For me, the Sundance Film Festival is over. And for “American Idol,” it’s off to Nashville for another audition episode.
If technology at the Salt Lake City airport holds up, I’ll be recapping Thursday’s (Jan. 27) “American Idol” after the break…
8:01 p.m. ET. Little known fact: Free isn’t always better, at least when it comes to free airport wireless and attempted “American Idol” Slingboxing on said wireless. I’ve gone through the free wifi, plus three different wireless devices. Nothing’s working…
8:04 p.m. Bingo! I tune in just in time to hear some awful singer destroying “I Hope You Dance.” Was there a good reason why were spending time with her? Whoever she is, she says she has the ability to write lyrics and to sing them. She doesn’t have the ability to read minds, or else she’d know that nobody’s sending her to Hollywood. [It turns out that she was inappropriately dressed, but from the time I got reception to the end of her segment, they only showed her from the neck up.]
8:06 p.m. We have Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin, two exes from Nashville. They met singing and broke up, but they auditioned knowing they were going to be there at the same time. They also apparently still lived together for a while after they broke up. Ryan Seacrest pretends to be sympathetic. You know who isn’t sympathetic? The producers, who put the two of them in a room together to audition. In fact, they’re instructed to sing a duet together first. And, sadly, their rendition of “You Don’t Know What It’s Like (To Love Somebody)” is quite fine. Rob has a very fine voice with just enough rasp to give him character. Chelsee Oaks, in addition to having a splendid stripper name, has a rather excellent voice herself. “Get out of here and fall in love with each other all over again,” Steven Tyler says. “They’re going to get back together,” whispers Jennifer Lopez. I don’t much care if they get back together, but I think Chelsee may have potential.
8:15 p.m. I’m just not getting good enough Internet reception to care about this particular freak contestant who looks like he’d be better suited to serving as a bodyguard at Altamont than as a pop star.
8:19 p.m. Miss USA 2009 Stormi Henley shows up to audition. She’s… pretty. Steven Tyler is going to like her. “I want to see how far I can make it on my talent,” Stormi says, leaning over and showing off her cleavage for the camera. Tyler is impressed, reading something off his tip sheet about her. But when Stormi completes a thoroughly so-so vocal, suddenly Tyler wants Stormi to let loose more. Who knew that Miss Teen USA didn’t have a talent requirement? Tyler gives her a “Yes.” J-Lo votes “No” and rolls her eyes before passing the responsibility over to Randy Jackson. Randy votes “Yes.” “That might be the smallest voice we’ve ever heard,” J-Lo complains. Uh-oh, J-Lo. If we wanted catty resentment of bombshells, we could have kept Kara DioGuardi around.
8:25 p.m. Was Stormi the best Nashville had to offer? And what’s up with the stripper names on tonight’s “Idol”?
8:26 p.m. Adrienne Beasley thinks she can do better. She works on a farm in Kentucky with her adopted parents. She’s African-American and they’re white. We’re supposed to find this very shocking. I mean, it’s not shocking. At all. But some “Idol” segment producer was shocked enough to dedicate two minutes to this phenomenon. She has a big, sturdy voice that actually gets better as she progresses without showiness and affectations. Thumbs up for Adrienne. “I hear something so special in your voice,” Tyler says, utilizing his expertise. He advises her to hold that special thing close. J-Lo and Randy as also fans. Adrienne’s going to Hollywood. “Who’s gonna pay your way?” asks Adrienne’s father when she calls with the happy news.
8:33 p.m. Time for Day Two in Nashville. Steven Tyler makes a joke about how awesome the first day was. Hmmm… Kameela Mericks is only 5’2″, but she boasts that she’s got a big voice, a big voice that surprises people. That, kids, is a bad sign. She’s predictably dreadful. “You’ve got to go back home and practice and be good,” Steven Tyler says. “It hurt. I’m sure you’re a nice girl,” Randy says. J-Lo agrees. Kameela doesn’t appear surprised. “Don’t tell people they’re not good,” Tyler whispers to Randy, apparently missing the point of judging.
8:35 p.m. Green Man from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has gone blue. He’s not good, neither are several other people, leaving Ryan to console the losers.
8:36 p.m. A nervous Jackie Wilson says she has the jitters. She also has the sort of bleat-y voice that some folks respond to. She builds to a big final note and the judges cheer for her. “Crazy vocals,” Randy raves. “Telling it like it is,” Steven Tyler raves. Jackie’s off to Hollywood. Then, in a confusing moment, the man we’d been assuming was her hipster father kisses Jackie full on the mouth. See? This is what happens when you make assumptions. You make an ass out of Ryan Seacrest.
8:43 p.m. LaToya “Younique” Moore describes herself as a recording artist. She says that she sees herself as a star and says that many people can see the “glow” about her. She’s too deluded to be good, though Steven Tyler likes her smile. LaToya has brought a copy of her CD for the judges to share.LaToya breaks into nasal song. “Definitely unique,” Tyler says. Or maybe he says “Definitely younique.” Midway through the critique, LaToya’s number falls off, allowing the “Idol” sound technicians to have a little fun.
8:46 p.m. Paul McDonald does a sweetly soulful Rod Stewart cover. Jimmie Allen is funny and theatrical, but I’m not sure about his singing. Danny Pate barely sings on “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” but the judges decide to sing-along with him, so he’s going to Hollywood.
8:47 p.m. Matt Dillard is wearing overalls and a cowboy hat and he looks like he may break Ryan Seacrest’s neck and use his skull to plow his field.. But as scary as Matt is, we’re actually not making fun of him. In fact, Matt comes from a family that has helped to raise hundreds of foster children over the years. His voice is OK, but he’s got something better going: He sounds absolutely nothing like he looks, so he surprises people. Taking people by surprise is one of the keys of the “Idol” audition process. If Matt were a generic pretty-boy and sang like this, the judges wouldn’t give him a second’s thought. Randy says “Yes,” but hopes he doesn’t get swallowed up. Jennifer Lopez says “No” and says she wishes he’d had a better audition. Tyler says “Yes” and Matt is off to Hollywood.
8:53 p.m. Time for the night’s last singer. Will he or she have a touching personal story? And will he or she be a fantastic singer? I have a hunch!
8:54 p.m. We close with 15-year-old Lauren Alaina. She’s a typical 15-year-old girl, or so she says. But Lauren has a cousin named Holly. Three years ago, Holly was diagnosed with cancer. Lauren stuck with Holly and did a fund raiser for her. The judges are helpful and welcome Lauren by asking who inspired her to audition. Then, to make things even more manipulative, Holly is called into the room to make Lauren cry just a little. Lauren has a fine country voice. Randy is blown away. Lauren starts to cry and J-Lo vows that she’ll cry also. True to her word, J-Lo is soon holding her finger to her eyes as if she’s crying.
8:58 p.m. Tyler calls Lauren cute and J-Lo has to tell him that Lauren’s only 15. The whole Alaina family comes into the room and Lauren and Tyler duet on “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.”
8:59 p.m. Exiting the auditions, Tyler predicts that they found “the one” and says that it’s a her.
How did Nashville’s cattle call treat you? Did I miss anybody good with my glitchy Internet?