American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "Season Premiere, Part 1"

Season 9, Episode 1
Episode Synopsis: Part 1 of 2. The talent contest kicks off Season 9 with open auditions in Boston. Victoria Beckham serves as a guest judge.
Original Air Date: Jan 12, 2010

American Idol Episode Recap: Boston Auditions Season 9, Episode 1

It's that time of year again, folks. Are you ready for the obsession to begin? Of course, this season of American Idol is already on its way to being dominated by by stories that have nothing to do with singing. Paula Abdul left the show last summer. Ellen DeGeneres took her place. And just one day before Season 9 kicked off, Simon Cowell announced plans to exit the show at season's end to launch The X-Factor in the United States.

If the contestants are going to overcome those headlines, they had better seriously bring the talent. So let's get started. Ellen won't chime in until February; for now, a revolving door of guest judges will critique each city. Victoria Beckham joined the panel in Beantown, which to my surprise, offered up many more good singers than most Idol premieres in recent memory. I'm not convinced that any of the 31 singers who made it to Hollywood Tuesday will be standing on the Kodak Theatre stage on finale night, but so far it's nonetheless promising.

Through these first weeks of auditions, I will be offering quick hits of the most memorable singers, both good and bad, as well as a few that defy categorization.

THE GOOD
Maddy Curtis. "Hallelujah"
This young girl draws inspiration from her three brothers, all of whom have Down's Syndrome. I'm a sucker for heartwarming stories, and Maddy backed it up with an authentic performance that the judges liked, despite Maddy's obvious nerves.

Amadeo Diricco, "Hoochie Coochie Man"
Amadeo treated us to the food and family of his home, and I have to say his voice really surprised me. As Italians, he and Kara bonded. His energy is good, but I'm not sure I'm ready to see that many bear hugs in Hollywood.

Ashley Rodriguez, "If I Ain't Got You"
This "sultry" beauty dazzled Kara, who, as usual, was looking for the pretty package artist. She had the pipes to back it up, and Simon noted that Ashley has it.

Tyler Grady, "Let's Get It On"
Tyler surprised me, thanks mostly to the dopey "I fell out of a tree and broke both of my wrists" package that preceded his singing. (His Life on Mars wardrobe didn't help either.) But he had the Jim Morrison voice and stylings to go with the look, and his memorable audition earned him a golden ticket.

Mike Davis, "Yesterday"
Forgetting that he works on a boat called Codzilla, Mike was a nice enough guy. Kara responded to his charms, perhaps inviting herself to a date on the seas. I (gasp!) agreed with Randy that his voice wasn't quite as solid as it could have been, but he had a nice tone and earned a place in Hollywood. (Not sure why Simon got so ticked at Kara here, unless, like me, he's just over her. Maybe he misses Paula.)

Katie Stevens, "At Last"
Idol was really working the heartstring-tugging storylines. Katie wanted to make it to Hollywood to impress her grandmother before her Alzheimer's gets the best of her. They only speak to each other in Portuguese, but there was no miscommunication about how amazing this 16-year-old was. Question: Since Katie seemed to have her entire family with her when she got her ticket, who was taking care of Grandma?

Joshua Blaylock: "Bless the Broken Road"
Simon rightly suggested that his voice didn't match Joshua's age (28), but the judges still had some fun with him, urging him to be assertive. He told Simon to shut up as part of the exercise, which apparently was enough to make it to Hollywood.

Justin Williams, "Feelin' Good"
He's totally a crooner, and all the judges say they will remember his audition. I just wonder if it's because he's got a good voice or because he overcame cancer. He's this season Scott McIntyre, though I prefer his musical style much more.

Leah Laurenti, "Blue Skies"
She was great, but needs some confidence in order to take the singing she so clearly cares about to the next level. The judges told her they loved her jazzy voice, which might do the trick. I think she needs to step back from so many big notes though.

THE BAD

Pat Ford, "Womanizer"
He liked to "holla," and that's basically what he did during his audition, complete with twitchy choreography. Randy's advice: "Stop singing forever."

Mere Doyle, "Take Another Little Piece of my Heart"
Mere is obsessed with anime, but claims singing is her life. She was none too thrilled by the judges' weak response to her shouty rendition of the Janis Joplin classic.

Janet McNamara, "Pocket Full of Sunshine"
She knew her limits, saying she's only sung well for two years. What's responsible for her improvement? Playing the American Idol video game, which she has mastered. She pumped herself up by jumping (a lot) in the bathroom, but her audition was anything but "wicked awesome." (Bonus embarrassment: She calls Kara "Paula" at least three times.)

Derek Hilton, "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"
He says he evokes Chris Brown and the Eagles and is a fan of the former because he "touches kids across the world." Ahem. His singing featured about 20 different voices, none of which impressed — or touched — the judges.

Lisa Olivero, "Vision of Love"
She turned Simon and Randy's heads when she walked in (and even more when she walked out), but despite her confidence, she delivered what Simon called the "craziest version of Mariah Carey I've ever heard." She sang in about seven different keys.

THE RIDICULOUS

Andrew Fonton, "House of the Rising Sun"
There's always one weird one. His voice wasn't "pop star," but it certainly wasn't terrible. (It reminded me more of Joaquin Phoenix doing Johnny Cash in Walk the Line.) But he was annoyed by having to wait for hours, and basically gave the judges crap the whole time he was in the room. Then he had no idea why they hated him. Posh's diagnosis: His confidence came out as arrogance. (But Kara oversold the bit, and came off looking kind of childish.)

Who were your favorites? Did you miss Paula? Do you think this season will be about the singing or the show's various scandals?

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It's that time of year again, folks. Are you ready for the obsession to begin? Of course, this season of American Idol is already on its way to being dominated by by stories that have nothing to do with singing. Paula Abdul left the show last summer. Ellen DeGeneres took her place. And just one day before Season 9 kicked off, Simon Cowell announced plans to exit the show at season's end to launch The X-Factor in the United States.

If the contestants are going to overcome those headlines, they had better seriously bring the talent. So let's get started. Ellen won't chime in until February; for now, a revolving door of guest judges will critique each city. Victoria Beckham joined the panel in Beantown, which to my surprise, offered up many more good singers than most Idol premieres in recent memory. I'm not convinced that any of the 31 singers who made it to Hollywood Tuesday will be standing on the Kodak Theatre stage on finale night, but so far it's nonetheless promising.

Through these first weeks of auditions, I will be offering quick hits of the most memorable singers, both good and bad, as well as a few that defy categorization... read more

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Premiered: June 11, 2002, on FOX
Rating: TV-PG
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Premise: The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges, including, most entertainingly, the acid-tongued Simon Cowell, who departed the show in 2010 after serving for nine seasons. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.

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