Previously: Oh, what a summer we had! Simon Cowell was America's malevolent sweetheart. Brian Dunkleman was as America's whipping boy. Robots and clones and gay orcs and Barbie dolls and strippers all fought for our love and votes. In the end, some girl (Kimmy? Kerry? Oh, yeah, Kelly) won and had a hit with a crappy single and is currently in a laboratory, having her soul sucked out and replaced with [product-placed cola].
We open the season with the crowd of folks outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, screeching and hooting and practicing their fame-whoring. Speaking of fame-whoring, Ryan "Brass Monkey" Seacrest stands in the center of the crowd in order to open the show for us, and already I'm at a loss for what nickname I'll use for him, if any, now that Brian has been dunked. I considered naming him after a different tool manufacturer like "Craftsman," but that seems sort of played, and, unlike this show, I'm devoted to finding some new shtick this season. So we'll just wait and see.
Ryan greets us and tells us how "very eager" everybody here is, including himself. Especially himself. If you've got a camera, Ryan is very eager to stand near you. These people are all here to audition. Ryan explains to any members of the audience who may be breathtakingly dumb (perhaps some of the contestants watching at home) that American Idol is back. He gets the crowd cheering by asking if the next American Idol is in the crowd today.
Credits. Oh, how could they have dismissed Amnesia Sparkle so quickly last season when they've got a transgendered mascot in the credits? How cruel. For those who care, the opening credits appear unchanged from last season.
We return back to Ryan, who tells us about all the cities they had auditions in. They heard more than seventy thousand people. Some were good; many were "jaw-droppingly awful." But we're all here about the awful ones, aren't we? Bring us the awful ones! Even if they're totally fake and the show producers have encouraged, begged, bribed, or even tricked them to make asses of themselves!
Ryan narrates a poorly structured precap of the auditions we'll be seeing in the various cities. In Miami, where six thousand auditioned, we have bad "clones" of Shakira, Mariah, and Enrique. Suddenly we switch gears to an interview with Randy "Knock Three Times" Jackson, who informs us, just as he did last year, that he's looking for people with talent. Thanks, Randy. You are filled with untold wisdom. And Ring Dings.
Then we shift over to Detroit, where another six thousand auditioned; we see more bad contestants. They don't even bother to tease the good ones. Who cares about them? We want a French guy made up to look like an Arabic guy from the silent-film era, singing Elvis! Well, 19 Entertainment got the message and is more than willing to oblige. There's a brief interview with some bitchy rejectee who looks like she had her face waterproofed. Seriously. In an interview, Paula "Why?" Abdul blathers that she is looking for "the contestants who can tap into their own voice inside, not compromise their integrity, and stay true to who they really are." Until they win, of course. Then they'll be expected to sing whatever crap their management gets its hands on and allow themselves to be pimped out in shitty, doomed movies. Oh, and "[sic]."