American Idol: have we found our next Simon Cowell?

Last night’s “American Idol” on Fox showed a huge disparity between two guest judges, but more on that later. The Los Angeles auditions were, as you might expect, polarizing…because of course you have talented singers, but you also have wannabes….the ones who have moved out to Cali because their moms and sisters told them they were talented.

The first set of auditions featured guest judge Avril Lavigne, who is now 25 but looks (and kind of acts) like she’s 11. Here were the best and worst of Day 1…..


Jim Ranger, who is a 27 year old church pastor with a family, sang his own song, “Drive,” and was very soulful and kind of unique compared to most of the crap auditions. Avril, however, told Jim she didn’t think he was ready for this because he would have too hard of a time leaving his day job as well as his family. Say what? Is there a pre-requisite here? Never has been….of course, Kara kind of back-pedaled after clearing digging Jim, trying to cover up the fact that Avril is not cut out for judging. So Pastor Jim ultimately made it to Hollywood….Mary Powers, 28, who dressed like she was on that “INXS Rock Star” show from a few years back, sang Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” and absolutely kicked ass. Simon said her look was cliche (very much so) but he liked her voice. Avril said something annoying, but Mary made it through and really has a chance here.


19 year old Neal Goldstein kicked things off and with his “high IQ,” sang a Meatloaf song. He was predictably awful, and of course said, “I liked the way I sounded.” Then he said “I’m not leaving” when the judges told him he sucked, but relented when Simon offered a security escort…..Damien, a marshal arts dude who makes sandwiches during the day and was pimping “the pepperoni,” (was that a euphymism?)sang “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” and it was a weird, emotive version that looked like Damien was going to bust a nut….after a bunch of Adam Lambert lookalikes, one of them, AJ Mendoza, 20, sang Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” (side note….those guys rocked) and kind of did the whole thing without opening his mouth. It was weird and not very good.

Next up, the guest judge was Katy Perry for Day 2. And unlike Avril, Katy was awesome…..and honestly, she was a female version of Simon….talking back to Kara and everything! Here was the best and worst of Day 2…


23 year old Andrew Garcia, who talked about his parents growing up in gangs, and then moving to the suburbs to allow him a better life, was saying he wanted a better life for his son as well, which is why he was auditioning. Well, dude was awesome, with what I think was a stunning version of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.” I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict this kid as Top 12 material…..25 year old Tasha Layton, who is a minister, sang Joss Stone’s “Baby Baby Baby” and was really good, and quite unique…..the show closed with Chris Golightly, a 25 year old dude who grew up in foster care. He sang “Stand By Me” and had a really good, natural voice. Katy and Simon were lukewarm on Chris, but Kara and Randy loved him, and he made it to the next round.


19 year old Austin Fullmer sang Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” and did these spastic, Mike Jagger-esque moves. After being told he sucked, Austin made reference to the fact that Katy and Kara were in love with him and that he could show them he was a “real man.” Um, okay….21 year old Jason Green sang The Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself” and he clearly had the hots for Simon. Dude was, as you might expect, a train wreck. Katy said that he even made her “feel dirty,” but of course Jason took that as a compliment.

So that was it for Los Angeles. But I have to say, I hope they never invite Avril Lavigne back to judge because she literally offered nothing…..Katy, meanwhile, was sassy and obnoxious…just like the dude sitting to her left. At one point she said, “I’m gonna pull a ‘Kara” here”… awesome is that? Would have been funny to see Katy with Paula Abdul. Anyway, I’m putting my vote in to have Katy Perry replace Simon next season.

So what did you all think? Let me know below…and see you tomorrow with the Dallas audition results!


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