And so Idol moved on to Dallas, the city where it discovered its first superstar, Kelly Clarkson. And many of the waiting wannabes aspired to Clarkson's fame and fortune, actually thinking they possessed her talent, when, in fact, they possessed none. Their interpretation of Clarkson's "Since You've Been Gone" caused Simon Cowell to utter, "OK, I now officially hate that song."
Watch compilation video of Kelly Clarkson wannabes:
And we're so moving on.
Singing waitress Beth Maddocks chose, instead, to murder Clarkson's "Beautiful Disaster." Not only was her voice ridiculously bad, neither Simon Cowell, nor we, could make out a word that she sang. When informed by Randy Jackson that it was called "Beautiful Disaster," Simon replied, "Well, OK, we'll stay with the last word on that."
Watch video of Beth Maddocks' causing indigestion for home viewers:
Illinois resident Kyle Reinnick came ready, as he said, to "rock out." He is a couselor for kindergarteners to second-graders and brought a poster with their pictures. He also wore a shirt he had them all sign. He thinks he's edgy and wears guy-liner to intensify his creepy eyes. And he has the worst fake tan we've ever seen. Like a pumpkin that's been roasted too long. Mama lock up your children. He sang Clarkson's "Never Again," and that's exactly how the judges felt. Simon called it "A very disturbing, slightly demonic audition."
Watch video of Kyle Reinnick and his guy-liner:
Not everyone wanted to be Kelly. At least one contestant thought she was Carrie Underwood, both in voice and looks. Alaina Whitaker said she preferred to think Carrie looked like her. Uh-huh. When asked if she sang like Carrie, she said "I sing country, but I can sing so many different styles." So what does she choose to sing? Faith Hill's "Stronger." She was actually pretty good -- though we like Carrie's voice better -- but, as Simon pointed out, she wasn't as good as she thought she was. She also had trouble with Cowell's accent, unable to understand the word "latter," or maybe she didn't know it?
Watch video of Carrie clone Alaina Whitaker:
By far, the highlight of the evening was saved for the end of the show. It was angelic Renaldo Lapuz, beaming beatifically, especially when he finally got to meet his own personal Idol -- whom he called "heaven's chosen" -- Simon Cowell. He sang his own composition, which he said was called "We're Brothers Forever" (although the lyrics were actually "I Am Your Brother"). What happened in the audition room (as well as before and after) is pretty much indescribable and has to be seen.
Watch video of Renaldo Lapuz singing to his Idol, Simon Cowell:
Douglas Davidson was also out of touch with reality but not entertaining in the least. He kept needing to turn his back to te judges to warm up the voice he obviously didn't have. He couldn't hit any right notes for "Livin' on a Prayer." (He probably couldn't hit the wall in a car.) The more he attempted to sing, the more we prayed he'd stop. It went on forever. He was still warming up as he was being escorted out.
Watch video of Douglas Davidson who didn't have a prayer of getting through:
Mercifully, the audition of brother-and-sister Gregory and Mia Tobias singing an opera duet was kept to a minimum.
Watch video of aria-singing siblings Gregory and Mia Tobias:
Then there was newly married, filled with enthusiasm Angela Reilly. The judges decided her model-husband who helped her pick out her songs, and whom they invited into the audition room, must love her very much to be so encouraging of her karaoke-level singing. Love is blind. Well, at least deaf. She started with "Baby Love," and when that failed to impress, tried "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."
Watch video of new bride Angela Reilly who made us say "just shoot me."
There's probably never been an audition as stultifying dull as the one given by Tammy Tuzinski. She talked and thought s....o slow....ly, and her affect never changed -- never! You knew something was wrong. Especially when she said that she was going to sing Celine Dion's "The Power of Love," but actually sang "If You Want Me To." (No we don't e...ver a...gain).
Watch video of Tammy Tuzinski as you grow older waiting for her to respond:
The creepy award went to 19-year-old Bruce Dickson. Bruce came with his daddy, for whom Bruce has taken not only a vow of chastity until he marries, but he's also never kissed a girl -- and is not going to -- until it's his bride. He holds the key to her heart on a chain around his neck. Creepiest part? Daddy wears the heart around his neck, holding it safe until Bruce meets his bride. Don't wanna know what goes on in that house at night! He voice wasn't bad -- he sang Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine" -- the judges felt he didn't have the right type of voice for R&B. Or maybe they were as creeped out by him and his daddy as we were.
Watch video of Bruce Dickson and his daddy dearest:
As creepy, and also with a good voice, was Brandon Green of Mississippi. Now we don't know what the other residents of Mississippi do, but good ol' boy Brandon has peeled off his fingernails for the past seven years and kept them in a bag. Yes, a bag that he brought to the audition and showed to Ryan Seacreast, and, unfortunately, us. He sang "Rich Girl" -- pretty well in fact -- and made it through. But if he becomes a semi-finalists, is anyone out there ever going to get past that fingernail story and vote for him. It's even worse than Paul Kim, the Season 6 semi-finalists who vowed to wear the same pair of "lucky underwear" and sing barefoot until he was eliminated -- and that didn't take long.
Watch video of Brandon Green get nailed:
Park attendant and roller-coaster enthusiast Paul Stafford was sweet in a big lug kind of way, even though he didn't stand a chance singing Elliott Yamin's "Wait for You." Simon called him a nice guy after he was dismissed, but then, in typical Simon style, mimicked his singing. But Paul unknowingly got one up on Simon and the best line of the night when, outside the audition room, he said, "Simon didn't come down on me like I thought he would. So That's always good, 'cause he goes down on just about everybody." Hmmm, oh really?
Watch video of Paul Stafford revealing Simon's dirty little secret:
Then there was the story of the night with the awwww factor. It belonged to 24-year-old mother of two Kayla Dawn Hatfield, who nearly lost her life in a disfiguring car accident when she was 18, but who maintains a great attitude and is thankful for everything. Simon wanted to be her for an hour -- maybe two -- every day, because of how happy she is. Her rendition of Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," wasn't bad, and, surprisingly they put her through. Simon said, "Under the assumption that all rock 'n' roll singers should be slightly mad -- in a good way -- I'm going to say 'yes.' " Amazingly, Paula, who gives everyone a chance, said no. With Simon telling Randy, "You've got to give this girl a chance," Randy told her that she had pitch problems, but he really just liked her, then welcomed her to Hollywood. But she's an odd duck. A strange little thing.
Watch Paula reject Kayla Dawn Hatfield, but she gets through anyway:
There was another object-lesson backstory in Dallas, that of Jessica Brown who got lost in the drug world while in college, using meth and eventually getting busted. In a reverse of the Jessica Sierra story, Jessica Brown (what is it with the name Jessica? Brown even looks like a prettier version of Sierra) has found god, straightened out and is now the married mother of two and a perfect role model. The pretty blonde sang "I'll Stand by You." Simon told her she made the song interesting.
Watch video of Jessica Brown continue to turn her life around:
There were the others who went on to win their Golden Tickets. Some you knew wouldn't make it past the Hollywood rounds, others showed real promise. One of the latter, was backup singer Pia Easley, who did a soulful rendition "I've Got to Use My Imagination." Simon liked her right off, especially because she had the self confidence that (without saying her name) Melinda Doolittle didn't, saying "most backing singers come in here with the demeanor of whipped donkeys." He added she was confident and stylish and that he liked her a lot. What he called stylish we thought was a bit weird. She looked like an elf, or a genie's assistant. And she keeps her eyes scrunched almost closed most the time.
Watch video of backup up Pia Easley not acting like a whipped donkey:
On the other hand, there was beautiful Nina Shaw from Kelly Clarkson's hometown of Burleson. That and those legs of hers that seemed to go on forever seemed her only claims to fame, because her version of "Run to You" certainly failed to impress. We're not sure why she was put through, but are confident that she'll be eliminated in Hollywood.
Watch video of Kelly Clarkson homegirl Nina Shaw:
Kady Malloy started off on shaky ground doing her impression of Britney Spears. Yes, it was good, the judges said, but they wanted to hear her voice, not her version of other people's, when, for her audition the Carrie Underwood look-alike started singing "Before He Cheats." She then knocked Simon's socks off with her rendition of his favorite all-time song, "Unchained Melody." He told her, "I think, of all the people we've seen so far this year, you're the best" and that she was "super, super talented." She wasn't hard on the eyes, either.
Watch video of Kady Malloy chaining Simon up with this melody:
Our prize for the sweet-singing fresh-faced boy that Simon either automatically hates (i.e. Kevin Covais) or initially likes and eventually hates (i.e. John Stevens) goes this year to Kyle Ensley, an aspiring politician (he eventually would like to be the governor of Oklahoma) who sang Queen's "Somebody to Love." Simon told him, "You weren't as bad as I thought you were going to be," and gave him a "yes." Randy gave a thumbs down, but after sending him through to Hollywood, Paula said, "OK, there was something that came over me, I don't know, it's called niceness."
Watch video of Kyle Ensley continue his Idol campaign:
Although Simon automatically nixed Drew Poppelreiter because country music is not his thing and Paula was ambiguous about this attractive young farmer because she didn't feel any "wow" factor with his performance, we were knocked out by his voice on "Check Yes or No." (And we loved when he said, "My family, they're a hard bunch of working rascals." How cute is that?) Fortunately, Randy liked him and Paula decided to give him a shot.
Watch video of Drew Poppelreiter plowing us over with his singing:
We thought Colton Swon, who sang "Boondocks" by Little Big Town, was good (Simon thought he was OK but sounded like guys all over the country singing in bars; Paula liked him but said he needed to open his eyes when he sings), but found something about his appearance disconcerting. Was it the 1980s hair or those caterpillar eyebrows? However, he did make it to Hollywood.
Watch video of Colton Swon down in the boondocks:
On Tuesday it's off to San Diego ...
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