Only eight contestants made it from Chicago to Hollywood on Idol’s first day in the city, and though this number may seem modest, Day 2 proved that it was no fluke; Chicago just didn’t have that much talent to offer.
The second day began with Curley Newbern, who looked impressive dressed all in white. I expected great things from Curley, but when he opened his mouth, little more than a procession of squeaks ushered from it. The funniest part was that, despite the judges’ laughter, Curley kept his eyes closed and smiled like he was really getting into the music. When he finally finished torturing with his “singing,” Simon asked him, “Do you find when you sing at home a lot of animals turn up outside the house?” It was clearly a no for Curley.
Alannah Halbert sang “I Will Always Love You” about six keys higher than it was ever intended to be belted out. Though this girl clearly did not have any star quality, the judges gave coaching her a good try, suggesting a new note for Alannah to start with. However, the poor girl couldn’t even match the pitch they were giving her. A unanimous no for Alannah, as well.
Harold Davis, 25, of Chicago gave us a bunch of bizarre mantras before his audition. “I’m gonna shoot off like a rocket, blast off into orbit. The champion’s here!” he told the cameras. This sort of insane banter never bodes well. Harold almost had some potential, but his voice shook uncontrollably with nerves, and he went flat a few times. When he was rejected by the judges, his face crumpled and he cried pathetically. Poor Harold. He blew his chance at being that rocket he strove to be.
The worst audition of the night award went to Brian Krause, 27, of Pittsburg. Brian used to be in the army, and whenever he would begin to sing while mopping up floors, he would be warned to stop. His performance of “Tip-Toe Through the Tulips” illustrated why. Poor, poor, poor Brian pranced around the room singing in a high pitched, very odd voice. Simon, looking aghast and made Brian swear on his mother’s life that the audition had not been a joke. Brian was a gentleman throughout, addressing everyone by their last names (Mr. Jackson, Mr. Cowell), and this seemed to irk Simon more than anything. How dare someone treat one of the nastiest men in the business with respect!
I felt awful for Brian when he walked out of the room and the judges rolled their eyes and made fun of him. There was clearly something a little bit off about him; he lacked any sort of social skills, and I wondered if he was perhaps some form of autistic. Great, Fox. Make America laugh at autistic people now. You must be really proud of yourself for poking fun at someone who’s clearly got something wrong with him.
Either that, or Brian was just a really good actor and was planted into the audition line. There’s a strong possibility there, too. I’m tired of Fox capitalizing on some poor unfortunate souls for the sake of a few cheap laughs.
Two full auditions that were Golden Ticket worthy were eventually shown. The first was that of John Park, who looked like John Cho, but sang with an unexpectedly pure baritone voice. Shania seemed a bit flustered by John’s good looks and charming vocal quality, complimenting him on his “bottom end,” which Randy felt the need to take out of context. She also told John that he had nice lips. John should go far in this competition, as he is pleasing on both the eyes and the ears.
Finally, there was Paige Dechausse, our Sob Story of the second night. Paige suffers from asthma and almost died from the disease when she was very young. The doctors had told her parents that there was only a 30% chance that she would survive, but she did, and with no permanent damage. She sang “A Change is Gonna Come” and way overdid it. She did have potential, but she is really going to need to tone down her performances if she’s going to succeed. Simon, who called her indulgent, didn’t even want to let her through to Hollywood. Both women let her through without batting an eye, but they had to really work on Randy to get his “yes” vote, giving Paige another shot. Simon was my champion on this audition; I don’t want to suffer through yet another contestant who oversings every note, but I have a feeling Paige will be hanging around for a bit.
Only five contestants got Golden Tickets on this night, bringing Chicago’s total to a puny 13. Hopefully, tonight’s auditions in Orlando, featuring Kristin Chenowith, will bring more to the table.