New York


Hey, everybody!! Welcome back to America’s ultimate Karaoke competition, the cattle auction known as American Idol. I’ll give my opinions about the judges later, once I get a feel for them. Most of the contestants I mention below are the successful auditions, but a couple of the bad ones seemed worth mentioning. I generally hate bad auditions, especially when they mock the contestant. It’s just one show, but this panel doesn’t seem to like mocking anyone – at least to their face.

The singers, the songs:

Tenna Torres, 28– Camp Mariah girl. She has decent intonation, but she lacks the strong rhythmic sense a contender would need. She made some bad breathing choices, got tinny and squeaky at the top, and she did all that with a song that she probably spent months working on. I’ve seen tons of contestants like this, and most of them are gone by Group Night or round three.

Of the three they grouped together:

– The first guy hit a decent note, I suppose; he isn’t on any suck lists, not yet anyway. He has that going for him, which is nice.
– The girl is toast, no prospect; with her (comparatively, she would sound great in a karaoke bar) weak voice and intonation I wouldn’t have passed her based on what I heard.
– The second guy, with the blondish curly hair and the bandanna… I like his voice quite a bit; he reminds me of Robbie Rosen, no that anyone remembers Robbie Rosen. I expect to see him kick on past Group Night, and if he has substance to go with his style he could be something special. I need to hear him more, and at tempo, before I call him anything other than an interesting sleeper. Hell, they didn’t even post his name.

Christina “Isabelle”, 21– Lost weight, sang Summertime. Big voice, powerful…. her range ain’t all that, though, and her melodic choices seemed a little too rehearsed; not natural. If this is how she sings all the time she could be a contender, and she’s a Berkeley student so maybe she can. I dunno, though. Like Tenna, I sensed that this was a one shot, take months to set it up perfectly moment. Those notes, for a serious contender, would be natural – and seem natural. I’ll say she’s a medium to weak contender for the final 40 based on the strength of her voice, and if she picks the right songs she could make the live shows.

Evan Ruggiero, 21– Cancer, lost his leg. I sooooo wanted him to be great… but he was “only” pretty good. He has no feel- no “soul”. He has actor’s eyes, so maybe he can go that route.

Jessica Kartalis, 19– Nominated by her mother, some new thing Idol’s doing this year (more later, once I know what the hell it is)… note to Jessica: If you are gonna play the guitar, take a moment to make sure you are in the right key, ok? My first thought was that it was unfair, putting her on the spot like that, but I’m pretty sure it was all planned in advance. She knew she was going to be playing her guitar. She just screwed the pooch, and didn’t double check to make sure that she started out in the right key. I thought she sang ok, and there’s always next year.

Shira Gavrielov, 23- Israeli pop star. Really, a contestant who already has a number one song? I mean duh… She’s standout number one, obviously. She’s insanely hot, and she knows it. She’s talented, professional, accomplished – and she knows that, too. That’s all good, but why she is eligible for Idol?” If she’s been a chart topper in Israel, why is she considered an amateur here? Israel isn’t exactly Madagascar, and even if it is a number one song is a number one song. I’ll have to look her up to see what her chart sales are (no luck so far). If she remains eligible, I would be pretty shocked if she didn’t make a serious run at the title. Is skinny broad an oxymoron?

Frankie Ford, 24– Train singer. He has a howitzer, so he’s on the fast track to the semifinals as long as he doesn’t screw up. His odds of screwing up are too high for comfort, though. He has no residual self esteem, no ballast to his ego. It’s a miserable way to live, and it’s going to be hard for him to thrive in a competitive, bitchy situation like Idol.

Day 2

Russian girl– Inside tip #32,714: If a contestant says that she only sings for her parents and Idol has her on the show, the chances are that she sucks to an epic degree. She looked good, but that’s a different show.

Dude farted, then cussed. They only bleeped the cuss. Poor bastard, his friends are going to destroy him.

Sarah Restuccio, 17– Girl who rapped for Nikki; her voice is pretty average at this point, no range or uniqueness. She’s gonna have to do it the hard way.

Angela Miller, 18– The hearing impaired waitress. I like her to make the top 40, contend for the semifinals, maybe be a borderline tour contender. Her voice isn’t great, but its rock solid good. Good (not great) tone, good (not great) intonation, good (not great) rhythm, good (not great) range. No big, crazy upside, just solid production that you can count on. Unfortunately, there is nothing memorable about her. Sometimes it’s better to be half great and half terrible, but her consistency will carry her past most of the pack.

Gurpreet Singh Sarin, 22– Turbin boy. I’m not sure what the holdup was about passing him, I really liked him. He ain’t gonna to win, but he has a legit voice (sort ofAdam Levine-ish in style and tone) and he deserves a chance to compete in Hollywood. I was glad that they passed him through, and you never know. At the very least he’ll be good TV, and I wouldn’t assume that he isn’t a prospect. Worse singers have made the tour, and he’ll always be easy to spot.

Ashlee Feliciano, 20– This kid could be the standout of standouts, except for one “weakness”: Idols generally aren’t balanced, centered people. The most successful Idols are usually geeks and nerds who are obsessed with success, who spend their spare time working on how their voice sounds, and how their faces look in the mirror. Idol fame is what they need to be happy, so they work obsessively towards that goal.

Ashlee has already experienced a kind of success, a kind of happiness, that might have already replaced what most of these kids come to Idol for. Her drive is already taken; taken by her Jerry McGuire kid brother and her other siblings. I’ll root for her (how could anyone not root for her?), but honestly I doubt that she will be as obsessed about winning as she will need to be. Like Shannon Magrane last year, she doesn’t need to be a singer; she wants to be a singer.

I might have to admit… I kind of like Nikki. Trust me; I don’t want to like Nikki. I just…. kinda do.

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