Ring Around the Rosie

"American Idol" visits Memphis and rates very low on the cruel-o-meter which is no doubt a big disappointment to Rosie O'Donnell, the country's new Vice Principal, Miss Crankypants.

True, when cheerleader Frank Byers gets nixed judge Simon Cowell screams at Byers's fan club -- other cheerleaders and a marching band -- to shut up.

And when Jason Head -- son of Roy Head whose chart-topping song "Treat Her Right" got knocked out by the Beatles' "Yesterday" -- tells the judges he's happy because he just got married, his baby is due at Christmas and he's auditioning for "American Idol," Simon mutters about getting one out of three right. But even Simon changes his tune after Head's performance, calling his "probably one of the best voices" they've ever heard, adding that he'd be amazed if Head did not make the finals.

"He just blew Taylor out of the park," Simon says, referring to Taylor Hicks, winner of the previous season of "Idol."

Several bad auditions later, Danielle McCulloch sings an Aretha Franklin tune. She hits most, but not all the notes. On the other hand, she is young, pretty and blonde. So when Simon blathers on about all the reasons he wants to see her go through to Hollywood, we all know it's actually because he thinks she's hot.

Speaking of hot, Christopher McCain is really stoked to meet Paula because "she's really hot." McCain's wife left him recently because, he says, he found out she was "messing around" and when he forgave her she said she wanted to keep "messing around." He believes he will win the competition and his wife will want him back.

Simon asks him why his wife left him.

"Because she's an [expletive]," McCain says.

Naturally he can't sing and Simon says he's tempted to ask whether McCain sang that the night before his wife left him. This will be the subject of Rosie's sermon on "The View" Wednesday morning.

The judges tell McCain he's no good. On the bright side, Simon notes, "You called your ex-wife an [expletive] on national TV."

McCain has the last laugh, telling Paula, "You were great -- looking. But that's all."

Janita Burks is all tarted up in a low-cut dress for her audition, saying something about boosting her "confidentiality." Paula is more worried about her wardrobe malfunction potential and keeps signaling to Burks to rein in the girls.

Sean Michel -- long brown hair, long thick dark beard, army greens -- says he looks like Osama bin Laden, Jesus or Castro. Oddly, he's right. He sings a Johnny Cash song,which the judges aren't expecting. "We expected something about The Revolution," Simon says. But he's good enough and the makeover potential is jimongous, so he's through too.

Melissa Doolittle is a professional backup singer who is afraid to sing solo. It doesn't seem fair that she qualifies for the competition, except she's very insecure. Paula calls her performance "really good." But when Simon says Doolittle has "no confidence and yet you are a brilliant singer" Paula changes it to "brilliant" and Randy chimes in with "one of the best auditions ever, vocally."

Tall skinny Robert Lee Holmes can't sing but gets in the best line of the show when he tells Simon he writes stories and Simon asks how will this current story end.

"With a period," Holmes responds simply. Sadly, he can't sing and does not make it through to Hollywood.

Nor does the guy who has a towel stuffed into the zipper of his pants which he eventually pulls out and tosses.

And yet, boring Phil Stacy, who missed his wife's delivery of their second child to audition for "Idol" gets through even though he starts his song badly, as all three judges note. Show ends with Stacy holding up his beautiful new baby, Michaela, for "Idol" fans to see, pretty much Rosie-proofing this episode.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  January 24, 2007; 1:26 AM ET "American Idol"
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I thought that guy's name was Sundance Head, not Jason Head?

Posted by: Maria | January 24, 2007 10:16 AM

Sean Michael...the revolutionary looking dude. Holy cow, when he launched into that Johnny MF'ing CASH song with the stomping and the snapping and clapping, I almost jumped off the couch to stomp along. If there's a just world out there, he'll at least get the attention that Bo Bice got.

Posted by: 23112 | January 24, 2007 10:56 AM

I still can't figure out why the first singer, the fellow with the cheerleaders, didn't make it. he was better that the doink who's wife had just given birth!

Posted by: Phillyfilly | January 24, 2007 12:25 PM

dumb thing was, most of those people weren't from anywhere near Memphis....

Posted by: b | January 24, 2007 12:32 PM


The captioning underneath actually read "Jason "Sundance" Head". (I hate myself for knowing that....)

He tried playing it off like the "Sundance" part was his parents' fault, but it appears to me like it's a nickname/alter ego kind of thing that he's trying to push the public into accepting.

And unfortunately for Jason, Michael Aday already took "Meatloaf", so he's stuck with "Sundance".

Posted by: VoR | January 24, 2007 1:37 PM

Most of the singers I saw were from Arkansas, which is right across the Mississippi from Memphis and Memphis is far and way the closest big city to almost anywhere in Arkansas.

Posted by: Chris | January 24, 2007 1:43 PM

"And unfortunately for Jason, Michael Aday already took "Meatloaf", so he's stuck with "Sundance"."

Does this make his newborn child "The Sundance Kid"?

Posted by: BF | January 24, 2007 2:03 PM

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