As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. After many viewers (yours truly included) complained that American Idol's Season 10 premiere on Wednesday didn't offer anything remarkably different from past seasons, Thursday's episode gave us something we've never seen before: Randy Jackson's bare stomach. I'm pretty sure that's not what any of us were hoping for. So, what had Randy (and Steven!) taking off their clothes? And which New Orleans singers gave J. Lo goose bumps and moved her to tears? Let's find out.
Auditions may have taken place in New Orleans, but it wasn't Mardi Gras that inspired The Dawg's peep show. Instead, it was Cuban crooner Jovany Barreto, who, despite moving all the judges with his rendition of Luis Miguel's "Contigo en la Distancia," couldn't resist taking on a challenge thrown down by his buddies. They dared him to show J. Lo his abs. And once he earned his golden ticket, he kept his word. Randy and Steven just crashed the party. As for Jovany, his singing was fine, but I thought the judges might have at least required him to sing something in English. Guess we'll wait to Hollywood week for that.
Randy hogged lots of the spotlight. Idol hopeful Jacquelyn Dupree brought Randy some pictures from his high school yearbook. Randy grew up in Baton Rouge, and the Jacquelyn's grandfather was Randy's former football coach. There was some awkward conversation from Steven about whether Coach used to paddle Randy. Oh, and there was some singing involved. Jacquelyn's rendition of Carrie Underwood's "I'll Stand By You" was boisterous, but well-sing. Randy complimented her vocal power, while J. Lo also liked the softer moments well. Three yeses later, and she was Hollywood-bound.
Because the show again focused most of its time on worthwhile singers, there weren't many train wrecks. In total, 37 singers were sent on to the Hollywood round, and unlike Wednesday's show, I could definitely see some of these singers on the big stage. Below are some quick thoughts on the best of the night and a couple whose vocals were more offensive than Randy's striptease.
Jordan Dorsey, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
This vocal coach and piano teacher absolutely slayed his audition and has to be an early favorite. His voice was smooth, and he even mixed up the tempo mid-song to show his stylistic versatility. J. Lo had goose bumps and chills, but Steven liked the warmth of his voice. His admission to Hollywood was a no-brainer. Bonus: Jordan's grandmother told Ryan he "looked taller on TV."
Sarah Sellers, "Make You Feel My Love"
She didn't do anything terribly fancy with this song, but with her voice, she didn't need to. Steven stayed on the creepy train he boarded last night, as he obsessed over this wannabe's lips. He was also a fan of her glasses. Luckily, he also liked her voice. J. Lo said she was the best they've heard. Hello, Hollywood.
Brett Loewenstern, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Brett's pre-audition package focused on his tough childhood. Describing himself as a red apple in a pile of green apples, Brett was bullied and left out a lot as a kid. So he delivered a topical message of empowerment for "different" kids, and a stunning version of Queen's classic. He had great control of his vocals for a 16-year-old, and he also arranged the song to sound very current. (Who's going to miss Simon saying that every week?) He was the second singer to give J. Lo goose bumps and Steven admired Brett's singing almost as much as his use of curling cream and baby oil in his mop of red hair. Of course, he makes it through.
Kiana Cardona, "At Last," "Hallelujah"
We only saw a brief snippet of her, but in that brief clip she managed to sing two completely different songs while also sassing the judges. When Randy tried to stop her first song, she simply wagged her finger, snapped her head, and launched into the next song. The judges were finally able to power her down and send her out of the room in tears.
Gabriel Franks, "Bad Romance"
Although Gabriel fancied himself a Steven Tyler look-alike, he, in fact, had an uncanny resemblance to Mick Jagger. But the similarities stopped there. (Not that Mick was ever the greatest singer, amirite?) His version of Lady Gaga wasn't always in tune, but it also wasn't the worst audition ever. More scary were his freaky facial expressions and hand movements. J. Lo's critique was simple and direct: "No," she said.
Alex Attardo, "Proud Mary"
Alex believed he had been groomed for this moment by attending an Idol-themed summer camp a few years back. His version of the song was almost unrecognizable, and he tried to put a little bit of every genre possible into the mix. J. Lo scolded Randy for laughing at him, but Randy stuck to his guns: "Maybe they should cancel the camp," he said.
Jacee Badeaux, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"
So far, the newly eligible 15-year-olds we've seen this year have been a pleasant surprise. Jacee is a babyface who sings like someone well beyond his years. His performance was full of soul, even though it was disturbing to hear such a mature voice coming out of his mouth. Steven said Jacee had a sparkle and his eye and said "you sing so good." (An improvement over "you sing beautiful?) With two yeses and a "double helping of ooo yeah" from Steven, Jacee is Hollywood-bound.
Paris Tassin, "Temporary Home"
Grab the Kleenex! Paris is a young mother who opted not to terminate her pregnancy at 18, even though her daughter had water on her brain. Her baby was born with hearing loss, but is Paris' inspiration. As such, she sang a deeply relevant and personal Carrie Underwood song that brought J. Lo to tears. She had a big voice, but because she was so emotional, she kind of missed a few notes. But it didn't matter, because J. Lo could feel Paris' emotion. She earned a unanimous pass to Hollywood.
So who were your favorites from this batch? Still digging (or hating?) the new judges? What did you think of Randy's peep show? Share all your thoughts in the comments below!
As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. After many viewers (yours truly included) complained that American Idol's Season 10 premiere on Wednesday didn't offer anything remarkably different from past seasons, Thursday's episode gave us something we've never seen before: Randy Jackson's bare stomach. I'm pretty sure that's not what any of us were hoping for. So, what had Randy (and Steven!) taking off their clothes? And which New Orleans singers gave J. Lo goose bumps and moved her to tears? Let's find out....