Season 3: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

If you can't tell by now (or if this is the first scathing rip on this season's auditions that you've read), I really don't like how the third season of American Idol is starting off. For once, there are more and more "affected" (thank you, Miss Paula) bad auditions from losers that think it is funny to get on this show and act like an idiot. Forget the fact that it robs the spontaneity of the show, let's ponder instead just what the appeal has to hold for some people to come onto TV, act like an idiot, and the head off to some online forum to blab that she has deliberately did a bad sing job and got on TV. I can understand if there would be some money exchanging hands should one got on TV this way, but most of the fake losers I come across online seem happy to get nothing more than bragging rights. "Yay, I acted like an idiot on an idiot show" sounds wonderful, doesn't it? It's right up there with "Hurrah! I acted like an insane freak and got admitted for six months into an asylum!"

Back to the show. Where are we going today? Ah yes, Hawaii. Ryan "Hug My Body Tight, O Sweet T-Shirts" Sleazebag waxes poetry about eight beautiful islands soaked in the sun and talks about how the wannabes this season arrive in paradise only to find hell. Or something. Cue King Tut telling someone that the singing is terrible and this someone would find it difficult to find singing gigs at weddings. Someone is crying. Someone is cheering because King Tut calls this someone a "best singer". Sleazebag wonders whether "we" are going to "hang ten" or there will be "musical wipeouts" today. If he is going to be this corny, I'd suggest that he go hang himself instead because this show is a musical asswipe, that's what it is.

Credits. It occurs to me that the blue robotic golems in the credit seem to be moving around in an attempt to pulverize everything in their sight. And the microphone looks obscene. If they can crucify Janet Jackson's hideous nipple decoration while letting scantily-clad cheerleaders thrust their chests at the camera while grown men beat each other bloody on the perplexing only-in-America phenomena of Superbowl, they better get their bums down here and cancel this show now.

Hawaii. The ever-present Throng Of Limitless Talentfree Kiddies cry "Aloha!" because you ain't in Hawaii until you've aloha'ed to death. Some kiddies take turns to mug at the camera, saying - what else? - "Aloha" with faked gusto. The Hawaii Five-O theme song comes on as the show focuses on these kiddies auditioning before the producers for a chance to serenade the three you-know-who at some posh hotel in Waikiki. Then Sleazebag shoves his artificial plasticized body before the camera and talks about how shameless he and the rest of the show producers are because they enjoy the sun here. He talks about the drab temperature and stormy weathers of other audition locations and waxes about how much he loves the sun even if the sun makes him look like a fortysomething prune. Sleazebag goes surfing and says that he's good. Of course he's good. He's so plastic that he'll float in water like an empty plastic hair-gel bottle while the rest of us drown. And what's Hawaii without the ultimate cliché: children doing the hula? So here we go, sickeningly earnest children doing the hula. Where are Lilo and Stitch when I need them? King Tut smiles as these kiddies aloha him and bends forward as one lil' girl places a lei around his neck. After some earnest kissing but not in a Michael Jackson way, he puts the girl down and tells the camera that he has just gotten lei'd in an "absolutely terrible" manner. Then all the girls bombard him with leis. Yo, King Tut, shouldn't you not give Michael Jackson any new ideas for his upcoming trip to Hawaii? He asks the kiddies whom they voted for last season and these kids answer as they are groomed to, "Ruben". King Tut says aw, that's why Ruben won. I hear that some angry Kewpie fans are going to Hawaii right now to smack some little bitches up.

From easy leis we move on to ukeleles. Sonny Kapu, a big guy as Sleazebag puts it, is playing an ukelele and getting everybody waiting in the lobby to sing along to him. Then he's in the audition room serenading the judges with a so-so rendition of Usher's Nice And Slow. Randy Randy is pretty enthusiastic at first, which prompts Sonny to make a show of pulling back his jacket and putting it back on. But at the end of the day, Randy Randy says that he isn't sure about the voice (which is what I am thinking too), although he likes the package Sonny presents himself as. Miss Paula likes Sonny. King Tut says that Sonny really needs this competition because he would be playing and singing on pavements otherwise. While he says no, Randy Randy and Miss Paula say yes so Sonny is going to Hollywood. Sonny runs out to celebrate with what seems like half the population of Maui.

Some large young lady is shown performing in a wobbly and flat tone some song that I recognize only from the chorus line as A Moment Like This. She stops right after the first line of the chorus, "On a moment like this", and waits expectantly for the judges to comment. "What happened?" King Tut asks, adding that she stopped at an odd point in the song but he is glad that she stopped nonetheless. Needless to say, she's here on a moment like this and she's gone the next.

Sleazebag is so taken with Sonny, it seems, that he is now standing in the elevator lobby of the hotel waiting for Sonny to come out so that he can run straight at Sonny and rip off the poor guy's right breast panel to get this show sued by outraged watchdogs. Sonny and his large entourage of family members and fans step out of one elevator (I'm surprised that they can all fit in one elevator) only to stop briefly, stunned, when they see Sleazebag leering at them. Sleazebag shamelessly joins in a celebration and "Go Sonny!" cheer fest that he has instigated, getting lifted off his feet and squashed in the arms of a large woman, and the last thing I see before the show fades to a commercial break is a close-up view into Sleazebag's gaping maw as he enjoys getting molested by the Kapu clan.

Some guy is next, singing Paula Abdul's Straight Up. He sounds as if he's bleating while a bunch of angry Muppets are getting medieval on his bum. Miss Paula is hiding her face behind her hands while the other two laugh and cackle at the hideous performance. King Tut is moved to tell Miss Paula that for the first time ever he loves her version of the song. Paula's Biggest Fan is given the cut but he tells Sleazebag that he will go on doing his thing because he knows he's got it. The suck, I guess, being the "it". He will go far, he insists, and Sleazebag sarcastically voices over that the loser will indeed go on and go far - away and out of here.

Jon Peter Lewis is a really creepy guy, looking like a cross between Parker Stevenson and a huge ball of grease. He sings Crazy Love in a voice that for some reason gets compared by Randy Randy to Aaron Neville's. King Tut thinks that Jon looks like a pen salesman - eh, is there actually such a salesman? - but he likes Jon's voice. Miss Paula agrees. He's going to Hollywood ("I've bought a pen," King Tut tells him), even if King Tut thinks that he has a personality of a mouse. Then Jon gets out and starts dancing and slapping his crotch with some hot wannabes in the porch, looking just like the slimeball octopus one will always encounter at annual D&D parties.

Now some large young woman is playing the ukelele on the beach and singing "American Idol is in Hawaii, blah blah today in Waikiki, I can't wait to see Simon..." Bah, for that she deserves to lose. Her name is Paula. She gives King Tut a black T-shirt with the words "Big Girls Rock", as if he will be caught dead wearing that thing. "I Am A Big Girl", maybe, "Big Girls Rock", no. Such show does not overlook the fact that her Son Of A Preacher Man is more style than substance, so she's given a no. The sad thing is, if she's thin, buxom, and blonde, she'll probably be a shoo-in.

Sleazebag appears wearing a truly flaming shade of purple body-hugging T-shirt with an A-shaped bridge-like design on the chest. Insert your own London bridge joke here. He talks nonsense for a while and then the show focuses on one of the many Asian weirdos that spring from nowhere on this show, only this guy is wearing a Winnie the Pooh outfit along with his spectacles. I suspect that he's another fake pulling this stunt on some sort of dare. A young woman shows that you can cram six hundred awful notes into a single word, Honestly, and "Honestly, one of the worst!" King Tut tells her.

In an interview, Miss Paula expresses her love for the people of Hawaii, even if many of these people have no talent. Miss Paula talking about talent... way too easy. Some guy can't remember the words to Lately and argues with King Tut that he is not faking it. King Tut bets with him that this man, Isaac, can't find five people down at the beach to tell Isaac that he has talent. But surprise, he and Sleazebag manage to find five such people, including a smart man that tells King Tut that he is tone-deaf but he knows that Isaac is good. King Tut loses the dare but he is still not sending Isaac to Hollywood, saying that he can hang out all day with his "newfound groupies" (as Sleazebag calls them) instead.

Sleazebag talks about how they move to Hawaii but the mainland follows them anyway. (Don't worry, Miss Paula, it has nothing to do with your portable medicine kit.) Cue a montage of people explaining that they have paid tickets to fly here and sing. I hope they, especially that young woman that tries to be witty by saying "I'm from Wisconsin but I just got lei'd a few minutes ago", find some hot guy or gal to shag the night away to chase away the rejection blues.

Crystal is next. She wears tacky painted-on T-shirts and Sleazebag calls her the "queen of buttkissers" because she gives King Tut a T-shirt with "Hawaii *Heart* Simon" painted on. When will these women ever learn that the sad truth being: you don't give T-shirts to these people if you have no talent but want to go far, you take off your T-shirt instead. Because Crystal doesn't have it, not when her Swing Low, Sweet Chariot ("By Beyoncé," she says - good heavens indeed) is anything to go by. It's a performance that is too much shouting and too many awkward pauses for breath at odd places. The last line, "Carry me... to Hollywood", is particularly corny and embarrassing. And don't get me started on her clapping for herself when she's finished. Randy Randy says no, pointing out Crystal's pitch problems and keys gone awry. King Tut disagrees because she's skinny and passable as a stereotypical MTV starlet. It is up to Miss Paula to determine the fate of Crystal's future and surprise surprise, she says no. Miss Paula is really pulling no punches this season. I smell a subplot coming on. Crystal immediately turns on her whining mode, going "Raaaaaaandy, Paaaaaaulaaaaa!" in a most irritating and nerve-grating manner possible. Shut up and get lost already, you ignorant twit. But Miss Paula holds firm - it's still no to Crystal. Sleazebag wonders how Crystal will tell the bad news to the large entourage of supporters that came with her. But when these supporters see Crystal coming out of the room wiping her eyes, they run to her, hug her, and clap anyway for her while calling the judges all sorts of stupid for turning her down.

Randy Randy is interviewed. He says that "everyone thinks they're dumb" to reject Crystal but he reminds them that this is not a popularity contest. Indeed it is not, it's just a show where the person with the most votes win, and that's not popular, that's... er... never mind.

Sleazebag points out that unlike Crystal, Camile Velasco brings only a handful of supporters. She performs a rather breathy but still listenable rendition of the Fugees' Ready Or Not and she's in. She sounds very nervous though and King Tut catches her on this. Miss Paula tells her to work on "letting go" and all three judges agree to send her to Hollywood. Sleazebag, on the account of Camile being a "pancake waitress" (what on earth is that?), says that Camile may have served her last pancake. But I guess cheesecakes are always available on this show. All they need to look into right now is the beefcake, because this show needs some well-done beefcakes really badly.

Some guy is roasted over Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire despite having practised it beforehand in the men's room. King Tut's stern question to Sleazebag as to what the latter is doing peering into the men's room in the first place is deftly evaded with a well-timed smooch. King Tut, you're such a loser. King Tut, whom Sleazebag calls a "malevolent force" is on the roll, calling the next few losers all sorts of names.

Clifford Iokia is a firefighter, the kind of firefighters found on calenders where shirts are never an option, if you know what I mean, and from the way Miss Paula lights up the moment he walks in, she knows what I mean alright. Unfortunately, he sings... something... in a high, even girly voice that comes out through his flaring nostrils. King Tut asks him to stop and asks him what his Plan A is. Plan A according to Clifford is this and Plan B is to resume being a fireman. King Tut says that Clifford will make a good fireman. But the guy is hot so no matter how many times King Tut says that Clifford cannot sing, Miss Paula and Randy Randy send him to Hollywood anyway. Because like Randy Randy said regarding Kiira, it's never about only the voice but also about the... er, wait a minute. Randy Randy, Miss Paula is right. You are a hypocrite. Clifford proceeds to party in the beach, with Sleazebag helpfully pointing out that Clifford has his shirt off. ("I TOLD YOU HE CAN'T SING!" King Tut howls in despair.) "He's very single," Sleazebag adds lasciviously. ("I HATE THIS CONTEST!" King Tut cries.)

Matthew is on this show just to get a girlfriend. ("He's really single," Sleazebag says.) He gives a speech to his friends watching this, talking about how if they don't believe that coming here is hard, they can come here themselves to find out, and I think he's another fake. The whole thing feels too rehearsed somehow. Anyway, he sings in a really awful falsetto and King Tut hopes that all the girls watching Matthew have the volume turned down.

Next, contestants making animal noises! Tongue-twisting!

Jonah Moananu is next. He is bigger than Ruben. He's a free-style rap champion and demonstrates his skills at Randy Randy's request. However, he runs out of breath after barely a verse into Thank You. I foresee massive insurance premiums if this guy wins this show and goes on tour. Randy Randy likes the beatboxing thing Joah did better and at the end of the day, the judges send him to Hollywood with much less enthusiasm than that which they displayed for other pass-go getters. Jonah carries Sleazebag over his shoulders and then raps about how King Tut is not a fool and Paula is so cool and Randy Randy looks so skinny and, uh, Jonah ain't got the thingie.

Next is Lisa Wilson. She's a "model" on a "modelling assignment", apparently, and, as Sleazebag says, a woman up King Tut's alley. Huh is right. Can Sleazebag please stop pretending about he and King Tut? Come on, everybody knows already and they have all even eaten the wedding cake. ("But contrary to rumors, Janet and Justin did not copy the Superbowl stunt from me and Ryan's wedding dance," says King Tut - sure, that's so believable.) Lisa sings Independence Day and uh, she's so not good. Not good at all. Can we say Carmurp? King Tut doesn't like vibratos this season, for some reason ("Carmurp stole King Tut's lipstick," Sleazebag says to which King Tut growls, "Shut the hell up!"), but that see-through loser is obviously angling for Randy Randy and Miss Paula to say yes so that he can give a weak no for the sake of show. Repeat after me: I hate Lisa Wilson already.

Seventeen kids are chosen from Hawaii. A total of 117 monsters will flock to Glendale. The show ends with five minutes worth of loser montage and Sleazebag thanking everybody for wasting time on this show, and I scream in horror when I realize that there are two Glendale episodes to go instead of just one like the previous seasons before I will ever get to the meaty part of the show.