You would think in pure numbers that a city like Chicago would produce the most Hollywood-bound contestants on “American Idol.” But no. Two days yielded thirteen of them, and some of those were even questionable, at least in my eyes (and ears). Guest judge Shania Twain offered some comic relief at times, and some of the singers were no doubt talented, but I know we all expected more from the windy city. Here are the highlights and lowlights….


Kicking off the episode last night was 19 year old Katelin, from Iowa, who sang Duffy’s “Syrup and Honey.” Right off the bat, Twain remarked, “Yummy!” when hearing the title of the song. Anyway, it was a good, soulful vocal and nice way to kick the show off…..16 year old Charity Vance from Arkansas (okay, so none of the contestants were actually FROM Chicago?) sang “Summertime” and they showed her parents back in Arkansas at the hair salong they run from their house. Apparently, “American Idol” is a hot topic among customers and now it will be an even hotter topic as their daughter is going to Hollywood…..28 year old Angela Martin has been here before, and has even cracked the Top 50 (last year). But one year it was the untimely and tragic death of her dad, and last year she had a court date for a traffic violation right smack during Hollywood week. Well, not only did Angela advance again, but as Kara DioGuardi pointed out, she has gotten better. I have high hopes for Angela this time and I know the judges do as well…..after a seriously long drought with no golden tickets, finally 20 year old John Park took his turn, and he was pretty good. Shania had the hots for the guy, first saying she liked his “bottom end” and then saying he had “nice lips.” Nice, Shania, real nice…..21 year old Paige Dechausse, who nearly lost her life after a horrible asthma attack when she was 15, sang Sam Cook’s “Change is Gonna Come” and while Simon called it self-indulgent, the other three judges let her through…..the final Hollywood-bound contestant they showed was a kid who strapped on a guitar and sang a Bryan Adams song while sounding exactly like Bryan Adams. Well, we know how Shania voted on that one, considering her Canadian roots.


26 year old Amy Lang first differentiated herself by telling Ryan Seacrest about her inappropriate dream starring him. She then showed off her “just aight” vocal while impressing the judges with what she called a “boob push.” Um, okay…..26 year old Curly Newbern sang a Maxwell song in ALL falsetto, and the fact that Randy and Simon couldn’t hold back laughter says it all….19 year old Alannah Halbert was also a falsetto singer and pretty much not very good….then there was 27 year old Brian Krause, a ratings placement if ever there was one. Dude was a military guy who said he was known for entertaining his fellow comrades. Well his song choice was Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” and the judges first had to ask Brian if this was a joke or not, and when he said it wasn’t they just pretty much said, “Sorry, you suck, get out.” It was funny though that he referred to Randy as “Mr. Jackson” and Simon as “Mr. Cowell”…..Finally there was 25 year old Harold Davis, who had a weird and awful voice singing “Nice and Slow.” He claimed that allergies were affecting his voice, but the judges knew better. Poor guy though was crying on his way out the door, and nobody ever wants to see that!

So two days in Chicago produced 13 Hollywood rounders. I don’t know how many showed up to audition, but I’m pretty sure the percentage was one of the lowest of any audition round. Tonight they continue in Orlando and if my math is correct, we will have reached the halfway point of the early audition episodes….it’s at least wishful thinking, isn’t it?

What did you think of last night’s hopefuls? Let me know and we’ll see you back here tomorrow….