American Idol traveled to Orlando to make dreams come true. Judge Kara DioGuardi was first on the scene followed by special guest judge/Broadway star/actress/pocket-sized cutie Kristin Chenoweth. Kara and Kristin became immediate pals and walked around the hotel lobby to meet the nervous auditioners. When the three amigos -- Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Ryan Seacrest -- arrived in Orlando after a night of fun in Miami, they looked um...a little worn out.
Around ten thousand hopefuls came out to Orlando for auditions, and we met Theo Glinton first. Theo has feathers and jewels glued to his face, and to top it all off he's sporting a bare midriff. He says that he'll win the competition, and if he doesn't, he'll at least be in the bottom 3. Hmm, I don't get the logic, but I think he might be on to something with his bottom 3 prediction. Singing "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar, Theo didn't have what it takes to move on to Hollywood. If it's any consolation, Kara said he smelled nice and Ryan helped him remove his jewels.
After a string of disappointing contestants, we learn that Kara and Kristin have become BFFs and they're driving Simon crazy. Kristin is the opposite of Simon; she radiates positivity and sunshine and puppy dogs. The ladies' enthusiasm, impromptu song fests, and giggling are not helping Simon's post-Miami headache.
Seth Rollins is a married father of two children, one of which has autism. He's 28 years old, so this his last chance to make it on the show. Seth confidently sings Sinatra's "Someone to Watch Over Me." The judges like his voice, his song choice, and Seth as a person. They would like a little more energy and performance from him, but none of the four judges hesitate to blurt out an emphatic "yes." Seth runs out the door with his ticket to Hollywood, scoops up his son, and takes a victory lap around the audition waiting room.
Jermaine Purifoy auditioned for Season 7 of American Idol and is back for another try. He took on Tony Bennett's "Smile," which Kristin called "seemless." Randy said this was his favorite audition of the season and gave him a "Two bazillion percent yes." I'm not familiar with such a number, but I imagine that's a good thing. Kara and Simon don't disagree. With four strong yeses, Jermaine is closer to achieving his dream.
Shelby Dressel is an 18 year old girl who was born with nerve trouble that caused her the inability to use the right side of her face. She beings to croon Norah Jones' "Turn Me On" for the judges. At a certain point in the song, Shelby completely blanks on what lyrics come next. The judges actually found her nerves and accidentally blurted expletive to be endearing, and they have heard enough of her voice to know she's Hollywood material. Shelby and 18 other contestants from day one in Orlando advance to the next round of auditions.
Unfortunately, Kristin Chenoweth was unable to make day two of auditions, but Simon, Kara, and Randy were ready to find more talent in Florida's Orange County. First up was Jay Stone, a beatboxer, who says he's different and there's never been anyone like him on the show before. Um, Jay...the second place contestant of Season 6, Blake Lewis, was a very talented beatboxer who had vocal chops too! Jay beatboxed "Come Together" by The Beatles which was fun to hear, but it didn't show off his vocals. Randy asks Jay if he can actually sing, so Jay covers Bill Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine," a song that American Idol Kris Allen blew out of the water last season. Kara's a Jay fan and manages to swing Randy to her side. Hence, Jay's going to Hollywood. Perhaps he can host a late night show at 10pm.
Janell Wheeler, Brittany Starr James, and Kasi Bedford are three young ladies with unique and beautiful voices. It was yeses all around for all three performances. See you all in Hollywood!
Cornelius Edwards beings his performance of "Proud Mary." He leaps into the air and lands very hard into the splits. A loud tearing sound occurs, and I pray that it's not his groin. Thankfully/humorously, it was Cornelius' pants, which ripped from the crotchular region down to the knee. Kara couldn't even look in his direction, and the judges were laughing so hard they had to say yes.
Next, Ryan is standing in a Desimone sandwich, with sisters Bernadette and Amanda Desimone on either side of him. They run a hair and makeup salon, and it looks like they spent a lot of time primping for today's performance. Entering the audition room together, Bernadette sings first. She selected "Hit The Road Jack," and her sister and Kara bob their heads to the song. Amanda chose "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," and Bernadette is totally feeling the music and dances while closing her eyes. These sisters are too cute! Randy and Kara say yes, and Simon gave a yes to Bernadette only, but it doesn't matter -- the sisters have enough votes to travel to Hollywood auditions.
Jarrod Norrell sings the beautiful song "Amazing Grace," only he doesn't sing it beautifully. When the judges politely dismiss him, Jarrod doesn't budge. Security escorted him out, and he must've put up quite a fight off camera because the next thing we see is Jarrod face down on the ground in handcuffs. The best part about this was Simon's reaction after it all went down. He asked, "So yes or no?" Classic!
Matt Lawrence was a good kid who decided "to go on an adventure one day." Like a hike? Or river rafting? Nope, Matt robbed a bank with a b.b. gun! He spent "four birthdays" behind bars and hurt his family emotionally. In an attempt to redeem himself, Matt wants to be the next American Idol. He sang Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble" for the judges, which is a very difficult song to sing. The judges could not give him enough superlatives: "brilliant," "believable," and "authentic" were just a few thrown around. The judges even think he's one of the best of the day. It's no surprise Matt is headed to Hollywood, where he looks "forward to this opportunity to change."
In all, 32 contestants from Orlando are off to Hollywood. Next week, two headstrong gals -- Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry -- sit in as guest judes in Los Angeles.