In Miami tonight, the American Idol auditions were all about the ladies. In fact, we saw the auditions of seven lucky ladies end with a golden ticket.
Only two of the men we saw auditioned advanced. Former boy band member Robbie Carrico sang a little Lynyrd Skynyrd to earn three yeses from the judges. And Venezuela native Ghaleb Emachah was so excited that his rendition of a Mark Anthony tune got him the nod that he kissed everyone on his way out – and I mean everyone, right down to the crew filming and the staff.
We were treated to a montage of the unsuccessful male campaign early on. In the second half of the show we saw a few more of the unlucky men including a performance by Ben Hausbach that made you want to forget when rock was young.
Simon told 27-year-old Carroy Bethea that he was “over the top,” as if the Don King hair wasn’t a dead giveaway. And even a threat from Simon to have him come back in a dress didn’t faze Miami native Grant Rhea.
Randy even got in on the fun demonstrating to Richard Valles of Tampa his nasal sound. And I think that Simon was underestimating 20-year-old Brandon Black when he told him that his performance was “bordering on desperation.” See, I thought it was clearly desperate.
Even Janis Joplin couldn’t help either Shannon McGough, 18, or American Junior finalist Julie Dubela. Maybe McGough’s backstory at the meat market was foreshadowing of the butchering she did to “Cry Baby.”
And after Simon heard Dubela’s version of “Me & Bobby McGee” he told her to go to LA and become an actress. He called her precocious. I can think of another word and it’s not as nice as Paula’s “overindulged.”
But there was some love in Miami. Best friends Corliss Smith and Brittany Wescott took time out from their hunt to find a man long enough to get their tickets to Hollywood, auditioning with dedicated songs, at Paula’s request, to Randy and Simon. Out of the two Jacksonville natives, I thought Wescott, who sang “My Guy” had the better voice.
Single mom Suzanne Toon, 21, turned in a seductive version of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” to earn a spot in Hollywood.
I worry when women try to sing Aretha Franklin songs. Not everyone can do the queen of soul justice. But 19-year-old Ramiele Malubay, who sang “Natural Woman” and Miami native Syesha Mercado with “Think (Freedom)” put in two solid performances. If I had to choose between the two, Mercado is my pick. Maybe her optimism is just catchy.
Ilsy Lorena Pinot of Miami and Natashia Blanch who made the trip from Colorado rounded out the nine winning auditions we saw.
In total we will see 17 of the more than 10,000 hopefuls from Miami in Hollywood in two weeks.
My picks for the evening were Mercado and Carrico. Next week we head to Ryan’s hometown of Atlanta to finish off the auditions.
It’s looking like the auditions peaked in San Diego. Here’s a rundown of the numbers so far: