The crowd swelled to 17,000 for “American Idol’s” Thursday auditions this week, all dreaming of being graced with golden tickets! Would the sacred beams of the Ryman Auditorium bestow special blessings of voice? Well, some got it, some had it before they ever got there, and some will never find it!
Christine McCaffrey assured Ryan Seacrest that she knew she had “that special gift” that would touch America through her song, and she was partly right. Ears could not help but be touched by the shrill of her demolition of “I Hope You Dance”, and though the judges spoke unanimous “No’s”, she was certain she heard a Steven Tyler yes in there! Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks have sung together for years, and been married for some of those, but the now parted pair put it out there for the judges, together and apart, and while it was agreed by all that each had a gift, neither the panel nor anyone listening could help but wish for harmony in tune for the two! Allen Lewis must have misread the audition form-he thought it was for best imitation of a singer! His “Simple Man” might have made any member of Lynard Skynard or Shinedown feel proud, but at least the tattoo artist took rejection in stride. Stormi Henli already captured the crown of Miss Teen USA, and had the honor of being bossed by Donald Trump, so why not be an Idol, too! The cute little thing won the boys’ vote with her “Father Can You Hear Me?”, but Jennifer Lopez knows she’ll get eaten for lunch by bigger voices!
On an inspirational note, Adrienne Beasley gave it all she had, so she could give back to her farm family that saw love beyond color or race when they adopted her. It’s all authentic with this girl, and her voice just might out-sing Lady Antebellum one day! Kameela Merricks gave a demonstration on how to yell your way through classic Chaka Khan, but fortunately, Jackie Wilson came along to show the judges and the viewers how it’s done! She garnered a famous “Whoaa!” from Mr. Jackson, and Ms. Lopez gushed, “That’s what we’re looking for!”. LaToya Moore didn’t need no stinkin’ judges to affirm her stardom, reminding us all that there was a glow everywhere she went. She brought her own CD for the anointed panel of 3 to share, but after her audition, she was the only one who wanted to take it home! Then came a fine run of male talents! Paul McDonald led the way with his turn of “Maggie Mae”, followed by Jimmie Allen and Danny Pate, names and voices that will likely go deep into weeks to come. Matt Dillard may have a homeboy look, but he’s got a voice and a face that are nice and easy, and a life story among hundreds of foster siblings that will tug any heart.
Lauren Alaina, not even 16, was the closer for the night, and may be for the season, according to Steven Tyler’s prediction. She belted out her song “like she wrote it” as Tyler put it, and verified Randy Jackson’s intuition that if you’ve got God-given talent, the age, the acoustics, and the atmosphere don’t diminish anything. To feel the deal, she brought her family onstage and sang her parents’ song, “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” with the front-man in the first seat! Her inspiring story of kinship with her cousin, Holly, battling brain cancer, only adds more appeal to the teen who was proclaimed Best of Nashville, and maybe much more.
“American Idol” telecast, January 27, 2011 FOX TV.