Tonight was a very leisurely hour for “Idol” but far more entertaining than Portland. Everyone, including the editors and the judges, seemed peppier this round.
Forty-six folks make it to Hollywood. We hear a mere five of them and two not so good ones, plus a “silent” one. And we get three sob stories though nothing on the level of last night.
So we only actually see eight auditions (if you count the guy who we didn’t hear because they were giving him the “silent” treatment.) Plus, we get a long intro about Carrie Underwood, Steven Tyler goofing around, a bit of a Madonna video and a long promo for next week’s Hollywood round.
And again, the judges didn’t disagree on anything at all. There was a press conference earlier today with Randy Jackson and I clumsily asked him about how much there was any disagreement. He felt there was disagreement but couldn’t comment on the editing. I should have asked him specifically what percentage of time did he not agree with J. Lo, Steven or both. (One thing Randy promised. He will not use the phrase “You’re in it to win it!”)
Another note: though “Idol” did a cattle call in East Rutherford, N.J. at the last second last fall, the three judges did not travel there. Instead, the folks who made the cut to see the judges in New Jersey were flown to other cities to perform. That’s why you saw folks from New York and Philadelphia in Portland. (Then again, there are plenty of contestants who fly all over the country on their own accord to audition.)
First up: Johnny Keyser from Pompano, Fla. brings his dad. “He’s like my brother, not my dad,” he said. “He’s got my back.” This is the one time they have a video monitor outside to allow the family to watch. He brings a jazzy take of “A Change is Gonna Come” with ease and style. And he’s got the look to boot. He is an immediate top 42 contender.
Coming back from the break, David Coleman gets the “silent” treatment where they make fun of his poor singing by turning his audition into a silent movie. Then more folks get rejected. As usual, they create an illusion that the cattle call is happening at the same time as the judges judging the 1 percent who make it through. Why? Because that’s the way “Idol” rolls, dawg.
Rachelle Lamb, a divorcee with a cute kid from Missouri, sings (appropriately) “Find Somebody New” by Faith Hill. Her daughter joins her while she sings. She has style and a heart. “I like your moxie,” Steven said. She will most likely get some airtime starting next week.
Bad singer gallery: Oliver McCrary takes down Seal. “Your wife’s going to look for a divorce if you keep singing like that,” said Randy, in a rare zinger. (Relatively speaking, that’s a zinger in this Simon-less world.) We don’t get any more names, just crooners from hell. Steven then says something incomprehensible.
Reis Kloeckener, 20, from St. Louis, has the next sob story. He was bullied at a big high school until he joined choir and helped pull him through. He has a gentle, sensitive soprano during “Lean on Me.” “You made me cry,” Steven said.
After the break, we get another sob story. Ethan Jones from Pontoon Beach, Fla. has a dad who went into drug rehab. He does a respectable Edwin McCain but I suspect I won’t remember him by the end of the hour. “You look nothing like you sing,” Randy said. He talks to his now totally clean father on the phone and gets teary eyed.
Then we get a Madonna video break – or really just a segment of it, with no apparent introduction or context. Weird.
On day two, Mark Ingram, 28, works at the hotel where they are actually doing the auditions. Ryan gathers some of the employees. (This is unique!) He has potential but he hits some really bad notes that don’t overjoy the judges. “Your voice and melody and keeping that tune was lacking a little bit,” Steven said. “Your voice gives out on you,” J. Lo said. “I want to say yes to you but can’t.” He sweats through “Part Time Lover” but fails miserably.
Final person up for this year’s audition episodes: Lauren Gray, who gets the small-town video treatment. His family runs a one-shop wedding stop. She sings every weekend with her dad in a southern rock band. Another Adele singer. She has an interesting R&B/jazz voice that doesn’t match her looks. I’m not sure if I really truly love the tone of her voice but she definitely knows how to sing. “You broke a little on the top,” Randy said. Steven likes how fearless she is, even when she “breaks.” “One of the best female voices we heard,” J. Lo said.
And we are done with season 11 auditions! Off to Hollywood!
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk