Saturday, January 24, 2009

American Idol: Louisville Sluggos

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My old Kentucky hairdo

Tonight auditions are in Louisville, Kentucky - home of the Kentucky Derby, which is, as Ryan Seacrest tells us, the most exciting two minutes in sports. Wow, that first sentence is a whole load of new information to my brain. Only two minutes? Really? Golf could take a tip from the Kentucky Derby.

We have over 11,000 people lined up outside just positive that they will be the next American Idol. And you know what? None of them will. 11,000? Really? Are there that many people in Kentucky, or would this be the hub for the surrounding Midwest? A girl in a blue wig welcomes us to the bluegrass state. Uh, thanks, I think. And we are schooled in how to pronounce the name of the city, with the consensus being Loo-uh-vull (how elegant).

We meet our first contestant, who is strutting along like a Kentucky princess, flanked on either side by a parent in black. This is Tiffany, and she has spent way too much time bleaching her hair, which barely exists anymore. Her parents tell us that Tiffany is a sure-thing for Hollywood because she sings just beautifully to them at home. Let's see what the truth is, shall we?

Natural Kentucky blonde.

Tiffany treats us to "Hero" by Mariah Carey and when the first note warbles out of her mouth Randy is already chuckling like a jerk. Okay, she's awful and can't carry a tune. They tell her to go ahead and go to college, which is her American Idol fallback plan. I'd say good luck with that as well, Tiffany. She offers to start again, but Simon puts it into horse racing terms for the Kentuckian to understand. He points out the window to the racetrack and says, "Picture 20 horses and a donkey." Ouch. Tiffany is, of course, the donkey in this scenario. She's understandably pissed and comes out proclaiming to the cameras that she's much better than many people who make it to American Idol and to "prove" it she slaughters "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson and whines her way out of the audition. That's a shame. Who's next?

Joanna is here from Philadelphia (which helps explain the 11,000 people). She's 23 and has been trying to make it in the music business for years! Who hasn't? She moved to L.A. by herself when she was 16, which couldn't have been a good plan and she says it's much harder than anyone would think. True that, Joanna, TRUE THAT. She looks like the Idol type and I'm predicting she'll make it through. Let's take a look. The New Judge (I honestly don't know her name) recognizes Joanna and says she was signed with A & M Records. Random recognition. Simon wants to know what went wrong, but Joanna just says it didn't work out. She sings "We Belong" by Pat Benitar quite well in that belting style the judges love and they all give her a fat yes. Who called it? That's right, Honey Gangsta, and don't forget it.

Joanna's occupation says it all.

Now we meet Mark Mudd, who is 25 going on 60. He's a Kentucky native and tells us that he's been in two terrible car accidents and almost died five times.

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"AND I already have 16 grandkids!"

Wow, a cheerful audition, how refreshing! It turns out that he is the descendant of one Dr. Mudd who treated John Wilkes Boothe following the Lincoln Assassination, went straight to jail and inspired the phrase, "Your name is Mudd." What a legacy. And it sounds like he's carrying on the family tradition quite nicely. I'm thinking he's going to suck. He sings "White Lightening" by George Jones. It's a hillbilly song and he's just okay. He didn't suck as bad as I thought he would, but the judges aren't down. They wish him luck and on his way out the door Mark tells them to be careful, which Paula immediately interprets as a death threat. I personally think it's innocuous considering Mark's shaky history, and it's probably something people tell him all the time. Relax, Paula. Pop something from your purse and calm down. No one is trying to kill you today.

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"...and I only brought three bodyguards."

Ah here we have Brent Keith Smith from Ohio singing Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough." He looks like a frat boy and I'm going to predict a "no." Oh, I may be wrong; he is not bad at all. And a Classic Rock number is always okay by me. Judges? Simon thinks that this was the completely wrong song for Brent and he should have done something more emotional. Paula starts freaking out with indignity and screams, "I say yes!" New Judge raises her hand and asks permission to speak. The judges bicker for a while about just whose turn it is to speak and then Simon gives his yes. Paula and New Judge pretend to be outrageously disrespected and act like they are going to hide under the table. I'd be so mad if I were Brent Keith Smith - what a waste of time. Then everyone says yes and Brent emerges through the curtain with his "golden ticket" to Hollywood. Fabulous.

After the break we learn that Louisville is not only famous for the Kentucky Derby, but also for being the home of the Louisville Slugger. Hey, good point, American Idol! And here comes a montage of people who are awful, including a girl who sounds like the Mayor of the Munchkin City, a guy wearing a zebra motif - including a black and white striped face - who sings about Mr. Zebra, and an obese ice cream server doing Michael Jackson moves to "Billie Jean."

He even has a mane.

Next up is Matt, a dueling piano player from Kalamazoo, Michigan. I had no idea that was a real place. He sings a song that I recognize, but I have no idea of the title or who sings it, but he's actually pretty good. New Judge says that she really likes Matt and his unique tone. Simon decides to let Matt know that his problem is not believing in himself. They all say yes and it's next stop Hollywood for the kid from Kalamazoo.

Here we have Ross, another Kentucky native who looks like he has more than one problem.

"My mom says I'm special."

He likes studying challenging things like physics and languages. That's fascinating, Ross. Can you sing? Well, he says that he's taught himself to sing using You Tube videos and internet articles. Oh boy. Why does this guy want to go on American Idol? I honestly don't get it. He goes in front of the judges and starts telling them how he mathematically arranges Chinese characters in his spare time. See what I mean? This guy wants to be a singer? The judges are apparently wondering the same thing and ask Ross why he's here, to which he answers that singing is one of the many things he enjoys. I'm predicting terrible. He sings an Italian aria and is, in fact, terrible. Shocking. I guess Ross couldn't arrange his vocal chords mathematically as easily as he could Chinese characters. The judges giggle and then join in the aria. Then they ask for something current and Ross draws a blank. He says that the reason he sucks is that the air is dry, so Paula offers him a sip of water. He walks right over and helps himself to whatever is in her Coca-Cola cup - right through her straw! Paula is appalled. Why is Ross still in here? He's obviously not moving on and they just want to torture him. Okay, carry on. He sings a note and a half of "Love Me Tender" and they stop him and tell him to get lost. That was useful. Paula asks for a new drink. Buh-bye, Ross.

Oh, here's a happy montage of 10 lucky Louisville-ers who are awarded golden tickets to Hollywood. How celebratory. Fun times in Kentucky.

It's Day 2 in Loo-uh-vull and we have a whole new slew of crazies. I mean hopefuls. First up is 21-year-old stay-at-home-mom Alexis from Memphis, Tennessee. Alexis tells us that her illegitimate daughter is her primary motivation for auditioning today. That's so inspiring. I'm going to get pregnant so that I'll be motivated to get off my butt and hitch my wagon to a star! She sings "Dr. Feelgood" by Aretha Franklin. I'm predicting a yes, but let's see. Oh yep. She belts her heart out, but the judges seem hesitant. Simon says she has a very commercial face. Good thing she's not on America's Next Top Model.

"I'm only doing it for my baby."

What'll it be, people? It's a yes, so it looks like the baby will be making a road trip to support her momma's dreams. She emerges carrying a guitar that never made it into the audition, but her family seems happy. Her daughter just keeps sleeping. She'll realize how important this is someday... won't she?

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"This is the best day of my three-year-old life!"

Next the judges are very bored with a whole bunch of contestants. They even interrupt one suckfest by bursting out all together with "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Well that's considerate. And professional.

Graciousness personified.

But here comes a ball of energy named Aaron Williamson. He screams "Woo!" repeatedly and then trots in to impress the judges. Right away he blows it and says he's here to be America's Next Top Idol. Oops, wrong reality show. Aaron tells us he's going to sing Creesdon Clearwater's Revival, "Have You Ever Seen the Rain." As a Classic Rock fan, I already don't appreciate Aaron's blubbing of Credence Clearwater Revival, but let's see what he's got. Oh dear, he's awful. He just yells the song, but the judges get all into it, clapping along and giving him false hope. Ryan Seacrest busts in to see what all the screaming is about. Please leave, Ryan. Simon advises Aaron to do something with his life that involves a lot of yelling. Like what, Simon? And after all of them telling him how much fun he is they give him the big boot up the butt. Later Aaron. Sad piano music plays as Aaron comes through the curtains with the bad news. Ryan tries to cheer him up by giving him his phone number, but Aaron isn't having any of it.

Now we are introduced to Rebecca Garcia via the Louisville Fox morning news. Apparently Paula had nothing better to do this morning than watch Rebecca on the news, so she recognizes her as she comes through the door.

Live from the horseraces... I'm just sayin.

It turns out Rebecca is wearing some kind of arm band that serves as a cheat sheet with her song lyrics on it. Well, that's classy. She sings "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood. I'm predicting bad. And I'm right. She writhes around while singing and New Judge is laughing so hard she leans on Randy for support. So mean. But deserved as well. New Judge notices from Rebecca's form that she was voted "Most Humorous" in high school and says that she gets it - this number was all a big joke! Ha ha ha! Rebecca starts to cry. Way to go, New Judge. Simon tells Rebecca out of the kindness of his huge heart NOT to have a career in music. Aw, poor Rebecca. She comes out sobbing and her mom tells her not to let those silly judges discourage her.

Another happy montage! It looks like there are several more people in Kentucky who can sing well enough to visit Los Angeles. We meet the final contestant of the day, Leneshe from Cincinnati. Leneshe's mother shares that her pastor prophesied that Leneshe would make her rich someday and she's still waiting for Leneshe to cough it up. It turns out that Leneshe and her siblings were raised homeless by their single mother. Doesn't her mother know that the thing to do when you're a poor single mom is to go on American Idol? I guess this one's going to let her daughter do it instead. They are really counting on this endeavor to make them rich. Interesting. If Leneshe doesn't make it through then her family was just highly exploited by Fox. She meets the judges and says she's going to sing a song she wrote called "Natty." Oh wow, she's great. So is the song. The judges are in love and invite her to Hollywood. Well that's a relief for Leneshe's mom. That big fat check might just be on its way.

And that wraps it up for Loo-uh-vull Kentucky. It was an exciting two days on the racetrack, wasn't it?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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