2/2/2011- Let me just apologize upfront. Because of power issues my cable is working intermittently and my DVR is having a meltdown. I may not be able to get the spelling of names or hometowns 100% correct. Please feel free to provide a comment and I will be happy to fix.
Many of you may have the same problem because of Storm Ella and icy and snowy conditions that have wreaked havoc with travelers and homebodies alike. Ella will go down in history I am sure. I think a few of these contestants from Idol tonight will do the same.
Flashed upon the screen at the start of the show was the statement ‘Mr. Tyler apologizes for his behavior from last week’. You may recall that Steven made fun of one of the contestant’s names that rhymed with duck. So far, I have loved Tyler’s comments. They should keep censorship to a minimum.
Anyway, Austin showed about 7,500 hopefuls. This year, Ryan Seacrest explained, “they are a little bit country, a little bit of rock and roll and a whole lot of weird.” Eager to get their ride in on an Austin coach were the judges, J.Lo, Randy Jackson, and Steven Tyler. Walking into the stadium was Ryan Seacrest, talking on the phone with his dad.
Corey Levoy, Longhorn, TX
Corey Levoy explained that he met his sister when he was 14 and his sister, 16. Due to parental differences, they were separated, but now they are now very close. He explained that he had been picked on in school. Corey said, “My sister has encouraged me to sing. I do not think there is anybody that supports me more than she does. It is one of the most exciting days of my life.”
Corey had a good voice. The judges invited his sister to help with the judging and it was obvious by her face that she loved him. Randy said, he was “Surprised and impressed. Your speaking voice was high but the singing voice isn’t.” Tyler told him, “Something tells me you’re not going to get teased anymore.” J. Lo said,”Heck yeah,” Randy said,” Ya’ll Heck Yeah. Congratulations, you are going to Hollywood.”
Then as he was walking out, Tyler remarked about Corey, “We tell them to give it up and people rarely do, but he did.”
Hollie Cavanaugh, 24
Hollie is thin, and made me think of a fragile Barbie doll. She was cute but I was not sure she could withstand the competition. Randy said, “You switched keys about five times there.” J. Lo said, “You need to get more comfortable on stage.” Randy said, “You are not quite ready, I’m going to say no for now.”
She started crying. Then J.Lo gave her another shot. The second time around, after she had composed herself was a little bit better but I still think unless she transforms, she is going to be eaten alive. She ended up getting three yeses, turning Randy around with her second performance.
One thing the producers are doing this year is changing the music and timing of their jingle. Normally it is loud and just about bops you out of your seat when the show goes out and comes back from commercial I almost missed catching the show coming back on because the music was much softer. Is this a result of the FCC changing the rules or is Idol doing something differently? A definite break did not used to be there. Time will tell. Maybe they were just killing time this week.
As usual, with 7500 applicants, and limited spots, many contestants leave their dreams behind. Next up were a few acts that are not going to Hollywood.
Rodolfo Ochoa, Las Fresno, California
Rodolfo sang the Circle of Life but it was done much longer than it should have been. Randy said, “This is not going the way you want it to.” That made me laugh. J.Lo said, “It was so out of tune and no melody.” Tyler also agreed, the answer was a no.
Seacrest announced, “If not sweet, how about rugged? Of course, they are in Texas and finding rugged is not necessarily a problem. Finding cowboys that can sing, and some that are even completely and utterly heterosexual by their own admission, is not necessarily easy. Until you have met John Wayne.
John Wayne Schulz, 23 Karnes City, TX
John Wayne is a real life cowboy. He is a bull rider and he explains that his family has been ranching cattle since the 1850s. John says, “Being a cowboy is more about what is inside rather than how you dress. My mom was diagnosed in 2007 with breast cancer; her wish was for me to try out for American Idol. I am now fulfilling a promise to her after three years.”
John Wayne was a winner. He sang Believe by Brooks & Dunn. His mom said, “It’s great to see a show like this that gives opportunity for a small town kiddo to have a chance.” When he was done Randy said, “Great,” J.Lo said, “That almost brought a tear from my eye.” Tyler said, “Beautiful, great I liked you.” Randy said, “I feel you, I think you could do really well.” Bring in your parents. When John’s parent came in, the judges said, “Hi parents of John Wayne. We have something to tell you. Welcome to Hollywood. You made it.” It was a happy day for all.
After going out to see his family in the waiting area, John Wayne picked up Ryan Seacrest and threw him around. Why is it that people pick up Seacrest? Doesn’t he wear platform shoes? Wouldn’t you know it? Then John Wayne’s dad picked up Ryan too, and Ryan got some belt buckle damage on his hand.
Courtney Penry, Missouri City, TX, 23
Courtney Penry said she thinks Ryan is the sexiest man alive. Courtney said, “I will marry him someday. Hopefully I won’t make a fool out of myself.” Of course, she did. She started crying when she met Ryan and he was honored, and gave her a big hug and told her, “Thank you.” When she got into the audition, she told the judges that she could do the chicken, and she did a little dance, saying it was for her friends back home. Not only can she cluck she actually she did sing pretty well. There were some parts that were strong and some weak. J.Lo told her, “You need to work on those issues.” Jennifer and Tyler said yes, and Randy said no. Then she did her victory dance, which included another rendition of the chicken, and some mean hip throwing. When she turned around, Seacrest was there, and she hugged him again.
Shauntel Campos, Albuquerque, NM – Maybe
Caleb Johnson, Yes
The judges said something changed and day two became a party
Seacrest explained there was a bit of a love fest on Idol as Jacqueline and Nick came into view.
Jacqueline Dunford, Nick, Scottsdale AZ
Jacqueline explained that they met in choir in college. Then they did a duet together, and everything just felt perfect. She said that sometimes it feels like she is in love with herself, they are so closely aligned, like soul mates. Nick explained that they feel honored to be able to try out together. Jacqueline could sing and Randy pointed out that it was obvious from Nick’s looks that there was at least “One person in the room that loves your singing.”
Nick Fink, Scottsdale, AZ, 19
Nick then took the stage, while Jacqueline goo goo eyed him, and he was almost as stunning. Nick sang, “You’ve got the love,” It was good. Usually when you get a couple one sucks and the other is so so, but these two are very talented. The judges agreed with me, and said, “Yes and yes, and yes, announcing, yes and yes, they are both going to Hollywood. J.Lo remarked, “My favorite couple on Idol in 10 years.” The couple did not actually sing a duet together but I was dying to hear them. Jackie had a hearty voice, and had great control going from highs to lows with ease. Nick also had a pleasing voice and although he does not have the shiny exterior that Jackie did, he reminded me of Kris Allen, another “dull” but successful star.
Janelle Arthur, Oliver’s Springs, TN
Janelle said, “Some people think country people don’t have shoes or teeth, and that just isn’t true. We have an easygoing living, we love food, and we love music. My family has been trying to get me to do this for five years.”
Janelle reminded me of Jewel. Almost as if she was yodeling, with a very capable controlled voice. Randy asked the judges, “Let’s say yes or no right away.” “Yes,” from Tyler, J.Lo, and “Yes!” Three yeses. She is going to Hollywood. Janelle was another one with the whole package who has star qualities.
You have to know you are in Texas when an armadillo enters the audition. From there it went downhill. Ryan said, “We should have put a sign on the door. Randy bared his teeth-DAWG!”
I have been an Idol watcher since Kelly Clarkson and I am getting old or it seemed like a lot more commercials than show. I would think the Idol producers would have plenty of footage interviewing 7500 people but maybe the lawsuits have been too costly for the show and they need more revenue. Notwithstanding Steven Tyler’s earlier apology, part of the thrill of watching the show is being able to compare the good, the bad and fugly. I hope they do not become so overproduced that the show loses its edge.
The American Idol judges are being nice, getting along with each other. If the producers don’t give a little more meat, I fear they may lose the audience..
Casey Abrams, 19, Lyndonville
Not Casey James, by a long shot. This cat was much better. Casey sang ‘I don’t need No Dr’ by Ray Charles after tuning his voice to his instrument, that he explained was a Melodica. It is played like a trumpet with a mouthpiece but the keys are a keyboard like a piano.
Before his audition, Casey explained to Ryan Seacrest that he was worried that the judges would be tired since he was the last one.
When he got in front of them, he explained to the judges, “I have been practicing for this show my whole life.” No doubt about it. When the judges close their eyes and smile, they are enjoying it and trying to hear every note. Casey got the party started and showed off his funky version of his Ray style. This kid is another gem.
Overall, 50 out of 7500 from Austin TX tryouts are going to Hollywood.
Fox Television, American Idol, 2/2/2011