Season 3: Dancin' in the Streets

First of all, a big thanks to the wonderful visitor Faez who, upon learning that I would be out of the country during the first five episodes of the new season of American Idol, carefully taped all these episodes and mailed them to me. I don't even have to pay postage. Thank you so much! Know that no matter how much I am suffering through the show, I will still remember your kind gesture and carry on like the trooper I am because baby, all this is for you!

Man, I never know how much I did not miss anything about this show until Ryan "I Left The Auto On In Tan Francisco" Sleazebag's overtanned face appears on my TV screen. Wearing a body-hugging yellow T-shirt emblazoned with "Don't ruin (something) with words", he is cataract for the eyes. He is surrounded by thousands of deranged teens just happy to be on TV and wishing that they too could be chewed and spat out by music executives in Hollywood just for a fifteen minutes of drugs, indiscriminate sex, and seeing all their hard-earned money going to the pockets of fat studio cats while all they would have after their "careers" are over is a position behind the counter of a Burger King store managed by Justin Guarini. Blah blah he says blah blah expect the unexpected (yeah right) blah blah blah tacky credit music and I feel an urge to cry coming on.

The pointless montage fun begins. Sleazebag talks about last season. Yeah yeah Kewpie Ruben whatever. In the Recapland of the Very Bored where pointless and fabricated subplots are added as a petty way for me to stop going insane out of boredom, we have also seen the development of King Tut and Sleazebag's tempestous love affair that culminated in a moment of calm long enough to result in the Wedding Of The Year. This Season, who knows what we will see? Will King Tut and Sleazebag stay strong or will some himbo contestant come between them again the way Kewpie and Bigboy and Chip Days almost did last season? Which talentless pretty boy or girl will go far over better contestants and earn our ire next? And what am I doing watching this show? Help, I have a mental disorder! King Tut is shown to be evil. Oh look, Randy Randy is shown to be evil too, although his evil is more like a lipstick shade of sarcastic. Miss Paula is seen telling someone that this someone has wasted everyone's time. I bet this someone is female or if he is male, not skinny and halfway shaggable. Then again, Miss Paula did have the hots for Corey Vanilli and Kewpie last season. Then again, the hot male quota for this show hasn't actually been bursting through the roof either. Why am I watching this show again?

Besides, there's a good reason why Randy Randy and Miss Paula are no rayof sunshine this season. Any gossip fan would know how these two said that they would walk out should their paycheck wasn't raised to King Tut's level only to be told that should they walk, the show would just replace them with somebody else. So here they are, still second-class citizens compared to King Tut, still on the show, no wonder they are miserable. They are miserable like I am miserable, only they are still getting paid to endure this mess. I hate this show.

Someone splashes water on King Tut's face and tells him how much he sucks. Another someone tells him he sucks too. Sleazebag sighs off-camera and is heard to mutter dreamily, "Yes, absolutely, fabulously!"

Randy Randy looks thinner now. Honey, that staple on your stomach is working wonders. Keep it up! He says he is looking for someone with a unique voice and the potential to last very long in the music business. Baby, you're delusional. Here, swallow a Whopper. Miss Paula talks in her patented brand of vapid that she is looking for a unique voice. Judging from her tastes, unique runs to "thin, under twenty-five, at least passable looking, come to Momma's bed now". King Tut wants a better winner than the winners of the last two seasons. But they will still make this winner sing songs that suck so hard, so why bother?

New York City, here we come. More montage scenes of screaming children as Sleazebag talks about how they camp here, some for more than three days, just to get a chance at auditions. Since first-hand accounts of people at such auditions have revealed how there is a mad stampede the moment the limited number of audition cards are available and how those that got on didn't necessarily were there the earliest, these kiddies come off as really pathetic. I can understand if this audition stint is just an excuse to cut school or work at the supermarket or restaurant to get high and have pointless sex with other kiddies because we don't have a Woodstock nowadays, but some of these kiddies are Really Serious About Making It Big. How sad. A scene of Nate "I'm Spent" Splitpants from last season. Someone takes off his shirt and gyrate - nice body - before the handlers from the movie set of Hot Marines Takin' Big Bazookas Up The Ballast come to drag him back so that they can wrap up scene three before calling it a day.

Montage time. Atlanta. Some girl screeches Black Velvet right before Alannah Myles comes up and rips her head off (violence excised from TV for the sake of the kiddies). Another girl sinks a few ships with her rendition of Proud Mary. Someone sings well, someone doesn't, and everything blurs into one horrible off-key note coming from Sleazebag's ten-feet wide open maw. I scream only to realize that it's just a horrible dream - only the maw, not the show unfortunately. Houston. Storm is brewing in Houston. Too easy, that one. Someone screeches, someone shrieks, someone takes a pick-ax and butchers Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and someone screams "No, no, no, no, no, no!" to which King Tut says, "No, no, no, no, no, no!" All this could be funny, I guess, if I'm not already spoiled by the Virgin Keith last season and I need someone even better at being bad like Keith to make this show worth my time. Honolulu. Some large woman massacres A Moment Like This. So far Atlanta is coming off the best of these states, but that's like saying that Atlanta's compost heap stinks the least.

The show now lets the rejected losers complain, and so they do. King Tut sucks! Some girl swears that she's going to make someone a lot of money so the AI people will be sorry. Maybe that someone will be K-Mart. Somebody tries to prove that she can sing by screeching at the camera. There goes her chance of having a normal life after this, because nobody is going to even come within hearing distance of her. Someone wears big sunglasses. Two weirdos look like wrestlers and act like such. I'm amazed that I haven't passed out by now from the pain I am suffering. What is the point of this show again?

Sleazebag, reading my mind, wonders aloud why these losers are humiliating themselves this way. He cuts on to scenes of Kewpie, Ruben, and Kelly - conveniently omitting Justin - explaining how these three sold more than nine million CDs combined last year alone. He asks a rhetorical question as to what people would do to be as successful as these three. Successful? As in being treated like pariahs at worst and a joke at best by critics and the rest of the music industry? Singing horribly cheesy music handed down by more credible teen pop acts? Give me a break. What would people do? Cue a scene of some girl doing handstands. Two Klingons walk into the audition hall and tell the judges that they, the Klingons, kill their rivals in contests like this one where they come from. Seriously, that's what they said. King Tut says that he wishes that they were around like season. Ha, ha. I guess this is what talentless losers do when they are too ugly to play the casting couch: they try to be funny in really tragic ways.

Back to New York. More screaming teenagers lining up to audition. Yes, I get it, this show attracts freaks like nobody's business, so stop showing me those scenes so many times already, gonzos! Twelve thousand people show up, Sleazebag tells me. It occured to me that schools can easily round up truants and losers by pretending to hold an American Idol audition. We can then pick up the losers one by one and ship them to some military or vocational boarding schools where some education would do them a lot of good. More bad singing. More people bitching at King Tut. Yes, we really need to send these kids to boarding schools.

Now Sleazebag is in the Grand Central Station. Don't you dare run away, Sleazie, and leave me alone like this! He says that the Station is the heart of New York. At the rate this show is going, we need all the hearts we can get.

Into the audition hall walks Scoutmarm Lil's daughter, or so Martha Krabill looks like, decked instead in a military uniform instead of scoutmistress outfit. King Tut and Randy Randy talk about how they are fantasizing about women in uniform so they are happy that she walks in. In my fantasies, these uniformed women are standing over Randy Randy and King Tut, pointing AK-47s straight at their heads, but that's just me. I'm a sociopath now. See what this show is doing to me? When asked, Martha explains that she is from the 82nd Airborne squadron and points out her badges while incongrously explaining that she is the worst cook and the worst shooter. She sings Dancin' In The Streets and while I think she's okay (not too bad, but not that good either), King Tut says that she must never sing to the man that packs her parachute. He adds that she's good for TV, but not for singing. Miss Paula is predictably appalled by his words but she and Randy Randy think that she isn't good enough for Hollywood either. A scene of her talking to her sweetheart on the phone after the audition confirms this.

Then comes another military guy, Staff Sgt Paul An, who proceeds to yammer in a machine-gun delivery something which I guess must be some secret military version of rap. He is summarily dismissed and he accepts this gracefully, no doubt just happy for a chance to get away from camp and be on TV. He has a nice baritone though - maybe he should have, you know, sung in a singing contest.

Sleazebag now says that everyone from all over the world comes to Grand Central Station, which I realize is where the auditions are held. Heart of New York? In this case, forget heart, try "toilet". Actually, Sleazebag lies - the two losers coming up next may be born outside America, but they do live in America. So it's not exactly someone flying down to audition, especially when I doubt non-US citizens will qualify for this show. So stop bluffing, dude, or make up better lies, such as how that gerbil mistook you for Richard Gere so it was really all an accident on your part.

Hurrah, now we have our first of the two "Let's Make Fun Of The Furriners" losers: Roland Maxharj from Kosovo. He looks as if he has prepared for this audtion by fully dipping himself in a huge amount of grease. With his messy long locks and stoner face, I wonder just what exactly he is doing here. This has better be to go, Virgin Keith proportions. Well, almost, but not quite, really - his really painful and shrill rendition of Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me is horrific but merely chuckle-inducing instead of being laugh-out loud funny. Randy Randy laughs. King Tut laughs. Miss Paula doesn't, because of Botox. Roland sings, oblivious. "Sorry," King Tut says weakly before turning away to snigger. Randy Randy can barely sit upright - well, less than usual anyway. When Roland is done (and boy is he ever), King Tut says that it is a good thing that immigration approval doesn't depend on Roland's singing ability. Outside, Roland tells Sleazebag that he has always wanted to be an actor or a singer. Sleazebag says that maybe Roland should try acting. I'd say that Roland should appear on Sleazebag's talk show. That would show Sleazie for being so insincere.

Karmen Varjabedian is next and she is born in Bulgaria. She sings Cher's Strong Enough. The problem here is not that she sings in a really low alto that's manly enough to be a bass. She is awful, awful enough to make Cher back in fashion again. But at least she has the good humor to laugh about how people mistake her on the phone for being a man.

Leah Vladowski is also from Bulgaria but she sings well - the best so far, at least - and she's going to Hollywood. I'll be more enthusiastic if she isn't channeling the little Von Trapp girl that got lost along the way and ended up on this show by accident.

Then we have two really cute brothers, Jesus and Noel Roman. They aren't above using their six-year separation (due to "family difficulties") to stand out, but this is the entertainment biz, so good for them. Ho everything you can ho is the way to go up in this world, after all. Jesus is first (sorry) and he is wise enough to perform Boyz II Men's acapella rendition of In The Still Of The Night. It's a faithful note by note rendition that far from impresses me, but in this show, I'll take anything I can get. Noel is next after Jesus (sorry, really!) and he does Shai's acapella If You Ever and again it's a note-by-note faithful rendition. He's not as good as Jesus - okay I'll stop here - but really, who is better than Jesus, right? I'm really stopping now. They are both welcome and invited to Hollywood - and Paula's boudoir if her expression is anything to go by - and they are so happy. So am I. Another reason to watch the Glendale episode: a faint hope of seeing these two hunky hot brothers get naked in some drunken romp. Maybe Alden Wynn and Corey Vanilli are available to organize another PG-rated drunken romp this time around.

Inspired by Jesus (last one, promise - really!), Randy Randy now talks about how twins follow them wherever they go. Clue to last season's creepy twin gals, and then this season where a set of twin girls simultaneously blast at the top of their banshee voice Ain't No Mountain High Enough. It's truly flat, off-key, and atrociously bad, only double the monstrosity as this time around there are two of them. Even Miss Paula has to cling to Randy Randy for comfort, the faces of the three judges coming off like people that somehow walked into a live demonstration of an autopsy and turned to flee only to realize that the doors are locked and there is no way out. Randy Randy says that these ladies would need a lobotomy to get better. The twins however that says King Tut (who calls them flat and painful to listen to) sucks the most in the post-audition interview. Maybe they don't understand what a lobotomy is.

Next, King Tut is interviewed. He says that he is "frustrated" by how delusional some losers are about their actual singing talent. He doesn't want to be rude (and I just turned twenty-five this year) but someone has to give these people a "reality check". Giving reality checks for a fat paycheck - now that's something I could get used to. Sometimes, however, a contestant will insist that the judges are wrong. And to prove this, the show now focuses on Rasheedah McDaniels. She refuses to believe that her You're The One That I Want is bad (it is, being off-key and all that) so King Tut challenges her that she can empty a bar in no time when she sings. Sleazebag therefore takes her to a restaurant, explains the bet to the audience, and then proceeds to let Rasheedah sing something so off-key that the only words I can make out is, ironically, "I want to thank you". Initially enthusiastic and even supportive people start leaving one by one, sometimes in droves, until there are only one nice guy left at the end of the five-line song session. He hugs her and she walks away forlornly, dragging her trolley bag behind her. Don't worry, Rasheedah - they will be showing you again at least once in the finale episode. Maybe they'll even invite you for a group sing.

Some guy keeps silent for a few minutes before erupting into a really loud Build Me Up, Buttercup. It's horrible, but worse when you consider the subject matter of the song.

Next is a guy named Michael Keown. He reminds me of every fake smarmy guy that my mother used to introduce me to when I was younger. Always the "See, that is Mrs Chia's son, he's a doctor, you must marry him!" guy would turn out to be dull, selfish, or having some girlfriend he is shacking up with but is too afraid to introduce to his parents. Yes, sometimes those Amy Tan novels have some moments of realism. Paula reads out Michael's list of achievements and it turns out that he has sung for the Pope before. And we all know how good the Pope is when it comes to judging pop music, not to mention that the Pope's hearing is still sharp for a man of his advanced years. Michael also claims to have sung for the Clintons and... and... eeuw, this guy has "smarm" and "fake" and "self-absorbed" written all over him. His choice of song is equally predictable - Unchained Melody - and the judges love it. King Tut because he always loves this stupid song, Miss Paula because we are talking about a young, halfway-decent looking, and shaggable guy here, and Randy Randy because... well, what's the point? Michael is going to Hollywood. If he makes the Top 32, expect a nasty nickname from me for him.

Randy Randy is interviewed now and he talks about "scat girl". Hubby and I are ashamed to confess that we did a double-take at this, only to relax when it turns out that "scat" here is a reference to the delivery of jazz music. I don't know what this has to do with a young woman going "dooby-dooby-doo" in a bizarre way that's, well, musical but certainly not suitable for what this show is looking for. It's still okay until she becomes noticeably sharper and sharper until she ends the song with a truly painful shriek. The song is Route 66, as it turns out, albeit Route 66 branching off into Highway 666. Randy Randy is giggling and Miss Paula could only comment positively on her dress. King Tut says that she is awful, she says that she did the best she could and God is on her side, and King Tut says that God is on a holiday today. Anyway, God has already sent Jesus to Hollywood. Okay, I'll shut up now. This woman in her post-audition interview rather emotionally thanks the judges for their comments and wish this season all its best. With Jesus in Hollywood, it better be. (Hey, put that gun away!)

Now comes someone that could be Virgin Keith's skinny brother - Colin Leahy. He claims to be just like Kewpie because he works with children at camps and he's all about the children. Someone please remind him that talking about how much one loves children, especially when one looks like a sociopathic creepozoid with the biggest overbite this side of the world, is not a good thing - we can all thank Michael Jackson for that. Colin of course digs himself even deeper into the grave when he sings a song covered by the Junior American Idols. Junior American Idols, for chrissakes - and Colin acts as if that pedo-bonanza show is the best thing ever. And he can't sing. When even Miss Paula points out that he is just singing the same note over again (and she should know: "Rush... rush..."), that's how bad he is. Colin takes the ruthless raking he receives well, that is, until in his post-audition interview where he says that King Tut's accent is fake and King Tut needs to get a real job. And so do you, Colin. We aren't ready for another Michael Jackson, even if you are the real deal when it comes to being white.

King Tut is interviewed again. He says he hates gimmicks. He doesn't elaborate, but I'm sure that he hates that 205 gimmick, that Josh Don't Tell army gimmick, and I'm sure he just loves Trenyce because Trenyce has no gimmick on that show. Cue a montage of the gimmickier auditionists: dancing, Shakira booty shaking, and even a really hot stripper with what could have been the perfect body if we put a paper bag over his head. He's in the next auditions (Atlanta) and he gets to go to Hollywood. I'm so ready for this guy. Bring him on! I'll just paste a big smiley face sticker on the TV screen where his face is. Provided, of course, he doesn't do a Frenchie on me and gets disqualified because he was in Chiseled Hard Hunks' Fraternity Bath House Adventures: Volume Five.

Miss Paula now has her interview and she talks about how this being New York and all that, some people feel the need to bring on the "razzle-dazzle". This leads to a montage of a surly-looking girl looking as if she has crawled on all fours to this place from the ICU ward only to hold up a small horse plushie and say that she is a little horse. Or hoarse, I don't know. Someone sings Isn't She Lovely? to a photo of his sweetheart. Or mother, I don't know. A young lady tries to do Nelly Furtado and juggle batons and flops badly at both. Some guy sings Change The World, pulls down a star, and argues with King Tut about the corny nature of that star thingie. King Tut compares the star to a rabbit pulled out of a hat, the guy says it worked for David Copperfield, and King Tut points out that this is not Magician Idol. I could argue with the last one, because while there may be no rabbits but there sure are a lot of things pulled out from someone's nether orifice last season.

Now we have Nicole Tieri. She brings in a scooter, she looks like Cokecasta's sister, and she spends some time telling people how she took two years off from college to recover from anorexia. She says that she learns not to crave love thanks to an attentive set of guardians, but then we see her running around acting like a camera hog that puts both Kimborlee Caldwell and Livvy Oliverie to shame. She walks into the audition hall to sing a song she wrote for her scooter - she has a nice voice, but nothing too impressive. Then she wisely ditches the gimmick for The Power Of Love (which she calls a Celine Dion song - oh, those young people!), again in a decent but unmemorable manner. Her voice is okay, but the range doesn't seem to be there. Randy Randy thinks Nicole is better off on Broadway (Randy, you're still delusional, here, eat a cowpie), Miss Paula of course likes her, and King Tut thinks she has a sense of humor that's missing in today's music so yeah, she's in. Randy Randy asks him in an incredulous tone whether King Tut actually views Nicole as a potential American Idol. Paula says yeah, and King Tut nods.

Then Sleazebag and Nicole waste some time trying to give the scooter away because Nicole can't take her scooter to Hollywood. Most people flee or pretend not to see Sleazebag (and can you blame them?) but Sleazebag finally corners one big guy and manages to get him to take the scooter, even if this guy looks as if he will break the scooter if he puts even one foot on it.

Sleazebag shows a montage of what I supposed are the better singers, saying that twenty-nine are invited to Hollywood. And they can't show me these singers, instead bombarding me with unfunny and just painful bad auditions? Can I say fork them all to death with a rusty piece of utensil?

Next episode - Atlanta! Stripper guy rubs Paula's face! Whatever. Someone hand me my booze. It's going to be a long and painful season.