New York State of Kind: American Idol 12 Auditions
Since we last spoke, that Philip Phillips guy—also available as WGWG #5 whenever generic drugs are sold—has sold a whole lotta of his American Idol CORONATION SONG. I mean LOTS. And those adorable American gymnasts loved it. As did the Molly-fueled masses dancing in a dome Friday night at Burning Man. And those who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy loved it. You heard it in the car. You heard it in the bar. To find Home, you never had to go very far.
Even more shocking than a massively popular American Idol coronation song in 2012? An American Idol coronation song that was, simply put, GOOD. Mumford & Sons-lite sans mad-stomping with a fiddle. Most people who hear it have no idea that it came from American Idol, and that, my dear friends, is a good thing. (Thank you Mr. Jimmy Iovine!)
Coming off the success of Home and that miserable JLo & Stephen Tyler experiment, will American Idol find new life with new judges—Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, & Keith Urban join Randy Jackson this time around—in a crowded sea of make-this-nobody-a-star singing competitions that not enough people are actually watching? Sorry Nigel Lythgoe, we’re not going to buy tales of faux-drama dropped into the hands of Harvey Levin, and frankly, we don’t need to. You MIGHT just have the necessary star power and diva-insanity to give this tired old show a brand new life—without the manufactured drivel we’ve grown so tired of over the years.
Then again, this is a show that revels in cheap parlor tricks and shoving happily gay contestants back into the proverbial closet; the kind of show that encourages busting out those photos of any dead or almost-dead relative—come on, Idol, even after today, Manti Teo is still on your fantasy team.
And then there are your most ardent fans, the ones you deny exist. Teen girl vote teen girl vote teen girl vote. Ha. The smiling, sparkly faces of the teenaged U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team is the fantastic sort of unimaginable exposure most people never saw coming. But you know as well as I (and anyone else who’s followed this dog & pony floor exercise) know that you wouldn’t be on the air today without all those red-blooded American women who tend to look a lot more like Bela Karolyi than McKayla Maroney.
After 10 minutes of introductory filler proclaiming American Idol to be the greatest source for undiscovered talent, we finally get to our first contestant AND the first of what will be MANY faux-tension-filled exchanges between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Nicki brought a fuzzy hat. Mariah didn’t know you could bring accessories. I’m assuming Idol producers are starting small with the plot devices OOOOH FUZZY HAT. I’m also assuming the silly plot devices are unnecessary — Nicki Minaj may be polarizing, but I find her rather endearing and likable. She almost oozes warmth. Mariah Carey is Mariah Carey and a horrible person who sometimes shows signs of real humanity and downright coolness. But she’s the diva, the only real one left. She can be as crazy and diva-like as she wants because its her brand. Can we just all say how great it is to FINALLY HAVE TWO WOMEN WHO KNOW WHAT THEY HELL THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT MUSIC ON THIS GODFORSAKEN SHOW? They’re savvy enough to have gotten this far in the biz, let them be themselves. It might be even better than what your scriptwriters give them.
Oh, and I’m sure Keith Urban will be a nice addition, too. (If you ever read this, Mr. Urban, please tell your beautiful wife that I don’t think she looks TOO botox-y. I think she’s fab. And if she ever wants to confide in a good listener about the batshit insanity that was her first marriage to that Xenu-humping midget, I’m here for her any time.)
Mike from Saugus
With sweaty pits in a BLACK polo (granted, it did get hot on the east coast this year), Saugus Mike comes out with an Idol-ized version of Queen’s We Will Rock You. I desperately want to believe he is a supporting cast member in the Tony & Tina’s Wedding production at the Kowloon on Rt. 9. Clearly a comedian with a small ability to carry a tune, Saugus Mike wanted a little screen time. No harm, no foul. And he said exactly what I would have said upon walking out that door: “All I Want For Christmas” is the best modern-day Christmas song.
Random thoughts: Ryan Seacrest in NYC just seems weird. I want to believe he travels with a backdrop of The Grove. I mean, dude looks weird when he isn’t in Southern California. I kind of like this judges’ table. Then again, I just took a Lorazapam and its 1am.
You’ve Got A Friend
Learning there was a Camp Mariah now has sent my mind into a tailspin of what could have been had Camp Mariah been on the other side of the lake from Tyra Banks’ TZONE and how there could have been like, a multicultural hip-hop remake of Little Darlings starring Solange Knowles in like, the early aughts, produced by MTV Films. CLEARLY I AM IN THE WRONG INDUSTRY.
The fact she went to Camp Mariah and chooses a Carole King song is enough to send homegirl to Hollywood before the first note. And that Keith Urban is just so damned nice.
Side note: Besides the greatest Christmas song ever, Fantasy is Mariah’s finest. Pure pop candy at its best.
A bunch of other people go through. We do not know their names…yet. This is gonna be all about the judges, isn’t it?
CUE GOOFY ASIAN DUDE IN 3…2…1…
One Less Lonely Girl
The 15-year-old Long Islander longs to be the Asian Justin Bieber. The judges wanted a goofy Asian guy who couldn’t sing to capitalize on Psy-mania. I don’t want the judges to taunt sweet James. Mariah suggests DJ-ing, which isn’t bad, and homeboy has headphones. Randy Jackson wanted to be a race car driver. Nicki Minaj wanted to be a bus driver. James is teary-eyed. Nicki tells him he’s special. She then gets up to give him a hug. I have something in my eye right now.
Christina “Isabelle” (from Duluth, GA / Boston)
Nicki reads the registration notes in a more genuine manner than I’ve ever seen any judge and congratulates Christina on her weight loss. Christina has a lovely voice. She credits with listening to Mariah while growing up. Mariah relishes it, yet also hates the fact that she is now the person someone listened to while growing up. Keith must see country potential all over this one. And yes, she’s good. (She also attends Berklee.) But I like Christina. If she goes far, I suspect I might not dig all her song choices, but she seems like a delightful girl.
SOB STORY ALERT WHEW JUST BONE CANCER NO DEAD WIFE
I’m Yours / Dead Or Alive
With aspirations of being a Broadway dancer, a bone cancer diagnosis and 16 mos of chemo AND a return of the deadly disease requiring a leg to be amputated. I might hate sob stories but this one…fuck…I can’t even hate on this one. I can hate on him for singing Jason Mraz but that’s about it. A WGWG with a somewhat unremarkable voice, the man has a prosthetic leg. At least send him to Hollywood. HE PLAYED HIS CANCER CARD. YOU ANSWER.
They say no. And you know, they’re right. He’s got potential. And he could conceivably come back next year and make it…at least they feel bad about it. He doesn’t seem too nonplussed, oh and well, when you survive cancer and lose a leg, what the hell is a failed American Idol audition?
#idolinspire COME ON PEOPLE. STOP BOMBARDING US WITH TOO MANY DAMN HASHTAGS
On this season of American Idol, average people with web cams were encouraged to nominate those talented individuals in their lives who just wouldn’t try out. This takes Randy Jackson to a Staten Island bar, perhaps on the same ferry Carrie Bradshaw took when she met the golden-shower-loving politico played by John Slattery the night they judged a hot firefighters’ contest together, and Charlotte drank too many Long Island Iced Teas. Randy kidnaps this blond girl and her guitar from the basement of an American Legion and whisks her back to Manhattan, hoping her curly blond hair, guitar, and penchance for denim vests means she’s the next Carrie Underwood. Alas. She is not ready for the competition and told to keep working on her craft after hearing her original music. But everyone is real nice about it, I guess because they went to Staten Island to fetch her in the first place. Maybe I would have more to say about it had there not been a 15-lb furry ginger cat clinging to my bosom for the entire duration of this piece. I suspect he was just scared. He doesn’t know why Ryan Seacrest is not in Los Angeles. Does this make him uneasy? Does he think Seacrest is still just a few hours away? OSKAR. TELL ME WHAT RYAN SEACREST DID TO YOU RIGHT NOW.
An Israeli daughter of musician & composer Mike Gavrielov arrives. Mariah speaks a little Hebrew. Nicki is not amused, rather, Nicki has been instructed to give SUSPECT face every time Mariah speaks, just as Mariah has been instructed to do the same every time Nicki is like I REALLY LIKE YOU ABOOMBABOOMBABASSSUPABASS. But the obviousness of it is still less obnoxious than when well, when Kara DioGuardi would do anything. Or when Jennifer Lopez would speak. And definitely when Steven Tyler would mumble something nonsensical just so the camera would move away from him quickly and he could enjoy his Werther’s Original in peace.
Shira once had a hit-ish single in Israel. I wonder if she was in the army. Shira endears himself because she belts out Valerie in way that would make my sweet fallen Amy Winehouse proud. Shira is going to Hollywood.
Frankie Ford from Flatbush
Frankie found out he was adopted at the age of 8. Frankie is adorable. He busks on the trains to supplement his income, but tries to only do it in Manhattan so he won’t run into people he knows. He’s nervous. He falters on Sweet Dreams (are made of these). He restarts. I dig it. I love that song. I don’t recall ever hearing it on American Idol, let alone sung by a man. I like you, Frankie Ford from Flatbush.
AND NOW WE ARE ON DAY 2…
Benjamin must hang out with Keenan Thompson, right? His plastic Michael Jackson ensemble, a years-old Halloween costume he can’t really zip up. He comes from a place called SINKING SPRINGS, PA. He is clearly a musical comedian. You cannot take your eyes off of him, even Keith Urban knows he has to hide. He tells him he must love Tom Jones! You know, because of the wig. Poor Ben. Its so much sadder when you hear the squeak of cheap plastic as he shuffles off stage.
Rosana is cute, kind of like a Staten Island Olivia Wilde. Rosana should stick to being cute, or perhaps get some vocal training. The judges raise eyebrows, exchange knowing glances. She wanted to show off her range…well…she was cute. Just like melanoma, melisma is not a good thing. SEE MARIAH? SEE WHAT YOU ARE PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR? THIS. THIS ATROCITY. THIS.
A bunch of other people’s hearts were ripped out of their chests, granted, we KNOW a few of them were really bad, but those silent ones, well, I bet they were the ones who were the real good ones.
Dear American Idol, when someone is from New Jersey, this does not mean you play the Enrique Inglesias Jersey Shore song for them—even if it is for juxtaposition purposes. The 17-year-old blueberry farming country singer plays smart, sings some terrible Carrie Underwood song. Meh. Sounds like every…other…female…country…hopeful. Randy wants to hear one more song. Sarah offers up Nicki’s Superbass. And now I kind of love Sara Restuccio, even if she makes it to the Top 10 and is totally paired up with Kid Rock on stage at the finale results show.
BUT WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?
Oh Randy. Oh Keith. Just listen to Nicki. Homegirl doesn’t have to choose. She’s 17! Lots of 17-year-olds like country and rap. Why does she have to decide? Mariah agrees. Nicki loves her. I keep loving Nicki Minaj more and more. I’m almost enjoying watching this show. I am going soft.
OH HERE WE GO LET’S POINT AND LAUGH AT ANOTHER WELL-MEANING ASIAN DUDE
Face it. Asians are the It ethnicity. From Linsanity to Psy to how you keep seeing more and more of them with the white girls, everyone loves the Asians. Asians are like the Latinos of the late 90s when Ricky Martin was Livin’ La Vida Loca. Everyone loves making Asian dudes the punchline. Perhaps Idol started it with William Hung? Nah. Idol is really never ahead of its time. And I should know by now that every time I feel a bit of warm fuzziness towards the show, there will immediately be a commercial break followed by yet even more blatant racial exploitation.
American reality television loves subtitles. They employ them on everyone south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and to every non-Western-European immigrant. Sure, Albert can’t sing The Phantom of The Opera, and probably not much else, but come on now, American Idol. Stop relying on the earnest sweet Asian guys for your pointing & laughing purposes. THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE MORE DESERVING OF OUR SCORN AND LAUGHTER. MOST OF THEM ARE WHITE.