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American Idol 9 Auditions for Dallas: The Dirty Erica Rhodes Transformation

Updated on January 28, 2010

From Barney and Kids to Dominatrix

American Idol embarrassed itself yet again with the Erica Rhodes audition in Dallas. Erica, from Irving, Texas (home of the old Dallas Cowboys' Texas Stadium), used to appear on "Barney and Friends" as a kid star. Erica comes out in a leather outfit and a whip, the typical dominatrix getup. The rest of the audition is a bit of joke and a sideshow, which is pretty much what Erica is, anyway.

She sings the Barney song. It sounds nice, but there is no star quality, which one would expect with such a song. That's not a big deal. But Erica then sings "Free Your Mind," the song recorded by the female RnB vocal group En Vogue. Of course, Erica got a few cracks of the whip in for this adult performance. The singing was nothing special, and Erica reportedly did not make the voting rounds. That is not certain because the current list is just a spoiler list, but she showed nothing in the way of originality or vocal tone. Erica is a sideshow.

Who was Idol targeting with such an audition? Certainly, there is no large demographic of dominatrix types out there. The large majority of Idol watchers are female, and they are likely not the demographic to target for a dominatrix audition. Maybe the smaller number of men who watch the show enjoyed it. It seems that Idol throws a little bit of everything at the kitchen sink and hope it sticks. Perhaps that is a good strategy. The show has been a hit for almost ten years now, so the producers must know something.

How does this help Erica Rhodes, and why would she do such an audition? Well, it certainly won't help Erica win Idol. Fans will now see her as a joke. She will never live down that audition even if she does make the voting rounds. Perhaps Erica knew she would never win so just decided to get a little publicity. Erica is certainly a beautiful girl. Playboy may be calling if she has any more feature time in the Hollywood auditions.

This is why the initial American idol city auditions are such a joke. They are designed to appeal to multiple demographics with all sorts of random auditions. People who are not even serious about the competition get airtime. That may be why they pull good ratings, but it is unfair to many contestants that later make the voting rounds. Anyone who sees this show as anything other than a giant ratings plan has not watched American Idol for very long.

Erica Rhodes said her goal was to show that Barney kids grow up. I didn't realize you need a leather suit and a whip to grow up. I also didn't realize anyone cares about what happens to Barney kids. Anyway, that's a wrap for another contrived Idol audition so Erica can get her additional few minutes of fame. She will not win American Idol. You can take that to the bank.

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