The MVP of the Houston auditions was an adorable man named Commander Burbank. There I was expecting one of Ryan Seacrest’s typical openings, and then BAM! International Space Station! Commander Burbank, sorta/kinda floating in a little transmission room, smiled at the camera and was like, “So this is Idol … in Space!” And my heart was stolen for good.
Then Ryan was back on camera, obviously loving every moment of this. I’m assuming this has been a lifelong dream for him – working your ass off until a show gets so big that this measly Earth can’t contain it anymore. Once your show reaches Space, Mission Control should just pack up and call it a day because there’s no outdoing that. Ryan Seacrest, this was the pinnacle of your career. You’ll remember this as the beginning of the long end. Wow, I just went into depress-mode there. Sorry. I worry about Ryan. He’s like the glue that keeps the entertainment industry from spiraling apart.
So Houston. Right. Houston, by way of Galveston, a delightful town famous for a tragic hurricane and home to heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson. Musical talent, though? Not so high on the list. Idol totally backstabbed you, Houston. In Space. Girls ruled the night in both talent and as the impetus for the judges to snipe like children. The men in Houston were special, for lack of a better word. Too bad. All the good ones must be in space like Commander Burbank. Uncle Steven kicked off the hour by woefully saying, “It’s so hard for me to tell somebody they suck.” Yeah, we noticed.
This … is … American Idol! In Space!
Not as Cool as Commander Burbank but Pretty Darn Close
Skylar Laine likes to shoot guns and ride ATVs. Aw, shucks, Idol, don’t scare Ryan! Her family runs a little grocery store where she works, and her grandpa couldn’t even describe how proud he was of her. Nuts of wonder, I’ve always been a soft touch for proud grandpas. Skylar said that she’s trying out so she can take care of her family and their little shop, and the whole segment was a delightful gem of country values. She sang “Hell on Heels” for the judges, and wow, what a little spitfire she is. Once the head-tossing, finger-shaking, and country-growling subsided, the judges gave her a Golden Ticket. Then Skylar’s incredibly tall friend came into the audition room because, surprise, she has a huge crush on Uncle Steven. He checked her age first to make sure he wasn’t breaking any laws and gave her a big hug. I love that Uncle Steven feels the need to confirm ages now. That’s totally reassuring.
Baylie Brown is back! OMG, do you remember Baylie Brown? So much promise, so much young talent, and then she was all but shanked by those horrid Jersey girls Antonella and Amanda. And speaking of which, remember Antonella, the one with the nude pictures? Holy guacamole, she was bad! For those of you who don’t remember Season 6 like it was yesterday, poor little Baylie ended up in the group round with two of the worst people ever, and there bickering and sniping ended up steamrolling Baylie’s chances. It was very controversial and a big deal in the Idol Universe at that time. People still talk about Baylie Brown’s elimination. Behold the drama as it unfolded five years ago …
So, yeah. Baylie was a silly 16-year-old girl who let the awful-twins get in her head so much that she forgot the words. Is she older and wiser now? Well, she definitely hasn't forgotten about “those girls from New Jersey.” That was the first thing she mentioned when we saw her older face and darker hair. Fortunately, Baylie sings even better now. Her voice rang clear as bell during her audition, and Randy even pretended to remember her by saying that she’s improved. We’ll see if Baylie has more luck in Hollywood this year.
Kristine Osorio is 28, ancient in Idol years, so the Houston auditions were her last chance. I wanted to squeeze her through the TV in a bear hug because, seriously, an adult! With kids and a real house and probably all kinds of debt. That’s what I call an American Idol (In Space!), Dawgs. Years ago, Kristine formed a band with her now ex-husband, then (as men do) he impregnated her with three kids – at different times, of course – and she gave up on her dreams. But now, with the attorney bills stacking up, Kristine decided to do something just for her for once in her life. Instead of paying her divorce attorney, she bought a plane ticket to Texas so she could audition for Idol. That could have turned out very badly, Kristine. You’re lucky. I’ll just count my lucky stars that she didn’t drop out of high school. She auditioned for the judges, and Hallelujah, it was awesome. Her voice was raw, powerful, and infused with 28 years of experience. I wish the best for this lady. I really do.
Cortez Shaw is a dreamboat, I must say. Very handsome. Very handsome, indeed. Hmm … Okay! Cortez works his way through college as a warehouse laborer, and he understands that life is a series of hard knocks that keep pushing you down. He told us some inspiring stuff about hard work and determination and his single mom who kept him motivated. We get it, Cortez. You are the American Story, the Ideal Idol, the Lone Sexy Man in a Sea of Women (In Space). Cortez sang Adele’s “Someone Like You” for his audition, only he put his own spin on it. It sounded a bit like a remix of the original, but he stayed faithful enough to the melody that I’m not offended on behalf of Adele. He has great range and charisma. I’m pretty sure J. Lo is already halfway in love with him.
Ramiro Garcia was born without ears. Things worked out, though, so don’t worry about him. A worship leader at a Houston church, Ramiro is the apple of his family’s collective eye. “He sing in another level – different to this world,” said his dad, blinking away tears. Awww. I don’t believe Papa Garcia would ever lie to me. Put him through to Hollywood! Ramiro sang “Amazing Grace / Chains Are Broken” to the judges with all the conviction that probably makes him a great worship leader. I thought it was a little shouty, to be honest, but Papa Garcia approves, and arguing with him is among the Seven Deadly Sins. The judges slobbered all over the desk at Ramiro’s voice, Steven admired Ramiro’s “insides,” and YO, YO, YO! He’s going to Hollywood!
Battle of the Sexes
|Girls rule. Boys drool.|
Every season, Idol channels its inner 8-year-old child and manufactures some girl vs. boy drama in at least one city. Houston got the honors this year. I’m totally in J. Lo’s corner this season. I think we witnessed last night exactly what happened to Paula Abdul’s sanity. J. Lo started off the auditions as this cool, composed diva, and by the end of the day, she was pounding her head against the desk and muttering, “Is this serious? Is this serious? Am I dreaming?” Curse you, Uncle Steven and Randy. J. Lo deserves better!
The shenanigans started when J. Lo liked three girls that the guys rejected. Randy kept saying that they weren’t ready, and J. Lo gaped at him and shrieked things like, “Are you crazy? You finally say a complete sentence, and it’s that? I hate you forever, Randy Jackson!” I don’t know what Uncle Steven’s aim was at this point. He lives in his own world sometimes. From what I heard, all three girls had great voices, but maybe we missed something? I don’t know. All that matters is that J. Lo was upset. And when J. Lo’s upset, a personal assistant probably has to shine all of her shoes without dinner.
Then we saw the truly wretched audition of Linda Williams, who never saw a note or vocal run she didn’t like in “Fallin’.” It was all J. Lo could do not to laugh in the woman’s face. The vocal was a hot mess. J. Lo was totally right, but the talking cat and dog in the room with her didn’t agree. Linda finished up the audition and breathed, “I’m about to pee myself,” and without missing a beat, Uncle Steven said, “Go right ahead.” EW! Who are these people? The guys voted Linda through, leaving J. Lo aghast at the injustice of it all. She glared at the men and snapped, “That was awful. That was awful.” I’m really glad J. Lo didn’t have to experience The Rise and Fall of Bikini Girl. She probably would have punched the girl. Don’t be fooled by the rocks that she’s got, Dawgs. She’s still Jenny from the block.
And Now, The Bad Auditions Illustrated Through a Series of Dramatic Quotes:
“Um, all the camera action in my face.”
Phong Vu’s response to Ryan about his favorite part of being on Idol
“The energy, the emotion, the sympathy. I feel the pain. It’s coming through me. I wanna channel it back to you. Toni Braxton, unbreak my heart.”
Phong Vu to the judges
“Your hands are sweaty.”
Ryan to Phong Vu
“Randy, Jennifer, Steven – grant me the power to bring revolution to the world.”
“I want to be your age one day, Steven.”
“I wrote ‘Dream On’ back when the Dead Sea was still sick.”
“No, no, no, no!”
Randy in response to Alejandro’s audition
“The revolution is not over. Not ‘til I SAY it’s over.”
Nuts of wonder, Dawgs. By the way, Idol, I totally heard the gong you played when Phong Vu walked into the audition room. Just because you’re in Space doesn’t mean the laws of common decency don’t apply. What is UP with Idol and Asian Americans?
I’m ready for Hollywood Week. These auditions are so tedious. Any favorites yet, Dawgs? Is Idol better or worse in Space? Have a great weekend, and for the love of Ryan Seacrest, leave something in the comments so I know you’re here! Please? Pretty please? Perhaps I’ll bribe you with kittens …