Guys, it’s kind of weird how obsessed I am with “American Idol” this season. I used the word “obsessed” since new judge Nicki Minaj uses that word every 5 minutes (no, seriously, she does.)
I haven’t watched a season of “IDOL” like this in years… actually, not since the very first season when Kelly Clarkson won, did I watch every single episode. Every year, I usually tune in to the auditions, because how can you not? This is the first singing competition show of its kind, and these producers know how to make auditions hilarious, awkward, amazing, and heartbreaking. It’s never a dull moment on this show – I can’t say the same for all those other shows – and this year has been the least dull since Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul left!
If you’re like me, you were immediately intrigued by the sound of Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, and Mariah Carey sitting at the same desk together. Keith is an artist I’m not all that familiar with since he’s country, but I of course know he’s sold millions of records and is married to Nicole (don’t they sort of look alike? Is it an Aussie thing?). Nicki I of course know and love… ever since I heard her on Kanye’s “Monster,” I thought she was a unique talent. Every now and then I can’t get one of her songs out of my head for a few days, so it’s fitting that Nigel Lythgoe and his throng of producers approached her for this show, but I’m surprised she said yes! Doesn’t this get in the way of her busy schedule? Perhaps she said yes to gain even more fans? Either way, her strange voices and even stranger facial expressions makes each show a must-see. Lastly, there’s of course Mariah… by far, the biggest pop star to sit on the panel of “IDOL” (sorry J.Lo), and to sit on any panel of any other singing competition show. Although I constantly am reminded of her breakdown on “TRL,” (when she showed up wearing nothing but a baggy t-shirt surprising a very confused Carson and the audience with ice cream on a hot summer day) it looks like she’s really pretty normal, and even kind of shy at times. These three join the only series regular (besides Ryan Seacrest), judge Randy Jackson, who… just says the same dumb shit every episode, every year. “Dawg,” “yo,” and “man” are his three most favorite greetings.
We all heard about (and maybe saw) the drama between Mariah and Nicki in the beginning – sadly, none of the drama that was shown on air was all that amazing, but I was definitely glued to the screen. Poor Keith or Randy were usually stuck between the girls to keep them from hissing at each other. Nicki is an instigator and Mariah is a diva. But luckily, the drama has mostly subsided, and now that we have a Top 10 for Season 12 and the shows are all live, the foursome have their assigned seats: from left to right – Keith, Nicki, Randy, and Mariah.
With four judges, there is little time to yell at each other when critiquing the contestants’ performances. Keith is probably my favorite judge – he’s almost like a father figure, and knows so much about music and the history of music, that hearing him talk to the contestants is always uplifting. I liked Nicki for a while, especially during the audition process when she was trying to be everyone’s cheerleader, but then once we had a Top 40 and then a Top 20, she became a Debbie Downer. I guess every season needs a Simon, but her version of Simon includes ghetto threats to the audience when they boo her. Luckily, she’s been more constructive and less mean during the last few live shows – maybe Nigel whispered in her ear that audiences weren’t loving her anymore? Keith and Nicki keep it friendly, but many times they disagree with one another.
Next there’s Randy, who just kinda sits there and says “dawg” a lot still, and wears those thick glasses that I feel like belong to Meryl Streep or Martin Scorsese. He sometimes agrees with Nicki’s extreme statements, but tries to tone them down a notch. He and Mariah seem to have a camaraderie, since they always seem to laugh at the exact same time for the exact same amount of seconds, so I’m glad Mariah’s not lonely on the end. She’s always very sweet – almost painfully sweet – and lots of times has to awkwardly shout over the sound effects because the crew thinks she’s done speaking when really she’s just still trying to formulate proper sentences. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, at least not towards the contestants, and when she says it hurts her to send people home, you can tell it really does. The only pet peeve of mine regarding Mariah is her constant look to the upper left – are there cue cards there or something? Is it a nervous tick? Why does she have trouble making eye contact, or why doesn’t she just let her eyes wander all around when forming thoughts? Every few seconds when she speaks, she looks to the left and it makes me think she’s going blind or something. Also, sometimes she looks really nice, but sometimes she just looks downright hilarious when she’s showing off those HUGE boobies. It’s like she has three heads!
This season has not disappointed when it came to the weirdo contestants. Pictured here, we have two of the most unique performers who made it into the Top 20, but not the Top 10: Zoanette Johnson, overpowering Ryan Seacrest, and Charlie Askew, showing more skin than any of us needed to see. Zoanette had a weird speech impediment (sorry, but it’s true) and was better suited for performance art of theater – Mariah even mentioned Broadway to her. I first thought Charlie was a lesbian, and I admired his style and “not a boy, not yet a man” thing, but his weird mustache was disgusting, and he got too carried away with his “fans” who he called “awkward turtles.” Cute, but you just started this show, you don’t have your own group of “fans” yet that you can thank after performing songs. These weirdos were not alone – we had JDA (pronounce Jada) in full on drag do “Rumor Has It” with cheesy pop choreography a few weeks ago, and there was also Gurpreet, the Indian guy who always had a different color turban on and made every song sound like Jason Mraz was singing it. But, the worst of all of them was Kez Ban – a girl (although I use that term loosely) who not only “sings” but does fire dancing and street performing, and had the most bizarre sense of humor and even more bizarre hoarse voice. She luckily has stopped haunting my dreams.
Last week, Ryan helped reveal which 5 guys and 5 girls made up Season 12’s Top 10. It was a bit awkward, since we at home would hear the names called first, before the in-studio audience and even the judges heard. Ryan would walk with the selected contestant down a hallway to big closed doors, and then he would give them a sort of pep talk and hug them, then tell the crew to “open the doors,” and then the contestant would walk out to the cheering crowd. I guess this was to give us a look “back stage” but it wasn’t all that smooth – maybe since they had three live shows in one week there was little time to rehearse the details and just focus on the basics?
Anyway, the top 10 are: Paul Jolley (the “female Carrie Underwood”), Burnell Taylor (the guy who sounds exactly like John Legend), Curtis Finch, Jr. (the guy that looks and acts decades older than he really is), Devin Velez (“Tintin” look-alike who has a constantly excited mother), Lazaro Arbos (everyone’s favorite underdog who loves pink), Janelle Arthur (the country gal who Nicki crushes on), Candice Glover (power house), Angela Miller (my fave- she should already have a hit album out), Amber Holcomb (a leggy fan of Whitney Houston), and Kree Harrison (Kelly Clarkson’s sister from another mister).
And there you have it! Although I don’t plan on voting for anyone, I’m definitely excited to turn on FOX tonight at 8pm.