American Idol: Review of Fox’s 2003 Reality TV Emmy consideration DVD

The Best American Idol DVD is only available on Ebay

By Joan Giglione

Remember the magic of American Idol Season 2? Each time we turn on the radio, the inhabitants of our continent are frequently reminded of that largess of talent. .

RCA Records and sister label J-Records capitalized on Clay Aiken’s voice for hits “Invisible and “Solitaire” and Ruben Studdard’s for a remake of Karen Carpenter’s “Superstar,” and also produced hits with “What If,” and “Sorry 2004.“

Curb Records signed Kimberley Locke and created the dreamy “Eighth World Wonder,” while Disney’s Lyric Street Records grabbed up Joshua Gracin to drop the country hit “I Want to Live.” In Canada, Vanessa Olivarez’s “The One” climbed the charts on “Outta the Box Records.” Rumor has it that Randy Jackson has taken Kim Caldwell under his record production wing.

From 12 finalists, five have records released and climbing the charts, without the help of comic relief like William Hung. Will season 2 go on record as the peak season? Fans hope the next time around might be as exciting and entertaining as season 2. But….

What if you could relive the magic of that season at a very low cost?

For less than $10, plus shipping, you can buy Fox’s 2003 reality TV submittal on Ebay. The discs include the audition shows for Atlanta (Aiken and Olivarez) and Nashville (Studdard, Locke, and Ricky Smith). Since Emmy voters need more than one episode to judge the quality of a program, Fox threw in 60s night on April 29, 2003, when Neil Sedaka’s songs were the highlight of a night starring Studdard, Aiken, Locke, Gracin, and Trenyce.

A true American Idol fan will feel the best moments of the show are right there on that one disc. One of the two low points is that Paula Abdul is missing from the Atlanta auditions. She didn’t help judge that one due to a schedule conflict. The high points, for the true Idol fan, just keep coming while you view this collectible DVD.

Perhaps the best song of the recording is Ruben Studdard’s audition rendition of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” You also get to see Clay when he was super nerd Clayton Aiken, with a look reminiscent of Martin Short’s character from SCTV, Ed Grimley. In the tryout tape, you see the first time his booming, melodic voice comes out from his unusual physique. For me, seeing the colorful, expressive Vanessa Olivares again was a real treat.

For Clay Aiken fans, the best moment has to be the last few seconds of the second episode, Neil Sedaka night. Though it was marvelous reliving Joshua Gracin’s funky “Bad Blood,” Kimberly Locke’s innocence and vocal power on “Where the Boys Are,” Ruben Studdard’s masterful “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” and Aiken’s whimsical “Build Me Up Buttercup,” it all boils down to the last moment. That is where Clay sings his most recent hit, “Solitaire.” Are you waiting to own an Aiken video? Wait no longer.

For the 60s competition, once you have relived the performances, you can play the tape again just to listen to Neil Sedaka’s strange and wonderful comments. He tells Locke that she is “ear delicious.” When Aiken performs, he asks to produce his next record. Sedaka, with his colorful yet insightful criticism, had both of his wishes granted.

Neil’s night on the show wasn’t just passing time; several idols continue relationships with him. Neil helped produced Clay’s record; Locke will be appearing with Sedaka on August 13 at the Westbury Music Fair in Westbury, New York.

Simon Cowell had a few choice comments as well, the best being when he said Trenyce’s reenactment of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” reminded him of “a drag act.” In honor of that comment, I took a drive through town to our own drag theatre, Studio City’s “Queen Mary,” only to find it had been replaced by a restaurant. Life just isn’t fair.

The other low point is selection 3 on the DVD: Joe Millionaire’s finale. You can just stop the DVD after the Sedaka episode ends just after Clay sings Solitaire.

It isn’t everything I would want from an American Idol season 2 DVD, but it is amazing for something I bought on Ebay for less than $10. I’m still looking for back to back sight and sound recordings of the Bee Gee’s To Love Somebody. Clay Aiken and Joshua Gracin each has a memorable, rousing performance. That was my favorite moment in the show to date. Will it make it to a DVD someday? I can only hope. But until then, I have my Emmy DVD.

Note: Season 3’s Emmy DVD is also on Ebay, including "Auditions: Los Angeles & San Francisco" and "Movie Theme Night,” with George, Fantasia, Diana, LaToya, Jennifer, Amy and the rest of season 3’s finalists—and of course, William Hung’s audition. This is also well worth the $5.49 I paid on Ebay.


American Idol DVD search page on Ebay

From Amazon:

Clay’s Measure of a Man

Ruben’s Soulful

Kimberley’s One Love

Joshua Gracin

Vanessa Olivares

Trenyce (Lashundra Cobbins)

Tickets Westbury Music Fair in Westbury, New York

Neil Sedaka website

Neil Sedaka’s biography video

American Idol DVD—Search for a Superstar 2002

Paula Abdul

Randy Jackson Books