Thursday, January 26th 2012
Everything's Bigger in Texas
by The AI Insider
The Idol judges went looking for a few good cowboys in the Lone Star State, and as 10,000 hopefuls lined up for their chance at superstardom, the judges didn't find exactly what they expected.
First, we met a highly emotional contestant who wanted to be the next American Idol so badly he cried (because "it feels so good inside"). Phong Vu, 25, loves to perform songs by such female artists as "Celine Dion and Jenny from the Block." He also has a "powerful" stance (one hand on his hip) and a little help from above. "God is on my side, I know it," he claimed. However, Phong gave the first of the day's two awful performances of Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart," and his "iconic moves" didn't help him, either. "Every emotion, the sympathy, I feel the pain, it's coming through me, [and] I want to channel it back to you," he told the judges. As Randy put it, "What is this show?" Ultimately, Phong's "passion" wasn't enough to get him to Hollywood.
Following two terrible '80s flashbacks (Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" and the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited") and two wannabe cowboys who didn't quite nail Scotty McCreery's famous line ("Baby, lock them doors . . ."), 17-year-old Skylar Laine was a breath of fresh air. The Mississippi teen loves to go mud-riding and hunt deer, but she "sings like a little meadowlark," according to her Papaw. Jennifer knew exactly who the country gal was after she sang Pistol Annies' "Hell on Heels," and Steven said, "Positively yes." Hollywood, here she comes!
Pretty Baylie Brown, 21, may have looked a little familiar because she first tried out in Season 6. She made it to the Hollywood round but forgot the words after being paired with two best friends from New Jersey. This time around, Baylie performed Bon Jovi's "Bed of Roses," and Randy noted that she's "significantly better." Steven said it's a "no brainer": This "little baby" is all grown-up and going to Hollywood.
Kristine Osorio, 28, has a lot on her plate right now. The mother of three recently took out a loan to pay for a divorce lawyer, but she used the money instead to buy a plane ticket to the Texas audition. Big gamble, but it paid off. Steven admired how she "goes upstairs," and Jennifer loved her "beautiful voice." She's in!
However, there was some dissension in the ranks as Jennifer started disagreeing with the male judges' choices in a big way. "You guys are freakin' crazy," she complained, as Steven and Randy said "yes" when she said "no" and vice versa. When the guys sent 24-year-old Linda Williams to Hollywood, Jennifer lost it. "I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone," she marveled.
It certainly seemed like the Twilight Zone when we met 26-year-old Alejandro Cazares. "Today is the first day of the revolution," he declared. Um, what revolution? "The revolution is me. I am the revolution," he explained. Oh . . . OK. "Grant me the power to bring revolution to the world. Where the underdog can win . . . where someone unique like Lady Gaga can go platinum, where Obama can be elected President." "Isn't that the world we live in?" Jennifer and Steven ask. Alejandro is stumped.
It wound up to be a bad sign that Alejandro's own girlfriend wouldn't wish him luck, because he was a "No, no, no, no," according to Randy. "Not yet," Steven said. "Never," Randy added. But Alejandro insisted, "The revolution is not over!"
The guys were going crazy over Jennifer's bare midriff when we met 20-year-old Cortez Shaw. Cortez was homeless for a couple of years as a kid, but he vows to define his own future. "American Idol is opportunity at its greatest," he said. At first, Randy was not convinced by his unique spin on Adele's "Someone Like You," but Jennifer encouraged him. "You're good-looking, sweet, great voice, yes." The other judges agreed, and he's going to Hollywood!
It's late afternoon in Galveston when the final contestant got everyone a little emotional. Ramiro Garcia, 28, is a church worship leader who was born with no ears. The doctors told his parents that their son wouldn't be able to hear or speak, but after years of surgeries, they created an ear canal for him. Ramiro sang "Amazing Grace," and the judges decided to "take a leap of faith" with him as he earned his golden ticket, moving on to the next stage in the competition.
At the end of the day, 54 contestants earned golden tickets in Texas. Let's just hope Jennifer and Steven can make up before we get to the Pacific Northwest!