"St. Louis" - January
year after the last American Idol, we got our first
taste of the fourth season. My take? Well, we have the
same wackos as we usually get, but this time around, the
people who did get the pass to Hollywood seem much
better than the people who got in last year - and that
can only be a good thing for the listeners. I also liked
the guest judges at the beginning of the audition
process, as these people had no problem saying what was
on their minds.
So what did I think of the talent that did get in? The
best voice from the male side, surprisingly, could be
from break-dancer Travis Tucker, who would blow away any
of the male finalists from American Idol 3. Anwar
Robinson also has a good voice, though not as strong as
Travis. Sean McNeill has got the vocal chops, and
although not the strongest voice in the competition, has
potential. John Zisa and Ian Holmes have potential, but
they have to improve or he's not getting to the top 24.
Constantine Marqueis reminds me of the next Patrick Lake
(from Season 2) - good enough to get there, not good
enough to get much farther.
On the women's side, the most controversial singer by
far is Regina Brooks - but she has a very sweet voice
and she could be a major player in this competition if
she gets to the Final 24. Marlea Stroman also sounds
great and I can see her at the end. Sarah Mather isn't
as much of a knock out as the earlier singer, but they
are good voices and they could do some damage in the
competition if they improve throughout the competition.
Melissa Walton could be a star if she laid off the
With that out of the way, we now go to St. Louis, where
we get to the 'Show Me' state. The question is what
exactly are we going to be shown? The judges are pumped
as Randy is wearing pink, Paula is excited, and
Simon...isn't too thrilled.
We start with a triple threat of a different kind - we
have triplets! Mandy, Erin and Melissa Raynard sing for
the judges. They all sing well together, but
unfortunately, American Idol is a solo show. Relatives
are 0-3 in the competition so far, and it looks like
they are striking out as well as Simon calls them all
overweight Jessica Simpsons. Simon says he can't put
them all in as a group, and Simon only keeps Erin, who
is pleading to the judges. She doesn't pleas well enough
to Paula and Simon, who both say no. Erin admits that
they are fat, but Simon was still out of line. I agree,
as I'd like to point out Kimberly Locke and Ruben
Simon is having a bad hair day, apparently, and it's
only going to get worse as he meet Kimberly Reese, a
sociology meeting who eats human flesh, has a panic room
and talks to mental patients as a job. She sings 'I want
to Dance with Somebody', and it's not awful, but it's
not nearly good enough to get her in the competition.
Paula is playing the role of Simon as she and Simon say
no, but Simon wants her to meet the triplets - and help
them take a bite out of their weight loss. That was
cruel - but funny.
We get a montage of Ryan Seacrest of throwing out the
first pitch - and not having it come anywhere near the
plate. We get a montage of singers who also don't come
anywhere near the plate - and also not coming close to
having good pitch (heh). Speaking of a baseball player
reference, Osborne Smith, the son of hall-of-famer Ozzie
Smith, steps up to the plate to sing 'All I Do'. He
doesn't do it for me, but I can see him being good
enough to get to the next round. The judges like him
better than I do, as he gets to the next round. He
dedicates the win for everyone who has been held back in
St. Louis - and I am betting that the audition was
before they got trounced by the Red Sox.
Osborne gets a hit, but other people strike out - like
Johnny Hayes, who Simon says that he would pick up - if
he was Walt Disney. Then there's the story of Angel the
teacher and her student Jeremy. Angel is there for
Jeremy's audition, but she decides to audition anyway.
Jeremy is hoping that Angel will get in, as she sings
Chaka Khan's 'Ain't Nobody'. She was shake at the start,
but recovers and she has a great singing presence. She
should get in - and the judges, despite Simon thinking
that she has the wrong image, let her get in. She point
to Simon as she says that she is going to prove him
wrong - and then is mobbed by Jeremy outside as she
comes out. We'll be seeing Jeremy's audition later on in
Jessica Pontius is ready to sing. She has the same last
name as siblings Mark and Rebecca from the show Extreme
Dodgeball, and it sounds like her larynx was nailed by
one right before the audition. Jessica sits there as the
judges tell her that she can do voice-over work. She
walks out stunned as the judges continue to make fun of
her. Way to go to help out a 16 year old, judges.
We've seen families come out in support for contestants.
Joe Schoen brought his whole family with him audition,
even lying to his workplace. He tells the judges that
he's done a lot of work, including a television reporter
and cruise ship work. He's ok on the pitch, but it seems
like he has some charisma (unfortunately, it looks like
he also has the ego of Michael Keown, which got him
knocked out before the final 32). Randy thinks he's good
and it looks like Paula would say yes, but Simon calls
him a cruise ship singer and 70's variety singer. It
looked like he would probably let him in if Joe would
keep his mouth shut, but he argues with Simon and that
never works out. Joe says that he just wants to be on
the show and Simon is seeing someone with more ego than
talent. Joe continues to squabble and that will cost him
dearly, because Randy changes his vote to 'not good
enough'. A solemn Joe leaves as Simon says that he got
on his nerves.
up - Justin Smith, who says that he will go in with his
personality. It better be better than Joe Schoen's - and
it is. His vocals, unfortunately, are infinitely worse
and even Randy is laughing. That turns into a montage of
people singing 'Proud Mary' badly. Mary wouldn't be very
proud if she was listening to these rotten renditions.
Aa'shia Jackson is 16 years old, and he thinks that he
can touch the world. Well, she can sing very quickly,
but the pitch isn't there for me. The pitch really isn't
there when she slows down and sings 'I'll Be There'.
Simon says that she sounds like a chipmunk, but Paula
says that she's different and she likes her. Simon hates
her, but Randy and Paula don't and she's off to
Hollywood. Aa'shia thanks the lord, but she better be
hoping he gives her better vocal and humility lessons if
she is going to advance any further.
We get a montage of weird clothing and props, including
dancing fruit, mimes and a pony head on a stick. Maurice
Thomas says that he doesn't need a shtick, as he sounds
like Brian McKnight. He starts singing and I think I
found a shtick for him - a muzzle. The judges are
stunned and they say no. Maurice comes back and says
that his family has told him that he can sing Brian like
Brian McKnight. Simon asks if he knows any Brian
McKnight songs, and Maurice, not content with just
torturing them just once, sings again. The answer from
the judges, by the way, is still no.
Then we have Carrie Underwood, who is a farm girl. She
talks about not being able to travel because of her life
on the farm. She wants to go to Hollywood, but does she
have the chops. After hearing her sing 'I Can't Make You
Love Me', we have found the next Carmen Rasmussen - but
without the annoying nasal tone. She loves Martina
McBride and Simon loves her tone. The judges want to see
more emotion, but they let her in. If she improves and
gets to the final 24, she should make the top 12.
Jeremy thinks that he will get to Hollywood, and Angel
is nervous for him. Jeremy tells the judges that he is
going to be the next star, and he sings 'Ain't too Proud
to Beg'. He starts out very well and I think he's
getting in. The judges, however, ask him to sing
something less affected, and he can't do it. Randy
thinks he has potential and says yes. Paula says no and
so does Simon as he doesn't join Angel in the trip to
Hollywood. I think he got jobbed, because there were
less talented people who got in, but I think that
Jeremy's attitude also played a part in him not
advancing. He takes the news well, but it's Angel who
breaks into hysterics, as the reason why she made the
trip was for Jeremy. She adds that she never should have
come if this was going to be the result, but Jeremy
tells her that she should go, adding that they should
keep the footage, because he is going to be somebody.
Next up is a friendship called 'When Adam Met Dirk'.
They met on Monday and they both think it would be cool
if they got to the finals, and they both think that they
have the coolest personalities. They both also think
that they can dance - even though one of them is obese
and the other one is as skinny as a beanpole. This just
reeks of trouble - and bad acting by Adam and Dirk. Sure
enough, Dirk (the obese one who selects a David
Hasselhoff song) and Adam (the skinny one who does Simon
Cowell impersonations - he is an excellent comedian)
both fail miserably and they both unanimously get
rejected. But at least they still both have each other
and they will always be friends. AwwwwBarf.
So we get to be shown good and bad singers from St.
Louis as a total of 32 crooners go to Hollywood. I'm off
the bus and I give Chico the steering wheel as he gets
to party in Mardi Gras with Gene Simmons in 6 days.