As the premiere of the all-new American Idol approaches, we bid adieu to those “mean” audition practices that push the crazies through to the final rounds just so we can hear Simon tell them how awful they are as the other judges giggle and try to sugar coat the big, bad wolf’s real talk. But come on, most of these people are totally aware that they’re putting themselves in that situation – I said most! – they’re just looking for a reason to get on TV. Now, the voice of reason has gone on to greener pastures and left us a panel of music biz vets who are determined to be “uplifting” and “nice” – whatever that is. Just because Idol is kinder and gentler doesn’t mean we have to be kind or gentle. Since everything’s going to be all peachy keen once the show starts, why don’t you get your Idol crazies fix by imagining a few hopefuls attempting to woo the judges with these tunes. They aren't bad songs (well a few of them are); they're a selection of some of the worst choices if you actually plan on getting a ticket to Hollywood, but man would they make things a little more interesting for the folks at home.
"Party All the Time" – Eddie Murphy
Auditioner Category: Clueless Frat Boy
This is the guy who would probably have a decent or okay singing voice, but the fact that he most certainly “pre-gamed” during his entire 14 hour wait to audition ensures that all he’ll show us is his ability to recreate that awkward side-to-side dance that reminds us of the Super Bowl shuffle. Good effort, dude, but you're like, not going to make it to Hollywood.
"The Piano Has Been Drinking" – Tom Waits
Auditioner Category: The Delusional Immitator
This guy or girl thinks A: that they can be just as awesome as Tom Waits and B: that Idol is some sort of contest to see who can imitate their favorite successful musician the best. They will almost always insist that they are above the competition itself and they may exit their audition like this guy. He or she probably also considered doing Bruce Springsteen's “Nebraska” or Neil Young's “Hey Hey, My My” but decided those weren’t challenging enough.
"Loving You" – Minnie Ripperton
Auditioner Category: The Delusional Wannabe Prodigy
This girl would pick an iconic song that almost no one can successfully recreate. She’s probably been told by her great aunt and her mother that she’s the next Mariah Carey, but when it comes time to audition if those plastic Coca-cola cups could be shattered, the judges' table would be covered in little glass slivers. Even the best Christina Aguilera-style arm gyrations can't save you from that (you know, the ones that look like she’s trying to sing while wearing a blindfold and pop a slew of invisible bubbles).
"Shoop" – Salt N Pepa
Auditioner Category: The Angry Girl Who Thinks She’s Above the Show’s Premise
This girl swears she’s the best person the judges will see all day, but she’s failed to realize that it’s a singing competition, not a swagger competition. She’s probably still stuck in the 90s, rocking overalls and an unbuttoned plaid shirt or some other outfit seemingly inspired by Brittany Murphy’s character in Clueless pre-Chertastic makeover. “Rollin’ with the homies” isn’t going to get you a ticket to Hollywood, darlin’.
"Fernando" – ABBA
Auditioner Category: The Housewife Who Somehow Sneaks Past the 28 Year Age Limit
This very nice lady, sporting her mom jeans and dragging along her very bored teenage son and daughter, somehow managed to make it past the age limit and is determined to show the judges just how great of a singer she is. She’s probably not a terrible singer, but her awkward swaying movements, Lawrence Welk style vocals, and homemade “I Love Idol” sweatshirt probably aren’t going to make the cut.
"Die Another Day" – Madonna
Auditioner Category: The Hardcore Madonna Fan
He or she will come into the audition with far too much seriousness and a little drama. They may or may not be donning their favorite Madonna concert tee – probably a colorful one from the “Music” era – and their blind love for the Material Girl has caused them not to notice that this is by far one of the worst songs ever. In his or her head, they’ll sound like the spacey auto-tuned Madonna, but the rest of us will just hear some awful sing-talking and have the urge to run out and rent a James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry after hearing the title repeated a million times. Weird.
"Aqualung" – Jethro Tull
Auditioner Category: The Kid Who Loves Classic Rock Songs But Doesn’t Realize What They’re About
This kid thinks he can prove to his friends that auditioning for Idol isn’t something to be embarrassed about, so he picks one of his favorite classic rock songs. Too bad he’s never been that good at deciphering the meanings of lyrics. Even if he rocks the vocals, the fact that he failed to ask (well, anyone really) what the song is about will condemn him to the status as a creepy, laughable, YouTube-worthy audition.
"Cat Scratch Fever" – Ted Nugent
Auditioner Category: The Spastic Set Destroyer
This guy is the reason the producers of the show have to take out insurance on the set equipment. He’s like totally pumped to be auditioning for Idol and he’s totally psyched to be performing like one of his favorite songs OF ALL TIME, EVER. Too bad he’ll get way too excited, run into the judges table and knock over a few set lights before he even gets to the bridge. Randy will probably need a week off to recover due to “psychological damage” as a result of the event.
"Highly Suspicious" – My Morning Jacket
Auditioner Category: The Obnoxious New Arrangement Guy
This person has just discovered the concept of rearranging songs. Now that they don’t have to do an exact replica, they think they can re-imagine something like “Highly Suspicious” as a classy, jazzy tune and wow the judges with how unique they are. They think of themselves as a genius, the rest of us will just think they’re a douchebag. PS: Knowing how to arrange music doesn’t mean you can actually sing.
"Short People" – Randy Newman
Auditioner Category: The 15 Year Old Girl Whose Dad Chose Her Song
In her dad’s defense, he thought the “cute” irony of a short girl singing “Short People” would put her ahead of the game. The actual result is two uncomfortable minutes of a little girl singing a song that she probably doesn’t understand with a vacant expression, a pageant smile and her hands on her hips. Creepy much?
Top Story: More Absences on Raymond Set
As production for the season premiere of CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond got under way Monday, two more co-stars--Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts--called in sick, while Brad Garrett remained on strike asking for an increase in salary, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Patricia Heaton, however, returned to work on Monday after calling in sick last week and delaying production. Dale Olson, a spokesman for Roberts, told The Reporter the actress was still grappling with pain from a knee injury she sustained Aug. 7 during a photo shoot for Glamour magazine at her Hollywood Hills home. "She has nothing to do at all with what else is going on there," Olson said. "It is just unfortunate timing." The trade paper reports a source close to the show said that Boyle has been struggling in recent months with adverse reactions to a prescription drug.
Azaria Wins Emmy in Animation
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced Monday winners of the 55th annual Primetime Emmy Awards in selected animation categories, also called juried awards, which do not have nominations and may include more than one winner in each category judged by members of ATAS' animation peer group, Reuters reports. Hank Azaria won his third Emmy for his voiceover work on Fox's The Simpsons. Other winners included technical awards for Cartoon Network's Samurai Jack and HBO's Through a Child's Eye: September 11, 2001 . The juried animation awards will be presented Sept. 13 at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. The remaining Emmy Awards will be handed out Sept. 21.
Mystic Kicks Off New York Film Festival
Clint Eastwood's mystery/drama Mystic River will open the 41st annual New York Film Festival Oct. 3. Reminiscent of the Cannes Film Festival, other films in competition at the NY Film Fest includes Gus Van Sant's Elephant, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, Lars Von Trier's Dogville and Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions. The festival runs Oct. 3-19.
Ferrell Honored by ShowEast
Former Saturday Night Live alum Will Ferrell will received the comedy star of the year award at ShowEast 2003, Variety reports. His upcoming film Elf, co-starring James Caan, Ed Asner and Bob Newhart, will be also shown at ShowEast. "Will Ferrell has proven to be one of the most exciting, versatile talents in comedy, and Elf represents a major step in his career, making it the ideal linchpin for this much-deserved award," ShowEast co-director Mitch Neuhauser told Variety. ShowEast is scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 2 in Orlando, Fla.
ABC Family has pulled the plug on Roseanne Barr's upcoming cooking show Domestic Goddess due to the actress's health problems, The Associated Press reports. The 50-year-old Barr is scheduled to undergo a planned hysterectomy on Wednesday and had only recently begun production on the new show, which was to begin airing Sept. 20. The reality show The Real Roseanne Show, which chronicled the development of Goddess, has been playing on ABC since Aug. 6. Despite low ratings, the reality show will run through Sept. 17.
Actor Max Baer Jr., who played Jethro on the popular '60s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, is planning to capitalize on the show's theme by building a $54 million Hillbillies-style hotel-casino resort in Reno, Nevada, called appropriately Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Mansion and Casino, AP reports. Some of the highlights will include a 200-foot-tall, flame-belching oil derrick, a "Granny's Shotgun Wedding Chapel," "Uncle Jed's Gift Shop," "Jethro's Buffet" and "Elly May's Buns Bakery." Baer also envisions a nine-screen movie theater and a dancehall-show lounge, AP reports.
T3 DVD Release To Follow Schwarzenegger's Political Run
Whether he'll be governor of California or not, the two-disc DVD of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines will be released Nov. 11, a month after California's gubernatorial recall election, AP reports. Schwarzenegger and director Jonathan Mostow recorded a commentary for the Warner Home Video version, which includes additional scenes, an on-set gag reel and four visual effects labs that allow viewers to build their own action scene, AP reports.
Rock Singer Gets Three Years Probation
Scott Weiland, lead singer for the band Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, was sentenced last Thursday to three years' probation on two felony drug possession charges, Reuters reports. Weiland, 35, was arrested in May during a traffic stop in Burbank, Calif., when police found drug paraphernalia inside the car. Weiland went to prison in 1999 on similar drug charges after he repeatedly violated his probation and failed to complete a rehab program. This time the singer is required to continue counseling and rehab sessions, as well as submit to random drug testing.
Think Johnny Depp would be interested in a role? Variety reports Paramount Pictures plans to make a big-screen version of 21 Jump Street, the popular late-'80s TV series that launched Depp's career and gave the then-fledgling Fox network its first youth audience boost. The film treatment, to be written by series co-creators Stephen J Cannell and Patrick Hasburgh, focuses on a group of 20-something undercover cops who return to high school to crack down on drug dealers roaming the hallways. The series also starred Peter DeLuise, Holly Robinson Peete, Dustin Nguyen and Richard Grieco.
Frances Bay, the 83-year-old character actress who was struck by a car Thursday, was listed in critical condition Saturday at a Los Angeles hospital after having part of her right leg amputated. Bay, who has appeared in more than 50 films including Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Planner, also suffered from head injuries due to the accident in which a 17-year-old driver struck her going 30 miles per hour. No charges have been filed as yet.
Paula Poundstone has taken the first step in getting her children back. An appeals court granted the comedian her first unsupervised visit with her three adopted children since she lost custody 17 months ago in her child endangerment case, Reuters reports. She has been visiting the kids, now in a foster home, with a court-appointed monitor nearly every day.
Jethro gets in on some casino action. Max Baer Jr., the actor who played the dumb but lovable Jethro Bodine on the popular '60s show The Beverly Hillbillies, has signed a deal to produce hundreds of penny slot machines featuring the show, AP reports. If this works out, Baer, 64, looks to expand the Hillbillies franchise by coming up with grocery items such as Elly May's buns and Granny's lye soap. Yee-haw!
Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) will direct Warner Bros. Pictures' Strangers, an update of the Patricia Highsmith novel Strangers on a Train. The story, which in 1951 got classic treatment from the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, centers on a tennis pro embroiled in an ugly divorce who wants to kill his wife. He ends up meeting a man on a train who wants to kill his father, and the two make a pact to swap murders. Only one, however, has the guts to carry it out.
The Emmy-nominated miniseries Dinotopia, a fantastical story about dinosaurs and humans living and conversing compatibly, will become a TV series on ABC. The 13-episode series will begin airing Thanksgiving and will be geared toward the young viewing audience that made the miniseries so popular. Meaning, the T. Rexes will still devour humans, they'll just do it off-camera.
Chris Robinson, the lead singer of the Black Crowes who left the popular rock band to pursue a solo career, is now promoting his debut album New Earth Mud. Robinson, 35, who is married to actress Kate Hudson, told Reuters, "I'm not looking for an easy life."
Sean "P.Diddy" Combs and Alicia Keys were on hand Saturday in Cape Town, South Africa, to perform for MTV's Staying Alive Concert and to voice their indignation over the lack of support for the AIDS epidemic currently ravaging Africa. "I don't think you see enough of this story in your face," Combs told reporters. MTV will broadcast the concert globally Dec. 1 as part of a 90-minute World AIDS Day special .