We had the male Taylor wannabe in Seattle with Eric Chapman, and now we have the female counterpart, Phuong Pham, 17, from San Diego, California. I just don’t have a good feeling with this one. She believes she has a lot in common with Taylor, as they’re both self-taught, and neither one has a family that supports him. This is where I feel bad for her, as she says her mom told her not to try out for Idol, because it focuses a lot on looks, and as pretty as she is, she isn’t quite TV pretty. She told her to face it. She was no Katharine McPhee. Oh … my … Gawd! That is from her own mother! That’s terrible!
Phuong doesn’t want to be perceived as a Taylor replicate, but wants to be known as having the same passion. She walks into the audition shouting Soul Patrol, then freaks out when she sees Taylor’s picture on the wall. Phuong tells the judges she abandoned music for awhile just to please her family, and Simon says they hear that a lot, and this is her moment. Singing Dancing In the Streets, she’s absolutely not in tune at all As Randy laughs behind his papers, Simon says he doesn’t know what was worse, her singing or dancing. Phuong apologizes for being nervous, and Simon explains he doesn’t think this is for her. She falls back to her Idol, and asks to be given a chance. She’s dismissed anyway, and oddly, it’s her mom there to console her. So now Phuong thinks she’s ugly and can’t dance or sing. The dancing and singing is a definite, but she is in no way not TV pretty. Why could her mom not be honest and just say, “You can’t sing!” Why blame it on her looks?
Brandon Rogers, 28, of North Hollywood, California, has been singing background for four years, and says he started by accident. He started singing for Anastasia, then sang behind Christina Aguilera for two years. He says the smoke and mirrors of traveling around the world was great in the beginning, but when that got old, he saw his career not progressing. Winning American Idol would mean every decision to pursue music in his life would be validated. Kind of like Alaina. He sings Always On My Mind, and has a great tone with some nice runs. And here’s the romance Sholandric was looking for. Paula and Olivia agree “Oh yeah!” Simon tells Brandon that out of everyone they’ve seen today, this is by far the best audition. He says that because for the first time, he can see Brandon actually making the finals. He believes Brandon has a likability about him, just like his own. Olivia tells him she felt him in her heart (Brandon, not Simon). He’s going to Hollywood.
Brian Miller, 19, of Placentia, California, made it to Hollywood last year, then left devastated when it all ended abruptly, and he left in tears. He’s here to bring it this time, sings Changes Gonna Come, and Ollivia jams, as I try to figure out who Brian reminds me of. It’s someone from an 80s movie, but I can’t place it. Simon tells him he’s a nice-looking guy and has a nice voice, but he’s forgettable. Brian asks if he’s improved since last year, and Simon tells him he doesn’t even remember him. Based on the voice, Randy votes him to Hollywood, and Olivia agrees, saying she likes Brian’s voice, and she thinks he has a real sweetness about him. Paula also says yes, and even though Simon votes no, the three yeses are enough to get him a second try at Hollywood. I don’t remember him in Hollywood last year, other than crying as he left.
Brian leaves, getting a hug from the next contestant, Sherman Pore, 64, of Los Angeles. Yesterday we had 50 year old Margaret, today 64 year old Sherman? He explains his lady love of twenty years became ill and ended up in the cancer ward at Cedars Sinai Hospital. During that time, he thought of doing American Idol, and started a petition. His lady love worked on it with him, and would be elated when he’d come back with signatures, 330 in all. she would light up, and it helped her keep a positive attitude which he feels smoothed her passing.
Seeing Sherman walk in, Simon asks if he can state the obvious, that he’s over 28. Sherman says he is by a couple of days, yes. Sherman explains his story, and says the hope that he would be on the show helped her, yet she died two days before the audition on Friday. As everyone gets that huge lump in their throats, he begs for them not to give him their sympathy. Simon says he won’t, but will let him sing. For his “lady,” Sherman sings You Belong to Me, and he actually has a nice older voice. Paula and I are both sobbing, and Olivia, a breast cancer survivor, is smiling. Afterward, Sherman thanks them, as all the judges clap. Olivia tells him that was from the heart, and Simon asks to shake his hand, as Paula and Olivia hug and kiss him. Walking out, Sherman says he won. He is a winner. Someone give this guy … I don’t know what, but even a record contract. Something. He’s got more heart than I’ve possibly ever seen on this show.
That was a great way to end day one, as twenty-one people made it to Hollywood. Seems to be some better odds here in LA than in other audition cities. As day two starts, Randy says he does beleive a winner could come from LA this year. Simon adds he can see three or four making it to the finals, and Paula says a couple guys were amazing, and some girls as well.
I hope everyone’s breakfast is setting well for them this morning, as we have our first two contestants making out in the corner. Cavett “Sparkes” Carr, 26, and Darold Gray, 20, both live in Compton, California, and met at the bus stop. It’s hard to find your soulmate, but they feel they have. She loves his “grill” on his teeth, calling it flashy and bling bling bling. She wants to be the first couple to both be American Idol finalists. However, her singing is so bad, I can’t tell what she’s singing. She sings most of it to Simon, and Paula finds that hysterical. Sparkles continues to wink, lick her lips, and otherwise flirt with Simon, telling him he’s cute. Paula still finds it hysterical, and Simon tells Sparkles she is fabulous, but the singing is still slightly off-putting. And people are calling them cruel? She tells him she still thinks he’s a hottie.