Buckle up, boys and girls, because it's that time again:
American Idol is back! I don't know about you all, but for me it couldn't have come a moment too soon in this writers' strike-marred TV landscape.
Personally, I've been looking forward to the audition episodes, although I know that some of my fellow
AI fans - including my husband, who watched tonight's episode cringing, with one hand over his eyes - basically consider them cruel sport. And it's true that some of these kids really seem to have no idea how utterly absurd they sound (and look). Call me nasty, but I always sort of enjoy these peeks into how far people can go down that river called self-denial. Then there are also the folks who clearly
know that by being absolutely outrageous or creepy, they'll get their minute of fame on national TV. No pity for them.
But this audition seemed a bit different than past years' - there weren't as many of the "bush baby" types or nasty comments. In fact, the episode seemed to focus less on people who were hopelessly out of touch with reality and more on the types who wave their freak flags with pride.
Could it be that we're seeing a softer, kinder side of the judges? These auditions seemed to indicate as much. Though let's not get ahead of ourselves: This was only the first episode, and there
were still a few nut jobs and sad sacks in the mix.
Take for instances Alexis Cohen, who likes "shiny things" and is studying to be a vet, sharing a studio apartment in Allentown, Penn., with her mom. She actually sang by and large in tune, albeit with an awfully affected Grace Slick impression. And Simon was quite kind to her (face), suggesting that she'd end up either a normal country vet or in a cover band. (He did, after she left the room, point out that she was basically a dead ringer for Willem Dafoe, which I've got to say was a pretty hilarious comparison.) Her vitriolic reaction seemed totally unjustified, though it did provide one of the night's more memorable moments.
Another so-bad-it-was-good audition came courtesy of Alaa Youkeem (or "Youka," to his friends), a fan of American girls and "Mr. Bee Gees," whose girlfriend apparently told him, "You are sexy face." Unless I'm mistaken, he said, "I want to love a girl from the hair to the nipple." (He didn't say "navel," did he? Even if he did, still totally hilarious.) The worst part of his admittedly bad audition was Paula trying to explain that she appreciated "the work" he'd put into it. The best part? The patented Simon eye-roll.
I can't not talk about Christina Tolisano and her whole
Star Wars vibe. The best thing about her, honestly, was the little intro interview - she had hopes of stardom, she said, so she could get out of her hometown. If not, she'd probably become a corrections officer, which in my opinion she'd be
awesome at. Also, her acne is not that bad any more ("
thank god"). She did some kind of weird yodeling thing on "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and resented that the judges only let through pretty girls who were all alike (not so true) - she had wanted to be the
AI goof ball. Well, this was clearly not her thing, but the criminal population in Connecticut better watch it, 'cause that's one tough Princess Leia!
Other "it's a no"s who warrant a mention:
Temptress Browne, the sweet football-playing 16-year-old who was doing it for her mom.
Milo Turk, the "No Sex Allowed" composer who wanted to get his message out to the young people.
Ben Haar, who made a
40-Year-Old Virgin-type sacrifice to get in his three seconds of "Don't Cha."
And let's not forget Paul Marturano, whose stalker love song for Paula included the line, "If she were a bathtub, I would caulk her."
The only point in the evening when I felt the judges were unkind was during James Lewis' "Go Down Moses" rendition (Paula and Randy couldn't stop laughing). He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, though honestly, that had to have been one of the oddest things I've ever heard. Did anyone else notice him doing those unnatural things with his tongue?
were some actually talented hopefuls, too. Though none who immediately popped out as a "s/he's going to make it all the way!" type, at least not to me. That said, there were a few I'm looking forward to hearing again.
Some early favorites:
Junot Joyner, who sang "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" - what a gorgeous tone his voice has, and his humility was refreshing.
Angela Martin, who sang "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" - I agreed with the judges that she needs to do away with some of the hokey wedding-band shenanigans, but she seems like a lovely young woman who is doing all she can for her sweet, developmentally challenged little girl.
Kristy Lee Cook, who sang "Amazing Grace" - she lives in a log cabin in Oregon, she practices cage-fighting, she trains horses, she's got a serious set of pipes... and she looks like that?! Fuhgeddaboudit!
Beth Stalker, who sang "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" - OK, so I thought the Little Liz
Jesus Loves Me album she recorded at age 4 was maybe a bit weird, and Simon said she wouldn't stand out in Hollywood, but I thought her voice had a nice, old-fashioned quality to it.
Chris Watson, who sang "Follow Me" - among other things, how cute is this boy? Oh, yeah, and he can totally sing! Let's see if he can survive Hollywood.
Best Simon line of the night:
"You know what's amazing about this country is that you're genuinely happy when someone you know does well.... The idea of me knowing somebody, they get good news and celebrating with them - I couldn't do it." We believe you, Simon.
What do you think? Are the judges feeling more forgiving this year? Any early contenders stand out so far for you guys? Who gave the weirdest audition of the night? And most importantly, what's with Randy's oddball sideburns?
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Buckle up boys and girls because its that time again American Idol is back I dont know about you all but for me it couldnt have come a moment too soon in this writers strike-marred TV landscapePersonally Ive been looking forward to the audition episodes although I know that some of my fellow AI fans including my husband who watched tonights episode cringing with one hand over his eyes basically consider them cruel sport And its true that some of these kids really seem to have no idea how utterly absurd they sound and look Call me nasty but I always sort of enjoy these peeks into how far people can go down that river called self-denial Then there are also the folks who clearly know that by being absolutely outrageous or creepy theyll get their minute of fame on national TV No pity for themBut this audition seemed a bit different than past years there werent as many of the bush baby types or nasty comments In fact the episode seeme