'American Idol': Atlanta auditions

I'm a little sad because the Super Bowl ads made me think that we were through with early auditions and on to Hollywood on American Idol this week. But alas, it was not to be. We are in the home stretch, though ...

First up in Atlanta, Ryan Seacrest's parents show up to say hi because this is his hometown.


Joshua Jones is the first audition of the show. He is a glassworker and he's really passionate about it. Simon stops him because he was bugging out his eyes in a freaky way. They make him turn around and sing to the wall. Simon says he it was a little karaoke (he was singing Queen and sounding too much like Freddie Mercury). Paula says yes, and apparently Randy does, too, because he comes out with a golden ticket.

JP Tjelmeland auditioned in Season 4, two people behind Carrie Underwood, and he really wishes they had stayed in touch. He says people always tell him he has star quality, which I think is not the case. This is not going to go well. He tells the judges he is going to sing some Rascal Flatts for them. It's bad, y'all. Tragic bad. Leaving me re-enacting the photo above bad. He says he really wants to do this and that he doesn't want to do four years of school. He says he's majoring in music, in singing. They say no.


Montage of Paula not able to answer the "yes or no" question easily.

Asia'h Epperson says she is just a small-town girl who loves to sing. She says she had called and told her dad that she was on her way to Atlanta to audition for AI and that 30 minutes later, her brother called and said there had been a car accident and her dad had died. Oh, that's truly awful. She tells the judges she is going to sing "How Do I Live" instead of her original choice, in honor of her father. They let her stop before she gets to the chorus, which is good, because I think she would have lost it. She still manages to keep it together for the whole first part of the song, and I'm very impressed, because I was a puddle crying on the floor before she even got to that part, and I'm just an observer. It's a 100 percent yes.

Miss South Florida Fair Brooke Helvie says she has been singing since she was 4. Simon: "You want to prove to me that pageant girls can sing." Paula makes fun of her for standing with one foot forward (typical pageant stance), and Randy makes a joke that no one else notices: "One foot forward ... and two steps back. ... Put them together cuz opposities attract ...?" Hee. She sings a little, and they say nice things, and she starts jumping up and down. So she gets three yes votes and asks for a hug from Simon and everyone else. Simon, after she leaves, "Possibly the most annoying person I have ever seen in my entire life. ... I didn't want her to sing well."

Montage of people being forced to sing Fergie's "Glamorous."

Eva Miller says she loves Simon and thinks he's hot. She sings "1,000 Miles" and stomps all over the floor, falling down when she steps on her number, which has fallen off. Simon says it's a joke or an act or something. She says it's serious and that she accidentally fell and that she loves Simon and has a crush on him. She starts crying about falling and says she just wanted to entertain them with her dancing. They tell her the singing was not good. Simon asks whether she still likes him, and she says she does, and asks for a hug. She tears up her number and steps on it and stomps away.

Alexandrea Lushington has brought her 93-year-old great-grandmother with her for support. She is 16 and fabulous and through in no time at all. That was abrupt!

Montage of badness and crying.

Nathan Hite says he has some "witty retorts" ready for Simon. Uh-oh. He sings "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven. He sings with some rock edge, but pacing back and forth. Simon is saying it was a "bedroom audition" because it sounds like he was singing along with the record only not as good. He tries to make fun of Simon and his lines and whether he keeps them all written down. But, uh, it's not funny at all. And he's not through.


Amanda Overmyer is a rocking, motorcycle-riding nurse. She sings some Janis with too many extras, so they stop her and ask for another song. She launches into a different song and they adore her, and she's through.

Montage of golden tickets.

Josiah Leming has been living in his car and playing shows for about 10 months to a year. He cries about how it's rough sometimes and that he's excited for his chance. Simon asks if he can win, and he says yes because he has more ambition than they will find in any other 18-year-old. He sings a song of his own writing, "To Run," with a British accent. They talk to him about it, and he says he listens to a lot of British pop. But they seem intrigued. Paula says she likes him, Randy says he's interesting, so it's a yes, and Simon says yes, too.

Altogether, 20 Atlantan auditioners are through to Hollywood. And we'll see some more tomorrow!

(Photo of me taken by my husband during "American Idol" bad auditions in 2005)