American Idol Recap: The Night the Pants Came On in Georgia
Does anyone actually like the audition weeks? They're delivered with such ham-handed lunacy that you'd think Idol was hurting for ratings, banking its survival on jerry-built viral sensations. Just in: That's not the case, even if last night's numbers slipped a little. But as proven by last night's Atlanta auditions, which were mercifully trimmed to 90 minutes and featured our first so-so rendition of "The Climb," sometimes engaging talent emerges and we feel inspired to pick up our banjo and valiantly patrol the dirt roads behind our favorite Cracker Barrel. Our three favorite moments after the break.
3. U Can Touch This (on YouTube, until it's taken down)
When Idol producers start allowing 62-year-old contestants to sail past the long-established age requirement just so they can bark out a ridiculous self-penned tune about pulling up your pants, angels hide their faces in their Coca-Cola cups. But here's the thing about those angels: They suck a little, because this song is funny. Just ask noted comedian Kara DioGuardi, whose laugh speedily entered Heimlich territory. The man's name is General Larry Platt, and he has some advice for you.
2. Mary J. Blige will respond to your audition with hilarious old-timey pantomime.
Mary J. Blige didn't say much during her stint as guest talent emperor, but that's because she was busy responding to the young amateurs with any of the following: 1) laughter, 2) near-tears, or 3) ducking (my favorite). It's either uninspired criticism or the leading Commedia dell'Arte revival of the millennium. Paula Abdul may have had the weepy harlequin mask-face, but Mary has the Punch-and-Judy theatrics to really take this teatro on the road.
1. If you sing country music, you know yourself.
How many times did Kara DioGuardi mutter a version of the phrase, "You just know who you are," when a contestant sang twangily? Can I attribute my lagging self-awareness to my failure to buy a steel guitar? The description "country girl" came up more times than in the movie The Country Girl, though I related to Bing Crosby's life-pitying character Frank Elgin anyway. Furthermore, when contestant Mallorie Haley belted a slowed-down, even-further-backwoods version of "Piece of My Heart," Simon Cowell called her "fearless," which seemed like a weird reference to Taylor Swift's blockbuster album. You expected his limited knowledge of country music (i.e. the career of Taylor Swift) to keep spewing forth. "Wipe off the teardrops on your guitar-loving face, young lady. You belong with me. That's fifteen yesses. I'mma let you finish with a trip to Hollywood. Love story. Unreleased third album."