Thursday, February 02, 2012

Arches, Portlandia and Backstories Aplenty (an idol recap)

It's Portland, Oregon.  So says the caption.  And as the video begins of people packing, The Lovely Steph Leann pipes up and says, "I think... I think that caption said AUDTION day..."  I looked around, rewound it back, and instead of "AUDITION"... its "AUDTION".  She remarks, "Who is in charge of that?!"

We see the Idolites on the road, walking in the civic center, and the dorky guy giving a thumbs up... he's wearing a Coke shirt, which I am sure was planned for a shot at TV time.  Well played, dork man, well played.




Notably, this is the area my buddy Mikey, co-host of The Deucecast, hails from.  He's a diehard U of O Ducky fan through and through.

The thousands and thousands of people line the stadium seats, screaming.  All wanting their shot.  They all want this so badly.  They have been wanting this all their lives.  This means so much to all of them.

Our first Idolite of the night is Brittany Zika, who tells us in her BACKSTORY ALERT video that she is a huge Sara Bareilles fan--so am I, so that's cool. However, she sings "The Story" by Brandi Carlile, and actually sounds alot like Brandi Carlile.  She takes off her dorky glasses and dorky hat, and has a Rachel Leigh Cook in "She's All That" moment, where cute girl becomes cuter girl merely by discarding accessories.  All three YES votes send her to Hollywood.

A comical video shows a dude that burps while clearing his throat (causing The Lovely Steph Leann to wince), blowing his nose, picking his nose, bumping his chest and hocking a loogie.  His name is Ben, and he's from Philadelphia... and he's come across the country to come to Portland.  And they are setting this guy up to be horrible... the fact that he says "I'm singing "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga tells me that this is going to be bad... and I am right.  An attempt at another song has this scrawny white guy busting out some Nicki Minaj junk... and its not so good.

"I get the feeling its a NO," Ben says.  And he would be right.  He blames the fact his throat hurts and that he's stuffy and sick.  Wow.  Its nice to have a full, terrible audition.

So, we get back from commercial and its already afternoon.  Two auditions, and its after lunch.

Jermaine Jones... BACKSTORY ALERT!!!.. is up next, and I have a feeling that this is going to be a pretty good audition.  Jermaine says, in the video, "I'm a mama's boy!" as he hugs his mama.  The Lovely Steph Leann pipes up, "Aren't all black men 'mama's boys?'"

Big Jermaine is 6'8 and a half tall.  That's my best mate Wookiee size!  Jermaine is singing "Superstar" by Luther Vandross, or at least Luther's version, as its a Carpenter's song.  Randy the Dawg is all about it, as is Creepy Uncle Stevie.  J-Lo is smiling big... all three toss out a YES vote for Big Jermaine, though they do tell him to loosen his nerves a bit.

That's Day One in Portland, Oregon, with two of three auditioners making it to Hollywood.  I'm sure their were more, but we haven't seen them.   Day Two begins with J-Lo coming in and asking for a pair of black tights from a production assistant.  Diva.

BACKSTORY ALERT!!  This blonde chick with two kids shows up with a big group, all wearing "I (heart) Britnee" shirts.  So, Britnee Kellogg, 27, is here to sing for her two beautiful boys... she was married to a basketball player, and she gave up her singing dreams for his b'ball dreams, but when he ended up chasing other women, she chased her own dream.  Idol.   She's singing, "You're No Good", ironically.   Love it.

This chick is singing with full passion, with a big "suck it" to her ex.  Three YES votes and the family comes parading in.  J-Lo tells her to take her kids with her if she makes it, because "you never leave your family!"

And now, 21 year old Sam Gershman, who is one of those annoying, dance around, look stupid and act stupid all the time kind of chicks.  She is singing "I'm a Woman" by Helen Reddy.  I'm wincing, though I'm afraid she might be good enough to pass through.  Creepy Uncle Stevie says its a little too Broadway... J-Lo is agreeing.  Randy the Dawg says NO, and both the other judges nod in agreement.  Thank you!

NERD ALERT!!  David Weed comes strolling in, vest, square glasses and goofy curly hair, complete with spots of acne and self-deprecating humor.  He's going to sing "Tom Sawyer" by Rush, which is a little surprising that he wold even know who Rush is.  As all the blood Rushes to his head, turning his face beet red, he fails miserable.

You know this is bad when Randy the Dawg says, "Got anything else you like to do beside sing?" and when he says, "Stand up comedy...?" he shares a horrible joke that The Lovely Steph Leann laughs at.   In his post-audition interview, he says, "For 22 years, people told me I've got an incredible voice, but those three hated it..."

The next contestant is Romeo Diahn... BACKSTORY ALERT!!!... from the country of Liberia.  We hear of his escape from Liberia's civil war and his coming to America.  And now, he's living the dream... by going after American Idol.  I would expect that attendance for Liberian Idol is a bit low, as is the voting participation.

He's singing Bob Marley, I believe, and though he sounds alot like Bob Marley, I can't tell you I like it, because I don't like Bob Marley.  At.  All.  I hate reggae music.  Hate it.  And that was this.  Good voice, bad song.   Creepy Uncle Stevie and Randy the Dawg say YES, and J-Lo says YES, though reluctantly... more of a yes.

Naomi Gillies, 22, is asking Creepy Uncle Stevie to sing one of his songs, that being "Crazy".  Of course he says yes, and she starts... a little low, an alto voice to be sure, but seems to really have the hang of the song.  Three YES votes, including a "That's how you do it!" from Randy the Dawg.

And here is the bad voice montage, seeing NO votes over and over, and broken dreams and slumped shoulders and teary eyes.  And some middle fingers and even a camera push by a few upset Idol failures.  Seacrusty says, "This is too depressing... let's see if this next contestant can lift our spirits"... and this is going to be bad, as we go back to Geek Boy from the beginning of the episode, with the Coke shirt on.

Sometimes I get the feeling that when Seacrusty talks to certain people, he wants to just punch them in the face.  Like this guy, Ben Harrison.  His face is pink, he has a baby-face look, and his hair is all bushy and weird.  And he's singing "Somebody to Love" by Queen... and Campbell doesn't like it, as he starts to whimper.

Next shot is Ben walking out of the room to his family with no Golden Ticket in his hand.

The Last Audition of the Day... which gives us a BACKSTORY ALERT!!!  Idolite after Idolite comes out of the audition room with a NO vote.  But for Jessica Phillips, from Brooklyn, NY, this is more than just a dream.  Its an attempt at a better life.  Jessica's boo, D'Angelo, had a stroke last year, and she's been his caretaker since then, helping him walk and helping him learn to speak again and such.  In broken words, D'Angelo struggles on camera to say, "Honestly... I would be... no... no where... with not her..."  Wow.

I really want her to be good.  Don't do this to us, Idol.

"Again" by Faith Evans is her song of choice, as Jessica compose herself to jump right in... and sounds great.  Of course, this is remeniscent of last year's Chris Medina, dating his girl who was in an accident, and how he's taken care of her.  Jessica gets three YES votes--duuuuh!!!!--and comes out to D'Angelo who says, "I.... love you..."

45 Golden Tickets were handed out for Hollywood this week, making what, 988 so far?  Lots of Golden Tickets.

And now... on to Thursday's episode... and St. Louis!

Let's take you back to 2004, to Oklahoma.  There's a chick named Carrie, living in a country house, talking with a country accent, wondering about that American Idol contest coming up and how she might do.  Eight years later, a few things have changed.  From milking cows to winning Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs, Carrie Underwood is a true (last) Idol success story.

The cameras follow her to St. Louis, where she auditioned.  Jesus, take the wheel.   So, now we come back to The Arch City...




There is a crowd of 10,000, hoping to live the dream and become the next superstar, or at least, the next act signed to Jive Records with hopes of making a tolerable song.

Randy the Dawg, J-Lo and Creepy Uncle Steven Tyler sign autographs, take pics and kiss babies... and then take their Thrones of Audio Judgement.

BACKSTORY ALERT!!  Here's a dude named Johnny Keyser, who is all about his dad, who is all about his son Johnny.  JK is doing "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke, one of those songs that, if you are going to sing it, you gotta bringz it.  Its too powerful of a song to screw it up.  Johnny stops singing, and J-Lo says, "Keep singing!"  Truthfully, he does sound really good.  Really, really good.

This would be the kind of guy that Paula Abdul would be slipping her room key to.  Three YES votes and he is on his way!

And here's a montage of Hall of Shame Auditions--Statue of Liberty guy, Apple Girl, Falsetto Bearded Man and of course, William Hung.  As an homage to "The Artist", Idol does a "silent film" musical minute, letting us see judges reactions to terrible voices, without having us hear the terrible voices.  Um... thank you?

Rachelle Lamb, from Missouri is 27.. and... you know what this means?  BACKSTORY ALERT!!!  She's going through a divorce, and its a story like Britnee Kellogg from the above recap.  Rachelle is doing this for her daughter, she tells us.

And for added effect, Rachelle brings her daughter Madison into the audition room.  She tells us of her ex and its not a good ending.  She's going to sing "Find Somebody New" by Faith Hill, and immediately, I'm digging her voice.  Dedicated to her ex, Rachelle sounds awesome.

Creepy Uncle Steven thinks she's great.  J-Lo loves the passion.  Randy the Dawg loves the pure tone... which results in three YES votes!

The Lovely Steph Leann remarks, "I find it very interesting that we are seeing a lot of women who's former men have held them back... maybe a correlation between J-Lo and Marc Anthony, since they split up...?"  I concur.

Here's a bad voice, though!  Some dude named Oliver--last name unimportant because he ain't cutting it--is butchering Seal so bad that Heidi Klum is probably cracking up.  And we're seeing some terrible ones here... "Rolling in the Deep" is rolling in the crap with this guy.  And Fat Elvis is killing off "The Thunder Rolls".  Poor Garth.

Riee Kloeckner was bullied in high school.  TEARJERKING BACKSTORY ALERT!!!  From a small school, he was transferred to a big school, and was bullied by the bigger kids.  But, he joined the choir,  and all is well.  I'm waiting for the words "...and I came out of the closet..."

He's singing "Lean on Me", and it sounds pretty good.  He might be a gayer, thinner version of Chunky Beiber from last season.  The Lovely Steph Leann says he sounds like Jason Mraz... and three YES votes sends Gay Beiber on to Cali!

Creepy Uncle Steven is out in the audience, giving the next dude up some encouragement.  Ethan Jones, 22, has himself a bleeding forehead, accidentally scratching himself in the waiting room.  His dad was a rock band guy too, and spent alot of time in rehab for substance abuse.  Oh, wait, I forgot to warn you... BACKSTORY ALERT!!  Anyway, Ethan supports his dad, and is singing Edwin McCain's "I'll Be".   And thankfully, after that hard story, Ethan is good.  He's sporting a red, sunburned neck.  Not that that means anything, but I thought I'd mention it.

Truly, now that I'm not hearing "I'll Be" every five minutes on the radio, I can say that I dig that song quite a bit.  Edwin McCain has a great voice.

And we kick off Day Two with a montage of our varied contestants... and now, we got a guy who actually works at the hotel where the auditions are being held.  Apparently, he just decided to audition like, now.  Dressed in his serving gear, he's ready!  And he's flanked by a bunch of others that work here...

Mark Ingram, 28, is singing Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed", and starts strong, but hits a tough voice crack in the middle... and another.  The staff flanking him loved the song.  The judges however... not so much.  So when Mark Ingram starts singing again, it gets worse.  J-Lo even says, "I wanna say yes to you so bad... but I just can't."  And he sings another song, and it gets even worse.  Stop singing, Mark Ingram!  Go back to running the ball for the Saints!   Three NO votes, deservedly.

And our last audition of the day belongs to Lauren Grey, 22, complete with her own BACKSTORY ALERT!!  She has a famous family in her small town of Hardy, Arkansas--they own a one-stop wedding shop, with a grungy old dad who sets up weddings by day and sings in a band at night.  Her dad looks like an old, less boozy Eddie Van Halen.

She's doing some Adele, and nails it!  Booming voice, strong tone, and all the judges, The Lovely Steph Leann and myself--even Campbell--can dig it.  

Randy the Dawg's shirt looks like an Astro-Pop.  Just sayin'.

Anyway, Lauren Grey gets not three, but six YES votes.   Three of them, and three here at The Cabana...  good job.

So, that's St. Louis.  A total of 46 Golden Tickets were given out here, and that makes the grand total now around 250 or so.

Next week... its perhaps my favorite, if not a tie for first on my list... its Hollywood Week.  Where dreams are puffed up in auditions to be deflated and crushes in Round 2.  We even get the patented, "Give me one more chance, and I'll show you!!" said by someone who more than likely just got cut.

NEXT WEEK!!  Hollywood awaits.

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