Dude, You Just Can’t Sing
Welcome back to another exciting edition of “The WB’s Superstar USA.” Tonight, the twelve finalists will show off their new makeovers and lack of talent as they face the judges for the first round of eliminations. Four will be deemed too “good” and asked to leave the competition. The contestants, of course, are in the dark about these criteria and believe that the judges are looking for the best singers, not the worst.
At this point in the competition, a nagging question has begun to bother me. Let us pretend for a moment that your brother can’t carry a tune in a bucket. His voice is legendary with everyone you know for all of the wrong reasons. People keep him away from cattle for fear that his singing could cause a stampede. His own mother refuses to stay in the room with him if a karaoke machine is nearby. Just for fun, we’ll also say that he looks like Peewee Herman.
With me so far? Ok, then. What if we also say that this SAME brother comes home saying that he was one of a dozen people chosen from thousands of hopefuls in a nationwide singing competition. An entourage of slick producers and staffers are waiting anxiously to whisk him away to Hollywood to compete for a recording contract. Now, who among us wouldn’t chain our sibling to the nearest piece of solid furniture to prevent such an atrocity, if only to save the family name? I mean, where are these people’s families and friends? Are none of these contestants being warned that something might be up? Trust me people; I would crush my brother’s dreams into a fine, bitter powder before I would allow him to go on national TV and sing like some of these kids.
Mario The first lamb to the slaughter, we first see some footage of Mario in bed singing along to some tunes he’s listening to on his headset. He tells us that he considers himself an entertainer and that it’s in his blood. He comments that he obviously has some talent (presumably, because he has made it thus far) and can’t wait to show everyone what he has to offer.
Now, I have a confession to make. A storm knocked out my satellite during Mario’s performance. As he walked out, the signal went out and it didn’t come back on until the judges were making their remarks. Now, it could very well be that Mario gave the performance of a lifetime and wowed the world with his hidden talents. The more likely scenario is that my TV recognized him from before and decided that a little mutiny was in order. So, long story short, I didn’t hear Mario’s performance.
I did, however, hear the judge’s response. Vitamin C compliments him on his image “enhancement” and says that she always likes the “bad boys”. Perhaps fearing that his nightmares of female groupies sneaking into his hotel room has begun to come to life, Mario quickly reminds Vitamin C that he has a fiancée, thank you very much.
Rosa The indecipherable Rosa is next on the block. In her pre-audition interview, she tells us that her name will be in more places than JLo because she believes she has a better singing voice. I’ll prepare for some rocks being thrown my way, but I have to say she has a point. It’s a toss-up, really.
Singing Madonna’s, “Borderline,” Rosa’s words were actually easier to understand this time around. Ironically, it only made her performance worse, as it made me pay more attention to her painful caterwauling and spastic dancing. In fact, her voice was forgotten altogether for me when she dropped suddenly to her knees in a strange, “squatting to pee” pose, and bobbed up and down in time to the music.
I’ve noticed that the harder Vitamin C is trying not to laugh, the faster and more enthusiastic she pours on the praise, and that was certainly the case here. The music just starting to fade, Vitamin C calls the performance, “Amazing” and tells Rosa she had done a “really, really, really good job”. Briggs jumps on the bandwagon, telling Rosa she had done a great job.
Tamara The morose Tamara is the next performer to grace the stage. Looking as if she were trying out for a part in “Night of the Living Dead,” Tamara stands motionless on the stage as her flat, nasal voice crawls through Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart”. She has cleverly donned sunglasses for the occasion in case some errant emotion might try to slip through unnoticed.
Briggs never fails to produce at least one squirmy moment in me during the show and he has saved that moment for the luckless Tamara as he describes her performance. He says, “You made love to that song. You seduced it over dinner, you massaged it, you let it discreetly into the bedroom, you disrobed it, you laid it upon the bed gently, and you found a rhythm. In the second verse, you choked it a little bit and you need to watch that. But in the morning, you cuddled with it, which was tender, and then you made it breakfast and it was great.
John Michael Always confident, John Michael explains that he came to win and isn’t about to go home empty handed. He says that if anyone has anything that they think can match him, they should, “Bring it on.”
After a hair raising, shouted rendition of “Born To Be Wild”, Tone Loc says that John Michaels performance was off the “hizzle forshizzle” and wishes him luck. Briggs looks him straight in the eye and deadpans that John Michael should be less subtle.
JoJo People who consistently refer to themselves in the third person freak me out, and JoJo is no exception. Continuing to scoff at the convenience of pronouns, JoJo tells us in his interview that, “JoJo is sexy, JoJo’s got attitude, JoJo’s got ambition, and look out other contestants because JoJo is gonna just sock it to em.”
His audition is bland and unremarkable other than a strange head-bobbing thing that he does throughout. Vitamin C is quick to point out his barnyard fowl dance move, calling it “sexy” and claiming that it will “turn people on”.
Omar The boisterous Omar is up to bat and tells us, predictably, that music comes from within. That true music comes from the heart and when he is up on stage, he feels like a superstar. Nice plug, Omar.
I have to say, I studied music for many years and actually have quite a bit of experience in the field. I’ve worked with elementary school kids, I’ve judged marching band competitions, and I’ve even tried to teach a percussionist how to play a piccolo. However, I have never, ever, in my life heard anyone as completely tone deaf as Omar appeared to be during his audition. Ignoring the music completely, Omar was not even in the right ballpark in pitch, tempo, or melody. His performance was so bizarre that I can only assume that he decided to ditch traditional Western ideas of tonality in favor of a newly created atonal style.
In response to this indescribable horror, the judges lavish praise on the clueless Omar. Tone Loc compares him to Marvin Gay or Luther Van dross while Vitamin C tells him he was O-marvalous. Briggs offers words of encouragement as well, and then says that they would wait to see how Omar stacked up against the competition.
Frank Oddball Frank is next on the list. He wants to be provocative without crossing the line into slutty. He comes out on stage in a midriff-baring shirt and high-heeled boots and sings “Survivor” by Destiny’s child. Vitamin C calls him fearless and Briggs brags that he had, “nailed it”.
Emily The contestant I keep forgetting. She says that this has been her biggest break in the music industry and feels her life is about to change. Inexplicably, Emily chooses, “Achy Breaky Heart” as her audition piece. She actually doesn’t sound horrible. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t teeth clenching awful either. She ends the performance with an enthusiastic, “Yeeha!” The judges stare at her silently for a moment and then Briggs tells her she just doesn’t measure up and the other judges agree. Emily looks on the verge of tears throughout their criticism.
Nina Diva Wow. Just wow. I am going to have to describe Nina’s, um…wardrobe selection. Going the understated route again, she has donned a bright pink, rubberized bustier with thigh-high stiletto boots. The boots are connected to her patent leather hot pants with garters and she tops the whole ensemble off with a sparkly, sheer half-top.
The Police’s “Roxanne” seems an excellent song choice as I suspect Nina has seen her share of red light districts. She bumps and grinds throughout and the only criticism the judges have is that she should add more high kicks to her performance.
The Anglo Assassin In his pre-audition interview, TAA worries that he might forget the words to the song that he will be rapping. I find this a bit odd, as the bulk of the lyrics appear to be, “you can get with this or you can get with that”. Doing too well to impress the judges, The Anglo Assassin is quickly hustled from the stage with a ho-hum response from the panel.
Ross After having his long locks shorn, thus ending the gender confusion, the judges are also unimpressed with Ross. I must say that the editing doesn’t leave much surprise in the outcome of the show because Ross is also sent packing in short order.
Jamie The sexy Jamie informs us that now that her hair is done and her look is complete, she’s going to be able to “rock this town”. To the delight of the producers, Jamie once again reads the lyrics off her hand. The intriguing part is that she obviously believes that know one is the wiser to her sly maneuver.
Tone Loc says that she was off “the chain”. Vitamin C comments that the song was hard and then sets up the ever subtle Briggs by saying, “It’s hard, isn’t it Briggs?” Gazing at the busty Jamie, Briggs confirms that, “Oh yeah, it’s hard,” and says that he’ll see how she will “stack up” at the end of the day.
Due to poor editing, the “dramatic” elimination ceremony unsurprisingly cuts The Anglo Assassin, Emily (thank god, now I don’t have to keep wondering who she is), Frank, and Ross. Their dreams dashed for the moment, the contestants have no idea that they have just been give the gift of the last shreds of their dignity.
Join us again next week as the eliminations continue in the countdown to finding the ultimate Superstar.
[i]Contact me at Stargazer@fansofrealitytv.com[i]