American Idol: Season 12 Premiere!
Oh, my dearests. If I told you how excited I was about the season premiere of American Idol, would you think less of me? If I told you that I plan on blogging about it for the rest of the season, would you stop reading this site? If I said you had a beautiful body, would you give me a hand-job? So many questions. So few answers.
With the caveat that I’ll be staying away from the recap shows (there are only so many clever things one can say about a bunch of fame-hungry teenagers pretending to be super into a Ford Focus), yes, I am so thrilled about AI starting up again that I’ll be writing about it in this space for the duration. While I have no expectations that we will get anything but another blandly handsome guitar-strumming non-entity who appeals to sheltered 13-year-old-girls again this year, it should be fun based on the major overhaul to the panel of judges.
Gone are ass-positive triple-threat Jennifer Lopez and desiccated Diane Warren repository Steven Tyler. In their place will be Mariah Carey, who will be filling the ‘overly emotional, mentally damaged mixed-race pop sensation’ slot; Nicki Minaj, a wondrous Trinidadian elf-thing who will be insufficiently able to assume Simon Cowell’s stern taskmaster role; and the deceptively named Keith Urban, a foreign-born country singer and professional Nicole Kidman impregnator who will be assisting gregarious human coin toss Randy Jackson in his role as a dumb oaf. It’s a combination of inexperience, indifference, and utter madness that’s sure to result in mirth.
The opening making-of sequence, where last year’s mistake, Phillip “Phillip” Phillips, sings a song that will someday be used in the montage scene of a WB post-apocalypse drama, is the last quiet moment of the night, because then Ryan Toothpaste starts giving us a bunch of depressing statistics about how there are more Mariah Carey records in existence than there were people killed in the Holocaust. The first episode takes place in New York, where a billion people show up to look at Keith Urban because their boutique beer store in Greenpoint was rendered unacceptably soggy during Hurricane Sandy. Now, because the captions on this show only show up for a picosecond and God made marijuana delicious, I missed some of the names here, but I ain’t Keith Sweat, so don’t sweat me. Let’s pause for a few seconds of fake bitchiness between Mariah and Nicki, which hopefully by the end of the season will blossom into genuine, soul-harrowing, unrehearsed hatred, and then it’s off to the races!
Our first no-hopeful is Mike, a goateed punching bag who does a freestyle rap about how cute Nicki’s face is. Nicki agrees that her face is cute, but she doesn’t need some cookie-dough honky telling her that, so he gets sent packing. After some more fake hostility as Nicki gets her wig steamed, next up is Tina Tennant, who once attended the terrifyingly named “Camp Mariah”, where I can assume that young children are taught melismatic runs in preparation for the fascist nightmare that is to come when Mariah Carey overthrows the government. She doesn’t know how to walk in heels, but Keith Urban thinks she has “patience and pace” (coming soon to the WB, with songs by Phillip Phillips), and she gets through. We are then favored with a montage of people who get through by singing songs Idol has failed to license, including one guy who looks like he became homeless after spending his rent money on afro picks.
Something is going on with Mariah Carey’s tits. I cannot say what it is, but it seems like it might reach a crisis point in the near future. As the judges sip from special jumbo-sized Coca-Cola cups, we are treated to a terrible performance by the little kid from the PSY video, who gets the ‘we are sad but we are laughing’ treatment and is condemned to a future of selling cell phone accessories. The second girl pretends that she is fat, when she probably weighs 130 pounds at the absolute max, but still finds it necessary, when she gets her golden ticket to Hollywood, to emit sounds of gratitude that people of “all shapes and sizes” can get on American Idol. Way to bravely cope with being maybe ten pounds overweight, lady. She went to Berklee, which prompts Mariah to claim that she went to “the school of fuckin’ life”.
The mortal lock of the night seems to be a dancing New Jerseyite in Loverboy pants who (a) sings a Bon Jovi song, (b) seems kind of gay and (c) lost a leg to cancer! Yes, he’s a cowboy, and on a steel stump he rides. He’s not even a bad singer, but this panel seems to be trying to establish a hard-ass reputation and they send him home. Sorry, cancer man. Next up is Jessica, a folky Staten Islander in a jean vest who “doesn’t want to define herself yet”, possibly because the best definition for her would be “mediocre singer”. She is sad to be kicked to the curb and makes some my-career-is-over noises, but Nicki drops some wisdom, saying “nothing is ever your only shot”. Then there is a commercial for Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, which is one of many things I have needed explained to me today.
Shira is next; she had a number-one hit in Israel, which makes her sort of a ringer, but at any rate I am too blinded by anti-Semitism to give her a fair shake. As she croons away, all I can think of is the blood of my slaughtered Arab brethren, and also how I wish I had Pringles. Frankie from Brooklyn lives in a rough neighborhood, which they establish by filming him sitting in front of a computer surfing the internet. Way to get B-roll, American Idol directors. He tries to sing “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics, but he’s way, way too high; this would get most people booted, but Nicki likes people from Brooklyn, and she’s in a good mood because she just Americansplained busking to Keith Urban. Frankie has pipes, if not an iota of control, and they let him through as everybody smiles. The background music switches to Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax”, because his name is Frankie and he is going to Hollywood and not because he enjoys gay bathhouse sex. Or not only for that reason.
Flash forward to the next day, and Nicki has changed into a wig made of spun lava, because she is the Queen of the Mole People. Our next contestant is Benjamin, a tubbo in a Thriller outfit, only it is made out of linoleum, and the greatest post-’80s Jheri curl since Pedro Martinez. The panel dumps him while putting on the same sad-serious face they did for cancer man, and he squeaks away into the lonely city after sitting forlornly on a stool while a PA tries to think of something to say to him. This is easily the most hilarious segment of Idol all season. Then a commercial instructs viewers to send a get-well card to the AFLAC duck, who would actually do that.
Roseanne Shindelman is the first hatchi-matchi candidate of the night, and her parents are a pair of stock characters from regional Yiddish theater circa 1924, because they actually say stuff like “So nice, she sings”. She’s all over the place, though, and the judges send her home in shame. She will show them all when she is America’s best-loved female cantor. After another montage of shitty, angry singers with damaged hair, we get South Jersey melon-farmer Sarah, who is just one blueberry patch away from being a mob princess. She shoots a bow and arrow, rides a tractor, and appeals mightily to Keith Urban, because they are both clearly the kinds of people who should never sing country songs. She has an adequate pop-goes-the-Nashville voice, but then she busts out rapping and is much better at it than she is at singing. Sadly, this is American Idol and not American Rapper, a great show I just made up in my head that stars Canibus and a talking jaguar. She touches off a debate during which Mariah and Nicki both start talking so fast that time starts moving backwards, and I don’t know if she made it through or not because all of a sudden there was a Civil War battle on my TV.
Then Randy wants to eat lunch, and you don’t stand between that guy and a craft table burrito unless you want your legs broke. After lunch comes Albert, who is from Rego Park, a.k.a. the least gangsta neighborhood in Queens; Albert is Chinese and, in addition to not being able to sing, can’t speak English very well. I’m not sure if they’re trying to recapture the lightning of William Hung or what, but I am 100% sure I ain’t down with the Asian-minstrel-show shit Idol is doing here. Brett is a Phila homeboy who looks like he should be working at the Boys’ Club keeping young fellows on the straight and narrow; before he gets tossed, they do a bunch of bullshit Inception fakeouts which make this segment the most aggressively annoying of the night.
Fashion-forward Sikh Gurpreet, a.k.a. “The Turbanator”, almost doesn’t get through because this panel hates everybody, especially Keith Urban, who seems to be opting for a personality-free Simon Cowell jawn. But wait! The final vote falls to Nicki, who gives him a pass to Hollywood! This should be fun, because not only will he get eaten alive there, but he will be subject to some excitingly misguided Islamophobic slurs from the fans. Finally, Ashlee Felciano, who comes from a family of 200,000 people and looks like a Cosby Kid, shows up. Her parents foster “medically complex children”, which is a thing I have to know about now, I guess. Anyway, apparently, if she doesn’t get on American Idol, an adorable sick toddler will die, but luckily for him she’s easily the best singer of the night and gets through. She says “Oh, my word” because she is the heroine of a novel written in 1892. There is a brief moment of panic when Keith Urban threatens to say something perceptive about her voice but then YAY RANDY JACKSON IS DANCING WITH CUTE KIDS WHO ARE “MEDICALLY COMPLEX”, HOORAY.
Tomorrow: Chicago. Join me as I cry real tears for my vanished youth in the old home town.