After a long, long, long break in which I spent a lot of time examining my life and where it was heading, and realizing that I love the results, we're all making our triumphant return to American Idol! Well, not people like Matt Metzger. I mean you, me, the judges, the Blond Bomber and a new batch of contestants. So let's get right to it!
Ryan opens up the season by welcoming us to Washington, D.C. Hey! I was there! Read all about it here. To start the new season off right, Leandra is going to sing the National Anthem. Um, despite the tremendous pain she seems to be in. Maybe her appendix is about to burst. Although that wouldn't explain the twitchy arms and the hair explosion on her head.
Hey, remember last year when Fantasia won? Just in case you forgot, here's what it looked like. And here's what the other winners look like too. Plus Clay. And here's why winning Idol is important. Just in case you pathologically avoid newspapers or something..
Moving on, we see a girl in a cow costume, a giant tomato and a guy who proves that you can't wear just an undershirt if you want to be a good singer. Then Simon calls some chicks fat before telling another girl that it's possible God doesn't want her to win. Which is maybe my favorite thing he's ever said. And it seems like Paula watched a lot of Bill O'Reilly in the offseason because she repeatedly tells Randy and Simon to SHUT! UP!
Ryan competently runs down the list of audition cities, then deftly moves on to this season's guest judges. No, am I not included on the list. Why? You tell me. Whatever, man! Anyway, Mark McGrath, LL, Gene, Brandy and Kenny Loggins all guested. If that means at least one person is going to sing songs from Caddyshack, it'll all be worth it.
Ryan, copying my moves once again, lays down on top of a sleeping bag. Man, quit bitin'! Then the judges finally roll in, this time toting Mark McGrath. No, not Vanilla Ice. Mark McGrath. Please listen up. I wonder if the guy from Smashmouth is jealous of this guy.
First up in D.C. is youth pastor extraordinaire Sean McNeill. Actually, for all I know, he's youth pastor ordinaire, but whatever. I wait for Randy to yell "Plymouth Rock landed on us!" during Sean's song, but it never comes. Maybe next time. Anyway, the kneeling prayers of 500 teenagers help move Sean along to the next round.
But not even prayers could save Rebecca or Davon. Segue! But basically, Jessie is just an entertainer. Even...though...he...talks...pretty...dryly...and slowly. Jessie completely blows the words to the pabulum of a Josh Groban song, which really has to be the low point of one's life. Even lower than telling people you love a Josh Groban song, which Simon just did. Then again, he once made an album with pro wrestlers. Jessie gets some help on the lyrics, but it's pretty much wasted since his singing is so awful. But at least he's on TV! He's crying on TV, sure, but he's still on.
Jessie isn't the only one who forgets his words. Michael Rapaport's brother has the same problem. Maybe Anwar Robinson can perk things up. He does teach music, after all. Anwar puts on his best Vanilli outfit and turns it out for the judges. And there goes Mark McG stealing my joke. Um...5 months before I said it. Space-time is an amazing thing, yeah?
Maybe Melissa Considine can keep it rolling. Melissa, who is first class all the way, as you can tell from her copious amounts of tin jewelry. Now, just because she's wearing all that bling, don't think she has a lot of money. Class don't cost a thing, sista! Hmm. Well, Simon seems to have taken most of the good material about Melissa's scratches and her car wash dress, so, uh...I guess I'll just sit here and wait this out. Melissa gets rejected and has no option but to head back to, New Jersey.
Now, what about Derek Braxton? Is he a good person? He claims he's the greatest performer in the history of the universe. But the judges somehow reject Derek. Too bad his only chance was Idol. If only he had some connection to get into the music biz. Like Toni Braxton's agent. Or Toni Braxton's producer. Or Toni Braxton's songwriter. Or Toni Braxton's record label exec. Or Toni Braxton's limo driver. This poor kid!
Ryan, standing besides a giant obelisk, then talks about how beautiful our country is. Quickly followed up by a guy who wore what he slept in to his audition. You are allowed a change of clothes, you know. And boxers usually go on the inside, chief. Then there's a girl in plastic pants who's so bad, her number tries to run away from her. Followed by a group of people who make me hope I never hear the word fruited again. Which I was already borderline on, anyway. This is all wrapped up by somebody who looks like a flounder and sings in a falsetto. Terrific!
To cheer us up, we're treated to a heartwarming tale about a girl who pawned her wedding ring so she could afford the trip to D.C. And yet if I sold my wedding ring to put everything down on a hard eight, my wife would kill me. Then the girl cries. Good Lord, I hope she makes it. This could be devastating. I've never wanted somebody to be good so badly in my entire life. So here we go. Hang on, everybody. Hey, not bad so far. The judges seem to like her. Simon tells Regina to bring her husband, Mark, which seals the deal. Sorta. Simon rejects her, but it's not enough to overcome the other judges, who pass her through. So, uh, now do we get the ring back? Speaking of which, let it be known that Regina cherishes her karaoke machine more than her wedding ring. I'm just saying.
First up in D.C. is Marlea Stroman, a mom who was inspired by Fantasia last season. And anybody else who's ever produced a kid, we can only assume. Except for her fianc, who she just dumped. Whoever's inspired her, she sure can sing, so the judges pass her through. But Marlea isn't the only success story. There's also...that girl! And this guy! And look at that backflip! And the girl in the pink hat yelling at traffic, which is more of a New York thing than a D.C. thing, but whatever! And these people! They're all so happy. And that makes me happy! Because I'm a good person. Let it be forever known.
My man Aven Moore is well aware of the entertainment equation that Soul-Glo + Purple = Awesome. This is truly, truly wonderful. And he holds a note like that big, bald tenor Bugs Bunny once messed with. Remember? He turned red? Then purple? Then striped? Ah, youthful memories. I think it's safe to guess that Aven's head doesn't smoke. That doesn't make him any better, but there you go anyway.
Then we move on to Constantine, who has his own metal garage band. Paying homage to his dark lord, Constantine goes on American Idol and sings an Aerosmith power ballad in front of Sugar Ray. Hey, that's how Pantera got their start, so what's the big deal?
Moving on, here's a warning for you kids. Anybody who vehemently describes themselves as "wacky", "crazy" or "fun" is a person to be avoided at all costs. Unless you like lots of shouting and impromptu dancing that prove just how wacky/crazy/fun said person is. So, don't hang out with Jillian Bennett. On a more placid note, Jillian's blonde counterpart, Amanda Hubert, dresses up like she's rushing a southern sorority. "The girls of Delta Nu - Auburn branch are proper, Amanda. We were raised correctly. And we dress accordingly."
So how does it go? Well, Jillian goes off on a wacky crying jag, and Amanda calls Simon an *******. Not very nice, if you ask me. And I can't imagine the girls of Delta Nu - Auburn chapter would condone such un-ladylike talk. So, ladies, uh...I guess that's it for your lives. Nothing left to do now but play out the string.
Back in D.C., things are still s l o g g i n g along.. Maybe Brian Scott Bagley, hip hop dance instructor / ascot wearer, can improve things. I think he can, because Brian is so prepared for his audition that he's wearing BOTH a belt and suspenders. There is absolutely no chance his pants accidentally fall down, ruining his interview. Sure, it's a fashion tornado, but at least he'll be covered up. Which, of course, isn't enough for Brian to make it into the next round. It does help him panhandle, however. Now let's move on to Mary Gober, who claims to look like Sharon Stone or Madonna, but actually looks like Ashlee Simpson.. And now let's very quickly move away from Mary Gober. Glasses on, hair up!
Back from another break and we get Ian Holmes II, who makes us all hope Ian Holmes III will be better next year. And if not, hopefully he'll also have a macramé hat. Yah, yah, yah. Yah. Yah. Yah, yah, yah, yes. Ian Holmes II can take that massive endorsement back to Ian Holmes I with pride.
After Ryan pays tribute to Lincoln (they have more in common than you think), DCcrest shows us the considerable talents of Michelle Fisher, who catches mosquitos for a living. That sounds...tedious. Maybe Michelle sings better with her protective mosquito netting on, but the judges reject her. If they all suspiciously come down with West Nile next week, we'll know why.
Then Ryan interrupts Pray for the Soul of Betty band practice, which will easily make the top 10 in VH1's Top 50 Least Metal Moments ever. Let's hope nobody puts his head through an amp. Although in his defense, his skinny t-shirt is most definitely metal. It could use a flaming skull and a half naked Viking chick on it, sure, but you take what you can get. Hamboussi, what do you think about Ryan Seacrest stealing Constantine from your band? Hamboussi, perhaps remembering a story his uncle Scott Ian told him about Anthrax breaking up, just wants to support his friend.
Now what about Jason Joel Smith? I'll tell you one thing about him, he definitely represents. Representin' HVAC tech, y'all! Keepin' you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, boy! And you know dis! Jason, who claims to have weeks of experience on his side, gets ready to turn it out. But first, he lets us know that he used to be a drunk until he found religion. Anyway, Jason needed to give a lot more than 5.9% to make it to the next round. If only Jason learned he could sing a month ago instead of two weeks, I think he could've made it. But, you know, blas la la la. HVAC!
Franchon boxes. And she's a chick. Who boxes. This girl would dismantle me inside of two minutes. But you know what? I'm okay with that. I'm just glad I'm not in her sight line when she gets rejected. Okay. Mary Roach. Are we really ready for this? She seems slightly awkward. But remember, kids, weirdness is originality. And when you say something like that in a calm, even voice, it's absolutely terrifying.
After bouncing her, the judges encourage Mary to go to beauty school. I guess they think it's a good idea for Mary to get near people's heads with razors. Sensible. Now let's send Mary out with a bout of angry singing! Argghhhh! Aggressive romance! Totally in your face and heart! Man, that chick is a tall order of crazy.
So that's D.C. The seat of power for the strongest nation in the history of the world. Come back tomorrow when Idol goes to St. Louis and I stay right smack in the middle of Mediocresville. Hey, look! There's Mayor Badjoke! And there's City Comptroller Don Outofmaterial! Greetings from Mediocresville!