Hollywood Week on “American Idol” is not about singing; if you’re interested in that, check out your local opera. If it’s drama and schadenfreude you seek, however, then you’re in the right place. The fun of these episodes is in pushing contestants to their breaking points. What usually end up breaking, by the way, are voices and hearts. In the case of people like Tatiana del Toro, though, there could be a complete “alleged” breakdown of all mental facilities.
For this second round of Hollywood Week auditions, the remaining contestants (approximately 100) were asked place their “Idol” dreams in the hands of their competition. They put themselves in groups of three or four and stayed up all night learning their songs and choreography. This resulted in a perfect storm of exhaustion and histrionics, which, as we know, makes for great TV. Song selections included “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 (NOT, unfortunately, N*Sync), “Mercy” by Duffy and Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” Not that the music really factored in much to last night’s episode. The stage performances weren’t even showcased until the 30 minute mark, which left the rest of the hour to be filled with tantrums, “f*** you”s and guttural crying.
‘IDOL’ KEEPS YOU UP ALL NIGHT
The real treat of last night’s show was witnessing the middle-of-the-night ups and downs of three groups: Team Compromise, Team Diva, and, uh, the no-name one led by Tatiana del Toro. You may remember del Toro as the girl who earned a Golden Ticket in San Francisco, despite looking like a deranged flamenco dancer and having the whinnying laugh of a mare in heat. Well, same laugh, same psychosis. When she felt her group wasn’t coming together the way she had hoped, her paranoia set in, causing her to tell the cameras that they were throwing her under the bus and were “going to humiliate” her. She then tried to leave the group to join Team Compromise, featuring Nathaniel “it’s on my skin” Marshall. This would be a pairing made in ratings heaven; alas, Tatiana left Team Compromise and was welcomed back to her original group by Muna Hiluf and two other nameless, plain-looking girls.
Team Compromise consisted of: Nathaniel; Nancy Wilson, the lady sporting the red clown ringlet weave; and Kristen McNamara, whose hair color of bleached blonde, brunette and pink could best be described as “Neopolitan.” Team Compromise, who had begrudgingly decided to work with Tatiana, was confused when she went back to her original group. This confusion turned to anger for Clown Weave and as she tore into Tatiana, Nathaniel stated in a (shockingly) calm voice that there was no need “to get that dramatic.” Pot, meet kettle. Cut to Marshall less than three minutes later as he lets out his trademark wimpering and an Emmy-worthy “It’s not just your dream at stake here!” in response to a disagreement between Clown Weave and Neopolitan. Neopolitan just wanted to rest her voice for the next day’s audition but Clown Weave thought it was more important to rehearse. As Clown Weave bitched to anyone who would listen, Nathaniel flailed around dramatically, ensuring plenty of camera time. Neopolitan calmly yet tearfully told the cameras that Clown Weave and Nathaniel had her dream in their hands and that that was “very scary.” Indeed.
The third group that stood out for all the wrong reasons was Team Diva, featuring “Rastafarian Barbie” Rose Flack, “Bikini Girl” Katrina Darrell, gorgeous Jasmine Murray and some girl named Lauren. When Katrina went to bed at the unthinkably early hour of 3 a.m., the girls talked smack about her. When I say “girls,” I mean Rastafarian Barbie. As Flack expressed her concerns over one unprepared person ruining it for all of them, the other girls just stood there silently. While Darrell left rehearsal with a fake smile on her face, the crying we heard as she entered her hotel room gave away her true emotions. Hollywood Week is hard, ya’ll, even when you look good in a bikini!
TOO TIRED TO BE AN ‘IDOL’
As of 4 am, the remaining three members of Team Diva were unsure as to whether or not Darrell would perform with them. When audition day dawned, Rose and company traveled to Katrina’s room, which must have been a long trek, as Rose was swaddled in some sort of blanket that could’ve only come from a passing pack mule, judging by its style. Barefooted Rose walked all around Hollywood and Highland, giving credence to the theory that marijuana serves as an antidote for tetanus. When Team Diva arrived at Katrina’s room, they were told by her roommate that she was not taking visitors; however, they somehow gained entry and talked to Katrina, who was absent from view, hidden under the covers. She told them that she was just too tired and this left Rose baffled as to why she would give up on such an amazing opportunity. The opportunity for Katrina wasn’t performing in a singing competition, though. Her opportunity was getting enough publicity to earn her 15 minutes. It’s much easier to, say, pose in “Playboy” if you don’t have all those pesky 19 Entertainment stipulations to which you must adhere. Shockingly, Darrell surprised everyone, including her group, when she appeared in time to audition that morning, even though she was “really tired.” Perhaps singing is more tiring than tanning.
SEVENTY-FIVE MAKE IT THROUGH
With most of the group dynamic drama out of the way, it was time to sing. The day started off with Team White Chocolate, or “3 White Guys and a Black Girl.” Their beatboxing, while not quite on par with Blake’s from Season 6 (Thank God!) was original, as was the a capella beginning; their choice to have the black girl (India Morrison) rap, however, was not. It was obvious that they enjoyed working with each other and they sounded good. India and the three boys – Kris Allen, Matt Giraud and Justin Williams – all made it through, as did all four members of Tatiana’s team, believe it or not. Another group to fare well was the one featuring BFFs Danny Gokey and Jamar Rogers. They bravely performed their entire song a capella, earning all four of them a spot in the next round. And Gokey didn’t even have to play the dead wife card this time! Other folks to make the cut were oil rig roughneck (whatever that is) Jeremy Michael Sarver, Anne Marie Boskovich, and guyliner-wearing Adam Lambert, who was the Fiyero understudy in “Wicked” – no, not in a Goth cabaret, but at the Pantages in Los Angeles. Although Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle got hardly any camera time, he also progressed to the next level, as (unfortunately) did “scream-singing” Lil Rounds. Von Smith made it too; surprising, as he was never a favorite of Simon’s. But where was Anoop?
DRAMA CONTINUES ON STAGE
The most memorable moment of Team Diva’s audition was Rose doing a sort of skat as she performed what seemed to be a tribal dance. When Simon called them out on their obvious lack of preparation, Bikini Girl’s rebuttal was that she had been in heels since 5 am the day before and that she didn’t go to bed until 3. Oh, and she has scoliosis too, apparently. (Who the? What the?) When it was announced that Jasmine Murray would be the only one from the team to progress, the other girls showered her with hugs; well, except for Bikini Girl. She left the stage with a hair flip and no hug, causing Kara to utter what could only have been “bitch” under her breath. Outside the auditorium, as the other girls embraced, Bikini Girl explained that she was “not gonna do the fake thing.” One could assume that she wasn’t referring to fake tanning. Don’t worry about Rose. She should be able to smoke and toke her rejection away.
As for Team Compromise, there is nothing better than a gay man in denial leading a pre-audition prayer! Nathaniel has obviously been studying the moves of a certain pop princess for years, as his vamps were very Britney Spears, circa “Oops! I Did It Again,” and they earned him the chance to move on in the competition. No doubt Neopolitan was glad she rested her voice; she moved on as well. Uh, maybe Clown Weave should’ve rested too; she did not progress to the next round and she was not happy about it, literally shoving Nathaniel away when he tried to console her and giving Neopolitan a good ole “F*** You.”
BETTER LUCK NEXT YEAR
Among those who got the boot were baldheaded Melinda Camille, Donny and Marie’s nephew David Osmond, and pink-haired Emily Wynne-Hughes, who initially got all those tattoos so she wouldn’t have to work in an office. Anyone know a good laser place? Ryan Pinkston felt “manipulated” and “assaulted” by his audition and claimed that he had seen a side of Paula that he didn’t know was there. Could it have been…lucidity? Surely not! If so, clearly the cameras were not on hand when this occurred. He said that he saw “evil in Paula’s eyes.” That wasn’t evil, Ryan. She was just squinting from all the sequins on her drill team uniform. We can look forward to Paula’s increasingly kooky antics and outfits in the weeks to come. You see, as the judges’ degree of responsibility decreases, Paula’s amount of prescription meds and vodka seems to increase. As if that weren’t exciting enough, soon the judges’ most important decisions will be made and the fate of the contestants will rest in our hands. Hope you’re warming up your dialing finger!