Charles Moore, 26, from Brooklyn, New York, comes dressed as Apollo Creed from Rocky. He says it’s a message for the judges, to let them know he’s here to knock them out, and wants to do it for his nieces and nephews in foster care.. He’s a singer and dancer, and wants to perform in front of large crowds of people. He enters his audition and Simon questions why there is a man wearing a robe in there. Charles says he’s going to sing an aria in Italian, but I swear at first I thought he said REO, and I was trying to figure out how Ridin’ the Storm Out would sound in Italian. It’s obviously an aria, though. Jewel tells him that the song is kicking his butt, and Simon questions the show at this moment, saying the fact that they’re taking this man seriously is disturbing. After they make fun of his outfit a little more, he’s dismissed, and also tries to go out the wrong door. Maybe REO would have been better.
Next we have the sad story to cheer on through the finals, similar to Kellie Pickler. Denise Jackson, 16, of Madision, Wisconsin, says her mom struggles with drug addiction, and can’t help it, though she tries. Denise was born a crack baby, and an attempt was made to send her to a foster home, but her grandmother rescued her. She just thanks God, as while many crack babies are born with disabilities, there’s nothing wrong with her. And on top of it all, she was born with a gift, being able to sing. She’s wearing sunglasses for the occasion, and says it’s to make an entrance, and like Beyonce.
Entering the judges’ room, Denise walks in the with ‘tude, as promised. She announces she will sing Jennifer Holliday’s You’re Gonna Love Me, but after seeing Dreamgirls, I think the song now belongs to former Idol Jennifer Hudson. Randy calls it a tall order, and Simon says they need her to be good. And she is pretty good. She’s not in line with the 16 year olds from last season, but she definitely has something. And puts way more heart into this song than Lisa Tucker did when doing I Am Changing from Dreamgirls last year. Paula calls it pretty powerful, and calls Denise pretty adorable. Simon says she proved to them she could do it. He thinks she’s potentially a very good singer. Randy gives her a yes, Jewel a definitely, Paula a thumbs up, and Simon tells her she just sailed through to Hollywood.
Another one of those here’s a whole collection of people doing the same thing, and this time it’s people forgetting their words. Tashawn Moore, 27, from Minneapolis comes in wearing a tie, saying she wanted to dress for success, and wants to do Prince proud, singing Kiss. The problem is, of course, she can’t remember the words. She sings “No women, no girls,” over and over, then switches to “I want women, I know girls” and pieces the song together a line at a time. This four minute song actually took about ten by the time she was through. Again, they didn’t stop her, as Simon just sat with his head resting in his hands. Randy finally tells her singing isn’t her thing, Jewel, Paula, and Simon give her a no, and Tashawn apologizes and walks out the door, the wrong door.
Perla Meneses, originally from Columbia, and now from Margate, Florida, came to America when she was 15 with two backpacks, a teddy bear, and a guitar. She was homeless at one point, but is here for the American dream, and feels blessed to be here. She knows Simon is going to love her, but first, she asks Ryan if he likes Spanish girls. He says yes, and she explains he’s kind of short, like her. Ryan says no, she’s short; he’s average.
Walking into the audition, Perla explains she’s there to be the next American Idol, and is going to sing Blondie. She launches into Call Me, and it’s not bad, but definitely isn’t someone I can imagine winning the whole thing. Simon says, “Muchas gracias,” and Randy, noticing her notes mention she likes Shakira, asks her to sing just two seconds of Hips Don’t Lie. She obliges, and everyone agrees they like her doing Shakira much better than Blondie. Perla explains she would have done that, but didn’t want anyone comparing her to Shakira. Randy likes her spunky, crazy, kind of wild attitude. Jewel likes her personality, but finds her talent in the middle of the road. Simon explains the problem with singing Blondie, was it was too heavily accented, but he thinks she’s great fun. She gets four yeses, and is through to Hollywood.
With only girls making it to Hollywood so far, will it be Matthew Volna, 25, of Elk River, Minnesota turning this tide? He’s wearing a cowboy hat, and explains he’s older country, along the lines of Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, or Randy Travis. To prepare for this, he got as much sleep as he could, but didn’t eat a lot, as he didn’t want too much in his stomach. He thinks he has flair and pizzazz, something the past Idols having had. Walking into his audition, he’s asked to sing Folsum Prison Blues, and sings it completely monotone, a very low monotone. As Randy laughs, Jewel jokes and says it would be really good if he sang lower, then asks if it was supposed to be serious of funny. That’s not good. Randy asks if he just bought the cowboy outfit yesterday, and if it isn’t all just a joke, again, not good. Matthew explains he loves country music, and Randy says he does too, but he doesn’t try to sing it. Is this Simon? No, it’s Randy! Simon categorizes it under pointless, and Matthew walks out saying Simon is the biggest jerk of them all, as he wouldn’t even look at him. And Simon acting like this in an audition is a surprise to you?
One guy actually walks in, starts singing, then bends down into a puppet show in front of the judges. Yep, gone.
Jarrod Fowler, 27, from Peoria, Illinois, is an intelligence specialist in the Navy, and is currently stationed in San Diego, California, on the USS Ronald Reagan. He explains the ship is as long as the Empire State building is tall. The ship held a “Reagan Idol,” and he won, which brings him the self confidence to appear on the show. For his audition, he sings Rascal Flatts’ Bless the Broken Road, and does Ronald Reagan, the man and boat, proud. Simon thinks people will like him, so he gets a yes from him. Paula talks about the song being an integral part of the show since Rascal Flatts performed it on the finale two years ago, Jewel votes yes, but warns him to watch his pitchiness, and Randy agrees. He also warms him to not do so many turns, saying one is plenty. He’s through to Hollywood.
We are treated to someone singing Fever, that Simon calls juvenile, tuneless, mediocre, and horrible. Gone. Next up is Trista Giese, 22, of Brainerd, Minnesota, who is admittedly a big fan of Wizard of Oz. She brings one of those huge fold out posters with her of herself following the yellow brick road, and shows Ryan how she can do a great lion impression. She sings If I Were King of the Forest with her uncanny lion impression included, and while Randy and Paula are cracking up, Simon stares in disbelief. He asks afterward what he is supposed to say, and Trista would like to hear that she is unique, and more different than anyone else. Instead she hears it’s one of the strangest things Simon has ever heard in his life. Everyone votes no, and as Trista leaves, she asks if they want to keep the poster. Randy says no, and Jewel tells them they are cold. Randy adds he’s waiting for the Tin Man.
Stephen Horst, 28, is a vocal coach from New York. His advice for his students is always just to tell the story. He starts his audition with a pitch pipe, then sings I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, while Randy shakes his head and Paula just straightens her back as Stephen launches into a horrible falsetto. Randy looks horribly frightened by the end, and Simon adds he thinks one or two of Stephen’s pupils were in to try out already. Randy mentions the “wild falsetto,” and asks why he would choose that song. Stephen says he did a program with friends at Walt Disney World, and wanted to show his pop and rock range.
Randy gets very mean then, and says at the theme park, no one is really listening as they’re walking around. Simon calls Randy rude, and says he would pay attention. Paula calls it too much vibrato, and more musical theatre. Randy wants him to know he shouldn’t be a vocal teaching, and says he wouldn’t take lessons from him, and that he wouldn’t tell anyone to come in singing like that, because it was awful. Simon asks Stephen if he’s going to take that, but he’s just so confused at this point. Randy continues saying he doesn’t like the tone, he doesn’t like anything about it, and it’s not great. He thinks he should be telling his students they have one shot to slay them, so they shouldn’t be this hideous. Randy and Simon then go back and forth, Simon calling him rude, and Randy saying if you’re going to take people’s money, you should be great. As Stephen leaves, Simon tells Randy he thinks he was abused by a vocal coach in a former life. I agree with Simon. Randy was really more rude than perhaps Simon has ever been.
Michelle Steingas, 19, from Excelsior, Minnesota, sings Deana Carter’s If This is Love, and Randy calls it a’ight once it got going, and Simon calls it a good audition, but odd choice of song. He things the public is really going to like her, as she’s confident without being irritatingly precocious. Everyone votes yes, and Michelle says she’s really stoked, as she can now quit her job, which is the best part of the whole thing. A montage is then shown of many other people doing it for the same reasons, to get away from their jobs, or because they have no job.