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American Idol 4, January 18: Breaking The Bandby Sting7 -- 01/19/2005
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Wait no more Idolheads, the fourth season of American Idol has begun! Kicking things off is Leandra Johnson from Washington, DC, with our national anthem. Leandra sings a spirited, but tuneless, rendition. Everything after "say" sounds like an untuned violin somehow. Yikes. And, weíre off!
Ryan welcomes us, takes us on a little flashback to Fantasiaís crowning, and tells us that the age limit has been raised to 28. He tells us that there will be guest judges at the audition cities, including Mark McGrath, LL Cool J, Gene Simmons, Brandy, and Kenny Loggins.
Lots more chatter that wonít be funny with me describing it to you, so letís get on with the auditions, shall we?
Sean McNeill is a youth minister with a bright smile and sunny disposition that the judges, even Simon, like. Sean is 27 and is about to be a daddy, so he sings "Isnít She Lovely" for his coming bundle of joy. He has a nice, pleasing voice. Randy notes that raising the age limit makes it possible for them to see more Seans. Simon says it wasnít the best voice they will send forward, but it was alright. Mark McGrath asks if heís going to Hollywood. Randy and Paula says yes. Simon says on voice, no. Personality? Yes. Mark says yes too, so heís going to Hollywood!
Rebecca Nassar spookily proclaims she believes the children are our future, and we are all uncomfortable.
Davon Wright sings "YMCA" with clearly no idea what it is, actually. Her lyrics invite us to "open a can and enjoy" and Iím just done with her.
Jesse Cazella is happy to be here and met lots of nice people, which rankles Simon. Jesse nervously announces he will sing Josh Grobinís "You Lift Me Up" Ė and thatís about as far as he can get. Heís lost the words. Awkwardly, painfully, heís trying to remember. Simon says he should ask one of those nice people out in the waiting area for the words. Jesse dashes off. His entourage put the words in front of him. Jesse comes back to murderlize the song, off-key, some lyrics ad-libbed, and then they are gone again. Jesse covers his face and silently cries. Gee, this is awkward. He finally leaves, as Paula searches for something soothing to say. His entourage try to encourage him, but yes, the moment is gone. Forever.
Anwar Robinson is a music teacher, and he truly believes the children are our future, and itís not so scary coming from him. He sings "Isnít She Lovely" in a nice, but uneven voice (I thought), but the judges are far more encouraged. He is unanimously voted on to Hollywood.
Melissa Considine tells us that she is a classy young lady, and while she may dress like she has a lot of money (???), she doesnít, which goes to show you Ė okay, I donít know what it shows us. Melissa takes her turn in front of the judges, explains why she has scratches on her arms (something to do with dressing in a dark dressing room... Simon is eating this up) and starts "How Do I Live" but doesnít seem to know that answer, the lyrics left her. She asks if she can do "America the Beautiful" and she doesÖ in a creepy, soaring voice that reminded me of the old lady in Poltergeist. She finishes with, "oh my, that did sound horrible!" Simon answers, "You donít need us, do you?" And he says she dresses better than she sings. Backhanded compliment if there ever was one. Melissa says she can sing and starts another song, then says she doesnít want to be one of "those people you shove out the door." She gathers what dignity she has left and leaves on her own.
Derek Braxton claims to be the cousin of Toni Braxton, and declares he is fabulous and sexy. Self-esteem is very important. We get a bit of Toniís "Unbreak My Heart" and Derek accompanying it, and the only word I can think of to describe it is garish. In front of the judges, Derek announces that he likes to spend time alone (with that voice, I doubt itís by choice) and he says he doesnít like people, they donít understand him. He launches into "How Can An Angel Break My Heart" and Iím glad he told us because I would never have known otherwise. He sings like every note is his last breath, and it comes out like "how han a hangel hreak my heart." He does his bit and the judges look bewildered. Simon says itís most unusual voice heís ever heard in his life. Mark says itís like another language. Derek sees where this is going and asks how he gets out of there.
Backstage, Derek launches into a tirade, what does Simon know? (Been in the business over 25 years.) What does Mark know about singing? (Sugar Ray has sold over 20 million albums worldwide.) One-hit wonder? (Not even close.) Randy, doesnít even matter, what has he done? Produced a couple of records for Mariah? (Ever heard of Journey?) And Paula, only three platinum albums, heíll have eight. (And I will sprout feathers and fly to Neptune.)
Ryan leads us into a montage of "America the Beautiful" featuring...
Melissa Walton yes, that Melissa Walton of Making The Band 2, who just missed making the band (and Iím sure sheís a little glad, seeing how all that turned out). She sounds great. She represents the "beautiful" part, and those representing the not beautiful include more Derek Braxton and some of his less than talented compadres.1 2 3 Next-->
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