'American Idol' Kansas City: Simon is in love with KC
Night Two. We join our American Idol judges in Kansas City, where hopefully the good Midwestern girls know better than to show up in a bikini and try to suck face with Ryan Seacrest. But you never know... THIS... is AMERICAN IDOL [bah dah da-da-da-da-da-da bah duhhhhh]
Our first audition is Chelsea Marquardt. She sings "Without You" and she's another person who obviously has an instrument to work with but has no training and the wheels completely fall off when forced to sing acapella. Seriously, why do girls sing Mariah for their auditions? Have we learned nothing in 7 seasons? Simon compares her to a squalling cat that nosedives off the Empire State Building and Randy throws in the siren of the ambulance that is on the way to scrape the cat off the pavement. The women fall back on the "but you're PRETTY" comment, which always cracks me up. We'll call that "being Antonella'd." NEXT!
Ashley Anderson follows poor Chelsea and sings "Footprints in the Sand" by
Robin Sparkles Leona Lewis. Ashley is very good. Her control is great, she goes from low and smoky to light and airy without missing a beat. Nicely done, Ashley. Through unanimously.
Casey Carlson comes into her audition in boots and a scary babydoll dress but she does a nice version of "1000 Miles." She has a very musical theatre and/or country voice, as opposed to a pop voice, but that's cool. The judges love her, with her curly brown hair and wide smile and corn-fed good looks.
Our next ridiculous audition is Brian Hettler. Why do I say that before he sings? Because he is "classically" trained and has chest hair popping out of his black wife beater, which means he just spells humiliation and salty tears. He sings "Think" and it's predictably awful. He then has the common problem of insisting on singing something else even though the judges tell him not to. Man, have some dignity and get out of there. Plus, stop showing off your chest hair! Gross.
Crying Montage. A couple crying and I honestly don't know which one was rejected, a girl crying into her scarf (watch out for snot, girl), a ginger-haired girl who isn't really crying and just wants to be on camera, crying fedora girl, and a girl who cries like a little screaming kid who makes you worry she'll throw up because she's crying so hard. Nice.
Montage of Bad Singers: a nasally not-talented Clay Aiken singing "When You Say Nothing At All," a grown man who is just a scared little girl inside singing "Reflection," a guy who may have to eventually be on a registered list singing somethinig unrecognizable, and Dwayne Wayne singing "Amazing Grace" (that's the character from "A Different World," not the basketball player, for those of you keeping score at home).
22 year-old cutie spaz Von Smith
sings shouts "Over the Rainbow" and it's really too bad he chose this song because he can obviously sing but he's mostly just giving us shots of his uvula. Seriously, I think I saw a tonsil. The judges like his instrument but don't advise him to tone it down a little, which is weird. Von is through with flying colors.
Next up is Jason Castro's brother Michael Castro. Man, I forgot how so freaking cute Jason is. Lordy lordy. Michael is... not as cute. But hopefully he can sing. The fact that he just started singing like a month ago does not bode well, but his "In Love with a Girl" is not bad. He's through to Hollywood.
Matt Breitzke from Oklahoma is a big ol' teddy bear with a cute little boy. Awww! He sings "Ain't No Sunshine," which is such a phenomenal song. Matt tears it up, I can see him being really popular. Like a non-scary Sundance Head. The judges are split: no from Randy, yes from Kara and Paula and then a yes from Simon puts him through. In the hallway, he talks about being a welder and how he's a working person who just does what he does until he retires. I LOVE stories like this on Idol. Someone who just has a nice voice but who would never in a million years run off to LA to try to be a singer gets discovered at a cattle-call audition in Kansas City, Missouri. Heartwarming.
Our next terrible audition is Jasmine "Jazz" Joseph, who is this scary, lonely girl from a small town in Nebraska. This is one of the auditions that just hurts my heart because this girl is going to get crushed. She sings "Over the Rainbow" and it's so flat and she's just so earnest and you can just see her face fall when the judges don't have good reactions and she just walks out. Blargh.
Jessica Paige Furney is a cutie guitar-playing Lisa Loeb-glasses-having girl who lives with her 93 year-old grandmother in the Wizard of Oz Capital of the World. Oh man, I love this girl already. Jessica 4 Idol! She sings Janis Joplin's "Cry Baby" and she's all growly and soulful, it's fantastic. Her control is good and she just needs a little polish. Simon comments on her "small town girl, big dreams" marketability and you can just see the dollar signs in his eyes like he's freaking Scrooge McDuck. I heart Simon.
A pair of sisters are up next and... oh my goodness. Their names are Asia and India Morrison, which is hilarious because India is the relative size to Asia that the real country is to the real continent. What? You were all thinking it. After rapping about fast food, Asia sings (I think) "Chain of Fools" and it's terrible. But India sings "Love" and it's good. The nice thing is that Asia is not sad over being rejected, she just wants her sister to get through. That's very sweet. Awesome.
Jamar Rogers is next and he's adorable. He sings "California Dreamin" and oh my god, it's the black Clay Aiken. Seriously, close your eyes. He sounds just like him. Heh heh. Jamar is through to Hollywood.
Jamar's friend Danny Gokey is next. His story is that four weeks prior to the audition his wife passed away from a heart condition she was born with. Danny cries while talking about it and it's very sad. Poor guy. He sings "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and it's great. He makes the leaps into the falsetto really well. Funny that Jamar sounds like Clay Aiken and Danny sounds like Marvin Gaye. He is through unanimously, touted as one of the best they've seen so far. Cool. Good on you, Danny.
We've had too many good ones now, so it's time for a Bad Singer Montage. We get a scary redhead who may have Bells Palsy, a woman with some honest-to-god Ozarks teeth (seriously, that's just mean), and Chris Farley back from the dead and in drag. Yikes.
To save us from these wretched women is Anoop Desai and he sings "Thank You" by one of my favorite groups, Boyz II Men. The smoothest R&B voice comes out of this kid, holy cow. Seriously, it's like if Kumar got back from White Castle and could sing like Bryan McKnight. Awesome, I love him. The judges send him flying through.
We now get one of my favorite features of the initial audition rounds: Make People Sing a Song They Don't Know So We Can Make a Montage. Our pick this week is "Signed, Sealed and Delivered," though it took me a good 20 seconds to figure that out from the first freaky girl. She could floss with a tree branch. Dear lord.
We have, in order, Freaky Girl, a pimp, the man who is actually a scared little girl on the inside, Paul Kim from season 6, a hippie, Paul Kim again, some drill team members, a hot girl with a bitchin' afro, two Clay Aikens, the scared little girl man again, another pimp, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, one of the Clay Aikens again, Billy Ray Cyrus, and then SIMULTANEOUSLY your scary spinster aunt, Brian "Chest Hair" Hettler and Scared-Little-Girl Man, then a dancer, a screamer, the entire stadium, Paula bouncing like a lunatic, the dancing banana man, cute Jessica Furney, two extras from "Grease," Neal from Real World London, Michael Jackson meets the Candyman, Billy Ray again, somebody's dad, some sorority girls and finally Jazz Joseph looking like a chubby version of Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Andrew Lang brings in two terrifying cheerleaders to cheer for him before he sings. I think they are Frenchie Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal. This guy looks like the sophisticated sex robot sent back through time to change the future for one lucky lady. Seriously. He sings "My Girl" and he tries too hard. He can obviously sing but he jazzes it up too much. Either way, he can sing. The judges don't like how theatrical he is, which is too bad because if he could tone it down a little he'd be okay. They advise him to do musical theatre. They could've said the same thing to Von Smith but they put Von through and not Andrew. Lame.
Our next guy is Asa Barnes, a high school band director who is REALLY good looking. Wow, I bet every girl in band (and some boys) are completely hot for teacher. He is going to be POPULAR in this competition, I hope he makes it to the Top 24. He sings "The Way You Make Me Feel" and again with the Center Stage! Mmmm, Cooper Nielson. Anyway... Asa is really good. He starts it a little high for my taste, but it's good. The judges love him.
Our next audition is a guy named Michael Nicewonder. He sings an original song that gives us kind of a peek into his mentality of the phantom that lives in the catacombs and is obsessed with the pretty girl who can sing and eventually kidnaps her so she'll stay with him FOR-EV-ER. Except not handsome like Gerard Butler. He also talks about some bridge-building and then holding someone's heart and I hope he doesn't mean literally because that makes me think of Lenny and the bunnies. He also tells us that his songs are for his mom and Paula astutely points out that these are not mother-son songs. Well, they are sometimes, Paula. Maybe he'll sleep with his mom and then blind himself.
Next is Dennis Brigham, who may also be Meshach Taylor from the Mannequin movies and "Designing Women." He sings "With You" and it's too nasally. When he gets a negative comment from Simon, he launches into something else. Like I said before... just have some dignity and exit the area. Instead, he begs and says he "can sing very good." Paula says yes, Simon says no, Randy says yes and Kara says yes. Huh. I wasn't that impressed. Nerdy Andrew Lang was better than this guy. Harumph.
As the sun sets, we get Mia Conley, who kept falling asleep in the waiting room and may be high on something. She sings "Loving You" and it's another typical bad audition. She thinks she can hit Mariah-level high notes, which she cannot. She warns that God is going to get the judges. Oh dear.
The last contestant of the day is Lil Rounds. She is a mother of 3 whose apartment was leveled by a tornado. She has 3 cutie-patootie kids and an adorable husband. I hope she can sing. She sings "All I Do" and it's good. Very powerful. Yay Lil! Randy compares her to a mixture of Fantasia and Mary J. Blige. I can see that. She's through unanimously. Cool.
Montage of Golden Tickets set to Fantasia's "I Believe." Very uplifting. I wish we got to see more of the "yesses" and less of the trainwrecks. Ah well. Tune in next week for more cities, guys!