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

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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


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. 

"Cleveland Rocks and Orlando Rolls" - February 1

A couple of notables in my mind from last Wednesday: Mikailah Gordon, Amanda Avila, and Mario Vasquez. They're on their way to Hollywood and we promise to be eyeful and earful of them. Meanwhile, the tour rolls on...

We catch up with the Idol crew as they head to the city of rock'n'roll (and of Mike the K), Cleveland. Joining them is... a hip-hopper, the man they call "The DEFinition," star of stage and screen LL Cool J. Is the heart of rock'n'roll still beating in Cleveland? Let's go to the pressure cooker... Today, it's 15,000 bodies in Browns Stadium, first overflowing with people, second overflowing... with rain.

First up, Jaclyn Crum, who loves Paula and was in tears for a bit. They dry up, and she does her thing. Apparently this year, Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" is the song of choice to butcher. The pitch is there (and here), but the voice is off.

Simon: You have potentially a good voice. The problem is you have no experience in performing.
Randy: You look scared to death.
LL: I think she's good enough to continue on and make this be her beginning.

So LL and Paula, both iconic of late 80s/early 90s pop music, give her the go. Randy and Simon say otherwise, but are willing to give her another shot. My advice, make the most of it, because you're not going any further. She gets a hug from our next contestant, Sarah Sue Kelly, who was singing since age 5. She looks like Jack Osbourne. Which is weird. She has her own karaoke studio... which is weirder. She "Could Have Danced All Night". Definitely sounds karaoke. And by that, I mean, more of a mimic than a genuine talent. Jamie Cullum's probably going "What the hell have I done?"

The judges? Giggling. Never a good sign.

LL: I felt like you were singing, you had a secret. I thought that was cute. I'm on the fence.
Randy: I'm not. I say no, but "My Fair Lady", maybe you should follow that road.
Simon: It's the way you look that's putting us off. But I like you.

She says she loves theatre. She also says that you don't have to be a Barbie to be the American Idol. True. I mean, look at Ruben and Clay. Thing is, that's what the public sees. Either that or Simon's just underestimating the public.  But LL just embraced her... Not bad. But that starts a sucking montage of Edwin Smith, Christopher Quick, Andre Pittman, Ebony Lewis (again with "If I Ain't Got You"), Sampson Ingram, Derek Fenningdorf... But in comes a potential savior in the body of Scott Savol. If you remember the promos, you remember hearing that you will not believe what comes out of this man's mouth. And it's... an ALIEN! Just kidding. He says he's going to rip 150 percent. He thinks Randy's the coolest, Paula's the sexiest, and Simon's cool. He also says his dad has no confidence in him. Wrong show for that, but it's time to sing. Singing "Superstar"... Wow. He's just dead on all around. I've heard better, but for once Fox PR got it right.

Simon: Has your dad ever heard you sing? You've got quite a good voice. This is where this competition is a necessity, because a) you wouldn't get a foot in the door of a company. You've got a good voice, I just don't think you're the American Idol.
Paula: You've got a good voice.
LL: They would never see you coming. That's a beautiful thing. So much is based on looks and image and blah blah blah, but I would love to give America a chance to decide for themselves.

And with that, LL ranks with Gene Simmons and Quentin Tarantino as one of the best GJs ever. He gets a sweep (Simon: "You've just proved your dad wrong.")

Next day... and the judges are NOT pleased. And the contestants are falling like... mimes. But perhaps I'm getting too ahead of myself. Jennifer Page wants to prove to the world that a mime can be the next American Idol. Good... luck... She sings Aerosmith, judging from lip reading, it's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing". Or so she writes. And sure enough, a silent sing. You know, if you want to win this, you have to produce sound out of your mouth that is aesthetically pleasing to the ears of America... Hence, a mime will never win.

From a mime to "Farm Boy". Meet Patrick Norman, who lives on a small farm. He sings "Smile" by Nat "King" Cole. too much warbling, but the pitch is there. Definitely a talent there.

Randy: Dude, you can blow. You were born to be a singer.
LL: I felt that in my spirit. They gotta bless it (referring to the other judges), but you're ready.

Indeed he is. But are the Jacksons? Yep, Lashunda and Leandra Jackson. Lashunda's first with "Why I Love You So Much" by Monica... Not bad.

Randy: You have a good voice, but you need more experience.
Paula: Work on stage presence.
LL: I liked it.

Good voice, but needs to work on stage presence, but what about Leandra, who's comforting her sister at the moment? She sings "Summertime". I say ditch her and bring back Lashunda. Or better yet, put the two together and you have a whole contender. Freaky, isn't it? It's a no from the judges. At least she gets a group hug from the judges. And Simon don't do that too often. Next is Bri Davis, who looks punk from the get-go with the blue hair and fishnets and chain. So you would expect her to sing... the Phantom? Operatic? Definitely has projection and range, but can that translate to ... okay, you're a soprano, we get it.

Paula: You have an amazing instrument.
LL: I think you have an amazing voice.
Simon: She's like Sarah Brightman, this girl. So what do you do with someone like her?

She's through. Is Anthony Fedorov, who got a voice after being told that he would never speak again? Based on his performance of "Angel" (Jon Secada)... maybe? Can project. Can perform. I'm on the fence, let's go to the judges.

Simon: You remind us of Clay Aiken.
Paula: Most amazing thing is that tracheotomy.

He's through via sweep. And I think he'll make for an interesting mix to the competition. Thirty-one others join him. OHIO! And from there, we go to Orlando, home of swamps, theme parks, pretty girls, and hanging chads... Interesting we go from one presidential problem to the next... Anyway, 9000 screaming (protect your instrument!) singers are on hand for their chance at Hollywood. Marissa Ganz likes to hear feedback for once. Will she like it even more after singing "White Boys"? Here's some... very animated. Theatrical, even. I couldn't tell you if she was even on pitch.

Stunned silence. They regain their composure in time to hear Eschine Orcel sing "The Greatest Love Of All"... Rather poorly. Then comes Ryan Miller with "I Believe In a Thing Called Love"... Rather poorly. So how about Vonzell Solomon, kicking ass and taking names, looking like she came fresh from a Power Rangers audition? She's in a "Chain of Fools", and so am I. She's definitely one to watch as well. She's got the voice, the moves... talk about kicking ass and taking names! The judges give her a three-way ("And a golden twinkle in my eye.") Cute.

With that, it's time to Meet the Fakers... the people who look like they didn't make it... but did. But what causes Paula to REALLY blow up? Takes quite a bit to do that. Enter Dezmond Meeks. He's a dancer. A SERIOUS dancer. He goes with James Brown, "I Got You (I Feel Good)". This is what you call being "affected." He's got a good voice, but it's being downed out by famboyant moves.

Paula: I'm like, wow, that was great.
Randy: Definitely entertaining, but I think you were made for something else.
Simon: That whole audition was something I'd expect to hear outside Magic Mountain. I thought it was a stage review.

And this is when Paula completely loses it.

Paula: I feel like quitting this show right now. I'm devastated right now! He did James Brown and he did it better than James Brown. He is worthy above and beyond.
Randy: You really believe in this guy?
Paula: Have you ever seen me this upset?
Simon: Yes.

Yeah, I can pinpoint a few times... Does Paula manage to convince the Basher Brothers to give Dezmond another shot? Yes. Paula fought the hard fight. But then, sometimes, she forgets why she's there. She's there to judge, not to play favorites. He joins 15 others, and we join Gordon in San Francisco. Will he find his heart there... or just a bad box or two of Rice-a-Roni? See you soon!

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