Rumors abound as to who shall be sitting in Simon Cowell’s chair for season 10 of American Idol. The biggest name tossed around is Elton John. The superstar has turned down the gig. How could he turn down millions of dollars to sit around, act like a spoiled brat and remind kids that he’s the superstar? Sounds like in his old age, Elton doesn’t want to be remembered as a guy who destroyed the dreams of youth. He’d rather inspire us with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” instead of telling the tone deaf wannabes to hit the highway. Or maybe Simon Fuller wasn’t willing to cut a check equal to the $36 million that Cowell cashed last season. There’s more quasi-celebrities wanting a shot at the t-shirt queen’s crown. The worst was La Toya Jackson. She thinks people are going to tune into see her? She’s still delusional that her stint as a Muncie cop was a network smash. There’s only one person worth: Tim Sommer. He was in Hugo Largo and a major label A&R guy who signed Hootie and the Blowfish. Maybe he’s not high profile for the public. But he knew Helmet could rock America.
Although there’sa chance they could sign the man who made American Idol a cultural event. General Larry Platt’s “Pants on the Ground” was all the rage after his Atlanta audition. Even Brett Favre busted out lines from the song as part of his Vikings victory chant. Platt’s America’s Susan Boyle except that his TV career won’t led to a mental breakdown and defeat to a pack of hip hop dancers. Chances are we’ll be see General Larry Pratt at the end of the season during the finale week. Although Simon Cowell might hold him back so he can be a proper contestant on X Factor USA.
The Atlanta audition wasn’t two hours cut back to 90 minutes. It was originally supposed to be 75 minutes with a 45 minute a dopey reality contest show called Our Little Genius. It had kids from ages 6 to 12 answering harder questions while their parents decide to risk the cash. Rumors swirl that the producers had another game show scandal brewing which is why Fox abruptly pulled the plug. They expanded Idol by 15 minutes and reran the previous Simpsons episode. Nearly 20 million people turned off their TV set after General Larry Pratt made his plea to America to pull up your pants.
Tonight brings the show to Chicago, the city of Oprah and Jerry Springer. Can the land of deep dish pizza and Old Style beer find us undiscovered voices? Or will it merely locate every freak that would have normally gotten in line for the Steve Wilkos Show? At least it’s only an hour so there will be no long drawn out moments.
Ryan opens the show with a little Frank Sinatra singing about Chicago. Frank’s vocals is interrupted by people cussing and giving the bird. If Frank wasn’t dead, he’d be taking inches off Ryan. They have visited Chi-town in seasons 1 & 5. However they don’t mention any discoveries. We get footage of Obama’s presidential acceptance speech from the park last year. The Idol crowd chants, “Yes we can!” Is this really a Fox show? The big early audition is held at the United Center. The final judging is at a hotel downtown. The producers want us think these buildings are the same. Shania Twain is the guest judge tonight. She’s single after dumping her husband, Mutt Lange. He developed the Def Leppard sound. Simon is all over Shania. Wonder if he let her touch his hair?
Katelyn Epperly is an earthy gal with curly blond hair. She talks about how her family got a shock when dad walked out on the family. Sounds like she needs to sing to support her half of the family. Simon asks about the family situation, but doesn’t solve anything. Guess Dr. Phil isn’t going to have his show poached. Katelyn has a nice voice. Randy likes that she doesn’t sound like Duffy. Shania thinks she has a voice that could sing a hit song. She’s through with four yes votes.
A tour guide on the river goes over he nicknames. Why do they need to kill so much time? Amy Lang is a bubbly gal aching to get a cameo on Glee. She’s got the hots for Ryan Seacrest. She had a dirty dream about Ryan. She jokes to the panel that she’s relaxed because she’s stoned. She’ll be doing a little Aretha Franklin. They wait for the first note, she drops on the floor. The judges are shocked. But she sings and gets up. She’s got high school soul. She bounces her breasts for the judges. Simon says no even to the boobs. Kara doesn’t think she took it serious enough. They reject her. She’s sad, but gives Ryan a sample of her boob bounce.
A montage shows families supporting their kids. Charity Vance is from Little Rock. Her parents do hair in their house. She enters the room showing off her legs in a short skirt. She does “Summertime.” It’s rather whiny at spots, but there’s a couple good notes. Randy is impressed with her small voice, but interesting sound. Shania wants her to hone the better part of her vocals. She’s through to Hollywood. No sweeping up hair for her this week. Remember ladies, the short skirt helps impress Simon.
The montage features bad performers. A girl with blue hair plays the accordion. It’s a complete freakshow. This is one of those moments you feel thankful that they don’t have to expand the show by half an hour. Simon looks unimpressed. They have only given out four golden tickets. Now we see people flipping off the camera. A mom gets upset at Simon for busting her daughter’s dream. He swears she still likes him.
Angela Martin went to Hollywood in season seven after her father was murdered. She got pulled off season eight when a court date hit during Hollywood. She wants to touch her dream. Can she make it one more time? She does “Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige. Simon looks impressed at her soulful vibe. There’s head bobbing. The panel loves her even when Simon gives a joke no. Will third time be the charm or will another sad fate ruin her time out West? Only 7 people got golden tickets during this first day in the Second City. Was the United Center filled with Morning Zoo Radio hosts going for the bad?
Turns out 12,000 people auditioned at the United Center. Can they get more people to win on Day 2? They don’t seem to get it with Curley Newbern’s dog whimper voice. He goes on way too long. Why does Simon let it go on so long? Is he trying to kill this show before he jumps ship? They let Curley sing the entire song. Simon asks if animals come running when he sings. Curley leaves before the humiliation of the final vote.
Alannah Halbert also hits dog notes. They try to give her the key for the song, but she can’t handle it. She takes rejection well. She’s not sure why they said no. The camera follows her outside too long. They go black and white and silent to save us from these vocal disasters. Brandon Krause used to sing for the troops in South Korea. He’s going to do Tiny Tim’s “Tip Toe Through the Tulips.” He’s worse than Tiny. He’s beyond horrible. When he sang in Korea, he must have caused his meal to howl. This is very long and very sad. Brandon wants to get in a warm bubble bath. Ryan points out there had been no golden tickets so far this day. Who selected these finalists?
They creatively edit to look like stepping inside the United Center takes the hopefuls to the hotel space. Harold Davis is hungry to win. He wants to eat steak. He holds a note like Kenny G. He’s the champ. He does Usher’s “Nice and Slow.” The song picks up for him. Randy points to Kara and Simon as if who he has to impress. Simon cuts him off. Kara doesn’t think he’s up for this. Randy rejects him. So does Simon. Harold cries and mopes off. Randy thinks he has good look. It’s sad. They cut to a montage of lame entries. Why did the producers have to pass so much badness into the final judging round?
John Park upset his parents by taking voice classes in college. He’s an artist and he won’t deny it. Luckily he’s got a soulful voice even with his accent. Shania was surprised and likes his “beautiful bottom end.” She goes on to his nice lips and tone. She’s a single lady on the prowl. She goes onto his “good head.” Get a room, superstar! Kara thinks he has a nice voice without flirting. It’s four yes votes. John ought to swap the golden ticket for Shania’s room key. He’s mobbed by his buddies when returns to the lobby. Ryan teases us with a gold streak after the break although there’s going to be less than 10 minutes left in the show. This is turning out to be a dog night on par with Puerto Rico except they had 12 people show up for that famine not 12,000.
Six minutes to go and Ryan says it’s all down to a small handful of contestants. Paige Dechausse brings her large family along for the final round of tryouts. She talks about her asthma caused her to pass out while singing one time. The doctors thought if she lived, she’d have severe brain damage. But she came out fine. She does Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Going to Come.” Randy thinks she had pitch problems. Simon says no. The ladies say yes and plea Randy to send her to Hollywood. Shania thinks she has potential. Randy caves. She’s going out West. The family is in tears. She has to use her inhaler in the excitement. She’s going to be touch and go next round. Can she endure singing and dancing? We get the remaining three male contestants in a montage. None are that exceptional, but the trio receive their golden tickets.
Only 13 people got the good news about going to Hollywood out of 12,000. That’s just pathetic. They had 11,987 losers in the United Center. That puts the Chicago Cubs to shame. There were more beautiful notes sung at the slaughterhouses. This should be the last time they hold an audition in the Windy City. Tomorrow night is Orlando. Will Amanda Miller be a part of the Mouse world pack? Or do the smart kids that can sing skip such cattle calls? One guy will be dragged out by security. Bet the producers are proud to send a psycho into the room with Simon.
Tags: American Idol, Chicago, Simon Cowell, X Factor