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Auditions: Denver - January 18

The Auditions Roadshow continues to Denver. And "ain't no mountain high enough" to keep this group of wannabes from getting to Hollywood, not even a mile-high mountain. The judges enter and hope that the altitude brings the hotness... So far, it beings Marlows Davis (16, Denver), who sewears that he isn't nervous. He compares himself to Usher and Michael Jackson. We'll be the judge of that, as he performs "Fallin'" from Alicia Keys for singing and... something else for dancing... He'd do well to stick to neither. Paula calls it strange. Randy doesn't hear the voice. Simon calls it horrific. It's three nos, and Marlows goes all the way back... to Denver.

Will Tiffany Christensen (25; Clinton, UT) get the women off to a good start? No. Not with "I'm Here for the Party" (Gretchen Wilson).... Neither will Olivia Dudley's (20; Arvada) version of Paula's "Straight Up." Or David Horning (27, Colorado Springs) for that matter. Yeah, he 'bout to run outta here...

God, I'm hoping that Lisa Tucker (16; Anaheim, CA) turns the tide. Her CV include Variety's Top 10 Kids to Watch. That's promising... She sings "One Moment in Time" from Whitney Houston. Her voice is exceptionally raspy and bluesy for someone who is only 16. A bum note here and there, but not enough to stop her from shining. "I think the best 16-year-old we've ever had this competition," Simon says. Randy agrees. Paula thinks that it's fantastic. And it's a three-for...


Two hours in, and the locals are getting restless. So we go to the holding room for Soul Train Lines, backflips, and instant America drawings. Amanda Berg (17, Northglenn), a gymnast, aspires to be Whitney Houston. She sings Leann Rimes' "Can't Fight the Moonlight." And you can't fight intonation. Stick to bananas and backflips, baby.

Next, Brett "Ace" Young (24, Los Angeles). If you remember, this was one of Paula's favorites. And after singing Westlife's "Swear It Again," we know why. Dude can't blow, but he's got the pipes. Solid foundation, we call it. Randy thinks that he's good and in control, especially of the falsetto. Simon likes him more than his voice. Paula loves him. Randy says yes. Paula says yes. Simon says a very very very stymied yes.


Next... "Rochelle!" "Elaine!" "That's me!" (25; Kansas City, KS). She was evicted, jailed, and on the verge of being evicted again. "I need this." Let's see you want it, then. She adds another Idol link to Aretha's "Chain of Fools". And this is probably a good performance. The voice has some range, and it looks like Simon likes it. Randy calls it one of the best. Looks like...

Rochelle Elaine Dye: GOING TO HOLLYWOOD.

Denver's turning into a goldmine, as we enter the rock show portion of the episode. Unfortunately, this next group of auditioners are nowhere NEAR Bo or Constantine. Case in point, Fiona Apple clone Naomi Guse (26, Denver) with "I Wanna Be Sedated." Sounds like you're already there. Then there's Jacob Garcia (27, Greenwood Village), who does Bo's mic-stand madness with crutches to "Jump Jive and Wail". ... Oh dear.

Cue the bad rocker montage! Rock on... Rockman X. Word.

Chris Daughtry (25; McLeansville, NC) was inspired by Bo last year. But can he do him one better? He's got a family at home praying that he's in. His wife wants his dream to come true. A lot of the line for Chris as he tries "The Letter" by Joe Cocker. The pitch is there, and he's got the North Carolina voice this song could use. I like it, but will the judges? Paula does... Randy likes it... Simon... "I thought you rushed the song, but I'm not sure I'm looking at a stand-alone star." Paula says yes. Simon says no. Randy... didn't see emotion... Chris comes out empty-handed... but not empty-hatted...


Late afternoon, and also going to Hollywood...

Heather Cox (21; Jonesville, NC): GOING TO HOLLYWOOD

Not going to Hollywood....

Angela Garcia (25; Hobbs, NM): GOING TO HOBBS, NM

Simon: "Very rare that I hear something better than the original." She sang... "Rush Rush." Erik Mena (23; Monterey Park, CA) sings "The Way You Look Tonight". And the way it's looking, he's not going nowhere. Showdown ensues... Simon fires a stare. Erik... leaves. This calls for a cowboy. Garet Johnson (18, Veteran, WY), git'er done. He sings with chickens for a living. He sings Elton John's "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" today. I can feel the tone, but I can't feel the pitch, and I think we've outgrown warbling, thank you! "There is a good voice in there somewhere," Simon says. Randy says he can benefit from lessons. Simon says yes. Randy asks if he's ever been on a plane before.... Garet says no. That's about to change, now is it?


Simon: "But seriously, get some lessons." I wish I could quit you.... Heh. I had to. Nineteen people join the cowboy after day one in Denver. Next day? Mr. Technicolor.

"My name is Nick McCord (25; Athens, GA), but people call me 'Flawless'." Really... He's got five matching pajamas that he's decided to wear. Not only is he a style icon, he's an entrepreneur who cleans houses, "making them smell like paradise". Ben Hausbach (24; Pompano Beach, FL) is also an entrepreneur and an inventor that made a thing to hold ... That's another show, though. Right now, though, American Idol 5: Search for a Tablecloth. Flawless is first with "Your Song", which is neither yours nor flawless. "Worst we had in Denver."

Now to Ben, with his cosmic coaster... thing. Again, that's another show. He sings "If I Only Had a Brain". If you only had a clue. That was painful. Randy can't stop giggling, Paula slaps herself, and Simon... "You're a terrible singer, the invention isn't that great, you're useless, I'm bored, and that's it!"

So all you people who are going to miss "American Inventor"... Blame Ben.

Getting late in Denver, as April Walsh (27; Laguna Niguel, CA) sings "It's So Quiet" by Bjork. And I wish it were so quiet. At least she had fun with it. Simon says, "If someone did that in a restaurant, you'd say 'shut up, let me have my dessert'." Randy and Paula disagree, so against all better logic...


The women clean up, while the men clear out. Finally... what in my opinion (and therefore, not slanderous) is an ambiguous melding of the two in Zachary Travis (18, Denver). People confuse him for a girl. He sings Whitney's "Queen of the Night". He's got the tone down and all but the pitch is off and.... well, permission to freak out...

(Gordongram: Granted.)

All things considered, though. It's still very nasal and annoying. Can't have it. Simon calls it atrocious. Paula likes his confidence, but the voice isn't up to par. It's one, two, three strikes, Zachary's out. And Mr. Eccentric takes it as expected... very poorly and misunderstandedly. Reality check: the judges are NOT prejudiced. You are just bad. And anyone who reads any more into that is a total headcase.

So in total: 37 golden tickets over two days. Next stop: the hotbed of two former Idols, Clay and Fantasia. That's right, you're headed to Greensboro, NC next time!


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