Saturday, 28 January 2012

You're going to Hollywood

These audition episodes are a gruelling business, especially when there’s three hours’ worth to wade through every week. And if you think watching them is tough, you should try writing about them. So rather than a blow-by-blow recap of every hopeless hopeful that queued up to appear on that glass lozenge that passes for a stage, here’s what I learned this week about how to secure those all important 15 minutes of notoriety.

Play to J-Lo’s ego

One of the first contestants this week was a pretty young single mother, who practices by singing to her daughter. When asked what songs she likes, she tells them that ‘On The Floor’ is her five year old’s favourite. These are the hidden costs of parenting. When she sings, Jennifer complements her on her “natural voice”, because in her mind, singers are supposed to sound like an android with throat polyps. Jayrah Gibson also knows how to woo Jenny From The Block, by performing a song he wrote for her. It’s complete shit, so we shouldn’t be surprised that she attempts to raise an approving eyebrow.

Thank the Lord

It’s not unusual for American contestants to proclaim divine intervention when it comes to their time on a talent show. But we should give a special shout-out to Ramiro Garcia, who tells us the tragic story of how he was born without ears – a scenario that seemed almost appealing after three hours of melisma. Despite his tough start in life, he now heads up a local church. And he credits his faith for giving him a voice and the ability to hear, which somewhat undermines the role of the surgeons who worked the actual miracles. After telling his inspirational story, Steven tells him “I like your insides”, so Ramiro can at least take pride in the fact that he’s the first male contestant to get that particular complement from the Aerosmith screamer.

Try to fuck Steven Tyler

If you really want to make sure that your try-out for Idol gets seen by 20 million viewers, just pretend that you’re turned on by leathery skin and a mouth that could sub-let space to Big Yellow. On the first of this week’s shows, the auditions took place on USS Midway, so Steven showed up in a flying hat and goggles. Even though this made him look like Sebulba, the villainous podracer from The Phantom Menace, the girls were still throwing themselves at him. Maybe they just like the attention, something Steven’s never been shy of giving. He even tells one girl “I love your high wobble, when you go upstairs.” We just have to hope that he was talking about her voice.

Confirm Ryan’s heterosexuality

Forget about all the rumours, conjecture and dubious pictures of him on a Mexican beach with Simon Cowell, Ryan is as straight as an A-list Scientologist. So if you want to get noticed, give him a chance to assert his alpha male status. First up was Wolf, who got a lot of coverage, much of which will probably be aired again when he makes his inevitable appearance on America’s Most Wanted. Apropos of nothing, he admits that all the women who knew he was auditioning wanted him to kiss Ryan, who expresses relief that it’s not going to happen. Maybe he doesn’t like beards, unless they’re the ones who’ll walk the red carpet with him. Haley told us about the three jobs she holds down as a cleaner, restaurant worker and meat packer in a sausage factory. Curiously, it’s the last one that piques his interest, but only because he’s a fan of a chunky Cumberland. Special points go to this week’s first contestant, who showed up in a patriotic biki top and hot-pants combo, and gamely played along as Ryan repeatedly ask her to walk up the stairs. Don’t know about you, but I’m certainly convinced.

If all else fails, be utterly deluded

Whether it was Aubrey, who wanted to be on America’s Top Model despite looking like Rumer Willis with lockjaw, or the girl who told us “I want to be the new Lady Gaga. There’s no-one like me”, this was a great week to be lacking in self-awareness.

In Texas, where everything is bigger – especially the arseholes - we got to see a parade of would-be country singers who all sounded like lowing cattle, convinced that they stood a chance because of last year’s Grand Ole Opry-styled final. We also met Phong Vu, who got excited about the fact that he was able to name the judges. Unfortunately, he had a little more trouble with his favourite singer Selina Dion. The highpoint of his audition was his “iconic dance move”, which involved jumping on the spot with one arm out.

Alejandro managed to score plenty of screen-time, by announcing that the revolution has started. He asked the judges to “Grant me the power to bring revolution to the world. Where Lady Gaga can become a pop star, or Barack Obama can become the President.” The judges helpfully pointed out that he might be a little late to that particular party. At the end of his awful audition, he groveled for another chance, prompting Jennifer to tell him “Please don’t beg, you have too much dignity for that.” Maybe she was watching a different show on the monitor.

Finally, if these tactics don’t work, you could always consider a move into food services. Alanna Snare got her own segment, thanks to her chat about Rocky Mountain Oysters. Given the amount of people who talk bollocks on this show, its hardly surprising that some people have developed a taste for them. And don’t forget Skylar, who works in a rundown family restaurant. They’ve had a tough couple of years, which her mother doesn’t like to talk about. Unless there’s a camera crew on hand. She describes the restaurant as a “hole in the wall”, but having watched the footage, even that description seems overly complimentary. Still, that got her on the show, so consider it a job well done.

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