American Idol finds some apparently genuinely delusional people in San Diego

So far, the American Idol auditions have been boring and heartwarming, and seemed to mostly be populated with people who wanted to get on television.

But in San Diego, some auditioning contestants seemed to be more than just camera whores. Well, for the first half-hour, at least. Later, Blake Boshnack, age 22, a dumbass who’s auditioned 10 times, showed up again. “You were the idiot who dressed up,” Simon said, referring to Blake’s Statue of Liberty outfit during season five. He was just one of many.

Earlier, though, Valerie Reyes, 20, had a conversation with Ryan Seacrest about watching these very episodes of the show. “They’re hilarious. I just like to sit back and watch the funny ones,” she said. Ryan asked, “when you watch, do you laugh at them?” “Oh yeah, of course. Come on, you can’t help but laugh at them,” she said, and insisted she wouldn’t be one of them.

When Simon Cowell said “oh my god” after she sang (which initially caused him to growl), Valerie said, “Yes! I hope that’s like good and not bad.” “It’s not, actually,” Simon replied. Afterwards, in the confessional, she said, “Oh, my god, now I’m going to be on the rejects, now that I think of it. This is so not cool.” The surprising part was that she seemed totally genuine the entire time.

The same was true of Monique Gibson, 24, who sang a Whitney Houston song, and when the judges said she wasn’t good, started to cry. “I went through so much trying to get here and I know I can sing, and for you guys to tell me no…I can sing.” Simon Cowell told her, “There’s nothing wrong walking out of here knowing you can’t sing,” but she disagreed. “Maybe I picked the wrong song. I know I can sing,” she said, leaving and clearly crushed.

Her friend, Christopher Baker, gave us something more familiar, the pissed off reject. “Does that sound good to you, Christopher?” Simon asked him. “Yes it does, sir,” the contestant said. “Well, you and I are listening to two very different things, because there wasn’t a single note in tune,” Simon told him. Outside, Christopher got mad. “Fuck them, fuck everybody that didn’t believe in me, you know, all my life,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the end of the episode, we were also introduced to Carly Hennessy, now known as Carly Smithson, who was disqualified during season five because of visa issues. She now seems to be the icon for the professional singers who populate the top 50 and are raising questions about the show’s fairness to true amateur singers.

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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.