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

American Idol 10, Feb. 2 – More Promising Talent in Austin


On day two of the auditions, it’s Steven getting injured, but his is at the hands of a microphone. Seeing J-Lo with her hair in a tightly pulled back bun, he says anyone who can take and pull their face back like that is just gorgeous.

Courtney Penry, 17, of Missouri City, TX, calls Ryan the sexiest man alive. She thinks he’s amazing. She’s been dreaming about this day forever, and believes she will marry him someday. She cries when she meets him, and he seems touched. She knows he loves her, because she’s loved him forever. She walks into her audition and calls J-Lo beautiful, but Randy thinks she’s addressing him. For the judges, she first imitates a chicken.

Moving on from the chicken, Courtney sings Stay, and sounds great. She’s more than just a girl in love with Ryan. J-Lo notes there are parts of her voice that are very strong, but parts that are also weak as well. As a total package, she loves her, though. Steven thinks she has star quality, but believes they need to kindle it up some. Randy also believes she has a good voice, but sees some bad habits she needs to break. Steven votes yes, Randy no, but J-Lo yes, so she’s in. She celebrates with the chicken.

Shauntel Campos, 24, in inside sales in Albuquerque, NM, sings Ain’t No Sunshine, Alex Carr, 26, a baseball stadium cook from Fayetteville, AR, sings A House Is Not a Home, and Caleb Johnson, 19, a banquet server from Asheville, NC, sings Rusty Cage. The judges are impressed with all three. They make it through easily. Don’t forget about these singers we only see for a few seconds. Remember that our final two last season were both show in this type of montage, and in fact were in the same montage.

Jacqueline Dunford, 21, a receptionist, and Nick Fink, 19, a suit salesman, both from Scottsdale, AZ, are an item. They met in choir in community college doing a duet. She thinks of Nick as her in boy form. They want to be Idol’s first power couple. Jacqueline goes first, singing Mercy, and is amazing. Nick takes his shot, singing Sunday Morning and sings just as good.

J-Lo notes that while they both did songs that are very recognizable, they had interesting takes on the song choices. She thought they were both really good. Steven is a sucker for melody, loved both songs, and thought she was gorgeous and he was beautiful. Randy thinks they’re a breath of fresh air. They get six yeses between them.

Janelle Arthur, 20, a musician from Oliver Springs, TN, thinks the public looks at country people and figure they have no teeth and don’t wear shoes, but they just have an easygoing way of living, love to play music, love to be together, and love to eat good food. Her family has wanted her to do this for five years, and she thinks she’s ready. She sings Syrup and Honey, and has a beautiful sound and beautiful look. Steven asks her to sing something upbeat, and she sings No One Needs to Know. She gets three easy yeses.

The next contestant in is wearing an armadillo suit. And that’s just the beginning of a slew of bad auditions, all with Randy at the helm laughing and making jokes at their expense. The girl in the armadillo suit gets told “it was all kind of wrong,” yet she knows she can do it.

The last up tonight is Casey Abrams, 19, a film camp worker from Idyllwild, CA. He thinks some people think he looks like Seth Rogen, but he doesn’t see it. The cameraman thinks he looks like Fraggle Rock. He has a melodica with him to help him stay in tune ans help keep him from boredom. It’s a small keyboard that doubles as a wind instrument of some sort.

Casey is nervous, feeling the judges will be tired. He sings I Don’t Need No Doctor, and is much better than you’d expect, full of blues and soul and scatting all over the place. The judges give him a collective yes. He celebrates playing his melodica, and everyone joins in on the singing and dancing.

There’s something about this new group of judges that is leading to a really good energy. Perhaps that means good things for the season. Sure, there are some bad auditions, but it doesn’t all seem to be aimed at making fun of other people at their expense. The highlight are on the good singers instead. Much of that has to be due to Steven Tyler. I’m anxious for Hollywood to get started to see where this all goes next, and see if that good energy continues.

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