Thursday, January 18, 2007

American Idol, Seattle: Wha-huh?

If I get up to sing in front of people, and in the course of doing so, sound like a dinosaur passing a kidney stone while Freddy Krueger runs his fingernails down a chalkboard and two robots encased in Styrofoam wrestle on bubble wrap in a porta-johnny, I would not be surprised to be told that perhaps singing was not what I should be doing with my life.

That's common sense, isn't it?

I figured that by the sixth season of "American Idol," hopeful candidates would have an idea of what the judges are looking for. Having seen the first episodes so far, I can say that sadly, this is not the case.

Honest to God, I can't fathom why some of these people show up. I haven't decided what the impetus behind dragging themselves to humiliate themselves in front of millions of people could possibly be.

Is it the chance to be on TV?

Do they really think they're that good?

Did they lose a bet?

I know people in this country are encouraged to follow their dreams, but having a dream does not mean that it will come true. I think it's a terrific form of inspiration; something to work toward because you love it.

Dreaming of being, say, a blogging sex symbol is certainly something to shoot for, but is it ever going to happen for me? Not unless they start a three-drink minimum for the Internet.

I admire the chutzpah some contestants have. To a point. I mean, you clearly have to have a pair to say with a straight face that you are a terrific singer when in point of fact, you aren't. By a long shot.

I myself tend to be on the timid side when it comes to confidence about my creative endeavors, so I honestly don't know if people saying they sound like Mariah Carey when they sound like Steve Urkel is a manifestation of overconfidence or a sign of chemical imbalance.

Here are some things I noticed from last night's episode, which featured a bevy of weirdos from planet Zebtar. The first thing is that's it's really hard not to be mean talking about the contestants. I try to root for the underdog, but for the love of God, country and Krispy Kremes, people, give me something to work with.

Brandon Groves -- a repeat offender, this year he came dressed in Uncle Sam-glam attire. He got a very quick "no" from the judges.

Jennifer Chapton (The Hotness) -- Yes, that's her nickname. Not only does she sport that odd cosmetic fashion of wearing lip liner five shades darker than her lipstick (totally The Hotness), but she doesn't take no for an answer, continuing to sing for a year or two after Simon said "no." When spurned by the judges, she broke into a rapid-fire, double-negative-infused speech pattern that you usually hear on "The Jerry Springer Show."

"Opinion don't mean nothin'. Cuz you don't leave no stone unturned."

"He probably listens to that back-country Englishman sheep stuff."

Now as they go into a commercial, Seacrest intones that "Darwin Reedy gets some much-needed support from her mother." The clip shows a platinum blonde in desperate need of a, uh, foundation garment. Nice touch, American Idol.

I really have to stop asking "How bad can they be?" when they show clips before commercial breaks. That's like saying "Well, at least it's not raining" when you're stranded somewhere on a sitcom.

By now I'm feeling bad for laughing at the gag, and now I'm bummed because Amy, the singer with a cold you really wanted to do well, really didn't.

Then we get a montage of stupefyingly craptacular singing, including the "DIE! DIE! DIE!" guy.

And now we meet Darwin Reedy. Her friends call her "Mischa." She has platinum blond hair, black glasses and lipstick so you-can-see-it-from-Pluto-even-though-Pluto-isn't-considered-a-planet-anymore red, it brings to mind the following exchange from "Scrubs":

Elliot: Dr. Cox, does this lipstick make me look like a clown?

Dr. Cox: Why no, Barbie, no ... It makes you look like a prostitute who caters exclusively TO clowns.

The producers either planted her or soiled themselves when they met her.

"I've written a novella, actually, about a singing competition. Actually, there's a character inspired by you, Simon." Wow. Someone who overuses the word "actually" more than I do.

Randy suggests that Mischa bring in her mom, and after she comes in, we see Paula mouth "Oh, my God." This seriously has to be a put-on. After tanking with her rendition of "Don't Cha" by The Pussycat Dolls ("Don't you wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?"), she offers to try part of "Sweet Home Alabama."

She accepts the rejection, and I get a commercial break.

Well, it can only get better from here, right?

Third time was the charm for Tommy Daniels. He got a yes from all three, plus a shoutout from Randy for his tight 'fro. It is indeed a splendid 'fro. If the Lord had intended for me to have a 'fro, I like to think it would be like that one.

Melissa Stavros -- She goes by her middle name, Carlene, but Simon calls her Melissa. Randy asks her to finish this song: "I like ..."

And BAM, she's off into "Baby Got Back" without hesitation. I admire the hell out of that. For her real audition, she chooses a Christina Aguilera song. No dice.

The Malakars are pretty good.

Oh dear, this is a two-hour episode. I can only last for the first hour. At least in one sitting. Maybe I should just stick with the highlights.


Let's see, Nick Zitzmann. Oh boy. Eeesh. No.


You know, I was going to just stick it out for Day 2, but after they came back, they showed the efforts of new friends Kenneth Briggs and Jonathan Jayne.

"Simon, you can kiss my --- because I do NOT look like a monkey."


Well, at least it's not raining.

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