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American Idol: “Auditions #4: Aspen”

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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!”


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