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Reality TV Recap

'American Idol': Oklahoma City auditions recap

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Aired Friday, Feb 1 2013 at 20:00 GMT on

Yeehaw! We're in Oklahoma, where the wind certainly comes sweepin' down the plains, as the old song goes. Also - fun fact - it's where Hanson come from. You know, the 'MmmBop' boys? I used to love them. Anyway, we're in Oklahoma City now, and there are thousands lined up for their chance at stardom, or at least their chance at a golden ticket to Hollywood for a few days. Let's see what they've got in store for us.

First up, it's Karl Skinner from Joplin, Missouri. He seems a bit loopy, but I suppose things get like that in the south with all that moonshine (I kid! I love you, southerners!). He wants to prove that gingers have soul, so he tries out James Brown's 'I Feel Good', complete with some shuffling dance moves and banshee-like screaming that gives the panel a laugh. He also plays the guitar and performs an original, which is suitable for open mic night at a coffee shop but certainly not a world stage. Sorry, Karl.

American Idol auditions: Karl Skinner

© Fox / Michael Becker

American Idol auditions: Nate Tao

© Fox / Michael Becker


[Left: Karl Skinner / Right: Nate Tao]

Keith is uncertain who he wants to be as an artist, but Randy likes him as he's "wild" and lit up the room. Nicki didn't like when he played the guitar as it was "restricting the monster inside" of him. Both Nicki and Randy joke that he could be the Idol mascot and take over Ryan's job. He gets a yes from everyone on the panel, but it's clear that vote was for novelty and we won't be seeing Karl past Hollywood week.

Before we can hear some more talent, we're first treated to a nice little video round-up of some rather tragic singers - one of whom even sings Nicki's 'Super Bass' - and none of whom are even worthy of having their names displayed on screen. It's rather unfortunate how incapable some people are of, you know, hearing what they actually sound like. Do they not have family and friends that want to spare them the embarrassment?

But back to the good stuff. Nate Tao is next, and absolutely adorable. He's an American Sign Language teacher who began learning it since both of his parents are deaf. He looks so precious! I don't mean that in a condescending way, though I suppose it sounds that way regardless, so I'll leave it there. He's singing Stevie Wonder's 'For Once In My Life' and he's good - not incredible, but solid - and I like his tone and just find him so pleasant that he has to get through.

Mariah enjoyed it, especially since Stevie is her favourite artist. She loves the song choice and thinks he did a great job, while Nicki notices his charisma and his unique tone for a guy. Randy appreciates that he's unassuming and has a very nice voice, and Keith likes him because it seems like singing comes easy to him - it's effortless and beautiful. It's a unanimous yes for Nate.

Oh, Lord. Next up, it's ventriloquist Halie Hilburn, who's brought one of her puppets to the audition. What's wrong with people? She even wants to duet with the thing. She's singing some song about cowboy sweethearts and making the puppet bob along... it's just too strange. Her voice is okay at best, though it's okay when she's yodeling - or, er, making the puppet yodel.

American Idol auditions: Halie Hilburn and Oscar

© Fox / Michael Becker

American Idol auditions: Zoanette Johnson

© Fox / Michael Becker


[Left: Halie Hilburn / Right: Zoanette Johnson]

Mariah jokingly wonders whether Oscar would open for her if she was an artist, so Halie offers to sing on her own without the puppet. Good idea. She's okay and can hold a tune, but I just don't think it's good enough. Keith says that Oscar is holding her back because she can sing, which Mariah agrees with, adding that she has a beautiful voice. Nicki thinks her voice is pretty and immediately votes yes, as do Keith and Mariah. Randy would have said no, but it doesn't matter - she's through.

The cream of the crop is up next, and I mean this sincerely. Zoanette Johnson is 19, dressed to the nines in fluorescent spandex and pleather and has the best personality ever. She's got an okay voice - doesn't know how to use it to save her life, but it is there. She sings 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and forgets the words halfway through (Mariah helps out). It's all sort of disastrous in the best way possible. Zoanette for president!

Nicki absolutely loves her and says she's "obsessed" with her and Zoanette asks Mariah if she's impressed - which she is. The whole thing seems to be dissolving into madness as Zoanette does the butterfly, tells the panel to hurry up because she has a lunch date and addresses President Obama in the camera as she asks for an invitation to the White House. She gets a unanimous yes from the panel - thank God we'll get to see this genius again!

That afternoon, it seems like everyone is crying, which I find hilarious. There are a lot of disappointed men and women leaving the auditions, and even some happy ones. I suppose American Idol is an emotional experience. Hopefully Anastacia Freeman can bring things back to normal... but wait, she cries before she even gets in to see the panel!

American Idol auditions: Anastacia Freeman

© Fox / Michael Becker

American Idol auditions: Kayden Stephenson

© Fox / Michael Becker


[Left: Anastacia Freeman / Right: Kayden Stephenson]

Anastacia is singing Toni Braxton's 'Unbreak My Heart'... well, singing is probably not the right word. She screeches through the lyrics and just has zero vocal talent whatsoever, which is a shame for all of us - her for being so delusional and us for having to listen. The panel dissolves into laughter but tells her they're not laughing at her when she asks. "Oh, okay!" she beams before continuing.

Randy wonders who told her she should come audition, and she believes it was God. Nicki and Mariah applaud her for following her heart, saying that she'll at least have no regrets. The panel votes and it's a no across the board. At least she takes it well enough, though she does say she'll never listen to Mariah Carey again and never listened to Nicki because she worships the devil. Haha!

There's one more audition tonight, and it's from 16-year-old Kayden Stephenson. He looks incredibly young, but it's because he has cystic fibrosis and his life expectancy is only 35 years old. He was diagnosed at 18 months, the poor kid. However, he's not letting his illness get him down and seems absolutely lovely and really positive. He's singing Stevie Wonder's 'I Wish' and has just the sweetest little voice. Ah, I love him!

Nicki loves his voice and is reminded of a "baby Michael" (Jackson, obviously) and thinks that a lot of children would be inspired by him. Mariah is "beyond inspired" and wants to make a record with him now. She also thinks girls will fall on the floor when he walks in the room. Randy appreciates his determination, and there's no more need for discussion - Kayden is through.

Well, that's it for Oklahoma. But wait - Steven Tyler is pretending to audition, but he's in full drag. I don't really understand the point of this, but okay. In any case, join us again next Wednesday, February 6, for the start of Hollywood week.

American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox in the US. The show airs on Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm on 5* in the UK.

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