‘Amer­i­can Idol’ kicks off with men’s per­for­mances

The Washington Times Daily - - Television -

Jer­maine Jones has a sec­ond shot at be­com­ing an “Amer­i­can Idol.”

The 25-year-old so-called “gen­tle gi­ant” of Pine Hill, N.J., was given a last-minute spot among the male semi­fi­nal­ists Tues­day af­ter the Fox singing con­test’s judges had dis­missed him in Las Ve­gas, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports. Mr. Jones was lauded for his bass-fu­eled take on Luther Van­dross’ “Dance With My Fa­ther” dur­ing Tues­day’s per­for­mances from the 13 male semi­fi­nal­ists.

“Thank you so much for prov­ing why we asked you to come back,” judge Steven Tyler said.

Many of the guys were praised by the panel af­ter croon­ing a song of their choice, in­clud­ing 27-year-old new fa­ther Adam Brock of Washington, Penn., with Aretha Franklin’s “Think,” 20-year-old mu­si­cian Colton Dixon of Murfrees­boro, Tenn., with Paramore’s “De­code,” and 28-year-old street per­former Creighton Fraker of New York, with Cyndi Lau­per’s “True Colors.”

“I don’t want you to go home,” judge Jen­nifer Lopez told Mr. Fraker. “I want you to stay.”

Sev­eral singers soared with vo­cal ac­ro­bat­ics, in­clud­ing 19-year-old re­cep­tion­ist Jeremy Rosado of Val­rico, Fla., with Sara Bareilles’ “Grav­ity,” 19-year-old craw­fish lover Joshua Ledet of West­lake, La., with Jen­nifer Hud­son’s “You Pulled Me Through,” and 17-year-old stu­dent Dean­dre Brack­en­sick of San Jose, Calif., with Earth Wind & Fire’s “Rea­sons.”

The curvy new “Idol” stage seemed to swal­low a cou­ple of con­tes­tants. Only 22-year-old vo­cal­ist Hee­jun Han of New York and 15year-old Eben Franck­e­witz of Love­land, Ohio, re­ceived crit­i­cism from the judges. They dis­ap­proved of Mr. Han’s song choice of Rob­bie Wil­liams’ “An­gels” and chas­tised Eben for a rocky start on Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.”

“It wasn’t all per­fect, but at the end, you re­ally brought it home,” judge Randy Jack­son told the young­ster.

The top 12 fe­male singers were to per­form Wed­nes­day, and then all 25 semi­fi­nal­ists will learn Thurs­day if they re­ceived enough votes to be among the viewer-se­lected top 10 or one of the three “wild-card” fi­nal­ists to be de­ter­mined by the show’s judges. I ex­pe­ri­enced pre­pared for me this.

“This is a ve­hi­cle that no one has driven be­fore and has no op­er­at­ing in­struc­tions.”

The se­ries, de­but­ing at 10 p.m. Thurs­day, stars Ja­son Isaacs as po­lice De­tec­tive Michael Brit­ten, a man liv­ing in two worlds. A car ac­ci­dent has claimed a fam­ily mem­ber’s life: his wife, Han­nah (Laura Allen), in one, and his teenage son, Rex (Dy­lan Min­nette), in an­other.

The du­al­ity ex­tends to Brit­ten’s work, where he in­ves­ti­gates cases with two part­ners (Steve Har­ris, Wilmer Valder­rama) and dis­cov­ers that strad­dling dif­fer­ent re­al­i­ties gives him crime-bust­ing in­sights.

While other TV shows with par­al­lel uni­verses and out­comes have dab­bled in ex­treme ex­pla­na­tions — quick, ex­plain “Lost” again — Mr. Gor­don and cre­ator Kyle Killen in­sist this is a (rel­a­tively) sim­ple case of a guy liv­ing one life and dream­ing an­other.

Brit­ten and the au­di­ence are just not sure which is which. Nei­ther are the ther­a­pists who are treat­ing him, with both as­sur­ing him that his other life is the dream. He’s un­will­ing to give up the bal­anc­ing act that al­lows him to keep hold of both wife and son.

“At the cen­ter of it is the ques­tion we all live with as peo­ple, which is how do we face loss and how do we live in the face of loss,” Mr. Gor­don said.

When the pi­lot was be­ing de­vel­oped, Mr. Isaacs said, there was con­cern the idea was so tricky, his char­ac­ter might need to be bearded in one world and beard­less in the other to help view­ers dis­tin­guish be­tween them.

“But my daugh­ter, who’s 5, told me the story in three sen­tences,” Mr. Isaacs re­called. “So I told the pro­duc­ers, ‘We don’t need to worry.’ It’s such a pow­er­ful and imag­i­na­tive premise.”

While keep­ing a grip on his san­ity, Brit­ten is try­ing to prove to his su­pe­ri­ors that he’s fit for work and try­ing to help his griev­ing wife and son cope with their losses.

“We want him to put his life back to­gether and have his wife and son,” Mr. Killen said. “You and he be­come in­vested in those two worlds.”


“Amer­i­can Idol” judges (from left) Steven Tyler, Jen­nifer Lopez and Randy Jack­son praised most of the male semi­fi­nal­ists dur­ing Tues­day’s per­for­mances. The top 12 fe­male semi­fi­nal­ists were to per­form Wed­nes­day.

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