What Happened on American Idol Last Night
Posh Spice channeled a sober Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi sounded like a broken record and Simon Cowell walked out during an audition. And it was only episode 1!
I watched the first episode of season 9 of American Idol last night with mixed feelings. Paula Abdul wasn’t there, and in her spot was guest judge Posh Spice. (Ellen DeGeneres doesn’t take her seat at the judges’ desk until February). Part of me questioned the wisdom of having someone who couldn’t really sing as a judge, and then I remembered that she was replacing Paula (enough said). While Mrs. Beckham didn’t bring much in the way of constructive criticism to the table, she kindly complimented people’s wardrobe choices… and in the end just seemed like Paula lite — a slimmer version of the former judge without the handful of crazy pills.
I also knew it would be my last season to enjoy the sublime eye-rolling nastiness that is Simon Cowell, who is leaving at the end of this year to launch his own show X Factor in the US. Boy, I’m gonna miss that snug-fitting black T-shirt and tantalizing glimpse of man boobs…
Now, a lot of Idol fans only watch from Hollywood Week onwards, but not me. Call me a masochist, but I enjoy the guessing game of the auditions, looking at a contestant and guessing whether they will suck or soar when they open their mouth. And I enjoy being manipulated into crying by a heart-wrenching back story. And perhaps because I have watched every episode since Season 1, I am able to break down an audition episode to these key ingredients:
Simon and Randy drool over the hot girl who can’t sing. Last season it was Bikini Girl, who threw down with Kara DioGuardi. Last night it was Lisa Olivero, a 24-year-old waitress with killer curves who, sang “Vision of Love” and, according to Simon “delivered the craziest version of Mariah Carey I have ever heard.” As she sashayed out, guest judge Posh Spice, did a hand gesture that mimicked Lisa’s curvaceous behind with a look of shock (or jealousy?) on her skeletal face. Based on her husband David Beckham’s tendency to focus on the curvaceous behinds of cheerleaders my money’s on jealousy.
Every season needs a Mormon. Move over David Archuleta and that Osmond kid who didn’t make the grade last year. There’s a new Mormon in town. Justin Williams was cut during season 8’s Hollywood Week (despite being in a group that included Matt Giraud and Kris Allen) but no one mentioned it when he appeared in front of Simon et al this time around. He gave a great Michael Buble-style performance, which scored him a golden ticket again, and he has a back story that rivals Danny Gokey’s: seven years ago, at the age of 20, Justin found out that he had cancer while he was on a mission in Spain. He’s cancer-free now. Posh Spice couldn’t contain her enthusiasm, using the word “nice” to describe everything from his voice to his looks. In fact, if she ever appears as a judge on Idol again, I am thinking of starting a drinking game where you have to take a shot every time she smiles (Posh has teeth — who knew?) or says the word “nice.”
Idol loves to hate on Asians who are vocally challenged. This season’s William Hung was a guy who sang “All By Myself” (at least that’s what I think it was) and when he was interviewed by Ryan Seacrest, they subtitled him. Way to go, Idol!