AMERICAN IDOL Recap: Hollywood “Weak”

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It was a night without heartbreak on Wednesday’s ‘Idol’. A night scarcely worthy of the moniker “Hollywood Week”.

Instead of what used to be a gloriously trashy bit reality show drama – the series’ one indulgence into that realm each season – ‘Idol’ has now turned Hollywood Week into a chance for us to build a relationship with who will surely be our best singing friends for the next three months. Instead of shouting and cursing, we get another chance to hear the beautiful melodies and rapturous tones of the next crop of superstars.

Spare me.

I want blood. I want people quitting. I want fights between the contestants. I want fights between the judges. I want fights between the judges and contestants. Let me build my relationship with the contestants over the endless pre-taped packages and performances that make up the live round. This is my time to indulge one last bit of cynicism before it becomes all about good singers doing what they do best.

‘Idol’ showed urgency to get to that latter portion by starting the show with an odd bit of fakery that wasn’t fakery at all. For all the contestants new, they were singing for their lives when the judges paraded up dozens of individuals to sing right off the bat. But what Seacrest told us was that these contestants were safe. The judges just wanted to enjoy one more bit of brilliance before they got into the first set of cuts.

So instead of people singing in a line and being told which way to walk out the door, we just got a parade of anointment as the judges basked in their discoveries and without a hint of jeopardy either. Of course, this was done to let the audience react and build their rapport with these contestants (like something ‘The Voice’ would do), but, for me, it really just felt like a waste of time. Why do I want to see a contestant sing if there’s no chance of them going home? Competition and eliminations are the point of this show. Singing is secondary.

It wouldn’t have been such a bore had the contestants managed to create memorable moments out of their freebie performances. A cavalcade of “artistry” covers was what the contestants actually had in store as we had somebody named Jax sing “Toxic” like it was written by Jewel, Savion Wright singing “Get Lucky” like a Babyface ballad and another person named Hollywood stripping the melody out of “Someone Like You” to make it completely unrecognizable in a bad way.

It does not portend well for the rest of the season if this competition just becomes a contest of who can strip down what song the best. That’s cool for a memorable performance or two, but at some point I want to see somebody melt faces with their voice or take over the stage for something actually epic. Not just play some eighties synth-pop song on their acoustic guitar like they’re the first people to ever think of doing that and believe they’re Joe Cocker covering the Beatles.

Of course, in all the loathsome dullness of last evening, nothing was more worth of derision than this moment:

Congratulations, Sal. You’ve officially become my least favorite contestant this year. I’ll look for you in the next “10 Hours in New York” street harassment video.

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