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Arts and Entertainment

American Idol - Don't Cha Wish Seattle Was Hot Like Me (Season Premier, Part 2)

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Greetings from Drip City! -- The land where Jimi tread, Pearl Jam spread, and Kurt got dead.

Watching last night’s Seattle auditions was like watching nine thousand Nells emerge from the forest only to be greeted by a cold and critical society. These hopefuls were awkward and fascinating and odd. You wanted to laugh, but it was more painful than funny.

One could speculate that the bizarro-fest of talent was the toxic byproduct of wet flannel and caffeine addiction. I’m inclined to suggest that by Seattle standards, it might just be the best thing going. See, if grunge is what happens when rock & roll is sleeping-off barbiturates and a spandex rash, and American Idol is what happens when God dies and takes all the music with him, then really, there was no other way for this to go. But I digress.

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The performances of episode two were staggering. Last season’s singing cop (who, in his first audition, swayed jerkily while repeating the line, “I shot the sheriff but I did not shoot the deputy,” ) was back for another dance with destiny. This time, he was dressed as a clownish Uncle Sam on stilts (minus the stilts). We met a gal with a perma-pucker named Jennifer who referred to herself as “The Hotness,” a self-proclaimed “fluffy” gal, who was happy to oblige Randy with an impromptu rendition of Baby Got Back, a teenage, Indian, brother/sister duo in the throes of overt sibling rivalry (audibly egged-on by their parents, each other, and Ryan Seacrest), and a prancing, 6’7” tall woman who was her own wall of sound.

There was also an attack of the insane clone posse led by a mother/daughter look-a-like team (that bra-lessly went where no man had gone before), a smooth singing, Oregon gas station attendant with a penchant for Amos Lee, another 16 year old protégé who sang like a mofo, and an appearance by the Seattle beat-box champion.

The judges were back to their basic, on-screen selves when they hit Seattle. Alvin Randy was affable and called everyone, "Dawg." Simon was outraged and scowled and was snarky. Theodore Paula was compassionate and occasionally growled and made robot noises. Ryan, on the other hand, was transformed from a barely memorable host, to the unwitting butt of the joke/comic relief. He's now posing with little dogs and big women, and they even opened a door onto him mid-sentence during one of his little interstitials. My prediction is that by the end of season six, the producers will actually change his name to Mr. Furley.

Of course, no AI audition segment would be complete without the requisite, platonic-matchmaking of an oddball couple. Any new friendship between weirdos, whackjobs, or crackpots is fair game to be exploited in the context of a special-interest piece cum faux-love story. If you're nuttier-than-a-fruitcake or perhaps just a nice person with questionable social skills, be wary of any PA wandering the line who asks you why you're not wearing glitter or a hip, retro cap. Last night's victims were a sweet, cuddly guy who looked like a teddy bear, and his new BFF that Simon made fun of, likening his eyes to a jungle creature of monkey or lizard origin. Not nice.

The show gracelessly concluded with a disturbing montage of disturbed contestants singing "Don't Cha" by The Pussycat Dolls. Final count for Seattle: 9000 entered, 14 chosen.

So there you have it. American Idol -- demoralizing the fragile, and tearing apart families since 2002. And in the immortal words of Seattle's own budding serial killer, Red, "Don't sing it, just bring it." Good luck, America.

...Stay tuned next week when our fearless three battle 16,000 Elvis impersonators in Memphis.