'American Idol': It's baaa-aaaaack!

All right, it's season 7 of American Idol. There's a lot of talk about changes, but let's just watch and see, shall we?

We're in for hours and hours of auditions, not my favorite part, but such is life. Tonight's it's two hours of coverage from the Philadelphia auditions.


First up is Joey Catalano, whose story is that he's lost more than 200 pounds. But can he sing? He takes on Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning," and it's not bad. He's in, though Simon has reservations about his charisma. (And also yells at him to "put some weight on" as he goes out the door. And so it begins.)

Yuka from Egypt loves America and American music and the Bee-Gees. I think he is doing his best Borat impression (as in when he says that he loves women "from the hair to the nipple"). He attempts "How Deep Is Your Love," and the best Paula can say is that she is impressed "with how you phonetically learned the song." Simon tries to make her say that he isn't good, but she won't. He gets nos.

Melanie Nyema, who sang backup for Taylor Hicks, is next. She sings "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. Paula loves her, Simon is indifferent, and Randy says yes, but that she needs to learn to emote a little more if she wants to do better than the other backup singers from last season (which seems like an unnecessary dig at Miss Melinda Doolittle).

Tour guide James Lewis claims to have a unique voice, compares himself to Paul Robeson or Eddie Vedder and says he's good at anything low. He sounds like a slowed-down record as he sings "Go Down Moses." Paula and Randy lose it completely. It's a no, but James says he is going to try out next year with contemporary songs.

Montage of shattering notes (that broke the Liberty Bell, har har har) and other badness.

Junot Joyner of Bowie busts out with "The Blues" by Elton John, and the first thing anyone says is Simon: "You have a very good voice!" He's through, as are a couple of other people.

Temptress Browne, a 16-year-old middle linebacker, says she is doing this for her mother who is ill. She sings "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going," and it's not excellent. Simon says she is a sweetheart, and he likes her, but that she is not a great singer and she took on one of the "biggest songs in the world." She cries, and they tell her not to be hard on herself. They give her a hug, and Paula tells her to be proud of herself. They all walk her out and tell her friends and family they are proud.

Mark Hayes is really proud of his cricket noise. He should have worked harder on his singing as he gives a really yawn-inducing version of "White Christmas" that of course gets the sound editors bringing back that cricket sound.

Finance worker Udi says he has incorporated music into his workplace. I bet that went over well. He says he's been compared to Manilow and Sinatra. He sings "My Way." Simon asks if he honestly thought he had a chance to get through. He says yes. Simon: "Well then, you're nuts." He says he sang one note and it was really disturbing. Udi says, "Can you explain?" Simon: "I just did!"

And tonight's bad montage is "I Love Rock N Roll."

And tonight's designated crazy is Alexis Cohen. She says she likes things that shine, and it shows, since she is covered in glitter. She says she is from Allentown, Pa., which has a song about it, which she says is by, she thinks, Bon Jovi. Wonder what Billy Joel thinks about that. She tells the judges her voice has been compared to Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and Pat Benetar. She actually isn't as bad as I was thinking, but it was a little copycat. They tell her this is not the route for her, that they think she will a good vet or in a 60s cover band. She says thanks and leaves. She starts her meltdown in the hall. Meanwhile, back in the audition room, Simon calls to unseen people and asks them who played the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man movies. "That's it, Willem Dafoe!" And then I lose it. "Thank you, I will leave with my dignity," she says. Then in the little confessional room, she goes crazier and also adds that she is going to try "actressing." Can I just say, they weren't even mean to her? (Well, at least not while she was in the room.)

Montage of family support.

Angela Martin's daughter has Rett's Syndrome. She says she is doing this for her daughter and with the support of her whole family. She tells Simon she supports herself as a singer in a band that plays events. She sings "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." He says she has a good voice, but that she needs to unlearn some bad habits she gained as a wedding singer. It's three yeses, and her family goes crazy on her behalf.

Alyse Wojicechowski screams her audition. Then there are more loud but bad attempts by others.


Now we have the annual person who is clearly outside the age group. This year it is Milo Turk, who wants to sing his message to young people, called "No Sex Allowed." Also, he is wearing a leopard print fleece vest. He tells Simon he is 39. Then he sings his song. Simon: "In Britain, we call it creepy." They say they can't even vote since he's too old. COP OUT!

Kristy Lee Cook from Selma, Ore., is an outdoorswoman and a cage fighter. She sings "Amazing Grace" with a little twang. Simon says she has a country vibe but also evokes the 1960s. She gets three absolutelys. Simon tells her to come back with more confidence next time.

Benjamin is wearing a giant cloak and looks embarassed about it. Simon looks annoyed. He removes his cloak and is wearing a disturbing costume. Paula obsesses over his chest hair, so he offers to wax himself. She says OK and he leaves. Yeah, that'll end well.

Bad auditions and cursing.

Paul Marturano of New Hope, Pa., sings a love song he wrote for Paula Abdul -- it's a song about breaking into her house and trying on her underwear. "I'm not much of a talker, so I guess I'll stalk her. If she was a doggie, I would walk her. If she was a blackboard, I would chalk her. ... If she was a bathtub, I would caulk her." He gets kicked out of the room. Simon says it was really creepy, and he really wants him to leave. But that was the most hilarious moment of the whole night. Edit: Rumor is, that was all an act. Which isn't surprising, but it's still funny. (See the video above if you care to.)

Speaking of stalkers, Beth Stalker is next. She is a stay-at-home mom who sings in clubs at night to make her living. Simon says she isn't a bad singer, but he doesn't think she would stand out at all. But Paula and Randy say yes, so she is through.

Benjamin Haar is back and waxed. He says he's going to sing "Don'tcha." He gets two words out, and they stop him and kick him out.

Chris Watson says he wants to be a legend. He sings "Follow Me" by Uncle Kracker. Simon says he looks like a star and he sounded good, too. Randy says his voice is good and interesting. And Paula likes him, too. He's in.

Christina Tolisano, a 24-year-old Star Wars junkie, is next. How do I know that? Her belt. Her hair. And she tells everyone. Also, she says she has a good voice and she believes in herself and her abilities. She sings "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." She actually starts out OK, but then it gets a little odd. Randy says it's a no, Paula says she's a great girl and that she enjoyed the audition, but no. She leaves and cries and curses in front of her grandparents. In the confessional, she rants about how they are looking for the same old, same old.


Nanny Brooke White says she's never seen an R-rated movie. She sings Corinne Bailey Rae's "Like a Star." Randy says she has a pure sound. Simon says she's very sincere and good. So she is a yes, and she is through.

Ryan Seacrest says they took 29 from Philly.

Outside, Christina says they want people who are all exactly the same, and that they need something different, and they are not allowing it. This over a montage of all the people who have made it through, who seem to show a lot of diversity and variety.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go learn all the words to Paul's stalker song.

(Photo courtesy of Fox)