Get ready, Idol fans! Tonight kicks off Season 9, the first without judge Paula Abdul.
Joining Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell in Boston will be guest judge Victoria Beckham. (Can someone tell me what, other than her run with the Spice Girls, qualifies her to judge? A fashion show, maybe. But I digress.)
7:20 PM: Can you believe that it’s been almost 8 months since we met here last to talk about American Idol? Where did 2009 go? While we’re waiting for the show to start, let me tell you quickly about my challenge: I’m encouraging readers to join me in reading the Bible in a year. I know, it sounds like a weighty goal, and it is. But it’ll be worth it, trust me. You can learn more on this post with the January Bible readings.
7:44 PM: So the news is that a local guy named Jonathan Stills will will be on tonight. Cool, eh? I’d love to hear about your friends or family who auditioned, especially if they have a connection to Christian music. (Remember, this is a blog covering Chrisitan music.)
7:58 PM: Good grief, are we going to be innundated with commericals for Mark’s Pizzeria again this season? After last season I never wanted to eat another Mark’s pizza again. OMG, ANOTHER ONE?? In one commercial break??
8:00 PM: Here we go!! Recap of season 8 and the Adam Lambert/Kris Allen finale and the ensuing drama. When they show the clip of Ellen announcing that she’s going to be the new judge, it’s kind of chills up your spine excitement. I just love her and I’m so glad that she’ll be here this season. And we have some good guest judges until Ellen joins the show during Hollywood Week, including Joe Jonas, Shania Twain, tomorrow’s judge Mary J Blige and tonight’s guest judge Victoria Beckham.
Predictions for the next few weeks of auditions? A bunch of bizarre wannabes who can’t sing mixed with a healthy dose of tearjerking stories of love, loss, hope, death, life, and every other emotion the show can exploit.
We begin in Boston, with 9,000 auditions.
Our first contestant Janet has been playing the American Idol video game and Simon sends her through to cyberHollywood, so maybe she’ll have success in real life, too? err … maybe not. Simon: “Is this what you do on the game?” “You like me 90% of the game,” she says. She keeps calling Kara “Paula”.
And so begins Season 9 of American Idol.
Does Victoria Beckham look terrible, or is it just my TV? She looks overly made up and I hate that stupid headband. She’s a beautiful woman but this look isn’t doing her justice.
Previews for after the commercials: Does Kara lose her temper? Wow, a tantrum on the first night?
We’re back with 16 year old Maddie Curtis. Lovely voice (she sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”) and has a touching story of four brothers with Downs Syndrome, three of them adopted. The judges call her an old soul and tell her she’s authentic. Simon tells her that amazingly for 16, she’s not annoying. And we have our first contestant through to Hollywood! She’s a cutie.
From good to horrible, with 17 year old Pat Ford doing Brittany Spears’ “Womanizer.” Ugh. And he says “Simon, you are even sassier than you are on television.” Randy says he’s a cool guy with “great hang” (whatever that means) but tells him to stop singing forever. And Kara fells a need to hug him.
Up next is Amadeo Diricco singing Muddy Waters. Totally didn’t expect that voice to come out of him! Wow! Simon says “In a strange way, it was my favorite audition of the day.” This is a likeable guy and one to watch. Along with his group of guys waiting outside the room. The Sopranos meets American Idol.
Good grief, the next guy, Derek Hilton is frightening. He thinks he sounds like The Eagles; Simon said maybe just an eagle.
Oh, and the parade of tears continues with a montage. And Kara’s tantrum after the break!
First, Mary Doyle screeches through a Janis Joplin tune. Stick to making kimonos, Mary. Simon says it’s good news because someone who actually knows what they’re talking about is giving her honest advice fo the first time. Kara wants to hug her; is she picking up Paula’s mothering role?
Obviously not, because when Andrew Fenlon auditions Kara simply goes over the top with a hissy fit, temper tantrum that sends Andrew packing. Which is too bad, because he actually had a pretty good voice. Fenlon came in with a chip on his shoulder, irritated after having to wait and wait, which didn’t help. All of the judges commented on what Simon called his “bad energy”, but Kara went right for Fenlon’s jugular, teling him, “I am now angry with you. Who I do not like. At all.” And Victoria jumped on the bandwagon, which is odd considering she’s married to David Beckham. She should be used to men with large egos. Then again, she tells Fenlon he doesn’t have the goods to back up his ego.
Too bad for Andrew. Maybe they’ll let him come back and try again? Because after the break looks like we’re going to have non-stop sob stories.
After a couple of stinkers, we have Ashely Rodriguez, who blows the judges away with an Alicia Keyes song. You can find out a little more about Ashley Rodriguez on her MySpace page - like she had a full four year scholarship to the Berklee School of Music and toured internationally with the gospel group Overjoyed.
Then comes Tyler Grady, a drummer with two shattered wrists, singing “Let’s Get It On,” who also has a memorable audition and is through to Hollywood. Tyler is the drummer for the Nazareth, PA based Pop/synth rock band Wailing Waters. Become a fan at Facebook or listen to some of their music on the band’s MySpace page.
And I’m sorry – poor Victoria looks like the day of auditions has really taken its toll on her. She looks terribly thin and pale.
End of Day 1: Other contestants who went thru that we only got a glimpse of:
Jess Wolfe from Brooklyn, NY, singing “People Get Ready” – her MySpace page or the site for her band, Lucius.
Jennifer Hirsch, singing a very cool and jazzy version of “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead”
Clair Fuller from Philly
Luke Shaffer from NYC
Benjamin Bright, an elementary school teacher from Rome, NY
On to Day 2! We start with a little US history for the two Brits on the judges’ panel.
And Victoria is back to her beautiful self after a night’s rest.
She’s going to need it; the first contestant, Lisa Olivero sucks the air out of the room with as she screeches through a Mariah Carey song. As she walks out, they judges comment on her … er … bottom.
Parade of bad contestants and Simon’s snarky retorts.
And then comes Mike Davis, an 18 year old who’s an actor on a boat called Codzilla, singing “Yesterday”. Simon says he’s confident wihout being obnoxious. Kara says she’d like to kick back with him, Mike invites her out for steak and Simon gets irritated. Simon says yes, Randy says no, and the girls say yes. And we have the day’s first golden ticket. As Mike leaves he jokes with his family, “And I think I’ve got a date with Kara, too,” and Ryan says that he has to fill him on on something. Haha – what does that mean? Is Kara gay? Dating someone??
My David says, “I’m not missing Paula at all, an hour and 15 minutes into the first show.”
And here’s sob story #1 – and amazing singer – Katie Stevens. She’s singing for her grandmother, who has Alzheimers. Katie, who is 16, says, “I want her to see me succeed before she forgets who I am.” Outside the audition room, Katie calls her grandmother and tells her in Portugese that she made it through, and it’s tear all around for her family, and Ryan. A little info: Katie was named the Westbury CT’s 2009 Outstanding Teen
Joshua Blaylock gets through with his niceness and “loveliness” (Kara) and “nice little voice” (Victoria) as Randy tries to toughen up his attitude.
We’re back, with a bunch of contestants who freeze up and bomb out. Sometimes you gotta wonder what makes some of these contestants audition. They don’t look like they have enough guts to send back an entree at Applebees.
Up next is adorable Justin Williams, who explains that while on mission in Spain at the age of 20, he was diagnose with cancer. (My guess: “on mission” is a clue that he’s Mormon; plus, he’s from Sandy, UT). I think he’s got a great voice and he’s got the look the girls will go gaga over. I think he’s another to keep your eyes one. Good look, good voice, good story. Danny Gokey redeux? And here’s a little more about Justin – winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and performed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the winner of the national talent competition. That’s quite a little resume. Keep your eye on him!
Commercial comment: Good grief. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter has adulterated the classic disco song “Turn The Beat Around” with some jingle and video challenge? Barf. And Marks’ Pizzeria? Thanks for NOT having another commerical this 1/2 hour.
And here’s Bosa Mora, a 22 year old college graduate from Columbus OH. His parents are Nigerian natives who met in the US; he has 4 sisters and 1 brother and a great voice. His mother said, “God is good”, which I found interesting. I just watched a show on Religion and Ethics about how Christianity has spread in Nigeria and Nigerian Christians view the US as a mission field. Just a totally random thought. Here’s Bosa Mora’s MySpace page.
My David and I agree: Victoria is doing a great job. I’m surprised; so is he. We both expected a little arrogance but she’s genuinely nice and encouraging. She’s a good guest judge. David also comments that it’s going to suck because the Olympics will fall right during Idol auditions. Hmmm, will Idol get the Olympics to not schedule the good stuff during the show?
The last contestant is Leah Laurenti, who says she grew up in church and didn’t listen to mainstream music. But her passion for music has propelled her to pursue a singing career and show her parents she can do it. (And make them proud; when she cals her dad to tell him she made it through, she asks, “Are you proud of me?” to which he replies, “Of course I am!”) And sing she can. She belts out “Blue Skies” effortlessly. She’s really, really good and definitely one to watch. You can join the “Leah Laurenti For American Idol” Facebook group. And I think this is where you can follow her on Twitter.
And that ends our first auditions. Thirty one contestants go through to the Hollywood round. Tomorrow, we’ll be in Atlanta. In the meantime, I’ll do a little digging and see what i can find on the contestants who’ve made it through so far!
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