Captain’s Corner: Tonight, we are young …
There was a message in last night’s American Idol. It was pretty obvious once they showed a gap-toothed Keith Urban, Totally 90s J-Lo and Little Harry Connick.
Younger isn’t always better.
The point of this website has always been to break down Idol like a sporting event (and an excuse to drink during the week).
Whether it was intentional or not, last night’s show proved the younger talent needs to be groomed. There were a lot of extremely talented younger contestants (and at least two girls who I could have sworn were 18 and definitely were not, which made me happy I didn’t tweet something inappropriate before I found out and made because the producers have refused to give us fair warning that the chick we’re looking at is still in high school. Once you hit 28 or so, every girl 16-24 looks the same age) that were good enough to get to Hollywood, but are clearly going to be overmatched once they hit the big stage.
It’s not through any fault of their own and it’s not to say a youngster can’t dominate the show. We’ve seen some under the age of 18 that look like they could do something; but most are just good performers that need to be groomed to turn into the next Urban, Connick or Jenny from the Block.
But what about Jordin Sparks? What about Scotty McCreery? What about Fantasia?
Those three are the exception and far from the rule. The average age of the winners is 22. The average teenaged contestant finishes sixth or seventh (rounded up number was 6.5) and if you take the best teenage finish year to year, it’s third or fourth (3.5). How many of those top teen finishers do you actually remember?
Here’s a refresher, minus the winners: Ryan Starr (Season 1, seventh); Carmen Rasmussen (Season 2, sixth); Anthony Federov (Season 4, fourth); Paris Bennett (Season 5, fifth); David Archuleta (Season 7, second); Allison Iraheta (Season 8, fourth); Aaron Kelly (Season 9, fifth); Jessica Sanchez (Season 11, second); Angie Miller (Season 12, third).
Are you gonna try and tell me Allison Iraheta doesn’t win last season as a 20-year old? Or isn’t the hands-down favorite this year? What about Aaron Kelly coming in this year at 19 or next year at 20?
Obviously you have to take your shot when you can, but if you’re a talented youngster, you have to weigh your options. For the most part, none of the teenage finalists have really become a big name in music since Idol. We see an awful lot of them try out, get to Hollywood, not make the cut and come back later better than they were before.
So with all this information, do any of the teens featured last night have a chance to buck these odds?
I don’t think so. In the history of the show, the winner has a way of standing out during auditions. You see someone and say “Holy shit that person is gonna win this.” I didn’t get that last night.
I think the producers were trying to tell us this. That’s why they showed the judges explaining the decisions they make and how they judge. Some of the kids aren’t ready and need to be ready for rejection. That’s why they totally screwed over Jessica Bassett, a 22-year old who was as good as many of the people who’ve gotten tickets. She comes back next year and runs train on everybody – I’ll call her Top 12 right now.
The producers know there’s a lot of young talent and I think they’re getting inundated with it. They want to go back to more polished performers. They want the 20-25-year olds who have matured and have experience playing. Contestants like McCreery or Sparks or even Archuleta and Sanchez don’t come around every year and they need those singers back for future shows to keep the brand going strong.
This doesn’t mean the kids last night were awful. They were good. I want to hear more.
But what I really want is those talented teens to keep the hell away from ruining eligibility for the future. And for the love of god let us know when you turn 18.
Here’s a rundown of last night’s top performers, in order of when they were shown:
1) Austin Wolfe
First off, hot. Second off, 16, so I take that last statement back.
Her cover of “Radioactive” was good, but it wasn’t in the same ballpark as Keri Lynn Roche. Miss Wolfe – who I thought had the first name “Awesome,” which is my dream middle name for my hopefully future son – is exactly who I am talking about in the incoherent rambling I started the Corner off with. She needs a few years to get real good, but she could be fun to watch (and not in that way, pervert).
2) Michael Simeon
On the sixth day, God created water and said I want it to be blue. And then he said “blue is the color of Michael Simeon’s eyes, so I’ll use that.”
Simeon is another prototypical WGWG. He’s a good looking dude, but I think he’s gonna fall behind all the other WGWGs and some of the BGWGs, so he’s gonna have to go back to his life of banging whatever chick he wants.
3) Alex Preston
This dude is probably the most musically-inclined contestant we’ve seen. His voice is solid and it’s clear he’ll know how to screw around with his arrangements and make songs sound different. He has one huge problem though.
He’s not a hunk. It’s shallow as shit, but you have to factor it in when picking a winner. There’s a reason why Casey James, with a so-so voice and good guitar skills, finished third in Season 9 and Casey Abrams, a musical genius with a so-so voice, finished sixth in Season 10. If he looked like Michael Simeon, he’d run away with the show.
4) Samantha Calmes
All the shit said about Preston is the same for Calmes. Smoking hot chicks fare well unless the contestant is Bowersox-or-better talented. I loved Calmes’ performance, her voice and what she brings to the table as a potential contestant, but no one’s gonna vote for her. Don’t shoot the messenger and ditch the fanny pack.
5) Laurel Wright
So pumped Idol showed her age the second they showed her because that meant it was game time.
Wright’s a Skylar Laine clone, perhaps without the rebel badass edge. Only issue I can see with her is the potential for her losing out to other talented country singers; tough to tell how many of the young country girls are gonna be able to get through.
6) DJ Bradley
Clean it up bro. Frayed denim shorts, messy hair and a pierced lip don’t make you original; it makes you look like an asshole. Assholes don’t win Idol. Clean it up or get off my show.
7) Kenzie Hall
When I saw her, I was hoping for legal but knew had an idea what the answer was going to be.
Her singing an answer was an awesome start and her innocence showed; then she played a Mayer song – always a fave of Dudes Review Idol – and I decided that I’ll kick anyone’s ass that tries to get near her. She’s a First-Team Jailbait All-Star and will battle with fellow JBAS contestant Savannah Young for my loyalty.
8) Paisley Van Patten
So I drink during these shows. Don’t hide it, don’t care.
And then stories like Paisley come on and I feel like a total dick when I’m tweeting jokes while I’m a drunk. Thankfully, Van Peezy responded to one of my tweets and said I’m not an asshole for getting hammered while I watch her and the rest of the Idols, so that means super drunk for Thursday’s show and maybe some ca-caine for Hollywood Week.
@DudesReviewIdol hahahaha!! Don’t feel like an asshole! This made me laugh!!!
— Paisley Van Patten (@PaisleyVP) January 30, 2014
9) Jocelyn Baker
This is the kind of girl who does well on the show. Her facial features made her a Sheryl Crow lookalike – if Sheryl was blond and had blue eyes – and her styling seems to be similar to the song she played. And if there’s one thing that’s going to catch my attention, it’s a hot chick singing Mayer.
She dressed casually for the tryout, but if she gets a hair, makeup and clothes designing crew on her in Hollywood, she is going to absolutely wreck the competition with her blend of talent and looks. Very similar to Bowersox, minus the kid and diabetes.
10) CJ Harris
Black dudes with guitars don’t come along often on Idol and BGWGs who can actually play are even more rare. I hope Harris isn’t going to put himself in a country corner; he’ll draw comparisons to Darius Rucker, which is bullshit; his voice was eerily similar to the guy from Blessid Union of Souls and that’s not racist because I didn’t know that guy was black until I just looked it up. If I had to guess, producers are gonna make the judges pick between Savion Wright and Harris, which sucks. Gotta love CJ’s passion and hopefully we’ll see some good things from him in Hollywood.
11) Tiquila Wilson
There are only two things we need to address with Tiquila (three if you count her name).
a) Her voice is, without a doubt, the best we’ve heard from a singer so far in auditions. Better than Candice Glover‘s last year. Better than a lot of people.
b) Her size is gonna be an issue and if she wants to do well on the show, she needs to address it sooner rather than later. Crack self-deprecating jokes. Tell stories about eating southern food. Whatever you do, don’t make it a sob story. America doesn’t want to hear that shit.
She’s a Top 12 girl unless someone in Omaha brings the absolute heat or if the producers are hiding someone.
12) Jessica Bassett
So when Urban was talking about how tough being a singer is – bullshit – I was trying to figure out who was singing the song he was talking over. And then it turned out to be Jessica Bassett. And I thought she was a slam dunk. And then …
HOW IN THE FUCK DIDN’T SHE GET THROUGH?
Probably the worst decision of the season. Judges letting in semi-good-looking dudes in with no problem, halfway-decent singing chicks in, mediocre weirdos get to go just because they’ll make good TV but Jessica Bassett doesn’t get a chance? Fuck. That.
Hope she comes back next year and kills it.
13) Emily Rottler
Loved her the second she walked in. When I was in high school, girls like Emily Rottler were the girls I had huge crushes on; the quirky musical-types who didn’t get all decked out because they didn’t give a shit. They just wanted to be fun and didn’t care. And they were awesome. But I still dated athletes because what the fuck did I know, right?
Her pants were hideous (I tweeted this and she retweeted, so I’m guessing she doesn’t hate my guts) and I loved the response about how she only wore them because they matched. Then she came out and sang a bluesy song with the perfect twang. Loved every seconds of it.
When she cleans up, she’s starting JBAS; and if I’m a dude in her high school, I’m lining up as my prom date ASAP.
14) Dexter Roberts
I couldn’t understand half the shit that came out of his mouth, but Dexter is pure country badass and you don’t mess around with pure country badasses. Can’t wait for him and Lauren Ogburn to fire in dingers during group week and scare the shit out of some people.
15) Briston Maroney
Perfect contestant. Good looking, talent coming out of his a-s-s, humble, polite and he knows how to play and sing (does the buttrock voice that every guy is doing).
He’s exactly the type I’d like to see not get to Top 12 guys because he’s only going to get better. Like super-famous better. His Stones’ cover was perfect and for him to do well, he’s gonna have to pick the right song and nail it every. Single. Time. With that voice, there’s no room for mistakes because it will sound shitty real quick.
He’s good. But there are a lot of TWGWG that had a similar sound and they’re all competing for the same spots. He’s got a battle coming.
But the good news is his mom is hot and she follows me on Twitter. So I’m hoping he does real well.
16) Carson Henline
Loved him. Just wanted to see him keep going. I always root for the chubby teen. Always.
Pretty sure he lost his virginity last night, because the judges fucked him. Big time.
17) Johnny Newcomb
So in one of the teasers I heard a voice and thought “well, there’s the WGWG that’s gonna win it.”
Turns out it was J-Nuke.
Connick was spot on with Nuke’s cover of a Pearl Jam cover. Then he banged out “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” and murdered the competition. Can’t believe it wasn’t an instant yes from all three, except I can because the judges were being assholes last night.
Nuke either wins the show or doesn’t make it past group night. And if he comes back in a couple years, he’ll be better than P-Squared was. This kid is a superstar in the making, even if he needs another year.
18) Wonder Mike’s daughter
She was awesome because he dad sang Rapper’s Delight. And if she had any sense of theatre, she would have covered that. (PS J-Lo’s excitement to meet Wonder Mike and her introducing herself – “I’m Jennifer,” like he didn’t know – was awesome. I love when celebrities lose their shit over meeting celebrities).
19) Casey Thrasher
Take away the two kids. Take away the sob story. What do you have?
A mediocre singer/performer with a bad haircut.
I feel bad for Casey. I can’t imagine how hard it is to raise two kids by yourself. I have trouble raising my one with a wife who works. His story is so good and that’s why everyone was creaming themselves over him last night.
We’re truth tellers here. Casey wasn’t the man. Maybe he comes back and makes me eat my shit. That’s fine. But I don’t see it happening.
Pumped auditions are over. Even more excited we’re not having a moron highlight hour. Not happy tonight’s only an hour. Super happy for next week.
We’ll be live tweeting the show – @DudesReviewIdol and @CmoneyIdol – and I’ll have an instant recap up around 9:30 or so.