So, to start, Ryan chats up the judges. He is wearing the strangest little vest. He looks like a monkey. I think he’s lost weight, which he really can’t afford to be doing. Blah blah blah filler. He mentions the successes of some AmIdol contestants: an Oscar nod for Jen Hudson, a hit single for Chris Daughtry, three Grammys for … Carrie Underwood. No mention at all of Kelly Clarkson or her Grammys. They hate her because she’s (wisely) distanced herself from the show. Paula may or may not be sober. Not sure yet.
Ryan introduces the guys, who will be singing tonight. Now a recap of the audition process. I have no idea how anyone watches this show without TiVo. It’s gotta be painful.
Up first is Rudy Cardenas, singing “Free Ride.” He’s a respectable performer, but I hadn’t realized this was foreign language night. Seriously, if this guy is singing in English, I can’t tell. I can’t make out a single word. Voice is decent, nothing special. He goes to the judges. Randy is not impressed. Paula is encouraging. I’m still torn on her sobriety. Simon thinks he’s not unique. Which is true. Ryan comes back up in his monkey vest. Filler filler ‘mercial.
We’re in the COCA-COLA room. Chris Sligh, totally the highlight of this show so far, talks about how all the guys are looking so pretty. “Well I’m glad you’re on that couch,” says Ryan, which is great because it’s always cool to incorporate subtle homophobic comments into the number one show in the United States. Rock on, Ryan. The other contestants talk but bore me.
Brandon Rogers, the former back-up singer, is up next. He’s singing Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You.” Jackson covers should be avoided at all costs on this show. He’s charming on stage, and a better enunciator than his predecessor. He’s aight. Randy is talking, but I’ve just noticed his shirt. I don’t even know what that pattern is, but it’s, like, one of those complicated floralesque patterns that should absolutely not be worn on camera. They tell him not to do so many runs now that he’s not singing back up. Simon liked him okay. Ryan and his vest are asking dumb questions.
Sundance Head is up now. He’s singing “Nights in White Satin.” He’s a much duller performer here than he was in the auditions, and not always entirely on key. Lots of stupid hand motions, but his feet stay planted. Every time he sings the “Yes, I love you” part, he sings it like, “Yes I love yohwww.” Someone probably told him to use the “oh” sound instead of “ooh” when you have to hold the note a long time, which is usually a good idea, but he is way not pulling it off. You have to hold the “oh” part for awhile before you start on the “w” sounds. No one told him that. Randy notes that he was pitchy and not very interesting. Paula thinks he picked the wrong song. Man, Paula might be kind of sober. Simon thinks he kinda sucked. Ha! Simon mentioned the stupid arms, too. The arms were really stupid. Ryan and Vest and Stupid. Ryan says “self-massage” in some semi-appropriate context, but the audience laughs, because it’s funny.
Paul Kim up now. I loved this kid in auditions, so I’m psyched for this. He’s singing “Careless Whispers.” By Wham! Funny already. Ironically, “careless whispers” describes his performance pretty well. He totally totally totally misses the high note. Misses it by a football field. Like he is here in Hollywood and that note is somewhere in Bismarck. Randy wasn’t impressed, but likes his potential. I want to drug test Paula tonight. I just can’t tell. Simon says stupid shit. Paula makes some unfathomably stupid comment about Simon’s feet being smelly. Simon laughs the way you laugh at a small child who has just conjugated a verb incorrectly. Ryan talks about pedicures and pedicurists. Pick a sexuality, Ryan. I mean, at least pick one for your “host” character.
Chris Richardson. Singing “I Don’t Wanna Be.” He actually doesn’t hit a single note. Not one. Really. But somehow Randy likes it. Randy, music producer extraordinaire, thinks this is an Edwin McCain song. Simon corrects him faster than you can say “Gavin DeGraw.” Paula likes him just fine. Simon thought his voice sounded “small,” and pointed out that it was a bad vocal. Okay, I just went back and listened to it again, in case I was crazy about him not being on key, since none of the judges pointed it out. And I’m sure of this. The kid missed damn near every single note.
Nick Pedro. “Now & Forever.” He blows the high note, because I guess that’s just what you do this week. Everything else is uninteresting. Randy notes this. Paula says the magic wasn’t there. Simon didn’t think it was that bad. Everyone cheers. Vocally it was probably the strongest so far, but that’s not saying much. Ryan Seavest. Actually makes a very funny “Vote for Pedro” call. The thing about Ryan is you can tell, from time to time, that he’s actually got some spark of comedic genius in him, but he has to hide it carefully on his show, lest he lose the significant portion of this audience that thinks it’s funny when Paula tells Simon his feet smell.
Blake Lewis. “Somewhere Only We Know.” Aw, his dad is in the audience mouthing the words along with him. He misses the high notes. Because that is how they roll around here. I just realized he looks exactly like this kid I knew in high school who got a full-color Spice Girls tattoo on his hip (yeah, he was gay). And that is all I think about throughout the rest of his performance, because it’s boring. Randy kind of dug it. Paula talks. She thinks the high notes were “falsetto” rather than “bad.” Simon thought he was modern. He notes that it was good that he didn’t beat-box, and I agree. That was smart of him. Points there. Ryan Seavest.
Sanjaya Malakar. “Knocks Me Off My Feet.” Hm. “There’s something ’bout your love that makes me weak.” Vocally, apparently. His voice is very small. How do they audition 8 million people and end up with these finalists? He’s generally on key, but it is so completely unremarkable. Like this would be kind of good at a high-school play. Here it is very sad. Randy didn’t think it was very good. Paula thinks he’s a “sweet soul,” which is as nice as her comments are going to get. Simon tears him a new asshole. Ryan Seavest wants Sanjaya to argue. This kid is not the arguin’ type, Ryan. Blah blah blah.
I think Paula is sober. Her eyes look a little glazed, but she’s not slurring, and she’s making sense, by Paula standards.
Chris Sligh. I love him. “Can I Break the Spell of Typical.” Man, that is a fucking ominous song title. Like, you have to rock that shit. And he pretty much does. The most interesting performance so far. Randy likes him, so does Paula. Simon wasn’t impressed. Ryan Seavest actually looks monkey-sized standing next to Chris. They really don’t look like the same species. This kid must be huge in person. Ryan hates Simon. Simon hates Ryan. I bet Ryan’s actually a bigger pain in the ass to work with than Simon. Wait for the E! True Hollywood Story. You’ll see.
Jared Cotter. “Back at One.” Brian McKnight is another no-no, kids. Vocally he’s pretty good. Actually I kind of like him. He’s a great-looking kid, and very charming on stage. High note is flat. Because THAT IS HOW THEY ROLL. Randy thought it was alright. Paula agrees. Simon agrees. Thought he was nasal. Hm. I didn’t think that at all. Ryan is dwarfed again. They should get him a box to stand on. Like Tom Cruise gets for photos with Katie.
A.J. Tabaldo. I don’t remember him at all from the auditions. “All My Love.” He’s alright. Good performer. Solid voice. Paula is out of her seat and dancing. Randy talks, then Paula does. Yeah, Paula is sober. Simon says it was alright. No one has been amazing so far. Ryan and his monkey vest do their song and dance.
Phil Stacey. I hate to have been manipulated by the producers’ storylines, but I’m rooting for him because his kid was born early while he was at the auditions. And he’s in the Navy. Hooray for our troops! Awww, his wife and babies are there. “I Could Not Ask for More.” Now that’s Edwin McCain. He starts out really, really off, but then he kicks it up and totally rocks it out. Very Chris Daughtry. Very Chris Daughtry. Yeah, he rocks this shit out. His wife is glowing. It’s adorable. Randy basically says exactly what I just said. So does Paula. So does Simon. I should judge this show. Simon actually brings up Chris Daughtry. Ryan looks at Phil’s bald head and says “We’re going with the Britney Spears haircut tonight.” Awwwwww shit. Zing!
Ryan hates Simon. Simon hates Ryan.
They show the performance recaps. In retrospect, I was way too harsh on Rudy Cardenas, who actually did a great job in comparison to many of the others.
My prediction is we’ll see Sanjaya go home. He didn’t perform well, and I doubt he’s managed to build up a fan base to save him. He’s cute but without any of the non-threatening sex appeal. Chris Slight and
Chris Daughtry Phil Stacey will come out on top, with honorable mentions for Jared Cotter and maybe A.J. Tabaldo.
In closing, I just used a million words to say what Lars summed up in like 20. These guys aren’t very impressive singers. Hopefully the girls do better.