Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let the Mud-Slinging Begin! Plus, 24 Semi-finalists leak

Well here it is, only Week 2 into Season 7 and the dirt is beginning to come out about the contestants. Also, according to a reliable source the 24 semifinalists were selected on Tuesday. The leaked list from that site is depressing. Gone are a lot of the male favorites we've seen since last week, but present are a good number of contestants who previously have gone pro. The most notorious -- Carly (Hennessy) Smithson -- has a 2002 MCA album available on both iTunes and Other names we'll be seeing more of who've had previous experience, according to numerous sources and our own research, include Michael (Lee) Johns, Kristy Lee Cook, Kady Malloy, Brooke White and David Archuleta.

Idol executive producer Ken Warwick's statement last week, which essential said that if contestants meet all the eligibility rules they deserve a shot at stardom, even if they've had previous experience, seems to fly in face of the original concept of "American Idol" -- to find fresh undiscovered talent and turn them into superstars.

The semi-finalist spoiler names will appear at the end of this post. So if you don't want to know, don't look!

As to the dirt: Yesterday published a story about Perrie Cataldo, the single father with the poignant story from San Diego who made it to Hollywood after singing Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You." Seems that Catalado has an arrest record from 2006 for carrying a handgun into a bar in Glendale, Ariz., after being kicked out for fighting. According to the arresting officer, Cataldo was "concealing" the gun under his clothing, and was confronted by security and arrested. Cataldo pleaded no contest to carrying a concealed weapon (a misdemeanor) and was fined $568. Guess that could be a reason he didn't make the semi-finals.

Plus, it appears that some of the wacky acts we saw last week were professional comics. This so-called "reality" show is becoming more scripted and filled with plants than PBS' "The Victory Garden." According to, Paul Marturano, Paula Abdul's infamous "stalker" from the Philly auditions who sang about breaking into her house and trying on her underwear, is an improv comic who has released two CDs. In fact, he appeared on Fox’s "The Magic Hour With Magic Johnson" as his alter ego "Pauly Nipple" in a video his band, The Hairy Aureolas, produced for the show. And Milo Turk, the 39-year- old who sang "No Sex Allowed" at the same audition session, is also a comedian associated with Marturano's Off The Edge Productions.

And, so, on to Charleston, S.C. Well, we complained that the two-hour auditions episodes were too long, now we're going to complain that the one-hour episodes are boring. Or are we just getting tired of the show. To date, we have nobody we particularly cared to root for. Nobody. Yes, we've been shown some decent singers, but no one especially memorable or creative. As bad as last season was, we seen nobody who can excite us even as much as Blake Lewis or Melinda Doolittle did.

The story that was supposed to carry us throughout the episode was that of contestant Oliver Highman, who was first on line for Day 1 of Charleston, but whose wife went into labor before he had a chance to audition. The producers, spotting what they felt was a great story opportunity, sent cameras with him and his wife to the hospital. They had a girl and -- ta-da -- Oliver gets to be the last contestant on Day 2, singing "Get Here." Guess what? Even though he didn't have a half-bad voice he doesn't get to go to Hollywood. But, of course, he has a great consolation prize, a new kid (We'd rather go to Hollywood). Oliver is so good-natured, he offers "Do you guys want to at least see my baby?" And so, Randy, Paula and Simon get to oooh and aaah over one-day-old Emma Grace, who came with mommy to daddy's audition. Anyone else find that strange, not to mention extremely unsanitary for a newborn? Truth be told, we were thoroughly unimpressed with the whole another Idol baby born story.

Watch video of Emma Grace Highman's first TV appearance:

Some other people we thought had a modicum of talent in Charleston didn't get their Golden Tickets either. Among them was Lyndsey Goodman, who at least has an interesting life. Lyndsey is not only an Air Force pilot, she flies C-17s, those huge cargo carriers, transporting troops, equipment and medical evacuees. We thought her rendition of Alannah Myles' "Black Velvet" was pleasing, if not prize-winning. She was obviously nervous, which Paula pointed out, but we thought she'd make it through anyway, especially compared to some others who already have. But, ultimately, she has turned away.

Watch video of Lyndsey Goodman failing to take flight:

On the other hand, London Weidberg, who claims she's a full-time musician made it through -- albeit with some hesitation from Randy and Simon -- with what we felt was a mediocre version of "Good Morning Heartache." Her backstory seemed to center on the death of her father three years ago. We agreed she has a nice tone to her voice, but, honestly, she was no more memorable than Lyndsey, who we actually liked a little more.

Watch video of London going to Hollywood via Charleston:
London Weidberg

Although Simon said some people would like Amy Catherine Flynn and others would find her annoying, we found her the latter, especially when Randy asked her name and she answered, "I'm Amy Catherine, Amy, Amy Catherine, A.C., whatev." Whatev is the leader of her high school's dance team and a STARS (Students Teaching and Respecting Sexuality) panelist, i.e. she lectures to other teens on the importance of abstinence, be it sexual, drinking or smoking. She gave Simon a small demonstration of one of her speeches. Paula found her adorable. We didn't. We didn't even know they had Valley Girls in Knoxville, Tenn., where Whatev comes from. But we enjoyed the slightly snide undertone to her personality when she talked back to Simon ("I think that's a bit much to say") and made faces at his critique. He answered back in Valley Girl "Sowry." LOL. We'll give her one thing. She was fearless, if full of herself, in front of the judges. Her singing of Christina Aguilera's "Reflection" was nothing outstanding, but to our surprise she got three "yeses," with Randy telling her she had "mad potentional."

Watch video of the judges failing to abstain from Amy Catherine Flynn:

The judges went gaga over oversized siblings Jeffrey and Michelle Lampkin, especially Jeffrey. Actually, we thought they were a joke act at first, but they sounded really good dueting "I'm Your Angel." Simon said Jeffrey had the better voice, but he liked them both. Randy put through only Jeffrey, while Paula said "yes" to both. It came down to Simon, who said he couldn't separate them and let Michelle go to Hollywood as well. Frankly, we thought the two -- especially Jeffrey -- way too over the top to be taken seriously, but Simon called them funny and a breath of fresh air, saying he throught they had great chemistry. Hey, what do we know? According to the judges' decisions in Charleston, very little, apparently.

Watch video the Jeffrey and Michelle Lampkin having tons of fun:

Another duet was performed by Randy Stark and Crystal Ortiz, who should have left their coupling to the online dating they've been doing. You, see, Randy and Crystal met on the Idol chatboard, where Randy, who's auditioned before and apparently still doesn't believe he can't sing, advises others on how to get in to see the judges. He must know something about that, as get in they did. But they couldn't get out fast enough for us. Simon seemed amazed that they couldn't keep their hands off each other. Well, what else did they have?

Watch video of couple Randy Stark and Crystal Ortiz. Let's hope they don't reproduce:

Last night's medley of losers performers attempted, feebly, to sing Carrie Underwood's before he cheats. You might want to take a Louisville Slugger to them:

There were three obnoxious auditioners who also could've used a Louisville slugger to the head (or mouth). First was the inappropriately named Aretha Codner, who thought just because her mother named her after Aretha Franklin it automatically imbued her with singing ability. Memo to Aretha C.: It didn't. She actually wasn't terrible, but was so arrogant about her "talent," that she stupidly tried to take on Whitney's Houston's "I Have Nothing." And when she got three "no's," she insisted on arguing with the judges, telling them she knew she had a beautiful voice and that she could sing. What she knew was not much. And we don't even know what to say about her appearance. That's she's overendowed would be an understatement. That she emphasized it with a wide belt worn snugly beneath her chest made her look as if she could lay a set of dinnerware on that rack.

Watch video of Aretha Codner who ultimately had nothing:

Next, we wanted to slam Joshua Boson, who isn't a friendly loser, either. It was torture sittig through his shrill screaming of "I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." When he left the judges stupefied and speechless, he offered to sing again. Simon offered that it wasn't a good audition. Joshua told us, "Well I haven't had any voice training or anything like that." Duh, ya think? When Randy told him he didn't have a good voice, he actually was shocked. He then called the show faked and rigged (yeah, well we no that, Joshua, but you still can't sing). He then went outside the audition room and lied saying the judges said that nobody can sing in South Carolina. Ultimately Joshua told us that his talent "was too big for this competition to hold." Errr, didn't you mean attitude and not talent, Josh?

Watch video of Joshua Boson, who was, indeed, not going ... to Hollywood:

And then there was DeAnna Prevatte, a waitress from Kellie Pickler hometown of Albemarle, N.C. who had the personality of a soggy waffle. She complained to the judges about her piggish Sunday morning all-you-can-eat customers. In the intro she told us she hoped America would like her almost as much as Kellie, but unlike Kellie, who would walk away from you in her red high heels if you done her wrong, Deanna said "If I am going to lose you, I am more likely to run you down with a baseball bat than strut around in red high heels." Her version of "Fancy" was so angry, Simon said, "You're a little tiger, aren't you, Dina." Umm, wrong move Simon. He then got lectured and corrected on the mispronunciation of her name. P.S., DeAnna didn't take rejection well, as she promised.

Watch video of Deanna Prevatte. Just don't order food from her:

Raysharde Henderson

If you don't want to know, don't read any further.

1. Chikeze Eze
2. Colton Berry
3. Danny Noriega
4. David Archuleta
5. David Cook
6. David Hernandez
7. Garrett Haley
8. Jason Castro
9. Jason Yeager
10. Luke Menard
11. Michael Lee Johns
12. Robbie Carrico

1. Alaina Whitaker
2. Alex Lushington
3. Amanda Overmyer
4. Amy Davis
5. Brooke White
6. Carly Smithson
7. Kady Malloy
8. Kristie Lee Cook
9. Ramiele Maulbay
10. Syesha Mercado
11. Joanne Borgella
12. Asia'h Epperson

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© 2008

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