Season 4: I Who Have Nothing

Ryan Sleazebag stands before the tackiest place on Earth - Las Vegas - and welcomes everybody who is tuning in to the show. He calls Vegas "a 24/7 nonstop neon nightmare to some; to others a party paradise." To demonstrate the "party paradise" part (and therefore, proving that the party-goers are probably not the best people to put behind the wheels of a car, if you get my drift), he points to the 9,000-strong crowd packing the stadium. The crowd cheers.

Sleazebag then talks about today's guest judge, Kenny Loggins. While some nasty people may call him "that dude with one hit song... wait a minute, I thought Kevin Bacon sang Footloose? Or is he the dude who opened that roast chicken restaurant thingie? That was Kenny Rogers? Oh, okay!", he is actually a guy with several CDs, all of them proving why people today make fun of the mullet. It's quite sad that, even considering the time constrants of these "judge tribute" clips, there is nothing they can say about our KLog Zombie apart from that One Damned Song and calling him the "Godfather of Soundtrack Anthems". The KLog Zombie steps out of a car looking like the voodoo reanimator has forgotten to pour a few gallons of formaldehyde through his undead nostrils before allowing him loose. He says that he is eager to get the show started. I know. He has bills to pay and sitting on this show and killing time is a better way to get paid than to sing to unappreciative audience in Vegas.

But we are in Vegas, so hey, Ryan Sleazebag brings on the stereotypes. Elvis impersonators, clowns, silly white people, and the odd black people here and there who must have bussed in from some other cities for the audition because they can't surely be living in Vegas.

Some guy sings Footloose in a manner that suggests that a screw or two may be loose in the part of the brain that controls his motor functions. He kicks his feet lamely as he wheezes through the song. KLog Zombie says for the benefit of the camera, "Somebody shoot me!" Hmm, yes, he does look like David Spade's father, come to think of it.

Mikalah Gordon is next. She's sixteen and she looks like one of those silly girls who will spend a lot of money to look like a trashy plastic bag filled with rubbish that has been dragged across the interstate highway for ten miles from the back of a bus when all she has to do is to stick her face into a blender. She sings something in a passable manner, passable as in "she bypassed the tune", but the judges love her and put her through so that she can buy implants for her mother (or so she says). Well, if she's going to be a pop star, someone needs to dip her into a boiling vat of disinfectant first. Only in Vegas, I tell you.

Next is a guy who used to be deaf until he has recovered his hearing now. Even calling himself JC won't make Jeffrey Gray cool though. He says that he adores Neil Diamond. How convenient that they have a picture of Neil Diamond in the audition hallway so that he can stop and mug for the camera before the picture. America is the first song he heard when his hearing improved (no jokes about the songs he was listening when he was deaf please) but alas, he forgets the words to the song when he performs it before the judges. Maybe it's just nerves, but what's his excuse for the hammy, unblinking expression when he is singing? Or those creepy stabbing motions with his hand that King Tut points out to him after the "performance"? It's not a simple affectation as much as he is forcefully stabbing the air with an imaginary meat cleaver, mind you. I know, he's a cook at a golf club and aspires to be a chef one day, but there's a time and place to put aside the cleaver, you know. Miss Paula defends JC's stabbing motions by saying that someone people snap while other people stab. Yes, but Miss Paula, these people are all stabbing or snapping because they are frustrated and at the edge of their tether. Does she know something about JC that I don't? Anyway, JC isn't going to Hollywood. He leaves after telling King Tut that his mother loves King Tut.

A montage of losers follow. It occurs to me that they seem to have a guy on a broomstick horse in every audition episode. Can these jokers be a little bit original the next time around? How about straddling a giant bratwurst for a change? There is a very sickly-looking girl singing Angel (that Sarah McLachlan song) like she's trying to tell the nurse at the ICU that they have accidentally switched off her oxygen supply. The KLog Zombie tells a Chinese guy that the guy must be used to rejection so the KLog Zombie will have less burden on his conscience in rejecting that guy. Losers telling the judges and the camera that the Judges are So, So Wrong to send them away and one day, The World Will See how good they are, blah blah blah.

King Tut grabs Miss Paula for a kiss in order to relieve his frustration (that is how Sleazebag puts it, anyway). I guess both his hands must be occupied elsewhere if he has to resort to Miss Paula.

Meet a genuine Las Vegas showgirl, Amanda Avila. Word across the boards is that she is Josh Groban's ex. See, that's why geeks want to be a pop star. Even ugly turds like Josh Groban get to have a hot girlfriend. Amanda is wearing a neck choker with the word "Pick" while her tight top has the word "Me". Don't ask me what it says on her panties because remember, this is a family friendly show. This is how she managed to get her job dancing and shimmering at that stupid Vegas production involving treasure ships and silly dancing pirates, I suppose? She sings that Jessica Simpson blowjob song, I Wanna Love You Forever, in a shaky, breathy, wobbly manner that suggests that she may not have the vocal range of the world's most famous bimbo of the MTV generation. (Jessica Simpson, for all her faults of which there are many, really can sing, after all.) Because King Tut asks and she says that her showgirl friends will be visiting the studio if she goes through, the male judges let her through. Miss Paula agrees because while she doesn't think much of the men getting all worked out with pretty women who can't sing, Amanda can sing so she's okay with Amanda and her friends coming over to drape themselves over the casting couch of the show. Happy Amanda runs out and hugs her friend. Over the intercom (not shown on the episode, of course), King Tut's voice booms out, "Leave that fat girl behind!"

Chinese is the new spastic so we have another Chinese guy attempting to sound like Elvis. He's a bellboy or something and he sounds like the noises Elvis made when he was keeling over so it's back to terrorizing fat senators and their mistresses at the hotel where he works.

Oh look, it's Richard Molfetta, one half of the angry twins of the previous episode and the one deemed a better singer by King Tut. He is pretty gracious now and he sings I Who Have Nothing in an okay boyband manner. I'm not complaining though. Those arms are really pretty. King Tut says no while Randy Randy thinks that Rich sounds smug and insincere but he's still okay with Rich. The KLog Zombie and Miss Paula want to let Rich through, so without Genie Simmy at hand to give his support, King Tut is the lone dissenter. Rich is going to Hollywood and his entire family (apart from JP who is waiting to show up at a future episode) is waiting outside the audition room to celebrate with Rich.

The show cuts to day two and among the people waiting outside the stadium is the obligatory overly-perky camera-conscious color-haired pixie lady who insists on getting through even if she has to bludgeon everyone to death with her calculated perkiness. King Tut thinks Emily Neves looks like Cyndi Lauper so Emily Gets On Your Nerves obligingly murders Girls Just Wanna Have Fun until the phone rings in the middle of the night only because daddy is calling for Emily to STFU, thanks. King Tut thinks that performance is awful and asks her to sing something else. Emily Gets On Your Nerves performs Linda Ronstadt's first hit song Different Drum and dedicates it to King Tut. She tells King Tut that he can't see the forest from the trees. I don't think King Tut minds that - he likes to look at all kinds of wood, I hear. Anyway, of course she is going through. What's a season of American Idol without an overly perky bubbly contestant who is determined to make everyone like her even if she has to work them into exhaustion in the process?

A creepy old man pretends to be 28. The show lists his age as "28" (with inverted commas). He has to sing Young Girl, as if singing about a perverted old man sleeping with underaged girls will help his deception much. King Tut doesn't believe that Creepy Old Man is 28 and finally the Creepy Old Man admits to be 44 (or is that "44"?) and is tossed out without hesitation. He sings like someone taking part in Cellblock Idol, representing the Statutory Rapists block, anyway, so that's not a great loss by any stretch of imagination.

Sleazebag, who is becoming more and more irrelevant to the show (just what does he do on the show anyway?), talks about people revisiting the show. Which isn't quite true as Desi Yazzie is merely the brother of the horrific Dino Yazzie of the second season. To be honest, I don't remember who Dino Yazzie is but Desi Yazzie sings like his tonsils have been filled to bursting point with helium and now his entire head threatens to float off into thin air. Or something. Just horrible, really. Desi realizes that he fails to make the cut and flees the room in tears. Don't these sweet Yazzie boys have mothers or grandmothers to stop them from embarrassing themselves on TV? Some jokers are deliberately out for a laugh but poor Desi seems really deluded into believing that he is the next American Idol. That poor, poor dear.

More bad singers in another montage. That guy butchering Kate Bush's haunting ballad This Woman's Worth in a falsetto best described as "Dead, dead, there is no reason to live anymore"? Listen, pipsqueak, nobody does that to Kate Bush, no freaking body. He has great taste in music though. Another guy sings Superfreak like he's a robot that is running low on oil. There is also a bad Elvis wannabe who makes Elvis wish to die ten times over if Elvis is really alive and watching this show from the TV at the back of the Burger King hut where those tabloids keep saying he's at. If that's the case, Elvis will most likely chain himself to a leaking gas tank and happily lights up.

Then there's Randall Jackson. He's sixteen. He can't sing. If he is gorgeous (or looks like a little girl in the context of this show's definition of "gorgeous"), the show will love him and Miss Paula will have to fight Sleazebag and King Tut to be the first to deflower him in the dressing room. Unfortunately, he looks like... well, let's just say that two catterpillars have take up permanence residence over his eyes, their casa on the moon as it may be since Randall's complexion has more than a passing resemblance to the surface of the moon. The world is not fair in the sense that poor Randall will never be given a chance to be anything more than someone to scare the dogs and children away. When he sings, his mouth moves in a way that makes one think of a garbage crushing machine. He isn't singing but reciting something creepy, like a love letter from a serial killer. For his sake, I hope he's an intelligent kid who will one day create something that will put Microsoft out of business. But this show will not be his Microsoft. I mean, if even Miss Paula is moved to look at him with abject pity (as in, "Sheesh, there is not enough drugs in this world to make me want to sleep with that creature!"), oh dear. She tries to defend Randall to King Tut by saying that Randall would make a great Kermit the Frog impersonator. That's nice, Miss Paula. If the kid kills himself out of despair, we all know now who is to be blamed.

A weird guy who looks like an accountant who is at the brink of taking hostages any day now steps in and doesn't know what to sing. Miss Paula's helpful advice? She asks him to sing "any" Christina Aguilera song. He sings Beautiful, with expected painful consequences on eardrums everywhere. Next time, Miss Paula, ask him to sing Pavarotti because I haven't been subjected to enough torture yet. Silly bint! Someone tries to be Michael Jackson. Don't sing, darling. Don't go molest children either, while we're at it. Keep your Jesus juice to yourself.

Some woman who really needs a hobby comes on wearing a cameltoe as some new fashion statement and proceeds to camp it up so badly that the judges can see right through her and accuse her of being deliberately bad just to be on TV. She admits that they're right but declares that she's proud of herself. Honey, the whole world has seen your cameltoe. Is that something to be proud of? At least the other Misses Cameltoes get paid for their efforts.

Sharon Galvez is next. She looks like a prostitute but maybe she's just a harried waitress that have spent the last six hours trying to beat traffic just to get here. She wears an outfit best described as "I just fought off a rape attempt" but maybe she is too harried and she forgot to put on some clothes over her underwear in her haste to make it here. Her hair has more roots showing than an uprooted oak tree but she says she is a cocktail waitress (nothing to do with the male anatomy, of course) so maybe she has just accidentally poured pineapple juice on her head and has no time to clean up. She sings Saving All My Love, an ode to a woman's very married lover, which has nothing to do with the world's oldest profession, she is most likely just a Whitney fan. She reminds me of a lady who can sing pretty well but who also tries to overreach to hit the high notes. Think of Princess Jasmelisma of Hawaii's flat high notes. Sharon Galvez is Princess Jasmelisma after six years of cynicism, disillusionment, failed careers, and drug habits. Stay in Hawaii, Princess, and don't come out of that place. Don't be like Sharon! Sharon is going to Hollywood because she sings a Whitney song and hits high notes less awkwardly than other people.

Matthew Falber, very pale, can sing, I think, as he has a booming baritone-tenor timbre that projects very well. Unfortunately, he tries to be Simba and Simba's father in some song from the Disney cartoon The Lion King. If he has treated the audition more seriously, he may have gotten through. As it is, the judges predictably think he's too "Broadway" (King Tut thanks him for not singing another Mariah Carey song though) and send him off. Matthew has only himself to blame.

Bobie May is a psychic. Judging from her weight, she may one day see herself getting a stroke in her crystal ball. She confidentally foresees herself ending up in the Top Ten. Her mother nods approvingly as Bobie does some "warm-ups" with her voice (which consists of Bobie yipping like a chinhuahua being neutered with a rusty pair of scissors). Bobie comes into the audition room, shrugs off King Tut's skepticism about Bobie being "22", and proceeds to butcher I Can't Help Falling In Love, love in this case a bottomless barrel of suck that we will all never escape from. King Tut says that her psychic powers lied to her. The KLog Zombie redeems his entire existence on this show by telling Bobie May in a hilarious and accurate coup d'grace that the silly woman has killed two careers at one go. She and her mother, outside the audition room, insist that Bobie just misunderstood the vision she had and the ten in question is actually Bobie's seat number outside the audition room (which is, as they insist, ten) and not the Top Ten. I am so reassured now, I tell you. I can now call the Bobie May Psychic Hotline without any doubts darkening my mind.

Jennifer Todd is a twenty-seven year old overweight woman who would be content to be a mousy suburban lady if she isn't persuaded to audition. She has a decent voice, the judges let through (although I wonder how much of their decision is influenced by her singing rather than on the grounds of being politically correct), although I'm not bowled over by her singing. I don't see too many Stupid Little Girls voting for her though (why vote for someone who looks like their mother when they could be voting for some girly boy they want to marry, that sort of thing) so I don't expect to see much of her - if at all - in the coming weeks.

Finally, Mario Vazquez, trying to combine the sexuality of Justin Timberlake (which is to say, seems hot only to anyone under the age of sixteen) and some Latin suave moves. He sings something that I can't recall because I am distracted by this bizarre tendency of his to keep licking his lips after every line of the song. I can just picture him licking his lips like a demented dog hungry for a taste of its own crotch while working his way through some Justin Guarini song and I think I need some aspirins for the pounding headache and cold sweat that follow.

Sleazebag sums up the episode. Twenty-four people are going to Hollywood - screaming kiddies, happy kiddies, eeeeeeee - and the show will be going to Cleveland, Ohio in the next episode, where lots of rock and just a little bit of roll will be waiting for anyone foolhardy enough to keep watching the bad audition episodes. If this wretchedly dull episode doesn't convince you to tune out until the workshop episodes at the earliest, when anyone asks about me and you, no, I really don't know you.