Friday, 18 January 2013

This... is Season 12...

It took about 20 minutes to get going, with a sugary start read by Ryan Seacrest after Phillip Phillips' Home. He won last year, by the way, in case UK readers missed that, as, indeed, they missed the single for some reason best known to the record company.

Then we get some annoyingly cut portraits of the judges doing their thing. Randy's back, although his contract fines him $1000 every time he says 'pitchy', so he could be stuck for words unless they manage to select only remarkably in-tune singers. Mariah Carey is their Britney Big Budget judge who comes across as polite with some insightful comments, at least in the few initial screens we see. Nicki Minaj looks very blonde and sounds like she's there to cause trouble with bizarre everything so she's either going to be good fun or really annoying. Keith Urban is the sensible one, from what I can make out, and looks like being an excellent choice.

Tenna Torres is the first audition we get to hear properly. She went to Camp Mariah so Mariah liked her. She's through, although hearing two lines didn't tell us a great deal.

Several more fly through, sounding pretty reasonable and getting the Hollywood round tickets. Without names on the screen for these I have no idea who they are unless I managed to catch a spoken name. There's a mini Heejun doing a rubbish version of a Justin Beiber track. Please don't put him through. He wears headphones round his neck and may have been better off putting them on his ears so he couldn't hear Randy asking what the weather was like on the grounds that that was more interesting than his singing.

How on earth they choose these early rounders for the broadcsat show I don't know but if this is the standard of the production team then they'll need some damn good talent to make up for this dreadful start.

Christina "Isobelle" (their italics) says she struggles with her weight. She looks fine. She also sings well, with a traditional version of Summertime.

Next guy has the big back story which we get dragged through, with the shock factor of having to have a leg amputated which sure must have ended his dancing career which we're told seemed to be going pretty well in shows. Evan Huggerio has a cool personality and performs well with a couple of numbers, showing quite different styles. Surprised he didn't get through - at least to Hollywood. Odd decision as he was pretty capable.

Jessica Kartalis is someone that was suggested so Randy went round to see her and surprised her which might not be a bad way to get contestants. After just doing a self-penned guitar thing, they tell her that she can't sing something else which must have made her really frustrated for bringing the guitar in in the first place. It was like she was expecting to be able to sing something else and how they could judge on that short burst didn't look right to me. Oh well.

Shira Gavrielov tells us she had a No.1 in Israel where she was brought up. That, I would have thought, would have disqualified her but obviously not. She sang Valerie fairly well but nothing spectacular.

Another back story - some guy was adopted. Not sure why we need to know. Frankie Ford from Brooklyn. He does Sweet Dreams pretty well and is a likeable guy but doesn't get far. This acapella small room audition is quite tough and so different to the last round of X Factor where everyone is introduced to us after rehearsals on a big stage with backing etc. Some will suffer I guess as a result but that's the way this show works and the only ones who get through need to perform just as themselves.

Bejamin Gazey looks very strange. The red plastic sounds bad. He says he's going to sing two love songs for two lovely ladies. That reminds me of the girl they didn't permit to sing a second number. Nicki's hair looks flourescent in these second New York auditions.

Rosanna looks pretty. She only sings in front of her parents. Just as well. She ruins one of my favourite songs - To Know Him Is To Love Him. Someone needs to stop her. She mentions a 'second song' too. But doesn't get to sing it. That's lucky.

Then we get a string of rubbish acts before Sarah Staccio from New Jersey comes along. She is totally different to the streets of New York folk, working on a farm and driving quads around. Mama's Song is a Carrie Underwood number so she's definitely on the Country tracks but is also someone who Randy would be justified with the pitchy comment. Nice looking girl. Super Bass next which is a totally different thing - a sort of rapid rap that must be one of Nicki's. Confusing. That does attract the judges' interest. She gets through and it'll be interesting to see what she does next!

Some Chinese-looking guy that works in a doctor's office appears. Dreadful. Go away.

Rapid fire good and bad. Ashley Miller has ear problems. That should mean that she can't sing but, actually, she can. One of the better auditions. The judges loved her and so far she's the one they are seen to be rating. No successful guy's auditions shown so far.

Brett Holt isn't going to change that with an off-key track - his fifth attempt to get past the first rounds! Confusingly, some producer had the idea of dubbing a preview of him so that he sounded great, with wows from the judges  - then a big build up, then the crap singing for real and rejection - and to wind up the thing as if they loved him. God, that was bad production. They managed more mischief with the Turbanator, (as Gurpreet Singh Sarin is going to be known for a while), too with some graphic targeting the judges and, after he does just scrape through (with a pretty average but at least tuneful performance), they have his mauve turban flashing yellow, red and green. You do have to wonder why they bothered and this is pretty worrying for the rest of the auditions.

Ashley Feliciano and her back story take up another huge chunk of viewing time. This is very tedious. She had better be damn good after all that, including her mother talking about how she 'adapts' children with complex problems. Maybe it was her mother's accent. She was sort of OK, quite appealing but not the best of auditions. Oh, heavens, now the whole ruddy family is coming in. Why? This is bonkers. 1 minute singing. 6 minutes prattling on. At least no visual tricks. I presume that must be it. Yes.

Apparently 41 acts got through to Hollywood Round. It would have been good to have heard a few of them as it's unlikely we've seen a winner today.