Monday, February 06, 2006

American Idol in Austin

American Idol finally has made it to Austin. We may be the “Live Music Capital of the World,” but are our collective voices worth noting? Are we going to look just as bad as so many other cities, or will our musical talent shine through all the wannabes and fifteen-minutes-of-famers?
That is what I was wondering going in to the broadcast, and I have to say I was rather disappointed. I mean, there were some good singers, and there were some bad singers, but the show itself wasn’t particularly interesting. I guess I thought we would stand out somehow, and I’m not sure we did that. Of course, selective cutting could be to blame, in which case we’ll find out eventually. Nonetheless, there were several things I found good, bad, just plain strange, or worthy of note for some other reason.
First of all, what was up with all the zombies “gate crashing” Idol, as Ryan Seacrest put it? If there was some sort of symbolism to be found, it didn’t catch me. I have to assume it was some kind of obscure inside joke.
I felt bad for a couple of people - one was Paula, the girl who had braces. She didn’t sing well, of course, but there wasn’t any need for Simon to make fun of her braces, especially when he could see that she idolized Paula Abdul and that this was probably a really big deal for her. Harp on the singing? Yes. The braces? I thought that was a little rough.
Then, I also felt bad for 17-year-old Tessie from Arlington, who insisted “Simon is going to love me. He is going to love me from the second I walk in.” After she sang, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Simon was more cordial than usual, saying, “I’m going to be really nice and suggest an entirely different career.” Okay, that’s enough. She leaves.
But, then, he compares her figure to stuffing a sack of potatoes. That was plain wrong.
I also felt bad in a different way for Allison, whose plane blew a door seal on the way to Austin. She said they had to move to the front of the plane and wear oxygen masks and that she had her cell phone open, wondering who she would call if they went down - her mom or her dad. She said going through an experience like that “changes things.” I’ll say.
Unfortunately, the first time around at auditions she was so nervous that Simon said, “I had a cat once whose tail got caught in the door, and it sounded like that.” She got him back, though, in a very good way, when he suggested that she take a few minutes and then come back for another shot - this time imagining Randy in his swimming trunks. She quipped that the reason she had been so nervous is because she already was imagining Simon in his swimming trunks! Too bad she won’t be continuing on the show.
Never again will I write a sentence like this, but … The embalmer from Longview was cute and had a nice voice.
Also, Ricky from Texas A&M-Commerce, the music major, represented with “I Can’t Make You Love Me If You Don’t.” With a “Hello, Austin!” from Randy and a “The nicest sounding voice I’ve heard in the auditions so far” from Simon, he’s looking good!
R.J., the “ladies man,” I’m sure scored lots of points when he said of his flirtations waiting tables: “I like the women when I get them 30 and up, they’re drinking some wine - that’s money for you.” Uh huh.
The funniest part of the whole show was Kevin, the Randy look-alike from Longview. It really was remarkable - really! Then, there was the “fit model,” Ashley, who could sing with her mouth closed. And Cierra from Pflugerville, who seemed like a really nice girl and was very pretty. It’s probably not good, though, when Simon compares your Christmas carols to a “soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Silent Night, but take off the night.” Ouch. Until then … Caroline.


Anonymous said...

And then there was this take on Austin Idol

'Idol' paid faux visit to Austin

TV: In reality, judging didn't take place in Texas capital

12:00 AM CST on Saturday, February 4, 2006

By MANUEL MENDOZA / The Dallas Morning News

There really is a place called Austin – just not the same Austin where American Idol auditions were held in October.

Viewers of Wednesday's Idol episode were deceived to believe judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson were in the city by the lake after producers initially screened potential contestants last summer. But because of fallout from Katrina, the Fox show decided not to return, instead flying the hopefuls they wanted to put in front of the judges to San Francisco, the network confirmed Friday.

The episode not only failed to reveal the relocation – taking the "reality" out of reality TV – but also went out of its way to imply the judges had gone to Austin to decide which contestants would go on to the Hollywood round. For instance, while airing footage of Mr. Cowell arriving, a woman who didn't like him was shown running away. But she was in Austin, and he wasn't.

"Upon reflection, there should have been a line in the show" explaining that the auditions in front of the judges were not held in Austin, Fox spokeswoman Michelle Hooper said.

In Friday's weekly Idol conference call with the media, executive producer Ken Warwick said, "It wasn't a big deal."

"Clearly that didn't happen the way it" was depicted, he said. "We have to produce an entertainment program to begin with. We didn't mention it on the air, to be honest, because we thought it wasn't a big deal. ... It was not deliberately done to mislead anybody. We had nothing to gain by misleading people."

In an interview later Friday, Mr. Warwick called the issue irrelevant. "The show is about the talent in a place. It's about the talent in that room."

He said he was sorry if some members of the audience felt duped. "I'm sorry if they feel that way, I'm sorry if it appeared that way. It wasn't deliberate."

Host Ryan Seacrest did return to Austin after the judging was taped, so the show would have shots of him on location. During the telecast, he helped fuel the ruse. "Welcome back to Austin," he said with the University of Texas in the background.

Later, a night shot of the city was juxtaposed with a scene of the judges leaving the auditions. "As the light faded, the judges headed out," Mr. Seacrest said.


Candidly Caroline said...

Perhaps that's one of the reasons the show was so bland.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Okay, I KNEW there was a reason I haven't, so far, been an Idol fan, or maybe it's just my A.D.D. that doesn't let me sit still long enough to get into this program.

Seriously, the stuffing potatoes thing on top of the career thing is over the top.

Maybe I'm just looking at this program wrong. I'd probably get more out of it if I looked at it as a trip to the circus.

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing at what was said about it being about just the talent in the room. AI didn't just dupe the public about Austin Auditions being held in San Francisco, they also are duping the public and making everyone think that they had legitimate bad auditions of which they showed more of than they actually showed kids who showed up that could sing. There were many extremely talented voices that showed up for the audition that were never seen. I went to San Fransico with my son who was a contestant. The public does not ever get to see that before anyone auditioned for Randy, Paula and Simon they had to go through two previous auditions. I laugh that they stated that they were looking for talent because if you have watched any of the auditions it was not much talent they were showing except a few hand picked people that were already chosen. The rest was a circus leaving the public to believe there was very little talent in any of the audition cities. I want everyone to know that was a bold faced lie. Instead of putting down the horrible contestants you should be putting down American Idol who deliberately eliminated some awesome talent in place of good TV. I feel sorry for the American Public who enjoys seeing people that the Idol crew makes fun of instead of them really showing the kids that came and could sing that were never shown. Maybe they should change their name to American Awful so only the people that want to see the kind of stupidity they are showing are the ones that have to watch. To all the really talented kids that auditioned Kudos to you and maybe it was your luck that you were not chosen for such a farce. I think most people are really looking for a talent search not a circus search. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

American Idol is more of a farce than you can even imagine. I went to San Francisco with my son and yes we were told we were all to say we were in Austin if interviewed. If it was no big deal than why didn't they just say due to Hurricane Katrina the Austin contestants will audition in San Francisco. I will tell you why. Because American Idol wants everyone to think that these kids only went through one audition and it was with Randy, Paula and Simon. This is another farce. The Austin contestants did audtion in Austin for the first TWO auditions. The first with the casting directors and the second with the Producers. Randy, Paula and Simon were their 3rd audition. The true sadness in all of this is that the public really likes to see people put down and made fun of. These kids were all tricked including the ones that could really sing that were thinking they were really looking for talent when in fact they were only looking for good TV. Nobody that has not been through this experience should judge the audition cities by the auditions that they are being allowed to see. The many tremendous vocalist that auditioned were rejected and told they were not right for this competition and were never even shown. It is the publics loss as you only saw what the producers picked, thus the American Idol Circus. Do not judge the cities by what you are seeing because if this show were real none of the people you have been laughing at would have made it through the first round. Wake up people is this REALLY the kind of Reality TV you want? Laughing at young kids and probably scaring many for life. What if they only audtioned kids that could really sing. That would be a nice little twist to the show. The way it is now maybe they should rename it American Awful like the 3 stooges call it. Wake up America and demand something better than this.