Maybe it’s because we started the show tonight on a high note with the first three contestants all getting golden tickets or maybe it was a result of the sunny weather, but Simon seemed to really enjoy the American Idol San Diego auditions.
Simon started off the evening by giving 24-year-old Tetiana Ostapowich a chance when she dared “let me prove you wrong, Simon.” Let’s hope this California girl can live up to her challenge.
Then he told single dad Perrie Cataldo who came from Phoenix to perform Boys II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You.” that he had a “really, really good voice.” Has Simon ever used two “reallys” in a positive review before?
Next, Simon called Australian native Michael Johns “a white soul singer” after Johns belted out “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” by Otis Redding. For someone that doesn’t generally like the “old fashion” songs, Simon really seemed taken by the 28-year-old that now resides in Las Angeles.
But I think the highlight of San Diego for Simon was the Musa sisters from Baldwin Park, CA. Since both sisters have self-proclaimed obsessions with Simon, it’s hard to tell who was happier about this audition. Samantha’s performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Until You Come Back to Me” won the 20-year-old a “great audition” compliment from Simon. But her sister got to sit with Simon during the audition and help him judge.
In Day 2, even Randy’s background vocals didn’t deter Simon from agreeing with Paula’s praise and telling 16-year old David Achuleta that he made a great choice of song. The Murray, VT native sang “Waiting for the World to Change” by John Mayer.
And although he told the Irish Carly Smithson, 23, that her performance of “I’m Every Woman” wasn’t as good as her audition two years ago, he still voted yes to give her a second chance. Smithson advanced to Hollywood in Season 5, but was disqualified when her Visa didn’t come through in time.
But there were some that the sunnier, kinder Simon still couldn’t tolerate. Simon told Valerie Reyes, a self-proclaimed Mariah Carey vocal twin, that she only sounded like Carey if it was the sound of one of her CDs playing after it had been left out in the sun. And I can’t say that Simon got it wrong. But the woman seemed generally shocked by his response. I have to wonder what it is she hears in her head when she sings.
Simon then told Alberto Hurtado, 28, that his self-composed biographical song “Live” was depressing. This Chula Vista, CA man who described singing as “the ultimate revealing of his soul” and came with a giant fan didn’t need a ticket to Hollywood, he needed a spiritual retreat.
Then there were the people that just don’t know when to give up. Like San Diego natives Monique Gibson and Christopher Baker. They auditioned separately, but had the same strategy – keeping singing until they hit the right not or were thrown out. I think between them, they sang a half a dozen songs.
But they had nothing on Blake Boshnack. This 22-year-old came all the way from Long Beach NY for his 11th audition. He’s been auditioning since Season 3 because his mom, Leslie, is obsessed with him becoming the next American Idol. Seriously, Leslie stop living vicariously through your son and let him get a life.
And I don’t even know where to start with Joseph Meji who came dressed in a sombrero and poncho and brought his own mime, Juanita.
In all 31 of the 12,000 San Diego hopefuls are now headed to Hollywood, bring the total of golden tickets after three cities to 84.
My picks for the evening were Samantha Musa and David Achuleta.
Maybe it was the California sun, or the new one-hour format, but I actually enjoyed tonight’s show. Tomorrow American Idol heads to South Carolina.