Idol Announces Top 36, Joanna Pacitti Disqualified

February 12, 2009

It was do or die time on American Idol as Hollywood Week came to a close and the judges informed the final 54 who made the cut for the Top 36.  Among the surviving were three that have been very visible during Hollywood Week — drama queen Tatiana Del Toro, funnyman Nick Mitchell and the emotional Nathaniel Marshall.

This final round played out slightly different than in past years.  For starters, the cut was down to the Top 36, not 24 as in years past.  And some contestants who were borderline had to perform in a sing off with one other contender in which only one survived.

Louisville and Phoenix tied for the audition city the produced the most finalists – seven each.  San Francisco and New York City also had five contenders each.

Twenty-three was the magic number for contenders – nine of the Top 36 were that age.  The next two most popular ages were 16 and 27, which had five of each.

But what you really want to know is who made the cut.  So without further ado, here is your Top 36.

Annop Desai, the 21-year-old college student that we first met at the Kansas City auditions.  We caught a glimpse of him in Round 1 of Hollywood and last night he sang “My Prerogative.”

Von Smith sang “Over the Rainbow” in his Kansas City audition.  But we haven’t seen the 22-year-old singer since Hollywood’s Round 1.

Alex Wagner-Trugman won a sing off against pal Cody Sheldon for his spot.  During the Phoenix audition, Alex told us about how he taught himself to sing in a closet, but had to stop because the mold made him sick.  Since then we haven’t seen the 19-year-old college student.

Adam Lambert was in the cast of Wicked before he auditioned in San Francisco.  But we only got to see the 26-year-old stage actor perform once during Hollywood – in Round 3.

Taylor Vaifanua’s parents moved back to the mainland so that the 16-year-old high school student could get her break.  She impressed the judges in her audition in Salt Lake City and we got a glimpse of her again during as a member of the Rainbow Coalition on group day in Hollywood.

Jasmine Murray came to the audition in Jacksonville with a lot of family support among her sisters.  But the 16-year-old high school student has wowed me during every round of Hollywood.

Arianna Afsar is the 16-year-old who told us in Phoenix about the Adopt-a-Grandfriend program she started.  While she was impressive during her audition, we haven’t seen her perform during Hollywood.

Casey Carlson is a 20-year-old bubble tea maker we met in Kansas City when she sang “A Thousand Miles.”  We got to see her again during Round 3 where she struggled with lyrics.

Megan Corkrey, a 23-year-old font designer going through a divorce, auditioned in Salt Lake City, but we haven’t seen her since.

Mishavonna Henson, the 18-year-old we met for the first time in Round 3, audition in Phoenix this year.  Last year she made it as far as Hollywood before getting cut.

Stevie Wright was told by Simon in her Phoenix audition to grow some teeth.  We haven’t seen the 16-year-old in Hollywood to know if she’s taken that advice to heart.

Joanna Pacitti was recognized by Kara during her Louisville audition as having had a previous record contest.  But the 23-year-old struggled with lyrics during the Hollywood Round 3.

Felicia Barton got a last minute reprieve and got added to the Top 36 after Joanna got disqualified.  Felicia auditioned in Louisville, but we haven’t seen the 26-year-old bar singer and mom during Hollywood.

Kendall Beard hasn’t had much screen time.  The 23-year-old college student auditioned in Puerto Rico

Kristen McNamara, who auditioned in Louisville, beat out Jenn Korbee in a sing off.  The 22-year-old survived the group day drama to sing Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” in Round 3.

Alexis Grace, the 20-year-old stay-at-home mom wowed us during the audition in Louisville, but we didn’t get to see her again until she took on Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” in Round 3.

Scott Macintyre, the visually impaired pianist, auditioned in Phoenix.  But the 23-year-old looked very comfortable behind the keyboard when he performed in Round 3.

Lil Rounds told us about a tornado that hit her home when she auditioned in Kansas City.  Since then the 23-year-old customer service representative and mom of three has proved that she’s a vocal powerhouse with performances in Rounds 1 and 3.

Jessie Langseth beat out Frankie Jordan in a sing off.  Unfortunately, the sing off was the first time we’ve seen this 25-year-old perform.  She auditioned in Kansas City.

Allison Iraheta is a 16-year-old who auditioned in San Francisco, but we haven’t seen her in Hollywood.

Danny Gokey recently lost his wife and auditioned in Phoenix with his friend Jamar Rogers who got cut tonight.  The 28-year-old music teacher has had solid performances through all three rounds of Hollywood.

Ricky Braddy is a new face.  Although the 25-year-old auditioned in Louisville, tonight is the first time we’ve seen him.  We have not yet heard him sing.

Matt Giraud, the 23-year-old dueling pianist, auditioned in Louisville.  During the group round he was part of the impressive White Chocolate group and he sang “Georgia” in the third round.

Ju’Not Joyner auditioned in New York City, but the first time we got to see the 23-year-old was in Round 3.

Jorge Nunez impressed the judges with his accent during the Puerto Rico auditions.  We also saw the 20-year-old during Round 1.

Brent Keith is a traveling musician who auditioned in Louisville. However, we haven’t seen the 28-year-old during Hollywood week.

Stephen Fowler auditioned in New York City, but we didn’t get to hear him sing until the first round of Hollywood.  While Round 1 was impressive, the 26-year-old struggled during Round 3.

Nick Mitchell has entertained the judges since his New York City audition with alter ego Norman Gentle.  We saw the 27-year-old don the persona again in Rounds 1 and 3 and apparently the judges like it because they told him they expected to see it during the rest of the competition.

Jackie Tohn’s start in the music business began at a young age when her father taught her the piano.  And although she carried a guitar to the audition in New York City, we did not see the 27-year-old actor/singer use it when she performed in Round 1 of Hollywood.

Tatiana Del Toro auditioned in San Francisco with a creepy laugh.  Since then the 23-year-old singer/actor/model has brought nothing but drama to Rounds 2 and 3.  She left this round with a ring from Paula.

Nathaniel Marshall beat out pal Jackie Midkiff in a sing off.  The 18-year-old auditioned in New York City, but we didn’t see him for the first time until Round 1 where he begged the judges for a reprieve.  Despite the drama of the group performance he survived to perform in Round 3.

Jeanine Vailes auditioned in San Francisco, but we have yet to hear the 27-year-old sing.

Kai Kalama plays music at night so he could take care of his ailing mother.  The 26-year-old auditioned in San Francisco and performed during Round 3.

Anne Marie Boskovich actually auditioned twice in Jacksonville.  After her first try, Simon told her to come back and show them who she really was.  We’ve also seen the 22-year-old nanny perform in Rounds two and three.

Kris Allen auditioned in Louisville, but the only time we’ve seen the 23-year-old perform was during the White Chocolate group performance.

Matt Breitzke took a chance from his family responsibilities to audition in Kansas City.  The only other time we’ve seen the 27-year-old welder perform was during the group round.

Michael Sarver auditioned in Phoenix.  Since then we’ve seen the 27-year-old roughneck sing in all three Hollywood rounds.  He’s my favorite male contender.

From here, the contestants will perform in groups of 12.  First up are Casey, Stephen, Jackie, Ricky, Anne Marie, Brent, Alexis, Michael, Stevie, Danny, Tatiana and Anoop.

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Confidence Abounds at Idol NY, San Juan Auditions

January 30, 2009

Confidence was the name of the game tonight as American Idol combined auditions from San Juan, Puetro Rico and New York City before heading to Hollywood.  Unfortunately, much of that confidence was misplaced.

Adeola Adegoke was so sure of her talent that she actually quit her job as a bank teller in preparation of her journey to Hollywood.  Maybe instead of a resignation letter, she should have let her boss critic her version of Jennifer Hudson’s “And I Am Telling You.”  It might have saved Simon the call to ask for her job back.  Who says that Simon doesn’t have a soft side?

Confidence didn’t work for Jessika Baier, a waitress in a 50s café, either.  She won the trip to Puerto Rico to audition in a contest and was sure that was her ticket in.  But after hearing “I Surrender” the judges thought differently.

But the self-assured did win out in a few instances.

Cut up Nick Mitchell, who couldn’t even get through “Amazing Grace” without some antics entertained the judges enough for a second chance.  It’ll be interesting to see what he brings to Hollywood.  But as Kara said, he doesn’t have a shot in hell.

And nine-year-old Christopher had enough confidence to help snag a golden ticket for his sister Monique Garcia Torres.  Her version of the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” resulted in a split vote.  Personally, I liked this girl, but she definitely needs to be choosier about her songs.

Pleasantness just oozed from the very upbeat Melinda Camille who aptly chose to sing “Feeling Good.”  Kara called her a vitamin boost.  However, I have to say that I will remember her bubbly personality more than her voice.

A healthy dose of optimism helped Jackie Tohn through when her first song choice “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz left the judges a bit undecided.  Personally, I’m not totally sold on her either, but she was kind of funky and it’ll be interesting to see what she does later in the series. 

For a couple contestants, their fluency in Spanish was enough to secure them a spot in Hollywood.

The judges were not initially impressed with Patricia Lewis Roman when she sang “I want to Dance with Somebody,” but when she sang in Spanish the judges – all but Paula – were swayed. 

College student Jorge Nunez got a similar reaction when the judges preferred the Spanish version of “My Way” to an English version of “Wonderful World.”

The accent was very alluring in their singing and adds an interesting dynamic to their voice, but I have to wonder how well they’ll fair – especially when they will have to sing on theme nights.

Among the clips of the wild and weird, we were treated to a montage of a trio headed to Hollywood but who we didn’t really get a chance to hear sing – Ashley Hollister, Kenny Hoffpauer and Kendall Beard.

Overall not a bad night of auditions.  Nine tickets were given out in Puerto Rico and 26 in New York.  The only down point was a return visit from Alexis Cohen did nothing but swear in the Philadelphia auditions last year.  I don’t have a problem with her auditioning again.  I hate the Idol gave her more air time.

Next week we start with Hollywood Week.

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