Tens of thousands of hopefuls from across the nation auditioned for their shot at stardom and a major recording contract with 19 Recordings and of course the “American Idol” title.
Rumor has it that “American Idol” season 12 will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. For a start, the focus will be placed solely on the judges during the edited audition and Hollywood rounds. I’m not sure I like this idea, as I’d rather this be a competition about singing. But at least it means we will be surprised by some of the people we see get through to Hollywood week.
In Hollywood the singers will be divided by gender much earlier and the 276 strong talent pool will be whittled down to only 40 semifinalists more quickly. This is in response to “American Idol” fans’ criticism during recent years that the show places too much focus on Hollywood round and draws out the competition too long.
Instead the infamous Las Vegas round will now be expanded to cover two weeks of competition.
And here’s where it gets exciting: the second part of Las Vegas round will also be the first part of the semifinals, so from a pool of 20 semifinalists, viewers will be able to choose their top 10 Idol finalists.
There will be no wild cards and no top 12/13 finalists this time around. There will only be a top 10.
But what about last night’s premiere? Well, the most notable thing was that Nicki Minaj has completely taken over the panel, shouting out directions to the contestants and always speaking first. But…somehow…that was entertaining.
The judges made some tough decisions too, ditching a lot of the so-so singers now instead of stringing them along a while. And this year’s crop of axe-wielders is not as susceptible to a sob story too. They turned away cancer survivor and Broadway hopeful Evan Ruggerio. His voice was fine, but nothing special, but a guitar player with one leg? And he’s white? The judges must have known he would stand a great chance of the ultimate success that his voice alone wouldn’t earn him. Hey, maybe this year will be about the singing after all!
The first contestant, Mike, is undecided on a song so goes for “We Will Rock You”, never a good choice unless you’re totally committed to it. He’s not and he’s soon sent home.
The next contestant is Teena Torres singing “You’ve Got A Friend” and she is a huge fan of Mariah’s and even went to camp that she had years ago. Mariah loved it and she gets a yes, Keith is a yes, Nicki is a yes and so is Randy. Teena is going to Hollywood.
As the morning continued, New York delivered with some more awesome performances.
James Bae from Long Island New York wants to as famous as Justin Bieber and decides to sing one of his songs, “One Less Lonely Girl”. Everyone on the panel likes him because he is sweet, but he can’t sing. Nicki took pity on him and told him he’s special. Mariah Carey had the best advice: become a DJ.
Christina was amazing, a real natural singer as Keith said. I agree with Nicki that I think she’ll do well in the competition if she can build up her confidence, as Randy says.
Then came the sad story of Evan Ruggeiro. Originally a dancer, at 19 he was diagnosed with cancer and had to have his leg amputated. He sang “Wanted Dead Or Alive” and played the guitar. I liked him a lot more than the judges, maybe because I love that kind of rock anthem thing. But all four judges turned him down and said he needed to find his niche. I hope he finds it and return next season.
This season viewers had a chance to nominate someone to be on the show; Jessica Kartalis’ grandmother nominated her. Jessica was an original singer and guitar player and she almost gets a yes, but not quite, even asking for a chance to sing a more upbeat song. Sometimes Grandma doesn’t know best.
Sheira Gavrielov had a #1 CD in her native Israel when she was 13. I have a personal dislike of contestants like this competing with true amateurs but everyone deserves a second chance and Sheira got it as all four judges put her through to Hollywood.
Frankie Ford sings on the train to make money. He messed up at first and all Mariah could think to comment upon was his “inner glow”. Nicki came right out and said he didn’t have the best voice. He doesn’t, but he gets four yes votes and is probably the one who surprised me most in getting through to Hollywood, of the ones we saw.
Michael Jackson wannabe Benjamin Gaisey is sent straight home, with Randy telling him straight that his voice is terrible.
Rozanna Shindelham gives her parent’s chills when she sings but that might not be a good think. Randy wastes no time in telling her she’s bad, and she goes home.
Sarah Restuccio thinks she can be the next American Idol; she lives on a blueberry farm and sings Carrie Underwood’s “Mama”. Nicki liked her tone, Mariah really enjoyed it but Randy wasn’t so sure and asked for another song. What a decision! Sarah blew the judges away with Nicki Minaj’s “Super Base.”
Albert Chang was pretty terrible on “Phantom Of The Opera” and the judges told him so.
Angela Miller has had hearing problems her whole life but she’s a pretty amazing singer: one of the best on the day, Randy said. Agreed. Four yeses.
Self-proclaimed huge “Idol” fan Brett Holt, who doesn’t actually seem to know much about the show, sang “When I Fall In Love”. He not only failed on trivia, he failed to make it through to the next round too.
The “Turbinator” was next, real name Gurpreet Singh Sarin. He got his nickname because he owns about 40 different colors of turbans. Nicki loved his look but not his singing. Keith said it was too light, but he’s the only one who doesn’t vote yes so we will see the Turbinator again.
Ashlee was next. Her family has adopted four medically complex children through the foster care program and she was ready to show the judges what she’d got. She was pretty great, the judges loved her and Randy even met the whole family to give them the good news that she is going to Hollywood.
So forty one contestants secured their place in Hollywood last night. Tonight the “American Idol” premiere continues in the mid-west. I can’t wait!