Think about the classic TV shows throughout the ages. Seinfeld. Friends. The Simpsons. Now remember your favorite episodes. Without hesitation, you’re able to answer “the clip show.” Tonight, American Idol capitalizes on that love of things that have already happened and may not have been important enough to show previously to give you their most phoned-in show ever!
Also, I’m used to Flashforward, so I apologize if every minor detail is pulled apart in a search for hidden answers. And I cut my teeth on the timesuck monster that is America’s Got Talent, so I’m also not used to an audition show that people actually care about. But forget about all that, it’s Idol time!So after that standard weird opening that I’ve always detested, in which random CGI-people prepare to sing with all the excitement of someone about to take their turn at Kylez Karaoke Bar and Buffet, Ryan starts us off by seeing how many hyperboles he can cram into a single sentence. THE LONGEST OF JOURNEYS. THE MOST FAMOUS ARENA IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION. THE MOST TALENTED PEOPLE WE’VE EVER SEEN. I guess like everyone else, good old Seacrest probably suspects this is AI’s last season and has to use it or lose it with the melodrama.
“But what does everyone remember?” ominously intones Ryan. I hope you’ve been taking notes America, because it’s quiz time.
Ah, yes, Mr. Pants on the Ground. Really, Idol? We’re two minutes in and you’ve already had to resort to this guy to prove the auditions were memorable? Idol has decided tonight is a perfect time to show us a montage of people with too much time on their hands performing their own versions of “Pants on the Ground.” And when a BLOGGER is accusing you of having no life, you’re really in trouble.
So this is a nice segue into a montage about picking the right audition song. What is this, 2002? After nine seasons, I’d like to think we’ve moved past this Day One stuff, AI. But, in a reflection of hopeful singer stupidity (or a testament to the unflappable American spirit), apparently it’s still a problem here in 2010.
We’re reminded of some chick who brought her lips into audition last year and sung a Joplin song to no avail, and then returned this year to sing a Simon Cowell original. A very clever move to show both research skills and general kiss-assery. The punch line is that Jessica sounds pretty damn good, but Posh Spice wants to hear more about Cowell’s song-writing career. After anything entertaining that the guest judge could possibly say is steamrolled as usual, Jessica is given her ticket and becomes Lesson #1 for anyone out there ambitious/fame-whorish enough to try out on The X Factor next year.
Ryan reminds us AGAIN that they’ve saved the best for last. Because nothing says “best” like a show made up entirely of warmed-up leftovers deemed too boring to previously include.
Now we’re going to talk about standing out from the crowd, because you have to remember that Kelly and Carrie only got where they are today because of their wacky outfits and shock-value songs. Ryan meets up with Amanda who plans to show him “how to grab attention,” which is a lot like Lady Gaga wanting to know how to change up her wardrobe a little. Amanda does a weird Britney impression and some ventriloquism and says that just in general she loves impressions.
Amanda is good but the panel is worried she doesn’t connect enough. Amanda blames it on her theater background, and everyone in the room immediately exclaims “THAT’S IT!” in a desperate attempt to be the most artsy. Simon continues that Amanda is “such an actress,” which would be a huge compliment anywhere but here if you think about it. Posh says yes, because I half-suspect she wasn’t paying attention to anything that was happening at any point during the LA rounds. Kara gives her a yes and Simon also says yes, but only after doing a weird drama thing. Oh, Simon, you’re so well-known for your carefree, fun-loving attitude. The best part of the whole scene is Randy yelling for her to keep doing whatever she’s doing, because the point of the critique was she needs to change radically.
And because it’s been almost three minutes since our last montage, it’s time for one about contestants who play musical instruments! And there sure are a lot of people with guitars. I was going to say something sarcastic, like the Carrie Underwood auditions were YESTERDAY, but I guess that’s not actually true in this instance. Two of them, Crystal and Lee, are actually pretty decent. They’re Hollywood-bound! Look for them to be bumped when it becomes clear they aren’t pop singers under 20.
So now a montage of people faking out their loved ones.
Are you not ENTHRALLED?
Idol just wouldn’t be Idol without the fake-out, says Seacrest. I’m sorry, is this an iconic Idol moment to anyone out there? Anyone?
After manufacturing some Idol relics, now we’re ready to look at some REAL Idol relics: the multiple auditioners. Passionate, or idiotic? Discuss.
Kara remembers them all (she’s new, give her time) but Simon does not. All these juicy bits of insider Idol gossip we’re learning! I’m just going to say one more time, THIS warrants a clip show? REALLY?
So now we’re ready to look at Lacey, who made last year’s Top 50. There’s some heartbreaking footage of her getting the ax last year, and now she’s back again with a little “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” action. Everyone gives her a yes (including Kristen Chenoweth, who makes an appearance about as long as her original one. Seriously, was it me or was she on the show for like two seconds in Orlando?) and just like that we’re on to Stephanie, the chick who’s auditioning for the seventh time. Seven? It may be time to pack it in, sister.
So the Ralph Nader of karaoke steps up to the plate and does about as well as, well, Ralph Nader. She tries to pin her awful performance on Posh Spice, but really I think Victoria Beckham has already been responsible for enough bad music. Let’s let her off the hook for this one, huh, Steph? She sings again without Posh looking, but again it’s so nasal and awful. Stephanie asks for a few minutes (“it would take years,” Cowell chuckles. “And my new show will have run Idol into the ground by then.”) and the panel flatly refuses. But there are no losers on American Idol, and Stephanie, you’re going home with so much Posh Love you’d think you could play soccer (Steph-that was a joke. Please stay away from organized sports of all kind).
Now Ryan gushes over the crop of kids who have just turned 16 this year in a manner usually reserved for convicted felons. There’s a nice montage of high school students who are likely to become richer, more famous, and just plain happier than anyone watching, which is really half the fun of Idol.
Athlete montage time! Because AI knows it’s audience, it knows that America will love to laugh at healthy, physically fit people failing at something. And because we can’t put cameras in freshman Algebra classes, this is the next best thing. Oh, I’m just kidding, sporty America! Colts all the way.
There’s this six-foot-eight swimmer who keeps calling himself “a beautiful man flower,” which Seacrest immediately runs to get a copyright for. Adrian (nickname: The Big Man, according to him) starts to sing and it’s super, super high-pitched. Not bad, but really weird. They joke that he’s eaten a school boy (nothing like a little cannibalism humor) and they give him the ax. You may laugh when we’re drowning, but right now Fat America gets to chuckle, Big Man. Also in our sports montage is Michael the Personal Trainer, who looks to be roughly the size of a small automobile.
Also, Mike’s going to be a dad! Super. Thank God I tuned in tonight, or I never would have known. That was a close one, eh?
He’s got a pretty nice voice and while he’s singing Kara and Kristen (I know! TWO appearances in one hour!) whisper like school girls looking for a prom date. Mr. Mike is going to Hollywood. This expecting-father angle had better come up again. We don’t forget backstories, Idol! Ok, that’s a lie.
So now we’ve got Didi from LA, who recently lost her best friend Rebecca.
She’s singing “Hey, Jude” and she’s damn good. She starts crying hysterically like two seconds after she finishes and the panel votes her through. That was heart-warming I guess. Why wasn’t this on the original show? Did they think, hey, these auditions should be saved for the clip show? Or was this a bottom-of-the-barrel scrape? I guess I’m wondering what came first, the clips or the clip show?
We’re continuing our Idol Lesson #3 (the importance of a backstory) with Aaron, who was taken in and raised by his aunt. He says he’s had everything a sixteen-year-old should have in life, including an American Idol audition, I guess. This truly is the Land of Opportunity. Aaron makes me feel good about humanity. And then he decides to sing Miley’ “The Climb.” And I’m eager for more failure again.
Worst song ever aside, he’s good. Kristen gets to nod in her THIRD appearance tonight and they all agree he has talent. Aaron is in! Just like in America’s Got Talent, this would all be more heartwarming if we knew they wouldn’t be swept under the rug without attention during Hollywood Week.
The next chick says she’d be a great Idol because she’d be “into recycling and helping kids in Africa.” I guess that was essentially Obama’s campaign also, though.
Ms. Yes, We Can is Kimberly the nursing student, who gives a rendition of “I Kissed A Girl” so bad that Katy Perry immediately affirms her burning heterosexuality once and for all.
They mock her touching herself and everyone votes no, so Kimberly wanders away. The panel talks about how weird she was, and that’s that.
Now we hear from Shaddaii’s mother, who had a vision from the Lord that her baby would sing. But only if she gives her the stupidest name ever, apparently. She’s awful, and as good a case as any for atheism.
We’re so close to the end, readers, and Seacrest promises they’ve promised the best for last on the best-for-last show. I think the heartwarming end-of-show moment will go to Hope Johnson, who grew up extremely poor and thought most kids didn’t have dinner. Goddammit, I hate when I’m made to feel “emotions” by my primetime television. Hope is singing “I Hope You Dance,” a song my sixth-grader teacher made us memorize and sing in a learning experience I have not been able to unravel to this day. Hope is pretty great and they call her sweet and innocent. Four yeses, and she’s moving on! She’s excited and call me soft, but I’m excited for her.
Ryan reiterates that over 100,000 tried out but just 181 moved on. And Ellen is next week! Stay tuned, America, because I’ve officially ushered you out of the talentless masses and into the fray of stardom.