'American Idol' recap: Putting the "A**" in "Aspen"

american-idol-season-11.jpgRyan gives us a quick tour through some American Idol audition venues of the past -- which of course ends up looking more like a history of Ryan's hair -- before ending up in tonight's location: the mountains of Colorado. "This is American Idol," he announces. What the hell else would it be?

After the opening titles, Ryan likens the show's trip to Aspen to a vacation in the family truckster. The altitude is having an effect on Steven's head, but not his wit: "Does anybody have an Aspen?" Jennifer says this is their first chilly city, Randy voices some vaguely worded hopes, and Ryan crashes a golf cart into a garage. That segues into Ryan rhapsodizing about the quiet, peaceful surroundings, which we just know is a setup for the first contestant to be loud as ****.

Sure enough, here's Jenni Schick, a hyperactive grade-school music teacher whose thigh-high boots somehow stop a couple feet short of her skirt's hem. She's a little intimidated (though not at all calmed) by the thought of meeting Steven Tyler, who is on her shortlist of people she and her boyfriend are allowed to kiss. Turns out the boyfriend's list includes Ryan, which freaks him out so much he won't even kiss the girlfriend of a guy who isn't even here. He sends her on in, where Steven uses the line "Holy Schick" at his first opportunity (or actually before). Jenni explains to Steven about the list, but she's starting to get on their nerves, so they tell her to just sing already. She does "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar, and although she's a little rough, she gets three yeses and a kiss from Steven. "Wait 'til your students hear about this," Ryan says. On her way out with her mom, Jenni can only talk about Steven's soft lips. Of course they're soft, he's, like, a million.

We come back to a montage of Blair Witch contestant-cams from people who woke up at the buttcrack of dawn to get to the auditions. One of these is a shaggy guy named Curtis Gray, who's rather more bushy-tailed at 10:45 than he was at 6 AM. He also tells is that he sings and plays keyboard in a band, and he's hoping his voice lessons will pay off today. He goes into the audition room and croons a Boys II Men song. Randy gives him a yes almost immediately, and with agreement from Jennifer and Steven, Curtis is off to Hollywood. That was easy. He apparently kicks off a run of good'uns, like 19-year-old country baritone Richie Law (whose face looks like it was Photoshopped onto that voice), soul singer Devan Jones and Mathenee Trego, who sings "Hey Jude" complete with the na na nas. And all three of them are going to Hollywood. Also, they're all dudes, in case that wasn't clear from their first names.

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