Wednesday, January 30, 2008

American Idol: Miami Auditions

Okay you know what? I totally forget every year that after 3 weeks of Auditions...we STILL aren't quite out of the woods yet! They always throw that sneaky 7th city at us...and then probably a filler episode on Wednesday! So I apologize for saying that these Miami auditions were the end of it. But for anyone who is new to the auditions process of Idol, now you can see why I get so frustrated with it! It just never ends!!!

With that said, you'll have to excuse me as I watch my ENHANCED "LOST" Season 3 Finale tonight while I write the blog. I'm getting psyched for that other blog that I love to write oh so much! It shouldn't affect my writing of this too much!

Anyway..tonight's audition was filled with a lot more crazy auditions of bad people, a couple more setups for people you thought would be good but turned out awful (Meat Packing Shannon McGough and American Junior Julie Dubela). Not even worth addressing the freak show that went on last! The Freak Show that is known as Paula Abdul continues to be enough for me! The people that got in? Wasn't really impressed by any of them. Does that mean they won't grow on me? I dunno! So here's who got in! Brace yourselves!

  • Robbie Carrico - 25 - Former Boy Bander turned Rocker? HUH? We had Ryan explain this to us with not much detail at all. Was this a FAMOUS boy band? or just a local Florida act? Do I care? Nope! Anyway..he got in...but I'm still confused what happened during the audition. The judges were all just acting bizarre and then they said yes! crazy...
  • Ghaleb Emochah - 27 (forget how to spell last name, too lazy to look up again) - This is that Venezuelan musician who plays the GEEtar, 'Armoneeeca, and Peeeanooo. Did I catch him say that he likes to perform Egyptian music? But I mean....are you kidding that they let this guy in?? He was awful!! Paula told him to work on getting rid of his accent...ummm really? Accents just don't go away! Sure those crazy British Folk fool us all the time when they sing...but Venezuelans? Yeah...I don't think so! Anyway...I don't see him getting much further than next round.

The Big "Sisters" that aren't Sisters! I think they spent a little too much hype on these girls and their flirting with Randy and Simon respectively. If you've seen this once you've seen it enough!

  • Corlice Smith - 20 - Sang "Take Five" to Randy. She was good. If you're into that whole Jazzy thing. I'm sure they will hype her up as the cross-breed of Mandisa and Paris Bennett. And she very well may be. But guess what? Neither of them won!
  • Britney Wescott - 20 - Sang "My Guy" to Simon. She was good too. And Paula called them both "her ladies" This whole audition scene just got a big eye roll from me! (can you tell the auditions are wearing on me?)

  • Suzanne Toon - 21 -Performing Arts School girl with the "Single Mother" sob story. Trashy girl who became "more attractive" to simon after she sung. She followed in Carrie Underwood's footsteps and sang "I Can't Make You Love Me" My take on Miss Toon? She's no Carrie! But the judges liked her and thinks she can put it together. We'll see!
  • Ramiele Maluby - 19 -Filipino girl inspired by Jasmine Trias to audition. Followed in Kelly Clarkson's footsteps singing "Natural Woman" my take on Miss Maluby? She's no Kelly! Paula LOOOOOOOVED her big voice! Simon thought it was a little hotel'ish. I wasn't too impressed. (but as I've stated before...I'm sick of the auditions!)
  • Syesha Mercado - 20 - Another big voice with a Junkee Dad. Simon and I agreed that her performance of "Think" was a little too MUCH. Well Simon said too forced. I was thinking more "Ooooh I really can sing and I am going to show you in 20 seconds just how loud and powerful I am!!!" Oh well, it was enough to woo Paula and Randy. Maybe she'll be good. I'm sure there will be another time when I can fairly judge her!
  • Natasha Blair - 27 - Sang "At Last" We really didn't get much of a story on her...but the judges liked her old school sound. My take on the audition? She sang in yay! She's going to Hollywood!
  • Ilsy Lorena Pinot - 28 - Well I guess she gets points for the crazy name. But the Shakira Hair-do? Not sure about that! I don't remember the song she sang, but she sounded okay. Again...a little Shakira'ish (what else would you expect in a town like Miami?)

So in two days at Miami they let 17 people in...and we saw 9 of them get in. You'd think more people would get in from Miami. In TWO days! That's nuts. But they did show us a majority of the ones that got in...that's a first!

But seriously...why on earth (apologies in advance to anyone who lives in Atlanta - I didn't even know we had Nebraska readers here! Welcome!)....I'll say again...why on earth are they going to HOT-Lanta for an audition? I guess they went there with the intention of finding a bunch of comedy! Of course, the real reason I'm dissing Atlanta is because I just think 3 weeks of auditions is more than plenty for Idol. But the show has to end the Wednesday before Memorial Day as always, so they need to stick to the format!

And I'm sure I'll be there to recap it in all of its lousiness! This is one blogger counting the days until the top 12 begins! But if you want to see me in GOOD spirits...tune in Friday on the OTHER blog and check out all of the crazed Lost fans discussing the return of the greatest show on earth!

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now...for strictly Idol Readers, I'll see you guys next week in Atlanta for the continued torture known as the Auditions!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

American Idol: Omaha Auditions

Welcome to Omaha, Nebraska! The town so big that they wrote a song for American Idol called "Omaha, Nebraska!" (well I don't know if that's a fact, but I'm sure it's the last time I'll hear that song!) Also the town where Randy wears Dorothy Red Shoes and Purple framed glasses, the town where Paula must've had an all night binge event the night before...because she finally returned to her TRUE FORM! Drunk (or hungover, jury is still out), Hiccupping, and just flat out BIZARRE! We saw Ryan and Paula switch roles in a historic Idol moment. We saw a bigger Kelly Clarkson obsessessee than myself! (i really hope people don't think I'm THAT weird!) We saw Fake Wrestlers, Arm-wrestlers and lots of small small town talent. And for once, we actually saw almost 50% of the people that got in!

That doesn't really mean that I got any more into it. Let's face it...we're still in the auditions and we're in the 3rd week! So, let's just get right to who got in and get ready for tomorrow!

  • Jason Rich - 21 - From Stout, Iowa (500 people) He'll be most known for singing a song called "When You Say Nothing at All" and for at least the first 5 minutes of the audition, not being able to say anything at all! This has to be the first time I saw an auditioner forget the lyrics but STILL make it to Hollywood. He was pretty good after he finally got going. But forgetting lyrics this early? Not a good sign for Hollywood or even past that.
  • Rachel Wicker - 23 - Paula showed up (looking hungover) just in time to arm wrestle this 6-Time Champ. Rachel is ready to hand over her belts for a shot at super stardom in the music biz. Unfortunately for her, Randy couldn't get over her half Yodel (which he accused all country auditioners of having). I call it the Carmen Rasmusen disease! Anyway, besides that, her rendition of Leanne Womack's "Don't tell my heart to stop loving you" was pretty good (granted...I won't admit to have heard the real version or know how to actually spell her name!) We'll see what the future rounds have in store for the arm wrestler!
  • Samantha Sibley -22 - (Ryan judged this one for Paula until she drunkenly opened the door and gave her 2 cents) Samantha gave Norah Jones's "Don't Know Why" a shot. The judges were looking for more showmanship (a common theme tonight). I can't get on board with her because even though she sang this pretty well, these bluesy low voice singers always get overshadowed by the heavy hitters in the competition. I just don't think she has the chops to stay in there!

We got quick clips of the following folks

  • Elizabeth Erkert - 19 - "Heard it through the Grapevine" she was good I guess.
  • Denise Jackson - 17 - Yet another Fantasia clone...yippie!
  • Michael Sanfilippo -19 - Kinda had a preppy surfer thing going on. But he sang okay. I dunno didn't see enough to judge him

Back to the full-on stories!

  • Anjelica Puente- 17 - Best part of this audition was hearing Simon trying to pronounce her name. Seems pretty straight-forward to me! (ang--a-leeeeee ka?? PooooEEENT?) Anyway, we got the sob story of how her dad is very strict and probably wouldn't support the whole Idol she moved out of the house and played Martina McBride for him and then he broke into tears and paid for her trip. (I made up half of that just so you know!) All to hear Angaaalleeeeeka whip out a carbon copy of Celine's "Power of Love" Oh annoying as she was, she still sang the hell out of it. So we'll see if she can find her own voice in this competition!
  • David Cook - 24 - Bartender/Musician - David, inspired by Chris Daughtry's success decided he'd give idol a shot. I thought he really had a good voice. He took on Bon Jovi (or Billy Joel???)'s "Living on a Prayer" Judges brought up performance issues again. Whatever, put a band behind him and he'll be fine. I think he has top 12 written all over him....which is good since David thinks he has Top 1 written all over him. Wouldn't go that far just yet. But we'll see!

Caution: Paula just hiccupped! Wow...they really let her on camera like that??

  • Leo Marlowe - 23 - We opened up with a guy from a town of 500 and closed with Leo from a town of 200. Self-proclaiming that he's the most popular guy in town. He took a page out of Elliott Yamin's audition book and gave "A Song For You" a shot. I liked this guy too. But for a popular guy he did seem a little bizarre to me. I guess we'll just see how later rounds go with him. The judges really liked his voice and the fact that he's a nice guy And while Paula wasn't lying on the table, she decided to stand up with 2 arms up and screaming TOUCHDOWN!!!!! Crazy...if this is how Paula looks when she is edited....can you even imagine what she'll be like when the cameras go Live? I can't wait!

So we saw 9 of 19 people that got in. Not too shabby. I'm still not seeing anyone that is blowing me away. But some of these guys (Leo, David) I could see sticking around for a bit. Well, one more audition city to go! Good ol' Miami Florida! Then finally...we're going to Hollywood! (the only episodes worse to blog about than the auditions!)

Anyway, as always..hope you enjoyed my rants and see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

American Idol: Charleston South Carolina Auditions

Well...that was an hour of my life I'll never get back! And I haven't even written this little recap! (LITTLE being the key word!) I guess the trend this year has been to have the GOOD episodes on Tuesdays instead of Wednesday. Philly and San Diego have proven to be thus far the gems (for Bad talent AND the Good) Of course, there were 23 people that got in from Charleston. We only got to see 4. Instead they showed us some of the marginal talent that we thought MIGHT make it...and then they sent packing. And if they didn't make it (and were marginally good)...why not show us more of the 19 that DID make it? Just bizarre. Anyway, the talent that DID get in, I wasn't even that impressed with.

I got the biggest laugh out of DiAnna the waitress from Kellie Picklerville who was as Redneck as they come (even our Southern readers can agree with me on that one!). I don't know what was funnier, her devotion to Kellie Pickler's "Red High Heels" song or her filthy filthy mouth and very ungraceful presence! It was all classic Idol.

Just a quick blurb about this "Marginal Talent" I spoke of:
  • Rashard Henderson (Black Clay Aiken) - Obviously he was over the top, but he could carry a tune. I could see sending him packing, especially since they showed him first on the episode....but after looking at what they eventually did let through...I kinda am wondering why not give this guy a chance?
  • Lindsey Goodman - 28 - Airforce Pilot Girl - I mean the girl could sing! Maybe a few flat notes here and there. I didn't notice the nerves as much as Paula did or the Cabaret that Simon did. She had a decent story (like a female Josh Gracin)...and they sent her away. Just bizarre. And I understand that not everyone that can sing a tune gets through (hence why I think I wouldn't get through!) but why did they bother getting us invested in her story and showing her on TV if they weren't going to let her through?
  • Aretha Codner - "I CAN SING!!" Girl. Okay, she wasn't great and she had a grand ego. But it sounded in the beginning like she was going to be okay, then she got screwed up and changed keys. But for them to call her AWFUL, it seemed like just a stunt to get her to flip out the way she did. I don't know. I didn't like her anyway, so I'm not sure why I'm defending her. Again, I'm just confused at why they even showed us these people.
  • Oliver Highman - 27 - Wife had baby during his originally slotted audition - he sounded like a Male Christina Christian from season 1 with the crazy vibrato. But again..he wasn't that bad! And again..they invested so much time in his child Emma Grace's birth. It was like tonight's episode was one big tease!

None of those people above were going to be the next American Idol (not sure any of the below will either), but why bother showing us them??? I DEMAND an ANSWER! Oh what do I care? We're at the midpoint of the auditions process...let's just get it over with!

Here's who got in:

  • Michelle (26) and Jeffrey (24) Lampkin - You know big guy with the tie around his head. They were a goofy duo (mostly him) and were set up for us to think they'd be awful...but then they were able to carry a decent duet. All 3 judges acknowledged that Jeffrey sang better than Michelle and that is spot on...yet they felt bad sending her packing and opted for the combo package. I think maybe the judges were just playing "eeny meenie miney mo" with all of the contestants in Charleston. It's the only way to explain it! (and yes, never thought I'd use that phrase after I turned 6!) Well...neither Michelle or Jeffrey impressed me vocally...but Jeffrey is a ball of laughs...kinda the Anti-Ruben in the comedy and excitement department. They should at least be entertaining to have around in the Hollywood rounds!
  • Amy Catherine Flynn - 16 - Pro-Abstinence cheerleader who goes by Amy, Amy Catherine, AC...or "WHATEVS" Best part of this audition was Simon imitating her by speaking "high school girl" "Ummmm THORRY'!!! " She was a bit annoying and her singing wasn't too great. She was flat all over the song but Randy and Paula both noted her potential. My thoughts? If you're 16 and nowhere near Jordin Spark's level at 16, don't bother auditioning. Yet...they let this girl in. I'll be surprised if she makes it to the top 24.
  • London Weidberg - 24 - Full-time musician inspired to audition after her father died of cancer 3 years ago. Sang a bluesy rendition of Billie Hoilday's "Good Morning Heartache." I had to agree with Simon that we've seen 1000's of people like London before. I also thought she was a little flat with her notes (I'm going to see how long I can go without saying PITCHY! oops...guess that contest is over!) Just nothing really stood out for me with her except a unique first name. (I know..because Weidberg is so common right?) I guess I can be proven wrong as always!

Well did I miss anything that I should've talked about out of these auditions? Am I totally off with my assessment? Seems to me that out of the 4 cities we've seen so far, San Diego has given us the most hopefuls that could be the next idol. Throw in Oregon Girl - Kristy Lee Cook from the Philly auditions and things are starting to shape up. But still way to early to tell!

Looks like we're heading to Omaha, Nebraska next week. I'm a little scared about it! But then again, it will be a Tuesday episode so maybe we'll be in good shape. Hope you enjoyed my rants and see you next week!

(shameless plug: by the way, One week until LOST! Get excited!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

American Idol: San Diego Auditions

Ahh it's a new week which means MORE auditions! I am sure most people are as happy as I am that we're back to the standard hour episodes this week. Let's enjoy them while we can before they get inflated one more time once the semi-finals start (maybe even the Hollywood episodes).
I'm sure also that everyone is wondering how the big Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson show in Louisville was this past weekend. Well, I'll tell you! It was nothing short of AMAZING! Reba and Kelly brought down that house and they both sounded incredible. I'd get into a whole concert recap here for you, but that's not what this blog is about. But if you want to find out more, do yourself a favor and go to and search yourself up some Reba and Kelly performance clips! I actually just found one FROM the Louisville concert. Here they are doing "Up to the Mountain" which Kelly performed on Idol Gives Back last year.

Brought Reba to tears on stage! Ahhh good times. Do yourselves all a favor and find them somewhere in concert before they're done!

Okay, the San Diego auditions were tonight. More decent talent, more heartbreak, more awfulness that can only meet the standards of the American Idol audition process (I mean...come on...the guy with the FANS? That was kinda silly!) I did get a good laugh out of Valerie "I think I'm Mariah" Reyes and her crazy voice all over the place. Clearly she was set up to look like an idiot on camera. But sometimes, it's done in a way that I don't care how contrived the situation is! I mean, when she hit those high notes trying to reach Mariah's extra 8 octaves she was born with...well you can't NOT laugh! Gets me everytime.

But we're here to focus on who got to the next level. So here I am with my brief synopsis of the 6 of 30 people that we saw get through:

  • Tatiana Ostapowych - 24 - Sang a little jazzy rendition of "Someone to Watch Over Me" Simon called it obnoxious stating that she is not as good as she thinks she is. I could kinda see a little of that in her performance. She hit all the notes, but something wasn't adding up. Maybe she'll tone the smirks down a little bit in Hollywood and win the judges over. Still too early to tell with this one.

  • Perry Cataldo - 27 - Perry clearly is a favorite of the American Idol machine getting a nice little back-story and lots of camera time for his 4 year old boy sporting a pony-tail like his daddy's. And well....gotta give him credit...he was one cute kid! "Whazzup Randy???" Your Dad is going to Hollywood! "OKAY." Ahhh priceless. As for Perry, his wife and the kid's mother appears to have involved in some kind of drug related death. And Perry has gotten his life together for his boy and is gonna sing his way to stardom. Well, he sang pretty good. I have a feeling this guy won't be going anywhere for at least a couple rounds. He has top 12 potential, but we still have to see what else we're dealing with. But his son could be his winning ticket in.

  • Michael Johns - 28 - Well this guy seems to have it all doesn't he? Powerful soulful voice and an appeal about him that will probably drive the women nuts. And I was all on board with him until he came out of the doors and in a goofy voice said "IT CAN HAPPEN, THAT'S ALL I'M SAYIN GUYS!" Well, we found out Michael Johns is one huge dork! (man...i really should've auditioned!) But with a little good press, he can get past this minor Howard Dean-like misstep.

  • Samantha Musa - 20 - Well besides her blatant love for Simon (and gimmick with sister to get through the door and on TV) I thought this girl was actually pretty good. The paper airplane note may have been the lamest thing I've ever seen on this show, but she sure sang a good rendition of Aretha's "Until You Come Back to Me." Along with Perry, I could see Samantha sticking around for a bit too. Again...still too early to tell!

  • David Archuletta - 16 - Ahhh another Vocal Chord drama story! This one reminded me a bit of Anthony Federov's sob story in season 4 of how he had no voice and then all of a sudden he sang like a Russian Hockey Player who plays in Detroit (or Jon Secada...take your pick!) Anyway, apparently this guy had Vocal Chord Paralysis, due to Bronchitis, for a long time (so what does that mean, i dunno...4 hours? I mean he's 16!) Didn't help his case with me that he sang the song I hate most in this world (and I believe I mentioned this last year), John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change." I mean come on! It's the same chord arrangement from like 557 other songs! (yep, just a random number) I wouldn't have minded so much if so many people didn't tell me how much they love that song and then I had to whip out my iPod and play all of the other songs that sound like it to get my point across! I mean maybe I can make it into the music biz by writing generic lyrics about the world changing and applying it to the chords of....hmmmm Piano Man? one will notice right? Anyway, the kid was okay....but the best part of the whole audition was Randy filling in the "WAITIN!!!"'s through the whole song. Ahhh good times. Will America get the chance to vote David through to subsequent rounds? Or will the judges take care of him in Hollywood? I kinda half hope he does get through, because I definitely need someone to pick on in the top 12. Of course, if Pia Easily (and yes, I know that's not how her last name is spelled, but it doesn't even matter to me anymore!) gets through...I'm still set for awhile!

  • Carly Sminson - 23 - In a jammed packed Season 5 (Daughtry, Yamin, Hicks, McPhee, Pickler, Yada, Yada and Yada) one name we never got to know was miss Carly Sminson. Apparently, she auditioned back then and Paula claimed she was the best EVER to audition. Well, apparently she didn't have a VISA so she was disqualified. Now, she's back with her crazy tattooed husband (and he has left his mark on her entire right arm). And she sang pretty well. Simon wasn't as impressed as the last time. But I'm sure she'll be turning heads for a few rounds. But please! Less crying! I can't take all of the crying!

And who knows what other 26 people got through that we did not see!? Maybe we'll get a chance to meet them in the coming rounds.

Well there you have it everyone, blog # 3 for the season. 3 more Audition episodes to go? Yay! Charleston, South Carolina is next and it sure looks to be a doozy! See y'all tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol: Dallas Auditions

Well the people have spoken! 6 votes wins for less Audition blogging! Well, in all fairness, I wasn't going to do much regardless! These 2 hour episodes are a killer to blog. But I will note the highlights below as always. But I'll save my long winded speeches for another time! I typed the following notes AS i was watching the episode to conserve time. So if you see typos or something weird, that's why! Here's who got through in Dallas!
  • Jessica Brown - 24- Ex-Meth addict Carrie Underwood loving Mom turned "Moms against Meth" Spokesperson - I thought she was good...a more mature Carmen Rasmusen from season 2. The judges comments were kinda edited...I think I caught a "PITCHY" from Randy. She seems like a definite top 24'er with potential for more.
  • Alaina "Carrie Looks Like Me" Whitaker -16 - Sang some Faith Hill. Not too bad for a 16 year old. As long as she works on the "BREATHINESS" of her voice she'll be fine, right Paula?
  • Pia "Zpia" Easily - 24 - I mean really? Please let this girl make the top 12! So much potential with the name. Another Background singer with a mohawk and crazy sideburnish things. The judges love her...and I love her name....Send that girl to Hollywood! Drink lots of water so the PIA comes EASILY! (oh come knew it was coming!)
  • Brandon Green - 21 - Peels Finger Nails and kept them since High school - GROSS!!! Doesn't want to be like Britney Spears. Not bad but the finger nail thing is disturbing! Simon didn't like it. He said it was forgettable. Good enough for Hollywood I say, but I agree. I probably won't remember him 2 weeks (even 2 days) from now.
  • Kayla Hatfield - 24 - Lives on farm with 2 kids and horses was in a bad car accident and damaged half of her face. Very happy person, very nice person....and great story of survival. But come on! She wasn't that good. Did Simon actually feel bad for her and let her in anyway? Or was he mocking her by letting her in because he just wanted to see her make a fool of herself in Hollywood? Oh's cool she gets to take a trip out there. But obviously, I don't see her lasting very long!
  • Katie Malloy - 18 - Does vocal impressions (Britney Spears, Shakira, Gary Levox (Rascal Flatts) - Definitely sounded like Britney. Started to sing Carrie and Simon stopped and asked to hear Katie. She sang some unchained melody and it was pretty darn good. Simon said the best so far. Of course....even though they aired Philly before Texas....I believe the Dallas auditions took place first. But I might be mistaken on that!
  • Kyle Ensley - 21 - Campaign for Idol - Sang Queen's "Somebody to Love" - Didn't see that one coming. You know the whole "geek in the tie" being able to sing thing!. Very Clay Aikenish except without the power vocals. But he did sing one of my favorite Queen songs. I could see him going through a crazy make-over through the competition. But he might not have what it takes to get much past the Hollywood rounds. I guess we'll see!
  • Colton Swon - 18 - Sang Little Big Town "Boondocks" lots of Little Big Town in these auditions. He was aiiiight. A bit of a weird stage presence, but he can work on that.
  • Drew Poppelreiter - 24 - Farmer Guy - aw shucks country guy singing some George Strait and wooing the girls (represented by Paula Abdul in this case). He's not too bad, but not sure how he'll fit in with the powerhouse singers. I'm sure he'll garner some fans just for being who he is.
  • Nina Shaw - 24 - From Burleson Tx (hometown of Kelly Clarkson) - Hmmm not sure about this one. I guess Randy and Paula think they'll strike gold like they struck with Kelly. Simon didn't see it and neither did I on Nina. She sounded all over the place. But who knows maybe she will last for a bit?

24 people got in from Dallas in total.

Overall, a Ho Hum night for the Dallas Auditions. Some decent talent. The Bad auditions weren't really even that funny. Even the crazy guy with the cape and feather hat.....what was that all about? (okay, so I was typing this as I was watching it...and it got funnier as it went on. Is Paula really dancing right now?? that was a good time!) The guy that never kissed a girl (with the Dad wearing the LOCK to his KEY around his neck) was bizarre and something that is true to Idol form. Other than that, I don't think I'm missing much by not giving this a full Blog treatment! I think I'm pretty much burned out from the Philly Blog! Maybe I'll be in a better mood for the HOUR audition episodes next week! 1st stop on tuesday? San Diego! See you there!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

American Idol: We're back and IN PHILLY!

The Welcome Back Section
(skip if you just want to read about the auditions!)

UGH!!!!! Sorry, I just wanted to get one more venting of frustration from what we knew as American Idol Season 6 (the year they almost got worse than Fantasia!) You guessed it kids, it’s that time again! Time for more American Idol! Don’t worry, I’m going to try and be optimistic for a new season of Idol. I mean, we have to be right? In case you’ve been living under a rock (I think I need to trademark this saying considering I use it so much), the writer’s strike is working into its 3rd month and we’re starting to see its effects on our favorite television shows. (anyone forget that 24 would’ve premiered this past Sunday to start its non-stop season?) All that is left are a handful of shows that haven’t started airing (YAY LOST!), or shows in which there are a few remaining produced episodes (ugh Prison Break!). So, with this occurring, American Idol is sweeping in as the savior of television to fill a giant void left by its smarter and possibly more entertaining competition. Yes, season 6 definitely has left a bitter taste in my mouth of what Idol has to offer. But I have to remind myself, I didn’t think the show could get worse than Fantasia and the cast of season 3, but I half expected it to. Remember what happened in season 4? Yep, Carrie Underwood came into our lives! And it doesn’t look like she’s leaving us anytime soon! (we’ll get to that in a little bit!) What am I getting at here? Well, when Idol gets it wrong they admit it and they tweak the show to make sure they don’t repeat the same mistakes twice. And executive producer Nigel Lythegoe (I’m not even going to try to spell it right!) has acknowledged their missteps and said we won’t be disappointed with the talent they’ve found this year. The judges have even gotten in on the excitement. Loopy drugged out Paula said it’s going to be a Challenge for Simon to find ways to insult the massive talent they’ve found. Granted, this could all be hype. But do they really need hype in a script-less Winter/Spring of TV? By default, this could be the biggest year for Idol yet in the ratings. I guess we'll see!

So every year in the opening Blog, I usually do a "brief" synopsis of what our favorite idols have been up to. There's really only 3 that I can think are worth discussing at this point. It’s been a huge year of success for Carrie Underwood. She keeps racking in any award she’s nominated for (and I’m actually getting a little embarrassed for her when she has to give acceptance speeches. What else is there to say except “YOU GUYYYYYYS!!!” yep…she said it). But wow, that crazy season 4 winner that won us all over is winning the world over. Simon could not have been more right when he predicted she’d probably be the biggest Idol winner ever. And if you haven’t purchased her new album Carnival Ride (or her first album Some Hearts), you’re seriously missing out on some quality tunes! Of course, it is tough for me to admit some missteps taken by my other favorite and original Idol winner – Miss Kelly Clarkson. While her album My December gathered some pretty decent reviews by the critics – the backlash from all of the Clive Davis/Kelly feuding about the direction of the album, and the album (penned by Kelly) lacking a commercial sound has caused her to have an “off-year” in the sales department. But she’s taking steps to rebound her career, including a successful stint with Reba McEntire. Those 2 kids became BFF after the 1st season of American Idol when they performed a duet of Reba’s “Does he Love You” at some AI special. Anyway, they went on to perform a CMT Crossroads concert together. Due to the success of this and a duet of “Because of You” off of Reba’s Duets album they have launched a tour to cash in on it. Believe it or not, my girlfriend actually talked ME into going to this one and not vice versa! So yes, I’ll be in Louisville, Kentucky this Friday night seeing some Reba and Kelly (well, I was going to be in Tennessee anyway, why not right??). I must really be secure in my manhood to be broadcasting this in a blog!

The other shocker of the past year was Chris Daughtry (pre-maturely eliminated in Season 5) and his band (appropriately named Daughtry) having the Billboard Top Selling Album of 2007! And I gotta admit, that microphone stand loving baldy (ahhh Molly the Mic Stand) put together one fine album! In comparison, Season 5 winner and runner-up Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee have both been dropped by their labels. While you're at it, throw Ruben Studdard (season 2 winner) onto the list. Yes my friends, America is starting to show its true colors! What about our season 6 winner and runner up? Both Jordin and Blake have released their albums. And while Jordin's single "Tatoo" is hanging out in the top 10 of iTunes, neither of the 2 newbie idols are having any breakout success.

And sure there are the fleet of other minor successes out there from other Idol finalists, but I'm not going to get into them. Kellie Pickler is garnering enough attention with her...ahem..."personal enhancements" than for me to give her any more!

Season 7

So....onward to season 7! What will the show do for us to improve things from the past? Well for starters, they're allowing contestants to use Musical Instruments in their auditions and I believe for performances eventually. We have seen in the past that some of our finalists did have some skills other than their voice (Taylor -Harmonica, Blake -Beatbox???, Carrie and Bo -Guitar). So now they're able to showcase this stuff to separate themselves from the crowd. Also, they will focus much more on developing "STORIES" for our contestants. This was very evident in the auditions tonight. Many arguments from last season were that American Idol focused too much on bringing in other musical guests to increase album sales, that they did not focus enough time on introducing America to the NEXT big Musical act. Well, they're getting started early!

Okay where was I? Right...the auditions! You all know I am not a fan of the 3 weeks of Auditions. It's excruciating, it's a lot of been there...done that. And I'm sick of writing about them! But, how could I possibly not write about the PHILLY auditions? And before I get to them, I have to explain some sadness that has come to light in the past few months. Yes, my friends, I have officially passed the date where I am no longer eligible to audition for American Idol. I told many people that if the auditions were in Philly this past summer that I would definitely consider auditioning. Well, they came, and I didn't go! Of course, I had my excuse. I was out of town the weekend that contestants were required to register. Little did I know, though, that when I landed (I saw the Wachovia Center from the plane all lit up), I could've walked right into the arena with no line, and signed right up! And, if I knew that I would've been able to play some piano (like Paula's Stalker mentioned they had) while I sang....Man...i would've been a shoe in! What song would I have sung? Oh I dunno. Does it matter? I think the bigger question would've been....whose blog would you have read if I was off getting famous!? And if I did get much of my past blogs would come back to haunt me for the things I said about people? Ahhhh if only we could've found out!

With that said, we must discuss the people that DID get to Hollywood that don't even hold a candle to yours truly! (come on guys, I'm kidding. I'm not that good!)

Welcome to my hometown area - The city of Brotherly Love and the home of the Philly Phanatic, the cheese steak and Rocky Balboa! We had an eclectic mix of people auditioning from rabid star wars fans to female middle linebackers, to Borat wannabes (very niiiice yes??). We had a crazy glitter girl from Allentown who thinks the man that wrote their town's theme song was Jon Bon Jovi (OUCH! Don't be dissin' Billy Joel!). And to think the Idol Producers actually drove to her town to film this girl at her house. What a waste! But like I said, I don't want to spend time on the BAD (EVER AGAIN!). I am going to highlight the good people and we'll move on to bigger and better things (I think I've lost you all by now anyway!)

  • Joey Catalano - 19 - Story: He lost 200 lbs. See? Totally beats my story of losing 70 lbs. No reason for me to audition! The judges liked him. I wasn't a huge fan of his. But you gotta give him props for losing the weight. I don't see him as much of a contender down the stretch. Not from what I'm reading about this "massive talent" they've found!
  • Melanie Nyema - 26 - Story: Taylor Hicks Backup Singer. Yep following in the footsteps of Brandon Rogers (not even sure if that was his name anymore) and Melinda Doolittle. Is she ready for the spotlight? Didn't look like it, but we'll see if she grows into it!
  • Junot Joyner - 25 - Not much of a story for this guy yet. He looked kinda goofy but he sang a good version of Elton's "I guess that's why they call it the Blues" or as Junot called it "The Blues" Not much else to say at this point except if he makes it far....I'll probably call him JJ??
  • Jose Candelaria - 23 - He sang in Spanish and was good. Duh! That's an automatic shoe-in!
  • Jonathan Baines - 17 - Sang some country. Little Big Town's "A Little More You" Nice tune, he wasn't too bad either. Of course, you know my initial thoughts on the 16, 17 year olds on this show. Jordin made me a believer last year. But that was a rare scenario!
  • Angela Martin - 26 - Story: Mother of a sick child and has a strong support group of family and friends to get her through it. She is a full time singer and wants to win to get the best care for her child. She's also confident she can win. And well...she was one of the best people we saw from Philly (if only I auditioned!!!) The only thing that drove me nuts (and the judges called her on it too) was the snapping and "HA!'s" that she kept doing throughout the song. I mean what causes you to do that? Simon blamed it on being a Wedding Singer. Maybe...but we see it in these auditions all of the time and it's my biggest pet peeve!
  • Kristy Lee Cook - 23 - They hyped this girl up the entire episode so they wanted everyone to get very familiar with her. She's from Oregon. Bizarre that she traveled all the way to Philly for the audition. I'm sure there is one out West somewhere, but whatever. She sold a horse to get there so I mean they had to let her in! She was pretty good and probably the other one of the best people we saw. The judges think she needs a little more confidence. But she could be this year's country girl. Time will tell!
  • Beth Stalker - 28 - Great editing to have this girl follow that guy that was an ACTUAL STALKER of Paula's. Wow, that guy really found some new uses for the name Peter Falk(her). Gotta love this family show, don't ya? Anyway Beth is a stay at home mom and realized that it's her last chance to audition and actually went and gave it a shot! (okay okay...stop bashing me for not going!!!) As she was singing, I thought that we've been down this road before. She was singing that "Bewitched, Bewildered" song and it was very bluesy and low key and I don't think she'll be able to do much more than that. Simon seemed to agree, but she still has moved on to Hollywood. Prove me wrong Beth!
  • Chris Watson - 20 - This guy wants to be more famous after he's dead and listed Nirvana as one of his biggest influences. I guess if he becomes famous we can expect some headlines to hit when he turns 27 too, right? There's a good role model for children! Well, he did sing pretty well. Of course, did anyone else find the irony that THIS guy sang an Uncle "KRACKER" song? I can't be any more blunt than that, sorry folks! The judges liked his "interesting recording voice" Once again, it's too early to tell from the 6 other cities we need to visit if this guy will make it far.
  • Brooke White - 24 - Nanny for twins in California. Never has seen an R Rated Movie, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke (must really like Adam Ant too! anyone out there get that one?) Brooke sang some Corinne Bailey Rae and the judges liked her. I thought she was okay, but I don't see an Idol winner in her. Maybe if Simon turns her over to the Darkside. Maybe she could pull off the Jabba's prisoner outfit more than the chest waxing robed Star Wars Nerd that showed up to audition? Who knows?? If any show can pull it's American Idol!

Seriously guys, do you really like these Audition Blogs? I'm a firm believer that this blog doesn't get interesting until the Top 24 starts. I'm a lot of talk every year and say I want to cut down on these but I never do. If anything, I may just shorten them to "who got in" and a little blurb about them. It's just too early in the process to be rendering any decisions unless you're Carrie Underwood in her audition! Anyway, as you can see...I posted a nice poll in the top right corner of the blog. I think it expires sometime on Wednesday so vote up and let me know if you're actually reading these Audition blogs and get anything out of them!

Anyway, that was our WELCOME BACK to Idol and our Philly Auditions Recap. Based on the talent that got in, there's a good chance I at least could have gotten a free trip to Hollywood with my rendition of the Black Crowes "She Talks to Angels" (oops, cat out of the bag! and once again kidding. I never would've made it out of the Wachovia Center to see the judges!) Oh well, I'll just have to become a famous writer instead!

Hope you enjoyed and POST comments! Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow as we return to Dallas, the audition locale of the original idol winner!