Okay, look, I know the audition phase is always a freak show, but tonight was in a class all its own.
For starters, on day one in Birmingham, Paula Abdul is trashed. I mean, right from the start. Just out of her freakin’ head deeeeeeeeeerunk. Not the twitching-a-little-and-making-no-sense Paula we’ve come to know and love, but actually-on-the-floor-and-having-trouble- standing-and- laughing-at- inappropriate-times out of her goddamn skull drunk. I suppose it’s possible that the sound feed between the auditioners and the judges table got dropped. Or, you know, the sound feed between Paula Abdul’s brain and the rest of her body got dropped. Or, most likely, Paula herself got dropped on her head as a child. Sigh. This is only day one.
Day one also brings Jamie Lynn Ward, who is Kellie Pickler on acid. This girl has a Southern accent I didn’t know you could actually hear outside the context of a comedy sketch. Simon asks her to tell them something interesting about herself. Which is the politest way the producers could come up with of getting at the following response: “I live wit may grammaw and may daddy’s paralyzed from here down. He shot hisself raight here (pointing to neck). His waif wuz cheatin awn im, which wuz may stepmomma an he cawt em in the act an it wuddn’t the firs time so like he shot her and he shot hisself and now I live wit may grammaw to help her take care a im.” Beat. “But its okay.”
Please, God, why am I laughing so hard right now? I can’t stop! I am a bad person, I admit it. I have scoured YouTube for footage of this eloquence, but I can’t find it yet. Please please please Lord let it be up tomorrow. Please please if any of you finds this on YouTube, send me the link. I’m begging you! I must have this thing on my blog.
By day two, Paula’s in a rehab detoxing. Or, as Ryan Seacrest narrates, at a “family obligation” in Los Angeles. So it’s just Randy and Simon at the judges table. Which, frankly, makes for a really strange chemistry, and I realize now how important Paula is, drunk and all. I know Birmingham isn’t exactly the music capital of the world, but was there really no one in that city who could judge on short notice? For 30 million viewers? Tammy Wynette, where are you when we need you?
Alright, alright. I’m done for now. I’ll shut up. In closing, to quote the inimitable Leslie Carter: “It’s, like, wow!”