I just don’t know if this is such a good idea. Tonight, American Idol has decided to go to Birmingham, Alabama for auditions, after two winners, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks, and one runner-up, Bo Bice, have hailed from the area. But whenever we’re looking forward to a certain city, thinking we’ll have oodles of talent, it just never seem to go too well. I’m just not that overly optimistic., I guess. But whatever they end up with, it can’t be worse than Seattle, right? … Right?
Erica Skye, 19, of Auburn, Alabama, attends Auburn University, and is studying biological science. She plans to do something in the dental field if a singing career doesn’t work out for her. She’s singing LeeAnn Rimes’ version of Unchained Melody, despite knowing that it’s one of Simon’s favorites. She’s hoping to not hear bad responses, but it makes me sit back a little and say, “Eww.” As she’s screwing up the words, the people that came to the audition with Erica tell Ryan she sounds good, and it’s giving them chills. Maybe it’s because they’re thinking of her holding the dentist drill.
Simon compares the audition to a never-ending torture, and Erica explains it away saying she was nervous and her voice way shaky. As she is assuring them she can do better, Simon says she is absolutely hopeless as a singer. She tries another song and as Simon continues to try and make her stop, Paula leaves. Coming to the vote, everyone votes no, and Erica brushes off her shoulder. Simon asks what that means, and when Paula explains, she’s bleeped out. I’m at a loss. I didn’t know there was a verbal exchange for that hand gesture, but I certainly have a good guess.
Katie Bernard, also 19, and of Orlando, Florida, says she has two voices, her speaking voice, and singing voice. Her voice sounds quite cartoonish at the moment, and she explains it gets higher when she’s nervous. When she answers the phone, she says people ask if they can talk to her mom, as she sounds as if she is 3. Paula asks her about her unique voices, and Katie assures them her singing voice is quite different, to which Simon says he hopes so. She sings A House Is Not a Home, and she is right that her singing voice is much lower. Well, there’s a long way to go, but she at least went down an octave.
Paula calls this an interesting audition, and Katie apologizes. Randy thinks they can do this, and says he wants to give the girl another shot, but advises her to lose all the affectations. Katie promises if she makes it through she won’t mimic anyone or talk like a little girl, and Paula says if she’s going to get rid of the voice, she’s obviously aware of it. She and Randy get on their knees mocking it, I assume, and Simon says he’s ready to do the same thing, although for a completely different reason. I’m afraid to ask, but he answers it would be to get Paula to say no, as he’s saying no, and Randy is saying yes. She’s the deciding vote. Noting that Katie just got married, Paula suggests she go enjoy married life, and then suggests her new husband, Lamont, be brought in. Simon says he’s falling asleep, and for that reason alone, Paula decides to send Katie through to Hollywood. Katie cheers in her little girl voice, hugs Lamont, and they leave.
Tatiana McConnico, 17, of Atlanta, Georgia, is a student at a performing arts school, so I’m thinking she at least isn’t going to go in there all tone deaf. She may not be the best, but at least she’ll know how to stay on pitch. She has no other aspirations other than singing, and doesn’t think she can be happy with anything else in her life. She is a huge fan, and has watched every single season, but hopes to miss season six because she’ll be on it. Okay, now I’m scared for her, as those admissions make her sound like a crazed fan.
Singing I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You), Tatiana reminds me of a funky Paris Bennett, although it was the auditioner before that had a speaking voice like her. Randy congratulates Tatiana, telling her it was good, and Paula calls it very nice. Randy continues, and calls Tatiana natural, dope, and says she might be the best voice he’s going to hear in Birmingham. Simon tells her she is through to Hollywood. Wow, two good auditions and only one bad? Something tells me they’re setting us up for a fall.
Diana Walker, 27, of Atlanta, Georgia, works in childcare, but was a cheerleader in high school. She acknowledges she was the base of the pyramid, but says she could do the splits. When Ryan asks to see it, she stresses she said could before. This opportunity is so grand, and Diana believes it will open doors like no other. She believes she has opportunity and image. She’s asked if she has a Michael Jackson thing going on, because she is only wearing one glove. Along with that she’s wearing the worst dress in the world that a larger person should wear. She sings Saving All My Love by Whitney Houston, and just like the pyramid, she’s still at the bottom. Simon says he’s never heard that song sung like that before, and asks what normally happens when she sings in public. She tells him she gets embarrassed, but does receive a standing ovation. Randy asks when they stand if it’s to exit really quickly. She gets nos across the board, and Paula says, “God bless you, Dear.” Simon remarks that was the most extraordinary dress he’s ever seen. That’s one way to put it.