Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

American Idol: "Auditions #7"

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Even with the best talent and most entertaining judges, would it be possible for Idol to maintain momentum for four weeks of audition episodes? I think not. That’s one improvement the show failed to make this season, cutting down the number of tryout episodes that just get tedious with time, but fortunately, tonight’s stop in San Francisco was the last of them, and tomorrow, we finally get to Hollywood Week.

We opened with Inessa Lee, a cute and rather provocative Ukrainian girl who was 22 but acted like a very jaded 16-year-old (with a husband who may or may not have purchased her from a service). Sadly I missed her audition, thanks to a blown fuse but I am told that her audition was bad but not memorably so. But if you like her, you can see lots and lots of video of this “singing doll” (nope, not creepy at all!) online here.

The next two featured auditions were the types of singers the judges liked but that I think have become a dime-a-dozen on the show, guys with warbly and somewhat personality-less voices. The first was Stefano Langone, who was severely injured in some sort of car accident, although we don’t know what kind (I always need to know the details before I can award my pity points), and fought his way back to wear a keyboard-shaped belt buckle and T-shirt with dinosaur bones on it. I liked the second guy more, Clint Jun Gamboa, the karaoke host with the funky glasses, although I think I’d rather hang out with him than pay to hear him sing.

More entertaining were the next few bad auditions that came through, specifically the snippy guy who came dressed as a monkey and seemed very put out when the judges interrupted his horrible audition to reject him. There was also a guy who actually spent part of his time on Earth turning a Power Wheels into a functional Transformer costume. He might have actually been an okay singer if he didn’t look like such an ass, but that was his choice. The best dis was Jennifer saying that her two-year-old son would have loved it. The show cleverly played the Cars’ “Drive” at the end of the audition.

I’m one of those people who found Christina Aguilera’s unnecessary vocal theatrics on the National Anthem more offensive than her flubbing the words, so I kind of hated Julie Zorrilla’s rendition of “Summertime,” which was similar in show-offyness. However, she’s extremely beautiful and confident and does seem to possess some actual talent (and shoes that Jennifer covets), so as a whole package it’s not surprising the judges loved her.

I felt vindicated then when Dave Combs, the long-haired dude who sang “Oh! Darling,” was roundly rejected by Steven Tyler for completely failing to nail down the melody despite possessing what he obviously considered to be a strong rock voice. Steven, who was wearing a Beatles shirt, seemed personally offended by this audition, which amused Jennifer. Steven’s pet peeve seems to be people with “big” voices who can’t sing in tune, and that’s one of the reasons why I like him.


Next came Emily Anne Reed, a gal whose house burned down recently and who speaks like Maria Bamford and sings like Nellie McKay. There’s a fine line, with these girls with the old-fashioned voices, between intriguing and cloying and for me. Emily Anne stayed on the correct side tonight, but we’ll see how she’ll do singing contemporary songs. It’s curious that she was allowed to bring in and play her guitar to the audition when it’s something the producers seemed to otherwise discourage this season.

Once again, the last audition of the day magically happened on day one of auditions, and it was the mother lode of hardship, adversity, and triumph (the show’s words, not mine). James Durbin 1.) had a musical dad who 2.) died of a drug overdose when he was young, and 3.) has Tourette’s syndrome 4.) AND Asperger syndrome. He 5.) then met an “angel” in the form of his girlfriend, who 6.) leaves inspirational messages around the house like “I believe in my gift,” and 7.) they have a little baby, and 8.) they live in near-poverty. Also, he’s nice-looking and seems sweet and sings a lot like Adam Lambert. I liked Adam, although his loud high notes often drove me nuts, but I have purchased some of his songs, so clearly, he didn’t annoy me that much. Anyway, James had a good audition, getting Steven Tyler’s permission to sing “Dream On,” crying and getting runny-nosed as he sang but still doing a much better job than Danny Gokey. It was uplifting in way that could only be backed by a Polyphonic Spree song


Finally! Enough of this auditioning nonsense! Tomorrow, we start Hollywood Week!

Stray observations:

  • The girl at the beginning of the episode who was crying because the judges asked her to stop singing when she farted mid-note: fake, right? Is it even possible to fart and sing at the same time? Try it at home and let us know.
  • I didn’t get a look at Jennifer’s day one outfit: It looked like a gray fuzzy sweater dress and silly chunky boots. But I liked her sparkly gold top and velvet skirt on day two.