American Idol Needs to Get On With It

I guess it has slipped my mind from past seasons how much time American Idol usually spends on these "audition-only" episodes. After last week's two-night, four-hour season premiere, for some reason I thought we were pretty much done with the tryouts.

Nope. Not by a long shot.

This week, Idol took us to San Diego and South Carolina. I have to admit that I missed much of the San Diego show, because I was a little distracted by Heath Ledger's sudden and sad death. But for the sake of Film.com readers, I hunkered down for Wednesday night's SC show.

American Idol Week Two Review 

I'm beginning to think that A.I. shouldn't stand for American Idol. It should stand for Artificial Intelligence. Artificial as in, not real. As in, most of these contestants don't seem to have any real brains in their heads. As in, they're stupid. Or tone deaf. Or both.

Once again, were treated to a virtual parade of wannabe Idols who couldn't sing if they had a gun to their head, and made me wish I had one to mine.

Like Aretha Codner, who, as Simon pointed out, had the biggest belt ever. Okay, it wasn't her belt that was big, it was her boobs. But Simon obviously couldn't say that, at least not on camera.

Aretha told the judges she was named after Aretha Franklin. But that's where any likeness with the Queen of Soul stopped. THIS Aretha couldn't sing worth a hoot. She could, however, argue, and seemed positive that if she just stood there long enough telling the judges over and over how good she is, eventually they would let her go to Hollywood. Sorry, no go.

And then there was Joshua Boson, who was even worse than Aretha and even more argumentative. After belting out something that sounded like a baritone cat caught in a crankshaft, Joshua could not believe they didn't like him. He accused Simon of rigging American Idol, then stormed out before Randy, Paula or Simon could reject him. How rude! The least you can do, Joshua, is let America see that look on your face when all your hopes and dreams are crushed.

Actually, though, I'm getting a little tired of the awful auditions. I've seen enough train wrecks to hold me over for a while. I've had my William Hung fix for '08.

I think Idol producers might feel that way too. They seemed to feature more legitimate contenders this episode.

Like 16 year old Amy Flynn, a self-appointed abstinence preacher and captain of her dance team. Randy said she had "mad potential," although Simon found her annoying and predicted that America would too. Still, you knew she was getting a ticket to Hollywood because they had video from her home town. That's always a sure sign.

And there was London, a young woman who had put her singing career on hold to care for her ill father, but got the thumbs up from R, P & S. (Again, we knew she'd be going to Hollywood as soon as they showed video of the hospital where her father stayed.)

I will give credit to Idol for a few good fake-outs. After showing video of Air Force transport pilot Lyndsey Goodman flying a C-17, I thought for sure she was going to make it. No way would A.I. go to all that trouble if she wasn't a finalist, right? Wrong! Lyndsey didn't make the cut.

Neither did Oliver Highman, whose wife went into labor the morning of his audition, forcing him to rush her to the hospital and miss his Idol appointment. We got to hear their whole story, and practically see the birth of their baby, Emma Grace. But when it came time for Oliver's make-up audition, he didn't cut it. Simon called him "over-the-top" and Randy hated his vibrato.

You got me Idol. You got me good.

Throughout the show, Ryan Seacrest kept hinting at how shallow the talent pool was in South Carolina. But in the end, things were not as bad as they'd have us believe. 23 contestants were chosen to move on to Hollywood, more or less the same number they've selected from other cities.

Next week, it's more auditions from Omaha. I don't know how much more I can take. Come on Idol, let's get a move on!

Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.