American Idol Sooner Style: Aw, Come on, Guys! I Loved the Puppet.

Thursday night’s Oklahoma City competition was somewhat of a mishmesh and the judges were tossing out some very unjudgelike jibes and vibes, not to mention giving out tarnished golden tickets. I was at a loss as to how to describe Oklahoma’s newest “musical”. Then . . .

American Idol Host Ryan Seacrest

I borrowed some quotes from the 1955 musical “Oklahoma” to describe some of the unlikely stuff that happened in OK City Thursday night:

It ain’t so much a question of not knowing what to do . . . I Cain’t Say No — You’d think Zoanette Johnson, the 19-year-old star-spangled anthem singer, had just knocked the sense right out of the judges when she rolled over them like a human tsunami from hell. Because somehow, someway, she wound up with a golden ticket. She was right up there with Roseanne Barr in her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and I don’t remember the panel putting her through no-way, no-how. The last I heard before Zoanette started sashaying out the door was a clash of yes’s and no’s from the judges when they tried (and failed) to do their 1-2-3 yes or no thing.

If [they’d] liked me any more, [they’d] sic the dogs on me — Judges were cruel to poor deluded Anastacia Freeman who tried, and failed, to sing “Unbreak My Heart”. If the faceless Idol group who puts these people through to be judged by the musical stars think this is funny, they have a sick sense of humor. And so do the final judges who laughed at her. It is wholesale bullying because they can get away with it.

They’ve gone about as fur as they can go. Together, that is. When Halie Hilburn hit center stage with her puppet sidekick Oscar, I was charmed and entertained. That Halie got tarred with the same brush as Zoanette (meaning “weird”) made me see red. Halie is not only a very good ventriloquist, I loved her singing (I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart). And I loved Oscar’s yodeling. I think it was a travesty that Oscar didn’t get a golden ticket and Zoanette did. That just goes to prove there’s no justice in this world. And anybody who didn’t love the Idol moment with Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” playing, and Oscar sadly dragging off afterward and ending up getting “canned”, is just too jaded for my taste. I’m thinking about a picket line in Hollywood with banners that read, “BRING BACK OSCAR! BRING BACK OSCAR!! Who’s with me? . . . Hey, where’d everybody go?

SING! SING! C’mon now! Sing! – My favorites Thursday night were Halie Hilburn, the self-styled puppeteer, and Nate Tao, whose parents are deaf and, of course, have never heard him sing. Nate wanted to get a Hollywood ticket to prove to his parents that, yes, he really, really can sing. Though this nice-looking Asian sign language teacher was conservatively dressed, there was nothing conservative about the ease in which he flowed into Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life”. Keith Urban called it easy and effortless. And everyone knows Stevie Wonders’ songs are not easy OR effortless to sing.

Oh, I thought you were somebody. The very last “contestant” was a strange-looking big blonde named Pepper. But it was only Steven Tyler come to spice up the rather bland evening in obvious and hilarious drag. But since this dude was no lady, and he couldn’t be persuaded to sing, Steven was disappointed when judges essentially told him, You can just pack up your duds and scoot. 

Thus, Oklahoma’s Idol day in the sun did not go out with a bang, but with a whimper. And a rather funny one at that.


22 thoughts on “American Idol Sooner Style: Aw, Come on, Guys! I Loved the Puppet.

  1. OK, here goes. Zoanette’s performance was an absolute travesty. The least the judges could have done was ask her to sing something else to see if she could ACTUALLY SING. But no….off to Hollywood she goes.

    I agree about Anastacia Freeman. All the contestants go though pre-judging so putting someone like her through to the actual judging is NOTt based on talent. I think it’s an attempt to meet a quota of untalented contestants that the judges can poke fun at.

    I LOVED Hailie Hilburn. She has a beautiful voice and her ventriloquist skill with Oscar was fabulous. I nearly cried at seeing Oscar tossed into a dumpster. I’m too much of an animal lover to see any humor in that….even if he wasn’t a real dog.

    Nate Tao was wonderful and what an interesting back story.

    I adore Steven Tyler (and Aerosmith,) but I thought the bit with him fell flat. He didn’t sing, he didn’t guest judge, he just dressed in drag. Not all that funny, IMO.

    OT, but have you looked at my Live Journal yet? You haven’t mentioned that you have. My layout is the boys in Il Volo.

    • Agree, agree, agree. (But still laughed at Steven Tyler). We haven’t been able to find your Live Journal. Have I missed a link or something? I guess you saw the news item about the contestant who brought the beautiful little girl – who said he’d been injured in an military explosion (I can’t remember the alphabet letters for it), who had made the whole thing up. Somebody need to check out these things BEFORE they come on the air. Otherwise, it diminishes all the stories because you don’t know what’s fake and what’s real. And from the beginning I wondered if the little girl was actually his since he said his injury was such that the doctors said he would not be able to have children. Then a few months later – whallah – a miracle baby. I eyed that a little askance.

      • Oh wow! I remember that man and his daughter, but it never occurred to me that the story might have been made up. As you said, someone needs to check out the contestants, especially if they have unusual back stories.

        Yes, I posted a link to my Live Journal in one of my comments here. Here it is again so let me know if it doesn’t work for you for some reason.

        They have loads of layouts to choose from, but I chose to make my own using pictures of Il Volo. I lock all my entries so only people I’ve “friended” at LJ can see them. However, I went back and edited this entry to make it public so you could see it. You won’t be able to comment because you don’t have an LJ and I have disabled anonymous posting. I can’t change that for just one entry.

        Let me know here if the link works.

        According to “TV Guide,” American Idol was the most watched show last week. Apparently, Nicki isn’t turning off many viewers.

      • Okay. Now I’ve got it. Those guys ought to be in movies. Reckon they can act? If not, they could take lessons. Good looks like theirs is a terrible thing to waste. And they seem like such great guys all the way around, not to mention they make me cry when they sing. The beauty of their voices is overwhelming. Thanks for sharing that.

      • Yes, I got your reply. Did you click on the hidden link in my LJ entry? If was for this>

        Yes, I’m sure the boys in Il Volo can act. I’d say Ignazio – DEFINITELY – because he’s so outgoing. Probaby Piero, too. And Gianluca has already said he’d love to have a career in Hollywood someday. He might take it more seriously than the other two, but I think ALL three would be good. Just look at the way they can work an audience. Did you see “Il Volo Takes Flight” either on PBS or the DVD of the show? Their interaction with the audience is terrific.

      • Well, good. I’m getting paranoid about things not getting through. Yes. Saw the entire PBS evening. I had to use the PBS video for when Idol pulled theirs of the boys. If Idol would just sell those few moments of Il Volo they’d make a mint. I’d buy it.

        Yep. Hollywood should be beating down their door begging them to act. Hopefully with a movie that is worthy of them.

      • “I had to use the PBS video for when Idol pulled theirs of the boys. If Idol would just sell those few moments of Il Volo they’d make a mint. I’d buy it.”

        Not sure what you mean about the PBS video unless you mean that was the only way you could hear them sing “O Sole Mio.”

        I told you a long time ago that I had their appearance on Idol and would send it to you. I asked if you wanted it on CD or DVD, but you never answered by question. Do you still want it?

        I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Hollywood hasn’t already approached them about being in a movie. They’ve already been on a TV show……HBO’s “Entourage.”

      • But I did answer. When you didn’t reply I thought maybe I had misunderstood your offer. I think I sent my address by email but after all this time I can’t remember. Something got lost somewhere, that’s for sure. I would love to have it on DVD. Should I send my address through email?

      • Yes, you did email me in reply with your mailing address, but didn’t specify whether you wanted it on CD or DVD. As long as I’m doing it, is there anything else you would like to have? Any other videos? I have soooo many saved and it seems a pity to put only one thing on a DVD. Or maybe I should just surprise you. :>)

      • Just now got back to the computer. That evil overlord, Laundry Havto had me chained to the treadmill, but as you can see, I escaped. Temporarily.

        Yes, indeed. Surprise me. Also, loved the youtube video. It was so different. Can’t wait for Mike to see it.

      • “Also, loved the youtube video. It was so different. Can’t wait for Mike to see it.”

        What video are you referring to, the one in my Live Journal?

      • I sent two replies and couldn’t find either one after posting. Did you get them? The gist of both was a big thank you for the pictures. Those guys should be in the movies. Not only are they handsome, they seem to be “handsome” through and through. Their music fills me with such powerful emotion I can’t do anything but cry. Not because I’m sad, but because it is so beyond-this-world beautiful. And thank you for helping me get to know them better. How I’d like to see them perform in person one day. I’d probably faint.

      • Yes, I got email notices for your previous two replies, plus this one.

        Yes I think you might faint if you could see them in person. They’re incredible. I’m sure their “people” skills with fans are even better now than when I saw them in Boston during their first US tour. I went to the Meet ‘n’ Greet after the show and they were absolutely lovely.

      • Yes, I remember you telling me about that. And it’s no wonder you’re such an avid fan. (And I’m so ENVIOUS!) Our guys seem to exude old world decorum and courtesy — true gentlemen grafted into 21st century teen bodies and personalities. How do they do that and also sing with voices to die for? They are truly a phenomenon.

  2. Wow! I thought the first night of Hollywood week was a mess. Very few groups did well. I think the contestants really need longer that one day to put together a performance and making them stay up all night to do it just doesn’t make sense. What was your take on last night?


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