There's a woman on speakerphone with a gaggle of sisters, excitedly waiting for someone to come out of the audition room so everyone can hear the moment when she breaks the news that she made it! The contestant comes out, and everyone screams, but of course she didn't make it. Sad tuba. And from there we go right to the opening titles, complete with the new shot of last year's winner Phillip Phillips. Which is almost as impressive as the fact that we've been actually hearing "Home" in the wild over the past several months.
The judges show up for Chicago auditions, which are apparently being held at the Adler Planetarium. We start off with a young blonde chick who is the first to traverse the blue-lit birth canal that serves as the corridor to the audition room, which is apparently the place's attic. She's from Tennessee, and that's all I learn before my cable box freezes up again, because it's trying to get us both fired from this show. Which I'm not entirely against, but some notice would be nice. Anyway, it goes into a Groundhog Day loop that's two minutes long before it freezes up entirely. Then, while I'm torn between switching to my DVR-less TV upstairs and getting this unit fixed and having a rather testy conversation with a Comcast representative (that's right, I said Comcast), I see snippets of some orange guy with a tall blond hairdo, and an adorable chick named Kiara getting through, and then I give up on the downstairs unit just in time to meet another blondie named Stephanie Schimel. I'm really sorry, you guys. I promise you two things: 1) that I'll research these people and find out what becomes of them in time for the next weecap, by which time you won't care anyway, and 2) that my current cable box will be at the mercy of the Jawas by the time you read this. Anyway, Stephanie Schimel does a breathy, shaky version of "Dream a Little Dream" that Mariah and Keith like a lot more than Nicki does. Randy's in, though, because she's cute. Nicki is the lone no, and loudly points out as much to Stephanie. Which she then blames on her rivalry with Mariah. Then suddenly all four of them are talking all over each other, and the stupid girl sticks around instead of having the sense to eject, until Randy specifically tells her to. She's going to need to work on those instincts as well as her singing.
So it's another montage-style round of battle between Nicki and Mariah, which this time is all about Keith and the personal hell he has to occupy by being stuck in the chair between them. "I feel like a scratching post!" he says.