With yesterday’s addition of “Hollywood or Home” we’ve had just about all the new stuff for this round. Tonight it’s back to the traditional format of Group Round Dramalama Hour.
I know for some people, the Group Rounds are a big deal. Usually there’s one or two groups who stand out that people get excited over. I’ve never understood why. This isn’t about finding a group (That’s what XFactor is apparently for.) The only useful thing in my view is seeing who is mature enough to handle the pressure. Who ha the self knowledge of when to stop, because a good night’s sleep will help more with one’s performances than staying up all night and drilling and trying to sing and dance the next morning completely exhausted. It’s also helpful for the producers to see who can work quickly. Remember–the schedule, once the live shows kick in, is tight. There’s not nearly as much time to rehearse as you’d think. Being a quick study is key.
So let’s get through this nod to reality TV drama so we can get onto the live shows. Only two weeks away!
I can’t help it. This is what I always think of when we roll around to Hollywood week.
Considering this episode’s twist of hanging out in an airplane hanger, waiting for the chance to sing for your chance to get to the Dolby Theater, it seems even more apropos, yes?
Let’s get to the poor chum who have to sing for their spot. Oh and guess what–that’s only the first part of the episode.
Omaha! Somewhere in middle America! Get right down to the heart of the matter! It’s the heart that matters more!
If only Idol opened with Counting Crows. Not so much. Instead we open our final audition episode by pimping all the people we’re supposed to remember coming out of this three weeks. Considering we have seen 135 so far over those three weeks, one cannot blame the producers for trying to make sure the correct ones stick in your minds.
By the way, this is the first “Last Audition Episode” that isn’t a “round up of all the freaks we saw this year.” You have no idea how happy that makes me. There’s been a liberal application of FreaksBGone to the show that I am so pleased with.
On the other hand, I do not believe that Ryan, Jennifer, Harry and Keith would ever go anywhere in the same car together unless is involved a Ford car commercial.
Wait, this is the last week of auditions? Already? How did they go by so fast?
If I have any complaints, it’s that blogging these has been a marathon. We’ve been averaging 15 auditions an hour every episode. That means 30+ in a two-hour block. XFactor and The Voice do about half that many. Trying to keep up with the quick pace of the show is exhausting. But it also means I haven’t been bored once. That’s saying a lot.
As we cold open tonight, we meet a contestant named Casey Thrasher, who we won’t see audition until the end of the episode, kissing his kids and getting ready to head out. In a video, Jennifer points out to cameras that she and Harry and Keith are actually doing the work of casting these kids, unlike some shows which are pre cast, and the outcomes pre assigned. Somewhere in LA, Mark Burnett just hissed and spat, determined for The Voice to crush Idol whenever he can find an excuse to air his show on one of their nights. The contestants sit in the airlock and nervously await their fates.
Our first one hour episode. Usually by now I’ve been groaning for one. I’m not going to say I’m disappointed this one isn’t two hours (bloggers need sleep!) but it could have been, and I wouldn’t have minded. That’s huge.
The best part is that the producers figured out how to make the auditions watchable without changing the format at all. No spinny chairs needed. No stadiums of audience to watch Emperor Cowell give the thumbs up or down. The airlock is new, but no different a gimmick than, say, “other door.” The fundamentals are exactly the same. Don’t tell me it’s all Harry either. We have a honeymoon period with all new judges. This time in 2010, Steven Tyler was a breath of fresh air. This time last year, Nikki Minaj was rolling her eyes at Randy and telling it like it is. That didn’t make the auditions watchable like this.
Let’s head to Atlanta and see what turns up.
I have always hated auditions episodes.
I didn’t like them when Idol was the only game in town. They seemed pointless. Those who were going to make the finale rarely had their auditions shown, in favor of jokes and clowns. Besides, if one just tuned in as the semi-finals started, the back story footage nearly always included audition clips, Hollywood clips and anything else I needed to know. Auditions were a waste of time.
Since The Voice and XFactor started, I found myself more likely to watch the auditions. But still there was a lot of filler. If one DVR’s The Voice auditions, the back stories are so clockwork, a two hour episode works down to precisely a one hour (and one hour episodes are 30 minutes.) The XFactor is even more filler laden–sometimes a two-hour episode could be watched in 45.
But these are different. Idol’s auditions had been improving since Cowell left in 2009, but incrementally. The pacing was still ploddy, and though we were more likely to see contestants they wanted in the finale, there were still too many jokes. Until this year. This year, I haven’t fast forwarded through anything except commercials. Everything in the audition episodes is worth watching. (Also, the sheer amount of auditions we get in two hours puts everything that came before it to shame.) It’s a stunning turn around.
But the ratings for the show keep falling. I don’t know if this finally came too late.
The reviews are in, and it turns out I’m not the only one enjoying the hell out of Harry. But we need to remember, these are the taped and edited parts. Nikki Minaj looked good at this point last year. It’s when we reach the live shows where the true test of whether a judging panel works happens.
But until then, lets enjoy some of the best and fastest paced audition shows I’ve seen from Idol in just about forever.
Also? Loving the cold opens. Let’s get to the auditions. We continue in Austin.
Here we go everyone! The show that started it all is back, with a new judging panel, a new production team, a new attitude, and the hope that this is the year they stop the ratings slide. The only original cast member left now is the one that we know is truly indispensable–Ryan Seacrest. Our judges are all at least from 2010 or later. The real wild card, of course is Harry Connick Jr., who is already working on making a splash on twitter.
Let’s hope this sense of humor carries over to the auditions, shall we? For the premiere the show has once again returned to Boston mixed with their trip to Austin. We’ve been promised a major cut down on bad auditions. Let’s see if those promises will be kept.
It turns out most of those spoilers–if they were ever true–have all been debunked. No Madison Square Garden finale. (Apparently THR fell for that one too.) No XFactor dividing up by age. (Thank heavens to that. No one should ever emulate the XFactor.) Instead, we learned at the TCAs that everything will be just as we have always expected it to be.
There are some changes. There’s the reports that the judging panel put their foot down on bad auditions, and so the audition phase might actually be watchable for the first time in maybe ever. There’s a pre-Hollywood round smooshed between the auditions and actually making it to Hollywood. The semifinals are crammed into one three-episode week as we see 15 boys and then 15 girls perform in a pair of two hour blocks, followed by the Top 13–ten of which we are voting on, thankyouverymuch. (The “Fast Pass” was also bogus.) The last three slots are the usual judge’s wildcards. The we go into the normal Idol one elimination a week schedule.
Here’s the press release:
No one watches this show anymore. Or at least, that’s what people tell me. Well, sue me, I still watch this damn show.
More importantly I’ll still be recapping it. I started out doing Idol recaps on this blog because none of my real life friends watched or cared anymore, but I was still obsessed. So even if there’s only six or seven of you who bother to tune in and read my recaps, they’ll be posted right here on Thursday and Friday mornings at 8am.