The second night of American Idol auditions took the "hot" out of Hotlanta. Has anyone any vocal ability in Atlanta? Is there toothpaste in Atlanta or simply Cheez Doodles in the audition room? What was up with all the yellow teeth? And can we download the General's Pants on the Ground? Oh, and can someone buy guest judge Mary J. Blige a personality or convince her to donate her paycheck to something worthwhile, perhaps relief aid in Haiti? I wasn't missing the departed Paula Abdul last night but Blige's blank demeanor and bored attitude proved a major turnoff. Producers were cruel when they overdid the skits at the expense of the unfortune Jesse Hamilton, who claimed he'd almost died three times in his life and who died before the judges, but Blige's strange giggle fit was plain rude.
No one delivered anything remotely strong tonight but a 62 year old named General Larry Platt (above) ended the show on a memorable note with his original, if repetitive, tune, Pants on the Ground. That nagging hook has turned into an earworm which is making it hard to concentrate on pesky things like punctuation and spelling on the blog. This one goes on the Playlist with Season 7's We're Brothers Forever from Renaldo Lapuz.
Meantime, the judges fawned over a Sevierville cop named Bryan whose Superstar was hardly arresting and went gaga over a wan Janis Joplin rendition from Mallorie.
Judge's favorite Jermaine Sellers (above) tackled Joan Osborne's One of Us and if God was one of us, perhaps he could explain to me what was so special about this guy's voice? Jermaine was runnerup in 2007 on BET's Sunday's Best. On a remarkably weak audition's night, he wouldn't even make it into my runnerup slot in Atlanta.
No stars tonight but I finally was in tune with the judges who (aside from Blige who was more interested in the bottom of her Coke cup than in listening to anyone sing) all liked Vanessa Wolfe's (above) personality. She's a hardcore country girl, right down to the way she cried, "I'm gonna ride on an aer-o-plane!" after she won a Golden Ticket. Her song, Wagon Wheel, by Old Crow Medicine Show is dull but she is the real deal. True country singer. Hollywood will probably eat this sweet girl for breakfast, but she won me over tonight.
Two BFFs earned a split vote from the judges, sending one BFF to Hollywood and the other off the floor in tears to coin a new term: BFFUI (Best Friends Forever Until Idol.)
Overall, I hope Idol finds its sizzle next week in Chicago because after last night's nice (read: bland) auditions in Boston and tonight's dreadful Atlantans, Season 9 is not off to any better a start than Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show gig.
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