Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, where nobody has anything else to say about this city except that there was a musical about it once, and where “American Idol” wrapped up auditions by adding some potentially insane contestants to its roster.
Oklahoma City, where Steven Tyler in drag is one of the more easily digestible sights to behold. Though that’s actually Steven Tyler’s own fault for looking like Steven Tyler in drag most of the time anyway.
Oklahoma City, where Wednesday night’s Papa Peachez has nothing on the oddities that emerged here. A yodeling puppet. A booty-shaking patriot. A prophet. And another really short guy.
We started the night with Karl Skinner, a pizza chef who seems a little unhinged, but gets it together enough to sideways moonwalk though “I Feel Good.” He said he tried out because he wanted to “prove gingers have soul,” which is a near insurmountable task, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. Karl did a second number, an original tune on his guitar about some devastating heartbreak, which seemed inconsiderate since his newlywed wife is right outside the door. The judges weren’t into the second song so much but sent him through to Hollywood anyway, with hopes of ginger-soul pizza in their future.
Nate Tao did the first of tonight’s multiple Stevie Wonder auditions. The sign-language teacher, who grew up with two deaf parents, got a golden ticket for his rendition of “For Once in My Life,” despite Randy Jackson’s observation that “you look like you’re about to do my taxes.”
Next, Halie Hillburn, the lost character from that Mel Gibson movie that proves Jodie Foster is more than a little crazy, showed up for her audition with a ratty and weirdly long-legged bear on her arm. The ventriloquist then proceeded to duet with her puppet Oscar on the Patsy Montana classic, “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” Guess which one of them did the yodeling. Keith Urban was cracking up the entire time, and Randy just asked, “What is this?” But the girl could actually sing. Even the puppet could sing. Though he was quickly cast aside into a crumpled pile on the floor as Halie sang another song and got a golden ticket.
And THEN things got weird. In the first of two efforts tonight at fiction filmmaking, Oscar is shown wandering the earth all alone, torn from his companion, busking on the street (“Will Yodel for Food”), and finally, discarded, his long legs sticking out of a dumpster.
Next up, Zoanette Johnson had all the makings of an audition gone terribly wrong. Unbelievably tight and short clothing. An exuberance and energy most people would need a couple of Four Lokos to have. An octave-busting screech as a tribute to Mariah Carey. Forgetting the words to the “Star-Spangled Banner.” A dirty proposition to President Obama. Somehow, add that all together in just the right amount, and you win a ticket to Hollywood.
Tone deaf Anastacia Freeman tried out because she got a message from god, whom she refers to as “them.” She said it all started when she watched Philip Philips win last year, and then a few weeks later, she was writing in her journal and heard a voice that kept repeating “Idol.” In “Idol”s own “cheap dramatization,” an actress playing Anastacia asked them, “Hmm, what about ‘The Voice.’” “No!” they said. “X Factor?” “NOOOOO!” they said. So clearly, when a voice is telling you to audition for a music show by saying “Idol” over and over, it’s either trying to tell you to audition for “American Idol,” or that it’s time to close the journal, pick up the phone, and have yourself committed.
Anastacia didn’t do so well with the judges, and in her post-audition anger, came across as more rational than she let on earlier. “I will no longer listen to Mariah Carey. And I never listened to Nicki Minaj, so that’s no loss,” she said. “She worships the devil, I heard, anyway, so.”
Kayden Stephenson was the second short guy to close the show in two nights, after yesterday’s Matheus Fernandes. But where Matheus had no explanation for his height, Kayden said it was because of cystic fibrosis, which he explains as a disorder that makes your mucus thick. Kayden’s life expectancy is 35, so at 16, he’s got to accomplish all the things we lazy people save until our 70s, namely becoming a reality TV superstar. He sang Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” and it was a far too simplistic rendition, but he scored points on the inspiration front. They even put an infuriating #idolinspire hashtag in the bottom corner of the screen during the audition. So Kayden made it through, in the last of many unison quadruple yesses tonight.
But that’s not all. For some reason, Steven Tyler was in OKC and just couldn’t stay away from his alma mater. But rather than just show up as his own weird self, he put on some lipstick, a middle-aged schoolteacher skirt suit and one of Nicki’s blonde hairpieces and—looked exactly like he always does. In the audition room, he ripped off the wig, and nope—didn’t look any less feminine. Pulled out the stuffing from one of his boobs? Still the same. The judges gave him a NO on Hollwyood, and off he went, mooning the panel on his way out, off to yodel for some food.