Tonight as the American Idol cast took the stage for Season 10, the set, and even the plastic cups on the judges’ table as they sat audition in New Jersey, were familiar. American Idol was back. There was no fan fare or weepy reminders of Simon Cowell’s season 9 departure. Nor was there mention of Kara DioGuardi or Ellen DeGeneres or sweetheart Paula Abdul.
American Idol, AI#10 (Twitter Tag)
On hand to open the season through the summer auditions were Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez (J.Lo) and steadfast Randy Jackson, along with Ryan Seacrest.
Ryan told the crowd, “This year, one hundred and twenty-five thousand people tried out in five cities. American Idol Season dream-makers will be carving out their destiny on the stage.”
Steven Tyler made his opening appearance on American Idol
With 150 million albums sold, Steven Tyler has a swagger all of his own. He said, “I took this gig because I want to find a Janis Joplin for this era. If I have any advice for the contestants this year, it is: “When you have that little bit inside of you that makes you want to do the “AHHHH” (like only he and maybe Adam Lambert can)-just do it.”
Jennifer Lopez on Idol, first show of season
Jennifer is the definition of a triple threat with her credentials as a singer, dancer, and actor. With 55 million records and a half a billion dollars of credentials behind her, she told the audience, “I decided to become a judge because we can actually take somebody and totally change their life. I am hoping that they will be a superstar. I am not in the business of crushing spirits but many people think, yeah, I can do that. I say, really, REALLY? Then go ahead, do it.
Randy Jackson back for another ride on the Idol coaster
Randy Jackson is happy to share the stage with industry icons. He says, “They will bring a lot of energy and wildness to the table. It’s a different table this year, it’s hot-let’s go baby.”
Let’s do it. Prizes and a change of life is what the idol contestants will win
This year’s contestants will win a contract with Interscope records and Jimmy Iovine. He has experience recording albums with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Dire Straight and U2; and in addition, helped shape the careers of Black-Eyed Peas, No Doubt, Dr. Dre, Eminem and Lady Gaga.
First round of Auditions: Season 10 – August 3, 2010 – 10:45 am – New Jersey
Randy said to the other judges. “They all start somewhere, why not here?”
Rachel Zevita, 22
During season six, twenty-two year old Rachel Zevita auditioned in Hollywood and sadly, she thought it was destiny that she was able to make it on the show. She became devastated and then she decided she wouldn’t give up. She sang Hallelujah, and hit some incredible high notes.
J.Lo said she remembered her when she was home watching the television. She knew she could sing. She told her, “This wasn’t the best audition you can give, from what I remember, but I know you can sing.” Tyler told her, “You need to re-dirt. Water that flower because it is going to grow.” Jennifer said, “I’m going to put you through from what I remember.” Randy said, “You are worth one more shot.”
Caleb Haley, 25
Twenty-five year old Caleb Hawley began to sing and Steven Tyler started tapping and mouthing the words. J.Lo and Randy were a lot more subdued. In the end, three votes for Caleb, he got another shot. Caleb told Steven thanks for knocking and tapping on the table, and he seemed very sincere when he said it. It must have been a moment he will never forget.
Kenzie Palmer, 15
Kenzie Palmer from West Middlesex, PA, is fifteen, and a student. Randy said, “Your vocals were really good.” Steven said, “Yes”, J.Lo, “Yes.”
Achille Lovle, 25
From the Bronx, NY, age 25, Achille Lovle is a Retail Sales Associate, previously from the Ivory Coast. She sang, but it was not good. Steven said, “Oh Baby you got so much drama but no notes.” She said her voice coach was helping her with her accent. J.Lo said, “It is not about your accent, it is more really like your singing.” Randy said, “Oh, it is not your thing baby.” Achille got three nos but she still said thank you.
J-lo said after she had to say no, “Why did I sign up for this. This is not a good feeling.
They have a dream. And we have a dream. And that is the hard part.” It reminded me of why Ellen said she left the show. I am paraphrasing here but she said, “It was just too hard to watch these kids try so hard and have to tell them no.”
American Idol producers showed a few clips from Jersey, and the JerseyShore. Sometimes less is more in Jersey.
Tiffany Rios, 21
Tiffany Rios, 21, talked about how they tease their hair in Jersey. She said, “Keep your teasing brush with you all the time, and tease the hair. Then she told the audience, “Because I’m Puerto Rican, I am blessed with a good front and back half. She is a dance teacher from Morris Plaines.
When Tyler asked her if someone on the panel had inspired her, she burst out crying, talking about going to see Selena when she was seven. J-Lo got up and hugged her as the tears flowed. When she was done, because of her enthusiasm and singing ability, she got three yeses although her costume was a bit bizarre with two silver starred breastplates to signify America as she sang her song. Tyler asked her to do something different, and she did. Steven liked her energy and J-Lo told her to chill it a bit. Jackson said, “She is out of her mind but I love it.” She is going to Hollywood too.
Robby Rosen, 16
Robby Rosen, from Merrick, NY is sixteen and said, “I started singing as soon as I could sing. I was in a wheelchair as a kid. I had temporary paralysis with my hip. Fortunately that passed. I was lucky. I have envisioned myself on the American Idol stage since I was seven years old. I was meant to do this and I have been waiting for this. Robby sang Yesterday by the Beatles.
Tyler told him, “Breath of fresh air, nice arrangement, and beautiful voice” Randy remarked to the others, “He took his time.” To Robby, Randy said, “I like you. Good tone, cute, you pulled your eyes when you hit the high notes. Crazy mack vocals. That is how you do it.” Back to the judges, Jackson asked, “Should we vote?” J.Lo joking replied, “No” and then pointed to Robby, and to the door, like he was off to see the Wizard of Oz. ” Hollywood -Go-Bye,” and J.Lo waved him off.” Of course, he was thrilled.
Chris Cordeiro, 18
Chris Cordeiro explained that he was a boy scout and had recently done a Don’t Text and Drive public message as part of a campaign to let his community know about the dangers of this bad habit. “He is ready,” he said. Chris was dressed as a little farmer boy, and Randy referred about him going to camp Idol. From North Arlington, NJ, he did Frank Sinatra’s, My Way.
Steven said, “Gotta tell you, you came in looking like that, and you do that song and it did not mesh.” He wanted to sing the chorus and they let him, but his tone was off and forced. Tyler told him, “You scared everyone in the room.”
After that there were several unnamed contestants shown on the screen with very little fan fare. I must admit the show has a lot less bite than it did when it first aired. Is it getting too soft? It still has personality, but it seems less caustic. I hope that it does not get to the point of being too sweet and sticky. I liked Simon’s way of roughing it up a little, but the judges seemed to get along well and towards the end, speak their minds.
Chronic burper Michael Perotto sang Proud Mary. Jackson wanted to know, “Did you eat a lot of paint chips as a child?” That caused a blank, disturbed stare, and then Steven Tyler told him, “American Idol had a higher standard,” which caused Michael to immediate belt out a new and improved song. They let him go and tried to keep composure but finally they told him to stop. Right away, Tyler said, “What we have here is a failure to communicate. And by that, I mean that you shouldn’t sing.” J.Lo said your vocals sound like you are singing in a voice that is not your voice.” Jackson told him, “Don’t sing,” to which he replied, “I think people would tell me if I sucked.”
Ashley Sullivan, 25
From Springfield, MA, Ashley Sullivan told the crowd, “Britney Spears is my goddess. I love her,” and as proof she pulled out a photo. “I was going to be calm but that just went out the window. I want to perform.” She sang Gimme Gimme after explaining that she works in retail sales. She had a lot of energy and showed spunk performing a show tune.
J.Lo said, “You are adorable and the way you were animated. But it is not for American Idol. There is a place for you, just not here. It is for Broadway.” Ashley replied, “I want to be the first show-tune pop star. I want to be that Liza Minnelli for American Idol.” She wanted it bad. J-Lo and Steven gave it to her, and Randy said he thought they were insane but she had talent- not to mention unbridled enthusiasm. Tyler thought they might turn her into something, and I thought she might come out as the dark horse with all I had seen so far. She reminded me of Siobhan Magnus from last season.
Victoria Huggins, 16.75
Victoria Huggins from Lumberton, NC, specified that she was 16-3/4. Then she said, “It is not normal for a 16 year-old to want something very badly (to which the producers flashed several pictures to the contrary) but I want this so much. This is my chance. Every moment in my life is important and this is very special.” Victoria had video cam shots of her in various places saying “Hello everybody.” At the end of her clip, she said, “I’m in it to win it and I’ve got what it takes.”
Jackson remarked that she had the “Most personality ever on Idol,” and J-Lo whispered, “She knows what she is doing,” referring to the marketing/branding feel of Victoria’s message. This may help her with votes, and it might hurt her if she does poorly with her performances. The PR thing backfired on Katie Stevenson last year.
Melinda Ademi, 16
Melinda Ademi’s family was originally from Kosovo and now lives in Yonkers, NY. Her father said, “I am a war refugee.” Melinda said, “I don’t remember a lot, just that we were packing everything and leaving.” Her mother said, “This is home now, of course, America for life. When Yugoslavia broke up, Serbia wanted everyone to leave. In Bosnia, you could hear all the bombs. How do you raise a family when there is a war?” Melinda said, “My father tried to get a lottery. He saw an ad in the newspaper – ‘want to live in the US’, filled out the application and sent it in. Then he forgot about it until one day, we got a notification in the mail. We quickly began to ready ourselves to start our lives over. I would not have this opportunity in Kosovo. My parents work hard to give me every opportunity.”
Tyler told her, “Your singing was straight and sweet. You are going to live the American Dream,” J.Lo nodded, and Jackson told her she was going to Hollywood.
American Idol, Season 10, New Jersey, Day 2 Auditions.
On day two of American Idol Season two, in New Jersey, the tension is high. It was obviously a long day yesterday, and then a long night for the second round.
Devyn Rush, 20
Devyn Rush from New Hope, PA, Age 20 is a singing waitress and a serious contender for American Idol this year. I can already see it. She works in Times Square working for Ellen’s Stardust Diner and said, “It is not your ordinary job; I serve burgers and milkshakes. My boss is going to love this by the way, that I am plugging his business. We sing whatever makes our customers happy.” Her voice was beautiful, measured and she was in charge.
When she was done, Tyler said, “That was desert for the lunch. I did not expect that. You have not dressed the part. It put us off. It was a bait and switch.” Jackson said, “You have a really great voice and just the right amount of sauce.” J.Lo, “Your voice -you are a star. Now, act that way. People expect to see the whole package.” When she was done, Randy said, “That girl can blow!”
A few no’s, nothing remarkable
Jimmy Kennedy, from Claymont, DE, is a 17-year-old student and lifeguard. It was no to him and then no to another quickly named female. I would think it would be hard to follow Devyn. She was memorable.
Yoji Asano, 25
Originally from Japan, and now residing in Brooklyn, Yoji-pop said he grew up loving Michael Jackson and imitating him since “before he was born.” However, he did a Miley Cyrus song and that made no sense until he started dancing. He combined Michael Jackson type dancing with a Japanese Samari lunge-theme.
When he was done, J-lo said, “There is a party in New York today.” If Simon was there, he would have been signing him on the spot, and there would be a viral YouTube going on right now from Yoji’s performance. Time will tell if the American Idol producers are still on the ball. Pants on the ground, Pants on the ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground? Remember that little diddy. This one has the same potential.
When Ryan Seacrest asked Yoji (not Yogi), “Why Miley Cyrus? Are you a Miley Cyrus fan?” Yoji-pop replied, “Not really.” Well maybe he is not, but it seems like a lot of people are.
Well, it did look like she got over her heebie jeebies of telling people no. On day two of American Idol, J-lo was seen plugging her ears as one contestant screeched at her and the other judges. Why lead them on?
Brielle Von Hugel, 16
Brielle Von Hugel, is sixteen and from Staten Island, NY. She told the audience, “My dad was a singer, but found out he had throat cancer.” Bill, her father said, “She is my whole life. Then the camera panned back to her and she said, “I dedicate my audition to my dad; he really inspires me to go after my dreams.” She sang Endless Love.
Tyler told her, “I love your smile and your attitude. You have a beautiful voice and you hit the notes. It was nice. Then he yelled for her dad in the hall. “Dad -EeEEEE” with that solar flare of a voice he has and they all got introduced to Brielle’s father Bill. He told them, “I am fine now.” It was a touching moment and J.Lo took the opportunity to tell her, “You sound really beautiful, but you have a tiny bit of work to do. I think you really have potential.” Brielle received three yeses and was urged to “Go get in there.” She told the judges, “Thank you so much, it was an honor meeting you.”
On the last audition for the 2nd day, the judges were hoping the producers were saving the best for last. After a long and tiring day, at least it was worthwhile for all.
Travis Orlando, 16,
Travis Orlando is from the Bronx, NY and he sang Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. His father said, “Because of the recession and the fact that I got sick, we lost our home. Then we ended up in a shelter. It was hard. I wanted to provide for my family. Travis’s twin brother, older by fifteen minutes told him, “Keep your head up, you have got a talent. Use it.” Travis said, “We are still living paycheck to paycheck and my parents work really hard; I know with this experience it would help us out so much.” His mother says, “He worked hard for his dream.”
When he was done, Travis admitted he was nervous and the judges told him, “Just shake out the vibe.” However, J.Lo told him, “You have a very unique tone, it is sweet. You are beautiful. You are going to Hollywood.”
Fox, American Idol, 1/19/2011, Season 10, Show 1
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