Egads, this is always an exciting day. The first day of American Idol. We have gotten by on little tidbits of information since last May, and now, we’re finally ready to be inundated with everything Idol for the next five months. Ready? Follow me …
Starting off our auditions is Philadelphia. And I’m not sure why, but Ryan Seacrest gives us a little bit of a history lesson. I’m not so sure that’s why I turned this on. We’re also treated to Elton John’s Philadelphia Freedom. That’s a little closer to why I tuned in. Everyone seems really happy to see Paula Abdul, as when Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson enter, they look bored already.
Starting off our auditions this year is Joey Catalano, 19, of Mays Landing, New Jersey. He has recently lost over 200 pounds and even this morning looked in the mirror at himself and said, “Wow.” Now he can do awesome kicking jumps and likes to do it because he can. There’s something in him now that’s on fire, and he doesn’t feel like he’s holding back. He sings Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning for the judges, and he’s got a higher voice than I would have expected, but being a Maroon 5 fan, I’m kind of digging it. Paula tells him he has a nice voice, and Randy calls it quite excellent and pleasant. Simon agree, but is nervous about whether Joey really could be an American Idol. All three vote yes and send him on to the Hollywood round. I like it when they start off on a positive note.
Alaa “Yukka” Youakeem, 25, of Jersey City, New Jersey, loves “Mr. The Bee Gees” and American girls.” Umm, that would be more than one Bee Gee, so I don’t thank Mr. is appropriate. He wants to hear he has a sexy face and doesn’t have kids yet, as he’s not married, saving himself. Yukka wants to love someone from the top of his head to his nipple. The judges have a lot of fun with his name, and he admits liking Paula because she’s a good singer and she dances good. Simon asks if he wants her to be his woman, but I’m not sure if she loves him to his nipple. He sings How Deep Is Your Love, and Paula is impressed with how he phonetically learned the songs, and she stammers over it, but says she doesn’t think this is the right competition for him. Randy finally saves her and tells Yukka that singing isn’t his thing, while Paula adds he should keep singing for his own enjoyment. As he leaves, Simon tells Paula that she shattered his dream.
Melanie Nyema, 26, Los Angeles, used to sign backup for Taylor Hicks. She calls him fantastic and a Southern gentlemen, but when asked by the judges what he told her about them, she says he didn’t talk about them much. She sings Unwritten, and it’s just nice not to be hearing Mariah or Whitney. She’s not bad, but not exciting. Simon calls himself completely neither here or there, and I understand, but both Paula and Randy like him. Randy encourages her, though, to go the extra mile, and she’s sent through to Hollywood.
James Lewis, 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a tour guide, and thinks the judges will find his voice unique. Yet, he goes on to talk about who he sounds like, Paul Robeson or Eddie Vedder. He sings Go Down Moses, and yeah, it’s low like he promised, but just terrible. It’s very low, but not baritone, just … odd. There’s an uncomfortable silence with too much of Paula’s laughter and Randy’s hidden face behind his papers, and he starts singing again. Randy finally ekes out that singing isn’t his thing, and Paula asks for forgiveness for her laughter. There was just no way to explain it, as James promises to be back next year with more contemporary music. I’m not so sure that will help.
As Nick Stano, 22, of Massillon, Ohio, starts singing, Ryan guesses that this is how the Liberty Bell got its crack. This is followed by many others that don’t sing well, with Simon telling one gal just to shut up. Another guy sings a lullaby and he does well to put the judges to sleep.
Junot Joyner 25, of Bowie, Maryland, sings The Blues by Elton John and is probably the best so far today. Simon tells him he has a very good voice, and when Junot asks if it’s good enough to go to Hollywood, Randy tells him yes. Jose Candelaria 23, of Bayonne, New Jersey, sings with a great Hispanic accent, and Paula tells him definitely. Jonathan Baines, of Smyrna, Delaware, is really good for a younger guy. Simon thinks so too, as do the others that send him and the others on to Hollywood.
Temptress Brown, 16 , Philadelphia, plays middle linebacker at school. She promises if you make her mad enough, she’ll break your bones. Temptress wanted to audition for her mother as she’s very sick, and it’s hard for her to breathe. Her mother says she’s proud of her, and she’s a perfect kid. She fells guilty, as her daughter should be concentrating on other things, and not helping her all the time.
Paula is told Temptress has one dog, two cats, and ten kittens. Simon admits here he likes animals. She sings And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going, and it’s not too good at all. Simon starts with the positive, telling her he likes her because she’s a sweetheart, but tells her nicely she’s not a great singer, yet points out she took on one of the biggest songs in the world. As Temptress starts to cry, Paula tells her not to be sad. She asks to sing another song, but they won’t allow it. Paula gets up to give her a hug, and it turns into a group hug. When Temptress says she can’t go out there, Simon offers to walk her out and says they’ll talk about her kittens. See, that big lug has a heart after all. The judges tell her family to be very proud of her, and Paula gives Temptress’ mom a hug.
Mark Hayes, 18, of Folsom, New Jersey does a great cricket impression. Let’s hope he can sing. He sings White Christmas, and messes up the words. I think I hear those crickets already. And there they are. It was as monotone as you can get.