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American Idol
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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


FACT FILE:

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


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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. 

"Viva Las Vegas" - January 26

Let me start by saying that Gene Simmons as a judge is nothing short of brilliant. Now if they can only bring Quentin Tarantino as a judge...THAT could bring a lot of sparks next season to the show. I would love to see Gene come back next year as well.

Singers evaluation on the last episode. David Brown was spectacular, but I'm hoping he can elevate his game. Michael Liuzza is another sob story who could cause major damage in the competition if he can be more versatile than just Cajun. Jeffrey Johnson, I don't think, is going to last very long. Twins don't last very long either, but the Jefferson twins had potential. Neither of the Molfetta twins could match up to this year's crop, and I think it was fair for both of them to get eliminated, though I thought that Simon went a bit too far.

On the women's side, I thought Lindsey Cardinale was ok, but there were singers on the earlier shows who were better. As for the other women... well...there weren't any.

Before we go to this week's recap, I'd like to make one point. Remember when you see all of the goofy things that some of the singers do, and you wonder, "Are these people on drugs?" Well, after watching Leroy Wells, and after reading about his back story this morning, you would have to say... well....yes.

We continue the talent search as we go to Las Vegas. Now there HAS to be talent here, in the land of casino entertainers, right? RIGHT????? We have people not only from Vegas - we have TOURISTS! We also have Kenny Loggins, who is known as a master movie soundtrack maker (as well as having hit singles in his own right). His opening audition? Trevor Howard, who kicks off his shoes (really, he does) while butchering Footloose. Welcome to American Idol, Kenny.

We start with Mikalah Gordon. who just makes the 16 year age limit. She is decent, but the voice is immature and she desperately needs more maturity, or else she's going to be the next Leah Labelle who's going to be gone quite quickly. Regardless, Randy loves her, as does Paula, Kenny loves her presence and personality and Simon calls her cool. She gets the golden ticket and her family is thrilled.

Jeffrey Gray is looking to make it two straight, and he is a Neil Diamond nut. He scares me - and his voice scares me as well as he sings "America", especially when the self acclaimed Diamond fan forgets the lyrics and gestures with stabbing motions. Simon calls him on it and is afraid of Jeffrey as well. Jeffrey gets a unanimous no - until Simon realizes where Jeffrey lives and says yes. Heh. "Take care Jeffrey and stay away from the knives."

After a montage of singers whose performances make true the adage of 'What goes in Vegas, stays in Vegas', we get Amanda Avila, who is a real Vegas showgirl. She certainly looks like a showgirl, as she wants the feeling of singing to thousands of people. She sings "I Want To Love You Forever", which isn't hitting the pitch for me and Simon looks like he's in pain. She corrects herself in the middle, though, and it's not that bad. Simon asks her would her friends show up if they let her through. She says yes, and Simon says yes. Paula reluctantly says yes and the guys quickly pass her through before has a chance to change her mind. (While I am writing this column up, I am IMmed by a friend of mine, who says something very smart - he says that the talented people in Vegas don't need American Idol because they already HAVE nice high-paying jobs. He's got a very good point. We'll get back to this point later.)

Christopher Timura says that he has a soulful style in the form of Elvis. What does he do? He works at a hotel. Uh-oh. Now Ben Ziek, who is a very cool guy, also works at a hotel, but I don't want him remotely coming anywhere near a microphone. Christopher actually sounds better than Amanda in terms of pitch, but the tone is off and he doesn't come close to Elvis. He also doesn't come close to the judges, who give him a unanimous thumbs down.

Remember the Molfetta twins from the last episode? Rich Molfetta is back to sing again for the judges. I think he is worse than yesterday's episode, but I will give him points for trying again, especially after being brutalized by Simon and Gene. Simon still says no, but fortunately for Rich, Gene wasn't there and Kenny was, who says yes. Paula and Randy says yes and although Simon says no, he is overruled and Rich gets in. I wasn't too thrilled with Rich though, and he's going to have to show me something or he will be back with his twin in New York sooner rather than later.

Will there be a lot of debate on Emily Neves? Kenny Logging says that her energy reminds her of Cyndi Lauper, and she sings 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun'. She wasn't that bad, but Simon thinks it's the equivalent of nails running down a blackboard. She is asked to sing another song, and she does, this time changing the words to plead with Simon to pick her. The talent is definitely there, though she needs to step it up if she wants to make the top 24. Randy, Kenny and Paula all say yes, so it doesn't matter what Simon, the object of Emily's singing, says.

Next up - Joseph Ladd, who states that he is 28. Sure he is 28 - if it was the 1970's. He says that he was born in 7/14/76. Him and Simon get into a pissing match, and he remember Kenny Loggins, adding that when he was a kid, he saw him in concert. None of the judges are buying what he selling, and it gets worse when sings Gary Puckett. The judges can't keep a straight face, and I don't think that even if he was 28 that they would allow him in. Simon says that he is 44, and Joseph finally admits that he is a 'young' 44. The judges give him a standing ovation - and then Simon tells Joseph to get out.

The one thing about American Idol is that people who don't make it one year can always reaudition the next year. Last year, the judges were tormented by Tormented by Dino Yazzi, who sang Whitney's "The Greatest Love of All". This year, the judges get tortured by Desi Yazzi, who sing's Whitney's 'I Have Nothing'. To his credit, Desi sounds better Dino - but not by much, as the judges send him on his way.

After a montage of not just bad, but weird performances where the judges are singing with the talent (wha?), it's getting so bad that even the judges are sniping at each other. Will Sarah Woodall help us? No, as she was ok - but OK isn't good enough. Simon, apparently in a VERY nasty mood, accuses Sarah of just doing this to get on TV - and she admits that she did - but she also says that she wasn't horrible, her voice didn't crack and she wasn't the worst singer. Well, she has a point.

Was she better or worse than Sharon Galves? After Simon flubs on asking her what she is going to sing (saying what she is going to drink), Sharon belts out a cool "Saving All My Love For You". She wasn't completely on pitch, but it should be more than good enough to get her in. The judges all say yes, and onto Hollywood she goes.

Will Matthew Falger join her? He sings "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" which is standard Vegas fare, but is it pop? The pitch is on, but the tone isn't, and I'm not sure. Paula says that he is an entertainer, but isn't sure about a pop star. The judges are on the fence, but point towards no, adding that he should come back next year. I agree - if he can shape himself up better vocally, he can be great next year.

One person that we won't have to wait until for next year to see if she has any shot is Bobbie May, who is a self-professed psychic. I have heard that psychics aren't good in predicting their own future, and Bobbie's future is clearly not singing, as she may have been able to shatter her crystal ball - or at least glass - with her singing. Bobbie says that she predicts that she will be in the Top Ten.

Simon: The Top Ten in seating.

Afterwards, we see that the 10 represented the number on her seat, but as Kenny says, 'This may be the first time that I have ever seen two professions ruined simultaneously.' (C-Note: Betcha she didn't see that coming. HA!)

We go next to Jennifer Todd, who is very self-conscious about her weight. She sings 'If I Ain't Got You' and though she starts off rocky, it gets much better through the song. It's pretty good - and certainly good enough to get her to Hollywood. Kenny equates her to Ruben and Aretha and says yes, and Simon makes it unanimous. A screaming Jennifer hugs her family. AwwwwBarf.

Will Mario Vazquez be screaming in joy - or in agony? He is 27 from NYC, and he sings "Whatever Happens". This is easily the best male voice in the episode, and he may be the first East Coast minority/Hispanic (C-Aldo-Note: *salute*) male who can actually do some major damage. Simon says he's one of the best that he's heard in the competition. He also gets in unanimously and a joyful Mario sends some shout outs to his homies via an American Idol screen.

The final total - only 24 people got in from Vegas. That surprised me - but when you read that most of the talented performers wouldn't take that time off and risk their jobs, it makes a lot of sense.

Next week - we go to Cleveland, as Chico gets to give us all the info from the city of Rock and Roll. We'll see in 7 days who gets rocked.

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