American Idol parades through the Big Easy

by Ruth Anne Boulet

Tonight’s post-workout dinner of hot dogs & beer is fitting sustenance for two hours of American Idol. Hot dogs — for their carny goodness. Beer because, well, it’s Thursday and in Milwaukee, that means I’m down already.

Don’t judge. I had a salad with my lunch & I’m one of those freaks that likes salad greens without dressing.

Why am I writing this? Oh, yes, American Idol. Tonight we’re treated to the trials & tribulations of great singers from New Orleans. I’m fully expecting at least one Katrina story. I’m hopeful that at least one guy auditions in drag. Fingers crossed.

It’s only an hour tonight? Seriously? Oh that’s the best thing I’ve heard all week!

Instead of a guy in drag, we start with a guy who’s seriously unhinged. Why is it that no one sings the song Smile when they’re happy? I’d settle for stable at this point. Should that really be the focus, Idol? Hardly the Laissez les bonne temps roulez attitude. Learn to say it, Seacrest. It’s not that hard.

First up is Jordan Dorsey, a music teacher.  Thankfully he’s not one of those ‘music teachers’ that’s really crappy. He’s pretty good & likable. What else is likable is the whole pink vibe of the set & J Lo’s dress. Also likable is Jordan’s ability to look like a Muppet when he screams. The entire top of his head unhinges & swings back. Impressive.

Back from the break I learn that most N’Awlins residents live in a swamp. At least, the crazy singers do, I guess, from their edit. Of course, after a montage of the delusional, Idol gives us a half-way decent singer. Sarah’s kind of got a Pink rasp to her voice that gets her a golden ticket.

Next up is a Cuban shipbuilder, Jovany Barretto. He’s all crushing on Jennifer Lopez. His strategy is to take his shirt off cause his shipbuilder buddies don’t think he’ll do it. He’s a Latin belter. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles other genres, if Idol will be doing that this year. He does take his shirt off. Take that shipbuilder buddies. And The Situation.

Did you know that Randy Jackson is a Louisiana native? He is! One contestant brings in some pictures from high school because her relative was Randy’s high school football coach. Jacqueline Dupree thankfully has a decent voice. No need for coach to beat down Randy for sending her away empty-handed.

Brett Lowenstern got bullied, but now he’s happy in his own shell. That’s great Brett! (Side note, are kids really getting bullied more, or are they just wussier? Discuss.) He’s singing Bohemian Rhapsody for us. He’s pretty good, especially for a 16 year old. His golden ticket is a representation of believing in himself. I’ll note again that talent has something to do with it. Don’t forget that part.

Singing talent is not what Gabriel Franks possesses. He decides to sing Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. He’s confident, that’s for sure. His facial expressions were kind of psychotic. I’m thinking he’s part of a radio contest to see if you can get on the show.

Alex Attardo went to Idol Camp. He’s singing Proud Mary. Theoretically. Idol Camp didn’t help him. Just like the American Idol Wii game won’t help either. He’s shocked when Randy tells him he’s horrible.

Jacee Badeaux is 15 and doesn’t even look that old. He looks like he’s auditioning for a stage revival of Stand By Me. He’s singing Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. Fitting. He’s got that little kid tone to his voice, which I don’t find appealing, but he’s got a decent voice. I just want him to get through puberty and lose the Shawn Cassidy high lilt. He sounds like he should be on the Disney Channel. That’s great & all for the kids, but I’m done with my beer & I didn’t need a sugar chaser.

Paris Tassin has a daughter with hearing aids. That’s it? That’s the tragedy of the night? Lots of people live with hearing loss and have really great, fulfilling lives… She sings a Carrie Underwood song & makes J Lo cry. Of course she’s going to Hollywood.  Where she’ll spend even less time with her daughter.  For a chance at a really demanding career. Good luck with that. Hopefully she loves the business of singing as much as actually singing.

While I’m glad for the content-packed hour, I’m disappointed in the lack of drag. Come on! Guys did drag for the Saints when the won the Super Bowl last year. You can’t tell me there weren’t ANY guys in dresses auditioning? Doubtful.

We’ll see how many of this group make it through Hollywood. Next week, hello Milwaukee!