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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol, January 17th – Blame It On the Rain


Thomas “Tommy” Daniels, 21, from Troudale, Oregon, has been soaking wet waiting for his audition. He quit his job as a gas station attendant to come here, and believes this is his elevator to the top, and he plans on making it whether he takes the stairs or elevator. When he’s asked by the judges about sleeping in cans, he says he actually slept behind two rows of cans in the rain, waiting for his audition. He also admits this is his third audition for the show, as he auditioned two years ago in Vegas, and three years ago in Los Angeles. He’s hoping three times the charm.

As Tommy sings Amos Lee’s Arms of a Woman, I agree with Simon that it’s a nice change of pace from the normal songs that everyone does. He also thought he sang very well, and Paula calls it very soothing, being they haven’t had a great start there in Seattle. Tommy admits he was feeling very confident listening to others in line. Randy liked his beautiful tone and his ‘fro. Paula says she had goosebumps, and Tommy makes it through unanimously. As he’s celebrating with family outside, Ryan gets handed a Chihuahua. Paula then gets a chance at holding the dog, as does Simon, and Paula decides if she and Simon had a baby, it would look like that. Huh.

Melissa “Carlene” Stavros, 22, from Seattle, also has a dog with her, a miniature Pomeranian named Teeka. She has a very interesting outfit on. She’s a big girl, and the outfit is a gray dress, and underneath she’s wearng a pink netted leotard with arms and legs, is the best way to describe it. She talks about being crazy and loud, and says singing has always been a part of her life. She was planning on singing Hit Me With Your Best Shot, but now hears Simon hates that song, so she plans to just sing whatever comes to her during the audition.

Walking into the audition, Simon tells Carlene she looks sunburn, because of that pink netting. Randy asks her about dancing on tables, as apparently she has that written in the notes about her. Why would you put that down? Randy says he’s going to throw something out to see what she does, and starts off, “I like …” she finishes “… big butts, and I cannot lie …” She proceeds to sing the song and dance around slapping her ass. Simon sits stunned, and Carlene says she’s got the booty for it and is fluffy. She sings her audition, I Turn to Him, by Christina Aguilera, and she doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s not enough. After, she admits it was bad, and Simon admits it was a bit. Ryan asks Teeka how she thinks the audition is going, seeing as her ears are better than his. Carlene is told sorry, and leaves, then tells Ryan and her friends her voice was shaking a lot, and she sounded like a goat. Simon says it looked like she’d been caught in a net.

Blake Lewis, 25, from Bothell, Washington, has hair that stood up through the pouring rain somehow, and Ryan thinks it could withstand a hurricane. He’s a champion beat boxer here locally. He does a little bit of it for the judges, and while Simon is bored, Paula and Randy like it. For his audition, he sings Seal’s Crazy, and I have to say he’s much better than I thought he would be. Simon calls it over the top, and says he’s not sure if Blake is as good as he thinks he is. Paula notes he’s been doing this for seven years, and Simon asks why he hasn’t been discovered, and he says because he lives in Seattle, and not LA. Paula loves him, and Randy thinks his beat boxing was better than his singing, and that he sang the wrong song. Simon adds he’s talented enough to go through to the next round, but Blake just isn’t as talented as he thinks he is. He makes it through, celebrates with his father loudly, and Simon calls it obnoxious. His dad is tearful and says his son lives for music, and he wants him to be the next American Idol. Blake calls his dad the hardest working man in Seattle. You have to like them.

Up next is a brother and sister, Shyamali Malakar, 19, and Sanjaya, 17, of Lacey, Washington. Their father is from India and is a classical musician, so they were raised around music. They will be auditioning individually, and know they could probably do it together, but think it will be more fun going against each other. Shyamali says Sanjaya wouldn’t be this far if not for her, and he says that’s what she thinks. He just knows he’s the next American Idol.

Shyamali sings Summertime, last heard out of Fantasia’s mouth, and calls it a nice jazz standard classic. She’s good, but not as good as Fantasia was with the song. Paula says although she’s obviously nervous, Shyamali is better than she gives herself credit for. She thinks she has a very pretty voice. Simon says there is nothing unique or different about her, although she is very pretty. Randy liked her and thought she had a nice voice. He thinks she still needs to find out who she is and where she fits. Randy and Paula both vote yes, and Simon says he’s not going to jump out of his chair. Shyamali proves she’s stronger than she looks as she says she’d be shocked if he jumped out of his chair. She is told to work on her showmanship, repertoire, and dynamics, and Simon laughs, telling her to change everything. As Ryan tells Sanjaya his mom says he’s the better singer but lacks confidence, his sister runs through the door with her golden ticket, and the family celebrates.

Ryan tells Shyamali her mom said she was the best, as her brother walks in for his audition. He tells them he doesn’t think he’s better. Simon notes it says he’s the shy one of the two, but he thinks his sister is shyer. Ryan reads that Sanjaya is inspired by Stevie Wonder, and asks him to sing one of his songs, as he launches into Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Paula claps, and Simon smiles, saying he is a lot better than his sister. While she has stage presence, he thinks he has a better voice. Paula votes absolutely yes, Randy yes, saying he thought Sanjaya was the bomb, and his sister listens outside, shocked they liked him better than her. The dad is asked who he thinks is the better singer, and he smartly refuses to say. I agree. I like ‘em both, but Sanjaya seems to just have a little more some’in’, some’in’.

It’s almost the end of the first day, and it just hasn’t gone that well. Nicholas Zitzmann, 27, from Midvale, Utah (which he tells us is near the Salt Like City area, then says he was wrong, it’s in the Salt Lake City area.), says he is a self-taught musician who has had a few private lessons in guitar. He believes he has a wide range and can hit all the notes. He tells Ryan he was encouraged to try out by his coworkers. They haven’t heard him sing, though, as they’ve only heard him do a few instrumentals. Huh.

Nicholas walks into the audition admitting he’s a little anxious. He says he’s a leader and can project himself really well and keep on key. In prior situations he was the leader voice in his choir, yet he doesn’t have an answer for the judges when they ask what makes him unique. He decides to sing Unchained Melody, knowing full well it’s Simon’s favorite song. He doesn’t have a good voice, and his eyes look totally freaked the whole time. Paula and Simon sway to the music, as Simon braces himself in his chair. Nicholas appears to sing the whole song, or close to it. Simon then stops him, and asks, “What the bloody hell was that?” Nicholas asks it wasn’t good enough? Randy says not even close. Simon says it’s not only one of the worst he’s even heard, it’s almost non-human. Randy tells him it was really bad and out of tune with a bad, weird tone.


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