the search for America's newest Idol began with 42
people getting through to Hollywood fro Savannah. Now
it's onto the city of champions. With storied legacies
like the Pirates, the Penguins, the Steelers, and the
Terrible Towel, is it possible that the blue and white
of AI will be replaced with black & yellow?
Open call: Heinz Field
Callbacks: David L. Lawrence Convention Center
First up, Heejun Han (22;
Flushing, NY; nonprofit organizer) can hardly hold in his excitement.
Well, he's trying to, it looks like. The native of Korea kicks us off
with "How I Am Supposed to Live Without You" by Michael Bolton.
Surprisingly better than expected. But will he get eaten by Hollywood?
We'll find out. Heejun's on his way to Hollywood, and Steel City is on
Next up, Reed Grimm (26;
Ellsworth, WI; nanny), whose parents were in a band, fell in love, got
married, and added onto the band as they went. Today, he's singing, and
I'm not joking here, "As Days Go By (Theme From "Family Matters")". You
know, once you get over the whole crazy gyrating motions of his flailing
body, he's not a bad singer. He has the mark of a great performer, in
that you don't know what he's going to do next. That gets him the golden
ticket. Joining him: Aaron Marcellus (27; Teaneck, NJ; voice teacher)
and Chase Likens (20; Point Pleasant, WV; student).
The golden tickets became
the black and yellow tickets. Can Patricia Bell (Pittsburgh; "Patty the
Pittsburgh Planker") keep the momentum going? Of course not. She's too
busy planking, which, contrary to popular belief, is rather dumb. The
audition is actually for her sister Samantha Novacek (19; Sutersville,
PA; server), who sings "Like We Never Loved At All" by Faith Hill. Patty
can check off "plank the AI logo" on her list, but Samantha needs to
control her breathing. But she has a good strong voice. That'll get her
to Hollywood. And who knows, maybe we'll see Patty there as well. For
the record, though... planking... still dumb.
Creighton Fraker (28;
Queens, NY; starving artist) is garnering attention on the NYC streets.
Can he translate that into gold as he gets off the bus and into the
audition room with a song he wrote on the way here? No, but when he goes
into "Who's Loving You" by the Jackson 5ive, we end up with vibrato
nightmare. He's not going to let a little thing like positive criticism
get in the way of him singing it out. He better stop, because he's going
to go to Hollywood!
Following him is Eben
Franckewitz (15; Milford, OH; student), who's been practicing nonstop in
order to get to this moment. He may be too young for this (he looks like
Justin Bieber), but how will he fare with "Ain't No Sunshine"? Jennifer
thinks he was born to do this, and Steven thinks that he's only going to
get better. It's another sweep.
Travis Orlando (17; Bronx,
NY; unemployed), now a high-school dropout, is returning for a second
shot with "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie... He's gotten stronger from last
year, but he's not there YET. He's singing the passion, but he's not
showing it. A lot of things have happened last year... dropped out of
school. Mom left for another relationship, eviction, moved into shelter,
dad started dialysis. He's scared... but he's worth another shot at it.
He's going to Hollywood!
Day 2 begins with Erika Van
Pelt (25; South Kingston, RI; mobile DJ) who's been in and out of clubs
and weddings (as a singer). Singing for her is another outlet. She sings
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by Carole King. She's got a crazy alto
sound to her, and some killer phrasing. And the voice matches her. They
end up sending her through, 3-0.
As the gold run continues in
the city of Bill Cullen, we hope to find a blockbuster in Shane Bruce
(19; Moundsville, WV; coal miner). Coal mining runs in his blood. It's
something he's proud of, but he'd rather be a singer. He sings "In the
Still of the Night" for his mates... and then for the panel,
"Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley. He admittedly has done better. Steven says
that he's probably better off in a coal mine. Randy thinks he needs some
work at. The judges tell him... maybe next year.
And we're down to one more
audition.... Hallie Day (24; Baltimore; waitress), and that is her real
name, by the way, just married her husband, who saved her life after she
had a few bumps in the road as a member of a girl group. She hit rock
bottom, but with the help of her now-husband, she was able to make it.
She sings, rather a propos, "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. She's a
survivor. And you know what they say... pain is a great motivator. The
judges see her as a great competitor... and she's on her way.
That's it for Pittsburgh. In
total, 38 from the Steel City get gold. But the journey continues...
into a special Sunday episode from San Diego.