Last night, the ninth season of AI kicked off with its first round of auditions in Boston. And though the city may be wicked awesome, the usual dog and pony show was anything but. I'm not really sure why I'm still watching. The only answer I can come up with is that I've already invested eight years of my life in this crapfest, so I can't quit now. And since Simon has announced that he's leaving after this year, I think Season 9 may be the end of it all anyway.
Ryan Seacrest, in a typical over-dramatic voiceover, spoke of the tragedy of Paula's resignation and the joy of Ellen's hiring as if he were describing the conflict in Northern Island and the (supposed) new era of peace. Then, by minute two, we were promised roughly 60% more sob stories this year. Hooray! God knows I can't enjoy a piece of music unless I know it's performed by someone who has gone through something tragic.
Throngs of people braved the Beantown rain for a chance to either get a golden ticket or make total massholes of themselves. As the judges began to arrive, two whole Kara fans emerged from the crowd of thousands, mumbling halfhearted "I love yous" to the WORST. JUDGE. EVER. Then, the guest judge showed up. Whoa, it was the skeleton from my 9th grade biology class!! How weird. Woops, my mistake...that was actually Victoria Beckham. Sadly, she didn't bring along her gorgeous husband, but did come equipped with TWO facial expressions. Woops, sorry. I'm mistaken again...she just had the one.
Day One kicked off with Janet, the first obviously aspring actress/comedienne of the season. She broke out the muffin top, spastic movements, and misplaced confidence that would ensure her a place on the "Best of the Worst" special later this year, and possibly a walk-on part on Two and a Half Men. The judges all pretended like she somehow slipped through initial screening and tried to muster up their best "you so crazy" faces. Victoria Beckham failed. Unless she's always thinking "you so crazy." If that's the case, then she nailed it.
The rest of Day One went a little something like this...
The season's first VSC (Very Special Contestant) was introduced. Maddy, who seemed to be molded from "'80s movie shy girl who just needs a tiny makeover" clay, introduced her brother with Down Syndrome, and then her other adopted brother with Down Syndrome...followed by her two other adopted brothers (one Asian) with Down Syndrome. Does it even need to be said that she made it through? Her voice was very "churchy" (of course she sang "Hallelujah"), so I can't see her ever being a popstar. But did I mention that she has four brothers with Down Syndrome?
Kara told Posh that she liked her. Posh just stared at Kara. So, either the feeling was not mutual or Vicky B just fell into another malnutritional coma.
The Whitest Kid on Earth tried to "holla" at everyone and then butchered "Womanizer." I know it seems impossible to butcher a Britney Spears song, but that kid was mad talented, yo.
A gaggle of girls made it through. I don't remember any of their names, but the one whom I'll call Blue Tank Top sang Mr. Big's "To Be With You." I've been waiting on a line of greens and blues just to hear someone cover that on this show, so I liked her immediately.
Rocco Amadeus (his name was close enough to that, trust me) sang some blues and used his hands a lot, like a good Italian.
The judges revealed their new catchphrase for Season 9: "You have a good/great energy." And with the end of this two-hour debacle nowhere in sight, my energy began to look not-so-good.
Derek, apparently the inventor of the time machine, came all the way from 1974 to audition. He thought he sounded like one of his favorites, Chris Brown, whom he claimed to admire not for his woman-beating abilities, but because of "the way he touches young kids all around the world." Clearly, Derek was confusing Chris Brown with R. Kelly. Regardless, after proving himself to be a graduate of the Chrustin Richardslake™ School of Nasally Singing, he was sent packing.
Then it was time for the "bunch of crybabies" montage. To the one who wailed, "This meant everything to me," may I suggest you reassess your life? (Says the girl sitting, watching, and taking notes on this shit.)
Oooh, a plain Jane, animé-loving weirdo! Would she suck? Yes! After she was shown the door, Beardy Skullcap and a vaguely familiar-looking, moon-faced kid were given golden tickets.
Angry Hipster Clark Kent did a fair impression of a pubescent Frank Sinatra on his rendition of "House of the Rising Sun," but made a bad impression on Kara who seemed equal parts mock-angry and really turned on by Hipster's "attitude." Simon said the worst thing he could have possibly said: "You've got very, very bad energy." Oooooh. A double very! They all argued back and forth for a while before finally casting the guy and his giant glasses out into the hallway, which was obviously his intention. Hipster wasn't really a bad singer, but he should probably take some acting lessons.
Ashley something-or-other looked like a plant, sounded like a plant, and the judges all salivated on her like she was a plant, so she's probably a plant.
(Take These) Broken Wrists (And Learn To Fly Again) sang "Let's Get It On," and Kara seemed equal parts really turned on and really really turned on.
The day ended on a positive note with a "random winners" montage. These will be the people who get voted out during Hollywood Week.
And now on to Day Two...
Lisa Lisa Lisa was another in a long line of slutbags who think they can sing like Mariah Carey. Considering that Randy and Simon were looking at her ass like they wanted to take a bite out of it, I'm surprised that they didn't pull a Bikini Girl and send her to Hollywood.
The "parade of losers" montage prefaced a few winners:
- Codzilla - some speedboat worker who got Kara even more lathered up with an unsexy and inoffensive version of "Yesterday"
- VSC #2 - the 16-year-old (only 16, yo!) with the Alzheimered grandma who brought all of Portugal to support her
- Last Chance Harvey - the 28-year-old who Simon described as having "no presence, no power"
Another montage whizzed by—this one featuring the "parade of even more lunatics who 'slipped through' initial screening."
Finally, some eye candy appeared. (Note: He was much more rugged-looking than this picture suggests.) And Justin Williams was not only the "hottie" (even Randy and Simon were checking him out), but also the "hero" (he's a soldier) and another VSC (he is a cancer survivor). Hello, Top 12! Seriously, did anyone think he wouldn't get a golden ticket? He could have stood up there and farted the theme song to Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and he would have been put through. And does anyone think he won't make it to the finals? Well, to be fair, he didn't make it last year. Oh yeah, he tried out last year too. Bet you couldn't tell since the judges acted like they'd never seen him before, right? He made it to Hollywood Week and even got some screen time when he was in a group with Matt Giraud and last year's eventual winner, Kris Allen.
Some guy who looked like he was created in a petri dish from the DNA of several members of both Menudo and The Jackson 5 embarrassed himself horribly. No one cared when Simon belittled him, but Posh got so upset when Si rolled his eyes at the next auditioner — a Nigerian crooner — that her left eyebrow nearly moved.
The last auditioner just happened to be the one the judges deemed "the best one all day." (Amazing how that works, eh?) Denim Diva sang "Blue Skies" very well. Well enough that I just assumed that the "unemployed" under her name meant "working singer with a failed and/or pending record contract."
Day two also ended with a montage of more golden ticket holders, including one guy who I'm certain was the forgotten fifth member of Boyz II Men.
The nonsense continues tomorrow night, as the audition train rolls into Atlanta.