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

American Idol 7, Jan. 29th – Stuck In the Middle of Omaha


We still have another couple of weeks left of auditions, but I’m kind of ready to get to at least the Hollywood rounds. We’ve seen a few memorable auditions so far, but let’s face it, has anyone been more memorable than Renaldo and his tribute to Simon? Hopefully in the remaining nights of auditions we’ll get some that are a little more memorable, and by that I mean in a good way.

Tonight, the auditions move to the “heartland,” Omaha, Nebraska. The show’s logo is even mowed into a field. Field of Dreams of a different sort, I guess. Paula doesn’t make it, though, as her plane was delayed, so Simon had to turn his flirtations to Randy, telling him he likes his glasses. And that’s all just a little too weird; of course the hinky music editing added in here doesn’t help much.

Chris Bernheisel, 24, of Fremont, Nebraska is so excited, he’s going to explode with happiness flying everywhere. It’s the biggest life-changing event in his life, and he believes this is his one in a million chance. Carrying a big blue shopping bag in, Simon wonders if Paula is hiding in there. Instead, Chris has brought Simon a shirt and Randy a furry thing. He wants them to feel at home. He also presents them with a bunch of pictures of him with Kelly Clarkson. Simon takes the stuffed animal for Paula and just tosses it aside. Getting back to business, Chris feels this show gives people a second chance at their dreams, as he never had the money to travel to other cities to audition.

With Kelly’s picture displayed prominently for inspiration, Chris sings Since You’ve Been Gone,

Jason Rich, 21, of Stout, Iowa, pop 500, works on a farm with his girlfriend's dad. He's thought about what it would be like to the best next American Idol, and it seems too far away like a dream. He has butterflies, yet is ready as he sings When You Say Nothing At All. Jason is breathy, but not too bad. He asks to start over, but is still forgetting his lyrics. He asks to take a breath, and Simon agrees to one more shot. He still blows it, but starts again without asking, and does much better, finally remembering the words. There’s an interesting quality in his voice, with a combination of Ace and Jon Peter Lewis or something. Randy isn’t seeing star quality and Simon calls it okay. Randy votes yes, and Simon agrees to give him another shot, but promises he’ll never get that shot again.

Paula finally shows up, and it’s just in time for everyone else to forget the lyrics now. Perhaps they shouldn’t audition for Don’t Forget the Lyrics when this one doesn’t work out.

Rachel Wicker, 23, of Richmond, Missouri is arm wrestling while she waits to audition, saying she was raised around guys and just loves it, even being a champion at it. She and Ryan have a go at it, and he says he obviously wouldn’t let her win, as it would be embarrassing. They don’t show us the end of this match, but she walks in and offers to do it with Simon as well. Putting that to the side, Rachel sings Don’t Tell Me To Stop Loving You,

Sarah Whitaker, 25, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is an ex-pro wrestler. Going by the moniker Lady Morgue, she sported a British accent and goth clothes. She enjoyed being the bad guy, but she isn't sure why. The cackle, or laugh as she calls it, was her trademark. She shows Ryan one of her "light taps," which he calls "fun, as she looks like she could annihilate him with one fell swoop. Singing, though, she's all bright, light, and chipper, and Simon thinks she is summing up the whole town. He thinks she'll be singing it at the end of tonight's show. They all vote no, and Lady Morgue is done. Ryan comes in and asks why they didn't put her through, which causes an argument between him and Ryan, and the decision is made for Ryan to switch positions with Paula. He isn't sure how he should pretend to be overpaid for no work.

Samantha Sidley, 22, of Los Angeles, walks in to be judged by the new panel. She thinks she can win as she's a good singer and loves music. Singing I Don’t Know Why, she doesn’t do too badly. She doesn’t sound like Norah Jones, though, Ryan likes her voice, but wants her to work on her confidence, as he doesn’t like her body moving around. Simon liked that part, though, and Paula budges in, asking since when does it matter if someone is moving around while they sing. Simon wants Paula and Ryan to switch back, and they do. Simon and Randy try to talk about how hard their job is, and Ryan claims he’s going to now go back to real work. The big three put her through, and Ryan says he would have voted yes as well.

Elizabeth Erkert, 19, of Sheffield, Illinois, Denise Jackson, 17, of Madison, Wisconson, and Michael Sanfilippo, 19, of South Barrington, Illinois all make it through, all sounding great. Elizabeth can’t wait to prove Simon wrong and win the show, as she says she is American’s Next Top Model. What? Maybe all that singing made her light in the head. She forgot which audition she was at.


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