10 notable people from “The Hostess City Of The South”. Whatever that means.
Amy Brumfield: Hello, I’m Chris, aka Monkseal. I write this blog on a regular basis and as usual I will be joined on my ever-lengthening voyage into American Idol by Idol expert and blog-boyfriend Steven. Expert in that he’s watched two seasons more than me and knows where to find Camille Valasco butchering “Goodbye Hello Brick Road” on youtube and everything. Me? I just date back to the heady days of Blake Lewis going BEEP BEEP BOOP and crushing my beloved Moomin Mindy Doo and leaving me in no doubt what this show was about. Which I’m pretty is not a woman living in a tent in the woods and calling herself a Mipsy or whatever cutesy sub New Girl designation she wanted to give herself. Mostly I’m amused by the use of Angeles to soundtrack her American Idol journey. It being a song about abandoning your sense of self to make it in Hollywood. More specifically the lyric comparing wannabe stars to slaughtered kills dragged in from the hunt. I hope this is Nigel having a sense of humour about himself, but also I kind of equally hope it isn’t.
David Leathers Jr: First audition of the series! Which in any series of So You Think You Can Dance (Nigel’s other baby) would mean something, but the first audition last series was Rachel Zevita, so I think we can officially say that it means nothing. David Leathers Jr is a 17 year old that…would actually look like a 17 year old if he didn’t spend most of his time acting like a 12 year old. I guess Justin Bieber fans would call it good old fashioned manners or something, and Jedward fans would probably mark it as disturbing maturity, but this was such a pitch-perfect impersonation of a 12 year old kid acting adorably like a “playah” I wonder if David Leathers Jr should just try to stump up the cash for “Smart Guy : The Next Generation” rather than trying much further with this singing lark. On the other hand he did beat Scotty McCreary in some sort of competition (a door locking and turning dem lights down low competition?) so maybe there’s hope for him yet….
THE DIXONS: Was there anyone alive watching this NOT feeling second-hand embarrassment for Schyler Dixon? She turned up, ostensibly to audition on behalf of her own dreams, only to find herself brutally cut down, in a way that wasn’t even subtle, to act as fuel for her brother’s journey, now stretching into its second season of vaguely effeminate religious fundementalism. The haste with which J-Lo effing YELLED “OK NOW COLTON SINGS!” before her audition had even finished was frankly unseemly. Then she was left, booted to the sidelines, to twist in the wind looking malevolant, as the show welcomes her to the world of being Shyamali Malakar. How much is Colton going to cry when she gets cut? A LOT, I’m guessing.
Erica Nowak: Hello. I’m Steve, I’m the one who writes in italics. I really liked this girl, actually. I mean, she was never going to get through, but there was something very endearing about her – she set out to get on camera by being trashy in an inoffensive sort of way (and declaring your plan to divorce Steven Tyler later in life is about the best possible way to do that). Since the voices are mostly kind of blah at this stage, personality is pretty much all I have to go on, and I liked hers. Regrettably, she wasn’t up to the singing side of things, and her strangely cod-attempt at Joss Stone (wimping out on any difficult notes) was unmoving. I mean, find someone better to impersonate, if that’s the road you want to go down. I find the idea of someone wanting to be a bargain-basement version of Joss Stone even weirder than someone wanting to be a bargain-basement version of Ryan Seacrest.
Gabi Carruba: I try not to form attachments so early in the season, since it’s usually a fair assumption that most of the people who get a lot of screentime at this point will be dispatched fairly quickly in the Hollywood round. Having said that, I love this girl. I love that her first instinct on entering the audition room was to basically ignore the panel and ask if she could hug Nigel. I’d totally want to hug Nigel in that situation, and you would too, admit it. Not only that, but she has kind of a creepy and weird obsession with Ryan Seacrest. Gabi Carruba is basically me, if I were a teenage girl with a moderate level of singing ability. I know even without looking for spoilers that she’s going to get lost in the shuffle somewhere between now and Top 24 (or whatever number it is this year), but I’m glad I got to see her all the same.
Mauwena Kodjo: Sigh. Neither Chris nor I really wanted to write this one, but both of us felt we couldn’t really ignore it either, so in the end I volunteered to take the bullet. This was definitely a lowpoint in the long, long opening show, in which American Idol decided that FOREIGNERS ARE FUNNY once again and demonstrated this by subtitling a man who spoke perfectly good English and paraded him around Savannah going “LOOK! LOOK AT THE FUNNY MAN! HE IS NOT LIKE US, IS THAT NOT HILARIOUS?” Gross gross gross. Stop that, American Idol. Stop it right now.
Phillip Phillips: Hurr hurr hurr. He’s pretty. I can’t work out if he’s our Heir Apparant White Guy With Guitar, or just there to prove that it’s not an automatic win, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy looking at him. Listening to him? Not so much. Superstition was written with a melody for a REASON, yes it was.
Shannon Magrane: In many ways this was a very, very, very bog-standard American Idol audition. Daughter of a minor sports star, very pretty, decent voice, strong family presence, mildly embarrassing mother, will probably disappear without trace somewhere around Groups Night in Hollywood Week. But what was notably about it is it marks the point where Steven Tyler lept the fence and became the wacky foreign neighbour in a 1980s US sitcom. Who on earth tells a man that his daughter is “humid”? As a compliment. Oh Steven Tyler. May the auditions provide many more moments of exciting madness before the Live Shows render you useless again.
Shaun Kraisman: Okay, so you know how earlier I mentioned it would be weird for someone to want to be a bargain-basement Ryan Seacrest? Well, that’s the sole purpose of this guy. He was on the show solely to demonstrate that he did a moderately-good Ryan Seacrest impression and to tell us that people think he looks like Ryan, largely due to his haircut – a haircut that Seacrest hasn’t had for about four years because he’s far too old for it these days, but it’s not like that stopped everyone being all “OH MY GOD IT’S LIKE THERE’S TWO OF YOU!” Obviously he went through with the rigmarole of singing for the judges and got rejected by them, having served his purpose. Still, he was cute (for a cheap knockoff of Ryan Seacrest), and given the rumours about Ryan possibly not coming back next season, it’s nice to know we’ve got a spare lying around for emergencies. Also, his very existence gave Chris the wiggins, and that’s always fun.
Stephanie Renae: It bodes poorly that she’s the only real “singer” of the group of auditionees that I chose to write about, and yet I can barely remember anything about her. She’s pretty, in a bland sort of way (a bit like a less impressive version of Haley from One Tree Hill), and has been watching this show since she was a foetus and basically dreams of being Carrie Underwood, as I imagine young wholesome blonde girls across America do on a daily basis. Vocally, she needs a bit of tuning training and was kind of nasally up in her nasal, but it’s nothing that can’t be knocked out of her by the vocal coaches in a couple of weeks of intensive training, I would’ve thought. Wouldn’t be surprised to see her on the live shows at all, and probably getting quite far before getting booted midway for being a bit dull, bless her.