Film and TV

Little Idol Thrill in Jacksonville (Hey, That Rhymed!)

I've never been able to pinpoint exactly the reason, but I've always had an extreme, visceral dislike of the state of Florida. Maybe it's the alligators, perhaps it's the humidity that turns my hair into a giant puff ball, or maybe it's the fact that my parents forced my brother and I to spend every winter break until we were 14 at my grandparents' retirement community in Miami Beach. Whatever it is, Tuesday's Idol auditions in Jacksonville did little to improve the Sunshine State's status in my book.

Is it just me, or are these auditions actually getting more boring by the episode? Judge Randy Jackson keeps talking about "Bizzare Season 8" and all the crazy, bizarre things that are happening this season, but, just like that chachball who always has to talk about how many chicks he bangs when you know he likely just lost his virginity, if you have to keep reminding us, it probably isn't true. Here we go: 

Joshua Ulloa tells us he's often compared to Season One runner-up, the oft-mocked Justin Guarini, which is usually a death knell for an auditioner. He makes like the Miami Sound Machine (and Season 6 runner-up Blake Lewis) and beatboxes his way through Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," and surprisingly, he's not bad. He gets sent on to Hollywood, despite the cheesy Ray Bans and his propensity for acting like douchey runners-up from seasons past.

A note to Sharon Wilbur: You are cute and have a good (albeit sort of wannabe Britney-esque) voice. You don't need to do gimmicky things like bringing your dog into an audition (i.e. things that will annoy viewers further down the line around voting time). We tend to remember these things.

An addendum to the note to Sharon Wilbur: On second thought, your voice wasn't that great, so maybe the dog wasn't such a bad idea after all. However, you are cute, which has saved countless other so-so to horrible singers so far this season (See: Bikini Girl)  When the juggernaut that is American Idol finally comes to an end (I'm guessing 2075 or so), somebody needs to a do a study on how many crappy singers Randy and Simon agree to put through to Hollywood based primarily on their looks. Just sayin'.

While she's auditioning, Kaneswesa Finnie's mother tells Seadouche that her daughter is a great singer, has sung all around Jacksonville, blah, blah, blah. So we expect her to be amazing, right? She is, in fact, one of the worst auditions we've heard this season. However, she did prompt Simon's funniest comment of the night, in response to her mother's comment about her singing all around Jacksonville: "Was she constantly moving?" Heh.

What is it with the crying dudes tonight? We can let it slide if you have a good reason (See: Kai Kalama from San Francisco). But there didn't seem to be much of an excuse when Darren Darnell broke down after his acquaintance didn't get a ticket to Hollywood or when Michael Perrelli was told he wouldn't be able to audition with his guitar. At first I felt sort of bad for Michael Perrelli, because his voice wasn't actually bad and he clearly loves music. But the smiley face backpack he wore into the audition, coupled with his diva-esque "Don't touch me!" when his mother tried to comfort him after the audition was all it took to convince me that Simon actually has his head on straight every now and then.

Potential Top 10ers (i.e. gorgeous and talented): Jasmine Murray (who had a million sisters and sang Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry), TK Hash (who auditioned last year and didn't make it, which is baffling to me because the dude is amazing), and Anne Marie Boskovich (who the judges forced to leave the room so she could come back in a "different" person, by which they meant more confident--and it sorta worked).

The WTF moment of the night goes to George Ramirez. I'm usually pretty good at determining the auditioners who are clearly auditioning as a joke (for instance, Naomi Sykes, who told the judges she could hit the high notes in Minnie Ripperton's "Lovin You," only to illicit the types of shrieks one expects from a child being abducted and who couldn't keep a straight face during her post-audition interview). But old George has me baffled. Could this guy be for real? The heavily-bearded wonder is like a cross between a Civil War general and Will Forte's Tim Calhoun character from SNL.

As a side note, where the eff were the Jacksonville auditions being held, my grandma's house? It definitely didn't look like an auditorium or stadium of any sort...

Join us tomorrow as we ponder similar pointless questions from the Salt Lake City auditions. 


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Yvonne Zusel
Contact: Yvonne Zusel