They all start somewhere...HERE, on American Idol!
Assuming you have flipped on the TV or went online in the past few months, you've probably come across American Idol's judge news. Paula Abdul has danced down from her spot in the middle of the table and Ellen DeGeneres and her Converse kicks will boogie into the permanent judge position starting with Hollywood week. For the hometown auditions, eight celebrity guests were asked to be judgmental. First up, Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham. Now if only she brought her husband along...(sigh) a girl can dream!
Many "wicked" hopefuls parked their car in Harvard Yard to audition for Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, and Victoria Beckham in Boston, MA. First up, was Janet McNamara. Feel free to play my favorite hometown auditions game from home. All you do is watch each contestant's pre-performance interview and make a snap judgment on whether said contestant will be good or bad. It's not a hard game to succeed at. Janet has trained with the Idol Karaoke game. Virtual Simon has told Janet that she's improved. Will real Simon agree? Janet asked the judges if it was a "yes" before she even sang. She then mistakes Kara for Paula Abdul. Maybe she should've spent less time playing the game and more time watching the show. She sang "Pocketful of Sunshine" and even guest judge Victoria gave an "absolutely not." It's hard to tell what Janet's reaction was because there was a blue logo all over the screen and much bleeping when she came out to meet host Ryan Seacrest. Upon chatting with Ryan we learn that Janet still doesn't know the difference between Kara and Paula. Then, she high-fived Ryan and accidentally smacked her friend in the head.
Maddy Curtis is #9 of 12 kids. Sibling #8 has Down syndrome, so her parents adopted three other kids with Down syndrome. She elects to sing "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, which was Jason Castro's memorable performance during Season 7. The judges liked this nervous young girl's soulful voice and Simon said, "Unlike the other teens that come in, you're not annoying." It's four yeses for Maddy who was congratulated with flower-shaped balloons from her brothers. Aww!
Pat Ford loves to dance, smack his booty, and "holler!" He's brought a turquoise-clad crew along with him and he chose to sing "Womanizer" by Britney Spears. Randy thinks he'd be cool...if he stopped singing forever. Kara asks if she can hug Pat. So, Pat leaves with a hug but no ticket.
Jennifer Hirsh, Claire Fuller, and Jess Wolfe are three talented singers who won over all the judges and are headed to Hollywood.
Amedeo DiRocco comes from a big Italian family and auditions with Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man." All four judges find Amedeo to be extremely likable and he receives a golden ticket. Amedeo exits the audition room and gets tackled by his family, and Ryan got dragged into the big Italian huddle.
Derek Hilton thinks he sounds like a cross between Chris Brown and the Eagles. I can't picture what that would sound like, and we still won't know because the only thing Simon said Derek sounded like was "an eagle."
Mere Doyle is an "anime freak" who designs kimonos. She would love to become a successful singer in Japan. Her rendition of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" wasn't good enough for American Idol or Japanese Idol.
A jam session to Matt Nathanson's "Come on Get Higher" forms in the waiting room. Luke Shaffer is one of these young men and Benjamin Bright is the other. Benjamin's "All My Lovin'" puts a smile on all the judges' faces. Both guys are headed through, and Kara and Victoria jump for joy when Simon gives his stamp of approval.
A grumpy, impatient young man named Andrew Fenlon created quite a stir when he told the judges that he was miffed he had to wait so long to audition. Kara said it best when she told him that people wait years for an opportunity like this. He sang "House of the Rising Sun" by Animal, and took his glasses off to sing. Andrew said he's not trying to be rude, he's just trying to be confident. Victoria said he doesn't "have the goods to back it up." Three judges say no, and when Simon said yes, Kara threatened to spank him. Did anyone else notice that Simon still calls Kara "Car-a," and now it's caught on to Randy who calls her "Car-a" too?
Ashley Rodriguez is a Berklee College of Music student who performed "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. Simon says she has "it," and the judges throw out all kinds of unheard of percentages of how strongly they're for Ashley.
Tyler Grady fell out of a tree and shatter both of his wrists. He's a drummer, so this was the worst thing that could happen to him. Don't let his 1971 fashion style or kooky back story lead you astray in the snap judgment game because Tyler can sing well! He tackled Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," and the judges liked him and called him memorable. Hopefully he'll be healed in time to drum up a storm in Hollywood. At the end of day one, 17 other contestants received golden tickets to Hollywood.
Lisa Olivero is a waitress and a self-taught singer. She chose to sing "Vision of Love" for the judges, which is also Bikini Girl's song from last year. I hope Kara shows Lisa how it's done too! The male judges had hope for Lisa based on looks and curves alone, but her voice wasn't good enough.
Mike Davis is "an actor on a speedboat" called Codzilla. He sang "Yesterday" by the Beatles. Kara called his performance touching, so Mike invites her out for a steak dinner. Simon says yes and then takes a break, Randy says no and then walks away. A team of family members are in a line outside the door awaiting Mike's fate. The lady judges agreed with Simon, so Mike is the first person of the day to make it to Hollywood. He tells Ryan that he's excited for his date with Kara. Too bad for Mike Davis, there's another Mike in Kara's life - her husband!
Katie Stevens is a young girl from a small town and a big Portuguese family. She's very close with her grandma who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a year ago. Katie sang "At Last" in the kitchen to her grandma, and then the scene transitioned to Katie singing for the judges. They were blown away by her amazing voice at only 16 years old, and they moved her on to the next round of auditions. She seems to have brought her entire small town with her, and they greet her with cheers. Katie shares the good news with her grandma who begins to cry. Then, Ryan and viewers all over the nation became teary-eyed.
Joshua Blaylock is 28 and has one last shot to make it on the show. He sings a Rascal Flatts song, "God Bless the Broken Road." The judges like him, but they think he might be too nice for this competition. Randy tells him to ask Simon to shut up, and Joshua can barely muster up the courage to do so. After receiving a golden ticket from the judges, they try and give him an attitude before he leaves...but it's not quite working.
Justin Williams was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago while serving a mission in Spain. He flew back home and endured surgeries and chemotherapy. He calls it "a very interesting, humbling experience." The vocal coach from Sandy, Utah sings "Feeling Good." The judges thought he was nice and memorable, and Justin's on his way to the west coast.
Victoria Beckham has a way of finding something positive about everyone that enters the room, including Norberto Guerrero. He sang "Everytime We Touch" by Cascada and forgot the words. All of the judges, including Victoria, said no to Norberto, and Simon was weirded out that such a high voice came from a man with a beard.
Bosa Mora has Nigerian parents, six sisters, and one brother. The judges were torn over whether or not to send Bosa through. He's likable and has a good voice, but Simon thought he was boring. Despite Simon's "no," the other judges voted for Bosa. When he exited his audition with a ticket in his hand, his sisters scream and attack him. His teary-eyed father kissed his mom. You have got to love this family!
Leah Laurenti is the last contestant of the day. She came from a strict family and always went to church, but used music as a way of self expression. Leah wants to prove to herself and her parents that she can be a singer. She sang for the judges and Randy thought it was one of the best he heard today and likes her jazz vibe. All of the judges liked Leah and she's now one-step closer to her dream.
In total, 31 contestants made it through to Hollywood after a two-day search in Boston. Tune in tomorrow for the second night of the premiere in Atlanta.
Tuesday, Jan 12th 2010
They all start somewhere...HERE, on American Idol!