2/10 American Idol Hollywood Round Three, 54 Remain

American Idol tonight was slightly better than the lackluster and horriblyly confusing Hollywood round one and two last week. It started off with the 72 remaining hopefuls divided into 4 groups in 4 separate holding rooms awaiting their fate and like the movie “Memento” drove us back to the beginning, then forward, then back.

The contestants were to sing solo onstage with back-up singers, live instruments and the whole shebang. They could choose to play their own instruments if they wanted. Ryan Seacrest initially said that the contestants were free to choose any song they liked but the songs repeated itself again and again as the show went on so it became obvious they were given a song list after all.

Hera are the names of those who made it past the judges’ deliberation in round three with some notes on some.

First up who made it was 1 Adam Lambert. He sang great except that he was trying to be a Cher sound-alike singing “Believe” and it just became too gay for comfort as the performance progressed. It wasn’t good at all. His background is in Professional Theater and his performance came off very theatrical not Idol material. If he makes it to the Top 36, we’re not sure if America would welcome a Broadway-American Idol crossover.

2 Matt Giraud was next. Performed a raspy and soothing “Georgia on my Mind” topped with his own piano accompaniment enough to impress all three judges, Paula, Randy and Kara- giving him the standing O.

3 Jamar Rogers sang Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.” He didn’t sing it bad, even gave the song his own twist but we’re not sure America is going to want to keep hearing “California Drea-e-e-e-ming” or “what you do to m-e-e-e” style of singing. It could grow old fast.

4 Danny Gokey’s “I Hope You Dance” has yet again put a giddy, school-girl with a crush, twinkly-eyed look on Paula Abdul. She gave him a standing ovation even before Danny finished his song. Danny Gokey as we have initially said is a very strong contender this season.

mishavonna_henson5 Anoop “geeky-guy” Desai, 6 Jorge Nunez (Neyo’s “Closer”) and 7 Scott “Visually impaired Guy” Macintyre (Chris Daughty “Home’) all made it!

As well as 8 Kendall Beard (performed Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”), 9 Stevie Wright (sang Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly”),

and 10 Kristin McNamara -who belted it out with a huge Kelly Clarkson hit “Because of You”.

11 Lil Rounds did a flawless rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got you” -another strong contender.

12 Mishavonna Henson who we’re seeing for the first time was a Season 7 hopeful who got cut during last year’s round two in Hollywood Week. At least she stayed thru round three this year.

13 Jackie Tohn was shown playing her guitar but we never got to hear her sing! She made it along with 14 Frankie Jordan, 15 Alexis Grace and 16 Kenny Hoffpauer.

Say what?? The over-confident, mentally unstable(?) 17 Tatiana “annoying laugh” del Toro was in Top 54!

So was 18 Nathaniel “Emote King” Marshall who played his own guitar and sang Rihanna’s “Disturbia” while Idol played a montage of all his backstage drama in Hollywood.

Ju'not JoynerThis is where it got shocking! 19 Joanna Pacitti, a recording artist on her own couldn’t remember the lyrics to “If I Ain’t Got You.” 20 Casey Carlson, an early favorite forgot the words to Jordin Sparks “Tattoo.” It was painful to watch and hear them struggle as they fumble and eat the words of the songs. We now question the readiness of these two would be Top 12 contender. Of course Idol “saved” them here but if they couldn’t get over the nerves hitting them- it will be over for their Idol dreams.

21 Stephen Fowler, another good soulful singer also forget the words to Daughty’s “Home” and asked for a “Brooke White.” And he messed up again. He gave up, walks off stage and still managed to get into the Top 54!

We don’t really know what to make of 22 Nick Mitchell aka Norman Gentle. He is one character who could really sing but doesn’t fit all decorum of an American Idol. He sang “Georgia On My Mind” as his alter ego again and was entertaining but we really think he belongs in another show.

23 Ju’not Joyner is another hopeful whose only now making his TV appearance. He added some soul into “Hey There Delilah”, breezes through Top 54.

24 Jasmine Murray gave a disappointing rendition of “Tattoo”. We expected more from her.

megan_corkrey_idolIf 25 Kai Kalama didn’t make such a good impression on his audition, we would have sent him packing. His voice is going. He needs to do something about it- FAST! The judges gave him a break and passed him through.

26 Anne Marie Boskovich, 27 Michael Sarver, 28 Arianna Afsar (wasn’t given airtime on this episode), 29 Matt Breitzke, 30 Cody Shelman, 31 Felicia Barton, 32 TK Hash, 33 Alexander Wagner-Trugman, 34 Allison Iraheta, 35 Angela Martin, 36 Ashley Hollister, 37 Brent Keith-Smith, 38 Chris Chatman, 39 Derek Lavers, 40 Devon Baldwin, 41 Jackie Midkiff,

42 Jeanine Vailes, 43 Reggi Beasley, 44 John Twiford, 45 Lacey Brown, 46 Jessica Langseth, 47 Megan Corkrey, 48 Von Smith, 49 Perrie Cataldo, 50 Ricky Braddy, 51 Shera Lawrence, 52 Keating Holland, 54 Taylor Vaifanua completes the list of Top 54.

Among those who were cut: Michael Castro, India Morrison, Kaylan Loyd, Muna Hiluf and Leneshe Young.

Tomorrow, the Top 36 is revealed in a 2-hour show! Oh brother. See you…

2/4 Hollywood Round 2: Group Competition. Get Your Act Together Fox!

We find this part of the competition normally fairly annoying, but this year, Fox did a majorly amateur job.

The general idea of the group competition is to let the people group up to compete for a chance at getting through.  What one would think is that everyone would want to cooperate and get down the basics to get through.  But instead, it generates a bunch of bickering and infighting.  Some viewers may find it enjoyable.  We find it childish and foolish.  Whoever choreographed this show should have been sent home along with those eliminated.

emily_wynne_hughesTheir show focused on several drama queens, one of which was a she-man-boy, and doesn’t really let you see what you want to see.  We got some shocking eliminations, and we never even saw the performance that lost it for the person eliminated.  They build the contestants up in the auditions and show them as possible contenders then in the end, won’t give them their time of day when cut! For example, David Osmond was eliminated, which was a shock to the system.  But we never even got a chance to see him utter a single lyric.  Instead they focused on a group of frantic fruit bags that couldn’t seem to rehearse.

The bottom line came down to a quote from Simon though.  You forget the words, and you are gone.  So, a woman that was incredibly promising as a finalist, Emily Wynne-Hughes, got eliminated because after hours of practicing, she could not remember 30 seconds worth of lyrics.  And she is a pro!!

Bikini Girl, Katrina Darrell went home too.  She just couldn’t get out of bed.  Major prima donna, and major loser sacrificing a great chance.  But she got more camera time than most of the winners in the process.

rose_flack_hollywood75 people got through, way too many to cover in this article.  Fox did not provide the names of those that did get through, ran through only partial performances of most and spent half the time promoting the basket cases. Adam Lambert, Danny J Gokey, Jasmine Murray, Kristen McNamara, Taylor Vaifanua, Matt Breitzke, Michael Sarver, and Jamar Rogers are few of the names they named moving on to the next round. Was it a quick glimpse of  Anoop Desai we saw before the end credits? Jorge Nunez, Nick “Norman Gentle” Mitchell(!), Casey Carlson (Did she or didn’t she?!), Megan Corkrey and Jackie Tohn all made it and we didn’t hear a single line from any of them! Whatever happened to Kai Kalama, Michael Castro and Scott Macintyre?

Rose Flack is gone.  She too could not remember her 30 seconds of lyrics.

One thing you do learn is that if your group stinks, you can still get through by beating your partners.  So, in some instances, the strategy is to refuse to practice and then outperform your partners on the song.  The partners get eliminated, and you move on.  It is a risk, but it works for some.  Some pretty angry people got eliminated and realized that being stabbed in the back is part of this industry.

2/3 American Idol Makes It To Hollywood!

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_desaiAnoop 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_mitchellNick 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.

katrina_darrellNow 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.

1/14 American Idol Auditions 2: Kansas City Here They Come!

It was Kansas City in tonight’s Idol. It was rather forgettable with a number of talents and twirps. There were a couple of performers that were outstanding. Casey Carlson was a gal that had an incredibly unique voice and obvious talent.

Another woman stood out- Lil Rounds sang as well as many past contestants that moved on to the finals.

Danny Gokey
Daniel J Gokey

A music teacher named Daniel “Danny” J Gokey was clearly a contender as well. If he can prove he has some diversity, he will be in the finals for sure. (View his audition below.) Update: We found an unofficial fan site for Danny Gokey this early on in the game! Is this crazy or what?!

Tonight’s talent looked pure. Last night, a rocker named Emily Wynne-Hughes was anything but new and pure. As it turns out, she is the lead singer in a band that has performed and toured and that has CDs available on Amazon.

We don’t think people like Emily belong on Idol. There has to be some line drawn between those that have raw undiscovered talent and those that are already professionals exploiting Idol to gain more exposure.

That said, in tonight’s episode nothing really stood out that would make us remember this particular set of auditions come the finals. So if you missed it, just watch out for Daniel J Gokey. We think he is a finalist.

Casey Carlson
Casey Carlson
Lil Rounds
Lil Rounds

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