American Idol: Judge Kara, Still Hot, Our Gaydar Report, and What Are They Eating in Kansas City?!


Sharyn Jackson will be your American Idol host for season eight. Her first dispatch from Tuesday’s season premiere followed the adventures of Bikini Girl, Blind Guy, and Kara DioGuardi, our new judge! Last night’s episode was a batch of more auditions and whoa there were some doozies.

It’s Day 3 and 4 of auditions, meaning Day 2 of two consolidated hours of madness, and we’re in Kansas City. The show opens with more screams of disappointment, only this time they are not Archuleta fans getting a bitter dose of truth, but rejected Idol hopefuls–the home of BBQ and last year’s champ David Cook is apparently crawling with them. Seacrest hopes this batch will be as original as Cook, who managed to make Mariah Carey sound emo, and the disgraceful opening montage proves him so right.

Judge Kara’s ironed her hair flat today, and though the tanktop+choker deal is getting old fast, she’s still easy on the eyes. I don’t know how Paula can stand it. Kara hasn’t quite mastered the art of judgment, though. She refers to the first pasty boy to try out tonight as someone with a “big instrument.” I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but anyone that white cannot possibly bear an instrument larger than a kazoo.

Tender Moment #1: Soul-singing Kansan Jessica Paige Firney is 20 and lives with her 93-year-old grandmother. Her librarian looks deceive a great delivery of a Joplin number that her grandma’s hearing aid probably will never pick up.

Last season’s resident stoner dude Jason Castro is back! He’s accompanying his little brother Michael on his audition. Michael’s got a hot-pink faux-hawk to contrast with Jason’s dreads, but he’s just as articulate as is big bro. “My brother and I are alike except he’s more girly and I’m not girly,” he explains. Michael does a great job on Gavin DeGraw’s “In Love With a Girl” despite having only taken up the vocal hobby 20 days ago. Even though Simon is “never quite sure with you Castros,” he makes it to Hollywood! Awesome, man.

Gaydar Report #1: A Nebraskan named Jazz with a six-color dye job sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She kills the song, though not in a good way. But “there’s nothing in my life right now but this,” she explains to the camera with an intensity that nearly sets her Pride hair on fire.

Tender Moment #2, the Super-Ultimate: They’ve been teasing us all night with sensitive brooder Danny. But what’s his deal, and can it possibly top Blind Guy from yesterday? Four weeks ago, Danny’s wife passed away from a heart condition. We see home videos, wedding pictures, and lots of tears. Good god, please be a good singer. Yes! For the second time this season, Idol manipulates us to get behind a guy with a sob story, and it is not completely unfounded. Could this be a trend?

A montage of “Signed, Sealed Delivered,” features a man in a banana suit (and I mean suit, not costume), a sort of cop-Elvis, what can only be described as a vampire, rainbow Jazz, and countless other rejects with some nasty dental issues (what are they eating in Kansas City?!).

Gaydar Report #2: Doogie Howser by way of an Archie comic, a/k/a David Lang, is introduced by a duo of fag hags dressed as cheerleaders and sings “My Girl.” I have to agree with Simon the Wise: “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.” But when the judges call him “theatrical,” his hags get all choked up. Once again, a floppy wrist keeps another ‘mo out of the spotlight.

Tender Moment #3: of the night belongs to a flannel-bedecked hillbilly (and supposed descendant of Hank Williams), Michael Nicewonder (seriously). Michael brought a medal he won in elementary school medal for “Best Vocalizing” or something, along with more than a touch of the Special. He delivers a song he wrote for his mother (aww), who he admits doesn’t think he can sing. “But that’s why I’m here,” he explains. “To prove her wrong.” And that’s what Idol is all about, anyway. Getting out from under the thumb of your overbearing mother so you can humiliate yourself freely in front of America. Who cares if you’re any good? After all–and those auditioners from the heartland will most likely agree–there’s only one true judge. In the words of one of tonight’s near-violent rejects, “God’s gonna get you.”

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 15, 2009

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