The Young and the Rawest in Hollywood

It’s Hollywood Week – even though we will see it aired over several weeks. I cannot stress enough the importance of this so-called “boot camp” – even Katy Perry made that comparison – in separating the pretenders from the contenders and preparing the contenders to compete both in the Idol world and the real music world. If you haven’t already, I suggest reading my take on why Hollywood Week matters to Idol’s mission of searching for a superstar.

Before I get to the first Hollywood episode, we need to bring the audition season to a close, as ABC snuck in a final audition show following the Oscars. As I suspected, it was an hour over-served with cheap commercials and underserved with talent that was worth watching. Several auditions were aired previously. And, of course, the Evil Genius Producers (EGPs) saved the best audition for last – a returning Idolist who goes by Scarlet.

Back to Hollywood. This week we had the Genre Challenge with Idolists choosing what style of artist they see themselves as: Country, R&B, Indie/Folk, Pop, or Rock[1]. We also saw the return of some of Idol’s favorite alumni as coaches, although many Idolists are so young that I’m sure they were looking at Lee Dewyze or David Cook as, “Who dey?” David Cook, in particular, looks like a hippie grandpa at this point.

Chayce Beckham also made a guest appearance to remind the viewers, and I think Chayce himself, that he won last year. I’m guessing most Idolists were thinking, “Who dis?” Chayce has released only one new song as a solo artist[2] since winning Idol, so the reminder was not only apt but also necessary.

As to the competition itself, I know the EGPs are creating a story arc that builds to an exciting climax with the selection of the Top 24, which begins audience voting. So, I’m trying to be patient with the small doses of talent and large doses of Idolists that are too young and too raw to be taken seriously. This focus on “rolling with the raw,” as the judges frequently said, also seemed to be a theme during the auditions.

That wasn’t the case in the past. Seeing the ex-Idolists as coaches reminded me that Idolists came in as unknown but not inexperienced once upon a time. Many had gigged in bars, done musical theater, tried and failed to make it in LA, etc. I’m seeing too many high school kids who aren’t ready yet this season.

I think this is how the EGPs have edited the show to get us to the Top 24 that they already know. In the meantime, here is who I thought stood out from the Genre Challenge:

Country: Mike Parker, a smooth, soulful singer representin’ from nearby (41 miles) Warrenton, Virginia. I wrote him up from the Nashville auditions.

R&B: Katyrah Love, who showed her vocal prowess by singing Whitney’s Saving All My Love for You without trying to imitate Whitney.

Pop: Nicolina Bozzo, who slayed Billie Eilish’s Everything I Wanted.

Pop: Emyrson Flora, who is one of those raw talents I’m keeping an eye on.

Finally – a request. Emryson’s fine performance aside, can we ban Adele contestants on any show from singing Adele? Adele isn’t the girl on 19 anymore. She’s the woman of 31, you feel me? We need to stop these kids from singing her music. My Daughter Diandra (MDD) agrees.

Text chain with (MDD)

See you next week, although later in the week once again.

[1] That Rap/Hip-Hop isn’t included is a topic that I have longed privately mused on.

[2] He released one last year as part of a duet.

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