You know what these pre-credits sequences need? Drama.
Oh, look, we're in Providence again. Were the auditions really in just four cities this year? L.A. guests on a morning radio show, and hopefuls converge on the area around the capital like the production has just arrived. Among them are One4Five, a group ages 19 and 23, and my mortal enemy for spelling out the numbers in its name while using a numeral in place of the word in its name. At Britney's hotel, her manager is hanging with her and they decide to respond to a helpful text from an assistant named Wade by sending him on a wild goose chase for a straw hat. A duo named Adonis & John bicker as they walk toward the audition site. Neither one of them looks worthy of the name "Adonis," and for that matter I have doubts about "John." Demi arrives via her tour bus, and we see the crowds arrayed along the sides of the street like they're waiting for a parade. And yet they're not even let down when it ends up being only three of the judges. Simon's the last to arrive, riding a little electric scooter while surrounded by a four-man police detail on motorcycles. We get to watch this for about five minutes like it's the funniest thing ever.
Let's catch up again with Adonis & John, who flirt with a gullible blonde in the rope line and introduce themselves to us as "O.G. -- Original Greeks." Adonis (the shorter one) blusters about how confident and ready they are, while John (the one with the complex scalp topiary and the jowls) roars, "This! Is! Sparta!" Out on the stage, they give their names, ages (early 30s), and jobs (diner owner and waiter) before starting "Hello" by Lionel Richie. They try to make a slow jam out of it, but it's more like toejam. I'm the first person to make that joke ever, right?
The judges just laugh at them for a while until they've decided one verse and chorus of Adonis's off-key singing and John's "yeah, uh"s are enough, and call it off. "The good news is that you have a day job," L.A. says. Demi deadpans, "I've never heard that song so 'hood." Obviously, it's back to the diner for Adonis and John, so the judges can continue mocking them after their departure.
Also getting unanimous nos are Sophia Harlow, 20, whose suit jacket is longer than her pants; Ivan Kurzhalav, 24, who dances himself out of breath so his singing is as bad as his dancing; a vocal Christina Perri clone, an a capella rapper who gets on L.A.'s nerves, a deluded mime chick, and a long string of losers. Then Zuhri Lamaar, a 26-year-old shoe salesman, declares his intention to not make a fool of himself and promptly makes a fool of himself, first by augering in on his audition and then sobbing like a toddler when he gets shot down. Providence is not, at the moment, smiling.