American Idol Season 8 – Kansas City Auditions – Recap

UPDATE: Finally, a recap, after the jump.

  • Chelsea Marquardt ‘ Parsons, KS – Age 19 – Waitress – …I Cant Live by Nilsson – NO – VIDEO
  • Ashley Anderson – Clarksburg, NJ ‘ Age 20 ‘ Singer ‘ …Footprints in the Sand … by Leona Lewis – YES – VIDEO
  • Casey Carlson ‘ Minneapolis, MN – Age 20 ‘ Bubble Tea Maker – …A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton – YES – VIDEO
  • Brian Hettler ‘ Kansas City, MO – Age 20 ‘ …Think by Aretha Franklin ‘ Art Student – NO – VIDEO
  • Von Smith – Greenwood, MO – Age 22 ‘ Student – …Over the Rainbow – YES – VIDEO
  • Michael Castro ‘ Rockwall, TX ‘ Age 20 ‘ Student ‘ …In Love With A Girl by Gavin DeGraw – YES – VIDEO
  • Matt Breitzke – Bixby, OK – Age 27 – Welder – “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers – YES – VIDEO
  • Jasmine Joseph – Norfolk, NE – Age 17 – Student – “Over the Rainbow” – NO – VIDEO
  • Jessica Furney – Wamego, KS – Age 19 – Caregiver – “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin – YES –VIDEO
  • Asia McClain – Kansas City MO – Age 24 – Mom – NO
  • India Morrison – Kansas City MO – Age 22 – Student -YES – VIDEO
  • Jamar Rogers – Milwaukee, WI – Age 26 – Bartender – “California Dreaming” by the Mamas and the Papas – YES – VIDEO
  • Danny Gokey – Milwaukee, WI – Age 28 – Church Music Teacher – “Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye-YES – VIDEO
  • Anoop Desai – Chapel Hill, NC – Age 21 – Student – “Thank You” by Boys II Men – YES – VIDEO
  • Andrew Lang – Columbia, MO – Age 19 – Ice Cream Server – “My Girl” by the Temptations – NO – VIDEO
  • Asa Barnes – Kansas City, MO – Age 28 – Band Director – “The Way You Make Me Feel” By Michael Jackson – YES – VIDEO
  • Michael Nicewonder   –   Grand Island, NC – Age 20 – Sandwich Maker – Original Song – NO – VIDEO
  • Dennis Brigham – Glen Carron, IL – Age 19 – Floor Maintenance – “With You” by Chris Brown – YES – VIDEO
  • Mia Conley – Kansas City, MO – Age 27 – Janitorial Engineer – “Loving You” by Minnie Ripperton – NO – VIDEO
  • Lil Rounds – Memphis, TN – Age 23 – Customer Service Rep – “All I Do” by Stevie Wonder – YES – VIDEO

The auditions proceed in Kansas City, much as they did in Phoenix, albiet a few more good singers in this round. Standouts for me were Danny Groker, Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds

Read my recap after the jump…

Here we are, in the hometown of Idol winner David Cook. Will we find another winner in Kansas City?

More pimping tonight for Cook and his new record. Shots of David’s Kansas City homecoming flash by and merge into the waiting stadium crowds.

Ryan mentions that 11, 000 Idol hopefuls showed up in Kansas City last summer.

Kara DioGuardi steps out of her limo to a waiting crowd, “OMG I hope you liek me!!!!” she says to the waiting throng. She wants to be one of the cool kids…

Look, there’s Jason Castro hugging Paula Abul! He’s there to give brother Michael, who is auditioning, moral support. That, and he knows Michael wouldn’t have gotten screen time, or even on to the next round, otherwise. Plus, it’s an opportunity to let America know that he hasn’t fallen off the face of the earth since Idol ended.

Chelsea Marquardt ‘ Parsons, KS – Age 19 – Waitress – …I Cant Live by Nilsson – NO – Cheryl talks of amazing her friends and family with her powerful voice. And at their urging, she decides to audition. So we’ll be starting off the night with some awesome singing? Uhm. no. She’s pretty horrible. She’s neither powerful, or emotional. And she’s horribly off-key. Oh, families who egg their talent free children on! Please don’t do that. I feel really bad when the judges start laughing at her. Simon tells her she sounds like a cat jumping off the empire state building. Harsh! Despite Paula trying to soften the blow, Chelsea leaves the room devastated.

Ashley Anderson – Clarksburg, NJ ‘ Age 20 ‘ Singer ‘ …Footprints in the Sand … by Leona Lewis – YES – So, Simon has a co-write on a Leona Lewis song? Bitch please. He got a credit, but I’ll eat my hat if he actually did any “songwriting.” Ashley’s smart though to play up to Simon’s vanity. Unfortunately, she screws up the lyrics twice, but her decent pipes (and her hotness, probably) help him get over it. “Probably the best song I’ve heard the entire audition, ” says Simon. It’s 4 yeses for Ashley, and she’s on to Hollywood.

The Idol producers have brought back the “make exiting the judges room super confusing” shtick from Season 6. Good times!

Casey Carlson ‘ Minneapolis, MN – Age 20 ‘ Bubble Tea Maker – …A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton – YES – The judges love this girl. “I like you, ” says Simon. “I see a package here, ” says Kara waving her hand. It doesn’t matter that her singing is a little nasally and non-descript. This is a great lesson for all you Idolers out there–charisma and an easily definable image are way more important than pure talent. It’s 4 very enthusiastic yeses from the judges.

Brian Hettler ‘ Kansas City, MO – Age 20 ‘ …Think by Aretha Franklin ‘ Art Student – NO – Brian is a big guy with a big voice and he wants to do some big things! He claims to be classically trained–studying opera, no less. But his vocal stylings are akin to a really drunk 3rd rate Elvis impersonator. He bellows (literally) some Josh Groban, certain the panel will hear the similarity. When they don’t, he leaves the room crestfallen, with Simon calling out after him, “Are you disappointed? ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED!!!). Simon is a bitch.

Oh look, there’s Chris Bernheisel, the crazy-ass dude from last year’s Omaha auditions who did some red carpet stuff for Jimmy Kimmel. He’s part of a montage of crying contestants. One girl is wailing as if somebody died. That’s a little disturbing.

And it’s David Cook’s mom and step dad. They just happen to be walking by! They are both totally sure the judges will find somebody way more talented than their son. Ha ha psych. Of course they didn’t say that. David’s uber talentosity, to the tune of “Billie Jean” is used as a counterpoint to a succession of truly horrible contestants.

Von Smith – Greenwood, MO – Age 22 ‘ Student – …Over the Rainbow – YES – Ok, what’s the deal with Von Smith? His singing is ridiculously over-the-top and utterly without finesse. Yet, the judges really like him, without reservation. “Powerful, ” says Kara. “I thought the vocals were pretty good…I was impressed.” says Randy. “I like you…you have a good voice, ” says Simon. “Absolutely yes, ” says Paula. Did I walk into an alterna-universe? I thought that was horrible. Seriously, I am not looking forward to the dude screaming at me from my TV in the next couple of weeks.

Michael Castro ‘ Rockwall, TX ‘ Age 20 ‘ Student ‘ …In Love With A Girl by Gavin DeGraw – YES – Jason comes back for a visit to give his little brother Michael moral support as he auditions for Idol. Michael looks like his bro, except with short, pink, spiky hair. And he’s also terrible at interviews (I’m betting Michael’s playing that up) He says that Jason is girly, but he really means more emotional…or something. The siblings do a good job acting out some rivalry for the cameras. The pair are pretty amusing. Michael sounds like Jason, but with all the distinct, and quirky qualities stripped away. In a word? Zz. The panel advance him to Hollywood. I’ll bet Jason figures into this, somehow.

Ridiculous banana guy (and fame whore), Vaughn English, a yellow and orange nightmare prancing about and raving on about bananas, segues into a segment about the non-ridiculous…

Matt Breitzke – Bixby, OK – Age 27 – Welder – “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers – YES – …Matt Breitzke, who’s just a working guy–a welder–with a family, who has always had a dream to sing. His wife encouraged him to try out (very Chris Daughtry-like). Dude’s got a good voice, kinda gruff and soulful. I agree with Randy who thinks he’s a cool bar singer. Paula and Kara want to give the guy a shot. Simon agrees with the girls, “I think you are really really good, I like your heart and your ambition.” In other words, “You’ll make good TV for the next couple of episodes.” Matt celebrates to the strains of Daughtry’s “It Feels Like Tonight.”)

Jasmine Joseph – Norfolk, NE – Age 17 – Student – …Over the Rainbow – NO – Jasmine Joeseph, she of the multi-colored hair (Over the Rainbow, get it!) thinks she’s a jazz singer. She’s not. Moving on…

Jessica Furney – Wamego, KS – Age 10 – Caregiver – “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin – YES -…Jessica Furney lives with her feisty and camera-ready 93 year old Grandma. “These are my crazy pills, ” grandma announces matter-of-factly from her kitchen table. Jessica has a nice big belty voice. She could be singing Celine, but she chooses rock. Hopefully she’s not one of those schizy contestants (I’m looking at YOU, Carly Smithson) who hasn’t figured out a musical identity. If she keeps picking original material, she could be pretty interesting.

Asia McClain – Kansas City MO – Age 24 – Mom – “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Joss Stone – NO India Morrison – Kansas City MO – Age 22 – Student – “Love” by Musiq Soulchild – YES – Asia and India are sisters. Big sister Asia couldn’t be more supportive of India, who is really the better singer of the two. But Asia goes along as moral support, and maybe because she’s smart enough to know that sibling acts catch the producers’ attention. After rapping together, (“Cookies”, dedicated to Randy, who can’t eat any) they sing separately, and India is indeed, the better singer. She’s kind of generic, but Simon likes her and she’s off to Hollywood.

Jamar Rogers – Milwaukee, WI – Age 26 – Bartender – “California Dreaming” by the Mamas and the Papas – YES – Jamar the bartender is ready to rock. His performance is all over the place. He’s loud, pitchy and he tries too hard. The judges call him out, but then turn around and pass him through. You see, Jamar has a very special role to play in Hollywood. He came to the audition with his best friend…

Danny Gokey – Milwaukee, WI – Age 28 – Music Teacher – “Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye-YES – …Danny, who came to the audition with his best friend Jamar. And right away (well, in fact, Danny’s segment is teased all though the show) we know that something terrible has happened. Four weeks before his audition, his wife died of a congenital heart disorder. Danny is clearly grieving over his loss, and he speaks of his beloved wife over photos of the two together and happy. Gulp. This is some pretty sad stuff. Danny proves to be more than just a sob story when he auditions in front of the judges. He’s got a rich soulful voice, so good, he doesn’t need a backstory–which is never mentioned in the judges room. He just sings his face off, before the judges enthusiastically advance him to Hollywood.

After a montage of bad female singers (I guess we’re supposed to get the impression that the girls sucked) we meet a guy…

Anoop Desai – Chapel Hill, NC – Age 21 – Student – “Thank You” by Boys II Men – YES – Simon: mispronounces Anoop’s name (but Randy can call him Noopdawg!), asks him if he’s studying “barbecue” (well, his undergraduate thesis was about myth in Southern culture) and then, after a very good audition (nice smooth, soulful voice) he tells the Asian Anoop, that he’s too “computer nerdy” (even though he’s not a computer geek). Oh, Simon! At any rate, Anoop’s talent is undeniable, so despite reservations about his image, the panel sends him on his way to Hollywood. Anoop is cute in a geeky sort of way–he’s ripe for an Idol transformation. The girls are gonna love him.

Now it’s time for the montage of suck, featuring Kansas City’s theme, “Signed Sealed and Delivered.” And suck, they do.

Andrew Lang – Columbia, MO – Age 19 – Ice Cream Server – “My Girl” by the Temptations – NO – Andrew, another loud and tuneless singer, brings his own little cheerleading squad to the audition. His squad cries a river of tears when he’s turned down, but anybody who watches the show regularly should know, that showing up to the auditions with a dumb gimmick might get you in front of the Tee Vee cameras, but it’s rarely going to result in a golden ticket. So, Andrew gets his 5 minutes of fame, and nothing more. Oh well.

Asa Barnes – Kansas City, MO – Age 28 – Band Director – “The Way You Make Me Feel” By Michael Jackson – YES – Simon likes Asa’s singing, but wants to know why he chose to do “that song like that.” and Asa answers simply, “I like it…it’s a good song.” Simon laughs and says, “Good answer…” Now if this were the big Idol stage, Simon wouldn’t be so amused. Asa has a fine voice, but lacks a bit in the charisma department. Paula is impressed that he pulled it off-noting that Michael Jackson songs usually end up in trainwrecks. She’s got a point. It’s 4 yeses for Asa.

Michael Nicewonder – Grand Island, NE – Age 20 – Sandwich Maker – Original Song – NO – Eep. This is the type of contestant–awkward, homely, maybe a little slow–that makes me uncomfortable. Michael doesn’t seem to know any better, but the producers use him for fodder anyway. Ugh. I mean, he’s seriously wearing a medal he won in elementary school around his neck. Of course his singing is horrible, and of course, he’s upset when the judges dismiss him. Do we really need to go there? Ugh.

Dennis Brigham – Glen Carron, IL – Age 19 – Floor Maintenance – “With You” by Chris Brown – YES – Lolz. Dennis is pretty terrible, but the others, I swear just to piss off Simon, put him through. And piss off Simon, they do. In Dennis’s defense, he talks a good game. His enthusiasm is pretty infectious. I even found myself rooting for him. Well, almost. He’ll last a day in Hollywood, at most.

Mia Conley – Kansas City, MO – Age 27 – Janitorial Engineer – “Loving You” by Minnie Ripperton – NO – Mia thinks she’s got a “whistle” register. She doesn’t. But it doesn’t stop her from trying to sing Minni Ripperton’s ode to high notes, “Loving You.” Pets all over America were howling in unison. “God’s going to make you pay for it, ” says Mia when she’s turned away. I think he already did. Ouch!

Lil Rounds – Memphis, TN – Age 23 – Customer Service Rep – “All I Do” by Stevie Wonder – YES – Lil and her family lost everything in a tornado, and she’s still trying to recover. She’s really really good, but she’s got that whole Melinda Doolittle-like aw-shucks thing going on. She looks like she’s going to fall over when Simon calls her fantastic. Simon calls her “retro and classy” which is code for, “you’ll probably make it to the Top 12, but there’s zero chance you’ll win this thing.” Randy calls her a cross between Fantasia and Mary J. Blige.

Twenty-six auditioners advance to Hollywood from Kansas City, with 147 total advancing to Hollywood, included from audition cities, Louiseville, Salt Lake City, San Juan, New York, Jacksonville and San Francisco.

About mj santilli 30193 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!