We’re in Charleston, South Carolina for this episode of American Idol. I’ve never been to Charleston, but I’ve been up in Greenville and it was quite lovely, even the hot boiled peanuts. Or as they say, ha ball peaaanuts… They’re best when procured from a gentleman on the side of a mountain road with a big boiling pot in a little trailer. Sublime.
We’ve got the stadium fill-in montage with partying contestants, and people claiming to have traveled thousands of miles to audition. For some reason, Idol likes to feature folks who are lacking in geographic skills. Why on Earth, with auditions in San Diego, would you instead opt for the South Carolina tryouts?
One of the Pips is auditioning. Actually, it’s a younger, reincarnated Pip, but he looks just like one of the Pips featured on one of the Geico commercials. He says he’s been called the black Clay Aiken. He’s also from the overacting showtune school of singing. Simon says he wouldn’t have been surprised if he did a magic trick in the middle of his song. Later he calls it 1970s cruise ship cabaret. Simon’s a big fan of the cruise ships. Yeah, no, you won’t see him in Hollywood.
We get another resident of Ablemarle NC auditioning. She loves Kellie Pickler, naturally. Somehow it’s comforting that she can’t stand the Sunday crowd coming into her restaurant for the all-you-can eat menu. Comforting because I know people up here in the north that work as waitresses as well and experience the same thing. Cheap tippers and rude customers know no geographic boundaries. I suspect, neither does the phrase “Got yer runnin’ shoes on?” This resident of Ablemarle comes across a bit like Christina Ricci. A very angry Christina Ricci. Simon likes that about her, but she’s still not going to Hollywood.
Next we meet a couple. They’re real sweet and they met on the AmericanIdol.com message boards. They met for the first time at auditions right by the garbage can. Do I even need to tell you that they were awful? My girlfriend notes that the guy’s vibrato sounds like the cowardly lion’s. Simon tells them to get a room. I’m just sad that AGAIN, someone with some modicum of web savvy is represented by a geek.
A brother and sister team is up next and they are bringing the ‘OW!’ factor. They do a lot of ‘bow-chica-wow-wow’ in their interviews. Remember the character Hollywood in Mannequin? Imagine him crossed with Rerun from What’s Happening. His outfit has different items to appeal to & represent the different judges. The thing is, the two of them can sing. They do a duet and Simon likes both of them. Both of them are through to Hollywood — we’ll see how they do on their own. They come running out doing the ‘Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!’ I will be sorely disappointed if they aren’t featured in Hollywood week.
The song that everyone butchers is the Carrie Underwood song “Before He Cheats.” There’s the cross-section of bad singers: weird girls, over-serious gay boys, seemingly stoned boys, black girls who just make up their own words that are even more violent than the original.
So we’ve got to see a ‘good’ singer next. Well, we at least get a featured singer next. She’s a cheerleader and teaches about abstinence. There’s obligatory ribbing between the guys about who needs an abstinence speech. So she gives one. It’s painful — “we’ve waited this long, why not wait five more YEARS until we get married?!” Sure, why not. To me, she sounds like a Disney princess. Simon thinks she sounds like an annoying girl singing in the bedroom. Simon also predicts that many will find her annoying. So, of course, she’s through. Here’s hoping she’s not the next Haley ’cause I wanted to smack her on a weekly basis. Simon predicts after a week in LA, she may be giving a different speech.
Next up is a girl named London. She put music on the back burner to take care of her father when he was dying of cancer, but she’s back now. To me, it sounds like she might have some bad wedding singer habits, but what do I know, she’s through.
I should mention at this point that there has been this running through this episode. A guy was going to audition first, but his wife went into labor. His wife came with him to auditions. So, he smartly took off to take her to the hospital. Since American Idol cameras came with him, and I can imagine that his wife wanted nothing else than to have cameras with her during this very special moment, I’m assuming at some point we’ll see him audition.
I’m a little disturbed by Randy Jackson discussing how the South will rise again, but that’s just me.
Next we have pretty Air Force girl. She flies really huge planes and will be singing “Black Velvet.” She’s not much of a performer, but her voice is good. The judges don’t think she’s ready, but let’s face it, she could fly there anytime she likes.
There’s strategy in where one puts their number. When one has a chest the size of our next contestant, she wisely decides to NOT place it on her chest. She’s confident, but I can’t stop looking at her chest. Simon tells her that the outfit didn’t work and the singing wasn’t good either. She says that her voice is amazing. She won’t hear that she wasn’t any good. She can’t believe that she’s not going to Hollywood.
We’ve got a spastic ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ doing the Jennifer Holliday/Hudson song from Dreamgirls. Spastic doesn’t even come close to describing the performance. He then transitions into angry contestant, and of course, he claims that it’s all because he’s too good for the show. He doesn’t want to be American Idol, he wants to be World Idol. So look out for Joshua, ’cause he’s coming for world entertainment domination.
They’re playing the title track from They Might Be Giants’ CD for kids ‘No!’ as they’re showing bad singers the door! Sweet!
New dad is back to audition, and he brought the wife and kid. Thank the good Lord above that he’s a decent singer. He does some weird stuff with his voice, though, that kills him. But he had to show off the new kid who was little and Churchill-like. I certainly hope that these new parents get themselves a copy of ‘No!’ for their new little one. If they don’t, that could be grounds for child abuse.
Twenty-three folks made it from South Carolina. Next we’re moving to Nebraska. Nebraska?! Ok, if they can hold auditions in Nebraska, what’s wrong with Milwaukee? We’ve at least got a Great Lake and an art museum that moves. Can Nebraska top that? I think not.