As American Idol fans will no doubt know, the first two or three weeks is a chance for us to goof around and mock the really bad singers who just want their fifteen minutes of fame. But Idol producers try to get us to make sense of a string of auditionee faces that won’t start to become familiar for a few weeks yet.
But last night, in Savanna, Georgia, we found Phillip Phillips Jr. (yes there are at least two people with that name: him and his dad). And I think he just might have the talent to go all the way.
I know it’s a bold claim on Day 1, but I’ve made it now so let’s just see how it goes.
There were 10,000 people waiting to audition inSavannah, but we only witnessed a small fraction, which is probably a good thing.
First up, there was a slew of 15, 16 and 17 year olds whom producers remind us were 5 and 6 when American Idol started, making most of us feel about 100 years old.
There were a couple of certainties and a whole host of other yeses that we won’t remember beyond today, but let’s have a look at the singers who were given their own segments.
David Leathers, Jr. (17) seemed a bit of a brat at first. He said his nickname at school is Mr. Steal Your Girl. However, he’s a pretty good singer and it turns out that he was in a contest with Season 10 winner, Scotty McCreery, a few years back and they placed first and second. He sang Remember the Rain then JLo asked him to sing Michael Jackson and he sounded perfect. Clearly, all three judges send him toHollywood. A bit of douche but the boy can sing.
Gabby Carubba (16) is a dancer with a crush on Nigel Lythgoe, who’s always sitting off to the side. Before singing Sunday Morning by Maroon 5, she went off for a hug with him. She has a sweet, little jazzy voice, and gets a yes, but she will need to stretch herself to stick around in the competition.
So far so good. Then we got Jessica Whitely (19). Even Steve Tyler refused her a second chance at a song. She attempted to sing Endless Song but she sounded terrible. When Randy finally told her it’s a big fat no, she said she’d back for the Texas auditions. Oh dear
Sean Kraisman (26) has a claim to fame: a Ryan Seacrest impersonation. I wonder if Ryan can’t sing either, because Sean’s attempts are like the worst kind of karaoke.
Shannon Magrane (15) is a 6 ft tall volleyball player and daughter of the former Cardinals pitcher Joe Magrane (who pitched in the 1987 World Series, long before she was a glimmer in his eye). Her rendition of Etta James’ Something’s Got a Hold on Me proved she has raw talent. She needs training, but hopefully she will get it as she progressed to the next round.
Amy Brumfield (24) lives in a tent in the woods. No, wait – she can really sing. She sang Alicia Key’s Superwoman great, but not before asking if she could camp behind the Idol mansion.
Joshua Davis (23) crashed into everything on the way in and screamws like he wasrunning from a band of hungry cannibals to “get out the stress.” When he finally startedsinging I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, my worst fears were confirmed: not only was he obnoxious, he was awful. Randy’s clown face and jazz hands spoke volumes. Jennifer said he was sweet and cute but not what they’re going for. He won’t take no for an answer, but they finally get rid of him. The really sad thing is that all of his friends were there, and not one of them saw fit to be honest with him instead of letting him make a fool of himself.
Stephanie Renee (15) is so obsessed with winning American Idol she has made homemade t-shirts. She attempted Inside Your Heaven by her idol (please forgive the pun) Carrie Underwood, and she’s not the worst, but she needs voice lessons: a bit nasally, Randy says no but she got through with the other two judges.
Next up, a brother and sister, Schyler Dixon (16) and Colton Dixon (19). “Come on Colton, make us feel stupid for last year,” Jennifer challenged. Schyler sang Falling to Pieces in a pleasant, raspy and jazzy voice and she’s definitely in. Colton sang performance of Permanent by David Cook. He is sharp in a few places, but they begged him to sing, so he got in anyway. There was a bit of staged sibling rivalry, even involving Steven only hug Colton and tell Schyler, “I’ll hug you when you win.”
Lauren Zinc (25) gave Jennifer “goosies” with Country Strong and she was off key at times, but she hassuch a strong voice with a little growl to it. Plus, she’s gorgeous. Of course she’s in
Apparently the second day of auditions is really, really hot as evidenced by the montages of sweaty people pouring water on themselves. That awkwardness aside, the auditions are starting to get even more awkward.
Mawanda Kodjo (25) had come all the way from West Africa to audition, which is unfortunate, as he is really, really bad. The judges tried to be nice and tell him at least he tried, even if he was terrible. But he won’t accept it, so Randy dares him to find people in the outside world who think he deserves a golden ticket. So he and Ryan really do it. They find four little girls and their grandpa and they say like him, but it’s still not enough.
Ashlee Altise (23) was a bit of a nut, but she can sing, even though she spent most of her intro time distracting us with her invention: the joy hop. She did a little dance on the stage before singing Come Together wonderfully. She’s completely crazy, but she’s got a well-rounded voice and I’m interested to see how she does on the real stage.
WT Thompson (25) quit a steady job at a Federal Prison to audition for American, even though his wife is six months pregnant. He got through, but quitting his job seems a little hasty because he’s really not great.
Erica Novak (28) is another crazy. She started crying as soon as she saw Steven Tyler. When Randy insists Steve hugs her, she grabbed his butt. It was the best note she hit, as Steve himself pointed out. Thankfully she left quietly enough, having fulfilled her dream of having met Steven.
Brittany Kerr (23) looks like a Barbie doll. Her version of Spoiled by Joss Stone is OK but nothing special and Jennifer told her she wasn’t ready. But the boys let her through anyway.
Phillip Phillips, Jr. (20) was “super special”, according to Jennifer. I have to admit I loved him too. He sang Stevie Wonder’s Superstition in a growly and jazzy voice like Casey Abrams. Plus he’s hot. Plus he plays guitar, and sings again with a country blues version of Thriller. This guy has a lot of pluses.
So who was your favorite contestant of the night? Did anyone make it who you thought should have gone home? Let me know in the comments.