American Idol auditions in Nashville, where Carrie Underwood is now reckoned a major star, were a mix of good, bad and unusual. “What is wrong with everyone?” Randy asked near the end of the hour. But a number of fine voices were ushered off to the promised happiness of Hollywood.
Among those voices – and establishing themselves as the novelty of the night – were ex-girlfriend and boyfriend, Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin. The former couple auditioned both singly and together – and the judges liked them even better as a duet, despite their apparent inability to make their private lives click. “Sometimes the deepest passion comes from friction,” said Steven. Ah! After they were put through, Jennifer predicted a reignited romance. Oh, but Chelsee has a boyfriend, who seemed nice. (This could make a fine motion picture starring Paul Giamatti as the quietly bothered Rob and Julianne Moore as redheaded Chelsee.)
Lauren Alaina, 15, probably impressed the judges the most: “You’re going to make 40 million people cry – tears of joy,” said Steven. (She closed the hour in a duet with him of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”) Unanimous yeses also were awarded to Jackie Wilson for her big, confident “Until You Come Back to Me,” and to Adrienne Beasley, who had a touch of the folk troubadour.
Stormi Henley, a former Miss Teen USA, got put through by the male judges over Jennifer’s objections (even Steven said she sang with “a beautiful tight squeaky little voice” that needed work). The vote split along the same lines for Matt Dillard, who came in wearing overalls and bearing a touching backstory – his family had taken in hundreds of foster children through 20-plus years.
Jennifer is growing more expressive. Her reactions of disgust and disbelief were impressively vivid as she sat through the brief audition of Allen Lewis, a self-described “tattoo artist and many other things at the same time.”
A person dressed in a blue body stocking and identified only as “?” was one of the funnier freak auditions in memory. Bravo, ?!
Note: Several readers of Wednesday’s recap pointed out that what had struck me as an inscrutable comment from Steven was in fact a perfectly coherent reference to “Eleanor Rigby” as performed by the band Vanilla Fudge. My apologies, and my appreciation for the correction.