As Idol moves from city to city in search of the next Idol winner who in no way resembles any of the past three Idol winners, things are going to get increasingly annoying and sob stories are going to get soggier and more gag-worthy. Arielflies served up the deets from the Milwaukee stop complete with one of the most shameless, tearjerker segments in Idol history. Easily a five hanky sobber on the 1 to 5 Idol Sob Story Scale (TM). Can Nashville pull off an upset in this national sob story race for supremacy? Nashville will see you the world's most selfless boyfriend, Milwaukee, and raise you a... well, you'll just have to read on and find out.
To start things off on a high note – quite literally – we have Darius Thomas, 18, from Birmingham, AL, loser #10271 whose high pitched, inhumane scream may have cost the famed Ryman Auditorium – tonight's venue - a couple of shattered panes of glass. The judges are speechless and we're off to the intro. Needless to say, Darius will forever remain just one scream away from fame and fortune.
Ryan says 17,000 people showed up for auditions, enough to flood the sports arena and its surrounding streets with roughly 16,989 delusional people and about 20 who can actually sing in tune. One of the 16,989 is Christine McCaffrey, 27, who speaks in a baby voice and clearly seems to not be in possession of all her marbles. In other words, standard Idol audition round padding. She caw-caws her way into the room then launches into the worst cover of “I Hope You Dance” known to man, so bad that I won't even bother with a description. Upon exiting her “audition” she is greeted by her mother who is very proud of her delusional offspring. Natch.
As Idol story lines go, exes who live together is on the mild side of the sob story scale. Exes who still live together and are potentially still in love dings the cutesy radar but it's still not that big of a deal. Exes who still live together, who may still be in love, are auditioning together with a sad love song - “To love somebody” - and are reasonably talented is a nicer story and not one Idol would just let slip by. Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin both go on to Hollywood as a unit after delivering two good solo songs and America has their possible love story to root for. Something for everybody on this show.
If you don't have actual singing talent, other things could also guarantee you some screen time, things such as curling your tongue up to your nose, for example. Being a heavily tattooed tattoo artist and apparent Hell's Angels wannabe like Allen Lewis whose tortured cries for help can only be music to his mother's ears. Nevertheless, Allen seems earnest about his talent, or lack thereof, and method acts through his audition piece as if he were trying out for a horror movie slash metal musical. Don't expect to see ink boy in Hollywood.
This show has paraded about many strange specimens and some real gems but so far they haven't managed to rake up a singing beauty queen. And not just any beauty queen, but a former Miss USA from Tennessee who is now here because beauty is just not enough to make it big in this world. You also need a singing career. Stormi Henley, who apparently comes equipped with one name like Madonna, Elvis and Elton wants to “see how far [she] can make it on [her] talent”. And by talent I'm assuming she means her looks. The judges are immediately impressed by the pretty, fresh-faced package she presents and when she squeezes out a nasally, squeaky song that paired with an ugly face wouldn't even have gotten her in the building. JLo says no because her voice is thin and weak, Steven the dedicated man-ho puts her through and it's all up to Randy now. He hems and haws, Stormi pouts and smiles and in the end... You guessed it, she gets a gold ticket. Eh, who cares about that whole singing bit when there's autotune in this world? Just ask Britney and Ke¢ha.
Fresh off the farm
After a string of pitiful losers, 22 year old Kentucky farm girl, Adrienne Beasley, is bound to be horrifically bad or really good. You never know on this show. She gets the three star, lavish pimp treatment, complete with a montage of her multiracial background and a nice audition with a song I'm too lazy too google. The girl has a slightly smokey voice with a nice quality to it, albeit a bit nasally. The judges feel good about her and Steven thinks she has something special about her. With three yeses she's off to Hollywood and may even last for a while with that sweet backstory. The funny part comes when Adrienne declares that the farm will always be her home. Of course.
Tonight's show is only one hour long which is quite lucky because that's how much I was going to recap anyway. Now I don't have to skip
so muchanything. Lucky you!
We're off to Day 2 of the Nashville auditions now and the judges are all pumped up and hopeful for a good day and minimal ear damage. Unfortunately, the day starts off with Kameela Merricks who claims to have a “huge voice” making me think Aretha! Celine! Christina! Of course, she is no Aretha, or even an Aretha impersonator, just simply another way for Idol to insult people's intelligence. Fast forward to a dude dressed head to toe in what looks like a weird navy blue S&M spandex suit, complete with full head mask; an assortment of unfortunate famewhores with no other goal than 30 seconds of fame.
In a break from the crazy, 28 year old, Jackie Wilson sounds promising, belting out some high notes that aren't terribly special but compared to the dude in the spandex full-body suit, she is brilliant. Off she goes to Hollywood where she'll have to prove whether she's a one high note pony or a full stable. My bet is always on the pony. Almost foolproof.
Some people are just born to stardom. You look at them and there's this undeniable “thing” they have that immediately sets them apart from mere mortals. Idol has seen such rarities and some are now Grammy nominees or winners. Latoya “Younique” Moore believes she is one such person and she's got the royal blue prom dress and the inexplicably high opinion of herself to prove it. Because all it takes to be a star is to say you are a star. Right? Latoya believes she was “designed” to be where she is and because she is a big star, she shows up with one copy of her own CD that she says the judges could share between them. When Randy protests, Latoya confesses that she already gave the rest of her CDs away. Bummer, Randy! Younique is unique alright but not in the way she thinks she is and did you know that CDs make a wonderful surface for mixing paint? She walks out just as deluded about her own singing abilities as when she went in so look for Younique to peddle her new CD in a neighborhood bar in Nashville soon. After a few shots, people might even pay for it!
Fresh off the farm II
Some of the good follow the bad in the form of Rod Stewart clone Paul McDonald who does a respectable facsimile of “Maggie May”, Jimmie Allen, cute and R&B-ish with a Maroon 5 song and Danny Pate singing “Papa was a Rolling Stone”. Incidentally, all of them – along with most of the contestants show tonight - can legally drink and drive in all 50 states so don't expect them to be in the Top 10. Don't look at me like that! They want a girl Bieber and we all know it.
A trip to Nashville wouldn't be complete without a tattooed dude in overalls and a straw hat and, 27 year old, Matt Dillard is that corny stereotype personified. But of course he has something special to share such as the story of his family who have fostered upwards of 700 – what? - special needs children over the years. The pimp reel is touching and when Matt belts out a decent Josh Groban cover the judges are duly impressed. Randy gives him a small yes, JLo gives him a no – was it the overalls or his age, Jlo? - but Steven, the softie, sends him to Hollywood. Gee, never saw that one coming.
Holy mother Bieberette!
One more for tonight before Idol is packing it in from Nashville. After a slew of adults, Idol sneaks in a teen to close the show so we won't forget what we're supposed to be voting for later on. And by we, I mean you. I can practically hear Ryan whispering through the screen like a hypnotist: Think younger, think girl, think younger, think girl, think Justina Bieber! Vote for the young girl!
And this young girl looks 25 but is only 15 and her name is Lauren Alaina. She comes with a cousin by the name of Holly who, naturally, was the reason she started singing in the first place. You see, cousin Holly had a brain tumor – wow, that's a new angle! - and Lauren sang to raise money for her. Please keep that in mind come voting time and thank you.
Cousin Holly is invited into the audition room to up the sob factor and she stands discreetly in the camera frame as Lauren sings some song I don't recognize. She is breathy and lacks finesse but ultimately shows off some respectable if unschooled pipes. Am I always going to add “unschooled” as a comment for every singing 15 year old? Why, yes, yes I will because it will be true each and every time. The judges are duly bowled over to have such a worthy entrant into the Girl Bieber sweepstakes and usher her off to Hollywood amid some tears of joy and another dramatic hug from Holly who, I assume, will not be going to Hollywood unless Idol is desperate for ratings. It may just come to that if things go on like this. In the end the entire family is trotted in front of the judges and Lauren does an impromptu duet of “I don't wanna miss a thing” with Steven because that's her mom's favorite song. Man, is that a coincidence or what?
In parting, Randy remarks that “no matter what age, if you got it you got it” and the other two bobbleheads nod in unison to this year's party line. Of course we all know, that's not what Randy said to last year's 15 year olds. As I recall the line was “come back next year after you've lived a bit” or similar. In fact, they said that even to 19 year olds and older as well. In my minds' eye, Simon is sitting at home laughing his ass off munching on popcorn and prepping “The X Factor” for fall.
Be back next week as Idol heads to Austin, Texas. I'll watch it so you don't have to.