American Idol Top 3 Auditions: Hail to the Intern!
Just how possible is it to like the audition rounds of American Idol? 35%? Or so? Less? They're such unending trials of schmaltz, nerves, and cruelty, packing none of the torch-song determination of the competitive weeks. American Idol's supposed to make us say, "I want to live" and not "I want to cry for the rate of idiocy in the heartland." Oh, Milwaukee. The tryouts in Wisconsin's most beer-friendly city were fine, but only these three auditions (including a young lady I will soon call Harmonic-a Lewinsky) made the evening worth our cheeseheaded devotion.
Molly DeWolf Swenson
The 22-year-old Harvard grad and White House intern displayed a canny confidence the minute her 6'7" (guesstimate) frame tottered into the Idol starmakerdrome. She disavowed comparisons to Monica Lewinsky, even though she said she is "in love" with our current president. At first I was worried her slow-burn tone would result in a hummer of an audition, but her deep, smoky take on "The Dock of the Bay" was a cigar blast to America's groin. Throw your beret in the air, girl. In the name of platonic good times!
I kept having flashbacks of Ayanna from Road Rules: Semester at Sea (because I am ancient) watching this one -- that dramatically angled face, the dreadlocks, wide eyes. It's all Ayanna territory. Her version of Donny Hathaway's "For All We Know" made you forget she was ever a lonely janitrix scrubbing stadium toilets. I'd love to see this girl in the Top 12 -- particularly if she's going to throw in magnificent kicks whenever she performs well.
I got a self-satisfied vibe from Chicago-native Tiwan, who absolutely killed with his version of "Twistin' the Night Away." Then I remembered that cocky self-confidence should be what Idol is about. I will throw myself to the floor and bleat if we have another year of contestants who are told, "You're so great because you don't know how good you are." (Seriously, those were always Simon's worst moments.) Anyway, Tiwan topped the night, and I don't care if he's the most self-aware jazzman in the Windy City. You wear your shock-white suit and twist away, sir.