So much for the kinder, gentler
American Idol judges - tonight it was pretty much back to business as usual. In Kelly Clarkson's old stomping grounds of Dallas, words like "atrocious," "creepy" and "demonic" were bandied freely about the audition room. But Simon was nonetheless in one of his weirdly generous moods, sending through some people I thought have no business going to Hollywood.
Like Kayla Hatfield, the preternaturally optimistic girl who survived a terrible car accident only to perform a painful version of "Piece of My Heart." Her happiness is contagious, I'll grant you that, and I can see why jaded ol' Simon would want to be her for a while... but did she really deserve a golden ticket? My husband agreed with Paula's assessment, that Kayla would be fine if she would drop the Janis Joplin act. Me, not so much - I appreciate how full of joie de vivre she is, but that doesn't mean she can carry a tune.
Another questionable yes: Nina Shaw (though I love the name), who sang an utterly ho-hum rendition of "Run to You." It was pretty clear what Randy thought of her right from the start - she's got Haley Scarnato-esque legs-up-to-there. No way he wasn't going to put her through (with Paula's help) as long as she sang reasonably well (which she did).
Dallas did provide the first genuine
wow of the season for me, in the person of model and musician Pia "Zpia" Easley, who sang "I've Got to Use My Imagination." That girl was cool-looking, cool-sounding... I think she's going far.
worst auditions came from two incredibly likable guys. I thoroughly enjoyed Paul Stafford, the park attendant and roller coaster enthusiast, who sang "Wait for You." His persona, I mean, not his
voice, for heaven's sake! I mean, he massacred one of my darrrling Elliott Yamin's songs. (Full disclosure: Elliott is my all-time favorite
Idol contestant. I have his album on my iPod. I listen to it. Fairly often. And I'm not apologizing for it!) Bless his heart, Paul came up with the following (unintentional, I think) zinger: "Simon didn't come down on me like I thought he would. That's always good, because he goes down on just about everybody." I'm zipping it. No need for comment.
The other sweetie was Renaldo Lapuz of the super-shiny cape and furry pimp suit, who sang his own composition, "We're Brothers Forever" (a totally catchy number - I can't stop singing it! Help!) He considered Simon "heaven's chosen to give chance to any talent for free of charge." Everybody now: "I am your bro-o-o-ther, your best friend forever...."
Oh, and there was another cricket impression - are they going to find one of those in every city?
Other standout "it's a no"s:
Beth Maddocks, who sang "Beautiful Disaster" - a disastrous rendition from the singing waitress at a... fondue restaurant.
Bruce Dickson, who sang "Ain't No Sunshine" - this is the guy who's never kissed a girl, who wears the key to his futurewife's heart on a chain around his neck (and his dad wears the matching piece that represents his futurewife). Bruce prompted the first Simon-Ryan gay joke of the year: When he asked if the judges could give him any advice, Randy said, "Kiss some girls," and Simon followed up with, "Avoid Ryan on the way out."
Tammy Tuzinski, who sang "If You Asked Me To" - she seriously needed Red Bull wings... just in general, I mean; it wouldn't have helped the singing at all.
The only point when I thought, "OK,
Idol, now you've gone to far!" was with Douglas Davidson, who sang "Livin' on a Prayer" and a couple of other strange bits of what I guess were songs. I mean, the guy was clearly not well. He was sweating up a storm and kept crossing and uncrossing his arms - and he talked about how his dad said he hated him, poor thing. I just felt bad for the guy. This was one they should have just let be.
On the upside, more golden tickets went to:
Jessica Brown, who sang "I'll Stand by You" - the former crystal meth addict got the first declaration of "pitchiness" from Randy this season - but she made it through anyway.
Alaina Whitaker, who sang "Stronger" - she doesn't look like Carrie Underwood, no ma'am - Carrie looks like
Colton Swon, who sang "Boondocks" - he plays geee-tar and has bigger hair than any of the girls in Dallas, but I was glad they put him through. Some potential there, for sure.
Drew Poppelreiter, who sang "Check Yes or No" - this kid was such a prototypical corn-fed farm boy that he seems almost too real to be real, if you know what I mean. Maybe that's why I liked him so much.
Kyle Ensley, who sang "Somebody to Love" - another slightly puzzling yes; after hearing his take, I don't think he's ever heard the original song. But he was sweet as could be and wants to be governor of Oklahoma (that hidden-camera footage was awesome), so who are we to argue?
Kady Malloy, who sang "Unchained Melody" - the vocal impressionist, who did a disturbingly good Britney, turned out to have quite a nice sound of her own.
Brandon Green, who sang "Rich Girl" - ew, just ew. This was the guy from south-south-south Mississippi with the finger-nail collection. I couldn't really listen to his audition because I was too ooghed-out by that nasty plastic bag full of yellowing peeled finger nails. Have I mentioned
Best Randy line of the night:
"Tackle the demon!" (about "guyliner" aficionado and camp counselor Kyle Reinneck)
Best name-check of the night:
The woman who called her kid Idol after going into labor waiting for her audition.
What do you think? Was Simon off his game tonight? Do you think we saw a future finalist in the Dallas auditions? And how long will it take for "We're Brothers Forever" to become a Top 10 hit?
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So much for the kinder gentler American Idol judges tonight it was pretty much back to business as usual In Kelly Clarksons old stomping grounds of Dallas words like atrocious creepy and demonic were bandied freely about the audition room But Simon was nonetheless in one of his weirdly generous moods sending through some people I thought have no business going to Hollywood Like Kayla Hatfield the preternaturally optimistic girl who survived a terrible car accident only to perform a painful version of Piece of My Heart Her happiness is contagious Ill grant you that and I can see why jaded ol Simon would want to be her for a while but did she really deserve a golden ticket My husband agreed with Paulas assessment that Kayla would be fine if she would drop the Janis Joplin act Me not so much I appreciate how full of joie de vivre she is but that doesnt mean she can carry a tuneAnother questionable yes Nina Shaw though I love the name w