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We’re so close. Sooooo close to the end of auditions on American Idol. Don’t get me wrong. I like them as much as the next guy, but when we’re midway through week 4 of this stuff, it gets a little tiring. At the end of last Wednesday’s show, Ryan promised us that there was only one night left of the tryouts. The brutal truth is that while San Antonio may have been the final audition city, the producers have decided to stretch this baby out just a tad more, serving us up a clip show of sorts for Wednesday. Urgh.
But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There was plenty to discuss in this latest batch of auditions. Granted, this wasn’t the most memorable batch of singers, and truth be told, after New York, the tryouts have felt somewhat flat in comparison, but I guess there was good stuff in San Antonio. For instance, um, well, uh…. okay, nothing pops out at me, but hey, that’s what notes are for…People came far and wide for this last city on the audition tour. Some people drove all the way from South Carolina. I like to call those people “crazy.” With 11,000 people showing up, there were certainly many to choose from. First up was a guy named Bryan Kyrish. He was ready to take on the judges, noting that Paula, Simon, and Randy put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else. Wait, you guys put your pants on one leg at a time? Huh. I guess that would make more sense than what I do: jumping into them two feet at once and hoping for the best.
Anyway, Bryan said his voice was akin to Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, and the guys in AC/DC. Translation: this was going to be horrible. Not saying those singers are horrible. I just think oddly shaped men approaching thirty who aspire to be like them usually sound horrible.
Bryan informed the judges that he entered a mock American Idol contest and actually won the grand prize; so for a moment, we actually had high hopes for him. Well, maybe not high hopes. More like mildly elevated.
Sure enough, Bryan was totally flat, but his performance did pack a wallop. He screamed his way through Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell,” and I’m sure you could hear his bellows of “MORE! MORE! MORE!!!” all the way down the street. As you can imagine, he was summarily denied. Bryan meekly exited the audition room and then serenaded Seacrest with his own special version of “Beauty and the Beast.” It was awful.
Next up was Haley Scarnato, a pretty girl who’d been singing in a wedding band ever since she was fifteen. She looked good and seemed relatively normal; so we already knew she would be moving forward (the normal people on this show most always can sing). As soon as she walked into the audition room, she won an early fan with Paula, who absolutely adored Haley’s outfit (despite it being purchased in a self-professed hootchie store).
Once the impromptu Project Runway moment came to a close, Haley then announced she would sing “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (a popular entry on my “Cheesy/Slow” mp3 playlist). She earned another early fan in Simon, who upon hearing which song she’d be performing, bleated out an enthusiastic, “LOVE IT!” Geez, Simon. Settle down!
Well, Haley wasn’t great, but she was definitely good. Paula seemed positively entranced, but that could have been due to any number of different reasons/pills. Ultimately, the judges praised her control, even if it did sound slightly cabaret-ish. They also questioned whether or not she was unique (no), but that didn’t really matter. Like I said before: she was pretty and reasonably talented. To Hollywood!
Next up was a quiet, shy girl named Jasmine Holland, whose family held up a sign that amusingly (but kind of sadly) said, “Jasmines Are Next American Idol.” Hey, did madeyoulaugh write that? To be fair, maybe they were just making a general statement about how all Jasmines will be the next American Idol. It’s very possible.
Well, Jasmine meekly entered the room and announced that she was shy, which made me feel badly for her, especially since we knew she was about two seconds away from being totally embarrassed on national TV. She opened her mouth and began singing in such a strange voice, it almost sounded like a theremin on crack (if that makes any sense, which it might not). Simon and Randy could not control themselves at all and wound up laughing through half the performance. Paula kept decorum, however, and told the girl that she sounded sad.
“It’s because, like, y’all are being rude,” Jasmine said. As terrible as she was, I did not disagree. Then again, being rude is part of the game, and if she’d only caught onto this now after five seasons, well, that’s unfortunate.
Ultimately, the judges passed on her, and as Jasmine glided to the door, she asked Randy, “Man, what do you do? ‘Cause I haven’t heard of you since American Idol came.” Randy actually entertained the question for two seconds, saying he did a lot of behind the scenes stuff and whatnot, but Jasmine wasn’t pleased with that answer. She slunk out the door and into her mother’s embrace. A few minutes later, Jasmine’s mom lashed out, saying that Simon “needs to go back!” She then asked Seacrest, “Where he from? French?”
Seacrest informed the mom that Simon was in fact British, causing her to snap, “He needs to go back to British!” I felt completely conflicted. On the one hand, here was a mother trying to stick up for her daughter, as any parent should, and it was quite obvious that for whatever reason, she simply had very little proper education. It was probably the product of her upbringing and various struggles in her life and whatnot. I can’t make fun of that.
But on the other hand, she did say “He needs to go back to British,” and dammit if that’s not hilarious.
Next was a girl named Baylie Brown from the wee town of Krum, TX — home of the Bobcats (what an original football name!). Baylie was a typical Carrie Underwood/Kellie Pickler/that country girl from last week whose dad shot her stepmom type. She lived on a farm, had cows and horses, and spoke with more twang than the entire state of Oklahoma. The only difference with Baylie was that despite her country trappings, she envisioned herself a city girl and kept up with the trends by studiously poring over fashion magazines and whatnot. Might she be the next Idol? She appeals to both red and blue states!
Well, her performance was okay, but like other hot girls, that was a moot point. As long as she could hit a few notes, she’d be golden. Sure enough, Simon noted that she wasn’t the best singer, but she was “born to be a popstar” and that she was “commercial with a capital C.” I’d be hard pressed to disagree (not that anyone’s asking me). Baylie B easily moved on to the next round.
We then enjoyed a long montage of people crashing into that infernal, perpetually-locked left door, and I totally loved this because a) I love slapstick, and b) I’d been secretly wishing that they’d do such a montage. Amazingly, it ended with one girl who managed to somehow persevere over the locked door and shove it open. An Idol first! Man, I could watch that montage over and over again.
After the comedy bit was over, we then moved onto two cousins, William Green and Akron Watson. By the way they looked in the promos, I thought they’d be two oddball deadbeats, much like the romantic duo from Compton last week. However, once they came on screen, they were totally likable and kind of funny in their own weird way. They had a great, jokey rapport, and I instantly hoped that they’d both make it to Hollywood.
Sadly, my dreams were shattered when William entered the room first and absolutely butchered “Amazing Grace.” His voice was deep, flat, boring, and slllloooooowwwwww. Paula and Randy couldn’t help but crack up, but they ultimately gained control of themselves, with Paula eventually rocking back and forth, clearly in back in her happy place.
No need to draw this out. The judges firmly denied William, who took the rejection kindly and politely. However, he warned the judges that when he walked out the door, he was going to talk all sorts of smack to make him seem tough. Sure enough, that’s what he did, much to everyone’s enjoyment. It was pretty funny — except for Akron who had to audition next thinking he was entering a hostile environment. The dude looked positively rattled. Gone was that winning personality we had just seen. He woodenly sang some Sam Cooke, and thankfully he was waaaay better than his cousin. Unfortunately, he’d been so thrown off by William’s joke that the performance was devoid of any personality, and afterwards Simon announced that he was bored due to the lack of charisma.
Luckily, Akron got his groove back and sang a second song to prove he had personality. The gambit worked, and he earned himself a well-deserved ticket to Hollywood. I really hope he goes far because I really liked watching him and his cousin. Just sayin’. Gosh, not everything has to be a joke!
We then sat through a montage of terrible singers (including one off-putting “Vogue” singer who claimed she could make people cry with her voice). Then came Sandie Chavez, a teacher who came to sing the seminal ’90s hit, “Black Velvet.” We knew she was trouble right away when she said her musical training came from singing at parties when she was six. Well, she stood in front of the judges and performed a terrible, bizarre, and unnerving rendition of the song. The best way to describe her voice was like Kristen Wiig’s Target lady doing karaoke. She also committed one of my favorite Idol fouls: clutching her ear as if she were listening to an earpiece when clearly there was no earpiece there at all. She might as well have clenched her fist up and pretended to sing into a microphone.
Well, the judges told her she was no good, and Sandie promptly began crying, eliciting sympathetic responses from some of the judges (not Simon). Eventually, she left the room, and as Simon studied her background information, he discovered that she wasn’t just a teacher. She was a music teacher. Poor Sandie. She’s so getting fired, you know, tomorrow.
Next up was one of the more curious auditions of the night. Ashlyn Carr apparently had such a good voice that she got beaten up over it in high school by some rival bitch. She wound up blacking out with a concussion, which is always a sign of success if you ask me.
Well, Ashyln sang a Michael Bublé cover of a Nina Simone song, and while she seemed like a good singer, something about her voice kind of bothered me. Hard to say what it was. The judges were equally mixed. They thought her voice was good, but what really bothered them were all her weird facial expressions which detracted from her performance. Randy further noted that she seemed to spend more attention on the vocal affectations than with the melody itself (exactly! That’s exactly what was bothering me). Reluctantly, Randy said no, causing Ashlyn to burst out in tears. Paula, struggling to overcome her sentimental impulses, also passed on Ashlyn, which meant that no matter what Simon said, she wouldn’t be going to Hollywood. Too bad since Simon said he would have given her a yes.
Ashlyn politely left the room and cried in the arms of her parents, and meanwhile, Paula sat in her chair looking totally crushed. Simon quietly commented that letting the girl go was a mistake, and feeling totally regretful, Paula and Randy decided to give this girl a second chance. But would it work? COMMERCIAL!
Even before the commercial break was over, we knew Ashyln would get the golden ticket. I mean, why bother bringing her back if she wasn’t going to get it? Well, Ashyln sang a second song and tried desperately to control her spastic face, but hard as it was, she simply could not resist contorting her mouth from time to time. She eventually ended, and it was time for verdict 2.0, which, in the case of Simon, was the perfect opportunity to massage one’s own bosom.
In between mantit rub-downs, Simon told Ashlyn that she made a lot of poor choices as a performer, but that she deserved to go to Hollywood. Paula seconded that, saying that there was enough time for Ashlyn to work on her strange facial expressions. And with that, Ashlyn defied the odds and earned a golden ticket. She sauntered out of the audition room, suddenly proud as a peacock and entirely too arrogantly for my tastes. I had been mildly pulling for her, but her cocky display really put me off. It might have been just a jokey response, but then every other time we cut to her, she was still strutting her stuff. I hate her now.
As the show wound down, we met Jacob Tutor, an odd fella with long sideburns and a goatee that seemed to be fashioned from Borat’s bag of “pubis.” He pretty much sucked, and we just know that the judges ripped him apart about his appearance, but in this post-Rosie O’Donnel/Kenneth Briggs universe, those harsh comments have mysteriously disappeared of late. Instead, we just watched as Jacob cursed the judges out afterwards. Eh. Who cares?
Last but not least, we had Jimmy McNeal, a jovial guy who had Paula grooving in her seat (to be fair, she might have been reacting to some bubbles being blown off camera). Anyway, after the performance, Simon commented, “You’re like a little, fun Ruben, aren’t you?” It was a totally accurate observation, and even better, Simon managed to sneak in a little dig at the Velvet Teddy Bear, saying, “That was when he used to smile.” SNAP! I would have said, “That was when he used to sing and people paid attention to him.”
Well, Jimmy got the ticket to Hollywood and celebrated with a rowdy group hug from his family. At Seacrest’s urging, Jimmy then knelt down and told his little sister or daughter, “I’m going to Hollywood!”
“So?” the girl replied. Kind of an appropriate way to end these auditions.
Tomorrow night, we get a mixed bag of the very best and the very worst singers. I don’t know if I’ll recap it since it’ll just be a clip show, but chances are that there’ll be enough noteworthy performances to warrant something. Stay tuned…
Who were your favorites from this episode?