Category Archives: Talent

The X Factor, Sept. 18 – Second Chances

Everyone deserves a second chance. Well, almost. I like to think everyone gets a second chance, and tonight’s X Factor has a few auditioners looking for that second chance. Many wanted that first chance and will probably be looking for that second chance next year or in a different venue, but there are also a few auditioners who just want that second chance to prove themselves.

Auditioner: Sister Shirley and Cynthia Olivero, 24 and 16, from L.A.

Song: I Want You Back

Me: They think they’re really good, but neither can hold a tune.
Simon: He does’t want them back. He found it to be a competition on who could sing the worst, and they both won. They are one of the worst groups they’ve had on the show. He officially breaks up their act.
Kelly: Cynthia started off right, then heard her sister sing, and it was all downhill from there. She should come back later, but not bring her sister with her.

Auditioner: Josh Levi, 14, from L.A., but originally from Houston. He’s going to tell the nerves to go away, to show the world who he is.

Song: Come and Get It

Me: He has something they could work with.
Demi: It was amazing, and she wasn’t prepared for it when he started to sing to her. It showed he was an artist.
Kelly: He’s a star and so cute. She loves his style and doesn’t think there’s anyone like him.
Simon: He chose a song he shouldn’t sing, but turned it into a great version that suited him, and he thinks they could be looking at a future star.

Auditioner: Drama Drama – 20 – 24. Jordan is on the web version of All My Children. I recognized her immediately. Asked the reason for the group name, they explain they’re teenage girls … but they’re in their 20s.

Song: Party in the USA

Me: This is why Jordan is on All My Children, because her group isn’t that good.
Simon: Everything about them screams old-fashioned.

Auditioner: Forever Young.

Me: Absolutely no harmony.
Simon: It’s like they were locked in a room from fifteen years ago.
Kelly: It’s going to have to be no.
Demi: Its also a no from her.

Auditioner: Aknu – three brothers from Los Angeles, an after-school program leader, car sales, and home-care business.

Song: Valerie

Me: They’re definitely not old-fashioned, but perhaps a throwback. They sound great and have moves as well.
Kelly: These guys are so refreshing and will make everybody want to dance. Music is a gift, and they just spread it throughout the room.
Demi: There is something special about this group, and she has the chills.
Simon: He thinks it’s like watching Motown all over again, and normally that’s the part he hates, but he thinks they could be on to something. He could watch it all over again.

Auditioner: Brandie Love, 21, from Rocky Mount, NC, an orthodontic assistant. Her boyfriend is a helicopter pilot in the Army. This is so different than what she’s used to.

Song: Up to the Mountain

Me: She has obvious talent but is fighting a few nerves. She’s phenomenal when she hits her stride, though.
Paulina: Brandie brought the X Factor.
Simon: She took it to church. He loves that song, and he predicts great things for Brandie. She has sincerity.
Kelly: It was beautiful to see her get lost in the song, along with the fact she allowed the music to set her free.
Demi: Her favorite thing is when someone takes country music and brings soul to it. Brandie just took Demi home.

Auditioner: Milly Thrasher, 14, from Birmingham.

Song: Wide Awake

Me: She’s good and just needs a little vocal coaching.
Simon: He really likes her and sees huge potential with her.

Auditioner: Timmy Thames, 13, from Malibu. His dream is to become a famous singer known all over the world.

Song: Lego House

Me: The girls are going to love him.
Paulina: She thinks he’s fantastic.
Simon: He always knows when he’s in front of someone who might be a star, and he has a feeling about Timmy.

Auditioner: Yellow House Canyon, best friends, 16 and 17, from Lubbock, TX. The worst thing one of them has done is to get a speeding ticket, and the worst thing the other has done is to be with her when she got her speeding ticket.

Song: Redneck Woman

Me: They’re a lot of fun.
Demi: She had a blast watching Yellow House Canyon
Simon: He likes them and feels they have a lot of spirit. “Keep it country.”

Auditioner: Vinny Crisotomo, 29, from Selden, NY, a bagel store worker. He believes he is already a celebrity and even has a bodyguard. He looks up to Biggie Smalls and Tupac.

Song: How Do I Live Without You.

Me: While you would think he would be trying to hip-hop up the song, he’s not. He sings it straight – and not well.
Kelly: She asks if he rehearsed the song and if anyone listened to him. Simon guesses they left the room.
Simon: After doing this a long time, this is the worst he has ever heard.
Demi: She’s concerned with the people he’s surrounding himself with who thought this was good. Simon agrees that he needs new friends.

Auditioner: Carlos Guevara, 16, from Lexington, SC. He has Tourette’s Syndrome and OCD. It’s been a hassle for him, but he can’t let things hold him back. He had to leave school a few months ago, despite starting out as the Vice President of the student body and being a football player. Music is the only thing that helps him.

Song: Gravity

Me: He is so good and brings everyone to tears when he says “This is amazing” in the middle of his singing. He gets a standing O from the female judges.
Paulina: She doesn’t know him, but feels very proud of him. He has an amazing voice and great energy.
Kelly: He has a beautiful voice and soul and is so talented.
Kelly: It was so magical, and she’s just so grateful to be there to witness this and witness him.
Simon: What Simon likes is that he’s not a victim. He hasn’t let this issue stop him. But forgetting about that, he actually has a great voice. He doesn’t have four yeses, but 3,348 yeses.

Auditioner: Chloe J and CJ. They met each other in hair school. They are not boyfriend/girlfriend, because “he don’t want it,” according to her. He explains he’s on “the other side.”

Song: River Deep Mountain High

Me: They are much more fun when they’re talking than when they’re singing.
Simon: They are both absolutely awful, and he doesn’t know which one is worse with not a note in tune.
Kelly: She really likes them and their personality but has to say no.
Paulina: She really enjoyed seeing them but has to say no..
Demi: She has to say no but wants them to smile.
Simon: Chloe J comes to the table and makes out with Simon. He says yes.

Auditioner: Malie Delgado, 18, from Anchorage, AK. She left Alaska because it was her time and her chance.

Song: Because of You

Me: She has a few timing issues, but that just needs a little coaching.
Paulina: It was clear to her that Malie has something special
Kelly: She thinks Malie really wants to break out.

Auditioner: Colton Pack, 18, Danese, WV. He brought his whole small town with him on a bus, but with a population of 270, it’s not quite the whole town. It’s added pressure on him.

Song: Hicktown

Me: He’s making that whole small town proud.
Paulina: She likes him and loves his presence. She adds a roar.
Demi: It was pitchy at times, but there were moments that were interesting, and he has a natural stage presence.
Kelly: She digs him and his natural voice.
Simon: He really, really likes him and did from the minute he came out. He believes there’s a market for someone like him and thinks they can help him get better.

Auditioner: Danie Geimer, 15, Northridge, CA. Her mom is a manicurist and her dad is a beauty supplier. She spends her time reading, but no one else around her does. Someone compliments her on her glasses, and she says, “Thanks. I read books.”

Song: The House of the Rising Sun

Me: Her singing voice is just as different as she is.
Kelly: She loves that she came up so quiet, then belted it out.
Demi: She will tell the absent Simon that he missed it. She thinks she’s gorgeous.
Paulina: She finds her and her powerful voice special.

Auditioner: Jeffrey Gutt, 37, a musician and single dad, Detroit. He was on the last season, getting as far as boot camp, and has now come back. He’s been doing as many gigs as he can. Jeff admits to stressing out too much last time. This time he made a deal with himself that if he doesn’t make it, he’ll walk away.

Song: Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing/Creep

Me: He seems too affected, as Demi is telling the other judges it’s not the right song for him. Simon stops him and says he’s trying to imitate Steven Tyler. He can’t put him through and is really disappointed. Jeff restarts with Creep and it’s like night and day.
Demi: Wow wow. The great thing about rock and roll is you don’t need the looks to sell it. Timing is everything, and he wasn’t meant to be there last year. It’s supposed to happen for him this year.
Paulina: Just the fact that he came back and loves his son, she’s the only one on the panel that understands. She admires him.
Simon: He’s picked up bad habits in his many gigs, but it’s the only part he didn’t like. The high part was sensational. He’s honored to have him back on the show.
Kelly: She’s happy he came back, as his is what he’s supposed to be doing.

Jeff kind of got a second chance within a second chance. He didn’t make it last year, then came back for his second chance. However, he tried a little too hard and was being something he wasn’t. He’s not a ballad singer. He got a second chance within the second chance and made it. He might be running out of chances. Carlos is getting a second chance at life. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t fit in well at school with his disability. He fits in here, and that’s all that matters.

The X Factor, Sept. 12 – Simon and His Harem

Wednesday night’s season premiere of The X Factor was definitely a success. As narcissistic as it might seem, Simon Cowell’s decision to now go with three females at the judging table with him was a good move, at least these particular three. Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio all got along really well together and also related well to Simon. They all seemed comfortable. Britney Spears just never seemed comfortable in that role last year, and the L.A. Reid/Simon arguments were never fun. Tonight should tell us whether or not it was a fluke or whether this will be a successful group of judges

Auditioner: Yosselin Marquez, 21, is very excited to see Paulina after following her career. But she believes she will be better than her. At least she knows her name. She asks Simon what his name is, surprising everyone, especially him.

Song: Only Girl

Me: She pulls out her cell phone to read the lyrics and sing along, and even worse, she sings bad.
Simon: He calls her nutty as a fruitcake.
Demi: Yosselin has the X factor.

Auditioner: Thomas Weiderspon, 19, from Greeley, CO, a ranch hand.

Song: Your Man

Simon: He asks if Thomas has ever gotten a shirt back from the laundry with too much starch, as that’s how he sang – stiff.
Paulina: “No.”

Auditioner: Carrigan Bradley, 15, from Fort Gibson, OK. She’s spent time on the beauty pageant circuit.

Kelly: She wants to see more of an edge.
Simon: It’s like trying to chop down a tree with a banana, meaning it’s just not going to work.

Auditioner: Amber Ferrari, 41, from Shirley, WY, an accountant.

Simon: Her singing is like a goldfish trying to be a shark.

Auditioner: K +B, a duo, 22 and 23, from Puerto Rico, best friends

Song: La Vida Loca

Simon: He believes they sound like two 3-year-olds who have the flu trying to sing.

Auditioner: Sean Harris, 28, from Denver, a temp worker.

Song: Amazing Grace

Me: It’s neither amazing or graceful.
Demi: With Simon’s accent, she compares Sean to an elephant trying to skydive with a tiny parachute indoors.
Simon: He believes these are the worst auditions, and that Demi’s accent is getting better.

Auditioner: Rylie Brown, 15, Lee’s Summit, MO. She’s been practicing one song so much, because she knows it’s rare to find this opportunity, as there are people here who have been singing as long as she has been alive.

Song: Clarity

Me: It sounds like autotune at first, and then she forgets the lyrics. She is much more comfortable afterwards and hits her stride.
Simon: While she did mess up, he asks who cares when you have a voice like that. He doesn’t think they’ve heard a voice like that on a 15-year-old.
Demi: She notes Simon never says that and doesn’t think she sounds 15.
Paulina: She believes Rylie’s life is about to change forever.
Kelly: Hearing an uncertainty, she believes they can help her with that.

Auditioner: Jeffrey Brinkman, 36, from Longmont, CO, a doggy day care owner. He wouldn’t be here except his daughter was born six weeks early, which he thinks is like her giving him thumbs up.

Song: You Are So Beautiful

Me: It’s a perfect song for a new dad, and he fills it with emotion. The audience gives him a standing O.
Kelly: She loves his sincerity and how he means every word.
Paulina: The raspy voice is one she loves, and she finds it fresh and original.
Demi: Jeffrey has a beautiful recording voice that’s going to sell records.
Simon: It was a brilliant, brilliant vocal from a naturally great voice.

Auditioner: Jocelyn Hinton, 34, from Pittsburgh, unemployed. She has no formal training yet considers herself a diva.

Song: Firework

Me: She forgets the words and is flat, but has power.
Simon: The best part was when she forgot the words. She sings something else and won’t stop. She keeps singing different songs until Simon walks her offstage himself.

Auditioner: Rachel Potter, 29, from Nashville, a bartender. She’s afraid of going after her dreams of being a country singer but doesn’t want to live with regret.

Song: Somebody to Love

Me: Not a single mistake to be found. The female judges give Rachel a standing O.
Paulina: She sees an amazing powerful future for her.
Kelly: “Just a beast.”
Simon: It seemed like a performance she’s been wanting to give for a long time to prove a point … and she did.
Demi: Rachel has the look and the best voice she’s heard. It’s the easiest yes she’s given in both seasons.

Auditioner: Jorge Pena, 22, from Long Island, but originally from Colombia, drives an ice cream truck but is lactose intolerant. He feels he has yeses from the lady judges already believing he just needs to smile and wink.

Song: Amami

Me: His personality is really icky and he sings nasally.
Demi: After he calls her “Woman,” she admonishes him for doing it, telling him what’s really cute and sexy is humility.
Kelly: Not understanding the Spanish songs, she knows he could be telling her she looks like a donkey, and after he started getting slick with her girl, he was acting like a donkey.
Simon: When Jorge tries to defend himself and make it work, Simon tells him to zip it for the next two minutes. He also orders a raspberry ripple.
Paulina: She tells him in Spanish to change his attitude.

Auditioner: Simone Torres, 19, from Long Island. She’s always been kind of quirky, and speed rapping is one of her favorite things to do onstage.

Song: Mustang Sally

Me: No rapping is found here, just some great bluesy rock.
Paulina: Simone was so fresh when she was walking, then started singing.
Demi: She loved watching the light in her eyes sparkle and knows everyone just wants to hug her
Kelly: It’s one of the best auditions they’ve had all day.
Simon: It’s not a question of him thinking it’s the best audition; he knows this was the best audition.
Simone’s dad: He knows he did something right in order to call himself her dad.

Auditioner: Russ Poulliot, 56, from Littleton, CO, owns an investment business. He’s a crooner who wants to bring back the love songs and thinks he has a butt-load of natural talent.

Song: Can’t Help Falling in Love

Me: I wanted to like him, but there is far too much vibrato.
Kelly: She asks if he had fun, saying that’s all that matters.
Paulina: He did a lot of “ah ah ah ah,” and less is more with that.
Simon: It sounded like he was drowning, but he’s a nice guy.
Demi: She feels like if he had a British accent he would sound like Simon singing. Kelly brings the mic to Simon, and what do you know, he has vibrato just like Russ.

Auditioner: Roxxy Montana, a group with three sisters – T.R., Tanisha, and Temperance Moten, 20, 21, and 22, from Detroit Michigan, in culinary, art, and real estate.

Song: One Night Only

Me: Great harmony
Simon: Temperance’s voice is much better than the other two. He asks to hear something else, and they sing a church song a cappella.
Demi: Wow.
Kelly: It’s been a long time since they’ve heard a girl group singing their faces off.
Paulina: Roxxy Montana is blowing them away.
Simon: They’re really good together, and have a secret weapon in Temperance. They need work on their vocal harmonies, but that’s something the show can help them with. He sees them as potentially the best group they’ve ever had on The X Factor.

Auditioner: Al Calderon, 19, from Long Island, a restaurant host who is their designated Happy Birthday singer.

Song: Sara Smile

Me: It’s one of my favorite songs, but might be too big for him, yet he affects people. Training would do him well.
Kelly: If she were a teen, she’d want to go on a date with him. Simon notes the lack of a time machine, and Demi notes time machines don’t even travel far enough back in time for him.
Demi: She has a feeling he won’t be working at the restaurant anymore.
Paulina: “Bravissimo.”
Simon: There were tuning issues, but he chalks that up to inexperience and nerves. He has potential with his looks and charisma.

Auditioner: Denise Weeks, 41, from New York City, a subway singer. Her children’s father died when they were young, and this is how she made money to provide for her children. Now that they’re grown, it’s time for her to live out her dream.

Song: The Greatest Love of All

Me: At first she isn’t nearly as good as I expected.
Simon: He tells her she’s rushing it and singing with no emotion and asks her to sing without the trac behind her. After, he asks why no one ever came up to her and told her she should be doing something bigger, and she figures it’s because she was waiting for The X Factor.
Demi: She has a feeling Denise will be singing for lots of people someday.
Paulina: Denise is the one they’ve been waiting for tonight.
Kelly: They have been waiting for Denise period.

This looks so far like it’s going to be a really good season. All the talent put through I have agreed with, and there isn’t any acts left behind that I think should have gone through either. Hopefully it will stay like that all season. And hopefully the judges will continue to get along this well.

T

X Factor, Sept. 11 – Easiest Yes Simon Has Ever Given

It’s season three of X Factor, and the only judge that remains the same throughout all seasons is Simon Cowell. He kept gal pal Demi Lovato from last season, but ditched L.A. Reid and Britney Spears, bringing in Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio, making him the only man on the panel, which I’m sure he enjoys. Simon definitely knows talent, and I think that extends to the judging panel as well as the stage.

Auditioner: Carlito Olivero, 23, from L.A., but originally from Chicago, a barista. He fashions himself as the Latino Chris Brown.

Song: Stay

Me: Carlito showed great emotion, but needs to sing from his gut and not his head.
Simon: He doesn’t believe there is anyone around like him and believes he looks like a real star.
Demi: She feels he is like a combination of Frankie J and Trey Songz.
Kelly: It was like she was witnessing a star.
Paulina: She tells Carlito, “I adore you.”

Auditioner: Sally Hessnice, 55, Graham, North Carolina, a registered nurse. He People tell her she make them incredibly happy when she sings.

Song: Greatest Love of All

Me: She’s definitely not good, but she loves it so much.
Kelly: She wasn’t crazy about the vocal.
Demi: It just wasn’t the X Factor for her
Simon: After laughing through the audition, he explains eight-thousand dogs were trying to get into the venue.

Auditioner: Valeria Colombo, 41, from Boca Raton, FL, a karaoke DJ. People scream for her when she sings.

Song: Without You

Me: Tone deaf; ‘nuf said.
Simon: He doesn’t believe people were screaming for her in a good way.

Auditioner: K-nected, a group containing a mom and her two daughters.

Song: Waterfalls

Me: All three of them sing monotone, yet still can find a harmony
Simon: He asks if they live by an airport.
Kelly: She believes if this is something they want to do, they should keep doing it.

#Auditioner: John Tanner Davis, 18, from Dallas. He just graduated high school.

Song: My Heart Will Go On

Me: He’s another who is completely tone deaf.
Simon: He thought John did a better job than the iceberg.

Auditioner: Lillie McCloud, 54, from Orlando, but originally from Rochester. She has three kids and seven grandkids and has waited for her ids to be grown up to take this type of of opportunity

Song: Alabaster Box

Me: It’s classic R&B, and she sounds very trained.
Paulina: She calls it unbelievable.
Kelly: She asks where Lillie’s been and says she touched every part of the room with her voice.
Simon: He believes she has an incredible voice and that she absolutely nailed it.
Demi: It ripped her heart out of her chest. She felt like she was listening to to Whitney. She suggests maybe it wasn’t supposed to happen for Lillie until now.

Auditioner: Due Alex and Sierra – Alex Kensey, 21, Daytona Beach, and Sierra Deaton, 22, Orlando.They believe their chemistry is something special that you don’t see a lot.

Song: Toxic

Me: They have great harmony, ad she cries when they’re done performing.
Demi: She has chills because of how talented and down to earth they are.
Kelly: She alls it really beautiful what they ignited onstage.
Paulina: She believes in them and believes in their love
Simon: He thought it would be corny at first, but they’re both quirky and san an incredible version of the song.

Auditioner: Rion Paige, 13, Jacksonville. She has a disease that has curved her right hands so that they aren’t very usable and has made her almost completely blind in her right eye.

Song: Blown Away

Me: She is older than her years in both her looks and sound.
Demi: She is just so impressed and can’t believe the struggles Rion has had, believing everyone ca learn something from her.
Paulina: Music heals everything, and she’s honored to live through this with Rion.
Kelly: She just witnessed passion
Simon: He thinks she’s literally extraordinary, and he feels the same way about her that he felt about Carrie Underwood. In every single way she’s a beautiful person. It’s the easiest yes he’s ever given.

It was a great night for the season premiere. For Simon to say he feels the same way about someone that he felt about Carrie Underwood is incredible. Back then he promised she’d sell more records than any other Idol. Her success speaks for itself. To not say the same thing about this 13-year-old girl is incredible. Her faith in her isn’t unfounded.

American Idol, Feb. 21 & 28 – The Top 20 Guys Become the Top 10

Here are the top 20 guys and who the judges, with a little help from Jimmy Iovine, decided to send on to the semifinals.Paul Jolley, Palmersville, Tennessee, works in retail and sales and admits his town is itty bitty with only about 150 people. If you blink, you'll miss it. His grandfather recently passed away, and it was very hard on him. He's worked hard and feels like he has to share this with the world, because he has so much to give back. Tonight, he sings a Keith Urban song, Tonight I Wanna Cry, and he does well with it, but doesn't really stand out. He has some great notes at the end though.Keith Urban thanks Paul for doing one of his songs, as it's a huge honor. To critique him, he thinks he has a great voice, but he wants him to not underestimate the quality and power of his voice if he goes through. He doesn't need to over-perform, because he has a lot to offer. Nicki Minaj thinks other performances wowed her more, but some of the notes that he usually hits are sweeter than they were. She tells him his eyes are very theatrical, and he's so much in his own head that the audience doesn't feel it as much.Randy Jackson calls it risky to do the song in front of Keith. Keith is right on one hand, but on the other, what Randy always liked about Paul is that most country singers have ginormous ranges that they use to sing almost anything, and he thinks Paul has that same potential, and there aren't that many men that can do that. Mariah Carey agrees with Randy and feels differently than the others, as she felt the first half of the song was very intimate. Paul able to have some flexibility with a genre.Johnny Keyser, 23, Ft. Lauderdale, a musician, was cut last year in Las Vegas, and he feels that was the beginning of his growth. He believes in commitment and in music, and believes he's supposed to be here. To prove that, he sings I Won't Give Up and again does well, but needs to have more of a standout performance. Keith felt it was his best song so far from him. There was an effortlessness about it, and he could see some moments of nervousness, but also some where Johnny lost that and went back into the song, and those are enough to pull it through. Nicki didn't see the nerves a all and thinks he's looking real sexy tonight. She confirms again that he doesn't have a girlfriend. He gets kudos for his look, even if he doesn't have the best vocal.Randy doesn't know if Johnny has the best voice, but he likes it and was pulling for him. It was just okay or him tonight, as there just weren't enough spots in there to stand out. Mariah feels she's familiar with who Johnny is as an artist and loves his commitment to music. She doesn't want to get in trouble with her husband, but Johnny is bringing the sexuality. The low register was really there. Her opinion is that he's worthy to be around.Jda, 27, sells French things. He's choosing his own path to happiness and can fully embrace who he is without any regrets. He's the producer, director, star, and artist of his own life. He sings Rumor Has It and is very theatrical. He does that thing with drumming his fingers on the microphone that is somewhat annoying, because when people do it it looks planned.Keith notes Jda was right at home here in Vegas on that stage. He commends him for putting on a show and applauds his originality … and humility. He wished he had felt a bit less of the counting steps. It seemed like he wrote down every single movement to every lyrics, but he loved what he was undertaking. Nicki tells Jda to “Work it, Girl.” No matter what happens, he is a superstar performer. Everyone came to see a show, and no one else has done it. He turned and took in his audience, and other Idols usually don't get that. His voice wasn't as good as it usually is though.Randy explains the reason why the vocal wasn't as good is because Jda was too tuned in on the performance. If there were an award for best performance, it would go to Jda. He has his own choreography in his head, but he should be thinking more about the vocal. However, the problem was that he didn't find any originality. Mariah felt the opposite, that he was so confident he wasn't wavering vocally. It wasn't the best he's done, but his confidence level was major. Kevin Harris, 28, from Montgomery, AL, a production supervisor. He's there for his family and his songs. He wants his kids to know they can do anything they put their minds to and that Daddy will show them the way. Tonight he sings and seems like the old guy in the competition. He' sonly 28, but he seems to much older. Other singing competitions don't have the age cap, but Idol does, and it makes him stand out in that way.Keith has always loved that song. He loves Kevin's voice, too, and its crazy range. It was effortless. However, he has mixed feelings about him choosing to flip up the song to show some range. He gets why he's doing it, but wants him to mix it up a little. Nicki tells Kevin every single choice he made musically tonight was perfection. She loves his vibrato and loves that he went falsetto at the end. She thinks his vocal was 100%.Randy thinks this will be a disagreeing kind of night. He was very bored with this song and felt it was karaoke. Nicki is shocked. There were no big moments in it and he put the high note in. If he wants to show the he's got it, then he needs to choose a different song. The guys that are still yet to sing are going to come out with their guns blazing. Mariah tells Kevin he's been a favorite of hers since the beginning, and it's obvious he's a born singer. She loved the song, but she wishes he would have sung something where he could show what he can do. She feels he's a professional.Chris Watson, 25, Dover, Delaware, is a waiter by day and singer by night, playing gigs professionally on his own. He firmly believes in the laws of attraction and believes he attracted this opportunity. He's ready to leave the tips behind and start collecting the big checks, hoping to be the one finally leaving the big tips. He sings Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay for the judges and is dressed somewhat exotically. I say somewhat, because we just got done watching Jda a few performers before. Chris is a great performer, but with the way he's performing, it's hard to tell about his voice.Keith mentions Randy talking about it being a singing competition earlier, and in a lot of ways, Keith finds it to be more of a connection competition. It can be the way you move, your voice, the performance, and it can be the charisma. Keith agrees with me saying the voice didn't seem the greatest tonight, but he doesn't think the song was right for showing off his voice. Yet he thinks he has a lot of confidence onstage, and he loves the way he carries himself and dresses. Nicki refers to Chris as the prettiest man she has seen in her life. She wants to marry his vibrato with its soulful, raspy, uniqueness that gets her. It wasn't the strongest choice, but she's obsessed with him and is willing to say that proudly. She hears pain and struggle in his voice and loves him.Randy loves the look and the whole thing, but he was looking to see something vocally, and it seemed like the song went nowhere. Otis Redding had all of that muster when he sang and didn't need all of the vocal gymnastics. Chris was doing the Chris tonight, but the Chris wasn't enough. Randy was bored. Mariah was surprised by the choice of song. She sees triumph when Chris sings and knows people are looking at his beautiful voice and the performance. It wasn't the best vocally, but some things can be overridden.

American Idol, Feb. 20 & 27 – The Top 20 Girls Become the Top 10

There is a lot of female talent on American Idol this year. They seemed to have so much that they created a new plan to decide it differently this year. They let us see them making all the choices instead of just letting us see them telling people, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Here’s twenty good performances, with a few that were definite standouts.

Jenny Beth Willis, 17, is from Owensboro, KY, the bluegrass state. She performs at churches and festivals. She calls it insane to be singing for Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson, and Mariah Carey. Tonight she sings Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love. She has some great energy and is really cute with this song, but with this field of female singers, I’m not sure if it’s enough.

Keith has mixed feelings between thinking it’s not the best choice of song and loving the infinite confidence Jenny Beth has, and he thinks the range of the song at the end was more than enough for her. Nicki liked her voice, but she didn’t feel she came alive until the end when she gave them the beautiful smile. She felt the audience was showing more excitement than her, although she chalks it up to possible nerves.

For Randy it felt a little jerky and like Jenny Beth could never get in synch with the band. He doesn’t think it was her best performance. The end note was great, but he wishes the rest of it were as good. Mariah felt it was a very nice performance, but she thinks she could be more dynamic during the verses and perhaps play with it a little to give them that presence. She also really liked the first time she sang the word “love and took it low” and liked that in contrast to the last note, a winner.

Tenna Torres, 28, Queens, New York. She’s a promotional model. She went to Camp Mariah when she was younger and actually got to sing for her back then. Her story is one of the underdog. With her age, this is her last chance for Idol. Tonight she sings Underdog and sounds great but seems to make it a little too dramatic like she’s overplaying it a bit.

Keith calls it a beatuiful song for Tenna to do, yet it’s a deceptively big song to do that takes a lot of ocntrol that she mostly had. He partiularly liked the control at the end and the diversity the song allowed her voice. Nicki asks why Tenna looks sad, and her answer is because it’s a sad song. She reminded Nicki why she fell in love with her voice before, and a lot of her fans were angry for her liking her voice, but she thinks they’ll see it now. Something about her tone reminds her of the 1990s R&B singers. She does think she is aging herself with her hairstyle though.

To Randy this is the start of the night and how you do it. She came out and was controlled. There were only a few notes wrong, but she connected with the emotion of the song with a beautiful voice and beautiful delivery. This is what becoming American Idol is all about. She knows Mariah loves her and Mariah doesn’t want to be redundant, but it was all Tenna, and she gave every bit of her emotion, so she understands why she says she was trying to be there with the emotions. She wasn’t even trying, just naturally giving a beautiful, pure performance. She admits that she didn’t even look at her boyfriend all day just to keep with the emotions.

Adriana Latonio, 17, Anchorage, Alaska, who knows people think of igloos and sled dogs when they think of her state, feels it’s a beautiful state. She wants to show people that even a small town girl can go somewhere in her life. She sings Ain’t No Way and does a stunning job. She has the emotions and the natural singing that they said Tenna had. I felt it more here.

After the male judges give Adriana a standing ovation, Keith tells Randy the night has now started. Adriana’s emotions and everything else completely belied her age, and she was completely channeling into everything the song needed. It was hard for him not to react, because it was so damn good. She tells Nicki after being asked that she is five feet tall and confirms that she is Filipino. Nicki mentions her she wrote in her notes, “Little tiny thing, but commands the stage from the second she walks out.” She did not see one ounce of fear in her. Apart from a great vocal, she almost seems like she’s already been doing this.

Randy says Adriana walked out like that because she’s born to do it. That kind of confidence at 17 …. and to walk out and come that close to them, along with the last note when she hit it at the end was “good looking out,” as he thought, “This girl’s a pro.” She tells Mariah it went better than she thought it would. Mariah notes it’s the Queen of Soul she was singing, and it can be rough to have it not turn out the way you want it to, but she loved the way she came through with her version of the song. Mariah enjoyed the first half of the song where she took her time. A+.

Brandy Hotard, 26, Fort Allen, Louisiana, is a site nurse. She’s worked since she was 16 to be on the show. She knows she can do that and wants to show the sass that she has and the personality she can bring. Tonight she sings Anymore and sings really well, but seems more intent on sounding good than giving a good emotional performance.

Keith loves that she sang that song, as it’s an old Travis Tritt one, and he’s never heard a girl sing it, but it works on that level. His only issue with it was an emotional connection inconsistency. It’s a heartbreaking song, and there were times Brandy seemed happy about it, and others when she was back in it. He wished she’d stayed in place with it, as she has the voice to do it. Nicki asks Keith to stay out of her head, as he took the words right out of her mouth. She jotted in her notes to ask why Brandy was smiling when singing about tears and resistance. It was a pageant delivery of a song and didn’t feel real. She’s not coming out there to smile at the judges but to be a realistic, believable artist. Jimmy Iovine is there to sign people. But she looked beautiful.

Randy seems to echo the sentiment, saying Brandy didn’t have the connection to the lyrics. She has a big voice, which is why she’s there, but it didn’t tell him enough of who she is or what type of artist she wants to be. She can sing, but because she didn’t connect emotionally, he’s not sure who he’s really looking at. Mariah says it didn’t bother her whether she was smiling or not, as she just saw a beautiful person singing. But, she has seen her more emotionally connected, and she’s wondering if it’s a new stage thing because of the audience. When she opens up her voice it’s a million dollar moment, and should do more with that in mind. She’d love to see her do an album of classics.

Shubha Vedula, 17, Mt. Pleasant, MI, won $35,000 for her school one year in a competition. She wants everyone to see her as someone unique who they can look at as an idol. Tonight she sings Born This Way sitting at the piano, singing a slower version of the song. She has a giant big voice and puts it to use standing up and launching into the song full force. I’m not sure if the song is right for her though.

Keith tells Shubha that she crammed a lot into the song as far as the kind of song it was, and on one hand it made it confusing, but on the other, he loves her voice and it came powering through and it will be what helps her. Nicki prepares the audience to boo, then tells Shubha that there was so much going on. Every time since her audition, there almost seems like a comical thing there, as while it’s powerful, it’s a matchup between Christina Aguilera and Psy. Wow, that’s rough.

Randy comes to Shubha’s defense a little and says he agrees with them a little on one hand as at 17 she has unbelievable talent but doesn’t need to add runs into everything. Yet, the potential in her is great, and he would have loved it if she stayed with it at the piano. He likes her potential for 17 years old. Mariah agrees with Randy and also would have preferred her staying at the piano, as there was something less forced then, but she also wanted to please the audience. She needs to find the right balance.

American Idol 12, Jan. 24 – Singing Firemen and Doctors

Now that we’ve finally seen what the whole big fight was all about between the judges, which after the fact turned out to be not very much, we can finally get past all that and stop waiting for it. We can get back to what we’re really here for … some great auditions (and some not-so-goood ones probably as well).

Tonight the auditions are coming from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mariah Carey refers to herself as a beauty school dropout and applies Randy Jackson’s makeup for him. She points out this is why people need second career options.

The first to audition is Megan Miller, 22, Ethel, LA, the current Miss Baton Rouge. She’s always done pageants to help pay for her education. Now that she’s graduated from college, she really wants to focus on her singing career. Three days before the audition, she was involved in an accident. The doctors wanted to keep her over the weekend because of an infection, but she refused. She will let her leg fall off before she misses this audition. She’s going in with heels on and her crutches. She’s going in for surgery right after.

Megan sings Something’s Got Ahold of Me for the judges, and she’s quite good, balancing on her crutches and snapping the fingers on one hand. She hams it up, ad-libbing the lyrics to say “put a hurtin’ in me” and shakes her bum leg, singing into one of her crutches at the end.

Keith Urban cracks that he thought Megan was going to sing Lean on Me. Randy calls her a natural and says it goes to show no matter what’s going on, if you can sing, you can sing. Nicki Minaj sees an undeniable superstar. She likes that Megan didn’t make an excuse and just came in and turned it into humor. She used it instead of letting it use her.

Mariah thinks she’s endearing (Megan, not Nicki) and says she just has a natural quality. Keith loves that she just came in and went at it and jokes he wishes she would have moved around more. It’s a unanimous yes. She leaves, saying she’s on her way to surgery, and the judges joke they’re coming with. Megan tells Keith he can come for sure, but he’ll only go if he can bring his wife.

Charlie Askew, 17, Little Rock, admits he’s very socially awkward. He was never able to reach out and connect with people socially or verbally. He doesn’t fit a certain diagnosis, but his mom calls him a well-rounded kid. With music he finally found an outlet, and it’s been the center of his life since he was born. He tells Nicki singing is how he communicates when he can’t do it verbally.

Charlie sings the intro to Breakthrough and is quite unusual. He follows this singing Nature Boy and again is just very unusual. Nicki was pleasantly surprised by his voice and asks if he thinks he went through puberty. He notes it’s 2:00 now … then says his voice was actually the first thing to mature. She likes him and his spirit. Randy refers to him as a seemingly dark, strange, but cool guy. Nicki nicknames him Mystery Man.

Keith loves Charlie’s voice, with the tone that’s not of a gender, like Bowie. Mariah can identify with him. She wasn’t really shy, but can identity with the escapism aspect of his music. she thinks he could really shake things up if he stays on the right track and stays unique in the competition. He says she can count on it, as he can’t be anyone but himself. He gets four yeses. Keith believes he’s one of those guys who could become a star then look back and not believe where he came from.

Sophia Assel nominated her granddaughter Maddie Assel, 17, Centreville, VA, to audition. She knew she would be a wonderful singer from when she was a little red-faced singer. She’s singing outside Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter, and Randy comes and finds her and gives her an audition number. She cries ecstatically. She thought she was just coming for a vacation.

Maddie sings Oh Darlin’ and has some great throatiness, but needs to tone down some of the vibrato. Keith asks if there is someone who singularly influenced her singing style. She names Beyoncé, Adele, and even Haley Reinhart. He loves that she doesn’t sound like any of them. She has her own style. Nicki thinks she has a nice voice and some power. Mariah loved her song choice and loved how she sang and her confidence. It’s four yeses as she moves on. Her grandmother dances with beads, a mask, a parasol, and every Big Easy thing she can find. Ryan Seacrest asks how much Magic Dust she has in her, but I think it might be a couple of daiquiris from Bourbon Street.

It’s time for the bad auditions. We get screeching and some other things that just can’t be described. One girl that doesn’t make it wails outside, then gets livid. A couple of chickens fail as well. Yes, a couple of chickens. One dressed like one, and another strutting around like one.

Paul Jolley, 22, retail sales, Palmersville, TN, says this is his calling in life. His family and friends see it, and he believes he has a lot to give back. His grandfather recently passed away, and he doesn’t think he’ll be half the man he was. He was a First Sergeant and taught Paul to take things out in the back, go in the music room, etc.

Paul sings I Won’t Let Go and definitely does his grandfather proud. Nicki likes him a lot and thinks his voice is really pretty with a nice texture in his tone and a clear ability to play with it and make it colorful She likes his vibe and the ways his eyes sparkle. Mariah also likes him and felt that he exuded confidence and that it was effortless when he sang. She knows people will love him. Keith liked his voice and felt it was like a great crafted vocal performance with honesty in his tone. It’s four yeses. His grandma cries when she finds out he made it and says this was for her husband.

American Idol 12, Jan. 23 – The Big Fight That Wasn’t

With the first four hours of auditions last week, we definitely saw a few contenders as well as a couple of people who stole our hearts. Note that the new judges weren't anywhere near stealing anyone's hearts. Possibly Keith Urban, but definitely not Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.

Tonight the auditions are coming out of Charlotte, North Carolina. We get shades of what is to come in an argument between Mariah and Nicki, and are then told that we're flashing back six hours earlier. Scotty McCreery is on hand to wish everyone well as they enter the auditions at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Randy is looking for another chair.

Naomi Morris, 28, a bartender, Charlotte, loves fashion as it allows her to express herself. She makes it herself, so that it's all of her coming out. She wants the judges to remember her for what she has on as well as her voice. Nicki greets her when she walks in and tells her she's popping out. It's an odd joke. Nicki wants her to change her name to Omie and also advises her to wear fake lashes.

Naomi sings Respect and doesn't show as much fashion in her voice as she shows in the way she's dressed. Nicki even clutches her heart. Naomi finishes and apologizes, saying she knows she sings better but she's just shaking so bad. Nicki tells her she shocked her. Noami does open mikes all the time. Nicki encourages her to breathe, and Keith does as well.

Restarting with Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Naomi isn't any better. Randy Jaackson votes umm, and Mariah tells her not to let it bring her down, as she's a pretty girl. Keith says no, and Nicki tells her it's a no, but “God bless you and continue to shine as a fashion designer.” Mariah wants to call her about the skirt, and Nicki likes the bra.

Joel Nemoyer, 20, a fast food worker, Carlisle, PA, is also having a hard time with nerves. He tries jumping backwards off a ledge and falls and nearly hits his face. He also can't remember how old he is. He sings better when he lies on the ground. They go back to a clip of Chris Daughtry being told to sing lying down. He checks his watch as he walks into the audition, and Randy wonders if they're keeping him. He thinks Nicki's outfit is reminiscent of cotton candy. Nicki asks him to dance, but it's a little frightening. Regardless, Nicki thinks he's cute and wants to call him Jumanji.

Joel lies down on the floor to sing Feeling Good, and the panel can't help but laugh. It's really not that great. Nicki tells him it's a first, seeing someone lay down to sing, so if nothing else, he made history. Keith tells him he's swet, but he isn't sure if it's his thing. Mariah agrees. He gets noes from the judges and bows on his way out of the room. Nicki asks him if he's ever been to Tokyo. Odd.

Brian Rittenberry, 27, a bookkeeper, Jasper, GA, calls his son his biggest supporter. In 2009 his wife was diagnosed with stage four appendix cancer, and it grew from the size of a grapefruit to the size of a basketball. The doctors couldn't guarantee two years, and it was difficult for him to watch her go through all that. But the hardest was explaining it to his son. Yet, three year's later, she's still doing well. He tells the judges that his wife begs him to go to the basement when he sings. She loves Keith Urban, but Keith is worried he'll be sent to the basement. She even got her hair and nails done knowing she'd get to meet him.

Brian sings Let It Be, and actually has a good voice, a good booming voice. Keith tells him when he came out and starting talking, he was hoping he'd sing with that voice. Mariah didn't expect it, and it took her by surprise. Keith thinks he has a good light about him, and that he's husky and he's cool. Nicki loves the tone and raspiness, as well as the commitment. He gets four yeses. His wife gets a chance to come in to see him, and of course Keith. He tells her to stop sending her man down into the basement.

Nicki checks out what Keith is snacking on, trail mix, and he sets her up with some of her own. The next auditioner, Jimmy Smith, 25, a social worker, Waynesboro, TN, walks in and says Keith is his inspiration. Keith jokes he's going to Hollywood. He saw the ad to audition for Idol on a break from work. He sings Broken Road and is quite good. He has the voice, and with some guidance, he could be terrific.

Nicki says “poppin' over and over, and says she feels like Jimmy's voice is the one she was waiting to hear today. It has the sweetness she's been waiting to hear from a country singer. Keith loves his voice and thinks he sounds like he was influenced more by Gary Levox than him. He thinks we can see his personality in his tone. Mariah thinks he has something incredible and unique that she can't wait for the world to hear. He gets four easy yeses.

Sara-Joi Crowe, 17, Columbia, TN; Haley Dvis, 26, a hairdresser, Charleston; and Na'Chelle Fullins Lovell, 19, Charlotte (with an amazing range!) all make it through to Hollywood as well. Keith is waiting to pass out from hunger. The trail mix must not be doing it for him. The judges discuss Billie Holiday on the way to lunch, but Keith isn't familiar with her stuff. Mariah informs him he needs to get with it.

While Scotty is taking marriage proposals, Matthew Muse, 23, Florence, SC, just laughs when asked how badly he wants the golden ticket. He started singing a little at a time through different karaoke clubs. He likes to communicate wit his eyes, then just gets moving. It will be an honor for him to meet Keith. He tells Keith that he's been told he sounds like Brad Paisley. Keith tell him he looks like him too.

Matthew sings When I Get Where I'm Going, and his main problem seems to be sustainability. Mariah stifles a laugh while Nicki gives him a “yuck” look. He's quite animated, causing Keith to say it's a pity Brad plays the guitar, because he could pick up some great hand gesture tips from Matthew. Randy comments on the stance and asks Matthew if he dances, while he goes into something far and away from a boot-scootin' boogie. Randy tells him he's nowhere near ready for this, while Nicki recommends he become a model. She asks him to walk like he's on a runway, and he obliges. They all agree he's a cool dude, but … no.

One day earlier Randy hopped on a school bus to go surprise Isabel Gonzalez, 16, Alpharetta, GA, who was nominated for an audition by her Aunt Bernie. She thinks she has an amazing voice, but is too nervous to audition on her own. Randy walks into the school while the principal is talking about PSAT scores. Randy calls up Isabel and gives her an audition tag.

American Idol 12, Jan. 17 – Breaking My Heart in a Whole New Way

I have to admit I wasn't as annoyed with Nicki Minaj last night as I thought I'd be. I was annoyed with the whole catfight thing with Mariah Carey. Are those two divas going to do that the whole season? We no longer have the fake fights between Simon and Paula, but now we have to have this instead? Did the producers set that up on purpose as it almost seemed like some of the catfights were a little staged. Yet it's not them breaking my heart tonight; it's the last auditioner.

The first contestant tonight is Mackenzie Wasner, 17, of Leiper's Fork, TN. Ryan Seacrest interviews the family looking for musical types and finds her dad who is a piano player and singer/songwriter. Mackenzie started singing early, with her first gig being alongside her dad as they sang the ABCs for her Kindergarten class. Her dad plays keyboards for Vince Gill, and she thinks of him as her own Idol judge.

Mackenzie sings a song first with her dad at home, then in front of the judges here in Chicago. She has a great classic country voice. Mariah loaves her voice and thinks she's beautiful and has a star power that can be honed. Nicki feels someone like her walks into a room once every few years. That didn't sound like being in a competition; it sounded like her first single. She blew her mind. She is a star.

Randy Jackson loved the song and thought she did it justice. He feels she has a huge road ahead of her. What Keith Urban loved is that she has a great blend between of strength and vulnerability like he could hear in Lee Ann Womack's first record, with a little bit of Dolly Parton as well. She gets four yeses. Well, three and a “pow” from Mariah.

Austin Earles, 19, fast food services, Lakeview, MI, gets told by Randy that the judges are all like a family, although we don't learn why he said that. Austin launches into his audition and gets laughter from the judges. Mariah cuts him off, claiming it's because of time. Nicki argues they're not out of time, and Mariah think she might like to hear him sing to her some more. Nicki claims she'd like to hear it every day.

Kiara Lanier, 21, college student/teacher, Chicago, sang for President Obama at his birthday fundraiser. She was comfortable with it as she was singing classic. He hugged her and shook her hand. Kiara asks the judges how they've been enjoying Chicago, then thanks Mariah, because as a little girl she liked seeing someone else who was multi-racial and looked like her.

Kiara sings The Prayer and has a beautiful tone and great emotion. Nicki gives her a “Wooh! Take me now!” when she finishes, and after the other judges add some wows, Nicki tells Kiara when you can only hear wows, you know it was “pretty freaking pretty.” She has a lot of control, soft and hgh, but pretty and beautiful, especially being so youg. Randy was impressed. Mariah feels she has potential, is a beautiful girl, and she loves how she went in and out of the soft, and not in a typical way. Keith thinks she looks ready to be a star, and he loved the little nuance in the runs of Aaron Neville. She gets four easy yeses.

Stephanie Schimel, 21, a lingerie store employee, Milwaukee, sings Dream a Little Dream With Me and sounds beuatiful, alhtough she apologizes for it shaking because of the nerves. Mariah liked the choice of song and felt she had a really nice tone. Keith heard an interesting Carrie Underwood/Gwen Stefani blend. He loves her whole light. Nicki wasn't wowed, but thinks Stephanie and her voice are pretty. They've just seen such magnetic things, and she doesn't feel she compares. Randy thinks she's really talented. It comes down to a vote and Nicki is the only no, but Stephanie doesn't like her any less. Nicki notes they have the same color of eye shadow on.

This elicits a catfight with Maria, of course, and leads into a montage of a whole day-long catfight. Keith beats his head on the judges' desk and comments that he feels like a scratching post sitting between the two of them. It's obviously stressing Ryan out, so he gets a massage from one of the auditioners.

The masseuse is Melissa Bush, 27, Grandville, MI. She's a quieter person, but wanted to show her personality, so got this pink one-piece unitard that looks like a 70s-era Elvis costume that got washed in hot water with a red sock. She likes that it's shiny. She's a bad dancer, so I can't imagine the singing is going to be great. She does bring Randy a t-shirt, and it says, “Get down DAWG.” She sings Downtown and does sing a little bit better than her dancing. A little. All the judges can say is “Okay,” until Keith asks, “Check please?” Voting, Nicki says “Bush, you'll always be my Bush, but no.” Huh? The others vote no as well, and Mariah calls them all vulgar, assumably for the Bush comments.

Past Idol finalist Haley Reinhart warms the waiting crowd, and Nicki is acting up again.

The Small Town Idol Bus Tour rolled through Iowa City and found rocker Gabe Brown, 21, a baker, Marion, IA, and invited him to audition in Chicago. He comes bearing gifts, cookies. He and and his mom made them. He's been humming and making noises forever, but didn't begin making words and singing until he was around 2, like Little Teapot and Mary Had a Little Lamb. He sings Gimme Shelter and is a screamer.

Keith loves it, then cracks he'd like to hear something with volume. Mariah asks for something a little softer or more mellow. Gabe sings We All Die Young, and it's mellow, until he cranks this one up too. Nicki likes him, and so does Randy. Nicki believes him when he's doing the rock thing and hears authenticity. Keith likes it too, saying the guys with the big massive voices have big voices as well. Mariah votes yes, as do the rest of the judges. He's onto Hollywood.

American Idol 12, Jan. 16 – Hooking Me Again

This is the first time since season one that I am not looking very forward to American Idol. I had no idea what the show was going to be like in season one, and my kids begged me to turn it on. After hearing Kelly Clarkson's voice one time, I was hooked. And now this year, I know what to expect, and it's not Nicki Minaj. Oh, why couldn't they have left Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez in the judging seats?

This can't be right. Ryan Seacrest is recounting past seasons and talks about 371 #1 hits among the past Idols. What? That can't be right! Really? He also mentions assembling the biggest names in the business for the judging. Nicki Minaj? Really? Who said no so that they had to accept her? She joins Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, and of course, Randy Jackson.

We start off tonight watching auditions in New York City. Nicki has her drum majorette hat, and that touches off an argument between her and Mariah, as the latter didn't know accessories were allowed, yet she does love the hat.

The two female judges are still arguing as Michael Buonopane, 27, a shuttle driver from Saugus, MA, comes dancing his way in and singing custom lyrics to We Will Rock You. Keith jokes that he wants him to come out of his shell. Mike claims he didn't know what to do until he got through the door. Then he starts saying something about listening to a radio and starts singing again, random songs, like he's on the radio.

Nicki asks if Mike is going to sing, and Randy just wants to skip the formalities and asks if they can just say “no” now. Mariah is just going to yes, feeling like her vote doesn't matter anyway. Randy tells him it's not him, it's them. Mike tells Mariah on the way out that All I Want for Christmas is the best modern-day Christmas song. Mariah looks right at Nicki, saying that it's seventeen years later and still number one. Nicki repeats over and over “She's a bitch.” Mariah wants to rebuke it if she called her something that starts with a B and ends in itch. Three words. Catfight is coming.

After a break, while the makeup and hair crew are going to town, Mariah says she wants to lose three pounds, and Nicki claims to know how to do it. It turns out she's just doing a quote from Mean Girls, a film they are both familiar with. Irony.

The next contestant, Tenna Torres, 28, a promotional model, Queens, is very excited to see Mariah. She's been listening to her since she was 5 and even went to Camp Mariah when she was younger. She even had a chance to sing for Mariah when she was 13 and hopes she remembers when she shows her a picture. Mariah is glad to have an alumnus there. Randy wants to hear Tenna now, but Mariah says she'd rather look at pictures of herself. Keith, MIA so far, tells Tenna she should have said she'd bring the pictures to Hollywood if Mariah wanted to see them longer.

Tenna sings You've Got a Friend and is pretty good. The judges seem to be enjoying it as well. Mariah and Nicki celebrate, but when Mariah says she needs to comment first, Nicki pouts. Mariah says if they can have someone like this come out of season 12, she'll be proud. She votes yes. Keith calls Tenna refreshing and thinks she has a lot of patience and pace. Nicki votes yes, as does Randy. She's through, and Mariah asks to get copies of the pictures.

Tenna isn't the only good one, as another three contestants get good comments from the judges and go through. One of them looks like Snooki.

James Bay, 15, of Long Island, wants to be sensational superstar like Justin Beiber. If he would “die yesterday, it would be a miracle.” Hmm. He tells Keith he sings in his room all the time and knows what the audience wants. They want a character. He sings One Less Lonely Girl, and Randy looks out the window, because I don't think he has the papers to hold in front of his face to block the obvious laughter.

Nicki tells James she likes him a lot and asks if he has a girlfriend. He doesn't and is single. James wants to do a collide with her one day. She interprets and suggests maybe he wants a collaboration. Mariah suggests he DJ instead, and Keith didn't think he had the whole package. Randy cuts to the chase and tells him singing isn't his thing. Randy wanted to be a NASCAR driver, but it's not his thing. Nicki wanted to be a bus driver, but it's not her thing. James gets four noes, and Nicki tells him she means it when she says he's special. She tells him he's young and not afraid, and she never would have done that at his age. She hugs him on the way out. She's showing a tiny bit of heart.

Christina “Isabelle”, 21, Duluth, GA, says she can't look at the judges until after she sings, because they're all so gorgeous. Nicki brings up that she read that Christina struggled with her weight, as to her, Christina walked in all amazing, beautiful, and confident. She admits she was 200 pounds in high school, and she wanted to be a singer and feel good, so she lost about fifty pounds. This ends up back in a discussion of Mean Girls.

Christina sings Summertime and sounds gorgeous. It is just so crisp and clear. Keith gives her a wow after a high note, and the others just smile away. Nicki utters “O-M-G” when Christina is done. She thinks she should feel proud and thinks she could go far in the competition, because what she did was a combination of amazing skill with beautiful tone and beauty.

Keith thinks Christina is a natural singer. She admits she listened to Mariah when she was growing up. Keith appreciates the vulnerability and humanity in her voice. Nicki liked that she knew who she was when she started singing. Mariah loves the song and has been singing it since she was a baby. She wants to hear her explore it a bit more. Randy wants her to believe more in herself. She probably will with four yeses. She thinks it will prove that no matter your size, if you have the confidence, you can go far.

American Idol, May 23 – A Winner, a Proposal, and a Legend

I’ve been through all eleven seasons of American Idol and it’s no less thrilling tonight, waiting to see whether Phillip Phillips or Jessica Sanchez won than it was watching to see if Kelly Clarkson or Justin Guarini won. Well, okay. It’s not quite the same. And there have been some seasons where I cared a little less about the outcome, but it’s still no less thrilling.

It starts out with a performance by the final 12, all dressed in white singing Run Away Baby. It’s good to see Erika Van Pelt still has her hair short and sassy. Colton Dixon and Skylar Lane look to be flirting a little, certainly not taking anything away from the rumors about them. The instrumental break is filled with dancers who might want to audition for So You Think You Can Dance tomorrow night.

The judges are announced and walk out through the lines of the final 12, and Ryan Seacrest joins them as well. He’s looking smart in a bow tie tonight. Predictably he asks who it’s going to be, and predictably you can’t tell what the audience is saying. A new record was made with the votes last night 132 million. Phillip and Jessica take the stage and are looking good in white. They admit to getting some sleep surprisingly.

Phillip sings a duet with John Fogerty, Have You Ever Seen the Rain that he covered earlier this season. Both of them are on acoustic guitar. Carrie Underwood sings along from the audience. These two really sound good together. They could honestly perform as a duet and take this show on the road. The judges are jamming along with them. Phillip announces their next duet, Bad Moon Risin’. This is so in Phillip’s wheelhouse and exactly what he should be singing.

After clips of the funnier moments from the auditions, Joshua Ledet takes the stage singing Take Me to the Pilot. Does this mean Elton John is going to be joining him in a few minutes? Nope, it’s Fantasia. And she has long straight hair and tight clothes that she shouldn’t be wearing. She looks quite different. It’s Fantasia with Mantasia. I do have to admit that they combine really well vocally. The Idol commercials cut them off when they just keep going and going. I don’t know if they ever would have stopped.

I know now I’m not the only one that gets screwed up typing Jennifer and Jessica all season. It turns out Jimmy Iovine has been getting them mixed up as well. In his taped bits he keeps calling Jennifer Jessica. It’s good to know I’m not alone. He tells Jennifer after the clips that his daughter’s name is Jessica and that’s why he gets mixed up. Well, that’s not going to prompt her to stay past this season.

The female finalists take the stage singing Ain’t Nobody. I’m shocked somewhat, as they don’t sound as good as they did the rest of the season. They launch into I’m Every Woman and Chakak Khan joins them the stage. She’s looking good, but perhaps shouldn’t wear tight clothes either. What is it with the wardrobe tonight? Someone stick it in the dryer? For some reason Ryan is sitting in Jennifer’s chair and is jamming along. Jane Lynch is jamming in the audience as well.

Ford put together a little tribute to the finalists, but the problem is, Phillip really wasn’t in the Ford shoots too much, resting up because of his health. Ford wanted to do something special for the finalists’ musical mentors, and Phillip talks again about his brother-in-law, while Jessica counts on a close family friend who has helped her musically. Ford brought the two mentors to the finale to support them. and is also giving the two of them Ford Escapes. They are excited to say the least. And for Phillip and Jessica, they also get new cars, Ford Fusions.

Rhianna takes the stage singing Where Have You Been. It’s a light show extravaganza. At the end, she shouts out, “I love you, Idol!” It’s a little surprising, but good to see her sincerity. Or is this like that part in a concert where the singer yells out, “I love you, Chicago!”

Skylar Lane starts singing good, Turn on the Radio to Steven, then walks up onstage and introduces Reba. It’s a great performance, and I’m sure it’s the thrill of a lifetime for Skylar. But seriously, all I can think of is the Saturday Night Live skit and Kenan Thompson. Jennifer is still missing from the judges’ table.

It’s a look inside Steven Tyler’s dressing room. He says he may be a rock star, yet he leads a modest life. A walk inside shows Playboy bunnies and a pet sloth. Really? Is that really his pet? He has a monkey in there as well, and a sign on his bedroom door that issues the warning, “All Who Enter Must Surrender the Booty.” On the wall is a picture with Michael Jackson and a letter from Paul McCartney. This is eclectic-ness at its best.

Jessica Sanchez takes the stage singing I Will Always Love You. It’s just as gorgeous as it was the first night. Steven sings along from the judges’ table. I’m not kidding when I say I’d really like to hear his rendition of it. I am wondering why she is getting an additional solo, one without any big stars joining her. It’s making me wonder if it’s because she won’t be singing the Idol Coronation song at the end.

The top 12 guys take the stage singing Coming to America, followed by Cracklin’ Rosie, so I’m guessing we’ll be seeing Neil Diamond at the end of this song. Yet they launch into I’m a Believer, which is great with a lead from Joshua Ledet. Finally Neil takes the stage singing Sweet Caroline. Or rather he’s talking it, as it seems his voice hasn’t held up too well over the years. Nevertheless, the man’s a legend. Phillip is curiously missing.