Theo Glinton, ready for String Cheese tour
This week's double installment of American Idol auditions featured a black man covered in glitter, a chick who could flex her boobs, more sob stories and at least one arrest. You know, just another day at the office for Simon, Randy, Kara, and their rotating cast of guest judges. Those seats were filled by country songstress Shania Twain in the Chicago round and so-adorable-I-want-to-squeeze-her Broadway dynamo Kristin Chenoweth in Orlando.
Chicago wasn't too fruitful when it came to the talent. Only 13 Idol hopefuls earned a golden ticket and naturally, most of them had tragic pasts to go with their silken voices.
Poor little Katelyn Epperly's father left her and her Momma this summer. Momma always wanted Katelyn to audition for Idol and now that Daddy's gone, Momma's looking for a new meal ticket. After launching into a mini-therapy session with the judges, Katelyn tore up a Duffy song and made it through. Guess what, sugar. Your voice was good enough and you didn't need to take your Daddy issues national. OK?
Another one who didn't need the sob story? Paige Dechausse, who had an near-fatal asthma attack during a voice lesson at age 15. She sang Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" better than I've ever heard a white girl do it and earned three votes with Simon as the lone naysayer. Again-- I don't care about your tragic past. Just fucking sing.
I'll also be watching out for 16-year old Charity Vance. The Arkansas teen works at the family hair salon. She even performs in the salon for the customers. Seriously, we're only one insulin attack and a grumpy dog away from Steel Magnolias here. But she can sing, and punched her ticket to Hollywood with a delicate soprano version of "Summertime."
The tragic stories didn't stop in Orlando. We met Seth Rollins, who has an autistic son. Oh, and money problems of course. Oh, and he's 28 so it's his last shot at this. As he talks to the camera the gloomy organ intro to Coldplay's overwrought ballad "Fix You" plays over his sob story. Once actually inside the audition room, he sang "Someone to Watch Over Me" and though Rollins can certainly carry a tune, he's no superstar. Despite his glaring lack of stage presence, he gets a unanimous vote into Hollywood (as the anthemic guitar-heavy bridge to "Fix You" plays in the b.g. Vomit.)
My favorite Orlando Idol hopeful had to be Theo Glinton (pictured above). With dozens of tiny mirrors and feathers glued to the right side of his face and a black and silver cape this dude was totally ready for Sting Cheese tour. However, after growling his way through Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker," he was tossed out of the room in tears.
Then, after a redneck was escorted out of the building in handcuffs for refusing to leave the audition room, an actual felon closed the show. Matt Lawrence robbed a bank with a BB gun and spent four years in jail. Now he wants to be the next American Idol. He turned in a decent cover of Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble"--nothing special really--but Simon Cowell dubbed him the frigging second coming of country music and he flew out of the room, golden ticket in hand. Now, make sure and call your parole officer before leaving the state for Hollywood Week. OK, Matt?
Next week, the Idol judges descend upon the City of Angels to pluck a few more troubled, talented faces from the crowd and from the previews, it looks like the guest judges will be Avril Lavigne and that chick who looks like Zooey Deschanel and sings the "I Kissed a Girl" song. Stay tuned.