It’s raining in Boston. I’m taking that as a metaphor. Everyone could just pack it in right now, go home, stay dry, and we’d be none the poorer. Instead, 9,000 American Idol hopefuls visually and aurally assault viewers for the next two hours, and subsequently five months, and most likely several more years of this show.
So, to answer the burning question about the premiere of Season 9, nothing remarkable happened. All Boston showed was that everyone is the same everywhere.
Including David Beckham’s wife (as one auditioner referred to her), who thinks everything is just dandy–not a far cry from the departed Paula. You’ve got your standard anime freaks, awkward gay boys, sluts, fatties, sob stories. And you’ve got your New Yorkers with depressing day jobs, three of which–a receptionist from Manhattan who scats “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” a waiter from Manhattan, and a booking agent from Brooklyn–get golden tickets.
Victoria Beckham does look sharp, if rather Jackie O. Barbie, tonight in a trim red suit. But her face is just too crazy for the close-up, and she has nothing to add to the commentary. I always thought a British accent made people sound smart but I guess I was wrong. Simon really does have that X-Factor.
V, as Randy has nicknamed her, looks a little less scary on the second day in Boston, and that’s about the only thing that improves there. Even the scary folks weren’t as scary as they were in the first hour, like the girl who decided she should audition for Idol based on her performance on the karaoke video game version. (I have that game, and I can tell you she is definitely playing on Easy mode, and definitely playing by herself). Mysteriously, Paula is absent in the karaoke game (replaced by an avatar named Laura), which might explain this gal’s confusion when she calls Kara Paula. But it doesn’t explain why she is wearing a tight shirt that can’t possibly cover her undulating belly as she jumps ceaselessly. Then there was Pat Ford, who is going for the Kurt from Glee look, but doesn’t pull it off in a lounge-act rendition of “Womanizer.” They don’t hold a candle, however, to Derek, an acne-riddled Jesus-looking guy who “gragitates to music.” Asked if he likes Chris Brown, Derek replies, “I like how he touches young kids.”
Also deserving honorable mention is the werewolf in disguise as Norberto Guererro from Pennsylvania, whom Simon chastised for singing “Everytime We Touch” with a beard. And Andrew Fenlon, a nerdy Clark Kent-type, who is clearly an actor (a bad one at that) playing an aggressively angry auditioner who actually could carry a tune. It would have been fun to see him move on; he’s like Norman Gentle’s antithesis.
As for warm and gushy moments, there’s the grandma with Alzheimers, the girl with four brothers who have Down syndrome, and when Ryan Seacrest makes culturally insensitive remarks to a lovely woman from Nigeria about her fabulous head-wear (her son Bosa does get through to Hollywood). Also making it was Justin Williams, who got cancer in Spain (they warn people not to drink the water!), but is now cancer-free and is “Feeling Good.”He’s looking good and singing good, too, kind of exactly like Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock) on both counts.
Other successes of the night include Amadeo Dirocco from Providence, who really should have been trying out for The Next Food Network Star with the footage of his Italian home cooking, but since he can sing, we’ll let the mix-up slide. Mike (didn’t catch his last name) from Boston turned his audition into a commercial for Codzilla, a speedboat ride in the Boston Harbor. And Joshua Blaylock from NYC is about the cutest, sweetest thing ever. The 28-year-old has major confidence issues but is absolutely going to win over hearts.
All in all, 32 make it to Hollywood, and we end with a shot of them together on the Codzilla. Tomorrow: Atlanta.