February 4, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Simon would’ve made mincemeat out of any other bimbo who made the silly remarks and excuses Katrina did, but I can see why he let her through (no, it’s not just her long, lovely legs—we’ve seen Simon cut down babes in the past when their non-talent was too glaring); Kara is being just plain silly. I actually agreed with what Katrina said about her being really insecure if she had to immediately dislike a girl who flaunts her looks like Katrina did (but with thousands of people competing for a few spots, isn’t good to be memorable in a good way? And if you have no personality like Katrina, you’d be wise to use your looks!). Honestly, I’m not a big fan of these flaunty girl types myself, but I felt sorry for her because Kara is an industry pro and a judge that this young contestant is trying to impress; she shouldn’t have written her off so immediately and so viciously based just on her appearance—especially since she can at least carry a tune and sing better than, say, Antonella Barba from last season.

That said, Katrina is definitely less than worthy of becoming our American Idol (and Simon definitely knows it, I’m sure), but I think our top judge is wise to keep her because 1) it’ll keep making Kara edgy, which will be lots of fun to watch, 2) Katrina hasn’t figured out yet that Seacrest doesn’t swing her way and will keep harassing him—and there are few things more adorable and fun to watch on primetime TV than a squirming Ryan Seacrest! :D

Posted by: Kureno | February 4, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Nathaniel Marshall must have been inspired by Roger Federer with those waterworks he displayed. He has a good voice, but he should stay because of his histrionics.

Am I alone in thinking that the bikini girl is not all that nice looking? Leggy, sure, but. . .

Posted by: jd121 | February 4, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

All of you are right about Bikini girl. Yes we hate her, but Simon knows, we love to hate her so on she goes.
Kureno, you may have a point but I personally did try to judge her by her voice (which she made it very difficult to do) and I did not like her singing at all. Plus, If she does get past Hollywood week, which I doubt, she has alienated most if not all of the female viewers which make up I'm sure the majority of the votes.
I did love Kara's bring the pole comment.

Posted by: hodie | February 4, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

'"You all suck as judges," Dennis says, and then steals our heart when he tells Simon that for someone so rich, his pants are very cheap -- a situation made only worse by "that cheap and very lame shirt you got on." Really, how can you not love this guy?' --- my favorite part of this blog and also from last night's show.

I agree with Kureno that it is so much fun to watch Seacrest trying to escape NBC.

Thanks, Lisa, for this blog. I laughed so much. YOU are better than the show you are writing about.

Posted by: anjacarolin | February 4, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

'"You all suck as judges," Dennis says, and then steals our heart when he tells Simon that for someone so rich, his pants are very cheap -- a situation made only worse by "that cheap and very lame shirt you got on." Really, how can you not love this guy?' --- my favorite part of this blog and also from last night's show.

I agree with Kureno that it is so much fun to watch Seacrest trying to escape NBC.

Thanks, Lisa, for this blog. I laughed so much. YOU are better than the show you are writing about.

Posted by: anjacarolin | February 4, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Lisa - I love your blog - and it is better than the show. However, I would love it if you could get Tony Kornheiser to do a live webcast on Idol with you -- that is what is missing this season!

Posted by: pottsm | February 5, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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