American Idol 2, January 22: L.A. Talent, Detroit Bustby Sting7 -- 01/23/2003
The auditions continue on from the first night as Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Randy Jackson weed out the contenders from the pretenders.
Last night, we met some great talents oozing with possibilities like Jacob John Smalley, Frenchie Davis, Julia DeMato, and Kimberly Caldwell.
Let’s see if tonight brings us the new American Idol.
In Los Angeles, we met:
Equoia Coleman, suffering from a spider bite (a brown recluse, which Simon had no knowledge of. What spider would bite him?). Spider or no, Equoia powered through “You Give Good Love” and received good notices from the judges.
Robert Lovrin sang the detestable “Celebration” in detestable fashion. Randy said he was “just terrible man. You shouldn’t be singing.”
James Visperas, a self-confessed pyromaniac (he once burned down a house!), blazed through “My Girl.” Simon gave him a “definite yes” to Hollywood.
Robyn Hanks sang the Justin Guarini staple “Get Here” with a beautiful voice. Robyn’s mother was intense! She threatened Simon’s testicles! Paula has heard this song enough for one lifetime and asked for a different one, more up-tempo. Robyn blithely handled “Isn’t She Lovely” and she was. On to Hollywood!
Anthony Fitzgerald did “Crazy” and he was crazy if he thought he was good. Anthony had curiously high-pitched voice that should never be used to sing. Simon’s thought, “amazingly dreadful.”
Carrie Hunt sang a powerful “God Bless America,” which Simon proclaimed was “brilliant… fabulous, one of the best of the competition!”
Dave Anderson took a crack at the “Star Spangled Banner” and sounded like he was on crack! The words seemed to be a mystery to him. He was hideous. Simon said he was “in a class of his own.” Not in a good way.
Joshua Gracin, USMC, marched in with a salute, reporting for his audition. Sergeant Simon put him at ease. Of his performance of “All or Nothing” (popular choice this year!), all three judges said he had a nice tone. Report to Hollywood!
Alyson Roberts (with a ‘y’) stumbled through a way over-stylized “I’ll Take You There” and got stuck on “ain’t nobody workin’.” In fact, she sang it six times in succession! Not good. Simon managed to find a nice voice in all that stylizing, but Paula and Randy said no. Alyson swore she could do better and did a bit better with “Sunday Kind Of Love,” but Paula and Randy remained unswayed. Then came the begging. No. Pleading. No. She was headed for the door and tried one last time. Can I have one more shot? Without waiting for an answer, she tried to take them there again. She ran up and kissed each of them on the cheek. Finally, Randy caved. She moves on! Persistence pays off! (But a bad precedent has been set!)
Brandon and Bryan Forrest, rejects from last year, tried again singing “One More Chance” with only minor improvement. No. The twins decided to argue about it. Paula gave some constructive criticism, they didn’t connect with the judges (their eyes were closed or they were looking at each other). Still the twins fought on. Simon said they should forget about singing. Period. (They weren’t that bad!)
Marie Lingbanan was a ball of energy, burbling with enthusiasm (to an annoying degree!). Her “I Need You” was screechy at best. Randy said she sounded like she “was in pain!”
Eric “Charm” Berrill had yellow hair with red side flaps. I kid you not. His “The Greatest Love of All” was all over the map, every place a disaster area! Simon said he sounded like what Linda Blair would have sounded like if she were singing while her head was spinning in The Exorcist! That’s one to tell the grandkids!
Dino Yazzie also took a shot at “The Greatest Love of All” and made me never want to hear that song again! The judges sat in stunned silence when his verse and chorus were done. SO HE CONTINUED! Randy looked like he wanted to run! Obviously, no.
Melody Lewis sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in full Dorothy regalia. The judges said she had a great voice and didn’t need the outfit. Let that be a lesson. Save the outfit for The Gong Show!
Lee Dominguez, who had the glint of insanity in his eye, performed “Lately” with a Tiny Tim-esque kind of voice, and he had styling issues (way too much hair), but Paula managed to convince Randy to put him through.
JD Adams claimed to be a descendant of John and John Quincy Adams. He definitely set a president (heh, heh) with his performance of “Lately” (which smoked Lee’s and threatened RJ Helton’s). Good-looking and a great voice, of course Simon loved it, “Thank God,” he exhaled. “Thank God,” Paula repeated. “Thank God,” Randy added. “He’s this year’s Justin!” said Sting7.
Los Angeles produced 44 Hollywood contenders this year!
On to Detroit, home of Motown. Was there mo’ talent? (I’ll be here all week! Try the veal!)
Bill Beumer was the first in line, waiting something like two days before the auditions started. He performed (kind of) “Never Gonna Let You Go,” and waited with a sweet smile for judges reactions. He would be disappointed. Simon called it “flat and emotionless.” He later told the camera that Simon could kiss his [bleep].
Antoine Flowe did Aretha Franklin’s “Think” and he should have done more of that before he came. He’s lifeguard in real life. Simon said if he lifeguarded like he sang “many people would be drowning.”
Dennis Council was a former stripper and his yellow and black outfit made him look like Prince had a child with a pirate! This styling turned out to be an immediate problem. “If I Ever Fall In Love” was his choice (another popular one, for some reason), and Simon chose to call it “ghastly.” Randy said he should be a singing stripper. Dennis took much offense to that.
Kewanna Niblett sang “At Last” (I think) and did okay. Simon thought she had a throwback kind of ‘20s singing voice that he found interesting. All three judges gave somewhat tentative okays to Hollywood.
Teya Blackmon threw up in the bathroom before her audition. Nerves. They got the best of her. She came in with a chair and performed “Sweet Thing.” To the chair. Her voice had moments of brilliance, but her routine including taking off the coat, taking off the sweater, lots of Mary J. Blige mannerisms. Judges said no. Randy said she was “out of tune.”
Candice Coleman, a waitress, served up a smokey “At Last” that the judges unanimously loved. “Thank God for you!” said Simon.
Michael Craig, a big strapping 16-year-old, gave a spirited “What’s Going On.” Paula said he was “soulful for a 16-year-old who looks older than 16!” Simon liked the voice and the looks but thought his presentation was a problem. Despite that, he moved on!
Karissia Miccia said her mother does not support her singing aspirations. In fact, Mom said she hoped Karissia wouldn’t get picked! Shameful. Karissia gave a way over-stylized performance of “Who’s Loving You.” The judges, apparently aware of the back story, said she has a nice voice, but gave a bad audition. Simon said she needs training, but she has good voice to start with. Poor Karissia told Ryan Seacrest that she didn’t want to go home and face Mama. No wonder.
Joseph Daoud did “Tearing Up My Heart” and he tore up the floor with some clumsy choreography. Paula said she liked some of the “lower body movements.” She was a dancer, that’s why she liked it. Ahem. Simon said it was “really really really awful.”
Minaux Le Roi, clearly French, did a monotone “Love Me Tender” that may defy description. Simon said it was “absolutely atrocious.” Minaux’s face showed no expression, so Simon thought he needed to elaborate. He asked Minaux if he thought he was good. “I have a cold,” Minaux limply offered.
Frederick Johnson was awakened for his performance of “Together” and he performed it like a sleepwalker! Simon simply said, “You’ve summed up Detroit!”
Nicole Perano, a champion boxer under the moniker “Lady Tiger,” sang “Finally” and her personality seemed to charm the judges, so they didn’t rough her up (or, maybe it was fear!). “Not good enough” Simon offered. “I beg to differ!” Lady Tiger said in a voice that sounded like she was ready to put on the gloves. “So, differ!” Simon countered. In the end, Nicole took her defeat graciously, but had a little breakdown in front of Ryan and her adorable child, Dominic!
And, so ends this round of auditions. Two more cities to check and the fun really begins. I would watch out for JD Adams and Michael Craig. There seemed to be a drive to find more talented male contestants this year. These two could go very far!
Sting7 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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