We got a look at the freaky side of this season’s American Idol field on the third night of auditions. We didn’t much in the way of potential finalists (the returning Casey Thrasher and one or two others aside), but we saw some people who were likely given tickets to Hollywood so they could provide some good TV during Hollywood Week.:
1. Rontarius Wilson, aka “Big Ron” except he’s “Big Sexy” when he sings “Let’s Get it on” to J-Lo. The guys put on a (pre-planned?) show of not paying much attention but join J-Lo in giving the guy “yes” votes. I didn’t think he was good enough for Idol but I suspect Hollywood Week is going to have fun with the “J-Lo and Big Sexy” plotline.
2. A montage of three successful auditions: a girl named Ashley, a longhaired guy named Josh, and Casey Thrasher, returning from last season when he, Dexter Roberts and Bill Brilley called themselves the Backstreet Cowboys in the group round. Roberts and Brilley became finalists but Thrasher was cut. Will he get further this time?
3. Joy Cook has bobbed blue hair and plays the accordion. She’s got a ukulele, too. She’s not really a singer, she’s more theatrical, more performance art. Harry, J-Lo, and Keith all love her, though. Harry cautions her about being close to a novelty act. (She’s not “close to,” Harry, she is a novelty act.) She gets three “yes” votes, probably so she may provide some comic relief in the next rounds.
4. Alexis Gomez describes herself as a Mexican hippie hillbilly and says she wants to give country a makeover. Country star Keith is unimpressed, which may indicate her level of promise, but J-Lo and Harry vote “yes.”
5. Speaking of backstreet cowboys, Anton Busher is a black country singer, cowboy hat and all. He sings “Tonight I Won’t Cry” (and I thought I heard somebody say it was a Keith Urban song). Harry likes him, votes “yes,” J-Lo likes him, votes “yes.” Keith likes him and votes “yes,” too.
6. Cedric (not the Entertainer) is a black hip-hoppy guy who’s the subject of a Twitter poll about whether or not he should get through. The numbers fluctuate wildly between the “yes” and the “no.” Both sides take turns being ahead but the final score is “yes” by a substantial margin. The judges do put him through.
7. Stephanie Grammett has a speaking voice and personality that may border on the ridiculous, but her singing voice is sublime. She sings much, much better than she speaks. She’s supposed to have been influenced by James Taylor and Stevie Nicks. For the second time tonight Keith votes “no” but J-Lo and Harry outvote him.
8. Tonight we’ve already seen a blue-haired girl with an accordion. Now we get Ellen Pearson, a blonde-haired girl with a banjo. She sounds great, picking out “I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” and she can yodel, too. She may be the first new country music discovery of the season. The judges give her three “yes” votes. Then, since the episode’s almost over, it’s time for the judges to provide some good TV. Since the girl plays hillbilly music and is going to Hollywood, Harry requests she sing the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies. She’s sandwiched in a trio with Harry and Keith while J-Lo gives them an audience.
9. In a season that looks to be loading up on throwback personalities, Kolton Posquell is living a vagabond existence right out of the anti-establishment days of the sixties folk scene. He travels around hitching, camping, and singing on the street where he can. He’s a character with long blond hair, a gravelly voice, and a guitar, but whether he can win Idol votes is questionable. However, he wins three “yes” votes from the judges, so he’s off to a good start. Harry challenges him that the next rounds are going to put him out of his comfort zone.
Ryan Seacrest says 37 singers auditioned successfully in Kansas City. Next stop is J-Lo’s hometown, New York.