Last night, for the first time in American Idol history the auditions took place inPittsburgh. There were some genuinely interesting candidates in the bunch, and they are all here, but rather than go over every single thing that happened, I’ve picked out the standout moments for me, good and bad. Have a look and see if you agree.
Heejun Han (22) from Flushing, NY, carried all the hallmarks of a joke audition. His bizarre behavior included saying that Ryan Seacrest’s head is as small as his fist, and constant shaking of his limbs. His deadpan delivery, accompanied by a group of friends and family who have never heard him sing, set my eyes rolling. But this guy
can actually sing! He’s not the best, by a long way, but he’s got a decent voice and is fascinating to watch. His oddball behavior will make him a cult favorite, I think. He got three yeses for his take on Michael Bolton’s How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?
Reed Grimm (26) fromWisconsin, comes from a showbiz family and has been on stage since he was 2 years old. Reed is also a bit odd but at least it feels genuine. He picked the theme song to Family Matters. He’s like a mix between Casey and Paul from last season’s American Idol. He got three yeses.
Creighton Fraker (28) sang an original composition he wrote on a bus fromNew YorktoPittsburghall about American Idol and the judges and how he’s going to win. Except he’s not. He got through, somehow, though, after he sang Who’s Loving You, which was much better than his self-penned effort.
Eben Franckewitz (15) looked like a child and sang like a child. His choice of Ain’t No Sunshine was particularly bad as what emotional connection can a 15-year-old possibly have to this song? Clearly none as the audition lacked emotion, but as he has a decent voice he got through too.
Travis Orlando (17) from the Bronx, was featured a lot last year before getting cut in Vegas. Isn’t She Lovely was well sung, with some emotion. The interesting thing is, Steven and Jennifer came after him because they felt he wasn’t showing his true passion. Where was that critique of Eben, who ostensibly sang a much more passionate song as though his emotion chip is clearly faulty or has yet to be programmed?
The judges jerked Travis around a bit and he was on the verge of losing it, revealing that since last year he has dropped out of high school, his mother walked out on his family, and said something like he now lives with his ailing father and brother in a shelter or something. He got through, but whether or not that is a good thing remain s to be seen. A reality TV show is almost never going to fix the very serious problems in your life.
38 golden tickets got handed out inPittsburgh. The show returns on Sunday with auditions on an aircraft carrier. Honestly.