No one loves "American Idol" lousy auditions episodes more than we do. But we draw the line when the producers decide they're going to teach us stuff while we watch. What's next: University of Phoenix course credit?
The final lousy auditions episode -- The Best of the Rest, Fox calls it -- promises to teach us stuff you can learn from the "Idol" auditions process.
LESSON 1: The Look
Apparently it's not okay to wear leather pants to audition for "Idol." And dressing like a nun and stripping the habit off to reveal something like a little girl's clown costume is also out. Ditto a snappy little ensemble that includes knee-length black-and-white checked pants, black bustier, red high-heeled pumps, one black evening glove, one white evening glove, a strip of red fabric worn over the shoulders as a shawl, a strip of black fabric wound around the neck and my Great Aunt Marjorie's best Sunday-go-to-church hat: black velvet, ring trimmed in netting.
To drive home this point, the producers follow this bit with one Tami Gosnell who is a pedicab driver from Colorado who shows up in jeans and a pierced lower lip and who claims to be able to simultaneously pull up a hill in one of her vehicles all three "Idol" judges -- Simon, Paula and Randy. Simon says he really likes her because she's "someone who would have been a big star in the 60s." Somehow that is better than when he tells auditioners "You're old fashioned." Show host Ryan Seacrest says this proves you don't need a crazy outfit when you have good voice. We say this proves Simon is inconsistent.
LESSON 2: Seek Inspiration.
"Idol" producers believe we need to be taught that all male Asian-American "Idol" auditioners are not as bad as William Hung. Hung is the most famous lousy auditioner ever to come out of "American Idol." So they show us pictures of Hung performing and then they introduce Paul Kim, a pool maintenance technician -- "basically a pool boy" he explains to the judges when asked what he does for a living. Kim has a lovely voice and they send him to Hollywood. While we are still digesting this bit of profiling, the producers show us a white guy whose "Idol" idol is Bo Bice, only when he tries to sing like Bo -- he's really bad!
LESSON 3: Never Give Up.
Here we see auditioners who have tried out two years, three years, some already sent through to Hollywood previously. Do you think any of these repeaters has a chance of winning? Me neither.
LESSON 4: Never Audition as Part of a Group.
Three chicks dressed like roller-skating waitress extras from "American Graffiti" try out together, except they sing one at a time. The first one is not good. The second one is slightly better. The third has a sensational voice. Two of the three get sent to Hollywood. Which part of auditioning as a group is bad? We are so gonna flunk the pop quiz.
LESSON 5: Do You Have to Dance? aka Don't Dance.
Yes, more bad dancing from the seven audition cities, which gives the producers the excuse they needed to show us a clip of Paula dancing with a cartoon character from a couple decades ago when she was a pop star/dancer/choreographer.
LESSON 6: Clarity.
By this the "Idol" producers mean, make sure the judges recognize the song you are singing. So we're asked to play Name that Song and they flash a phone number at the bottom of the screen, only, they explain to viewers it's a joke because otherwise millions of "Idol" fans are going to swamp that 555 phone number when they see the names of the songs three auditioners butchering past recognition: "Let's Stay Together," Annie's "Song," and "Chantilly Lace."
And, because the lousy auditions portion of this year's "American Idol" must end on a high note, so to speak, we are treated to Lakisha Jones and her cute three-year-old daughter. Jones has a big voice and Simon declares her "a good old-fashioned belter." They send her through to Hollywood. Outside the audition room, she and her daughter are overwhelmed and they cry.
"Thank you, 'American Idol' for the opportunity," Jones tells the camera.
Lisa de Moraes
February 8, 2007; 9:00 AM ET
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