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American Idol: Chicago Auditions

You know it’s a bad day at the “Idol” auditions when you’re more likely to hand out restraining orders than golden tickets. That was the case as “American Idol” landed in the Windy City for the third stop on its audition tour.

With Randy’s weird, yet hip, two-toned plaid shirt, as well as guest judge and country singer Shania Twain along for the ride, we got a taste for Chicago’s weirder side. There was the self-proclaimed “weird accordion lady,” the yodeling bride and the Carlton Banks impersonator. (Sing it with me everyone! “It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone, dadoodoodoodoodoo…”)

But none were stranger tonight than Tiny Tim-wannabe, Brian Krause. How strange you ask? Let me count the ways. For one, with his contorted face and curled up fists, Brian looked like he was one angry spirit away from an exorcism. Two, while singing “tip toe through the tulips,” this dude actually tiptoed! (And even the tiptoeing was creepy!) And three, in his post-audition interview, Brian said he was going home to take a relaxing bubblebath. Calgon, take him away! (Please!)

It wasn’t all crazy outfits and strange noises in Chicago, as 13 singers made it through to Hollywood. Here’s what went down in Second City:

Ones to Watch:

Katelyn Epperly- With her tasty concoction of Duffy’s “Syrup and Honey,” Epperly stood out to the judges. Shania called her unique, while Kara noticed some potential. She’s sailing through to Hollywood, and if her vocals hold up, her sad backstory could make her a semifinals contender.

Charity Vance- It’s amazing how many 16-year-olds have fallen into the “Ones to Watch” column this season. I guess all these kids who’ve watched “Idol” since they were 8 years old have had some time to analyze Simon’s critiques and polish themselves for the audition. Salon-singer Charity definitely stood out tonight with her rendition of “Summertime.” And surprise, surprise, it was Simon who gave one of the best compliments he’s ever given in an audition, saying she was unique to herself and had a “great voice.” If she can stand the pressure in Hollywood, she may have a shot at the semifinals as well.

Angela Martin- And the heartstring stories continue. This was Angela’s third time at an “Idol” audition. She’d pulled out a few seasons ago when her father passed away, and pulled out again last year to attend traffic court. But everything was good when she sang Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine.” Simon said he loved this show because of people like her who need a break and are really good. The judges handed her a golden ticket, and I think she may have what it takes to charge ahead. Just remember Randy’s advice, Angela, and drive slower!

John Park- His parents didn’t want him to sing when he was younger, but it’s a good thing he kept going, or we wouldn’t have heard his soulful voice tonight. Shania almost stuck her boot in her mouth when she said he had a nice “bottom end,” though she meant he has a good lower register. (Get your minds out of the gutter, people!) And then she said she liked his head. (Not sure about that one.) Then it ended with Shania smacking Randy with her shirt tassels, to which Simon asked: “Are you whipping Randy?”

Paige Dechausse- After an asthma attack at 15 years old only gave her a 30 percent chance of survival, Paige came back to prove her doctors wrong. With a nice country/old school rock and roll tone to her voice, Paige channeled her inner Taylor Hicks to sing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” Simon called her self-indulgent and said no, while the other three judges sent her through. I agree with Shania that she has personality in her vocals.

Pretty Good, but Need More Work (or more screen time):

Josh Ray, Keith Semple and Marcus Jones all got golden tickets, but the producers pushed their auditions to the last 42 seconds of the show. It’s not enough time to find out what kind of singers they are, or even WHO they are, but I’ll make this prediction now: Keith’s “shark fin” will be the hairdo of the season. Unless Sanjaya shows up, that is. (Oh no! I said his name! Let’s hope he doesn’t pull a Beetlejuice and pop into the festivities, combing his pony-hawk with one hand and the dragging that crying girl with the other.)

So Strange, There Are No Words (OK, maybe a few words…):

Amy Lang- This “Broadway Baby” told the world of her inappropriate dream with Ryan Seacrest. For that, she should be banned from the show (and I should scrub my brain with detergent), but they let her audition anyway. Beginning with a fake faint on the ground (which for a few seconds had the judges dialing 9 and 1, just in case), Amy then demonstrated her patented “boob flex.” I think those last two words say it all.

Curley Newbern- His highpitched voice had Simon wondering if when he sings, do animals flock to his home? And I’m betting Shania wanted to say “That don’t impress me much.” (C’mon, was I the only one waiting for it?)

Harold Davis- Confident in his planned Usher performance, Harold said he was tired of microwave dinners and ready for some steak. Then the judges made him cry. At least Shania tried to let him down easy.

Despite the low number of golden tickets, did any of Chicago’s hopefuls wow you at all? Are you pulling for miracle child/asthmatic Paige Dechausse even if Simon isn’t? And has tip-toeing Brian Krause become this week’s General Larry Platt? (Um, probably not.) Post your comments below and check out “Idol” on Wednesday as it heads to Orlando, with guest judge Kristen Chenoweth! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on January 19, 2010 11:01 PM
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