After four wild weeks of "pitchy" gals and "bush baby" boys, American Idol finally is headed for Hollywood, and by the end of Wednesday's show, we'll have our 24 finalists. As this critical round gets underway, TVGuide.com checked in with Kimberly Caldwell and Rosanna Tavarez, the hosts of TV Guide Channel's Idol Chat and Reality Chat, to see who their latest faves are, and to find out what the 172 current contenders have likely been doing to get ready for their big bid for Idol-dom.
TVGuide.com: Was it just me, or was Week 4 a little bit stronger? They seemed to offer us more warblers to watch, to keep an eye on.
Rosanna Tavarez: Yeah! I have a feeling they were listening to some of the grievances that some people had, about listening to too many bad auditions. It was a welcome respite from previous weeks. I was enjoying it, though. I know a lot of people were over it, but I laughed through most of them. I really liked "the belter" [Lakisha Jones, who sang Aretha Franklin's "Think"]. She just came in with a lot of force, a lot of presence and not a lot of pretense, which is sometimes really rare. [Laughs]
Kimberly Caldwell: I feel like Week 4 completely and totally faded into Week 3, and I don't remember anything from this week. [Laughs] You know what I'm saying? They're all starting to look the same, and no one is standing out anymore. They're showing little clips of the good people, and then 20 bad people. But Tami [Gosnell, pictured above right] is probably one of my top two as of right now, with Sundance Head.
TVGuide.com: I was reading one blog that said Tami perhaps should lose the lip piercing, because it might turn people off. What do you think of that?
Kimberly: Oh, I don't think so at all! The reason people have been so successful on Idol is because they're original, they don't look and conform like everybody else. Ruben Studdard is not the typical American Idol, and neither is Clay Aiken....
TVGuide.com: But maybe in this instance, the issue is courting the vote from middle America, where a "scary" piercing might turn people off.
Kimberly: Right, but you can't change yourself for middle America. If that's who Tami is as an artist, you can't take it away just because it might piss off somebody.
Rosanna: The most important thing is to stick to your guns and know exactly who you are and not try to sell out, just because somebody is telling you the piercing is not going to appeal to certain people. There's always going to be something that doesn't appeal to people.
TVGuide.com: Meanwhile, "rollergirl" Ebony Jointer, I understand, is no stranger to reality TV. She was in one of those Lingerie Bowl things, alongside the likes of Adrianne Curry (America's Next Top Model).
Kimberly: Oh, my god — I was asked to do that, actually. And then I saw what the Lingerie Bowl was.... [Laughs] A bunch of hard-core bitches bringing each other down in hot lingerie? I was like, "No way. Not happening. Never." But Ebony, she was amazing. I don't think she should have gone in there with her two friends, but maybe the reason she did was, subconsciously, she wanted to show the judges how good she was in comparison. Did you notice that she went last?
TVGuide.com: Is your expert intel telling you anything as to why Akron Watson, who received a golden ticket on last Tuesday's show, was "disinvited" shortly after revealing he was once busted for pot? I mean, people with known rap sheets have made it to Hollywood before....
Kimberly: I actually think it's silly. I don't understand why he's being kicked off, when off the top of my head I know 10 [previous contestants] who have been arrested for something or other. As long as you're up front about it, normally they're cool about it. If he wants to audition for Idol and clean up his life and do something with himself, he is probably not able to do that now, because they're not giving him a chance.
Rosanna: Didn't Bo Bice have some [legal] troubles as well? There have been a lot of people whose "dirt" has come out halfway through the finalists' competition, so... I'm not exactly sure why this year is any different from any other year. Yes, an American Idol should be an American Idol and not have any previous offenses, but again, I think it's odd.
TVGuide.com: What has the typical golden-ticket holder been doing these past weeks in preparation for Hollywood?
Kimberly: There's really no way to prepare for Hollywood. When you go there, you have a list of songs you have to choose from, and they're like, "Sing it tomorrow."
TVGuide.com: But were some of them rushing out to last-minute voice classes?
Kimberly: I think some of them should, for sure! [Laughs] But for the most part, the people who are singers have been singing since they were 4 or 5 years old, so they just went back to their normal jobs, and have been practicing when they come home — maybe doing a little karaoke at the bars, getting some vocal coaching.... If you're a vocalist, you just go and you do it.
Rosanna: If they're smart, they should be like athletes, prepping and taking classes and performing in front of the mirror or at a local bar, karaoke.... There's definitely a stamina factor involved, so you have to be training before you get there.
TVGuide.com: Now that we've been doing these Q&As for a few weeks, we're starting to get some reader mail. One person, Sharon M., writes: "I'm sure Kimberly and Rosanna are nice girls, but... they can get a bit too mean [on Idol Chat]." What say you to Sharon?
Kimberly: [Meekly but lacking all sincerity] I'm sorry, Sharon!
Rosanna: Oh, lord, we just have fun. We're really not trying to be all that mean! We're all laughing and making fun of the bad auditions at this point, and clearly the producers know people enjoy that.
TVGuide.com: On a lighter note, Sharon says, "It's great to see Justin Guarini on TV Guide Channel. He's very funny."
Kimberly: Well, I'm glad she hates me and Rosie and likes Justin. That's nice to hear!
Rosanna: Yeah, we're the "mean girls"!
TVGuide.com: You could do a movie with Lindsay Lohan!
Rosanna: Let's hope not.
Next week in TVGuide.com's Idol Chat: Kimberly and Rosanna take a look at the 24 semifinalists.
Idol Chat and Reality Chat air exclusively on TV Guide Channel. Click here for complete listings.
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