Season 9 - EPISODE RECAPS
Wednesday, January 27th 2010
by The AI Insider
Season 1 auditions in Dallas introduced Kelly Clarkson to the world. They also introduced someone at the other end of the vocal spectrum, Julie Kevelighan. Julie auditioned in 2002 and is back to make this her year. Would eight years of practice be enough? Julie entered the room in a blue sequined dress with eye shadow from 2002 and a hand-crafted poster. Upon her arrival, Neil Patrick Harris said, "Welcome, Sparkle." That salutation kills me! Julie's first redemption song was "Black Velvet." NPH critiqued her sign (she ran out of room and smashed the letters in her name together) and Simon offered creative poster advice too. When Neil said her performance wasn't good, Julie asked if she can sing another song but she was met with a collective "no." So what does she do? She sings "Over the Rainbow." When the judges still feel she isn't good enough, Julie starts with "Something To Talk About." Not only is she butchering these songs, she managed to pick three of the most overused audition songs in one try. Alas, Julie got the judges' message and left the room, chalking up her bad performance to breath control. Yep Julie...that's all it was, a problem with breath control.
If you go back to my Boston recap, I shared my favorite Idol game with you. It's where you make snap judgments on whether a newly introduced contestant will be good or not. Lloyd Thomas calls himself Lloyd "Big SuccSexy" Thomas, he dances the robot, and is a big man wearing a small tie. Snap judgment verdict: bad. But wait--he has a thankless job working on a loading dock, he has two adorable daughters, he's got a great sense of humor, and he grew up in a tough part of town. I change my mind, he has to be good. I like him too much to see him leave. Lloyd auditions with "Overjoyed" by Stevie Wonder and confirms that he has a nice voice. Kara said Lloyd is the reason she loves this show, NPH wanted to see more energy during his performance, Simon called him the best of the day, and Randy gave him "a million percent yes." It was a success for Mr. SuccSexy, who licked his fingers and exited with his delicious "tangible" golden ticket.
After a montage of Neil and Simon disagreeing with each other, Kimberly Carver enters the room. She sang a nice, jazzy original song. Simon and NPH were at odds on whether or not this show is right for a jazz singer, which cued up a good ol' fashion sepia tone western duel between the two men. Neil took control of the panel and asked for their verdicts. Randy gave her a yes because "she can blow, man," which caused Kimberly to exclaim "I love Journey!" Kara and Neil also gave her a yes, so she exits with a golden ticket. When she stood with her family and spoke to Ryan she said "Thank God for Neil Patrick Harris!" Put that saying on a t-shirt and I will wear it.
Dexter Ward says that we might as well end the competition now because we just found "The Next America's Idol." After five dramatic winks (Did you know a person could wink dramatically?) Dexter entered the audition room with his sunglasses on. After pushing them up on top of his head, he sang "Cult of Personality," and Kara mouthed the back-up vocals and remained speechless when it was her turn to critique him. Since Dexter is a nice guy with an unfortunate voice, the judges let him down easily. He politely left the room and held it together until he made it to the hallway, and then he burst into tears. Don't be sad, Dexter. Instead of becoming "The Next America's Idol" you can be "The Next America's Dramatic Winker."
Erica Rhodes made her TV debut on Barney and Friends. She auditioned in a dominatrix outfit, complete with a whip, to show that Barney girls grow up--"to be naughty little girls," as NPH put it. The judges requested that she perform "I Love You" from Barney. After singing "...won't you say you love me too," Kara said "And then I whip all my friends." Erica auditioned with En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" which includes dominatrix appropriate lyrics like "I wear tight clothing, high heeled shoes, that doesn't mean that I'm a prostitute." Kara commented that it's rare that someone comes in and says "I'm gonna do my thing, this is who I am." Does Kara think Erica is really a dominatrix?! Either way, Erica received four yeses and then celebrated in leather and fishnets...with her parents.
The final contestant of the day was Dave Pittman, a 27 year old from Kris Allen's home state. Dave has Tourette's Syndrome, which he used to see as a curse but now considers it a blessing because it taught him a lot about life. When Dave sings his tics cease, allowing his smooth vocals to shine through, which we witnessed as he tackled Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me." The judges called him likable, brave, and they were impressed with his vocals. Dave is going to Hollywood!
Neil Patrick Harris stepped away and Joe Jonas became the day two judge in Dallas. How did Idol decide which Jonas brother to invite? Is Joe more judgmental or judicious? Does he have more free time than the others?
Todrick Hall was in The Color Purple with American Idol Fantasia. He's a playwright who auditions for the judges with an original song about, well, auditioning for the judges. The judges loved his personality and creativity, and paired with decent vocals, Todrick was one step closer to following in Fantasia's footsteps.
Dawntoya Thomas sang a LeAnn Rimes song and earned a ticket to Hollywood, as many other contestants including Season 7 finalist Jason Castro's little brother Michael, and Stephanie Daulong, a girl we see for about a second and a half.
Maegan Wright's parents divorced, leaving Maegan and her little brother to form a tight bond. At about 4 feet tall, he manages to be her biggest support, and he knows she has what it takes to win over the judges. Maegan auditioned with "To Make You Feel My Love," and and she made the judges love her. One of her friends in the lobby said she was "2000% positive" that Maegan would earn a golden ticket. Clearly this friend is an alum of Randy Jackson's School of Arithmetic. Although Kara and Simon disagreed over Maegan's casual outfit, it's unanimous that the girl can sing and she is on her way to Hollywood.
Vanessa Johnston is a spirited gal in a hot pink '80s aerobic video outfit. Despite the funky outfit, Vanessa chose to sing the classy song, "At Last." Simon said that Vanessa is his worst nightmare, but the energetic girl left as upbeat as she was when she arrived. Her friends even clapped when they heard what Simon called Vanessa and they hoisted Ryan Seacrest into the air, regardless of the news from the judges. In her final interview Vanessa said, "That's okay if you say I'm your worst nightmare, but at least you're dreaming about me." I love her optimism!
Christian Spear is only 16 and was diagnosed with Leukemia on her 4th birthday. That's about the saddest thing I've ever heard. Fortunately, her cancer went into remission when she was 8 years old, so she's now an 8 year cancer survivor. Her super sweet mother said she'd work her entire life to make Christian's dreams come true. Singing "All I Can Do Is Cry," Christian probably made a lot of at-home viewers shed a tear. The judges liked her voice and Simon called her an incredibly brave person. With four yeses, Christian is off to Hollywood, and one step closer to making her dreams come true.
At the end of Dallas auditions we learn that 31 contestants are off to Hollywood. And at the end of Dallas auditions we learn that Joe Jonas likes the words "yes" and "yeah." To avoid using another word such as "no" or "nope," he stayed away from judging Vanessa's audition altogether...at least from what we saw.
Up next is the final hometown audition in Denver, Colorado, where Victoria Beckham will treat us to another heaping of spice.