Season 3: Rescue Me

Here we are, in the second hour of The Sixty Minutes Of My Life That I Will Never Get Back as this dreadful show continues to wage war on unperforated eardrums and ungouged eyeballs everywhere. Ryan "Not A Day-Glos By" Sleazebag is wearing something rather unimaginative today - a T-shirt under some leather jacket outfit. I guess Abercrombie and Fitch hasn't been the same since those right-wing family people made them shut down their nekkid men pictorial booklets and ruin everybody else's fun. (Put nekkid women in lingerie catalogues and these right-wing types are okay with that - maybe because they have long-standing subscriptions - but put in nekkid men and everybody go "Ohmigod! Gay! Gay! Evil! Ban!") Sleazebag is there once more surrounded by a throng of ever-reliably silly kids that are now cheering and doing some wave thing. "The wait is over," he announces. I know, time for euthanasia. He gives a recap of the last audition, talking about the ghastly Ain't No Mountain twins, the "Scooter Girl", et cetera. And now, we're heading south to Atlanta, where this audition is held in the Atlanta Stadium.

As the likes of Randy Randy walk around the screen, Sleazebag voices over that Atlanta has been a "fertile ground" for talent in the American Idol season. There's Tamyra - Atlanta smiles - Kewpie - the Atlantan Soccer Mom Society and their virginal thirteen-year old daughter beam - the Virgin Keith - Atlanta cheers and celebrates. "Sorry about that," Sleazebag says, referring to his mentioning the Virgin Keith. What's to be sorry? That guy is a legend, I tell you. The Virgin Keith is so cool, it's a darn shame they didn't replace Josh Don't Tell with him. Sleazebag modestly adds that Atlanta is also his hometown, and Atlantans everywhere hang their heads in shame. He wonders what kind of talent Atlanta will bring to the feast of music that is this show this season. After this episode, I am still wondering.

The first future musical maestro of the day is... Livvy Oliverie? Isn't she trying to record some music for her CD with some Canadian producers? No wait, this is Amy Adams, sporting the same calculated "Look at me, I have red hair, I'm spunky, I'm funny, I'll make you want to kill me after two seconds in my company - look at meeeeeee!" red hair, patience-testing forced spunkiness, and clothings straight out of Cyndi Lauper's donation pile to Salvation Army. She gets a mini-interview where she lies down like a queen and holds up a mirror on which her mother has written "I Am An American Idol". Apparently this mirror gives her the strength to go on or something. Thanks, mom. Just imagine, if only Mom has written "I Will Not Try Too Hard To Be Annoying" or "I Will Wear A Bra" instead... She bounds into the audition hall, makes a crack about she and Sleazebag having planned something in advance, and King Tut quickly interrupts curtly and enviously to ask that whether it is on make-up tips that they collaborated on. Amy seems taken aback, probably thinking as I am right now, "Oh my God, I hope those panties Sleazebag gave me aren't King Tut's!" Anyway, she launches into Rescue Me, which is exactly what I'm thinking too, only her rendition, like the rest of her, is so overly-forced and attention-seeking that I feel exhausted five seconds into the song. King Tut says that he is already tired of her even if he likes her. Oh my god, I'm so in sync with the people on this show today. Kill me now, somebody. Anyway, Amy is annoying and ordinary to me, but she's going to Hollywood. Amy runs out of the room, screams, hugs her friends, screams some more, and I'm really tired of her. If she makes it to the Top 32, let's hope she's the first one out just like the original red-headed attention-hog.

Next is one guy, Simon Thomas, who, with his glasses, receding hairline, and low-rent Grateful Dead knockoff outfits of black shirt and pants, is probably the only person more saturated on prescription drugs that Miss Paula. He talks about how the judges will tell him that he has a good heart. He walks into the audition room upon which Miss Paula says that she is afraid that she already hates him because his name is Simon. Simon blinks. As in Simon, King Tut's name, Miss Paula explains slowly. Boy, when someone needs Miss Paula to explain a joke to him, that someone really is sad. Simon meekly says that Simon is a good name. It means "the one who listens", he adds, and Miss Paula and Randy Randy really find this funny. King Tut asks Simon why Simon is here. Simon says that he wants to share with them a song he has written. Predictably it's something about love and compassion and it's as unimaginative and pedestrian as one of those songs sung in Camp Kumbayah written in a way that is as flat as possible so that tone-deaf grannies and granpas can join in the musical massacre. Simon is flat, his voice is conspicuously devoid of emotion for someone that's so passionate about peace and love, and the whole performance is horrendous. Randy Randy looks horrified, Miss Paula looks like a rat with hot curls in a sinking ship, and King Tut can't stop laughing. "I'm a part of you," Simon wheezes, and King Tut has had enough. Raising the Stop Hand of Doom, he tells Simon that for someone that understands compassion, Simon just has to sing to them instead. It is painful, King Tut describes Simon's performance. Simon says that while his voice isn't the best, he has a good heart. I wonder whether that line actually helps him pick up women in Camp Kumbayah. This is a singing competition, King Tut reminds Simon, and Simon can't sing. Simon is sent packing, but he tells Sleazebag in the post-audition interview that he is sure that he has touched the judges' heart. Simon, here's some advice from me: touch yourself more often, because you probably need that a lot.

Next is some woman from the MJ Morning Show pretending to be an auditioner. She's the one previewed in last week's montage as saying that she would make someone a lot of money one day so AI will be sorry. She's so overly showy and exaggerated that I'm surprised the AI people didn't catch on to this. I don't like to encourage more nonsense by desperate radio personalities by speaking of her, so let's just move on, shall we? This show is already bad enough without smug fakers trying to make things worse.

Sleazebag says that so far they have escaped the "curse" of the Virgin Keith until oh no, in walks Tiffany whom Sleazebag describes as the Virgin Keith only in a prettier package. Careful, Sleazie, you know how jealous King Tut gets when he hears you talk about packages. She warns that she is going to sing All By Myself (which she describes as a Celine Dion song - really, do these young people know anything about music before 1990?) and proceeds to go kettle whistle on everybody. She is bad enough that it is Miss Paula that has to do most of the talking so that Tiffany doesn't go off the edge. Miss Paula asks Tiffany whether this is Tiffany's first audition. As it turns out, this is indeed Tiffany's first audition. Apart from Randy Randy telling her never to audition again, she actually gets off easier than some of the comparatively better losers on this show.

Payton is next. He tells Sleazebag that he wants to be an American Idol not to be famous but to make people happy. Another one from Camp Kumbayah, sheesh. His Somewhere Over The Rainbow is unrecognizable and tune-free, unless I consider "somewhere" and "rainbow" being shrieked so loud that his voice cracks a semblance of tune. King Tut calls him close to being the worst singer he has ever heard.

Montage of bad auditioners. Ribbon In The Sky made into ribbons of blood. Someone grabbing his crotch in a Michael Jackson impersonation. Doesn't he get the memo? It is not cool to be Michael Jackson anymore. Someone goes on his knees to beg the judges, but King Tut says that they can't simply let anyone go through the auditions.

King Tut is interviewed. He says that there is one song that gets butchered so many times every season for one reason or the other. Last season it was Edwin McCain's I'll Be that was every bad auditioner's favorite. This season it is A Whole New World. Cue what is probably the only segment on this show that's halfway decent: a montage of really bad renditions of A Whole New World edited and blended into one atrocious song complete with ad libs. My favorites include a guy that directs the song to Miss Paula, another guy that goes "Now I'm in a... uh, something about horizons", and that woman that shrieks and shrieks as if the cows have come home and then run away again.

A guy butchers Do You Love Me? and goes "Watch me now!" when he is greeted by stunned silence after his performance. Then the judges react by laughing. Yikes. Some young lady straddles a chair while looking like something Pink's cat dragged in from the rubbish heap and King Tut calls her ghastly.

Finally, just when I start to believe that everyone in Atlanta is tone-deaf, Sleazebag announces the arrival of Laketa. She's not that good as her Where Do Broken Hearts Go is really pitchy, but she can carry a tune so she's in. It is Miss Paula, surprise surprise, that points out Laketa's inability to hold on to a note for long.

A really ugly guy named Alan makes an uglier face and says he is nervous. Oh wait, it's stripper guy. When he walks in, Miss Paula's eyes light up like the Christmas tree that decorated Abu the drug dealer's mansion. King Tut and Randy Randy jokingly leave the room to let Alan serenade Miss Paula with You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. Okay, that body underneath that ugly green shirt is really nice to look at and those shoulders are fine, but that singing isn't much. But marketability is everything, and Miss Paula's simpering interview about how hot Alan is doesn't hurt anyway. She gets some, they get to sell another so-so himbo to teenybopper fans, so he's going to Hollywood.

I love the next guy. He is singing really badly about "how your skin is wrinkly, your hair so white, I am loving a granny tonight". If Alan is singing that to me, with a paper bag over his head... ahem, where am I?

Now King Tut says in his interviews that he tries not to laugh at bad auditioners, but sometimes it is impossible to control his laughter, especially when they sound so bad that he thinks of puppies drowning. This is a prelude to Danny Parker's audition. His God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You is delivered in a robotic rusty monotone that sends Randy Randy and King Tut into fits of snickers and peals of laughter. Miss Paula looks around her, dazed. Enough is enough however and King Tut holds up the Stop Hand of Doom at the same time as Randy Randy leaps out of his chair and laughs out loud. Miss Paula, trying to be kind, asks him to sing another song. That's like asking the guy with the gun to shoot you one more time for good measure. Danny launches into Crazy in a similar monotone and this time even Miss Paula starts giggling. Danny also laughs, but I guess he feels that he had to laugh. In his post-audition interview, he says that it is hard to sing when people are laughing at him. Well, yes, and I can't dance between the floor is wobbly and my new shoes are pinching my toes and my inconsiderate partner keeps putting his feet under mine.

Lauren brings her creepy stage dad with her and this man keeps talking about how proud he is of his "daddy's baby girl" that I get rather creeped out. He's not as bad as Jessica Simpson's father and his fetish for his daughter's virgin status, but he's still creepy in how he goes on and on about his "daddy's baby girl". Lauren's voice is fuller than Lakeeta's and her Summertime is actually very listenable. She gets in, to nobody's surprise, and I hope to see more of her performances soon.

Terrance Gaines is next. King Tut compliments him on his very big - and I do mean big - and infectious smile. This guy is a soldier, I think, because he later says that he has just came back from Iraq in an interview. His version of Sweet Painted Lady is nothing too impressive but his voice is very listenable so he's in despite Randy Randy's saying no to him. Randy Randy is right in a way - Terrance can sing, but his voice and delivery won't stick to the listener's head for long. But at the rate this show is going, I guess that the Judges have to do the best they can with what little they have.

Some guy holds an imaginary microphone and sings... something... while showing his side profile to the judges. No, just no.

I did sit up when Fantasia delivers Proud Mary. It's not a good song to sing if one wants to avoid being accused of screaming too much, but I like her voice, which is the fullest so far among the sorry lot I've seen, and I really hope to see her in the Finals. She's in as like Randy Randy said, the show would be less interesting without her. She hugs her friends and family members as she runs out of the audition hall to share the good news. Aww, that's so sweet.

I'm less impressed with Marcus Butts who comes in in an Elvis outfit and a strange cape stuck on his shoulders. He isn't bad, but I don't find him memorable, just ordinary. But his Heartbreak Hotel convinces the judges to send him to Hollywood, although Randy Randy asks him to ditch the Elvis gimmick.

Heather is described as the second coming of Kimborlee Caldwell and gee, she's decked in the same navel-bearing outfit that Kimborlee favors. She is also blonde and has a husky voice. Her Black Velvet impresses the judges enough, especially Randy Randy whom we all know is Kimborlee's biggest fan. I find Heather here lacks the charisma Kimborlee has, but I guess I will find out should Heather makes it to the Top 32. Miss Paula advises Heather to change her hair color to avoid Kimborlee comparisons and King Tut points out that Heather's look is "affected". If by affected he means that Heather's look is calculated, yes, I agree, definitely. No one dresses up like some Limited Too teenager turned goth after being coverted by Pink unless she is trying to be Kimborlee.

King Tut is interviewed again where he expresses his bewilderment at how some people aren't aware of how they cannot carry a tune at all. This is relevant because a man named Andrew is next. He has the bland square jaw look that may fit at home in some preppy boy fashion catalogue, but he loses me when he talks about his special talent, which he demonstrates by pulling up his shirt and doing something with his stomach that I'm too repulsed to describe here. Miss Paula, staring at the sight, goes "Huh?" while King Tut remarks sarcastically that this is what they are all looking for on this show. Andrew pulls his shirt down at last and says in a serious monotone that he's a "top tier" singer. But his Sweet Home Alabama has no tune, no proper delivery (he forgets some words and there are awkward pauses in the song when he does this), sweet horrific disaster.

King Tut wonders how Andrew could come to the conclusion that he is a top tier singer. Andrew says that he may not be Ruben or Kewpie but he is definitely "on the show capable", whatever that means. This leads to more arguments flying forth that culminates in King Tut declaring that Andrew has wasted everyone's time. Andrew with a heavy sigh tells some female interviewer in the post-audition interview that he has blown it because apparently he has merely forgotten some words to the song. Merely, huh? He warns people that he will be back next season and we should all remember his name because he really is talented and capable blah blah blah delusional blah blah blah. The evil editors however take pains to bleep out his last name so that we won't remember, heh heh heh. "Time to hit the road again," he sighs as he walks out of the lobby, and I feel a genuine twinge of pity for this man. Still, he has his own cleaning company (earlier King Tut remarks that he hopes Andrew cleans better than he sings) and he can do creepy things with his stomach. Surely, somewhere, that stomach thing will be considered a great talent.

Sleazebag sighs and says that Atlanta has changed and he doesn't think that they have found the new American Idol here. Let's vote for an Atlantan this season, people! Next episode, he talks about how they are going to Houston where all the storms in the world can't stop the advance of bad music for the sake of atrocious TV. Two down, three more to go. God.