Thursday, February 7, 2013

Oklahoma City Auditions: "She worships the devil anyway, I heard."

Bwahahaha! You thought I'd forgotten about the Oklahoma City auditions, didn't you? No such luck, Dawgs. For an episode that only featured about 6 legitimate (I use the word "legitimate" loosely) contestants, it packed more cray-cray than a crayfish boat.

The Oklahoma City auditions taught us 3 things:

1. Idol has committed unspeakable crimes at least once against a puppet.
2. Keith Urban probably weighs the same as a feather.
3. The only thing Idol knows about Oklahoma is this ...

To be fair, that's all I know about Oklahoma, too. Oh, stereotypes! How you form our everyday perceptions! This ... is American Idol!

Overly excited ginger elf Karl Skinner was picked up by the Idol bus on its small town audition tour. I truly believe that Karl lives on caffeine and candy canes alone. He never stopped moving during his audition. First, he danced through a hyper "I Feel Good" with all the joy of a child swimming in a pool of gumdrops. Randy immediately started repeating "I love this guy!" over and over the way that Randy does. Then they asked Karl to sing something else, so he broke out his guitar and sang an original tune. Strangely, he had maybe a bit of talent? That surprised me. You know what else surprised me? Karl's use of words that aren't words. "I wanna be uncomparable." Ugh. I wonder if Santa will let Karl ride his sleigh to Hollywood.

My favorite contestant of the night was Nate Tau, who's parents are DEAF. This revelation made me so emotional. Singing is the one thing Nate loves to do more than anything, and his parents will NEVER hear it. Isn't that tragic? Nate sang "For Once in My Life", and it was effortlessly pleasing. Great tone, great range, nice kid, cute face. I genuinely like Nate Tau, and that freaking sucks because Idol will ruin it. Idol ruins everything.

There was a disturbing segment in which a ventriloquist named Haley brought her yodeling puppet Oscar to the audition and sang a duet with him. The judges were like, "We'll take you, but you'll have to let us dispose of the puppet." After separating Oscar from his ONLY FRIEND AND GUARDIAN, they made him beg for food on the streets and then threw him in a dumpster. So yes, now we must add PUPPET MURDER to Idol's long list of sins. No wonder the Cookie Monster stress eats.

Pictured: One of the lucky few.
During this, the final audition episode of the season, the amoral a-holes making up the Idol production team must have decided they hadn't exploited enough mentally ill people. After all, they still have to fill the quota for the pact they made with Lucifer on that rainy night so long ago. There was Zoanette Johnson, a rambling woman who kept flashing her underwear and may or may not be stalking the President of the United States. I really couldn't tell with all the yimmer yammer expelling from her mouth hole. I have no words for Zoanette's audition, but you're more than welcome to WATCH it again and again (and again and again) below:

The weight of her awfultastic singing forced featherweight Keith Urban OUT OF HIS CHAIR. So the judges were left with a "difficult" decision.

No. This is an EASY decision.
Did they send Zoanette on her merry way or give her a golden ticket? I think the answer to that may give you a rage blackout. So CUPCAKES. They chose CUPCAKES!

Anastacia Freeman started crying during her interview with Ryan. She didn't have a sob story to go along with the tears, so I knew she was doomed. Her rendition of "Unbreak My Heart" was awful. Just the worst. The judges asked her why she auditioned, and then things got incredibly weird. "Actually, I believe God told me to come up here and audition." So the judges slowly backed away and basically told Anastacia that God had Punked her, and then out in the parking lot, Anastacia accused Nicki of devil worship. The segment was best summed up by Randall T. Jackson V, who said, "I don't know. That was strange, yo." Yo, indeed.

16-year-old Kayden Stephens made me cry my own freaking tears when he talked about having cystic fibrosis. Nuts of ... You know, I can't even write about this. It's too much. Kayden sang "I Wish", and Nicki thought he sounded like a baby Michael. The judges talked about how inspired that were, and ... damn it, I CAN'T. Okay? I just can't write about Kayden's disease. He's a nice boy, though. Very positive. And his voice hasn't changed yet, so he sounded like a little angel.

And that wrapped up the audition episode ... until Uncle Steven showed up in drag! UNCLE STEVEN! I can't decide if he's ugly or pretty as a woman. Maybe a combo of both? IDK. Who else misses his rambling streams of nonsense?

That brings the audition episodes to a close! FINALLY. Now there are all kinds of hijinks these reality TV "stars" can get into during the Hollywood rounds. Will Idol ever be held accountable for the murder of Oscar the Puppet? Does Nicki Minaj, in fact, worship the devil? Cupcakes or no cupcakes? There are so many questions!

Get ready for my Hollywood recaps. They should be more interesting than this. I hope.

In the words of Nicki Minaj, my new spirit sister: "The answer's no, but I love you."

Seacrest out!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

San Antonio & Long Beach Auditions: "That bathroom has killer acoustics."

Special note to my loyal readers: I was a horrible cow and didn't write any recaps for last week. I have no excuses, nor do I have any regrets. Those auditions were boring, uninspiring, and unworthy of the Great Idol Trainwreck we hold so dear. But I'm back now! Yay! Forgive me if you care enough to be disappointed! 

Last night's episode featured the auditions from San Antonio and Long Beach in a 2-hour long marathon of I'M TIRED OF THE AUDITIONS ALREADY. What happened, Dawgs? This used to be one of my favorite parts of the season. Now I'm just counting the days to Hollywood, wasting away with only the memories of past seasons to sustain me. I feel like I've seen all of these auditions before. We know what bad singers sound like. We know what good singers sound like. They're all morphing together into one incomprehensible Idol Blob that's seriously screwing with my memory and state of well-being. So I don't think I'm overstating things when I come to this conclusion:

American Idol is trying to kill me.

You read it here first, Dawgs.

The most notable parts of the San Antonio segment were Keith's breakfast cinnamon roll (which Randy clearly coveted) and Nicki Minaj's purple plaid hat (I like purple). I suppose there were some singers, too, but I need to consult my notes to recall them. The score is thus: Breakfast Sweets: 1, Your Possible Future American Idol: 0.

I'm skipping the boring stuff in this review. And "stuff" may apply to actual contestants. Sorry if I skip over your favorite.

Vincent Powell, dressed in - I'm thinking - jodhpurs, was so excited to meet Mariah Carey because he loves her. He went to Hollywood last season, but don't ask me to remember him. The judges adored his rendition of "Rock Me, Baby", which was the closest to blues singing I've heard on Idol in some time. Jodhpurs. Was he wearing them? Do I have the wrong word? These are jodhpurs. Yes, that's exactly it. I'll send my application to Vogue with haste.

Irritating brothers David & Derek Bacerott must have paid Idol all kinds of bucks to televise them trolling the judges. They sang like the bastard 90s love-child of every Boyz 2 Men member and Jon Secada if it was born with the tonal quality of a constipated whale. "There's a basic rule to harmonizing," Mariah carefully said, "which is to stay on pitch so the other person can stay on pitch, too." In the face of criticism, the Bacerott brothers turned contrary. Derek called the judges liars. Every time the judges spoke, one of the brothers would contradict them. They would make excellent lawyers, and I almost mean that as a compliment. Randy told them to work on their attitudes, and they were like, "We have great attitudes." By the time The Brothers Bacerott left, the judges seemed helpless with confusion. Keith, the cheeky kangaroo, quipped to the producers, "You guys didn't see that going as well as it did, did you?"

Struggling single parent Savannah Votion impressed the judges when she sang "At Last". I might be able to comment on the audition if she hadn't worn that black spangly bikini top thing. I'm not making this up, Dawgs. Her belly was EVERYWHERE. Like, it wasn't a particularly large belly. It was a NICE belly. I wish my belly looked like that. But it was just so ... THERE, you know? Like it was antagonizing me. So, sorry Savannah Votion, don't distract me with your fabulous abs next time.

Face-puller Ann Difani pulled some faces when Randy tracked her down at a University of Arkansas football game. I don't know. It must not have been a very important game because at least a quarter of the seats were empty? Sorry, University of Arkansas. So Ann pulled every face in face-pulling nation while she sang Faith Hill's "Stronger". To be fair, her voice sounded pretty, probably because of the faces. Randy was so enamored  by Ann's marriage that he started hooting and hollering (the way Randy does) about their Great American Love Story. Randall W. Jackson III: True Romantic. Ann's audition featured one of the episodes best exchanges.
Keith: There's a lot of Faith in there. 
Ann: Yep. A lot of passion.
Mariah: I think he meant Hill.
You know Mariah doodles sarcastic sketches on the contestant info sheets when they annoy her. Passive aggressive doodling - that's how Mariah rolls.

There once was a creature named Papa Peachez who liked to dance and worked to help homeless people. He was very excited when The Great American Idol auditions rolled into his village on its grand stallion named Ryan Seacrest. Papa Peachez wrote an original song for his audition. He wanted to spread the wonder and glory of music. This was his moment! So Papa Peachez sang ... like a DEMON pulled from the DEPTHS OF HELL. Did I miss something, Dawgs? Why did the judges go gaga over Papa Peachez's unsettling voice. It was so deep and emotionless, like the nightmares of a million children. Nicki thought he was a superstar? Randy caved and let him advance to Hollywood, and I just gaped at the television. My baby woke up from a dead sleep and cried when Papa Peachez started singing. For real. That really happened. Nuts of wonder.

On a happy note, Mariah Fan #58472617387 Adam Sanders delivered a gorgeous, soulful rendition of "I'd Rather Go Blind". I must have enjoyed his voice because this is the direct quote from my notes: "He is, like, vomiting soul." I'm so classy. Anyway, Adam was so wonderful that the judges had nothing to say, which led to one of Ryan's best quotes of the night: "And for once, Nicki is speechless." OMG SING FOREVER ADAM SANDERS PLEASE!

The Long Beach auditions took place aboard the Queen Mary. This means that everyone and their brother thought it would be just OH SO CLEVER to wear a sailor hat. Who am I kidding? I would have worn one, too. We learned 2 things from the Long Beach auditions:

  1. Big ships do, in fact, have foghorns. The Idol cast, crew, and contestants apparently weren't aware of that. The more you know,  young souls. The more you know.
  2. Even divas like Mariah Carey get stuck in traffic. Celebrities! They're just like us!
The first two auditions were kind of sad. Shubha Vedula had a pretty voice and all, but the boy judges couldn't remember her name. They called her Petulla. It's like they went to name a flower and stopped caring. Then Brian Martinez proved to America that he was conned by what I can only image was a trickster homeless con man with a vendetta against mild-mannered guys named Brian. In a RESTROOM, this man claimed to be a music producer and urged Brian to try out for American Idol. Why was Brian singing in a public restroom? We were never told! Brian sang "You'll Be in My Heart" in probably the most ghastly way imaginable, leading Keith to quip, "That bathroom has killer acoustics." LOL - I died. Upon leaving the audition room, and walking past his entourage with their signs and happy faces, Brian muttered, "This wasn't a good experience for me." 

Army veteran Matt Farmer shouted "A Change is Gonna Come", and the judges loved it. I wasn't impressed, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. His audition was followed up by Stephanie Sanson, a pretty girl with purple hair who intentionally/unintentionally (?) lost her bananas on national television by SCREAMING Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" at the judges. Not only did she scream. Oh no. Stephanie carved a warpath through the audition room, screaming at every corner, screaming at every wall like the spirit of Beelzebub was trying to escape from her body. Frightened, the judges tried to talk her down. But no, Stephanie would not be silenced. Screaming the whole time, she flipped off the judges and blazed out of the audition room. It was bizarre but strangely captivating. I hope I think she was playing a prank. 

Jesaiah Baer's audition was interrupted by a fire alarm. Did you notice how entitled the Idol cast and crew acted about having to evacuate the boat? They were all, "What? WE actually have to move? But we're Idol!" I'd like them to hedge like that to a FIERY INFERNO. Nuts of wonder. Jesaiah got an easy ticket to Hollywood after scatting her way through "Settle Down". When asked about the harrowing fire experience, Jesaiah reasoned, "The boat couldn't handle me since I am the captain and whatnot." These people they find for the show. They're all special little treasures.

After a botched tonsillectomy, Micah Johnson was left with a speech impediment. The judges, who are all supposed to be REAL MUSICIANS, were shocked to find out that Micah could still sing. Now I'm not a singing professional, but I've had enough lessons to know that you sing and talk from DIFFERENT PLACES. You enunciate in a different way, too. Why Mariah Freaking Carey doesn't know this troubles me. Micah's a cool guy, though, and he has a great singing voice. I just ... Is it bad that I don't think this is as MIRACULOUS as the show is making it out to be? It's like the guy with the stutter from a couple weeks ago. Singing and speaking = different things. Why is no one saying this? 

Ah, hell, I give up. 

Micah's was the last audition I saw because the baby needed a bath and I was too bored with the whole thing to rewind my DVR when I got back downstairs. Did I miss anything earth-shattering? Chances are NO, right? 

Out of my handful of readers (sometimes I feel like I'm only writing for 4 or 5 people, but you're worth it - don't leave), 2 of them are Nicki Minaj fans. I am still not a Nicki Minaj fan. However, because I think these 2 readers are awesome in every possible way, I promised to try an experiment in kindness for every review and write something nice about Nicki. I already mentioned that I liked her purple plaid hat, but I will add a bonus for this recap. Nicki was a lot calmer during these auditions and therefore tolerable. Brava, Nicki!

Leave some comments, please! It makes me feel less lonely. You don't even need an account to leave one, you know. Just type something in the little box and press send. You can say anything. I swear.

Write something.


I need you, Dawgs.

Seacrest out. 



Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicago Auditions: "I swear I feel like a scratching post."

Chicago: Home to deep-dish pizzas, some lake, a really tall tower, and maybe one or two singers. People say it's a nice place to visit, but I've never been there. Several creepy children showed up at the Chicago auditions. Some of them were even talented.

Your average Idol contestants
So have we reached the point where we can collectively decide to ignore this Minaj thing? Remember when she wasn't even a blip on the radar? That was only, like, 2 years ago. It shouldn't be that hard to erase her from our memories. "But Rachel," you say, "Nicki's on the show whether you like it or not. You can't complain all season!" Oh, I think you underestimate me. I can complain for a long time. That's 75% of the reason that this blog still exists.

Sadly, I missed taking notes for Ryan's intro (always the best part of the show) and the first audition because of baby, getting my big dumb foot elevated, and general laziness. That part of the show went something like this:

Blah, blah, blah ... Chicago! Blah, blah - dreams and dreams. Blah, blah ... THIS is American Idol! Pretty teenager sings something country. Twang, twang, twang. Hearts were touched. Hollywood! 

Now, let's get to the real recap. Some guy named Austin Earles blinded America with his Vanilla Ice hair and didn't have the common decency to sing well. Leather-clad blond sprite (Hollie Cavanaugh's evil twin, maybe?) Stephanie Schimel, sang "Dream a Little Dream". It was pretty and very nearly had me in a sleep trance, but then the judges had to start talking. Rude buggers. Keith commented that Stephanie sounds like a Carrie Underwood/Gwen Stefani mix. I didn't exactly hear that, but Keith gets a free pass because he's the least annoying person on the judging panel. Speaking of annoying ...

Nicki brought the segment to a grinding halt when she gave Stephanie a no, only to be outnumbered by her fellow judges. Not getting her way seems to make Nicki yammer. Her jaw started flapping incoherent words. Eye shadow was mentioned. Keith started rocking back and forth in an attempt to go to his happy place. Then Mariah griped, "This is what I deal with when I come into my 'job'." With air quotes and everything. Gosh, you guys, it must suck to be like Mariah Carey and have to report to a "job" that pays 8 figures. I'm sure she gazes upon her eternal suffering daily and wonders, "What's in it for me?"

Ryan died a thousand deaths when he saw Melissa Bush's ill-fitting pink costume. Poor guy. He must clutch his pearls constantly when confronted by the sloppy people at  Idol auditions. Although Melissa's painful version of "Downtown" and costume provided plenty of fodder, the judges decided to focus on her name instead. Really. Are we that juvenile now? We've had presidents with that last name, you dimwits. Also, she brought Randy a present. So now we make fun of people who do nice things for us? Idol Life Lesson #22: Be a douche. Nicki exemplified this lesson by sending Melissa away with these parting words: "Bush, you'll always be my bush, but the answer is no."

There's an Idol Bus Tour now that's dedicated to kidnapping fresh meat from American soil. This year's first captive was Gabe Brown, who was kind enough to bring the judges cookies before screaming his lungs out at them. Sure, I guess his style of singing "Gimme Shelter" appeals to some people. I couldn't tell you if he was doing his rocker thing right anyway. I just didn't care for it. Naturally, he's going to Hollywood.Some maniac named Kevin told Ryan that his musical influences were Vanilla Ice and Ninja Rap. He couldn't sing. Shocker, right?

15-year-old Isabelle Parell made Keith sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with her. Her tone was beautiful, but her mom stole the segment by using her interview with Ryan as an opportunity to hit on the cameramen. "Camera guys are considered kinda hot." I'll take your word for it, Ms. Parell.

Keith had to leave for half a day to do a concert in Vegas, and I swear my heart broke a little. I was all:

Without Keith there to - I don't know - fill the panel with goodness and humanity, Minaj made it her own personal mission to sexually harass every halfway decent looking male who walked in to audition. J. Lo never did that. J. Lo was classy. Yes, I just wrote on the internet that J. Lo is classy. Minaj is the pits.

Pictured: Classy
23-year-old Griffin Peterson really caught Minaj's attention because - I'll admit it - he looks like a heartthrob. If I were 12, I'd totally tack that boy's posters on my wall. Can he sing well? Eh, he tries. According to the ladies on the panel, Griffin's face is his real moneymaker. Minaj was like, "You'll fill arenas with that face." And Mariah was like, "I hate to agree with the painted pony, but yes, you probably will." And I think maybe Randy wanted to cry in that moment? IDK. Maybe this is his punishment for Bikini Girl.

Motivational soundbite dropping Curtis Finch Jr. politely ignored Minaj's attempts to call him "Finchy" and sang "God is Able" like a gospel pro. He will never be as fabulous as my dear, DEAR Joshua Ledet, but I like him. After that, a girl named Mariah Pulice told her sad story about anorexia. She sang "Let It Be", and while the performance was pretty and emotional, I was underwhelmed. Doesn't it just seem like anyone can sing that song? 4 or 5 notes. Simple melody. People who have never even heard the song before can sing it well. Even a person who's lived in a cave without any modern technology or contact with the outside world knows "Let It Be" by heart. Mariah sure liked it, though. She cried real tears. Mariah also thought that Glitter was a movie worth making. Take that as you will.

Clifton Duffin kept his singing voice a secret from his parents. That takes a lot of effort. Like, I'd think that keeping such an extensive secret would take more work than the actual singing. Am I being unfair? Probably. He sang "Superstar", and his parents just cried and cried because their son has talent. What if he'd sucked? Think of how awkward that segment would be. "Well, son, I can't say I'm sorry you didn't let me hear you before." Ha. That would have been sad.

Season 11 cast-off Johnny Keyser came back for more of Idol's special brand of torture. Do you remember Johnny Keyser? Apparently, at one point, I thought he could win. Further inspection recovered these 2 pieces of Season 11 nostalgia. During the Black Idol Plague in Hollywood, this happened with Johnny:Area 451 – Song Unknown
Members: Johnny Keyser, Kristi Klause
BIP Victim: Imani Handy
These people weren’t even seen on Thursday’s show, and then Imani got a case of the faints. She fainted while they went over the song a final time. Then her mom had to hold her up, carry her around, probably feed her some applesauce until Imani fainted in the auditorium. Conventional wisdom would tell her to give up and go to A) a doctor or B) bed. BUT NO! Imani had a dream, and she was determined to faint all over it until she achieved her goals.

Johnny and Kristi sounded pretty good during the performance, but all of that was overshadowed when Imani fainted while she was singing. Nuts of wonder! She shouldn’t have been up on that stage to begin with, considering that she was fainting at a dangerous rate. Idol is not worth brain damage, you twit. The best part of this bit, though, was the point when Johnny realized Imani was falling and totally failed to catch her. THEN he kept on singing until Randy was like, “Cut the music!” LOL, Johnny. You really didn’t care, did you? Imani was okay, but J. Lo laid down the law. “Baby, I’m sorry. You’re going home.” Best decision of the night.
I also made this clever picture when the judges were down to Johnny and some other guys for the final semi-final spot:

Now I miss David Leathers Jr.

Johnny Keyser, who ARE you?

"I don't expect to win. Um, in fact, it would be better if some 17-year-old, cute little girl who's like, 'It's my dream!' - I would rather her win. But I'd like to go to Hollywood," rambled Kez Ban, the contestant of my dreams. She plays with fire AND makes balloon animals! "I am from North Carolina, planet Earth," Kez Ban told the judges before launching into a very impressive audition. She looks a wreck, acts like a mad woman, but sings like an earth goddess who co-writes songs with unicorns. I want her to be on the show forever. Forever and ever.

Some school is totally ripping off a girl named Ashley, who's majoring in musical theater and sings like what I can only assume a million cats sound like while dying simultaneously. What a shame. Randy, for the first time in the episode, realized he had a job to do besides yielding the entire operation to Minaj and said, "I know it's hard for us to tell you that, but ... somebody should have told you before." Maybe they should make pamphlets with that quote as the title for all the contestants like Ashley.

The episode closed with bow-tie wearing Lazaro Arbos, who suffers from a severe stutter but sings like an angel. It was remarkable. He could barely even speak to the judges, but his voice and diction came through crystal clear while he crooned "Bridge O'er Troubled Water". See? Idol isn't always terrible. There's a heart in there somewhere!

So there went another audition episode down the pits. Gah, these things are long. I LOVE Hollywood Week, but it feels so far away from me right now. Give me patience, Dawgs. Give me strength.

And please find a way to shut Minaj's mouth for, like, a minute.

This show isn't even close to being over.

Seacrest out!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New York City Auditions: "You love me more than you love sunny days."

It's the 12th season, Dawgs. The 12th season. That's like a million in TV years. And what a surprise! Kudos to Idol for its longevity. For a show that's awful, like, 80% of the time, it still manages to keep people watching. Take me, for example. I write the worst things about Idol but always return to the cruel mistress every January. It completes me, you know? In a really awful, dirty, troubling way. But still. I can't quit Idol. Just can't.

Even if this season looks like it's going to suck monumentally.

Meet your judges!!!!!

Sir Randall Jackson XII is back to be the only judge ever who hasn't had anything to do but Idol. I LOVE Randy this year. He can never be as annoying as the staged cat-fight accompanying him on the panel, so the Dawg and I are still the bestest of buds. Remember when Simon and Paula used to bicker like children, and it was so annoying because we all knew it was staged, and Randy somehow wasn't the worst thing on the panel in comparison? We've returned to that time! Only instead of Simon and Paula, we have a parakeet and Miss Piggy.

Keith Urban is actually a nice guy, so I bet the show will act like he doesn't exist. A wide-eyed innocent, Keith was somehow manipulated into playing the buffer on the judging panel, but all that means is that the opposing parties have to screech even louder over his head to be heard. I could make some Aussie jokes now, but I have too much class for that. They will come.

Mariah Carey is sort of a legend, in case you haven't heard. She has a FIVE OCTAVE RANGE, more cleavage than Paula, and more fans than all the other judges combined. Idol wants us to know that Mariah's a diva. Like we didn't already know. I find Mariah's "hotter-than-thou" antics entertaining, but I'm sure that feeling would change if I actually had to interact with her. The other judges started calling her Regina George after the titular bitch character in Mean Girls. That was not a compliment.

IDK. I always thought Regina was kind of badass, even if she was evil.
Nicki Minaj makes crappy music for young people. She looks ridiculous ALL THE TIME, which I'm sure is supposed to be some kind of artsy "statement" but just makes her look desperate for attention. She talks a lot, especially when Mariah's talking, and I'm pretty sure her hair isn't even real anymore.

She's actually a pretty woman. I don't know why she does this to herself. Seriously. Why is she doing this to herself?
J. Lo and Uncle Steven apparently have careers that they have to get back to? I don't know. It's hard to be optimistic about their whereabouts when no one's responded to my Missing Person poster for Kara Dioguardi yet.

Recap Time!

Now that I have the unimportant (but sure to be PROMINENT) stuff out of the way, let's talk about Season 12's opening crop of talent. I can't claim to be impressed. There were some voices, a few weirdos, a couple of sure-things turned rejects, and Idol's own brand of casual racism. Ryan looks good - still kicking and ridiculously positive about the Idol experience. "History can show that Idols can produce anything," he says. "Together, we'll make the journey that defines a nation," he says. Please, Ryan. Hyperbole has never suited you.

Funniest quote of the night: "It's the best show of its kind ever in the history of television, right?" - Sir Randall Jackson XII

The first day in NYC started with a snipe-fest between Nicki and Mariah, and I won't even recap it because I honestly have no idea what they were arguing about. Nicki's voice sounds like seagulls to me. I cannot tell a lie. Fortunately, Michael Buonopane stormed into the room, stomping around and singing his own version of "We Will Rock You." He couldn't sing, but he did have the good taste to tell Mariah that "All I Want for Christmas" is the best Christmas song ever, which made Nicki all insecure. Then Camp Mariah (I can't make this up, Dawgs) alumnus Tenna Torres sang a polite version of "You've Got a Friend". It was pretty but uninspiring. Good enough for Hollywood.

Misguided 15-year-old James Bae told Ryan that he wants to be just like Justin Beiber. "I sing in my room thinking it's a concert so I can get ready for a real one," he said. So that audition went exactly as I expected. I'm not even sure he was singing. Mariah and Keith encouraged James to become a DJ. Because he has a great radio voice? I don't know? It seems like Mariah picked the first vocation that came to her head. I'm anxious to one day see what James was talking about when he told Nicki: "We're gonna do a collide together." That sounds personal.

Christina "Isabelle" apparently thinks that using a name that would never be a last name as a last name is a grand idea. She presented some lame sob story about how she lost 50 pounds, and really Christina "Isabelle", don't demean yourself. She sang "Summertime", which was lovely and soulful. They asked her who she listened to growing up, and Christina pointed to Mariah. Then Nicki was like this:

The most surprising segment of the evening focused on Evan Ruggiero. This guy came to Idol prepared. He's a tap dancer, got bone cancer, and lost a freaking leg. And he STILL TAP DANCES. Like a badass. You know this guy would have gone several rounds in last year's competition, but after a scattered, hurried version of "I'm Yours" and a slightly better though not outstanding crooning of some Bon Jovi, the judges sent him packing. Mariah talked for - I swear - FOREVER as she qualified her decision. When a dazed Evan finally exited the audition room with the bad news, his family was shocked. Dawgs, I was shocked, too. This panel might actually be tough.

Case in point: Jessica Kartalis' mom nominated her to get a fast pass to the auditions. Randy tracked her down in her hometown to give her an audition number. Then she went before the judges and messed up her own song. It was so sad. Obviously, she thought she was a shoe-in after being dragged in there by the show. But nope. Rejection City. The worst part was when she left the audition room and had to tell the bad news to, like, 20 hopeful people. I bet she didn't talk to her mom for a week after that. How humiliating.

Despite already making it big enough in Israel to have a #1 record, Shira Gavrielov wants to make it in America. She sang something pretty that really complimented her tone, and Keith was so excited over her vibrato that he spilled his drink on Nicki. Naturally, I'm now a fan. Busker Frankie Ford lives in Brooklyn and depends on tips from subway passengers to make a living. So this guy's all into the music thing, apparently. He sang "Sweet Dreams" for the judges. The vocal was strong, and Frankie emotes well. The judges enthusiastically sent him to Hollywood. Then Frankie's complete opposite Benjamin Gaisey strolled in wearing a plastic Halloween Thriller costume and skeeved everybody out. He sang "I'll Make Love to You" directly to the female judges and thrust his hips like a maniac. I would have called security. Keith hid under the desk and exclaimed, "It's not safe!" Indeed, Mr. Urban. Indeed.

A girl named Roxanna honed her vocal skills by singing for her enabling parents. Unfortunately, her voice does not make melodies, so she was a goner. Then a young man nearly pooped himself during a losers montage, and really, this show has sunk so low.

New Jersey redneck (apparently they exist) Sarah Restuccio underwhelmed Keith with Carrie Underwood's "Mama's Song" but impressed all if them by rapping Nicki Minaj's "Superbass" better than Nicki Minaj. Nicki got all excited because someone was finally emulating her instead of Mariah, so she talked and talked and talked until they gave Sarah a golden ticket. Receptionist Albert Chang followed up Sarah's audition by admitting he didn't know who the Idol judges were (LOL) and did unspeakable things to "Phantom of the Opera". After he jumped the octave, Nicki took the opportunity to pick on Mariah like an elementary school bully. "Your range is better than Mariah's. Do you know that her range is the best range in the world?" Nicki, seriously. Mariah is twice your size. Watch your back.

18-year-old Angela Miller told us that she's always had hearing problems, but I misheard that as "urine problems". And oh, did I laugh! Cool story. Anyways, her audition was great. She has a lovely tone to her voice, and the judges agreed. "Huge, huge American Idol fan" Brett Holt tries out and fails every year. We won't speak about the terrible things he did to "When I Fall in Love", but I ended up feeling sorry for the poor guy. He was so earnest and into the audition, and the gremlins in Idol's control room just about castrated the guy. They kept manufacturing these fake-out videos in which the judges loved him and at one point had a cartoon frog with a bullhorn get in on the "Brett Holt sucks" joke, and I don't think I'll ever understand why? That's a really crappy way to treat a fan.

"The Turbanator" Gurpreet Singh Salin has 40-50 different colored turbans. Damn. Those are a lot of turbans. Rocking the best beard that will ever appear on this competition, he had a nice audition. Just nice. I doubt it will take him anywhere. Keith was the only judge who understood that, though, so The Turbanator got a ticket to Hollywood. Ashlee Feliciano rode into the audition on the coattails of her parents' selflessness. What?! She did! Ashlee isn't the one that adopts or fosters kids with medical challenges. How cute was that little boy with the glasses, though? Adorable! I especially loved his little hat. Ashlee sang "Put Your Records On", a song that I'm ready to retire, but she actually made it decent. Something about Ashlee's performance "inspired" Nicki, and I'll probably die still wondering what that could possibly be. But yeah, she got a golden ticket!

So that's how last night's circus went down. How did I feel about it?

Tell me what was more annoying, Dawgs - the bickering or Minaj's faux British accent?

Seacrest out.