'American Idol' season premiere: Ashley Rodriguez, Katie Stevens and Leah Laurenti
First we relive Kris Allen's win, then Paula's departure, then Ellen's joining "Idol." It's too bad they couldn't add in a last-minute Simon thing because his news is conspicuous in its absence.
Ryan Seacrest opens the judges' intro with, "With Simon steering the ship, we have to be headed in the right direction." That's... awkward.
Once again I will offer my prayers to the "Idol" gods that they show almost exclusively good auditions and leave the mentally slow adults who are delusional about their talent and the know-they-aren't-talented fame-whores out of it.
I fear I will be disappointed. Again.
Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham is the guest judge in Boston. They play the Spice Girls hit "Wannabe" while introducing her, and now that'll be in my head for the next 43 hours. Thanks, "American Idol."
The first audition is a predictably bad singer named Janet McNamara who looks like she's 34 years old, which is too old for "Idol," last time I checked. Janet got her start on the "American Idol" video game. She shrieks "Pocketful of Sunshine" and is sent on her way. She can't seem to tell the difference between Paula, Kara and Lady V, which is funny because neither Victoria nor Kara are slurring their words or seal-clapping.
Maddy Curtis, a cutie 16-year-old who is the ninth of 12 children, is up next. She has several siblings with Downs Syndrome and gets really choked up talking about them. Awww. She sings "Hallelujah," an excellent song. Maddy has a very pure tone. The higher stuff was a titch strained but overall it was very good. The judges love her, and she's through unanimously. Simon adds that she's not annoying, like most 16-year-olds who audition. Haha.
Next is Pat Ford, a spastic 17-year-old that Simon is fed up with two seconds in. Does anybody feel like he expresses his closeted feelings via his spastic dancing? Me too. Kara hugs him. Already she is showing sparks of the personality we saw from her last year when she went Bikini Girl on us.
Good Montage. Apparently it's Girls Girls Girls in Boston. There's Jennifer Hirsh with a total Billie Holiday throwback voice, Claire Fuller with a great pop voice and Jess Wolfe with a nice throaty alto.
We now have Amadeo Diricco from Rhode Island. He comes from a big Italian family and has a big personality to go with it. He sings Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man." It's a good version of the song but maybe not the best "Idol" audition piece because there's not enough to it vocally. The judges dig it, though, and he's through unanimously. That's cool. Out int he hall, Ryan Seacrest is charged by five burly Italian men and tries to pretend like it's not his every dream come true.
Derek Hilton, a hippy-dippy dude who "gradutates" towards music, is next. He says he sounds like Chris Brown and likes how Brown "touches kids all over the country." Um, Brown got in trouble for hitting his girlfriend, not touching kids. Anyway, Derek sings "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" and sounds a lot more like Macy Gray than Chris Brown. NEXT!
Disappointment Montage. Tears, plinky-plunky strains of heartbreak, family hugs, oh it's so sad.
Next up is Janet from earlier, adding a red dye job and subtracting about 30 pounds. This girl is Mere Doyle and she's an anime enthusiast. Oh boy. She screams "Little Piece of My Heart." Was she passing a stone? NEXT!
Luke Shaffer and Benjamin Bright are two guys who audition with a song I don't know and "All My Lovin,'" respectively. They are both quite good and make it through to Hollywood.
Creepy Guy Time. His name is Andrew Fenlon and I imagine he lures Omega Chis into his van by pretending his arm is hurt. He's a total jerk to the judges and then takes on "House of the Rising Sun." It's not terrible, but it's really not that good. Kara doesn't like his attitude about waiting to audition and gives him the what-for. You go, Kara DioGuardi.
He gets three nos from Kara, V and Randy, and Simon then pulls his cheeky stunt where he says, "I would've said yes." It then devolves into a giant fight where Kara then starts telling Andrew he needs a spanking. So Kara likes to talk smack to sulky boys and then spank them? Woo woo, Kara. Oh, and Andrew's MySpace page is a little scary.
Bad Montage. Bill Bloom sings "Kiss from a Rose" like he's getting his prostate examined by Captain Hook. Michael Ryan mistakenly thinks he's auditioning for "Brigadoon."
Ashley Rodriguez sings "If I Ain't Got You" and is very talented with a really current, hip vibe. The judges totally love her too and she's through with flying colors. Simon says she has "it." Totally.
The last audition of the day is Tyler Grady, who has two shattered wrists. Yikes. He's a drummer who sings. Please sing Phil Collins! Please. He chooses "Let's Get It On" instead, and a more soulful voice comes out of him than I was expecting. There are a couple bum notes but overall very good. He's through with four yesses.
Day 2 in Boston kicks off with Lisa Olivero with "Vision of Love." Um, did we learn nothing from Bikini Girl? Lisa is one of those people who can make an okay sound come out of their mouths and therefore thinks that means they can sing. Man, this girl goes whole-hog for the big notes. Was that a tonsil?
Mike Davis gets the first Golden Ticket of the day after he sings "Yesterday." Oh, and he's a speedboat tour guide. Cool! He picked a hard song, so that's ballsy. Weirdly, Simon, Victoria and Kara say yes but Randy says no. I guess Randy wants us to notice him more so we're prepared for when Simon isn't there.
They finally play some Boston as Mike shows off his ticket to his family. I love "More than a Feeling," but "Peace of Mind" is really my favorite. "Amanda" is good too.
We have another 16-year-old in Katie Stevens. She's from a big Connecticut Portuguese family -- oh my god she's "Mystic Pizza!" Is she Kat, Daisy or JoJo? Katie's grandma has Alzheimer's, and Katie sings to her and she wants to succeed before her grandma can't remember her anymore. Geez, show. I'm crying over here.
Anyway, her audition is "At Last" and it's awesome. SO GOOD. The judges love her and put her through with flying colors. It's possible that every member of her extended family is in the hallway, and it's awesome.
Joshua Blaylock is next with "God Blessed the Broken Road" and it's ... OK. He has good tone but hits a few really bum notes. Simon thinks a 28-year-old guy should have a better voice and more presence than that. The judges work on Joshua being more assertive and having more personality, and we find out Randy loves Spandau Ballet. True dat, dawg. (See what I did there?) Anyway, the two girls put him through and then Simon says yes too and so does Randy.
Next up is a guy named Justin Williams, who was on a mission in Spain and got cancer but is now cancer-free. Way to fight the cancer, man. He sings "Feelin' Good." You know who I liked that sang that on "Idol?" Leslie Hunt from season 6. I liked her. Anyway, Justin does a nice job, he's a total crooner and he's super-cute. The judges agree and he's through.
Victoria Beckham montage. I think you're probably perfect working in retail. You've got a really great face. What an interesting look.
Norberto Guerrero gets way too much leeway from the judges when he sings "Everytime We Touch." This is my all-time favorite dance song, y'all. Please make it stop. He's like a Goth Cowardly Lion shrieking at me! Stop encouraging him, judges. Simon finally brings down the hammer on poor Norberto.
Next up is Bosa Mora, whose parents are both from Nigeria. His mom has on a traditional African dress and she looks awesome. If I, a white girl from Iowa, could pull that off -- I would rock that every day. He sings "You Look So Good in Love" by George Strait. Simon calls him good but boring. I agree. But the judges put him through with yesses from Victoria, Kara and Randy.
As the day winds down, the last audition is Leah Laurenti with "Blue Skies," which always makes me think of Davis and Wallace in "White Christmas." Anyway, Leah has a great throwback jazzy voice, which I am totally on board with. I love it. The judges think she's one of the best so far and she's through with four yesses.
As the episode winds down, we learn that 31 Bostonians made it to Hollywood. That sounds about right. Wish we could've skipped Mere Doyle, Andrew Fenlon and Derek Hilton and Pat Ford to see more of the Golden Ticket recipients.
So how'd Victoria Beckham do? I liked her, surprisingly. Vote here on which guest judge you're most excited to see.
Tomorrow night: Hotlanta!
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