Finally... it took the fourth episode to get it to happen... but, as it should be, The Lovely Steph Leann is on the couch, curled up in a black, fleece Alabama Power blanket, comfy. I, in the recliner, laptop and keyboard in front of me.
And tonight? The Happiest Talent Show on the Tube is in The Happiest City in Florida, close to The Happiest Place on Earth... its Orlando... its Florida.... and...
THIS IS AMERICAN
First up... Theo Glinten... who is like a black The No-Longer Ambigiously Gay Adam Lambert, only without being as original (and I'm guessing as talented) as The No-Longer Ambigiously Gay Adam Lambert. We've got this ornament that goes on our Christmas tree that is like a star, with about ten points on it, and on each point is a little circle of glass. I think Theo wrapped that ornamant on his right eye. And added a feather.
He's singing screaming "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benetar. The Lovely Steph Leann grimaces. When Simon says no, and Kara the Hotness starts to say no, Theo ends up trying to sing something else. Randy says no too. And he can't find his way out... and when he does, he starts wiping his eyes. He claps with the palms of his hands, fingers never touching. Yikes.
Heading into commercial break, we are giving the tease of several heartbreaking backstories... Cindy Jo grabs her Kleenex.
Kara and K'Chen have made a pact to provide the girl power today, as they suddenly become besties somehow, annoying Simon in the process, and entertaining Randy the Dawg for the day.
And one after another were told no... "you walked in in a cocktail dress, and then sang like you sat on a cat..." says Simon to a pink frocked chick who didn't make it.
Here's a guy who has 2 children, one of which has autism. He's a big, sorta black dude who gets a little teary about his blessings of his children and the struggles to get the best care for his son. . And when Big'un goes in the audition room, Junior wants to follow, and when Mom gets him, he starts crying, "I want to go with Daddy!" Cindy Jo is wailing at this very moment. I can hear her
Seth Rollins sings "Someone to Watch Over Me", and gets it done nicely. Kara and Kristin are both swaying peacefully, and Kristin loves the Broadway song. Kara wants to hear more. Simon says that it was good. Randy suggests more exertion, but liked it.
Ah, the obiligatory shot of Cinderella's Castle, then a sweep of the crowd, several people saying, "I'm the next American Idol!" and "I'm so good!" And of course, lots of tears. Lots of tears.
Jermaine Purifoy auditioned in Season 7, but didn't make it. But now, he's back, from outer space, he just walked in to find that sad look upon your... sorry, wrong song. Anyway, he's doing Tony Bennett, and though he's not terrible, he's really not bad. I kinda like the guy. Simon is nodding, Kristin liked his pure tone, and Randy agreed, saying, "The best I've heard this audition season." Kara says it was all honest. Simon says, "The chicks will like you!" Welcome to Hollywood, Jermaine!
One contestant remains on Day One. Shelby Dressel, 18, from Avon Park, Florida, and at birth, her 7th cranial nerve was undeveloped. Though really pretty, great hair and big smile, the right side of her face is slightly sagging due to that condition.
"Turn Me On" by Norah Jones is her song of choice. Again, not terrible, but not bad. I like Shelby, but maybe its more of the whole "overcoming thing" not the voice... and then she forgets the words, she curses then says, "ohmigod... I'm sooooo sorry!" The judges laugh, and they still all like her. "With a small y, yes," Simon says. They all agree.
All in all, 18 from Orlando make it on Day One, as opposed to only 13 from two days in Chicago, and maybe 20ish from Atlanta...
Awwww.... and on Day Two, Kristin leaves the panel, heading back to New York City. Stinko!!!
Jay Stone, sort of a Blake Lewisy kinda guy, is going to be doing "Come Together" by the Beatles... he does the beatbox, gets the rhythm going, though I'm not sure he's getting any of the words right beside "Come Together" and "over me". Kara says it was pretty amazing, though Simon is feeling pretty soaked from the beatbox spittle.
Randy asks Jay if he can actually sing, and he sings, "Ain't No Sunshine" with a little beatbox to it. Kara and Randy get into it, while Simon is unamused. Kara says yes, Simon says no, and Randy... Randy says... Randy says... yes.
Gotta be careful... this guy makes it to Hollywood, and let's say he makes it to the audience voting rounds. Can you say "Sanjaya"?
Janell Wheeler sings "House of the Rising Sun", while Britany Starr James sings "America Boy" and Kasi Bedford does some Bonnie Raitt... all three sounded good. all three make it to Hollywood.
Cornelius Edwards, who we've been shown in previews as the guy who will split his pants when he does a huge split, is singing "Rollin on the River" by Tina Turner. He kinda yells it, he jumps, he lands on the ground and then looks up and says, "My pants done split!" The Lovely Steph Leann is dying.
"There may be no children after that," The Lovely Steph Leann says. "Get some new pants and leave!" Randy says. And... he makes it to Hollywood...
HERE COME SISTERS!!! And we know how this ends... one makes it, one doesn't. Bernadette and Amanda Desimone live with their mom, helping with Bernadette's Salon... if I was in the welfare line, and asked for cheese, I'd get the gub-ment cheese... ask for butter, I'd get gub-ment butter... ask for Eva Longoria Parker, I'd get Amanda Desimone.
The elder sister, Bernadette, is singing "Hit the Road Jack", while Amanda starts with some Whitney (mistake) in trying "I Wanna Dance With Somebody". Randy is intrigued, while Kara likes them both. Randy finally says yes to both. Kara says yes to both. Simon would have said yes to Bernadette, but no to Amanda, but they make it anyway. I was wrong... though we don't see them again, after Hollywood Week.
Jarrod Norrell is warming up. Out in the parking lot. Doing push-ups and making weird noises. We know how this will end as well, don't we? He starts into "Amazing Grace" and how does he do? Put it this way... I see the blanket covering the face for the first time this season. From under the blanket, The Lovely Steph Leann hollers, "THIS IS TERRIBLE!!!" and softly whispers "make it stop."
Kara says its terrible too, and the Jarrod says, "Are you serious?" then asks for "two more seconds... like, let me go, let me sing, (claps) y'all feel me, right?" Security comes out, and Jarrod says that he just can't leave without a "yes". So security hauls him out. They cuff him. All the other contestants are running. He's still shouting, "They gotta take me out in cuffs... Randy acts like I can't sing..."
Simon then goes, "...yes or no...?"
Matt Lawrence is 25, and tells his story--he was the guy who had a bright future in high school, and ended up robbing a bank at 15. He spent four years behind bars, and is almost in tears talking about it. Cindy Jo is sobbing incessantly.
Matt wants to do something to make his parents proud, though I hope he actually doesn't sing, "Do I Make You Proud?" He sings "Trouble" by Ray Lamontagne. Its not bad, though... no one has stood out like crazy today, but he's like the others... not terrible, not bad, but hitting the high notes well enough. And it seems very genuine, too, with all he's been through.
Simon says, "Brilliant. It feels like you could have written that song." Kara admires his control over his voice, while Randy also says he's genuine. All three say "Yes".
Next week, Idol visits Los Angeles with Katy Perry and someone that is either Lady GaGa or Avril Lavigne, though I'm inclined to believe its the first one, as Avril hasn't been relevent since Daniel Powter was singing about his "Bad Day".
Out of the 31 that make it to Hollywood, here's who I really liked this time around... Seth Rollins... Jermaine Purifoy... Shelby Dressel... Matt Lawrence