To get things started this season, there is a short retrospective with some of the best and worst of past seasons, set to What a Wonderful World. I don't know if Louie would approve, but I do. Ah, and we get another view of Ashley the Crying girl, and Sanjaya's awful mohawk madness.
Good times, good times.
Then, it's Seacrest's turn to "This is American Idol" us into a new season.
Before we got there, though, he reminds us about the winning moment of David Cook last season, including a little showing of the tween girls freaking out about Archie's loss, a YouTube favorite (of course, I cannot find it, but it was funny).
Blah blah blah, more of what's to come, I'm fast forwarding to the real stuff.
Wait, what? I think I just fast forwarded through Simon getting hugged and/or humped by a giant bunny. We'll see what that comes to.
Finally, it's time for the first city.
Phoenix, AZ, Day 1
It's blazing hot (what do they expect, it's Arizona!). Before we get to see anyone, we are introduced to the new judge, Kara, including some clips of what's to come. Can't they just let it happen?
Tuan Ngyen (20, from Spring Valley, CA) Oh, joy. Tuan thinks it's necessary to have drill team movements, tap, and a giant ass fro to make his singing stand out. Somehow I don't see this ending well. His singing is subpar, his tap is completely superfluous, and he needs to maybe focus on one talent instead of spreading himself so thin... yeah, I'll say that was his problem. Randy gives him a definite no, and Kara says that she's never seen anything like that, and not in a good way. He's out. He thought the judges were with him in the beginning. Dude. Laughing AT you, not WITH you. His departure was set to the tragic tones of Wham's Careless Whisper. I will admit, his feet ARE guilty of having no rhythm, so that's appropriate enough.
Emily Hughes (21, LA) Her mom's a singer, and was professional when Emily was a child. Emily said that she was bad in school, so she decided to just perform, and "got a bunch of tattoos, so I'd never be forced to sit in an office." Hope this works out for her then, because laser tattoo removal is expensive. She's singing Baracuda. That's bold. She's got some serious pipes on her. It's hard to belt out some Heart a capella. I really like her a lot. The judges admitted that she chose a really difficult song. Simon loves her, Paula calls her Top 5 material, and Kara says that she looks serious, and Randy asks about her bandmates - who don't know she's there. If she makes it through, the band will have to cancel a European tour. Yipes. She claims that if she makes it, she can pull a Daughtry move and bring them with her in the future. She's easily through, and I really like her. She's got pink hair, and I tend to have a soft spot for the pink haired chicks. Funny, because I hate pink as a color.
Randy Madden (28, Moorpark, CA) He is so sure of himself, with no singing lessons, no band. He says that people stop him on the street and tell him he should be on American Idol. Based on his looks? Hmmm. Interesting. There were tears from him before he even auditioned, so this should be interesting. He sang Living on a Prayer, and it was ... as Simon said, wimpy. He looks like a rockstar, but he does not sound like one. He begged for a chance. Simon called him a cliche, and a drama queen, with no star quality. I'd agree with that. Paula tried to be supportive, and Simon put in a dig at her about her music. Kara said he needed to put in more work to have a shot at it, so he's a no. Goodbye, Randy.
JB Ahfua (16, Taylorsville, UT) He's got a good voice in him, he might be Archie material. I think he's better at the onset than Archie. Simon told him he has a good voice, but needs to loosen up. Still, he gets four yes votes, and he's through to Hollywood. Good. Hope that he doesn't disappoint me like Archie ended up doing. He has a sob story about his family struggling, so this is his chance to help them out.
Michael Gurr (17, Mesa, AZ) He's got that kind of awkwardly emo look of Evil Peter Parker in Spiderman 3, and he's been nervous all day. He sounds slightly like he's having a seizure when he sings(?). Simon said he couldn't understand a word, and he might as well have been singing in Bulgarian. Paula is stunned to agree. He asks to sing another song, and sucks up by singing(?) a song by Kara. Just no. He claims it was all nerves. I think it was just because he's sucky. And he came close to fainting after his audition was done. Oh, brother!
(I thought that they were showing less of the bad auditions this year?)
Will Kunick regurgitated Tears for Fears, DJ Bradley geeked Celine Dion to death, Shawn Vasquez butchered Dion Warwick. Please, make it stop.
Audre Caraway (aka Xray) (20, Phoenix) Full of energy and weilding a guitar, which he discarded before singing a strange song of his own, called Cactus, Baby. Unfortunately, he did not make the pain stop. It's a unanimous no. He pleaded for another chance, and Simon called him tiresome. Good and bye.
Ariana Afsar (16, San Diego, CA) She's a philanthropist, who founded an organization, called "Adopt a Grand-Friend" - that's sweet. She's really cute. I love the tone of her voice. She's got a real natural talent, kind of bluesy. She has a lot of un-forced power. She gets four happy yes votes, and she's through.
9 unseen others went through on Day 1 in Phoenix, too.
Phoenix, AZ, Day 2
Elijah Scarlet (22, Phoenix) He's got an incredibly low voice, which is hard to believe is real. Unfortunately, his range seems to be about 2 notes, and those notes are not good. Simon questioned if he'd ever seen the show before, and said it was something like a horror movie. Paula suggested he do voice-overs in monster movies.
Lea Marie Golde (16, Connecticut) She's got a pink cowboy hat on. She could be cute, and I admire her belly-dancing belly roll skills, but she's got a little bit too much energy. She claims to be Kara's biggest fan. She's brought a giant binder of all of her original songs that she's written. She showed it to Kara, and then sang in a painfully nasal voice. She should possibly stick to writing. Paula told her she needs to work on her voice, and Simon called her annoying. Kara told her to stick to writing maybe, if her writing is any good, and she was sent packing with her giant notebook. She promises to be back.
Stevie Wright (16, Phelan, CA) She's wearing what I think is a cow print shirt. That was an odd choice. She was named after Stevie Nicks. She sang At Last, by Etta James, and she was pretty good, especially for being only 16. Simon wants her to be more aggressive if she's going to be competative. She's through, easily.
Michael Sarver (27, Jasper, TX) - He's a Roughneck on an oil rig, which he is proud to announce is the fifth most dangerous job in the world. Yipes. He's got a couple really cute kids and a nice looking wife. I'm not sure about the style of his voice - which is kind of country - but he's got something there. Kara called him a sensitive roughneck, and Randy says his voice doesn't match his looks, but it's a good thing. Simon says he has the likeability factor. He is through to Hollywood.
Enter montage of nameless hideous singers. Oh, my ears.
Then, enter Bikini Girl.
Katrina Darrell (20, CA) She's going to be so leathery when she is 30. Her voice is decent. She didn't need to resort to wearing the bikini. She should have remembered that there are two women on the panel, too. Kara gave her a schooling about how the feeling of the song could have been much better. Simon and Randy are ready to send her through instantly. Kara and Paula aren't seeing it. Still, in this new four judge format, Simon is a tie breaker, and amidst much complaining from the women on the panel, Katrina is through. I don't think she was as bad as Kara and Paula attested, but still. Then, Kara went to find Ryan and planted a not-so-platonic kiss on him. That was kind of awkward.
Eric Thomas (aka Sexual Chocolate) (18, Phoenix, AZ) He attempted to sing Stevie Wonder and failed miserably. Simon said, "Thank you, Sexual." If he doesn't make it, his mom is buying him a car, so he's a car ritcher.
Brianna Quijada (22, from AZ) She had a cute voice, a good personality, but does the thing I hate and keeps singing when they tell her to stop singing. Simon says she likes her personality, and though Randy and Kara said no, Paula and Simon (astoundingly) sent her through.
Deanna Brown (25, KY) She has a bit of a thick Southern accent, and unfortunately, when she sang that she was "sitting on the dock of the bay," it sounded like she was doing something entirely different on the dock of the bay. She does have a very nice voice, though it's pretty country for me. She is through. She's cute.
Cody Sheldon (17, Detroit, MI) He makes horror films in his spare time. Nice. He's got kind of a nasal voice and it's the kind of voice I don't enjoy so much. Very froggy. His voice has a very sweet quality to it, which doesn't jive with his look. Predictably, because I don't like him the judges sent him through.
Alex Wagner-Trugman, (19, CA) Ok, so I don't think he'll be any good, but he's kind of funny. He's not bad vocally! He needs a serious hair cut/style. Simon didn't like him, but Randy liked him a lot. So did Kara and Paula. He's through, much to Simon's dismay.
An unfortunate montage of wretched people singing Wanted Dead or Alive. Painful. Oh, and there was also some really bad air guitar thrown in there. The montage ended with a "cowboy" who looked more like he belonged in Fiddler on the Roof. Just no. Look in the mirror before you go on national television.
Scott Macintyre (23, Scottsdale, AZ) He's legally blind, but has become a very good pianist. He can only see about the width of one ket at a time on the piano. That's impressive. He went into college at 14, and graduated at 19. That's impressive. He sang And So It Goes, which is a beautiful song. I'm not sure his voice alone would be quite enough to get him through, but he won the judges over. I'm hoping to see him go through and see him working with a piano. He's possibly got potential.
27 tickets were given out in Phoenix over both days. And there was much rejoicing. And pool jumping.
Until tomorrow, dear readers.
I think my favorite tonight was Emily Hughes. And you?