We’re in the heartland, specifically Omaha, where someone plowed the “American Idol” logo into a field of corn. And by “someone” I mean Nigel Lythgoe or the Fox marketing team. Or maybe it’s crop circles created by little green men, since everyone involved in the show seems to be in alien territory. I mean, really, they acted as if Nebraska’s biggest city is a two-horse town. At any rate, Omaha is evidently the West Hollywood of the Midwest (Midwest Hollywood?), or at least that’s what the show’s editors would have us believe. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Let’s talk about Paula, shall we? After weeks of almost perfect behavior, the train wreck finally pulled into the station. In this episode, Paula not only missed a good portion of the episode due to travel delays, but she had issues with bodily functions as well. Her questionable beverage hidden behind a Coke logo finally got the better of her as she hiccuped her way through Johnny Escamilla’s audition, pulling attention away from his retina-burning shirt (below).
Side note: When Abdul finally arrived, Simon greeted her with a lascivious “Paaw-la, come to Simey.” We’re pretty sure our colleague — also named Paula — has already set this sound bite as her new ringtone.
We got nothing. It’s a full 31 minutes into the hourlong episode before we get to anyone who’s merely acceptable and then it’s a quick montage. And nobody hit the wow factor. We see none of these people going very far. So, let’s look at…
Chris Bernheisel and Leo Marlowe made adorable bookends for the episode.
Chris (left), who comes bearing gifts of stuffed animals and photo albums to the judges like he’s welcoming the new messiah. Chris is a Kelly Clarkson “fan.” Actually, he appears to be somewhat of a stalker. Although he would be the most benign stalker in history. His audition goes off the rails as he stops auditioning for a spot as a singer (thankfully) and instead sets his sights on Seacrest’s job (not a bad idea). The judges give him the OK to name-drop at his local affiliate, and Chris acts as if he was just asked to grand marshal the WeHo parade.
Wrapping up the hour, Leo gives the judges a good dose of modesty and humor and, thank God, a decent singing voice. If he makes it to the top 12 he’d be the first out and proud “Idol” contestant. You know where I’m going with this. After being invited to Hollywood, Leo offers to help Paula stand up (he called it “hugging”).
Jason Rich, who forgot the lyrics to his song and required four takes to get back on track. I think Simon must be medicated. I’ve never seen him so patient with someone who hasn’t learned the song they’ve chosen. It’s always fun when the people who mess up on the lyrics are horrible to begin with, but this boy showed talent. I scooted so far back onto the couch in horror I think I permanently destroyed a throw pillow. At the end, he pulled it together. He won’t last past the next round.
Nope, not Lady Morgue (right). I found the name, the makeup and the pro-wrestling moves pretty subdued for a Goth. But if they ever bring G.L.O.W. back, they need not search for a new Matilda the Hun. (Don’t ask me why I remember this crap. I’m pretty sure I’ve pushed necessary information out of my brain to make room for it. Like long division). On top of all that, she sang like a Red Bull-riding Disney extra.
Actually, Rachael Wicker terrified both of us. I think women who go around challenging people to arm wrestle are a scary bunch on their own, but throw in the inch of foundation she has caked on her face, and you have a woman with a past. She covering an awful hurt in her life, hiding behind a mask of Covergirl and a tough demeanor.
Yes, I like to make up my own back stories for the contestants. It’s my thing.
Angelica Puente, (below) whose surname Simon charmingly pronounces “punt.” Oh, that wacky Brit.
There’s some sad tale about Angelica’s dad, I’m not sure what. I know he’s “a good guy”, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what’s going on there. Did he leave? Forgot to get cell phone batteries? Kathy, help me out here…
Weren’t you listening Erin? She lives with Grandma because her dad is “strict” and wants her to “have a better life than he had.” He sounds like a real bastard, alright. He solidifies that status by congratulating her profusely over the phone after her successful audition, calling her “baby” and telling her he’s “proud.” Jerk.
Regardless, Angelica sang just like the she-male “Dealertainer” version of Celine Dion that performs at Imperial Palace in Vegas.
Tonight, Miami. Please let there be some talent there.
— Erin Maxwell and Kathy Lyford