'Idol' Does Dallas
We Watch So You Don't Have To
If, as Simon Cowell recently insisted in a phone call with TV critics, this season has produced the best crop of "American Idol" wannabes yet, why did he and fellow judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul feel compelled to send through to Hollywood such a pack of misfits and sad cases as they found in Dallas?
Like the guy who's been collecting his fingernail clippings for seven years, carries them around in his pocket, tells the producers about them in his bio information and offers to share them with show host Ryan Seacrest? Shouldn't they instead have sent Brandon Green to Dr. Phil?
On last night's show, the judges seemed far more creeped out by the guy who is saving himself, and his lips, for his wedding night -- he's never even kissed a girl. Okay, it was pretty cringe-inducing when Bruce Dickson showed us the gold key he wears around his neck that fits into a gold heart his dad wears around his neck, which Dad says he will give to the Right Girl on Junior's wedding night. Sending Bruce to Hollywood, where he'd be sure to be at least kissed, and spend some quality time away from Dad, would have been an act of kindness.
"You guys have some advice?" he asks on his way out. "Kiss some girls," Randy suggests.
Speaking of acts of kindness, overcaffeinated Kayla Hatfield got the thumbs up, seemingly because of her ability to survive the car crash that cost her half her face and still be happy. But her rendition of a Janis Joplin tune was pure karaoke.
When Brandon the Fingernail Hoarder offers to let Seacrest take a closer look at his "collection," the host says, "Part of me is sick; part of me is scared." But the Howard Hughes-ian Idol wannabe promises Paula, Randy and Simon that if he becomes the next American Idol, he'll be a "positive influence," unlike "these other celebrities," including Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, he says.
Speaking of Britbrit, Kady Malloy, one of a steady stream of pretty blonde Idolettes destined for Hollywood this season, does a dead-on impression of America's Favorite Pop Mess, which impresses the judges mightily. "Of all the people we've seen so far this year you're the best. I've got a feeling about you; you are super, super talented," Simon gushes.
Another pretty blonde, Jessica Brown, is a stay-at-home mom with two adorable little girls, and a weakness for crystal meth, and an arrest record. (Who says the "Idol" producers have nothing new up their sleeves? This season they're exposing the competitors before TheSmokingGun gets around to it!) But, Jessica says that, just like that tune we wish former "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood had never sung, she let Jesus take her wheel. And now, she wants to go to Hollywood for a music career -- because the whole single-mother-blonde-singer-in-Hollywood thing is working out for, say Britney, we muse, coming full circle.
And speaking of Underwood, Alaina Whitaker, yet another pretty blonde, who bills herself as the chick Carrie Underwood looks like, gets unanimous thumbs up from the judges, though Simon tells her she's not as good a singer as she thinks she is. Oh snap!
Back to Misfits: Kyle Ensley is this season's Semi-Charming Nerdy Boy Who Hasn't a Prayer and Who Will Quickly Get on Our Nerves. He wants to run for governor of somewhere, or become an "American Idol" winner, and blushes his way through the Queen number "Somebody to Love," which is sufficiently charming/ironic it gets him a ticket to Hollywood. But only after Simon asks him, "You wouldn't do what Clay Aiken did -- do weird things with your hair and wear red leather jackets?" Kyle assures him he has no weird-hair or red-leather-jacket aspirations and he heads off to Hollywood.
And hunky farmboy Jethro -- a.k.a. Drew Poppelreiter -- is leaving behind the back 40, with which he says he has a love-hate relationship, to take his very first plane trip to Hollywood.
Winding up "Idol's" Dallas two hours of my life I'll never get back: Renaldo Lapuz. Lapuz is dressed to emulate Liberace attending a costume party as messenger god Hermes: white-marabou-collared silver lamÃ© cape, white-feather winged hat with Simon's name spelled out on it because, Renaldo explains, Simon is "the sun, he's the light, he's the rain, he's all the elements of the planet."
Renaldo sings his own composition, "We're Brothers Forever," which is dedicated to Simon:
I am your brother
Your best friend forever
Singing your songs
The music that you love.
To the end of time,
Together or not
You're always in my heart.
By the second chorus, Randy's up singing with Renaldo, Paula's bumping and grinding in front and Seacrest is looking bewildered; Simon's looking bemused. Sadly, all three judges nix Renaldo's "Idol" run. Undeterred, Renaldo addresses Simon:
"Simon, you are a great person. You give [a] chance to everyone to sing to the whole world. Thank you. You are heaven-chosen to . . . give [a] chance to any talent -- for free of charge."
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