'American Idol' 10th season premiere continues in New Orleans
Once upon a time, struggling young music artists who were not feeling quite themselves sat down at a piano and interpreted a work by one of those Russian composers nature had provided for this purpose. These days, wannabe Idolettes, whose auditions have gone badly, sit down at a piano and shred the Charlie Chaplin tune, "Smile," for the TV camera.
Like Blake Patterson, who, "Idol" wants to make perfectly clear as Blake gnashes and gnaws at this lovely tune, "won't be going to Hollywood."
Thank you, "American Idol."
Tonight, "Idol" returns to New Orleans, which sole surviving "Idol" judge Randy Jackson warns had better not disappoint "The Dawg" using up one of the two-dawg-per-night allowance we have decided to impose on him this season.
Because it's New Orleans, new judge and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is wearing a goofy little hat. Mostly so he can look impishly at the camera and say, "You know what they say about a little hat. It's good for a little [bleep]!"
Yes, we get it -- being bleeped is going to be his shtick on "Idol" -- how he will manage to do this gig while hanging on to his Aerosmith cred.
Jennifer Lopez, the show's other new judge, knows she has to walk a fine line. On the one hand, she fancies herself quite the fashionista. On the other hand, she doesn't want to be dismissed as one of those insensitive Paris Hilton types who flaunt their wealth and wardrobes, while millions of Americans have to cut back and make hard choices in these tough economic times. Jennifer too has decided to cut back, on the number of sleeves on her red blouse, and has made the hard choice to wear only the left one.
Jordan Dorcey is an excellent piano teacher. His adorable 6-year-old star pupil says so.
Randy "dawgs" him. We're cutting Randy off now.
Jordan sings "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Asking "Idol" viewers to sit through another rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is like asking the piano player in a hotel lounge, "'Can you sing that song from 'Phantom'?" The piano player is going to tell you to buzz off because 35 people have already asked him that tonight. We have heard "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" sung in "Idol" auditions so many times we want to throw our ruby slippers at Jordan.
Oh wait. He's okay.
"Stop, stop, stop!" shrieks JLo. "You know why?" she asks.
No, why, JLo? And please don't tell us it's because you want him to sing that song from "Phantom," instead.
"Because I have goose bumps all over my body," JLo coos.
After the commercial break, "Idol" producers cue up the Mighty Mississippi clichés: gators, adorable piglet-like creatures running away from gators, adorable old man explaining it's called "Nawleens."
Contestant Najsha Palmer, a 21-year-old clerk, murders some tune.
"Wow, if it wasn't for all that!" Tyler observes wryly of her performance.
Have we mentioned yet that Tyler is the best thing that's happened to "Idol" in ages?
Another singer butchers the '40's Mack Gordon/ Harry Warren song, "At Last."
Finally, Sarah Sellers auditions. Tyler is in love with her lush lips. "You had me sold the second you laid eyes on me," Tyler purrs.
Even Randy is confused.
"You'll get it later," Tyler snaps. Sarah's through to Hollywood.
JLo is a "goddess" in the eyes of Jovany Barreto, because she married his idol, Marc Anthony.
"The guy is the best on earth -- I'm sorry -- hands down," Jovany proclaims as if daring someone to contradict him.
He sings well. He also tells JLo that, while "without a doubt" Randy and Steven are both "da bomb," he has been watching JLo since -- he puts his hand down low to suggest since he was very, very young when he started, which would make her rather old. This appears not to occur to him and he continues trying to seduce the wife of his idol:
"You are a goddess in my eyes," he says.
"You have a very powerful voice," JLo responds, returning the compliment. She also has nice things to say about his whisper. Tyler, who's liking where this is going, chimes in with, "for my melodic sensibility ... I thought it was delicious." It's getting creepy.
All three give Jovany a big thumbs up. Jovany is so overcome with gratitude, he begins to strip from the waist up. "This is for you, Jennifer. Sorry, Marc -- I love you." We should probably mention here that Jovany has been working out.
Randy and Steven join Jovany on the little audition stage.
"Wait! Just let him do his thing!" JLo begs.
Too late. As Jovany takes off the last layer, the two judges pull up their shirts, exposing their chests.
"You couldn't just let me have my show," JLo whines at Randy and Steven.
Jacquelyn Dupress is related to Randy's old football coach and has brought coach along as a sort of "American Idol" show and tell. Unless she's completely tone deaf, this means she's going to Hollywood.
She is not completely tone deaf.
Red-headed Bret Loewenstern says he would describe himself as "a red apple in a pile of green apples." When he was growing up, people bullied him, calling him a dork and a geek, he says.
Tyler wonders how Bret gets his wavy long hair to look so good. Bret explains his hair treatment regimen. Then he sings "Bohemian Rhapsody." He's very good.
"Wow, wow, wow! Two goose pimples and it's still morning!" JLo marvels. After which Tyler raves, "You were fabulous!" about the geeky red-headed teenager who got bullied as a child -- and if that's not an episode of "Glee," I don't know what is.
Bret blows kisses in the judges' direction and exits.
"First of all, his hair was very well conditioned," JLo notes as Bret leaves the room.
"You know what you have -- Mick Jagger's mouth, and I know him well," Tyler tells the next auditioner, Gabriel Franks.
It's true. Unfortunately, he also has the personality of Ed Grimley, and, as he sings, his eyes roll back in his head. Tyler commends him for his energy and sends him on his way.
Time for a medley of bad auditions, highlighted by a performance from some guy in a sequined hat and vest, who raps like Eminem in a gale.
And here comes a cute, chubby 15-year-old who looks 12. We're expecting Jacee Badeaux to be less than great, and, of course, he's terrific, singing the Otis Redding classic, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." He's like a young Wayne Newton, only without the scary. He's also Hollywood bound.
The sun is starting to set. Time to bring out the sad story of the night.
Paris Tassin was 19 when she got pregnant and the doctors told her that her baby had some polysyllabic condition that she might not survive. But Paris went ahead and had her baby, who has a hearing loss. She wears hearing aids and is otherwise a "very healthy baby," Paris tells the camera.
"I'm a mom to a special-needs child," she introduces herself to the judges. She sings the Carrie Underwood tune, "Temporary Home" well. JLo tears up.
"When you sang, I felt it," JLo emotes. "It brought tears to my eyes, and that's the first time it's happened -- today," JLo adds, somewhat anticlimactically.
"I love to sing. Oh, I love to sing. It is my dream," Paris replies, choking up.
The judges are no match for Paris.
"Yes," JLo whispers dramatically. The other two concur.
Outside the audition room, the judges run into Paris holding her daughter. JLo walks over in her designer trench coat over her one-sleeved Hard Choices Blouse, and gives Paris and daughter the briefest of hugs.
Lisa de Moraes
| January 20, 2011; 11:35 PM ET
Categories: "American Idol"
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