American Idol 8 - Phoenix Auditions
The eighth season of American Idol began tonight with a montage of "great moments" from past years set to the strains of "What A Wonderful World," and maybe it was my imagination but there seemed to be more users, boozers and losers (hat tip to Jerri Blank) in the clip package than winners. Cut to hostess Miss Ryan Seacrest standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon (insert your own joke here), who promises that this will be the "biggest season ever." Ooooh, boy.
Auditions began in sweltering Phoenix, where there was a quick introduction of new judge Kara DioGuardi (she's written for Pink! Celine! David Cook!?) before the first lunatic of the evening strolled into the audition room. The fear that American Idol was going to cut back on the number of mental cases proved totally unfounded from the get-go. Tuan minced into the room with an Afro so picked out that it would have given Pam Grier pause in 1974. He could hide an AK-47 in that mop. After tapping and doing some embarrassing Michael Jackson/drill team moves to "The Way You Make Me Feel," he was ushered out. Emily Wynn-Hughes belted out a great version of Heart's "Barracuda" and was put through to Hollywood, but here's a spoiler: according to Vote for the Worst, she gets cut there.
Then came Randy Madden, the cliched rocker douche who broke down in tears after an atrocious impersonation of Bon Jovi that prompted Simon to call him a drama queen. JD Ahfua got sent to Hollywood, but I pray he does some manscaping on those giant eyebrows. Michael Gurr -- a scary cross between Donnie Darko, Tobey McGuire and Gollum -- mumbled two songs and then passed out in the hallway. He's a restraining order waiting to happen.
X-Ray spazzed into the room with a guitar that he, thankfully, did not play and sang "Cactus Baby." He sounded like he was having a grand mal seizure or throttling a seal, and had to be escorted out by security. He's probably on Paula's stalker list. Speaking of Paula, those cheap sunglasses were u-g-l-y. Did she get her eyes dilated? Don't answer that. After X-Ray, Arianna sang Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On," flashed a winning smile and was sent on to Hollywood.
Elijah Scarlet (one of the greatest names ever!) had a voice so bizarre that it can only be described as a Yeti meets Paul Robeson pumped full of thorazine and on the verge of an irreversible coma. I'm talking death rattle bass. Paula suggested he do voice over work for horror movies. Snap! Kara DioGuardi met her stalker, a frightening sixteen-year-old named Lea Marie who idolizes the unknown new judge. She brought her notebook filled with over 100 songs she'd written, but then nasaled her way through "Everytime We Touch," that weak-ass techno song by Cascada. Just YouTube it.
Stevie Wright -- named after the great Stevie Nicks, so no pressure there -- actually did a nice job with the played out "At Last" and was sent to Hollywood. Michael Sarver, an oil rig roughneck, also impressed the judges with his voice, despite looking like a bloated boyband reject.
After a montage of the severely tone deaf, came Miss Bikini. This was such a waste of time set up, that I almost don't want to comment. Simon and Randy put her through to Hollywood to piss off Paula and Kara, who embarrassed herself thoroughly by trying to show Miss Bikini how Mariah Carey's "Vision of Love" should really sound. She's a songwriter for a reason. Miss Bikini is the ultimate pageant girl bitch. Best moment: Kara trying to make out with Miss Ryan while Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" played in the background. Lord...
Sexual Chocolate, a seventeen-year-old kid with too many tattoos, butchered Stevie Wonder; Brianna played cute to get a ticket to Hollywood with no prayer of going any further; Cody Sheldon makes horror movies and might be this season's Danny Noriega; and Alex was the Clay Aiken of the night -- a total nerd with a great voice.
The night closed with a tear-jerker as Scott MacIntyre, a 23-year-old blind music prodigy, sang a beautiful version of Billy Joel's "And So It Goes." He sailed through to Hollywood, but Miss Ryan humiliated himself by trying to give Scott a high-five in the lobby. Tomorrow night the auditions move to Kansas City.