This is it. The final recap ever of the first stage of ‘American Idol’.
While the auditions have become somewhat mundane and borne out of rote over the last few seasons, it’s important to note just how revolutionary they were in the first season.
Remember TV before ‘American Idol’? It was a loving place where everybody was a winner. In a country loaded with participation trophies and the idea that no matter who you are or how talented, that your dreams are completely and utterly and valid that nobody should ever stand in your way, here came ‘Idol’ to dispel that notion.
Look at the very first audition ever seen on ‘American Idol’:
Nothing really remarkable about that, right? A kid who can’t sing is mocked, laughed at and told he’s no good before he shuffles off. Here’s the thing: Before this show that was INSANE. Nobody had put anything like that on television. The bold-faced rudeness of Simon was an absolute sea change in the way EVERYTHING was done on television.
Suddenly, a new crop of reality shows popped up – all of them had to have one judge telling competitors they were worthless. Everything that could be judged became a copy of this show and, suddenly, telling people they were awful became the most dominant form of entertainment on television.
When ‘The Voice’ came along, that kind of went away as suddenly we had entered a post-Susan Boyle world where people wanted to be inspired by ugly people with good voices since MTV had told us for the previous two decades that only pretty people can sing.
That was probably the beginning of the end for ‘Idol’. After all, the show that ended up being such a runaway success due to the great singers it produced and the competitive runs up to its finales was initially built on the concept of telling sucky singers that they sucked in a way to launch each season.
So as we launch the final season, we’ll pay tribute to what originally made ‘Idol’ popular by only recapping this week’s bad auditions:
Brian Dale Brown
This was the great big fat guy who did really bad impressions of people before his audition. Never has Keith Urban sounded less like Keith Urban and never has Scooby-Doo sounded less like Scooby-Doo.
Also, never has singing sounded less like singing. It sounded more like a belt sander trying to smooth a brick wall. Then it sounded like a drunk dude imitating Christina Aguilera’s runs on “The Christmas Song”. Then it sounded like a steam whistle trapped inside a helium balloon. Whatever it was, it didn’t sound like singing.
Somehow, all that got him through to Hollywood. I imagine that won’t last long and he’ll be back in his age-inappropriate wife’s arms soon enough.
This was the girl in the weird starry tutu who brought her dog in with her for some reason. She absolutely screamed “Lips Are Movin'” at the judges. Like, she seemed angry as she sang. I totally understand the song is about accusing somebody of living and implying that the only words they ever speak are lies, but don’t take it out on the judges, Gina! If anything, they’re honest!
Brutally in Gina’s case as they pointed out her inability to sing in short order, sending her into the classic breakdown of the person who can almost sing and can’t believe they didn’t make it.
The Birdwell Brothers
These were the two nerdy guys who auditioned together with beards bigger than their bellies. I’m not sure what song they sang, but their audition quickly lapsed into a parody of itself as they seemed to reference things like Dungeons and Dragons as they went deeper and deeper into nerdcore in a strange atonal drone that Harry astutely referred to as “Gregorian Can’t”.
The dual auditions on ‘Idol’ are almost always catastrophes, and such a nerd destruction calamity seemed like the apt way to close out that little subset of auditions.
Weird Drag Queen Friar Tuck Guy
This man was unnamed, but he was the guy who did cartwheels and other spastic maneuvers in something like a tube top and robe ensemble that made him look like the person I styled him as.
The audition was an utter joke as he basically just shouted and flailed about in a purposeless bout of nonsense that clearly had no chance of ever getting through to Hollywood. The thing that really made this audition notable was guest preliminary judge Clay Aiken’s disgusted reaction to it. Aiken (ostensibly the nicest guy on planet earth) went Cowell on steroids as he dressed Mr. Tuck down for making a mockery of the show and wasting everybody’s time.
Maybe if Aiken had a tenth of this personality when he was attempting to be a legitimate singer, his career might have been more than the ultra-creepy “Invisible”.
This was the weird belly dancer stripper rodeo guy who thought he learned how to do all of this from J-Lo despite the fact that she’s never done any of that. Cody was so nice to see on the final audition show because he is the classic “bad” audition. He sang with the type of voice that you can understand a situation in which he thinks he might be good – not just a total joke.
In earlier seasons, Simon would have crucified Cody and Randy would have shook his head in amazement at his lack of both talent and seriousness, but in the post-Boyle world, the judges actually praised this tone deaf nuisance for being “entertaining”.
Hmm…maybe it’s good the auditions are over once and for all.