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American Idol 3, January 19: The Search Begins!by Sting7 -- 01/20/2004
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The waiting is over! It’s back! It’s American Idol 3 – chock full of the talented, the desperate, the demented, and the deceived! Then-frosted Ryan Seacrest standing in a sea of humanity welcomes us back with a little trip to the past. Ruben and Clay’s finer moments! Ryan says 80,000 auditions, six cities, three judges, and American Idol 3 is underway!
So, what is it that the judges are looking for this year? Curiously, all three mentioned “unique” voices! Simon expounds that the “bar has been raised” and “what may have been good enough in Season 1 or Season 2 may not be good enough now!”
That search for uniqueness will carry us through New York City, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and finally Honolulu. Ryan reminds us that the old kiss and cry area is back, and there are plenty of snippets of what folks would like to do with Simon. Nothing in the “hug” section, I assure you.
So, the auditions begin with New York City. Ryan says there is plenty of attitude, but what about talent?
Martha Kraybill – she’s in the army now, looking impressive as she strides through the door in uniform, but less impressive as she talks about her many, many, shortcomings! In her own words, she’s the worst in the army. She performs “Dancing In The Streets” (and I immediately groaned) with a nice pitch, a reasonable voice, but judges say no, across the board. Paula thinks she should be on television; Simon clarifies, not this show! Martha begs, but that never works.
Paul An – he’s a Marine and came in barking some sort of credo. Then he starts rapping in some sort of foreign language. Hard to judge, and thus, he’s out.
Ryan tells us that applicants came from all over the world, like:
Roland Maxharj – not long from Romania, he says he believes in the American Dream and he’s taking his shot. Sadly, he should have been shot, singing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” like he’s being tortured! Randy and Simon can’t helping laughing, Roland barely notices, he’s into it. Simon says it’s a good thing that his immigration status doesn’t hinge on his singing. Hear hear.
Karmen Varjabedian – is from Bulgaria, and she comes with experience. She was Top 7 in the Cyprus competition (of what, she didn’t say – maybe it’s just as well). Simon asks how many entered the competition. 90. O-kay! Karmen has a heavy voice to start with, and as she tears into Cher’s “Strong Enough,” it gets even heavier. Simon asks what the other 83 were like! My question exactly! Randy asks if she knows she sounds like a man. Poor Karmen says when she gets calls in the morning, she’s often called “Ivan.” Yikes.
Leah Vladowski – also from Romania. Leah’s musical parents defected from Romania years ago. She sings with an uncommon soulfulness that impresses Randy, in particular. She’s going to Hollywood!
Ryan tells us that twin brother Jesus and Noel Roman were recently reunited after a long family feud has been settled. They audition together, because I bet it’s hard to separate them for any reason anymore!
Jesus Roman – that is jee-zus, sings “Still of the Night” with a nice bit of power, but a little lack of control.
Noel Roman – sings with less power and less control, but Simon says he likes them both! They are going to Hollywood!
Now, for another set of twins, the results not so good.
Katrina and Edwina Rosado – the exotic-looking duo performed “Ain’t No Mountain” with an alien-sounding harmony that had Randy looking ready to escape! Even Paula balked. Simon said it was like “double the torture” and called the performance “painful.” In the kiss and cry area, the twins agreed that painful was having to look at Simon.
On that note, Simon tells the camera that he thinks NYC is the city of self-approval, and to demonstrate that point, he introduces us to –
Rasheeda McDaniel – she had moxie, I’ll give her that. She gives an utterly tuneless “Breakout” by Swing Out Sister (I applaud the unique song choice, at least) which merged into a Grease tune (boo on that one) when she is mercifully stopped. Simon says the only decent part was the end. Rasheeda disagrees. Vehemently. Simon bets her that if she sang in a bar, she’d clear it out. She takes the bet. Enter Ryan who clarifies this is a cash bet (doesn’t say how much, but I guess she has no chance anyway!), and she has to compel half the bar to stay with her voice. Rasheeda puts everything she has into “Thank You” and she barely gets to the third line before folks start strolling out with shocked expressions on their faces. In the end, there are two people left, and one looks like he wanted to go. She loses.
Jordan Millus – screeches into “Build Me Up Buttercup” and he is immediately reminded by Simon that this is a singing competition. Oops.
Paula says through all the madness, occasionally someone comes in and you know from the start that they are special. She’s talking about –
Michael Keown – he is my first Pick To Click! Michael, who has sung for the Pope and the Clintons, soars into “Unchained Melody” with a gorgeous voice, which prompts Simon to say it was “one of the best renditions” he’s ever heard! (Remember, this is Simon’s favorite song ever.) Oh, yeah, he’s going to Hollywood! Betsy Wasser already predicts he’ll be Top Twelve! Hard to argue.1 2 Next-->
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