Welcome to the second installment of “Idolator’s American Idolatry,” our ongoing series of American Idol wrapups. Last night’s episode started off with a contestant dressed like Uncle Sam (above) who sang “God Bless America” in Kermit’s voice, and it only got weirder from there. After the jump, we look at two hours of television that will, no doubt, inspire a million YouTube forwards today. (Thanks again to deathbycamera’s MySpace sleuthery.)
Remember when The Real World went to Seattle, and people devoted countless hours to screwing with the show’s principals? Watching last night’s episode of American Idolreminded us of that era, and it wasn’t only because the tryouts were held in the Emerald City. Maybe we’re naïve, but we got the feeling that an even higher percentage of contestants–like this guy, who claimed that his co-workers put him up to attending the tryouts after hearing his instrumental demos–weren’t there to win so much as they were there to either get a William Hung-sized chunk of fame or show up in the top 10 on YouTube. It made for curiously compelling television, in a way (who was real? who was messing with us?) but it was also really excruciating to sit through. Tuesday night’s premiere had 37.3 million viewers, and we have to wonder: Did that many people make it all the way to the end last night?
HARDEST-LUCK WINNER: The Seattle crop of winners didn’t have a lot of poor-me tales (the show’s editors probably wanted us to save our sympathy for the judges) but the velvet-voiced Thomas Daniels, who made Paula fall in love with his cover of an Amos Lee song, did confess to sleeping behind garbage cans the night before his audition.
MOST ILL-ADVISED TACTIC FOR “STANDING OUT”: Eric Chapman–the 31-year-old hairdresser who fancied himself the next Taylor Hicks, thanks to his salt-and-pepper hair–wins this round, thanks to the dab of pomade that he was aiming at Simon’s ‘do.
WE WERE CONVINCED SHE WAS A “SIDE PROJECT” BY A BAND FROM OLYMPIA: She wore a gold lamé shirt. She claimed to have written a novella about a singing competition. She brought her mom in for her audition. She sang the Pussycat Dolls’ “Dont’cha” even more listlessly than Nicole Scherzinger does. She covered her face in a big-glasses/red-lipstick combination that looked inspired by a back issue of Vice. But judging by her almost too-sincere MySpace profile, Darwin “Misha” Reedy appears to be 100% real.
BEST RETORT: From an unidentified reject: “Well, Simon did produce the Teletubbies album.”
OH, HONEY: Self-proclaimed pro Jennifer Chapton had to be reminded to take the gum out of her mouth before her audition–and when she started singing, things got even more dire.
PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: 5/10. We took off a point because of the self-awareness exhibited in her comeback to Randy’s “three strikes and you’re out” comment: “If three times meant ‘it’s over,’ we’d never have a career.”