Wednesday, January 31, 2007

American Idol in B-Ham: The Beat-Down

Birmingham, Alabama (B-Ham for short) is home to the most American Idol finalists. For this year's auditions, a whopping 20 people were granted golden tickets to fly to Hollywood.

B-Ham's ocean of singers made the NYC talent pool look like an inflatable device.

Can't say any of them stood out as the next Idol, but 17-year-old Tatiana of Atlanta was a judge favorite. Another 17-year-old, Jamie from Reidesville, North Carolina, had a decent voice but a great back story. The teen singer cares for her paralyzed father, who shot himself and his ex-wife after finding his ex in bed with another man. The judges passed her on to the next round almost because of the sob story.

The story of B-Ham was the number of closet freaks, and two definitely stood out. Margaret of Atlanta tried to play herself off as 26-years-old, but after some prodding from the judges, she revealed her true age: 50! How's a girl going to play off being twice her age on American Idol? Even if she could sing (which she couldn't), how could you not notice the sagging bags under her eyes and obviously dated style choice (what 26-year-old wears bright yellow felt gowns?).

B-Ham native Brandy, 28, got the worst of the deal. Coming in with confidence, she thought she'd win the judges over with the Madonna classic "Like A Virgen." Wrong. Then, she did that fatal Idol move - dancing to make up for a lack of singing talent.

As the judges dissed her, she pleaded her case. "Maybe it's the floor or something?" And she was dead serious.

After embarrassing herself on the carpet (!) with more terrible singing, she went outside and basically put Simon and Randy on blast. When Randy came outside (probably to incite more trash talk) she called him a "faker" and demanded him to "take your fat ass on back in there!" Randy was amused and stunned at once. It's probably been a minute since someone told him that to his face.

Of the B-Ham hopefuls, the most interesting was 28-year-old Chris from Greensville, South Carolina. Dude seriously looked like a taller, heftier version of Jack Osbourne (of "The Osbourne's"). Thick, black-frame glasses, long curly hair, and a say anything suaveness that fronted a self-assured confidence.

Young Chris immediately won the judges over when he said "I want to make David Hassellhoff cry." Once he started to sing, he had skills! Who knew Ozzy Osbourne's son could sing so well?

I don't know if they're foreshadowing in these Idol auditions, but the camera spent quite a bit of time with Chris, which makes me think he could get far in the competition. If B-Ham produces back to back Idol winners (even though Chris isn't from Alabama, he did audition there), it could solidify it's spot as the most talented city in America.

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