So I guess we're doing two hours in each audition city? How insanely worthless. In fact, though, this is a great first episode, all-formula all the time, but: we actually get to see a few of the 34 that get through to Hollywood, there are only a couple of really offensive auditions, Paula literally cannot make it through a single sentence without going off the rails at some point, the classless inter-contestant hateration is addictive, and the bad auditions are smack-yourself awkward.
Derek Dupree (25, Chicago) is incredibly sweaty, can't sing, and freaks out the judges, then comes back an hour later and still can't sing. Two sets of twins get through, four awesome guys in total. One set (the Brittenum boys) wear cravats and weird little beards and look 40, but are great. The other set (the Simmons boys) are wearing multiple polos, collars popped, and look like what might happen if you ever saw a black person on The O.C. Kevin Brenneman (21, Cuyahoga Falls OH) has a whole Adam Pratt thing happening, including bad singing. Simon humiliates both Charles Berry (23, Darby PA, told to become a female impersonator) and Erik Lawhon (18, gender-complex, Maitland MO, called an "auntie"). The brunette Barrettsmith sisters (19 and 23, Spring Grove IL) look completely different but sound nearly exactly the same, in a good way -- they even get the full twenty-minute hometown edit. Eerie doppelgangers Zachary Smits (17, Hudson WI) and David Radford (17, Crystal Lake WI) are boring Abercrombie hot and do that weird speech-impediment big band singing, but I think they will go very far in this competition and I will spend this whole season confused as hell. Crystal Parizanski (16, Palatine IL) is the Paris Hilton-looking moron the color of fake walnut paneling who can't sing, but we spend 100 years on her and her disgusting mother anyway. Yuliya Matus (24, Ukraine via Naperville IL) does a Pussycat Dolls rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody," and then we basically fast-forward to when they find her bones in a shallow desert grave in Vegas or the Valley. David Hoover (28, Wexford PA) has a psychotic break right in front of the judges, eyes rolling, legs twitching, and Paula puts him through in the name of crazy people solidarity. The multiple-suckage montage tonight is "Lady Marmalade," and it's the best thing that happens all night. Congratulations, Chicago! Tonight: Denver.
The Good: Lisa Tucker (16, Anaheim) sings "One Moment In Time" and is sold to us egregiously, but it's valid. Ace Young (24, LA), the biggest pre-season pimpee, luckily also lives up to the hard sell. Good voice, boring as hell, very cute (and a dead ringer for Scott Peterson). Best of the night goes to Rochelle Elaine Dye (25, Kansas City) gets it done, singing "Chain Of Fools." Actual years are spent getting to know sleeper hottie Chris Daughtry (25, McLeansville NC) and lovely wife Erin Brockovich before a rushed, rocker rendition of "The Letter" that is both soulful and profoundly boring. April Walsh (27, Laguna Niguel CA) does a nervous "It's Oh So Quiet" with more energy and spirit than the rest of the episode put together. The Bad and/or Ugly: These audition rounds are rarely simply bad, because it's not very interesting, and that's double true here. Marlows Davis (16, Denver) sings Alicia Keys weirdly, and then wigs out, predictably. The montage of suck for the night is devoted to "rockers," boy ones and girl ones both, and in true Denver style, there's not really much to say about them. Angela Garcia (25, Hobbs NM) is kind of icky and butchers "Rush Rush," for which I cannot forgive her. The pointless cruelty of showcasing the impaired likes of Nick "Flawless" McCord (25, Athens GA, clothing by Butterick's) and Ben Hausbach (24, Pompano Beach FL) is not lost on the audience, but relatively humorous due their lack of clue. The Other: Garet Johnson (18, Veteran WY) isâ¦deeply weird, like a Pennsylvania Dutch kid, who sings in a pleasant voice which is very different from his speaking, and basically gets through on his immensely likeable cowboy oddness. Gender pioneer Zachary Travis (18, Denver) sings Whitney Houston's "Queen Of The Night," causing both Paula and Randy to be five times cooler and nicer than maybe ever before, and causing Simon to lose his shit completely. While Zachary's confidence and will in the audition are impressive, the defensive whining after the fact removes several points of goodwill from his overall score. Sometimes a little self-consciousness is a good thing, dude. Next week: Joe R. will be your tour guide in Greensboro, NC, and an unnamed third city which better not be Austin, or there will be arm-wrestling.
Hi, guys! I missed you! Okay, so Seacrest's decided to greet us at Kodak House wearing a blue velvet coat and dressed violently right, to the point where it's gotta be as uncomfortable for him as it is for us. There's Cecile Frot-Coutaz in the credits, but I'm so over her now that I've met Dan Etheridge. You can only love one producer of television at a time, and that's a fact. So Chicago is cheering and singing and there are a billion of them, like usual, and it's an overwhelming wave of people, like usual. I've never met anybody from Chicago, native or transplant, that I didn't like. It's a bit too far north for my innate old-man fear of the cold and generally all weather, but I'd like to invite all of Chicago to come visit me here in temperate Austin. We have several tall buildings, and sporadic organized crime!
Since 2002, Ryan tells us to fill time, over a billion votes have been cast. We see shots of people you might have voted for, such as Carrie and Fantasia and Josh Gracin and Mikalah. Remember them? Remember when Simon was mean to Scott Savol that one time? Remember how Bo Bice would sing songs, and William Hung would not? Remember how American Idol is an "integral part" of American Culture? Remember when Constantine went home and I was so pleased I didn't have much to say about it at the time? Because that's how I remember it.
Remember when Ryan was vastly younger-looking on the cover of EW? More than a half million people have auditioned, and Randy has the most blinged-up watch I've ever seen. Lots of people talk about how they want to "touch people" with their singing. There's like two seconds of Adam Pratt, but I don't even know if I want him involved with this show, moving forward. Remember the collapsing mom of the one guy? This is so lame. Why the filler, show? Ryan then crosses the line, getting hyper with his bollocks about how auditioning for the show is your right as an American and how American Idol auditions are just the same thing as: going to prom, learning to drive, graduating from high school, getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, getting manicures weekly with Paula Abdul, and blowing old guys for your own radio show. I don't know about you, but I can identify.
We see a bunch of talented people we won't be seeing again for weeks, and then settle right into the cruel laughter: we see up a gross kicking girl's skirt, we see into the sad mind of a dork singing "Thriller." We see a depressing girl with Trump hair singing "Lean On Me," and I mean to tell you that she has the Trump hair exactly. We see Flawless, who we'll meet in exactly one hundred years from this paragraph -- synchronize Swatches on my mark -- and a dude doing cheerleader dances, a female impersonator, tomorrow night's April Walsh going up the wrong escalator and Garet the cowchild, the older set of twins from tonight who turned out to be identity thieves in a very real way, and Seacrest admits that the auditions are going to be hell and last one million years. He calls this "kissing frogs." I just call it "fucking amazing television, and a privilege to watch."
Seacrest points out that Chicago is windy -- good one -- and he's standing in a convention center with a massive crush of people standing behind him all the way to the horizon and around the curve, who make me nervous, and there's a lot of weather, and they put on a parka and poncho fashion show, and this is exactly the kind of boredom-and-innate-dorkiness-induced bullshit that made me avoid the Austin auditions, and then Seacrest is literally trampled by them running toward the camera. Like that many people wouldn't smell weird anyway -- now you've gotten them wet.