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American Idol: Talkin’ Bout a Revolution

Back to the ongoing American Idol auditions, now coming to you from the International Space Station. Sure, why not? It’s bound to have more singing talent on it than Aspen did. You’d be amazed how well Russian cosmonauts can carry a tune. Here’s proof:

See? What did I tell you. Okay, back to Earth, where the good, the bad and the downright ugly all came out to strut their stuff in Galveston, Texas.

The Good:

Baylie Brown got pretty close to Hollywood in Season 6, when she was only 16. Now she’s 21, more beautiful, more confident, and “ready for her close-up,” as they say in the industry. (The industry doesn’t really say that.) I guess her worst crime is being a little bland. Still, I’m guessing Top 12. What do you think?

Cortez Shaw is a nice young man who offered a soulful, uptempo rendition of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Not much to say here beyond, that’s how you do it. Also: He didn’t act like he wanted it that much, but he didn’t act like he didn’t want it. He wanted it just right!

Ramiro Garcia is a church “worship leader” who was born with no ears. Doctors said he would never be able to hear or speak, but a series of surgeries constructed him a pair of working ears. And they are not tone-deaf ears! He sang a fine version of “Amazing Grace.” Next American Idol? No. Final 24? Probably not. But he’s an inspirational story with a cute dad, so enjoy Hollywood, Ramiro!

The Bad:

A montage of J-Lo disagreeing with the men of the panel restored some of my faith in American Idol‘s ability to weed out mediocre-to-downright-terrible talent. Take Cheyenne James, the one J-Lo insisted was “rich and soulful,” going so far as to canvass the production crew to see who sided with her opinion. She was terrible. However, Linda Williams was awful, too, and J-Lo was the only one who seemed to clue into that fact. I liked her tantrum about it; J-Lo is finally letting her wall of civility come tumbling down.

The Ugly:

Phong Vu is a throwback to the golden years of Idol, when producers would pluck the freakiest contestants from the crowd, give them a platform to weave their weirdo magic, and Simon Cowell would promptly eviscerate them with a few well-placed observations. (Remember the “Bush Baby” controversy?) It was all for our amusement, and we appreciated it and/or thought it was a new low for humanity. Vu is one such contestant. An emotionally intense man with “iconic moves,” Vu performed “Unbreak My Heart,” really, really horribly. All the while, I couldn’t help thinking he probably has some dark, potentially cannibalistic secrets in his closet. He left without incident.

Then there was Alejandro Cazares, the Vladimir Lenin of the crop. A rotund man with a bright blue tongue who kept preaching about “revolution,” even Cazares’ own girlfriend wouldn’t endorse his audition. Smart girl. After his groan-inducing song, Cazares launched into another one of his proletariat-rousing speeches, landed on his knees, and begged for the judges’ mercy. He had to be escorted out by security (i.e. The Man). This guy was destined to be a motivational speaker, or possibly to usher in America’s first Freak-Led Communist Revolution, but not an American Idol.

Of all the auditions we’ve seen, who are your favorite Idol hopefuls so far?