Idol has moved on without Paula Abdul and her seal clap, substituting her with Ellen DeGeneres, who will join the crew during Hollywood Week. For auditions, celebrity guest judges were used, starting with Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice, aka Mrs. David Beckham) in Boston. Posh was actually kind of sweet, which disappointed me. I wanted the Victoria who showed up on her reality show a few years back. That could have been hilarious.
I do have to say that Idol seems to be getting a little better at mixing in good and bad auditions. I was expecting to see mostly crap auditions, but they had a good amount of gold ticket auditions shown.
Maddy Curtis, 16 (Bluemont, VA) - sang Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
*I liked her a lot! She sings with great control and maturity. A+ song choice too. Her family is all kinds of adorable, and I really admire her parents for what they've done in adopting those other Down's Syndrome kids.
Jennifer Hirsh, 22 (Manhattan, NY) - Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead from The Wizard of Oz
*Hated the song choice, but I liked the jazzy runs she made in it.
Claire Fuller, 23 (Philadelphia, PA) - To Be With You by Mr. Big
*Way overrated. Richard Rushfield is calling her the frontrunner. No way.
Jess Wolfe, 24 (Brooklyn, NY) - People Get Ready by The Impressions
*Now this one I can get behind. I really like her voice. I'm not sure I see her as the winner or even a finalist, but she has a great voice.
Amadeo Diricco, 28 (Johnston, RI) - Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters
*His family is adorable, and their group celebration after he got his golden ticket was awesome. If he makes the finals, he's coming in 10th (see Andrew Cook discussion about the hefty guys)
Luke Shaffer, 24 (New York, NY) - Fall For You by Secondhand Serenade
*Hottie. I approve of the modern song choice, although I did like his Matt Nathanson in the holding room with the two other guys better.
Benjamin Bright, 25 (Rome, NY) - All My Lovin' by The Beatles
*Possibly my favorite male singer in this episode.
Ashley Rodriguez, 21 (Boston, MA) - If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys
*She's gorgeous, maybe a little overrated so far. I've heard many people sing that song better than her on various singing competitions.
Tyler Grady, 19 (Nazareth, PA) - Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye
*He looks like Adrian Grenier in Drive Me Crazy, so I was hoping he'd sing Keep On Loving You. He's good, but this retro vibe doesn't cut it for me on this show anymore.
Mike Davis, 18 (Boston, MA) - Yesterday
*NO WAY HE IS 18. He's alright. I don't think he'll last very long.
Katie Stevens, 16 (Middlebury, CT) - At Last by Etta James
*I'm always weary of young girls who sing At Last. It's an old-fashioned song choice, and I want to see some relevency. That being said, she has a lovely voice, and her backstory helps her be memorable.
Joshua Blaylock, 28 (New York, NY) - Bless The Broken Road by Rascal Flatts
*He's cute and sweet, and he cracked me up when he was trying to be forceful but couldn't stop himself from being so polite. I thought Simon was a bit harsh on him.
Justin Williams, 27 (Sandy, UT) - Feelin' Good by Michael Buble
*WHITE CHOCOLATE! Justin was (the weak link) in the Kris Allen-Matt Giraud-India Morrison group that sang the awesome "I Want You Back" in the group round last season. The judges for some reason are not acknowledging that he made it that far a year ago. Although, to be fair, they get thousands of auditions every year, plus over a hundred Hollywood participants every year. And Kara DioGuardi was busy drooling over Matt Giraud to pay any attention to Justin, even though he's a total hottie. They probably don't even remember that Kris was in that group, let alone Justin. Anyway, back to this year, Justin sings the kiss of death song but manages to survive. I guess if you can beat cancer, you can beat "Feelin' Good".
Bosa Mora, 22 (Columbus, OH) - You Look So Good In Love by George Strait
*I thought he was boring too.
Leah Laurenti, 22 (Medford, NY) - Blue Skies
*Good voice, but the best audition of the day? Hmmm ... not sure about that one, dawg.
Janet McNamara- Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield
*A slightly less crazy Mary Roach
Pat Ford - Womanizer by Britney Spears
*He reminded me of a high school cheerleader
Mere Doyle - Piece Of My Heart by Janis Joplan
*Anime girl HAD to have been joking, right?!
Derek Hilton - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word by Elton John
Andrew Fenlon - House of the Rising Sun by The Animals
Bill Bloom - Kiss From A Rose by Seal
Michael Ryan - Run, Freedom, Run!
*Don't remember either of those guys, so those auditions were probably just filler
Lisa Olivero - Vision Of Love by Mariah Carey
*She should have accentuated her positives a bit more if she wanted to get through.
Ryan Keane - Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Norberto Guerrero - Everytime We Touch by Cascada
*Simon called it perfectly - he looked like LaToya Jackson with a beard.
The other thing I liked on this episode was the music they used in the background of scenes.
Opening scene - Boston by Augustana
Victoria Beckham montage - If You Wanna Be My Lover by The Spice Girls, Spice Up Your Life by The Spice Girls
Readying for auditions - Fireflies by Owl City
Janet McNamara intro - Jump Around by House of Pain
Maddy Curtis gold ticket - Lovers in Japan by Coldplay
Derek Hilton intro - Return To Innocence by Enigma
Guitar boys playing - Come On Get Higher by Matt Nathanson
Andrew Fenlon being sent
Ashley Rodriguez gold ticket - Show Me What I'm Looking For by Carolina Liar
Tyler Grady gold ticket - Jumpin' Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones
Mike Davis gold ticket - More Than A Feeling by Boston
Katie Stevens gold ticket - Stop And Stare by OneRepublic
Joshua Blaylock gold ticket - Rock & Roll by Eric Hutchinson
Bad auditions - When I Grow Up by Pussycat Dolls, Ol' Red by Blake Shelton, All By Myself by Eric Carmen
Leah Laurenti golden ticket - Boston by Augustana