Up first is Scotty McCreery. He's described as an all American kid. Rosy cheeks, buzz cut. He plays baseball, naturally. And he's all of 16. He doesn't do too good a job with his Bye Baby Bunting rendition, but when the audition starts, his voice is surprising. Deep, twangy country voice. I break out in hives. But if you're into that kind of music, you probably like this. Boys done his homework. He knows Randy has worked with Travis Tritt and does a Tritt song. And he sounds good, even to these Southern California ears. I wouldn't exactly give him the same review as Steven Tyler (something about ducks hatching), but I like him.
We're then forced to listen to Joseph Repka attempt to sing ... "For the Longest Time." Why do people pick songs that provide such an easy joke? Because any time you have to listen to Steve sing will feel like the longest time. Ba-dum-dum. Then the producers gave us even more by having his mother tell us that she doesn't sing because she's tone deaf. Apparently, that hasn't stopped her son.
Fifteen-year-old Emma Henry from Littleton, Colorado is up next. She's singing "True Colors" and she has a unique, quirky voice. Raspy and dangerously close to being wrong. But it stays right. You would remember her if you heard her. Is that tricky instrument developed enough to move on to Hollywood? Randy has the deciding vote after Steven (yea) and JLO (nay) split. He does not think she's ready, but she cries and begs and he caves in. He gives her one more shot, and says, don't disappoint us. I like her less after finding about a thousand You Tube videos of her performing, starting with a tapdance in utero. Maybe I exaggerate, but she's a little too "Gypsy" for me.
Karate GaGa and then something really off fill my TV screen. These people actually came back months after they originally auditioned just to bomb and not even in a memorable William Hung fashion. Why?
Naima Adedapo has been working the biggest musical festival in the country -- Summerfest -- as a janitor. Will American Idol give her the chance to be on stage? She has a sultry sound and beautful eyes and confidence and a big smile. She's the whole package. And she does a fierce high kick.
Jerome Bell is introduced as a bar mitzvah singer. That was the first thing I thought of when I saw him. He sings, loudly, and is benefitted by the fact that Let's Get it On, is an amazing song. I'm not sure if I'm digging him or I'm just thinking about Marvin Gaye right now. He's not bad and he's easy on the eyes as they say. So, of course, he's in.
Somehow, I have to live through Bieber fever as he's the reason that kids with retainers and driver's permits are auditioning.
Thia Megia, whose name is fun to say out loud, is just a babe, 15. She sings Chasing Pavements and has a weird southern accent when she sings. I don't get it. What Steven calls character, I find indulgent and overwrought. OMG, I'm channeling Simon Cowell. So not feeling this girl.
Shocking(?) statistic -- every 15 year old who auditioned was put through. So it's clear what they're looking for this year. If your voice has changed, if you need a razor, if you're legal in all fifty states, don't bother applying.
We have a civil war reenacter...in Wisconsin. Since I knew he wouldn't sing well, I had time to research Wisconsin's role in the Civil War. Did you know they sent just under 100,000 men to serve on behalf of the Union? Me either! Oh, my, he's still singing! Did you know that they lost about 13% of those men? Thanks for your service all those years ago! We'll remember you while forgetting this young man.
Hmm, we have a contender for the worst singer of the Season. Way to go Mason! Don't make eye contact when you sing, they'll only try and steal your soul.
Raise your hand if you hate Molly Swensen? She's a Harvard grad who fell into a White House internship. Then she comes in guns blazing, saying that Randy elbowed her as he was high-fiving his way into the audition room. Did I tell you that they teach you at Harvard how to work in the name of your alma mater in a casual way for maximium effect? She's singing Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, slooooowly. She probably thinks she's awesome because she's been told that every day of her tall, blonde life. That's great, beautful, blah blah. I'm starting to wonder if Randy's punching her in the face was an accident after all.
And with that, we're done with Day One.
Haley Reinhart has tried out before and is back for more. She's knocking out some Beatles, Oh Darling! I loved her. She's got it and then some (some being roots that need attention, stat!). A different sound, powerful voice. Like her.
Tiwan Strong is a throwback to the fifties. He's singing Twisting the Night Away and doing that annoying finger snap. Can that be banned, the same way they were thinking of banning instruments again? He has a interesting retro sound that you will never hear on your radio unless you're an oldies fan. I see Broadway in his future! Or booking some of those bar mitzvahs. He will not be the next American Idol.
Steve Beghun is a CPA with the sense of humor you would imagine an accountant would have. He has an awkward, different voice. For once, I'm unsure how I feel about this. He has zero appeal, and a voice you can't explain. He might be so wrong he's right. But probably not.
Vernika Patterson is threatening us with Minnie Riperton. Put the dogs outside, cover your kids' ears. This could be painful. Okay, she can't sing. But what will happen when she tries for the high note? Will my TV explode? My head? Nothing. She doesn't even go for the money note. It's a dud.
Okay, Albert Rogers, III, is not going to get a gig as an Obama impersonator. Rerun, possibly. He said he's been told he sounds like Luther Vandross and Usher and Ruben Studdard. He's singing Stand By Me. What is it with people slowing down songs to the point they're unrecognizable? His voice isn't train wreck awful, but it sure isn't great.
Scott Dangerfield audition starts strangely with Steven Tyler talking about his lips. Awkward. Scott is singing Amos Lee, Dreamin. I'm digging him. He's cool, he's hot, he's got it. IT. I like his choice of song and his whole vibe. Just watch the runs, dude.
Time for the obligatory Green Bay Packers segment of the show. We have found the ultimate Packers fan, Megan Fraser. But can she sing? She has such a heavy Wisconsin accent, I want a big hunk of cheese. She's singing Bieber as an operetta. Of course she is. Hope her Packers do better than this in the Super Bowl.
Alyson "Ally" Jaydos promised to bring an edge, some rock and roll to Hollywood. She has a huge crush on Steven Tyler. The feeling appears to be mutual. She professes her love, she gets a hug. She's singing Come Together. She's a little heavy-handed with the rocker-chick schtick, but her voice is pretty good. She then tackles Dream On, and has a nice rough edge to her voice. Steven mercifully takes over because she can't hit those crazy notes. But Steven's worried about her pitch problems. Oh no, Randy says no. JLo says yes. Now Steven has to cast the deciding vote. He caves like a Chilean mine and she's going through.
The last contestant has a story we've heard about for weeks and yet it still pulls at your heart when you hear it. Yeah, it's an old AI trope to give us a romantic sob story (remember Danny Gokey), but this is this guy's real life. So, manipulative or not, it is part of his story.
Chris Medina is from Chicago. He's 26 and he's engaged. And here it comes. His gorgeous fiancee was seriously injured in a single vehicle car accident just as they were getting close to setting the date. She suffered a traumatic brain injury. He now takes care of her along with her mom. He better sing well!! He's singing Breakeven, by the Script. And luckily, he sounds really good to me. He apparently sounded good to The Script as well as the day after they tweeted him: "Not only R U a major talent but U R 1 in a billion! Stay Strong,Never waver,This world needs more MEN like U. Peace+Love, Mark"
I like the tone of his voice and the fact that it can cross genres. And then they bring his financee in and I'm losing it. I hope she has some idea what's going on. Wow, this is tough.
Be safe out there!