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

American Idol, January 24th – The Return


I’m not sure what Antonella sings, but she definitely shows more personality with it than her friend did. Simon thinks she is better than her friend as well, and Carole thinks she’s good and has a great look. She thinks she should go to Hollywood as well. Simon and Paula both say yes, and Paula points out she should never say “she’s trained, but I’m not.” Antonella says she doesn’t think Amanda got her best audition. Simon offers a lesson in show business, that when someone’s down on the floor, you kick them. She says she can’t do that to her best friend, and leaves, celebrating with Amanda. When asked what they said, she mentions they thought she was better than Amanda. Ryan notes that was awkward, yet the two girls still leave as best friends. He’s questioning how that will hold up in Hollywood. It could be very interesting if one is cut the first day, yet the other moves on. Speaking of that, we haven’t had any twins this year, and I really don’t miss it. The Brittenums seemed to ruin it for everyone.

Clifton Biddle, 24, of New Castle, Delaware is seen playing a harmonica by the water’s edge, and says he thinks he’s an Average Joe. The reason he’s doing this is he doesn’t want his talent to go to waste. He likes making people scream and likes to be the center of attention. He then launches into doing some sound effects, almost like Ross’ “sound” from Friends, and says everyone says he should go on American Idol, and he likes to sing, so he did it, yet I think the reason he’s here is to get exposure for his sound effect talents. Paula sees in his notes he works for a bank, and asks if that’s fun. He says yes, that the people he works with are great, and they crack him up. He feels at times like he’s already on a reality show. Simon just loves his. Clifton sings ZZ Top’s Tush and does this mad stomping the whole time. Paula asks for something else, and Simon adds without stomping. He breaks out his harmonica, and Paula likes it, although Simon notes it’s a bit squeaky. Randy tries to explain it’s a harmonica, it’s supposed to be squeaky. He gets four nos, though, and walks out, saying he got shot down like a F 150. Wait, that’s a truck. I blame my notes.

Kia Thornton, 27, of Englewood, New Jersey walks in and sings Ain’t No Way by Aretha Frankle, and has a very good soulful voice. Simon says, “Wow, this girl can sing.” She thanks him, and he says she didn’t need him to tell her that, as it’s quite obvious. She says she agrees with everything he says all the time. He likes you, Kia, no need to butter him up at this point. Simon offers up one criticism, though, and that’s the song choice. He tells her it was a great audition and the best today, making her cry. Carole tells Kia she doesn’t need to oversing things, and should just stay with the melody, and if she does, Carole thinks she’ll keep moving up that ladder, as she’s wonderful. Paula tells her when she sings in her soft voice, she’s vulnerable and makes everyone crumble, so there’s no need to oversing. Randy appreciates the degree of difficulty in the song, but says Kia needs to remember with Aretha, “She done sing it.” With four yeses, Kia drops to her knees when she reaches Ryan again, and Simon cracks her problem is she shows no emotion.

It’s day two of New York, and everyone is there but Simon. Ryan wonders if he had a singing hangover, and they go on to start without him. Jenry, 17, of Rotterdam, New York, is the first up, and says he was adopted into a Bolivian household when he was just 1. He had a lot of questions when he was growing up, but says he found his way. His mother says he was always makes noises and singing when he was little, and she saw something in him. She pushed him into auditioning, and here he is. He sings I’d Give Anything to Fall in Love, and sounds impressively mature. Paula gives him a few oohs and aahs, and says she’s really surprised, pleasantly surprised, being he’s only 16. He sang in tune, with nice texture to his voice. She adds it was beautiful, and he’s “easy on the eyes, as they say.” Carole is impressed that Jenry walked for his first audition, yet he has something really charismatic in him, with a nice voice to work with. Randy agrees that he likes his voice, and says the “girls” are right. He’s 16, and comes in really believing it, and wants them to. He gets three yeses, and as he leaves, Randy tells him to stay humble. He will for now, but with his looks, charisma, and voice, we’ll see what Hollywood does for him. My mood is lifting.

Nakia Nicole Claibourne, 24, of Scottsburg, Virginia, says people call her Little Shirley, because she sounds like the legendary Shirley Caesar. Nakia is here to have fun, but is trying very hard to keep her composure, as she doesn’t want people to think she’s crazy. She just can’t help it, though, as she wants to be the next American Idol, and knows you have to have gusto. She has a feeling it’s going to work out, and wants to see if they can recognize a star. Carole asks her what it feels like to come all this way to be an American Idol, and Nakia says it’s been a blast, and she can’t wait to go to Hollywood. Well, she’s getting a little ahead of herself here, as they tell her she has to audition first.

Singing Martha and Vandella’s Dancing in the Street, Nakia has all three of the judges dancing in their seats. Paula likes Nakia’s energy, says she’s lots of fun, and as she tells Nakia she’s infectious, Nakia nearly jumps out of her skin saying she loves that word, and has to be reminded to calm is down some. Carole starts to agree, and Nakia then launches into a much slower song, Dreaming of You, by Selena. This is where we can hear serious problems with her singing. Paula tells her she needs a lot of work with her singing, as she’s all over the place. Nakia is asked how she thinks she did, and says the nerves probably got to her on the slow song. Carole knows the first song was so much fun they didn’t care if there were flaws, but with the second song, there were so many things with her pitch. Paula votes no, yet mentions Nakia was a joy. Randy agrees, and tells her she was definitely entertaining, but Nakia just doesn’t want to let all the people down that are counting on her to go to Hollywood. She asks what it is about her pitch that is off, and Randy says one note on, one note off, one note on, etc. He wants her to understand they’re trying to find the best, not just “sounds kind of good.” She walks out of the room, looking about 6 inches shorter, as her spirit is so deflated. She is comforted by a woman, possibly her mom, and also the next contestant.

I thought Sarah Goldberg, 20, of New York City was walking into the audition dressed as Peter Pan, but no. She also sings Dreaming of You, and does even worse than Nakia. Carole asks her if in her heart she really thinks she can sing, and Sarah answers no. Randy wants to know honestly why she is there then. Sarah says she is no singer, and notes how she stood there the entire time while they were shaking their heads, looking at her and laughing. Randy asks if she just wanted to be on TV, but she says no. She gets emotional, saying she’s not a singer. Carole says they’ve got that. Sarah continues she still loves to sing, but her friends make fun of her because she’s tone deaf. She doesn’t need them to tell her, she knows it. Yet even though she can’t sing, she can be the next American Idol, as she’s never sung before, and they can teach her.

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