Tonight’s round of auditions comes from Orlando, Florida, where 10,000 hopefuls arrived to have their dreams either made or broken by the merry band of judges. Speaking of which, the judging panel is graced today by the gorgeous Kristen Chenoweth.
Mirror-faced wannabe Theo tells Seacrest that he’s pretty. He’s as camp as a row of tents, everybody. He sings Heartbreaker for the judges and impresses them with his mighty pipes. Simon rejects him out of hand: “When you walked in like that, I mentally said no.” Randy says “It doesn’t work.”
Kara lets him down gently, telling him he smells nice. Amazing consolation. But Theo’s rejection is all the more upsetting when he fails to exit the audition room properly.
There’s plenty of girl power between Kara and Kirsten, much grinning, hand-holding and hi-fiving. Simon appears to be somewhat hung over, which results in some fantastically cranky one-liners – “You walked in here like a cocktail stick…”
Sam is a Big Guy, but tells a story about his son who has autism, which is perfectly tuned to pull on your telly-viewing heartstrings. I love how Randy says “So you’re 28?” and it’s an automatic “It’s your last chance.” As if he was terminally ill or something…
He croons a Sinatra number to the judges. Kristen says “I like your voice, I like everything about you.” Kara says “I want to keep listening to you, and that’s the best compliment I can pay somebody.” He gets four yeses, but I’m not that impressed, to be honest. I liked his look, he seems like a lovely guy, but the voice grated on me after a minute or two.
So far, not seeing much memorable talent here in Orlando.
Former auditionee Jermaine sings a little Tony Bennett to the judges. He’s got a smooth, R&B style voice, which draws compliments from Kirsten. Randy says he’s “the best I’ve heard this audition season” while Kara praises the hinesty of his delivery and his smile. Simon just thinks the “chicks will like you”…
Jermaine walks away with four yeses and a golden ticket.
The next contestant is living with a condition which leaves her mouth somewhat lop-sided and with a kind of speech impediment. She’s opting to sing Turn Me On by Norah Jones. I don’t want to sound cruel, the voice would be good ordinarily, but she sounds a little kooky because of the speech thing.
Simon says “I like you but I wasn’t blown away by the voice.” Randy raves about her though, and Kirsten says she has “a lot more potential”. Simon says yes, which paves the way for four yeses. Now, this may sound harsh, but Shelby – nice girl and all – has no hope of winning American Idol.
Trying to capitalize on that guy who did the beatboxing a few years ago, Jay attempts to do a version of Come Together by The Beatles. Er, it’s a busy interpretation of the song, but utterly unlistenable.
Simon says he feels like he’s been given a shower in spit. Jay gives us a blast of Ain’t No Sunshine and Kara and Randy back him up with some beats. Randy takes some convincing, but eventually agrees with Kara to give Jay a chance in the Hollywood rounds.
Flexible guy Cornelius impresses Simon when he does the splits about five seconds into his audition and rips his trousers right down the leg. He barely sang and all the judges gave him a yes.
Bernadette and Amanda Desimone
Red-hot sisters Bernadette and x come before the judges, but not before some footage of them larking about at home in Cherry Hill. Bernadette takes the stage first, singing Hit The Road Jack.
Amanda is up next, but she sings a Whitney Houston song, which might showcase the voice a bit more. They’re such a fun couple. Randy thinks Bernadette picked the better song. Asked to make a decision, the girls say “Hollywood needs us!”, Randy gives them the nod, Kara says yes, and Simon makes it official. I may start the first Bernadette Desimone fan club…
Oh, Jarrod, you’re so slightly dumb looking. And you sing Amazing Grace like Cletus from The Simpsons. It’s an awful noise, just terrible. Kara says “Good Lord, what was that? Seriously, do you think you’re a great singer? Honey, it sounds like a lawnmower…”
Despite some subtle rejection, Jarrod continues to make those noises and eventually has to be escorted away by security. Ow, this is uncomfortable. He’s taken away by two security guards and one dude with a badge. I’m surprised he even got allowed in in the first place.
Matt bores us to tears with a story of adventure, or misadventure. He robbed a bank at the age of 15 and spent four years in juvenile detention. So, to make it up to his family, he wants to become a popstar. I love you Americans and your messed-up logic.
Can you guess Matt’s a country-boy? He sing’s Trouble for the judges – because he’s been “trouble since the day he was born”, geddit? Joking aside, he’s got one of the better voices of tonight’s audition show, even attracting a comment of “brilliant” from Simon. “It felt authentic.” Kara says “What I love about you is how you hit those high notes, you’ve got such control over your voice.”
And the judges agree with me – definitely one of the best today. But please drop that humble reformed ex-con crap. I don’t care. Why is it the people who can actually sing that have to concoct such crap stories to make us care?
I’ve got to say – Chicago still stands out for me as the best auditions so far. What about you?