Percy Daggs III, Veronica Mars
American Idol
Overall, this was not the most exciting edition of American Idol this season. The audition process is going into overdrive with the cutesy montages, and I think the "zombie" one finally pushed me over the edge. I wonder if the judges regret giving Alison Schoening a second chance — I guess a near-death experience is a good reason for double audition time. The panel was a bit too lenient in Austin, letting "fit model" Ashley Jackson through to Hollywood. She sounded better singing with her mouth closed and she really needs to look into a career in ventriloquism. I'm also not too sure about Ronnie "RJ" Norman; his "Ain't No Sunshine" was competent but much less spectacular than he thought it was. Perhaps Ashley and RJ slipped through because the judges hope they'll dredge up some drama in Hollywood. On the other end of the spectrum, I thought Ricky Hayes had the best male voice so far in the auditions. His understated rendition of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" was soothing and soulful, and he was one of only two auditions that got an unqualified "yes" from the judges. Embalmer Jason Horn was the other, but I foresee Simon grumbling something about Jason's voice being too "theatrical" in the near future. I was also happy for William Makar, the Fred Savage look-alike, but I seriously can't believe Paula Abdul was the one to almost squash his dream. And then there's Tessie Mae, whose braids and back-talking probably would have killed her chances... if her opening note didn't do it first. So to sum up: braids, braces, splits, looking like Randy Jackson and almost dying on the way to audition? Buh-bye. Singing with your mouth closed, looking like Fred Savage and flirting shamelessly? Welcome to Hollywood! — Ken McGilvray

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