American Idol Season 9 – The Road to Hollywood


Could the producers have jammed more auditions into one episode? It was as if TPTB were lolling around for 3 1/2 weeks, randomly pulling auditions to air, when suddenly they realized we’d come to the end of auditions and they hadn’t even gotten to the good stuff yet. Whoops!

Typically, the Hollywood Rounds happen in November, giving the producers plenty of time to figure out how to engineer the audition rounds to reflect future episodes. This year, Hollywood occurred simultaneously with the first week of auditions.  No wonder these audition episodes have felt so random.

With tonight’s episode featuring the “best of the rest”, we managed to get a pretty decent hour of television. Notables:

We only got a glimpse of Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox, but the little we got made me want to see more.

I’m so happy Lacey Brown is back this year. She’s got an interesting sound and a unique style.

Didi Benami has a big voice, an interesting tone, and great phrasing. Definitely looking forward to more from her.

While Aaron Kelly didn’t impress me personally, I think he’s got the potential to amass a large following. It’ll be interesting to see what happens there.

I can’t tell whether it’s 9 seasons of audition fatigue causing my apathy, or that this year’s audition rounds were really duller than dirt. Either way, I’m glad they’re over, and we can get on to the Hollywood rounds.

The producers seem to want a female winner this year, but other than that, I don’t have a read on how the season is going to roll yet.  Hopefully, the Hollywood Rounds will finally introduce us in a meaningful way to the contestants who are going to count.

Videos and Live Blog after the JUMP…

Ryan promises that the best have been saved for last, on tonight’s “The Road To Hollywood” episode…

General Larry Platt is back. Oh goodie (I am so OVER that f*cking Pants on the Ground). Next, a montage of all the different, remixes, etc. Yada yada.

Jessica Furney – 20 – Warmego, KS – “Footprints in the Sand” – Jessica is back after auditioning with a Janis Joplin song last year. Not only has Jessica spruced up her look, but she goes in for some ass-kissing–she chooses a song…written by Simon? I had no idea (I’ll bet Simon didn’t write a word of that song). Victoria is as surprised as I am. Jessica sings…I was more impressed with her Joplin last year. It’s the song choice that bugs…she actually sounds very good, but generic. No matter, all 4 judges approve, and Jessica is on to Hollywood. – VIDEO

Amanda Shectman – 19 – Roslyn, NY – “Good Morning Heartache” by Gretchen Wilson – Amanda is just a bucketful of funny voices and impressions. And she sings a Gretchen Wilson song like a Broadway musical number. More of an actress than a singer–Amanda has a pretty voice, but nothing remarkable–the judges call her out on her theatricality. Victoria thinks Amanda needs to work on her expression. Kara says, “I think it’s the connection…you need to figure out who you are.” Amanda promises she can get past the actress thing. The judges say yes anyway–even Simon who mocks her OTT mannerisms before saying yes. – VIDEO

Lee Dewyze – 23 – Mount Prospect, IL – “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Crystal Bowersox – “Piece of My Heart” – 23 – Elliston, OH – Very quick montage of two contestants who make it to Hollywood. Lee’s got a soulful rasp, Crystal belts the blues. Both show promise. – VIDEO

Next, a montage of fake outs…

After the break, another montage…this time return hopefuls. Simon hardly remembers any of them–not even Rose Flack from last year, who he said he’d remember, or suntan girl Crystal Bernard from Season 5 (but who would recognize her without her bleach blond hair and deep dark tan?)

Lacey Brown – 23 – Amarillo, TX – “Over the Rainbow” – Last year Lacey was top 50. She was cut sitting in the chairs with Megan Joy. I remember this girl, she’s got a unique tone, and gorgeous phrasing.. I’m glad she’s back. – VIDEO

Stephanie Fisher – “Fever” – Stephanie has tried out for Idol 7 times. She’s also a big Victoria Beckham fan! Some fan…claiming that she’s star struck, she blames Victoria more or less for her crappy singing. but even when Victoria turns around, Stephanie still can’t carry a tune. Simon tells her she has a horrible voice. On the verge of tears, Victoria feels bad and gets up to console her. Even Stephanie’s outfit is terrible. Trying to compliment her without seeming insincere, Victoria awkwardly calls Stephanie’s look “definite”, whatever that means. Kara, feeling bad, or may be trying to change the mood also gives Stephanie a hug. Stephanie, not really interested in what the judges have to say anymore, leaves the room before they have the chance to say no. – VIDEO

Rachel Hubbard– Boerne – TX, “Wrong Again” by the Jonas Brothers, Thaddeus Johnson – Oklahoma City, OK “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” by Michael Bolton and Genesis Moore – McDonough, GA – “I Told You So” by Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis, are all 16 and talented! (Well, that Thaddeus dude was kinda shouty!) – VIDEO

Athletes and Idol–winning is the number one game! As the next two contestants illustrate. Or not.

Adrian Chandtchi – 17 – Apopka, FL – “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley – Adrian is 6’8. No, he does not play basketball. But he does swim. He loves being called “Blondzilla”. Adrian says of himself, “I am a beautiful man flower, I will keep blossoming until it shows my entire glory and beauty.” Erm, OK. After listening to his teeny-tiny tone-deaf warbling, Kara says, “There is a small schoolboy trapped inside you” Then Simon cracks, “Or else you’ve eaten one”. Lulz. – VIDEO

Michael Lynche – 26 – Astoria, NY – “Unchained Melody” by the Rightous Brothers – Big Mike is the next American Idol because he’s got big guns (no silly, arms!) and a baby on the way. Kara and Kristin Chenoweth giggle during his performance. Maybe they are smitten with his guns. Or find his smooth interpretation of Simon’s favorite tune corny, like I do. Kara calls him a singing teddy bear. Everyone says yes and Big Mike is on his way to Hollywood. – VIDEO

Didi Benami – 22- Hollywood, CA – “Hey Jude” by the Beatles – She’s auditioning in memory of her best friend Rebecca who passed away 4 years ago. (Am I the only one who finds that Death Cab for Cutie song really creepy?) Big voice, interesting tone, great phrasing. This girl’s a winner. Kara asks her if she wants it bad, and she begins crying. The judges comfort her. After, they all say yes. Randy says he’ll give her another chance, Simon gives her a “small” yes (I wonder what was left on the cutting room floor?) – VIDEO

Aaron Kelly – 16 – Sonestown, PA – “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus – Aaron’s parents were poor, and probably drug addicted, although Aaron doesn’t say that. When he was a year old, social services were about to take he and his brother away, when the boys’ aunt and uncle stepped in to adopt them. Thanks to that intervention, Aaron is a happy boy. He chooses the inspirational song “The Climb” and gives it a countrified twist. Aaron’s sweet voice and non-threatening demeanor could attract a lot of younger fans. Simon, who chose “The Climb” for his X Factor winner to record, loved the song choice! Randy thinks his shyness makes him more endearing (the teens and grannies will love him). The entire panel says yes. – VIDEO

Kimberly Bishop – 20 – Altamonte Springs, FL – “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry – Kimberly thinks she should win American Idol because she likes to recycle! She apes Katy Perry’s moves, but her singing could not have been more tuneless. After a very twitchy performance, (which should have given somebody a clue that something wasn’t right) Kara calls her naughty. (Really? I would have called her high) After the panel turns her down, Simon claims he would have said yes (!!) “That was so weird, ” says Kara. – VIDEO

Shaddaii Harris – 22 – Arlington, TX – “Fallin'” by Alicia Keyes – Oh dear. This one is a little sad. The build up has mom, who has accompnied Shaddii to her audition, describe how she had a vision of her little girl singing when she was pregnant. “I’ve always told her she has a gift, ” says mom. At this point, I’m expecting to be knocked out by this girl. Well, I am, but not in the way I expected. She’s just completely unable to carry a tune, and when the judges tell her she can’t sing, she desperately launches into another tune. But what can you expect when Mama is the delusional one, filling her head with nonsense. – VIDEO

Hope Johnson – 19 – Arlington, TX – “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack – Hope grew up poor, but didn’t know it. “I thought a lot of kids didn’t eat dinner.” says Hope. She’d bring home her lunch to give to her little brother. Hope’s music was her escape. (One last audition, one last sob story…thank Jeebus!) Hope’s got a clear, authentic country voice. Kara finds her tone interesting. Randy likes her innocence. Simon likes her too. Joe Jonas says, “yeah” (the only word in his Idol vocabulary) and Hope is on to Hollywood. – VIDEO

Over 100, 000 hopefuls auditioned, but only 181 advanced to Hollywood.

Next week, the Hollywood Round, with new judge, Ellen Degeneres, begins. – VIDEO

About mj santilli 34841 Articles
Founder and editor of, 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!