'American Idol': John Wayne Schulz, Janelle Arthur charm in Austin
The first audition is Corey Levoy, who has a sister, Brooks, whom he never met until he was 14. They grew up 15 minutes from each other, so we guess it's good that didn't end in a Greek tragedy. She's there to support him and gets to join the judges while he sings. He does "I Can't Make You Love Me" and he has a nice tenor voice. Little heavy on the runs for a song that is so beautiful sung straight, but solid voice. J.Lo liked the runs, so we suppose that's just a matter of personal preference. He's through, despite his "J.Lo booty." Heh.
Holly Cavanagh is an adorable Brit transplant who sings "At Last." She has a nice tone to her voice, but she can't keep the key. She is ALL over the place. No sooner did we type that then Steven Tyler says the exact same thing. It's a no from Randy, but J.Lo lets her sing another song. She does "The Climb" and it's much better than "At Last," which is a very tricky song to sing a capella. After "The Climb," she's through.
A montage of rejection and tears leads into Rodolfo Ochoa with what he thinks is "The Circle of Life." Oh dear. Yikes. He needs to take his emo hair and ease on down the road. And that leads into a cowboy montage with a tiny snippet of a guy singing "Papa Loved Mama" that we wish we could've seen because it sounded alright.
John Wayne Schulz is the first legitimate rough neck cowboy whose family has been ranching cattle since 1857. There is an adorable exchange between Ryan Seacrest and John's dad, then we find out about his mom's fight with breast cancer. When she was diagnosed, she made him promise to try out for "Idol." Awww. She's there with him, btw, she didn't die or something. And she also adorably is wearing his high school football picture button, which is such a mom thing to do.
So John Wayne gets some props for his name by Randy -- but did you know John Wayne's real name is Marian? True story. Anyway, JW sings "Believe" and it's pretty. Doesn't knock our socks off, but it's solid. His parents get to come in and get the good news that he's going to Hollywood. His mom just cries so hard, it's wonderful. What a lovely family.
In the ensuing celebration, Ryan Seacrest sustains "belt buckle damage." Oh, the jokes. Too many jokes. Good thing this is a family-friendly site.
Speaking of Seacrest, what a delightful segue into Courtney Penry, who thinks Ryan Seacrest is the sexiest man alive. The use of "Hello" over this montage is wonderful. We wish they had gone whole hog and taped her sculpting a bust of Seacrest out of clay. She's a good sport about seeming just a little boil-your-bunny in a talking-head interview (we hope that was her being a good sport and not how she actually is).
Courtney sings "Stay" by Sugarland and we kind of expected her to be bad, a la Tatiana something or other, that crazy girl. But she's not bad! There's at least something to work with, which Tyler points out. He thinks she has star quality and they need to "kindle this up some." Randy says no, but she gets through on Tyler and J.Lo.
Golden Ticket Montage: Shauntel Campos, Alex Carr and Caleb Johnson all show off their various talents. Shauntel is country, Alex is R&B and Caleb seems to be rock 'n roll. All we really see is him screaming like he's passing a kidney stone, but we'll take the judges' word for it.
The next audition is Jacqueline Dunford and Nick Fink, boyfriend/girlfriend auditionees who are kind of gross, but we're assuming the show made them act like this. Jacqueline sings "Mercy" and it's a little shouty, but not bad. Doesn't hurt that she's wearing a second skin for a dress. Nick sings "Sunday Morning" and we prefer his voice to hers. They could both go through, or they could both not. Neither one really blew us away, but they were aight. They get yesses and are through.
Did you catch J.Lo's new Venus ad for Gillette? It's pretty cute, check it out here if you missed it.
Janelle Arthur has our favorite voice of the night on Duffy's "Syrup & Honey" and "No One Needs to Know Right Now" by Shania. She handles the jumps with aplomb, there are a couple really hard ones in "Right Now." She's through unanimously.
Then a girl comes in dressed as an Armadillo, which brings out Randy's "mean dawg," like Simon without the charm and British accent. There's a whole montage of him being unfunnily crabby, though we did enjoy his "watch me leave" crack.
Bringing the show to a close is not a sad story, but is Casey Abrams, a goofy-looking guy who plays the melodica. He sings "I Don't Need no Doctor" and it's surprisingly awesome. He's got some rock/soul stuff going on, some scatting, it's wonderful. The judges are totally into it. Oh, we like this kid. We hope he goes far, he's so weird and off-beat and still really talented. Check here for his audition video and several other awesome performances by Casey.
So Austin was surprisingly fun and mostly bad-audition-less, which we always appreciate. Tomorrow night -- Los Angeles. Be here or be square.