'American Idol': Season 10, episode 4
New American Idol judge Steven Tyler may not have completely gotten the hang of how the show works. The judges aren't supposed to pronounce one of the wannabe Idolettes the winner of the competition during the second week of auditions.
"We found her, oh yeah, we did!" Tyler raves to the camera as the Nashville auditions wrap.
The producers lead us to believe he was speaking about 15-year-old Lauren Alaina, who was the very last singer in Nashville and who wowed the judges.
"I'm blown away. Oh my God!" judge Randy Jackson gushes after Lauren sings.
"You cry cause you're gonna make 40 million people cry," Tyler tells her as she wells up.
"You got natural, God-given talent and if you got it, you got it!" Randy enthuses.
"And you got it!" chimes in judge Jennifer Lopez.
And what a great back story Lauren has! Idol loves a good back story.
Lauren's cousin Holly, who is more like a sister, urged Lauren to take up singing, and three years ago when Holly was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to have chemo and radiation, Lauren had a fundraiser and sang, and saved all the money for Holly.
It was a night of great back stories. But let's start at the beginning....
Once upon a time, "American Idol" went to Nashville in its 10th season, with new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, and surviving judge Randy Jackson, as well as older but wiser host Ryan Seacrest, who seems to have matured a lot since Piers Morgan got the Larry King gig at CNN instead of him.
Because this is the South, the first auditioner is probably gonna be someone they mock. Oh look: It's Christine McCaffrey, who butchers one of JLo's favorite tunes while JLo clutches the arm of Tyler on her right, and Randy on her left.
JLo's hair is very, very straight. She is wearing an incredible shade of lipstick.
Randy is once again sitting in ex-judge Simon Cowell's seat. He rolls his eyes and says, "Really?" as Christine performs.
Randy likes that word -- the way it rolls around in his mouth.
Randy uses it again.
"You're not serious, are you?" he asks Christine.
"Do you have the ability to read minds? What am I thinking right now?" Randy snarks.
"Um, I think it's a 'yes'?" Christine says perkily.
"Uh, no!" Randy says. "Oh, you CAN'T read minds!"
"That's not serious," Randy says as Christine walks out.
Days like this, we miss Simon. Simon could gut a singer with a well-chosen word. Simon had finesse. Randy's wielding a butter knife.
Then there's Chelsea Oaks and Rob Bolin -- the Sonny and Cher of "American Idol."
Chelsea says she's a little nervous but excited to be auditioning. Rob, on the other hand, thinks "this sucks."
"We're exes," Chelsea explains.
They've been singing together since the day they met. They still live together years later but are no longer a couple. Chelsea clearly dumped Rob.
"Did you date other people while he was living with you?" Seabiscuit asks Chelsea.
"Yes," she grins.
Seabiscuit hugs Rob, calls him "Brother," turns to Chelsea and says, "That's SO uncool!"
"For a while there we were talking and getting back on good terms and that's opposite now and gone sour," a depressed Rob explains.
"Are you friends?" Seabiscuit asks.
"Uh, at this point not really, but in time it will work out," Rob says. Our heart breaks for him.
JLo wants them back together. Heck, Tyler wants them back together.
"We tried. We love each other very much and it will always be that way for the rest of our lives -- I mean, honestly, we have something together but we tried and it just didn't work out," Chelsea says calmly, like a politician who'd been caught with his pants down and is now making a speech about how this is a private matter and the public needs to respect his family's privacy with his all-suffering wife standing by his side.
The all-suffering wife is Rob.
"Rob, is that the way you feel? How do you feel?" someone asks Rob.
"It sucks," Rob says.
Outside, Chelsea's current boyfriend explains he did not break up Chelsea and Rob.
Back inside, Chelsea and Rob sing a duet. They're terrific together.
They're each asked to sing solo. Both are good. Both are going to Hollywood.
Outside, Chelsea's family hugs and fawns over her. Rob has no one. So Seabiscuit shakes his hand. Chelsea's current boyfriend takes the high road and shakes Rob's hand.
"Break? I think so," Seabiscuit says to the camera, speaking for us all.
A few auditions later, in comes Miss Teen USA 2009, aka 19-year-old Stormy Henley.
"My boss was Donald Trump," Stormy says of her reign as Miss Teen USA. After winning that beauty pageant "I want to see how far I can make it on my talent."
How far she can go is at least Hollywood, after showing up in a short baby-doll dress and boots and singing a tune in her itty bitty voice while flinging her arms.
"You've got a beautiful little tight squeaky little voice," Tyler says, contradicting himself at least twice by our count.
"You ever throw it out a little harder than that?" he asks, hopefully.
"I don't," she answers. "I never have."
"You ever let loose?" Tyler perseveres.
"I never have," says Stormy.
"Is there singing in this competition thing, with Miss Teen USA?" Randy jumps in.
The guys have got it bad for Stormy.
"We're talented, but there's no talent," Stormy explains of the Miss Teen USA competition.
Tyler says "yes" -- of course he does!
"I think you're gorgeous but the voice is not strong enough for me, so I'm gonna say 'no'," JLo says.
"It's up to ME?" Randy gushes.
Tyler: "Okay, Randy _- come ON!"
Stormy, still wanting to see how far she can go on her "talent," puts on her Pouty Face. She covers her face with her hands and plays peek-a-boo with Randy.
Randy sends her to Hollywood.
"Seriously, you two? Seriously?" JLo says severely. "That might be the smallest voice we've heard!"
Adrienne Beasley, on the other hand, is a good singer and has adorable parents. Father Freddie tells the camera that "when she walked out the door fixin' to go to Nashville, I said, 'Wherever God takes you is going to be fine with me.' "
The judges love her; she calls Freddie to tell him she's going to Hollywood.
"Who's gonna pay your way?" Freddie asks, adding, "Yeah, I'm tickled."
Randy tortures a few more bad singers -- most notably Latoya "Younique" Moore who swans in, wearing a long blue prom dress and clutching her CD, and shreds a tune or two. Randy also tries to come up with a few Simon-isms, like "So unassuming!" to say of the good singers.
And just when we were starting to nod off, along comes Matt Dillard, a hulking guy in overalls and straw cowboy hat, who explains to the camera that he grew up in a home in which they took in special needs foster children which is something "real dear to our hearts -- helping them have a better life." Hundreds of foster children, he says.
"If I make it, I'm going to be able to help a lot of people out and it really inspires me to do my best," Matt says.
He sings a Josh Groban tune at least as well as Stormy sang her number. And yet the judges hesitate because, well, he's not going to win any beauty pageant -- ever -- and two of the judges are guys.
"I can pretty up too, if you want me too," Matt says, pleadingly.
We know we want to see Matt made over on "American Idol." The judges don't seem to care.
"I'm not trying to suck up or anything," Matt continues, going for broke, "but, I mean, Jennifer Lopez! I'm sitting here and that's a little bit hard to sing in front of."
Jennifer's convinced, and eventually Tyler and Randy get off the fence and send Matt to pretty up in Hollywood.
Lisa de Moraes
| January 28, 2011; 12:13 AM ET
Categories: "American Idol"
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