'American Idol': Season 10, episode 3
"American Idol's" very first audition trip to Milwaukee sees a lot of other "firsts" for the long-running singing competition.
Joe Repka, for instance, is the first wannabe Idolette to channel Jackie Gleason for the camera, giving us his best "straight to the moon!" bit.
Joe wants to be a radio DJ. He and show host Ryan Seacrest talk radio for a while. Then, when he goes inside the audition room to wow the judges, his mom tells Seabiscuit that Joe sings all the time.
"Do you sing?" Seabiscuit asks.
"No -- I'm tone deaf," she responds.
And you know where this is going. Guess who else is tone deaf?
"Idol" judge Steven Tyler bays like a hound dog at a full moon.
"Do not quit your day job," he advises. The others agree.
I did alright," Joe tells Seabiscuit outside. "Of course they were brutally honest."
Kody Zalewski, who thinks he's the next Frank Sinatra -- if Frank Sinatra had been a kick-boxer -- is the first ever auditioner, that we know of anyway, to get turned down by the judges and then ask them for a hug, and then ask Randy, "Can I have a sip of your Coke?"
And while Randy acts creeped out, Tyler and new judge Jennifer Lopez have "this is the kind of person we're used to paying large bodyguards small fortunes to keep miles away from us" looks frozen on their faces.
Naima Adedapo may or may not be "Idol's first janitor. She cleans the toilets at SummerFest while dreaming of performing up on stage. She's very cute and interesting looking, causing JLo to erupt into "you've got the whole package" mode.
"I think you're all that," Tyler agrees.
"Thank you -- you're all that too" Naima shoots back.
It's time to take a vote. JLo takes the lead:
"Steve?" JLo asks Tyler to get him to cast his vote.
"Steven," Tyler corrects her.
After Naima is sent on her way to Hollywood, JLo turns to Tyler:
"It's 'Steven', right?"
"You can call me late for dinner but I'd still love you," he responds.
"... but not lunch," he adds.
He's cute, but he doesn't make sense.
Randy, meanwhile, wants to be called by all three of his names.
"Don't call me at all -- both of you," JLo disses.
It's got to be the first time "Idol" auditioners have passed the time doing the limbo using a giant toothbrush as a limbo pole. The toothbrush is a prop used by one auditioner who, we're sorry to report, was only dismissively bad -- not interestingly bad.
We don't think Jerome Bell is the show's first bar mitzvah/wedding singer, but he may be the first to admit to it.
And, Seabiscuit reminds us, it's the first time the show has allowed 15-year-olds to audition, in honor of Justin Bieber Fever. Hence, Thai Megia's eligibility to try out for the show this year. She says she's from California but, when she heard about the age change, she immediately booked a flight to Milwaukee and a hotel room, even though she knew the show was going to hold auditions in California -- because, she says, she could not summon the patience to wait.
Or, maybe, she thought the competition in Wisconsin would not be so stiff as in California? Just sayin'.
Anyway. She's been watching the show since it started, which would have been when she was about 5.
"Randy I saw before I could start reading," she says sweetly in the audition room.
Ooh, snap again!
"But I'm still mad young," Randy cues her.
"You look even younger," Thai says without missing a beat. Yup, she's that good.
JLo "total packages" her. Thai's through to Hollywood.
Seabiscuit notes that the decision to lower the eligibility age to 15 years has paid off in Milwaukee because "every 15-year-old who walked in walked out with gold," a ticket to Hollywood.
Of course, you might say that just means the pre-screeners were told to only put through for the judges to look at those 15-year-olds they thought could really sing well, because a decision had been made that 15-year-old bad singers would not be mocked on the show.
One medley of terrible singers later, we get "Idol's" very first Civil war re-enactor/auditioner -- Nathaniel Jones. Nathaniel wants to make it perfectly clear his father, who has accompanied him to the audition, is not a hippie even though people always tell him his dad looks like a hippie -- because hippies believe in sex, and his dad hasn't gone anywhere with anybody "since my mom."
Nathaniel, in his Civil War soldier outfit, walks in straight lines, turns crisp 90 degree corners and salutes the judges before singing his tune in a very high voice while Randy laughs into his Coke cup. He's sent away.
"American Idol" also sees its very first Harvard grad-turned-White House Intern. Her name is Molly DeWolf Swensen.
Molly DeWolf Swensen is all blonde hair and long legs -- a real "looker," as they used to say. Molly DeWolf Swensen wants America to know "I'm now working in the White House for the Obama Administration and I'm in love with this president."
"Not in the Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton sort of way," she adds. "Just platonic way."
Before Molly DeWolf Swensen performs, she informs Randy that he "kinda punched me in the mouth" when he was greeting the wannabes in the holding room by running down the aisle and high-fiving everyone.
"I hope you don't add insult to real injury," she says, ominously.
Randy starts to make excuses: Maybe his hand pushed someone else's hand into her face.
"Nope, it was your big ol' hand," Molly DeWolf Swensen says calmly.
Molly is putting a real damper on things. Then, somehow, the talk turns to the fact that she graduated Harvard. The judges naturally are curious what she wants to do with herself.
Molly DeWolf Swensen says she isn't exactly sure, adding, "I'm an intern at the White House now." That really shut them up.
She sings "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." She's very good.
"Wow, who knew that was going on in the White House," Randy marvels.
But, he adds, he's "a little puzzled."
"Where have you been? What's been going on?" he wonders -- maybe the most unintentionally funny question ever asked on "American Idol."
Anyway they give her a gold pass to Hollywood. Where, she says, she's going "to represent the administration."
Another "American Idol" first: An auditioner gets his ticket to Hollywood, goes outside the audition room to be caught on camera giving the traditional victory scream with his entourage while Seabiscuit looks on happily, only to be upstaged when one of his entourage doubles over and begins to scream, "Oh my God! I've got a charley horse!" while squeezing all the blood out of Seabiscuit's hand. That was Tiwan Strong's fate, after his strong performance drew raves from the judges.
"I'm okay!" his entourage member finally assures America; she hobbles off. Surely we'll see her again on finale night.
Idol gets its first CPA Idolette -- or so Seabiscuit says, when Steven Beghun sings for the judges.
"I'm an auditor so I really don't have that many friends. It comes with the territory ... people can't wait for me to go away," the extremely tall Beghun tells the camera.
The judges have zero expectations for this guy because he hasn't got, as JLo would put it, "the whole package." But he's quite good. "It's so surprising, cause you're so big and your voice is so high," JLo says.
"I found you to be disturbingly great," adds Tyler.
(And speaking of Obama, wannabe Idolette Albert Rogers III does a better Obama than anyone has yet managed on "Saturday Night Live." Too bad he's trying out for a singing competition. He's lousy at that. He does not get through to Hollywood.)
Student teacher Scott Dangerfield has beautiful hair, great glasses and lovely-to-look-at lips.
"You might be my favorite I've seen so far!" gushes a smitten JLo.
"Oh my God. I swear -- Wowa!" she adds for good measure.
JLo give him a big thumbs up. Randy gives him a "hundred million percent" yes vote. Randy has momentarily mistaken this for a couple seasons back, when that gag was fresh.
"This is the Unassuming Season - never judge a book by its cover!" Randy adds.
"Keep the hair, keep the glasses - I love all of it!" JLo continues to coo at this guy.
"The way he moves his body ..." she says dreamily, after he leaves the room. The "American Idol" Decency Police get their stun guns out of mothballs.
"Jennifer Lopez said I was her favorite so far," Dangerfield tells his posse outside. "I almost fainted at that point but I caught myself."
"Did you give her my number?" asked one of Dangerfield's guy pals
One annoying Packers fanatic, and one Steven Tyler fanatic later, we come to the audition they've been teasing for days -- the one that's going to make us weep buckets.
Chris Medina, 26, has been engaged for years. But in October 2009, his fiancee got into a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The doctors did not think she would survive, but a month and a half after the accident she woke up. She uses a wheelchair, and he helps her mother take care of her. Chris tells the camera that he was only a couple months away from taking marriage vows promising to love her in sickness and health ... till death do us part. "And what kind of a guy would I be, if I walked out when she needed me the most?" he asks.
Chris is a good singer, and the judges ask to meet his fiancée when he finishes his performance. She comes in, and they all hug, and she leaves carrying Chris's ticket to Hollywood -- a three-hankie finish.
Lisa de Moraes
| January 27, 2011; 12:30 AM ET
Categories: "American Idol"
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