Thursday, January 20th 2011
The Big Easy Was Easy on the Ears
by The AI Insider
Night two of the American Idol premiere began with a cold opening that read: "October 17, 2010. Blake Patterson has just auditioned for American Idol in New Orleans." Cut to a young man sitting at a piano, bawling, while singing "Smile." Oh the irony! "He won't be going to Hollywood." If I was an employer and Blake Patterson interviewed with me, I would be afraid to not give him the job.
Since yesterday's show, when I think of the American Idol theme song, I can hear Victoria Huggins mimicking it in my head. The judges arrived in Randy Jackson's home state, and what was on Steven Tyler's head?! It was a tiny top hat with a tiny veil. I guess when you're one of the most successful rock stars in the world, you can wear whatever the heck you want. The last time we went to New Orleans, Ryan had bleached flat-ironed hair. Steven took his seat at the judges' table, but he has a defunct chair. Jennifer Lopez looks as gorgeous as ever and her hot pink top matches the set, which raises the old chicken and the egg question. Did Jennifer wear pink to match the set, or did the set turn pink to match Jennifer?
Jordan Dorsey is a musician and teacher from LaPlace, LA. One of his adorable students sang Jordan's praises. Jordan was far more dressed up for his teaching job than he was for his audition, but once he began crooning "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," all thoughts about attire went out the window. He started slow and then jazzed up the song. Jennifer couldn't help but squeal with delight and she said, "I have goose pimples all over my body and it's cold in here already so stop!" As if her squealing wasn't adorable enough, she said "goose pimples!" Those are probably the only kind of pimples Jennifer gets. With no deliberating from the judges, they shouted "yes" and Jordan and the Dorsey entourage (that could be the name of his future band) went nuts.
David LaRocca is also from LaPlace, but he must not have taken vocal lessons from Jordan. He was sent home along with Najsha Palmer, Jarrell Brewer, and Kiana Cardona, who wouldn't stop singing, even as Randy begged her to quit.
Sarah Sellers looked like the girl in the next cubicle, but Steven was immediately drawn to her prominent lips. The marketing analyst-by-day-singer/blogger-by-night sang "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan, and her version sounded on par with Adele's beautiful version of the song. The first Steven-ism of the night occurred at this moment when the rocker commented, "You had me sold the second you laid eyes on me." With three yeses and comments that she's the best the judges have heard, Sarah's off to Hollywood.
Jovany Barreto builds ships in Louisiana, and his Cuban American family is so big that they took up the entire holding room at New Orleans auditions. He's always loved Jennifer, but when she married his idol (Marc Anthony), that just sealed the deal. His shipyard bros bet him $100 to take his shirt off for Jennifer. Jovany auditioned with a Spanish song by Luis Miguel. When he was finished, Randy asked Jennifer if that was good, but you don't need to know Spanish to know that sounded really nice. Steven thought Jovany's "melodic sensibility was really delicious," and the judges give Jovany a ticket to Hollywood. When Jovany revealed that he now must remove his shirt, Randy and Steven got in on the fun. In the spirit of N'Awlins, they lifted up their shirts for Jennifer, but she had no beads to toss at them. Evidently, building ships does a number on a man's physique.
Randy's brother Herman Jackson stopped by NOLA auditions, and Ryan said that Herman gave Randy his charm and good looks. Hmmm, how does that work? My brother gave me a black eye and a scar on my knuckle if that counts. The best part of being in Randy's hometown means pictures of the dawg with a flat top and old school glasses. Hollywood hopeful Jacquelyn Dupree had yearbook photos of Randy in his teeny tiny track shorts. Her uncle was Randy's football coach in high school, so the panel called him into the audition room. I would question the coach about Randy's football skills, but Steven used this as an opportunity to ask him about paddling. Jacquelyn gave a serious performance of "I'll Stand By You," which earned her three yeses.
Sixteen-year-old Brett Loewenstern has big, red, curly hair. He called himself a red apple in a pile of green apples. He was bullied as a kid, but overcame it by learning to love himself. Brett is confident these days, plus guitar slingers are always popular. Was that his mom in his interview? She's gorgeous! Brett entered the audition room and asked Steven if he remembered him from their elevator encounter earlier in the day. Steven played along, but you know he only thinks about love in an elevator. After some conversation about curly hair products, Steven said, "I used to use baby oil but now I use [chicken clucks] balk bock bock." The unassuming auditioner sang "Bohemian Rhapsody," and he made Jennifer melt into Steven. With more goose pimples on her arms, Jennifer and the judging panel gave Brett a resounding "yes!"
Gabriel Franks struggled to adhere his contestant number to his shirt, and during his audition you could see that the end of his shirt was stuck under the number. He won a Steven Tyler look-a-like contest, but Steven said, "You have something that I know well, Mick Jagger's mouth." I'd love to hear the story behind that one day. Despite looking like a '60s rocker, Gabriel went the pop route with "Bad Romance." The vocals weren't awful, but his eyes kept rolling back in his head. The only thing more amusing than Gabriel's facial expressions were Jennifer's. She's getting the hang of delivering bad news and immediately jumped in with, "It's a no."
Alex Attardo went to Idol Camp, so I was expecting big things from him. His version of "Proud Mary" was a disaster. That's two bad covers of "Proud Mary" in two days.
Another unassuming young man, Jacee Badeaux, is only 15 but he looks younger and his speaking voice hasn't gone through "the change" yet. He sang "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and showed maturity beyond his 12, er 15, years. Jennifer said Jacee was so sweet and cute and Steven gave the boy "two yeses and a double helping of ooh yeah." Jacee left with a ticket to Hollywood and his family showed some tired enthusiasm as they walked to the car.
Paris Tassin became pregnant at 18 and was told there were complications with her baby. She kept on with the pregnancy and welcomed a baby girl who, now 5 years old, has hearing problems but is a bright, healthy girl. Paris auditioned with Carrie Underwood's beautiful "Temporary Home," which contains the lyrics "Young mom on her own...at night she whispers to her baby girl, someday we'll find our place here in this world." Mama Jennifer shed some tears. American Idol, why do you leave us each night with tears in our eyes! The emotional judges gave Paris three yeses, and at the end of the episode, Jennifer found Paris and her baby in the lobby and told the little girl how good her mom was before wrapping them in her arms. Jennifer! I'm loving you on American Idol!
At the end of two days in the Big Easy, 37 singers are Hollywood-bound. One victorious singer called a loved one to share the good news, and when the person on the other end of the phone cursed, the editors stamped an American Idol logo over the cellular device. Classic!
See you next week for Milwaukee auditions. I'll bring the tissues!