Pushing the Texas cowboy angle, the play "Rawhide" and edit the footage of the gathered crowd to seem like cattle. We're supposed to smirk at the kids' willingness to sing "Rawhide." Don't they know they're being led to the slaughter?
"Are you an aggressive performer?" Ryan asks the burly Bryan Kyrish. "Oh, yeah," he says. Ryan: "Why do you say it like that? It's almost creepy." Bryan is the first audition, and we're left puzzling over whether he's on because he's going to be great or because he's going to be awful. You'd think by now I'd've picked up the cues and would know what was going to happen, but all I know is that it's going to be one or the other. He sings "Rebel Yell," yells "Rebel Yell," and it's not creepy, it's scary. "It was a lot of shouting without a melody," says Simon. Yep.
Haley Scarlato looks good, sounds good, "a bit caberet." I thought they'd love her, but they're just: "You deserve a second chance."
Next is Jasmine Holland, who's terribly shy. She's a black woman from a gospel choir, so I assume she'll be terrific, but she's awful, and they laugh in her face. Paula says she seems sad, and she bursts out and says it's because "y'all're being rude" -- which is true. She then proceeds to attack Randy: "What do you do? I'd never heard of you before 'American Idol'... You were in the background..." Outside the audition room, she's all: "Simon, what is he? He's not even American." Her mother backs her up: "He needs to go back to... where's he from? French." Ryan corrects: "No, he's British." Mom: "He needs to go back to British and be the judge for British people. He's not American, so how can he tell who sings and not sings?" I'll bet they put some thought into whether to use this segment, since it invites viewers to laugh at people who aren't well educated, but I can see how they overcame whatever resistance they had. The young woman was quite bad and deluded, and she got nasty and abusive. She also cried two giant streaks of tears out of each eye.
Next is Baylie Brown, the girl from Krum, who lives around horses, but is also afraid of them. She has a brilliant smile and dimples, and she tells us that at heart she's a city girl. She's only 16. She looks fabulous and sings in a charming country style. "You're commercial with a capital C," Simon tells her.
They do the "wrong door" routine again, the lamest source of humor this season. Why is one door locked? There was at least a punchline: One girl got through the locked door.
A guy sings "Amazing Grace" all off key and gets a no. He's entirely accepting of that but as a joke, after he leaves the room, he starts yelling at them as if he'd lost his cool. His cousin Akron Wilson is next, and he sings the great song "A Change Is Gonna Come." They tell him he's charisma challenged but give him another chance, so he tears into "Let's Get It On," and they like him.
Next, they make a young woman cry. She's bad, and they say "Are you serious?"
Ashlynn Carr is beautiful but a little strange. She's one of the few contestants who gets a no from Randy and Paula, but Simon's a yes. After she's gone, Simon says we're making a mistake. Bring her back. She does "Inseparable," and Simon leans way back and massages his man-boobs in big circles and opines, "You have some very bad habits." But they let her through.
Jake the Snake -- Jacob Tutor -- says he's influenced by Kurt Cobain, and he sings something I can't recognize -- something about being in Hell. "I think you need to be in a very dark bedroom to sing that song," says Simon.
Jimmy McNeal says he's going to sing "Cupid," but he sings "Another Saturday Night" shifting into "Cupid." Simon says, "You're like a little, fun Ruben, aren't you? Remember when we first met Ruben. That was when he used to smile." Oh, how painful! That's the saddest thing anyone ever said on the show. Ruben doesn't smile anymore? He smiled when they first met him, and they they put him through the "American Idol" machine, and now he doesn't smile anymore. But welcome to the machine, Jimmy!