San Francisco, at various times, has been a haven for the free-spirited, the literally and figuratively gay, and the dirty hippies. It has been immortalized in song by both Tony Bennett and the Village People. And it has a bridge that figured prominently in the poster for Star Trek IV. That’s the funny one, with the whales. Now it’s being invaded by wannabe superstars and semi-talented oddballs. This is American Idol. Block this application.
Tatiana Del Toro shows up for her audition wearing a short, tight dress that is hemorrhaging chiffon like you would not believe. It’s like she’s attending a tacky prom being held atop an ugly wedding cake. Tell us about yourself, dear. “I’m a full-time singer, a musician, a songwriter, writer, assistant director, model, film actor, and I live for what I do.” Got that? Tatiana admits to consulting a psychic who told her she would definitely “make it on the Top 12” and laughs like a Tickle Me Elmo who survived a coal mine collapse by eating the flesh of the other Muppets.
She gives the judges her, ahem, press kit: a cheap looseleaf binder which includes a DVD, a CD, and a postcard of herself wearing a corset, panties, and fishnet stockings. Yeah, I know, right? Tatiana’s loony ass will be gone in two minutes, won’t it? Maybe not. Because when she sings, it isn’t horrible. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t have the voice of an angel, but her cover of Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man” is serviceable, unoffensive, and certainly Hollywood-worthy.
Simon wants her gone, gone, so of course she starts belting some Whitney. That just makes him go on about why she’s not good enough to move forward. Randy backs up that chorus of lame. The problem is simply this: all they need to say is “Tatiana, you’re a pretty girl with a decent voice. Unfortunately, you might be deranged, to some unknown and frightening degree. With that in mind, we would like you to exit the room, forthwith.” I mean, is it really so wrong to tell some of the crazy-bean people that they are, indeed, crazy-beans? Whatever. Randy caves because she’s “wild,” Judge Kara likes her “vibe,” and Paula has a summer home on Tatiana’s Isle of Koo-Koo. So she’s off to Hollywood.
And having exhausted myself writing three Tatiana-graphs, it’s time to move on.
Rubber-faced Dean-Anthony Bradford has slick, poop-colored hair and is wearing a jacket that looks like 1972 vomited up a sofa. For a hot mess, he’s pretty enthusiastic. His wailing and yodeling vocals earn him a quick boot, but not before, with regard to his hair, he informs the nation that “the carpet matches the drapes.” Aren’t you glad that’s been settled!
Jesus Valenzula has a warm smile and a buzz-cut. He sings like a dad, which is apt, because his kids got him to audition in the first place. In fact, those kids are out in the hallway right now, and when Simon rejects Jesus, Paula invites the children inside. Icky cuteness ensues. Ack! Go away you adorable urchins! Spread your pink-eye elsewhere! The precocious boys are enough to get Jesus through to Hollywood, but he’d better have those kids stapled to his back, because he don’t stand no kinda chance, otherwise.
Some dude can solve a Rubik’s Cube in, like, half a minute. He sings like a very tired mouse. Rejected.
Meanwhile, the show would like us to believe that Simon and Judge Kara bicker all the time. While this is probably true, and not at all the result editing, I’ll bet it’s because he wants to sleep with her. Like, badly.
Akilah Askew-Gholston has done her homework. She arrives at auditions with a thick ream of paper…computer printouts, crumbled yellow sheets from a legal pad. Some of those papers contain the lyrics to Akilah’s own musical works. The rest? Medical diagrams of the vocal chords, lungs, trachea, and things of this biological nature.
Ryan: “This is right outta health class.”
Akilah: “No. This is off the internet.”
Incidentally, she pronounces “trachea” as “tray-sheea” until Ryan corrects her, like three times. She would also like viewers to know that “when you singin’ acapellaly, you have to listen to the words of a person’s song.” I love this woman.
When she enters the room, she immediately greets the judges. “Hello, Simon,” she says to Randy. Then she sings her original composition, “Make Sweet Love.” As Simon says, the song, not Akilah, is horrible. Then she fucks up “Natural Woman” and tries to explain that it has something to do with…erm…the “cartlidges” near her vagina, I think.
Akilah finally cops to being nervous about “meeting famous people.” Simon, she points out, is “one of the best producers in Hollywood.” Paula, in fact, “had a very hit song out in the early ’80s.” So cut a girl a break. She’s just starstruck. Hugs from Paula happen, before Akilah is gently ejected.
Her final word: “I really shouldn’t a’let Paula, Simon, and Randy really irractitate me.” America, after seven long years we have finally found a replacement for Brian Dunkleman.
John Twiford is like Constantine Maroulis 2.0, but less oily. Allison Iraheta has red velvet cake for hair and sings like a hoarse Clarkson impersonator. Raquel Houghton has a Jessica Biel quality about her and can sing okay enough. All are through to Hollywood.
Annie Murdoch is wearing a thick choker around her neck, which reminds of the scary witch in that movie Return to Oz who kept all these extra heads in a glass case, and who was super-sweet to Dorothy because she was totally going to decapitate her and walk around Oz with the head of this sweet little child on her adult body, but then Dorothy escapes and goes on to star in The Craft where she, herself, is a witch, which just goes to show you, what goes around, comes around. Also, Annie Murdoch is terrible.
Speaking of Oz, Adam Lambert makes the mistake of telling the judges that he played a role in the musical Wicked. Regardless of the fact that he can sing, and sing well, Simon gets all up in arms about Adam being “theatrical,” because heaven forbid we let one of those people into this competition. Randy, however, is all, “It’s time for this sorta thing. America is ready for gay shit like Broadway.” The ladies co-sign with gusto, earning them each a kiss on the hand from Adam, who is through to Hollywood, where I hope he kicks ass. (Seriously, they put Von Smith through but they give this kid grief? Ugh.)
Tonight, we close with a Sob Story. Kai Kalama, a moderately handsome man with hair like a woolly mammoth, takes care of his mother, who has a vaguely defined and probably serious “seizure disorder.” The med-geek in me wants details, but the show is not forthcoming. Thanks for nothing, show. Kai wants to buy his mom a house, which, let me tell you, is very sweet. I can personally relate to his story and wish him only the best. Having said that, dude, get a damn haircut. His rendition of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” is very soothing, and he has good vocal control. The judges, because they’re bitches, get on his ass about having no personality, but Kai is fine. Leave him alone, you mean girls. And that includes Simon and Randy. Kai gets a Golden Ticket.
And I am outta here.
Tomorrow night, some psycho threatens the judging panel. Or so the coming attractions would like us to believe.
Bet ya it’s nothing.
Back to the season guide.