American Idol
Season 4
Catch it: 8p ET Fox Tuesdays and 9p ET Fox Wednesdays

Today is

Inside GSNN

GSNN ShortShots
· Archive

GSNN Prime Recaps

GSNN News Archive

GSNN Extra

GSNN Originals
InSites coming soon!
Numbers Game coming soon!
On the Buzzer
State of Play coming soon!
We Love to Interrupt

The Video Wall

Game Show Lineup

Contact Us!

In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander & Gordon Pepper, GSNN


Host: Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP: Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America
Airs: Tuesdays at 8pm ET and Wednesdays at 9pm ET on Fox

Copyright Statement

No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. No challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"Washington" - January 18

Please rise for our national anthem, as performed by Leandra Jackson of Cleveland, OH. Now please sit down. I'm talking to you, Leandra. Damn, she should be deported for performing that bad. And thus it begins again. Idol 4... You know how it is. You know how it goes... Or so you would LIKE to think that.

Sure it starts out as the same old song-and-dance, but after last year (which I wasn't really excited over), it was time for a bit of a change. So this season, half of the 24 semi-finalists you see this season are guaranteed to be male, but before you meet them, let's go back to the end of season three, when we pretty much knew that Fantasia was going to take the crown. She joined the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Tamyra Gray, Josh Gracin, Kimberley Locke, and yes, even William Hung that night, and together, they scored 23 number one hits. Now the question remains... Now that the age limit has been raised to 28, who's next? And by that, I mean, who'll be the ones to hear this phrase:

"God doesn't want you to win this competition."

That would be Simon Cowell, back with the bubbly Paula Abdul, the dawg-father Randy Jackson, and the guy just trying to referee the whole thing, Ryan Seacrest, as well as 100,000 of his closest friends from seven cities. One of them will be pop's newest darling by the end of May sweeps, I promise you. And joining in the seven-city tour (but ONLY for the seven-city tour) is Mark McGrath (of Sugar Ray), LL Cool J, Gene Simmons (of Kiss), Brandy, and Kenny Loggins.

First up, we go to Washington, DC, where 21,000 shared breathing, sleeping, and... well, sleeping space. The judges were joined here by Mark McGrath... as he shares the pain. First off, youth pastor Sean McNeill, a guy from "America's hometown," Plymouth, MA (by way of Abilene). He has a little baby on the way, and a permanent smile. Of course, he goes for "Isn't She Lovely." Not bad. He got the notes right. He got the words right. But he's just there.

Randy: I'm happy we kinda raised the age limit.
Paula: You have a warm tone.
Simon: Not amazing, but you have what Randy doesn't have, people like you.

All four give him the pass to Hollywood. Which is more than I can say for this next group of people, including Rebecca Nassar, Davon Wright (who's singing about YMCA like she's talking about... some... cola, I forgot the name). But what group does entertainer Jessie Grazella of Philly fall into? Song of choice, one of Simon's favorites, "You Raise Me Up." Unfortunately, he doesn't get past the first four words. That would be a killer. Yeah, over there, buddy. Or you could step outside to ask for lyrics. I doubt it would help, but every little bit and all that. Even with all of the judges rooting him on... it just doesn't come. Here's a hint: "So I can stand on mountains." Yeah, like I said. Jessie escorts himself out. Over there, please.

Hoping to cash in next is a music teacher, Anwar Robinson. He understands the universality of music to the fullest, and initially, I see him as a guy to go all the way. He sings "You Are The Sunshine of My Life". He had the opportunity to really bungle it... and he didn't. That's a good thing, by the way. Very pure. Linda reminds me of Musiq.

Randy: You can blow, man. You just sang the melody.
Mark: You kinda look like Milli AND Vanilli. I think you're a star, bro.
Simon: Terrific, absolutely terrific.

He gets a pass. Will Melissa Considine get the same pleasure? We do know that a) she doesn't spend a lot of money on wardrobe and b) she dresses in the dark as evidenced by A) her tacky taste and B) the claw marks on her arm. "How Do I Live" is her song... and she doesn't get past the first two bars. So she tries "America the Beautiful". It doesn't get any better. It's like a BAD Stevie Nicks. "That was horrific," she says. Well way to take the words right out of my mouth.

Simon: You actually dress better than you sing. That was unbelievable.
Paula: You have a wonderful personality, though.

Oh goodness. She got the consolation prize. She insists that she isn't one of "those stupid idiots who think they can sing..." Well... hate to say it but... Moving on to Derek Braxton, who is actually related to the famous Toni (she's a cousin). While I doubt that he has the Toni Braxton pipes, he may get by on charm. If he gets by at all. He says that he likes to be by himself, as he drives everyone away with "How Could An Angel Break My Heart?" Somewhere Toni Braxton is laughing her butt off. As for the judges... "Blank faces?" Yeah, the dot dot dot routine is usually NEVER good.

Simon: That's probably the weirdest voice I've ever heard in my life.
Mark: Sounded like a different language.
Randy: Nothing about singing do you have going on.

That's definitely a no. But at least you're still sexy... until the tirade... Never mind. Melissa Walton of Newport News is next, and she actually makes "America the Beautiful" work. Too bad we can't say the same for these next guys. But if this was Humming Idol, then 35975 would be a LOCK. And there's Derek Braxton again.

Ryan says that it's one thing to have a voice, but it's another to have the heart. Enter Regina Brooks, who looks like she had the heart. She sold her wedding ring to stay in Washington. She got $200 for the ring, which is now gone, but she says that she has to be able to sing. Simon calls it "ambition over love." The husband, who didn't want her here, just says "It's her dream." "Misty" is her song. And she's got the heart and the voice. But it's kinda like "been there, done that."

Mark: I love your voice, but I don't know if you're American Idol fabric.
Randy: Very well, very old fashioned.

Simon invites husband Mark into the room, because of his concern about being away. He thinks she's good enough. Randy and Mark say yes. Simon says no. He doesn't think in his guts that he's good enough. It's down to Paula... who says yes... and calls Mark a good man.

From one mom to another, single mom Marlea Stroman of Syracuse, NY. She thinks Fantasia opened up a lot of doors. She broke up with her fiancée two years ago. She won't sing "I Will Survive", but she goes for "All At Once" from Bonnie Raitt. Again, nice voice, nice projection, but "been there, done that."

Randy: I love the whole gospel voice.
Mark: Your high register is wonderful.
Simon: I think you've got to inject a little bit of life.

But still, she's very good. She gets a pass. Will Sarah Mather of just down the road in Wilmington with "Rescue Me"? Will it help that her parents are British? Very nice projection, and she sings it straight while injecting herself. That's a plus here.

Randy: I thought it was really good. I was pleasantly surprised.
Mark: I think some of the movements were kinda awkward. But who really cares?
Paula: But you're stunning. You don't need to do that.
Simon: I think the whole audition is stage school from the way you look. You're a pretty girl, but sometimes it's better to dress down than it is to dress up.

But hey, it's good for a pass, and once again, North Carolina is going to Hollywood. And so are these people that just happened to be montaged together. How convenient is that? After a run on golden tickets, you can't help but wonder if the judges are getting soft. Aven Moore hopes they are, as he lays forth the longest note ever on "Tomorrow". And it isn't even on key. Lifeless... Limp... Dead... I need a thesaurus here.

Simon: It was so bizarrely dreadful.

That it was. Now here in DC, we're proud of one thing: democracy and the power of the vote. Okay, that's two things, but go with me here. Season 1: Tamyra is ousted in a shocker during the round of four. Season 2: Ruben vs. Clay was closer than Bush vs. Kerry. Season 3... let's not talk about season three. Anyway, so we're continuing on with ... band footage. What if you're a hard-ass metal tribute band member and you just found out that your lead singer is auditioning for American Idol? That'd make you feel... a little odd, wouldn't it? "I believe I can be the next American Idol. It really depends on what they're looking for." What else sets Constantine Maroulis apart: old, NYC rocker. He sings "Cryin'" by Aerosmith. Definitely not Aerosmith, but could pass for Scott Stapp. You remember him, right? Right? At least he shouted in pitch.

Simon: I thought it was all over the place.
Paula: You're what this compeition needs.
Randy: I'm impressed that you're here. The verse was all over the place, but the chorus, you pulled it together.

Three of four give Constantine the pass (guess who defects). Then comes polar opposites Jillian Bennett (crazy temp) and Amanda Hubert (preppie who's willing to get violent). Amanda of DC sings "A Broken Wing". Kinda lifeless tone to it. Definitely out of breath. It's all about breathing. Ask JPL from last year. On the other side, Jillian sings "I'm Ready" as if she's had too many espressos. No energy control whatsoever. But back to Amanda, who says that her minister says that "God sent you to sing." Yeah, we'll see about that.

Mark: She's hot. God wants her to be hot.

Well, true... But what do the regs think when she says that "God sent me here to do this"?

Simon: God doesn't want you to win this competition.

And about Jillian?

Paula: It's very theatrical.

So they both get cut... but Jillian still has a few... choice words. Amanda... just gets on all fours and begs.

Simon: If your parents could see you now.

If her parents can hear her now. God, do you eat with that mouth. That's... uh.. quite unchristian to say. The lines in DC are thinning out, as Christopher Kerney... blows it, Angela Kennedy... blows it, and Brian Scott Bagley... well, we'll see. He's a dancer and a janitor. Quite the dancer, I must say. His weapons of choice: "On the Sunny Side of the Street". Sounds Broadwayish, which isn't so much a bad thing.

Simon: You come over as a dancer who can sing.
Randy: I would've preferred to see you dance.
Paula: Kinda a little too old fashioned.

So it's a no. Well, Broadway is a little bad, then. Travis Tucker shows us another dance. He sings "Isn't She Lovely". About up there with Sean from earlier. Actually better. Smooth.

Paula: I think you've got all that it takes. I'd work on not powering everything.
Simon: Very talented guy.
Randy: I say yes.
Mark: You're definitely a fun cat to walk.

So it's a yes for the pop-and-lock windmill guy. Next is Mary Gober, who was told that she looked like Madonna or Sharon Stone if she was blond. Hmm... we may have a body double here... Mary, and...

Velma Dinkley, we have a match! She sings "Hanky Panky". Umm... Well, I'm at a loss for words, really. She's a masochist, and not just because she likes a good spank now and then.

Simon: I think you spank very well, but you sing terribly.
Mark: I'm not into the performance, but excellent spanking.

Umm... yeah. Ian Holmes II delivers it on "I'll Be There". And by it, I mean "range". Randy fences. Mark fences. Paula says yes. Randy switches to yea, yeah, yeah. As does Mark. Simon would've said no. It doesn't matter, though. Ian gets a pass. But what about Shelly Fisher, a sister lab tech? She sings "Kissing You"... actually, she more or less drags it into oblivion while we all point and laugh. Mark suggests that she sounds like she has West Nile Virus. No pass for her.

But back to another pressing matter. Remember, Constantine didn't tell anyone that he auditioned for Idol. Now not only does he have to tell the band that he got in, but he has to tell the band that it's over. Nice drum solo, man. The front man breaks the news. Drummer flips him off, but says that they're still friends. "I'm just going to let it rip, and if it's meant to be..." Good job, Constantine.

Next, Jason Joel Smith brings his voice... all six of them... and a cheesy Mortal Kombat reference. "I just found out that I could sing a couple weeks ago." That's... very hopeful, 5.9. What does that mean, anyway? Oh, it means he was a drunk before he found Jesus. And then he got about three... four... five... six voices for redemption. Unfortunately, none of them gel with each other.

Simon: If this was a group competition, I'd put you through. You are a solo artist, but you're also a five-person group.

But hey, big ups for getting your life back in order. Next, Franchon Crews, a boxer who'll knock you out if you don't like her singing. She blows on "A Woman's Worth". Reminds me of Jennifer Hudson of last year, except without the baked-potato suit. But then again, a little more refinement, she'd get there... But she needs a little work.

Simon: I wasn't blown away. I think it was a bit all over the place.
Paula: I can't believe you're only 17.
Mark: I like the boxing element.
Randy: Vocally, pitchwise, you were just all over the map.

There's always "The Contender". And it's right on the opposite channel. Next up out of Hackensack, NJ, John Zisa, whose family owns the place. He sings "Baby Come To Me". Very nice, but a little lacking.

Randy: Below average.
Mark: I liked your tone.
Paula: I liked your tone also.
Simon: Oh John. It's down to me... You're through to the next round.

And finally, we have Mary Roach, a pop-rock-meets-Broadway-meets-jazz-&-R&B type. That would be... confusing. She plans on changing the last name to Guilbeaux if she makes it to Hollywood, "because it has star quality." She sings "I Feel the Earth Move" to round us out of DC... And we have this year's William Hung. Right down to the ridiculous dancing and the barely intelligible lyrics. Well, at least she won't have to worry about the last name.

Another dot dot dot moment.

Simon: Honestly, one of the worst I've ever heard in my life. What made you audition for this competition?
Mary: I have a tongue of different voices.
Simon: In your head.

Well, we get to hear what they're saying, that judges are different in person and that Mark McGrath is a hottie. But hey, lots of luck in beauty school. Good to have soemthing to fall back on. Just ask Mark McGrath, who's now hosting Extra.

And Mary is a Psycho. She's got problems... seriously. So she breaks away to "Breakaway" while DC sends 42 people to Hollywood. Tomorrow, Gordon travels to St. Louis, and Ryan... well, we hope he sticks to TV presentation. See you soon!

Top of this Page
| Home | Inside | ShortShots | Prime Recaps | Archive | Extra | WLTI | Lineup | Contact |

© Copyright 2005 Game Show NewsNet