It sure seems like this is all just a way to stretch out the auditions one more day, so that we have Hollywood week start officially next week. Tonight we have the Rest of the Best, or is it Best of the Rest? Do they mean the same thing? Ryan Seacrest is finding a clever way of presenting it all to us, in a series of lessons.
Lesson 1 is “The Look,” and we certainly know much of this has to do with the way people look, and that goes for people that get through and the people that don’t, but are trying desperately to. In a little montage we see people wearing t-shirts bearing Randy Jackson’s likeness from when he was in Journey, we have people stripping down, and we also have Christa Fazzino, 19, of Port royal, South Carolina. She’s wearing black and white checkered knickers reminding me of my first grade teacher, a black hat appropriate for a grieving widow, a red tulle wrap, and huge red heels appropriate for Pee Wee Herman’s Big Shoe Dance. Simon Cowell believes Christa is dressed like the inside of a dust bin, but she says she bases her clothes on how she’s feeling. Randy takes the high road, and says it looks like she feels blessed.
Christa sings a song with a weird Cher feeling to it, though definitely in a higher range. I don’t know what song it is, and the judges don’t either. Randy doesn’t think it would really matter. Simon believes the whole audition was ridiculous from the dancing to the singing. Paula Abdul says Christa wasn’t really dancing, and Simon counters she was at least attempting to. Christa offers to do something else, and Simon asks her to juggle, then votes no, along with the other judges. As she is leaving, Paula tells her she has cool shoes, and this, for some reason, makes Christa stop and cry, saying, “I can do this.” Paula then says she may have made a mistake, and initiates a recount. While she changes her vote to yes, the others still vote no. I know Paula was trying to help and make her feel better, but I think the recount just made her feel worse.
On the opposite side of the coin, we have Tami Gosnell, 29, from Lafayette, Colorado, a complete antithesis of Christa. A penny cab driver, she’s dressed in black jeans and a black sweater, no makeup, and a lip piercing. She tells the judges her job builds up her quads. She offers to take all the judges at once in her cab, and Simon asks if passengers get to whip her if she doesn’t go fast enough. It ends up being a great segue into her audition, as she’s singing Whipping Post. She sounds great, with lots of soul. Simon says he really, really likes her, because she’s different, and like someone who would have been a big star in the 60s. She has a terrific voice and stands out, making him love it. Paula adds that she has a feeling they all feel the same. Mentioning Tami has a beautiful tone, Randy votes yes, Paula says she loves her, and Simon votes 1000% yes. This is giving me hope for Hollywood next week, as there’s some exciting talent that will be showing up that we haven’t even seen yet.
Lesson 2 is “Seek Inspiration.” Of all the odd people to be inspired by, Paul Kim, 25, of Saratoga, California is inspired by another Asian singer, William Hung. This isn’t giving me much hope, but he says he’s not a William Hung type, but feels as many talented Asian people that may be out there, we don’t see them out there today. He has a point. He tells the judges he’s a pool boy, and launches into a beautiful version of If I Ever Fall in Love Again by Shai. Randy calls him excellent, and believes he is one of the best male voices in that day. He votes 100% yes. The guest judge in Los Angeles, Olivia Newton-John, likes Paul’s powerful smoky voice, and Paula tries to give him a compliment, but Simon keeps interrupting her to ask her to just vote yes or no. She says when he opened himself up to sing, a great soothing tone came out. Simon deadpans she’s going to vote no, but of course, she says yes. Simon sends him to Hollywood, explaining he really did like him, although it seemed like he didn’t, because he kept giving Paula so much crap.
Jack Odanovich, 25, of San Antonio was inspired by Bo’s a cappella in the finals. Yet, the only thing it inspired him to do was sing without backup, as it has a horrible tone and is very pitchy. Simon calls him incredibly deluded, prompting Jack to apologize. Outside the audition room, he says he is never ever ever ever going to give up. That’s when I start to feel bad for people, but after they just had three people tell them they were bad, why do they insist on trying again. There’s persistence, and then there’s … Simon is right. Jack is deluded.
This all leads into Lesson 3, “Never Give Up.” With more repeat auditioners than ever before, we have Gina Glocksen, 22, from my neck of the woods, Naperville,Illinois back for the third audition. Last year she made it as far as Hollywood. She tells Simon she is still in love with him, and has a crush and dreams, and it just makes her crazy. Paula tells her all they need is one big butt and one big smooch, but Gina assures her she is not just kissing up. She sings Black Velvet, and sounds great, although I can’t say she brought anything new to the song. Randy defers to Simon because of the love connection, and he says he thought it was a good audition with soul, and … he thinks she has taste. Gina asks if she can make it happen and run up and hug Simon right now, and Paula can’t believe that Gina doesn’t even care what she and Randy think. Randy liked her voice, but he doesn’t like the fact she likes Simon. He votes yes, because he believes more wisdom will come. Paula also votes yes, and when Simon sends her to Hollywood, Gina comes in for the Cowell hug.