Finally -- the last glacially paced auditions episode of season 11! This time the crew hit St. Louis -- "the gateway to American Idol success" -- to find the next Carrie Underwood. I don't know if they did, but I'm quite certain that Randy Jackson still hasn't found the Arch.
Somehow the editors only found time to show us five of 46 golden ticket winners in an hour. The best-spent of the remaining minutes by far featured an amusing silent-movie spoof. But instead of The Artist, it's The Contestant. No artists here! Just thousands of hopefuls -- singing when they're ready, stalking Steven Tyler with their dripping fangs, chasing their dreams in their Ford Tauruses. What a world.
Johnny Keyser, 22, delivered on Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," to the delight of the judges and a few dozen of his blonde family members. Randy, who is usually of little value, was so into the good-looking Italian restaurant waiter that he prompted him to keep singing because he wanted to hear the high note. "It's been…" he begged with his hopeful dawg eyes. And it was a treat! "You know you're gonna be a star, right?" J. Lo asked Johnny. So that's who she's been addressing all season. Recognize your destiny, boy! And bring me some arancini.
If there's one thing I've learned so far on this season of American Idol, it's that husbands are evil and their primary aim is to hold you back from your dreams. Our latest wronged woman was Rachelle Lamb, a 26-year-old construction worker (!) with a cute little bespectacled daughter named Madison. All the little girls are named that. You don't even have to ask. So the former pro singer did a Faith Hill song her ex disliked, "Find Somebody New." A new Carrie??? Not so fast, but I can see voters loving this woman. She's up there singing a country song about being wronged, and she's singing it to her daughter as if no one else is in the room. Very relatable.
I wasn't as impacted by Reis Kloeckener, the bullying victim who found solace in the outstretched jazz hands of his high school's glee club. Good tie-in for Fox, but was his voice really that great? Baby's got the runs! We've all heard some melismatic renditions of "Lean on Me" in our Idol-watching days, but this one was a little over-the-top. So was Steven: "You made me cry; that's how good it was. You made me tear up and get all crazy inside." To be fair, he probably wasn't lying. These things just happen when you're Steven Tyler. "Don't even say that to me right now!" sputtered Reis, having forgotten he was in the ultimate bully-free zone: A Simon Cowell-free Idol audition room.
Madonna then stepped up to audition with a special preview of her new video for "Give Me All Your Luvin.'" "Hey, football!" said Randy. "Come here Mama," said J. Lo. "She's--I mean, I'm too old to be so young," said Steven. Three yeses! Madonna is through to Hollywood.
NEXT: Can somebody please get Ethan Jones a band-aid?