'American Idol' recap: Last auditions before Hollywood week

Tonight is the last set of auditions before Hollywood Week on American Idol. Whew! I'm ready for that, aren't you? This hasn't been the most interesting set of auditions I've ever seen. That might be because they've "saved the best for last," so tonight is a grab-bag from all the cities, apparently.

In fact, Ryan Seacrest narrates, the most striking moment from the season so far is "Pants on the Ground."


Jessica Furney, who tried out last year with a Joplin song, but this year she picks a song that Simon Cowell co-wrote.  She says she didn't pick it to suck up but because it's a good song. She sounds lovely. Victoria Beckham starts questioning Simon about why he hasn't written any other songs because that one is great. She gets four votes and is headed to Hollywood.

Amanda Shectman shows off her Britney Spears impression in the holding room, and it's pretty good, as long as it's not her regular singing voice. Thankfully, it's not, and she is great. Simon is even smiling. Victoria tells her she needs to work on her expression, and Kara says she needs to connect. She says because she does theater, she is working on breaking down the wall and connecting with the audience more. They start giving her constructive criticism, and she goes into this dramatic freakout of trying to prove to them that she really wants it and they can get it. But they're clearly going to vote yes, they're just waiting for her to shut up. She finally does and gets that ticket. Cue the tears.


Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox put down their guitars, sing soulfully and get tickets to Hollywood.

Montage of people faking out their families but actually getting tickets.

After the break, montage of people who have tried out before who Simon can't remember.

Lacey Brown made the Top 50 last year -- it came down to her and Megan Joy, but they sent Megan.  She sings and they still love her, so she gets that ticket.

Stephanie Fisher and her tan try out for the seventh time, and it's not luck. It's awkward.  Simon tells her that she honestly can't sing. She says she's starstruck because she loves Victoria Beckham so much. No, she is just bad, so she is out.

Montage of new talent -- 16-year-olds!

OK, lots of montages tonight. Now there is one of athletes.

Adrian Chandtchi is a 6-foot-8 17-year-old swimmer. He calls himself "a beautiful manflower" who is going to blossom. He sings "Can't Help Falling in Love With You." It's odd because he is huge, and he sings in a very high pitch. Kara says "there's a small schoolboy trapped inside you." Randy says, "Yo, Adrian, this is not for you." They tell him he is a nice guy but this isn't going to work. He tells them that they have their number so when they change their mind they call call him. I'm thinking that's not going to happen.


Michael Lynche has huge biceps, a wife with a baby on the way, and a nice voice overall. He gets his ticket. (Sorry this part of the recap is boring, but not much happened.)

Didi Benami is auditioning in memory of her best friend who passed away four years ago and was the one who made her believe in herself. She sings "Hey Jude" with a kind of jazzy twist. When she stops, Kara says she really wants it bad, and Didi starts crying. They tell her she did a really good job. She gets a small yes from Simon and regular yeses from everyone else and gets that ticket (without going into all the emotional backstory in front of the judges).

Aaron Kelly says when he was about a year old, his aunt and uncle took in him and his brothers when his biological parents fell on hard times and social services was about to take them away.  He says he is thankful for everything they have done for him. He sings "The Climb" for the judges -- Simon says it was a good song choice and a "pretty good audition." Then, bam, four yes votes.

Kimberly Bishop says she would be a good American Idol because she has a really good heart and would be into recycling and "helping kids in Africa." Um, OK? She sings "I Kissed a Girl." Well, she sings the words, but the notes are some other song entirely. They tell her it's a no, and she asks if she can be excused or should she sing another song. They tell her she is excused.

Shaddaii Harris interviews with her mother, who says she has a gift and that this is a dream. In the audition room, she tries to sing "Fallin'," but she is so unbelievably flat, I feel bad for her.

Hope Johnson says she didn't know she was poor when she was growing up; "I thought lots of kids didn't eat dinner." She says there are a lot worse things than going without and that music is her escape. She is lovely -- so is her voice. Kara says she is memorable, and Randy says she has great tone, but she needs to work on completing her phrases. Simon says he likes her and she's cute. She gets the ticket. "This is ridiculous!" she yells. Heh.


This means 181 folks will be headed to Hollywood week, which we'll see starting on Tuesday. And you know what that means? Ellen DeGeneres joins the cast, and we'll all move on from the stage of denial regarding Paula Abdul.