Tonight’s show takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of David Archuleta, who failed to win last season’s competition, shaming himself and his father forever. Seacrest wonders if the people of Salt Lake will be as clean cut and kind as Little David. Sure, and they’ll also sing in a breathy voice and lick their lips a lot while wearing ugly print shirts from the KMart collection. Homogenization, thy name is American Idol. Hulk smash!
Remember the Osmonds? Of course not, because you’re not 67 years old. But you remember Donny and Marie, don’t you? Don’t you? Well, the Osmonds were the early products of the same Top Secret cloning facility that gave us Donny and Marie. It took scientists several tries before they got it right, and those wonky creations were known as the Osmonds, a batch of toothy, harmonizing “brothers” who appeared on such edgy programs as The Andy Williams Show, forever changing the face of rock music by performing as a barbershop quartet. When Phase 1 of the Osmond Experiment concluded, they were released into society and allowed to breed. One of those offspring became an Idol auditioneer. This is his story…
David Osmond, 28, is the son of Alan Osmond (a.k.a. Classified Tube Subject #456-ZFR). Alan is battling multiple sclerosis, which David also has — but David is in remission. We see a photo of him in a wheelchair, and David explains that the disease has its ups and downs, and he could end up back in the chair, lickety split. Guess we’re leading with a sob story tonight, huh? Way to set the mood, Idol.
David sings a song by the group Take 6, which is an a capella gospel music sextet. That’ll be David’s Mormon gene kicking in. He has a good voice. Pleasant. Nothing special. Possibly better than Donny’s, not as good as Marie’s. The judges assault him for not choosing to audition with a song by a solo artist. They act like this show is called Song-Choice In-Depth Idol, critiquing the deeper meaning of David’s Take 6 choice while almost entirely ignoring the fact that he can actually sing. Then this from Simon: “If you think you’re contemporary, then you’re gonna make a huge mistake.” Keep the word “contemporary” in mind in three weeks, when contestants are covering such happening artists as Tony Bennett and Barry Manilow. Regardless, David gets a Golden Ticket, and while I’m not really a fan, I hope he wins so those bitchy judges can suck it.
Tara Mathews is a beast. I don’t mean to be cruel, and I’m sure there’s some deeply painful, psychological reason for why she’s dressed like a character from Hellraiser 10: The Dominatrix Effect, but facts is facts. If Tara looks in the mirror before leaving the house and says, “Pish-posh, the world won’t judge me,” and then puts herself on TV for the express purpose of being judged, well then I get to call her a beast. Let me put it in context: Black high heels. Black stockings. Pale, like Dracula was in her bedroom last night. Artificially red hair. Short skirt above bare thighs. Thick bare thighs. Garters. Black gloves. A top that looks like a harness. Ryan: “Is this a character or is this sort of who you are?” The doctor is in, y’all.
Tara claims to have ESP. “I know when certain people are gonna die, whether they’re family or on TV.” And she sees when you been sleeping and she knows when you’re awake. Also, she will eat your eyeballs. Simon is aghast at the very sight of her. Tara sings a song from Moulin Rouge like Minnie Mouse with a spike through her head. High-pitched. Off-key. No deal. She leaves in a huff, angry and flipping us the bird because, you got it, she was judged.
Chris Kirkham, for reasons known only to him and his god, came to the audition with a friend: A giant-sized man in a pink bunny costume. It’s Greg, his “good luck rabbit.” Chris sings while Greg the Bunny hops behind him, unsettling the judges and undermining his chances of ever making it to Hollywood, despite having a voice that’s, at the very least, on par with the Hollywood-bound Bikini Girl. But Chris gets bounced. Lesson learned, huh?
Frankie Jordan is a stay-at-home mom with a cute baby which she has chosen to dress in prison garb. I hate to reference Friends two recaps in a row, but do you remember Chandler’s ex-girlfriend Janice? That’s Frankie. She sings the Amy Winehouse song that’s the theme tune to Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which, as you might surmise from the title, is about how Doctor Who’s companion becomes a whore on a parallel Earth. Frankie’s cover is a little imitative, but she’s going to Hollywood, all the same.
Megan Corkey, 23, also has a kid. She got divorced and cried afterwards because life is sooo hard. Is this Dr. Phil? Why do they think we care? Now that Megan’s husband is off her neck, she’s dumped her baby on whoever, or left it in the car, and come here to seek her fame and fortune. Megan sings “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine,” sounding old-fashioned, in essence, but loud and gargle-y, in fact. She rushes through the song. Maybe nervous. Maybe just not hearing the music in her head. This is a strange audition. Good, but bad. She’s a puzzle. Also? Not contemporary. But the judges love her. That’s actually the word Simon uses. Love. I can’t imagine Megan surviving Hollywood Week — but then again, but every season needs a John Stevens.
Andrew Gibson has a voice like a tuba. Denied.
Austin Sisneros is the new David Archuleta. Let’s be clear about that, right up front. He’s 17, cute in a wholesome and harmless way, and wears those ugly print shirts from the KMart collection. Austin is the senior class president at his high school, which seems to entail walking around school after hours and sticking fliers all over the walls and lockers. He wants to inspire people and tell them that it’s okay to follow their dreams. So if you’re dreaming about trapping your enemies behind a Plexiglas wall in your basement, Austin is down with that. He sings a Train song, and it’s fine. Not Archuleta good, but definitely Idol-good. Randy, with little to contribute to anything, criticizes the song choice. In retaliation, Austin sings a song by Raffi. The children’s singer. Really. But it’s better than his first choice. This “wins the judges over” because they need to act like they’re giving him a chance. Bitch, please. They knew the deal before he opened his mouth. Hollywood.
Taylor Vaifanua, 16 and lovely, totally looks 23, minimum. She grew up on “the islands,” by which I think she means Hawaii. So for this reason, the show presents her as an exotic creature (even though she’s really from Utah). Also, she’s like 8 feet tall, so when she stands next to Ryan, it’s like an episode of Dr. Shrinker. I like the look of her. Randy says she reminds him of Jordan Sparks, because…she’s 16 and has dark hair? Shut up, Randy. Judge Kara is impressed with Taylor because she saw her practicing in the bathroom. Huh? The judges and the contestants can mingle in the john? That’s not how the Miss America pageant operates. Kara gets four ‘yes’ votes and is Hollywood-bound.
Rose Flack is 17 years old, and pretty in the face, but she is a dirty hippie. There’s some sort of dreadlock thing happening beneath the top layer of her bright blonde hair. And she walks the streets of her town barefoot. There she goes, right through traffic, shoeless. Nasty. Rose lives with her best friend’s family because her parents died a few years ago. My parents are dead, too, but ya know what? They taught me to wear shoes when I go outside. And to bathe. Dude, I hope she wins so she can buy some soap. Rose and her gross Hobbit feet audition for the judges. She sings some Carole King. “I feel the earth move under my feet.” That’s not the earth, Rose. That’s fecal matter. She sings like a Manson girl waiting for Charlie’s trial to end, but the judges are entranced by her. Rose gets her Golden Ticket, and takes her black feet down the streets of Utah, where dogs shit and people spit. I hope she got a tetanus shot.
Next week, we — wait! Tomorrow?! There’s a Thursday episode? What the fuck? Okay, fine. Tomorrow, then for the really, truly final round of auditions. And more people for me to hate.
Back to the season guide.