American Idol has finished up their 2007 city auditions. For a significant portion of viewers, the audition episodes are the highlight of the season. The reasons are simple; it’s the only time we get to laugh at bad singers and it’s always fun when someone we don’t expect to be good knocks it out of the park. The auditions, on FOX’s part, are shamelessly staged, the preliminary tryouts only allowing in the very best of the contestants, the very worst, and the ones with great stories. I always worry that FOX would much rather show us someone really bad rather than really good, which, if you’re worried about ratings, would be a wise move.
But American Idol doesn’t need to worry about ratings! They’ve done it. They’ve conquered the world. How about showing more of the quality auditions rather than those of the wince-inducing variety? Last night, San Antonio was the site for the auditions and, judging by the way the hour played out, there weren’t many notable auditions. The show easily had the least amount of auditions stretched out over an episode of any episode all year, with a couple of the auditions dragging on far too long. Tonight comes the “best of the rest” audition episode, which is a compilation of all the best unseen footage from all the audition cities.
On to the recap:
Don’t Mess with Texas: Armed with a goatee and a pair of fatigue pants, this guy set up his persona as super-aggressive. And he was. He yelled some death metal, occasionally dropping to the floor and slamming his knees on the wood before jumping right back up and yelling. To be fair, he screamed quite well.
Wedding Band Singer: Haley, 24 and from San Antonio, was my favorite singer of the night. Attractive and with a sweet, controlled and delicate voice, Haley gave what I though was one of the better auditions of the season. Surprisingly, to me at least, the judges were non-plussed by the performance. They recognized her ability and grudgingly sent her to Hollywood.
Jasmine the Shy Girl: Jasmine is hopelessly shy and, after seeing that her family fully expects her to succeed, we know we’re in for some heartbreak. She gives a terrible performance, the nervousness apparent in her voice, and Simon and Randy start laughing during her song. She cries. You know the script.
Baylie Brown, Pop Star: The preternaturally attractive 16-year old, blonde from small-town Texas ranch, will be one to watch. She sings a Faith Hill song with a mature, country-fried voice. She isn’t the greatest singer, yet, but Simon especially says that she is extremely commercial; a record label’s dream She’ll be in Hollywood and will probably be a fan favorite, with many a fan site devoted to her on the internets.
Locked Door Interlude: One of the themes of the season has been the fact that, always, one of the doors to the audition room has been locked in every city, thus creating some embarrassing moments for exiting contestants. As much as I’d like to say this was a cheap TV ploy by American Idol, it’s just damn funny watching people get stopped in their tracks by a locked door.
The Cousins: Two cousins came to tryout together. The first, not very serious and overweight, sang the lowest, slowest version of “Amazing Grace” known to man. He enjoyed a good laugh with the judges and then let them know that he was going to freak out his cousin and that the judges should play along. So, as he left the audition he started yelling maniacally at the judges. Funny stuff.
The other cousin, skinnier and serious about singing, comes in and sings “A Change is Gonna Come” which I thought was good, but Simon says was boring and that he lacked charisma. Without missing a beat, he launched into a rendition of “Let’s Get it On.” The judges like it and send him to Hollywood.
The Mayor Liked Me: Sandy, a hopeless singer, claims she recently sang in front of the Mayor of Houston, who loved her. Unless the mayor’s deaf, there is no way that is true. Simon made Sandy cry, but it was probably worth it if it means Sandy stops trying to sing.
A Second Chance: Ashlyn Carr, a quiet girl with a unique voice, sang her first song pretty well, I thought, but the judges didn’t like her weird facial expressions while singing. They send her away, but after discussing it, the judges decide to bring her back for a second shot. She does a little better this time and the judges send her to Hollywood.
Jake the Snake: This guy sucked and then talked some smack on the way out. We’ve seen worse singers and better flip-outs, so Jake isn’t really that notable.
The Happy Ruben: Jimmy comes in and sings an upbeat song, energizing the judges. He’s got a good voice and a whole lot of energy and the judges loved him, Simon even calling him a “smaller, happier Ruben [Studdard].”
And that was it. Not a lot of contestants for a whole episode, right? I’ll be back tonight with some quick thoughts on tonight’s “best of the rest” episode and tomorrow morning with a full recap of the episode, as well.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer