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Auditions: Las Vegas - January 31

Are we on the Pontevecchio Bridge in Italy? How about Liberty Island? Paris? Egypt? Rome? Camelot? Where the heck are we?

"YOU'RE IN VEGAS, BABY!"

Of course! It's the next stop on the Idol audition road show. Will we hit the jackpot here? The judges are set, let's get it on.

First up... a Rastaman. Alexia "Dylon" Lincheta (21, Bakersfield, CA), whose shirt says "Jamaica Good Music". He sees himself in Hollywood. Immediately, Randy calls him on the fake accent. He's an usher, who sings "American Idol: The Reggae". Two words: not even. Get'em judges. "Can I just see you without that silly wig on?" Yep. Thank you. It's a no. "It was just stupid." Dylon later regrets his decision to the whole Jamaica route. "I don't have to hide behind any mask. It's just a learning experience."

Next, a joker. Thank you, it's a no. Next, Bobbie Mae killed two careers last year. This year, she's about to kill her sister's career... and another one of hers. She's come to bring her little sister. She says that the sister can sing better than her. Not hard. Erica Davis (17, Henderson) sings "Circus of Thieves"... at least she's better than her sister. But still, it wasn't good. Please don't come again, thank you.

Next, Mecca Madison (18, Las Vegas), a student, a singer, and a belly dancer. She loves being on stage. Hopefully, she won't go bananza with "Big Spender"... putting her own spin on it. She's a good spinner. And she has a good voice. She's got a very good recording voice, says Simon and Randy.. All three say yes.

Mecca Madison: GOING TO HOLLYWOOD

From Mecca to Hollywood... to Ryan Hart (18, Las Vegas), a red-haired rocker. Paula: "Are you the next American Idol?" Ryan: "(^_^) yeah." O...kay. He's going to bust out Silverstein's "Smashed into Pieces". He's basically a conglomerate of every bad punk band out there today. "I'm bored," Simon says. "I'm bored with you!" Ryan says. A message to the judges?

"(^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^) Thank you!"

Next, Heather Ward (28, Salisbury, MD), who works as a guidance counselor for a correctional facility... which means that Ryan will see her very soon. She wants to sing professionally. And she brought handcuffs with her... not really. She sings Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman". I never was a fan of this song, but still, I love the way Heather sings it. Randy likes the fact
that Heather's singing. Simon thinks she stands out. Randy says "why not." Paula says no. It's all on Simon.... "You're through to the next round."

Heather Ward: GOING TO HOLLYWOOD

Next, a singing gondolier who likes to tell jokes. "You know what they say-a, what happens in-a Vegas...Goes on my website!" Meet Jason "Pepi" Andino (23, Las Vegas). He sings "Stand By Me"... "Don't you cry, boy!" D says. Paula says a good voice, but not one for Idol. Randy disagrees. Simon agrees with ... Paula. But Jason swears he'll be back. "The return of Pepi,
stay tuned."

Speaking of unwelcome returns, meet JC Gray again. He's back... on a bus, with a mullet. And Simon's back, too... saying no. For the first time, though, we meet Anthony Andolino (28, Roselle Park, NJ), an avid animal rescue fan, owning 25 animals (26 if you count his girlfriend). He sings "Lately" by Jodeci. Up... over... outta here. Too much power. Paula thinks he's got a theatrical voice. Randy says sing in tune. Three no's.

From Anthony we go to twins... Maureen and Marnelli look like the next coming of Puffy AmiYumi, but the defining moment for the Pearson twins (24, Henderson, NV) was season 1, when they saw Kelly Clarkson for the first time. They come out with "Dreams" by the Cranberries together. "Pleasant, but dull," Simon says. A double no for both.

"We'll try again next time." Good spirit to take. How about David Mandzak (18, Las Vegas)? He's a singer/dancer/entertainer, and he's full of energy. He sings "As Long As You Love Me"... poorly. At least he has the judges singing along. No from all three, though.

Vegas is turning into a crime scene. Time to call in the CSIs...

After that bit of entertainment, we move to Haggai Yedidya (28, Las Vegas), who is trying to become an American citizen. He's a musician who's come to Idol to realize his American dream. He's got the flag. He's got the shirt. He's got "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. Too bad he doesn't have the necessary voice for it. Paula says... "Just don't think it's right for
American Idol." He says he's got perfect pitch. And the judges disagree. Sorry, Haggai.

"You can't get to people without eye contact." How about with confidence? Princess Brewer (22, Miami, FL) says she's the next Aretha. She's blunt, sassy, and a perfectionist. She sings "That's What Friends Are For". Loud and off-pitch. Sorry, Princess, you're not the next Aretha. But you could be the next Simon. And it just gets worse and worse and worse. "You're actually giving me a headache," Simon says. Paula says there were sweet moments.
Randy just calls it painful.

Another drought. Would the strong truly survive? Not with this "I Will Survive" montage. Now here's the strange thing, a few auditioners in this, we saw before... Could this be creative tampering on the part of the producers? You tell me.

We began with hair issues, we'll end with hair issues. This one comes from Taylor Hicks (29, Birmingham, AL), who's been a performer all his life. He started going gray at 15. He sings "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke. He's got a quiet demeanor. The pitch diverts a bit, but the tone is not that bad. Paula calls it unexpected. He gives them 20 seconds of "Swanee River". The first one was better, though. Still, though, Randy compares him to Ray Charles. Simon says that it's not about the voice. He doesn't think Taylor is commercial. "They will not put you through to be put in the final group to be judged by the public." But Randy and Paula differ, so...

Taylor Hicks: GOING TO HOLLYWOOD

He's one of only 11 players going to Hollywood. Maybe Austin will be a windfall. Let's hope so. Couldn't get any worse, could it?

How about two Randy Jacksons? See you next time.

 

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