Has this season started yet? Honestly. Everything we’ve seen so far feels like a poorly packaged clip reel, designed to generate interest in the show, but created by people who aren’t interested in the show. Everybody is going through the motions. Snarky judges. Lousy contestants. Good(ish) contestants. Ryan being short and adorable and useless and annoying, all at once. But it’s all lacking spirit. It’s as if Paula, along with her uppers, downers, body glitter, and Big Bag O’Crazy, took the show’s spark with her when she left for Whoville. Let’s hope it gets better at Hollywood, because another thirty-six episodes of this? Not at all sexy. This is American Idol. “Get ready, skanks! It’s time for the truth train!”
Tonight’s auditions take place in Orlando, Florida. Disneyworld is in Florida. I went there once. The space shuttle also departs from Florida. I haven’t been to space, although some claim I’m originally from there. An obnoxious cheerleader tells us she’s “gonna be a star.” We will never see her again. The judges and Ryan make a pre-audition detour to Miami for some R&R. They work sooo hard. How does one manage to sit in a chair, drink free Coke all day, and judge others without collapsing from exhaustion? How?!
Oooh! Kristin Chenoweth is tonight’s guest-judge. She’s famous for being awesome. Also famous for being in Broadway things, like Wicked, and TV things, like the unfortunately-canceled Pushing Daisies (now on DVD), and appearing in Glee that one time (which Ryan classifies as a “stint,” but nobody ever said he was smart). If you don’t know her, Google her and experience her, because she is the shit. The super-talented and incredible shit.
First up is Theo Glinton. Jesus Christ, it’s 8:03 and this show is already assaulting me. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Theo:
Let’s just allow Theo to speak for himself. “I am beautiful. I am all that anyone can be.” In case it’s unclear, Theo has giant sequins (or possibly loose change) glued to his face, and several feathers affixed to his right eye. “In ten years time, I can see myself running a corporate salon.” Which has everything and more to do with singing, especially with Theo being the personification of the word “corporate.” He performs Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” loudly and aggressively, like he’s using his voice to kill the bugs from Starship Troopers (shout out to Dave!). It could work. Simon is simply repulsed by the sight of Theo, and although there’s a vague seed of…something…in his voice (which, in fairness, could just be a hairball), his demeanor, coupled with the fact that he even exists on the face of God’s green Earth, qualifies him for the big reject-o. Then Seacrest helps him remove his drag makeup, because who here has more experience in that field?
Meanwhile, Kara and Kristin “annoy the shit” (Ryan’s words) out of Simon. Mostly because they’re girls, but also because they’re stealing his camera time, which he can regain by acting huffy. Do y’all think Simon and Kara have had sex? Sometimes I wonder. I think he’d shag her, if he hasn’t already, just as long as she didn’t muss up his hair.
Seth Rollins, 28, has an autistic son. Here we go… Sob Story. At-home footage shows Seth interacting with the kid, who seems pretty normal, but what the hell do I know. This is still better than last night’s “my parents are divorcing” trauma-drama. Seth, a big Magilla Gorilla of a man, wants to sing full-time, and what better road than the shortcut to fame that is American Idol? Leaving his weeping, special needs son in the hallway, Seth steps before the judges to seek his fortune. He sings “Someone To Watch Over Me” in a soft, comforting voice. Love from the judges. Hollywood for Seth.
Jermaine Purifoy, 24, auditioned back in Season 7. I do not remember him. Jermaine says he didn’t make it then (obviously), but he “wasn’t surprised,” whatever that means. Fox is feeling cheap with the flashback clips tonight, so his past remains a mystery. Randy tells Jermaine to come in and “don’t be scurred.” I love it when people talk like that. Easily pleased, me. Jermaine sings “Smile” (the Charlie Chaplin one, not the Lily Allen one), and his voice is lovely and melodic, and he’s absolutely of value. Hollywood.
Sob Story. Again? Already? Shelby Dressel, 18, was born with an underdeveloped cranial nerve or some shit like that. So the left side of her face is a bit slack. On the one hand, it looks like she’s suffered a mild stroke (and that was my first guess, yelling “Stroke!” at the TV, because I’m classy like that). On the other hand, you can barely notice it. It actually adds character in a Milo Ventimiglia sort of way. Ain’t nothing wrong with that boy. If Shelby is at all insecure because of Her Condition, it certainly doesn’t show in her voice, which is confident and appealing. If she lasts, I think they might put her in a country box, although she’s auditioning with a Norah Jones song. The judges like her potential. She gets four ‘yes’ votes (Simon’s is “with a small ‘y'”). Hollywood.
Other people make it to Hollywood via a montage. Some are cute, some are ugly, but none are freaks. So if you’re planning to audition, pay attention and do the math. Or the meth. Whatever’s necessary.
Meanwhile, Kara feels the need to give the waiting room a pep talk, because it’s been five whole minutes since anyone has paid attention to her. Better this than she takes her top off, that’s all I’m saying. Her deep, well-considered advice to the masses: “Just go for it.” I know Kara’s written a lot songs, but based on that nugget, I’m sure she’s also responsible for “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.” The woman is a credit to our generation.
Jay Stone, 25, seems like a nice enough fellow. Then he starts beat-boxing, and simultaneously singing, The Beatles’ “Come Together.” Did you hear me? Yes. Beat-boxing. For those of you not reading this opus during the Blake Lewis season, let me catch you up: Beat-boxing is retarded. And grown men beat-boxing is more retardeder. So Jay is wooptie-zoot-booping and skizzle-mitt-kooping, spraying spit all over the joint. His face turns red as he performs and causes me physical pain through my TV set. I want to kneecap him in the eyes. Then Randy asks him to sing like a person, which he does. It’s quite nice — although Randy and Kara start beat-boxing over Jay’s singing, so what was the fucking point? I also want to kneecap Randy in the eyes. And listen up, I have two knees, so there’s enough for everybody. Then Jay starts beat-boxing again, and sweet lord, he’s going to Hollywood.
Cornelius Edwards (cheers to his parents for naming him after my favorite ape) learned to dance from some “adult entertainers” who “dance for money.” While breathily singing Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” (also known as “Rolling,” in Cornelius’s world), he jumps up, does a split and tears his pants wide open through the crotch. “My pants done ripped!” he exclaims. Now his “Proud Mary” is “Rolling” on the ground for all to see. This mishap is enough to get him a ticket to Hollywood, because they’ve already let Guitar Girl through, so what the fuck does anything matter at this point?
Bernadette Desimone, 27, and Amanda Desimone, 23, are sisters who look like Mariah Carey’s panties got fucked by The Jersey Shore and gave birth to stripper twins. But I’m sure they’re lovely people. They work at their mother’s salon, and they’re actually kinda likable, if totally ridiculous. I shouldn’t hate on them. Bernadette goes first, and her voice is okay. She mostly gets by on character. Amanda has a better voice, but she’s a little shaky with her take on Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Kara thinks they can really bring something to Hollywood. Like poles? (Hey, I said I shouldn’t hate on them. I didn’t say I wouldn’t.) They are unanimously, albeit begrudgingly. double-bumped to the next round.
Jared Morrell is warming up outside the building. Doing push-ups? Making car sounds? I don’t want to have to rewind, but he’s doing queer things. He’s giving off a slacker vibe. Maybe a stoner vibe. Ah, let’s say it’s both. Jared could use a wash, too. And a shave. Also, a nose job. He sings “Amazing Grace” like he has razor blades instead of vocal cords. No, no, no, and no from the judges. But whatever happens now, I blame on Kara. “Good lord. What was that?!” She’s so giving, that Kara. Well, Jared is not entertained by her, and he also thinks he can sing. Unstoppable force? Meet immovable object. Jared wants two seconds more to sing another song. “I’m trippin’. I’m losin’ it.” The judges refuse. So he sings “another” song: “Amazing Grace.” The judges want him out. Randy, randomly and unnecessarily, calls for security. That dude is a pussy. Then things get out of control. Jared now refuses to leave, so he’s physically pulled and pushed out of the room. Off camera, there’s a slam, like he’s kicked or punched a wall, or possibly just knocked over a piece of the set. Next thing you know, there’s a goddamn police officer standing over Jared, and Jared is laying on his stomach, being handcuffed. Then they escort him from the building. What’s his crime, exactly? He’s odd, but I don’t think he’s tweaking. He didn’t assault anyone (that we saw). I’m not even sure it qualifies as trespassing. Bad singing is legal in our wonderful country. So is being dirty. So Jared’s crime, I guess, was that he scurred Randy. Jared’s no prize, but the judges were straight-up asswipes to him (excluding Kristin Chenoweth, who is gone by this point, because she has more sense than to hang around this sinking ship).
Ah, wouldn’t it be wonderful to end the night on a Sob Story? There’s nothing like the savory taste of another person’s suffering to keep a body warm until the next new Idol episode.
Matt Lawrence, 25, lost five years of his life. Was he in a coma? Was he in the Iraq, and everywhere, such as? No. He was in jail. Because this rocket scientist, at the age of 15, had a “desire for adventure.” Specifically, he desired to take a BB gun and hold up a local bank. So that’s what he did. Shit like that is hilarious on Drake & Josh, but in real life, they lock you up alongside individuals with colorful character flaws, like enjoying rape and having a propensity for killing people. So Matt was in the slammer for half a decade, shaming his entire family. Now he’s trying to make good on the fact that he was a teenage fool. Wearing his best cowboy hat, Matt sings “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. He has a gruff, world-weary voice, in the vein of Joe Cocker, but without the weird affectations and enhanced, no doubt, by his life experience. Simon smells money. And Matt would be a good fit for the “American Glory” slot, held last year by Michael Sarver. It’s Hollywood for him. I hope they don’t have BB guns there. Or banks.
Next week, more auditions and more lame stuff. Guest-judges, too. Hopefully, Neil Patrick Harris. I hear he’s coming. But it looks like we’re just getting Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne. Wait! A last minute TV Guide check promises both NPH and Joe Jonas. I wonder if they’ve ever done it…