The early rounds of eliminations in Hollywood don’t draw the audience of the latter shows. Perhaps it is for the same reason some fast forward through a movie to the more exciting scenes. This part just isn’t all that thrilling.
The show also, at this juncture, misses out on why some people are eliminated and others made it through. We see that many names make it, but we don’t see them perform. Similarly, many are cut, and we don’t know the reason because their audition was snuffed from the television airwaves.
Nonetheless, we do get a glimpse of the real stars at times, and this week there were several that stood out as being on the path to the finals.
Lil Rounds, who is indeed rather round, is from Memphis and wowed the judges. We thought she was a bit harsh at times, but there is no question, if she smooths out her tonality, she could be in the top 10.
Dennis Brigham of Glen Carbon Illinois looked like a Halloween character while performing, and didn’t have the vocals to be here. He was real rude to the judges on his way out the door and back to his job in floor maintenance. But we do give Dennis one thing, he called Simon’s wardrobe right on the money.
Nathaniel Marshall of Malone, NY was fairly good on the vocals, but was boring. His emotional outburst was over the top and embarrassing. We don’t think he has the talent to make the top 10, Top 36 even but he survived round one of Hollywood.
Anoop Desai from Chapel Hill, NC is incredibly talented and the voice that emerges when he sings is clearly finals material. If he makes it in the industry, though, we think he may have to change his name. We just can’t picture people talking about going to an Anoop concert or seeing Anoop live!
Jasmine Murray of Starkville, MS was a killer in dress, form and function. She moves on and also looks like she could well be finals bound.
Rose Flack, well, what can we say. Rose is from Rathdrum, ID and is as different an individual as we have seen make it on the show. Her voice is unique, but it may not be powerful enough to get to the finals. Whether her unique tones can carry her is difficult to call, but we will see her again, because she broke through tonight. From her recent attire, though, we are thinking Rose could be performing for two if you get our drift. (She didn’t make it in Round 2 of Hollywood week!)
Stephen Fowler of Beachwood, OH sings almost like a pro. He has range and power in his voice, but knows how to harness it so it isn’t painful when he makes his delivery. He is in and we could easily see him in the finals.
Jorge Nunez from Carolina, Puerto Rico can wale. He seems a bit odd in his attire, but he could sing anyway. Finalist? Not sure just yet, but certainly worth watching.
Next up is someone we have not liked. Von Smith of Greenwood, MO. We find him just the opposite of Stephen Fowler. While Fowler controls his voice, Smith seems unable to do so. When challenged, it is more like he is yelling at the mike. If he can’t tone it down and take control, he won’t make it much further.
Nick Mitchell was back as “Norman Gentle” from Stratton, VT, or Mars, we are not sure which. He is comical and maybe should come back on Last Comic Standing, but he survived this week. His voice isn’t top notch though, and the talent is broad this year, so we don’t see him getting past the next round.
Jackie Tohn of Silver Lake, CA has the name to be a rock star. She has that raspy Janis Joplin style voice and pulls it off well with a Janis performance style as well. We shall see if she can break out of that niche when challenged and push farther. We do like her, but we are not sure if a niche style like hers can persevere on Idol for long.
Jamar Rogers of Milwaukee, WI sang the same song as at his original audition and made it through. We don’t see him as a finalist or going to the Top 36, but he is unique.
Our favorite in this competition to take it all is the next performer and a friend of Jamar. Danny Gokey, also from Milwaukee sounds like he is already making professional CDs. He is a Church Music Teacher, and he is teaching everyone at Idol music. While he doesn’t come across as arrogant, he does have a confidence about him. He knows he is good. We do too. If we had to pick a winner today, he would be it.
Now it was time for the ultimate performer. Bikini Girl!! Katrina Darrell was fairly good. Not outstanding, but certainly worth a pass onto the next round. Paula and Kara seem not to like her, but we think that is all a staged act to keep things interesting. Katrina wore more clothing today and we think she may have to go back to the bikini to stay in the competition to the Top 36.
Jeremy Michael Sarver of Jasper, TX is a big lad, and he is also a great singer. We haven’t gotten enough of a feel for him and have not liked his choice of songs, but think he has a shot at continuing for a bit. He was good enough to push through this night.
Jesus Valenzuela of North Highlands, CA was not as fortunate. We thought he did as well as some others that made it, so were a bit surprised. He wasn’t the next American Idol, but he ain’t bad, so we feel he was shortchanged.
David Osmond, of Provo, UT could have made it using a different route than Idol, but he would have been medicre. If he makes it on Idol, he will be more famous. We may see more talents saving themselves for a run at Idol rather than the standard route because it is more cost effective. He will likely be a finalist. (UPDATE: We were wrong!)
Emily Wynn-Hughes of Los Angeles, CA is of a similar vein. She has sung and performed professionally. But this route, if she can pull it off, can make her a much bigger star than she would otherwise be. No surprises, the pros get through to the next round and will likely be finalists unless something really really goes wrong along Hollywood week. (Something did go wrong!)
There were others like Casey Carlson who made it that we didn’t hear. We are sorry we cannot comment on them. But we will as soon as we hear them.