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

American Idol 11, Jan. 18 – “One of the Best Starts We’ve Had”

Ashlee Altise, 28, a sales associate from Kinston, NC, calls the excitement dance she does the joy hop. She teaches others waiting for their auditions how to do it. She promises to bring funk, energy, and confidence today. She wants to give J-Lo a run for her money, and I think she means in the booty department. She shows the judges the joy hop, then sings Come Together and is better than I thought she’d be. Steven likes the whole package, with fire, spirit, spunk, and boing. J-Lo likes the crazy thing. Ashlee gets three yeses and is through, J-hopping out of there.

W.T. Thompson, 25, of Appomattox, VA, is seen in a montage of people who don’t make it. We back up then to find out how he got there. He works for a federal prison, but had to quit his job for a chance at American Idol. He asked for the time off, but they wouldn’t give it to him, leaving him to make a choice of either the job or his dream, and he chose his dream. His wife is pregant right now, six-and-a-half months. He sings Boondocks, and seems pretty good. Steven hears his voice, but isn’t sure he’s ready, and says no. Jennifer agrees with the voice assessment, but wants to give him a chance, and gives him a yes. Randy tells him he’s going to get eaten alive. It wasa fakeout for us. Randy voted yes.

Erica Nowak, 28, a bartender from Buffalo, NY, says Steven is her future husband. They paint her as a little obsessed, and perhaps she is. She knows it will be hard to control herself when she walks in and sees him. She would kiss his feet or anything else, and won’t care if security takes her out. She tells Steven he’s her future ex, then says “to hell with the golden ticket, give me a hug.” She promises to keep her hands at her side, but doesn’t, squeezing his ass.

Erica sings Super Duper Love, and the voice definitely isn’t there, but she’s trying really hard. This was obvoiusly about meeting Steven. Steven tells her the best note she hit was when she grabbed his ass. Jennifer tells Randy not to be jealous, and she comes up to give him a hug. She squeezes his ass too. She leaves without a golden ticket, saying she may not have gotten that, but she got some of Steven Tyler in her hands, and you can’t argue with that.

Brittany Kerr, 24, of Charlotte, NC, is an NBA dancer, and Steven greets her right away by saying, “Hi Pretty Ass,” at least that’s what it sounds like. She sings Spoiled, and sings okay, but I think it will be limiting in what she could do. Steven think she just needs to push it out a little more and wants her to project. We could do, though, without her adjusting her boobs on camera. Jennifer says no, but the guys say yes. Jennifer knows she won’t survive Hollywood week.

Phillip Phillips, 20, of Leesburg, GA, says that that is his real name. He works at his dad’s pawn shop. His dad is his biggest supporter. Phillip knows this is his opportunity to show what he can do, and he know he can’t let it slip by. He tells Ryan he was born naked and ready; you just gotta put clothes on him. He brings his guitar with him, and tells the judges his mom has been waiting to meet Ryan. Meanwhile, she tells him he’s not as hot as her husband, but close.

Phillip sings Superstition, and has some soul that is bursting out of him. Jennifer thinks it’s like he has electricity going through him. They allow him to pick up his guitar for a second song doing Thriller, and it only makes it better, but he still has that course going through him. He’s really unique, and there’s nothing I love more than that. In some ways, he reminds me of Casey Abrams. Jeniifer calls him special. Steven loves him and thinks eveyrone else will as well. Randy sees him as a true artist. He gets three yeses.

Who knows why there was this much talent in Savannah, as none of the people we saw go through were actually from Savannah, and many were from some other state entirely. But I can see why they chose to show Savannah first for the season. It makes a definite impression on what the rest of the season is going to be like.

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