Though Los Angeles is a city full of entertainers, last night’s episode of American Idol started with footage of performers we’ve seen from other cities. Lauren Alaina, Brett Loewenstern, and Casey Abrams were all featured at the beginning of the show – you know, the “In case you forgot, here are some people we really liked!” ploy. Thanks, producers. We’ll keep that in mind when we start voting. Which, you know, won’t be for another couple of weeks. But thanks for the subtle hints.
Or could this feature have been because there was almost no talent at all to be found in LA? That was what the Idol producers would have had us believe. Most hopefuls were not awarded a trip to the next round – at least, not the hopefuls that we were shown. Why did Idol chose to waste our time with this negative spin on things? Were the Los Angeles auditions really that disastrous? Apparently, only five golden tickets were awarded in the City of Angels, so yes, things were really pretty dire.
For the first time, this year’s addition of MySpace auditions was mentioned. There were 16,000 videos submitted, and the best of those were invited to audition in front of the judges in Los Angeles. (I wonder if Fox paid for people to come to LA if they weren’t local. I figured the point of the MySpace auditions was to save people some money, but if they live on the East Coast and had to pay for themselves to fly to the West Coast, this was probably not the case.)
The first auditioner of the night, Victoria Garret, believed that God brought the Idol auditions to LA for a purpose, and she IS that purpose. She even sang a song praising the good lord – but he must not have heard her prayers. Victoria sounded like a young Michael Jackson – if the King of Pop had been tone deaf and squeaky. “It was a very sweet and angelic voice, sounded like a little lamby,” Steven cooed, as if talking to a child. The other judges gave Steven a lot of flack for calling Victoria’s horror show “angelic.” It didn’t really matter; she wasn’t getting a yes out of anyone regardless.
In a rare-for-last-night moment of discovering a decent singer, Idol found a J. Lo fan in 23 year old Tim Halperin, who delivered a sweet enough version of “She Will Be Loved.” It was pleasant and easy with no real energy, but at least Tim has a great smile. Steven nodded, “You gotta work on that voice and step it up some.” He still gave Tim a yes, which is one of the nice things about Steven Tyler as a judge – he sees the potential in contestants and gives them another chance. That’s refreshing in a competition such as this, where raw talent is (or should be) the focus. Randy gave Time a no, but of course, Tim’s childhood crush wouldn’t let him down. Off to Hollywood Tim went! Or… stayed, considering he was already in LA.
Friends Daniel Gomez and Isaac Rodriguez were up next. Daniel thought his voice was fabulous and would be selling out arenas, but he did a breathy chant version of “I’ll Be” with no melody and a look on his face as if he were in pain. Randy sighed as he delivered the bad news: “This is not for you. You’re relatively tone deaf, really.” Then Isaac entered the room to sing “Build Me Up, Buttercup.” He’s got a great smile that’s infectious, and he clearly thought he was great – until the judges’ comments brought his hopes crashing down. “You have a nice smile,” Jen eeked out, looking on the bright side of things. Steven began his critique by saying, “You set the song on fire, but…” “In the wrong way,” Randy picked up with a good natured chuckle. “You burned the song DOWN. You and your buddy, Daniel? Neither one of you should ever sing.” So the friends left without golden tickets, but at least their friendship was still in tact.