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TV Recap: American Idol – Atlanta – That Paula Girl Can’t Say No

While Georgia’s Republican Primary was still up for grabs, another national contest was showing off their winners and losers in the home of the peach. It was such a big deal even Ryan Seacrest’s parents came to visit.

Josh Jones was first. Josh worked in a glass factory and was willing to trash his tools if he made it to the finals. He sang a Queen song, and he performed fairly well, even though I thought he was a bit Broadway in his performance. But what really gets under Simon’s British skin is that Josh’s eyes get wide in a weird way when he sings. The only way to put him through to the next round is to make him sing with is back to the judges. I think this guy will show up in Hollywood with giant, Bono-like sunglasses, which will become his trademark. American Idol better get Ray-Ban as a sponsor – quick!

J.P. was next, but he was tone-deaf and boring. He auditioned before and his big claim to fame was that Carrie Underwood was two people away from him and was his “audition buddy.” What bugged me about him is that when he said he majored in music, Randy laughed at him. Seriously, Randy, no matter how bad he is, he has a right to study what he wants. If you really thought J.P. wasting his time and education, then drop by his school, and pay his tuition for him. Otherwise, let the kid go to college and shut up.

After J.P.’s audition, when Paula didn’t have the heart to turn this guy down, the American Idol producers put together a montage of all the times Paula wanted to say no to people, but couldn’t. Finally, a series of clips everyone’s wanted to see for a while. Paula is supposed to be the “nice” one, but she does have to let these people know they aren’t going to Hollywood. She has to realize that in most cases, she is dealing with delusional people, and they’re going to hear what they want to hear, so if she’s not straightforward with them, they’ll be looking for a yellow piece of paper. This montage was like a judging intervention for Paula, and I hope it worked.

Next was a really nice story. Asia’h’s dad died a couple days before her audition. She dedicated her audition to her dad, to the point where she changed her audition song to something he liked. Her voice is good, but it needs a little work. She will benefit greatly from the coaching people get when they’re in Hollywood. Her audition was so moving it made Paula cry to the point where she had to get up and leave the room. It was a very nice segment that showed that that part of American Idol is to help find stars and help people in rough situations, and not just ridicule people.

Speaking of ridiculing people, I found a second contestant to root against. I really hate Brooke. Actually, I take that back, I hate Brooke’s parents. It’s obvious that they made Brooke one of those “Paper Dolls” beauty pageant girls, and she’ll now never outgrow it. I mean, she even brought her tiara to the audition. Anyway, she confirmed my worst fear and she sang really well. If the other girls she works with in Hollywood during the group auditions don’t kill her, this girl will be around FOREVER. Even Simon hoped she couldn’t sing.

In what could be a first, Eva gave Simon a guilt trip. She came into the audition room saying how much she loved Simon, then proceeded with a horrid audition, with her falling on the floor in the middle of a frantic dance move. Simon is convinced this girl is a fake, and one of those who contestants who want to only be on TV. Until she cried. Then he tells her to look into his eyes and admit she’s a joke, she cried again, and immediate Simon takes it back. But that did not make Eva feel any better when she tears up her number and stomps on it.

Alex’s audition was not very interesting, except for the fact that she had the best voice on last night’s show. It was so strong and mature, you wouldn’t believe that she is only 16. More surprising was that her 93-year-old grandmother was there with her waiting for her Golden Ticket. Note to American Idol producers: Please tell me you let Alex send for her grandmother on Day 2, and didn’t let her stand in line outside in Atlanta during the summer. Otherwise, this show is crueler than I thought.

Nathan was next, and he’s what the principal in Back To The Future would call a “slacker.” He already knows he’s not going to do well, so he is already planning his witty retorts to Simon’s insults in the lobby. After he butchers Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer,” he wants to know if Simon’s insults are written on a piece of paper, then proceeds to pick off every cliché the Brit has used since Season 1. Simon was not amused, but at least the guy didn’t get angry, or get thrown out by those unnecessarily giant bodyguards.

Amanda has a Goth look, which usually is a one-way ticket home. She’s also a biker chick, which bodes even worse. And when she sang Janis Joplin like she was doing an impression of the boozy singer, I though it was three strikes. But when they let her sing a second song, they appreciate her voice and put her through to Hollywood. This is what they should have done to the girl who sang Janis like Janis on a previous show, instead of booting her out of the competition. I guess sometimes the Goth look comes in handy, as long as you can carry it like Amanda.

The final contestant was Josiah, who (at the time of the making of the show) lived in his car. It appeared as if all of his worldly possessions are in the trunk of his compact car. And even though he’s from the South and seems to have never left the country, he sings with a British accent. To prove this weird accent quirk, the have him sing a song by Snow Patrol, which he does well, and spot on, even though he doesn’t know it. So even though the three judges found him weird, they put Josiah (who I think sounds like the singer from James) into the next round and he drove off into the Atlanta night in his home/car.

So tomorrow night is the audition show featuring the Rock Bottom Remainders -- a mishmash of tryouts from various cities. I just want Hollywood Week to get here so we can get this show really started. I mean really - do we really need to see more no-talents in chicken feathers and sequins?