So now we're in Kelly Clarkson's hometown, Dallas, Texas. Apparently, a girl went into labor waiting for her audition time. She named her daughter Idol. Are you kidding me? New format in the Idol blog tonight. I'll run down each of the contestants as they perform and attach my thoughts to each. Let me know what you think. And when I say that, I mean, leave a comment letting me know which format you like best. So, without further ado...
Jessica Brown - 24; I'll Stand By You, The Pretenders
We begin with Jessica's backstory involving a past as a drug addict. Happily, she's fully recovered with a good looking family. She has a strong voice. A lot of country twang, but hey, it's Texas. She'll get through to Hollywood for sure. She's another singer who will likely need to step up her game at the next level, but she's definitely got the talent and potential.
Paul Stafford - 25; Wait For You, Elliot Yamin
This guy is a park attendant. In the background we're playing some music that you'd expect to hear in a Goofy cartoon. And then Ryan gets him to "bust a move." And the voice was just a little worse than his dancing. Simon needs to cut him off before he hurts himself. The judges like him as a person though. They have really tuned down the cynicism and the sarcasm and the overall meanness this season. It seems that American Idol is yet another victim of our touchy-feely society that doesn't want to hurt people's feelings.
Beth Maddox - 18; Beautiful Disaster, Kelly Clarkson
She wants to be like Kelly Clarkson. Beth is a singing waitress at a fondue joint. Kelly Clarkson she's not. The song was a disaster, but not beautiful. Don't quit your day job kid. Actually, if you're a singing waitress, maybe you should move on to just the waitress part.
Esteban Deanda - 20; pretty much a bunch of "yeahs"
Simon: "It was atrocious."
Victoria Metz - 23
Really, let me say, bad.
Drucilla Wideman - 16
What key is she supposed to be singing in?
Alaina Whitaker - 16; Stronger, Faith Hill
A Carrie Underwood wannabe. She's actually very good. She has an incredible voice, especially considering her young age. The judges are full of compliments, but also constructive criticisms. They know she can take it. They know she's talented. She's on to Hollywood.
Gregory & Mia Tobias - 18 & 16
Ah, the ever inspiring sibling act. Has this ever worked out for American Idol? Let's think about Sanjaya and his sister last year. They both made it to Hollywood, but only Sanjaya made it further (How? We may never know). But I remember their auditions last year, and I remember thinking they were decent, deserving of a shot at the next round. These two? Not so much. Randy looks like he's in pain. Simon is dumbstruck. No one said a word. All it took was a stare, and I think that conveyed the message.
Bruce Dickson - 19; Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone
Never kissed a girl. Wants to save it all for the wedding day. I think he's got a good voice. But the judges pass on him. Poor guy. But he's young, he's got room for improvement.
Pia "Zpia" Easley - 24; I've Got to Use My Imagination, Gladys Knight
Model, musician, background singer. Not bad. I'm having a hard time judging the judges expressions. Simon likes her: "You're interesting." So does Paula. So does Randy. Zpia is Hollywood material.
Brandon Green - 21; She's a Rich Girl, Hall & Oates
Dude collects his fingernails. And he carries them around in a baggy with him. I'm a little disgusted right now. That reminds me, I need to cut my fingernails. Despite his strange habit, he actually has a decent voice. This shows that even the weird guys can have some talent. Simon says he's forgettable. Paula likes him. Randy says he's a little nasal, but he makes two out of three for a yes vote.
He nailed his audition. (Corny joke courtesy of Seacrest.)
Kayla Hatfield - 24; Take Another Piece of My Heart, Janis Joplin
Now we have another backstory. This girl was in a horrible car accident, but has a fantastic attitude about life. Sadly, I don't think she's gonna get through. I say that but I haven't even heard her sing yet. Sometimes when they tell the backstory you can just sense that something's missing. Her actual audition was really not good. This is my opinion. Simon gave her a yes. But Paula's saying no. I don't think I've ever seen Simon say yes and Paula say no. But Randy said yes also. 2 out of 3 is a win. But do I think she'll make it anywhere after that first night in Hollywood? No I do not.
Erick Mauldin - 21
Simon: "You sound like your 7."
Charles Markham - 21
Simon: "That was also atrocious, unfortunately."
Tristan Clements - 18
Katie Malloy - 18; Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers
Enter the hot girl. She does "vocal impressions" of Shakira, Britney Spears, and others. The judges want to hear Katie, not an impersonation. She is fantastic. She obviously has amazing control of her voice. Simon thinks she's the best they've seen this season. But it's hard to tell at what point Dallas falls in the real life schedule. I mean, it is the second night on TV, but it could've been the 5th audition city scheduled.
Moving on to Day 2 in Dallas...
Douglas Davidson - 27; Livin' on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
He looks a little like a slightly overweight Dwight. He speaks really softly because he doesn't want to strain his voice. He asks the judges to let him warm up before his performance. Little scary. Actual performance: lot scary. Apparently he didn't save his voice enough at all. Maybe he should continue not talking. Or singing. Also, he's got pit stains. The judges keep trying to cut him off, but he just keeps going. He keeps alternating between his warm ups and the actual song. And his arms keep spasming in front of his chest. Here comes security. See ya Dougie.
Angela Reilly - Baby Love, The Supremes
Angela's a newlywed, married to a professional model. She brings him into the audition to show him off. She can't sing at all. Good thing they're both pretty, 'cause apparently they're both tone-deaf. Chad (the husband) gets a lot of blank expressions on his face. She sings another song, also bad.
Kyle Ensley - 21; Somebody to Love, Queen
What's up with this guy's politicking and speechifying? Nice how they turn his pre-audition into a political commercial. Some pitch problems, a little flat there at the end. Simon summed it up for me, not as bad as I thought he would be. I think this guy deserves a shot at the next level. Paula's the deciding vote... and he's going to Hollywood. Congratulations Mr. Ensley.
Tammy Tuzinski - 24; The Power of Love, Celine Dion
But then she sang If You Asked Me. Zero. Personality. Seriously, I smile more than this chick. Also, zero talent. She thinks she gave it her best shot. She's spot on with what the judges are gonna say. She thinks they'll say no. And they did. What is this girl, a freakin' cyborg? She doesn't get happy, she doesn't get sad, she just runs program.
Colton Swon - 18; Boondocks, Little Big Town
He's in a band with his brother. A lot of times when people mention that, it could mean anything. And usually it means they only play in their garage. This guy actually did a good job. Nothing outstanding, but I think he's good enough to go to the next round. Three yeses. He thought he be clever by hiding his golden ticket and tricking his parents. Funny guy, Colton.
Drew Poppelreiter - 24; Check Yes or No, George Strait
We've got a farmer here folks. He sings on his tractor out in the hayfields. He doesn't have a bad voice, but I don't think he would be very versatile. Country he can do, but when it comes to stretching himself during the competition, I don't think he'll be able to get anywhere with it. But they let him through.
Kyle Rennick - 20; Never Again, Kelly Clarkson
Dude's wearing eyeliner. I know Daughtry did that a few times when he was on Idol, but not at the audition. Can't say I stood behind the eyeliner when he did it either though. When you hear him talk, he doesn't sound like a "rocker." And I'm not sure, but he may be wearing some sort of make up on the cheeks. But his entire face is really shiny. Not sure what's up with this guy. And then he sings, and I really don't think it's that good. I really don't think it's even a little good. He's all over the place.
Nina Shaw - 24; Run to You, Whitney Houston
Nina's from the same town as Kelly Clarkson. Is that a good omen? I don't think it is. I'm not a fan of her. Randy likes her. Simon disagrees. Paula says she shows promise. I really don't think she'll hit the top 24.
Renaldo Lapuz - 44; singing an original song
His hat is made of feathers. And he has a silver, flowing cape. And apparently he worships Simon. Obviously, at his age, he won't be going to Hollywood. Obviously, hearing him sing wouldn't cause them to change the rules. I'll give him this, he puts his heart into the song. Good times. At least they're having fun. It must be the end of the Dallas auditions.
24 people are going to Hollywood from Dallas. My picks from Dallas to go on to the next level are Maria Whitaker, Katie Malloy, and Colton Swon. Again, it's early and there are five more audition sites to go, so it's really hard to tell who will go where from this point. Next week we'll see what happened in San Diego.