American Idol is finally done with the bad auditions, and has now moved on to the “Sudden Death” round. Not the round where Randy keels over from years of fatty foods, rather where the contestants have a week to pick and learn a song out of a list of 12 to sing before the judges, and move on to the next round or are sent home with no explanation. They will audition in groups of 10 by sex. Boys v. Girls sex, not “Pegging Simon Cowell” sex.We see people arriving in LA from all over the country, many familiar faces. Some nauseating, others slightly less so. One girl tells us that she used to be a hotel chambermaid, and is not staying in the kind of room she used to clean. The editors decide not to cue up Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker” (i.e. catchiest tune ever.)
Some contestants get sleep before the big day, others work out, a big fat guy dons a clay acne mask, and the “cool kids” are at a Ruby Tuesday’s playing pool. Most seem incredibly nervous, and for good reason. The vibe reminds me of my high school debating days, traveling on the road and staying in hotels where the kids were cutthroat competitive, but also liked to have “fun.” Hence very tense. Yes, I did go to Debate Camp, and no, I don’t appreciate you judging me.
7 a.m., the “kids” are up and ready to head to the audition. They are divided into two groups: Bus 1 will be headed to the auditions, and Bus 2 will be led on a sightseeing tour of LA. It’s just like American Idol Boot Camp, the very place Ryan Seacrest went from being a frost-tipped boy to a “curtains match the carpet” man. The younger competitors are traveling with their parents.
First up, one of my faves (and Simon’s as well), Carrie Underwood, the sweet, blonde farmgirl with a fabulous voice. There’s a small tet a tet between her and Ryan. He asks her if she’s seen any starts, and she says “It’s been pretty cloudy.” He clarifies he meant “Celebs”, and she guffaws and says “Just you!” Seacrest, again self-mockingly in a way I appreciate, retorts “Hopefully, it gets better.” Better as in John Travolta circa 1990 or Horseshack circa 2005? Just asking.
Carrie sings “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, and I’m already dry heaving. This song has been forever ruined since it was covered by Michael McDonald, a singer who a friend described as sounding “like a foghorn full of Cool-Whip.” Carrie does an admirable job, singing in a pretty and effortless way.
Next, Jaclyn Crum from Cleveland. She’s only 16, traveling with her mom, and is a pretty girl if you choose to forget about her rotting, homeless bean teeth. Really, at 16 this should be taken care of already. Sings OK, nothing special. Very plain, I’m not wowed by her. Following Jaclyn is Sarah Mather, a beautiful girl who sings Dusty Springfield nicely.
The last one in their group is Tamesha “Mesha” Foote, a tall pretty black girl with two identically twin daughters who sleep every night with the false promise that Mommy isn’t “going to go home empty handed.” Sorry, little ones, but your Mommy cannot hold a melody for her life. She is completely out of tune, missing every single note. And instead of singing “I’ll be there in a hurry”, she says “I’ll be there in a hoo-way”, further annoying me and everyone else watching.
The results: Carrie is in, Jaclyn is in, Sarah is in, Tamesha is a goner, and will be going home empty handed. The good news is, her heart is full of hate, as she explains that she sang better than Farmgirl Carrie, and remembered all her words. Maybe she can steal a blanket from the plane for her kiddies.
Next group up is totally Boyzone. We start with Anthony Federov, a flaxen-haired bespeckled boy who’s kind of cute and dresses way better than you would expect him to. His sad story is he got a tracheotomy when he was young, but now has the voice of a Broadway singing gay angel. At least he’s better than that horrible deaf kid from awhile back.
America’s Favorite N’Orleans fatty boombalatty Michael Liuzza (a.k.a. “Rosemary Clooney”) is back with his awful nasal “unique” style. I’ll stress again that he’s still a pretty good looking guy. And even though his voice is weird, he seems genuinely sweet, so I’ll stop my hateful spewing with Michael. Anthony makes it through, Michael Liuzza (pronounced, Jim Carrey style “Leeoo! Zzaaher!”) doesn’t, but says he’ll change the world some other way.
The other bus is partying it up in LA. But oh no! Shunta Warthen got on wrong bus, and instead of touring the city, was supposed to audition. Blue eyeshadow painted up to the top of her forehead, Shunta is in panic mode, and must get a cab to make it to the auditions in time. Hurry Shunta! Your time is almost up!
Back at the auddies, Rashida Johnson has a cold. They show her training, and she sounds kind of like a manly Toni Braxton. Ooh.. but she’s singing one of my favorite songs, “Baby Come to Me”, and managed to pull of a pretty great performance. Her singing chops are still there, and the judges know it. She’s through to tomorrow, people cheer, and she cries, saying she “wants her Mommy.” Aww, Rashida.
Back to Shunta. Where is Shunta’s cab? The girl is a mess. I feel for her, as this is something I could see myself doing. Minus the Ringling Brothers face get-up, of course. Yikes.
Now, it’s Pirate Whore Amanda Avila’s turn. She’s not as amazing as she was in her audition, but still pulls it off. Next, Travis Tucker, an adorable black guy, followed by tube-topped Lindsey Cardinale, who both sing “Ain’t No Mountain” like men. All three are yeses.
To break up the monotony, we see a montage of various assh*les explaining why THEY are the next Idol. And if any adults out there are worried about our children’s future? Relax, cause 1500 talentless fame-whores want to inspire the world/be role models, or so we learn. One girl explains that she wants to win “American Idol” because “”I think it’ll give me a better chance of meeting Johnny Depp.” All sarcasm aside, I hope she wins.
Boy group again. First up, Ross Williams, bland and extremely forgetful. Makes it through. Then Sean McNeill, a bald, goateed pastor, who has an amazing voice, and thankfully also continues to tomorrow.
SIRENS! My nightmare is back, and he’s still wearing a mandarin-collared leather jacky. Rich Molfetta is the guy who looks like an ass-raping ape, and who auditioned twice (once with his twin) in order to get to Hollywood. Now it’s his sudden death round. He sings “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” very very poorly. With his eyes closed. It’s all very hard to watch. And (calloo! callay!) HE IS CUT! But keep your eyes peeled for next year’s Chess King ad campaign, cause I have a feeling Rich will be back and takin’ no prisoners.
Hey! Here’s something new! Stevie Wonder songs. What a relief, I couldn’t remember the last time I’ve heard one. Excuse me while I gouge my ear canals out with a melon baller. First we hear Nadia Turner, a girl with a huge afro and a big mouth that she opens as wide as she can. Frankly, I don’t think she’s all that great, but probably better than most of the people she’s up against. Next, church-boy David Brown, who I adore. He has an amazing, positive energy, and just seems like the nicest, most charming guy ever. Following him, another big ol’ bald guy (what is it with old bald guys this year?) Scott Savol, who has a great voice but is unpleasant to look at. On the flipside of the coin is Jeffrey Johnson, a minister, who you can just eat up from cuteness, but doesn’t have the chops needed to be in the top 12. Results? Nadia: In. David: In. Scott: In. And sadly, for Jeff, it’s the end of the road.
(Read in the style of audience in Rudy.) Shun-ta. Shun-ta. Shun-ta! (wild applause) Shunta makes it to her audition! And with just minutes to spare. And hooray! She’s really good. Clown-face or no, I heart Shunta. She’s through.
Back to the sightseers, Francisco Torres is a Brooklyn native who is channeling a major David Faustino-vibe. He weeps when looking at the Pacific Ocean, explaining that he’s sorry his family can’t see it as well. He goes on to say that it looks so different from the beaches in Brooklyn, a city where “sand” is defined as “needles, used condoms, and fried dough crumbs.” Meanwhile, in the background, a group of kids is singing at the top of their lungs. See? This is why AI is nightmare. You can’t go anywhere without some maniacs breaking out the a capella.
Vonzell Solomon sounds just like Whitney, before her demons set in, and is put through.
Remember Regina Brooks? Yes you do. She’s the auditioner who pawned her wedding rings to pay for her travel costs. Well, she lost 40 pounds and has a new weave to match, all in an effort to look “younger.” I like Regina, but I actually think she looks worse now. Am I crazy, or does anyone else agree? She explains that she wants to win because “This is mine.” Singing “This Thing Called Love”, she’s not bad at all, but really does seem a little to old and out of her element for the competition. Sadly, she doesn’t make it, which surprises me as they certainly let worse singers through. In a DEPRESSING confessional, she weeps that she’s giving up in life. She tries so hard to be good, and then she’s always let down, and does not expect anything from anyone. Yikes. Literally, you’re at a singing audition with 16 year olds. Take it down a crotch, Regeen.
54 are cut. 48 are through. And we have another day to go. Sigh.
Group 2 begins. Farmboy Patrick Norman begins, and is just awful. Also, he keeps rubbing his nipples, I shit you not. It is horrifying. Next, A.C. Slater Mario Vasquez sings, and he’s pretty good, but I’m not moved or anything. Finally, sensitive Brooklynite Francisco Torres comes on the stage holding a schmate with him like Al Sharpton, and when he sings it looks like he’s passing a kidney stone. His face turned red as a monkey’s ass, veins popping outâ€¦ it was a spectacle. Results: Patrick: Out. Mario: In. Francy: Out. Torres takes it like a man, and at least came off pretty good on TV.
Marlea Stroman is so annoying. Yes she is. She tells us that she left her son at home and misses him awful. Well WHY DID YOU AUDITION, MARLEA! Her performance reminds me of a 5-year-old forced to sing by her parents (trust me, I know). And her dance moves are so strange, again, a little retarded. But she’s tall and pretty, so she makes it through. We later see her weeping openly, not out of joy, but sadness and longing for her son. More on that later.
Today’s sightseeing kids got a special treat by visiting the soundstage of “The O.C.” Piggy 16-year-old Jaclyn weeps openly, much in the same way I cried when visiting the “Clarissa Explains It All” set. (“OMG! That’s the ladder Sam uses to climb into her room! Hysterical bawling!) Then, Jaclyn’s mother starts to weep, and the two cry, hugging each other only steps away from where Seth said something neurotic and Ryan punched someone in the face.
Rocker Segment. It’s Constantine Maroulis, who quit is band to sell out nationally, Aaron Kelly from St. Louis, a monster with lustrous brown locks, and Bo Bice, a primordial missing link with the best voice of the three. Constantine makes me long for the simpler days of Rob Thomas. Alas, they all make it through.
Brianna David is like Ronald McDonald, if he could sing opera, had a vagina, and thought he was Japanese. With a white face, yellow teeth and Wonderwoman boots, she’s kinda funny, but a little too much and not a great voice. (Although her audition was surprisingly amazing.) Simon tell her “No, sweetheart”, and I call up Insane Clown Posse to see if they’re hiring.
Las Vegas’ (the city, not the show) Mikalah Gordon dons a Germaine Jackson hat and a sports bra, and gives it her all. She is so Fran Drescher it’s not even funny. Except she’s 16, and Fran Fine was a 30-something slutty Nanny from Queens. C’est la vie. She’s different, and has a fun stage presence and a good voice. Simon whispers while she sings that “she has to be the most confident 16 year old he ever met in his life.” I.e. he wants to commit statutory rape in like half of these United States. She tells the judges that she “missed her homecoming for this”, but that if she goes home, Simon has to come to the prom with her. And can you imagine losing your virginity to Simon Cowel? It’s like “The Devil called, he wants his 18-inch strap-on back.” Short story long, Mikalah advances.
Marlea is not emotionally stable enough to go through, and she becomes the first contestant to quit. Way to waste this recappers time, Marlea. She complains that it’s a lot of work, “an emotional roller coaster, and she does not want to be on this roller coaster.” No problem, I think there’s a seat free on the “Figure-Yourself-Out-O-Tron.”
A montage shows a series of others make it through to the next round, and some who were cut. And the best news! Remember that little pixie girl I hated, i.e. Cindi Lauper. She’s out! Pixie is out! Oh, Sigh Of Relief!
Thankfully, I’ve blown my wad at the very end of the episode. More antics to come tomorrow night, when those who made it through must pair up in three’s and make a little dance up. And hey! Where’s Seacrest? My heart feels funnyâ€¦ like empty? Yeah, that’s it, empty.