If only ALL audition episodes of American Idol were a short & sweet 60 minutes, we wouldn’t have to sit through so much merciless dreck. And when Idol arrives in Baton Rouge, LA, we get started almost immediately. This seems to be the designated “Randy Jackson’s hometown” episode of the season—I swear he was from Jacksonville last year, no? Whoa—no overwrought dramatic narrative from Ryan Seacrest doing his best Morgan Freeman? SHORT & SWEET!
Luckily, Miss Greater Baton Rouge does not have a flesh-eating bacterial infection, even though she did say her leg could have fallen off and she still would have auditioned for American Idol. Scabbed and on crutches, Miss Greater Baton Rouge needs surgery but before then, she will sing Flo Rida and get a ticket to Hollywood. Did you have a feeling that you never felt before that the pageant queen who sang Flo Rida into her crutch would NOT make it?
I’ve already seen this guy’s name on Twitter about 500x. Since Aspberger’s / awkwardness is the new IT syndrome, the gingery, 17-year-old from Little Rock is already owning his brand with such a glorious last name. Askew begins Queen’s Breakthrough as a Connick-esque crooner and then goes to some crazy place.
Seemingly dark, strange but cool
Randy dubs him as such. Mariah draws parallels with his awkwardness to her need to lose herself in music TYRA BANKS WOULD BE SO PROUD AND THEN SMIZE WHILE SMITING YOU RIGHT NOW MARIAH CAREY. While Charlie Askew may be seemingly dark, strange but cool, he also seems to have the love of a rainbow-haired gamine and a supportive dad. While he will likely not be the last man standing, he does appear to have made the Top 40. After the Idol tour, expect Charlie Askew to go to college—or end up headlining the inevitable national cast of Newsies.
Like all good grandmothers, Maddie’s nominates her for American Idol. Because you know, after playing Annie and, just um, randomly amassing a crowd while singing Otis Redding in the middle of a street with a brass band as Randy Jackson arrives with a piece of white paper branded with a number. He tells her she’s running a 10K tomorrow. Dios mio! She doesn’t have any sneakers. What will she do?
Maddie shows up and sings The Beatles’ Oh Darling with a pleasing-enough throatiness—at least until she overdoses on melisma—but I cannot take my eyes off well, her eyes. The innermost corners are each caked in what can only be Behr’s basic white, with mascara laden on a in a manner I haven’t seen since the Church Lady interviewed Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. All I feel is utter confusion about this child’s aesthetic right now, although it does look rather Urban Outfitters sale rack. Maddie gets a couple of points for not taking Keith’s bait when he suggests she must have really been influenced by SOMEONE (cough, Mariah, cough) and she names off Beyonce, Adele, and Haley Reinhart. But Maddie sails through and her mother and grandmother have beads for everyone, including Ryan Seacrest, whom her mother expresses the desire to kidnap while locked in a warm-for-the-cameras embrace.
When you get over 20 minutes of all good, its time for a HBO-inspired montage (True Bad? Get it? YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE?) of all the people who made complete fools of themselves—replete with footage of pigs, goats, snakes, and other bayou creatures. I dare say Idol producers have stepped it up with cut scene creativity this year, no?
Another one whose name has been panted about on Twitter this evening and an inclusion of aforementioned the Top 40 spoilers, when I first see Paul Jolley, all I can think is:
WHAT A NICE-LOOKING NICE BOY HE WOULD MAKE ANOTHER NICE-LOOKING NICE BOY HAPPY
They’ve already stuck this boy back in the closet as soon as the first note of that Rascal Flatts came out. His voice is commanding, yet Rascall Flatts is just sort of like aural gonorrhea. And then I got too busy thinking about how Paul Jolley could join Evan Lysacek in Vera Wang’s very strange Beverly Hills boy harem. Part of me wants to see them pigeon-hole him into country because he’s totally a Friend of Dorothy and he loves his dead grandfather and his grandmother is so happy and reminds me of MAMA YAMIN and it would be pretty amazing to have a gay country singer but then I remember this is the [BLIND ITEM ALERT] same show who’s flack told one of last season’s contestants to shut it when they nonchalantly mentioned they were gay to a reporter.
Christopher Barthel aka Mushroom
There is nothing else to say, unless bringing up #nickinames will somehow bring me my very own Nicki Minaj-bestowed pet name. Good ol’ bayou gay Mushroom’s/Fun-Guy’s (Keith made a good puny!) over-the-top rendition of Adam Lambert’s If I Had You wins the night. Hands down.
If you let me run my hand through your hair, I think you will be blessed forever…when I wear this blanket, I have special powers.
Nicki Minaj, I love you.
Dr. Calvin Peters
Good-looking black doctor wants to be on American Idol. Since he already as a pretty substantial day job, don’t expect him to get much farther than the last few days of Hollywood Week. You might have sang Maxwell solidly, yet altogether perfunctory, but you’re not working in a mall food court, Dr. Calvin Peters.
Some blond girl in a Jesus headband and a tube top who’s probably like, a year away from doing barely legal porn, and a couple of other UTTERLY FORGETTABLE girls make it through to the next round. I don’t even remember their names, but the tall pretty one was named Breanna Starr and she ends up in the Top 40. They all sounded like they were singing the National Anthem at a minor league baseball game.
Following yet another lengthy commercial break is the second (or is it third?) requisite parade of terrible people, kicking off with a poor woman named Alissa Griffin who guts Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel) Natural Woman while also being filmed from her worst angle, the one that makes her look well…kind of special.
Strong and (quite possibly) dumb firefighter tickles Nicki’s fancy immediately. Dustin sings Garth Brooks good enough, I guess, like in the way where he probably has no problem getting laid singing Garth Brooks’ ballads at a corner bar at a firefighters’ fundraiser. He appears to have skin like a baby’s ass but his eyes look kind of tired-stoned-David Boreaneaz-ish. Dustin Watts is not in the Top 40. Guess he can’t quit his day job yet, its a shame he’s not Vera Wang’s type because she’s always taking applications for her Bizarro Boy Harem. Anyway, be safe, Dustin Watts. Don’t get hurt in any fires.
I rarely ever give American Idol credit for anything, but this year, I’m going to say—with nary a hint of sarcasm—they did real good hiring Nicki Minaj and perhaps the entire panel. But even more so, there appears to be A LOT more love for the contestants of color than in seasons past.
Katrina survivor Burnell sings I’m Here from The Color Purple. Burnell makes Mariah cry. Keith says Burnell could turn an atheist. Even with chills and goosebumps, Nicki doesn’t give the standing ovation with everyone else, and that’s cool. But Burnell Taylor IS something potentially revelatory. Quiet and unassuming, you just don’t expect THAT sort of incredible POWER to emerge. You might even want to watch it again.
That was relatively painless, wasn’t it? I almost liked ya tonight, Idol, well, up until the end when you pulled some [STOP WITH THE DAMNED HASHTAGS] #oops clip of Keith Urban accidentally calling Nicki “Mariah.” Neither women could fake the vitriol needed to make it even remotely believable. We don’t need dueling divas to make the judges’ panel interesting this year.