OK. I have to get this off my chest. Ryan Seacrest is really starting to grow on me. God, that feels better. Sadly, he is not starting to grow, which would definitely help our chances of making it together, and our children getting paid more in adulthood.
But I digress. My new little man greets us from New Orleans, home to Bourbon St., the French Quarter, and the most uncanny smell of dried, day old vomit. Oh, and Snoop Dogg and titties.
This week’s guest judge is Gene Simmons from Kiss, a man who looks remarkably similar to my local shawarma dealer, Mukhtar. I never thought I’d say this, but I really miss the days when Mark McGrath guest judged. At least he was alright to look at.
First up on the chopping block is David Brown, who tells us that singing is where his heart is. For me, it’s always been on top of a dog house. David really gives Randy a run for his money in the “Who has the smoothest, richest, most beautiful chocolately skin?” contest. He lays the track down, singing a gospel tune with everything he’s got. Randy says it’s the best he’s heard. Simon gives him a “100% yes”. Gene Simmons, who has only been on screen for 10 seconds and is already making my skin crawl, tells David he’s going to Hollywood, the same way a child molester would encourage you to get in his van.
We see a little sketch where Seacrest is signing an autograph for a young boy. The boy gets the paper and says “Ryan Seacrest? I thought you were Clay Aiken!” And now that they mention it, I see the resemblance!
The next singer up is Bobby Barfoot, an overweight, afro-ed femme-guy in a rhinestoned button down shirt. Seacrest claims that Bobby is wearing one of his shirts, again making fun of himself, and therefore jumping up a couple of notches on my speeddial.
Bobby is literally a huge fan of American Idol, so much so that he even collects playing cards of all of the past contestants, keeping them organized in a binder. This really brings me back to my youth, when I had a minor obsession with Garbage Pail Kids cards, and would organize my Kitty Litters and Graffiti Peteys organized in the same manner. Then again, I was only 7.
Bobby’s method for facing worldwide rejection is unique, as he decides to yodel. Simon pegs him (zing!) by being a cross between a rodeo singer and La Cage Aux Folles. Paula’s circuit boards start hissing and smoking, and she throws an unnecessary fit due to Simon’s attitude. She gives Bobby my favorite criticism by tell him that he needs to change his image. Code for: You’re ugly.
Simon and Paula continue arguing about Bobby’s chops, when they decide to send him behind the screen and sing, so that they can hear him without actually having to look at him. They may as well have pulled out a brown paper grocery bag full of dog dookie and ordered him to put it on his head. He sings, and the panel mocks him. Short story long, byebye Bobby.
Hey everyone! Buckle up! Cause here’s a guy who wants to shake things up at the auditions by being (gulp) weird! Daron Beck is trying to look like Robert Smith from The Cure. Only, something tells me Daron’s band would be called “The Disease.” (Rimshot!) Soulpatch and Vidal Sasson bob aside, Daron wants to be “different” and create music that’s not “disposable.” Daron starts off with one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE SONGS called “Delilah” by Tom Jones (pausing to throw bra at screen) and — wait! What is he doing?! He is butchering my favorite song! Download the original if you don’t believe me, along with everything else Tom Jones has ever put out. And trust me, he puts out.
Daron is just all together weird, voice, image, everything. Then — wait! He breaks out into “I Put A Spell On You”, another top choice for me, and manages to sound like Kathleen Turner getting a colonoscopy. He also contorts his mouth in this altogether horrendous way that brings to mind Robert DeNiro in Awakenings. Daron might as well have waltzed into this room humming the theme to Schindler’s List and pissing on my picture. He has ruined everything sacred to me. Simon tells him he should be wearing ladies underwear and red lipstick and singing in a cabaret somewhere, and it is clear that Simon is realllly into the idea. Daron is out.
Lindsey Cardinale has a nice, crisp voice and impresses the judges. She’s pretty good, although her demeanor makes me want to take a midday nap. It’s way too “collected” (read: drugged). She’s in.
Robert Solomon is a total plant. A white t-shirt, coat-hanger shoulders, and high-water pants, he’s a film projectionist. Either he’s an actor being paid by Fox (something I really believe they do), or is just some kinda moron out for a good time. He’s completely terrible, but I like him. The judges don’t bother rejecting him, they just say “Thanks”, and he gets the idea and leaves.
Montage: Some guy who sings with one finger firmly planted in his belly button, a fat guy who has to breathe mid-word, and a guy singing jingle bells with a pretty convincing horse-clomping noise.
Husband material alert, ladies! Sundeep Achreja is a “10 foot-tall” Indian accountant who looks like Ross from a Bollywood version of “Friends.” All buttoned up in his accountant suit, he lamely punches the air in a pre-auddy warm-up. The man can really wear a suit, not to mention cold-sweat like a champ. And if he just did this for laughs, I could almost see myself falling in love with him. Someone needs to loosen this MF up! He sings “Eye of the Tiger”, is incredibly nervous, and obviously sucks. But he manages to still punch the air during his audition. Aww. Sundeep is cute, and seems genuinely hurt. Let me know if you need a bosom to cry on, Big S.
Michael Liuzza is a serious fatty, but has a handsome face. His parents met as musicians in New Orleans, and the show forces us to sit through the entire story of how they met. His father talks like Chewbacca in slow motion. It’s a painful, overly long segment.
Michael has a great personality, but part of me doesn’t trust it, like he’s going to sell me a broken used car or something. He sings a Louis Armstrong song SO weirdly. The first note would be nasal and still, and then he would end it in this hyper-vibratto that I find off-putting. He sounds like every shitty a capella singer I went to college with. This guy doesn’t have a chance in hell making it to the Top 12, so why are we wasting time on him? Gene compares him to Rosemary Clooney (exactly the sound AI is looking for, obvs). Paula throws out the “image” word again, i.e., “stop eating”, and he makes it to Hollywood. Cut to the camera following him out of the room, where he sceams his face off, waving his yellow sheet around and running into oncoming traffic, a la Martha Dumptruck in Heathers.
Now, a little segment the producers have entitled “The Incomprehensibles”, showcasing three singers who botch the lyrics up so badly that they need subtitles. And wouldn’t you know it! They’re all minorities! Way to go, Rupert Murdoch, you’ve done it again good sir.
First, an bald Indian guy who basically sings with an accent. Fuck you, American dream! Then, an Asian girl who reads the lyrics to the National Anthem with an thick accent, but of course, the subtitles rearrange everything so that she seems soâ€¦ Chinese! They might as well have written “Me Likey Chop Suey, Use Pearl Cream, Look like Baby” underneath for added effect, and hit a gong when she finished.
Then, by far the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. Leroy Wells. The man is noodle thin, kin and bones, and basically acts like a stereotype in a minstrel show. I’m sorry, but he does. The guy is just embarrassing and crazy, and (imagine) gets a whole segment devoted to him. About 10 whole minutes, to be exact. To his credit, he sings ODB’s “Baby I Got Your Money”, a personal favorite, while stomping his feet about and clapping. The judges interview him, and you can’t understand a single word the guy says. He looks like the Devil’s marionette. His arms and legs won’t stop flailing. And sounds come out of his mouth, but it is not any kind of language. I feel seasick. The good news is, the judges needed a little energy boost, and of course they eff around with him here and there. There is something so seriously wrong with him, that I just really don’t enjoy this segment at all. And it just goes oooon and oooon. Also, Gene Simmons? Really not a fan of his either.
Jeff Johnson is a hot minister. The day I see a buff-ass cantor audition for this show, I can die a happy woman. They show Jeff praying with some others in a circle. He sings In the Still of the Night (that sound was the gunshot going through my head. Even Jesus knows this is a poor song choice.) But, gosh gollie, this guy is just so cute! And he must be doing something right, cause he makes it. Oh, and I think Simon’s thing “moved.”
The camera follows David Brown, our first auditioner, to his church where he announces the good news to his congregation. They stand up and cheer for him, and he weeps. The boy just has a good soul, and it really comes through over television. Please, learn to love David Brown. It feels good, and it feels right.
Next up, twins! Sadly, not Arnold Schwartz and Danny D. Instead, we see Lamar and Jamar Jefferson enter wearing matching do-rags, and Eddie Murphy-esque driving gloves, singing a song that I’m going to go out on a limb and say is called “I’ve Got Nothing But Love For You, Bay-bay”, as those were the only lyrics. They have a good thing going on, and really put a lot of heart into it. The judges show nothing but love to these bay-bay’s, and they’re in.
J.P. and Richard Molfetta are also identical twins only whiterâ€¦ and dorkierâ€¦ and gay-seeming. For those Amazing Race fans out there, remember wife-abuser and botox-enthusiast Jonathan? Well, double his look, and you’ve got the Molfetta twins. These guys are just fay. And they’re singing “I’ll Make Love to You”â€¦ to each other! Boyz II Men indeed.
Then Simon does something stupid and crazy. At first, the judges face a split decision, Randy and Paula giving the go ahead, and Simon and Gene saying no. This whole debate arises over whether they would be considered good enough individually, minus the harmonies. Simon then divides the boys up, and has the judges reevaluate them. Paula changes her mind on the first guy (J.P.? Rich? Sigh. Who cares.). 3 no’s, Randy’s yes, and he’s out. For the other twin, Randy and Paula approve, and Simon still says no. Well, what was the point of that! Simon basically wastes everyone’s time. It was childish and stupid, and Paula accuses him of doing that “just for the sport of it.” Randy and Paula decide enough is enough, and in a kind of showy, fake way, they simply get up and leave (coinciding with page 34 of their script that day). The guys are super pissed, and curse their way out of the building. Only 16 people made it through from N’Orleans, including one guy who looked like a serious outtake, so who knows.
Luckily, on tomorrow night’s episode, a single Malfetta twin auditions again in Vegas, butching it up in a mandarin collared jacket. Oh, and Kenny Loggins guest judges. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go regale my roommates with my Gilbert and Sullivan interpretation of “Highway to the Danger Zone.”