American Idol
Auditions: Atlanta

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Flyin' First Class

Miami last week, Atlanta tonight...they really should have saved Charleston for later in the season, if only to satisfy my geographical OCD. Suffering from a different kind of OCD is Ryan Seacrest, who dons his usual jacket and t-shirt, name-drops Clay, Fantasia, and Jennifer Hudson's Oscar, touches a doorknob three times, counts to twelve, and then tells us that "This is American Idol!" It's what he does every morning before he heads out for coffee, too.

The Charlie Daniels Band takes the honor of this week's Obvious Song Choice, and the montage o' freaks includes the requisite number of gays, rednecks, and foreigners. And then we meet Seacrest's parents! Whoa. That's weird to think about. I can't decide whether Jacob will be terribly jealous that I get to recap them or terribly grateful because this way he doesn't have to imagine that Ryan came from human stock. Mostly, I'm just thinking about how long Ryan must've practiced his non-regional diction in order to shed any and all traces of Atlanta from his voice. About half as long as it took him to get his butch sports guy voice, I'd guess.

We start off with Josh Jones (26, Atlanta, GA), who I'm immediately partial to because he doesn't have a dead father who never loved him, a kid, or lupus. No, Josh simply works with glass and is a liiiiiittle too psyched about it. So are the production folks, as they enthusiastically pipe in Annie Lennox's "Walking On Broken Glass" on the soundtrack. He sings Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" and...is terrible. God damn it. He also makes with the crazy eyes an awful lot, so much so that Simon and the other two eventually make him turn and face the wall while he sings so they don't have to witness it. (Simon cracks that they should have done the same to Clay years ago. Hee.) Simon nails it by calling it a karaoke performance (either that or "community theatre" would have applied), and he apologizes for shaming him by making him sing to the wall, but he freely admits he has a problem with people with crazy eyes. Anyway, nobody thinks Josh is any good...so of course we cut to the hallway where Josh emerges with his golden ticket. Jesus Christ, this stupid show.

Ryan keeps saying "the ATL" in a way that makes me think he's only just heard that term and is fascinated by its economy. We next meet J.P., who has the waxy veneer of the developmentally disabled, so this should be fun. J.P.'s hook is that he auditioned back in Season 4 and was only two seats removed from Carrie Underwood. Of course, back then none of us saw Carrie's as an audition so much as QA testing for the benefit of her manufacturers. J.P. sings a Rascal Flatts song in a way that is, all at once, too stagey, too Up-With-People, and too yawn-voiced. The judges hate it, of course, and while J.P. begs them to tell him he's not that bad, the fact that he's going to be a music major -- in singing, no less -- has Randy Jackson very concerned. Simon tries to strong-arm Paula into rejecting someone for once, but she can't, leading us down a montage-lined path wherein Paula can never say "no" to anyone. You know, now that Ryan mentions it, I have noticed Paula's tendency to be more lenient. Anyway, she stammers, she dithers, she brushes off Simon's pleas for decisiveness. We never see J.P.'s official rejection, by the way, which I suppose is a blessing.

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American Idol

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