Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American Idol 8: While Kara's in Louisville, Can Someone Slug Her?

Seacrest kicks off tonight's auditions at Churchill Downs by announcing that Louisville, KY is "known for the most exciting two minutes in sports." However, I'm sure everyone will try their best to make sure it also becomes known for the most unexciting 60 minutes in TV history.

The first auditioner of Day 1 is obscure '80s porn star, Busty Velour. Her turn-ons are deer meat, the smell of burning trash, and threesomes with her parents. Turn-offs are book learnin', combs, and singing in key. After mangling an already putrid Mariah Carey song, Simon tells her that her presence in this competition would be like "a donkey in a horse race." She reneges on her promise to keep a "positive attitude" no matter what the outcome, and fires off a bunch of delusional nonsense in the hallway. Then, with mama beaming proudly, Ms. Velour spontaneously breaks into Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You," and I'm so glad she did. Otherwise, I never would have known that the lyrics are actually "I learned to pee on the safe side so I don't get hurt." Oh! It's not a song about parental neglect; it's a song about the hazards of long family road trips!

Next up is this year's most controversial contestant, Joanna "The Real Annie" Pacitti. Why all the controversy? Well, despite Ryan's assertion that she's been "trying to make it in the industry for years," she's actually had a pretty decent career by most of these wannabes' standards.

As this article from VFTW reveals, Joanna started her career as a kid in the Broadway production of Annie, was signed to both A&M and Geffen Records, and has had songs featured in several movies. She also worked with pop tunesmiths Linda Perry and the ubiquitous Diane Warren on her 2006 album, and reportedly has friends in high places with 19 Entertainment - the management company that handles most of AI's winners and successful runners up. It's all a bit fishy, much like Carly Smithson's ties to Randy Jackson prior to her Top 12 status last year.

While the AI producers tried to be very hush-hush about Carly's musical past, this year they at least attempt to address Joanna's right up front by having Kara blurt out, "I know you; you were with A&M" the minute she walks in the room. Smooth. Joanna responds by yelling Pat Benatar's "We Belong" and crying a lot. Surprise, surprise - the judges say she's great and put her through to Hollywood. The producers try to make us feel bad for this obvious "ringer" by having Kara say, "Awwwww, it's been rough for you." Please. I'm sure it hasn't been as rough for her as it has for the thousands of other people who are still waiting on line and don't have the benefit of knowing anyone in the industry.

I'm only interested to see if this girl goes completely mental at some point during the competition. Judging from her reaction at losing Annie on this old video from ABC News, I think she has real Sean Young potential. She might just start showing up to rehearsals dressed like Annie and calling Randy "Daddy Warbucks."

Someone who obviously has no music industry ties is Billy Bob Bolo Tie, a distant relative of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned for administering to John Wilkes Booth's injuries on the night he shot Lincoln. He tries to give Mudd a good name by singing a George Jones tune like he were et the tractor pull. Not good. The Mudd name is still mud. As he's being dismissed, Bolo Tie innocently says, "Take care and be careful," which all the judges immediately take as a threat. Paula, in her elementary school librarian costume, informs the poor rube that "you don't say that to people." But telling someone you want to squish him, squeeze his head off and dangle him from your rearview mirror is perfectly acceptable and not threatening in the least, right?

David Chokachi's Cousin sings Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough" like it was a Rascal Flatts song. What??? Oh, beach boy, you just got on my bad side. You do not cover Paul Muthahumpin' Rogers unless you've got the chops!! Simon dares to voice the opinion that the Baywatch extra ain't all that, which causes Kara and Paula to have a full-on PMS rage fest. They all argue and then Kara promises to stop talking! YAY!! Oh no, wait. She's lying. She's still talking. Now she's trying to go under the table and take Paula with her. God, ladies, the guy's not that cute. If that was Michael Johns, I could understand you wanting to go under the table. But then I would have to knock you bitches out.

The show is running almost as long as my recap, so they throw in a quick montage. This one features lunatics of varying degrees, including my favorite, Mr. Zebra. He sings, "Hello Mr. Zebra, can I have your sweater 'cause it's cold...cold...cold." I can't tell if that's an original song or something by The Cure. It's pretty awesome either way.
(EDIT: Two lovely readers have hipped me to the fact that this song was written by neither Mr. Zebra nor The Cure, but by Tori Amos. She would've been my 5th guess, after Morrissey, Bjork, and a pack of wild lions.)

The Piano Man sings us a Gavin DeGraw song tonight. The judges must have been in the mood for this melody, 'cause he's got them feeling all right. I feel nothing. I think this guy probably kills at the karaoke bar but I don't think he'll go far, even though he reminds Simon of Season 4's third runner up, Elliott Yamin. Eh, maybe. He annoys me though by becoming the 4,000th person today to pull the fake sad face/I-didn't-make-it routine when coming back out to meet his family, only to whip out that golden ticket and say, "Ha ha! Fooled ya! Bow down to my comedic skills and originality!"

Super Nerd studied YouTube videos to learn to sing, so he should be great. He not-very-amusingly butchers a song I've never heard of, and then blames his suckage on the dry air. He tries to wet his whistle by taking a drink of the "water" in Paula's cup, and boy is she outraged. And nervous. Luckily for her, Super Nerd doesn't blab about the odka-vay in her up-cay.

It's the end of Day 1 in Louisville and there hasn't been a Very Special Contestant yet. What gives? Surely, there has to be at least one person with a sob story. I mean, this is the South for crying out loud.

Day 2's auditions begin with Memphis Mama, who loudly sings about Dr. Feelgood, but not the one who makes Mötley Crüe feel all right. This is all a bit over the top for me, but the judges put her through because she's got a "commercial face," a cute baby, and a husband in military school.

Before the break, we learn that there will be a VSC after all! And she used to be homeless!! Somebody better warn The Blind Guy that his stock has just dropped.

The VSC will surely be saved for last, so for now we just get a montage of "boring" singers...within a show full of boring singers. Interesting.

Wootie Woot is up next with CCR's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain." He really wants to know if you've seen it - especially you guys all the way up in Alaska. That's why he's singing so loudly. Of course, Kara had to sing back-up to divert more attention back to herself, and then everyone started shouting. When Ryan heard a bunch of guys moaning and yelling, he came rushing in to see if he could help. However, Ryan was not needed, and neither was Wootie Woot, who went from 60 to zero in two seconds when the judges said no.

Gangly Girl's claim to fame before today's audition was her brief appearance earlier today on the local news. She sings "Before He Cheats," sounding amazingly like a truck being keyed. Kara suddenly notices on GG's fact sheet that she was voted "Most Humorous" in school and mocks her by coyly cooing, "Oh, I see...this is all a joke." GG's blank stare turns to tears, and it's clear that this is NOT a joke to her. Kara feels badly and asks Paula to hit her for being "mean." Sadly, Paula does not comply. I'm sorry, but I think this whole scene is just that - a totally scripted moment to show the harsh realities of the music biz and serve as a cautionary tale to the deluded throngs of fame-chasers.

More harsh realities of the music biz are revealed during a montage of typical looking and sounding pod people who all make it through to Hollywood.

Finally, this episode's Very Special Contestant is revealed! The Poor Girl was raised by a single mom, has a deadbeat dad, moved in and out of shelters, and doesn't know what it's like to not struggle. You know, I've never been this poverty-stricken, yet 90% of my socks have holes in them and I'm wearing the same winter coat I bought in college. So, excuse me if I don't shed too many tears for The Poor Girl, with her stylish ensemble and bling. what's going on here? Oh yes, the singing competition. Can The Poor Girl sing? Well, she performs an original song called "Natty," and though I have no idea what it's supposed to be about, she has presence and, yes, she can sing. In fact, she sounds like just about everyone else on the radio, which prompts the judges to label her as "original." They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means. Regardless, she gets the last golden ticket of the day.

Tune in next week when AI heads to Jacksonville, while the Steelers get ready to head to Tampa Bay! I expect the latter to be a much more exciting and successful trip.


Anonymous said...

First comment? Cripes Beckeye, I hope this doesn't mean your ratings are down for the first time in 7 years like AI. I'm having a hard time this year getting into this show. HELP ME....I don't know whats happening to me.

Kristi Mantoni said...

Great recap, as always. It's almost like I actually watched it. Loved how you work in the Inigo Montoya reference!

BeckEye said...

It's quite possible, Bluez. But I've only been blogging AI for 3 years, so people have lost interest in me quicker than they have in the show itself.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahaha... the "water" in Paula's cup! You read my mind. Last night my boyfriend and I were like, "WTF? He doesn't know what's in there or what part of Simon's body that mouth's been on that morning!"

I wonder if he didn't do it on purpose, though. Like it was planned. What if his whole mission (since he clearly couldn't sing) was to find out what Paula REALLY drinks?

Falwless said...

Bluez, stay with it, stay with it! One more week of auditions and then it's Hollywood week! It'll get better then.

As for you, BeckEye, I love reading these recaps. I laughed pretty hard at the "pod people" comment. Niiiice.

And thanks for the interesting tidbits, like the stuff about Joanna Pacitti. I wouldn't have known about all the controversy!

Bond said...

Have not seen or heard one singer that made me sit up and say "OH YEAH" as I have in the past...

I mean two days and 11,000 people and what 10 made it??? sheesh

words words words said...

This season blows so far. I HATE Kara. And the way she did "Most Humorous" girl was lowdown. I liked that girl. I loved Memphis Mama, she's adorable. I want to carry her around in a backpack. And then have sex with her.

I think in a few years we will look back on the Cook/Archie final as the apex of the American Idol experience. The plants, the sob's all too much. The shark hasn't been jumped quite yet, but the motorcycle is idling on the ramp.

Anonymous said...


That is refreshing to hear a male that HATES Kara. I do too. She annoys the crap out of me.

Carrying someone around in a backpack is an aphrodisiac, eh? Interesting...

Gifted Typist said...

I can't really decide whether to hate or like Kara. She's so bland. Other than the occasional, "Can I say something here" and the predictable bat of the over-masKaraed eye, there's not much there, really.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

"Hello, Mr. Zebra" is actually a song by Tori Amos. It was on one of her EPs tied in with Boys for Pele.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Also, fabulous Princess Bride reference at the end there.

Anonymous said...

the MR.ZEBRA guy was singing a TORI AMOS song...not a CURE song!! just thought I would let you know...

I would love to see video of the zebra man if ya know where i can get it. email me @

coffee said...

i felt sorry for Mr. Mudd since they obviously singled him out as the creep de jour

Sunny said...

Best review of the show I've read yet! Right on. hahaha

red said...


I haven't watched this ep yet, but I couldn't wait to read your re-cap any longer. I fear my new addiction to Lost will push my AI viewing to the back burner this season. Or maybe it's how lame the show is this season. It could just be that.

Dale said...

The blind guy's stock dropping had me laughing pretty hard. I like Kara but it would have been great to see Paula haul off and slam her one just the same.

cube said...

One thing that annoys me about Kara is how she pronounces 's' sounds. Sssssssibilant, don't you think. She may be a Parseltongue.

pistols at dawn said...

The "like a truck being keyed" vocal stylings are actually quite popular among people trying to piss off their neighbors.

I don't watch the show, but if I did, I'd always imagine, "Jesus, what must it be like to be this loser's neighbor, with them singing all night long?"


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