Idol tries to be a freak show but judges stay flat

While American Idol 7 started with some relatively good singers and attention whores, it tried its best to turn into a freak show on its second night. Still, Simon Cowell was once again in a jovial mood, never being mean at all; the other judges, too, were barely conscious. Simon was so kind that the judges had to recycle footage from last night of someone being mad at him.

And even the parade of people wasn’t really spectacular, just several people who just seemed to be genuinely different. (AOL has their photos, bios, and links to their MySpace pages.)

For example, there was Brandon Green, who kept all of his fingernail clippings in a baggie–and brought them with him to the audition. There was the woman who went into labor at the auditions, and told us, “I just thought it was more than appropriate to name him ‘Idol,'” she said, apparently confusing “appropriate” for a synonym for “cruel.”

And then there was Bruce Dickson, age 19, who during his audition held tightly to a key charm on a chain around his neck–a key that fit into a heart-shaped charm that his father wore around his neck. Really. Bruce told us he was a virgin–and that his dad gave him a necklace with a key-shaped charm to symbolize that. “Here’s the key and it symbolizes my promise to my future wife. He has the heart, so he holds the heart for my future wife right now. And when we get married, he’ll give the heart to her, and then I’ll have the key to her heart.” In other words, his dad has the key to his heart right now, and what the fuck?

After being rejected by the judges, he asked, “Do you guys have any advice?” Randy said, “Kiss some girls,” while Simon kicked off this season’s gay jokes by saying, “avoid Ryan on the way out.”

The two-hour episode concluded with Renaldo Lapuz, who was 44. The producers have such few options that they’ve now let in a bunch of old people just to try to create some entertainment, but in Renaldo’s case, it worked. Wearing a feathered pimp-like costume and silver cape, his hat had Simon’s name on it. He sang his own original compsoition, ‘We’re brothers forever,'” and he kept singing it: “I am your brother/your best friend forever/singing the songs the music that you like/we’re brothers ’til the end of time/together or not you’re always in my heart.”

During that, Paula Abdul joined him and did a hysterical little dance, and Simon Cowell couldn’t stop laughing. “You are very entertaining; I actually like you. But it’s going to be a no,” he said. He hugged Renaldo, who during his exit interview said, “Simon, you are a great person. You give chance to everyone to sing to the whole world, and thank you. You are heaven’s chosen to give chance to any talent for free of charge. Even they throw you negative words, but there are many people who really like, who really admire you. One of them is me; you are a great person, Simon.” And that just may be the problem.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.