‘American Idol’: Denver Auditions

Feb 3rd, 2010 // 4 Comments

Victoria Beckham returned to American Idol last night, and as with her stint at the Boston auditions, she mistook the nation’s favorite singing competition for Project Runway. The fashion-fixated Posh Spice had not one constructive thing to say about any of the contestants’ auditions throughout the entire episode other than comment on their “look” — which, let’s be honest, is still more than what Randy Jackson offers at this point.

Speaking of Randy, he must be right on the money about a girl winning Idol — the show highlighted hardly any of Denver’s men. Among the 26 contestants sent on to Hollywood, only seven had their own “feature” segments, and only two were male. (And both of those could have veered easily into “it’s a no, dawg” territory based onthe way they were presented on the show). Let’s take a closer look at those lucky enough to score a golden ticket:  

Mark Labriolla says his doppelganger is Jack Black (though as he explains this, he’s wearing a giant pair of goggle-like glasses covering half his face, so we’re not entirely convinced). He’s okay being compared to “the ugliest guy in Hollywood, because he’s… funny? And gets girls?” For your information, Mark, Mr. Black is happily married, he’s adorable and he’s not funny. You were wrong on all three counts.

Mark tells a crazy story about how he was kidnapped by his mom at an early age before his father tracked him down in Maui and then took him back to live in Colorado (Hawaii to Denver? Too bad, kid.) This rapidly devolves into the strangest, most confusing conversation ever, with Simon getting all the various locations and time periods mixed up. Eventually, the endless, bewildering backstory is over and Mark  sings “Tempted” by Squeeze. Surprise! The Jack Black wannabe has a soulful voice and is completely on pitch the whole time. The judges dole out another back-handed compliment (which seems to be their signature this season) by telling Mark how shocked they are that he has any talent. But he’s off to Hollywood. Can’t wait to see what happens if and when he runs into Mr. Black.

Kimberly Kerbow, a pretty, perky 24-year old mom, sings ”I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson. When she gets to the bizarre lyric “I’ll buy you Rogaine,” she shoots a look over at Simon, who immediately overreacts. “So, you’re a single mom. Wonder why.” Simon (who clearly has hair issues) tries to sweeten up, declaring, “You’re very lippy, but you’re very funny.” She gets through, and Simon gets one more dig in after she leaves: he suggests that Kimberley might be wearing a wig. By George, we thought that haircut was too good to be true!


Wig? Good hair genes? You decide.

Danelle Hayes hosts karaoke nights, sings at corporate events and performs in a cover band (but she never said which!) to make a living for her and her three-year old daughter. The moment she gets in the room, she starts crying. “It’s been quite a ride,” she tells the judges, and shares knowledge that we bet 95% of the contestants don’t have—that making it in the music biz is really, really tough, and despite constant rejection, she keeps working away at her craft. We can’t imagine anyone ever saying “no” to this woman after her brilliant turn on Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m The Only One”, delivered with soulful rasp and power. The judges love her and her passion, and she sails to Hollywood. We’re calling it now: Danelle is a Top 10 contender, for sure.

Casey James is the hunky piece of beefsteak who got in a motorcycle accident and blah blah blah did you see this man’s shirtless bod? I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter people—here’s your Fabio for the 21st Century.

(Casey comes in at :56, and he goes shirtless around 2:22 if you want to go straight to the good stuff.)

Yes, he goes to Hollywood due to Kara and Victoria’s horny pleadings. It’s a funny segment, but had a female been asked to take off their shirt, Simon and/or Randy would be sued for sexual harrassment.

Tori Kelly is 16 years old and looks like she’s 28. (In a hot, legal way.) A preteen member of Tori’s fan club named Hope Starr (man, how hippy-dippy are this child’s parents?) brought drawings of the judges. Adorable. Simon is a cup full of sugar with the little girl — have you noticed he’s only nice to little kids on this show? Tori adequately sings “Gravity” by John Mayer in a slightly nasal voice. “I thought your voice was almost annoying,” says Simon.  (Apparently 16 is the legal age to get insulted on national television.) “You’re like a human orange!” Jeez, Simon, way to be harsh. She’s tan, but she’s not Snooki, for crying out loud. Does Victoria have anything helpful to add? “I love that dress!” Thanks, Victoria, we can always count on you for absolutely nothing. Tori gets through to Hollywood, even without a vote from Simon.

Nicci Nix, a Natalie Portman look-a-like with the voice of an Italian Minnie Mouse, flew fourteen hours from Florence to get to her audition and they must have been serving helium on the plane. She nails a spot-on take of “Something Kind of Ooh” by Girls Aloud, and her high-pitched voice somehow deepens when she sings. The judges pick up on Nicci’s made-for-TV personality (or is it in act?) and send her through. Call us nationalists, but we’re not sure we want our American Idol to be a non-U.S. citizen. We don’t mean they should be country-singin’, Church-goin’ cutie-pie’s. But a girl who lives in Florence, Italy proooobably shouldn’t be crowned an American Idol. That’s like Kelly Clarkson going ’round the world, winning every nation’s Idol willy nilly without actually living in that country. (Not like we actually expect Nicci Nix to win. Just sayin’.)

(Nicci comes in at 1:58)

At 1:42, the best line of the night: “I’m the next American Idol!” –Random dude in a crowd. “No he ain’t.” –Sly guy behind him.

Haeley Vaughn claims she is a “miracle child” because she survived her two-months-premature birth. (She also suffered the loss of her father). So she’s got a fairly classic Idol sob story. But she hardly needs it to win anyone over — she’s already extremely memorable because of her career ambition. She wants to succeed as a black pop-country artist. You know what? Off the top of our heads, we can’t think of any others. (By all means, tell us which notable black pop-country crossover artists we’re missing in the comments.) She sings “Last Name” by Carrie Underwood, and although we’d never advise singing a former Idol winner’s song (it invites unfavorable comparisons, fairly or not) she nails it. She’s off to Hollywood!

Best Guy of the Night: Mark “Jack Black” Labriolla, because he was the only man we saw tonight that got through to Hollywood that kept his shirt on.
Best Girl of the Night: Danelle “Crying Corporate Singer” Hayes, followed closely by Haeley “Pop Country Crossover” Vaughn.
Best Quote of the Night: Besides the one we quoted above? Simon was on his A-game of mean-spirited insults. A sampling:

“Uh, huh, huh.” —Making fun of contestant Mario Galvan’s nervous laugh.

“Go torture your ex.” —To single mom Kimberley.

“Kenny, you’re not, and you never will be.” —To Kenny Everett who foolishly believed he’s the “male Mary J. Blige.”

“Yeah, for a holiday.” —In response to Victoria, when she suggests Vegas for a contestant (horribly) attempting an Elvis song.

“I think we’ve got Paula back on the show.” —To a horrible, scatting singer during a bad-people montage. Ouch. That’s no way to woo your former co-judge onto X Factor, Simon.


  1. Becky

    Ah, Hootie! He didn't immediately spring to mind since we were thinking more younger female artists, ie. Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler, but you are indeed correct!

  2. Yes you are right.

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