KANSAS CITY AUDITIONS
~January 14, 2009~

Day two in the rounds of preliminary auditions brought us to Kansas City, home of last year's Idol winner, David Cook. The day was full of tears, screams and cheers as a whopping 27 were sent through to Hollywood.

THE DELUDED MANY

  • Operatic Aretha - You could tell by the way this guy carried himself he thought he was really good. But a classically-trained person has a lot of work to do to be able to sing pop or R & B well. Randy laughed his way through the audition and it really was that bad. Picture an awful opera singer trying to pull off Aretha Franklin. Not pretty.
  • How many keys can you sing one song in? This girl sang "Over the Rainbow" in five. The judges' stunned silence said it all. The contestant walked off without a word.
  • Being related to Hank Williams, Jr. still didn't help - All the signs of impending doom were there. 1) He auditioned to prove to others he can sing. His own mother doesn't think he can sing and usually that's the one vote you can count on. 2) He said, "I am going to go in there and become a star." 3) He sang an original song. Any one of those things might have spelled trouble. Combined, he didn't have a chance. Nice, naive boy with no voice.
  • Minnie Riperton is rolling over in her grave - Girl butchered Riperton's 70's song, "Lovin' You". Simon tried to get her to stop but she had to hit (or woefully miss) the high note. She said the judges had already taken too many and that's why she didn't make it (though they put through someone after her). One question after her pathetic performance: Why are you here?

POOR JUDGEMENT COST THE AUDITION (otherwise known as "My gimmick backfired.")

  • Cheerleaders' open meant the judges close - Guy's two cheerleading friends ran into the audition beforehand to cheer and announce him. Simon was done before they were. By the time the kid made it out, he had already lost one vote. His singing was a little affected but he had potential. But I'm with Simon - I wouldn't have even let him sing. If you need that to be noticed, you don't have the chops in the first place.
  • Banana outfit plus banana song does not equal success - Dude in yellow jacket and orange pants sang "This banana's for you." Were we really supposed to take him seriously?

SWEET MOMENT

  • Girl drags her sister to the audition so they can audition together. It soon becomes apparent she did it simply for her sister to make it through. She was not upset when she didn't make it but was thrilled for her sister when she did. As Simon said, "I want a sister like that."

NOTEABLES-not spectacular, but decent

  • Ashley Anderson - wisely chose a song co-penned by Simon and sang it well. Sweet voice.
  • Michael Castro - Yup, last year's fourth place finalist Jason Castro's brother hit the auditions this time around. Sang the difficult Gavin DeGraw song "In Love With A Girl". In the typical understated Castro style, he's glad to be going to Hollywood.
  • Von Smith - Judges and I differed on this one. They loved him. I would have put him through with reservations. He's got definite chops but I couldn't enjoy the really cool things he did because the next minute he was overbearing and over-singing. My advice: learn discernment and self-control in your singing before Hollywood. With that, you could go far.

ONES TO WATCH

  • Jessica Furney - She walked in with a different air: level-headed and serious. She impressively nailed Janis Joplin and Randy calls her a natural. This was not a frivolous venture for her. She's ready to work hard and well to make this happen.
  • Danny Gokey - Robert Downey, Jr. look-alike sang "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". He was soulful, nailed the high note and gave a solid performance. He did not share with the judges that his wife passed away four weeks earlier. His singing got him through on its own merits but there's way more depth here than meets the eye.
  • Lil Rounds - The judges couldn't say enough about this woman's powerful voice. She sang Stevie Wonder and blew them away. She and her family are recovering from a tornado which gives her all the more drive to work hard at this.

NEXT WEEK


Be sure to catch next week's episode Tuesday at 8 as the good, the bad and the ugly of auditions continues!