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:

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.

The show kicked off last night with 22 year old Inessa, who kept proclaiming that she was a star. That’s never a good sign. Anyway, Inessa is an import from the Ukraine, and they showed video clips of her doing sexy dance moves that made me want to turn away from the TV—that’s because Inessa looks like she’s TWELVE. And being from the Ukraine, maybe she is. But waiting for her outside was her HUSBAND, an oriental looking middle aged dude who clearly bought Inessa online as a mail order bride. Seriously, how old can she really be?…..24 year old Drew Beaumier, who was a human car, and yes you read that correctly, sang (wait for it….) “Born to be Wild.” His vocals were average, but the gimmick was amazing. I mean, dude literally could get down on the ground and look like a toy car that actually functioned…..among a medley of bad auditions were two Daves—Combs and Johnston—the former having long hair and saying all rockers should have long hair but disappointing Steven to no end.

So that’s it, folks. We head to Hollywood tonight, and here are a few contestants I want you to keep an eye on from the initial auditions:
16 year old Robbie Rosen from Merrick, NY who looks like a young Andy Pettitte; 25 year old Caleb; a girl named Devin who worked at a burger joint in NYC where they sing at the tables; Jordan Dorsey, a 21 year old teacher who did “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”…..16 year old Brad Lowenstern, who was picked on a lot growing up but did an amazing version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” for his audition….Chelsee Oaks, one half of the “ex” duo with Rob Bolin, who, believe me, will stand out on her own without that guy…..Lauren Alaina, the 15 year old who had the sister with brain cancer, from Roscoe Georgia. Believe me, this girl has ridiculous pipes at that age, and I would venture to say she is finalist material…..19 year old Casey Abrams, who looks like Seth Rogan and sang Ray Charles’ “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” is also finalist material. Yes, he was that good, even as goofy as he seemed with his little accordion instrument….the brothers, Mark and Aaron Gutierrez, as long as they are not swallowed up by Hollywood, will also go far….then of course, Stefano Langone, Julie Zorrilla and James Durbin from last night. Those are my picks to go far, but I’m sure to be at least half wrong. So let’s get this Hollywood party started!