****As is TVgasm tradition, a different recapper will be taking each day of American Idol until we get to the performance rounds. Please welcome Copyhacker!
What up Idol fans? House is on hiatus until next week, and I hate having nothing to do, so you get to sit through me recapping two hours of AI auditions! I know what you’re thinking, but really, AI and House are not that different. Not convinced? Here’s proof:
HOUSE: Technical medical terms like ‘sarcoidosis’
IDOL: Technical musical terms like ‘pitchy’
HOUSE: British guy playing cranky life-saver
IDOL: British guy playing cranky dream-killer
HOUSE: Too many doctors
IDOL: Too many judges
See? Close your eyes and you can barely tell the difference. In fact, you’ll hear plenty of painful screeching and moaning tonight. But forget House for now (and fast-forward through all 25 House commercials). He’ll be back next week. This. Is AMERICAN IDOL!
Um… hold up a second. I just went and read J-Mo’s drop-dead-LOL recap of Episode 1. So that’s how you recap a reality show! I have to go rewrite
the whole thing a couple of lines here and there… ok, whew, I’m back. Anyway, a word about me and this show: I used to skip the audition episodes and only tune in for the final round. I don’t know if I felt worse for the judges (who have to sit through days of shower-singing) or the sweet-but-talentless kids who get their dreams ground into the dirt. But enough about me. Tonight is all about Kansas City, which, as the opening segment helpfully reminds us, is the hometown of one David Cook. 11,000 screaming fans and Jason Castro are waiting for Ryan and the judges. Yeah, that Jason, with the dreads, from last year. Seems his brother is trying out tonight. I am beside myself with anticipation.
And so is Paula.
Speaking of talentless kids, up first is CHELSEA: a nice-enough-looking blonde singing “Can’t Live”. “You see this little girl and you don’t think this powerful voice is going to come out of me… and people are like, whoa.” Sure enough, it doesn’t and they are. There are certain songs that you can always count on to be murdered, and this is one of them. Fun Idol game: predict which metaphor Simon’s about to use to describe what he just heard. Cat, cruise band, or lounge singer? I say this one rates a Cat, and… Simon? “You know what, you sound like a cat jumping off the Empire State Building.” Score! Randy tries to stretch the analogy by bringing in a siren or something, but he needs to leave the analogies to Simon. Simon asks what positive things Chelsea could take from the audition. “Well,” goes Paula, “she hasn’t heard anything from Kara or myself.” Simon: “So that’s the positive?” Simon is starting off the new year on fire! Somebody stop him! Please! Kara’s positive is “You’re a pretty girl, but you are not a good singer.” Wait, isn’t it Paula who’s supposed to fall back on the “you’re pretty” line? What’s Kara’s role again? Chelsea, undaunted, says she just picked the wrong song.
I love the delusions that these people have. “But… but… I have heart! I want it really bad! I’ll be the best, I promise, cuz it’s like my dream and stuff!” If you ever find yourself thinking the judges are too cruel, put yourself in their shoes. They have to sit here all day, experts in their field, and listen to 200 nobodies off the street who think they can do their job just as well. You’d probably get a bit snippy too. Next is ASHLEY, rocking some crazy bangs and some hoop earrings you could shoot a basketball through. Other than that, I have a hard time telling her apart from Bikini Girl. She’s singing a Leona Lewis song that just happens to be cowritten by one Simon Cowell. Simon writes too? He’s a regular Renaissance man. What does he have to write about? I don’t recall hearing a whole lot of Top 40 songs with the word “atrocious” in them. Anyway, Simon has to correct her on the lyrics. But other than that, she’s aight, dog. 4 yeses and they must tell her “I like you” about thirty times.
Just in case you forgot that we’re in Kansas City this week, here’s a montage of outside, with metric pantloads of people waiting out in the parking lot. Wait, this could be anywhere. Never mind. Now we have CASEY CARLSON. Name sounds like Kelly Clarkson, looks like Rachel Bilson, and she’s singing Vanessa Carlton. Confused? Me too. She’s got no rhythm, but who needs rhythm when you’re wearing cowgirl boots? I predict she’ll be the cute white girl that sucks all the way into the finals.
You know, like this one?
More crowd doing stupid human tricks.
BRIAN is a dorky teddy bear in a leather jacket and v-neck hairy chest shirt. His intro tells us he’s got a background in classical. Oh boy. He’s shaking his muffin top to Aretha’s “Think” and it’s as bad as you think. No, it’s worse. The women harmonize with him and he’s having fun, thinking he’s got it made, when Simon crushes his spirit. He offers to sing some Josh Groban and launches right into it over Simon’s protests. Why, why, WHY do they keep singing after they’re told to stop? He’s like a big hairy deer in the headlights. A classical dirge plays as he takes the Walk of Shame. “If you’re expecting me to cry on camera, don’t even try.” So that means it’s time for the weekly sob-fest montage. One girl screams her guts out. Moving on. Here’s a David Cook spot. They play some of his hits from last season, but nothing from his album. Thanks for reminding me that he was awesome before the Idol machine ate him.
More filler. Clips of weird contestants doing weird things to songs, including the mandatory parade of big dudes with squeaky voices. Someone butchers Amazing Grace. “Change blind to deaf and we’re right on,” quips Simon. Ka-chow.
VON looks like Rainn Wilson (you know, Dwight from The Office) in a white jazz hat. He’s singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. He starts, stops to clear his throat and starts again, and I’m bracing for a trainwreck, but then something magic happens: he proceeds to peel the paint off the walls. It’s a little over the top but I bet the judges will like it. They leave us hanging for a break. After the break, color Randy impressed. Ditto for Simon. Well, that’s it then. Kara says he has “a really big instrument.”
Just always wear a hat when you use it.
Seacrest is looking slightly orange tonight. He’s definitely rocking a fake tan. Speaking of odd skin tones, here’s Jason Castro and his little brother MICHAEL again. Goofy hair must run in the family, because little bro has a pink Flock of Seagulls do. He says he just started singing 20 days ago “because hey, if Jason can do it…” He does a Gavin DeGraw song, and I bet he worked on that one song for the whole 20 days, because it’s not half bad. Simon calls it “goodish”, even. Kara says he’s ballsy (we can say that on TV now? cool!) and that he has a “secret” vibe. I don’t get it, and I don’t really get Kara yet. The Bikini Girl Incident didn’t help her stock. Anyway, Casbro is in. Yay for nepotism!
We take turns wearing the “I’m with stupid” shirt.
Welder MATT looks like someone you’d run into at a bar called Skooter’s Roadhouse (and that’s a real place, according to damnbikers.com). Hope he does a Village People song. Aw, no, he’s doing “Ain’t No Sunshine”. He’s like a blue-collar version of Taylor Hicks: a one-trick soul pony. Randy says nope, but everyone else is going to send him. Simon likes him a lot. Quit dragging it out, y’all, you can always tell from the first three notes. Unless they’re wearing a bikini, then it doesn’t matter what they sound like. Next is JASMINE “call me Jazz”, who would look just as awkward even without her blue and red hair. She’s also singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. Musicians like to joke that they’re playing jazz when they hit wrong notes, but this is going too far. She realizes too late that she stunk. Awkward silence from the judges. She picks up her hat and walks. Wow, the judges are hitting new heights of snark this year.
JESSICA shows up straight out of 1994, equipped with guitar, flannel shirt and Lisa Loeb glasses. She lives with her 93-year-old grandma in a house with 92-year-old wallpaper. Grandma is hard of hearing, so they communicate by yelling, which sounds a lot like the Copyhacker household. She does Janis Joplin, with a good voice but not much rhythm. Simon likes the small-town-girl-with-big-dreams angle. The women like the “she’s cute” angle. Is there a “talent” angle anymore? Jessica emerges victorious. Much screaming and piling-on ensues.
The theme of this next lovely bit of filler is pairs. People who just met, people who made the trip together, my pair of bleeding ears. Then a pair of sisters. A big one and a little one. Asia and India, and the sizes match and everything. They’re going to rap, and they talk on top of each other so I can’t understand half of what they’re saying. At least they’re having fun. They’re great comic relief. Then they sing one at a time. Asia is lousy, but India… drumroll… after much drama, India comes out with the goods.
Maybe you can sing, India, but how are your tech support skillz?
JAMAR, a dude with a pointy head and pencil-thin mohawk, sings “California Dreaming”. Survey says: bzzzt. Paula says he can sing, but he was too loud and off pitch. Wait, if you don’t have pitch, and your volume is off… there ain’t much left. Then he gets 4 yeses. WTF? They need to recalibrate their system. Having 4 judges is really throwing things out of whack.
DANNY is a music teacher whose wife died 4 weeks ago. So much for making fun of this guy. Luckily he has the look, and he’d probably skate in even without the pity. He sings “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. He’s all over it and I’m thinking finals for this guy. Doesn’t hurt that he looks just like a young Robert Downey Jr. “How to Save A Life” plays in the background. Ah, not-so-subtle-but-cruel irony.
Montage of truly terrible female contestants. Mrs. Copyhacker says one of them looks like a troll. Maybe I’ll get her to audition for TVgasm next season.
Mrs. Copyhacker, not the troll. I mean… THIS is the troll, Mrs. Copyhacker should audition. Oh nevermind.
ANUP asks Randy to call him Nupe Dawg. I’m guessing the button-down collar and Dockers shorts will make that unlikely. He did his master’s thesis on Southern mythology and barbeque, and I can’t decide if that’s cool or just weird. He nails a Boyz II Men song, though, and they give Nupe Dawg thumbs up. So we got us an Indian guy who likes BBQ singing R&B. Simon says he looks a bit geeky. Cut Simon some slack people, you know he can only think in cliches.
I bet your tech support skillz are all that and a bag of pork rinds.
More losers all singing Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Sorry, J-Mo, but I love these single-song montages, I really do. I know the judges (the frontline judges who screen all the contestants and pick the truly awful ones to torture Simon with) ask them to sing these once they find out how bad they suck. That makes it even funnier. Here’s clips of contestants wearing funny costumes. Someone even brought a monkey. Hey, remember the last time a guy with a monkey made it to Hollywood? Me either. OK, you got your two seconds of TV time, now take off, dork.
Next is ANDREW, a skinny white kid who brought cheerleaders along. He does My Girl, but he gives it the generic ’90s R&B treatment with all the runs and stuff. Kids today, they got no idea what makes a song good. He does aight though–until he gives a shout-out to Paula and Kara at the very end, and his voice cracks. Bwahaha. Paula says he’s too theatrical, but what she really means is he’s not hot enough. Kara hasn’t come up with a snotty one-liner yet, so she stalls for time by giving him ten more seconds. He starts into another soul piece, and Randy and Paula say no based on the second song. And still Kara can only come up with “A plus for effort.” Buhbye kid!
ASA is a middle-school band director (ding!) with a little girl (ding ding!). He’s going to do Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel. Finally, someone who can keep a beat. THANK YOU. Paula says that most people who attempt MJ crash and burn like The Gloved One’s activator (hey, I grew up in the ’80s, Michael Jackson’s flaming hair was a turning point in my life), and he didn’t. One golden ticket coming up!
Next up is MICHAEL NICEWONDER. Yes, I’m serious. He’s wearing a medal he got this one time in elementary school for being the best singer. Facepalm. Dude, everybody gets medals in elementary school. My kids are 2 and 4 and we’re already running out of wall to hang medals on. Nicewonder also comes with a bleached-blonde hair helmet and some genes he got from Hank Williams Jr. Wait, what? Bocephus, I feel for ya. He “sings” a “song” he “wrote” about his mom and it’s terrible. Simon asks for another original and it sounds just the same, except this one’s about his grandmother. Simon tells him he should get a job writing Hallmark cards. Nicewonder (I’m going to keep saying it, just try and stop me! Nicewonder! Nicewonder!) sobs that Simon was awful to him. And you expected…? Slo-mo Simon laughs like the devil. Kid, it’s a wonder he was that nice. Rimshot!
“But Hank is my 4th cousin! Twice removed! What happened to the Family Tradition??”
DENNIS does a backflip and says he dreamed about Simon last night. I don’t wanna know. He sings the same Chris Brown song that Baby Archuleta sang one time last season. He worked more on his dancing than his singing, though. The judges say nope, and he keeps singing. Yep, it’s another trainwreck that refuses to quit while he’s behind. “Please y’all, I really want this.” Aw dog, give us three more “really”s and you can go. OK, here’s your ticket. WTF? I can’t believe this guy is taking the place of someone that has talent. He’ll be gone after next week anyway. A girl in a red and black dress, with hair dyed to match, is sleeping in the waiting room. They wake her up for her audition. She sings “Loving You”, screechy high note and all, and well… has anyone ever NOT murdered that song? “Happy Trails” plays her out and they show clips of her shrieking out high notes and cursing the judges. “God’s gonna get you and I’m still gonna be a star!” Wow, I can’t believe we almost went two whole hours without the loser-throws-a-tantrum segment.
Aaaaaand here’s the last hopeful. Good thing, because I can’t type much longer. LIL is her name. Lil Rounds, even. I’m not touching those. THAT! I mean I’m not touching THAT! She looks like she has her junk together. I don’t know the song, but she does a great job. “Whoever told you to stop chasing your dream, tell them to kiss your Lil behind,” says Paula. Hey Paula, I’ll do the bad puns, you stick to the prescription meds, and we’ll get along much better, kay? Randy calls Lil “a mix of Fantasia and Mary J. Blige.” Hold up. I have it on good authority that Randy wears Mary J. Blige Underoos. No one’s good enough to compare to Mary. Lil, also knowing this fact, is ecstatic.
Clips of all the golden ticket winners as Ryan does his “so long, KC, we hardly knew ye” voiceover. So that’s it for this week! New York, San Francisco, Louisville, Salt Lake City and Jacksonville are all coming up. Even San Juan. I had fun, y’all. Tune in next week when another one of your favorite recappers brings you the Idol goods, and House is back too! Keep it real, dogs!