American Idol: Say hello to Hollywood

Mercifully, the audition rounds of “American Idol” Season 8 are in the books. We have endured eight stops and seven episodes in the last few weeks, and now the scene is shifting to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood next Tuesday. Last night they lumped two audition stops into one, and those were New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The back and forth during the episode was a little confusing, but the talent was as bad and as good in both places as it had been in Kansas City or Salt Lake or Phoenix or wherever else. Here were the good and bad of the ones who had the most airtime on Thursday night….

THE BAD

Adeola, who had quit her job because she was so sure she was going to Hollywood, sang a Jennifer Hudson song and was just awful, and I mean every note was off-key. Lucky for her, Simon Cowell was nice enough to call her former employer and get Adeola her job back. Who said Simon was a tool? That was classy…..Jessica Byers, a 20 year old who sang Celine Dion, was so loud and emotive that she made the audition uncomfortable for everyone. She claimed she was just nervous, but no, she just wasn’t good….Joel Contreras was a crazy rocker dude from San Juan who called himself the “human iPod” and was more talented at being nuts than at singing…Alexis, who auditioned last season and was also a bit of a wack job, returned to the New York City auditions and claimed to have toned down her act through stuff like yoga. Yeah, okay. Alexis attempted Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” and let’s just say she can also go back to being nuts, because she is better at that than at singing. Also true to form, she gave the judges the finger on the way out. Nice.

THE GOOD

Jorge Nunez, a 20 year old from Puerto Rico, sang “My Way” and had a nice Latin flair about him. The judges started saying he may have trouble singing in English, but Simon correctly pointed out that they came to San Juan to find Puerto Rican natives with talent, otherwise they would have gone to Omaha…..Melinda Camille, who admitted she likes to dance naked in her bedroom while singing, sang “Feeling Good” and had a really great voice. No confirmation on whether or not she will bring her clothes to Hollywood….Jackie Tom, who sang Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours,” picked an odd song but had a nice tone to her voice and got through….Nick Mitchell, who goes under the moniker “Norman Gentle,” had this cabaret thing going on, and tried to inject humor into everything he did. This pissed off Simon to no end, but even he laughed when “Norman” made a crude joke about Simon and Ryan Seacrest. Anyway, when dude stopped joking and sang “Amazing Grace,” I think I speak for all of America when I say it was a pleasant surprise. Norm is off to Cali, and he will no doubt be polarizing to everyone there….after a medley of good auditions and yellow tickets, things were winding down. Next up was Monique, a 16 year old who brought along her 9 year old brother, Christopher. The kid was like a used car salesman to the judges, and since Monique was above average but not great, an assist goes to young Chris for sending his sis to Hollywood….finally there was Patricia, a 20 year old who took on Whitney Houston. That’s never a good idea, because artists like Whitney or Stevie Wonder or Aretha Franklin are just so hard to live up to vocally for an amateur. Anyway, Patricia did earn her ticket, but barely.

So our initial auditions are over, and now we head to Hollywood for the next round. Soon we will have our Top 24 and a clearer picture of who some of the contenders will be. See you all next week!

  

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THE BAD

Tara Mathews, a 21-year old local Goth girl (a Goth in Salt Lake is like a peanut in Italian food) said that she had ESP powers. Well that’s good, because she sure can’t sing….they only showed a few seconds of this girl Aleesha, who I’ll call vibrato girl, but her audition made me laugh out loud…..there was Chris, who brought along his friend Greg the Rabbit. Greg wore a pink bunny costume Read the rest of this entry »

  

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THE BAD

Dana Moreno was shouting a Chaka Khan song, and I do mean shouting. Next! 16 year old Kaneswa had been told her entire life by her mom what a great vocalist she was, but that is always the recipe for failure, isn’t it? Kaneswa sang Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture,” complete with some of Anita’s vocal acrobatics. However, for Kaneswa, they were not acrobatics, but more like nasal inflections….Darren Darnell was the life of the party among contestants waiting to audition, so much so that I was thinking he could be the next Ryan Seacrest. But then when his buddy didn’t get a golden ticket, a switch went off and this guy looked depressed and started crying, right up through his own audition, which bombed anyway….A girl named Naomi sang Minnie Ripperton’s “Lovin’ You” and while she may have hit the high falsetto note at the end, it was the only note that was on key. Naomi brought along her friend who was semi-obsessed with Randy Jackson, and the friend got to sit on Randy’s lap. Anyway, Naomi was awful….George Ramirez, an 18 year old who sort of looked like a young Abe Lincoln, was a physics student who just happened to want to give singing a try, but it was more like a low rumble of off-key mess Read the rest of this entry »

  

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