American Idol: Season 15, Episode 2

While American Idol loser (because, you know, he lost) and wannabe politician Clay Aiken was going on Twitter to say he’s ‘watched root canals more entertaining than these judges’, the second episode of the reality competition proved to be very exciting and funny, before climaxing in true reality style; highly emotional, with tears rolling all over the place.

Speak or Sing
It must be a blast to work for American Idol in the editing room. Anything seems possible. Whatever way you choose to start the show, the producers appear to be on board. It’s what keeps the show fresh, unpredictable and fun. What other reality series does that? Apart from a lot of editing trickery, this is still just a show about people singing a song. And Cameron ‘how are y’all?’ Richard does just that, even though years ago, doctors had told him he’d probably not be able to speak, let alone carry a tune. But there he is, standing in front of Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban. He’s got a very nice voice, and gets three yeses. On top of it all, he gets a spot on the ‘cute’ list.

Another popular list is the ‘I’m going to seduce J-Lo’ list, and Daniel ‘I’m crazy’ Farmer is definitely on it. Dressed in camouflage, he’s singing and winking to Jennifer. It has an effect on her, too. He’s the perfect combination of funny and sexy, according to J to the Lo. Dalton ‘school of rock’ Rapattoni has a different battle plan. He’s taken the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber song ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and plays it like Fall Out Boy would. The judges love it. Another original take on a well-known song, comes from La’Porsha ‘hair explosion’ Renae. She takes Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ into a whole new direction, while her baby’s watching from the hands of Jennifer. It’s a brilliant take on the indie classic, with runs Thom Yorke can only dream about.

Farm of Talent
It’s not all good news. Maddie ‘zoo girl’ McAllister can definitely sing, and she’s brought a chicken ‘with the biggest breasts in Arkansas’ with her, but her voice needs a few more years. The chick (the animal) doesn’t have a name, so Harry figures ‘Dolly’ would be very appropriate. There’s more talent coming from the countryside: when white boy Trent ‘restaurant farm/farm restaurant’ Harmon starts to sing, it’s clear a black R&B singer’s trapped in his throat. It’s a great performance, but he’s only sung to cows up to this point. He’s not fishing for compliments; he just wants to know if it was any good. Yes!

Sorry Sorry Sorry
Then Brook ‘take 6,814, action!’ Sample is up. It doesn’t matter what she does – talk, sing, walk into a room -, she’s apologizing in every other sentence. Jennifer likes her self-deprecating quality, but this is going to tire me out real fast. She has a sweet voice, so we’ll see her again. And there he is: Bruno Mars. One of his songs, at least. Olivia ‘bookend to Kelly Clarkson’ Rox comes in with a guitar, but then plays the piano instead. She seems very run of the mill, but the judges let her through anyway.

An Act, Not A Real Person
There’s a short segment with girls girls girls, who all got a ticket to Hollywood. Jessica ‘black hat’ Clark, Ameet ‘mercy’ Kanon and Kayla ‘elf with a guitar’ Mickelsen. But then it’s goosie time. Melanie ‘piercing eyes’ Tierce tears the jury up. It’s too much for Harry to take; he walks off. Another girl with a fantastic voice; it’s more than he can handle. But the winning streak of the women isn’t over yet. Malie ‘Seacrest fangirl’ Delgado, a DJ on the radio – among many other things. ‘Everything you can think of, I’ve probably done it’, she says, whatever that means. There’s nothing like buttering up the judges, so she reveals that Harry’s a heartthrob in her house. Keith, quick as always, comments: ‘What kind of house is that?’ She sings adequately, also puts a rap in there, but I can’t help thinking I’m looking at an act, not a real person.

4 Yeses
Ryan Seacrest joins the judges, for the first time ever. Harry gives up his place behind the desk. Brandyn ‘don’t hug the piano player’ Burnette plays an original song, called ‘Lost’. While singing, Harry embraces him from behind (‘For a second I thought it was my mom’). It’s an easy one for Ryan, and the rest of the jury. Brandyn gets not 3, but 4 yeses.

If you have an American Idol coffee cup, you must be the biggest Idol fans in the world. Kyrsti Jewel and her family are ‘obsessed’ with the show, and what better way to say farewell than to audition and get that golden ticket, to get the ultimate Idol experience. Being a fan can cause you to be seriously star-struck, though, which happens to Sarah ‘over-confident’ Hayes. First, she half-insults Keith, and when she finally starts to sing, she stops after every line to say she’s sorry for screwing up. For some reason, Harry wants to give her the benefit of the doubt. Luckily, Jennifer and Keith had their ears wide open and gave her two thumbs down.

Last but not least: Tristan McIntosh. This is what reality television is all about, and Idol knows how to execute it perfectly. The 15-year old girl is singing beautifully. It’s just too bad her mother’s not there to see it. The military sent her overseas. Tristan makes Jennifer tear up, which in turn tears up Tristan. After singing, Harry’s got a surprise. An email. From her mom, wishing her good luck. Prepare to open the floodgates, because totally unexpectedly, her mom appears from behind the cardboard set. Idol had brilliantly built up to this powerful, emotional moment. This is what should silence all the Clay Aikens out there. This makes a heart of stone get all soft and fluffy. These are moments only Idol can provide, which makes me wonder why this has to be the final year. I think the ‘farewell’ is only temporary. It must be. In 5 years time, Idol will make a comeback. You can quote me on that.

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