Wednesday, January 18, 2006

American Idol 5 - Chicago auditions

OK, I know I will be writing about the American Idol this season but I know I won't be taking notes like this during the mass audition stage of the game. So, I am totally ripping off Sara Cress' blog from the Chronicle. Thank you Sara. My comments are in another color. - Marc

American Idol Season Five
Jan. 17, 2005

The only thing American Idol has been good for is discovering Kelly Clarkson. The rest of the winners haven't found anything quite as golden as she has and the rest of AI's contributions to pop culture include Simon Cowell impressions and jokes about Ryan Seacrest's hair.

The question at the start of the show's fifth season: Is there anything this show can do to remain fresh?

To open the season, Ryan "Don't Touch the Hair" Seacrest talks about how becoming the next American Idol is the new American Dream. Really? Funny, I thought the American Dream was being able to support yourself and your family and maybe have a swingset in the backyard. And then Seacrest says auditioning has become an American "rite of passage," like getting a car or graduating high school. I laughed.

There were no Kelly Clarksons on the season premiere. Nor were there any outright William Hungs. Just a lot of 'eh's and 'ok's and 'yeah, that's all right's. Without further ado, here's a rundown of what happened during the auditions in Chicago:

There's Derek Dupree. He says, "I'm so passionate that...I often get turned on by myself." That's a pretty good indication that he's bad. Toward the beginning of his lame song medley, he inexplicably wipes his forehead with a dollar bill. He manages to convince the judges that he should be able to come back an hour later to audition again. This was bad.

There's Justin: He can sing anything "from Elvis to Queen," he says, but makes the unfortunate choice of singing Meat Loaf. Oh no! Not Meat Loaf! He sings for a moment before being told to stop and he looks so sad. Like a puppy. After you've beaten it. For giving you flowers! What's wrong with you?

There's Derrell and Terrell Brittenum: They're twins and they make it to Hollywood by singing My Girl, but they had to beg, so I don't expect them to stick around long. Jail birds too.

There's Gina: She likes Simon (riiight) and says he's "the hottest thing I've ever seen." She's wearing Hot Topic punkwear and sings a Celine Dion song. I'm reminded of Sarah Vowell and the "pink of Goth," but somehow I don't think Gina thinks that Celine Dion is so non-punk that she's punk. Nah. Anyway, she's going to Hollywood, mostly because she sucked up to Simon. So ladies, I hope you've learned your lesson: Talent isn't important here.

There's Mandisa: Just Mandisa. She sings Alicia Keys' Fallin' and does a bang-up job. An easy in. Simon doesn't have the guts to say to her face, "Do we have a bigger stage this year? Forget Frenchie, she's like France," because Mandisa would have likely decked Simon. Rightly so. How does a guy that ugly have the nerve to criticize someone else's appearance? Jerk.

It's 7:40 p.m. and I'm starting to fear that this is going to go for two hours. I sort of can't believe I'm giving up Gilmore Girls for this.

There's Kevin Brenneman: He's a very small man. He sings The Weight by the Band. Not bad, but somehow bad. Simon: "You remind me of a wasp." Paula adds that Kevin could make a good living doing a voice for Rugrats. Ooh, burn.

There's Charles Berry: An AI lifer, apparently, having been to auditions for two previous seasons. He says he followed the judges' instructions and took lessons and everything. Then he goes and sings a lame original song about American Idol. Bad idea. Simon: "He should shave off the beard and wear a dress because he'd be a great female impersonator." Which leads to the only honest moment of the show:

Paula (to Simon): "You're an ass."

There's Sheriff Brandon Groves: He sings I Shot the Sheriff, singing the same line over and over and over and over again, which prompts the first "dawg" of the evening when Randy says, "that's a no, dawg." Incredibly and unbelievably bad.

Near the end of the hour, Derek returns, singing a song that includes the phrases "Susan in the bathroom stall," and "Constance will fulfill your needs." He's not sure of the title (I'm as lost as he is) and, after the judges express their disbelief, says, "Maybe I'm not the music type that I thought I was."

This is definitely going two hours.

Hour two starts (didn't watch hour 2 :-( although I still have it available digitally to watch) with Eric Lawhon, who sounds like a girl. More like a girl than me, even. Like Liza Minnelli, maybe. Simon says: "You sing like an auntie." Poor girl. Eric's mother says, "He makes me cry when he sings," and Eric's grandmother accosts Simon with, "Why are you so rude? I think he's unique." This makes me feel really good about Eric. I know that poor girl's gonna make it with the help of his family.

There's Jessica: She sings a song with two bleep-able offenses, gets rejected, then walks out cursing. Walks away cursing. Walks outside cursing. I love her! Someone give her a mic and a stage.

My boyfriend walks into the room, pats me on the head and says, "you're doing God's work, honey."

There's David Radford: He's singing with his family outside in their car and it's adorable. He praises his off-key mother for being "one of the most talented singers I've heard." I love this kid. Paula says, "the package is great." Heh heh. She said "package." He's off to Hollywood.

There's Crystal Parizanski: She's deeply tan and deeply dumb. Simon asks about the tan, she tells him what she's going to sing. Simon asks about the tan again and she tells him what she's going to sing. He asks again and she giggles and says, "I go tanning." She sings her song off-key, makes some awful horking noises and says, "You need me to explain anything?" Simon brings in her mother, basically to embarrass them both on national television.

Remember: this is an American rite of passage these days.

It's 8:30 p.m. and my cat Dapple shows up. She says that there will never be another contestant like Clay Aiken and there's no use watching this show ever again. Can you believe it? My cat's a Claymate.

I never, ever take my cat's advice, so let's get through this last half-hour, shall we?

There's Stuart Bennyman: He's Assyrian. He wears a hat with a feather that reaches two feet off his head. He says his father is the Assyrian Elvis, but that's not enough to get him through to the next round.

There's Yuliya Matus: She's a Ukranian gal. She performs a stripper routine to Bohemian Rhapsody. She says she's hoping for a performer visa, but she's going to be shipped back to the Ukraine for being rather bad. She's crying.

I shudder at the thought of people in other countries believing that American Idol really is the American Dream.

Finally (oh, thank goodness), there's David Hoover, the barefoot, crazy guy who says animals started talking to him when was 16. He's not a very good singer, but Randy says he can go to Hollywood if he promises to talk to animals in Randy's presence. Seems to me that they're trying to create another William Hung.

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