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TV Recap: American Idol – Miami – The Meaning Of Precocious

I guess Miami is just too full of beautiful people to have weirdoes, because tonight’s show was all about finding the next American Idol. I could have done without the retro-tastic Miami Vice intro, especially since most of the contestants were either not born or in diapers when Crockett and Tubbs were in their heyday. The same goes for the Gloria Estefan “Conga” sing-a-long. Has anything culturally come out of Miami since 1990?

Out first wannabe was Shannon, who works in her parents’ butcher shop. In what I thought was a nice precursor to Shannon’s audition, we get footage of meat being put through a grinder. I don’t know if the judges were out too late or their morning coffee was decaf, but Randy, Simon and Paula were harsher than expected after Shannon performed a Janis Joplin song. She may have been over the top, but I didn’t think she deserved the beating she got. I thought they at least could have let her do a second song like she asked, but even that was shot down. It also may have been in the editing, since it looked like there were so many talented people in Miami that they really had no time for a girl like her. Maybe Shannon should audition in another city next time, where she might stand out more.

I thought about skipping over Robbie, who used to be in a boy band but is now a rocker, but I changed my mind. His voice and audition was so bland (he did get through to Hollywood), it wasn’t normally worth a paragraph. But then I realized that there is a chance that he could make the final rounds, and I would hate to think I missed the boat on this guy. But I have a first for the show this season: I found the contestant I am rooting against for the remainder of the show. I hope America doesn’t get a chance to vote for a guy this boring.

Ghaleb said he was 27, but he looked more like he was 47. He sang like the guys who come up to your table in a Spanish restaurant with a flamenco guitar asking for tips, an opinion that was not lost on Simon who thought Ghaleb would have sounded better “if I were drunk.” Paula, who acted like she was drunk, said his accent (He’s from Venezuela) would get in the way of his success. She also got up and started dancing around the room, until she reached Ghaleb and pretty much whispered in his ear that he was in. Then Simon did something every Idol watcher has wanted to do for the past few years: He asked for a check of what’s inside Paula’s Coke cup.

Next were best friends Corliss and Brittany, who finally put some fun into what had been a not-so entertaining show so far. When I first saw these two girls in the tease last night, I feared for the worst. I though the goof factor was back on the show, since most of their footage was of them practically smothering Ryan Seacrest. But when they entered the room, their voices were quite good. I like how they made them sing their songs to Randy and Simon (Corliss likes big guys like Randy; Brittany prefers the skinny Ryan types), and the tight close-ups on the two male judges were funny. They got through to Hollywood, and I can imagine the nice dramatic touch of one friend having to go home and one staying in Hollywood after the next round.

Ramiele wants to become the first Asian American Idol. She’s a tiny girl, but to everyone’s surprise, she has a HUGE voice. Simon chides her by saying that if she were taller, Randy wouldn’t have said yes to her. But she’s cute, and she knows when to belt a note, and when to be quiet. I think she might make it past the group round, but it might be close.

When we meet Syesha, she has the best, most happy outlook of any contestant on the show tonight. In the interview section they feature her father, who recently graduated from a drug and alcohol program, which makes her an even more intriguing contestant. She has a fantastic, Beyonce-like voice, and she has excellent stage presence. I might be going out on a limb, but I think Syesha has a great shot at being either in the final two, or even the eventual winner of the whole show. I’ll even put aside the fact that she seems to be pushing the self-help mantra of “The Secret” during her interviews when she says she owes everything to “thinking positively.”

Syesha might be my #1 contestant right now, but Julie had my #1 audition of the season. Julie represents everything that is wrong with the concept of American Idol. For Randy, Simon and Paula, it was like being Dr. Frankenstein, facing a monster they themselves had created. It seems that Juile, when she was an sweet 12-year-old, was featured on American Juniors, which was an ill-conceived kiddie version of Idol. Now Julie is 16 and dressed like a slutty, pastel-painted Mouseketeer. She comes in with a whole bunch of attitude, like the audition is just a formality. But much like Paris Hilton, she has the persona of a star, with none of the talent. But in a YouTube, TMZ world, talent is not really a requirement for fame. Which is why Julie is shocked when the three judges tell her that singing is not her thing. Julie reacts to this revelation rather poorly, and pretty much pouts her way out of the room. The segment ended with footage of her bitching about American Idol with the more innocent American Juniors version of herself singing in the background. It was a nice warning to parents that if you indulge your kids too much, this is how they turn out.

After Julie’s display, seeing Brandon’s goofy act, with his white suit and silly singing, the wack factor just didn’t do it for me. Maybe they should have put his audition first or in the middle, because his goofiness was not original or particularly weird. Even the judges, who sometimes like to play along with the over-the-top acts, just wanted him out. Paula, who is nice to everyone, treated this guy like she had a bus to catch.

Overall, this was my least favorite Idol episode so far, but at least finding Syesha made the trip to Miami worthwhile. But for me, I hope they find more Julies, they make for much better TV.