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American Idol, Week 2B: To Practice Or To Party...THAT Is The Question
Hooray for Hollywood…that screwy ballyhooey Hollywood…Yes, that's right, folks—the auditions are over and "American Idol 2" has made it back home to Hollywood. Of the 70,000 plus people that tried out for the show, 234 have made it to this next step. They'll now face judges yet again, and they'll go through a series of auditions that will cut the number of hopefuls down to just 32 by the end of the week. These remaining 32 semi-finalists will compete for the viewers' votes and the title of "American Idol" beginning next week.
Day 1- Monday, December 9th
On the first day of "Hollywood Week", the contestants arrive in Los Angeles from all parts of the country. They're excited, of course, but I wonder if they know what lies in store for them. Of course, we know Simon's going to be brutally honest, Paula will always look for something positive to say, and Randy will use "dawg", "dude", and will say people's names in triplicate over and over again. But, nothing can dampen their spirits at this point. Not much happens on Day 1 other than the contestants arriving and getting settled into their hotel rooms. But, hey, they (and we) get to see Tony Bennett at the airport. Tony tells us, "I was the Britney Spears of my day", and I suddenly get the very unpleasant image of Tony writhing around on stage in a little sequin number singing "Oops…I Did It Again". It's not a pretty visual, let me tell you. The only thing worse than that visual is the groaner of a joke that Ryan makes about how Tony must have left his luggage in San Francisco. Hardee har har, Ryan…
Day 2 – Tuesday, December 10th
Day 2 is the first day of competition. Put all the fun behind you, gang, because it's time to get to work. The contestants are brought up on stage, and Simon asks them why they think they should be the American Idol. Frenchie, the big, buxom blonde who auditioned in New York simply says, "I should be the American Idol because I am fabulous." Well, you GO, Miss Thing! Marcus says that he is "the total package" and immediately starts sucking up by pulling out a ring in a mock proposal to Paula. Candice, who looks a bit like Kelly Clarkson and who first auditioned in Detroit, answers Simon's question with, "I should be the American Idol because…well, basically I suck at everything else I've tried." Now, I'm not sure if I'd necessarily own up to that in this situation, but it does get a laugh from the judges. Then, we have Jayson. I don't know how the other contestants even got into the auditorium with Jayson's inflated ego in the way. Why should Jayson be the next American Idol? Well, he says, "I make young girls cry. I make old women giggle. And, for the ladies in the middle, I have a bootylicious ass that I can wiggle." Whatever. I guess that means that if the judging panel was made up of one of the Olsen twins, Estelle Getty, and Paula, he would have his ticket booked right through to the Top 10.
After a few more speeches, we get down to business and see the first performances of the week. Cara and Rhian, the twin sisters with the incredible harmonies, do a great job with Lisa Lisa's "All Cried Out." Bettis, who auditioned in Miami, is on stage in baggy pants, a sleeveless shirt, and a blue bandana on his head. I don't remember what he sang, and that's probably because one look at him and all I could think about was that damn "Rico Suavé" song from a few years ago. We see a couple more performances, and then it's time for the first cut of the week. In a shocker (at least to me), Cara and Rhian don't even survive the first cut and are shown crying in the lobby. Ricky, who tried out in Nashville and does the Eddie Murphy impression ("Hercules, Hercules, Hercules!"), makes it through, as does Rico Suavé, um, I mean Bettis.
By the end of Day 2, about half the group is sent home.
Day 3 – Wednesday, December 11th
For the group that's remaining, the next audition/challenge/task is for each of them to compose an original melody to a set of original lyrics (one of a set of 5) of their choice. Joshua, the Marine, is first up. When he's done, Simon tells him, "That was very good." Oh, like Simon was gonna tell him otherwise and risk having a whole platoon come down on him. Come to think of it, Simon probably would tell him if he was terrible. Never mind. Danny, the Frank Sinatra-like crooner from the New York City auditions, delivers his melody with panache. Equoia, who tried out in Los Angeles on crutches, channels Whitney Houston for her turn. At one point during his turn, Steven awkwardly removes his jacket and flexes his bicep as he sings a line about strength. Could he be any cheesier? It doesn't impress Simon, who tells him, "That was ghastly." Vanessa, our Nikki McKibbin lookalike from the Atlanta auditions, sings the line "the only good thing about you is me" during her turn on stage, and she looks right at Simon while she's doing it. Priceless. The assault on Simon continues with Krystal, who sings "screw you" as part of her lyrics and looks right at Simon while doing so. When she's done, Simon tells her, "I felt like you really meant 'screw you' when you sang it", to which Krystal replies, "I really did." Me-ow!
At the end of Day 3, the group is further cut down, and we are left with 80 people—31 guys and 49 girls. This group then finds out their next challenge. They are put in smaller groups, and they have to pick a song from a given list to use in their next performance (which will be in these small groups). At this point, they'll get to work with the AI2 vocal coach as well. Hmm…I wonder…if the vocal coach had been available for the Atlanta auditions, could she have helped Keith with his rendition of "Like a Virgin"?
The groups head back to the hotel to begin a long night of practicing before their big moment the next day. Well most of them do, anyway. Alden and Stephen (pronounced Stefan…whatever.) go door to door trying to get people to go out with them. They don't have any luck and end up having drinks in the hotel bar with the mother of one of the contestants (yes, the mother of one of the contestants!). They're just about to give up hopes of painting the town red when they get another contestant to join their posse. Corey, who wins this year's Justin Guarini "Human Chia Pet" Award with his big mop of hair, decides to join them. He tells the others in his group—Brian and Patrick—that he's gonna go out with the other two and they can just practice in the morning. Corey tells them "I'll be knocking on your door at 6:30 in the morning." Um, right, Corey. We next see Julia, the hairdresser from the New York City auditions, in the lobby waiting for her group. It seems that the rest of her group has gone off to eat, but they "won't be too long". Well, Julia waits…and waits….and waits. Finally, we're told it's 12:35am, and they still haven't shown up. Now, come on…I don't know of any hotel dinner that could take that long. Julia decides she's had enough (it's about damn time!), and she heads back to her room to practice on her own. Now, I would have marched into the restaurant and bitch-slapped those girls before heading up to my room if I were her, but that's just me. We then get to see the "Party Boys" in various night clubs carousing and cruising. They don't make it home until after 1:30 in the morning, but none of them seem to be worried about their upcoming performances.
Day 4 – Thursday, December 12th
Day 4 begins bright and early with all the guys hopping on a bus to head to the next stage of the audition process. But, what's this? Corey and Stephen are nowhere to be found! Imagine that. Corey shows up first and, when Patrick tells him he's late, he insists that he's not. We, of course, are then once again shown the scene from the night before where Corey says he'll be ready to practice at 6:30 in the morning. Corey, you are so busted. Finally, Stephen shows up as well, and the bus takes them to their auditions.
We go back to the hotel to find out that Julia never hooked up with her group from the night before and spent the whole evening practicing alone in her hotel room. Miss Julia is pissed (and rightly so, if you ask me). Out of nowhere, Julia's sister shows up and wants to know, "Where is the girl's mother?" Unable to find the mother, Julia's sister marches over to wherever the other 3 girls in Julia's group are, and she proceeds to go off on them big-time, telling them (among other things), "We are not catty like that. You should have respect!" Honey, you should not have gotten involved in the first place, especially after Julia told you not to. Sister's speech seems to have no effect on the girls, as they look at her with the glare that says, "whatEVER".
Next, we're back to the guys and their auditions. Tension is definitely in the air, and, in a bit of ironic foreshadowing, we hear Simon tell the group, "Make sure you've learned the words". Oh, if Simon only knew then what was in store for him. The first group up includes Ruben and Ricky. They have chosen a Carpenters song, and they perform it admirably. Randy and Paula say they're "very good", and Simon goes so far as to tell Ruben, "You've got this Luther-like quality about you." Next, we see a montage of groups singing the Barry Manilow song "Trying to Get the Feeling Again", and they are all horrible (Simon says, "Dreadful…absolutely dreadful."). Next, it's time for Sideshow Bob, I mean Corey, and his group. They perform "Kiss from a Rose", and things don't go well. Corey forgets the words and figures he can make up for it by turning all cheesy and walking over to the judges' table and serenading Paula. Eeeuwww. It seems to have at least worked on Paula, though, because she tells him, "Corey, that was beautiful." Simon tells him, "You didn't sound great", and Randy chimes in with, "Dawg, make it be in tune, yo. Dude, that was horrible." Stephen, Alden, and Bettis are the last group to perform, and by this point, the judges (especially Simon) are irritated in a big way. After the group butchers "Kiss from a Rose", Simon goes off on them, saying, "This is not a joke. Stop wasting my time. Two of you are an insult to this competition." The judges decide that they want to see the girls before deciding on which of the guys—if any—make it to the final 32.
Next, it's the girls' turn, and the first group is actually just a duet—Frenchie and Kimberley. The two of them go to town with Freda Payne's "Band of Gold", and Simon tells them, "You are two very good singers. Definitely." While the girls' auditions continue, the tension among the guys is rapidly increasing. It gets to the point where Alden tries to get all macho and pick a fight with Marcus the suck-up. Marcus insists that he's not a suck-up, that he's just being himself, and that he's now afraid of Alden. Oh, puhleeze…save the drama. Back inside, we see that the girls can be just as bad as the guys when we are shown a montage of truly bad renditions of Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud". Next, we learn that Julia and her group have reunited, thanks to the negotiating skills of my girl Frenchie. We then see the group on stage performing "You'll Never Get to Heaven." When they're done, Simon says, "Julia and Kimberly (not to be confused with Frenchie's duet partner), you two stood out." Julia tells us later, "I feel like a star."
We then find out that the group of 80 is cut down to 48—21 guys and 27 girls. Most of the people who've been focused upon make it through, but Mack Daddy Stephen and Danny the Crooner do not. The people who do not make it get one more chance to address the judges, and the group ends up singing "Happy Birthday" to fellow contestant Ammee. That is followed by Danny's rendition of Sinatra's "My Way", and we bid adieu to these guys. This is the end of the road for them.
Day 5 – Friday, December 13th
Well, this is it—the final auditions and the final cut. If the hopefuls can survive this round, they'll be competing on national television starting next week! And, this final audition falls on Friday the 13th!?!?! The remaining 48 contestants draw numbers to determine their order of performance. It'll just be each contestant by himself/herself now, so there's nobody else to blame if they mess up. Kimberly (not Frenchie's duet partner and not Julia's groupmate…God, how many Kimberlys are there?) goes first and sings "My Heart Will Go On." We then see Ricky/Hercules do Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," complete with a female contestant prancing around him while he sings. Julia sings "Unbreak My Heart", and that's followed by her groupmate Kimberly singing Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About". Our friend Marcus is the last performer of the whole group, and I'm feeling like the judges are thinking, "FINALLY!" So, that's it, contestants. Now, all you have to do is wait while the judges decide just who the final 32 will be.
After what must have seemed like hours of deliberation to them, the contestants are divided into 3 groups of 16 and put in 3 separate rooms to await their fate. The judges walk into the first room, and Randy gives the expected "This was really tough/y'all did a good job overall/we had to make some tough decisions/you're all winners" speech before telling this group that they have made it to the final 32. In this room were Kimberly (Julia's groupmate), Joshua the Marine, Ricky/Hercules, Bettis, Frenchie, Ruben, Vanessa, Candace, and Corey (Yes, Corey made it to the final 32. I don't know how/why he made it, but he did.). We head to the next room, and it's Paula's turn to give the speech. Among the people in this room are Marcus, Alden, and Stephanie. Paula doesn't waste much time and soon tells the group that she's sorry, but they won't be continuing on to the next round. We head to the final room, and it's Simon's turn for a soliloquy. Among the people in this room are Julia, Patrick, J.D., and Kimberley (Frenchie's duet partner). Simon congratulates them on a job well done and tells them that they will be going on to the semi-finals. Finally, the two groups that made it are reunited, and hugging, jumping around, and crying abound.
Well, that's it, folks! The auditions are over and the semi-finalists have been chosen. Beginning next week, they'll be competing in groups of 8 (instead of 10) for our votes, with 2 (instead of 3) moving on to the finals. You'd better start limbering up those dialing fingers…we'll have to really put them to use starting next Tuesday night!
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Last edited by lobeck; 01-30-2003 at 11:06 AM.
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