Last night’s installment of American Idol auditions lands us in Music City: Nashville, TN at the legendary Ryman Auditorium. The night begins with a hopeful contestant showcasing the longest high note I think I’ve ever heard. Was it good? No. Was it necessary? Probably not. Was it entertaining? Yes! And that, my friends, is the magic of American Idol.
Ryan Seacrest tells us that a staggering 17,000 people are waiting for their chance to make their dreams come true. They later tout Nashville as “the most talented city of auditions so far." First audition of the night is Christine McCaffrey. My initial thoughts on her were that she looked like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, the poorly groomed, trailer park version. I mean come ON, the girl was wearing blue eye shadow and a pink skirt!
She walks in already singing which makes her appear deranged; her voice is super squeaky and quite horrific. She sang, “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. By the grace of Randy Jackson, she didn’t get very far but from what we do hear it honestly was so nasally and strained and…weird, I couldn’t take another moment. She awkwardly says goodbye after 3 solid nos and promptly goes out and tells Ryan she got one yes. Huh? Randy tells JLo, “that’s not serious, trust me.” JLo disagrees but Randy, as the seasoned vet of judging American Idol is pretty sure it wasn’t serious. I agree with Jlo…that girl wasn’t smart enough to fake it.
Next we get a couple auditioning together; their names are Chelsea Oaks and Rob Bolin. Oh wait, they aren’t a couple… anymore. These exes met by singing together and still sing together occasionally even though there is some hostility lingering between them. It appears Rob is still in love with Chelsea ,who has moved on and her current boyfriend is waiting outside with their families. The judges are totally into the whole scenario hoping to reconcile these two, saying they still see love in their eyes and that they’re romantics hoping for a happy ending. They sing as a duet, then separately; they were better as a duet but, they get through and the judges love them.
Now we get the heavily tattooed Allen Lewis who butchers Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” I think Lee DeWyze brought that song as far as it could go last season, and even if this jokester sang well it would have paled in comparison. Randy says he’s more of a band guy which was a really nice way of saying it was horrible. Allen takes it in stride and says their critiques will only make him work harder. I like this guy.
Stormi Henley was Teen USA 2009 and would like the judges (and the rest of us) to know that “just because there is not a talent portion to the pageant does not mean we are not talented.” I was half expecting her to stomp her foot as punctuation but she didn’t. As she walked in, Steven Tyler said “UH OH” with the creepy glint in his eye we’ve all come to know well. She’s the quintessential country girl with long wavy hair and cowboy boots. She sings “Father Can You Hear Me?” and has a sweet, pure, average singing voice. She struck me as a little too meek and demure. Time to vote and Steven says, “Yes, with work.” JLo says no because her voice is just not strong enough. Randy appears conflicted, “It’s just OK…I dunno. “ JLo says, “Really, you two? That might be the smallest voice we’ve ever heard…in five cities!” The man vote outweighed the JLo vote, and she is sent through although they all agree she will not go far.
Adrienne Beasely is a young, shy, African American woman adopted at age two by an elderly, white couple who obviously adore her and say she “fit into the family like a hand into a glove.” She sang a modest but beautiful version of Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey.” Steven Tyler tells her there is something so special in her voice it almost made him cry. She gets 3 yeses, and I hope to see her blossom throughout this competition.
After a weird audition by a person in a purple nylon body sock, we meet Latoya “Younique” Moore. She comes in wearing what I imagine a stripper wears to prom. Her dress is tight, shiny, has sequins and a slit up to the upper thigh. She’s so confident and self-assured she even brought one copy of her album for the judges to share. She was predictably horrible; her contestant number even slowly and symbolically fell off her dress as they were telling her no.
Matt Dillard comes in looking like he’s straight off Swamp People wearing overalls and one of those Bret Michaels' small, mesh cowboy hats. His family takes in special needs foster children, and he would love to win and help even more children. I’m waiting for a full-blown country song to start and instead I get a sweet and surprisingly good Josh Groban song. JLo gives a “very small yes.” The three judges are unsure but send him through hoping he doesn’t get “swallowed up.”
Next we are introduced to 15-year old Lauren Alaina, who turns out to be our sad story of the evening. Her favorite cousin Holly, who is like a sister to her, was diagnosed three years ago with a brain tumor. This prompted Lauren (12-years old at the time) to hold a fundraiser to help pay for Holly’s treatment and care. She has a huge, giving heart and now I’m wondering if she can sing. She did a Tim McGraw/Faith Hill song and I didn’t like it at all. The judges can’t stop gushing over her: ”You got it!” “God-given talent!” “Best of the day!” She brings in her elated parents whose “song” happens to be Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.” She and Steven Tyler perform a little duet and everyone is glowing.
Even though Steven Tyler announces they found “The One” tonight we still have more auditions to go and next week get to see the talent of Austin, TX. The previews show a girl bawking like a chicken and I can’t wait!