First up was Brittany Zika, who really did blossom with a bit of encouragement from the American Idol judges. She arrived complete with a fedora and giant, black hipster glasses, which the judges talked her in to ditching and I’m glad she did. Her warm, melodious voice shone through on The Story by Brandi Carlile. She got three yeses.
Ben Purdom was a bit of a dork. It doesn’t help that he turned up for a singing competition with a head cold. Bad timing, but I don’t think it’s just a head cold that made him pretty lousy on both Born This Way and then Super Bass. The judges agree and he got no further in the competition.
The first thing to notice about Jermaine Jones was his height. He is 6’8”. His mom says he “came out singing” at birth and he has continued that through his family and church. His take on Superstar was nice but didn’t blow me or the judges away. But he got a golden ticket anyway.
Britnee Kellog arrived with an interesting back story that gave her all the life experience she needed to give Linda Ronstadt’s No Good real gravitas. Of course she is going to Hollywood and we will hopefully see more of her two beautiful young sons and that gorgeous ex-husband of hers.
Sam Gershman’s aggressive cheerfulness got on my nerves even before she told us that she is a “motivational dancer.” What is that, then? Maybe we will never find out as her basically okay voice wasn’t enough to send her to Hollywood.
David Weed started well on Tom Sawyer by Rush. He sounded halfway decent for the first couple of lines and then I don’t know what happened. But David had a Plan B: stand up comedy. Unfortunately he wasn’t any better at telling jokes as he was singing so we said goodbye to him.
Romeo Diahn, a Liberian war refugee, spent years in a camp inGhana. He had a winning smile and a nice voice that probably won’t be strong enough to carry him through many rounds but at least he got to Hollywood.
Naomi Gillies asked permission from Steven to sing some Aerosmith, which of course he gives. She sang Cryin’, and she wasn’t fantastic. I liked her jacket more than her voice but she got through.
Ben Harrison would have been more adorable had he not described himself as “adorable.” In between saying “rock and roll” way too many times he perhaps unwisely attempted Queen’s Somebody to Love. Truly awful, so we quickly say goodbye to Ben.
Jessica Phillips got an easy pass to the next round with a combination of a pretty good R&B voice and a touching back story. Last year, her long-term boyfriend had a massive stroke, and when he woke up in the hospital, he didn’t know who she was. They’re still together, and she helps him with his speech therapy.
It was a heartwarming way to end the American Idol auditions in Portland. Somehow 45 people got golden tickets but we didn’t get to see many of them, somehow. Tonight (Thursday) meet me in St. Louis for more auditions.