Wait, I don’t speak Spanish. What’d I just say? That it’s time to talk about the Idol auditions in Nashville?! Well, okay, if you say so!!
So let’s talk about the American Idol auditions in Nashville! I admit, I haven’t watched Idol with any regularity since the Carrie Underwood era. Back then, it was “safe haven” TV for me during the aftermath of a really ugly breakup. I couldn’t read my books, I couldn’t listen to my music. It sucked. The only stuff on TV I could stomach were the Fear Factor reruns every night on FX and American Idol. American Idol was great for that purpose, because it’s generally devoid of any real human emotion. I mean, sure, people cry and sing love songs, but it’s all so cheesy and businesslike, I was able to muscle through. Only on “ballad nights” did I have to change the channel. (To this day, if you want to see me choke back a sob, put on “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins. I dare you.) Also, it was on several nights a week AND gave me a handy talking point at the water cooler. Yes, my office actually has a water cooler, and people sometimes talk near it!
So, with that introduction, let’s actually talk about the American Idol auditions in Nashville, f’real! It’s summer-ish time in Nashville. That means skimpy clothes on most people. It also means the streets are choked with 17,000 people, all trying to be America’s next pop star. Holy shit, these people are deluded. The auditions themselves are being held in some auditorium in the Grand Ole Opry. Way to sully the place.
Delusion x 17,000
As most of you already know, the regular Idol gang is gone. In its place is our stalwart Randy, with two new people needing a paycheck: Jennifer Lopez and Lynne from Real Housewives of Orange County. We all know the leather cuff industry suffered in the Great Depression of 2010. Oh wait, that’s Steven Tyler. Sorry. So, these three are single-handedly responsible for the person to replace Justin Bieber in the Top 40. God speed, guys. I need some more Hot Toddy.
The episode starts with a cold open, some poor sucker who brags to the judges about being able to sing “some high notes.” Of course that means he has to prove it. And cue the fire department siren! I used to sing like this along with the actual fire siren when I was a kid, and I’m sure it was pretty annoying. It would be annoying today, too, if the Idol editors didn’t have a little fun with it, showing footage of building demolitions and such. Thank God for TV editors.
Our next deluded hopeful is some chick with really bad eye makeup and a surely-must-be-fake squeaky voice. She’s also a little cross-eyed and stares just a little too long as she speaks. Maybe she doesn’t blink? Also, she smiles as she speaks, which isn’t something people naturally do. In short, she’s weird. She’s a dental assistant, by the way. Keep this freak away from MY face, please.
This is probably the best she looks the whole time. I’m doing her a favor.
She walks into the audition room singing like a freak, then transitions into cackles and chirps. Randy’s pretty sure she’s putting on an act to get on TV, but I’m pretty sure she’s just nuts. She sings that “I Hope you Dance” song that I don’t really know at all, but I DO know that she butchers it. Steven and J.Lo are both an immediate “no.” Randy plays with her a bit, but ultimately, he’s an unequivocal “no,” too. When this chick heads out to mope to Ryan, she thinks she got a “yes” from Steven. “Really?” “Really!” No.
Our next profile is of Chelsee (ugh) and Rob, a former couple who decided to audition together. They’re not dating anymore, though they apparently still live together. Chelsee’s got a new dude, too. So, that’s not awkward at all, right? But really, they have a pretty special sound together and knew it from Day 1. So, here we are. Also, what is it with people bringing their entire families with them to auditions? What an awful day for them, and also, weird. (I already sense a theme, that I’m going to use “weird” and “freak” a lot. Do a shot whenever I do–you know you want to.)
“No, I don’t think Rob can hear when my new boyfriend and I bone.”
“Actually, I can.”
The crazy thing is that these two actually sing really well. Together, they’re really good. And Rob by himself? Chilling. Haunting. I got goosebumps. And honestly? I hate watching people sing earnestly. But this cat’s not so bad. She’s pretty good, too, but if I had to make a call right now, it’d be that Rob makes it to the final 12 or 10 or whatever, and Chelsee gets to go home and mope to her new man about getting cut early in Hollywood.
We come back from commercial to a montage of people being silly and bad at singing. One girl shows up in what looks to be a bathing suit with a tutu. I notice this mostly because she’s got a thicker waist than I do, and I’m the one covering up at the beach with a one-piece. Time to reevaluate. Another girl offers to show off her talent, which has nothing to do with singing or pop music. No, she can touch her tongue to the tip of her nose. WHO CARES. (Steven does. He shrieks like a monkey as his boner arrives in his pants.)
Our next profiled contestant is some hairy beast who’s making a big ruckus in the waiting area. Man, that waiting area must be REALLY ANNOYING. I hate crowds, and I especially hate crowds of people hamming it up to get on TV or singing earnestly. Ick. Anyway, Alan is the oldest 26-year-old you’ve ever seen, and he fancies himself to be a Lynyrd Skynyrd kinda guy. (Did I use enough “y”s in that?) He’s a tattoo artist and a fake laugher. (One part of his tattoo sleeve looks more like someone punched him and then applied a temporary tat you get from the bubble machine at the grocery store.) I suspect his fake laugh is a Taylor Hicks affection of some sort, which is a shame. Taylor barely made it work, and Alan’s not even close.
Also, Alan may be racist, as he explains to Randy that everyone has different favorites for ice cream flavors. Randy’s might be chocolate, and Alan’s might be vanilla. Everyone makes a “whoa” face as Alan palsies into his big fake laugh. J.Lo is probably insulted that Alan didn’t suggest a flavor for her. Didn’t Ludacris offer up a few suggestions in “How Low”? Peanut butter pecan or something? (I love that song, especially when the Chipmunks sing “get it, get it!”)
Then Alan starts to sing. He looks like he’s about to take a dump on stage, and he sounds like that “Creed Shreds” video on YouTube I love so much. (Go Google it and come back. You won’t regret it. And while you’re there, click on the 25-second long Nickelback Shreds link, too. Hahahaha) It’s not good. He belts it out, eyes closed, earnestly, until Randy stops him. Then he fake laughs and “Aww shucks” a bit. J.Lo totally earns my respect when she says, “You have one of the best laughs I’ve ever seen.” You don’t see laughs, unless they’re fake! Fake laugher! Anyway, they toy with him a bit and let him ramble on about shit, and then they say no. Bye, Racist Fake Laugher!
“Okay, if you say so.”
Next up is Stormy, who used to be Miss Teen USA. She’s pretty. That’s fine. She sings okay. But not that great. Randy and Steven vote with their dicks. J.Lo advises that her voice is too weak. With two votes, though, she’s in. So you’ll see this girl again. Moving on.
She’ll be the first one cut in Hollywood.
Another montage of sucky people. (Another word I’ll use a lot–”montage.” Drink up!) Some guy who reminds me of Crappy Phillip from Money Hungry wearing an Elvira wig comes out, after getting a “definitely not” from Randy. Others cry. Bye, guys!
Let’s meet Adrienne for a little bit, shall we? She’s a down-to-earth black girl from Kentucky. She was adopted by an older white couple when she was just two years old, and she’s been their loving daughter and farm hand ever since. Her parents are adorable older folk who talk slow and deliberately. Adrienne seems really cool, hauling hay bales and riding around on a tractor. Also, she’s really pretty. Also, she can sing! She comes in for her audition and gives me my second set of goosebumps for the night. I have to Google the song she sings, especially since I think she ends her bit with “American Hyundai.” Oh, it’s “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum. That’s nice.
I really like Adrienne and hope she goes far. For real.
The judges love her LOTS. Steven thinks he might cry a little, which makes me tear up and also puts tears in Adrienne’s eyes. They ALL love her, and she’s going to Hollywood. She starts to cry, especially because she really wants to pay back her parents for everything they’ve done for her over the years. My God, what a sweetheart. After she hoots and hollers in the hall for a bit, she sits down to call her parents at home. Her dad’s first words, bless his heart, are to ask who’s paying for her to go to Hollywood. LOL. Dads! I well up a little when Dad says, “That tickles me.” Oh, Dads. I love ‘em.
For all my bluster about saying “weird” and “freak” a lot, I’m sure not doing it. You’re stone cold sober right now, aren’t you? Well, lasso up a drank, cuz I have more to say about these weird freaks.
We come back from commercial to a freak. Kameela brags that she’s a tiny girl with a big voice, that people are always surprised when she starts to sing. Well, that’s because she stinks. She starts to belt out her audition tune, some Chaka Khan song I don’t know, and it’s a shrieky mess. A yowling cat would get a ticket to Hollywood before this chick. She’s the worst. I LOL when Steven Tyler tells her, “You gotta go back home and practice and get good.” Ouch! Randy’s like, “Oh HAIL no, don’t do it, that was horrible.” After she leaves, Steven whispers to Randy, “Don’t tell people they’re not good!” HAHAHA. Isn’t that the point of the show??! Oh, I love it.
Poised under duress.
Oh crap, some weirdo in a full body suit comes in to sing “A Moment Like This.” He sings it in that false opera phrasing and tone that I like to sing rap songs in. (Seriously, sing “Party Down” as properly and symphonically as you can and try not to laugh.) This jerk has no name, and they just boot him right out. What a weirdo. Then some Eastern European chick comes in to sing a Polska version of “I Will Survive.” Go away.
Another guy comes in to honk out some Christian Rock standard that I don’t know. You may think he’s joking and purposely bad to get air time. You might be wrong. I think he just sucks. He actually sounds like me when I make up songs on my way home from work, about how badly I have to go #2. (No lie.) I just don’t do that Kermit voice when I sing poop songs. (The most frequent lyric in my poop songs? “I have to put something in the toilet.” Sometimes it’s a rock anthem; sometimes it’s a ballad. You’re welcome.) Anyway, poop song singer comes out to cry to Ryan. Now this surely is fake, right? Right. I laugh when this kid fake-sputter-cries on Ryan, because it looks like he might spew vomit or zombie-infected blood all over Ryan’s face. Ryan loves having things spewed in his face, doesn’t he?
Next up is Jackie Wilson, a chubbyish blonde girl who belts out a goosebumpy tune. Wow, she sounds great. Her mom and dad wait outside for her, telling Ryan that Jackie’s been into singing since she was three. The judges love her and send her right to Hollywood. Jackie rushes out to hug Mom and Dad. And then she gives a full-lipped romantic smooch to her dad. Waaaaaaait a second. Record scratch. (Literally!) That’s her boyfriend! That skinny old dude wearing a bowling shirt and some weird hat is the man she puts between her legs! Wow!
No Lonely Teardrops here.
At this point in the show, I’m starting to wane. I’m tucked into a blanket on the couch, fending off the bitter winter chill and more than ready for a nap. But wait! Latoya’s about to sing! Gotta give Latoya her due!
Latoya is wearing a full-length gown, something you might wear to prom. She is the youngest 26-year-old you’ll ever see (sorry, Racist Fake Laugh Alan), and she helpfully informs us that she’s already a recording artist. Latoya postures with her CD for a bit, then heads in for her audition. “Unique…” she taunts as she leaves. The editors have fun with her, and my winter’s nap is soon a distant memory.
First she heads in and brags about bringing one (1) CD for three (3) judges. Don’t you think it’s worth the expense of three whole CDs to grease the skids for your entry into fame? It’s not like they’re golden nuggets. Anyway, they have an awkward conversation with Latoya about this CD, where it’s clear that Randy’s pandering to her and it’s also clear that she’s perhaps a bit of a simpleton. She greets J.Lo and tells Steven that it’s nice to meet him. She obviously doesn’t know who he is, at all.
Then she sings. OUCH. It’s no good. When she’s done, Randy openly mocks how bad her tone was, and he asks, “Are you sure??!” when she tells them what it was she was supposed to be singing. I’m settling back into the blanket for a moment, but then Latoya’s Idol number starts to fall off her dress. One corner drops and the editors add in a creaky metal sign noise. The nap is history as I totally laugh out loud. Then the number falls off entirely with a loud clank. LOL!
Latoya’s told to take a hike, though, despite being such a wonderful recording artist. Randy helpfully tells her to pick up her number on her way out. She saunters out in that gown, singing her awful song as she goes. She stops at the door and looks back. “Still a no!” Randy yells. Latoya tells Ryan that she thinks the judges would have enjoyed it better if she’d slowed it down some. “I don’t think they had a problem with the pace.” Ah, delusion. Ain’t it grand?
Now for some GOOD peeps. Paul is a lanky hipster with a raspy, dulcet voice. I’ll forgive him singing Rod Stewart, though it does showcase his voice pretty well. Jimmie’s not bad, either–we’ll see him again in Hollywood. Danny leads the whole group into singing “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” which looks like a good time. I think he makes it.
Then some dude in a silly cowboy hat and overalls arrives. He brought his whole family, of course, because that’s just what you do. Doesn’t he look a little like Michael Madsen in Kill Bill Vol. 2? Yeah, I thought so, too. Anyway, Matt is from TN, and his family works with foster kids. Like, hundreds of them over the years. Special needs kids, too. Wow. At first I’m ready for Matt to get the loser edit, but as we learn about him, I end up rooting for him. He looks ridiculous, yes, but how’s his voice?
Not bad! It’s not awesome, but at least he’s not totally deluded about his singing voice. Oh, and he’s apparently singing Josh Groban. The judges are mostly impressed, and probably because his image is totally backwards. Randy gives Matt a “small yes,” while J.Lo regretfully declines. Steven waffles a bit, but ultimately, they put Matt through to Hollywood.
Thank goodness this is almost over. We have one last gem to meet, some 15-year-old girl from Georgia with wild hair and an irrepressible spirit. Ya know how some of these Idols have a sad story to go along with their voice? This one’s wife is in a coma, that one’s parents were killed in a car accident last week, etc. Well, Lauren’s sad story is…about her cousin. Her cousin Holly is her BFF and inspiration, and she also had a brain tumor that required chemo and other nasty things. Lauren didn’t know if Holly would make it. Well, she did, and all her hair grew back, and that’s Lauren’s reason for extra air time.
I hope Hollywood brings her some conditioner.
That, and she sings pretty well (while Holly stares creepily from the wings). I have to Google this one, too, since I’m sooooo NOT country. It’s Faith Hill, “Like We Never Loved at All”. The judges are agog and slather Lauren’s ass with kisses. She’s clearly going to Hollywood. Yay! Will Holly also go to Hollywood? How many times is Lauren going to reference Holly during her Idol story? Ugh, I can’t wait.
And with that? We’re all done. No wait, Lauren’s going to get her entire family to come into the audition hall to meet Randy, J.Lo, and Steven. And then she breaks into “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” encouraging Steven to join in. Ugh again.
I guess I’m watching Idol this season.