American Idol: Boston Auditions
Take James for example, or should I call him "Ghost," his moniker. James doesn't have much of a knack for picking clever nicknames, but he's great at looking patriotic. Maybe too patriotic. He came into the audition wearing a Pats jersey and an American flag do rag. Hey James, is that an American flag in your pocket or are you just excited to see Paula? Nope, that is an American flag sticking out of his pocket. James started off doing a cadence and then broke out into a patriotic rap of sorts. The judges weren't impressed, except Paula, who liked "his message".
James was followed by Ayla, a very beautiful girl, with a very charmed life. She's gorgeous, tall, can play basketball, her dad is a Senator, her mom is a TV personality, and her hair is split-end free. She was almost too perfect. The judges thought she had a powerful voice, but she was overly-groomed and robotic. Simon went so far as to say that there was "something empty about it all." I have to agree. How many people are really going to root for a girl who has a father as a Senator? It seems that American likes its idols slightly flawed and less than perfect (looking).
Which brings up a great phenomenon, the Clay Aiken factor. There have been several Clay Aiken clones this audition cycle and they all have that same underdog charm, as Paula described it. Basically, they are nerdy guys with great voices and sweet demeanors. If they ever got up enough courage to ask you out on a date, you'd say no. But put them on TV, have them sing pop songs, and tell heartwarming stories about their families, and women begin to squeal and buy their albums. It's the Clay Aiken factor. And everyone is playing the Clay Aiken card.
The best Clay clone in Boston was Kevin. The dorkiest little dude I've ever seen. Without a doubt, I could easily dropkick Kevin. But why would I ever want to? He's loveably nerdy. He had a dorky blue-stripped shirt, dorky glasses, rosy red cheeks and the worst haircut I've ever seen. It was like the white boy version of the black man's fade, circa 1993. In short, Kevin was a dork. But he had a great voice and a great personality. The Clay Aiken factor at its best.
Mike was the Clay Aiken factor at its worst. To be a good Clay clone you need three things -- a dorky look, a great voice, and a sweet personality. Mike had a dorky look, a horrible voice, and the worst personality ever. He was so annoying. He kept doing high kicks and he wouldn't shut up. Even the guy that was standing next to him in line looked like he was going to punch him. His crappy personality could only be trumped by his horrible voice. He sounded like a dying horse, and when he was done singing he made this hideous fart face. Everything about it was unpleasant.
But what was really unpleasant was Kenneth, who sang a perfect rendition of Cher's "Believe." Well, the judges thought he sounded perfectly like Cher, I thought he was about 10 octaves lower than Cher. Anyway, Kenneth sucked, and all the judges told him that. But what is going to get Simon in trouble (again) was his comment that Kenneth would be better off dressing like a woman and becoming a female impersonator. This is not the first time that Simon has told a contestant this and he wasn't far off the money for suggesting it. I mean, the kid did brag that he could make his voice sound perfectly like Judy Garland too. That has female impersonator written (in lights) all over it. But Simon has already pissed off gay and lesbian groups this season for making similar comments. And last night, he probably pissed some more people off too.
Potential female impersonators aside, 28 contestants from Boston are going on to Hollywood, which brings the total to 175 in all. Wednesday night at 8 p.m. begins Hollywood Week a.k.a. Hell Week. The auditions were all fun and games, but this is where the judges really get mean and the poop really hits the fan. I can't wait.