The San Diego auditions of American Idol are being held on an aircraft carrier, the USS Midway. That means a lot of Kenny Loggins royalties and Top Gun references – and the graphics department gets to use the special military font that they ordered!
The first contestant sets the mood for the patriotic display that is about to unfurl on the vessel. Jennifer Diley is a sushi bar waitress from Ohio who has decided that showing up on national television in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny Proud-to-be-an-American bikini is a wise life choice. Her diminutive outfit has so little fabric to offer that she has no choice but to plaster her contestant number on her bare stomach, which is undoubtedly very exfoliating. Faced with such desperate cries for attention, Ryan Seacrest has no choice but to objectify her. Twice. When Jennifer appears in front of the judges, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson are intrigued enough by her attire to give her two chances to sing, but she squanders them both with a voice that is made for silent films. Predictably, Jennifer Lopez's face looks like she is saying, "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
Ashley Robles leaves her 5-year-old daughter in the lobby (Ryan only charges a reasonable $12/hour for babysitting) while she auditions. Her song of choice is Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," which usually symbolizes a singer who has no idea of the limits of her voice. Ashley breaks that curse and manages to earn applause from the judges and an assurance from Randy that she's "going to be big." Her daughter plugs her ears while Ashley squees in excitement, which can't be good for the vocal cords.
Jayrah Gibson is a songwriter who is multi-tasking his 15 minutes by auditioning and pitching his song-crafting skills with a tune he wrote for J.Lo called "Shake Your Moneymaker." It's no "My Love Don't Cost a Thing," but it's vastly superior to "Papi." Randy feels comfortable enough with Jayrah to tell him that he is "mad, mad good."
Aubree Dieckmeyer, 20, is afflicted with a terrible disorder that's not even in the DSM-IV yet. It's where you audition for one reality show, but keep thinking that you're on another. Through take after take, Aubree tells the camera that she is sure she will be America's Next Top Model. Despite her reality show dyslexia, the judges are impressed with her natural talent and put her through to Hollywood. Good news, you are still in the running to be America's Next Top Idol!
Ali Shields is an odd duck, but she clearly thrives on that status. The 19-year-old wrote a song for Ellen DeGeneres and Ellen invited the girl on her show and then sent her to the AMAs, where Usher gave her her first kiss. That's all Ryan needs to hear to start pimping the girl out to random deck hands for more nationally televised kisses. Usher's magical smooch also gives Ali the confidence to rap a Chris Brown song in front of the judges, declare her love for Steven Tyler, booty dance and then do a passable enough version of Corinne Bailey Rae to move her to Hollywood. It's clear that Ali is going to be Vote for the Worst's favorite contestant this season.
It's not too often that you see a frat boy come on Idol who can actually sing and not just smash beer cans on his head while yodeling Nickelback. Yet here is Kyle Crews of UC Berkeley's Kappa Alpha fraternity singing well enough to earn Steven Tyler's Best Male Voice We've Heard Yet Award (no monetary value). Joanne Childers is the unfortunate center of a montage of the comedy of errors that comes from staging a singing contest on the decks of a ship docked in a working harbor – including planes, trains, foghorns and a Steven Tyler fart joke. America!
By the way, guess what, America? Jim Carrey's daughter, Jane, is auditioning for American Idol. You see, even though she is the daughter of an A-list celebrity, she just doesn't have enough opportunities to make it as a singer. The judges all vote yes, because they really like her "potential," which in this context means "dad." Then there's a montage of California girls going through to Hollywood. Guess which song they use for the montage?
Burly rockabilly mechanic Jason Hamlin prefers to be known as Wolf, despite having a Team Edward tattoo on his arm. He has only been singing for three years, but he knows enough to play the deceased father card in front of the judges. He plays a guitar that his father gave him while singing "Folsom Prison Blues," because what other song choice does a mechanic named Wolf have in this life? All three judges vote yes and Wolf's enthusiastic dance moves break the set. Luckily, he's a mechanic and knows how to repair the damage. Good thing he's going to Hollywood, because we hear there are some leaky pipes there.
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