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American Idol recap: 'Show Me' the Talent

As the audition train stops in Kansas City, MO, the producers decide to focus on (gasp!) good singing

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Lil Rounds Von Smith

American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

The economy is halfway between your toilet and your local waste-treatment facility. The unemployment rate is growing faster than the “Value Size” soda at your local Cineplex. Things have gotten so bad you can’t even count on a Will Smith movie to crack the $100 million mark at the box office anymore. (Although, let’s be honest: Those trailers for Seven Pounds looked kinda busted.)

But fret not, folks. Look up there in the sky! It’s a Paula (as expected, joyriding through the clouds)! And a Randy! And a Simon! And something we’re being told is called a Kara! And they’re bringing you the shiniest, happiest, feel-goodiest season of American Idol auditions that you ever did see. Sweet, talented mother of three whose apartment just got destroyed by a tornado? You’re goin’ to Hollywood! Burly welder who put your singing dreams aside to raise and support your peach of a three-year-old daughter? Grab a golden ticket! And what the heck, even if you’re only a marginally tolerable spaz who dreams at night about Simon Cowell, there’s room for you in the next round — provided that your mom flew out from Florida to lend support and that you use the word ”please” when imploring the judges to help you fulfill your lifelong goal of superstardom. Oh, and if that’s not enough to lift your spirits, we’ve got plenty of footage of potential Idols’ families hilariously hugging Ryan! (Say what you want about the pint-sized hostbot, but don’t you think Fox could spin ratings gold from a special summer series called Squeezing the Bejeezus out of Seacrest?)

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining about the way Idol emphasized the positive during tonight’s audition rounds from Kansas City, MO (hometown of last year’s champ David Cook). Quite the opposite, I was elated that the show’s producers chose to highlight 13 of the 27 successful auditions from the ‘Show Me’ state — a much better ratio than Idol addicts have come to expect in recent seasons. And perhaps even more interesting, the night’s best auditions focused on seemingly average Joes and Janes, folks with ordinary jobs, living ordinary lives, and stepping into the spotlight to chase extraordinary dreams. What better elixir for the doom and gloom permeating the bulk of today’s news headlines? (Then again, I try my best to avoid Idol spoilers, so I should probably brace myself for the news that Welder Guy had a three-record deal with Sony back in 2005.)

Still, even if you found yourself wearing your Idol warm fuzzies like a pair of footie pajamas by the end of tonight’s show, the reality is that in about a month’s time, all of these likable dreamers are going to be thrown into the musical Thunderdome: 36 singers will enter, and only one will leave. Which means it’s time to look at the Kansas City Thirteen perhaps a little more critically than our suddenly soft-hearted judging panel did tonight. Let’s separate ’em into four distinct groups:

NEXT: A Lil something good

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