Sasha King dreams of being a serious novelist and living the good life with her surfer boyfriend, Brock. But her day job as assistant producer of Project Icon, a once-mighty ratings juggernaut that’s recently taken a hit in viewership, keeps her working nonstop.
She’s got her hands full with Icon’s two new celebrity judges, entrepreneur-actress-singer Bibi Vasquez ("Crew to be forbidden to make eye contact with Artist AT ALL TIMES," reads her contract) and Joey Lovecraft, a horny but spiritual rock legend who doesn’t even own a TV (it goes against the teachings of his guru, Tibetan high lama Yutog Gonpo).
As the competition among the young would-be stars - including foul-mouthed, opera-trained Mia Pelosi and apple-cheeked yodeler Jimmy Nugget ("It’s like Roy Rogers made love to a Bee Gee!") - heats up, Sasha finds herself constantly putting out fires. A date with a mysterious stranger makes her rethink her devotion to Brock. And then an unexpected revelation rocks her world.
Add a frighteningly smooth host (Wayne Shoreline), muckraking gossip columnists, and powerful people named Nigel, and you have the pure madcap listening pleasure of Elimination Night, a book so searingly accurate about the talent show machine that it had to be written anonymously.
©2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc. (P)2013 New Harvest Publishing
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
This is all you need to know about Elimination Night: If you cannot immediately identify the true identities of the judges and host of Project Icon/American Idol, not only is there no way you can enjoy this book, there is no reason you should even try. If on the other hand you remember Season 10 of American Idol, when two new judges joined the show after Mr. Horrible Simon Cowell left to start a rival singing competition, you will absolutely love this.
As I did. Season 10 was the last time I watched Idol. Until then, my daughter and I watched together, rationalizing it away as research, since she was an aspiring actress-singer at the time. Clearly, there was something going on behind the scenes between the judges. Clearly, the process was mostly rigged. But we watched on -- so I get it (as embarrassing as it is to admit it) and thoroughly enjoyed this listen (warts and all).
Elimination Night, written anonymously by someone who supposedly worked inside a talent competition show, exposes all of this, most entertainingly by exposing the show's new high profile judges. The back story is boilerplate -- seems petty to criticize its banality since it is so besides the point, and does not even begin to rise to the level of the obvious corollaries (The Devil Wears Prada, Nanny Diaries, Primary Colors).
It helps immensely that Cristina Panfilio nails all the voices -- not so much their accents, which can be rough at times, but their tone, whether it be sarcastic, manipulative, angry, or clueless. As trite as the back story may be, the audio narrator totally captures the voice of the fictional narrator, a jaded young assistant producer whom everybody dumps on but who gamely marches on trying to do the right thing.
Bottom line -- this is a 5-star listen across the board (OK, 4 stars for Story) for true Idol fans who watched Season 10, but is no better than 2-3 stars across the board (if not worse) for anyone who does not already know what happened during that time. Since I can only provide one rating, I'm tempering my Overall and Story rating by one star apiece, but I'm sticking to 5 stars for the narrator.
The narrator was hard to listen to. I didn't care for the voice.
Not so much.
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