American Idol: Aspen auditions
What can I say about the American Idol auditions in Aspen, Colorado?
For starters, I will avoid the puns about snow and mountains and cold, and peace and quiet, that Ryan Seacrest inflicted on us (not as egregious, mind you, as Steven Tyler's "I've got a headache, has anybody got an Aspen?" groaner).
It's just as well this episode had a high ratio of auditions viewed to golden tickets handed out, since that left less time for bad jokes.
A total of 31 singers were sent to Hollywood and 12 people were featured on Wednesday's show: several of them were intriguing, some were just okay, one was there just so Steven could crack wise about turkey balls and another was a lame joke audition (though apparently Jennifer Lopez found him hilarious, guess it was a long day).
And speaking of Steven Tyler, can we please stop with the young women kissing him? It's creeping me out.
With her laid-back, slightly spacy demeanour, her big gap-toothed smile and her butterscotch ripple of a voice, she's one of the most interesting singers we've seen so far this season.
JLo described Haley's take on the 1974 Chaka Khan/Rufus hit "Tell Me Something Good" as Joni Mitchell-like. If so, it seemed more her jazzy than folky side to me.
Another interesting singer was Shelby Tweten, 17 of North Mankato, Minn. Shelby and her mom, Karrey, got a lot of screen time because Shelby is on medication for bipolar disorder and has battled depression since Grade 4. She described singing as one of her coping mechanisms.
"American Idol has given us something to believe in," said Shelby. "It's really important to me because I do want to show people that bipolar doesn't define who you are." (But you can bet we'll be reminded of Shelby's disorder lots more times before she's through with Idol.)
Luckily, Shelby had a voice to back up the back story, pleasant with a bit of a rasp to it: so beautiful, in JLo's words, that it had her turning her eyes to the heavens after Shelby sang Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home."
Like Randy Jackson, I liked the feeling Shelby put into the song. Plus she's adorable and I love the Minnesota accent.
Next up on my hit parade is Angie Zeiderman, 25, a waitress from Delray Beach, Fla.
I enjoyed the "vintage glitter queen" look with the flowered dress, sparkly eyelids, slightly nerdy glasses, hoop earrings and purple-tinged curly hair. But if her only offering had been "When You Got It, Flaunt It" from The Producers, complete with fake Swedish accent and rolling around on the platform, I would have sent her packing for Broadway Idol instead.
Luckily, Jennifer gave her another chance and Angie pulled out a pretty, lilting version of "Blue Bayou," winning over show tune hater Randy.
On the guys' side, the best was Jairon "Don't Leave Out the" Jackson, 19, from Denver, Colo. He did an original song that didn't suck, "So Hard," and displayed a sweet R&B voice.
I would have dispensed with the cheesy gestures acting out the lyrics and I heard one hint of a clunker note at the end of the song.
I'm also not sure what JLo's "You're a lover" comment added to the proceedings. Anyway, Jairon was off to Hollywood, after accidentally tearing his golden ticket nearly in two and smashing out an entranceway light in his over-enthusiasm.
There were a few singers we didn't hear enough of, including deep-voiced country singer Richie Law (so soon after Scotty McCreery, I'm thinking it's not his year), R&B crooner Devan Jones and Mathenee Treco, who did a rousing version of "Hey Jude."
And then there were others who got golden tickets but didn't thrill me.
Jenni Schick's "Heartbreaker" was good but seemed strained in places. The 24-year-old over-energized music teacher, wearing a very short skirt, tank top and over-the-knee, high-heeled boots, kissed Steven on the lips. She told Ryan that Tyler was one of the celebrities her boyfriend would allow her to kiss, along with Lady Gaga and Adam Levine. Apparently, Ryan was on her boyfriend's list. And Ryan, showing better judgment than Steven, refused to kiss Jenni.
Curtis Gray, 28, a server from Spring Hill, Fla. (though I detected a Massachusetts accent there), was technically proficient but didn't put any passion into "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," so maybe he spent a little too much time at his voice lessons.
Finally we had a few time waster auditions.
Tealana Hedgespeth, 18, was trying to get out from under her more talented twin sister's shadow, but she sure as heck won't do it with that horrendous version of Melissa Etheridge's "Bring Me Some Water" that we heard.
Even worse was the apparently tone-deaf Alanna Snare, 22, who sang Dolly Parton's "Jolene." But let's face it, she was only there to talk about the bar she works at that serves "Rocky Mountain oysters," i.e. bull testicles. They serve buffalo and turkey ones too, she said, which prompted Steven to quip, "Turkeys have balls?" although the last word was bleeped out.
Last and defintely least was the not particularly funny Magic Cyclops. Dressed in a long, straight wig, dark glasses, a headband, American flag T-shirt and striped poncho, Cyclops claimed to have been run out of Davenport, Iowa, because of gambling debts and to talk with a British accent because his parents only got BBC programs on their TV. Oh hardee-har. ("That's hilarious," claimed Jennifer.)
The "air guitarist," age withheld, did rock versions of Neil Diamond's "Cracklin' Rosie" and Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" before setting off a confetti canon on his back as Randy tried to escape to the bathroom.
"Steven, I have helped put you where you're at because I own several Aerosmith CDs, so do a brother a solid," were Cyclops's parting words.
Thursday night, the auditions hit Houston, Texas, which is where Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina made her Idol debut. It airs at 8 p.m. on CTV Two.
Is it just me or does the audition tour seem especially long and tedious this year? Your comments are always welcome here, on Twitter @realityeo or on my Facebook page.
(The photos of Shelby and Angie are by Michael Becker for Fox.)