Wednesday, January 13, 2010

American Idle: Sitting Through The First Auditions

Quick, name two of my favorite activities.

(Not sleeping.)

(Eating—yes, only not for the purpose of this quiz.)

(I like that, too, but my parents read this, so ix-nay on the ex-say.)

Wait, what's that? Blogging and watching reality TV? DING DING DING DING DING.

I'v recapped TV shows before on the blog, but never consistently. Since August I've been recapping Project Runway for the Huffington Post, and I've had a yen recently to do more of that kind of thing. I even had an idea to start a new, recap-only blog with the tagline "Putting a recap in yo' ass... wait, that sounds wrong."

Unfortunately I have a full-time job, plus a pretty intense TV watching schedule, so for the time being my recap blog will have to wait. But I've decided to half-assedly recap this season of American Idol.

I don't really know why I've chosen AI. Maybe it's because I'm hormonal and it's dark and cold and all I want to do is bundle up on my couch and watch adolescents perform the entire Barry Manilow songbook. Anyway, you don't have to watch the show to read my recaps, as mostly I will be giving people nicknames and making fun of their outfits and making as many references to Brian Dunkleman as I possibly can.


Ready? Okay.

So last season, apparently the finale stage was on fire, or something, maybe because Adam Lambert was gay? And that lit Paula Abdul's moonshine-filled Coke mug aflame and she exploded? So now Ellen DeGeneres is a judge. At least I think that's what happened; I didn't really watch last season. Or the season before that. Also, I think the AI opening credits use the same technology as Avatar.

Anyway, season 9 starts in Boston, and the premiere is two full hours, so I expect we'll get approximately 200 days of painfully drawn-out auditions before the actual competition starts. I know that the reason the auditions get so much air time is that a lot of people love to watch the bad singers, the criminally deluded people who not only believe that their off-key rendition of "Vision of Love" is amazing, but who also feel compelled to dress like assholes while doing it. I, however, have such a strong aversion to watching people get humiliated that I have to mute the TV and avert my eyes.

Luckily the American Idol producers make it pretty clear who's going to suck right off the bat. Much like you might avoid sitting next to a person on the subway who is wearing a hat made of tin foil, you can often spot an American Idol reject before they even open their mouth.

Take, for example, the first auditioner, who resembles Helen Hunt fallen on hard times and dressed like she's on her way to an NKOTB concert and who jumps up and down in the bathroom shouting inspirational messages at her reflection. I don't know what she sang, but I know it blew. And the guy with cystic acne, and who loves Chris Brown for "touching children"? Survey says: He sucks. Farmer Ted from Sixteen Candles comes in and screams "Womanizer" by Britney Spears while slapping his thighs like he's riding himself in the Kentucky Derby. Later on, a LaToya Jackson female impersonator announces that he will be singing "Every Time We Touch." MUTE.

On the flip side, if an auditioner gets a heartfelt montage complete with touching backstory before they start to sing, they are automatically going to Hollywood. The first of these is a sweet-faced teenager named Maddie who has four brothers with Down Syndrome, three of them adopted. I mean, really. My only question is: When did the AI producers have time to go to her house and film them running in slow motion? There is also a Portuguese teen whose grandmother has Alzheimers and a slightly more butch, brunette Lance Bass doppelganger who survived cancer. John Krasinski auditions, disguised as an emaciated 1970s drummer with two broken wrists and an Afro. He is also in.

So, yeah. Until we get to the top 12 or 16 or whatever I refuse to go into any more detail. Who knows if I'll even keep this up. Whatever. DUNKLEMAN!


  1. I'm seeing the show in a completely new light this season because I actually auditioned over the summer! Did you know that contestants have to go through 4 or 5 rounds of producers before they meet the actual judges? They weren't even on site the first day.

    I waited in the sun at the Rose Bowl from 5 AM to 4 PM, was lined up next to two other contestants at 1 of 15 tables and got approximately 10 seconds to "show my stuff" to two producers while at 14 other tables, wannabe American Idols were bellowing their lungs out.

    I'm not making excuses, but my voice definitely wasn't top notch at that point. Needless to say, I didn't make it past the first round. But it was fascinating!!!

  2. WOW. Thanks, Claire Marie. That is incredible.

    I knew the train wrecks got hand-picked to audition for comedy value, but I had no idea they had to audition so many times just to get to the "first audition."

    I assume that the producers film back stories for the contestants who make it to Hollywood AFTER they audition for the judges, but at this point I wouldn't be surprised by anything.

    Good for you for auditioning. That must have been scary. And hey, at least you didn't end up on TV as one of the losers.

  3. Yeah, it's pretty kooky. I'm guessing they do too, because you have to sign a bunch of contracts that basically say "You own me for the next 6 months of my life" if you make it onto the show.

    It was pretty scary, but you're SO RIGHT. I'd rather keep playing little coffee shops around town than put on an act like that on TV.

  4. "Putting A Recap In Yo Ass" ... Darling, I just might have to steal that.



  5. Fantastic, thank you recapping this and for the "thigh slapping" comment; you are my hero.

  6. i recapped AI for two seasons on my blog. but i didn't start the recaps until performance rounds. i don't even watch the auditions.

  7. I'm currently watching the first episode. Half-way through it now, and it's AMAZING!!! I only like the first round of auditions, because I just LOOOOOOVE the trainwrecks!

    This year is funny as.


  8. I don't watch this show, but I will watch it when Ellen is on it. Maybe. I don't know!

  9. Ok, are you watching right this minute, because all I can say is, "Skiboski."

  10. Colleen, I am a horrible recapper and totally forgot it was on. Two nights a week? Damn! You may have to guest blog.

  11. I love your re-caps and I was hoping you were going to continue with Project Runway for the Huffington Post. Please say you are!

  12. I have that thing about watching people humiliate themselves too. Maybe it's from having 14 million embarrassing moments in my own life. Either way, they make me cringe.

    That being said, I hope you keep up the updates. I like my recaps extra snarky even though I secretly hate that word.


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