American Idol Atlanta: Don’t Kiss the Seacrest!

It’s that time of year, folks. There’s a chill in the air, W2 forms are in the mail, and despite New Year’s Resolutions to the contrary, we’re back on the couch, watching American Idol.

We open with a quote from singer-songwriter, diva-bitch David Foster. It’s something about how “the microphone passes your lips but once…” Unlike the penis, I guess. Isn’t that right, Ryan? See, I’m starting already and we’re not even thirty seconds into the show.

It’s recap-o-rama, as winners and losers from years past parade across my screen in a montage set to “What a Wonderful World.” This song always reminds me of when Maddie lost her baby on Moonlighting, and the baby was played by Bruce Willis in footie pajamas. Anyway, yeah, recappery. Freaks galore. Crying auditioneers. Weeping Idoleers. Bush Baby. William Hung. This clipfest somehow segues into a “coming up” montage. I’ll get there when I get there, people . Just wake me when the damn show actually starts.

At eleven minutes past the hour, Ryan Seacrest makes his first appearance, standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking for Bobby and Cindy while eating beans out of a flashlight. (If you don’t get that reference, I don’t have time for you.) This episode’s auditions are in Phoenix, Arizona. Is that relevant? Probably not.

The judges arrive. Randy, minus a few pounds. Simon, minus a girlfriend. Paula, minus a stalker. And we’ve got a new body in the mix. The so-called Kara DioGuardi. She’s some kind of music industry person, having worked “as a writer and as a collaborator” with Jewel, Pink, and Celine Dion. In short, she’s famously not-famous.

It’s 9:14 and the auditions finally begin. Let’s hit ’em.

A deluded boy with an afro the size of Uranus wants to be as big as Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. He badly sings “The Way You Make Me Feel” which, in this case, is bored.

A “rocker” girl with pink and yellow hair, and tattoos up the wazoo (well, on her arms and neck — they don’t show her wazoo on TV), sings Heart. If you’ve never read these recaps before, know this: I do not [heart] Heart. Anyway, the girl, Emily Wynne-Hughes, in spite of, or due to, the fact that she’s a stereotype, gets a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

Some unfortunate soul looks like he dressed himself after watching VH-1’s The Pick Up artist. He fancies himself a rocker, but spends most of his on-screen time crying. He cries in several holding areas. He cries during his interview. He cries during his audition. Dude should take that dumb Motley Crue bandana off his head and wipe his widdle baby eyes. He murders “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and is then called wimpy and a drama queen by Cowell. Reeejected. He cries as he exits.

J.B. Ahfua has a strong voice and eyebrows as thick as my calves. Hollywood for him.

Michael Gurr looks like Tobey McGuire and Daniel Radcliffe had a sweaty, clammy, nervous son who they made sleep in a cardboard box, feeding him nothing but bugs and packing noodles. He sings like Peter Lorre spoke (look him up), gets the big “no thanks,” and almost passes out in the hallway. Unfortunately, he doesn’t vomit.

This other guy shows up with carefully preserved jheri curls from 1985. Calling himself “X-Ray,” he gets in front of the judges and laughs and howls and is super-crazy hyper and I’m telling you he is, like, totally on cocaine. Except I mean that as a joke and not in any legally defamatory way. He sings about a cactus baby or some insane shit, bouncing and clapping his hands. He’s entertaining because he’s on TV and not in your house trying to eat your fingers.

Arianna Afsar is 16-years-old and perky, perky, perky! She adorably founded a “help the old folks” program and is all pretty smiles and sweet rainbows. I suspect she’s a Disney droid. She sings that “Put Your Records On” song which sounds like it’s by Macy Gray but isn’t, and she’s lovely and special and off to Hollywood.

A guy with a voice like a foghorn shows up expecting to be taken seriously. Paula’s advice: “You could do voiceover work. Like for movies that have monsters in them.” She really tugs the heartstrings, that Paula.

Lea Marie Golde shows up wearing a pretty pink top! and a bright pink cowboy hat!, full of enthusiasm! and pep! and is annoying me to tears! She brings her songwriting binder, with over 100 of her works, to show Judge Kara (because, people, I am not typing her last name over and over). Judge Kara is Lea’s! American! Idol! In no time at all, it’s clear that Simon wants to murder her. (And if he did, she’d bleed pink.) Her nasally-up-in-her-nasal voice gets her kiboshed. No! Hollywood! For! Lea!

Stevie Wright, named after Stevie Nicks, is likeable and sane. Better yet, she can actually sing (in a surprising mature voice for a 16-year-old). She gets a Golden Ticket.

Michael Sarver has the fifth most dangerous job in the world. It has something to do with oil rigs and big pieces of machinery that will come alive and crush you without mercy. He’s a big guy with what the gays might call “a football player build,” and has a nice, solid voice. He gets a Golden Ticket to Hollywood, where he’ll play the role of All-American Family Man.

Okay, so you’ve probably seen this chick in the commercials. I don’t care what her name is. She’s Bikini Girl, a young “lady” who thought it would be a good idea to audition wearing…yeah, you get it. She has a face like a pick-axe and a body like Jack Skellington. I only say this because she’s put the spotlight on herself. Not because she’s repulsive. On the inside. So she trots around in her bikini and heels, with her ass out for the world to see, threatening to “make out” with poor Seacrest when she gets her Golden Ticket, which totally won’t happen, right? Right?!?

So Bikini Girl sings…eh…I guess I’ll say adequately. No. Slightly less then adequately. Also, her head shakes like Katherine Hepburn in her later years, but that’s a completely incidental and irrelevant observation. The male judges act like they’ve never seen a slag in a bikini before and vote her through to Hollywood. Seriously. Judge Kara is like, hell no! She’s demonstrates how the song should be sung, and does so quite well. Bikini Girl: “Your demonstration wasn’t any better.” Judge Kara: “Hold on a minute, bitch!”

Up until now, I didn’t see the point of Judge Kara. But in that moment…well, I still didn’t see the point of her. But I love her a little. Regardless, Bikini Girl was put through to Hollywood, where she’ll hopefully be crushed by the talent of the masses. Or a rock slide. Next? She goes outside and kisses Ryan Seacrest — right on his princely lips! I have no words, except maybe “diarrhea.”

An unimpressive man calling himself “Sexual Chocolate” shows up, sings poorly, and is summarily rejected.

Brianna Quijada, whose name is most enjoyable, is either pregnant or wearing one of those tops that makes her look so. She sings “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” and is okey-dokey. But her personality (she calls Simon “Si-mee”) gets her a Golden Ticket.

Deanna Brown looks like a demonically possessed Sarah Chalke, but has a wonderfully rich, earthy voice. She’s on to Hollywood, and maybe, possibly, the Top 12. That’s right, I’m saying it right here and now.

A little wannabe Goth boy named Cody Sheldon loves making horror films and wearing eyeliner, although the latter is not discussed out loud. He sings a James Morrison song which I’ve never heard. While he sounds good, his demeanor is a little Sanjaya-esque. That makes me nervous. Cody goes to Hollywood.

Alex Wagner-Trugman is an adorable geek, with a subtle bit of wiseass bubbling beneath the surface. He taught himself to sing…in his closet? I don’t know. But he got really sick from the mold. He sings “Baby Come to Me,” which was Luke and Holly’s song on General Hospital, if you must know, and despite some curious facial tics, he’s pretty good. Simon didn’t like it. Alex: “I can sing ‘God Save the Queen.’ Simon: “What?” Alex: “I’m kidding. I don’t know the words.” Love him. The other three judges put Alex through to Hollywood, where he’ll crash and burn.

Last up, is Scott Macintyre, who was born almost completely blind. He has about two degrees of tunnel vision, which enables him to play piano and even ski and ballroom dance. It’s very inspirational. More importantly, his brother is really hot. Scott sings some Billy Joel, and it’s a little on the Josh Groban side of bland, but it gets him through to Hollywood. Outside, Seacrest tries to high-five him. It’s priceless.

In all, 27 Golden Tickets were given out in Phoenix, most of which we didn’t see. Good thing they gave us all that filler at the start of the show, eh?

Tomorrow night, we’re in some other place doing more of the same. And I’ll be here. Recapping my fingers off.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em…

Back to the season guide.


    1. Well done, sir.

      See? You got through all that nasty posting interface mumbo jumbo like a champ.

    2. Ahhh, I’ll always come back for the American Idol recaps. Good stuff.

    3. Yeah! Frank’s recaps return!

      It seems like the “loser” segments are leaning more toward outrageous attention-getters. There’s definitely a reduction in soul-crushing this year.

      I do actually like the new judge. I can already tell she will add more than Paula. She’s also kinda sexy. This will not spell good things for Paula in the long run, I predict.

      The only standout of the night was “blind guy.”

      “Brianna Quijada” looks like my Scrabble bar before putting any letters down.

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