January 21, 2003 -
think you know me....' - Edge's theme.
So why would a computer geek like me be interested in
covering this sort of show? I graduated college with a
Music and Communications Double Major. In high school, I
made Regionals, All-State and All-Eastern is percussion,
and I also have perfect pitch, to boot. I still perform
in both percussion and singing, and the last recent
concert that I performed in was the 'Downtown Messiah'
in December at The Bottom Line Nightclub and at the
WIntergarden at the Financial Center (right next to the
World Trade Center) It was an emotional rush to perform
right next to Ground Zero - an experience beyond
But enough about me. The reason why I bring this up is
because 1. That's my background on why I wanted to cover
American Idol, and 2. Since I have perfect pitch, I want
to relate to you thst if people are out of tune, to me
thats the equivalent of taking Freddy Krueger's bladed
hand and scraping it down a black board. It's also like
taking a cat, sticking it in a vat of boiling water, and
keeping it there for 30 minutes, until the cat is nice
and poached and is served with mashed potatoes and a
fine red wine.
There was a cat symphony this past Tuesday night on the
premiere of American Idol 2.
But lets not put the cart before the horse (or cat, in
this case). The three judges, (Singer Paula Abdul,
Record Producer Randy Jackson and everyone's favorite
critic, UK Record Executive Simon Cowell) are back to
puncture more egotistical balloons. Also returning is
Ryan Seacrest (though his co-star does not).
We start in Miami, with 6,000 people, then we go to
Detroit with 6,000 people. Next is Nashville - with
5,000 people, followed with the 6,500 in Atlanta. They
also had 6,000 people in Austin audition. The
overwhelming majority of them were awful.
11,000 people in Los Angeles - and most of them were
rotten too. Here are some of the better put downs -
'They said you went to Fame High School - did you get
thrown out?' - (Simon). 'Did you ever try to start the
car, and the car won't start and it goes
wrrrr-wrrr-wrrrr - that's what you sounded like' -
This time around, the contestants can answer back in the
American Idol Focus Room - and they are not nearly as
clever as the judges. Another new item this year is the
interview with the potential Superstars as they move up
the ranks - and Kristin Holt (one of the potential
Superstars from last season - yes, the table woman) will
be doing the honors.
We first see my city - the Big Apple. 9,000 people
showed up to audition, and most of them were - you
guessed it - awful. 'You could be the worst singer in
New York' (Simon).
To make it even more embarrassing, they put the names of
the singers who sing badly on the TV, so we can all
ridicule them - like Chris, who gets this from Simon 'If
you were living 2,000 years ago and sung like that, they
would have stoned you'. I won't mention any last names,
but it was pretty bad.
New York finally gets their first talented singers in
the form of Cara and Rhian Morgan, 17 year old twins
from Macedon, NY. They do sound decent - but there's one
problem - there can only be one American Idol. Simon
tells them that only one of them can go forward, but one
won't go without the other, and Paula agrees. The judges
do compromise and send them both to Hollywood (but I
don't see them getting into the finals).
But back to the bad singing - Nathaniel (I'm not putting
up the last names of the rotten singers to spare the
humiliation to the singer and his kin) decided to be
original with ripped up pants. He also sounds like he
had a ripped up throat - and he and Simon get into it,
with Simon, of course, getting the upper-hand.
Simon - 'I think the reality is that I've heard better
people sing outside Subway Stations'
Nate - 'That's fine, but I worked really really hard'.
Simon - 'So do they'
Nate - 'Do they stand outside in the cold for 2 days?'
Simon - 'Well, if they're outside, yes.'
The three judges tell Nate that he's horrible, but he
decides to attack them on the fact that they don't sing.
'You dont have to bring people down....you did not have
to say that I was horrible.'
Simon 'But you were horrible' (Yes he was)
Nate - 'So were you'
Simon - ''Fine...we have something in common.'
Time to go back to singing school for Nate, as he rants,
calling Randy fat, telling Simon he's an A$$hole, and
storming out. 'He took that well' said Simon. This is
the core of American Idol - and a very entertaining core
But we wouldn't have this show if it wasn't for people
who sang well - and for two of these contestants, there
is a sub-plot to it. Kristin Barrera and Janine Falsone,
know each other - Kristin's current boyfriend is
Janine's ex. They are both here to try out for the show.
Kristin goes first - and she belts out a nice tune. The
judges agree, and Kristin gets to go to Hollywood.
Janine is next - and she is not as strong as Kristin.
Janine requests a do-over. She gets it and redeems
herself. They also send her to go to Hollywood, but not
before exchanging this dialogue between Simon and Paula:
Simon - 'Im just bored today'
Paula - 'I could stand naked in front of you, for that
matter everyone in this room can stand naked dancing the
Simon - 'I would agree with you - if you stood naked in
front of me, I would not get excited.'
Ouch. But both women make it - and this could be really
interesting later on down the road. Christopher is not
that interesting at all - but Simon makes it
interesting. 'If you were to win, and sing a song, you
would kill The American industry...you could possibly be
the worst singer in New York.'
As a joke, they take Christopher around to see if
there's anyone worse than him - they can't find anyone
and they eventually leave him singing alone on a street
corner. Too bad he couldn't find Nate.
Julia DeMato, a hairdresser from Connecticut, was so
terrified that she wrote the lyrics to the song on her
hand when she sings. She didn't need to. She belted out
a sweet rendition of 'Unbreak My Heart'. They tell her
that she's great job, and she breaks down. She hugs
Paula and tells Simon - 'You scared the Sh#t out of me.'
We find the first male vocalist who goes to Hollywood -
Danny Rodriguez, who does an interesting rendition of
'Fly Me To The Moon' (The pitch was there, the tone
wasn't, but I guess you need SOME male representation
from NYC, don't you?)
Cynthia is next, but she forgets the words. 'It wasn't
dreadful, it wasn't horrible - it was absolutely
ghastly.' (Simon). I don't think she was that bad, but
'There's only so much punishment that a human being can
take.' (Simon). She was better than they next bunch of
contestants that come in. It went so bad, that the
judged came in and told the people that the talent so
far has been awful, and 'How bad do you want it?'
Tirrell Anthony, from Brooklyn NY, wants it - and Paula
likes his voice (though I don't), Randy agrees with me,
while Simon likes the voice, but doesn't like the image.
Tirrell says that 'Mr. Luther Vandross' told him that he
has a special voice. 'Would you invest 1 or 2 million
dollars of your money into Tirrell?' says Simon. Paula
says yes, and she convinces Simon - but Simon tells
Tirrell to change his image before coming to Hollywood.
We'll see how successful Terrell is in doing that.
Frenchie Davis is next - and her friends raised money to
send her to NYC. Now she is - shall I say -
'full-bodied' - so let's see if that image holds true.
She has a very nice voice. They all applaud her
performance. 'I was waiting for that for the past 4
days' says Randy. They unanimously send her to
On to Miami we go. Unlike New York, the people got to
sleep out on the beach (awww, poor babies). At least New
York does not hoard all of the bad singers - there were
plenty to go around in Florida. Terra is next - and the
Mariah Carey wanna-be is not remotely close to her
singing caliber. 'Terra, there is only one resemblance
to Mariah Carey - your hair'. (Randy) Ouch.
Heidi Hall is the first good singer in Miami. Her mom
braves it out with her, and it pays off, she sings a
nice version of 'When I fall in love' and she goes to
Natalie Galan joins her with a nice Sarah mclaughlin
(Angel) song. She gets in barely, 2-1 (Paula says no)
and cries in her mom's arms after realizing that she's
in. Lots of girls from Miami get in, but Sean Campos
wants to be the first successful R and B Asian male -
and he is by far the best male so far. He gets in 3-0
and celebrates by chest-bumping his friend, and then
We also find the worst (and possibly scariest)
contestant on American Idol - Edgar. He brutalizes
Enrique Iglesias' 'Escape' Randy - 'I have one phrase
for you. 'Don't sing ever anymore'. Edgar disagrees - 'I
want to hear from (Simon) Cowell'. Are you sure of that?
Heeeeere's SIMON! - 'You're one of the worst singers I
have ever heard in my life.' Edgar, still in Dreamland,
still thinks he is going to L.A. Maybe he can get there
if he spends some money for airline tickets.
And the insults keep on coming. 'You're going to school
for pharmacy? Good, I may need some medication after
that.' (Randy). Bashir is next - and he is good on every
facet - except his voice. Randy agrees with me, but
Paula and Simon say that everything else outweighs the
lack of singing, citing that most pop stars today do not
have a good voice. They give him a pass to go to
Back comes Edgar - and he tells the producers that the
judges wanted him to come back. They obviously don't,
and Edgar gets stopped, escorted out by security and
banned from the building. Maybe if FOX does 'Psychotic
Idol', Edgar will be coming back.
But the judges do not come back to Miami - they come to
Austin. This is a rugged terrain - and with them comes
some rugged singing. Unfortunately, 'rugged' is not an
adjective used with good singing. Dana Clark brought 27
members of her fan club with her - this will either be a
great celebration of a huge disappointment. I've heard
better, but she's not bad, and she should be good enough
to go to CA. And she does, getting in by a score of 2-1
(Simon being the dissenter).
Kimberly Caldwell is next - She has a booming sweet
voice, with a nice twang to it. That, plus her Christina
Aguilera outfit, should make her a shoo-in, and she is,
3-0. Cedric comes in a bright yellow suit, and he starts
out well, but the pitch falters and his choreography
does him in. 'Not even for Bulgarian Idol' (Simon).
Cedric came down by himself - and he's stranded. On one
hand, you can't help but feel sorry for him, but on the
other hand, what sort of moron comes all the way out
there with no place to stay? Oops.
Coffey's clock is ticking - in more ways than one - he
has a kid on the way. I think he should be going back to
his kid, but I think his voice will be passable enough
to go to Hollywood. He survives with a 2-1 vote (and
yes, he does come back in time to see little Coffey Jr's
birth.). Jacob John Smalley, who's next, blows Coffey's
performance out of the water with Shyne's 'Should I Fall
in Love' and should get in easily. He does, as he clicks
with the judges, 3-0. Katherine Edmonson should be
joining the guys with a sassy edition of 'Fever'. Randy
says no (which surprised me) but Paula and Simon
overrule him, and off to CA she goes. 36 people get
selected to go from Texas - the most people form one
state so far.
On our next episode, we will see LA, Detroit and more,
but first, AMERICAN IDOL - WHERE ARE THEY NOW????
As you all know, all of the American Idol finalists went
out on tour together and were one big happy family (blech).
We spend the first 5 minutes discussing the tour. But
after the last song was sung, everyone goes out on their
(I'll also start out that maybe they were not as much of
a big happy family as previously thought, as neither
Ejay Day nor Jim Verraros gets a profile on what they
are doing now. Whatever the black sheep of the family
are doing now, your guess is as good as mine).
Tamyra Gray now has a contract with Babyface and will be
having a new CD coming out in 2003. She also has been in
A.J. Gil - 'I'm looking around for the best deal
available' (which means that he probably hasn't done
Ryan Starr is recording and has gotten acting and
modeling deals. She is pursuing a new musical style -
but she is also pursuing designing - and is working on
Christina Christian still hasn't finished college yet,
but she has been working as a correspondent for FOX, MTV
and other entertainment networks. Christina will be an
American Idol insider for TV Guide.
R.J. Helton was sighted singing the Star Spangled Banner
at the WUSA Championship and was also doing Old Navy
commercials with Ryan (Seacrest), Christina, Nikki and
Nikki McKibbin runs a Karaoke bar in Michigan, and is
taking her sweet time to make a new album.
Justin Guarini got to be on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day
Parade Float. He's also in the midst of making a new
movie musical with him and Kelly Clarkson.
Kelly Clarkson has been all over the place (which as the
winner is to be expected) such as Leno, Regis, etc. She
also sang in Las Vegas with her own idol - Reba
McIntyre. Kelly had a number one hit (A Moment Like
This) which jumped from 52 to 1. Unfortunately, the
American Idol people are trying to rewrite history by
saying that the song has had the quickest jump - that's
not true. There have been a few songs that have debuted
at number 1, including 'We Are The World' by USA For
Africa). And, of course, the movie with Justin.
We'll be back tomorrow to see which people have a shot
to be on a future 'Where Are They Now?' American Idol.
January 22, 2003
- Gordon Pepper
We continue the first
round search of American Idol in Los Angeles. We see our
first real glimpse of Ms. Kristin Holt interviewing the
people who are camped out of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
11,000 people line up and the contestants who get
stickered gets moved over to a local hotel.
Paula arrives early to give some love to some of the
contestants, while Simon comes in fashionably on time
for California. fashionably on time would be equal to
around thirty minutes late, which of course makes the
contestants even crankier than they ordinarily would be.
Equoia Coleman got bit by a poisonous spider and has to
sing in a cast. Fortunately for her, the spider didn't
take away any musical talent. 'Why haven't you been
signed to a recording contract yet?' asks Simon, as they
unanimously pass her.
But not everyone is that good. The cats are coming out
for the poor boy who did 'Celebration'. 'You will never
ever in a million years make it as a singer.' (SIMON).
We also had someone who looked like a lion (I guess
looks are everything), but the sound is pretty rotten.
The first male who is passable is James. I don't like
him as much as the voices on yesterday, but the judges
unanimously pass him. Robin is next, as her mom (who is
more nervous than she is) is waiting outside. After her
first song, Paula asks her to sing something more
upbeat. Her mom, waiting outside, asks, 'What are they
asking her to do, sing the whole list?', and adds,
'You're not going to make a big mistake unless you're
bogus.' Well, the judges are not bogus (since Paula does
advance), but if she didn't, mom would have 'pulled out
his (SIMON's) testicles. I don't care what happens to
Speaking of lack of testicles, Anthony sounds like he
has no testosterone whatsoever. He is 6'7" and his voice
sounds like he hasn't hit puberty. His musical talent
hasn't grown in yet either. 'I think you're amazing -
amazingly dreadful. I think that no one else on the
planet will ever sound like you - thank God.' (SIMON)
Even Ryan makes fun of him. Anthony in the after
interview tells Simon to bite his little thing attached
to his testicles.
Carrie Hunt belts out God Bless America, which I think
is a bit strong. Simon thinks she is brilliant and its a
unanimous. Another patriotic guy is Daniel, but in
singing the Star Spangled Banner, he forgets and not
only mangles up the music, he mangles up the words.
'You're in a class of your own...your one of the worst
singers that I've ever heard in my life.' A real
patriotic guy, Joshua, who is in the corp, will be
singing a song from O-Town. He's not bad, and is
actually better than the first guy who was on. The
judges all agree, and mission accomplished for Joshua,
who gives out a little wolf howl and a call to his
Alyson sings 'I'll take you there' - and takes them to
the land of no lyrics. She sings another song - and she
was better when there was no lyrics. She falls into the
trap of nerves. Simon says yes, but Paula and Randy says
no - Alyson wants another shot, but the judges aren't
going to give it to her. Despite the rejection, she
continues to sing - and Simon continues to say yes,
while Paula continues to say no. She is pleading with
Randy, who is actually making her kiss Simon - which she
does, and then kisses everyone else for good measure.
Alyson is begging with Randy, and he finally gives in
and Alyson gets to move on to the second round.
Other people don't get that second, third or fourth
shot. We get a montage of really bad singers. We have
another set of twins who come in - Who were there last
year and sing 'Give me One More Chance' 'No' (SIMON).
They say that he is naive, but Randy and Paula side with
Simon. 'When you two were singing, you were out of
tune.' (RANDY) 'You should go out, don't buy any money
on singing lessons, go buy out a realistic attitude'
(SIMON) 'We came out on top' say the twins 'And we'll be
back'. Only if you take singing lessons.
Marie comes in and says that she'll be happy even if
they say that she's the worst singer in the world. The
positive attitude didn't work. 'You may have felt the
music, the music didn't feel you.' (SIMON) The last we
see of Marie is her cursing out the judges in the back
on the feedback camera.
Then we have another blond African American with red
streaks 'If you can imagine Linda Blair in the exorcist
singing, while she was tied up in the bed, you were
singing like you were six people...that's not a
compliment.' (SIMON). Then we have Dino. 'No matter what
they take from me, they take away my dignity.' They took
away your vocal talent, Dino. Randy is cringing while
Dino's singing and Dino is staring at the ceiling, not
noticing. He notices when he's done. 'Have you ever been
on a farm...(you are imitating) the sheep trying to
sing. Baaaaaaaah.' (RANDY).
Melody comes in dressed like Dorothy to sing 'Somewhere
Over the Rainbow' in a bizarre fashion, the mangles the
melody, but the voice is good - good enough to get in -
'As long as you click her heels' (RANDY). She does, and
she gets to Hollywood, which is a lot further away than
Next up is someone who is dressed like Tarzan. Paula
likes the voice, though the image is rotten. 'I couldn't
disagree with you more.' says Simon, who says no. Randy
gives him the benefit of the doubt and Tarzan leaves the
Those are the highlights of the men - the rest are,
well, I'll let Simon say it. 'I quit....You can't sing'.
(SIMON). Enter J.D. Adams, who is related to the
presidential Adams. I don't like him, his tone is off,
but he is in tune, so I'm betting that the judges will
like him. 'Thank you God...Brilliant.' says Simon. The
other two judges agree and the presidential relation
brings him into Hollywood. 44 people in total qualify
from the city of the roses.
Next up is Detroit - the motor city. But is it also the
vocal city? The early results seem to be no. 7,000
people braved the 25 degree weather. Bill was up first,
and people who thought that he was homeless gave him
stuff. Apparently, his singing talent needs a new home
too, because it wasn't in his body. 'It was a flat
unemotional audition' (SIMON). Bill tells Simon to kiss
his a$$. Antoine the Lifeguard is next, and he doesn't
do much better. 'If your life guard duties were as good
as your singing, lots of people would be drowning.'
Dennis, an ex-stripper is next. 'Your problem is that if
you want to be successful, A. You have to have talent,
and B. You have to be a role model, You can't be a role
model walking around like that...and you don't have any
talent.' (SIMON). Dennis tells Randy to continue to eat.
Kewanna finally gets Detroit on the winning track with a
powerful voice. The music was off, but the sound may be
good enough to get her through. The judges barely pass
her - but in she goes, and Kewanna thanks Jesus and
The next three people have ok tones, but you can't
understand what they are saying. Tea may not be able to
understand what she's saying - she has an attack of
nerves. She uses a chair to strut out a version of
'Sweet Thang' - she's better off on concentrating on the
song instead of the skit - because she was good until
she started moving around - then the sweet thang turned
sour. 'You didn't make any eye contact with us, so you
were viewing something, instead of us enjoying it.
(PAULA) 'You were on every key. Terrible.' (RANDY)
'There's always other shots...the chair, on the other
hand, had potential' (SIMON).
The next woman. Kimmie, gets in. 'Simon even liked me,
cool', shouts Kimmie, who jumps up and down and screams.
16 Year old Michael Craig does a weird version of
'What's Going On', but he was in tune, and Paula likes
it. Simon, though not liking the performance value,
agrees, and Randy makes it unanimous. The first man gets
Karissia's mom didn't her to get in. The song that she
picked was completely wrong for her, but her voice
sounded well. The problem is that Karissia doesn't want
to go home, because she doesn't want to face her
parents, who want her to do something other than
The judges probably hoped that some people had parents
like Karissia, 'There's a line in the song that says
everything - When I'm bad, I'm so bad.' (SIMON) 'I'm
starting to believe that the Mo has left the Town'.
(RANDY) Randy (a singer) tried to do a song and dance.
'As bad as your dancing was, your singing was even
worse' (SIMON). A French Elvis impersonator doesn't help
out things. 'That's got to be the worst I ever heard'
(RANDY) 'They say you got fired for singing...I would
have fired you for singing there...that was absolutely
Ryan has to wake up the next person, who fell asleep -
Frederick - and for all purposes, his vocal chords were
still sleeping. This is the quote of the week, and
possibly describes the judges mood at this point. 'Can I
just say one thing, and I want to thank you for this -
you have summarized Detroit for us'. (SIMON)
Nicole is called 'Lady Tiger', and she is sleeping on
the street and is a female boxer. Unfortunately, it's
her vocal chords that take a knock out. 'Nicole, you
just didn't make the grade - it's as simple as that.'
(SIMON) As a single parent (her husband was murdered),
Nicole has to take her kid back out ad look for another
way out of the city. 'You ain't goin' nowhere in
Detroit....I'm a Christian and I'm keeping my dreams.'
Very heartwarming, but it's not about being heartwarming
- it's about singing - and only 22 people in Detroit
make it to the second round.
Next time around - we'll be finishing up Round 1
Auditions, and we get to find out who the worst singer
of the world is (I bet you just can't wait for that,
January 28, 2003
- Gordon Pepper
We are down to the last
2 cities - Atlanta and Nashville. Will we be
experiencing some down home southern comfort? Or will
Simon, Randy and Paula want to down a lot of Southern
Comfort booze after hearing these guys sing?
Well, in this case, the booze hounds will only be Simon
and Randy. Paula had a previous engagement, so the crowd
instead gets Randy and a VERY Cranky Simon. So what will
those Atlantans expect from Simon? 'I'm not in a great
mood today...I'm going to give you some advice - We will
judge you, not just on your singing ability - we will
judge you on how you walk in the room, we will judge you
based on your singing, and most of you won't be able to
do that...and we will also judge you based on how you
react to positive and also negative criticism.'
Nickie Nickolson, the first person to go on, makes Simon
less cranky. She gets in with flying colors. Jessica Cox
also gets in, and tells everyone. 'If you go in there
and be yourself, and they are not that bad people.
Johnny didn't take that advice. He sings one of Simon's
favorite songs - 'Ain't no Mountain High Enough.', which
turns into 'Can't get him done quick enough.' Simon -
'Well, it was one of my favorite songs.'
Omega combines singing (well she calls it singing) with
an aerobic workout. She combines it into performance
art. 'All I was thinking about when you were performing,
was how I can pay you to stop.' - Simon. She says that
when she gets famous she will invite them to her show
and she can judge them. I hope not.
Clay Aiken looks like a geek - but he has a good voice.
'You don't look like a pop star, but you've got a great
voice.' says Simon, as he and Randy agree with me.
Clayton gets to go to Hollywood - and he hugs Kristin
Holt on the way out.
But not all of the guys get the better of the doubt.
Joshua Reece actually sounds pretty good, and quite
honestly, they let people with worse voices advance to
Hollywood, but Simon says 'You don't sing like a pop
singer - you sing like a cabaret singer. I can imagine
you on a boat in the Caribbean...you can make a living
out of your voice, but you're not coming to Hollywood.'
I think Josh got rooked, Josh thinks he got rooked, and
the words continue when Simon comes out - with a
policeman. The verbal sparring continues, which
culminates in Simon saying, 'Fine, don't work on a boat,
then.' This is really the first person that they
rejected that I don't agree with.
Make this one the second. Maria Ward sings a song called
'Taker forever and Shove it up your A$$.' I liked the
song but not the voice that was singing it. Simon and
Randy liked the creativity, and she gets to go to the
next round. Maria gets a hug from her husband. So they
leave a nice crooner out and put the vulgar woman in?
Mitchell Asa has a funky shirt - and I don't think he's
as good as the boat singer. Simon hates the shirt. 'This
is one of the worst shirts that I have seen
throughout...the good news is that you have a fantastic
voice...wrap (the shirt) into a ball and give it back to
Ryan (Seacrest).' Mitchell does just that - and he
Making matters worse is Joshua Strickland, who looks
like Ryan's lost brother from South Carolina - and he
sounds like it. Once again, the judges have taken a
leave of their vocal senses. Simon - 'On a positive
note...you can sing well...I think it's very important
that you have role models in your life. But what I would
suggest is to always try and find a good role model. I
think you have possibly seen maybe Ryan Seacrest too
much on TV...really try and move away from that.' Ryan
comes in. Simon - 'I want to see what you will look like
in 20 years...would you promise me that you will move as
far away from Ryan as possible, image-wise?' Joshua does
get in, as Simon will get to make fun of him some more.
Vanessa Olivarez, who arrives in a punk outfit and a
nice sparkly mohawk, comes in and sings 'Bohemian
Rhapsody'. She's passable, and should get in. The judges
and I finally get back on the agreeing track and she
gets to go to Hollywood - and as a reward she lies down
Keith is telling Kristin about him - not about his
singing, but about how he has grown out his hair -
that's not a good sign. A worse sign is when he opens
his mouth. He does a perfect vocal style of Madonna's
'Like a Virgin', gyrations and all. There's only two
problems; 1. He doesn't sound like Madonna (maybe her
younger sister, Craponya), and 2. He's a guy, and the
male gyrations don't really work on Simon nor Randy.
Randy is so disgusted that he is covering his head with
a sheet of paper. Seeing Randy in such pain, Simon
gleefully asks Keith to do another song. He does 'I
Wanna Dance With Somebody' by Whitney Houston -
gyrations and all.
I'll let Simon handle this one. 'Last year, I described
someone as being the worst singer in America. I think
you're possibly the worst singer in the world, based on
that performance, and I'm absolutely serious. I've never
ever heard anything like that in my life. Ever.'
Randy - 'It was horrific, man. When you said interesting
and unique, you were a mouthful.'
Simon - 'There is nobody on this planet who sounds like
Randy 'Keith, What else do you like to do?'
Keith 'I like to dance'.
Randy 'Then why don't you try dancing.'
OUCH. I didn't think he was the worst singer in the
world, but it was pretty grotesque.
After a montage of really bad singers, and singers who
forget the words, and singers who leave the wrong way,
we see Stefanie Schultz with a nice rendition of Alicia
Keyes 'Falling'; a little flat, but good enough to go
in. Simon and Randy agrees. A lot of talent gets to go
to Hollywood from Atlanta - and American Idol record of
42+ people get to go.
We are up to the last city - Nashville. Paula has
rejoined the cast - and she may have wanted to leave
once she sees Edwin, who drinks out of Paula's glass
without asking. He gives them a complimentary CD and
sings 'Somebody to Love', calls Simon sexy, and offers
to give him a kiss. Simon? 'You're wearing pajamas...
you're wearing a strange hat, you're wearing some sort
of robe, and you snarled through a song. Why do I need
to say anything?' 'Because I rock', says Edwin. No you
We then see a montage of people doing the wrong things -
like asking the judges to sing along, arguing with
yourself, burping and farting, screaming instead of
singing, forgetting the words, and only singing the
words of a song called ' I Love You.' Paula is looking
around and wondering why she left from her previous
Ruben Studdard, a pleasantly plump guy, sings 'Ribbon in
the Sky' and he is arguably one of the best male voices
heard so far in the competition. He gets in unanimously
to go to Hollywood. He says hi to his mommy and is
hugged by his brother.
Next up is Ira, a 5 year old black kid who tries to sing
- maybe he can make his duet with Keith from earlier.
Paula and Randy likes it - Simon, of course, didn't.
'The Caucasian guy didn't like it. The brown dude liked
it' Ryan - 'The Caucasian dude don't like much.'
The Caucasian dude liked Alden Wynn - not the one
writing this, but Simon. He was ok - and the judges
liked him better than I did. Most of the people who are
auditioning from Nashville, aren't from Nashville. Amber
is from Nashville - and she is reeking of flat notes.
John joins her in the land of suck. Maybe you guys are
better off with the non-Nashville people.
Corey Clark is next - and he looks like a dark colored
Justin Guarini. He sings like Michael Jackson - and not
nearly as good as Guarini - but since male talent has
been really hard to come by this time around, he should
get in. And he does get in with a 3-0 count.
The men were hard to come by, but in the Nashville
location, a lot of males have come in and gotten
accepted - more males get in than females. Kelly Renee
has a powerful voice and she has a nice tone - so she
should break the just men streak. She does, as the
judges accept her in unanimously. Kimberly Locke, though
not as strong as Renee, joins her, as Simon makes an
interesting Style Vs. Image argument.
The last person to audition is Ricky Smith, who sings
just as well as Stoddard. Despite dressing like his dad,
he gets in, and once hearing the news, he breaks into a
chant - specifically, Disney's 'Hercules! Hercules!
Hercules!' As he gets a warm celebration from his
family, and while the judges continue to argue whether
or not they thought Kelly Clarkson was this good this
early, we find out that 29 people make it out of
That brings us to a total of 234 people. By the end of
next episode, that number will be down to 32. We'll see
who those 32 are in 24 hours.
January 29, 2003
- Gordon Pepper
Hooray for Hollywood!!!!
234 of them show up on the scene on Monday, December 9,
2002. 202 of them will be gone by the end of round 2.
Mysteriously, we are down to 48 without knowing what
happened to everyone else.
Oh wait a sec - here we are - it's flashback time. We
see Tony Bennett (who was actually eating at a
restaurant I was at. SHRIIEEEEK!!!!!') As Simon
explains, 'One of you is about to be very happy and very
rich in around 5 months time. Good luck.'
We then go to Tuesday - people are in a chorus line, and
Frenchie Davis says that 'she does not have long hair in
the back and she is not a size two.' She then sings 'and
I am telling you that I am not going.' - specifically to
We see Marcus Curtis with a ring for Paula. We see the
return of the twins as well as Rene Tem and Ruben
Studdard, and Bettis Turrisman.
But there can only be one American Idol - down go the
Twins. Them and a lot of other people get cut - half of
them to be exact. A priceless moment is when Simon calls
out one woman, who is screaming for joy - only to find
out that almost everyone else accepted and she is one of
the few eliminated. But Frenchie is still there - as
well as Ricky 'Hercules' Smith. We are down to 120.
Wednesday comes around, and it's time to cut more
people. This exam is to create a melody based on a set
of lyrics that are given to them. Josh the Marine gets a
thumbs up from Simon, while Danny Rodriguez and Clay
Aiken (without the nerdish look) also shine through.
Stephen Franklin takes off his jacket - and sings out of
tune. 'That was absolutely ghastly...that's not a
compliment. Ghastly means awful. You have managed to
turn this into Chippendales.' - Simon. Vanessa, she of
the red mohawk, sings right at Simon, who acknowledges
it with a smile. Following him is Coffee Anderson, (he
who had the kid), and who had his mind elsewhere as he
was rotten. He gets cut - and so do 39 more. We're down
Here is the next They are then cut into groups of three
- and then the groups are supposed to sing a song
together. Some people take it very seriously and sing
the whole night. Marcus Curtis and his group sound
sweet, Kim Caldwell's group decide to meet after an hour
of eating - their partner, Julia Demato, is waiting for
them - and they didn't show up after the hour has
Other people don't take it nearly as seriously and spend
the night out on the town. Stephen and Alden decide to
have some drinks - with a contestants mother. Corey
Clark, the Guarini look-alike, decide to join Stefan and
Alden, much to the chagrin of his partner, Patrick Lake.
Julia is chagrined, because her partners haven't shown
up, and it's 10pm. The other three guys party all night
long. 1am - everyone is done - except the guys and
Julia. But what about Julia's teammates? Ahhh - they
were practicing, and apparently there was an error in
We are up to 8:10 am - and the guys started first. Well,
they try to - Stefan and Olden and Cory all showed up
late. The bus finally leaves - but not before everyone
loses practice time and the people in the bus want to
string up all of the late guys.
Meanwhile, in the girl's crisis of the hour, Kim's group
is still singing - without Julia. Julia's sister tries
to intervene for her behalf, and it's not working. They
are all continuing to sing separately. This does not
bode well for any of them.
But it's the guys turn to go first. Ruben Stoddard's
group begins the day, with him and Rickey 'Hercules'
Smith. Randy and Paula and Simon give them all raves.
'You guys have a lot to live up to' warns Simon.
Not nearly as raveful is the montage coming up with some
of the other male groups. A lot of guys are screwing up
the words, which include Mr. Rodriguez, Josh the
military guy, and the non-nerdish Aiken, and it's not
going to be pretty. 'First of all, why did you bother
applauding, because that was pathetic...it was seriously
painful to listen to - and watch...actually one of the
worst things I ever heard.' growls Simon.
It's now Corey's turn - and he blanks out on the words -
but to make it up, he changes the words to Paula and he
comes over to croon to her. Did this save him? For
Paula, it did, but for Simon, it didn't. 'I didn't think
you sounded great either.' Randy - 'Dog, make you be in
tune, yo - you need to sing the hell out of it to be in
The last group is Stephen and Alden - the 2 major party
people. Bettis, the one person who did actually study,
does fine as the lead vocalist, but Alden and Stephen
just mangle the words and music. I see nothing good
coming out of Simon. 'I'm picking up a vibe here, and
the vibe here is that this is a joke...Why don't you
stop wasting my time and everyone's time and just
leave...You three, the two of you in particular, are an
insult to this competition. If you think that you can do
better, then good luck to you.'
Here comes the judges decision. Or do we get one?
'You've now created a problem for yourselves. We are now
going to see the girls perform before we make the final
decision, and it could be, depending on how they are,
that there could be now an imbalance of girls against
So the ladies, if they perform well, could be
represented more than the guys in the final 32. Frenchie
and Kimberley Locke work together as a duo. That
strategy seems to pay off. Randy and Paula and Simon
like them both, and they seem to be a shoo-in for the
round of 32.
Tensions are boiling with the guys - and everyone is
getting on Alden and Corey's case, specifically Marcus,
who apologizes to the judges, and Alden accuses Marcus
of being a brown-noser. 'I'm not brown-nosing, this is
me everyday, and if they can't accept it, the Hell with
them.', says Marcus. I'm guessing these two will not be
exchanging Valentine's Day Presents any time in the next
Back to the women - and they are struggling as badly as
the guys are. 'If this was a live TV Show, we would be
the laughing stock of America.' But one good thing
happened. Frenchie Davis united Julia with the rest of
her team, and they are now a 4-some - but are they good?
her and Kim Caldwell stood out, and were told so by the
judges. 'I feel like a star' says Julia. I have a
feeling that the judges agree...
So now the judges cut this down to 48 people. Line 1 -
Corey and Alden and Marcus - they are all staying - the
one bad night didn't cost 2 of the party boys. Line 2
has Stefan (the final party boy) and Danny Rodriguez
(who mangled his lines) - and they are gone. Line 3 has
Hercules, Bettis Richardson, Patrick Lake and J.D. Adams
- and they are staying as well. But there are only 21
guys - so that makes it disproportionate to the women,
who would mathematically have 27.
Line 1, with no one being mentioned in particular, is
going home. Line 2 has Kimberly and Frenchie - and they
stay on. Line 3 has Julia and Kimberly Caldwell - and
they advance as well. Line 4 does not advance, but Line
5 stays on as well. The people who are departing get
everyone to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Ammee (what a
rotten birthday present), while Danny Rodriguez croons
This is the last day - and for the final day, everyone
has the stage by themselves. Kim Kelsey goes first - and
she doesn't sing too badly. The problem is - is it good
enough? Everyone has their own story - going through
some new ones for you - Candace Coleman is trying to
escape her life from washing tables. Can Patrick Lake be
a rocker who makes the top 30? What about Julia and Kim?
Marcus, Frenchie, Alden and J.D. also ponder their fate.
Verdict Time - There are 3 groups of 16. 2 Rooms have
just winners. One room has losers.
Room 1 - Some of those people include Ricky, Joshua,
Vanessa, Ruben, Candace, Bettis, Corey, Frenchie and
Kimberly Caldwell - and they all advance. Mission
accomplished for Joshua - and everyone else in the room.
Room 2 - Some of these people include Marcus, Alden,
Stefanie Schultz - and this is the last that we are
going to see of them, because they do not advance. We
get to see all of the tears, and a distraught Marcus
doesn't understand why he is out. 'I was 100% better
than most of the people who were here...I gave it my all
the whole time'. Well, him and Alden get to discuss this
over some tea and crumpets - or maybe not.
Room 3 - Some of these people include Julia, Patrick,
J.D., and Kimberley Locke - they all advance too. All of
the celebrities are mugged and the 32 people are finally
So now what? Well, the rest of the competition will now
be decided by...YOU. You get to decide what happens and
call up after 8 people perform. The top 2 people advance
to the Top Ten.
Here is your first batch of 8 - J.D. Adams, Kimberly
Caldwell, Julia DeMato, LaShandra Collins, Meosha
Denton, Patrick Forston, Bettis Richardson and Charles
Grigsby. We'll be back next week to see who does what --
and who I think should be going on.
February 4, 2003
- Gordon Pepper
Welcome back to American
Idol! The good news for these 32 people is that they
have come back to sing again. The bad news is that only
2 of these eight people will be happy campers after
tomorrow night's episode.
In the studio, where our 8 finalists will be performing,
there is no audience - just Ryan, the judges, and a
back-up piano. Ryan takes us to the Red room (which is
the musical version of the actor's Green Room) - and in
addition to the singers, we have the families of those
vocalists hanging out in the background.
Ryan takes us back to a flashback of their first
interviews for the camera. 'We can help them with their
image, we can help them with their performance, but once
they are on front of the camera, they are on their own.'
We start off with Kimberly Caldwell. She is dead broke -
and almost didn't get on thanks to her skirmish with
Julia DeMato. She sings 'Come to My Window' by Melissa
Etheridge. She is not as strong as previous
performances, and her voice is flat. She definitely
could have picked something better to showcase her
talent. Paula, Randy and Simon liked her performance,
with Simon saying that she sounded better than he
remembers hearing her. I disagree.
The next person up is Patrick Fortson. He got in on a
split decision from the judges, and we haven't really
seen that much of him - that's not a good sign. He sings
'Unbreak My Heart' by Toni Braxton. I have a major
problem with a guy who sings a woman's song. It's even
worse when he sounds more like Toni Braxton than most
women who would be trying to match the song do. I had a
very hard time trying to get through this performance.
'I think the outfit sucks.' says Simon 'If this is the
front of the record sleeve, then G-d bless American
Idol. I also thought that the choice of song is awful.'
I have to agree with Simon.
Patrick's dad, outraged by Simon, comes out of the Red
Room and onto the stage to have a chat with Mr. Cowell.
He comes on the stage with a much spiffier suit. 'You
two should have switched outfits.' Simon and Patrick's
dad gets into it arguing about style over musical image.
The problem was that I thought that the suit was the
best part of Patrick's performance.
The third person up is presidential relative J.D. Adams.
'You are what this competition is about.' says Simon in
a flashback. Will he still be saying that after his
performance tonight? I'm not. He is the best singer so
far - and he picked a challenging song, but he's not in
tune and I don't like his song either. Simon 'I thought
that was OK. I thought you looked like the American Idol
- I'm not sure you sounded like him. I thought it was
OK.' I agree with Simon - and I'm zero for three so far
in terms of liking the people. Maybe I am just cranky. I
did not do well in bowling last night (though my team
won) and maybe it's affecting my judgment.
Trenyce (who used to be called LaShandra Collins) sings
a song from the Bonnie Raitt library - and she actually
puts in a good performance. This is the first one that I
actually liked. Randy likes the energy. Simon doesn't
like the choice of song, but he liked the way that she
sang. 'I'm just in love with you right now.' says Paula.
So at the halfway mark, we have one singer that I like,
one singer that was good but I thought was better
earlier, and two guys who are forgettable.
Meosha is next. One of her highlights was being
corrected by a vocal coach. That's not exactly a vote of
confidence. She sings 'How can I live without you?' She
wasn't really in tune and it wasn't as good as either of
the females performances. The judges agree. 'I think you
walked out there as a loser, and I think that comes into
the So What? Category.' that comes from Simon - and he's
right on the money.
Contestant #6 is Bettis - and he's hoping that he
doesn't burp, fart, or trip. 'My confidence is back, and
I'm ready to impress the judges - and America too.' He
sings 'Thank You', which was made popular by Boyz II
Men. Wayyyy too much choreography and movement for me -
but the song is solid and has a lot of energy, which
makes him the best male singer so far. Unfortunately,
that doesn't say much and once again, this is another
male who is about to be hammered by the judges. Randy -
'I did not enjoy you vocally at all - I was waiting for
it to end.' Paula agrees with Randy. Simon - 'Bettis, I
think you blew it - big time.'
Charles BGrigsby is next - and he tells Simon that he's
ready for him. Charles actually picked a good song for
his vocal range - 'Overjoyed' by Stevie Wonder - but
he's not 100% on pitch either. Randy liked it, and so
did Paula and Simon. 'You did very very good - well
done.' says Simon. He is the best of the male singers,
in terms of the total package - but I was not impressed
with any of the male singers performances tonight.
Julia DeMato is the last contestant for the evening. If
she was so nervous that she had to write the lyrics to
the song on her hands, how is she going to be able to
handle this? She tries to put some closure between the
fight between her and Kimberly Caldwell by saying,
'We're friends now...there's no more drama...watch out,
Simon.'. She sings 'Son of a Preacher Man.' Not as much
energy as Trenyce, but she is in tune and she's got a
sweet voice for this. Paula is happy, but Randy thought
that it wasn't special - he wasn't moved. Simon? 'I
think this contest has proven that the girls are much
bitchier than the guys.' He thought that she sung better
previously, but that she did a good job. I'll have to
agree with that.
I don't think any of their singers brought their 'A'
game tonight. I'm probably still being cranky here. I
think the 2 in this group who should get the nod are
Trenyce and Julia DeMato (with Kimberly Caldwell as the
third person). But it's not up to me (well, it's
partially up to me, since I voted), but it's up to you
guys. We'll be back tomorrow with the results, but in
the meantime, have fun voting!
February 5, 2003
- Gordon Pepper
We are at the first
night of the day after the first set of auditions. Ryan
is back, the judges are back, the contestants are all in
the same room as the audiences, and the contestant's
families are all in the Red Room.
We get a flashback of the good singing, the bad singing,
and the angry parents. We also get to see the American
Idol viewing party, where we Julia and Kim as far away
from each other as humanly possible - although they SAY
that they made up (yeah, right, ok, and I have a bridge
to sell you).
We go to the eight singers - and once again Julia is in
the top row and Kim is on the bottom. Sure they made up.
We start with Trenyce - and she is not in the top three,
which surprised me. Patrick is next, and not
surprisingly, he doesn't get in.
Julia is next - and America thinks that she deserves to
be in the top three. Kim actually gives her a standing
ovation as she sits into the final three pedestals.
Bettis is next, and he does not make the final three.
Kimberly, however does make the final three, and she
joins Julia on the pedestals. Ryan continues to talk to
the group and I don't hear any chairs breaking or fists
landing, so I guess the girls are OK for now...
Back to the contestants - Meosha gets her heart broken
by America as she does not make the final three. That
leaves J.D. Adams and Charles Grigsby. We'll see who is
the third person...after we see Terry Tate knock the
stuffing out of some streaker and see a dumb movie about
men streaking and cars streaking around a track. Do we
sense a theme here?
Kim is sooo playing to the camera 'We're not thinking
about ourselves, just thinking about each other...and
thank you America' says Kim, as she waves to the camera.
The third person selected is Charles, and he is shocked.
We then go see what the judges pick. Both Randy and
Paula say Kimberly and Patrick will advance, while Simon
says that Kimberly and J.D. should advance. Randy and
Paula are trying to be nice in saying that the singers
sang well, but leave it to Simon to sprinkle in a little
reality check to the group.
'I thought the show was dismal, overall, in terms of
talent...Sorry guys, based on last night's performances,
you're not good enough at the moment to come back for
the Wild Card show, and for any contestants watching who
are coming on next week, I really think us and America
are expecting you to do better. We said the bar is being
raised, we're looking for originality, and for the two
of you who go through, I'm expecting as are these two
are, a Hell of a lot better, because I'm telling you
what, if it's the same performances next week, there's
going to be fireworks...I mean it - you've got t raise
So who did America thought had their game raised?
America has spoke, and the person who comes in first
is...CHARLES GRIGSBY! I am somewhat surprised, but he
was the best male singer of the four males that
performed on Monday, so I can't really disagree with
that. I would have stuck him in the top four (with Kim
as the fourth). Charles gets to sing a reprise of
'Overjoyed', which he no doubt apparently is.
So which woman will be joining her? It surprises me that
one of the women will not be going on (though I do
expect that the woman who doesn't get in here will be
seen again in the Wild Card round). I expect that the
woman who advances will be Julia, for 2 reasons; 1.
Julia had the better performance, and 2. Kimberly was
portrayed as a real b!tch during the prelims, and I
think her being nasty to Julia (the ultimate underdog)
is going to cost her dearly.
So back to Ryan. He polls the judges - and they all stay
with their predictions of Kimberly. Ryan announces that
the woman who came in second is - JULIA DEMATO!!
Kimberly hugs her. Awwwwwwwbarf. Julia sings a reprise
of Son of a Preacher Man, and while she's doing that,
Kim is crying in the background. You know what they say
about that nasty Karma thing coming back to get you,
Kim gets to sing a reprise of 'Come to My Window', and
she invites the rest of the group to sing with her. She
is really flat and off this time - but what can you
expect. I'd rather be throwing the microphone at Ryan.
The rest of the outcasts sing - and they are so off that
you know why they didn't get picked. They sing warbly
off until we get to the fade out.
Next week - Candice Coleman, Jacob John Smalley,
Jennifer Fuentes, Clay Aiken, Hadas, Kimberley Locke,
Ruben Stoddard and Rebecca Bond will be the next 8 that
get to be judged by you. I'll be seeing you guys on
Tuesday with my input.