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

American Idol 9, Feb. 10 – Dying Dreams


As everyone is getting called up to the stage to begin, Big Mike gets the phone call he’s been waiting for. He can’t believe he’s not there for this, saying it’s too big to miss. He’s keeping tabs on the whole thing thanks to video on his phone, or maybe it’s pictures, and his baby girl is born, while this big dude is reduced to tears. Now he’s back in, though, as he knows he has work to do.

Faith is the first group up, Michelle Delamor, Miami FL, 22 a clothing store associate, Miami; Charity Vance, 16, Little Rock; and Ashley Rodriguez, 21, a college student, Boston; singing Irreplaceable. They sound good. Charity is asked to step forward, but they’re all through.

Team Awesome is up next, singing Get Ready. The group consists of Michael Lynche, 26, a personal trainer, Astoria, NY; Seth Rollins, 28, an insurance adjuster, Lakeland, FL; and Tim Urban, 20, a college student/musician, Duncanville, TX. Disappointingly, we never get a solo in that from Michael Castro. Regardless, Big Mike and Seth sounded ground, but Tim was a little weak. Seth is the dad of the son with autism. Oddly Big Mike and Tim make it through, but Seth and Michael reach the end of the line. The two dads who auditioned in Orlando have been split up.

Neapolitan takes the stage singing Bad Romance. The group consists of Liz Rooney, 25, 911 dispatcher, Worcester, MA; Thaddeus Johnson, 16, Oklahoma City, OK; Jessica Cunningham, 24, Makeup Artist/Hairstylist, Portland. and Paige Miles. Everyone looks happy, but Destiny’s Wild. This is because they had decided first to go a cappella, and after they did, then Neapolitan came up with the idea of doing it. Liz seems very weak. Simon tells them in its own way, it was very good. He likes effort at this point. They say they just wanted to take it and have with it, and Destiny’s Wild is not happy that they’re laying claim to that. All four of Neapolitan make it through,

Of course, Destiny’s Wild is up next. Just from the first few notes, they’re blowing Neapolitan out of the water. In their group are Todrick Hall, 24, an actor/playwright, Arlington, TX; Theri, 20, hairstylist, Atlanta; Jareb Liewer, 28, Acrobat (that explains the good flips), San Diego; and Siobhan Magnus, 19, glassblowing apprentice, Cape Cod. Siobhan has some major pipes. Ellen tells them it was weird, as they were dressed like Cirque de Soleil, yet they’re all sticking around. But they’re still not happy with the other group.

The Mighty Rangers get their turn, with Tori Kelly, 16, Canyon Lake, CA; Maddie Penrose, 18, Murray, UT; Mark Labriola, 28, a computer consultant, Aurora, CO; Kimberly Kerbow, 24, a college student, Marina Del Rey, CA; and Danny Jones, singing the vocals of Closer. Both Mark and Kim forge their lyrics, with Kim not knowing anything but the melody. Danny, Kimberly, and Mark are sent home, and Tori and Maddie get through, although Maddie may have known her lyrics, but sounded terrible. Mark begs for another shot, saying it’s it for him this year. He doesn’t get to come back. He cries outside after, with Ryan Seacrest giving him a hug.

Phoenix is still struggling, and even Byrd laid into them before. It’s their time onstage, and Kat Nestel decides to quit. Right here. She explains she knew she would mess up and didn’t want to humiliate herself. Michael Orland tries to call them down, saying it may change their choreography, but shouldn’t hurt them vocally at all

Remaining in Phoenix are Ben Honeycutt, 23, a worship leader, Fort Oglethorpe, GA; Jeff Goldlord, 28, consultant/singer/songwriter, Chicago; Moorea Masa, 17, Portland; and Jermaine Sellers, 26, Joliet, IL; do a terrible rendition of Carry On My Wayward Son. Many of them don’t know the lyrics. Yet, Kara calls them survivors. Moorea thinks they went through a lot together, but Simon points out they had 12 hours to learn a song. Ellen reminds him they lost a person in the last few minutes before taking the stage. Ben and Moorea go home, and Jeff and Jermaine make it through. Moorea doesn’t think she’ll come back again.

Many of the groups are struggling with Sweet Escape. It’s showed that no one should sing that song, except for Gwen Stefani. Ellen points out it’s the same way she sings the song. She gets to “refrigerator,” then stops, because she doesn’t know anymore. One person gets all the words rights. One. Out of all those groups.

Big Dreams is also trying Sweet Escape. Matt Lawrence, 25, manager of a trucking company (former teenage bank robber), Starke, FL; Amanda Shechtman, 19, theater student, Roslyn, NY; and others, but Simon waves them off before they get too far into the song, as it’s that bad. Amanda totally missed all her lyrics. He asks what’s the point of asking people to step forward or step back, as it’s as bad as they’ve ever heard. All four are sent home. For Matt it’s a big disappointment, and Amanda is sad she didn’t get to share all she has in her. Well, to be fair, she did have a chance.


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