Update: Re-cap and thumbnails after the JUMP!
- Tiffany Shed – Age 18 – Cincinnati, OH – High School Graduate – “Hero” by Mariah Carey – NO – VIDEO
- Joanna Pacitti – Age 23 – Philadelphia, PA – Unemployed – “We Belong” by Pat Benatar – YES – VIDEO
- Mark Mudd – Age 25 – Coxs Creek, KY – Parts Inspector – “White Lightning” by George Jones – NO – VIDEO
- Brent Keith Smith – Age 28 – Blanchester, OH – Traveling Musician – “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” by Bad Company – YES – VIDEO
- Matt Giraud – Age 23 – Kalamazoo, MI – Dueling Piano Player – “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw – YES – VIDEO
- Ross Plavsic – Age 26 – Crestview Hills, KY – After School Tutor – “Cara Mia” by Jay and the Americans – NO – VIDEO
- Alexis Grace – Age 20 – Memphis, TN – Musician and Mom – “Dr. Feelgood” by Aretha Franklin – YES – VIDEO
- Aaron Williamson – Age 27 – Louisville, KY – Photographer -“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – NO – VIDEO
- Rebecca Garcia – Age 24 – Nashville, TN – Education Masters Student – “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood – NO – VIDEO
- Kris Allen – Age 23 – Conway, AR – Business Major – “A Song For You” by Leon Russell – YES – VIDEO (plus Felicia, Ryan and Shera)
- Felicia Barton – Age 26 – Virginia Beach, VA – Bar Singer/Mom – “Put Your Records On” by Corrine Bailey Rae – YES
- Ryan Johnson – Age 27 – Cincinnati, OH – Railroad Worker – “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke – YES
- Shera Lawrence – Age 23 – Bowling Green, KY – Orthopedic Office Asst. – “I’ve Got the World on a String” – YES
- Leneshe Young – Age 18- Cincinnati, OH – College Student – “Natty” by Leneshe – YES – VIDEO
Let the race begin! This is American Idol!
Over 11, 000 Idol hopefuls gather at Churchill Downs to audition. And after a lesson on how to pronounce Louisville, the show begins.
Tiffany Shed – Age 18 – Cincinnati, OH – High School Graduate – “Hero” by Mariah Carey – NO – “My heart melts when I hear her sing, ” says Tiffany’s mama. Tiffany’s parents are right by her side at her audition, and seem not to notice Tiffany’s hideous off-key warbling. They also seem to be on board with her horrifying blue eye shadow. Tough love is a beautiful thing, and really, Tiffany’s parental units need to find some. “Imagine 22 horses and a donkey, you just wouldn’t stand a chance, ” Simon observes. “I can sing better than lots of them people on American Idol.” cries college-bound Tiffany. Eep! – VIDEO
Joanna Pacitti – Age 23 – Philadelphia, PA – Unemployed – “We Belong” by Pat Benatar – YES – If only Carly Smithson had gotten the Joanna Pacciti treatment when she auditioned last year. Right off the bat, the judges acknowledge the fact that she had a previous record contract (she also was cast, and fired from “Annie” 12 years ago). “I know this girl, ” says Kara in an acknowledgment that would have been unheard of in season’s past. She cries when the judges put her through–like Carly before her, Joanna seems beaten down and a bit desperate. I think it’s going to be tough for Joanna to overcome the baggage of her experience. If she’s presented as an ordinary girl looking for a comeback, and doesn’t appear needy while she’s at it, she might make it. The vocals are definitely there. – VIDEO
Mark Mudd – Age 25 – Coxs Creek, KY – Parts Inspector – “White Lightning” by George Jones – This dude is like something out of Deliverance. The only thing missing is the banjo intro. Claiming to have almost died 5 times, he also admits to being a descendant of the notorious Dr. Samuel Mudd who got a long jail sentence for setting the leg of Lincoln assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Mark’s knee-slapping performance is probably a hit at the hootenanny ho-down back in the hollows, but American Idol material he ain’t. He totally freaks out the judges when he exits the audition room saying, “be careful.” As a sidenote, I got an email from a poster who says that it’s a very common to say “be careful” when a person leaves in those parts–it’s not meant as a threat. Silly Paula. – NO – VIDEO
Brent Keith Smith – Age 28 – Blanchester, OH – Traveling Musician – “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” by Bad Company – It was a little odd that this country singer and former Nashville Star contestant, picked a rock song to audition with. I agree with Simon, I think he picked the wrong song. Doesn’t matter, his strong vocals and good looks help him sail through the audition. Kara is still completely confused by Simon’s style. She flips out when, after a lengthy critique, Simon says yes. Kara, have you ever watched this show before? – YES – VIDEO
A little montage of crappy auditions fly by–what’s up with that chick–Obianuju Omwarah–who sounds like a chipmunk? How does she do that? I’m in awe. And Ryan Benningfield, the Zebra man? I have no words, really. – VIDEO.
Matt Giraud – Age 23 – Kalamazoo, MI – Dueling Piano Player – “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw – YES – Some of the drunkest and most obnoxious crowds I’ve ever encountered have been at dueling piano bars. Kudos to anyone who can deal with that. Matt’s a pretty good singer. He’s got a nice, soulful voice, but he’s a bit rough around the edges. Simon tells Matt that he reminds him of Elliott Yamin. I can hear the resemblance, but it stops at the vocals. He’s Elliott with less confidence. Before he says yes, Simon tells him he needs to believe in himself – VIDEO
Ross Plavsic – Age 26 – Crestview Hills, KY – After School Tutor – “Cara Mia” by Jay and the Americans – NO – Ross’s stereotypically nerdy lack of social skills make him perfect fodder for a bad audition. A physics major in college, he stuns the judges as he over-explains his pet project involving Chinese characters. After a weird performance (mocked by the judges, in unison!), he blames his loopy baritone on a scratchy throat. But, sorry, Ross. You’re a super-smart guy, but no amount of study and research can make you a good singer. Bonus lolz: Paula freaks out when he drinks out of her cup. VIDEO
Ten Louisville contestants advance on the first day, on to Day 2…
Alexis Grace – Age 20 – Memphis, TN – Musician and Mom – “Dr. Feelgood” by Aretha Franklin – Stay at home single mom, Alexis, has the chops and the looks to make it. The fact that she’s green–no Joanna Pacitti-style resume here–will endear her to viewers who love it when the underdog prevails The judges have minor reservations–mostly her lack of experience–but they all say yes. Kara’s last word’s of advice before Alexis leaves the room. 1. Don’t wear pink 2. Go home and make love to your fiance. Great advice for aspiring artists everywhere doncha think? – YES – VIDEO
Aaron Williamson – Age 27 – Louisville, KY – Photographer -“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – Aaron is so pumped! Someone, check his Adderall prescription, STAT–this dude’s been over-medicated. Hilariously, he tells the judges he’s there to be the “Next Top Idol” before launching into a highly caffeinated and extremely LOUD performance that can be heard way out in the holding room. “I’m hongray!” says Aaron, clearly in need of a meal. He wouldn’t be half bad if he could just calm-the-f**k down. Kara gets in the spirit, engaging in a little call-and-response, and Paula gets so excited, she breaks one of her cheap ass Home Shopping Network rings. Despite having cleared the judges sinuses, leaving them feeling refreshed, the answer is still NO – VIDEO
Rebecca Garcia – Age 24 – Nashville, TN – Education Masters Student – “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood – Is she or is she not a famewhore? Did the funniest girl in her highschool class fake a crap audition to get on TV? Kara thought so, but then feels instantly guilty after Rebecca tears up. I’m sort of on the fence. I’ve seen auditioners cry on cue, only to be revealed as fakes later on. Radio show interns are notorious for attempting the Idol fake out. Like a good famewhore–she did manage to get herself on TV. And the lyrics written on a bandage on her arm thing seemed totally contrived. But you never know. If she was attempting to be amusing it didn’t work. Just your garden-variety craptastic audition, right here. – NO – VIDEO
Now this is starting to piss me off, y’all. For the second night in a row, the producers choose to blow by four really good auditions, barely giving us a look. Really really annoying. Check out their blink-or-you-miss-it auditions HERE. They are: Kris Allen – Age 23 – Conway, AR – Business Major singing “A Song For You” by Leon Russell, Felicia Barton – Age 26 – Virginia Beach, VA – Bar Singer/Mom singing “Put Your Records On” by Corrine Bailey Rae, Ryan Johnson – Age 27 – Cincinnati, OH – Railroad Worker singing “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke and Shera Lawrence – Age 23 – Bowling Green, KY – Orthopedic Office Asst. singing “I’ve Got the World on a String.” Felicia and Ryan are the most notable of the bunch.
Leneshe Young – Age 18- Cincinnati, OH – College Student – “Natty” by Leneshe – The Louisville auditions are winding down. Yes, that means it’s time for…the sob story of the night! Oh goodie. Leneshe tells the sad story of growing up homeless with her young single mom and her siblings. We meet Lenesha’s mom, who says a pastor “prophesied” that Lenesha would make her very wealthy one day. Hmmm. Can Leneshe sing? Because, otherwise, I don’t really gives a rats ass. Cold, I know, but these backstories are beginning to wear a little thin. Happily, she can sing, and whatever it is she’s been through has not damaged her incredibly bright spirit. This chick has charisma, so much so that she charms the judges with an original song–usually a very risky move–that she pulls off brilliantly. Simon says, “I thought that was quirky, fun..actually a well written song…I like you…” And it’s 4 very enthusiastic yeses from the judges. – YES – VIDEO
Nine contestants advance to Hollywood on the second day, for a total of 19. Next week, the crew lands in Jacksonville, FL