One of the great things about missing the first two weeks of "American Idol" audition recapping is that I'm not even vaguely burnt out on "Idol" auditions even thought they're reaching their end on Thursday (January 31) night.
I'm not actually sure where tonight's auditions are emanating from, so this is gonna be a big mystery.
Sit back and enjoy the auditioning action...
8:00 p.m. ET. Oh right. Oklahoma City. Oklahoma, OK!
8:02 p.m. "When they see what we're bringing, this place will never be the same," Ryan Seacrest warns us ominously. I assume she's referring to Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.
8:03 p.m. We're looking for the next Carrie Underwood, apparently. And because we're some place pseudo-rural, Ryan is wearing his plaid workman shirt. He's salt-of-the-Earth, that one.
8:04 p.m. "Oklahoma. The Sooner State," Randy Jackson says as he arrives at the Devon Boathouse. Somebody read his briefing sheet.
8:04 p.m. I guess we're starting with newlywed Karl Skinner auditioned because the "Idol" bus came through Joplin, his hometown. Karl is a white guy. He enters carrying a guitar. Does that mean that he's going to be our next American Idol? "I'm gonna prove gingers have soul now," Karl threatens, before bursting into a vocally acceptable, soul-starved version of "I Feel Good." The judges laugh at Karl and ask him to play his guitar for them. The "Idol" judges like people to fit into their prescribed boxes. When Karl picks up his instrument, he sings his own song and he's... a perfectly acceptable person to listen to in a crowded bookshop if you're actually browsing and not paying attention to the performer. A conversation ensues over what counts as Karl "being himself." Randy suggests he could be a mascot. Nicki suggests Karl could replace Ryan Seacrest. Somehow, Karl ends up with four "Yes" votes. I have no idea what he was sent to Hollywood for. It wasn't for the singing. Or the songwriting. Or the guitar-playing. And his "This is 'American Idol'" intro wasn't all that great either...
8:09 p.m. Oooh. There's going to be a woman I'm going to be talking about all day tomorrow. With whom, pray tell?
8:12 p.m. The judges are maneuvering. This makes them seem human.
8:13 p.m. Time for some bad performers. Like Karl was so great. "Idol" doesn't even bother giving these freaks names and it's my policy that if the freaks don't get names, I don't have to acknowledge their pathetic humanity.
8:14 p.m. Meet 24-year-old Nate Tao. Both of his parents are deaf and he's an ASL teacher. His parents were initially resistant to his singing, but he thinks that if he makes it to Hollywood, this will validate the decision for them. Nate's interesting. I like him a lot as a personality. As a vocalist, his version for "For Once In My Life" isn't nearly as exciting as the judges pretend it was. It's not bad. But it's kinda bland and smiley and forgettable. Mariah says Nate did a "nice rendition." "I like your charismaaaaaaa," drawls Nicki. Randy suggests that Nate looked more like an accountant or a doctor or a lawyer. Because he's wearing a tie or because he's Asian, Randy? Four "Yes "votes for Nate. And Nate's father is very pleased. He teaches Ryan Seacrest how to say "I love you" and "Superstar."
8:22 p.m. Randy is annoyed by the acoustics.
8:22 p.m. Our next contestant is a 17-year-old dog/bear/puppet-thing named Oscar. He comes attached to the hand of a high-personality, mighty-attractive ventriloquist named Halie Hilburn. Oscar is my new favorite contestant in "American Idol" contestant. They're both auditioning and it threatens to be a duet. OK. I love Halie so much. She's exactly a good enough singer to make this charming and delightfully weird, especially when "Idol" puts up a chyron to ID Oscar, who's yodeling. Mariah wants to know how Halie and Oscar will perform on the road. Then Halie puts Oscar down and does 15 seconds solo, as Oscar rests on the floor in a dejected, crumpled heap. "I think Oscar's holding you back," Keith whispers. "You guys are going to have to sever the ties a little bit," Mariah says. Nicki votes "Yes" and she's joined by Keith and Mariah. Randy votes "No," but nobody cares. Oscar, who really doesn't look like a dog, is given to Ryan, as Celine Dion plays on the soundtrack. We soon see Oscar on the sidewalk with a "Will Yodel For Food" sign and then he ends up in the garbage.
8:32 p.m. Where do you go after Halie Hilburn? What's even the point? The men are polite and the women are polite and... then there's Zoanette Johnson. She's "a hugger and a fighter and a lover." Because Obama won reelection, she's doing the National Anthem for her song. One thing we can say with some confidence is that unlike Beyonce, Zoanette's not lip-synching. Or she's certainly not lip-synching to Beyonce. She requires some prompting on the lyrics. She also requires some prompting on the melody, but nobody's helping her there. It's definitely a high-authority cover and there are even one or two notes that she's hitting, not that I could tell you which ones. Keith is so pleased he falls out of his seat. She squeaks her way through a lengthy closing note and earns applause from Nicki Minaj. "You are a whole party all by yourself," Randy says. "I am obsessed with you," Nicki says. "Me too," Zoanette agrees. Zoanette's bitter Obama hasn't invited her to the White House. The judges vote unanimously and vote... "Yes." That's another weird Oklahoma City decision. "You've gotta work on your confidence," Ryan tells her.
8:42 p.m. Montage of people crying. It's unclear and irrelevant if they're crying from happiness or sadness. Most of the crying appears to be rejection-based, but not all. Oklahoma City is a town of drama queens, it seems.
8:43 p.m. We're hoping that Anastacia Freeman won't have emotions. Nope. She starts crying before she even enters the room. Why is she crying? Just because. And then she falls down. Just because. And Nicki Minaj greets her by calling her a "little ladybug." Just because. Anastacia is confident and tells everybody else to go home. I don't know what the point of this is. She's awful, but we're just humiliating a clumsy, emotionally unsteady young woman who doesn't know what "Unbreak My Heart" is supposed to sound like. The judges laugh at her, but then insist that they're not. "Did somebody tell you you should come audition for 'Idol'?" Randy asks. "I believe God told me," Anastacia replies. We get a reenactment of Anastacia divine interactions. So now "Idol" is mocking both actual religious prophets and lunatics who think God talks to them. "That's great if that's what happened," Mariah says. The judges vote "No" and send Anastacia back to God. "I will no longer listen to Mariah Carey and I never listened to Nicki Minaj, so that's no loss. I hear she worships the Devil anyway," Anastacia says. Well... OK.
8:54 p.m. We're closing the show with Kayden Stephenson, who says he's 16. He looks 12 or 13 and he has cystic fibrosis. His life expectancy is 35. He's got an incredibly upbeat attitude and he says that he never takes any day for granted. He's got a very sweet, pre-puberty high voice. It's not a great voice, but it's a good voice and with his angelic demeanor and story, it's a pointless to resist. Nicki compares him to "Baby Michael" and says she's inspired. Mariah says he's beyond inspiring and she wants to go into the studio with him right now. "I think that girls will fall on the floor when you walk in the room," Mariah says. They all vote "Yes." "Where are you getting this confidence from?" Ryan asks. "I guess I was born with it. I'm lucky," Kayden says. Awwww.
8:57 p.m. There were 45 Golden tickets given out. Then why did we see so many awful people? And speaking of awful people...
8:58 p.m. It's... Steven Tyler in blonde stripper drag. "Do I go through to Hollywood or what?" Tyler asks. He tears off the wig and, looking only slightly less feminine, he announces that he just came to wish them all luck.
8:59 p.m. Well, that'll haunt my dreams tonight.
Who'd you like tonight? Any new favorites?
Everything: American Idol
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