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

American Idol 10, Jan. 19 – It's Hot; Let's Go, Baby.


Victoria Huggins, 16, Lumberton, NC, is bubbly, and says she fabulous thanks to “y’all.” She knows it’s not normal for a 16-year-old to want something so badly, but she wants this so badly. She’s been counting down the years until she was 16 and could audition. Every moment in her life is special, and she wants to remember special things. This is special. She’s documenting it in video. She even sings the riff that always takes American Idol to commercial.

Randy feels like it’s a pageant speech, but Steven just says she’s real. She sings Midnight Train to Georgia, and isn’t bad, but is too peppy for this song, like she doesn’t have a clue what she’s singing. Steven calls her proud, and J-Lo adorable. She votes yes, and loves the skirt, bringing Steven to tell her it’s just the right amount showing, and that’s nice. She wants to be a lady, but appeal to the boy audience. She gives Randy a “Yo Yo Dawg, and he says she has every trick in the book at 16. For the most personality ever on Idol, he’s saying yes, and she’s through. Ever? C’mon, Randy.

Melinda, Ademi, 16, Yonkers, NY, Is here as the child of war refugees from Kosovo. Her family talks about the difficulties of moving here, but say it’s home now; they’re in America for life. They had to start all over again, but they made it. Her mom compares the experience to an American Idol gold ticket. Melinda knows she wouldn’t have had this opportunity if she was still in Kosovo.

Melinda sings If I Ain’t Got You, and does very well. Steven likes that she’s “pretty and beautiful and plays it down,” and found her singing to be, “sweet and straight and beautiful.” Randy thinks she has potential, and J-Lo thinks she can have the American dream. She’s in.

It’s the start of day two, and first up is Devyn Rush, 20, of New Hope, PA. She’s a singing waitress in Time Square. Randy asks if she can now finally prove the myth wrong about singing waiters, and she believes that’s a loaded question. She sings God Bless the Child, and she sounds good, but I think it’s too peppy for this song.

Steven tells Devyn it was delicious, and “a dessert to the lunch.” J-Lo loved it too, and say she didn’t expect it. Randy thought she wasn’t dressed for the part, but it was great, as it put them off, making them unsuspecting. Randy feels she had “just the right amount of sauce in there,” and she also had a good ear. J-Lo thinks her voice is a star, and wants her to start believing that and dressing the part so that others think that as well. She gets three yeses. Steven wants someone to take her clothes shopping. Is he offering?

Jimmy Kennedy, 17, of Claymont, DE, makes the judges laugh, but it appears to be at his voice, so that’s not good. Genise Deal, 20, a student/waitress from Teaneck, NJ, has the judges singing I’m a Believer with her, but it appears it’s because they like their own singing better than hers. That’s not good.

Yoji “Pop” Asano, 25, is a student from Brooklyn and Japan. He says he’s been imitating Michael Jackson since he was 2, in fact before he was born. He doesn’t want to do it, and has one song that he hated, Party In the U.S.A., but he wants to sing it. Perhaps he shouldn’t have. Oddly he works in his MJ moves into it, which totally don’t go. J-Lo agrees it is a party In the U.S.A. I’m not sure what good it does Yogi Pop, but everyone else is singing it too.

Jaclyn Blythe, 24, an actor/bartender from Monroe, CT, screeches her way through her audition, with J-Lo holding her ears. Ima Abasumoh, 23, a health care provider from the Bronx, makers her way through And I’m Telling You unconvincingly. Rob Palmay, 22, a civil engineer from Long Island, sings Ramblin’ Man, and Steven tells him he’s wearing nice shorts, and that he almost wore those today as well. Randy likes Ima’s shoes. J-Lo felt Jaclyn’s joy when she was singing, and Randy likes the way J-Lo puts a positive spin on it.

Steven begs the next auditioner, Brielle Von Hugel, 16, of Staten Island, NY, to please be the next American Idol. She’s from a small town where just about everyone knows each other. Her dad was a member of a doo wop group, and she believes she and her dad are just alike. He says she’s his whole life. He found out he had throat cancer just before her 16th birthday, and he was worried he wouldn’t see his daughter grow up, her sweet 16 party, or try out for American Idol, and that pulled him through. For now, he’s cancer-free. Her mom says she has a beautiful heart to go with the good voice.

Brielle sings Endless Love, and she’s definitely good, already knowing how to project and when to use her power. Steven loves her smile, attitude, the flower in her hair, and says she has a beautiful voice. He tells her to bring her dad in. They tell him they’re glad he’s doing well, and that his daughter sang beautifully. Steven votes yes, and J-Lo thinks she sounds good, but she still has a tiny bit of work to do, yet she still says yes. Randy agrees, and thinks she has potential. She’s through.

It’s the last contestant, Travis Orlando, 16, from the Bronx. He has a twin brother, but they’re nothing alike. He mentions the drugs and violence of the Bronx, and says they lived in a shelter for a few years. At the time his dad was sick, and it was hard for all of them. The people in the shelters had nothing. Yet, his dad still says everyone here has a chance, and that’s what makes it great to be an American.

Travis knows this experience can help his family so much. He sings Eleanor Rigby, and has a voice with character. They want to hear another, and he sings I’m Yours. This one is so much better. That island vibe fits him well. J-Lo likes his unique tone, saying it’s almost sweet. Randy says yes, and Steven thinks he sings beautifully. He’s in. His brother and mother rush in, and the three of them shake the judges’ hands.

Randy calls New Jersey a “great jumpoff.” I have to say he’s right.

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