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Auditions: Seattle (or "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Lyrics") - January 17

Back on the road, and today, the Idol roadshow heads to Seattle. If you remember, they were here in season 1 with little success, which left us with two questions. 1) Why'd we come back, and b) Why was Simon so red so many years ago? Could it have to do with the wretched weather? Probably.

Okay, auditions were 9000 strong at the KeyArena. But how many of them could sing? First is Brandon Groves (26; Wheeling, WV). He sang "I Shot the Sheriff" last year... horribly. Today, he's undercover. He sings "God Bless America"... and he's not that better.

"You gotta be kidding me," Paula says.

Next is Jennifer Chapton (23), aka "The Hotness." She says she has her own style. Does she really sound like Mariah? Will the Hotness deliver the Hotness? She sings "Tenderoni (Baby I)". It just seems to drag on ... and on... and on... And the tone isn't there... it isn't anywhere.

"We're not gonna give you any love." It just goes on and on from there. Simon swears he would've said yes (yeah, right).

And it would only get worse. How about Amy Salgado (23), who's husband isn't supportive of her auditioning. Her son, however, is supportive. She spits Christina Aguilera's "Reflection" with a cold. In a word... weak. She tries again with water. Doesn't help much. "The water's made you sound even worse." But at least she has family to go back home to.

Which is more than what can be said for this batch of no-talent hacks. Could Darwin Mischa Reedy (27) turn the tide? Her mom suggested that she sing "Don't Cha" by the PCD... with mom present (Paula mouths "Oh... my... god."). I'd mouth the same thing.

It's... still raining. Forecast calls for more clouds and rain. Id' like to blame it on the rain, really... But it would take more than rain to stop Thomas Daniels (21; Troutdale, OR). He just quit his job as a gas attendant to be on this show. This is his third audition. Third time's a charm, right? He sings "Arms of a Woman" by Amos Lee. Paula's giddy. Simon thought it was "non obvious" and "very well done." Randy says yes. Paula says yes. Simon says yes.


But getting the love from the three judges? Thomas' dog.

Melissa Carlene Stavros (22, Snohomish) and Tika are next. She's a loud goofball. She says she just loves to sing. And she loves to dance on tables. And she definitely knows one of Seattle's sons... Sir Mix-a-Lot. She's singing "I Turn To You", though. She flubs a lyric, but the voice... well, it made up for it at the beginning. But it soured. Three judges won't give her the golden ticket. "What was that net she was wearing?"

Blake Lewis (25, Bothell) got his influence from Ryan... He's a champion beat-boxer. Is the singing any better? He goes "Crazy" by Seal. The song was made his own. But Simon said it was over the top. Randy thought the beat boxing was better than the singing. But they all agree to put him through anyway.


Two yeses. Countless nos. And next, a brother and sister pair from Lacey, Shyamali (19) and Sanjaya (17) Malakar's father was a famous Indian musician, so music's been a lifeblood. Shyamali sings "Summertime". She's got a nice delicate voice to her. Paula says she's better than she gives herself credit for. Simon says that there's nothing unique. Squiddly and Diddly say yes, so...

Shyamali Malakar - GOING TO HOLLYWOOD

But how about Sanjaya? He sings Stevie's "Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours". That song sang him, I think. But Simon thought he was a lot better than her. All three say...

Sanjaya Malakar - GOING TO HOLLYWOOD

The text message said it all for day 1... TRAPPED IN HELL.

Nick Sitzmann (27; Midvale, UT) is next. He sings Simon's favorite, "Unchained Melody", spurred on by his coworkers. "I am going to get a golden ticket today. (fist pump)". No you are not (bird).

Not even with the U2 version of that song.

"It was almost non-human."

The post-game interview was almost as awkward as an episode of "The Office."

But the last singer of the day... Maybe? Rudy Cardenas (28, North Hollywood, CA) is in a band from LA. He sings "Open Arms" for Randy. And despite looking like Adam Sandler, he sings better than Steve Perry. Simon says no. Paula says yes. Randy... used to play bass to that song... 


So that gives us seven on the first day (two remain unseen).

Day 2 is next, and the sun is actually shining. For a change.

Kenneth Briggs (23, Bothell) and Jonathan Jayne (20, Renton) swear they'll be going to see Simon all the way. Kenneth's first. He's been compared to Justin Timberlake... allegedly. He's "Tearin' Up My Heart" for his song... Umm... No stage presence. No voice... No tone... No chance.

How about Jonathan? He sings "God Bless America". At least he's got the pitch down. Too bad everything else is off kilter. Simon likes him, and so does Paula, but they're both agreed that this is not the right thing for him.

Flying fish footage!

Flying notes footage!

Eric Chapman (28???, Renton): "Taylor Hicks, I'm your long-lost brother and we've got to meet. WHOO!" He's a hairdresser. He says that looking like Taylor has helped him with the ladies. He sings Dobie Gray's "Twist(???) Away". Loudly. And he swears he's drunk. He wants to differentiate from Taylor Hicks. I'd start with a new song.

Didn't happen. Security!

And Ryan's short. No one hammered this point home further than 6'4" Anna Kearns (20; Wichita Falls, TX). She's gotten kind of experienced to do this. She's hoping for some "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" from Aretha Franklin. It sounds like Aretha... which I suppose is a good sign. Randy thinks it's pretty good. Simon says she's cabaret. But in the end... 


"You just put through a giraffe."

Jordin Sparks (16; Glendale, AZ) is finally old enough for the show. She sings "Because You Love Me" by Celine Dion. And I'd believe that she was singing for a while. She's one of those mature voices not matching young singers. Her dad... Phillippe Sparks of the NFL. Randy's blown away. Simon thought it was a bit too cutesy. But he likes her. Randy says yes. Paula says no... so sayeth Simon... who says yes. 


And seven more join her (five unseen).

We leave you and Seattle with... Big Red. Steven Thoen (27) is not a big fan, and has only seen one or two episodes at the most. "I like competition, and I figured what the heck." He thinks he's as good as Freddie Mercury. And he'll prove it with "Bohemian Rhapsody." I think I'm going to give this one to my friend, Jill S....

Jill: "It was...loss-for-words inducing."

Couldn't have said it better myself. So 15 people are going to Hollywood. And we're walking in Memphis next time.


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