At last, we are home again.
Watching those audition episodes I didn’t think I was going to make it. I remember a time when they used to be fun–back when people really did audition because they thought they could sing. But now, people are just there to look stupid so they can get on TV. In the 90’s, you got into a fight on a daytime talk show; in the new millenium, you give a bad audition on American Idol. The famous Andy Warhol quote should be amended to fit the time times: now it seems everyone will be famous for 30 seconds. Blech.So yeah, there was another “audition episode” on Tuesday, in Boston. Want a synopsis? Here it is: a bunch of imbeciles went to Boston and acted like idiots. Ta da! That’s all you need to know.
But Wednesday was the first “Hollywood” episode, and now we see the light. We finally get the people who can actually sing, people who aren’t spanking themselves or singing with their puppets or wearing clown costumes. We’re back to the good ol’ days, of wannabes singing their heads off with everything they’ve got and making desperate excuses when they aren’t up to snuff. Ahh, this is the American Idol I love. These people who fight for their lives like gladiators facing the lion, refusing to go down without their pride. For those who put on a good show, you want to applaud and save their lives to fight another day.
Of course, some people we want to feed to the lions and watch them suffer. From the start we got jerk-off Ronnie “RJ” Norman once again, who (once again!) went beyond the acceptible level of “I’m gonna win this” bravado by informing the world of his superiority. Me no likey this guy. Even through my TV, he makes my skin crawl. So it was with great satisfaction that I watched him sing, blow kisses at Paula like he knew she couldn’t resist, and then get cut right away because he kinda sucked. Yea! And he cried. That made me laugh a little. I’m a terrible person, I revel in the misfortune of others. But only those people I don’t like, so that’s okay, right?
RJ can now go back to the lucrative Freddie Prinze Jr. impersonation circuit.
Also cut at the first round was Steven David, the bald military guy who, in his first audition, picked up Paula and carried her out of the room while singing “Let’s Get It On.” His demise wasn’t as much fun. Whiny voice aside, I rather enjoyed him. He needs to audition for Thunder From Down Under or something, he’d be perfect as a singing stripper. He already has the military costume, if nothing else.
But then came a block of feel-good stories: first, (already a household name) Paris Bennett holla-ed out “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” a bit forced at times, but there were moments that were good. She’ll be interesting to watch. Heck, she already is. We also got to see Taylor Hicks again, the gray-haired guy who sang like Joe Cocker; Simon hated his weird facial expressions, but Taylor had a pretty good voice in his first audition and Paula stuck up for him. Could he pull it off on this first day of Hollywood? Yes. Singing “First Cut Is The Deepest,” he was fabulous. He’s the new Clay Aiken, with his atypical voice and his desperate need for a makeover. I see hair dye in his future. I also see him achieving Top 10 status.
Taylor hopes to popularize the Mark Cuban haircut by the time this season is over.
“I sing to turkeys” Garrett Johnson edged his way a little further into our hearts, but not by singing. There were too many people there on the first day of Hollywood, so they were split up into two groups, and Garrett was in the group that toured LA first. The cameras followed Garrett on a voyage of exploration as if written by a Hallmark Channel executive: Garrett looking wistfully at the big beautiful world around him, Garrett jumping into the ocean with all his clothes on, Garrett waxing poetic on how he wished this moment would never end. Aw. It’s all just like a Kelly Clarkson song. I’m on Garrett’s side, I really am. But all the wistfulness of his segment made me really nervous for his singing later, like I was being set up for heartbreak. And sure enough, later in the episode when he finally sang, it was horrifying to hear him sound absolutely terrible. The judges took pity on him and let him stay, but only because he’s so darned cute. If you like Garrett, you better watch next week, because he’ll be gone very very soon.
Others to watch next week: some girl named Megan freaked out because she got “laryngitis” and lost her voice; really, it was probably allergies from all the LA smog combined with nerves. After singing poorly, she yelled at the judges and informed them that she deserved another chance. They bought it, so she’s still in; we’ll see what happens. Then we also met Brett “Ace” Young, with his shaggy brown hair and lovely, lovely voice. They had lots of camera shots from behind Brett, perhaps to show his butt, perhaps to show all the girls in the audience jumping up and down and freaking out while he crooned. He’s like Constantine, except pleasing to the ear and with proper hygiene. Watch him, he’s definitely going to be around for a while, thanks to his command of the ladies. And somewhere in the world, RJ Norman has a raging headache.
Of course, this is American Idol, and we can’t go a single episode without some twins. Along came the Brittenum boys, who were charming in their Chicago audition, but were then been booted from the competition after being arrested for forgery and financial identity fraud. Oops! Even though the Brittenums have been removed from the competition, apparently this Hollywood episode was already edited with them in it. So it was like watching the walking dead, with the Brittenum boys puffing out their chests and talking smack about how they were going to blow up this Idol season. They were all over this episode, embarrassing themselves with their bad singing and their patronizing comments about other contestants. I’ll spare you the details. Gross.
But we ended on a high note, revisiting the familiar faces that have been pegged for Top 10 status all along. Big Black Mandisa wailed her way through unscathed; perky powerhouse Katherine McPhee blew the judges away once again; and bald-headed, cowboy-hat-wearing Chris Daugherty gave me chills as he screamed his way through his solo. I liked him the best. Yes, they followed Chris with that idiot Dave Hoover, who threw himself around the stage like he has a mental illness, but I am choosing to forget about him. For if it weren’t for Dave, this was almost a perfect episode of Idol. This is the show I love. And let the games begin. Release the lions!