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Monday, February 27, 2012

Let’s Get This Party Started: American Idol Recap

Our marketing teams are long-time American Idol viewers. This year we decided to share our take with News & Views. Every week we’ll recap the show and share our critiques. This week, CD Marketing Coordinator Danielle Desmond and Graphic Designer Heather Brown give their two cents.

This past week wrapped up Hollywood, and the contestants had one last chance to prove to the judges (Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler) that they deserve a spot in the Top 24, which will commence the live tapings this week.

The competition’s 42 remaining contestants had to decide upon songs and whether to play an instrument. In a grueling two-hour segment, we watched the judges either make or break these aspiring singers’ dreams to be the next American Idol. We learned a little bit about each contestant’s background, watched a part of their solo performance, and saw them sit down with the judges and await their results.

My favorite part about American Idol, besides Beatles week, is hearing the background stories of all the contestants—some are single parents; some are looking to better the lives of their families; and others are from Small Town USA with stars in their eyes, ready to live their dream. The 11th season so far seems promising.

The first contestant on the chopping block: 23-year-old Lauren Gray, who shed many a tear in her performances since Hollywood week. The judges felt she got into her head a little too much and sent her packing. Don’t worry; every contestant was greeted with open arms from American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, who is back with more sugary words of wisdom.

Of course, we had to sit through the cuts—some led to breakdowns and others were more understanding. My favorite: 26-year-old Reed Grim—maybe it’s his quirky behavior or his ability to play drums or his touching story about his father, who succumbed to cancer. Either way, Reed Grim not only has great vocal talent, but an awesome sense of humor.  

In this past episode, the judges repeatedly commented on the extreme depth of talent this season. There is a great deal of talent—singing and instrumental—so we’ll be in for a good season! However, many of these artists don’t seem like they would fit into the pop/rock Top 40 of today. Hopefully, Idol can groom them, so they don’t fall to the wayside after the competition.

I hope the wayside isn’t the case for Shannon Magrane. The fresh-faced 16-year-old belts it out, sounding similar to Leona Lewis while possessing a personable stage presence like Carrie Underwood. Although young, I think she’s got the strongest pipes out of all the women competitors.

For the guys, it seems their talent is all over the map. Colton Dixon has returned to this show; hopefully he will get further than last time. He deserves that chance. Reed Grim is extremely talented, but he reminds me a lot of Taylor Hicks. Remember him?

One guy who didn’t make the cut, Johnny Keyser, seemed to be the only guy who crooned like a true ready-for-radio pop star you. For some reason, the judges opted not to keep him. As a twist to the show, though, one of four guys who had been cut will be asked back. Let’s hope it’s Johnny.

Congrats to all the contestants who made it to the Top 24. We are eager to get to know you this season. The guys will perform first on Tuesday night, and the girls will follow Wednesday night. Seacrest will unveil the results on Thursday. Three whole nights of American Idol! Will you be watching? Who are your favorites? 

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