Here were are in the Texas state capital, Austin, where some 7,500 are gathered to see if they have what it takes. What will Texas offer us this year? While I live blog this episode, sit back, relax, and watch Steven Tyler and those other two, window dressing and irrelevant, who sit off to the side collecting their paychecks for keeping him from feeling lonely between contestants.
So the episode starts with an apology for Steven's outrageous behavior? That was silly and unnecessary. Without him this show would be the ultimate snooze fest. Austin promises to offer us the usual array of talented and clueless contestants.
Corey Levoy didn't meet his sister until he was a teenager because his parents pulled a Parent Trap (you take one, I'll take the other). Any parents considering that, punch yourself in the face. Okay, moving on. So now the two are each other's best friend. Awww. The judges pull his sister into the room to join them on the judges' table and Corey starts singing Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me. Wrong, dude. You just did. He wins over sister-judge as well, who calls it amazing. I'd have to agree. I want him to rein in the runs, he has a sweet singing voice, he doesn't need all the flourishes. But nice, very nice.
Hollie Cavanagh is up next. Good golly, Miss Hollie!!! I did not expect that. She sings Etta James' At Last like a pro. But, the judges aren't feeling her. They say she was all over the place and she's not ready. She starts to cry, and I don't blame her. I'm feeling a little verklempt. JLo asks her to sing another song, giving her another chance. She's crying, shaking, but gives it a try. She still sounds great to me, so I'm starting to doubt myself. But, what, is that a smile on Steven's face? (I know, there's so much going on there, it's hard to tell.) Hollie keeps going, pointedly singing about uphilll battles, and I tear up. She gets three yeses!! Hollie, holy cow!
And now the obligatory montage of sadness. You can hear the hearts breaking, one after another.
Then we get to hear an audition and sadly it's Rodolfo Ochoa's He screams The Circle of Life and hurts my ears. Then more bad singing cowboys.
John Wayne Schulz is up next and I already love his dad for telling Ryan Seacrest that if he were his son, he wouldn't be like he is. Nice. His family has been in Texas since 1857 raising cattle. Those must be some old steers. He's happy and well adjusted and loves his close knit family. So, of course, his mom was diagnosed with cancer. But, she's still going strong, so that's good! And he's auditioning because he promised his momma he would. He sings Believe by Brooks and Dunn. He has a really pretty voice, crystal clear, sweet, not nasally or too twangy. I'm really digging his voice, and now wondering why I haven't seen his name in any spoiler blogs. Hope that's wrong. Of course, he's in.
Courtney Penry tells us that Ryan is the sexiest man alive. You know, you can't always tell about someone's mental stability by just looking at them. She actually cries upon meeting him. Okay. Misery, AI version. I find her less weird acting like a chicken. She sings Stay by Sugarland and she's not half bad, but how do you put the other stuff out of your mind? Steven says she has star quality and votes yes, Randy wisely says no, but JLo lets Kathy Bates lite go on to Hollywood. And for once, I'm actually worried about Seacrest.
Did we mention we're in Texas? Shauntel, Alex and Caleb get a teensy bit of face time as three more golden tickets are handed out. They sounded pretty good, especially the first two.
Steven has some great lines that I'm not fast enough to type.
OMG it's Ken and Barbie. They met in choir in college. Are cute, met cute. They want to be AI's first power couple. Jacqueline Dunford is up first and I am so not into her version of Mercy. She is the poster child of trying too hard. That hurt. Nick Fink is next and he will soon be saying goodbye to Austin, and to Jacqueline. He's great. I don't get the Jacqueline love (other than pretty people get all the breaks). So, inexplicably, they're both heading to Hollywood. That will just make their separation after this first round that much harder.
Another familiar story. A Texan who loves their family and loves music, whose family's been bugging them to go on AI. So finally Janelle Arthur relents. Her first song is a bit sleepy and doesn't really sell her so Randy (when did he get there) asks her to sing another and it's light years ahead of the first song and she's on her way to Cali.
It's time for the weird auditions, complete with a seven foot armadillo. Her post-audition interview was the highlight.
Casey Abrams says he looks like Seth Rogen. Seth has recently slimmed down, this guy is still a tad pudgy. He brings a melodica to stay in tune. Why bother, didn't you watch last year. I keed, I keed. I love Lee! So he sings I Don't Need No Doctor and brings along my least favorite accompaniment, the finger snaps. He's scatting and running and riffing and god knows what. They eat it up and send him on. It reminds me of Taylor Hicks, but whatever.
He's happy, they're happy, and I hope you're happy. See you next time!