The Captain’s Corner – Take My Breath Away

Hunk City, population This Guy.

Hunk City, population This Guy.

Everybody is getting to Hollywood this year.

I don’t know if the Austin and San Francisco episode was as good as Boston and Austin – they certainly weren’t as fun to say – but it was another solid showing, starting strong with John Fox, despite giving a clown airtime he didn’t deserve, and then ending with an unlikely talent with a bunch of quality contestants mixed in. It wasn’t as top-heavy as the night before, but there were a lot of good auditions.

The show just continued with what I hope is going to be a trend; I liked seeing the contestants who could perform. I wasn’t taking any joy in anyone’s misery – OK, I did with the girl who was crying saying it was the seventh time she tried out and didn’t make it; doesn’t she have someone in her life telling her “hun, you kinda suck at this” – but seeing people who can sing better than us normal folks get rejected shows you how tough the show is.

Song selections were more of the same. I didn’t hear anyone do a crazy audition, but contestants – at least those shown – are doing a great job of not going for home-run songs (think Heart’s “Alone,” Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You). Marlon, trying out for the first time after serving our country for six years, chased Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” which is a horrible, horrible idea if you try to replicate Cooke’s version. That intro contains some of the most recognizable and brilliant notes every and if you miss them, you sound hacky. He sounded hacky but still got in, perhaps earning bonus points for taking on the song even if it was a C execution.

There were a ridiculous amount of guitars last night which is awesome for the show, but I feel like it’s a move by producers to make people sick of people playing an instrument and make us pine for vocalists. (Hint: it won’t). I even saw former contestant Burnell retweet someone who said “What’s up with all the guitars;” what Burnell and whoever the tweet came from don’t realize is that most uber-talented singers ability. They understand notes and changes and everything else that comes with making a great sound. That’s why a lot of today’s pop stars suck. They’re over-produced, over-marketing and when you take away the synthesized music and whatever voice-changing software at their disposal, they can’t sing (looking at you Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, etc).

However, all these guitar players are going to have to prove themselves in Hollywood; there’s going to be a round where they can’t have the axe and while good guitar playing can make up for a mediocre voice, that same voice is going to fall apart when it’s on its own, sort of like JC Chasez and every other boy band guy who went solo not named Justin Timberlake.

Some of my highlights that I can remember thanks to my tweets and DVR and not thanks to the eight Bud Light Platinums I put down during the East and West Coast shows.

1) Jesse Roach
You know who loved the shit out of Jesse Roach? Every single entertainment blogger on the planet? Why? Because she was tatted up and had pierces. She could have burped a song and would have been praised for her originality and ability to stay true to herself. Truth of the matter is, she’s a prettier, guitar-playing Amanda Overmeyer. And if you don’t remember, she was a Top 12 contestant. That’s how you do a backhanded compliment, son. I should probably be nicer because Jesse could drink me under the table and then kick my ass.

2) Steven Curd
Jack Johnson wants his sound back. Of course, last time someone who sounded exactly like another guitar-playing, mello-music producing, probably-weed-smoking singer, he won the damn show. (That’s Philip Phillips, and I’m still guessing on how many Ls go in his first and last name, who sounded exactly like Dave Matthews).

3) Anna Melvin
Hot. Super happy she was 22.

4) Eric Wood
Sounds like Lee Dwyze. And every other butt rocker. For the uniformed, that’s Nickelback, Seven Mary Three, Shinedown, etc; the name came from Boston radio hosts Toucher & Rich because that style of singer sounds like they’re singing from their butt.

4) Spencer Lloyd
Probably the prettiest dude in the history of the show. To steal a quote from another one of my buddies from college, “he’s so obnoxiously good-looking.” Spencer is exactly who nobody wants to get into the finals. His rugged jawline, skin tone, shiny white teeth, perfect blue eyes and uncanny ability to make you question who you are make you forget he’s got some talent. His voice isn’t A-plus, but it’s good. And there isn’t a girl under the age of 18 who’s not going to vote for him 1,000 times a night.

5) TK Hash
Has Harry Connick earned enough street cred that he can TK reminds of Obama and nobody thinks it’s overtly racist? Because TK and Obama have one thing in common. And if you think they look alike, you’re racist. I didn’t like the song choice, but I want to hear more from him, especially when he busts out the bass guitar. (That’s only funny if you’ve seen the South Park episode).

6) Tristan Langley
Wonder if he’ll follow in his mother’s footsteps and be on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 13 years?

7) Taylor Stearns
Who? Exactly. She got less than 20 seconds of playtime/facetime, but that was all I needed. She sang Jason Mraz “I Won’t Give Up” (Thanks Google!) and had a tenderness in her voice that makes me think she can do just about any ballad and probably make me cry. I mean not cry. Dammit.

8) John Fox
He seems like the kind of guy I would want to punch in the face – hipsters do that to me – but he ends up being so nice I’d love hanging out with him. I hope he doesn’t get overly preachy with the Jesus stuff; I get it, you’re a preacher, but don’t be pushy with it. Super turnoff to get votes. I also fear at some point the producers are going to someone attach him and the annoying “What Does The Fox Say” song and it’s going to be awkward and sucktastic. But for him to pick a folk song means he knows music which means his song selections are going to be strong going forward.

9) Rachel Rolleri
First thought was “hot” and then she said she was 17 and the WARNING! WARNING! NOT 18! DANGER! DANGER! sirens went off, so I will not comment on her looks until she’s legal in all 50. I’m not a country guy, but I liked her. Maybe it was the guitar playing, maybe it was the song, or maybe it was the way she realized she messed up. I liked that. It showed her nerves. People are bashing on her saying it was annoying, but it was just a high-school kid being nervous. Nothing more. If she calms it down, I see big things for her. And it will be much more fun if she turns 18 before Hollywood Week is over.

10) Remi Wolf
Obviously we’re two episodes in, but Remi’s got the kind of voice few have. If Randy was around, he’d wear neon yellow glasses and an ugly sweater, call her dawg and then say how she sounds like those indie British singers whose name escape me because I’m not cool. Her look was atrocious, which sucks to say about a 17-year old, but it has to be said; you need a look to do well on this show and homeless isn’t a good one. Bowersox crushed it during her auditions and Hollywood Week but really took off once you could tell she didn’t smell like tabouli anymore. I like Remi, but I almost hope she doesn’t get through so she can keep working on the voice and then dominate next year.

11) MK Nobilette
Now’s a good time as any for my stance on the gays. They’re awesome. Don’t get why people hate them and their right to do the same stuff everyone else gets to do. We’re going to reference gays here and there because that’s how dudes talk. Sorry if people get offended; we’re not trying to offend, we’re trying to be authentic.

Now MK was good, but I think she’d get crushed because not everyone has my same perspective. And by not everyone I mean the people in the Bible-thumpin’ states. I liked MK just as much as John Fox, but something tells me the preacher from the South ain’t gonna get along so well will MK. Loved the voice, loved the fact she isn’t shy about who she is and I want to see a lot of her in Hollywood.

12) Caitlin Johnson
She walked in and I was pumped because tall blondes are right in my wheelhouse and 20 seconds later I felt like I needed to call the cops on myself because she’s 15. Harry was thinking the same thing, which made me feel a little better, but it was still way too close to PedoCity for this guy. Loved the voice, but I’d love for her to not go far this year so she can win in a couple years. Harry nailed it – she’s not ready – but there’s no doubt she’s talented.
Oh, and because I was hammered, I thought she didn’t make it last night. Happy to see she did.

13) David Luning
Beck! I love this dude. First off, cocky as hell to do an original. There’s no doubt this guy doesn’t fit in for Idol, much like P-Squared two years ago. He’s gonna have to balance playing the game that is Idol and being an artist. You can’t be both. You have to play the game. PhillipPhillipPhillip did it well. Luning needs to follow his playbook.

14) Aranesa Turner
Chills. Straight chills. She got screwed harder than anyone because she was followed by Adam Roth (see below) but she nailed an audition; picked an out-of-the-ordinary-song and nailed the shit out of it. I want to hear her sing everything. My only concern, and this is based on years of watching the show and stereotypes, is that she’s going to become a diva. Divas don’t do well on this show because people hate them. I don’t think that will be the case because she looked surprised that the judges said yes.

15) Adam Roth
Screw you Idol. Screw you producers. When I saw Adam, I figured this was going to be our joke moment. It was going to be meh, he was going to sing something stupid, everyone would be nice and it would be a “Wow, San Francisco sure is a melting pot!” type thing. Nope. He breaks out “Hallelujah” and nailed it. I don’t know if it was amplified by his blanco-y-blanco outfit or his Jesus outfit or the amount of booze in my system, but I damn near cried. Then he stopped, went acapella for a moment, returned to the guitar and it was perfect. Just fucking perfect. He won’t go far, but it was such a great way to end the show.

So that’s it. The first week is in the books. Normally we’ll have stuff on the weekends, but it’s a big weekend her for football, but we’ll be back Monday with all sorts of stuff because getting back to the shows on whatever day they’re supposed to be on.

-The Captain

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