As I sit and wait through the ‘From Justin To Kelly’ movie (my eight-year-old daughter believes this to be the finest piece of cinema to ever hit the film industry) for tonight’s American Idol to start, I wonder if this year’s crop of American Idol hopefuls will produce such a bona fide star as Kelly Clarkson. So far I have not seen anyone that has given me chills like Kelly or Clay, but I remain hopeful for tonight’s auditions in Cleveland, Ohio and Orlando, Florida.
Joining randy, Paula and Simon in cleveland is LL Cool J, a megastar in his own right in both music and film. First up before them is Jaclyn Crum. She opens her audition by saying she loves Paula, and has grown up listening to her. Simon tells her she is potentially good, but she lacks experience. He isn’t sure in the duration of the show if she can raise her game to the level needed. LL feels she is good for a beginner, but Randy votes no. After Paula votes yes, Simon gives her a chance and invites her to Hollywood.
Sarah Sue Kelly is up next, and she says she has a Karaoke business that she runs. She makes her way beautifully through “I Could Have Danced All Night” with lots of hand gestures along the way. LL says it was like she was holding a secret while she sang and says he’s on the fence with her. Randy says no, but follow the musicals road if you enjoy it. Simon states what everyone else had hedged around, that it’s Sarah’s appearance holding her back. As a heavyset brunette with glasses, she says she doesn’t need to look like Barbie, much to LL’s delight. They ultimately reject her, but LL says, “Stay focused; I loved the Barbie comment. Kisses and hugs.” He then bounds out from behind the table and hugs her. I like him.
Scott Savol is up next and says he’s “gonna rip” and give 150%. He talks of how his dad has no confidence in him. After sucking up to all the judges, he sings Superstar. There’s the chills I’ve been waiting for as he sings with such emotion. Simon asks if his dad has ever heard him sing, telling him he has quite a good voice. He also feels because of his looks, Scott would have a hard time getting his foot in the door of a record company. Paula says she didn’t expect a voice like that from him, and LL says they would never see him coming. He is invited to Hollywood.
Next up is Jennifer Page, a mime, obviously looking for some exposure. She writes notes saying it’s not a gimmick and that she’ll be singing Aerosmith. LL and Paul guess through her miming that she’s doing the theme to Armageddon. Joking that she’s the best they’ve heard, Simon sends her away. Maybe she should stay locked up in that pretend box.
Apparently living and working on a farm affords you the time to work on your craft. Farm girl Carrie Underwood from the St. Louis auditions is the most promising female so far, and here’s overall-wearing Patrick Norman, who enjoys camping and square dancing, singing Smile. Randy tells him “You can blow; you were born to be a singer.” LL tells him to pack all his overalls and head to CA. He’s on his way. Maybe he and Carrie could do a Green Acres duet.
The Jackson sisters, Lashunda and Leandra, are fighting over who will be the next American Idol. They both have spent their lives singing in the church choir. Lashunda is up first and is told she needs more time to work on her voice. When Leandra enters next, her version of Summertime is met with stunned faces and laughter. She leaves after being rejected, as LL runs up and hugs her, leading Simon to call for a group hug. Have I mentioned I like LL?
Blue-haired Briana Davis enters wearing a rainbow skirt that matches Paula’s rainbow shoes. She isn’t blue-haired by age, though; it’s dyed bright blue. She sings a song from Phantom of the Opera, and her voice sounds a little to me like Snow White. She says she has been taking voice lessons since the beginning of the year, and is told she doesn’t need them. Simon is out-voted three to one as Briana is sent to Hollywood.
Anthony Federov has a unique story. As a sickly child he received a tracheotomy, and his parents were told he may never speak again. He not only speaks, but sings Angel by Jon Secada beautifully, reminding everyone of Clay. This guy really emoted while he sang. He makes it to Hollywood as well.
The judges, minus LL, don’t seem to have as much luck in Orlando as they did in Cleveland. Marissa Ganz is up first screaming, I mean singing, White Boys. Paula tactfully tells her she should do theater, and Simon says yes, do plays, meaning anything non-musical. Obviously, not a candidate for From Justin to Marissa.
Eschrine Cral is next and says her voice surprises her, and she sometimes has a hard time believing it’s coming from her. As she sings Greatest Love of All, and is so obviously tone deaf, we can’t believe it’s coming from her either.
Vonzell Solomon prepares for her audition by doing jumping front kicks in the hallway. Preparing for my Senior Red belt testing tomorrow, it brings out the martial artist in me. She had beautiful technique, and her voice matches it, singing Chain of Fools. Her clothing matches too, wearing a green shirt, pink belt and one green shoe and one pink shoe. All three judges love her, with Simon adding they needed her that day.
Desmond Meeks is a great dancer and singer; an all-around great entertainer, singing I Feel Good. Paula fights hard to keep him, as both Randy and Simon say no. Paula threatens to leave the show, and eventually Randy gives in, allowing Desmond through. From Desmond to Vonzell just might make it. Remember, you heard it here first.
I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.