The Good, But Boring: Mecca Madison (18, Las Vegas NV) has some teeth and a likeable voice, but mostly teeth. Ryan Hart is not good, but not boring, and I think he's awesome. Purple hair, awful voice, scary skreeeeagh voice and a bad attitude. Simon's immediately taken and quite creepy with Heather Ward (28, Salisbury MD), who wows the judges completely in her cowboy hat and crocheted dress and counterintuitive redneck singing. Taylor "The Silver Foxx" Hicks (29, Birmingham) is awesome, if a little post-stroke DeNiro around the face when he gets going.
The Bad, But Boring: Alexia "Dylon" Lincheta (23, Bakersfield, CA) is horrible and everybody hates him and his fake-ass Rasta vibe, even Paula, who's usually easier to fool. The Pearson Twins seem sweet and I like them but they'll kill you with sleepiness. Haggai Yedidya is too cool a person to be a Weird Audition, even though he's meanly played that way, so he goes here. Hyper-American shirt, Hyper-American song, Pan-Euro Hottie looks, Latka-squared accent. Rebecca Brewer is screamy and awful but seems nice enough.
The Boring & Unpleasant: The psychic chick from last year accompanies her sister and tries to take over the whole audition, and it sucks. Jason Andino reveals his incredibly irritating alter ego, gondola-steering Mario Bro "Pepi," not to mention a less than special voice. Lame Mr. Grey-Brown Sweater can't sing, has 75 animals, is a largish-type person, and believes in himself to a gross degree. David Stripy Shirt Guy is low-functioning and the judges laugh right in his face, and it is gross.
Montages Of Boring: Bad people wiggling around and singing badly with some dumb joke about how they're going to Musical Jail or something. Then "I Will Survive," then: Hair. For real. Shots of people with one thing in common: they have hair on their heads. Or even just heads on their necks. Also, people from past auditions that you probably don't remember. The "stabbing motion" guy from last year now has a mullet. There's Sarah Sue Kelly and Bobby Effing Barfoot, and somebody's going down once I figure out who to blame for instantly knowing their names.
Tomorrow...But Boring?: Austin makes me oh so fricking proud.
Wednesday The Good: Funeral director Jason Horn (28, Longview TX) shows all the sparkling personality you might think, then sings pretty well, if tricksy and mannered. Music major Ricky Hayes (21, Bedford TX) sings awesome and seems to be nice. William Makar (16, Houston -- okay, "The Woodlands" -- TX) takes his living-embodiment-of-Seth-Cohen vibe and shoves it straight into your heart. All in all, there were 12 through. At least two of them were sickening.*
The Bad: One annoying dude can do the splits and almost dance, but not sing. A sweet and lovely girl from Pfugerville has nine of the 10 things you need, but the missing thing is a voice that doesn't make you want to jump out a window. A girl whose plane nearly crashed on the way here sings really terribly, comes back, and sings really terribly. It is sad. A woman who looks like a corpse with braces schleps from Los Angeles to freak you right out with her giant Paula drawings. A Randy doppelganger has a cowboy hat, a mohawk, and a voice that probably only appeals to six people in the world, one of whom is me. This girl in horrible pink pants and poorly thought-out forehead-braids goes all kinds of Maury when things don't go her way.
* The Awful: Technically beautiful Ashley Jackson (20, Dallas) tries on clothes as her job, seems to be a ho, and looks like if Liz Phair had a horse's baby, but gets through even though she sings like ass. Cocky, sleazy, grody Ronnie "R.J." Norman (21, Tyler TX) is hot as hell, sings beautifully...and might be the worst human being I've ever come across in all my years. He makes Constantine look like...I don't even know. Something not horrific that I can't think of right now. Too angry.
Next Week: Boston, and then the first Hollywood episode, with your friend and mine, Joe R.
Las Vegas has a rich tradition and history of hookers, skanks, singing, and crazy people. Alexia "Dylon" Lincheta (23, Bakersfield CA) might well be all three. He's a total wanna-Rasta with the wig and the knit cap and the whole nine, and he's totally fake, fake hair, fake accent, just a blinding stupid mess of fakeness like Casey on Laguna Beach, only as a Rastafarian. Paula says he's entertaining, but quickly takes it back, Randy gets pretty hardcore about the stupid accent, and then Simon makes him take his wig off and put it back on. Normally, de-wigging is supposed to be exciting. Here, not so much. Simon calls him stupid and he leaves, complaining that he shouldn't have tried the gimmick. I don't mind gimmicks necessarily, but there's a line you need to draw for yourself. I believe in only appearing on TV if you can honestly say that you won't look like a total fool for seven generations afterward. There's a dude showing the validity of that axiom up next, who's "dressed like a joke" per Joe R. Which is funny in lots of ways, because he meant "joker," like an actual playing-card joker, and there's a nice symmetry between that and the "dressed like a foot" thing from last year, which I've promised Miss Alli I would never call a typo again. ["There are no typos. There are only inspired acts of genius. Stop looking at me like that." -- Joe R] So there you are, he's dressed as a joke, and Simon dismisses him -- awesomely -- before he even opens his stupid mouth.
Remember Bobbi Mae Psychic from last year? She foresaw the number ten and thought it meant she'd be in the final ten, but later realized it meant she'd see the number ten somewhere at some point? She's got a little sister, whom she has apparently supported in coming on the show. Psychics are a bunch of bullshit, but even real psychics must think this lady sucks -- 90% of seeming insightful is about understanding reality, and the reality is that their entire family cannot sing and is not good at performing or being outside the home. She has stupid red hair, the sister, and is mostly overlooked so that the judges can be totally mean to sucky Bobbi Mae some more. Erica is the sister's name, and she is generically bad, and the judges laugh openly at her. Simon asks them as a family to not come back, and tells Erica that she is better than her sister, but sucks anyway. Next up is Mecca Madison (18, Las Vegas NV), the belly dancer with the spit curl, who I find pretty annoying but Joe R. and seemingly most of America loves. She is dressed, as he describes her, "kinda Mary Kate-lite, with the baggy layers," but I just think she looks like an idiot. Like one of those girls trying to single-handedly bring back "flapper" as a concept and imagines herself doing the watusi on a biplane wing with a cocktail in her hand. Betty Page and her ilk contributed a lot to this country, I guess, but also contributed "time as a color," "bangs as a way of life," and the continuing disintegration of history as a field of study. Not that this girl has anything to do with Betty Page, it's just that I've noticed the overwhelming retro feeling these days amounts to, basically, liking "before," and I think it's boring, because the future is always, always better than the past, and the second that's not true, it's time to shutter the whole store for good. She sings "Hey Big Spender" quite well, actually, and Simon and Randy agree that her voice is better for recording than in person. I think I know what they mean by that sometimes, and I think this is one of those times. Twenty-three skidoo! Don't let the Hollywood hit you in the fringe and six feet of bead necklaces on the way out, you kid!
Speaking of our nation's future, meet Ryan Hart (18, the Vegas). We've seen brief clips of him in a couple of other episodes this season, and I find him utterly charming. Charming as he tells us he's from "right fucking here in Vegas," charming with his black hoodie and chain wallet, charming as he tells the judges his name is Ryan, and asks theirs, charming as he gives this fake, blustery teenage attitude, charming as Paula asks whether he's the next American Idol and he responds, "Fuck yeah!" Charming as she blushes, "You just cursed! We're not allowed to do that! It's a family show!" and he smirks, "Oh. Well, I'm not a family guy." Already tired of him, the judges ask what he'll be singing, and he names Silverstein's "Smashed Into Pieces." There's a charming teenage moment where he expects them to both recognize this not-very-famous name -- because, if he loves them, they've gotta be huge -- and totally overreact to how hardcore it is. "Ready?" he asks. "Ready for this?" Then there are horrible sounds, made gleefully, with lyrics like "I'll slit my throat with the knife I pulled out of my spine," in the Cookie Monster style that's all the rage of 2004, the Used kind where it alternates between screeching skreeeeeagh and overheated Yellowcard post-punk boy-band emotions. This is also known as "one of my favorite kinds of music." I still listen to "In Love & Death" at least a few times a week, it's playing right now. I say this not to make you laugh at me, but to demonstrate that my taste in music, such as it is, has been so badly warped from my Belle & Sebastian college years that this kid actually sounds awesome to me. Or to illustrate that I am insane, and love this kid for no actual reason. You make the call.