'American Idol': Been There, Seen Them
This year, we've been promised we'll get better acquainted with more good auditioners during the early episodes of "American Idol," when judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell crisscross the country to discover their next group of Idolettes. That's so we'll feel more invested in them by the time they make it through to the competition finals.
Show host Ryan Seacrest tells us that in San Diego, 30 or so auditioners got through. So why, we wonder, were about half of the good ones we see on this season's third episode are people we already knew?
Like Carly Smithson, a.k.a. Carly Hennessy when she auditioned two years ago and was declared by Paula to be one of the best auditioners they'd ever seen.
Since then, Carly's gained a husband -- hence the name change -- who, in turn, has given her a few tattoos. Carly is famous for a Wall Street Journal story, "Pop Singer Fails to Strike a Chord Despite the Millions Spent by MCA," which singled her out as the perfect illustration of how a record label can spend more than $2 million promoting a teenage pop singer and her debut album, only to have sales flop spectacularly.
Michael Johns -- who according to Paula also goes by the name Michael Lee -- a good-looking Aussie, was signed by a couple of record labels.
Cute teen David Archuleta, he of the "vocal paralysis" back story, won the junior singing competition on CBS's "Star Search" back in February 2004.
Throw in Tetiana Ostapowych, Samantha Musa and Perrie Cataldo and that's pretty much it for the non-dreadful auditioners showcased during the "Idol" stop in San Diego.
Tetiana gets through to the next round even though Simon warns her she's not as good as she thinks she is, which appears to be another way of saying she doesn't have a record contract in her past, or a win on another TV competition series.
Perrie never would have made it through had the judges not been blinded by his back story -- single dad raising adorable son who lost his mom because, Perrie says ominously, she was "in the wrong place, at the wrong time with the wrong people."
Frankly, of the three, Samantha is the only one who is genuinely good, only she needs to drown her sister, who tags along begging to sit in Simon's lap because she's so obsessed with him, and then judges Samantha's performance fairly harshly even though the pros love it. Of what use is a sister like that?
Sadly, last night's bad auditioners are, well, sad. Particularly 11-time rejectee Blake Boshnack, whose mother, Leslie, says "Idol" has been the "main part of my whole life" since the first season.
Miraculously, the San Diego auditions are saved by Valerie Reyes, who, while waiting for her at-bat, snarks with Ryan about all those delusional talentless people who show up to audition and make complete fools of themselves.
She, on the other hand, is the new Mariah Carey. So much so, Valerie explains, that when people hear Mariah tunes coming from her general direction they ask her if she's playing Mariah on some electronic device, she replies happily, "No, that's me!"
Then Valerie auditions. Imagine if Mariah Carey took up yodeling. Simon says it is like someone left a Mariah CD out in the sun for a year and then tried to play it. "That was actually terrible," adds Randy.
Doing the post-audition confessional, Valerie suddenly realizes she is one of the people she mocks: "Oh my god, now I'm going to be on the rejects. Oh, that is so not cool."
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