American Idol: auditions wind down

Last night was Episode 7 of this season’s “American Idol” on FOX. That means it was the last night of initial audition footage, and tonight we get into Hollywood week. But first, a recap from last night’s San Francisco auditions:

HOLLYWOOD BOUND
The first few that they showed going to Hollywood were 21 year old Brittany Mazur; Lara Johnston; and Matthew Nuss. I wrote down next to Lara that she was all technique and I wrote “eh” next to Matthew. Sometimes I’m not quite sure what the judges are smoking, or that they are a bit too lenient…but Stefano Langone, who went next, was quite a story. He was in a life-threatening car accident two years ago, but pulled through. He talked about the desire to win “American Idol” burning in him, and when someone goes through something like that and to top it off, has the talent AND the burning drive, look out. I’m just saying, keep an eye on this kid. He did an awesome version of “Heard it Through the Grapevine” and J-Lo even suggested the word “star” to Stefano….Clint Jun Gamboa, a karaoke host from Los Angeles, was pretty damn good…after a medley of good auditions, some with women in short dresses that caught the eyes of Randy and Steven, the next Hollywood-bound contestant was Julie Zorrilla, a 20 year old beauty originally from Colombia. Her family was rich but constantly extorted by the army, so they left and came to LA for a better life. Good for us, because she was awesome and did a super cool version of the classic, “Summertime”….Emily Anne Reed, whose house burned down like last week, sang “You’re Getting To Bet a Habit,” and she was really good, kind of old-timey but very unique. Steven said no, but Randy and Jennifer said yes resoundingly…..and finally, 21 year old James Durbin from Santa Cruz, whose dad always played in bands and toured but died when James was 9 of a drug overdose, was quite a story. He and his girlfriend Heidi have a little daughter and though he has no job, they make ends meet somehow, and now he wants a better life for his family. Thankfully, he didn’t suck. Dude did a super cool version of Led Zeppelin’s “You Shook Me” and then even did Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” with Steven’s permission of course. This dude was really good and worth keeping an eye on.

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American Idol: L.A. auditions lame

Last night’s “American Idol” auditions were in Los Angeles, not far from where the contestants with golden tickets will go if they move on to the next round. And while they didn’t give an exact number, they said L.A. did not produce the hopefuls they thought it would. Here are the good and the bad from last night:

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Hell’s Kitchen: Pressing Ramsay’s buttons

Gordon Ramsay, star of the FOX reality show “Hell’s Kitchen,” is pissed. He has his six finalists for the head chef position at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, and he’s not sure he wants to hire any of them. Ratings for this show must be down, because they keep teasing us with twists and turns, more so than ever before, and Ramsay threatening to shut down Hell’s Kitchen permanently is clearly a gag. But more on that in a bit.

Last night the show began with everyone in a state of shock that Carol had just been eliminated, after her red team had won the dinner service. Ben and Robert were mostly relieved that they had survived the chopping block. So then Ramsay asked Paula who the weakest link on the red team was, and she said Andrea. Danny was asked the same question for the blue team, and he chose Ben. Andrea and Ben were asked to step forward, the lights dimmed, and Ramsay told them both, “I hate to do this, but give me your jackets.” What? Then he told them to get back in line and put on black jackets, and he asked everyone else to do the same, to signify that they were the final six and that from here on out, it was an individual competition, and not red vs. blue.

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American Idol: Only 9 Head South

Mercifully, the people at FOX only gave us one hour of “American Idol” last night, either because of the the inauguration coverage or because they realized that two hours was like stretching a piece of cheese as far as it could go. Or maybe it’s because only nine of last night’s auditions from San Francisco made it to Hollywood. Either way, I thank them, and here were some of the highlights and lowlights:

THE BAD

This dude named Dean-Anthony showed up in this weird, gigantic flannel coat, and he had both a weird smile and a weird vocal delivery….basically everything was way, way over the top. Dude sang a Simply Red song that I swear I could not recognize because of how he butchered it……Dalton, a smart guy who was shown solving a Rubik’s Cube in about 30 seconds, should go back to that left brain thing because the right brain which is the artistic side, not so good……Akilah was another strange bird, evidenced by the fact that she brought drawings of the human anatomy and taught herself to sing using this….she even made reference to the fact that in her first take, she did not bring her vocals up properly from the “rectum”….are you kidding me?…..Annie Murdock was cute and looked promising, but her emotive vocals were too much and just couldn’t cut it with the judges.

Speaking of the judges, you knew this was bound to happen…Simon Cowell and newcomer Kara DioGuardi butted heads a bit because Simon just wouldn’t let Kara speak her mind. Get used to it Kara. But it sure has been taking the attention off Paula this season, hasn’t it?

THE GOOD

Tatiana Del Toro kicked off the show and her confidence was bordering on egotistical bordering on extremely obnoxious. She sang Aretha, which Simon correctly pointed out was a mistake, and while she wasn’t awful, she was not as good as she thought, and she also had one of the most annoying laughs you’ll ever hear, one that the producers of the show had some fun with. Anyway, they let her through after some pleading…..Jesus Valenzuela also made it through with some pleading, because he was only an above average singer, but he brought his kids in with him, and the judges could not say no to the kids…..Adam Lambert, a 26 year old actor, sang “Bohemian Rhapsody” and let’s just say, wow…this kid is going far unless he trips over himself….finally, the heartwarming story of the night was Kai Kalama, a guy who was shown sacrificing many things to take care of his ailing mom. This guy sang “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” and is a naturally gifted vocalist. Feel-good story aside, I want you all to keep an eye on Kai.

Tonight the auditions move to Louisville, Kentucky, and the show is only one hour again. Sweet! FOX, I thank you for those extra two hours, but I hope you don’t ask for them back any time soon. See you all tomorrow!

  

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