American Idol 8: Hollywood Auditions - Part 1, Live Thoughts
FOX has yet to release any American Idol photos from the Hollywood Auditions, so I chose this picture.  It's Ryan Seacrest sitting on new judge Kara DioGuardi's lap.  Ryan looks confused, and Kara looks amused.  He's a spritely fellow, that Seacrest, and Kara is probably amazed at how easy it is to support his full body weight. Nonetheless, the time for crappy auditions has passed us by, making way for the ultra-intense Hollywood auditions, where some talented singers choke it all away, and others sack up and finagle a spot in the semi-finals.  This year, American Idol has extended the Hollywood Rounds for an extra week.  This is a good thing, as the coverage for Hollywood has always seemed less than adequate.  So - this American Idol season, we will witness buckets of tears escaping the ducts of wannabe Idols, we will see foolish young men and women play instruments when they should have just sang, and we will watch in awe as a select few actually impress us, the cynical, jaded, compassion-devoid American audience.  It will be fun.  As always, I will be here throughout the episode, oozing wisdom and handsomeness, guile and toughness, tenacity and frivolity, in the treacherous face of Simon's cockneyed wit, Kara's toothy smile and Paula's whiskey breath.  Join me, please.  Fun will be had.

Whoa Nelly, am I happy the initial auditions are over.  Even more, I have always been fascinated by the Hollywood auditions, and now we get two weeks of them.  I always knew Simon Fuller listened to me. 

And we're underway. Dramatic opera music plays, Carmina Burana type stuff.

147 singers made it to Hollywood, and only 36 of them will make it to the semi-finals.  Introducing the episode, Seacrest is wearing a horribly silly vest concoction, like the mistaken ensemble of a 4th-grade Catholic school boy. 

Hollywood rounds are taking place in Kodak Theater, where the finals for Idol take place.  The judges come out and address the finalists.  Simon tells them that they have one shot on this first day, the first of five audition days. 

For the first time ever, these people went through Idol Boot Camp.  They got did up with make-up, vocal lessons, wardrobe help, and a special talking to by Barry Manilow's Botoxed mouth.  Half the contestants perform on Day 1, other half on Day 2.  They get on the stage in groups of 8, and the mics are passed one by one, the singers will perform a capella.  Afterwards, the judges can kick them out.

Lil Rounds is the first person we hear - she's overrated, didn't sing that well, but the judges give her a damn standing ovation.  Kara slurps her, and I am immediately angry.

Dennis Brigham, the Kansas City guy who had absolutely no right making it to Hollywood, is next.  Simon didn't like his facial expressions.  After each group, the judges will put the eight into two groups.  One stays, the other goes immediately home.  Lil is in, Dennis is gone.  Four other randoms also make it.  Dennis won't leave the stage, and starts singing again.   “Y'all suck as judges,” says Dennis as he leaves.

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