Before YouTube, recapping music videos is totally a thing and not a waste of time. Really..
Season 3: Ten Reasons Why I'm Leaving You
Just to make this clear in case the rubbishy filler pre-competition episodes have understandably blurred into one single discordant note in your mind, this is not the recap of the "special extra audition footages" episode shown on Monday, February 02 2004 in the US. I've decided to ignore the episode altogether because seriously, do we need to subject ourselves to more bad music? It's so much more fun to rip apart the actual wannabes sent to LA - not Glendale like last season, as it turns out - which is what I will be doing here. This is the recap of the first of the two-part Sucking In LA episode. So let's have fun.
Ryan Sleazebag is looking good today, his usual casual T-shirt, jacket, and pants ensemble looking actually smart and the colors don't clash his overly-done barbecue tan and brittle bleached hair for once. When you are going to mingle with hot boys on the set, you dress up appropriately after all. Surrounded by the remaining 117 people selected to come to LA, he talks about how the judges have "raised the bar" this season so the wannabes will have a tough time impressing them. Since the "talent" displayed on this season so far makes the wannabes in the second season come off the new kings and queens of karaoke, the judges raising the bar is akin to them asking imbeciles to derive a trigonometric equation correctly. They should have just shooed the whole lot to a new reality show, America's Next Hot Teen Beat Centerfold Model instead. The wannabes clap enthusiastically to Sleazebag's words because either they have no other option - when in LA, they say you clap, you clap - or because they believe that they are so talented that the judges' bars raise at attention at once the moment they open their mouths and - oh, get up, Lisa Wilson, I am not talking about that.
Thursday, October 23 2003. Sleazebag explains that the auditions would be held in Los Angeles, in a familiar studio that would remain unnamed on this show because the studio people haven't paid for product placement on this show, the selfish gits. After a pointless montage of wannabes sounding dreadful - as if we haven't watched enough the first time around in the last six (SIX!) episodes - there is a stage mom that talks about how some wannabes would require therapy after this ordeal. What about my therapy? Jonah Mountainonu talks about being from Hawaii, Matthew Rosebowl reminds me again that he played in the Rose Bowl stadium when he was in college (can anyone assure me that he was actually playing football and not carrying water for the players?), and everyone else blurs into a messy image of sparkly white teeth, cheesy smile, and very little actual talent.
The wannabes touch down from the airport and they are such an excitable bunch. It's amazing what a chance to screech and humiliate yourself on TV can do to some people. Scooter Joan Hart, Melissa's forgotten sister, has a doggie plushie with her and she tells the camera that doggie has told her that Scooter would be the next American Idol. Michael "I Love To Eat Crow" Keown reminds people that he loves himself more than any human being ever could. Gigolo Al has great abs. Sleazebag says that very few wannabes here have the approval of all three judges. I have a feeling that there are plenty of things to disapprove about when it comes to these bunch of wannabes.
Skipping to day two, Sleazebag voices over that the events of the day will kick off with the wannabes taking to the stage in the Studio Too Cheap To Pay For Product Placement to throw their sales pitch at King Tut, Charmaine Miss Paula, and Randy Randy as to why they should be the new American Idol. There's probably an NC-17 version of this sales pitch taking place somewhere in Hollywood right now in every major studio in town, so thank heavens that this show is so above such skanky nonsense. Aren't we glad that American Idol is such a wholesome family show, people? How did the song go? "We don't have to take our clothes off/to give you a good time..."?
First off is Fantasia Burrino. She tells the judges that she is the new cool because she not only has big lips (in a G-rated context, I'm sure) but she also has bigger talent. Everyone laughs in relief because nobody is going to ban Fantasia from presenting at the Grammy show. She then breaks into a few lines of Think. You better vote for her come the first preliminary round, America, you hear me? She sounds better than most of the wannabes here. There is a panel on the screen, at the bottom, where they have checks beside the names of all three judges, which means that Fantasia has those three's unanimous approval. After she's done, Fantasia tells the camera that her red shoes are killing her and runs off to change into something more comfortable. Personally, if I'm called Fantasia, the last thing I would do is to wear red and risk being mistaken as some operatic dancing animal from the Disney cartoon version, but Fantasia has big lips and bigger talent, so more power to her.
Jon Peter Lewis the Pen Salesman is next. I can't make up my mind about this one. His voice is nice on the ears, but something about his appearance unnerves me. On some angle, he's cute in a very dorky way. But I cannot forget how Kilometrico here tries to be hip by pawing Loser Marie during his earlier audition - he reminds me of the sort that would be really, really embarrasing to be seen with when he's drunk. The fact that he decides to impress the judges by singing a Jackson Five song here - I Want You Back - only makes him come off as more creepy, at least to me.
Kiira Bivens is the only one here that has the approval of one judge - Randy Randy. And even he looks appalled when this creature blasts out something that sounds like the microphone having a bad case of stomach gas when she tries to impress the judges. Backstage, she tells the camera that she is definitely making it as even she has never heard anything like her voice before. Kiira is really good at digging a hole and then cheerfully leaping into it. Michael Eat Crow reminds people again that he loves himself more than you can love him so don't even try, losers, because Michael Eat Crow is the best. Diana Degarmo is sixteen and she sings something. Marque Lynch sings. And these last two are going to be in the Top 32, so it doesn't bode well that I don't remember anything about Diana or Marque.
And now the show focuses on some people that we later learn don't qualify for the Top 32. Some bimbo threatens to "broughten up" something that hasn't been brought before, and I don't want to imagine what kind of suck that this "something" is going to be. Some just want the money. Some wants to set the TV screen on fire. Gigolo Al is really somethin' - he actually caressing himself on his stomach, thighs, and dangerously near his crotch like some practised stripper, which he probably is anyway, while singing. Sleazebag is merciless in his voice-over as he makes Gigolo Al out as a major freak with the case of the itchies, while Miss Paula looks as taken aback as the two male judges by Gigolo Al's major R-rated self-love. If Michael Eat Crow loves himself to the point that he preens at his reflection in the mirror, Gigolo Al loves himself in a different way altogether before the mirror. And then Gigolo Al's brilliant answer as to why he should be an Idol is because if you remove M, E, R, I, and C from AMERICAN and move the L from the IDOL up, you'll get ALAN IDOL. Um, that's ALAN IDO, you idiot. Gigolo Al is the only guy that will need a casting couch to win a spelling bee contest.
King Tut looks bored out of his wits at the end of the day. He tells these wannabes that the exercise in explaining why the wannabes think they are American Idol material is for the judges to separate the merely good wannabes from the ones with something extra, because apparently this season's bunch is boring. I'd describe them as "appaling" instead of boring but that's just me. He wants them to bring that something on. That's what I want to hear: talentless wannabes trying even harder! This will be as fun as listening to near-dead horses as we flog them mercilessly.
The judges gives these wannabes a new assignment: they are to go write words to any one of a few made-up titles and sing them to their own composed melodies. Gosh, they actually do this on American Idol? I'm sure right now Ruben and Kelly are hard at work writing and composing songs for their next CDs. Many of the wannabes are shocked that they have to Write Their Own Music - who would've thought people actually do such things in the music business? My condolences to any of you aspiring musicians watching this show - it can't be easy watching idiots wanting to break into the music business without actually knowing how tough it can be and knowing that one of these idiots will be more famous than you will ever be in the next fifteen minutes. One can argue that this show is better off eliminating those that do well in this assignment, because King Tut and his minions want to control the careers of a pliable idiot. After all, they gave Trenyce a really hard time last season when she banded the Top 12 together at the start of the finals and used a lawyer to negotiate a higher appearance fee for all of them come the American Idol tour. An American Idol that writes his or her own song, knows about the music business, and wants creative control... nah, I can hear King Tut giving the thumbs down to this person already. Which probably explains Lisa Wilson in the Top 32, but anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.
While others run around in groups to work or stay in their hotel room to write down what they usually reserve for their online blogs and dead wood journals to titles like Ten Reasons Why I'm Leaving You, Simon Sez, and Face Of An Angel, Soul Of A Devil, Gigolo Al and Lisa Wilson are in the hotel pool giggling and preening because they are so hot, so pretty, and they don't need to work their bums off at all. Sleazebag's voiceover makes it sound as if having fun and indulging in meaningless sins of the flesh are something totally unheard of in Hollywood. He even sounds disapproving. Maybe because it's not him in the pool with Gigolo Al?
"Hey, I could have, but then my hair will get wet!"
If you say so, Sleazebag.
"Will you watch my new show?"
On the next day, it's time for the wannabes to display their creative output to the appreciative judges. Gigolo Al however is not too concerned as he talks about being distracted by the "pretty girls" here. "He reminds me of some overcompensating pretty boy that has not discovered West Hollywood before," a gay friend tells me through ICQ later on. "He is soooo Falcon Studio," he adds, and I did a quick check to discover that Falcon is a gay-oriented adult film studio. Since there are at least seven actors of theirs that look just like Gigolo Al, I'll take his word for that. "He must have rubbed himself - " I quickly make my goodbyes and close my ICQ program.
Eric Yoder, who looks like a post-rehab Seann William Scott clone and whom we shall be seeing in the Top 32 to marshal the hearts of any middle-aged mothers that haven't pledged their alliances to Kewpie yet, sings some wretched love song dedicated to Miss Paula. King Tut commends him for sucking up more than anybody else has ever done before. At least on the reels shown on TV. Just kidding, lawyers. Lauren Enswiler sings about doing her hair with her ex-boyfriend on the flat iron before breaking up after he comes out of the closet. It's a moderately funny song ruined by a shaky delivery.
Taryn, whom we shall not be seeing after this episode, forgets the words to the song she wrote about herself wanting to prove to the judges that she is not another pretty face. Um, wow, talk about forgetting something as important as your own self-esteem. Randy Randy and Miss Paula assure her that they understand that she is trying hard and they aren't that mad at her, while King Tut says snidely that she won't be the first to do so. And he's right, as the montage of forgetful wannabes - including some future Top 32 contestants like John "Rank Sinatra" Stevens and Jon Peter Lewis - soon show. King Tut calls Rank Sinatra not ready for the bigtime and lashes out at the others for flubbing.
Cassie LePew, whom we can all safely forget after this episode, is confident that she will remember her lyrics. Um, guess again. She tells the judges that "the lights" are "blinding" her "train of thought" for the "focus" of her song. King Tut has the lights turned off but the train of thought breaks down at the exact same spot. "So much for that theory," King Tut says sarcastically. Lisa Wilson apologizes in advance for the possibility that she will forget the words of her song that apparently "came to her" in the water. Eeuw, I don't even want to go there. "Came to her", huh? Eeuw, eeuw, eeuw. I need a nickname for her that will resonate with the ten degrees of pure skank that she is. Anyone has any, please, let me know. King Tut tells everybody that he doesn't care about the wannabes' nerves or anything like that, he is looking for a star after all.
Michael Eat Crow chooses to sing about ten reasons he is leaving me and I am jumping in joy. He sings in a flat monotone that has Randy Randy cutting in in perfect tune to Eat Crow's non-tune, "And you're so boring". Hoisted! And Miss Paula, following Randy Randy, sings that she agrees. Double hoisted! By Miss Paula, of all people! That really has to hurt.
Meanwhile, the wannabes that have sung and are now seating in the audience complain about how unfair it is that they have to write, memorize, and sing a song in one day. Jon the Pen Salesman says that this isn't how the music industry works. Boy, that blindsidingly stupid statement will return to haunt him should he succeed in the music business. Sleazebag, looking solemn like the Ripley's Believe It Or Not host he would end up being were he not lucky enough that Dunkedvermin is the more annoying git that got fired after Season One, explains that the judges aren't actually looking for creative songwriting, only those with a "feel" for music. Oh, so that is why Lisa Wilson is the Top 32. Come feel her music, people!
Scooter Joan Hart is next, and she tries to ham it up about ten reasons why she is leaving me. The judges cut her off mainly because, I suspect, that she is really trying too hard to be funny but not even coming close. King Tut says that he isn't sure whether Scooter is a singer trying to be funny or a comedienne that can sing. She says that she is the former. King Tut doesn't see that in her performance. Backstage, Scooter vows that "Nicole" - which is her, in third person - would show them.
Oh, it's the Rosebowl dude, Matt. And he talks again about how until now Rose Bowl is his most nervous experience in his life. He's twenty-four. I suspect that he, along with Amy Adams the Lulu/Cyndi Lauper hybrid, is closer to forty, but hey, lying about one's age is the first step to celebrityhood. Isn't that right, Catherine Zeta-Jones? Matt may have a voice but he shouts too much, and he is shouting again here. King Tut thinks that Matt is taking the competition too lightly. Backstage, he talks about how serious he is, and oh yes, did you know that he played in the Rose Bowl? Seriously, dude, how sad can it be - apart from claiming to be twenty-four - when your life-defining moment is something you did back in your college days? He tells Sleazebag that there is no one here to pick him up when he trips, other than Jesus. Not the Jesus on this show, I'm sure. Sleazebag says that he will pick Rosebowl when the latter trips, and Rosebowl responds by giving Sleazebag a big hug. Rosebowl is twenty-four, Sleazebag is twenty-six, and I'm thirty, we all understand each other, so let's group hug, everybody, before the Age-Shavers Anonymous meeting begins!
Now is Gila Scott, whom we can also safely forget by the end of this episode, whose chip is so big that she has to crack some and store the extra pieces in her ass so that her dainty shoulders won't collapse from the weight. She comes out and declares that she's singing a song dedicated to her girlfriends as well as King Tut's ex-girlfriends all about the wrong men in their lives. Actually the song is very funny and actually well-written and her performance is actually quite good, especially the way she seems to be envisioning King Tut to be writhing in pain as she pulverizes him with a high heeled shoe. When she's done, King Tut asks her whether they have dated, and Gila says that he wishes that he is that lucky. She tells him that when she was auditioning in New York, King Tut told her that he wouldn't be able to pick her out from the crowd and that she wouldn't make it past the "first round". Because he said that he wouldn't notice her, she now tells him that he must be gay. Everyone claps and hoots, some like the Pen Salesman looking shocked, but King Tut doesn't mind. He shouldn't - he and Sleazebag lob each other with gay innuendos all the time after all. But at this point, Gila has completely lost the plot. She's not amusing and calling someone gay just to insult them is not particularly clever.
And it gets worse. Randy Randy says that he likes her chorus but she snootily tells him that it's not the chorus, it's the B-line. King Tut tells Gila that the judges don't have to say anything but Gila is doing a job good at judging herself. Miss Paula announces that she has something to say and tells Gila that she is shocked at Gila's disrespectful and "embarrassingly rude" attitude, adding that Gila has crossed the line from being playful to being an outright nasty and disrespectful person. King Tut clarifies to Gila that Miss Paula is not talking about the gay crack - Paula's referring to Gila's rude interruption of Randy Randy's actually positive feedback to Gila's singing. Indeed, I wonder what Gila is doing here if she dislikes the judges so much. Gila says that she is not mad and all but call the judges to shove it by saying that they can all buy her single. Miss Paula says that the judges have nothing more to say to her and dismisses her. Ooh, Miss Paula is actually quite stern and critical this season. Backstage, Gila tells Sleazebag that she doesn't feel that she is rude as she doesn't believe that what she said is worse than anything King Tut has said. But King Tut, at least, does the namecalling in a British accent while Gila isn't even ghetto fabulous enough like last season's Iguanita Barber to qualify as a campy kind of bitchiness. She's just a silly twit that is doing fine until she opens her mouth and insults the judges when she doesn't even have to in the first place.
Now that the singing session is over, it's time for the judges to pick and cut. The three of them stand before a table and look over the photos of the wannabes. Miss Paula is heard to describe a wannabe as someone with style but no substance. I bet she's talking about Kiira. Meanwhile, Gila is finally regretting her outburst, with Sleazebag saying that she fears that she may have blown her chances. On the other hand, Kiira is on the cellphone, confident that she will do well. Who is this creature and why is she so unbelievably cocksure about her abilities?
The wannabes are divided and each is placed in one of the four rooms. Elimination is done room by room. That way, everyone can mass suicide together once dreams are shattered and their house of cards collapse. The suspense comes from the wannabes not knowing whether they are in the Loser Locker or the Victor Suite.
Room one has Fantasia and Gigolo Al. Hmm, talk about a 50-50. The judges come in and Miss Paula announces that Disney cartoons and strippers that can't spell are in for now so Room One is a Victor Suite. Everyone cheers and celebrates. Room two has Lisa Wilson, Rank Sinatra, and Cassie LePew, Flubbers of Music, so they may be going. Or are they? Randy Randy tells them that they are staying. Mass celebration ensues. Room three has Kiira, Lauren, and Jeffery "Guarini" Dingle, room four has Gila, Michael Eat Crow, and Scooter Joan Hart. King Tut tells room three that it's time to go back home. Kiira starts crying. In room four, Gila hugs King Tut although Will And Grace won't be calling anytime soon. Sleazebag tells us that 87 wannabes remain for the rest of the LA sojourn.
Oh, Kiira, she is not taking her rejection well at all. Sobbing as if they have personally shot every puppy she has ever owned before her eyes, she declares that the judges are morons to keep some "unbelievably horrible" people while rejecting a unique voice like hers. Declaring that she has no idea what they are looking for, probably "trailer trash", in an American Idol, she goes on to use some bleeped words. Or maybe she is singing and they bleep her out for the sake of the children. Her father smiles creepily as she storms away, saying that the show would suck because she's no longer on it. Um, Kiira, I hardly notice you enough to care when the show is on. You are so awful and irritating that bus drivers would throw your change at your face, so go back to performing aural vasectomy on goats in whatever backward area you slinked out from. Go on, shoo! Vamoose!
Back to the show, after the kids (and people in their thirties pretending to be kids) have celebrated to their hearts' content, Sleazebag reminds them and the viewer that more work has to be done. The wannabes are split into groups of three to choose a song from a list of titles for the group auditions the next day. The ladies can choose from Young Hearts Run Free, You Can't Hurry Love, and Tell Him. The guys have Never Gonna Give You Up (yes, that Rick Astley song), Up On The Roof, and Tell Her About It.
The wannabes all gather around and perform some tentative butchering of the said songs. Amy Adams doesn't want Scooter Joan Hart in her group, and neither do I because watching one calculatedly quirky character is more than enough for me. Gigolo Al and his two buddies are having problems deciding on what to sing and they are still wondering by 2:00 am. Someone can't find a group. Jesus has Rosebowl and George Huff as his followers. Hawaiian guys stick together. Gigolo Al decides to do Never Gonna Give You Up. Lisa Wilson is missing, causing her teammates to worry. They can try looking in the producer's suite. Or not. Anyway, I think I'll call Lisa Wilson the Mono Lisa until I can think of something better. Lana has no partner. Brianna Ramirez-Rial, looking out-of-place like a Tracy Chapman fan in the midst of a Lisa Loeb fan gathering, complains about being made to dance by her teammates when she can't and doesn't dance because she's a "white girl". She obviously hasn't seen the songs that they make new American Idols sing every year. She adds that she's stuck with the two dancing non-white girls not by choice, she doesn't know or want to remember their names, blah blah blah. Um, Bri, seriously, the Melissa Ethridge concert is over there. Go run, shoo! She also complains about one of the teammates' mother seriously causing urine to pour uncontrollably out of her, metaphorically speaking, before finally saying that she's going to bed. Phew, I thought she'd never stop whining.
Meanwhile, Jesus wants to go on all night while Rosebowl and George Huff want to call it a day (or night, as it is) and go to bed. And the show ends there, promising more antics from losers and bruisers on next day's episode. And that's a wrap for this turkey.