10/11 - Group 1
The 3 weeks worth of
auditions are over - now it's our turn to judge. We
vote, we decide, and we get to savage the singers. I for
one, will be enjoyting the savaging. Will this be the
best group ever? Or will I be pining for the return of
Scootergirl and WIlliam Hung?
Just as a recap, for the next 4 weeks, we get the top 2
from each group of 8 - then the wild card round where
anyone in any stage of the competition could come back -
including Scootergirl (could happen) and Mr. Hung
(probably won't happen - but it could be an improvement
if he replaces the host).
There are some differences this time around. For
starters, the backstage and the frontal stage area is
nicer - and there is also now a live audience
surrounding the stage. What doesn't change is that the
judges go after everyone - and we start with Simon
attacking Diana DeGarmo's pink and black outfit. She
sings "I Got the Music In Me", and for 16 years old, she
sings very well. Not as emotional as I would have
expected, but a very solid and in tune effort to start
off the show. Randy and Paula was feeling it, while
Simon says 'You remind me when Christina Aguilera was
nice.' Uh, thanks.... I think.
Singer #2 is Marque Lynche - and the African-American
classically trained dancer has a tough act to follow. He
is much more emotional than Diana and he takes a page
out of the Clay Aiken book and makes sweet facial love
to the camera - but he doesn't have that power in that
voice when he sings 'Beaches'. The judges eat it up -
but Simon says that it feels a little different than
what he thought. Marque counter that he sang it for his
mom, which gets another round of AwwwwBarf from me - but
the singers are 2-0 in the performance rating.
Do we get three straight good performances with Ashley
Thomas? She wants to show off her fun side - but I'm not
sure singing 'Crazy' is exactly the way to do that - or
to stay on pitch. She has a good voice, but she is not
on key - and on this sort of song, if you're not on key,
it's like listening to screaming cats. The judges liked
it - but they weren't blown away and Simon equates it to
Rodeo Idol. She does have that country sass, and it
wouldn't surprise me, because of the country
demographics, to see her sneak in as a dark horse.
Singer #4 is Katie Webber, a 22 year old blonde dance
major who sings 'Orange-Colored Sky'. That's an
interesting choice of song - but she nails it and she is
my favorite so far. Randy was feeling it and Paula loved
her stage presence - though she wanted it a little
younger - but Simon now calls it Smoky Bar Idol. She
thought it was a fun song, and I liked it a lot.
We get through the threat of a Simon/Paula halftime show
and move on to #5 - Erskine Walcott, a dancing
African-American stagehand who had to learn English as
he moved to the states. He doesn't want to be too
emotional when he sings 'In Your Arms' - But he should
be worried more about his pitch, which was flat. He only
did one chorus, which was fine for me. I thought he was
ok - but just ok. The judges liked it, but Simon thinks
that it was bland and safe and like CHinese food - 'I'll
love it at the time, but it will leave you
hungry...we're looking for Spaghetti Bolonaise, that was
Sweet and Sour Chicken.' I continue to agree with Simon.
Singer #6 is Jennifer 'You look like something you would
wrap a turkey in' Hudson, an African American cruise
director who cries every time she heard Marque sing. Do
we have romance going on? She sings 'Imagine' and that
was just not a good choice of song. She sounds like she
would sound better in the lower register, because she is
clearly struggling in the higher register. She does get
out of it nicely, but she didn't pick the right song.
Simon and Paula thought it was just ok, but Simon says
that she made love to the audience. As a cute barb,
Jennifer asked Simon how he liked the outfit - heh. I
liked her outfit better than I liked her tune.
Singer #7 is Matthew Metzger, a 23 year old substitute
teacher - but you may remember him as 1. One of the
final 48 that got cut last year, or 2. One of the
members of the peroxide blonde trio who mangled their
words this year. He does make me happy by singing one of
my favorite songs which is weird, because 'Walking in
Memphis' - but I like the version that was done much
better by Scooter. Matthew brings the same pitch that he
sang as a member of team Peroxide - and that's not a
good thing because his pitch was awful and easily the
worst singer there so far. Randy agrees with me - but
Paula doesn't and says that he was an improvement. Simon
likes his stage presence, but if that's the best that he
could say, that's not exactly giving a ringing
Fantasia Barrino is the last singer - and she doesn't
want to be known as Macy Grey. She has a personality
(bordering on ego), and she definitely makes a different
song with 'Let's Give Them Something to Talk About.' She
does hit the pitch, but I don't like her tone and she
doesn't really seem to be interacting with the audience.
Randy says that she is what the competition is about,
Paula says that Fantasia has to be in the finals - and
Simon says that Fantasia wouldn't need the competition
to get a recording contract. This is my first major
disagreement here - because I am not feeling her. Do I
think that she will get into the finals? Definitely.
Will I be voting for her? No.
This is going to be weird, because my 2 picks are
completely different than what I think the audience will
pick. The fact that we have a lot of different people
with potential to get in says a lot about the level of
talent for this season. The 2 that I voted for is Katie
Webber and Diana DeGarmo. The 2 people that I think the
audience will pick is Fantasia Barrino and Marque Lynche
- with DeGarmo being the third person. We'll see how
right I am tomorrow.
We are back - and we get
to see the audience's opinion for the first time this
season! We already have the controversy with Paula
fondling Simon - and Simon gaining weight while Randy is
Simon: "Kind of like
(Ryan's) head". Ouch.
We start with 11.5 million votes coming in - and a recap
of yesterday's activities. Going to the Idolers, Marque
says that he sang well for his mom, Katie had no problem
with her jazz selection, and Fantasia says that she
would marry Simon. Way to suck it up, Fantasia.
The judges consensus? Randy says Diana and Fantasia,
Paula says Diana and Fantasia, and Simon says Diana and
Fantasia. We have a unanimous decision. But what did the
We start with Marque - and he is not in the top 3. Wow -
I immediately get shot down. Ashley doesn't get in
either - but Fantasia gets in the Top 3, so I feel a
little redemption. Erskine does not make the top 3, but
Diana does - and 2 of my 3 get in. Katie doesn't get in,
which leaves Matthew and Jennifer Hudson. The person
going on is....Matthew? Huh? Simon and Paula isn't
surprised, but Randy, who trashed Matthew, still says
that the voice isn't good enough. I agree with Randy,
and I would be shocked if Matthew got into the final
two. Even if Matthew doesn't make it, it just goes to
show that the audience isn't always voting according to
taste - and that charisma (and being the token white
boy) still plays a major part of the voting.
With 23% of the vote, the first person to be accepted in
is... Fantasia Barrino, who sings a little more of
"Something to Talk About". I still don't like the tone
in her voice, but I'll give her this - it was an
EXCELLENT choice of song, as it gives her a great
country cross-over for people in different voting
cross-sections to vote for her.
Joining Fantasia will be.... Diana DeGarmo. Fortunately,
America has come to it's senses and voted in Diana. She
sings her reprise and we are out of here.
Next week - Group 2 - Lisa Leuschner, Matthew Rogers,
Noel Roman, Jesus Roman, Briana Ramirez-Rial, Camile
Velasco, John Preator and Kara Master. This certainly
looks like Matthew and Lisa would be heavy favorites
here, but this audience is the same one that stuck
Matthew Metzger in the top three, so you never know...