Tonight’s show takes place at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, where short men—men shorter than Ryan, if you can believe such creatures exist—race horses around a track by striking them repeatedly with bendy sticks. Somehow that’s okay. But try punching a horse in the eye, especially when it’s drunk and saying mean things about your grandmother, and the next thing you know, PETA is all up in your grill. Our society is one complicated bitch. This is American Idol. The safe word is “hippopotamus.”
Tiffany Shedd’s parents are proud of her. Maybe it’s because of the two-inch-long false eyelashes she’s sporting. Or the eyeshadow that she applied with a paint roller. Or the way she apparently bleaches her hair with Clorox. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with Tiffany that a makeover or five couldn’t fix. And she certainly seems gracious when she says, “If the judges say ‘no’ to me, I’ll still walk out with a positive attitude.”
So Tiffany sings some Mariah, and it clear that she’s not only tone deaf, she’s also tone dumb and tone blind. She might even be a tone amputee. The judges give Tiff and her big, fat eyelashes a univeral rejection, and she “graciously” exits the room weeping and carrying on about how she’s better than the other contestants, and how she’s not giving up, yadda, etc., yadda. To prove her point, she sings in the hallway, sounding like a poodle getting fisted. Case closed.
There’s something fishy about Joanna Pacitti. Remember how last year, Irish Carly was all, “Oi’ve never sung in front’a people loik this b’fore, me boyo!” But then we all found out about her recording career and shit? Well, Joanna has the same story, except the show tries to trick us into thinking she’s not a plant and is really an honest-to-god Person Off the Street. Here’s how they do it: Joanna walks into the room and the first thing out of Judge Kara’s mouth is “Wait a minute! Weren’t you on A&M records?” Now, Kara’s career is as mysterious as the the Wooden Wheel of Time on Lost, so it’s entirely possible that she keeps a mental inventory of every random singer signed to A&M, but, really, Kara? Really, American Idol producers? Really?
Joanna says that A&M “just didn’t work out,” and sings some Pat Benatar. And while she’s good, Joanna is no Pat Benatar. She’s not even Martha Davis or that chick from Quarterflash. But she’s on the edge of beautiful, has a decent voice, and Simon sees dollar signs. Of course she’s in. And she’ll be in the Top 12 and Seacrest will act like we all loved her from the very start. For the record: Frankie don’t love.
Mark Mudd has a look in his eye which says, “I will chase you. I will kill you. I will skin you alive.” And not necessarily in that order. He says his great(x5) grandfather was Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set and splinted the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth after Booth shot Abraham Lincoln. Anyway, Seacrest gets out his little composition notebook and tells the class “that is why we have the expression ‘your name is mud,’” which is incorrect, but still makes for an interesting anecdote.
When Mark auditions sounding like he’s drunkenly auctioning cattle, the judges laugh in his face. Kara says, right out loud, “It’s funny!” But Mark isn’t going for funny. He’s not even going for cute or mildly amusing. He’s going for the Top 12. So when the judges reject him, Mark walks out. And does he say “Goodbye!” or “See ya!”? Nope, Mark hits the judges with “Be careful!” In fairness, I think he meant it as “Take care,” but Paula acts like he threatened to pull out her endocrine system out of her body. She tells him that sounds like a threat and “that’s just not a normal thing to say.” And when Paula is the arbiter of what’s considered normal, the apocalypse is truly upon us.
Brent Keith Smith stole Spencer Pratt’s creepy flesh-colored beard, but aside from that minor flaw, the blue-eyed hottie sings well and gets a Golden Ticket.
Matt Giraud is a 23-year-old dueling-pianist. Many a foe has been slain with his piano. He sings soulfully, with good tone, but is a little boring. Then Simon, auditioning for the role of Professor Xavier in the next X-Men movie, says, “You’re problem is that you don’t believe in yourself.” To which I say huh?! Coming to soon to Fox: Psychic Idol. Matt still gets four ‘yes’ votes, and is through to Hollywoodland.
Ross Plavsic is yet another queer duck. He’s wearing a business suit and rambling on about studying math, physics, and languages. He has some theory about arranging Chinese characters into radicals and combinations of radicals to, I dunno, open up a Stargate and meet Kurt Russell. Ross sings in a spooky voice, almost as if he had a Jack o’Lantern for a head instead of an actual human one. “The air was really dry,” he says. So Paula offers him water and he marches right up, takes her cup, and sips from it using her straw. Well, call out the hounds! Paula is aghast, I tell you. Apalled! He is drinking from her actual straw! Straight up! Ross gets rejected. And Paula wants a new cup.
Alexis Grace is a stay-at-home mom who’s boyfriend/father of her child is off at military school. Alexis says her daughter is what motivated her to audition, but apparently her daughter isn’t enough to motivate her to get married. Nice. Alexis walks in, cute, vaguely tomboyish, and boring, boring, boring. She turns my brain into a black hole that sucks in my entire living room. I don’t care if she sings with a powerful, loud voice. Dull is dull. And dull is Alexis. But alas, we’re stuck with her, as she’s been Hollywoodized.
Aaron Williamson is an energetic, endearing hipster who fools me into thinking he’ll be good. But he sings “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” like the rain is three months behind on its rent, and is going to get an ass-whooping with Aaron’s belt if it doesn’t get here right fucking now, for serious! Denied.
Rebecca Garcia. I like her, too. She’s quirky, funny, and wonderfully normal. Her claim to fame is that she was interviewed by the local Kentucky news while in line for auditions. Paula is all, “Hey, I saw you on the news!” As if. The only news Paula watches is The Real Housewives of Orange County. Sadly, Rebecca is completely tone deaf and spastic. But because she was voted ‘Most Humorous’ in high school, Judge Kara is all, “This is a joke, right?” And Kara knows it isn’t a joke, but for some reason, she’s being raggy to this girl. Rebecca wells up as her reality check arrives, but it’s a money order, which she can cash immediately. She’s out.
Leneshe Young was “raised with nothing, and homeless,” but she loves her mom and has stayed at home (where they live, when not homeless) to be a good role model to her siblings. Mom is at auditions with Leneshe, and there is love and here are tears and I’m too numb to give even half a crap, let alone a full one. Can’t we just have one more crazy person to end the episode? No? Fine. Leneshe is a lovely, talented girl. She’s like Brandy, but without the crossed eyes, the baby, and the car wreck. She sings her own composition, a surprisingly catchy tune called “Natty.” The judges adore her (as do I, but just a little bit). Randy: “You’re what we need.”
And what I need is to go watch Saw V. The DVD box says “You won’t believe how it ends.” But somehow, unless Jigsaw uses a dildo on himself while singing “Yellow Submarine,” I think I’ll believe it.
Next week, we’re still not in Hollywood, but the final round of auditions will be upon us.
Back to the season guide.