You know who we mean. Yep, I'm talking Ellen DeGeneres. Tonight's Hollywood round is pre-taped as Ellen, Simon, Randy and Kara narrow the contestants to the Top 24 (and, from there, the 12 finalists.)
I've seen the rumoured Top 24 list (and am tempted to post it but then I'll get blasted for being a spoiler so ferget it ...) so my attention is somewhat more on Ellen tonight and the judges' interaction than the vocal talent.
So here we go...let's rate 'em all...
"I know what it's like to stand on a stage and try to please a lot of people," Ellen says, defending whether she belongs here as a judge.
Ellen's first criticism on Idol proves apt as she tells swaggering Skiiboski to skedadle: "You frighten me. Don't frighten your audience. Sexy and scary, a fine line." He goes home. Katie Stevens' stodgy rendition of a boring old '60s Stevie Wonder ditty pleases the judges tho. For once in my life I wish Stevie's catalog would be mothballed for just one season of Idol. PleaZzzz.
Kara's smoked the crack pipe. "That was genius!" she gushed over Andrew Garcia's good Paula Abdul redo. He sang Straight Up acoustic style and he can definitely sing. But genius? Girl, please. She then equates his gift for reinterpretation to last year's feats from Adam Lambert. Way overpraising, don'cha think? What Andrew did was more akin to Kris Allen's Kanye cover (the acoustic Heartless.)
Meantime, it was predictable that country girl Vanessa was only getting an "aer-o-plane" ride out of this deal so she shouldn't feel her trip to Hollywood was a failure. She's too country for this show, but that's OK. She might make it elsewhere.
Quirks can only carry you so far. Boynton Beach's Cornelius Edwards split his pants in Orlando auditions, the sole reason he got a ticket to Hollywood, it appeared. And he bombed in L.A. Sweet Meighan had the cute little brother shilling for her but the Texan warbled a bum song and Amedeo's oversized Italian personality charmed in auditions week and he is a polite guy, but he, too, goes home.
Best of night so far include Jannelle Wheeler (blond, top) and Haeley Vaughn (above) who bring some grit and country/rock flavor. Haeley, especially, seems to be this season's find. She sang Taylor Swift and showed how good a Taylor Swift song can be when it's sung in tune.
Mary Powers, the rock mom, tears into Pink's Sober and also scores, tho she risks becoming overbearing ala Daughtry unless she's careful.
And where's the Simon-Ellen fireworks networks and rags teased us about...?"
Jay Stone's beatbox spitting leads Ellen to say of the Miami guy. "Something's wrong with his microphone." Yes, that he ever GOT one in the first place. Ridiculous.
Michael Lynche, whose wife went into labor back home, does a good John Mayer and makes it to Top 24 (that's the one spoiler I'll reveal) except he also may be disqualified because his father violated a cardinal rule at this stage of the competition. He blabbed to the media that his son made the Top 24. So I'll leave with the suspense being whether producers give Lynche another chance or uphold the rule...
Song choice is so important at this stage. Maddy Curtis certainly can sing but she chose some weird, rangey thing and did so while dressed in some 1950s Opry sack and sadly earns a "no" from judges. Shame.
Casey James, who had one of the most irritating auditions thanks to a shirtless schtick, prompted by Kara, redeems himself by displaying some decent blues chops. He's going thru and up there. Word's trickling out, however, that he's served jail time, twice, for driving infractions in the early 2000s. This won't hurt this cougar bait.
Hate to sound like a grouch (no, that's a lie) but waitress Didi Benami warbles a tuneless Kara DioGuardi tune, sounds like a cross between Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat. I wouldn't give her a tip after that number but she's a fast favorite with the judges.
It was rather uneventful. Maybe we'll have to wait for the live shows, after all. Her advice was sound tonight, she wasn't trying too hard to make it all about her. Her quips, especially early in the show, were well placed. But no fireworks, no drama, yet. Somehow, I have a feeling producers were hoping for a bit more. That said, no bum notes tonight from Ellen (or any of the judges, for that matter), either. Looking forward to the live shows to see if the real Ellen pokes her blond head out and generates sparks.