Eminem said it best. You only have one shot, one opportunity, this is everything you ever wanted, one moment:
How will the 323 contestants handle their one shot? Will they capture it or just let it slip? It's a mixed bag. Some, sadly, do blow their chance. But others rise to the challenge.
First up is an early favorite, Brett Lowenstern, who had auditioned in New Orleans. He's young, 16, and he's nervous, but he needn't be. He has an amazing voice. We hear his backstory, being picked on as a kid, but that is all behind him now because he has found his niche. He sings Let it Be and he just pulls at your heartstrings. Love everything about this kid. Even love his take on his past -- it's history, it's past, he's not going to be defined by that. As expected, he makes it through.
Also sailing through, without any drama, is New York's Rachel Zevita, who looks about ten but sings like she's been hanging out in smoky clubs for decades. Thia Megia also moves on, with an odd take on Summertime, as does fellow contestant-favorite Casey Abrams, whose appeal I'm still not seeing.
We first met Victoria Huggins in New Jersey. She was the one videotaping every moment of her life. But don't let her audition city confuse you. Victoria is a country girl. There are no two ways around it. She is bubbly and effervescent, a too chipper Miss Personality who could use an oil can to cut down on the squeaking. When she sings, it's LOUD. She yells, confusing volume for impact. If you like loud, twangy, with no finesse, you'll like her. I don't. And neither do the judges.
The next group of four has two parents, James Durbin who we saw just last night, and Paris Tassin who auditioned in New Orleans and might already have been forgotten. Paris is up first. Her voice is crystal-clear and note-perfect. James goes next and he sings the Beatles and ignores the melody. I would have immediately grabbed the hook for that offense. Then he goes into Adam Lambert screeching mode and I would have brought out a tractor instead. If I can name another person who sings exactly like you, you are not original. And if the person I names was on this very same show, perhaps you should find a new style.
Then we switch to Lauren Alaina, an early favorite of mine, and Stormi Henley, who made it for her looks and not her voice. Stormi sings first, unwisely but fittingly choosing a song about not being able to take it any longer. She's just making it too easy. Then Lauren takes her breathy, pure, country-tinged vocals to the Righteous Brothers and blows it out of the water. All but Stormi move on.
Before the break we get a reintroduction to Chris Medina, already this season's featured sad story. Steven asks about his wife, who is slowly recovering from a serious automobile accident. Then Chris sings. His voice is a little flat and he's not really doing anything for me. But I'm sure the bar is lower for this guy and he makes it through.
Next are three who shone very brightly during their auditions. Jacee Badeaux, Robbie Rosen and Hollie Cavanaugh. All three nail their songs. This is a really strong group. Amazing talent and they, unsurprisingly, move on.
Steve Beghun, the accountant, sings "Just haven't met you yet," and the question is whether the voice that was a little weird and different will have as much impact on the second listen. Sadly, it does not. There is a lot of bad news and a lot of broken dreams and there's nothing funny or snarky to say.
It's product placement time. What is the ratio of commercial advertisement to singing on this show??
Forgotten lyrics and cracking voices, oh my! I guess when you invited 15 year olds to participate, you might get some going through puberty right in front of you.
Older and wiser are exes Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin (who are each bunking with the lovey dovey couple who perform next). But Rob sings the slowest, most depressing song ever and I'm glad there are no sharp objects nearby. Chelsea sings nicely, if not memorably, and they both move on.
After them are the happy together couple, Nick Fink and Jacqueline Dunford. He sounds like a lounge singer and Jacqueline is fairly overwrought in her singing, but at least she has a bit of promise. We're going to commercial, but I think this will be the last we see of Nick on stage. And I'm wrong. Nick stays on stage, begging for another chance and this had to be really hard for Jacqueline -- mostly because she had to hear more of his 40's style crooning.
I'm not digging Nick and I wonder to what extent people get the name they deserve.
Scotty McCreery is a deep-voiced country boy who comes out doing the same song he did during his audition. He sounds great, if that's your thing (and, no, it's not mine) and he's cute and young, so I'm digging his chances, if not his voice. Also not taking any chances are the next two, who also chose to reprise their audition tunes rather than risk a bad song choice at this crucial juncture. Smart, I like that. Jackie Wilson has a nice voice, reminds me a little of Crystal from last year. She definitely deserves to move on. Jerome Bell sings Let's Get it On and I'm liking his tone. The judges agree with me and all three go on.
I hear Billy Corgan during the commercial and I suddenly remember there's more to music than a "good" voice.
Tiffany Rios, who dressed up with stars strategically placed, comes with the attitude, but does she deliver? Not to me. I hear her all over the place and screechy. She's memorable, like a papercut. Travis Orlando has a cool vibe and interesting voice, but I don't know if it will hold up over the long haul. Remember Andrew Garcia? Exactly.Apparently, the judges recognized that too and let him go. Why they kept Tiffany is beyond me.
Nooooo, Molly is through to the next round. Keep happy thoughts, keep happy thoughts. Clint, Julie, Stefano and Emily from last night made it as well as some other good ones from earlier rounds like Naima and Ashley Sullivan. So not all is lost. Nooooo, Molly made it through. But I can't be wrong about her. Can I?