The fourth episode of American Idol auditions took us four hours from the Mile High City to Aspen, where we saw many a Denver hopeful either break through to the Hollywood round or get the good ol' Randy Jackson boot.
Unlike previous audition episodes thus far in the season, last night we finally saw Steven Tyler do a moderate bit of judging -- and at some points, he actually made sense. To one nineteen-year-old, Teleana Hedgespath, who sang Melissa Etheridge's "Bring Me Some Water," Tyler finally bucked up and asked Hedgespath one of the harshest of judges' questions: Have you ever heard yourself on tape? Cut to a few seconds later and Hedgespath is being embraced by her supportive family and twin sister, whom, through Idol, she was hoping to finally outshine.
Including the Melissa Etheridge cut, the song choices this episode veered on more obscure -- a nice change of pace from all of the Johnny Cash and Whitney Houston so far. A Lady Gaga wannabe, Angie Zeiderman, 25, was sent through to the Hollywood round not for her self-proclaimed "vintage glitter queen" routine -- a little burlesque, a little Gaga -- but for her take on Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou." No one, especially Randy Jackson, could anticipate what a change in song could do for Zeiderman.
And just as we thought Zeiderman was a character, she's upstaged by the ever-awesome Denverite, Magic Cyclops. Elusive and free spirited, not even Steven Tyler's antics could spar with Magic Cyclops'. The Denver export boasted a collection of 11,000 air guitars and an even larger collection of quirky one-offs. Case in point: When asked how old he was, Magic Cyclops responded: "It's not polite to ask a lady her age... a bearded lady." Jackson's head was reeling, and Jennifer Lopez was just all sorts of confused.
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Before jumping into song, Magic Cyclops presented the judges two options, James Buffet (pronounced "buf-fay" but really code for Jimmy Buffet) or Neil Diamond. They opted for Diamond, and Magic Cyclops went into "Cracklin' Rosie" with complete gusto. Being forced to stop midway, Magic Cyclops switched into Buffet mode for "Margaritaville." Needless to say, the judges didn't quite take to that either -- Jackson didn't want to deal with the oddity, so he left for the bathroom. Lopez also exited stage left. Meanwhile, Tyler threw an arm on Magic Cyclops' shoulder, and they called it good. Looked like Tyler, ever the serious one in Aspen, was the only judge who could truly appreciate the magic of Magic Cyclops.