Recapping the show last night was a lot like writing a final English exam....loss for words, disorganized thoughts, rambling and writer's cramp...not the show...Me!
Ryan introduced the night's show as a look back at the auditions to highlight the do's and don'ts of auditioning. They saved the very best and the very worst for last.
Lesson #1: The Look
Christa Fazzino was a classic example of how a fashion statement might get you in front of the judges but, if the voice isn't good enough, you will get three nos.
Tami Gosnell, looking like the girl next door with whom you could go for coffee, was a real stand out. She had a great smile, terrific voice and won the confidence of all three judges. My reaction: "Finally a girl who doesn't squeal." It's good to hear a girl's voice that doesn't need three female background singers to fill in the high notes. As a cab driver in a major American city, she should be able to survive the rigors of the Hollywood round. Look to see her in the finals.
Lesson # 2: Seek Inspiration
A montage of contestants all paying tribute to former Idol stars etc. as their source of inspiration. It entertained us with some pretty bad performances. Finally we meet Paul Kim, an Asian, whose inspiration is William Hung. He wants to show that there is talent in the Asian world. Singing "If ever I fall in love", this pool maintenance man surprised us with a great smoky voice and won his way to Hollywood.
The next contestant, Jack Odanovich, did not do as well trying to live up to a performance of Bo Bice. Simon called him "incredibly delusional." Sometimes that's how we poor untalented mortals survive.
Lesson 3: Never give up
This lesson began with a large group of repeaters back for their second and third tries. Gina Glocksen came back because of her big crush on Simon. Singing "Black Velvet", displaying her tattoos, and bantering with the judges, she won another chance at Hollywood. Personally, I thought the whole thing was silly and futile. Prove me wrong, girl.
Next we have a display of affection for Simon, some dissing of Randy and a ton of crushes on Paula. Edward Sanchez, a Paula worshipper, sang "Donna" to her. It was sweet but not in tune. Simon had two remarks that were keepers. First: "Give Paula a moustache and you would say they were separated at birth." Second: "He's not only blind but deaf." He was sweet, she was honest with him and I thought it was awesome. He left as happy as some winners.
Lesson 4: Never audition as part of a group.
Next up were three car hops: Heather Renee singing "God Bless the Broken Road", Ashlee Cleland singing "Angel" by Sarah McLaughlin, and Ebony Jointer singing "I Believe in You and Me." Ebony had star potential and will probably be in the top 24. Ashlee got a gold ticket as well. Poor Heather would have fared better if she had auditioned alone. She was certainly as good as some others who got through.
Next up was a discussion of song selection but this wasn't a lesson. Huh. Faithon, Melissa, Brandon Reid, and Willam (WES) Samuel were cases in point. Brandon, who demonstrated some of Michael Jackson's talent, didn't really sing and WES sang his own song called "Don't worry, don't hurry." Now although I didn't like WES's singing, I did like his song. It reminded me of songs from the '40's and '50's: Big Bad John, and John Henry.
Lesson 5: Shake your moneymaker.
Apparently a lot of contestants try to get by with dancing or some form of gyration. It is a singing contest, people. Alex Nazario, while being unique and flexible, needed a reality check because he had a poor voice.
Lesson 6: Clarity
When auditioning, sing a classic but make sure the judges can understand what it is. Of course, we were shown a large group of people with diction problems and a repeat of the music teacher from last night. I wonder if she still has a job.
A contestant with no diction problems was the last contestant. Lakisha Jones, mother of a three-year-old daughter, blew us away with "Think" by Aretha Franklin. Simon loved her and said she was a good, old-fashioned "belter." We did agree on Lakisha, who was amazing easily one of the best voices of the contest and we should see her in the final ten. But will she be able to handle the stress of living in the bubble away from her little girl?
The next three minutes were filled with glimpses of favorite moments...I loved Ryan in a wig...and the happy and sad faces of the one hundred and seventy two contestants being roasted, grilled and filleted during the Hollywood round. One girl must have felt like a Turducken when she cried, "I don't know what he wants of me." He wants Stardom for you honey, and it don't come easy.
Next week, it's boys versus girls in a test of character.
That's a rap folks. Westward Ho!