American Idol Season 9

I think I am the only person I know who has never watched American Idol. Ever. And there is a good reason why; it just feels too much like work! One of my many roles at Starlight Orchestras is to audition talent. And although it is exciting to meet new performers and find exactly what you are looking for, the process can  be quite brutal! Maybe on reality-TV it is entertaining to tell people when they have no talent, but I find it cheerless and nerve-wracking to sit through so many unfortunate performances.

I certainly acknowledge the entertaining aspect of live try-outs, which is why I invite my mother to all of Starlight’s auditions. She finds it extremely entertaining; right up there with her season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera and the Roundabout Theatre. (Actually, at one audition many years ago, we were setting up the video camera, and I asked my mother to stand in the middle of the stage so we could get a lighting level. Apparently, she had been waiting for this moment her entire life…she jumped onstage, grabbed the microphone and then proceeded to belt out an Ethel Merman number from the show “Oklahoma!” I might add that any musical talent that I inherited came from the other side of the family! This priceless performance is buried on a Starlight audition videotape somewhere, and I have been meaning to dig it out and play it at the next family gathering. )

Another part of my job is producing live shows; choosing material, overseeing stylists, choreographers, arrangers, performers and technical crew. I truly adore my work, and at the end of the day I prefer to watch a show like “Dexter” (lovable serial killer) or “True Blood” (lovable vampire) or Brothers and Sisters (lovable dysfunctional family) for my entertainment, rather than what I assumed American Idol might be.

But.

Friends and family members have been talking about it, and lately my ears have perked up. Great guest headline performances. Interesting songs being re-arranged and covered. (That is another one of my jobs; finding fabulous songs to re-mix and cover, and I look everywhere for inspiration.) And the latest news, Ellen DeGeneres has been hired as a judge for the upcoming Season 9. Well, I do love Ellen,  I appreciate her humanity, kindness and sense of humor; the refreshing way she relates to people and expresses herself. This coupled with the fact that I am a fan of many of the talented performers who have come through American Idol (especially Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood), has encouraged me to watch and write about the new season that will air in January of 2010.

One of the funniest things I have ever seen is Paula Abdul impersonating Ellen DeGeneres . As you may remember, Paula lost her job as one of the judges on American Idol and Ellen was hired to replace her. During her recent appearance as Emcee of “The Diva’s,” Paula Abdul, dressed like Ellen and wearing a short blond wig, danced down the aisle of the theatre, doing a fabulous impression of Ellen. If you missed it, you can watch it on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJaat0Ofl7I

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