American Idol: You call this an improvement?

So as Fox’s “American Idol” turned the page from Season 7 to Season 8, they vowed some improvements to help boost ratings. Well, we’re finding out that there was a bit of hot air in those promises. Yes, they added a fourth judge, and maybe they extended Hollywood week on TV another seven days, but an improvement? Not really. In fact, they barely showed any performances last night. I think they showed more of the judges deliberating and the contestants’ agony waiting for said deliberation than actual singing. Something is getting stale and the producers of the show can’t seem to learn any new tricks. But I’ll say this…the talent this year is pretty freaking good….and I believe it may carry the ratings regardless of the production.

Anyway, as the 72 remaining contestants got ready to sing in front of the judges solo but with some backup singers and a keyboard, the judges began their unenviable task of weeding out the mediocre ones. Then they were separated into four rooms..and you would think that two of the rooms would stay and two would go home, but that’s not exactly what happened. Only one room was sent packing, and I’m pretty sure there were no more than 15 or 20 in that room.

Among them, Kendall, the first girl of the night, attempted Carrie Underwood, and while yours truly is not a Carrie fan in the least, Kendall made Underwood look like Martina McBride…..Keneshe Young, the 16 year old from Cincinnati, who I thought was great, did not make it past this round…India Morrison, who led a fantastic group performance that included buddies Danny and Jamar, did not stand out enough on her own…..and Michael Castro, Jason’s brother, didn’t stay in Hollywood either, though they haven’t shown him performing since his initial audition (really now, how is that possible?).

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American Idol: Lots of Hollywood Tickets from KC

Last night, Day 2 of Season 8 of “American Idol” on FOX brought us many good performances, and golden tickets to Hollywood. Sure, there were lots of the usual horrendous auditions, but the producers chose to focus on the talented ones, and there were a higher percentage of them than there had been in Phoenix the night before. Here are the lowlights and highlights…..

THE BAD

Chelsea Marquardt kicked things off, and while she was a really pretty girl, she was an awful singer, like all-over-the-place awful. At least she can go be a model if she wants to….Brian, a 20 year old kid from KC, sang an ARETHA FRANKLIN tune, and that should be your first cue that he sucked. But dude had a hard time accepting his fate, and they showed him crying followed by a nice montage of other contestants who didn’t pass their audition bawling and/or screaming like they were in pain.

No, really….There was “banana boy,” a humorous one dressed in yellow who used a real banana as a prop….Jasmine, a 17 year old girl from Nebraska with a love for jazz and a very bad voice….Andrew, who came with two cheerleaders to help his cause, was not a bad singer, but while the judges were first considering sending him through, they decided in the end that Andrew was not ready…..

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American Idol Season 8 Kicks Off in the Desert

It’s a cliche, but time really freaking flies. Not only is Season 8 of “American Idol” now in progress, but it really seems like yesterday that we were crowning David Cook Season 7 champ. Season 1 was in 2002, now SEVEN years ago. They did a little retrospective to kick off Season 8 last night, and at the end of the montage they showed a bunch of little David Archuleta fans screaming “NOOOOO” when Cook was crowned by Ryan Seacrest back in May. Funny, funny stuff. Reminded me of New York Jets’ fans at the NFL draft, but worse.

Anyway, a fourth judge has been added to shake things up. Songwriter Kara DioGuardi (pronounced Dee-o-GWAR-dee) who has written somewhere around 100 hit songs and from what we found out, has a decent voice too, gives the panel another female perspective and she definitely adds some spunk and even more humor to the already eccentric judging contingent.

The first month or so of every season begins with twice-a-week auditions from various cities, and last night was the round from Phoenix, Arizona, home of Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks. There is a pattern to this every season, and the producers of the show only show us the really great and really horrible auditions, accentuating the absurd. It’s a ratings party, and last night was no exception. To streamline, we’ll just highlight the good and bad as briefly as possible…..

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