“American Idol” travels to San Francisco and clearly the California talent is split north/south because it is 100x better than Los Angeles.
San Francisco kicks off with Inessa Lee, a Ukrainian girl that makes us feel fairly uncomforatable because she’s very sexualized in her YouTube videos, but she also looks 14. There’s an Ick Factor here. She sings “I’m All Out of Love” by Air Supply, which makes us love her just a little bit because – Air Supply! But it’s not that good and she also has that Kirsten Dunst snaggletooth thing going, as she simpers and Betty Boops her way around the room. Back to icky.
After a rough morning full of bad singers and bird poop, the afternoon starts with Brittany Mazur, Lara Johnston and Matthew Nuss who all sing very nice in the tiny snippet we see and get sent to Hollywood.
The next full audition is Stefano Langone, who has some wicked scars on his arms from an accident he was in in 2009. The EMTs thought he was dead when they arrived on the scene and he wasn’t supposed to walk again, but he obviously is not. He sings “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and it’s decent, but he drops the ends of notes too much. We hate it when singers do that. The high stuff was great. Either way, he’s through.
Clint Jun Gamboa sings “Billionaire” and it’s alright, but doesn’t blow us away. The ending is nice, but the judges seem more impressed with him than we are. He’s still good, though, certainly worthy of a ticket to Hollywood, which he gets.
The next audition is Kenneth Berba, who might be the creepiest audition ever, but that might also have to do with our dislike of monkeys. He leads into Weston Lee Smith croaking his way through some Stevie, but the he just stops and the judges just stare at him for like 20 second. Yes, it was awkward. And it leads into a real-life Transformer who sings “Born to Be Wild.” His name is Drew Beaumier, but who cares? He can’t sing. The Transformer thing is cute, but we’d rather see some more good singers please.
The use of “Drive” on his way out by The Cars is brilliant. That is one of our very favorite slow songs ever. Nice.
There’s a cute California girls montage where all of them make it through. We don’t get their names, but they all get Golden Tickets, which leads into Julie Zorrilla, a Colombian immigrant whose family fled the violence in the 1990s to come to the U.S. She’s beautiful and her parents are just heartbreaking, so we expect her to sing very well.
Her “Summertime” has beautiful tone, but her phrasing and stylizing of the song doesn’t really trip our trigger. Clearly she’s talented, though, so she is through on three yes votes. J.Lo gets her first Paula moment when she compliments Julie on being “planted in the ground.” Heh. Also, in that dress and shoes, she kind of looks like a Colombian Rachel Berry, amiright?
The first rocker of the night is Dave Combs with “Oh Darling.” He kind of looks like if Crystal Bowersox and Bo Bice had a kid. Anyway, he has an OK growly voice, but Steven Tyler is very much against him and kind of mean about it. C’mon, you put through girls who aren’t that good just because they are HOT. Weak.
This leads us into a montage of Tyler being mean to Rick Deschamp, David Johnston and Sabrina Corbett. None of them are that good and Tyler is totally fed up.
Emily Anne Reed is the next sad story. She lost her home in a fire a week before the auditions. She sings “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me” and has a very small, cutesy coffeehouse voice. J.Lo rightly says it’s a very interesting voice, which it definitely is, but we’d love to see her really rip it up on something (if she can). Steven says no, Randy and J.Lo put her through. After she plays her guitar some, though, Tyler seems to change his mind about her.
The last audition of the day is James Durbin, a fellow who was raised by just his mom because his musician father OD’d when James was 9 years old. Then later, James was diagnosed with Tourettes and Asperger’s, which means he is high-functioning autistic. But he has a girl in his life and a beautiful son, awww. He sings NOT a bluesy version of “You Shook Me All Night Long,” but rather Led Zeppelin’s “You Shook Me.” Thanks to Alert Commenter Bob for the assist. It’s a little too screamy for our taste, but there’s some good stuff in there.
He then takes on “Dream On” and that one is even better. It’s very good,
we couldn’t really hear the melody on the first song turns out we didn’t know the first song. The judges just love him. He definitely has an Adam Lambert vibe going, though he’ll need a makeover and some versatility to go far.
What did you think, gang? Happy with San Francisco?
Tomorrow night: HOLLYWOOD WEEK!