I might know something about the music scene in Denver since I do PR for musical acts, and I feel like I’ve represented more artists from that city than from anywhere else to date. The talent there is just amazing, but I’m not sure why. Do the mountains and beautiful scenery inspire people to write great music? But it’s not just that…it’s the singers, too. Anyway, last night on “American Idol” that Rocky Mountain talent was on display for all the world to see, and 26 contestants in all made it to Hollywood. What I’m saying is, I’m not surprised by that count.

This time around, Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, was the fourth judge again, and Ryan Seacrest went on for a few minutes about this being the city where Chris Daughtry auditioned in 2005. They sure do like to milk that stuff. Anyway, here were the best and worst from Denver that they showed…


The first contestant of the episode was 28 year old Mark, who told an interesting story about how when he was a child he and his mom moved all over the country (including Alaska and Hawaii), to run from his dad. But now he lives near his dad in Colorado. He also told Simon Cowell that he loves cheese. Okay. Anyway, this goofy dude sang Squeeze’s “Tempted” and the judges were pleasantly surprised, with both Mark’s singing as well as his bubbly and interesting personality. Count me in too…..young Kimberly Kerbow is a single mom with a 5-year old daughter, and sang Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.” I thought it was just okay and so did Simon, who also found her mildly annoying, but the other three loved her…..Danielle Hicks, 24, is another single mom (from Seattle) and she sings in a cover band for a living. You could tell by her smoky vocal that she was a cover band singer, but a good one, as she nailed Melissa Etheridge’s “The Only One.” The judges, especially Kara, were moved by her audition, and I think this girl has a load of potential….27 year old Casey James was in a motorcycle crash six years ago but is fully recovered. He had a nice natural vocal but didn’t exude much emotion, which turned off Simon completely. But Kara and Posh thought the dude was too good-looking to pass up on, and even asked him to remove his shirt. Um, okay. Anyway, he made it through because Randy also liked him just enough…..16 year old Tori Kelly sang John Mayer’s “Gravity,” and while it was good in a raw kind of way, it was very raw. Simon thought Tori was also annoying, but the other judges liked her voice and her look…..Nicci Hicks, 22, who now lives in Italy (okay, so maybe the talent all migrates to Denver!), had a weird speaking voice that sounded like she sucked on helium, but her singing voice was deeper and not bad…finally, 16 year old Haeley Vaughn, who was born premature at 2 pounds and almost didn’t survive, announced that she wanted to be different, aka an African American pop country artist. So she sang a Carrie Underwood song, and it wasn’t bad at all. She also was very likeable, so that combined with her uniquenesss got her through.


They didn’t show all that many bad ones, save for a medley of really weird auditions and some horrible ones, including one girl who Simon said could kill a cat with her vocal. Yikes. Anyway, the first dud was Mario Galvan, 25, who had a nervous and weird laugh. Mario sang Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” and it wasn’t very good, but amusing when the judges tried to mimic the poor guy’s laugh…..22 year old Austin Paul is a college football player who was proud of his body. To accent that, he sang John Mayer’s “Bigger Than My Body” and came across, as Kara said, “cocky.” Yep, pretty much, and he wasn’t all that either….24 year old Kenny Everett sang a Mary J. Blige song and it was shouty and awful. And he was one of those contestants who strongly disagreed with the judges to the point of hanging on and singing his way out the door…..finally, Ty Hemmerling was the last audition of the day and was pretty much a joke, as he dresed in a bikini like “bikini girl” last season. To make matters worse, Hemmerling sang Billy Ray Cyrus, or tried to, anyway.

So that’s it for the city visits…tonight they will show an hour’s worth of some of the best auditions from all of the cities that we haven’t seen yet. And then next week Hollywood time begins, including the debut of new judge Ellen DeGeneres. After that, things will really start to move. Thanks for reading and see you back here tomorrow!