Film and TV

Idol Beat: Still In Hollywood

While I was avoiding er, preparing this entry, I found myself watching a bunch of punk rock videos as sort of a palate cleanser. It got me wondering if Idol could ever do a punk/alt-rock show.

Would the show attract a new demographic if they trotted out the elder statesmen and women of hardcore and goth as guest judges? Or would we shudder in revulsion as Jello Biafra and Johnette Napolitano exchanged "What's up, Dawgs" with Randy Jackson?

I think you know the answer to that. Luckily, the show hasn't presented us with that particular moral conundrum. Yet.

It's the group round, which means those who've gone out of their way to antagonize everyone will have a hard time finding companionship. I'm looking at you, Tiffany Rios. Perhaps slagging off everyone else in Los Angeles wasn't the best strategy.

Meanwhile, country one-note wonder Scotty McCreery bounces around between...Jesus Jones, are we actually spending the first half of the episode watching these goobers play what's essentially a Romper Room version of Diplomacy?

Of course we are, it's a two-hour episode. And that McCreery kid ain't lasting long if he keeps singing everything - even Bruno Mars - like Josh Turner.

Because there's so much time to fill, we're introduced to a shit-ton of new contestants we've yet to hear from. Or if we have, they didn't make much of an impression.

A bunch of 15-16 year olds band together in one group ("The Minors"), while the broken-up couple (Rob and Chelsee) continue their ill-advised journey together with Jacqueline, mercifully freed from Nick, as "Three's Company."

And then there's Ashley. who can at least be counted on to bring the batshit crazy. She temporarily bails on "The Hits" to have one of her crying jags/withdrawal fits. I'm trying to be there for you girl, but really? "The cameras are too much?" Have you watched this stupid show before? And didn't you think to arrange for "supplies" before you got to L.A.?

We're also starting to get a sense of who will be the assholes this time around (Jordan, Clint) and who are likely to go the distance (Naima, Lauren Alaina).

Seriously, if you name your kid "Clint" you might as well start teaching him to tape nerds' buns together in preschool.

What a colossal waste of 45 minutes. It was like watching everybody forming up into teams during freshmen orientation.

Eventually, after 39 groups and countless renditions of "Forget You" and "You're Amazing," some front runners are starting to emerge. Pearland's Adrian Michael represents, and so does Serj Tankian's little brother Casey Abrams, as well as the aforementioned Naima and Lauren, bandana casualty James Durbin, Simply Brett Loewenstern, and Chelsee (but not Rob) and Jacqueline, who are moving on with two emasculated males in their wake.

If this was Showtime, I'd be readying for a lesbian love story side plot, but that might be asking a lot here.

Oh, and drama! Kevin Campos overslept and barely got his Members Only jacket on in time to perform. His reward: going home.

Bye bye also to Janelle Turner, Aly Jados, Tiffany Rios, Caitlin Koch, one of the Gutierrez brothers, and in maybe the biggest surprise of the night: Paris Tassin, whose dismissal was a lot more perfunctory than the narratives surrounding her and her disabled child.

Finally, Ashley makes it. She's the trainwreck that keeps on giving, And I maintain my unwavering support. She has decent chops, and her melodrama alone could fill an episode a week. They're not dumping her anytime soon.

Tomorrow is the third Hollywood cull. I'm not holding my breath for that Johnette Napolitano appearance.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar