Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AMERICAN IDOL: Judgment Week

Okay, let’s do the math. 71 contestants left, each performing a final number for the judges. At 3 minutes a song that’s 213 minutes of music. AMERICAN IDOL Judgment night was two hours minus the commercials. So ultimately 46 minutes. Seems to me there’d be enough singing to really put together a dynamite show. Instead, we saw snippets of a few songs (some snippets even repeated) and two hours of contestants anxiously waiting, more crying than Gandhi’s funeral, and endless ENDLESS recaps. At times we saw recaps of things that happened two minutes before. I mean, even the guy from MEMENTO would be saying, “Right. They’re separated into three groups and only two go through. I get it!”

If the AMERICAN IDOL producers were writing this review this next paragraph would start “so 71 contestants were left, each performing a final number for the judges. That’s 213 minutes of music if you figured 3 minutes a song.”

So instead of a potentially gangbusters show, we were treated to two tiresome hours of trumped up emotion and boredom. Not to mention trumped up emotion and boredom. There were many scenes where the contestants were sitting in rooms for eight hours just waiting to be called. I thought, “Now you know how I feel watching this snoozefest.”

It’s a SINGING SHOW!! Can we please just watch talented kids SING?! I don’t care what they look like eating breakfast or hugging boyfriends who clearly just escaped from prison. And I certainly don’t care seeing them eat breakfast and hugging boyfriends who clearly just escaped from prison.

Those few seconds of performances we did graciously get to see were by and large terrific. This may be one of the most talented groups of singers they’ve ever had, at least judging by the sixteen bars I heard.

Once the exercise of weeding out one of the three groups was completed they advanced to the “final judgment”. 24 finalists will be selected from the 46 remaining basket cases. Those 24 will begin singing next week for America’s consideration. So 22 will be eliminated. Out of 46. Leaving only 24. To sing next week. Out of 46.

Usually they do this next section in a big drafty mansion. One by one the contestants face the judges to learn their fate. But Flavor Flav must’ve booked it for the latest edition of FLAVOR OF LOVE so IDOL had to hold these waterboarding trials at the Kodak Theatre.

Each contestant entered the back of the theatre, walked down the aisle and climbed onto the stage where their jury was waiting for them.

Randy kept asking the kids, “long walk, huh?” Jesus, it’s not like they had to walk from Port Hueneme. They had to pass 50 rows of seats. Although for Randy I could see where that might require additional oxygen.

Let’s be real. The top 24 is not selected strictly for their singing ability. They’re “cast”. Singing is a factor, but so is their look, backstory, personality, age, ethnicity, and most important – they must have distinctive names with distinctive spelling. Todrick and Katelyn and Didi. One girl had a meltdown when told she was rejected. “Why?” she pleaded. I yelled back at the screen, “Because your friggin’ name is Jessica!” Come back next year as Jess-EE-ka. Or better yet, Persephone.

And after all that, two hours and seven Fox promos for PAST LIFE (as if that’s going to help), they still have to announce 17 of the 24 finalists. Who will perform next week for America. Out of the 71 that started. And not the 7 who have already been selected. From the original 46.

Oh, I forgot. The BIG news. They announced that the judges had new cups this year. Sorry I buried the lead.

If you missed any of this show just tune in tonight. I’d be willing to bet there will be a recap.

31 comments:

Dhppy said...

Thank goodness not everyone was a gracious loser. I was hoping a few would throw themselves on the floor and scream and pound like a 2 year old at Disneyland, and maybe, just maybe someone would vomit on their shoes. But, this will do for now. The whole time Jessica was arguing, I kept thinking, "Why are you dressed to play World of Warcraft? You have to look like you're fronting a band... a post Feudal Era band!"

D. McEwan said...

Coming up later in this comment, Dougie complains about the pre-caps: [clip] "What I hate are the pre-caps, where they show you what you're going to see..." Yes, Dougie hates the pre-caps, after this paragrpah break.

What I hate are the pre-caps, where they show you what you're going to see, so that when they get around to "Showing it," you've already seen it, so why watch? It's takes all the suspense out of it.

Earlier in this comment, Dougie mentioned how much he hates the pre-caps showing him what he's going to see before he sees it, making it pointless to watch it: [Clip] "What I hate are the pre-caps, where they show you what you're going to see, so that when they get around to 'Showing it,' you've already seen it, so why watch? It's takes all the suspense out of it."

D. McEwan said...

We already heard Dougie, in a previous comment, say: "What I hate are the pre-caps, where they show you what you're going to see, so that when they get around to "Showing it," you've already seen it, so why watch? It's takes all the suspense out of it. Coming up later in this comment, he tells how he liked how Lee Dewze kept telling Kara to shut up. [clip] "I loved how when mildly attractive Lee Dewze was told he had made it into the top 24, kept repeating 'Shut up' to Kara over and over." That and more, after this paragraph break.

I loved how when mildly attractive Lee Dewze was told he had made it into the top 24, kept repeating "Shut up" to Kara over and over. You gotta love anyone who tells Kara to shut up. Everyone should tell Kara to shut up any time she opens her stupid mouth.

So far in these comments, Dougie has mentioned how much he hates pre-caps, "What I hate are the pre-caps, where they show you what you're going to see, so that when they get around to 'Showing it,' you've already seen it, so why watch? It's takes all the suspense out of it." and then he mentioned who he loved it when Lee Dewze told Kara to shut up: "I loved how when mildly attractive Lee Dewze was told he had made it into the top 24, kept repeating Shut up' to Kara over and over. You gotta love anyone who tells Kara to shut up. Everyone should tell Kara to shut up any time she opens her stupid mouth."

In the next comment, Dougie tells how he thought tonight's episode of Lost was much better viewing. "Frankly, tonight's Lost was far more entertaining.

D. McEwan said...

We've already heard how curmudgeonly Dougie McEwan, who was raised by wiolves, who were all crippled, so he was the sole support of his entire pack, and who now is a single parent of a ltter of wolf cubs he can only support by commenting on American Idol columns, hates Precaps: "What I hate are the pre-caps, where they show you what you're going to see, so that when they get around to "Showing it," you've already seen it, so why watch? It's takes all the suspense out of it." And how he loked Lee Dewze telling Kara repeatedly to shut up: "I loved how when mildly attractive Lee Dewze was told he had made it into the top 24, kept repeating 'Shut up' to Kara over and over. You gotta love anyone who tells Kara to shut up. Everyone should tell Kara to shut up any time she opens her stupid mouth." Now Dougie tells how watching Lost over on another network was far more entertaining, after this paragraph break.

Dougie McEwan, who didn't even glance at American Idol until 10 PM, because he was watching Lost had this to say, after telling us how he hates the pre-caps and loved Lee Dewze telling Kara to shut up: "Frankly, tonight's Lost was far more entertaining than American Idol.

So Dougie prefers Lost to American Idol, along with hating the pre-caps, and loving Lee Dewze telling Kara to shut up.

Lira said...

Dear God,
Thanks for DVR.
Amen.

YEKIMI said...

One of the reasons I don't watch this show [or waste my money voting for the idiots] is that it's NOT about how fantastic they sing, it's all about looks, diva-ness, etc. If one of these kids looked like Susan Boyle or Ernest Borgnine and had a voice twice as good as hers, a voice that would make angels weep in happiness, they'd still be booted off the show faster than light speed. It's a farce being perpetuated on the American public and I don't believe for one second that all those phoned in votes count for one damn thing.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Dear God,
Thanks for DVR.
Amen.


Speaking of God, I mistakenly received this message, but I'm not about to correct Him. Here it is:

"Ken,

Me bless you! I've been watching the Winter Olympics, enthralled by some of the competition, and shaking my head at how badly Jeff Zucker has fucked up that network. It once aired Cheers, for my son's sake! Please keep this up. There may be times when I watch American Idol just to see how badly my outsourcing has affected humanity (Heaven has an economy, and it's been shaky for a few decades), but mostly, I prefer to lean on you to find out what happened. Thank you, blessed lord of comedy.

To everyone else, I apologize for Jason Mraz.

Sincerely,

God

P.S.: I know, Lira! It's better than the Bible!!"

Anonymous said...

Th national karaoke contest continues; Fox milks it for all its worth, and idiots watch it. Oh, and it features the most annoying man to ever hold a mic: Ryan Seacrest. Did I miss something?

Tommy said...

Has Dragon's Den made it to air in the US? If it is anything like the UK format you are in for a treat. Not only recaps, but a voice-over that explains every thing you just saw, 0.2 seconds ago.


VO: The contestant wants the Dragons to invest 200 grand in his new metal "bottle". Will any of them cough up?

Dragon 1: It's a tin can! You're an idiot, I'm out.

VO: Oh dear. Dragon 1 isn't interested.

Dragon 2: No way.

VO: And Dragon 2 is out as well.

Dragon 3: No chance.

VO: And Dragon 3 refuses to invest, too. It now all hinges on Dragon 4. Will he invest 200 grand in the contestant's metal bottle?

Dragon 4: I'll give you 100 grand for 50% of the business.

VO: Dragon 4 has offered him 100 grand, which is exactly half of what the contestant was hoping for, for 50% of the business. Will the contestant take it?

Contestant: 50% is too much.

VO: The contestant thinks 50% of the business is too much to give away.

Contestant: How about 40%?

VO: He's asked the dragon if he'll consider 40%.

Dragon 4: No, I'm out. You ARE an idiot.

VO: Oh dear. The final dragon has now said "NO"...

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Has Dragon's Den made it to air in the US? If it is anything like the UK format you are in for a treat.

Yes. Here it's called "Shark Tank." I've never seen it, so I don't know about the latter.

Paul Duca said...

Tommy...DRAGON'S DEN airs here on BBC America.

Charles H. Bryan said...

I chose Lost over A.I. this week -- for both hours. I'd rather watch a rerun of last week's Lost episode with little pop-up messages for the memory impaired than see, well, what you described.

Did those advancing to the next round dance badly in front of a camera? That's usually the point where I feel sick about my tv choices.

wv: "bhanat" - suggested name for A.I. competitor; or maybe the national capital of Bhana?

Melissa said...

This is the best AI review ever written.

I'm pretty sure this is my last year watching the show unless NHP hosts.

I can't take any more sob stories, that really are just LIFE, repeated each week. At least film them in a new location looking reflectively sad.

AND NO STORIES ON ANYONE WHO ISN"T IN THE TOP 24!

Oh, you're not in the 2nd day of hollywood week and I'm never going to see you again... than I don't need a 4 min clip that you had an asthma attack and required hospitalization when you were 10.

I want more singing... less stories.. all season long.

Eric said...

I can't wait for the mid-season clip-show post, where we get to hear about the "startling revelations" coming from Dougie, and then read the parts of Dougie's comments that weren't quite interesting enough to make it into his comments on this episode.

Nancy said...

That's exactly why I don't watch AI until they are at the final 12. And some seasons I don't watch until the actual Finals! Even if I watch from the DVR the singing can bore me to tears or make me cringe.

Pat Reeder said...

It's truly bizarre to me that so many people get so caught up in this show. I used to watch it for laughs, but lost interest at least four seasons ago.

I'm (just barely!) old enough to remember all the hipsters sneering at the Monkees because they weren't a "real band," but just some guys cast to play pop stars on a TV show. This despite the fact that Mike Nesmith was a highly-regarded singer/songwriter here in Dallas under the name Michael Blessing, and Peter Tork played multiple instruments, and I think went to Juliard. But they were considered a joke because they were tainted by association with the commercial music machine and weren't considered genuine, independent musical artists.

Now we have a complete reversal: people are entranced with seeing who can do the best job of molding him or herself into whatever the lowest-common-denominator pop music svengalis demand. For instance, I knew Carrie Underwood would win because she was a hot blonde with no personality or style or her own, who seemed willing to do anything from singing whatever dreck she was handed to losing 20 pounds to wearing microminiskirts, as long as she won. People now actually root for this to happen and for their favorites to do the best job of selling out. They're obviously more interested in watching the cogs of the music industry grind up people who are willing to sell their souls for success than they are in actually listening to any of the resultant "music." Just compare how many people watched and rooted for Ruben Studdard or Taylor Hicks on TV to how many actually bought their CDs.

It's as if Americans have collectively lost their taste for sausage but have inexplicably developed a bottomless fascination with watching it be made.

Emily Blake said...

Here's a bit of trivia for you. Randy shops at my Ralph's, located on the border of Sun Valley and North Hollywood. He seems to get nervous when stared at.

crzyrn said...

OMG!!!!!! I couldn't have said it better myself. Finally turned it off and went to sleep. Couldn't take another minute of it.

Tom Quigley said...

I'm glad I didn't watch it.... To summarize: I'm glad I didn't watch it....

algh said...

Ken's reviews are EVER so much more entertaining than sitting through the show. Thank you, Ken, for your sacrifice in saving us this torture

Jake said...

What's American Idol?

Dana Gabbard said...

Sad Fox is wasting Idol's abiklity to promote programs on the mediocre Past Life. I saw the pilot at Comic Con . Or at least the version they had at that time--you never know whether they have tweaked or done extensive re-working of it since. I hope maybe they that happened based on feedback, because the show I saw was dreadful. The concept is melding CSI style crime solving with reincarnation. Yeah, past lifes bs a la Medium and Ghost Whisperer, but not even having any decent characters as those shows arguably have. Instead we have cliched duo of classic rugged guy with life issues and good looking cop chick--and lots of will he/will she crap you've seen a thousand times. The actors are decent and do the best they can with a so-so script. Bad idea poorly executed but very high production values (lots of location shooting). If what is being broadcast is anything like what I saw, avoid this dog (which I predict won't last past the third episode).

John Pearley Huffman said...

I hadn't watched American Idol in a couple of years, but did so last night. I felt dirty afterwards.

It's the unbearable cruelty of it all. It's all set up to elicit agonized emotional outbursts from the contestants. Nothing is done efficiently, everything is done to artificially hype the tension. It's like watching someone poke lambs in the eyeballs with sharp sticks. It's overwrought music and emotion snuff porn -- without enough music or porn, but too much overwrought emotion.

I've adopted a "no hugging" rule for all shows I watch from now on. After teasing them to the point of emotional collapse, the judges get up there with their arms spread out for the big hug to the lucky singers who move forward. It's that cringing false intimacy that just cracks my teeth.

You know a sitcom episode sucks when it ends with a hug. You know a movie sucks when it ends with a hug. And American Idol sucks when it ends in a hug.

Ban hugs now!

D. McEwan said...

"YEKIMI said...
One of the reasons I don't watch this show [or waste my money voting for the idiots] is that it's NOT about how fantastic they sing, it's all about looks, diva-ness, etc. If one of these kids looked like Susan Boyle or Ernest Borgnine and had a voice twice as good as hers, a voice that would make angels weep in happiness, they'd still be booted off the show faster than light speed."


Clearly you have forgotten AI's second season WINNER Ruben Studdard, who wishes he had half the sex appeal of Ernest Borgnine.

Mary Stella said...

I yelled back at the screen, “Because your friggin’ name is Jessica!” Come back next year as Jess-EE-ka. Or better yet, Persephone.

If she's Persephone, she'll have to spend six months of each year in Hell -- or watching compilation DVDs of Randy critiques.

Six months of Randy sucking in air between his teeth and saying, "I dunno dawg it just didn't work for me dude it was kinda pitchy dawg dude dawg, I dunno I dunno, tssss, I dunno."

Sign me up for Hell.

wv-flaram = a retired sheep

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Watching "American Idol" is like watching reruns of the same show you watched last season. To recap...it's like watching the very same show as you did in the past season.

Annie said...

I ran up both Tues and Wed night on the DVR, paused a few times to watch (mistake) and then deleted them. :(

How sad is that?

I don't think I'll watch next year.

I don't know if I can continue to watch this year.

And I don't like Ellen. I know, I KNOW! *Everybody else does*. The critics love her, the fans love her. I don't. *shrugs* I have nothing against Ellen, she seems to be a nice enough person. Just never thought she was very funny or witty or interesting. I hoped maybe she'd morph into somebody interesting for AI but she hasn't. Not for me.

Oh AI, you are breaking my heart! :(

Annie said...

OH! And I happened to see where Kara went over to sit with some poor schmoe who was about to kicked off, stroking her and calling her "sweetie" and it was beyond disgusting.

I hope I interpreted the hapless contestant's expression towards Kara's bizarre attempt at trying to make her feel better as, "Get your icky, smarmy hands off me before I slap your ass into last Tuesday, you bony fake attention-whore."

Because that's what I would have said. I think.

Well...then again, I wouldn't be on there in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I could not have said it better myself. Really. I could not have said it better myself.

Dana Gabbard said...

By the way, Fox just cancelled Past Life after three episodes aired. I knew it would tank!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, Ellen sucks. She is NOT funny nor does she know talent. I believe they know the show is going to end now that Simon is leaving and "The Dog"
so just just care.....thus Ellen