American Idol 4, February 8: Dreams Can Come True... Nightmares Too!by Sting7 -- 02/09/2005
Before we get into tonight’s episode, allow me to direct your attention to Ruben Studdard’s “Winner’s Circle” article, just posted at the Reality TV Hall of Fame. Now let’s move on to looking for the fourth Idol!
Ryan tells us 193 hopefuls were flown into Hollywood. The first night, some sleep, some play, some fall somewhere in between. Because there are so many, they are split into two groups. They board buses, but have no idea where they are going! Bus One is heading right to the auditions, bus two... touring and shopping!
We are told all the contestants were given a list of songs to choose from. And they had seven days to learn the words and the melodies, just like they would in the Top 12.
Carrie Underwood is up first, and she sings a gorgeous version of Candi Stanton’s "Young Hearts." All except she forgot a couple of inconsequential lyrics that she mmm-mmm’d through. Uh-oh.
Jaclyn Crum sings a forceful "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough." Sarah Mather performs, as well as Tanesha Foote – all women we’ve met before briefly. Tanesha re-introduces herself to the judges, stating she left her twin babies at home, and she will not be returning empty handed, and that’s just that. Unfortunately, Tanesha’s pitch is wonky, and the slight wincing on the judges faces can’t be a good sign.
Ryan tells us this is a the sudden death round. The contestants are separated by gender. The judges will decide yes or no, with no words of advice or comfort. There is no LL for hugging today:
Carrie - yes
Jaclyn - yes
Sarah - yes
Tanesha - no
Tanesha is not happy. She rants that "the girl that forgot her words" got through, "and I was better than her!" Hmm. She’s half right.
Now for the boys. Anthony Fedorov is masterful with his version of "When You Tell Me You Love Me," while Michael Luzzia is not far short of that with "Unforgettable." Michael has a very distinctive vocal style, and he can’t just sing any old thing. Not a bad thing, but it won’t bode well for Idol, which demands versatility. Anthony is moving on to the next round, but we are saying goodbye to good natured Michael Luzzia.
Meanwhile, bus two is still shopping. Shunta Warthen seems to have come to the realization that she was on the wrong bus. She’s supposed to be auditioning! Her compadres are wondering why she is hesitating rather than acting, as one young man tells her, "you need to be on the phone!" This seems to clear the haze for Shunta as she calls for a cab!
Rashida Johnson realizes she has lost her voice. She reports to vocal coach Bird, simply devastated. Bird tells her to use her gifts and "press on!" Press on she does, though a little hoarse, Rashida manages a soulful "Baby Come To Me" and she moves on the next round.
Shunta has found her cab, ladies and gentlemen. Stay tuned!
We see a medley of familiar faces singing "Ain’t No Mountain," like Amanda Avila, Travis Tucker, and Lindsay Cardinale. All of them advance. Richard Molfetta’s moment has arrived. Waiting backstage, he hears performances from crooner Ross Williams and youth minister Sean McNeill. Now, time for Richard, who gives his all to "How Do You Mend A Broken Heart," but there is one long sour note amongst some pretty good ones. He looks like he knows what’s coming.
Ross - yes
Sean - yes
Richard - a unanimous no. Richard takes it pretty well, he says he never chokes, but this time he did. And, he’s sure Simon is happy about that.
"You Are The Sunshine of My Life" is a popular choice with many of our familiar finalists. Nadia Turner (cool hair), David Brown (my Pick to Click), Steve Savol (surprise, surprise), Anwar Robinson (music teacher), and Jeff Johnson (youth pastor) all perform it. All are advancing... except Jeff Johnson.
Shunta has arrived in the building! She sings "Young Hearts" with a certain confidence and polish and her yes is assured.
Francisco Torres, who we haven’t met yet, is taken aback by the beauty of the beach. He equates this with the things he never thought he’d experience and is quite teary-eyed over it. How do you not love this show?
Melissa Figueroa and Vonzell Soloman, launch into spirited "How Will I Know"s and they soon know they are advancing to the next round.
Regina Brooks, who you know pawned her wedding rings, but you didn’t know lost 40 pounds before coming to Hollywood, sings "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and, though she sings well, it’s just wrong somehow – like that time I heard Marilyn McCoo singing "Muscles" on Solid Gold. You ever see a dog perk its ears and tilt its head at the same time? It’s that kind of thing. It’s a no for Regina.
Regina says she’s tired of the rejection, and she’s certainly entitled to a good cry. Meanwhile, 54 others are sharing her lament, while 48 are continuing to the next round.
Now, time for Bus Two, featuring Patrick Norman (still in overalls) and Mario Vasquez, who was brilliant during his audition. Patrick repeats his Idol Slogan, too silly for me to go into again, and Mario Vasquez utters those famous words that are sure to make him hated: "I’m not here to make friends." Both perform "How Do You Mend A Broken Heart" most notably performed by the Bee Gees and Al Green. It was bad luck for Richard Molfetta, and the curse carries on for Patrick, who is a mess of pitch and unfortunate riffing. Mario’s is soulful and gorgeous. Mario is continuing, Patrick is not.
Another "hmmm" moment comes in the form of Francisco Torres. He says if he gets a yes, great, but if it’s no, don’t let anyone break your spirit. Man, I like this guy! Francisco sings "Baby Come To Me" with power and soul, but his face is all red, veins popping out in his forehead, holding a towel R Kelly style. He seems pretty happy with his performance, but it’s all too much for the judges, I’m afraid. Paula announces his verdict – a unanimous no, she says, with some surprise. I probably would have let him through.
Marlea Stroman performs in that interesting, almost Bonnie Raitt-like tone of hers, and she’s a yes.
Meanwhile, Bus One gets to tour the set of The OC. (Warning! Cross promotion! Warning!) Jaclyn Crum is all overcome. Her mom says she has MS and Jaclyn has been taking care of her while they are in Hollywood. Yes, she does seem like a nice kid.
The cuts keep coming, and Marlea is feeling homesick. Very homesick. Marlea says the people there aren’t nice, it’s very cutthroat. She’s talking to the executive producers now. The rocker trio of Aaron Kelly, Bo Brice, and good ol’ Constantine Maurolis are all singing "The Letter" and I like all three of them. They are all advancing. Brianna Davis, the goth rainbow, takes her crack at it, and she loses some lyrics. Simon tells her the nerves got the best of her, and she’s going home.
Then comes that little tornado known as Mykalah Gordon. Who says she wants to be a role model to all young women... wait, she is a young woman! She launches into a savvy "You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me." Simon mumbles to Randy that she is the most confident 16-year-old he’s seen in his life. Mykalah insists on having Simon’s attention when she’s singing, and says so. (Oh, I can hear the message boards flaming up as we speak.) Before she gets her verdict, she tells Simon he has to go to her prom if he says no. Simon says he won’t be going to her prom, she’s coming back tomorrow. She’s genuinely elated, and runs backstage to shriek something incoherent into a cellphone.
As day two of the Hollywood auditions comes to a close, we meet a pretty and soulful Janay Castine, and she’s advancing. So is John Zisa.
Marlea has made up her mind. She’s going home, and Ryan says she is the first person to ever walk away from American Idol.
Sting7 has been a respected published writer for 16 years, as a music editor, entertainment critic, columnist, and interviewer. He also has a curious love for pro-wrestling! You can email Stinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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