'American Idol' Recap: Auditions Are a Drag for Steven Tyler - Rolling Stone
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Auditions Are a Drag for Steven Tyler

Aerosmith dude looks like a lady when he shows up in Oklahoma

Steven Tyler in drag was worth sitting through an otherwise snooze-worthy series of auditions in Oklahoma. The former American Idol judge and Aerosmith lead singer surprised his successors by showing up in full drag, from heels to hose to blonde wig and perfectly applied blush, just to say hi. He wouldn’t sing, not even a single bar of “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” but he did flash the panel on his way out. I miss him.

While Steven brought the laughs, Kayden Stephenson brought the inspiration. Kayden is a cherubic-faced Bieber-ish 16-year-old who breezily talked about his shortened life expectancy and the terminal illness (cystic fibrosis) that will probably kill him by the age of 35. He simply shrugged after mentioning that he doesn’t have as long to live as other people and then started to sing in an endearingly sweet voice. After he earned his golden ticket, Ryan asked, “Where are you getting this confidence from?” Kayden smiled, “I guess I was born with it. I’m lucky.” He could win this whole thing, just because no one in America could vote him off. 

‘American Idol’: Rolling Stone’s Complete Coverage

Kayden and 44 others were handed tickets to Hollywood during the final round of Idol auditions Here are the highlights and lowlights: 

When the Idol bus rolled through Joplin, Missouri, they picked up Karl Skinner. Karl could be an amazing singer, but no one would notice because his dancing is so horrifying. He told the judges he wanted “to be incomparable” and they agreed that he achieved that and earned a golden ticket to boot. 

Nate Tao‘s father escorted him to the auditions, even though his parents will never hear him sing, because they are deaf. The unassuming and relaxed ASL teacher delivered a breezy version of Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life” that wooed the judges and earned him four yeses. Randy Jackson couldn’t help but comment on the clean-cut guy’s image, quipping, “It looks like you’re going to do my taxes.” If neither singing nor teaching works out, Nate is undoubtedly thrilled he can fall back no a career as a singing accountant. 

Halie Hilburn clearly doesn’t have a trusted adult in her life to tell her that she really shouldn’t audition for Idol with her ventriloquist dummy in tow. No one to tell her that singing a duet with a yodeling bear is a really, really bad choice. Thank God for the Idol judges, who had no qualms telling her to ditch the dummy and just sing. She earned a ticket to Hollywood, but the dummy did not. 

Zoanette Johnson lost a bet with her family, that if President Obama won re-election she would sing the national anthem as her audition song. She promised Ryan, though, that it would be a version “with the flavor.” She should have lip synced over Beyoncé’s vocal track instead of delivering a bewildering performance that included a Mariah-esque aria and a booty-shaking dance.  The seemingly slap-happy judges put her through to Hollywood so she could be kicked out later. 

God told Anastacia Freeman to audition for American Idol. Unfortunately, God did not imbue her with singing talent. So much so that Anastacia stopped her performance of “Unbreak My Heart” to ask the judges if they were laughing at her. They lied. Out in the parking lot, Anastacia denounced Nicki Minaj as a devil worshipper and swore she would never listen to another Mariah Carey album again. 

Previously: Nicki Minaj Ignores Basic Fire Safety


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