Season 7 Auditions – The Best of the Rest

Tonight was the Simon show. I can count a number of times his remarks made me laugh out loud. My take on this year’s kinder and gentler Simon is that he’s not working hard to put on the meanie act. I suspect what we seeing is the real-life Simon, rather than Idol Simon. He’s made noises in the press that he’s ready to leave the show. Maybe he’s so bored, he can’t be bothered with the act. Whatever the case, I like the nice, but honest Simon, sprinkled with a healthy dose of snark.

At any rate, I’m totally over the auditions. Best of the Rest = Major filler. Why not just give us another night of Hollywood? It’s not as if last year’s filler spectacular scored incredible ratings to warrant a repeat.

I say it’s time for Drama! Tears! Bitchy Cat Fights! MEOW! Hollywood rules.

Sigh. I’m feeling really half-hearted about re-capping this shiz, but I’ll give it a try:

Luke Reeder 26, Hollywood FL – He’s wearing a hat with ear-flaps, a blindingly white t-shirt over his enormous belly, and his singing begins badly and ends as earsplitting screamo. I love when a contestant looks about ready to explode and then suddenly stops. Then they look at the judges all proud of themselves like, “Soooo, where’s my ticket to Hollywood?” Simon says, “Everything was slightly mad.”

Victor Villegas 18, Grand Prairie, TX – Randy describes his badness “almost like a sheep, or an animal.” Randy starts to baaa like a goat to illustrate. Victor represents your generically terrible Idol contestant. The kind I won’t miss seeing on my Tee Vee.

Amy Davis – “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt – Amy describes growing up in a poor, six-kid, single-parent family. Hm. I wonder how she paid for that boob job? Her mom worked hard raising her, and now she’s going to do what she can to, “pay her back.” Seriously, Amy has some major boobage going on here. Simon can’t stop staring at her. She’s part Japanese, and it gives her a slightly exotic look. She sure is pretty, but her vocals are mediocre–thin and charmless. I mean, damn, they cut singers who were way better than this chick. Simon thinks for a moment, thought bubble: boobs “Yes.” Randy says, “I like the possibility of the vocals of this girl.” Yeah, right Randy. Paula never actually says yes, she just looks vaguely annoyed. Amy is this year’s Becky O’Donohue.

Tiffany McCambell 21, Anderson, IN – “Halleluah” – The holy spirit told Tiffany to “go ahead and audition.” Ok, then. She tells the judges that her voice “came from God.” Simon answers dryly, “He just decided one day to give it to you…nothing more to do, just give Tiffany a voice.” Hee. After she finishes screeching at ear-splitting decibels for the Lord, (and that’s really the only way to describe her style) Simon asks, “Does he have a return policy?” Randy: “Oh Simon, that’s wrong…” Simon: “I’m sorry, If I was given that, I’d give it back!”

Next is some really dumb crap involving twin guys and a blond. She dated one first, but then hooked up with his brother later. Or something like that. I really don’t care. The three of them are auditioning together.

Cory and Chris Lane 22, Kernersville, NC -The twins rap some dumb song they made up comparing themselves to the Brittenum twins. Why the hell would they do that? Cory, the rapper, forgets the words, plus he’s terrible. I have to say–the beatboxing twin, Chris, isn’t half-bad. It’s No, no and noooo…

Ashley Lawing 19, Maiden, NC -“Red High Heels” by Kellie Pickler – Ashley enters the audition room with her six-week old puppy. “Bring him here, ” says Simon. The puppy excites him almost as much as Amy’s boobage. Simon loves puppies! Ashley is a typical breed of Idol contestant–overconfident and talent-free. While she’s sucking up the audition room, the twins are outside with Ryan. The twins told Ashley she could sing so that she’d audition with them, but really they think, “She’s not that great.” Ha. Back in the audition room, Ashley can’t believe she’s been shot down, “Is it opposite day!?” “No it’s not” says Simon, “Even your dog is struggling to get out of the room.” Cut back to the boys, “She’s one of those girls who think her looks are going to take her to the top.” Mean! She doesn’t seem too upset when she comes out of the audition room. “I made it!” she yells. “Nah, just kidding!” she giggles.

Cardin McKinney 20, Nashville, TN – “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls – Cardin believes her confidence is going to get her through to Hollywood. She’s got a beautiful, clear voice, but she chooses a show tune and sings it like she’s on a big stage in front of an orchestra. Wrong move. The judges and producers don’t care for the Broadway types very much, even if the real world keeps many of them employed in various shows in New York and across the country. Hm. Of course, Simon is completely turned off, and turns her down flat. Randy and Paula say yes.

JoAnne Borgella 25, Hoboken, NJ – “I Love You” by Celine Dion – Her angle is that she’s a plus sized model. Although she’s been told she’d go farther in the business if she dropped 40 pounds, she refuses to postpone her dreams. She feels good about herself, and wants to influence others to feel the same way. Go, girl go! Randy makes a big deal out of the fact that she sang the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden for a college B-ball championship game. But, that’s nothing compared to the professional experience of some of the other contestants. She’s got a powerful voice with sweet overtones. But, Randy thinks her voice gets small in the upper register. Paula thinks she’s stunning, but Simon has very little to say except, “No.” “She’s a nice girl, though, ” he says.

Alesha Stelzl 18, Ontario, CA – “Surrender” by Celine Dion – My favorite audition of the night. Something happens tonight that never happens on Idol. Initially, Alesha sings a Celine Dion song, and it’s a strident, horrible mess. One for the bad audition reel. But Randy and Paula hear something. They detect a bit of Dolly buried in her vocals somewhere, and they ask her to go off and learn a Dolly Parton song. By the way, what the hell was that screaming coming from the waiting room while she was singing?

After the break, we see Alesha scrambling to find a Dolly song. It’s obvious she barely knows who she is. Alesha appears to have a narrow musical repertoire. She settles on “Islands in the Stream, ” and learns it quickly. The typical Idol story arc would have Alesha suck at least as bad or not worse the second time around. But, damn, she faces the judges again and sounds good singing Dolly. And now, I wonder about all those crappy auditions I’ve heard over the years from people who really believed they could sing. In some cases, they may not have been wrong. Just wrong-headed. At 18, Alesha doesn’t have a handle on her vocal strengths and weaknesses, and for that reason, she won’t make it far in Hollywood. Yes, Paula and Randy put her through. And even Simon admits after she leaves the room, that he was wrong, “I hate to admit it, but you’re right, ” he says. I love it!

Bonus: Ryan sings Dolly Parton!

Brandi Gregorie 27, McClellandville, SC – Really bad singing coupled with flying scarves. Simon: “It ended for me when the weird striptease started.”

Charles Randy Levine 17, Laurel Hill, NC – What was that song? So much of it was bleeped out, I couldn’t hear it. Simon: “When we decide to put this show out at 3 in the morning, you can enter.”

Joshua Moreland 25, West Palm Beach, FL – “Beautiful Lady” – He’s Jay Smoove the R&B recording artist (Yes, that’s how he introduces himself) He’s got the WOW factor! And, he’s here for the ladies. He’s every smooth R&B cliche rolled up into a red-hoodied package. He could be an SNL character, he really is that ridiculous. Actually, his vocals aren’t terrible until he attempts to hit some high notes. Then it all goes to hell in a handbasket. In the middle of the song, he suddenly throws a bunch of…stuff in front of his feet. Paula calls it “accoutrement’s.” It turns out to be confetti and rose petals, and god-knows-what-else. Simon calls it over the top, corny and revolting. The segment ends with Ryan and Simon arguing over who should sweep up the audition room. A little scripted fun for the kiddies!

Next: Simon can’t remember names. Is the show over yet?

Chikezie Eze 22, Inglewood, CA – “All the Woman I Need” by Luther Vandross – Chikezie auditioned last year, now he’s back to see if he can advance further. He’s got a sweet, smooth R&B voice–more AC, than hip-hop. Maybe that’s why Simon isn’t all that impressed. Chickezie has a pretty voice, but it’s not contemporary. Randy and Paula say yes. Chikezie gets a second chance. Paula likes saying his name over and over again–Chikezie Eze, Chikezie Eze…she’s easily amused.

Danny Noriega 17, Azusa, CA – “Proud Mary” – Danny auditioned last year, and was eliminated. He reminds me immediately of Sanjaya Malakar–young, sweet faced, a bit androgynous and a little vulnerable. And like Sanjaya, his vocals aren’t quite there yet. He sings “Proud Mary”–an odd choice–in a strong voice. But he’s got these tics. His phrasing is over-wrought, and he makes faces when he sings–like he doesn’t quite understand the words. It’s too soon to tell, but if Danny makes it far in the competition, could he become a contestant who outstays his welcome? It’s deja vu all over again, and I’m not quite sure why the producers are going there. The judges heap praise on him afterward. Uhm. I guess I just don’t get it. 3 yeses, and its a go for Danny.

Next is a look back at the auditions, to the strains of some vaguely familiar Brit-pop.

And then, a preview of Hollywood Week. Bring it on!

About mj santilli 34543 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!