“American Idol” took to sunny Orlando with sunny Kristin Chenoweth — and found diamond-in-the-rough Matt Lawrence.
Ryan Seacrest welcomes us with shots of the space shuttle Discovery launching, then we get a great recap of why we should love Kristin Chenoweth (“Glee,” “Pushing Daisies” and “Wicked” rock).
First up tonight is a very shiny man named Theo Glinton, who apparently we could microwave and he’d still be good. He sings “Heartbreaker” and while he’s not devoid of talent, he can’t stay in the same key and he can’t do the high notes. The judges send him off to his dreams of owning a hair salon. Kara tells him he smells nice and then he gets lost in the set.
Remember the season where the locked door became its own character? That was awesome.
After touching Theo (not in a dirty way), Ryan Seacrest says, “Now I have to go wipe the glitter off my hands.” I bet that’s not the first time Ryan’s uttered that sentence. Glitter is the herpes of the craft world, after all.
Kara/Kristin montage. It’s girl power and giggles and Simon is ready to smack them both. Can we please have a FOX spin-off where Kara DioGuardi and Kristin Chenoweth travel the country and get into shenanigans? It could be called “Special Ks” or “KO’d” or something.
Seth Rollins is our first sob story tonight. His son is autistic. It’s sad. Anyway, Rollins sings “Someone to Watch Over Me” and it’s very pretty. He’s a big dude, he’s got that Ruben Studdard teddy bear thing going on. Kristin loves that he made it his own, Kara wants to keep hearing him, Simon loved the song and Randy says bring more personality/animation. But Rollins is through unanimously.
Up now is Jermaine Purifoy. He auditioned two years ago but did not make it. He’s back tonight with “Smile” and it’s very pretty, incredibly pure tone and I love the way he floats into his falsetto. Kristin immediately echoes my critique, the judges love him and he’s through with four yes votes.
Shelby Dressel is the last of the day. She has an undeveloped nerve in her face so she can’t really move the right side of her mouth. She’s really interesting looking, though. She sings “Turn Me On” and I love her southern blues vibe. She then forgets the words and goes, “Holy s**t.” It cracks the judges up. Simon wasn’t blown away. Randy liked her voice, though. Kristin likes her potential. She gets four yes votes and is through.
Day two dawns in Orlando sans Kristin, who had to go back to NYC. Bummer.
First up is Jay Stone, a Blake-Lewis-type vocal percussion/beat box guy. His version of “Come Together” is definitely cool but it doesn’t show us if he can sing AT ALL. Make him do 10 seconds of something else. They do and he launches into “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which isn’t too bad. Kara and Randy do the vocal percussion for him, which is delightful and hilarious. Simon says no, Kara says yes and Randy finally agrees, so Jay is through.
Good montage. Janell Wheeler with “House of the Rising Sun,” Brittany Starr James with “American Boy” and Kasi Bedford with “Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About” are all through to Hollywood. I particularly liked Janell Wheeler (and she’s rumored to be Tim Tebow’s ex-girlfriend).
Cornelius Edwards then sings “Rollin'” and rips his pants when he hits the splits on the floor. He gets yes votes because of his stripper dance moves. Ugh, he wasn’t that good plus it’s called “Proud Mary,” doofus.
The Desimone sisters are next and I knew they were from Jersey before the words even left their mouths. They are Bernadette and Amanda. Bernie sings “Hit the Road, Jack” and it’s okay but not great. She’s flat in parts. Mandy sings “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and it’s much better than her sister. Kara totally spotted the Jersey a mile off too. Randy and Kara both say yes and Simon says yes to Amanda but no to Bernadette, but they’re both through anyway. Well, neither one of them is going to make the Top 24, but hopefully they’ll give good drama in Hollywood Week. UPDATE: Apparently I had Simon’s yes/no backwards, but that makes no sense because Amanda was way better than Bernadette (I thought). Hmm.
Possible real-life Ice Truck Killer is next. His name is Jarrod Norrell and he sings “Amazing Grace” like he’s constipated. Kara asks him if he thinks he’s a great singer and says that he sounds like a lawn mower and Jarrod starts singing again. Simon tries to light Jarrod on fire using just the power of his stare, but to no avail. Jarrod has to be escorted out by security and then starts to actively fight them and has to be taken down. Yikes.
Simon deadpans, “Yes or no?”
Matt Lawrence is the last audition. He is a redemption story, as he robbed a bank with a BB gun when he was 15 and spent four years in jail. But he’s out and wants to be better, so that’s cool. He sings “Trouble” (that’s the Traveler’s Insurance commercial, for those of you keeping score at home) and it’s decent. He’s got some weird pronunciation things happening, but his country tone is nice. Simon says “brilliant” and very believable and authentic. He gets three yes votes. Good for him.
On the way out, Kara comments that he’s gonna go to Top 12. Wow. Big declaration.
31 Golden Tickets were given out in Orlando, which is much more on par than like the three that were given out in Chicago.
Next week: Los Angeles and Katy Perry!
Photo credit: FOX