Ryan Seacrest introduces us to tonight’s American Idol episode with one of the lamest, most tenuous references they have ever made on this show and THAT is saying something. I must type it verbatim after the jump.

“In 1957, New York and Puerto Rico came together for one of the biggest musicals of all time. [strains of ‘America’] In 2009, they reunite on the biggest TV show in America.” I mean… they make it sound like they went to New York and Puerto Rico on the same day in real life and that there has been no connection between these two locales except West Side Story and American Idol. Snerk. American Idol: bridging the gap between NYC and PR since 2002. In reality, they are smushing these two audition cities into one hour-long episode for reasons passing understanding. Whatever. As long as it gets us closer to Hollywood Week I’m a happy girl.

I also would like to address my perceived callousness at people’s sob stories. Here’s the thing: I think it’s very sad that people’s parents have died or their grandma is sick or they have herpes or whatever. But bad things happen to everybody. This show is not Who Has the Worst Life Idol. It’s not Queen for a Day, where sad housewives tell their sad stories and the one voted saddest wins a washer/dryer set from Sears. This is a singing competition and I want to hear people sing. It’s not fair that people the producers pluck out of the crowd who have a sad tale get more screen time and sympathy votes (and you KNOW they do). I’d rather 4 more Golden Ticket winners get screen time than spend 5 minutes listening to someone talk about how he had to put his dog to sleep or whatever. Just sing, please.

And as far as my perceived harshness goes:  Lighten up, Francis.

Our first auditioner in NYC is a pretty girl named Adeola Adegoke who sings “And I’m Telling You.” I’d tell her not to quit her day job, but she already did. Whoops. Simon then calls her boss to get her job back for her. That’s very nice of him. Awwww.

Our first Puerto Rican auditioner is Erik Estrada Ricky Martin Marc Anthony Jorge Nunez. He sings “My Way” in Spanish and he has a very clear, strong voice, but it’s a tad theatrical for my taste. THey ask for something in English and he does “What a Wonderful World.” It’s nice. Some of his big notes remind me of Clay Aiken. I dub him the Latin Clay Aiken from now on. The judges love him and he’s through unanimously.

Still in PR we have a girl named Jessika Baier from Michigan. She financed the trip through “contests” all over her state. Huh. The girl needs a stylist STAT beecause she’s a bigger girl wearing not-the-right-size clothes. She’s very pretty and if her clothes fit better she would actually look slimmer. Anyway, she sings “I Surrender” and the girl doesn’t have a bad voice, per se, but she picked a song that is WAY too big for her. She is shouting. The judges hated it and she begs to sing another song, which is just sad. I hate when people beg. Why do they show these auditions?

Back to New York. We get Melinda Camille, who has a shaved head. She wants to get her uplifting-for-humanity personality out there and talk about dancing naked. The editors put “Age of Aquarius” as her backing music, which is just delightful. I hope this girl can sing SO BADLY. She sings “Feelin’ Good” and it’s very, very nice. Well done, Melinda! She’s through unanimously.

Delightful break where Seacrest dances with a Kiss-meets-David-Bowie guy in spandex purple pants. We need more dancing Seacrest and less sob stories and mentally-ill auditionees.

NYC Rocker Chick Jackie Tohn sings “I’m Yours” and she has a VERY interesting voice. LIke Amanda Obermeyer if Amanda didn’t sound like she smokes two packs a day. Simon asks for another song and she launches into “I’ll Do it All,” which I’m not familiar with, but it’s awesome. Randy says “good husky tone,” which is spot-on. The judges love her and then the windows fall down. Hahah. Jackie is through unanimously, woot woot.

Back in Puerto Rico, there’s a creepy interlude with “Wicked Game” in the background and bad singers in the foreground. Considering how sexual the video for “Wicked Game” is, I don’t know that this is the most appropriate song choice.

Energy Montage: “It’s Raining Men,” “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” a guy who can actually sing and I hope made it through, a one-woman step show, the Kiss-meets-David-Bowie guy, and two weirdos who just want attention. First is Joel Contreras and he starts screaming at a poor ice cream street vendor and I am terrified. He comes to his audition with an iPod cardboard cutout and the judges indulge him but Simon at least has the good sense to be disgusted. NEXT!

Second weirdo is Norman Gentle, a flaming homosexual in a shiny shirt and a red headband. He sings “And I’m Telling You” and it’s bad, but then he gets a good homoeroticism-Seacrest-Cowell joke in and Simon actually laughs. They let him sing “Amazing Grace” and his pronunciation is a little weird but his voice isn’t bad, actually. He THEN launches into Liza Minelli singing “Amazing Grace,” which is awesome. The girls go nuts over him and he gets through to Hollywood via Kara, Paula and Randy.

Good Singer Montage: Ashley Hollister, Kenny Hoffpauer, and come-to-life-Barbie Kendall Beard. Boy, I wish we could’ve seen them instead of a creepy San Juan montage set to “Wicked Game.”

Bad Singer Montage. Bleep bleep bleep.

Next we have cutie Monique Garcia Torres, a 16 year-old who brings in her cutie 9 year-old brother Christopher. Adorable. She sings “You Can’t Hurry Love” and her voice is very good. They ask for another one and she sings “I Turn to You.” It’s even better, I don’t know why she bothered with the first one. They are worried that her voice isn’t fully developed at 16 and they want more confidence. Randy and Kara say no, Paula says yes. Simon tells her she’s old-fashioned and caberet, but gives her another shot. Interesting. I hope she steps it up because I really liked her voice.

Oh my effing god. We’re back in NYC and the final contestant of the day is Alexis Cohen, the (maybe for real) crackhead from Philly last year. She got turned down and went absolutely bat-crap crazy for the camera. This year she has better hair, less makeup and a sparkly dress. Hmph. She walks in the room and Randy and Paula indulge her but Simon just looks leery. She sings “Like a Prayer” and it’s just as bad as last year. This girl is insane. Please lock her up. Please. She shoots Simon both middle fingers and I try real hard not to throw a shoe through my TV.

More Seacrest dancing! This time with a giant Puerto Rican family who are there to support Patricia Lewis Roman, the last contestant in Puerto Rico. She sings “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” which is a guilty pleasure song of mine. She needs to work on her breathing/phrasing because she breathes too much but her voice has a lot of natural talent/potential. Simon doesn’t like the song choice because it’s too hard to sing. Yeah, you don’t touch Whitney or Mariah on this show. You just don’t. Simon gives her 30 seconds to change their minds and she goes with something in Spanish that I don’t know. Interestingly, Paula says no, Randy says yes, and then she comes out the door with her golden ticket. I hope she polishes up before Hollywood Week, she seems like a cool girl. The judges go dance with her family, which is awesome.

Turns out there were 9 Golden Tickets in PR and 26 in NYC. Wow.

Oh my god, you guys! Next week is HOLLYWOOD WEEK! I heart Hollywood Week. It’s such a sh!tshow. Yippee! Andrea out.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."