It’s amazing how many people “know” they can sing, and even more amazing how they all seem to end up in tears when their dreams of fame and fortune are dashed. While some truly awful performers littered last night’s premiere, tonight’s edition was notable for the inclusion of quite a few contestants who were neither great nor ghastly. In fact, one of my primary complaints about the show in the past has been the dichotomy drawn between the clearly good and the clearly awful singers. The inclusion of more than a few “on-the-fence” auditions in tonight’s show made for a welcome change and is sure to spark some healthy debate among viewers.
The Maynard Triplets kicked off the show in matching pink outfits and, while they could harmonize passably well, Simon seemed intent on commenting on their weight. While none of the girls were exactly skinny, they all seemed to be about of Diana DeGarmo’s heft, so this criticism was a bit off. What happened next was even odder. The judges rejected two of the girls outright, claiming that they could not send all three siblings through as a group. But even when the “best” of the three remained, she was not even given another chance to sing solo, and was summarily dismissed as well. The decision to pass on all three Maynard sisters was a curious one, but certainly not the most interesting story of the night.
Every episode now seems to need at least one tearjerker, and tonight’s was Angel and Jeremy, and music teacher and her student who both decided to audition. Angel was up first, and, though she impressed the judges with her powerful vocals, there was some debate over her image. The points raised were fair enough–Angel did look like she was out to shop at the mall, not up for an audition. But image is a lot easier to fix than talent, and, after some discussion and a split decision, Angel made it to the next round.
Jeremy’s turn didn’t come until much later. He entered the room with confidence and charisma, and pulled off a relatively decent version of “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” But the judges found it too affected. Granted, he was a bit theatrical in his delivery, but his voice was solid. Nonetheless, the judges couldn’t find it in their hearts to let Jeremy advance to the next round. He took it pretty well, but teacher Angel essentially broke down into a tantrum, wracked with disappointment, and likely the guilt of succeeding where her student had failed.
Aa’shia Jackson was an interesting situation. She entered the room with a solid, original rap. But when she actually stepped up to perform, she sounded more like Minnie Mouse than anything else. Perhaps the judges were feeling generous, though, as Aa’shia made it on to the next round.
The night’s best singer was Carrie Underwood, a farm girl who could end up as this season’s breakout country star. The few brief bars of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” that she sang was the highlight of tonight’s show. The judges passed her easily on to the next round, and one can imagine that she has at least an outside shot at the top 12.
Overall, tonight’s show had far less bang than last night’s debut, even at a more manageable single hour. The lack of a guest judge this time around was notable if only because Mark McGrath had added a modest freshness to the commentary, and having it back to our usual trio seemed a letdown by comparison. Things should get much more interesting next week in New Orleans, when Gene Simmons joins the panel.Powered by Sidelines