The Dream began with the flourish we expect from this modest show that has become artistic juggernaut in the tradition of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel or Mozart's Requiem Mass in D Minor. From New York to L.A. and along the way stops in San Antonio, Birmingham, Memphis, Seattle and Minneapolis, our judges, Simon, Randy and Paula, along with the hapless overly coiffed poodle, Ryan Seacrest, traversed this great country looking for the next Carrie or Kelly.
Tonight in Minneapolis for two hours viewers were riveted to their screen wondering what had gone awry. I guess America loves a train wreck and there was no shortage, which I'm sure will pump the ratings higher.
There were two outstanding performances. One reminded me of Fantasia and the Pickle combined with a hard luck story and a set of pipes. A baby saved from foster care by her grandmother, Denise Jackson, was simply da' bomb doing Jennifer Holliday. Not as dramatic, but polished and professional was Sarah Krueger's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
Altogether 17 hopefuls were sent to Hollywood, but Denise and Sarah stood out along with honorable mention for Jarrod Fowler who serves as a Naval Intelligence Officer on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. Another Josh Gracin perhaps? He even won the Reagan Idol competition on his ship. What more could we ask for? There also was Perla Meneses who butchered Blondie, but redeemed herself with Hips Don't Lie. Her hardscrabble immigrant story probably helped her get to Hollywood.
As for the usual array of cross-dressers, escapees and misfits, there were plenty, most notably Brenna who declared she was the biggest Idol fan ever. The urban Amish clown, Troy Benham from Wisconsin, disgraced himself. Imagine showing up to the biggest event of the decade and admitting not having ever watched it.
Another was Jason Anderson who juggled, cried and swore, but had an instrument that would scare his own mother. Charles Moody, the Apollo Creed wannabee, also made me long for the time when this competition will be winnowed down to pure talent.