Start spreadin' the news! The American Idol auditions have come to New York! I can only begin to imagine the freaks we'll be seeing.
Ah, we have a guest judge. She is Carole Bayer Sager, a multi-award winning lyricist, singer, and songwriter. And when I say multi, I mean it. Carole has won an Academy Award (for "Arthur's Theme"), a Grammy ("That's What Friends are For"), two Golden Globes, and a Tony. Holy shit, this woman is hardcore — and she looks a lot like Joan Collins, circa 1986. Carole takes her seat between Paula and Simon, and the games begin.
First up is Ian Bernardo, who is quite possibly the gayest, biggest diva I have ever seen on the show. We know his name because he's wearing it on his shirt. Oy. He pretty much perpetuates every negative gay stereotype that exists. I can't believe I've found someone more egotistical, annoying, and conceited than Bryanboy and Bobby Trendy. With huge, pouty lips, Ian snootily tells Ryan that once's he's famous, Ryan would be calling him but Ian would hang up on Ryan. Wow, rude much?
Anyway, Ian tried out for So You Think You Can Dance and didn't make it, proceeding to cuss out judge Nigel Lythgoe (who incidentally, is one of American Idol's producers). Ian launches into an anti-British tirade, demanding why a British person is judging an American show. Maybe it's because he created it, you fucktard. The audience is tortured by several minutes of Ian walking outside, harrassing passersby by proclaiming how great he is and that they should be awed by his mere presence.
When we finally see Ian's audition, it's a predictable trainwreck. He doesn't so much sing "Gloria" but rather speaks the lyrics. It's as if he were chastising someone named Gloria instead of singing a song. When Simon cuts into him, Ian once again launches into anti-British mode, demanding to see Simon's work visa and wondering what British people are doing on a show called American Idol. Wow, he's completely clueless about the show's history, isn't he?
Sarah Burgess lied to her parents. Apparently she and her dad don't get along, and she didn't tell him that she was auditioning. She actually starts crying in front of the judges. Oh, please. Who the hell cares about your problems with your dad? Lots of people don't get along with their parents; they don't cry on TV about it. Fortunately, Sarah has a good voice, and she's through to the next round. Ryan has her call her dad to tell him the good news. Of course he doesn't yell at her. Yawn.
Ashanti Johnson has actually made it to Hollywood twice. Man, so close, and yet so far. She's actually not bad, but Simon and Randy said that she sounded too old fashioned and cabaret. Ashanti starts pleading her case, as if her life depended on it. Weepy violin music plays during her melodramatic scene. It doesn't work, and Ashanti is sent home.
Amanda and Antonella are two pretty girls who are best friends and try out together. I knew immediately that both would go through because there's footage of them frolicking at the beach in bikinis throwing a beach ball back and forth to each other. Jeez. Amanda goes in first, but the judges call in Antonella as well. When the judges ask them who they think is better, Antonella immediately acquiesces, mentioning that Amanda is trained. They try to sing a duet, which was a huge mess so the judges asked them to sing separately. Amanda sings a Patsy Cline song, which was plain and okay, but lacked control. Still, the judges let her through. Then it was Antonella's turn, and in my opinion she was better than her trained friend. She had a sultry, sexy voice with great control. The judges echoed my sentiments; Carole in fact says that she liked her better.
Kia Thornton had received the best praise from Simon, for he told her that she was the best that day. Carole is a little more conservative with her praise, warning Kia not to oversing. She makes it through the next round. And that concludes Day One.
Day Two starts off quite interesting. According to Ryan, Simon has a "singing hangover" and would be arriving late. This must be good news to the first several people up to bat. One of them is 16-year-old Jenry Dejarmo, who is a dead ringer for model Tyson Beckford. Wipe your drool Paula, he's only 16. Bryan is a little pitchy, but he's sent through anyway since both Carole and Paula seem to like him. Gee, I wonder if it has something to do with his looks.
Where do I begin with Sarah Goldberg? She seems perfectly normal when we first see her. She's cute in her red cowboy hat and looks a little like Natalie Portman. She sings Selena's "Dreaming of You", and it's a complete mess. Not a single note is on key. Carole asks Sarah if she truly believes she can sing, and Sarah admits that she knew perfectly well that she can't. You see, in Sarah's little world, a person can be an American Idol without knowing how to sing!
Screaming like a wild banshee, Sarah then claims that she would be a unique Idol because she can't sing! WTF? It's like she's using the Chewbacca Defense! Furthermore, Sarah expects to be taught how to sing while being on the show. Unbelievable. The judges kindly remind Sarah that American Idol is a singing competition and that they're looking for singers, and send her on her way. Outside, Sarah launches into full batshit crazy mode by screaming to everyone within earshot how mean the judges were to her (which they totally weren't), and how rude it was for the judges to go out drinking last night. I so wish that Simon was there at the time, so he could tear her a new one.
Simon finally makes it to the judges' table, and not a moment too soon. Antonio Torres comes in dressed as Frank Sinatra and horribly sings "New Yor, New Yor" (those aren't typos). Oh, did I mention that Antonio is FORTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD?!?! Who the hell let him in?
I didn't quite hear who Jory Steinberg is, so I don't know why she got to meet the Queen of England. Jory is very good; in fact, Simon remarks, "Why can't they all be like that?" Wow. Jory, you better not disappoint Simon in Hollywood.
Porcelana considers herself an "American Idol Soldier". She's spent the past year training her body and voice for the audition. She kind of reminds me of Pink. In my opinion, Porcelana wasn't that great, but both Paula and Carole thought her voice was unique, and she's through to Hollywood.
Christopher Henry causes Simon and Paula to fight. Supposedly a George Michael and Simon lookalike, Christopher sings Kelly Clarkson's "Before Your Love" in a female voice. This of course prompts Simon to quip, "The reality is that you should be singing in a dress and stilettos," causing Paula to call him an asshole. What happened to the days when the judges would scold contestants for cussing? Anyway, Paula starts giving Christopher advice (most likely pursuing a career as a female impersonator), when Simon keeps interrupting her, asking what it had to do with the competition. Christopher goes home without a golden ticket.
Rachel Zevita is an opera singer, though she's dressed like a hippie. I thought her singing was scratchy and more like screaming, but it seemed that her opera skills convinced the judges to send her through.
Now we're treated to a godawful montage of contestants singing Lionel Ritchie's "All Night Long". Among the highlights are a guy who sings it with a Kermit the Frog voice, a dude in an astronaut suit, and some idiot guy dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Man, and people think that Los Angeles has the weirdos.
Thankfully we're brought back to reality by Chris Richardson, who has the words BOY BAND MATERIAL written all over him. In fact, Randy compares him to Justin Timberlake in sound and appearance. Simon says, "You're somebody who can possibly surprise us in the next round," and with that, they let him through.
Nicholas Pedro actually made it to Hollywood last year, but during the group round he forgot the words to "Build Me Up Buttercup" and choked, eventually bowing out of the competition. Nicholas returns to redeem himself and regain his dignity. He sounds a little breathy to me, but Paula absolutely loves him. The judges send him to Hollywood, and you can bet that Nicholas will never again forget the words to his songs.
Last, and certainly least, we have Isadora Furman. Julie is actually her middle name, but her artsy-fartsy bohemian personality prefers to be called by her middle name. I'm amused that Ryan keeps "accidentally" calling her Julie. Isadora is a clairvoyant and palm reader. She proceeds to show her amazing skills by reading Ryan's palm. Every statement she makes about Ryan is completely wrong, as he looks at the camera and silently mouths the correct answer.
Once in the judges' room, she starts to sing, but I couldn't figure out what the hell she was singing since it seemed to be composed of nothing but oohs and ahhs while hitting a tambourine. When she finally sings, "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir," only then did I realize that Isadora was singing "Lady Marmalade". She gets even more into the song with lots of oohs, that I wondered if she was about to orgasm. Thankfully she stops, and not surprisingly the judges say no. Isadora puts on her snooty, artsy musician face and accuses the judges of only putting through pop singers. Randy mentions that Chris Daughtry is a rocker, but the name doesn't ring a bell to Isadora. They sent her on her merry little way.
In the end, 35 hopefuls made it to Hollywood. Next week we'll be in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham is home to two Idols – Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks – and one runner up, Bo Bice. We'll see if American Idol will once again uncover some musical treasures in this city.
Until next week… Kaonashi out!