S10E10: It’s the tenth episode of the tenth season of American Idol; shouldn’t we be making a wish or something? My wish would probably be that Casey Abrams makes it to the top 12, but you could wish for something more important like World Peace or the return of Steven’s “fuck a duck” phrases. Anyway, last night was a swift journey through a handful of favorites’ solo auditions and not everyone fared so well. However, by the time it came down to the cuts, many who delivered disappointing performances were ushered through based on their past performances. I understand that logic, but I think for some of these contestants, these flubs are indicative of what their future performances will hold. For now, we’ll have to deal with the judges’ choices, but we don’t have to like it, that’s for damn sure.
“We almost sent her home. Remember?” –JLo
For this round, the contestants can elect to sing a capella, with a backup band, or with their own instruments – for some people this was an issue. For the first singer of the day, Haley Reinhart, nothing seemed to hold back her voice. After screwing the pooch during the group performances, she was graciously given a second chance, that personally, I wouldn’t have allowed. However, when she took the stage, her strong, jazzy voice said it all.
Following her with equally powerful performances were Ashthon Jones with “And I’m Telling You” (which is incredibly difficult to sing) and Thia Megia with an amazing version of “What a Wonderful World.” Megia is only 15 years old, but her voice continues to amaze the judges (and me).
Then came the problem children. Some people just can’t own up to their own faults and Adrian Michael, Caleb Johnson, and Frances Coontz are some of those people. Both Adrian and Caleb flubbed their auditions then had the audacity to say that the professional musicians, who have been getting PAID to play music for years, were the ones screwing with THEIR Idol auditions. Get a grip and go home, guys.
Frances Coontz wasn’t so much an ingrate as she was off-key. They stopped her to have the band help her find it. Yikes. That’s embarrassing – but thank God someone did it because my ear drums were about to burst.
“Y’all are gonna make me cry.” –Sophia Shorai
“Well, you made us.” –Steven
Next came the traitorous (and not that incredibly talented) Clint Jun Gamboa. Okay, so technically this guy is talented, but he’s a self-important dick – maybe you forgot, but he heartlessly kicked out adorable Jacee Badeaux with only hours before auditions because “he didn’t vibe right” with the group. I call bullshit. Gamboa can hit notes properly, but the fact of the matter is he’s not likable and the tone of his voice is straight up not enjoyable. Let’s send him home already.
Gamboa sang “Georgia On My Mind” well, but two ladies came up after and showed that song a little more life. Both Kendra Chantelle and Sophia Shorai sang beautifully; no complaints here. (Maybe that’s because I don’t know about whatever selfish things they’ve done, but hey part of being a famous musician is having people know your personal business, so Gamboa can deal with it.)
“That blonde guy is crazy.” –Randy
Continuing on in the category of people who sang the same song, are former group mates Carson Higgins and Chris Medina. They both sang “My Prerogative” and Medina’s version sort of redeemed him from his frankly sad performance on group day but in my mind, he’s not strong enough to make it through to the end. Carson also gave a rousing performance; this guy is just pure fun to watch. His vocals were a little wild this time around, but to be honest, I think a lot of folks listen to music to enjoy it instead of looking for something that fulfills their technical needs.
“Am I like Neil Armstrong?” –Casey Abrams
Now we’ve got the folks who brought the music with them in the form of instruments. For some, this only heightened their appeal, but for a few it was obvious that the instrument just distracted them from their previously on-point vocals. Now, I understand it’s more difficult to play an instrument while singing, but when you have folks like Casey Abrams who waltzes in with an UPRIGHT BASS and blows everyone’s minds, it’s hard to give credit to folks like Julie Zorilla who managed to sing alright in spite of the instrument in front of them. Brett Lowenstern (love him), Caleb Hawley, Colton Dixon and his ridiculous hair, and Robbie Rosen (another one of my favorites) also benefited from the use of their instruments.
Can I just take one more second to praise Casey Abrams? The man can sing, he can play the bass, and from what Idol has shown us, he’s a pretty cool guy. If America is too stupid to vote for him (because I’m not accepting that he won’t make it to that Idol stage) then I may just throw in the towel. He’s AWESOME.
“I don’t cry.” –Jacob Lusk
“You coulda fooled me.” –Ryan
Before we get back to the good ones, we have to make a stop in coupleville. With Rob Bolin and Nick Fink sent packing, only Jaqueline Dunford and Chelsee Oaks are left. Jaqueline falls ill and has to bow out of the competition and the pressure gets to Chelsee, causing her to deliver an awful performance of “Because of You.” It was saddening to see, for sure, but she didn’t seem to have the chops last time around so I can’t say that I expected her to stick around.
On a cheerier note, Lauren Alaina took the stage for an encore of “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing.” Of course she rocked it; that voice isn’t a fluke. She’s got some serious pipes. Another one with some serious pipes was Jacob Lusk, who is an actual jazz singer. He’s incredible (meriting that standing ovation) but it’s something I’ve never seen fare well on Idol – then again, we’ve had country singers make it to the top of a mainly pop music contest, why not a bluesy singer?
Next up was unreal John Wayne Schultz (remember, the mama’s boy who had a great voice, was adorable and was named after JOHN FUCKING WAYNE?) who sand “Landslide.” It was a sleepy, enjoyable version of the song and he’s definitely talented, but I don’t know if he has the presence to captivate the people who are watching at home on their televisions.
“That’s our song, so I scream it out loud to him all the time” –Ashley Sullivan
Despite singing the song that she supposedly sings to her boyfriend all the time, Ashley Sullivan forgets the words to “Everything” multiple times before leaving the stage. They end up giving her another chance by the end of the show, but it seems that she can’t handle the stress of performing, so I’m not sure that furthering her pursuit in this industry is healthy.
Other forgetful folks included Scotty McCreery, who only seems to remember the words to that “baby lock the doors” country song, and Tatynisa Wilson who not only forgot the words but flat out sang terribly. At least Scotty accepted that he hadn’t earned the right to stay with that performance (though he had just learned the lyrics overnight) but luckily for him, he got another shot.
“This is our lives. This is it” –Stefano Langone
Finally, we have Stefano Langone, Jovany Baretto, and Jacee Badeaux. Jovany did just fine (just as we expected), Stefano was alright and Jacee was just the darling little angel that we’ve come to love. I just want to pinch his cheeks or hug him or something. He’s adorable.
“Now this is the worst part for me.” –JLo
“No, no; it’s going to be good.” –Randy
Now for the news. It turns out that favorites Jacee Badeaux, Robbie Rosen, Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina, James Durbin, Brett Lowenstern, Scotty McCreery, Rachel Zavita, Ashley Sullivan (I’m surprised too), Carson Higgins, and Julie Zorilla were amongst those staying. Those being sent home included Chelsee Oaks, Mark Gutierrez, Brielle Von Hugel, Frances Coontz, and Corey Levoy. You may be sad, but based on what they showed us, I’m really not that surprised.
With that, Ryan finally revealed the big surprise! Guess what? It’s what we already knew! Next week, they’ll have 24 hours to learn a Beatles song and perform it in Las Vegas. Really? REALLY? Giving someone 24 hours to learn a Beatles song is like giving someone three days to learn the names of all their siblings. EVERYONE knows at least one Beatles song. How about you try something more difficult or own up to the cross promotion with the Beatles LOVE show in Vegas and stop trying to make it sound so exciting.
S10E6: One thing is for sure, the L.A. auditions were definitely the opposite of the Austin ones. Instead of a slew of boring, yet decent singers, we saw the absolute worst of the worst. By the end of the episode, I found myself afraid to go outside because I’d surpassed my quota for crazy and looped back around so many times that my brain was starting to melt. I guess that’s what you get when American Idol starts accepting auditions from MySpace. Yep, this is the episode where they finally did something with those internet auditions they’ve been pushing since late summer. Too bad all it did was prove that the Rupert Murdoch-owned (hello, shameless self promotion of the Murdoch empire) dying social networking site can’t even get a jump start from an endorsement on the show that has millions of Americans watching intently every time it hits the tube. There’s a reason The Social Network wasn’t about Tom Anderson.
“Talk about delusional people.” –Randy
“Well, this is L.A.” –Steven
First up was the initial sign that the volume on my television should have been on mute and should have stayed there for most of the episode. Victoria Garret showed up onscreen touting that God brought American Idol auditions to L.A. specifically for her so she could win. Yes, because God has favorites, you’re one of them, and American Idol is clearly his first priority. Has this girl ever even seen a newspaper? There’s really shit going down out there; God is not worried about Idol. Trust me. With an intro like this, we knew she wouldn’t be good. Her voice was just painful, yet Steven is taking his spot as the new Paula very seriously and took a moment to tell her that her voice was “sweet.” Yeah, if by sweet you mean one of those ridiculous jalapeño lollipops with a dead cricket in the middle.
“It lacked balls.” –JLo
To give our poor ears a rest, the next contestant sang like a human – a rare occurrence during the L.A. auditions. Tim Halperin sang a beautiful version of “She Will be Loved” that lacked a bit of power (or balls) – did anyone else notice how close his name is to Jim Halpert, or am I just obsessed with John Krasinski? Don’t answer that. Anyway, Randy tells the cutie pie “nope,” leaving the deciding vote on JLo’s shoulders. It also happens that Tim’s been in love with Lopez since he was a young boy, and here we go again; Idol lets someone’s idol be the one to save their ass. Is it Hollywood week yet? This is becoming obnoxious.
Of course Tim had more balls than Justin Carter, whose name happens to be a hybrid of monumental late 90s pop music royalty. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, you should get reacquainted with Google. Try it. "Late 90s boy bands." Go.
“It’s almost like you’re relatively tone deaf.” –Randy
Yeah, it’s almost like that. Idol continued its couple-happy trend, but this time with two best friends. One half of the duo, Issac Rodriguez, has been duping his poor mama (and himself) by dropping out of college to be the next American Idol. It actually broke my heart to see his sweet mother bragging about her son being in college. Both Rodriguez and his friend Daniel Gomez were some of the worst singers we've seen all season. What I want to know is how they’re best friends but Gomez let Rodriguez drop out of college with that awful voice. Usually tone-deafness only applies to hearing your own voice, but there’s something wrong when you can’t tell someone else is off key. Yikes. Someone needs to get some of those balls JLo was talking about and reiterate Randy’s instruction for neither of them to ever sing again. Ever. (Pardon the crappy recording below.)
“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting other artisses.” –Contestant
Now for the MySpace folks. There were two yeses from this bunch; Karen Rodriguez from New York who apparently sang to Lopez once on TRL and Heidi Khzam who wiggled her way to a golden ticket. THIS IS NOT AMERICAN RUMP SHAKER. Randy and Steven need to keep it in their pants and stop voting for these hot girls with zero talent.
Now for the moment we all anticipate from the second we learned Idol would be using MySpace for auditions. Tynisha Roches wasted 400 bucks to fly out to L.A. from New Jersey to stumble through the words to her own “Frank Sinatra Tribute.” Not only were her creepy fake eyebrows and intense bangs scary, she was just plain crazy. She wouldn’t stop singing and ended up chasing Randy around the room until he wrested her mic (which she brought from home) away from her and called security. This BS went on for far too long; we know this girl is just egging it on, let’s not reward her okay?
“I’m a freelance music producer.” – Contestant
“Who do you produce?” –Randy
“I produce for millions- uh, a bunch of artists.” – Contestant
And this is where the competition dove head first into plain old overdone exploitation of delusional people. Maybe there’s too much sunshine in L.A., because the crazies are out in full this episode. One of the craziest is MSFP, or Matthew Scott Frankel Produc...ing. This guy was not only delusional about how cool he was but also the fact that he was (not) a famous music producer and his ability to rap as his “Sasha Fierce” character: Big Stats. His rap name may as well have been T1-83 Calculator. Big Stats? What’s your signature rap? Compiling the number of people who are dumb enough to believe you’re really being serious about this? Needless to say, the dude couldn’t sing or rap and Randy’s truthful commentary left him bitter. “(Randy) You and I are beefin.’” Something tells me Randy’s okay with that.
After MSFP practically burned down the stage with his mad crazy rhymes, we got to suffer through a montage of more insane people attempting to communicate with dogs through song. One guy pulls his pants down; another girl pulls a muscle doing the splits. Of course, if you got all the way to the end like I did, you know it got so much worse.
“It was god-like, the way you guys sing.” –Steven
He’s definitely being a bit hyperbolic, but compared to everything else that came through Los Angeles (which, if you remember correctly is a city FULL of talent, supposedly) was so dismal that I’d have been praising the lord for these guys too. Brothers Mark and Aaron Gutierrez mark the only “couple” audition that hasn’t been so sickeningly sweet that I wished I’d swiped the barf bag from my last flight to California. They sang a duet of “Lean on Me” and everything about it was completely adorable, down to their cleverly matching outfits. Let’s just hope they’re just as adorable when they each sing solo or it’s sayonara for these dudes.
“My name is Cooper Robinson and I’m here to take your city from ya.” –Contestant
I didn’t think there could be a worse way to end one of these episodes than with another tear-jerker, but I was wrong. In the vein of the “hey look at these assholes” show that seemed to take over the entirety of the L.A. auditions, Idol ended on its most demoralizing note yet. In an attempt that I can only guess was a failed attempt at finding the 2011 version of “Pants on the Ground” guy, who was genuinely funny and knew he was on the show attempting to become a YouTube sensation, Idol brought Robinson into our homes to make fun of him and make the rest of us incredibly uncomfortable. He was clearly not in the best mental state, donning Mardi Gras clothes and attempting to channel James Brown while shouting complete nonsense. At one point, Ryan Seacrest ran from him. Not only did this go on too long, but it made me feel like an awful person for watching it.
I already question the idea that the show deludes people into second auditions only to show tear them down once they meet the judges, but this was just sad. Auditions are always the most monotonous part of this show, but they just solidified themselves as the most disrespectful and distasteful part of the Idol process. Hollywood week can’t come soon enough.