The Captain’s Corner: Massholes

It's nerdy RG3! It's RG3 with talent! I could make RG3 jokes all day.

It’s nerdy RG3!
It’s RG3 with talent!
I could make RG3 jokes all day.

Did American Idol just get better?

The premiere had to be a tease. It had to be.

These tryouts are rarely about the talent; it’s about pushing sappy stories, judges’ hijinks and people who have no business singing acting like asses in hopes of being able to say “I was the dickhead who sang London Bridge in front of the judges wearing a bikini top and smothering myself in jelly.”

Last night wasn’t like that.

American Idol has always said it’s a show about a singing competition, but it’s done a shitty job of being a competition show. The parade of morons might have been hilarious the first couple of seasons, but their popularity died right around the time Brett Favre was singing “Pants on the Ground” in the Vikings’ locker room after a playoff game.

The NFL doesn’t parade out a group of unathletic guys during the exhibition season just to make a show of it; Idol shouldn’t do the singing equivalent and last night they avoided it. If it wasn’t for James Earl, who looked a lot like Ponytail on Parking Wars, the idiots avoided big camera time. The kid from Taunton was bad, but he wasn’t anything close to what we’ve seen; he sounded a little like the guy from Seven Mary Three – or the butt rocker of your choice – before he completely lost his tone.

The producers also did a great job of not making the show completely about the judges; I imagine that was difficult seeing how this was the first show featuring the threesome of Keith Urban, J-Lo and Harry Connick (named in order of prettiest); they didn’t not show the judges, but they avoided overshowing them. I barely noticed Ryan Seacrest as well – that could be because I had five Captain and Diets during the show or it could be because he’s three feet tall.

There’s not much strategy to offer during the auditions. The pressure the contestants are under is ridiculous. You see too many contestants have A-plus auditions, only to fall flat on their face during Hollywood Week. The goal is almost to just be good, not great; think Philip Phillips or Adam Lambert or any of the others who have done well; few, if any, have really been anything other that really good. Good gets you to Hollywood and allows for improvement, which gets you to the finals; great sets the bar a little high and just adds to the pressure.

I didn’t see any “Holy Shit” auditions from Boston and Austin. I saw several good auditions from people who I think have a shot to do very well on the show.

1) Sam Woolf and Ethan Thompson
Your typical WGWGs (white guy with guitar, for the uninformed) who didn’t kill it, but seemed like the kind who were going to do well. I thought Thompson had a voice more fit for the show, but my judgment may have been clouded by the fact Woolf sang a song I didn’t know because I don’t listen to the radio. I would have liked to hear more about Thompson; it seems Woolf has the music chops and will be able to cover and redo songs in ways that won the contest for David Cook, but I didn’t hear enough about Thompson. I’m guessing by his hipster jeans and red chucks he probably has an idea of how to take a Bell Biv Devoe song and make it sound insane on an acoustic guitar (PS I really, really hope Idol producers have a New Jack Swing Week; it might be the most underrated and under-appreciated genre of music).

2) Austin Percario
He might have won last season. His look is there, his voice is there and teenage girls absolutely soak themselves looking at the Bieber clone. But a WGwithoutG has no chance this season. Plus, he sang Titanium, a song Anna Kendrick sang in the shower during Pitch Perfect. Yes, I watched Pitch Perfect. No, I watched it on On Demand. No, I wasn’t forced.

3) Shanon Wilson
You’re going to learn something about me quick and that’s I have a soft spot for big black dudes. I watched Rob & Big for Big. I think Jermaine Jones got screwed by the producers bullshit rules in season 11. Big Mike almost made me cry. Almost. Shanon shocked me with the false, but he balanced it well. I don’t think he’ll do much, but I’m rooting for him.

4) Shelby Comey
Her father is going to have to stay off the internet for a while or he’s gonna end up driving to people’s houses to kick ass like at the end of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I’m not a country fan; hate it actually. It’s rap music for white people (think about it – rappers sing about being rich, getting wasted and going to the club, which is what black people want to do; country stars sing about drinking beers, hanging out and not caring about a thing, which is what all white people want to do) and it only works in this format if the contestant has a niche (like a super deep voice Scotty McCreery). Shelby didn’t get enough airtime, but her pipes are there; I’m just worried she’s going to pigeonhole herself to all country songs, which is a terrible, terrible way to try and win the show.

5) Savannah Young
Jailbait city. Hoping she’s going to be 18 when the show starts or this is gonna be Creep City, population me. She’s a good looking girl, she plays guitar and can sing. She’s the exact type of performer the producers want to win. My concern is she’ll do all country songs and that gets boring real quick. But she’s good. Now she just needs to be legal so I can stop feeling gross.

6) Madelyn Patterson
Super hot. Good voice. I’m interested to see if she can play an instrument because you’re gonna need to to win. Actually, I don’t care because she’s insanely hot. Like divorce-my-wife-and-leave-my-family-to-become-Mr. Patterson-hot.

7) Malcom Allen
Reminds me a lot of Burnell from Season 12. Hopefully he won’t totally choke like Burnell did.

8) Savion Wright
He wasn’t great last night. I’m probably gonna call him Savion Glover at some point. He was good. Nothing more. And everyone should be terrified.

His performance is exactly the kind you need for an audition; he was good, but not so good that you’re putting him as the favorite to win after one episode. He obviously has the talent and the look – the dreads are awesome and he’s not going to scare white people which, while incredibly racist, is something that has to be taken into account – to do well. I could see him doing covers that no one expected (in my dreams he’ll rock out T-Pain’s “Buy You a Drink”) and make a deep run. Or maybe he’s not as good as his audition. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks and maybe he’ll resume following me on Twitter after he did last night before dropping me overnight. Sad face.

All in all, a good start to the season. I’m hopeful the producers will continue to make the show about the contestants and forget the side show. This is a competition and I want to see the people who can really compete.

So far, so good.

-The Captain