8 noteworthy auditionees from the City of Bridges. Also, nominally, the “City Of Champions” but that…seems less likely.
Creighton Fraker: I’ve made some poor first impressions in my time – I’ve been late for job interviews, I’ve referred to myself by the wrong name by accident, I’ve even annoyed a friend of a friend in a pub so much that he set me a secret “are you a wanker” test, which I failed – and yet even with all that behind me, I think I’d struggle to make such a poor impression as a person who turns up to an American Idol audition with a song he wrote on the way. About American Idol. In which he refers to Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez as “the new two”. He would have been dismissed on the spot for that, if it were down to me. Just to make things even worse, we were subjected to a VT in which he talked about how hard it was to be a starving artist in New York, while wearing a bunny-ears headband. And then he sang another song in the manner of a man desperate to urinate. Seriously, I do not need any of this in my life. So of course the damn judges put him through.
Eben Franckewitz: The desire of reality shows to find the “new Bieber” is growing ever more desperate isn’t it? If Eben Franckewitz resembles any celebrity child-star it’s the kid from Two And A Half Men, but NO. How many records could the kid from Two And A Half Men shift? NONE. Let’s pretend this male child resembles Justin Bieber, simply because he’s a male child. Let’s pretend that everyone walking down the street stops him and comments on his resemblance to Bieber. Let’s have all the judges go on about it. Let’s play “Baby” as loud as we can, over the top of EVERYTHING. God willing, Bieber won’t be famous by the time the live shows come around (because let’s face it…his time is coming) and they’ll have to phase-shift into whoever the new big Disney kid is to style him after. Hopefully it’ll be a girl. I’m sure his very supportive mum would still be very supportive then.
Erika Van Pelt: Erika is a mobile DJ. A mobile DJ is a DJ that plays at many different venues and travels around in a van. You might think this was fairly self-explanatory, but apparently Erika did not, for she explained her profession in minute detail just to clear up any confusion. Oh, and she’s also a wedding singer. Which I guess is how we’re officially marking the Idol era of After Simon now, where a wedding singer can come in and audition and not have her entire existence questioned. Anyway, Erika came and sang for us, and was charming but a bit obvious. She oversang her way through ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?’, but she got through, because the bar has been set very low indeed in Pittsburgh.
Hallie Day: What an inspiring story. Of all the things a man can give a woman, truly Hallie Day’s husband gave her the greatest of all. The ability to call herself “Hallie Day”. Second being “mental stability”. Third being pancakes. As is usually the case with these expansive back-stories it probably would have turned out better if her singing at the end wasn’t kind of…shouty. Also, not take away anything from her right to tell her life story how she chooses but “I Will Survive”? Really? Still, good for her for pulling her life together, and I hope she doesn’t take her coming Vegas Week rejection too hard.
Heejun Han: Given the amount of my life that’s been spent on watching reality shows, you’d think I’d be better at doing it by now. But when this guy came on and was really socially awkward and talked about how generally average he thought he was, I just assumed: trainwreck. Then his family came in and talked about how they’d never heard him sing, and I thought: trainwreck, with a slim possibility that he might be all right. Then he opened his mouth and sang, and turned out to be…really surprisingly good. He sang a bit like he was passing a kidney stone, but then it was Michael Bolton – is there really any other way to sing him? And then he went off to be super-weird again outside. I like him. He’s endearing weird rather than weird-weird. For now, anyway.
Reed Grimm: I have to say, if we’re still going to do the whole “let’s redeem popular culture by making a white man sing it slowly with a guitar” thing, I’m much happier with contestants raiding tv theme tunes than pop music. Who knows where he could go next? I’m hoping maybe for Friends, Frasier, or maybe The Muppet Babies.
Travis Oliver: If you’re going to sing ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ as your audition piece, you really need to be prepared to do something AMAZING with it, because it’s kind of an overdone song at this point. Travis didn’t do that – he just sang a very generic version, in a very generic nice-guy sort of way. I was prepared to write him off entirely at that point, but then he had an epic meltdown about how he DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL FOR THIS (oh child, no. That sort of thing is not to be encouraged) and then – amazingly – his sob story evolved into “my mother – what a bitch, eh?”, which sort of won me over. I don’t care about him as a performer at all, but I would welcome further development on his tragic childhood.
Samantha Novacek: This edition of American Idol really was basically a Hipster Special wasn’t it? To be fair, most of them seem to have oozed sideways out of New York, but the home grown WACKY FUNSTERS still provided some reliable work-out of the eyeballs (THROUGH ROLLING THEM, AM I RITE?) with an accolyte of planking, who lay motionless, rigid and insensate on the floor whilst her sister performed. To be fair, that was my response to more or less every Andrew Garcia performance as well.