Idolator’s American Idolatry: New York’s Alright If You Like A Lot Of Vibrato

Jan 25th, 2007 // 10 Comments

16567.jpgWelcome to Idolator’s American Idolatry, our episode-by-episode recap of the ratings machine American Idol. Last night’s two-hour audition show was set in New York City, and it marked probably the only time you’ll ever hear Ryan Adams’ music in the Idol context. The show opened with a fur-wearing jerk and ended with a palm-reading cowgirl, and in between, there was a lot of vibrato, many awkward dance moves, and a lake of tears.

After the jump, we look at the show’s best and ugliest moments.

Simon’s put-down for this season seems to be referring to hopefuls’ singing styles as “cabaret”; he was in super-cranky form for the New York auditions, while the other three judges–including guest judge Carole Bayer Sager–were in higher spirits. But Simon wasn’t there for what may have been this season’s cruelest moment; when Virginia native Nakia Claiborne, whose friends call her “Little Shirley” for an alleged vocal resemblance to Shirley Caesar, ripped out a killer version of “Dancing In The Streets,” prompting the three judges to dance along. But Nakia’s looks were, well, lacking, and you could see the judges looking around at each other nervously, trying to figure out how to tell her she wouldn’t make it to Hollywood. So they had her sing a slower song, and she botched it, giving the judges an easy out. It was a skin-crawling moment, especially because it had been preceded by two pretty, bland-voiced Jersey girls making the Hollywood cut.

HARDEST-LUCK CONTESTANT: Sarah Burgess, who tossed off a sorta loungey version of Blondie’s “Call Me,” snuck away from her parents’ house–in Ohio– to try out for Idol, risking the chance of being grounded. (Even though she’s 19.) But when she called her father to confess her running-off-to-NYC ways, the following exchange took place:
SARAH (crying, eyeliner running): Please don’t be mad at me.
SARAH’S DAD: Who is this?

MOST ILL-ADVISED TACTIC FOR “STANDING OUT”: Who sings Toto’s “Africa” when you’re trying out for American Idol? Astoria, N.Y.’s Fania Tsakalakos did, and it was just as ill-advised a choice as you might expect.

GIVE THAT GIRL A HAND: Palm-reader Isadora Furman’s rendition of “Lady Marmalade” was a combination of clogging, crying, and orgasmic sighs, and afterward, she mentioned that her performances sometimes got her arrested. How did she not get through? Don’t worry, Isadora: There’s always Cyborgasm 3.

OH, HONEY: Ashanti Johnson had made it to the Hollywood round twice over the past two seasons; in this outing, she warbled “Loving You,” and when she was told that she sounded “old-fashioned” and “cabaret,” she launched into a monologue about her ambition, her struggles with her weight, and her fighting spirit, and it never ended. Could you imagine what this woman is like when she goes on job interviews?

PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: 2/10. Not having Simon around early on day 2 helped; she took charge then, and seemed to be developing something of a crush 16-year-old Jenry Bejarano. Then again, he did sing a LeVert song.

American Idol []
Earlier: Idolator’s American Idolatry archives

  1. MC

    Oh, honey, Simon always calls things cabaret. Another fave is to say it’s what you would hear on a cruiseship.

    And is it just me or are the really bad contestants this year more mentally disabled than usual? I used to get a kick out of watching them degrade the just plain clueless. But when they start attacking the handicapped and bipolar, it’s a little squirm-inducing. And that cowgirl you’ve pictured has got to be bipolar, and maybe even homeless.

  2. Ned Raggett

    SARAH (crying, eyeliner running): Please don’t be mad at me.
    SARAH’S DAD: Who is this?

    Roffle of the year.

  3. Rory B. Bellows

    How could you leave out the “Singer/Songwriter…Rockstar” with the God’s Eye in her hair. She reminded me of a cross between Mary Katherine Gallagher and Napoleon Dynamite.

  4. AlannaBanana

    What about the fact that they rip apart anyone who seems even a little queer? And apparently that devil sticks guy from a couple weeks ago, who they eviscerated, is autistic. And this is the stuff that makes the cuts! Can you imagine the offensiveness of what ends up on the editing room floor?

  5. KurticusMaximus

    One of the bland-voiced Jersey girls definitely goes to my school. Ridiculous.

  6. d

    You forgot to mention the girl who had the hyperventilating, crying jag meltdown whilst trying to explain that she “Could (gasping breath) be (gasping breath) the…FIRST American Idol (wheeze) who CAN’T SING” (insert cricket noise) Her post-audition freak out where she shrieked that the judges were still drunk from their nightclubbing the night before was priceless.

    I liked the Jeff Buckley singin’ opera chick. I’m rooting for her.

  7. Bob Loblaw

    Ryan Adams would actually be the best Guest Judge of all time. They could do an alt-country week (“Son Volt? I’m just not feeling the electricity.”), and we could spend an hour watching Paula and Ryan flirt their way through a Percocet-induced fog.

  8. prolixrush

    Was that Isadora (NOT Julia!) girl on crack or meth or PCP or what? She had to have been on some kind of drug. Remember that mini Ol’ Dirty Bastard rapper who was in the audition rounds last year? I wonder how many obviously FUBAR contestants they let in just because they know they’ll deliver the goods for the reject reel…

  9. MC

    Isadora (not Julia) was mos def on something, and as I said above, she was quite possibly bipolar.

    And considering that the 10,000 first round auditions aren’t even attended by the 3 celeb judges, that means that EVERYONE who auditions in front of the cameras in the next round was put through by some associate producer schmo. Therefore, they deliberately put through the worst ones to make for better TV. I even think that Randy, Paula, and Simon probably have “THIS CONTESTANT IS NOT GOOD” written on the paper in front of them, and their stares of disbelief are faked.

  10. Mordy

    Did anyone catch the name of the Rocky-girl? I was rooting for her (cause I’m from Philly. Also cause she was AWESOME). But I didn’t catch her name.

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