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!


  1. LOL I love your recaps. :D Saves me the pain of watching it myself.

    1. Thanks! :D

      You'll have to watch one episode this season and then read my recap. Maybe you'll have a MST3K-like moment. Also, I think it would be HILARIOUS if you had to suffer through an episode. :P