Idol Wired >> Hollywood Drama

This week’s episodes of American Idol were packed with talent, tears, and drama that make “Hollywood Week” the must-see episodes of the season. It also lets you see a very real side to the contestants. However, seeing some of the contestant’s candidness was not always very flattering. In other words, Clint Jun Gambia, dude you’re toast. But we’ll get to him in just a bit.

Idol chose to mix it up this year with the group rounds. Contestants had make up their group with participants from both group one and group two from the first round of “Hollywood Week” auditions.

Remember the days of Idol when contestants would just group up and make it work? Yeah, that wasn’t flying this week. Contestants were making other contestants audition to get into their groups. It’s a brilliant move, but at times just seemed kind of rude.

I have also never seen so much footage of parents in Hollywood with their underage child/Idol contestant. I think they should have let their kids work a little more independently on their group routine and wait to be asked for pointers, but a couple of these moms were a little too much to handle.

James Durbin (totally over him, by the way) weighed in on the stage moms, and told the cameras that there shouldn’t be young kids in the competition. Really showed a little bit of a cocky side to him. I think he was just jealous that the group of teens were about to wipe the floor with his group, as they were both performing Queen’s “Somebody To Love.”

A quick word of advice to Mr. Durbin: You really need to stop inserting the screechy note into every one of your performances. It’s not necessary. But if you’re going to repeat the path of Siobhan Magnus and toss that note in during each of your performances, you should aim to be on key.

I think the biggest foul of the group rounds was Clint Jum Gambia kicking young Jacee Badeaux out of his group in favor of Scotty McCreery. Gambia didn’t think that Badeaux’s voice fit with the rest of the group, so he sent him on his way. Badeaux ended up joining up with Brett Loewenstern’s group.

If Gambia makes it past the Las Vegas round next week into the Top 24 where the viewers vote, I don’t think he has a chance in hell making it to the main stage. He completely shot himself in the foot by kicking Badeaux out of his group. Plus, he’s managed to come off as completely obnoxious this week. Good work, Gambia.
Continue reading Idol Wired >> Hollywood Drama

Idol Wired >> The San Francisco Treat

Since I spend a good portion of my week in San Francisco, you can imagine that I was excited to see how the American Idol auditions went in the city by the bay.

In case you had forgotten, Idol reminded us that Adam Lambert had initially auditioned in San Francisco. Aw, remember the days when Idol would find ridiculous amounts of talent? (Psst…seasons seven and eight, I miss you!)

It’s not that the singers shown weren’t talented, it’s just that they don’t seem as quality as prior contestants. I personally was looking to be wowed by the contestants and that definitely didn’t happen during the San Francisco auditions.

What I appreciated about this particular episode of auditions was that more good auditions were shown overall. And of course there were enough sob stories to fill the hour-long episode, but being that this was the last night of auditions, I was expecting them.

I really didn’t have any personal favorites from this set of auditions. However, there were a couple singers that I am looking forward to hearing from during the “Hollywood Week” round.

Matthew Ness from Huntington Beach, CA had some amazing big notes during his audition. Steven Tyler called the 25-year-old, “a diamond in the rough.”

Stefano Langone, the 21-year-old from Kent, WA sang Marvin Gaye’s, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” He has a Bruno Mars quality to his voice. Very smooth vocal.
Continue reading Idol Wired >> The San Francisco Treat

‘The X Factor’ To Award Winner $5 Million Recording Contract

Earlier this week it was announced that the winner of the first U.S. edition of The X Factor will win a $5 million recording contract with Sony Music/Syco. This will be the largest sum of money to be won on television.

Tryouts for The X Factor will kick off Sunday, March 27 in Los Angeles at the L.A. Sports Arena. There will also be tryouts held in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York/New Jersey, and Seattle.

Singers and groups must be at least 12-years-old to audition. There is not a cap on the upper age limit.

“I like the idea that a 12-year-old on this show can compete with an older singer and a singing group,” Simon Cowell said in a press release. “I’ve never believed that there should be a cut-off age for talent, and we are going to put our money where our mouths are with the $5 million recording contract. I’m doing this show in America, because I genuinely believe we can find a superstar.”

The X Factor debuted in the U.K. in 2004, and has been the #1 show for the past seven years. The show has been #1 in 15 territories, and has a worldwide audience of over 100 million.

For more information on The X Factor and for more details about auditioning, check out the show’s official website.

Originally posted on BlogCritics.

Idol Wired >> Is The Torture Over, Yet?

When I first sat down to talk American Idol, I had just the worst migraine, which was caused by the auditions in Los Angeles that aired last night.

No, I’m not kidding. The L.A. auditions were by far the worst auditions that I have ever taken the time to sit and watch. I seriously want that hour of my life back.

This is season 10 of American Idol. I expected better than Thursday night’s episode. I guess I should have known better.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about Wednesday night’s auditions in Austin, TX. Even though the episode was so much better than the L.A. auditions, there were only a couple singers that I would consider being actual contenders in this season’s competition. Those singers are 21-year-old Jaqueline Dunford from Scottsdale, AZ and 19-year-old Casey Abrams from Idlywild, CA.

Jaqueline Dunford auditioned for the show with her boyfriend, 19-year-old Nick Flint. Dunford, who sang Duffy’s “Mercy” was in my opinion the best of the female singers in the Austin. She took that Duffy song and really in the ridiculous words of Randy Jackson, “blew it out the box.” I really like the tone of her voice, and appreciated her demonstration of vocal control.

My other favorite from Austin, Casey Abrams sang “I Don’t Need No Docter” by Ray Charles. This dude can sing. And scat. I love it! I am sensing a trend with the male singers with the soulful, raspy voices this season, but Abrams infused his audition with so much personality, that he set a nice tone for himself going into “Hollywood Week.”

The L.A. auditions episode that aired Thursday night was hands down the worst episode of Idol I’ve ever watched, and I’m saying this as someone who watched the train wreck known as season three in its entirety.
Continue reading Idol Wired >> Is The Torture Over, Yet?

Idol Wired >> NOLA Has Talent!

American Idol headed to New Orleans for the next batch of auditions, and to my delight there was talent to be found! Now, we’re not talking like an overabundance of talent, but there were a few good voices that left me overall feeling pretty good.

My personal favorites from the auditions in New Orleans were Brett Loewenstern, Jacee Badeaux, and Sarah Sellers.

Sixteen-year-old Brett Loewenstern from Boca Raton, FL sang Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” His voice is fantastic. The kid has got some pipes. Plus, he has this crazy awesome curly red hair. His look and his voice don’t seem like they would match up, but that’s what we all said about Clay Aiken back in season two. I like contestants like Loewenstern, because just when we are ready to judge a book by it’s cover, they just go ahead and surprise the heck out of you.

Another one of the contestants that I really enjoyed was 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux from Lafayette, LA. He sang Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” His voice is incredible for his age. That said, Badeaux being all of 15-years-old makes me wonder what happens if he goes far in the competition and his voice starts changing? I don’t know how well that would work in his favor.

I am concerned about Badeaux’s age. I’m not sure if lowering the age limit for Idol auditions was the best decision. I see the show’s motive behind it. They’re definitely looking for the Idol this year to be the next big thing. Badeaux just seems like a sweet kid, and I truly fear that he’s going to buckle under the pressure and stress of “Hollywood Week.” I know there have been younger contestants on the show before, including season six’s winner Jordin Sparks, who won when she was 17-years-old, but somehow they seemed a little more mentally prepared and ready to be thrust into the Idol machine.
Continue reading Idol Wired >> NOLA Has Talent!

Idol Wired: New Judges: So Far, So Good!

American Idol has returned! I have to say, I’ve been quite hesitant about season 10. I am not someone who is fond of change, so with Simon Cowell leaving last season and Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez coming on board this go ’round, I have been very skeptical about how well season 10 could go.

Good news, I think Idol has a fighting chance at being pretty entertaining this year. I’m really happy the judges seem to be taking this season seriously for the most part.

To be honest, I haven’t watched the audition rounds prior to “Hollywood Week” since around season five. I really don’t like the bad auditions. I feel like the show wastes a lot of time on them, but tonight’s premiere seemed to have a good balance between good and bad auditions.

I definitely feel like Steven Tyler is going to be the fan favorite. The man is crazy and it will make for good TV. The censors at FOX are going to have a field day with him when the show goes live in a couple months.

Jennifer Lopez was disappointing at first, because it felt like all you had to do was cry in front of her and she’d let you through to the next round.

I think she’s definitely going to be the nurturer on the judging panel like Paula Abdul was. I think Lopez has a lot of empathy for the contestants, but she is going to have to learn how to utilize the word “no.”

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Randy Jackson is over the moon about being in Simon’s old spot on the panel? You know he just couldn’t wait until it was his turn to give the final word.

I think Jackson is really trying harder to put his foot down, but with Lopez wanting to let everyone through, he’s kind of just letting her walk all over him. Part of me wonders if he was just doing that because it was their first day of auditions. Another part of me wonders if he’s going to be a pushover all season, because the star power on the panel wants to have all the say.

As far as contestants go, there were only a couple that really stuck out to me right away.

Fifteen-year-old Kenzie Palmer sang Carrie Underwood’s “Young and Beautiful.” In my opinion, I thought she had a strong audition. She’s got a fantastic voice and has a good chance to do well in the competition.

The other contestant that stood out to me was 16-year-old Robbie Rosen. He sang The Beatles’ “Yesterday.” It was a clean vocal. He’s got a good voice for pop music. Steven Tyler said that Rosen was “the best of New Jersey.”

Overall, I felt pretty underwhelmed by most of the talent. I think once “Hollywood Week” rolls around, that’s where we’ll start seeing the talent.

One thing the premiere was not light on was sob stories. There was the contestant whose father had cancer and the girl from Kosovo. The episode wrapped with the kid who had been living in a shelter with his family.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for learning more about the contestants, but I would rather hear them sing first before I learn their back stories. I think once a contestant has made it past “Hollywood Week” and is going to be around for a while, that’s when I want to hear their interests and whatever stories they have to share. I feel like the beginning rounds should be influenced by talent only.

So Idol fans, what did you think about the season 10 premiere of American Idol? How are you feeling about the judges? And what contestant stood out to you during the New York/New Jersey auditions?

Originally posted at BlogCritics.