So the last stop for the American Idol Season 10 auditions is San Francisco. According to Brian Mansfield's Idol Chatter article from last year, some 9,200 people came to AT&T Park to audition on August 20th, including "people wearing wings and tutus, as well as one guy dressed as a human Transformer who sang The Beatles' All My Loving." Brian suggested we keep our eye on "the ultimate survivor story" -- Carmina Salcido. As he wrote at the time:
When 24-year-old Carmina Salcido was a young child, she survived a massacre when her father killed his wife and six other people, including Carmina's two sisters. Carmina, 3 years old at the time, had her throat slashed and was left for dead at the Sonoma County dump.Wow, that is way too much reality for me. I will be keeping my eye open for Carmina, and keep a box of tissue handy as well. With that set up...THIS is American Idol.
The show starts with a girl crying on November 9 having not made it passed the judges. What caused her downfall? Apparently, an ill-timed case of flatulence. Well, at least she left with her dignity intact.
First up is a helium-sucking, Betty Boop wanna be, Smurf named Inessa Lee. Is that her husband? A real-life mail order bride who does seductive dancing and videotapes herself in the shower? He hit the jackpot! Somehow, shockingly, the judges pass. Didn't they see the Shakira-Madonna-Kylie Minogue uniqueness? But have no fear, despite being told that she will not be making it to Hollywood, this little Loony Tune will be a star, I tell you! A star! Famous! Wow, so many delusional people, so little time. And, lucky me, they all come to my state!
But San Francisco, they remind us, was where we discovered Adam Lambert (putting aside the fact that he wasn't exactly an unknown or discovered, but was a working entertainer who just needed a little kick start), so keep hope alive. SF will deliver before the hour is over or your money back.
What SF delivers, however, is more bird poop than you might expect even given its sea-side location. But after that unpleasant detour, we hear three successful auditions in a row, two screeching women, Brittany Mazur, Laura Johnston, and one guy with a very nice, if not extraordinary, voice, Matthew Nuss. The women singers realize that they will have amplification, right? Microphones are allowed. You can try and save your vocal chords, you'll need them when you're working the drive up window after this falls through.
Our next story surrounds a life-threatening automobile accident that caused serious injuries yet somehow the young man perservered. Where have I heard this story before? Washington State's Stefano Langone survived and thrived and is here to be the next American Idol. He has a nice, strong voice, if a little too precious. He has a few too many vocal quirks for me, but he has the presence and the confidence, so we'll see. The judges love him and tell him he survived for a reason. I, meanwhile, have a bit of a flashback to Season 9.
Clint Jun Gaboa is a karaoke music host and everyone tells him he should be doing something bigger. Are they drunk or sincere? Get those karaoke patrons a job in A&R, cuz I'm digging Clint. Really nice tone to his voice. June bug is the real deal, radio ready, easy to record. No auto tune necessary. But ditch the glasses.
So pick your poison, weird or horrific singing? I think I'd take the guy with the earphones. But, wait, there's a life size Transformer ready to audition. Can he turn into someone who can sing? Sadly, no. He may be the best sounding Transformer out there, but that's not exactly a big selling point. But he might have booked a few kids birthday parties (JLo seems interested), so the whole day wasn't a waste.
Exactly how many gorgeous, talented female singers are there in California?
Julie Zorrilla, who has never met a note she didn't want to molest, came to the US when she was eight. Her parents fled violence in Colombia to start over in the States. I guess that'll do for a hard luck story, but loving parents who do their best for you and give you a great life is not exactly making me tear up. Let's focus on her singing. But first. Julie is gorgeous, startlingly beautiful. She exudes star power. It helps that she can sing, but I'd like to see her respect the songwriter's choices a tad more and cut down on the runs. Randy calls them "interesting choices," I call it over-indulgent. But she deserves to go through, and she does.
Rocker David Combs has the hair, Steven's already digging on his look, and he's taking on the Beatles, so what could go wrong? Oh, so much. He doesn't seem to know the words or the melody, and while that may work for Christina Aguilera now that she's a huge star, it's not the way to get discovered. He actually appears to have insulted Steven in some way and it's odd to see the ever happy Tyler looking PO'd. Goodbye David.
And hello Emily Anne Reed. Between the time of the producers' audition and coming to perform before the judges, the poor girl's house burned down. Does she need this sad story to cover for an average voice? Not at all. She sings "Getting to be a Habit with Me" and she is adorably quirky. She has a unique voice that will be instantly recognizable as hers and will be fun to watch maneuver around songs. Steven's not feeling it, Randy likes her and JLo gets the deciding vote. She reluctantly votes to pass her along. Afterwards, they let Anne bring out her guitar and she has this really cool, retro sound to her voice and Jennifer and Randy feel like geniuses!
The final contestant is James Durbin, raised with his two sisters by a single mom. Hmm, not the final story I was expecting. I guess no Carmina Salcido tonight. James is depressing enough. His absentee dad died of a drug overdose. Later, he was diagnosed with Tourette's and Aspergers. Into his mohawked life came an angel named Heidi who he impregnated and instead of having her try out for MTV's Teen Moms, he's auditioning for AI. He instantly reminds me of Adam Lambert. Plaster some pancake makeup on him, and it would be impossible to tell them apart. He then wails on Aerosmith and he was already in, so there's no mystery here! My only concern is, unlike Adam, he ventures close to Off Key land and needs to be careful of that. But, heck, it's a lovefest, so I'll put my concerns away for now. Welcome to Hollywood!