Night two of American Idol auditions took us to Denver, CO for more shenanigans, and I have to say, it was significantly more entertaining than Tuesday’s premiere. Don’t get me wrong. The two hour event was pretty damn fun, and my heart still pines for the tantastic Siren call of a thrush I call Crystal Parizanksi. Still, Denver had some great stuff going on — in half the time too. It was the best hour of cowboys, androgyny, and turkeys since The Golden Globes.Well, in the interest of me not losing my mind, I’m not going to analyze every single audition that flitters across the screen (but by all means, feel free to discuss them in the comments section). Instead, I’ll only talk about the ones that I found memorable.
The first noteworthy auditioner of the day was Marlows Davis. He came from the young, effeminate, and deluded camp — sort of like last season’s alleged Toni Braxton cousin. Anyway, Marlows was confident he would blow away the judges. So much so that he wasn’t even nervous. In fact, he felt like he was about to sing for fans who knew and embraced his smooth vocal stylings. “Sorry Usher. You have to step aside. Marlows is in town,” he said. Sadly for Marlows, he was about to realize that singing in front of the nation was a whole heck of a lot harder than crooning off some random notes for Ma and Pa. Well, he stepped in front of the judges and had a refreshing idea: sing Alicia Keys! Like many before him, Marlows belted out his rendition of “Falling,” and in an ever-so-kind move, he spared us the aggravation of listening to all those annoying “notes.” Instead, he seemed to pick three or four random tones and ran with it.
Not running with him, however, were the judges who easily rejected him from the competition. “Please, I came such a long way,” Marlows pleaded.
“Where you from?” Randy asked.
“Denver, Colorado,” Marlows responded. You guys don’t understand. He had to travel like three blocks. That’s hard when you’re talentless. Still, he tried to sell himself.
“You guys didn’t like the range of my voice or nothing?” he asked. Range? I’ve seen dot-matrix printers with more range than you. (snap!)
Fear not, Usher. Your reign atop breathy R&B remains.
Next came a girl who could best be described as the poster child for pro-lobotomy advocacy groups. Her name was Tiffany, and she came bounding into our lives full of bouncy, please-shoot-me energy. “I-I-I-I-I’m here for the party! And I ain’t leavin’ ’till they throw me out!” she squawked as the horrified panel of judges looked on. For the love of all things audible, please silence this girl.
After a brief montage of crappy singers (including one brave girl who managed to butcher Paula’s very own butcher-proof classic, “Straight Up”), we finally had our first glimpse of talent with a girl named Lisa Tucker. She was only sixteen, but she had pipes like a pre-cracked out Whitney Houston. Okay, maybe not that good, but hey, she was an up and coming star according to Variety Magazine, or as they put it, “Singing Star’s Skein Should Net Boffo Box Office Unless Par and Uni Ankle Shingle.”
Anyway, Lisa endeavored to sing Whitney’s classic dirge, “One Moment of Time,” and happily erased any lingering memories we had of Tiffany or Marlows. Simon went so far as to say she was the best sixteen year-old they’d ever have audition. Wow. She really was great. Of course, once these kids are all ’rounded up in Hollywood, chances are I’ll probably hate this girl and her Mickey Mouse Club trappings (along with her Variety-certified sense of entitlement). Eh, why wait? Let’s start the hatred now.
Next was a girl who was the proud inventor of “The Banana.” You see, The Banana is a dance move that started out as The Worm and then went dreadfully wrong. Dance pioneer Amanda Berg explained that she came up with her signature move when attempting The Worm. One thing led to another, and Amanda realized that she had created a WHOLE NEW MOVE! Granted, I don’t know how one messes up the Worm so badly as to become The Banana (which is sort of like an inverted, backwards somersault), but if there’s anyone who could do it, it would be Amanda. I also don’t know why of all the things to name this dance, Amanda settled on “The Banana.” Maybe the Donut or the Ring Ding or the Idiot. But Banana?
Anyway, if Amanda could sing halfway as good as she could innovate, then surely we’d be in for a treat. Sure enough, she attacked LeAnn Rimes’s already insipid song “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” with dulcet tones of flatness. I personally enjoyed her tendency to sway back and forth with every note, sort of giving her entire body the look of a Felix the Cat clock. And no, she did not make it to Hollywood.
What is it about this guy that makes you just want to punch him?
Constantine in three years.
After seeing a montage of rockers who were possibly suffering from hemorrhoids, hernias, or both, we then met Chris, a friendly cowboy with a shaved head and a goatee of promise. Normally, I wouldn’t care about such a Johnny-Sing-Lately, but my heartstrings were tugged unabashedly by his wife, who tearfully explained how Chris had given up all the freedom of single life to marry her and take on her two kids. “I just felt like he could have done so much if he was single, but he had a family to take care of, and I just want his dream to come true because he’s like given me and my kids so much,” she said. Man, this was more moving than those old phone commercials from the ’80s.
Well, now Chris HAD to be good. Otherwise, I just wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Maybe crawl under my comforter and cry. Chris stood up humbly before the judges and belted out a tune, and I think it sounded good. I mean, it sort of sounded like childbirth at points, and sometimes I wondered if maybe I should FedEx him some Maalox, but it was all melodic and soulful, and that should be enough right? This guy has to be a shoo-in. Well, not so fast. Simon said no, and Randy, well, he was concerned that Chris might not have the emotion or charisma necessary. Uh oh. Could be the end of the road!
We never found out what the final tally was because we then cut to Chris’s wife anxiously waiting outside. The crooner ambled out of the room quietly only to reveal the yellow slip under his cowboy hat. He made it! I didn’t see that one coming! (sarcasm) Oh Chris, I wish I knew how to quit you!
Okay, now my favorite person of the entire night: Garet. Epitomizing the very definition of “cowpoke,” Garet was an 18 year old from rural Wyoming (as opposed to metropolitan Wyoming) who lived in a town of four people (not including the mayor, who is most likely a rooster). Anyway, Garet traveled all the way to the auditions with his family, which included his nervous brother (C-C-Clint), his father, grandfather, and what I imagine was his younger brother, a.k.a. America’s Favorite Lil’ Cowboy.
At first glimpse, I thought Garet might be another one of these odd-lookin’, atonal rejects who we’d all be snickering about the next day at the watercooler. But it turned out that there was much more to him (although, we were all still snickering about him at the watercooler). Not only did Garet live in a town of four, he had no formal vocal training. His only musical assistance came from, yes, his turkey.
“Sounds great, Garet!”
“Thanks, Mrs. Winklefeathers!”
Turns out that whenever our cowpoke sang by his lonesome dove self, a certain turkey would always come a-gobblin’ up, hankerin’ for front row seat at the Garet Cabaret. Rumor has it that the buzz on Garet is so strong, a sheep might stop by the next performance.
Anyway, Garet proudly (yet humbly) sauntered into the audition room, ready to test out the voice that had enchanted a thousand birds. Of course, singing for Simon, Paula, and Randy is quite different than singing for a turkey, at least appearance-wise, and as a result, poor Garet was shaking in his cowboy boots. You know, auditioning is very nervousing.
The judges asked Garet what he’d be singing, but the kid, shaking like a leaf — nay, a paint mixer — could barely get a word out. “I’ve only been singing in front of a turkey,” Garet stuttered. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to use that line. Luckily, Paula and Randy coaxed him along, telling Garet to take a deep breath and relax.
With our curiosity now reaching unbearable levels, Garet finally began to sing, and hey, he didn’t sound that bad. I mean, he was no constipated cowboy (props to you, Chris), but he wasn’t terrible. All three judges recognized talent, but all agreed that at sixteen, Garet would really benefit from some vocal lessons. Kind of hard in a town of four. Then again, I hear there’s a cow nearby that specializes in Brazilian jazz.
Anyway, Simon asked if Garet would be able to afford singing lessons, and our resilient singer bashfully laughed it off, saying probably not. Would Simon be reaching for the wallet? A rare charity case? Not quite. Instead, he gave the kid a yes, which was soon backed by Randy, and lo and behold, our favorite turkey crooner was headed to Hollywood! (Meanwhile, Paula had vetoed Garet, probably because she thought the other two would mock her for saying yes. You just know she was begging to change her vote.)
Well, Garet leapt out of the room, screaming at the top of his lungs. Yes, young man, you’re this much closer to fulfilling your dream:
Later, we met a dimwitted man with a penchant for oversized pseudo-plaid prints. This was “Flawless,” and he was an “Entrepreture… entrepreneur.” And he also cleans houses! After a little dance montage, Flawless explained his business, Paradise Cleaning, to us: “The slogan for that is… that, uh… you come home with your home, uh, house smelling like… uh, looking and smelling like paradise, yes, that’s it.” Rolls right off the tongue!
We then met Flawless’s intellectual equal in Ben Hosback, an inventor and trailblazer in the world of coaster design. Not only could Ben rock the scales with the flattest “La la la la la” this side of Ashlee Simpson, but he was also the patent holder for the “Cosmic Coaster,” which was like a normal coaster, but without all that inconvenient simplicity!
Behold the Cosmic Coaster! (Idiot sold separately)
As you can see from the picture, the Cosmic Coaster is a larger, more cumbersome version of a normal coaster. Users must balance their drinks directly in the center of the raised coaster, lest a Cosmic Accident send your Cosmic Libation into your Cosmic Lap. Okay, so it wasn’t the most logical invention in the world, but at least you could achieve the illusion of your drink floating! (Assuming you ignored the three posts supporting the coaster.)
Anyway, Flawless and Ben soon became fast friends, especially once they began talking business. “Cool, you’re an entrepreneur, so you’re very creative like myself,” Ben said to the pajama’d one, who then wowed his buddy over with some marketing techniques.
“‘Come home. Your food and house will smell like paradise!’ That’s our slogan,” Flawless said, “And, uh, it takes me a minute to kind of get that out because it’s kind of a tongue twister, and that’s the way I wanted it to be.” As with any effective slogan.
Well, this was a singing show, not the Mensa hour, which meant it was time for our boys to audition. First was Flawless, who managed to croak out two notes before having to full-on apologize — an impressive gesture for someone without a sense of self-awareness. Nevertheless, he blissfully butchered a good portion of Elton John’s “Your Song” before Simon put him out of our misery, and not even Paula could respond to the horrifying performance. “I’m trying to bring talent into the competition,” Flawless said. To be fair, he thinks “talent” means “pajamas.”
Next up was Ben who offered up his Cosmic Coaster prototype to the judges, and by some Cosmic miracle, Paula’s top-heavy Coke glass did not topple upon contact with the invention. As for the audition, Ben aptly sung “If I Only Had A Brain,” which added a welcome touch of irony to this expectedly dreadful performance.
Eventually, Paula cut Ben off, but he still had hope in his eyes. He explained that he was unprepared — oh, if only he had another two days in line — at which point Simon remarked that he was a terrible singer with a not-so-great invention to boot. “Your hopeless,” Simon concluded.
“No, I’m not, and you guys haven’t given me a chance to evolve,” Ben retorted, in one of the best dimwitted defenses in recent Idol history. Sure enough, he was given the boot, but not before Paula softened the blow with, “But you know what? You’re engaging.” Somebody get Paula back on her meds. (And yes, Ben did ask if she wanted to get engaged. Surprisingly, she said no.)
And last, but certainly not least, was Zachary. Oh Zachary. Poor, confused Zachary. Here’s the thing about Zach: he’s a teenage boy who dresses like a girl, acts like a girl, looks like a girl, and yet he can’t conceive of why anyone would possibly confuse him for a girl. “People confuse me for a girl a lot of the time, which I think is so funny,” Zach commented. That is hilarious! I mean, what sort of weed are people smoking? Zach is the vision of masculinity if I’ve ever seen it.
Anyway, Zachary sang the male-anthem, “Queen of the Night” by Whitney Houston, complete with Aguilera-ish snarls and melismas. And yes, he was terrible. Simon called him “atrocious” while Paula predictably praised his self-confidence, thus shattering Zach’s androgynous dreams of becoming the next American Idol. Then, in one of the show’s most quietly clever moments ever (clever + American Idol = rare), the producers played “The Crying Game” in the background as Zach tearfully left the audition.
“I hate looking like a girl,” he cried to his mother. If only he weren’t trapped in those women’s clothes! The burden of his jeans!
“I think it’s totally prejudiced to not accept someone because someone’s a boy and they’re singing girl songs, and they don’t fit the song in the vocal range of the girl. I think that’s total prejudice,” Zachary then ranted. Yeah man! Just because a guy sings a song that’s out of his range doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be selected! Not picking bad singers is total discrimination! I smell a class action lawsuit!
Well, so long, Zachary. And good luck unshackling yourself from those women’s clothes… that you bought for yourself.
What did you think of night 2? Any moments that were your favorites? Any singers you loved/hated?