We’ve been promised since before season seven of American Idol even started that it was going to be one the best ever with certainly more talent than last year, if not ever. After lots of little teases through the auditions and Hollywood, we finally get to hear for ourselves if these contestants are really worth our time. Tonight, we’ll hear from the top twelve guys, and tomorrow the top twelve girls. For the first time, we have themes for this early round, and tonight, it’s 60’s music.
Randy is asked what stands out about this group of talent, and he says he’s heard more originality, so he urges them to “keep it real.” As for what we should look for, Paula wants us to give it up to Randy, as he’s only uttered 2 Dawgs and 3 Mans so far. More seriously, she wants the contestants to pick the right songs and have a blast. Simon’s words of advice are that it’s down to them now, and he’s looking for personality and originality, as well as for them to sing well. Even Ryan points out that advice isn’t all that original.
First up is David Hernandez, who already sang a little 60s music in his audition with Ain’t to Proud to Beg. 24, from Glendale Arizona, he says his singing comes from his soul. He was raised by a single mom, and singing was his escape. He admits to being a wreck on Final Judgement Day and goes back to Simon admitting he didn’t want him there. He sees this as a challenge.
David sings Midnight Hour, and just the beginning is absolutely amazing, with a nice little slow beginning to add something special. He does need to move around the stage a little more, though. Randy likes how he started with the gospel thing in the beginning, but he thinks it fell apart a little in the end, and wants him to watch the long phrasing. Randy declares the competition on. Paula calls it unnerving to be the first contestant to come out, but she knows he has brilliant vocals to rely on, and what he does with them is lovely, with a perfect vibrato when he needs it. Simon calls it better than he thought it would be with a terrific beginning, rabbit-in-the-headlights middle, and an end he didn’t like. His advice for him is to loosen up.
Chikezie, 22, of Inglewood, California, going without his surname, talks of getting to the end of Hollywood last year, only to be sent home. He worked hard this past year, only to come back and finally make it through. Wearing a bright orange suit, he sings More Today Than Yesterday, taking the tone down quite a bit, making it a little bit too lounge lizard, and while he had some obvious nerves in the beginning, he works through them.
Randy calls it pretty good, but he thinks Chikezie looks a little too old-fashioned, so he needs to always make it fresh and young. Nthing makes Paula happier than to see Chekezie on the stage, as he’s come a long way, looking great after losing a lot of weight. She loved his singing, reminding her of a throwback to old R&B. Simon struggles with his name then says he hated the whole performance. He calls the suit hideous, and Chekezie notes, “White, gray, and black, c’mon Dude” Simon then continues, calling the wink and woo hideous, and complains it was all too old-fashioned and hideous, as it could have been something filmed forty years ago. Chikezie defends himself saying it was 60s night, so he was taking a 60s song and taking it back to that era. He starts to get a little on the snippy side, which he needs to watch.
Colton Berry tells Ryan that what he wants people to know is that from certain angles he looks like Ellen DeGeneres, prompting Ryan to wish him as much success she’s had. Ryan’s right, Colton should be as lucky. You know she’ll be playing that clip on her show. He defends his use of theatrics, saying he’s from the theatre, but he is going to try and tone it done.
It’s David Cook’s, turn, though. 25, of Blue Springs, Missouri, is a bartender and musician, and says he went to the Omaha auditions without any preconceived notion of how it would turn out. He’s still not sure what Simon meant in his critique when he called it “too worthy.” Hollywood was the first time he got nervous, and he was glad Simon voted no, as if he didn’t, he would have had far too much of a comfort level. He calls it nice to have people outside your circle says, “Hey, you don’t suck.” I think that’s nice for all of us to hear, isn’t it?
Another one that is starting the song out slowly, David sings Happy Together, but does bring up the pace. He, too, needs to move around the stage a little bit. He ends it really well, growing in confidence as he goes. Randy calls it kind of funny for him the way it started, but he worked it out and rocked it out, thinking if he could pull that off, he could pull anything off. Paula agrees, and wants to call it “worthy.” Seriously, he rocked it and made something original. Simon can’t remember what he meant when he said that before, but thinks David shouted a little too much in the middle. It was a weird song to choose, as he’d never heard that song sung like that before, yet he almost made it believable. Randy is imagining David singing the song in Alice In Chains, and that might be taking it a little too far.
Jason Yeager, 28, of Grand Prairie, Texas, is one we haven’t seen before the Final Judgement. He’s a singing server and says his son was blown away by the whole audition process. After watching for so long and wanting to do it, he just gave it a shot and he can’t believe he made it. He would love to do this for his son, to show him that you can achieve your dreams. Tonight, Jason sings Moon River, and good God, if Chekezie was old-fashioned, Jason really is, as the epitome of a crooner, including the head movements, and falling flat in the process.