'American Idol' Recap: The Auditions Go To New Lows In Salt Lake City
"This show isn't cast like some other shows."
With that, J-Lo really shot a direct volley at the reigning champ of singing shows 'The Voice', a series that has absolutely no undiscovered talent on it despite its conceit otherwise. That's what makes 'Idol' so much different, better, and more fun than that other show.
So where did it go? Where did that fun disappear to? The talent on this show may as well all be ringers. Last night, there may have been a total of about 15 auditions in two hours. 15 full rounds of singing in as many commercial breaks. Maybe two really bad auditions, the rest good.
What filled the rest of the time? Video Packages. Relentless and unending video packages that introduced us to the contestants as though these weren't undiscovered people. It's so much more fun when people walk into the room and we have no idea if they'll be good, bad, or really bad. That's all been ruined in how the show is set up this year.
The audition rounds can't end soon enough.
THE THREE BEST AUDITIONS
This was the female lumberjack and she's more than just OK. She has the type of voice that seems fake: It's just so pure and clear that it must be dubbed in from some pro in a booth somewhere. Or the best Autotune job in the history of mankind - it just didn't seem real. But it was, and it was brilliant, with a cool little country tone that was almost a yodel and almost Jewel - but just enough to be unique. It will be interesting to see how she adapts such a pure voice to different genres and styles, but for straight-ahead singing she's about as good as has ever been at an audition.
This was the guy in the hipster trucker hat who apparently hadn't been informed that 'Punk'd' is no long the fashion trendsetter by which we should all define our look. He sang a song with which I wasn't familiar, but he may as well have written it because it just absolutely flowed out of him in a bit of raw brilliance not normally seen on this show. His soul voice crackled with a ton that really brought him down into the dirt while maintaining a stunning purity that just soared as he lost himself in the song. All that, plus he's super humble and just grateful to be able to audition. Looks like the Molly DeWolf Swenson Scale has a new contender for the top.
Plus his girlfriend's name is Britney Slappy. Can't not root for him now.
The was the girl in the polka dot pants and adult braces wearing a shirt made out of your grandmother's couch. They cut to her audition in media res after using it to overlay one of the 15,000 judge confessionals about how hard it is to be rich and famous. It was so good that it, at first, seemed like it was a recording from an actual artist the producers were using as a sound bed for the video packages - not an unknown singing in a small room in front of the three-headed judging monster.
That assumption was completely unfounded when they cut to this little ball of talent with a voice so full and smooth it must already be in the recording studio. So what happened? She got "no's" from Keith and Harry and she's not moving on. Always knew J-Lo was the smart one.
THE THREE WORST AUDITIONS:
This was the manic pixie dreamgirl stereotype complete with ultra-dyed red hair, a sundress and tattoos that she'll regret before the decade's out. The song she sang is completely unclear as it was really more of a muddy warble than it was singing. Like a slow yawn set to her own non-sensical rhythm. We only got a few seconds of her in this new "Everybody's Grand" world of 'Idol' this season, but it was enough to make her the subject of ridicule. Probably because of the look. Definitely because of the hat. She probably shouldn't quit her day job: Living off her parents' money while refusing to compromise her artistic ambitions.
This was the Tracey Ullman look-a-like who claimed to have been trained in opera. Once she launched into her version of 'Barracuda' by Heart it was clear the opera school she attended must have been the one for cartoon opera singers that use opera as a means of torture for all the little fuzzy creatures on screen. "Kill the Wabbit" was even out of range for this screamer and shouter who seemed hell bent on destroying the judges with some sort of decibel assault. They survived, but barely.
This was the busboy and male model who decided that cargo shorts and sandals were the way to go when choosing his 'Idol' ensemble and that asking for a "Joe Bazooka Character" at the barber is the appropriate way to style his hair. He managed to produce the first good, honest, laugh-out-loud horrific audition of the season thus far. He attempted to sing some sort of Bruno Mars song and came out sounding like a sheep getting castrated: just a high-pitch bleat of pain and agony. Of course, most of that pain was on the end of the listener who had to endure this bit of larynx-tearing screech. At least he has his male modeling career to fall back on.
Best of Harry:
"I do not know what language you were singing in. I don't know if that was English." - to the aforementioned hipster girl.
"They started off white." - Harry, describing the color of his underwear to an oddly inquisitive Keith.
"I like the whole concept of Diamond in the Rough, but there was too much Rough." - accurately describing a singer who just wasn't quite there yet.
"I would eat a box of Oreos just to go the dentist to have you clean my teeth." - After Keith described J-Lo's calling "Next" as sounding like a dentist.
"Can I call Jay now? He might be hot." - Responding to a note a girl's creepy uncle had her pass along to J-Lo with his phone number.