OK, this has to be the most boring audition run yet. Seriously - when an hour feels like a Gilligan cruise, and produces no one even remotely as entertaining as Thurston and Luvvie? Sheeesh.
The highlight of tonight's episode wasn't the foster care kid or the self loving guy with the tinfoil pants, but the Where's Waldo appearance of Daniel Franco - castoff from Project Runway several season back.
I actually perked up for that. A momentary Kato Kaelin-bad penny kind of thing where you know you know the guy, can't quite place him, then Wham!
Poor Daniel. I guess this is what happens when you don't make it on one reality show. You just drift to the next one? Anyway, it answers the musicalized question, Daniel Franco, Where Did You Go? (Thanks to Lori for sending the video my way)
The show kicked off with a welcome to LA by resident radio Deej Ryan Seacrest, dressed in a tie no less. Forget the whole You-have-a-face-made-for-radio thing - Ryan looks dapper even when you can't really see him.
Loved the B/W footage of old Hollywood - the "epicenter of entertainment" - I guess that clip of the guys flipping that girl round and round and then heaving her counted as entertainment way back when? It just made me dizzy and brought back bad memories of how I felt the last time I drank too many Chocolate Martinis.
Adding to the odd mishmash that was tonight's episode, the producers managed to work in one of my most hated songs - Kesha's, oops, sorry, I mena Ke$ha's Tik Tok. "I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack..."
Give me a break, little girl. Even my daughters think you're a poser.
With that stellar set of lyrics in the background, they panned across 11,000 folks gathered at The Rose Bowl to sing for the Three Musicteers and guest judge, Avril I'm-So-Cool-In-My-Horned-Hoodie LaVigne.
OK - hoodie aside, I love Avril. Gorgeous girl, steady stream of great songs. Especially fond of When You're Gone - for obvious reasons (if you're a regular reader).
First up to meet the judges, Neil Goldstein, 19, a goobery young man with an IQ of 168, a FQ (fashion quotient) of 7, and an HQ (hair quotient) of 3. He also shone brighter than the sparkles on Randy's wristwatch - the kid had a face reminiscent of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
He bragged to the camera that "In my heart is the love to perform, the love of others, to exhilerate, to exultate..."
Why at this point was I ready to expectorate?
He launched into Rock and Roll Dreams Come True by Meatloaf, which could have only been eclipsed in awkwardness by him choosing Paradise By The Dashboard Light. Ugh.
Look, the kid had heart, delusions of grandeur, and a voice made for the Wii version of Idol. He, however, was undeterred by Simon telling him No.
"I am not leaving. I'm not going anywhere. Simon, there is no reality except what we make for ourselves."
Well, Neil, the reality you made for yourself is one in which you had a starring role as a shiny, sweaty, belligerent doofus. (I'm being kind.)
He finally left, but made sure to remind us that it's our loss. I shall struggle to move on, Neil...
Any way to redeem things?
Enter worship pastor Jim Ranger - family man - married, three small children. Soft spoken, passionate about his music, you liked the guy right away.
He chose to sing a tune he penned himself, Drive, and his voice immediately reminded me of Bo Bice. Full of energy, a little raw, emotional.
Avril, however, decided that with all her extensive life experience, he could not juggle his musical ambitions with a family, so she told him No. The others disagreed (perhaps visions of Fantasia, Bice, Daughtry dancing in their heads?) and sent him on to Hollywood.
Into each life a little pain must fall - this time into our ears via the musical stylings of Jayson Can-You-See-My-Tonsils-Now? Wilson, Jesse Handsomer-William-Hung Chang, and Martin Fonzerezi.
Given more time to abuse our patience and goodwill was Damien LeFavor. We got to go up to the roof with him to watch him act out a Bruce Lee movie. You see, Damien's first love is martial arts, although he is quick to point out that he is a passivist (and a sandwich maker).
Needless to say, he should stick to his day job karate chopping pepperoni at the Subway because his rendition of You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling made Maverick and Goose sound amaaahhhzing. Even Mr. Miagi would say Wax off, Damien.
The best montage of the night came next - all the little kids on hand to support their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, siblings of aunts and uncles, parents' friends, etc (I've told you that 10,000 person turn out is mostly entourage.) Loved the kid who was obviously commiserating over his sister's vocal demise, "That was crap."
Yes, yes it was.
But Mary Powers, 28, mom to an 8 year old, had more than rectal Play-Doh to offer the judges - a rocker chick, she tore into Love Is A Battlefield. Great vocal - smoky, a little raspy, powerful. I agreed with Simon that the outfit (all black, chains, leather arm covering) were a bit overdone, but her vocal made up for her lack of polish. 4 yeses, and a bonus - her 8 year old got to come in and meet Simon.
Lest you think he is heartless - Simon loves animals and small children.
Despite 23 people receiving Golden Tickets, the producers opted to show a bunch of clips of Adam Lambert wannabes - LOVE him, hate the waste of airtime given to the pokey haired, obviously dyed black, make-up wearing "If Susan Boyle and Adam Lambert had sex, I'd be it." gang.
But we'll highlight one anyway...
AJ Mendoza, 20, was excited because he had sent a demo to Adam Lambert and received some feedback - notice, he did not say it was GREAT feedback.
In front of the judges, he scrang Kilt Of Personality (yes, I know the title is CULT, but it sounded like KILT coming out of his barely open mouth.)
Loved Avril's pithy, "Absolutely not."
AJ is a musical dude, however, with a stage background similar to Lambert's. He is currently touring in Jesus Christ Superstar - you can check out more if you dare at his MySpace page.
Day 2 dawned with guest judge Katy Perry waiting for the other judges to arrive by helicopter. She was less than impressed with the pompous excess of that move. But oh, how Randy glittered in the sun as he stepped onto the roof. That BeDazzler of his must have been like a textile Buford T Justice - in high speed pursuit of his t-shirt the night before.
Seriously, the girls in the Little Miss Perfect pageant don't sparkle that brightly. (And do NOT get me started on his scrotee - that mess of chin pubes he was sporting...)
Austin Fullmer promised the camera that "There's not anyone on American Idol that's sexually been like me."
Sirens sounded in my head.
Decked out in shiny silver pleather pants and a shirt made out of what looked like red and black duct tape, he launched into Surrender. If Mick Jagger and Mick Jagger had sex, this would be it, me thinks.
And what was with the drop to the floor to do a sitting version of jumping jacks? Yeesh. Mommy's all right, Daddy's all right, but YOU just seem a little bit weird, Austin.
As he left the room, Katy leaned over to Kara and dropped the best line of the night, "Are these people frisked before they come in here?"
Another river of tears led us downstream to Andrew Garcia. Now, obviously, as we were whisked away to the home of his parents (both former gang members), you knew he was heading to Hollywood, but it was sweet to see his once tough dad break down in tears at the kitchen table as he talked about his son.
Andrew just wants to provide for his absolutely adorable little boy, an angel with huge brown eyes and dark hair.
In front of the judges, the guy who looked like a hispanic Elvis Costello busted out a soulful, controlled rendition of Maroon 5's Sunday Morning. LOVED HIM. As did the judges - 4 yeses for Andrew.
Tasha Layton, 26, a personal assistant and a pastor was up next. A pretty young woman, in a long black sundress, she took on Baby, Baby, Baby - it was one of those effortless vocals. Maybe not enough to win a confetti shower in May, but definitely worthy of moving on to Hollywood.
Now, as has been the rhythm of this season of auditions, for every breath of fresh air we get to enjoy, there is always a Taco Bell fart not far behind.
Jason Greene, 20, was tonight's cloud of sulpherous humanity. Our first glance was one of him making love to his tummy number while looking lasciviously into the camera.
Color us all surprised when he announced his intention to sing I Touch Myself for the judges. And touch he did, all over, ending on his knees - which is where he stayed for his critique, but not before asking Simon, "Come down here and join me?"
Simon gave him two No's - one for the singing, and one for the offer of floorspace.
Katy said, "I feel dirty. It takes a lot to make me feel dirty."
Jason, with nothing to lose at this point, retorted, "I bet it does, especially with that top." (referring to her lowcut dress.) Way to make friends and influence people, Jason. Nonplussed by his ouster, he pushed up on Ryan and gave him his phone number, which Ryan handed off to a beefy security guard.
Great. Now I feel dirty. And the smell of aromasstherapy still lingers.
Katy proved far harder to impress than Kara, as was indicated by the montage of her saying No to most of Kara's yeses. Perfect opportunity, of course, to insert her hit Hot And Cold in the background.
Bringing up the rear of this Bataan Audition March, Chris Golightly, 25. Cue sad music, and footage of him watching a passing freight train.
Chris was in foster care from about 18 months to adulthood - roughly 25 families. I honestly cannot imagine that. Despite a childhood lived in constant transition, Chris is a quiet, thoughtful young man - although the Guaringlets need to go.
He sang Stand By Me and Kara announced him "One of my favorites." She loved his talent, and his story which would endear him to viewers.
Katy cut in with "This is not a Lifetime movie, sweetheart."
I do believe Kara was one breath away from "Randy, hold mah weave." Simon diffused the tension by granting Chris a "small y" for Yes, as did Katy. Kara fired back, in her best, Step off beyatch, you are a guest, I am permanent voice with a "Big Y" which was bested by Randy's "Giant Y."
And that was it for LA-LA Land - 23 Golden Tickets, a helicopter ride, an almost catfight, and a truly odd cameo of Daniel Franco. ('Fess up - did YOU recognize him?)
Wednesday night takes us to Dallas, but will the Big D be all hat and no cattle in terms of talent? See you there!