Scroll To Top

Sing, You

Sing, You


Week 2 of 2008's American Idol auditions means the entire nation is one week closer to finding out who the next person to get dropped from a major record label will be.

I said it so well last season that I'm just going to quote myself from one of last year's early-in-the-season audition episodes...

OK, so here's how I'm going to break this down for you. The audition episodes have no real narrative. There's a pattern of Person Who Can't Sing, Person Who Can't Sing, Person Who Goes to Hollywood, montage of People Who Can't Sing, and maybe a montage of Judges Being Stunned by People Who Can't Sing. And then it just repeats itself. So my recaps for these early weeks can be whatever I decide to make them be, you know? I'm going to just list the ones who make it through and the ones who don't. It's easier that way. For me. If you really care about episode continuity, perhaps you should be watching the actual show instead of relying on some gay nobody sitting on his couch in his boxer shorts to do it for you.

First stop this week is San Diego, home of the Comic-Con International that I attend each summer with my stone-cold supernerd husband/partner/whatever. We stay in the fanciest hotel we can afford, we shop for geek merchandise -- he likes to buy actual old comic books, I go straight for the vintage vinyl Japanese monster toys -- and then we eat dinner somewhere nice after sitting in the Kevin Smith panel with people who (A) are usually in some kind of costume and (B) sometimes seem like they invented B.O. At least once during each Comic-Con I enjoy catching my man off guard by whispering conspiratorially in his ear, "Hey, guess what?"

"What?" he asks.

"I'm a wizard." We think that's very funny. Anyway, all these freaks about to get sent back to where they came from for not singing well remind me of Comic-Con. They also have the San Diego Zoo there. Now I'm thinking about how much I like monkeys.

OK, the Tuesday show:

It starts with two old guys saying "Welcome to American Idol...San Diego...California." It's funny because they're old like the Bartles & Jaymes guys, they're wearing matching hats, and they don't know how to be on TV. Like me. I wound up talking about movies once on MSNBC with Alison Stewart -- long, not particularly interesting story -- and when I went back to my house and saw the segment on TiVo I realized that I had shifty eyes like a nervous criminal. Goodbye on-camera career. Forever.

Then come the credits. Have you noticed how this season when the robot-man-lady-singing-thing walks out onto the electric plank and the fame elevator is shooting up behind him-her-it that you now see all the former Idol winners except for Taylor Hicks? And how last week when that chick who used to be his background singer did her audition she pointed to his picture on the wall and the camera didn't even follow her, so you had to guess for a second whom she was even talking about? Why this blackout of the Boogie? What did he ever do to American Idol except underperform saleswise? I suspect all sorts of nefarious corporate things now.

Anyway, here's who's in:

* The blond girl with the sharp features, which prompt a nose job debate among the assembled gays in my living room. No one comments on her singing, though, because we just don't care and she's boring. Even Paula looks like she wants a nap. Then Randy says, "Welcome to Hollywood!" and fails to add, "Except that you're in San Diego already, so it's not that big a deal." You have to wonder if San Diego people really ever get excited like that. Like, "HOLY SHIT I GET TO DRIVE UP THE 5!"

* The widower single dad who sings all wiggly and overwrought. He chooses a Boyz II Men song, which prompts a second debate in the living room: Who is the greatest? Boyz II Men, ABC, or BBD? No one is really into the Boyz. And we all agree that Bell Biv Devoe were momentarily excellent and that "smack it up, flip it, rub it down" are the only lyrics Irving Berlin forgot to write. But Another Bad Creation gets the ultimate vote of confidence from me and my friend Xtreem Aaron. Because, seriously, "Iesha" is an amazing song. (They ate cereal!) And if you're looking to buy a quality residence in the Atlanta area, Ronald Boyd DeVoe Jr. is now a established name in real estate. You may not be able to trust a big butt and a smile, but you can rely on Ronnie to find you the fancy house of your dreams in the ATL. Go to for more information.

Next we see outdoorsy shots of San Diego, here looking much like Passion Cove, that soft-core sex program on Showtime where actors who were too classy for actual porn pretended to hump on each other. Everyone's playing volleyball all the time in San Diego. Funny, that's all we do in Los Angeles too. We go to the beach and work on our tans and get fake tits installed and cultivate individual auras of insincerity. It's a great life in this city.

* The Australian guy, already named "Hugh Jackoff" by the assembled comedy-writing team of living room pals. He sings an Otis Redding song and Simon says, "You're like a white soul singer." Like? This guy's already had business cards printed up that promise that he's never gonna give you up, let you down, run around, hurt you, make you cry, say goodbye, tell a lie, or desert you.

* The sisters with mutual crushes on Simon. One sings, and one just sits on his lap. The singing one is fine. Better than the singing, though, is the weird group-hug moment where you sort of know that if they could, both of those sisters would be doing "it" with him right now, a microwave popcorn three-gie indulging Simon's sister fantasy, one he probably hasn't had a chance to experience in several weeks. But the best part of this entire scene is when Paula begins to tell the singing sister that she's "really good" and then changes her mind to tell her that she's "real good." And speaking of the erstwhile dancer/singer/costume supervisor for the Bratz movie, did you know that she and Randy Jackson have a single out this week? Like, just released? It's called "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow," and it will appear soon on an actual CD called Randy Jackson's Music Something Or Other (truthfully, I forget the name, and I'm kind of too lazy to go look it up) and it's coming out next week. Mariah's going to be on it. So is Elliot Yamin. I haven't heard this new single from Paula yet, but in my fondest wishes it's her weeping about how people don't appreciate her for the gift that she is. Over a vintage New Jack Swing beat.

* The 16-year-old who used to have vocal paralysis. Apparently he won the kid division of Star Search a few years ago. I read that somewhere. I forget where. He sings a John Mayer song called "Waiting on the World to Change," and Randy decides to just join in and do a little backup vocalizing. You know why? BECAUSE HE'S RANDY MOTHERFUCKING JACKSON, WHO HAS PRODUCED WHITNEY AND MARIAH. WHO ALSO WAS IN JOURNEY FOR QUITE SOME TIME. HE CAN DO AS HE DAMN WELL PLEASES, FROM RELEASING A NEW PAULA ABDUL SINGLE TO SINGING THE WORD "WAITING" WITH ANY HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL WANNABE KID HE FEELS LIKE. Paula tells him she wants to squish him. Stay away from that woman, kid.

* Carly Smithson. I know her name because she used to be Carly Hennessey. She's Irish, and about seven years or so ago she was about to be the next big thing. She had a multialbum deal, and she recorded an album with former New Radicals singer-songwriter-producer Gregg Alexander. The record tanked because Michelle Branch beat her to being Michelle Branch. And that was the end of that. If you go to YouTube and type in her old before-getting-married-to-a-tattoo-artist-with-ink-all-over-his-face name, you can watch her do her thing. Anyway, being an almost-was is not the same thing as being a has-been, exactly, and apparently none of it is against the Idol rules. So here she is. She sings "I'm Every Woman" (which must mean that she's also, by extension, every Celtic woman), and Simon tells her that she's not as good as she was before. She pulls The Craft face on him. It's good.

After she gets her ticket, Seacrest asks her how long it took her to get over not making it in the past. The answer is, obviously, eight tattoos. That's how she and her man mark time.

And here are the ones who aren't going anywhere but back to their apartments...

* The woman who believes she sounds like Mariah Carey and who sings "Against All Odds." She has the heart but not the two ears.

* The guy in the sombrero and serape who sings Oleta Adams's "Get Here" while his sister the mime does interpretive dance. I know this is a naked bid for TV time, but you have to kind of enjoy the thought they put into it.

* The girl who cries after butchering three songs in a row. Because if you've watched it every season since 2002, you know how much that endears you to the judges and makes them want to cut you some slack and just give you a pass because you're so nice. She's with her best little gay friend. She's a nurse. She says "she went through so much" to get there. She means traffic, of course. Anyway, her miniature buddy is "in the health care field." And he makes that statement seem suspect. Like he sells prescription drugs out of the trunk of his car at Benito's Taco Shop. Why do some gays always sound so sneaky when they talk? But I like the sunglasses he's wearing. Huge sparkly ones, the kind that slyly announce, "Look, I'm not saying that I suck a dick every day. But I get it where I can, you know?" Security has to escort them both out. Then he goes "Whoo whoo!" to the camera. That's what I'm going to start doing from now on when I'm feeling rejected by someone, just shout "Whoo whoo!" to the universe, letting it know that I am displeased with the way everyone isn't bending over backward to make my path lush, purple, and royal.

* The woman who wants to fuck Randy. She loves his goatee and then lapses into a sexual reverie, murmuring, "Chocolate...chocolate..." I have this one friend who does something similar to me all the time. When we meet in public he rubs my belly and says, "Buttery!" How many friends do you have that you can count on for that sort of thing? I think I'm lucky.

* The "Hellz yeah!" guy. He's also an "Oy vey!" guy. On season 5 he was the guy who dressed up like the Statue of Liberty, pre-Cloverfield monster ripping off her head and using it as a bowling ball. He seems very nice and has a hot brother and, if I'm guessing, is a member of a gay accountant's pot luck supper group.

*The long-haired, Wolverine-as-fiendish-Tony-Montana-level-cocaine-addict-fingernailed, flower child man-boy. He wears a brown shirt with a gold eagle soaring across his chest. He sits cross-legged on the grass with flowers between the mercifully well-tended toes on his bare feet. He dances and twirls like if Shakira were Avery Schreiber after eating five bags of magic Doritos that turned him into John Popper guest-starring as America Ferrera on Ugly Betty. In his own, breathy, I-talk-to-the-trees words: "To me, singing is, like, the ultimate revealing of my soul, and I've always been too scared to do that. Not even my own mother has heard my singing voice. I get my inspiration from my imagination. Sometimes I just get so lost in my imaginations [sic] that I kind of live there. Maybe a little too much."

Then he twirls a doll on a stick and says, "A paso doble..."

Then: "I've always wanted to try out for American Idol, but I've always been too terrified. The show has really helped me to open up and be the person that I am inside my wall. I've thought about this day for a long time. Opening that door and walking in front of the judges. Oh, my goodness, I can't believe it's going to happen."

One more thing about this guy: the going-for-the-record-books fingernails attached to his hands are nastier than the bag full of them that the weirdo brought along last week. And he is FOR REAL. I have no doubt that this is no finely honed character he's playing. He's from Chula Vista, that's how I know. They mean it in Chula Vista. The judges reject him, of course. So now he's free to go for actressing.

* The guy who thinks he's Bobby McFerrin and sings the words "leave me alone" over and over.


Now they're in Charleston, S.C. My favorite bit here is when the camera spins around the giant arena full of people and Seacrest asks in a voiceover, Will they find the next Ruben here [close up on a fat guy] or the next Fantasia? [close-up on an insane dancing girl screaming into a can of hairspray] So thanks, show. We now know what you really think of Ruben and Fantasia.

Who's going to Hollywood:

* Sylvester, reincarnated. And his sister. I like these two for a lot of reasons. First of all, they're fat. Me too! And as a member of the secret club known as the Fats, I'm sort of prejudiced toward enjoying them based on no other criterion than that. Also, there are two of them. Like the Weather Girls. Then they choose a hilarious song, that hit duet about being someone's angel that Celine Dion sang with R. Kelly. My husband/partner/whatever didn't know about this song. He just goes, "Celine Dion sang something once with R. Kelly?" When everyone else in the room confirms for him that, yes, that unlikely pair did, in fact, record a song together. Ever seen the video for that one? It's pretty strange. Celine's alone in an all-white room, wearing a white gown. So basically she's dead and in heaven. She is the angel. He's in a separate blue room, holding a baby. So he's alive and (because it's 1998) still allowed near children on the big blue marble. Then they sing in their respective cubicles. And then at the end of the video their giant heads hover over the earth like satellites in space. You have to wonder, even back when it was recorded, if Celine was like, "OK, oui, I weel zing with him but you must keep me away, for I understand that he -- how do you say -- peepee on the teenage girls. That is a beeg non. Where is zee check?" And speaking of videos, if you haven't watched the one floating around out there called "Celine Dion Is Crazy," you really need to see it. You don't even have to like her music -- I don't -- but it'll make you kind of wish you were her friend so she'd be around you all day doing a chicken dance while singing "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Oh, don't believe me? Go find it. Anyway, Team Bro-Siz are pretty groovy even if she's not a good singer at all. He is. And he's nuts. And louder than a foghorn. And acts like Celine Dion if she were Little Richard.

* The Chaste Cheerleader. She speaks on abstinence to other kids. She must be popular. Here's what she tells the judges:

"Like let's say that you're like, 'Oh, I really love my boyfriend.' Or girlfriend. Whichever way, you know. And you're like, 'Oh, I've been with them for so long I should have sex with them, like, it's totally cool we've been together for forever.' Then you're like, 'If you're gonna marry them, why can't you wait another five, six years?' And then you're like, 'Oh, then we're gonna do it then,' and then you're like, 'We waited all that time and now it's like really special, like, we have such self-control.' "

* The chick who lost her dad to cancer. That's never good. Neither is her command of the English language, describing her childhood near the ocean as "surreal." As in, "It was surreal to wake up every morning to the ocean." Did the fish talk to you? No? Then your ocean was not surreal. No one paid attention in high school when the English teacher assigned The Metamorphosis. No one.

Who's only going to Hollywood as a Walk-of-Fame-star-photo-snapping tourist:

* The permanently grinning Afro guy named Ray. He calls himself Raysharde. Gays love to make their names bigger. If it can be multisyllabic then it's better. They all want to be called Aristotle or Brilliantine-Smythe or shit like that. Ask them why.

* The angry waitress girl who sings "Fancy" who believes herself to be much like Kelly Pickler. This is the trailer park hick version of wanting to have the hyphenated name. Pick someone you can reasonably aspire to be like from the ever-expanding world of somewhat famous people. Then play up your similarities. Soon everyone will be calling you "The Grumpy Kelly Pickler" at your job and then you'll start to believe it, so you go to a singing contest and announce it on national TV. When you do this, there'll be kind, helpful people behind the scenes who'll assist you in getting your story across to the people.

* Dang, the Comic-Con people are in South Carolina too. The kind who speak like Yoda. "Take you to Simon, he will," says the young lady of her boyfriend, a self-described guru of the Idol internet message boards. Then we see them make out like they're trying to tongue each other's small intestine. After that they perform a fucked-up duet about how she wasn't the girl he'd dreamed of, missing almost all of his teenage masturbatory fantasies of womanhood. Nay, this lady, more she is. Favorite part = when the girlfriend, in mid-long note, turns her head from the direction it's pointed in, which is straight up at her main squeeze's gork-face and, still holding the note, gazes over to the judges with an expression of pure, undiluted adoration for her man, like, "Can you even believe I was lucky enough to get him?" With her eyes she implores them all to truly understand why he's so mesmerizing...a tall, gangly, redhaired, hippie-necklace-wearing Yoda Guy. THE Yoda Guy.

* The woman who's an Air Force pilot. Not an amazing singer but not awful either. Not crazy. Not deluded. Not compelling enough a story line for the producers.

* The woman with the biggest breasts of all time. Says she's as good as Fantasia. She's not. She's not even as good as Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, which is also not as good as Fantasia, but is, all the same, the greatest TV movie of all time. So, admittedly, that's a lot of goodness to be as good as. She set herself a high standard. And even after the judges dismiss her she argues with them about how good she is, claiming to stop crowds with her voice. Bored of Not-Fantasia now.

* The shrieking boy who tries to sing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." When the judges tell him no, he says that the show is fake and rigged. That's probably true. I mean, I hope it's true.

* The sort of adorable new dad whose wife just had a baby. They named it "Emma Grace." Not "Idol"? See, it's that kind of lack of commitment that will get you denied a gold ticket to Hollywood. Also the fact that the guy sings like Belinda Carlisle being drawn and quartered. But he's cute. I want to pinch his suburban cheeks. Meanwhile, his wife, fresh from whelping the post-fetus, is up and walking, wearing makeup and waving the kid around on TV. Because why have a baby if you're not going to stick its face in front of a camera when it's 24 hours old. If I ever went out and bought one of those things I'd probably be so happy I'd do that too.

When are these auditions over?

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Dave White