Much to my relief, we’ve finally reached the last of the American Idol audition cities. While the parade of misfits (at least concerning the auditions aired) seems to have waned, the talent hasn’t? Golden tickets were issued to 20 hopefuls, but is one of them a real contender for the crown?
We were reminded that not only is Atlanta Ryan’s hometown (wow, was that a boring reunion with his parents), but also that it was the audition site for Clay Aiken, Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson and Season 3 winner Fantasia.
But you know it’s going to be a slow night when we are treated to a montage of Paula deciding between yes and no. I can’t say that I was impressed with Paula’s pre-Super Bowl game video, but at least it was better than this segment.
They must be saving the eccentric auditions for tomorrow night. To say that tonight’s auditions of those that were turned away were less than interesting is an understatement.
J.P. Tjelmeland’s claim to fame was that he was two people in front of Carrie Underwood during the auditions in Season 4. Neither that fact nor a major in music helped the 20-year-old do justice to Rascal Flatts’ “Me and My Gang.”
And like Simon, I was sure the Eva Miller’s version of “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton was an act. She should forget singing to pursue a career in slapstick comedy. Couldn’t you just see her tripping over a couch in a modern day version of Three’s Company?
Then we were treated to 16-year-old Nathan Hite who thought he was so smart and witty with his “pick-a-fight” retorts to Simon’s “bedroom audition” criticism of his version of Finger Eleven’s “Paralyser.” Did this guy come all the way from Savannah to audition or just to tell off Simon? I think only those not old enough to drive were impressed with his antics.
We were left with a lack luster montage of folks singing Fergie’s “Glamorous” that was anything but and a three-long streak of non-contenders that included Virginian Michael Gregory singing Akon’s “I Wanna Love You,” 26-year-old Chris Lars in a utility kilt and a very high-pitched Jared Wiley.
In fact, the six advancing contenders that we saw audition were more colorful than those left behind with stories that ranged from heartbreaking to just bizarre.
Asia’H Epperson’s golden ticket was a bittersweet victory. The 18-year-old belted out LeAnn Rhimes “How Do I Live’ in memory of her father who died tragically in a car accident a few days earlier. The audition not only wowed all three judges, but it reduced Paula to tears. I was not only impressed with this Missouri native’s voice, but her composure as well.
Josiah Leming’s hard luck story was less touching since it was self-imposed. This Tennessee boy dropped out of school at 17 and has been living in his car for the last year. I’m not sure if it was the 18-year-old’s voice, his self-composed song “To Run” or his English accent when he sang that won over the judges, but all three gave him the nod. Personally, I could have passed on all it and just wanted to shake the guy and tell him to go back to school
Now the reserved Alexandrea Lushington, 16, was someone I could get excited about. This unassuming 16-year-old arrived with a full fan base including her 93-year-old grandmother. She had a pretty voice, but I didn’t think that “My Funny Valentine” did the best to showcase it.
In contrast was the audition of the boisterous Brooke Helvie, whose performance of “Who’s Loving You” by The Jackson 5 Simon begrudgingly said “wasn’t bad.” He wasn’t the only one who expected this beauty queen’s performance to be terrible. I don’t see her to lasting too long especially since Simon said she was “possibly the most annoying person.” But what’s a trip to Hollywood compared to the title of Miss South Florida Fair?
And we can’t forget the poor guy who the judges made perform “Don’t Stop Me Now” with his back to them. Apparently Joshua Jones “slightly demonic” eyes, as Simon called them, were enough to stop his performance of Queen. Let’s hope they let this Atlanta glassworker turn around in Hollywood before giving him the boot.
Finally, my pick of the evening – a fellow Hoosier. Although I didn’t like Amanda Overmyer’s rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mean Woman, she won me over with her version of “Traveling Band” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Randy called her the real deal and Paula said she was the female Chris Daughtery. Hopefully these comments are a good omen for this rocker.
It looks like tomorrow night in just a hodgepodge of all seven auditions and then it’s onto Hollywood next week.
Here are the numbers of those heading to Hollywood: