‘American Idol’ Recap: Auditions #5

S10E5: I’d like to start off by saying thank goodness last night’s Austin auditions episode was only an hour because holy crap was it a snooze. Steven Tyler was behaving, Randy was unimaginatively mean to the contestants, and there were only a handful of crazy people to offset the slew of decent singers. If I wasn’t so concerned with trying to make early bets about who will fail or succeed once the contestants reach Hollywood, I would’ve turned off last night’s episode, put on some re-runs of The Office and knit a sweater for my dog. That’s right, you heard it here first: last night’s Idol was less exciting than KNITTING.

“Do you know what rhymes with ‘Muck?’” –Steven

“Duck?” –Contestant

“Read my lips…(he mouths ‘fuck’).” –Steven

Apparently this little gem is a source of intense controversy because this week the show opened with a black screen with a message stating that Steven has apologized for his outrageous and inappropriate comments before giving us a glimpse of the crime. First of all, this was frankly not that bad. Second, I don’t know how much of a serious apology it was when they put that cheesy elevator music in the background. Whether or not they took the opening seriously, it seemed throughout the episode that Steven had indeed found himself a chill pill because the ridiculousness that I’ve come to expect by the fifth episode was completely gone last night. It may have been inappropriate, but it was entertaining and I want it back.

“My whole life I’ve been told I have a JLo booty.” –Contestant

First up this week were two people who were actually pretty good singers. They were boring, but they could sing.

Corey Levoy told his story about growing up 15 minutes away from his biological sister for years before ever meeting her. He brought his best friend and sister to the audition and she sat alongside the judges while he sang one of my favorite Bonnie Raitt song, “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The kid has a decent singing voice, but did anyone else notice that he had a very lady-like quality to his voice? If he makes it through, it will be interesting to see how he takes on the weekly challenges of the actual competition. That being said, his voice may not be strong enough to get all the way through, but then again that Tim kid made it up through the ranks and he COULD NOT SING.

Next came young Hollie Cavanagh, who moved from Liverpool, England to Texas with her parents. She made a delusional attempt to sing one of the hardest songs out there, “At Last” by Etta James. Because she, and almost every other person ever, doesn’t have the pipes for the tune, she jumped back and forth between keys making for a disjointed melody. Randy turned her down, so of course she pulled out the waterworks. THIS IS BECOMING A PATTERN and I don’t approve. Then suddenly, the producers discovered a technique that every other reality show ever has used: the commercial break to create suspense out of thin air. Too bad we already knew what would happen. She got another chance to sing an easier song and they all changed their tunes and sent her to Hollywood. Whoopdie-frickin’-doo.

“The singing, honestly, was terrible.” –Randy

“So it’s a no?” –Contestant

No, Rodolfo Ochoa, your singing was terrible, so welcome to Hollywood! NO. Use your brain please. Rodolfo was the tail end of a montage of failed contestants crying and saying they’ve failed their friends and family – or “everyone” if they’re really dramatic – and he attempted to sing “Circle of Life,” but he sounded like he needed to be put out of his misery. Even so, we’ve seen way worse on Idol; like I said, this episode lacked a punch.

“Completely and utterly heterosexual; just wanna put that out there.” – Cowboy contestant

Being that the auditions were taking place in Texas, we had to endure a montage of over the top cowboys who couldn’t carry a tune if the fate of their horses depended on it. Out of this buncha wailers, came John Wayne (Shulz). He’s beautiful and he’s doing Idol for his mother who’s recovering from breast cancer. And the cherry on top? He’s legitimately a good singer. Obviously they call in his mother to witness the moment he gets sent to Hollywood and she cries. Wait, isn’t this type of thing supposed to come at the end of the episode? Look at you, American Idol. Shaking it up. You crazy.

It may seem like Schulz has some sort of deal with the devil, but TMZ uncovered his dirty little secret: he’s actually already a professional recording artist. Whoops. Apparently his record deal hit the skids when he had to leave for two years to do his mission for his Mormon church, so his participation with Idol is a-okay, but at least he’s not as perfect as the show made him seem. And the world makes sense again.

“Ryan Seacrest is the sexiest man alive.” –Contestant

And now for some real fakers. This is where I deviate from the order of the actual show, but I’m in control so deal with it. (Insert evil laugh here.)

The first faker could actually sing, and she was decent but probably not strong enough to win (thank you, Randy for being the only one to recognize that). Her problem wasn’t her voice though, she faked this whole obsession for Ryan Seacrest saying she will someday marry him before doing a chicken impression at her audition. Come on. My friends in high school were in the drama club; I can spot a ham when I see one. This girl was just goofing off to make sure she was on TV and her disingenuous style was just plain obnoxious. Save room for the real singers, people.

Our second faker came later in a lackluster montage of the baddies. Yeah that was some girl dressed as an eagle queen (maybe?) but the lady in the armadillo costume earned the brunt of my wrath (though this week, my wrath is more of an apathetic grumble than a roar). She gave her rejection interview in the suit which tells me she just wanted to show her friends at home that she could get Idol to broadcast a chick in a critter suit. NEXT.

The one benefit of all these fakers is that Randy finally got mean. I just wish he would have practiced some better insults on his way to Texas because, boy, was his commentary stale. I mean, “Is there a song called ‘Watch Me Leave?’” My six year old cousin has more creative insults than that. Step it up, dawg.

“Wow. Fucking great day. Shit.” –Steven

Apparently, profanity wasn’t part of the apology contract Steven made because by the end of the day, it was free flowing. He still lacked that inappropriate spark and he re-used his little pitchfork devil comment; WHAT is going on here? I’ll say it again, step up the creativity, judges.

After a charming little Texas pride montage we got into even more good contestants – where were all the baddies this week? After a few Hollywood bound folks got their tickets in rapid succession, we get another doctored cheesy back story. Oh joy. Jaqueline Dunford and Nick Fink are in love and they’re auditioning together. It seems Nick is perpetually stoked about it too, because that smile is permanently attached to his face. You’d think his face would get sore from all of that, but nope, he even kept it going as he sang “Sunday Morning.” Incredible. That’s commitment.

Nick sounded a bit like Michael Buble, but his range wasn’t that impressive; his girlfriend on the other hand, has some pretty good pipes. Of course they both go to Hollywood where they’ll compete with that couple from Nashville for who’s the most annoyingly cute pair.

After that schmooze fest, Janelle Arthur hit the audition room to prove the world wrong about “country folk” and to blow us all out of the water with “Syrup and Honey.” Though she could not manage to pronounce the word “syrup” correctly, she sang beautifully. Still, for the rest of the evening I was thinking over and over again to myself, “Sarap? Why would she say Sarap?” Maybe I’m just an ass. That’s probably the real issue here.

“Some people think I look like Seth Rogen. What do you think?” –Contestant

“Fraggle Rock.” –Cameraman

Casey Abrams was the final contestant of the evening, and I have to agree, he looks nothing like Seth Rogen. He’s got the hair, but come on, anyone can grow Seth Rogen hair. It’s called the unattended fro with a bushy beard. Despite his inability to look in a mirror, Casey can really sing. He’s got a soulful, robust voice that I just hope makes it all the way to the top 12 because it will be nice to see a real man up there instead of the Nickelback-sound-a-like Lee Dwyze from last year. I’m aware that America voted him in as the winner, but I don’t have to like it.

As this recap comes to a close, I’d like to commend Idol for not ending with yet another tear-jerker. It’s nice to feel a little upbeat when these episodes end. I actually had motivation to get up and accomplish things after last night’s auditions. Of course, that could have been because I was so bored watching them that I felt the need to escape as far away from the television as possible. Thank God there are only a few more audition episodes left; I’m ready for the competition and major cuts in Hollywood. Is it mean that I’m looking forward to seeing who gets sent packing? Maybe I can find some old reruns of The Weakest Link to tide me over for now. Goodbye.