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Star Search, January 31 – The Last Hurrah?by Donna Reynolds -- 02/02/2004
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Welcome to Star Search, week three. I remain undaunted, certain that this show is going to turn itself around and begin to thrill and amaze me! Or not? I was curious to see how Star Search stacked up against the competition, and finally got some numbers to use in the comparison. I was not surprised to see that American Idol’s audience last week was nearly four times that of last Saturday’s Star Search!
We have a ways to go! I’ll be watching the numbers!
The show opens with some quick shots of a few of the superstars who got their start on Star Search - Britney, Ray Romano and LeeAnne Rimes. After an explanation of the Winners’ Circle and a review of last week’s show, Arsenio appears in the flesh and welcomes us to the show. The panel of judges gives him an ovation!
Calling tonight’s show the “Super Bowl of talent shows,” Arsenio tells us that the new format has been “amped up” and the people waiting backstage are more nervous than Martha Stewart’s stock broker. Heh! In keeping with the sports theme, he introduces judges Naomi Judd, “Man of a thousand opinions” Matti Leshem and MC Lyte as “referees who need no instant replay,” and we are ready to begin.
Arsenio is really hyped up tonight and preps for the Young Singers group by saying the contestants are “like hobbits.” “Small equals powerful,” he declares.
First up tonight is Forrest Lipton from Houston who once sang the national anthem for P. Diddy (where?). She has chosen “Proud Mary,” and as we have seen all too often, the song is just too old for a little girl. She has an “adult” voice that is strangely disarming coming from this little girl’s body. She oversings it but has a strong voice and seems very comfortable on the stage. My friend, the voice teacher from Dallas, pointed out to me that if Forrest continues to abuse her voice the way she is doing now, she will have major vocal trouble when she is in her teens.
Arsenio turns the decision to the “Star Search Supreme Court” and Naomi starts it off by saying that she hopes Tina was watching. Noticing the over the top performance, Naomi advises Forrest to tell her mother and vocal teacher not to coach her so much. Matti thinks she has natural charisma and agrees with my assessment that her voice seems much older than her body. MC thinks Forrest is great and very sassy and thinks that the “spin” on the arrangement was “spectacular.”
Forrest gets 11 stars (4-4-3).
Next up is 10 year old Brittany Greene from Newport News, Virginia who took her first plane ride to get to L.A. for the show. She is singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and it is a slightly different arrangement. She has some nice runs and really belts this one out. She seems a bit stiff onstage but I like her song choice. I hate watching little girls trying to sing songs that are too old for them. Brittany finishes with a flourish, eliciting a “Wow” from me!
The judges are not quite as enthused. Naomi tells Brittany that “time is your friend,” and says she likes her nuances. Matti thought it was a mixed performance and MC agrees, advising Brittany to “rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.”
Brittany gets 8 stars (3-3-2) leaving Forrest in the unenviable position of having to choose a challenger from the Young Singers’ Winners’ Circle - David Archuleta of Sandy, Utah (Winner of Tournament #2), Mark Mejia of San Diego, CA (Winner of Tournament #3) or Spensha Baker from Killeen, TX (who won the first week of Tournament #4 and defended her position last week).
This week all of the Winners’ Circle performers had an interview with Extra’s Jon Kelley. Jon will select one interview from each group to air on his show and we see each of the Young Singers talking to him. Spensha tells him that her Dad is being deployed and that she dedicates her performances to him. David tells Jon that his voice comes from lots of practice and that he is not nervous. Mark is cute as a button and Jon thinks he has a million-dollar smile. Mark’s interview is chosen to air.
Back to the action. Forrest picks David and Arsenio thinks this is going to be a “barn burner!” Where does he get this stuff?
David is singing “A House is Not a Home” and this is the first time I’ve heard him. I am impressed. He puts a lot of emotion into the song and works the stage well. His experience is evident and he does a fabulous job with this song. He should have no problem beating Forrest. I wonder what his voice will be like when it changes.
Arsenio goes a bit insane as the judges get ready to evaluate David’s performance. Naomi gushes that she has been waiting since last year to hear David and calls his performance flawless. Matti thinks he has amazing phrasing for a singer of his age. MC loves the rendition but had trouble following him in the beginning. I don’t quite understand this comment but she redeems herself by saying that she was “with him” by the end of the performance.
“Let’s go digital,” Arsenio shouts. David gets 12 stars (5-4-3), narrowly defeating Forrest.1 2 3 Next-->
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