Idol Chatter: The Top 36 are in!

In what I hope will be a weekly feature here on the Morgue, I will give my own personal updates on the goings-on of Season 8 of American Idol.

This week's installment: the top 36.

Today, I offer my personal insight (and clever nicknames) for the 16 girls and 16 boys chosen by the Judges (read: producers) to perform in this year's competition.

General notes:

- I think the talent (based on what's been shown so far) is heavily weighted in favor of the boys. Not a single female performer impressed me with their singing. (Their smokin bods...maybe, but not their singing)

- Simon was in full bitch mode for the first time last night. (Quote of the night: [after telling a hopeful that she is not moving on in the competition]: "If it makes you feel any better, you would never have won the competition anyway.") Yeah, Simon, i'm sure she feels great.

- Jamar Rodgers' (RDJJ's friend) early ouster is the disgrace du jour of the show. At least six of the guys picked ahead of him have no chance. for some individual observations (and clever nicknames) for the finalists:


Danny Gokey: Mike Sleazack over at Entertainment Weekly is calling him "Robert Downey Jr. Jr." I totally made that up before him!!! (never wrote it, or told anyone but my wife...but still...) We'll stick with athat name for him. RDJJ, in my opinion, is the odds-on favorite to win this season, not because of his sad, sad story, (wife died) but because he has been by far the most superior vocalist thus far.

Matt Breitzke: One of the two "blue collar guys" in the top 36. He's the one who looks like he was the dean of men at San Quentin Prison. We'll call him "Bubba". He won't generate enough teeny-bopper voter interest to stay around long.
Michael Sarver: "Oil Rig Guy". Studly guy...good voice. Not particularly distinctive in my view, but probably top-12 material.

Kris Allen: Dude out of Phoenix. If they showed him sing at all, I missed it. Let's just call him "Early Exit".

Kai Kalama: Call him "Hairdo". Good voice, cloying backstory about him taking care of his ill mother. A likely top-12'er if he fixes his hair.
Nathaniel Marshall: "Almost too Gay to Function". (ATGF) (not that there's anything wrong with that.) He's this season's gay-friend to the ladies on the show. He sings pretty well, though and is finalist material.

Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle: Jury is split (like his personality). Two observations: 1. He's got to drop the shctick. 2. When he does, he's gone 'cuz he has ZERO else to offer. Call him "Dr. Jekyll".

Stephen Fowler: "Sideshow Bob in da Hood". (SBH) He flubbed his audition with the piano, and has yet to impress me otherwise. Early cut predicted.

Brent Kieth: Ringer Alert!!! This guy did Nashville Star. I've long advocated that "second-chancers" be DQ'd. There's too much true undiscovered talent to allow this. Call him "Ringer-o Star"

Jorge Nunez: The only Puerto-Rican from Puerto Rico to make the cut (one of the ladies auditioned there, but she's from Texas). Good singer, but to really sell in the U.S. he needs to put serious work into reducing his accent. Let's call him "Ricky Martin Redux".

Matt Guirard: He was the one compared to Elliot Yamin. OK, if you're into that...but otherwise unremarkable. Marginal for the top 12. Call him "Eliot 2.0".

Junot Juyner: The dude who sang the "Hey There, Delilah" interp. that my six-year-old loved. Kinda looks like Aires Spears from Mad TV. After eight seasons, anyone who can pull of a credible "re-interpretation" of any song is probably a finalist. Just call him "JJ".

Rickey Braddy: Never heard of him? You are not alone. He got brief time in open auditions, and we never saw him in Hollywood at all. Call him "Claude Raines". (look it up) Unless he lights it up for his first performance, he'll be gone.

Scott MacIntyre: You know *whispers* he's blind. Good singer at the piano...less good standing. If Ryan can refrain from trying to high-five the guy, he's a top-12. Nickname: "Stevie Wonderbread" Also...he's aringer. 6 independent albums... but since the other guys know...see and all, we'll cut him a break.

Adam Lambert: Musical Theatre guy with the emo look. Very interesting and good voice, though. Let's call him "Fossey-Hands".

Alex Wagner-Trugman: Goofy-looking kid who used to sing in the closet. Now is out of the closet (not that there's anything wrong with that). Mediocre talent. Call him "Coat hanger".

Anoop Desai: Good voice. Decent looks ('cept for the SCARY eyebrows) I expect he'll go far. He already has been called "Anoop Dog". Works for me...

Von Smith: Can't just sing the song...has to beat it to death, then hang around to shout at the funeral. I've heard him called "Shouty McLoudvoice". I think we'll keep it. This guy will be an early favorite among the boys for "".

The Girls:

Alexis Grace: Young mom. She's the cute thing with the pink highlights. She can sing well, but needs more stage presence. Let's call her "Mommy Dearest".

Allison Irahita: Never heard of her. She's the female Ricky Braddy. No nickname for her until she survives one cut.

Ann Marie Bosckovitch: Needed a wardrobe enema before being passed along by the judges. Good voice, unremarkable. "Runway Roadkill."

Arianna Asfar: Another young, talented, dark-haired little sprite. "Rerun".

Casey Carlson: Hot brunette, average voice. She will advance WELL beyond her singing talent if she dresses provocativly enough. "Simon's Dream"
Jackie Tohn: Quasi-ringer alert!!! You've seen her on TV, if you've watched The Sopranos, or Veronica Mars. One of the few unique voices among the girls. We'll honor her Sopranos spot by calling her "Bada-Bing".
Jasmine Murray: 16-year-old with a grown-up voicwe. looks like the 6th Jackson. We'll call her "Mini-Janet" for a long time. She will go far.

Jeanine Vailes: Another unknown. We've never seen or heard her. Unless she completely kicks ass, we'll never get the chance to. "Who?"

Jessica Langseth: A rare redhead with grade-A passion and grade-C talent. "Red Velvet"

Joanna Pacitti: MAJOR ringer alert!!! Not only has she been on a label before, she's charted songs, been on soundtracks, had Brittany Spears cover one of her songs, and has, we hear, collaberated with Judge Kara. I call her "cheater,cheater, pumpkin eater".

Kendall Beard: Requisite cute blonde #1. Her name gives me to think that she'll end up as Nathaniel's "girlfriend". Let's call her "Eye-Candy"

Kristen MacNamara: Requisite cute blonde #2. Won a sing-off to get into the top 36. Very marketable, somewhat talented. Kind of reminds me of Brittany Spears and that chick from My Name Is Earl... soooo... we'll call her "Earl Spears"

Lil Rounds: This year's Fantasia (except she looks like a human rather than a half-orc-half troll hybrid). The judges have kvelled over her, and she has a nice voice, but personally, I'm not a fan of the R&B diva genre. Plus, I resent having someone shoved down my throat by the Judges/producers. I'll call her "Poison Pill"

Megan Corkey: Divorced mom at 23. She's perky, talented and Brooke-Whitey in a less "my dress is made of wheat" kind of way. She could go far in this group of mediocraties. She is neither Blonde nor very dark-haired..which makes her even easier to single out. "Not-Married, with Children"

Misha Henson: Freaky-looking dark-haired little moppet. Talented, but immature, and, qute frankly, strange-looking. Kind of like if Sela Ward had her head jammed in a trash-compactor. To me, she's "Nightmare Fuel"

Stevie Wright: Another kid. (16) Has a unique look...sort of a pretty-hideous thing... and a different sound. She could last. We'll call her "Pretteous"

Taylor Viafauna: Another from the dark-haired crowd. She's the tall one. "The Tall One".
Tatiana Del Toro: female favorite. Immature, annoying, bizzare laugh, borderline psychotic behavior, but a decent voice. (Hey, she's already a pop star) Nickname: "Aaaah...kill it! Kill it Now"

*** Update: American Idol has quietly dumped Joanna Paccetti (Cheater...) and replaced her with unknown Felicia Barton. When I say quietly, I mean they didn't announce it at all, just replaced the picture and name on the top-36 list. I say well done, and welcome to Felicia "Scab player" Barton.

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