The Dallas and Los Angeles audition legs of “AI” have spawned many a pop star (Kelly Clarkson! Adam Lambert!). This year, though, the most memorable things about these cities were the guest judges, not the contestants. It’s always interesting to see the personality behind the image (or behind the eyebrows, in the case of Joe Jonas). It’s even more interesting when you’re surprised at what you discover.
Take Los Angeles. Many people would say that it’s a city of gimmicks and style rather than substance and talent. Well, that made guest judges Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne all the more appropriate for Tuesday night’s show! Who is more gimmicky than these two? (No fair to say Posh Spice; she’s already made an appearance.)
There’s Lavigne, she of the devil-horned hoody and all-around bitchy attitude. Paula may have been crazy but at least you could see yourself having a drink with her. Wait, scratch that; she doesn’t drink. At least you could see yourself having some downers with her.
Lavigne, on the other hand, was just downright bratty. She straight-up laughed at the bad auditions and the mediocre. Particularly annoying was her reaction to contestant Jim Ranger, a Worship Pastor. (BTW-aren’t most “pastors” involved in “worship?”) Sure, Ranger didn’t have the stereotypical pop star looks but he gave a damn good audition.
Lavigne’s concern, though, was with his lifestyle choices. Doesn’t he realize that touring on the road will affect his wife and kids? How will his church life suffer? Is it possible to balance everything? Uh, no, probably not; just ask former Bible beater and fellow gimmick girl Katy Perry.
Still, that’s none of your concern, Avril. She ended up giving Ranger a big fat no for what seemed like personal reasons. Sounds like someone’s grappling with her own regrets and pending divorce.
Then there’s Perry, who sports the pin-up girl costumes of a more innocent time while warbling lyrics (badly, very badly) about hooking up with girls and getting wasted in Vegas. “Don’t be so naive,” you may say. “Those are the new rites of passage for the 7th grade set.” But I recall a time when the music landscape was a much purer place, comprised of chaste belly-baring Catholic school uniforms and artsy softcore porn books featuring Madonna.
The one thing I will say about Perry is that, whether you think she’s a talented singer/songwriter or not, she does have a strong opinion.
Case in point: contestant Chris Golightly, a lifelong child of foster care who Kara said has enough talent and enough story to connect with America. Perry’s response? “This is not a Lifetime movie, sweetheart … You have to have talent.”
Ouch. Sure, her opinion was dead wrong (Golightly was actually pretty good), but at least she had one. As much as I loathe her, I have to admit that she added some spice to the L.A. auditions and even managed to make Kara look like the “nice one,” a feat in and of itself!
As for the Dallas auditions, first things first. Yes, that was the new Cowboys Stadium, made famous (in my mind) by the reality show “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.” And yes that was Neil Patrick Harris, made famous by “Doogie Howser, M.D.” Like Paula, I always thought that NPH was the kind of guy you could have a drink (or some ‘ludes) with. But I have to say that I was surprised at how bitchy he was!
Okay, maybe “bitchy” is the wrong word. He was honest and held strong to his opinions, much like the (less talented) Katy Perry. I like the guest judges who place emphasis on the “judging” part rather than the “being a polite guest” part. You’re there to offer a professional opinion, so do it, even if that means disagreeing with Simon, as in the case of “jazzy” auditioner Kimberly Carver. (And, BTW, it was really hot when those two disagreed.)
Speaking of disagreeing with NPH and Simon, did anyone else think that the naughty girl from the “Barney” show was just a little (a) desperate (b) skanky (c) not that great? Girls, you don’t need to bring a whip to your audition to show that you’re “grown up.”
Thank goodness that Erica Rhodes did not yield her whip on Day 2, when Joe Jonas was the guest judge. That would’ve sent his purity ring-wearing heart into overdrive! (But at least it would’ve added some excitement to his stint as guest judge.) He had nothing more to say than “no” or “yeah” and offered no constructive criticism whatsoever. In fact, his infamous 27-second breakup call to Taylor Swift was probably longer than all of his “Idol” soundbites put together! I hope she’s not still mourning that relationship.
Next week, we travel to Denver for yet another round of auditions before we can get to Hollywood Week (and Ellen!). I can’t wait to see how the Mile High City will compete with Tourette’s, gang families and cancer kids!