This is what I know about San Antonio, Texas:
1. Some very famous place called “The Alamo” is there.
2. It’s the home of professional wrestler The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes.
3. …uh…it’s mentioned in the Doobie Bros. song “China Grove”, that I quoted in this recap title.
4. 11,000 people showed up for American Idol auditions.
I’m sorry, San Antonio-ites. There’s probably many, many more interesting facts about your city that I’ve missed. None so interesting, though, as the most recent, and that’s the fact it’s the last stop on the AI audition tour for season 6. The producers have decided to celebrate this fact – and it’s cause for celebration, because lord knows how tough it must be to keep Paula out of all those hotel room mini-bars – by alternating the bad with the good tonight. That’s right, there’s just as many good singers as lousy ones on tonight’s show! If you watched you probably noticed your ears aren’t bleeding as much as usual - but just wait till Wednesday’s show, mwah ha ha ha…
No more, more, more
Bryan Kyrish has crazy eyes and camo pants. Not a good combination, in my experience. Bryan’s musical influences are Billy Idol, Ozzy Osborne, and AC/DC. Bryan, we said musical influences. Bryan’s an “aggressive” performer – he’s loud and kinda angry. Had Simon not been so jet-lagged, I think he would have been a little afraid of this guy. Bryan informs the judges he’s won talent competitions in the past (what, the contest between cellblock C and cellblock D?). He sings – well, it’s not so much singing as it is the sound of fury and darkness – Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. Bryan stomps and screams, and it’s not only scary, it’s loud and tuneless. Although Bryan has single-handedly cured Simon’s jet lag, it’s not enough for a gold ticket, and he’s sent back home – probably his grandma’s basement, wallpapered with KISS posters, Hustler centerfolds, and NRA banners.
Haley Scarnato, if nothing else, has great fashion sense. She’s wearing a fabulous backless black halter with black flare pants and high-heeled sandals, and is sexy without being skanky. Next to her, Paula looks like June Cleaver (albeit June after a few too many nips from the bottle of cooking sherry) in her ridiculous print dress and pumps. Haley’s going to sing Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me. Simon loves Bonnie Raitt, as do I, and young Haley doesn’t do a half-bad job of it, though she doesn’t have that great raspy edge to her voice that the incomparable Ms. Raitt does. The judges’ ears are obviously still ringing from Bryan’s screamfest, because they give Haley very lukewarm reviews. Paula mutters something about having good control of her voice, and Randy shrugs that it was OK. Simon’s critique is more useful – he thinks Haley looks and sounds good, but just isn’t very original. Still, Haley manages to get three half-hearted yes votes, and she’s off to Hollywood.
The girl from Krum, and three krum-bums
Jasmine Holland, 22, is painfully shy – or so it would seem. She’s got a couple of her homegirls supporting her, complete with signs, who are confident their girl is going to Hollywood. Jasmine can barely look the judges in the eye when she enters the room, and no wonder, because the woman can’t sing a note. It’s so awful, it provokes nasty laughter from Simon and Randy – and all of a sudden, shy Janice turns into Ms. Hyde. She starts off defensive, asking the judges why they have to be so negative, and quickly turns bitter, snarling, “What do YOU do?” to Randy (what, indeed? Why, Randy does EVERYTHING!) and then snarking “I never heard of you until American Idol”, a sentiment shared by 99.999% of the American public. In case you hadn’t guessed – girlfriend is definitely not making the trip to Hollywood. Ryan Seacrest amuses himself outside the audition room by provoking Jasmine’s friends, who point out that Simon’s not even American (blissfully ignorant of the fact that American Idol is an offshoot of the U.K. original). Ryan nods solemnly and helpfully advises the girls that Simon is, in fact, British, and one of them snaps, “Well, he can go back to British!” We can only be thankful that Simon wasn’t within earshot – if he thought Jasmine’s singing was chuckle-inducing, we can only imagine how hysterical her friends would make him.
16-year-old Bailey Brown is an AI producer’s wet dream. She’s super-duper cute, and plays like an even younger, fresher, and more adorable Carrie Underwood. She’s from Krum, Texas, but she’s not your typical Texan, oh hell no. For one thing, she’s scared of horses. Obviously, a sensible girl – I like her already. (Yes, I’m terrified of horses, okay? And no, I’m not getting help for it, so don’t bug me, got it?) She’s a small-town girl who yearns for the city, and she’s hoping AI is her ticket out of Krum. Bailey sings Stronger by Faith Hill – I think Faith Hill is a disappointingly obvious choice for her, but heck, she’s only 16 – and does a decent job. She’s not quite as good as Carrie, but Simon, not surprisingly, has faith. He gushes (yes, Simon actually gushed) that she was born to be a pop star, and her voice isn’t great but he thinks it will be. Obviously, he’s a yes, and Randy & Paula concur – young Bailey is off to Hollywood and I’ll bet you a horseback ride that we see her in the top 10.
Don’t make William angry. You wouldn’t like William when he’s angry.
We’re spared a montage of crappy singers tonight – instead, the producers thought it would be a lot funnier to watch people try to navigate an apparently confusing set of doors to the audition room. I have a friend who goes into hysterical laughter at the sight of people hurting themselves (yes, she’s a big America’s Funniest Home Videos fan), and it’s too bad she missed this. We see people coming out of doors. People not able to come out of doors. People running into doors. People pulling, instead of pushing doors. Are you amused? I wasn’t, either, but the judges were. It’s a shame they didn’t show Paula trying to get through the doors, though – I bet she would have pulled when she should have pushed.
Akron Watson and William Green are cousins. They live together, and are both unemployed. Akron has three dollars in his pocket. They’re opposites personality-wise – Akron is like Bruce Banner, and William is like The Incredible Hulk (except not green). I know what you’re thinking – how is it these guys are still single? Well, maybe they’ll have better luck with the ladies after they get some national television time. William is first up, and he’s a pretty friendly-looking guy, for The Hulk. He sings Amazing Grace, and his performance almost defies description. Anyone else old enough to remember The Addams Family? OK, then imagine Lurch singing this particular song. I think William identifies with the wrong classic TV character. The judges look nonplussed after he finishes, and William admits that he usually does hip-hop. Hmmm, Lurch doing hip-hop… William is a good-natured sort, and isn’t too crushed when he receives a round of nopes from the judges. He thinks it would be fun to prank cousin Akron and asks the judges to play along so he can act angry “for the camera” when exiting the audition room. They agree, and with the door open, William shouts epitaphs back at the panel. They giggle, but Akron can’t see into the audition room and is horror-struck. He’s up next, and as he makes his way into the room, he looks as if he’d like to lay into the judges for upsetting cousin William. The judges chuckle and admit the joke, and Akron relaxes and goes into Sam Cooke’s A Change Gonna Come. His voice is absolutely lovely, and I’m thinking he’s a lock for Hollywood. Simon, though, wants to make this puppet dance a bit more. He sighs that Akron is a good singer, but has a “massive personality problem”. Well, it takes a rampaging egotist with narcissistic tendencies to spot personality problems in others, doesn’t it? Oh, go back to British already, Simon. Paula encourages Akron to “make Simon not bored” – that June Cleaver dress certainly is making her submissive tonight – and Akron breaks into a verse of Let’s Get It On. He’s a little more animated this time around, and his voice is just as good as it was the first time. The second performance earns him a solid yes from Simon and Paula, and he’s the cousin who gets the gold ticket.
Well, if the mayor of Houston liked it, it must be good, right?
There’s brief footage of a couple of shrieking harpies, obviously meant to prime us for the trainwreck that is Sandie Chavez. Sandie claims that she once sang for the mayor of Houston and he liked her (I didn’t check, but I imagine his office was busy issuing denials about 30 seconds after her appearance). Sandie performs Alannah Myles’ Black Velvet – or at least that’s what she claimed to be singing, because she literally sounds like she’s got a mouthful of marshmallows. Simon, in the understatement of the evening, says he couldn’t understand a word. He asks Sandie if she was serious, and Sandie bursts into tears. The judges attempt to be sympathetic and Paula clumsily attempts to console her, but she basically tells Sandie not to quit her day job. After Sandie shuffles out, Simon checks her bio and apparently Mushmouth’s day job is as a music teacher. I’m thinking Sandie may have a few anxious parents awaiting her return.
Oh baby give me one more chance – I want you back
18-year old Ashlyn Carr is picture-pretty and has an odd backstory – apparently she was beaten up in high school, suffering a concussion, because she has a good voice. The judges are properly shocked…guess they haven’t seen Mean Girls yet. Ashlyn’s song choice is somewhat ambitious – she’s going to sing the Michael Buble version of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. Ashlyn’s voice is unique – that’s unique in a good way, incidentally – deep & throaty, not what you’d expect from a teenager. The only oddity is her propensity for strange facial expressions while she sings. I don’t think it’s THAT bad, but Paula & Randy don’t like it. Paula calls Ashlyn’s voice “interesting”, but votes no. Randy claims that Ashlyn is too affected and there’s not enough attention on her voice, and also votes no. A tearful Ashlyn leaves the room, and Simon calls out that he would have said yes. There’s silence at the judges’ table, and Simon complains that they’ve made a mistake. I’m also in a snit, as this is the second good singer I’ve heard that they’ve sent away with some pathetic excuse. There’s some discussion and an unprecedented decision to bring Ashlyn back to the audition room. A confused-looking Ashlyn is escorted back to face the judges, who sternly tell her that they’ve never done this before and she should sing something they are familiar with, i.e., pick any one of the over-exposed pop songs that we’ve heard countless times over the past five seasons – Unchained Melody, anyone? Ashlyn goes with Natalie Cole’s Inseparable, and I actually like this one less than the first, as she sounds a little out of tune at times. You know how dumb the panel would look if they booted her now, though, right? Simon tells her she has “bad habits” but feels she’s too unique to pass up, and Randy & Paula agree to let Ashlyn through to the next round.
More metal mayhem, and the new Velvet Teddy Bear
Jacob Tutor looks like the kind of guy you bring home if you really, really want to piss off mom and dad. He goes by the oh-so-original nickname of Jake the Snake, and claims Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose as influences. Never thought I’d use those two names in the same sentence. He sings/yowls…something. Simon comments that he should have sang that song in a dark bedroom, and I’m not sure if that’s a shot at Jake’s yucky scruffy beard or his voice. I just want Jake to go away, and he does, but not before he cusses out the judges and tells Ryan that he likes him. Maybe they can go for beers later with Bryan and rock out in granny’s basement.
After Jake the Snake, Jimmy McNeal is a breath of fresh air. He gives a smiling, energetic performance of Cupid, and does a great job. Simon calls him a “little, fun Ruben” and says he’s likeable. Randy is a definite yes, and Paula does an odd little chair dance and chants, “uh-huh, uh-huh…” – either that’s a yes for her or she’s just anticipating the martini bar back at the hotel. Jimmy gets his gold ticket, and he’s one of 22 Texas hopefuls that are heading to Hollywood.
San Antonio may be the last stop on the audition tour, but it’s not the last audition show, oh no. It’s never to early for a clip show, and Wednesday is “The Best of the Rest”, and brave MotherSister will sacrifice her eardrums and an hour of her life to take you through the auditions that weren’t quite interesting enough to make it on the regular audition shows. So check in here after Wednesday’s show, and I’ll see you in Hollywood, dahlings!
Tell me again – why do we remember the Alamo? firstname.lastname@example.org