Wednesday's American Idol took us to Orlando, the home of Disney World and the place, as Ryan Seacrest nauseatingly reminded us, where dreams come true. (There was even a "When You Wish Upon a Star" montage.) Dreams of Hollywood did come true for 31 singers, but the show spent so much time focusing on the newfound friendship between Kara DioGuardi and guest judge Kristin Chenoweth that I again found myself longing for Hollywood week to just get here already. (Alas, there are still four more audition cities to come.) In the meantime, some brief thoughts on Orlando's best and worst:
Seth Rollins, "Someone to Watch Over Me"
His son has autism, so Seth is singing in hopes of landing a lucrative record deal that will help provide for his child. (And yes, that is Coldplay's "Fix You" playing in the background as Seth says, as a man, he wants to fix things for his family. Subtle, Idol. Very subtle.) Fortunately, he's got a nice voice. His modern spin on the Gershwin tune wins over Chenoweth, and Kara says she wants to keep hearing him sing. Simon and Randy also put him through, but encourage him to work on his energy and stage presence.
Jermaine Purifoy, "Smile"
He says he didn't make it through his audition in Season 7. I can't really figure out why. He has a great voice, and Randy calls his vocal the best he's heard so far in Season 9. Simon thinks the chicks will dig him, and BFFs Kara and Kristin wholeheartedly agree.
Shelby Dressel,"Turn Me On"
Her Orlando dream is to overcome insecurity after going through much of her life with the inability to smile or use the right side of her face. She seems nervous, but midway through her audition, she totally zones out and drops a curse word in her bewilderment. Luckily, the blooper endears her to the judges. She has a decent voice, but Simon is more intrigued by her personality. (He gives her a yes with a small "Y.") Chenoweth says she has potential.
Jay Stone, "Come Together"
Jay does some crazy beat-boxing, but he can actually sing. (Not that I was blown away by his voice. And I certainly don't want another Blake Lewis.) Simon, who says he's soaking wet after the Jay's vocal drum-machining, passes, but Randy and Kara say yes. Since Chenoweth is absent on Day 2 of auditions, two votes is enough.
Bernadette Desimone, "Hit the Road Jack" and Amanda Desimone, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"
These two sisters from New Jersey are each other's biggest fan. Bernadette chooses a better song for her voice and clearly has the better voice. She's the only one of the two to get Simon's vote, but both girls go through after Randy and Kara give them a shot to prove themselves in Hollywood.
Matt Lawrence, "Trouble"
Matt's on a redemption mission after spending four years in prison for robbing a bank with a BB gun. (Very fitting choice of song!) His soulful vocals strike Simon with their authenticity, and he says he was engrossed. Kara and Simon also find Matt brilliant, and he gets his ticket to Hollywood. Kara even predicts we'll see him in the Top 12.
Theo Glinton, "Heartbreaker"
His face is bedazzled, his pants are way too tight and he's wearing a cape. His vocals aren't as bad as the outfit, but he is a tad shout-y. But since his dream is to own a salon, I'm not sure that striking out with "Mr. Simon" was really all that much of a disappointment.
Cornelius Edwards, "Proud Mary"
He says he learned to dance from some his friends who "shed their clothes" for money. A few moments into his song, he did the splits and shredded his pants. (And I'm not sure how the rest of his anatomy held up, either.) He barely sang, but the judges seemed so eager to get him out of the room that he somehow earned a ticket.
Jarrod Norrell , "Amazing Grace"
For the first time all season, Kara and I completely agree: Jarrod's interpretation of the classic hymn sounds like a lawnmower. He doesn't take the bad news very well, and launches into the song again, prompting security to escort him out. When he resists, he is handcuffed and led out of the building. Not sure I remember seeing anyone get arrested in the show's history, so at least there's that!
What did you think of Orlando's talent?
Wednesday's American Idol took us to Orlando, the home of Disney World and the place, as Ryan Seacrest nauseatingly reminded us, where dreams come true. (There was even a "When You Wish Upon a Star" montage.) Dreams of Hollywood did come true for 31 singers, but the show spent so much time focusing on the newfound friendship between Kara DioGuardi and guest judge...