Thursday, January 19, 2012

AI Season 11, Pittsburgh Auditions, Jan. 19, 2012

We open with Ryan standing on a rusty bridge that I'm sure I'm supposed to recognize. This is the first time that auditions have been held in Pittsburgh, so my guess is that it's some bridge in the area (I used to write mysteries- I'm good at deductions...).

Randy is wearing a blue plaid flannel shirt that appears to be paint-spattered. JLo is in a short green, black, and white dress that looks like it was designed after butterfly wings. Steven is in teal leather and feathers.

First up is Heejun Han, who is so busy second guessing himself that by the time he finishes his pre-show interview, he almost talks himself out of auditioning. Of course, we expect him to be awful, but surprise, surprise- he has a nice Bolton-ish voice. Maybe the show has finally found the Asian guy they look for every single season. His large family is very happy for him.

Reed Grimm is 26. He's wearing sloppy plaid shorts and a ratty tee shirt. He does a sort of scat version of the theme song of Family Matters. It's possible that he has a good voice in there somewhere, but he's far too gimmicky for me.

We get a quick montage of other Yellow Tickets: Aaron Marcus sings way too many notes, Chase Likens has an annoying country voice, and then a bunch of nameless happy people flash by, including one who may or may not be Bette Middler.

Next up is Samantha, accompanied by Patricia Bell, her sister. Samantha is wearing a blah brown strapless sun dress. Patricia is in jeans and a tee. Samantha sings marginally well. Patricia planks. And then the rest of her fairly large family planks too. They're Planking Fools.

We get some home-made footage of a performance artist wearing bunny ears in New York City. Now he's in Pittsburgh, without the ears, but wearing a shirt with the sleeves cut off, capris, and boots. He looks to be about 40, and he sings an original song about the judges that he wrote on the bus ride to the auditions. Nope, I don't like this guy, but we're going to be stuck with him for awhile. Unfortunately, even though he has the judges eating out of his hand, he still doesn't know enough to shut up. Also unfortunately, I didn't catch his name. I'm sure I'll have ample opportunity to learn it in Hollywood.

More home movies. Eben Frankowitz is 15 going on 12. He seems like a nice, ordinary kid, with his nice, ordinary family, driving from Ohio. I think to myself, Nice Kid, go back home and have a nice ordinary life before you humiliate yourself on national TV. But, he has a really nice voice.

17 year old Travis Orlando auditioned last year. The show dug up old footage of him, his father, his mother, and his twin brother. Between then and now, Travis's mother abandoned her family, he dropped out of high school, his father's health deteriorated, and they lost their home. This is the King of Sob Stories. I hate Sob Stories. I am also not fond of his voice, which is totally untrained, with absolutely no breath control. The judges try to let him down gently, but Ol' Travis trots out the tears. He begs pitifully, and they relent.

Commercial Break: Drew Barrymore looks good as a redhead, and Special K continues to feature already-thin women who want to lose weight. That new show Touch sounds interesting.

Day 2: Randy is wearing a mohair cardigan with wide blue, purple, and black stripes. Steven is in a Janis Joplin costume. JLo is in a very tight, black leather crop top, and yet another pair of pleated shorts.

Erica VanPelt is a Mobile DJ/Wedding Singer. She's wearing a plaid shirt and black jeans. She sings Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, adding 3x the notes that Carole King thought the song needed. I would probably like her voice if she would just sing the damn melody.

Steven Tyler loves his little electronic noise maker. Evidently he's a really old, creepy, 12 year old.

Shane Bruce is a 19 year old coal miner with a lot of earrings. He says that his *Pap* was also a miner. We get some footage (not home-shot) of him singing Do-Wop to the other miners underground. He actually sounds pretty good, which is too bad, because he chooses to sing a sub-standard rendition of Hallelujah (which he refers to as That Song from Shrek) for the judges. They let him down gently, and he takes the rejection well. Maybe with some training, he can come back next year (or maybe in another city this year).

Once again, we've gotten hints throughout the show about the last auditioner. Hallie Day is 24 and blonde. She's wearing a red and black striped tank, a short black skirt, and black leggings. Hallie is another Sob Story- she dropped out of high school, joined a girl band, became an addict, and was homeless and suicidal. Then she met her large, supportive husband, and clawed her way back. She sings I Will Survive in the most affected way possible. I don't love this at all, but of course, she's going through.

That's it for tonight- we only heard one reject sing, and saw not a single crazy (unless you count Bunny Ears), which I think is a first in the entire run of this show. The next episode airs on Sunday, though I didn't hear which city they invaded.

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