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?
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