American Idol Season 12, Episode 7: Hollywood, Men’s Round

Hello again, hopeless Idol junkies!

We’ve finally reached the brutal and systematic destruction of the human spirit that is the Hollywood round, which means that soon, praise be to Allah, I will only be recapping this show once per week. I know there’s the results show to contend with, but an hour per week of Ryan Toothpaste fakeouts, cheeseball top 40 cameos, dead-eyed odes to mid-size Ford sedans, and reminders that Taylor Hicks is still alive is far too much for my rickety constitution.

This week, it’s the fellas, who seem like a pretty fulsome bunch this time around. As standing rumor has it that Idol is attempting to foil another Guitar-Playing Caucasian Dreamboat victory, we might see a bit of diversity for once, or we might just see a bunch of no-talent clods who will wash away like so many “GO SPORTS TEAM” inscriptions by stick in sand. After a montage of how these lazy shits can’t wake up in time to get a free trip to Los Angeles, we get some illegal camera-phone footage while everyone else is obeying the sage advice of their stews. Ryan calls this round “guy vs. guy”; there but for the grace of “on” goes the show he really wants to star in. You wanted the golden ticket, you numb-nuts, now you’re going to get ironically punished by the donut-grease-soaked Willie Wonka that is Randy Jackson.

Speaking of our lovable panel of martinet tune-spinners, Mariah Carey has come wearing a turquoise evening gown she no doubt meant for the Best Actress acceptance speech for Glitter that never came; Keith Urban is decked out in his usual Millers-Outpost-body-model ensemble; Nicki Minaj has on a blonde wig and a dress made of magical gold dust that gives her fanny the ability to stick out for two feet; and Randy is channeling Michael Jackson in his “why bother to change clothes, everyone is just going to laugh at me anyway” phase. The initial round is “a cappella sudden death”, four words that should be paired together more often, and the contestants’ families are brought in for that extra touch of humiliation that makes Idol such a treat.

Micah Johnson, the guy whose shitty dentist gave him a speech impediment, is in the first round of guys; it’s revealed that he’s in the Navy, where I’m sure no one ever makes fun of him. They try to play up the drama with Micah, but he’s a mortal lock; also passing on to the next round are Nate Tao, Gurpreet Singh Sarin (a.k.a. “The Turbanator”), and, of course, ROCKER GABE BROWN. Impy-chimpy Karl Skinner arrives on set hyper-caffeinated to the point of vibrating himself to death, and he does a good job of promoting the Coca-Cola corporation and its fine line of products, but his James-Brown-with-a-spastic-colon act wears thinner every time I see it. Thankfully, the judges agree, and he is sent packing, as is Dustin Watts, the hunky firefighter that Nicki Minaj liked until she found a vibrator or something. Calvin Peters also washes out, but lucky for him, he is a fucking doctor.

Some zero named Cortez Shaw sings the famous Whitty Hutton song “I Will Always Sing At the Top of My Lungs” and makes the judges’ faces break from trying to maintain a polite smile. Nicki hates him (“I was disgusted”), as does Randy (“You ain’t Whitney”), but Mariah likes him because she has a vested interest in maintaining the preeminence of melisma, so he makes it through. Curtis Finch Jr. does a fine job because he has one of those religious sinecure gigs; I wish I still believed in God so I could sing well. Lazaro, the guy whose stutter is the Idol sob story of all time, makes it through until audiences get sick of hearing him try to muscle through words that start with L, as do a bunch of other guys I’ve never heard of. Nicki does the cruelest fakeout of all time, telling a Hawaiian kid who confessed to being tired that “we’re sending you home where you can really catch up on your sleep”, rendering him as stunned as a chicken whacked with a mallet until she says j/k. I’m not sure why Brian Rittenberry didn’t get through; maybe it was because of his driving cap, which he wore because why be different from every other fat guy who sings?

And now it’s time for GROUP ROUND! GROUP ROUND, where someone else’s shitty performance can sink you like a mephitic stone! GROUP ROUND, where if one person has a crap attitude, everyone’s dreams of a lifetime are washed down the sewer like so much rummy vom! And as if it weren’t all horrid enough, this time, corpselike producer Nigel Lythgoe forces everyone into arbitrary broad-comedy groups instead of letting people choose their own. Why not just hit everyone with machetes, Idol? Anyway, Lazaro makes a big hit with his group, because in addition to his stutter, he is Cuban and doesn’t speak English very well, and doesn’t know any of the songs. Your next American Idol, everyone! The groups are picked for maximum lowbrow hilarity: super-gay guys with big hulking dude-bros (including one group named “Country Queen”, are you fucking kidding me), ROCKER GABE BROWN with the hobbit guy, and so forth. Andy from San Antonio, who sings like a girl, seems pretty awful; the Army guy who’s stuck with the queeniest duo in the competition, resists their glitter-and-choreography wiles and threatens physical violence (“I’m gonna fuckin’ break someone”), but no one is broken, because I never get what I want.

ROCKER GABE BROWN and the hobbit (coming soon to the WB) kill it during their audition with Queen’s “Somebody to Love”, easily the highlight of the night so far. A nutritious breakfast is important, kids. A group of dudes I’ve never seen before make a slaughterhouse of “I’ll Be There”, but they let all but the guy who sang the flattest through. Who will sing flat now? Probably everyone! Charlie “Aspie” Askew is teamed up with a couple of big ol’ crooners who help him out when he has a case of the whim-whams; one of ’em gets off a good line, saying he wants to be on “American Idol, not American Airlines”. They get through easy peasy Alyce Beasley. Has anyone noticed that Keith has a habit of singing out loud along with the contestants? This sort of defeats the purpose of being a judge, there, Aussie boy.

Micah Johnson is in a group called “The Four Tones”. Don’t strain anything thinking up a name, there, guys. Anyway, they sing “Hold On I’m Comin'” in straight-up old soul style and get though right away. A multi-culti aggregation called Young Love — Elijah Lau, Nate Tau, Cortez Shaw, and a Joey Ramone impersonator named Zach Birnbaum — also make it through doing “Some Kind of Wonderful”, but a group of five guys who look like they should be playing drums in a bad Quiet Riot cover band wash out, as do a gang of dude-bros who all fuck up the lyrics. “B-Side” includes the Turbanator, a kid who looks like a college lesbian, and someone with radial burst-grenade hair; they also forget the lyrics and are terrible, but Nicki bails them out, swayed by their charm and calling them “my favorite group”. I’m beginning to suspect that Nicki is just deliberately fucking with the system, which would be so great. Idol tries to play the ‘bad subtitle’ game in this segment, but they apparently don’t get that it’s supposed to be funny.

“Last Minute” does a One Direction song and does it horribly, prompting Nicki to say they were all equally bad, which, honestly, is over-generous. They all get sent home, which is fine with me, because I didn’t know any of their names and couldn’t tell them apart. Another group, consisting of two guys named Devin and two guys not named Devin, decides to go a cappella, and while they don’t seem particularly terrible, one of the non-Devins gets his walking papers. “Mo Flo” features my man Burnell Taylor, who’s on the nod and draws the ire of the vocal coach, but he still gets through. “Super 55” is the group with Lazaro; Ryan Toothpaste, betraying a lack of understanding of what words mean, sys they are “hoping they do not become a statistic”. The other dudes think Lazaro is holding them back, even though he’s the best singer among them; they both wash out and clearly hate the fuck out of him, with one of them leaving him with the world’s most backhanded compliment and claiming credit for his success. I guess you’ll just have to settle for being white and not having a crippling speech disorder, pal.

The next group is “Queen Country”, which shuffles through the most weak-ass rendition of a song I’ve never heard of that I’ve ever heard. This is the group with ultra-queeny outer space man JDA and “Big Sarge” Trevor Blakney. After yelling at everybody else, he forgets the fucking lyrics, what a goddamn turd. He says he’s never failed at anything, although he has clearly failed to find a good barber and pass up the meatball buffet. “DKSK” consists of all the Idol tweeners, and they sing a Billy Joel song, so I don’t know what happened with them because I had a hate blackout. Ha ha, just kidding! What actually happens is that Caden, the dying kid, gets sent home to die in a blaze of non-glory, as a reminder of what a joke the sob story segments are. “Oz” features Frankie Ford, Andy Sanders, Papa Peachez, and Charles Allen, all of whom I hate and wish would die in some kind of gangland slaying. Frankie cries a lot, Andy is unpleasant, Charles lumbers around, and Papa Peachez acts like you would expect a guy named Papa Peachez would act; all of them suck on stage except for Charles, and even he is a lumbering oaf. Anyway, Frankie goes home and the guy whose name I am so tired of typing does not, and what time is it, does the sun still shine, has all molecular motion in the universe ceased.

Join us tomorrow when the ladies go through all this nonsense! It might be even more exciting and horrible because women are emotional and like to undermine and destroy each other, or wait hold on it turns out I am incredibly sexist!

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