It couldn’t last forever. Last week’s amazing streak of quality Golden Ticket holders on American Idol (which included a questionably self-satisfied Anthony Perkins doppelganger named Paul Jolley) was bound to hit a few bumps, and on Wednesday night’s episode featuring auditions in San Antonio and Long Beach, we heard more than our share of underqualified, overannoying singers who were let through anyway. But forget about them. All of them. Well — except for one of them.
A gorgeous weirdo named Papa Peachez emerged at some point to sing a song he penned himself. The song? Is awful. His voice? Is not nearly good enough for Hollywood. But Nicki Minaj praised his wackiness because she, too, has thought about renaming herself after fruit, and now he’s on the road to stardom. I normally wouldn’t bring up such a dazed, kooky gent, but listen to the lyrics of his ditty and tell me if you’re thinking what I’m thinking. Is this the first Idol contestant ever to announce his gayness on the show? Uh, holler!
An obviously underwhelming vocal performance, no? But did that even matter when finally, after 11 seasons, American Idol achieved what The Voice took less than five episodes to accomplish? It’s a contestant on Idol who is gay and doesn’t mind telling you so — on the show. Hooray! Bonus: He has mesmerizingly white teeth. Let’s dance. And sigh.
And now, let’s move onto the people who have a chance of winning this thing.
Vincent Powell, “Rock Me Baby”
Charisma and flavor and crackling timing. This is some talent. I always worry about soul-singing contestants on American Idol because they tend to pick overplayed songs and forget to sound original from week to week, but for now, this guy is a champ. Love his energy, and I also loved Mariah’s response to him. Did I mention I love Mariah? Child.
Rachel Hale, “People Get Ready”
I found this performance actually underrated, even though the judges were unanimous in their “yes” vote. This dame has total control, an effervescence (quoth Mariah last week), and a conversational ease. It’s like she’s human and will interact with you as such. Blow me down!
Briana Oakley, “Up to the Mountain”
Here’s a bullying story you don’t hear every day: Briana, here, eventually had to switch middle schools after she appeared on the Maury show and displayed her incredible singing voice. That’s right: Kids harassed her for singing well on national TV. Good lord! Turns out any amount of difference is grounds for bullying. How easily I forget.
You’ll notice her instrument and sincerity are incredible gifts. I question whether she’s mature enough to rule season 12 right now, but I adore her potential.
Matheus Fernandes, “A Change is Gonna Come”
This Glee Project alum certainly has the likability for national TV, but I’m not sure he has the unmistakable talent just yet. First of all, picking “A Change is Gonna Come” as an Idol tryout means you’re delusional on some level, because Adam Lambert’s climactic vesion of the Sam Cooke classic in season eight is practically etched in glitter-covered stone as an unbeatable moment. Furthermore, do we really need to hear this jam again? Move on to something more contemporary, dear. I’ll take a Space Jam hit, for crise sakes. “C’mon ’N Ride It (The Train)” is fine with me, as long as you croon it like Sam Cooke. See that? Creativity. Try it on.
What’d you think of Wednesday’s auditions? Barely bearable? Aside from Peachez’ self-revelation and Keith Urban’s AMAZING “Papa don’t Peach” aside? Good on that straight man. Good on him.