Welcome back, Idol fans! At least, those of you that haven’t sworn off the audition rounds this year after viewing some of the most atrocious attempts at singing seen to date on this show. Tonight’s round of pathetic auditions brings us to Los Angeles, California. The City of Angels. Home of Hollywood, Disneyland, Beverly Hills, movie stars, and piles of plastic surgeons. Oh, and one of last year’s finalists, Kat McPhee. It’s also home to the La Brea Tar Pits, where I’d like to throw most of tonight’s contestants after listening to their caterwauling. California may know how to party, but it sure doesn’t know how to sing if these auditions are any indication.
Joining our judges for this round is Olivia Newton-John, who gave us choice singles back in the day such as “Xanadu” and “Physical.” But, don’t hold that against her. That was a long time ago. Paula is back from her *cough* family obligations, and already, Olivia looks nervous. Poor thing, she has no idea what she’s gotten herself into yet.
Nuggets From The Litterbox
Starting off the auditions with a bang....er, a meow tonight is Martik Manoukian, a delusional 24 year old who fancies himself a cat, or a panther. He mumbles something about fire and demons, but I’m distracted by the stupid beard-like thing on his face. Half of it is missing, or something. Anyhow, we’re treated to a montage of his equally awful seizure-like “dance moves.” Oh, and let’s not forget the sound effects. Hissing, claws whooshing through the air...you get the idea. He begins his audition with more of the same, flinging his accessories left and right as the editors (I love you guys) add cartoonish sound effects. It’s hilarious. And he hasn’t even begun singing, yet! Simon’s had enough, and tells him to get on with it. Martik “sings” something that sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk on speed, and he’s given four thumbs down after Simon throws some choice insults his way.
You, Sir, Are No Barry White
Up next is Sholandric Stallworth, a 25 year old who tells us he wants to “bring back the romance and love” in music as Barry White sings in the background. What, Britney dry-humping her microphone stand isn’t romance enough for you? Sheesh. I actually have hope that Mr. Stallworth can sing, as he has a pleasant speaking voice. But, alas, I am disappointed once again. He belts out the most tone-deaf version of “If Ever I’m In Your Arms Again” I’ve ever heard. Randy winces. My ears hurt. Romance? This is about as romantic as the sound of my cat yakking up a hairball. “You hit about 12 keys in the chorus, dawg!” says Randy. “What is going on with this show?” That’s what I want to know, too, Randy.
Go. Please, Go.
After a quickie parade of losers (one actually dressed as a banana, singing “Peanut Butter and Jelly Time”), we get on to the next poor, delusional soul. This would be Marianna Riccio. She informs us that her mom was one of Dean Martin’s gold diggers, and mom tells us that Marianna came out of the womb wailing. How this makes her different from any other baby, I don’t know. Marianna performs (and I use that term loosely) “Should I Stay Or Should I Go.” The jokes just write themselves here. She whines through the punk-rock song like she’s a Pussycat Dolls wannabe, and it sucks. Big time. Simon tells her she’s no rocker, and she immediately drops to her knees, begging for another chance. No, they say. Marianne runs out to get her mom for reinforcement, but the judges aren’t having any of it. Have some self-respect, girl.
Torturing our eardrums next is Alaina Alexander, who gives us her sob story about being a struggling performer, this is my last chance, blah blah blah. She sings “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble. Not too bad, actually. A little breathy, but not bad. She’s the first one tonight that didn’t have me reaching for my earplugs. Simon loves her (I think he loves the way she looks more than her singing ability), Randy thinks she was a little pitchy but okay, and Paula and Olivia say yes. Yee-haw, we finally have a golden ticket winner here.
Phuong Pham, a 17 year old Taylor Hicks fan, is next. When Phuong told her mom that she wanted to try out for Idol, mom told her “as pretty as you are, let’s face it, you’re no Katherine McPhee.” Way to support your kid, there, ma. Along with Taylor’s spazzy, Elaine-from-Seinfeld dance moves, Phuong has an unusual, throaty voice, and I’m hoping she can bring it as she sings “Dancing In The Streets.” She didn’t. No bringing at all. Phuong totally blows the high notes, and most of the low ones, too, and apologizes when she’s finished. Simon doesn’t know what was worse, the singing or the dancing. It’s a big fat no from all four judges. She tearfully exits as Taylor’s single “Do I Make You Proud” plays in the background. Aww.
Finally, An Actual Singer
Halfway through the show, and we’ve only seen one good audition. Not a good sign. In comes 28 year old Brandon Rogers, a former backup singer for Anastasia and Xtina. That means he has some talent, right? Right? We can only hope. Brandon sings “You Were Always On My Mind,” and he’s good. Damn good. Smooth, clean, nice tone. The ladies sigh when he’s done, and he even gets a seal clap from Paula, who seems surprisingly coherent tonight. They must have upped her dosage. Simon tells him that his was the best audition by far, and that he could see him making the finals. “And you have a likeability about you, which you and I share.” That’s up for debate, but woohoo! Brandon is in! That makes two good auditions out of like, five thousand so far.
You’re Still Boring, Part Two
Returning for the second time is Brian Miller, who apparently made it through auditions before, only to get booted in the Hollywood round. Back for more punishment, I guess. Brian is a generic, cute boy-band-looking guy with a voice to match. He wails “A Change Is Gonna Come.” He’s actually fairly good, but nothing that would make you stand up and go “hell yeah!” Simon calls him a nice-looking guy with a nice voice, but forgettable. Brian asks if he’s improved over last year, and Simon replies “I can’t remember you!” Paula does, of course. She likes ‘em young. Brian gets the nod from everyone but Simon, and leaves with his golden ticket in hand. That makes three so far, folks. We’re on a roll.
Tonight’s sad story is brought to us by Sherman Pore, an older gentleman who has lost his lady love of 20 years to cancer recently. He wanted to sing on Idol to help lift her spirits, and collected several hundred signatures on a petition to do so. Why he needed a petition, I don’t know. I’d sign a petition to keep some of these morons off the show. Sherman tells the judges his story, and insists that he wants no sympathy. He just wants to sing. He gets the go ahead, and performs a very nice rendition of “You Belong To Me.” The waterworks flow from the ladies, and Simon even shakes his hand. “I won. I am a winner,” says Sherman.
The Torture Never Ends
It’s day two of the auditions, and we’re informed that 21 hopefuls were chosen on the first day. Why we didn’t get to see them is anyone’s guess. Can day two be any worse? You betcha. We’ve got a dating couple from Compton who met at the bus stop. Cavett Carr, the girlfriend, auditions first. If that’s what you want to call an audition. But don’t call her Cavett, she prefers to be called Sparkles. If that’s not a stripper name, I don’t know what is. Except, no stripper pole would hold this chick. She butchers “I’m Going Down,” singing it directly to Simon like that’s going to help her chances. It was horrid. She winks and flirts with Simon as the others snicker, and gets a unanimous no from everyone.
Her bus-stop boyfriend is next, a stoned-looking Mr. Darold Gray. Darold has more silver in his grill than a ‘57 Cadillac, and he can barely speak because of it. Simon jokingly informs him of his girlfriend’s inappropriate actions earlier, but Darold doesn’t seem concerned. He attempts to sing “I Wish It Would Rain,” but he doesn’t sing it as much as he speaks it. Not that I can make out half of the words, anyway, with that twenty pounds of metal glued to his teeth. The judges thankfully put a stop to the “singing,” and Simon asks if he and his girlfriend ever sing together. Darold says yes, and Simon retorts “Are the police ever called?” Har har.
America's Least Wanted
Ending the night with a thud is Eric Mueller, a freaky looking guy with David Berkowitz serial-killer eyes. I get the major, major creeps from this guy. Eric claims to have been training for Idol for the past two years, and cites Robert Plant, Staind, and Michael Jackson as influences. Hmm. They jump right into Eric’s audition, but for the life of me, I can’t tell you what he was trying to sing. Every single word is unintelligible. It sounded like he had a head cold, inhaled a bunch of helium, and tried to sing one of the Chipmunk’s Greatest Hits. Either that, or he had his family jewels in a vise and was forced to sing. My neighbor’s dogs began howling when this dude started singing.
That was not serious, says Simon. Sing lower. Eric tries, but jumps right back into the high notes. “Lower than that!” says Simon. It’s hopeless. He starts his high-pitched squealing again. “You are absolutely atrocious. It’s a no.” They shoo the weirdo out before he shatters some glass somewhere. But - Simon spots something in Eric’s notes. He learned to sing using Randy and Paula’s CD, Sing Like The Stars! Laughing, Simon runs out to catch Eric as Randy and Paula chase after him, embarrassed. Olivia is nowhere to be seen, and probably slipped out the side door to get away from these lunatics.
Join us next time for the auditions from San Antonio, Texas. They can’t be as bad as the L.A. auditions. They just can’t be.
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