Tonight's show starts with a goofy montage of people dropping what they're doing to go try to be the next Miley Cyrus, P!nk, Alicia Keys, Usher or One Direction. Don't ask me why the show dropping names that, in most cases, it had no business picking up in the first place. Mario tells us that the auditions will end tomorrow night and the judges will be assigned to their categories, so that's a sign that things are progressing. Mario also teases something new coming up at some point that's called the "Four Chair Challenge," which had better not just be a catchy new name for something that's been going on this whole time anyway.
We're picking up the auditions in Long Island, starting with 48-year-old Melanie Wright from Crofton, Maryland. She's been a paralegal for 28 years but hopes to be the next Carrie Underwood. Of course, we've seen her sucking in previews for the past two weeks, so it's not really that much of a shock that her rendition of "Titanium" sounds like a drowning bird. Simon is unable to keep a straight face, not that he's trying all that hard and after a long, smirking pause, he asks why she chose that song and says, "It was like finding out Cinderella works at the Playboy Mansion." I don't really see the analogy and it's irrelevant because her voice is terrible anyway. Paulina enjoyed seeing how happy she was, but they end up giving her four reasonably polite nos and send her on her way to be the next 30-year paralegal.
So let's keep the suck going. Oksana Mamchur (36, from Ukraine by way of Queens) shrilly slaughters a Celine Dion tune, at which Paulina says with uncharacteristic pith, "I just don't understand why you choose… music." She gets three nos and an "uh-uh" from Kelly. A 55-year-old named Rob Zarro rocks a Moe Howard wig, but utterly fails to rock "Born to be Wild." Maya Lehman, a 60-year-old substitute teacher, does things to "The Final Countdown" that Gob Bluth could only dream of, getting ahead of the backing track by half a measure and singing entirely through her forehead. Some bozo in a tiger-striped hooded tailcoat [sic] does an a capella version of "Like a Virgin" that indicates not only tone-deafness, but regular deafness as well. Obviously they're all shot down. So the stage is set for fifteen-year-old Bruno Mars lookalike Emery Kelly to turn things around, no pressure. With a small army watching him on the backstage monitors, he goes into "I Won't Give Up." He starts fairly weak in the lower register (except when compared to what preceded him), but does better in the chorus. Plus the judges think he's cute and even Simon thinks he's a little pop star, so he shoots on through like shit from a goose.