American Idol with Tude

Watching American Idol, I'm beginning to feel a little like a prisoner in a cellblock, marking off the days one by one with little scratches on the wall. How many auditions shows have we had now? Let's see... Philadelphia, Dallas, San Diego, South Carolina, Omaha, and Miami. That's six.

Counting this week's show in Atlanta, it makes seven. Feels like a hundred and seven.

But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. After one more "best of the rest" audition show, it'll be off to Hollywood next week. Hooray.

Not that this week's auditions weren't entertaining. The judges sure got their share of attitude. With so many people auditioning in each city, I'm sure Idol producers can

easily build a show around just about any common theme they want. Like in Miami, where they highlighted all the snobs and prima donnas. Or Omaha, where the common theme was

Randy, Simon and Paula acting goofy. Well in Atlanta, the theme was contestants with tude. Atlantitude.

First up was Josh Jones, a glass cutter hoping his dreams of hitting the big time wouldn't be shattered. Josh's voice was okay, but his eyes kept bugging out in a creepy way, so Simon literally made him turn around and face the other way while singing. Why not just tell him to put a bag over his head, Simon? Paula and Randy gave Josh the green light, over Simon's ocular objections.

Then came JP, who actually auditioned for Season Four, and made a big deal how he was just two spots away in line from Carrie Underwood. But apparently Carrie's talent didn't rub off, and three years hasn't been enough for JP to improve. Simon and Randy were quick to give him the axe, but Paula had trouble saying no to such a nice young man. That led to a montage of auditions where Paula just couldn't say no. As if we didn't already know this. Randy's the music guy, Simon's the mean one, and Paula's the nice one who likes

everybody....

Time now for our Tearjerker of the Night, starring Asia'h Epperson, a pretty young girl whose dad died in a car accident two days before her Idol audition. Asia'h performed bravely, keeping her composure while singing a sultry tune. The judges gave her three unanimous yesses and sent her to Hollywood, telling her (honestly, I think) that her

dad would be proud of her. The whole scene moved Paula to tears. See, I told you she's the nice one.

Next up was Brooke Helvie, a beauty queen with the title of Miss South Florida Fair. Which I think means she gets to travel from county fair to county fair posing for pictures with

livestock and officiating "Who Can Eat the Most Corndogs" contests. Brooke was out to prove to Simon that she wasn't just a pretty face, and that a pageant winner could sing too.

And she could. Skinny little Brooke belted out a big voice and got three thumbs up. Then she gave Simon a big hug. I'll refrain from making any jokes about how she's used to being

so close to livestock. Oops, I guess I just did.

After the break, we were treated to a montage of bad singers all singing "Glamorous." I don't like this song when Fergie sings it, so I thought it was apropos for the worst of the lot. Then came the tude.

In walked Eva Miller, an overly-confident, clumsy looking gal who slipped on her own audition tag and fell while singing. Simon and Paula were sure it was all a put-on, but Eva

swore it wasn't. And she absolutely could not believe that they didn't like her voice. Simon gave her a hug, but not a ticket to Hollywood, so she walked out a little p-o'd.

Then came Nathan Hite, a cocky 16-year-old who told us before his audition that he was ready with a few "comebacks" for Simon. After Nathan's lame attempt at a tune, Simon

called it a "bedroom audition." You know, as if his only practice was singing along with a record player in his bedroom. Okay Nathan, here's your chance. He walked right into it.

Time for you to spring your trap!

But all poor Nathan could muster was a sorry quip asking if Simon kept his mean retorts written down somewhere. If only 16-year-old bravado didn't have to rely on 16-year-old

intellect. Simon gave Nathan the verbal equivalent of a spanking and sent him on his way.

We did see a couple of serious contenders. Like Alexandrea Lushington, who brought her whole family with her for luck, including 93-year-old Grandma. But she didn't need any

luck with her voice.

Or Amanda Overmyer, a nurse by day and motorcycle-riding bad-girl by night. Paula, Randy and Simon loved her deep scratchy voice and dubbed her the "Rock & Roll

Nurse."

The evening ended with Tearjerker of the Night II, starring 18-year-old Josiah Leming.

Josiah's not a dropout, but he's not in school.

Josiah's not a runaway, but he left home and doesn't stay in touch with his family.

Josiah's not homeless, but he lives in his car.

Josiah's not English, but he sang with an English accent, which seemed to baffle the judges. It baffled me too, especially when you consider that most British singers don't even

have British accents when they sing. Plus, he had some weird vibrato going on. But the judges gave him three yesses, so what do I know?

In all, 19 folks from Atlanta earned a trip to the next round. Next up, it's a "best of the rest" show featuring bits and pieces from all seven audition cities. Then next week, it's on to

Hollywood. Hooray. Did I already say that? At this point, I can't say it enough.

Hooray.

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