A Dose of Reality: American Idol 4: Audition Week 2, Episode 3
by The Trades Staff
Published: January 26, 2005
The third stop on the American Idol 4 audition tour is New Orleans. Brian Bunton here to break down the good, the bad, the ugly--and the hilarious. Former shock-rocker and eternal misogynist Gene Simmons helps out Simon, Paula, and Randy in the bayou.
Nine thousand hopefuls gather at the Superdome for the producer auditions to see if they're either good enough (or bad enough) to be sent to the judges at the Mariott downtown. The first of the lucky few was David Brown (19, New Orleans, LA) singing Three Dog Night's "A Change Is Going to Come", which I thought was an odd choice. It worked, though, as he impressed everybody with his voice and his humble attitude. Ryan says we'll catch up to him later, but I don't think he'll be breaking up with his band.
Next up, after a predictably lame Seacrest-looks-like-Clay joke, is Bobby Barfoot (26, Fayetteville, NC). He claims to be American Idol's biggest fan, and has the scrapbook to back it up. Um, okay. Let's just say he looks like he's AI's biggest fan. Anyway, he auditions with some country yodeling stuff. Randy and Paula think he's got potential, but Simon's not buying it. To prove his voice is subpar, they send him behind the screen so they're not distracted by his "image." He sings Stevie Wonder's "Lately" and... sucks. The panel sends him on his way.
Now comes Daron Beck (28, Denton, TX). Imagine a young Goth Gomez Addams. We know what he's going to sound like, right? Especially when he announces he's going to sing "Delilah" by Tom Jones. Nina Simone's "I Put a Spell on You" isn't any better. With the requisite cabaret insult (this time peppered with a cross-dressing suggestion), the panel thanks Daron for starting the day's freak show.
Speaking of predictability, Lindsey Cardinale (19, Ponchatoula, LA) is this episode's young hottie with a voice. She blows us away with "Standing Right Next to Me" by... Karla Bonoff? Man, these N'Awlinsers are choosing some obscure songs. Gene says she "feels good", and they all agree that her voice is unique, which is good, as long as it's not John Stevens's idea of unique.
One look at projectionist (NOT gymnast) Robert Solomon (26, Macon, GA) and you knew this was going to be painful. Honestly, he looks a little like my roommate. "Dancing in the Streets" by Martha and the Vandellas is his weapon of choice. (He actually sounds a little like my roommate.) It's a brief "no" and we go to commercial.
Reggie Brown (26, Jackson, MS), Daniel Durham (25, Kenner, LA), Larenda Garrett (18, Kenner, LA), and Algua Isaac (26, Duncanville, TX) welcome us back with an earsplitting medly of raucous cacophony. All of this to prepare us for "Eye of the Tiger" by Sundeep Achreja (28, Metiare, LA) who works "around the corner" as a punk/pimp/accountant. The most hilarious thing about Sundeep (besides his singing, of course) is that he warms up for the audition by air-boxing. I guess he's a method singer?
Our involved backstory of the night is of Michael Liuzza (22, New Orleans, LA). His parents are bar singers, blah blah blah... if they're spending this much time, he's obviously getting through. Plus his schlocky answer to why he wants to win (the world's an evil place, he wants to give some love back) was too corny to air if he didn't go. And then... he sang. He sang Louis Armstrong's "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" in the style of his grandmother. Take a moment and let that digest. He really sounded like his grandmother. I was beginning to get angry at the producers of this show to give him so much backstory time when the judges did the unthinkable. Randy and Paula liked him! Simon rightfully disagrees, but he says he'll give Michael one more chance. I thought he meant Michael will sing another song (hopefully ungimmicky this time), but apparently it meant Hollywood. Go fig.
Simon and Paula bicker. Yawn.
We get back from commercial with a pretty hilarious bit about incomprehensible lyrics. After that, it's Leroy Wells (22, Grand Bay, AL). In fact, it's all Leroy until the next commercial. Normally, I'd be upset about giving that much airtime to someone who admits later he just wanted a few minutes on TV, but it's worth it, y'all. It's the most fun horrible audition I've ever seen. I think what makes it work is that he's so damned energetic and... happy. We can't understand anything he says, apart from an occassional "Can you dig it." Randy tries to communicate with him with "dawgs" and "yos," but has little success. I think what he's trying to sing is Kelis's "Got Your Money," but I'm not sure. The whole "audition" is hilarious (Leroy telling Simon to get Jesus for example), but my words can't do it justice.
Jeff Johnson (27, Dallas, TX) actually does music for a living, leading Praise & Worship at his church. "In the Still of the Night" goes well, but Gene thinks he might have problems singing pop music with his religious beliefs. Yeah, Gene, tell it to Clay. Simon correctly states that America will love him (but with some serious work, I think), and he's through.
We catch back up with David Brown, who is currently at his church. Ryan breaks the news to the congregation that he's made it through, while David breaks down in tears. Aww.
And finally, the twins segment of our show. Lamar and Jamar Jefferson (23, DeSoto, TX) easily got in doing a song too generic for me to pin down. JP and Richard Molfetta (27, New Windsor, NY), however, had more of a time of it. They sang "I'll Make Love to You" by Boys II Men. (There was a freaky moment when they were looking at each other while singing the title of the song, but I'm trying to forget it.) Gene thinks they're too old and too white (man, I hate that guy). Simon doesn't think that they'd even be considered if they auditioned separately, and it sounded like they wanted to do that. I completely agree. It's not American Idols. But instead, they vote on each one separately, and neither makes it. The Molfettas are really upset. Paula is upset and leaves. Yawn.
Only sixteen made it from New Orleans. Tomorrow, it's on to Las Vegas, Kenny Loggins, and even the return of a Molfetta! It promises to be the freakiest of freak shows yet. I can't wait.
Earlier recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2
Other Sites: American Idol | SirLinksaLot.net