Project ‘Idol’: Thursday’s New Orleans auditions

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READ MORE | View all of our Project “Idol” recaps from each episode this season and last

image“American Idol” premiere week continues by adding some Naw’lins spice and an extra dash of crazy in “Idol’s” steaming pot of auditions, plus quite a few knockouts compared to Wednesday’s show.

Before we dig into Thursdays’ audition show, we must correct a serious omission in Wednesday’s review: Steven Tyler (photo) does this scream-sing yowl thing to punctuate his sentences. It’s unnerving, and if it continues, it’s going to be a long season. Also unsettling is the fact that he comes off like a perv with female contestants half the age of, not him, his daughter Liv. When you’re macking on grandchildren, that’s just gross, Steven.

Anyway, contestant Blake Peterson opens the show after he has already been told no. His horrible, crying version of “Smile” at the piano in the hotel lobby scares us a little. OK, a lot. Now let’s just slide directly past five minutes of New Orleans clichés—“the crowd reached Mardi Gras intensity,” overuse of the phrases “Birthplace of Jazz” and “The Big Easy,” and Miss Seacrest not even trying to pronounce NOLA’s slogan “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler.” Yawn.

The first audition we see is Jordan Dorsey, a music and vocal coach. He’s handsome, struttin’ some personal style and actually gives “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” a little kick of his own. JLo gets goose pimples, and Mom, granny and several other family members are ready to scream and dance when he is unanimously sent to Hollywood Week.

“Louisiana is just beginning to simmer and about to boil over.” Like gumbo, get it? It’s “hot, slow and sticky like a swamp.” Get it yet? Next.

It’s about time for a string of shitty singer clips. Best judge response during this time comes from Randy: Two bars into one poor girl’s attempt, he stops her: “Baby, no.” He read our minds.

Sarah Sellers is a marketing analyst and blogger with big, beautiful lips. Tyler goes all pedophile for an uncomfortable minute, but all that goes away when Sarah kicks Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” into the stratosphere, one of the best auditions we’ve heard so far. Thanks, “Idol.”

Shipyard worker Jovany Barreto is in love with Jennifer, so he promises us he’ll show us, er, we mean show her, his abs after the audition. He sings well enough and then tells Jennifer she’s a goddess. A unanimous vote to Hollywood, but Jovany isn’t done. The abs and chest were worth the wait. Sadly, Randy and Steven lifted their shirts as well. Um, “Baby, no.”

Wow. Two commercials and only one montage of clunkers. Let’s stick to the one-hour format, “Idol” powers. Doh! Spoke too soon. “Fun facts” about Louisiana aren’t fun at all, but Randy is from Baton Rouge, and one hopeful, Jacquelyn Dupree, brings in the veteran judge’s high school football coach and photos of Randy sporting ‘70s track shorts and a half-fro. Nothing to do with “Idol” or why we’re here, but better than a clunker montage. Jacquelyn can carry a tune but isn’t ready yet. The judges send her through anyway.

Brett Rowenstone is the subject of our first full back story of the night. He looks like gay Carrot Top, and he was bullied relentlessly before an epiphany: he likes himself, and you should like you, too. After a quick hair product consultation with Steven, he puts a new spin on “Bohemian Rhapsody” that, we admit, is really good. The judges think so too. See you in Hollywood, Brett.

Of course, they have to clunker fest with the “biggest note,” “longest note,” and “a noteworthy meltdown.” Gabriel Franks is not lacking modesty. He also isn’t any good. His “Bad Romance” is just that, bad. Supabad, and not in that Pam Grier way we like. Cue spate of awful auditions.

“Could the old New Orleans voodoo curse be taking over?” No, Miss Seacrest. Commence freakshow montage: people in Halloween costumes, conga lines in the waiting room, blah blah blah. We went to pee, so if you’re on DVR, do the same or hit the fast forward button. If you do, you’ll also get to miss the seventh ad for “The Roommate” in the process.

Sadly, we were back for humble gay boy Alex Attardo. He went to “Idol Camp,” which we didn’t know existed, and now that he’s old enough, he’s here. His “Proud Mary” should have kept rollin (rollin’) rollin’ on the river. Next! Next! Please sweet baby Jesus in the manger, next!

Enter Jacee Badeaux. He looks like a 12-year-old baby dyke, but he’s actually a 15-year-old boy with a sweet vibe. It’s not quite a Clay Aiken surprise moment, but no one saw a smooth, perfectly pitched “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” about to come out of that face. But it did, brothers and sisters. It did. Yes, yes and “a heaping helping of ‘Oh yeah’” send Jacee to the Hollywood round.

The last audition of the night comes with the back story of Paris Tassin, who’s daughter has hydrocephalus (water on the brain), and even our bitter hearts get tuggged as Paris tells the story through tears. Ultimately, her version of Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home” brings the New Orleans auditions home with a little hope for Season 10 of “Idol.”

Cue flashes of 37 hopefuls from New Orleans headed to Hollywood, and color us glad that Week 1 of this grueling part of the season is over. But after Wednesday’s overwrought two hours, the producers do us a solid Thursday by showing some real standouts.

See you next Wednesday when the crew heads to Milwaukee. Yes, they’ve already shown us the cheese head hats.


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