Okay, where to begin. First of all, this week the show was two hours long, meaning I went through double my amount of cereal from last week. But in order to cut down on my reality-show caloric intake, I forwent Cinnamon Toast Crunch and bought a health food brand called Peanut Butter Bumpers that boasts having low sugar. But for those of us who grew up on Count Chocula, eating low-sugar cereal feels like 6 PM on Yom Kippur, so I was forced to counteract my newfound healthiness by dumping tablespoons of sugar all over the four bowls of cereal I ingested. However, the sugar I used was organic, giving me the haughty air of one who proclaims that his body is his temple. Now, on to the show. . .
This was the first week the show was live. All the Dannys and Sandys performed a solo song, and the TV audience was told what number to call at the end of the show to secure their favorites in next week's competition. The first bizarre choice was showing the pre-taped intro to the show, which is the song "You're the One That I Want" and then immediately follow it with a rendition of . . . "You're the One That I Want." If there was ever a way to make sure that a song starts to illicit the inherent gag reflex one's trachea has to endure from hearing the overplayed "My Heart Will Go On," then NBC has nailed it. The fun part, though, was watching the "hip" audience clap along on the "1" and "3" just like my Mom's friends did when they watched me conduct "Dreamgirls" in summer stock.
2. The audience needs to be medicated next week. I literally heard their high-pitched Wes Craven screams more than the people singing, although at least the screams were rangier than the songs. After an hour and a half, I figured out the formula. The audience would scream for three reasons:
a. if one of the singers walked towards them
b. if one of the singers momentarily looked at them
c. if 15 seconds had passed since the last piercing scream. More reasons for group doses of Ativan: If there was a song with any sort of a beat, upstaging clapping along was de rigueur. A ballad solicited group swaying with arms akimbo. Here's some advice, audience: How about fulfilling the job description of being an audience which means not performing? No screaming, no swaying, no clapping.
More about the show: They finally stopped calling Olivia Newton-John the original Sandy, and gave Broadway's Carole Demas her due. Those of us who grew up in the seventies had the Grease original cast album and were obsessed with Carole's sassy scooping on "He showed o-off . . . splashing aro-ound" and her brilliant children's TV show "The Magic Garden" ("It's nice to say 'hello'…")
Next week, Andrew Lloyd Webber will be the guest judge! How do I know? They filmed Jim Jacobs making the call to ask him to be a guest judge, and they were also able to film Sir Andrew taking the call! I'm sure Lloyd Webber had no idea the call was coming! He just happened to pick up his phone (with a film crew standing in front of him) and realized right on the spot that he was available next week to come to America. I'm quite sure that the conversations on both ends of the phone call weren't filmed at totally different times, completely faked and the phones not even plugged in. That's just cynicism!
Well, next week also means the first Danny and Sandy will be cut. As Juliana sang, "The first cut is the deepest." Indeed it will be!