"Orlaaannnnndo! Concrete jungle where dreams die and wither in the hot palmetto sun and everyone's miserable..." We were in Florida last night, proud member of our nation, and gosh did we see a lot of miserable people. One got arrested!

Yeah. Yesterday I issued an exegesis about this show's strange and unpleasant relationship with the Sad Weirdos of this world — that is to say, you and me. We're all the Sad Weirdos! But what I neglected to mention is that there is a gradient of Sad Weirdoism, and you and I are probably at the lower end of it. Someone who's all the way up top there? The guy who got arrested last night.

Well, OK, it's appears that this Jarrod fellow wasn't actually arrested, arrested but still. The young man was dragged out of an American Idol audition in handcuffs. And... other than that lady who went to meet her maker on Paula Abdul's front lawn, is that not the saddest and weirdest thing ever? What a strange day you've had if you are Jarrod Norrell!


First you are waiting in line, in Orlando, with 10,000 other people to try out for a reality show. Then some producers see you and they pull you aside and tape you doing weird calisthenics outside somewhere. And you keep getting further and further with the producers, until they tell you that you'll be going to see Them. Randy, and Simon, and whoever the fuck else is doing this ridiculous show anymore. So that's huge! You're gonna be on the TV and meet TV stars!

Then you get to chat with Riley Sinkbreast, the cupcake-frosted hostess, about all your sad, guttural feelings and everyone smiles weakly at you because, again, so sad, so weird. And then! Then there you are in that brightly-lit room with that parquet floor and there They are: wedge-haired Simon, leathery hulk Randy, and... the other one. So you just woke up in your house in Florida, then you went down and stood in a long line, and then you are being filmed by a camera crew, and then you are meeting Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and A Lady, and you are thinking that maybe you really can sing, and then you do and they all look at you terrified and you try to sing some more and the next thing you now, mere minutes after meeting three two big celebrities and being on television, you are being dragged out of a convention center in handcuffs.

That is a peculiar day.

The whole thing is peculiar! The guest judge for the first day was Kristin Chenoweth, who is great and nice (I talked to her on the phone once, nyah nyah), but like... is she that famous? I mean, is she Idol famous? Folks who made it into the strobe-lit Chamber of Chance didn't seem terribly impressed. Which is fine, whatever. She was a nice judge and only did the whole "omg I'm stifling laughter because I'm rich and famous and you're not and ohhhh" thing a couple of times. Compared to Mary J. Blige, Chenoweth was an absolute saint. Though, Whatsername Kara over there...

She's just so fake guys. She's so very, very fake. That woman hasn't had a good time in maybe ever. Well, OK, that's not entirely true. The only time that Kara has a good time is when she's sitting in her house, slurping down red wine from a giant balloon glass and complaining to her manager or whatever on the phone about how things are unfair for her. That's it. Kara does not have fun "joking" and "interacting on a normal peer level" with anyone. It's just not her bag. So oh how I wish she wouldn't mug and bellow and make haha's with her fellow judges. It's so embarrassing. For her, for us, for everyone. But mostly for her. Mostly for her. (Yeah, she's cringing all the way to the bank.)

But enough about Kara. Very seriously, *enough* about Kara. Let's talk about good things!

I liked: The nice kid with the slightly smooshed caterpillar face who had tried out the year before or something and talked about taking risks and all that stuff. He seemed like a pleasant fellow and had a pleasant voice and could actually be a viable pop/R&B star. Unlike...

PRISON INMATE No. DIAL-IDOL-9. Yeah, that hulking truck company manager who robbed a bank with a BB gun when he was 15 and spent four years in juvie. Look, he had a very, very nice voice. A gravelly purr and wail that absolutely held a candle to Ray LaMontagne. But, I said it before and I'll say it again. The big, blockish, oaf-type men on this show? Well, sing well as they may, they just do not make it in the competish. Let alone the actual biz. It just doesn't happen. Same goes to you, teddy bear-lookin' guy with the autistic son. Lovely pipes, but... Sigh. The world is a sorry place.

I liked: Remember those two cartoons from Cherry Hill? The sisters. You know, those smears of tan and volumized hair and flowy fabric? Well they both made it through, but can I be honest? I actually kind of liked the one in the yellow who sang "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." Mostly because that song is like having your heart burst into confetti, but also because she actually sang it pretty well. Soooo many girls try to sing that song on this show (new title for Simon's new thing: That Song, This Show) and so many fail (Remember Asiah Epperson or whatever her name was). But Lorna Magoo or whoever actually did it competently. Which was a pleasant surprise! I mean, neither of those girls will make it past Hollywood Week. Oh mercy no. But at least they'll have their sisterly adventure. At least they'll have that.

I liked: The girl who sang with half a face. Or, half a mouth. I'm not saying this to be mean. But if you are born with a severed nerve that freezes half of your face so you can't move your mouth properly and then you grow up to be a singer? Well, that's pretty remarkable. I don't know a whole hell of a lot about vocal technique and what have you, but it seems to me that most folks would benefit from a fully-functioning mouth. So good on that girl. That said, this season has been a parade of miseries, hasn't it? So many afflictions and terrible tales! Next week some Dickensian creature is going to wheel itself in on a cart, legs tattered stumps, and will sing a pure old Anglican hymn and guest judge Katy Perry will weepily smile and think about her own Christian song singing days. And Simon's heart will grow three sizes that day. And Randy will say, "Aw you know what?" and then he'll release Princess Peach and tell the goombas and koopas to be nice to Mario and his friends. And Kara will just fritter into molecules and the wind will blow her away.

Of course the legless orphan won't make it through Hollywood Week (though it will go to California in that enormous, terrifying "devil's bird"). No, it'll be trumped by some sort of blind albino or Jaycee Dugard or something. But for that moment!

Well, for that moment Idol will truly be magic.