It was only last season when I started closely following "American Idol," and I enjoyed every minute of it.
This season, which started a week or two ago, looks like it's more of the same, where thousands of aspiring wannabe singers try their luck to gain the judges' nod, and win the golden ticket that will send them to Hollywood, for even more strenuous tryouts, until the field is pared down to the magic 24.
It's a bit masochistic to watch the initial auditions, as it's clear that a lot simply don't have what it takes to sing. There are some who can sing, but not well enough for the main competition. Others obviously have breath control, by the way they can blast out the song; unfortunately, they can't keep in tune. And, of course, there are the outright delusional, without any musical talent whatsoever, although it would be impossible to tell them that.
So far, this season, we've been treated to the spectacle of a 50-year old passing herself off as a 26-year old, and the usual cast of tone-deaf wannabes. There also seems to be a search by the producers for an outspoken rejectee, whom they will give his or her 15 minutes of fame by letting him or her rant and rave about how wrong the judges were, how he or she deserved to go to Hollywood, and so on, so forth. They got one last night, when the last auditioner was flatly rejected by Simon and Randy (sans Paula, more on that later), and she continued to rant about how the judges not recognizing talent when they saw it. Even after she left the audition area, she was still given air time by letting her blow off steam at the end of the show.
What I'd like to know is, what was Paula Abdul on? During the first half of the show, which covered the judges' first day in Birmingham, Alabama, Paula was acting too perky and gesticulating too wildly to be considered normal. The next day, she was conspicuously absent, without any explanation from either of the judges. Maybe she was recovering from whatever binge sent her over the edge the day before?
Anyway, some of the interesting quarterfinalists include a girl who left Ohio to try out in New York, against her father's wishes. After she was given her golden ticket, host Ryan Seacrest facilitated calling her father, who took the news matter-of-factly. Another was a guy who missed his second daughter's birth in order to audition; I wonder how his wife really felt about his not being there. Other interesting contestants who made it include a Fidel Castro lookalike, a girl with a squeaky kid's voice, and a chubby, nerdy guy with long frizzy hair. I wonder which of these will be around at the end.
Later this evening, the judges head for Hollywood, and I'm wondering what whackos will crawl out of the woodwork in order to try out. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.