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American Idol: “Auditions #4: Aspen”

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American Idol

“Auditions #4: Aspen”

Season 11 , Episode 4

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Aspen brought us our first two good freaks of the season on Idol. Tonight we met Magic Cyclops, the Spın̈al Tap-style singer in sunglasses and a bandanna who claimed to speak with a British accent because growing up he was so poor his parents could only afford PBS. I got a kick out of Cyclops (not to mention the fact that Jennifer Lopez seemed to catch onto his jokes a lot quicker than Randy did) and wasn’t very surprised to find out that in his spare time he’s more than just a guy looking for his 15 minutes of fame. 

The other freak was the lady who beatboxed to “Stand By Me.” She was only on for a moment, but she made an impression.

Other than those fine folks, as with Sunday’s episode, we saw some irritating try-hards in addition to a couple of people who seemed talented without being grating. In the former category is Jenni Schick. I’m not proud of the fact that I judge a gal who has to choose her hemlines based on whether or not they show off her tattooed-on garter, but just like Lady Gaga, I was born this way. Schick just tried too hard to illustrate how edgy she was, from bragging about her attraction to Gaga to begging Ryan for a kiss. I really wanted her to suck, but the judges liked her rendition of “Heartbreaker.” But I would have preferred Larry Davids version, honestly. I also found Angie Zeiderman, the Gaga-worshipper who looked like Kathy Beth Terry, to be grating as well. I was happy that she sang a Roy Orbison song, but even if she could sort of sing, she seemed like she was working harder on her image than on her talent.

I very much preferred Haley Smith, the outdoorsy girl who took on “Tell Me Something Good.” Both the judges and I were charmed by the 18 year old’s self-confidence, not just in her choice of song but also because she didn’t seem to be selling us on her image. I feel like we’ve seen hippie-type performers on this show before who really spelled out how they want us to see them, but Haley seemed very natural. I was glad that the judges liked her so much: it made me like them more.

What did you think of Shelby Tweten’s sob story? I raised an eyebrow over the fact that she said that American Idol gave the bipolar girl a reason to stay on her meds (that’s your reason?!?), not to mention the fact that she claimed her mental illness “doesn’t define who I am,” when it sure as shit defined who she was on Idol. But, I have to admit, I choked up a little as she sang “Temporary Home,” especially as I imagined her singing it with her mother. I was cynical at first but then I changed. It can happen. Don’t get used to it.

I also felt sad, a little, for Tealana Hedgespeth, partially for being saddled with that typo-mine of a name, but also for not overcoming her own sob story. Tealana claimed that she lived in the shadow of her more popular, talented twin sister, but in the end, Tealana was a crap singer. felt bad that she had to go home later and wash that “I believe in myself” note off her hand.

There weren’t a lot of guys highlighted on the show tonight, aside from Mr. Cyclops. What I most noticed were that the ones who could sing well had clothing issues. Curtis Gray needed new jeans, a haircut and a shave and Jairon Jackson needed to change out of those jean-shorts and to find a way to carry his glasses that did not involve clipping them onto his belt. But as for their singing, I didn’t have as many complaints.

--“The altitude is giving me a headache. Has anybody got an...Aspen?”

--I liked that the Idol producers blurred out Magic Cyclops’ age, but you could still read that it said “27.”

--Jennifer, fire your makeup artist.

--Note to girls: don’t ever tell a man you’ve just met, “You can call me dog if you want to!”