Season 5: The First Cut Is the Deepest

Sssh, people, close your eyes. Ryan "You Have No Idea, Darlings!" Sleazebag wants everyone to recall all those shriekings when those wannabes that auditioned managed to get themselves a ticket to a crammed bus that will take them to "Hollywood". Well, it's now time for doubts and misery, people, because as Sleazie says, it's "Hollywood Week"! Every day, he says, these wannabes' "talent" will be put to the test! The judges will be ruthless! Okay, that last one pretty much means King Tut will be using the same old lines we've all heard a million times before ("You're a complete and utter mess! And I can't think of any new witty put-downs anymore!") while Randy Randy says "That's terrible!" to what seems like a proposal from the mouth wide-open William Makar. I agree, it's terrible, what young men are willing to do nowadays for fame. What happened to moral values, I ask you?

The competition is fierce, Sleazie says, and look, there's one of the Brittenum twins telling someone in the phone that he'll tell King Tut that "they" didn't get to rehearse because the other guys prefer to sleep. Sleep together? Just wondering. Maybe that guy is telling off his parole officer, who knows? Emotions will be raw! Look, some guy is threatening to "bow out of the competition". Um, does he want some fake tears from me or what? And on and on Sleazie's dramatic monologue goes, as if this so-called Hollywood Week is a boot camp from hell that will crush the wannabes into dust for everyone's viewing pleasure. I've never seen so many guys crying like they have just wet their pants and everyone in the room is laughing at them in the space of two minutes, by the way. That RJ Norman is not so cocky when he's sobbing for his mommy, I tell you. At the end of the week, Sleazie reveals that only twelve male contestants and twelve female contestants will make it to the semifinals. It looks like this season will follow the same format as the previous season then. Oh goody, which of the unpimped ones will be cut first? But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Day one, 7:00 am. 175 wannabes are flown in to Hollywood. Sleazie says "half of them" are sent on a "Hollywood sight-seeing tour", although it's obviously more accurate to say "about half of them" instead of "half of them". One guy camps it up, squealing in an overexcited drag queen manner that he's going to Hollywood. This guy is delusional if he thinks that he will win votes from the Middle American population if he acts that way. And how come the double decker buses these wannabes are crammed into bear the Union Jack? The show is becoming daring if it isn't afraid of making those Middle American we-shoot-furriners folks annoyed with the product placement of a different nationality. Then again, maybe they don't know what the Union Jack is and they will just assume that it's the new logo for Coke. The Orpheum theatre is once more the source of the trails of blood, sweat, and tears from our wannabes. The sign over the door says: "Welcome American Idol 2006". Sleazie stands inside the theatre and damn, that shirt is ugly but he's hot again. This won't do at all!

On the stage, there are some people setting up the place so that there will be huge logos of Coke all over the place for some discreet subliminal message purposes. Backstage, Debra Byrd is once more the vocal instructor while Mikey O is once more the piano man. Each wannabe is given a list of twelve songs and she or he has to pick one to sing before the judges. A glimpse on the music sheets Mikey O is holding reveal some very familiar "OH MY GOD, WHY HAVEN'T THEY BANNED THESE SONGS ON THIS SHOW YET!" dead-horse bleatings like Can't Fight The Moonlight, Hopelessly Devoted To You, and I'll Never Love This Way Again. Debra and Mikey pretend to earn their pay by getting these wannabes to "ooh-ooh-ooh" in groups, as if that will be in any way helpful. Sleazie also says that the wannabes can choose what "key" they want to sing in. That's nice, I've always wanted to hear Can't Fight The Moonlight sung in a high-pitch manner. Sleazie also reveals that three background singers will accompany these wannabes.

As some of the wannabes await in the outside lobby for their turn, Sleazie goes around pointing out how these wannabes are from all over the country, as if I have not watched those awful bad audition episodes drive that fact down my throat for the last three weeks. Sleazie wants to me imagine how these people travel so far here only to have to go back home when they're cut after singing just one song. As long as they don't take anything back with them, like Sleazie's pec implants, I'm sure everyone will be alright.

First is Kellie Pickler, who tells the judges that she deserves to be an Idol because her father was a junkie that spent a lot of time behind bars. Honey, sweetie, there are many people whose lives aren't that rosy either but they don't go around saying that they deserve to be famous and rich so please bitch, get the hell out of my TV screen, you offensive piece of white trash heifer spawn! She sings a terrible Hopelessly Devoted To You but the judges think she's nervous. Of course. It can't be that she's terrible, eh? Damn, I'm envious that my own father isn't some white trash jailbird because now I'm not entitled to be the new American Idol! When she and seven other ladies have finished singing, she and four others are allowed to move on. I'm not so gullible as to assume that the producers will let this "I Whore My Life Story To Hallmark" white trash loser and her hideous fashion sense get away from them so easily but I'm so annoyed that I have to listen to her truly disgusting bleats of self-entitlement some more. Ugh! Kellie acts like she's shocked, she's an ignorant bumpkin from the country - after Cattle Underwood, every blonde's an ignorant country bumpkin now, with added bonus of a tragedy-movie of the week sob story as accessory - and I find myself evil enough to wish that her father will break out of jail and blackmail her until she is dropped by this show for fear of her reputation tarnishing the image of the show. Nah, they probably won't drop her - they only drop African-American bad boys and gals, I hear.

Patrick Hall takes the first one for the guys. He sings If as if he's milking every sentimental triteness of the song until cheese is dripping from his nostrils. Miss Paula is dreaming of having a naked Patrick feeding her happy pills while fanning her and King Tut looks like he wants to kick Miss Paula out of the fantasy and have Patrick feeding slices of cheesecakes to him instead. As he goes into the melismatic last refrains of the song - "fly awa-aaa-aa-aay!" - I'm like, "Shut up, he's coming home with me!" and I have to cover my mouth with horror before all those Kewpie fans that I made fun of snigger at me and ask me how them apples taste like. I will not, people. I absolutely refuse. He goes through (the show doesn't reveal anyone else who gets through in his round) and Patrick tells the camera that he's happy. Yeah, and he can make me very happy too. Um, did I say that? Of course not.

10:00 am, day one. The sightseeing wannabes drop by at the "world famous Hollywood Bowl" (as per Sleazie who is pretending not to be munching on a hamburger as he is doing his voiceovers for this episode) where they predictably love that place and call it their stage. Back at the Orpheum theatre, Ronnie Norman is predictably playing the womanizing Deuce Bigalow wannabe, as is the married Sgt Steven David, Jr whose wife surely can't be too amused by how smarmy he is on TV. Ronnie's If I Ever is flat, as is Sgt Steven's, and both are cut with Ryan Brasden - gotta love how King Tut tells them, "Congratulations on getting this far!" and causing Ryan to punch the air in joy before delivering the death knell, "You're going home!" - while five people I can't identify since the camera never focuses directly on them are going through to the next round. Sarge is not amused by King Tut's deliberate toying with their feelings while Ryan says that he doesn't understand why he's cut and the show bleeps out a few words he uses. Come on, Ryan, it must be the facial hair. Those little girlies are scared witless by the sight of hairy appendages and facial hair. How else do all those boyband members know the meaning of the word "electrolysis"? They sure didn't learn that word in school! But while Ryan and Sarge try to understand why the world isn't going all-out in worshipping their dainty toes, Ronnie starts crying in a corner, awww. He really wants this, that poor dear. I feel a little bit sad myself, since his cocky behavior will make a nice foil to Kellie's pathetic sense of self-entitlement.

Lisa Tucker shrieks her way through Hopelessly Devoted To You and I think Fantasia has spoiled me for any lesser shrieky R&B diva wannabes because I find Lisa very ordinary. She's moving through to the next round though. Laura Wright, Shelby Johnson, and Eden Kentner also perform the same song although the show is vague about their fates. Matthew Buckstein also performs this song in a sleeveless black muscle-tee and I feel like I'm watching a really cheesy gay bar performer. He's moving on the next round and I shudder involuntarily at the possibility of this guy doing some twanged-up "country" version of an N Sync song.

2:00 pm, day one. Ooh, the sightseeing wannabes are now visiting downtown Hollywood. How nice. They can try to peddle drugs here or something should the whole "I wanna be a pop star" thing doesn't work out too well. Jason Horn dreams of having his own star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jason, dear, Ryan Freaking Sleazebag has a star. Miss Paula has a star. That should tell anyone something about the quality of the riff-raffs they are giving those stars to nowadays, surely! Elsewhere, Ayla Brown apparently has "All-American Girl" officially made her middle name on this show. Is it me or the shticks by the contestants these season ("I'm very patriotic because I'm an All-American Bimbo! I Deserve To Win Because My Father Sold Crack/I Am Homeless Through No Fault Of My Own! My Airplane Nearly Crashed! An Alien Impregnated Me With Saddam Hussein's Baby! I'm an innocent country girl with big breasts! SO I DESERVE TO WIN, PEOPLE!") too irritating and even offensive for words? Back at Orpheum, some wannabes tank badly, such as Ashley Guadamuz, Kymata Kelty, and Linelle Kagawa.

Randy Randy takes it upon himself to tell some wannabes that this show is about talent, star quality, and zzzzzz. I guess this is why the show needs Randy Randy. It takes talent to spew such obvious bull when a more cynical or less dishonest person would have retched all over the place by now. After that, Ashley, who is going home, grabs the mic and tells everyone to look around and learn from the people around them. She gets an applause. It's official, I suppose, a trite and banal "self-help" book from Randy Randy must be in the works. Annoyingly perky Paris Bennett delivers a superior Can't Fight The Moonlight and moves through.

The sightseeing wannabes hit the beach and act out the same script as the sightseeing wannabes of last season when they were at this very same beach. Marian Zieger however says to the camera that she isn't in the mood to party as she has a sore throat. Oh no! Let's hope she fares better than poor Rashida from the last season. Back at the Orpheum, silver-haired Taylor Hicks performs The First Cut Is The Deepest. I really like his performance and I'm glad he's going through. I can't see him getting the votes of those Stupid Little Girls out there though and I don't think he will make it past Hollywood Week. I'll just have to wait and see. Over to the beach again, Brokeback Garet Johnson plays the whole "I'm an innocent country bumpkin who cries for home, la-di-da, la-di-da" shtick for the camera. I'll pass. This show seems to be crawling with simpleton crybabies this season, doesn't it? Back to Orpheum, evening falls and more people, including some familiar faces whose names I can't remember, are cut. In the end, 41 wannabes are confirmed to stay on to the next day at least.

8:15 am, day two. The sightseeing wannabes will be facing the music today. Some play to the camera although I can't remember their names. I'm not that enthusiastic about the bad audition episodes until I can remember the names and faces of all those people, sorry. Meanwhile, the ones that auditioned yesterday are off on a tour where April Walsh gives a pointless confessional to the camera about nothing. So yes, April is another one of those who went through but the show didn't bother to show me much about her. Back at the Orpheum, the Brittenum twins talk about how it's each man for himself, although that probably don't extend to defense lawyers, I think. That Linkin Park wannabe guy also talks about how competitive everything is. Tell me something I don't know, really. Crazy Dave can't wait to get on stage. Wannabe crooner David Radford says that he's out of school and he's having fun. I shudder again. It's sad to see hormonal teenaged kiddies sanitizing their sense of humor to appeal to very young kiddies for whom puberty is still a long time to come.

Megan Zieger has the same role as Rashida in the previous season in the role of that girl who have a cold for this season but she's not going to get that Oscar for best actress in a canned TV show like Rashida, I don't think. As Melissa Lucas works her way through a Lolita cabaret version of Can't Fight The Moonlight on stage, Megan boos and sobs and woos her way to the camera until, like Rashida, she gets to move on to the next round despite her croakings. Same script, same storyline, and I'll have to wait to see if there will be the same ending. However, this opens a floodgates of excuses, if Sleazie is to be believed, as the wannabes start dishing out excuses like sore throats, hoarseness, and my favorite, "swollen glands". A young lady blames Mikey O for the accompaniment being too fast. One guy gives a long list of woes that King Tut sums up as: "It's the amp, the speakers, the tonsils, and the glands."

At downtown Hollywood, the sightseeing wannabes, according to Sleazie, wonder why King Tut doesn't have a star on the Walk of Fame. Because he doesn't want to be lumped with Miss Paula and Sleazie in the same group? Do these wannabes know how easy it is for someone with connections to the industry to get a stupid star? At the Orpheum, the two Brittenum twins have to perform solo. Derrell sings I'll Never Love This Way Again while Terrell sings The First Cut Is The Deepest like he's two people singing a duet. Still, both sound nice although King Tut is right about how Derrell (and Terrell) don't seem like winner materials for this show. Both make it to the next round. Both backstage say that they can't be faulted in any manner because the song selection is horrible. They also slam Cattle Underwood, although Sleazie points out that Cattle sold 2.2 million copies of her debut CD (sales is the same as talent, see). Say goodbye to your dreams, boys, and keep your fingers clear from fenced goods!

Next, a Lisa Tucker pimp moment. I have no idea what purpose it is for, except to pimp Lisa because... I don't know. Maybe because the producers like her for some reasons. The Brittenums are still killing their goodwill with the audience, even calling indirectly the electorate liars. I really don't think many people will vote for them should they make it past Hollywood Week. Talk about digging their own graves!

3:15 pm. If I Ever (or "I'll Never Fall In Love Again by Shai" if you're Sleazie) is the most popular of the twelve songs the wannabes are given. Gina Glocksen sings that song overdramatically, David Radford Muppetizes it, Ace Young sounds like he's wanking all over the song in the grossest manner possible, Kevin Corvais is like Kermit the Frog singing it, and it's one painful medley comprising these four performances. All make it through to the next round. The other twins Joshua and Jarrett Jackson however tank. It's sad when the only compliment they get is in the form of Miss Paula's slurred babblings before she gives up midway on formulating her thoughts. The twins however plan a comeback when they're not sobbing like wobbling jellos. The Brittenum twins offer to give the Johnson twins their numbers.

Look! The sightseeing wannabes are visiting the Magic Castle where Kewpie's name is brought up in a most gratuitous manner. Is this show determined to mention Kewpie at least once every episode? What is this Kewpie-this Kewpie-that nonsense? Make it stop! Back at Orpheum, Brokeback Garet Johnson is still playing the old "Ma! I'm innocent! I'm a bumpkin! Oh-de-lay-ee-oh!" shtick and the pimping just keeps going and going until it's time for him to perform an average version of Can't Fight The Moonlight. He goes through because he is, after all, a story on this show and his story isn't done yet until the show has no longer any use for him. Sheesh, he sounds like a Chipmunk when he is talking to the camera. Meanwhile, the Brittenum twins continue to dig their own graves as they talk about how some untalented people manage to get through to the next round. I appreciate what they are trying to say but they are seriously getting canned - they're on borrowed time so if you like them, make your peace with that fact and get those prison care packages ready.

The day is winding down, says Sleazie, and there are some standouts, or what the show will like me to believe as "standouts". Chris Daughtry, that Linkin Park dude, countrifies/Bo-Bices The First Cut Is The Deepest. I like it, really! He's moving on. Mandisa is also going through and I think I have an early favorite in her. Katharine McPhee sounds mediocre but she gets a pimp clip and she therefore is moving on to the next round. But why do I want to root for some white chick with fake soul when I can root for Mandisa?

Okay, it's time for Crazy Dave to make an appearance. They have pimped his crazy antics all through this episode and as usual, the payoff is never as good as the build-up. Crazy Dave warms up for his performance by doing handstands and meditating while showing the world the white of his eyes. He tells the camera that he is more focused today and he will "channel" his energy into something "more powerful". The "something" turns out to be some mangled shoutings of what is supposed to Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell as he runs and jumps all over the place like some out-of-control gorilla. I love that part where he rolls up his eyes until it's all white. Not too surprisingly, he's not going on to the next round. With that, the second day is done and the judges get out of their seats, with Randy Randy giving me a charming view of him trying to pull up his pants over his underpants. Thanks, Randy Randy, I will never wonder whether's it boxers or briefs again! Sleazie mentions that 66 people are cut on the first two days while 99 remain. Um, Sleazie, 99 and 66 add up to 165. What happened to ten wannabes? Did the show lose them somewhere in downtown Hollywood?

In the next episode, the remaining wannabes team up and more manufactured drama begins! Let's put it this way: if you look at the previews, you'll understand at once why the Brittenum twins are allowed to survive this round. More catwalks, more catty young ladies, and more young guys weeping like babies. Yay!