About LauraBelle

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

American Idol 9, Jan. 12 – Missing Paula … And a Little Bit of Heart


A group of guys break out in harmony in the holding room, and it’s the best I’ve heard today. Luke Shaffer, 24, a waiter, NYC, is one of them. He has a great voice. Another is Benjamin Bright, 25, an elementary music teacher, Rome, NY. He sings some Beatles. Both of them get through, easily get through. They’re just pleasant to listen to.

Andrew Fenlon, 25, an unemployed musician, Boston, is quite irritated to have to wait so long. Kudos to the cameraman at making him look intense and crazy. When asked if he’s single? Married? Kids? He says No, yes. He doesn’t seem too sure. Once he finally gets through, he doesn’t seem ready. He issues his waiting complaints to the judges as well, then tells Simon he doesn’t think the question of why he’s there is interesting. Simon threatens to make him leave. He’s singing House of the Rising Sun and asks if they know it, as Simon tells him again he’s really pushing it. He’s not “that” bad of a singer. Not laughable, but not great enough to be here either.

Kara asks Andrew if he’s angry, as he seems on edge. He tells her he is angry, from waiting. She explains if you want to be in music, but don’t want to wait to be on American Idol, it seems to be a problem. She’s kind of pissed off about it. She tells him some people would wait years for this shot, and she’s angry at him and doesn’t like him at all. He says there’s no problem, and Simon tells him he walked in quite rude, sulky, and very aggressive, and he has very bad energy. Andrew wants to talk about it, and says he wanted to seem confident. Posh lays it out on the line and tells him he doesn’t have the goods to back it up. With three noes, Simon says he would have said yes. Kara finally tells Andrew he needs a spanking, then wants a shower when he leaves.

Ashley Rodriguez, 21, a college student, Boston, really wants this and says it’s been her dream since she was really little. She hopes the judges see that her singing comes from a special place. She sings some Alicia Keyes and does a great job. Kara loves her and her look and recognizes the difficulty in the song. She thinks she has a look and voice that is commercial. Victoria thinks she looks fantastic as well. Simon thought it was very good and says some people have got it, and she may have it. Randy issues a yes times a bazillion, trillion, million, something, and Victoria again tells her she’s naturally beautiful. She’s going through with four yeses.

Tyler Grady, 19, a college student, of Nazareth, PA, has really interesting dancing skills. He also has splints on both arms as he explains he was climbing a tree and fell and shattered both wrists. He’s a drummer, too, so it’s the worst thing to happen to him. He loves drumming, but his dream is to be a frontman. He’s seen a lot of careers started here, so he figured why not. Randy thinks he’s stepped out of 1960, but Kara argues it’s more like 1971. Simon asks if he had binoculars around his neck when he fell from the tree.

Singing Let’s Get It On, Tyler is really interesting. He’s not the best singer, but he’s fascinating and exciting. Randy says if he didn’t know better, he would have thought the girls would have liked him to continue. Victoria liked the look and the song, and Kara thinks he’s fantastic. Randy liked him as well, with the whole Morrison stance thing, and Simon thought he had good taste. Simon thinks it will be one they remember. With four yeses, Tyler’s through at the end of day one.

The first person up to audition on day two is Lisa Olivero, 24, a waitress, Billerica, MA. She finds singing to be a spiritual experience and is self-taught. She knows this is her chance to stop waiting on other people. She always wondered why she wasn’t on the show, as she thinks she’s better than the others. Singing Vision of Love, we thought she was going to be good, but she’s horribly offkey. While Kara holds her head, Victoria shakes hers. Interestingly, they both match today in dark blue. Simon thought the same, that he thought she was going to be good, but it was the craziest version of Mariah Carey he ever heard. Randy and Simon drop their jaws as she walks out, very Jessica Rabbit-ish.

After a group of bad singers, we need someone good. In walks Mike Davis, 18, Boston, He’s an actor on the Godzilla speedboat, seen out the window behind the judges. Randy wants a boat ride. I’m with ya on that one, Dawg. Mike sings Yesterday, and he’s not bad. With some vocal training I think he could do some great things with country. Simon notes his confidence, and notes it also comes without being obnoxious. Kara thinks he’s a guy she’d like to hang out with. Mike thinks they could go get some steaks sometime. Simon excuses himself from the table, saying he was going to say yes. Randy says no and walks out as well. Mike’s parents are nervous waiting, but here he comes with a golden ticket, thanks to Kara and Victoria. He tells his mom he’s pretty sure he has a date with Kara. Yeah, for steaks.

Katie Stevens, 16, Middlebury, CT, grew up in a big Portuguese family and is really close to her grandmother who doesn’t speak English and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about a year ago. Through it all, she loves listening to Katie. Katie wants to come home to her with good news, as she won’t be with them much longer.

Katie sings At Last for her grandmother and for her audition. She’s good, and it’s surprising to have this from a 16-year-old. I think her grandmother will be hearing some good news. Simon thought it was a difficult song sung quite well. Randy thinks she has good natural talent, and Kara says to sing like that at 16 is pretty amazing. Victoria likes her stage presence, as she looks happy. She’s through to the next round. Katie calls her grandmother and tells her in Portugese she made it. Her grandmother cries, as does Ryan.

Joshua Blaylock, 28, Business Development Manager, NYC, has his last shot at an audition because of age. He’s not bad, but it’s one of those things where it’s as polished as it can get, then he goes horribly flat. Victoria likes his voice, and Simon thinks it would have been good at 14, but there was no originality and power at 28. Posh wonders if he was playing it safe, and Joshua knows he should be more assertive. Randy instructs him to say, “Simon, shut up.” He does, and with this Simon admits he’s likable. Randy can see Joshua singing Spandau Ballet music. Joshua pleads to go through and tells Randy he will make him proud. Kara says yes on his loveliness, Posh says yes because it’s good to be polite, and Simon helps him out with a yes, as does Randy. He’s in, and Randy instructs him through some more motivational speaking.

Justin Williams, 27, a vocal coach, Sandy, UT, was diagnosed with caner seven years ago when he was serving a mission in Spain. He went through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy and now calls it an interesting, humbling experience. He’s now cancer-free. If he’s makes it through, it would mean everything to him. It would prove to himself that he did it and didn’t give up.


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