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American Idol: Orlando crushes Chicago

You surely would expect that Chicago would produce more contenders on “American Idol” than Orlando, right? Wrong. Orlando produced 31 Hollywood-bound singers than Chicago, which delivered 13 in two days. Whatever, once the Hollywood rounds begin we won’t remember where these folks auditioned unless Ryan Seacrest decides to remind us. So the guest judge was Kristin Chenoweth, at least for Day 1, and she had more spunk in her pinky than Shania Twain. Anyway, the producers showed us most of the good performances last night and not as many crappy ones, to which we say, BO-RING. Here they are…

THE BEST

Seth Rollins, 28, has a 5-year-old autistic son, and wants a better life for the kid and his family. At 28 this is his last chance to audition, so he figured he’d give it a shot. Seth sang “Someone to Watch Over Me” and it was way better than everyone expected…..24 year old Jermaine, who auditioned with his college buddies back in Season 7, claimed that he was more grown up now and wanted to take a real stab at this thing. We’re glad he did, because his take on Tony Bennett was nothing short of phenomenal. Keep an eye on this dude…he had the best tone of anyone who has auditioned so far……the closer on Day 1 was 18 year old Shelby, who had a birth defect that allowed her no feeling on one side of her mouth. Luckily though, Shelby was born with a nice singing voice and she did a nice job with “Turn Me On” by Norah Jones. Of course, the best part was when Shelby forgot the words and yelled out, “Holy Shit!” I think the judges may have let her through just for that……Jay Stone kicked off Day 2 and he did a beat-box infused version of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” It was like Blake Lewis x10, and extremely entertaining. But more than that, they asked if he could sing without the beat box, and he did a bit of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and was awesome. Simon didn’t think so, but Kara and Randy were impressed….24 year old Cornelius Edwards talked about being an “adult entertainer” an he definitely entertained us all when he did a split that ripped his pants while singing Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” Anyway, of course this guy is bound for Hollywood!…..two sisters from New Jersey, Bernadette and Amanda, who looked like they walked off the set of “Jersey Shore,” were just okay but the judges somehow found them to be charming….and finally, 25 year old bank robber Matthew Lawrence closed out the show. Yes, dude robbed a bank and spent four years in jail, but was completely remorseful and wanting to get his life back on track. Dude sang Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” and was pretty awesome. Simon even used the word “brilliant.” And for Simon to use that word to describe anyone but himself is really saying something.

THE WORST

The episode began with 23 year old Theo singing Pat Benatar’s “Hearbreaker.” There was a lot of growling and let’s just say his singing voice was more masculine than his looks….Amazingly, aside from some rapid-fire bad auditions, the only other one they showed was near the end of the show, and it was a doozy. 28 year old Jarrod Norrell sang “Amazing Grace” after saying, “Gotta give it up for God.” Well, it was really bad….nasally and horribly annoying. Kara put it best when she said Jarrod’s voice sounded like a lawnmower. Of course, Jarrod thought he was born to do this, and he fought to stay there and sing more for them. Not only did security need to intervene, they had to take Jarrod out in cuffs! I don’t know how much of that was planned or placed, but it sure looked real.

So that’s it….I believe we are at least halfway through the opening audition round, and next Tuesday the auditions are in Los Angeles with Katy Perry as guest judge.

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