Auditions took place in Louisville, a location that warmed my heart thanks to the guy at the beginning of the show singing in a Port-o-Let and emerging surprised to see a camera crew. I liked that guy, and the cute blue-haired girl who said, "Welcome to the bluegrass state!" They were my favorites on the show, although neither of them sang.
We began with Tiffany Shedd, a cheap Paris Hilton knockoff, which, you know, is pretty damn cheap. I think she could have been attractive if she got different hair, stood up straight and ditched the makeup and false eyelashes and ran far, far away from her creepy father who seemed to love her more than Mrs. Shedd. Tiffany sang horribly, although her mom seemed really into it. "They're just looking for nerds and freaks!" she monotoned on the way out. Well, yeah, for good footage. You did a great job, Tiff.
Then Joanna Pacitti tried out, one of those contestants, like Carly from last season, who had something of a career pre-Idol that will probably be the cause of confusion and controversy. Kara claimed to remember Joanna as being signed on A&M although I have a feeling Kara wouldn't recognize Joanna on the street. I have to admit I prefer Joanna's type of sob story, that of someone actually trying to get a music career and try Idol as a last-ditch effort, than the people who are trying to save their families or whatever.
We learned the meaning of "Your name is mud" from Mark Mudd, whose great-great-great grandfather (or something) apparently gave medical care to John Wilkes Booth after shooting Lincoln. Mudd at least had a different voice than you usually hear in the competition, a loud country twang, but he wasn't actually good per se. I felt bad for Mudd, and then Simon drew it out—after Paula told him that this wasn't the right competition for him, Simon said, "What is the right competition?" On the way out Mudd said "Take care and be careful," which the producers decided was a "threat" worth teasing last night but I think that was just an overhyped meant-to-be "take care."
Simon then got shat on for telling the truth—that Brent Keith Smith didn't make a big enough impact, which was totally true. He could sing but he was completely boring. The other judges went apeshit over this and for some reason Kara and Paula went under the table. I should say here though that it does seem that Paula is a little toned down this season. I don't know how Kara's presence would really make that happen but we'll see if it continues. Maybe Paula feels more serious when she wears glasses.
I kind of liked Matt Giraud, the dueling pianist. His voice reminded me a little bit of Justin Timberlake (or in Idol terms, as Simon put it, Eliot Yamin). He seems like he could have fun stage presence, even though Simon thought for some reason that he didn't believe in himself. I liked Simon's exasperated "You're going to Hollywood!!" when Paula prompted him.
Ross Plavsic, the nerd who found a new way of organizing Chinese symbols (and another contestant who chose to study anatomy) sung like Boris Karlov. I liked his answer when the judges asked him what he'd sing if he's just won the competition: "Probably what I just sang before I won the show." The kid reminded me of a Beauty and the Geek contestant.
Then we met Alexis Grace, the 21 year old stay at home mom who named her daughter "Ryan." Basically, people who wear knit hats and tank tops annoy me, so that's pretty much all I have to say about her.
Kara felt bad for assuming that Rebecca Garcia's audition was a joke, which raises the question—does anyone ever admit it's a joke, even when it is? Moreover I couldn't tell what Rebecca was doing that looked so jokey, unless it was her lone weightlifting glove.
And then we closed on yet another touching story.
We go somewhere else next week—I forgot where already.
—Randy: "I'm kind of sitting on the fences with the horses on this one."
—Best freaks of the night: Obianuju Omwurah, with her crazy weird vibrato and Ryan Benningfield, who wore crazy makeup but whose song intrigued me more: "Mr. Zebra can I have your sweater?"
—Worst freak: Patrick Warner, the laborious Michael Jackson impersonator, one of those people who give fat guys a bad name.