Jordan Dorsey is the first real contestant up. It is risky when someone who advertises themselves as a vocal teacher switches roles and becomes the singer. Will the old adage "those who can -- do, those who can't -- teach" hold true? I already love his mom for telling Ryan that he looks taller on televsion (which considering he looks like a munchkin on my screen, must mean he's particularly tiny in real life). Coincidentally, Jordan auditions with Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which he turns into a jazz tune halfway through, along with obligatory finger snapping. Apparently, in real life he sounds much better than he did on TV and they let him through, after JLo shows her goosebumps. I thought his voice was ordinary and his jazzy switch-up of the tune forced and corny.
After the mini-montage of the below-average singers, we get to Sarah Sellers. She sounds a little like Pink, and since she looks like a librarian, it's a startling sound to come out of her. This time I agree with the judges, she's a keeper. Welcome to Hollywood.
Jovany Barreto sings Luis Miguel, some song I couldn't catch the name of, having only had five years of Spanish. He has a booming voice and a bit of a crush on JLo, whom he calls a goddess. He looks about forty years older than most of the people they've put through, so, I'm happy when they give him three thumbs up. Then he strips off his shirt, joined by Steven and Randy. Weird and unnecessary.
Next up is Jacquelynn Dupree, who brings along pictures of Randy Jackson from his high school days. Her uncle, it turns out, was Randy's old football coach. Since this isn't the Supreme Court, Randy doesn't recuse himself from the judges' panel and goes on to vote for Jacquelynn. She has a country sound to her voice, which is very strong and sweet at the same time. She sings I'll Stand by You and does Chrissie Hynde proud. Good job!
I'd already been spoiled about Brett Lowenstern, so I was interested in seeing how his audition went. He is visually unique, with too much unruly reddish hair, and some unfortunate facial hair, and his speaking voice is a bit too soft. He describes himself as different and reflects back on being picked on as a child. He has the balls, though, to audition with Bohemian Rhapsody. And though a tad too breathy, he has an interesting tone to his voice. Since he's only 16, it will be interesting to see how his voice develops -- it already has quite a bit of promise. I think we'll be seeing quite a bit of Brett.
Gabriel Banks says, "I think America will fall in love with me." He won a Steven Tyler lookalike contest. He sings Bad Romance, with emphasis on the bad. He was wrong about America.
After a few more painful auditions, it's time for Alex Attardo. He went to Idol camp and learned quite a bit. It was an eye opening experience, he tells us. He should ask for his money back.
Jacee Badeaux is auditioning at the old age of 15. He's singing Otis Redding's Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay -- really well. He's being called the chubby Bieber, which is unfair as, unlike Bieber, this kid can really sing. Talent is an amazing, mysterious thing, isn't it? He sounds like a little kid when he talks, but sings like an experienced old timer.
Last contestant of the night, Paris Tassin, has a beautiful face and sad story about a troubled teen pregnancy. She is now the proud mom of an adorable daughter with some special needs. She's auditioning with Carrie Underwood's Temporary Home, and for me it's a train wreck. She sings with a speech impediment of some sort and she doesn't convey the melody, assuming the song has one. It's just a lot of loud notes. The judges fall instantly in love. So what do I know?
So those are the contestants lucky enough to get an early introduction before the voting public out of the 37 sent off to Hollywood. Next week, we see the auditions from the first American Idol trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Yes, it promises to be cheesy. But that's why we love AI, right?