Thursday, February 24, 2011

Top 24 Revealed Continued...

Welcome back to Day 2 of the revelation of the Top 24. The biggest shocker last night was probably Chris Medina not moving onto the Top 24. His voice was definitely not Top 24 worthy and I believe the judges made the correct decision, but with the incredibly sad and moving story about his fiance you thought he might squeak in. The lucky few that did make it last night were Naima Adedapo, Clint Jun Gamboa, Haley Reinhart, Paul McDonald, and Ashthon Jones. But that was yesterday, today we will learn who compose the rest of the Top 24. So let's get to it:

Top 24 Revealed Continued...

After a few minutes of the judges composing themselves after Chris Medina's dismissal the revelation continues.

*Karen Rodriguez the MySpace contestant is the first up, she smartly chose a "Selena" song as her final performance. As we all know, one of the first movies Jennifer Lopez ever was in was "Selena", so smart move by Karen. The judges feel that she was lost in the shuffle during the competition but she still did enough good to make it. Karen is in the Top 24.

*17 year old Robbie Rosen has overcome a lot in his life, he overcame a childhood illness and being in a group with outspoken contestant Jordan Dorsey. He has been very consistent throughout all the rounds, the judges have a lot of good performances to look at. Steven Tyler explains that Robbie has been good right out the gate and is sure Robbie is ready to move on. Robbie is in the Top 24.

*We haven't seen much of Tatynisa Wilson throughout the competition. She forgot her words one time, she got sub par reviews during another performance and that's about it. Despite that Tatynisa makes it. Tatynisa is in the Top 24.

***Not making it in the Top 24 are Brittney Mazur and Jimmy Allen

*We learned about Tim Halperin during his audition round but then he disappeared for awhile, he made a big impact with his group mate Julie Zorrilla during The Beatles round, they were a standout performance. Tim admits that his audition round wasn't his strongest and has grown as an artist throughout the rounds. The judges agree. Tim is in the Top 24.

*Tim's group mate Julie Zorrilla is next up, she hopes her fate is the same as Tim's. Julie was a Jennifer Lopez favorite from the very first audition. Julie easily makes it. She is so excited that in after she leaves the judge's room she picks Ryan Seacrest up and then pretty much drops him. That was awesome. Either way Julie is in the Top 24.

*Cowboys Scotty McCreery and John Wayne Schulz are up next. Scotty has had a tough journey. He sang the same song several times, he helped kick out Jacee Badeaux from his group, and also forget his words, but his voice is real deep and different. John Wayne Schultz had a semi-memorable audition round but then disappeared the last couple of weeks. Scotty enters the judges room first and is told that he is a genuine, authentic person and is in. Scotty continues to apologize for not sticking up for Jacee before. Scotty is in the Top 24. Scotty even gets a hug from Jacee outside. John isn't so lucky. John Wayne Schulz is not in the Top 24.

*Jovany Barreto is a fun guy, he was the one that showed off his abs to try to impress J.Lo, but then Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson joined in on the ab showing so that ended up scarring some people. Either way the judges are impressed enough and let Jovany in. Jovany is in the Top 24.

*Hard-working housekeeper Lauren Turner housekeeper hasn't stood out too much during the competition. We have seen her in bits and pieces. The judges felt that her journey has been pretty up and down but she did enough. Lauren is in the Top 24.

***Not making it in the Top 24 are Erin Kelly and Taiwan Strong

*Rachel Zevita was eliminated from Season 6 Hollywood round. She didn't make it then but she hopes it changes now. She got a lot further then she did the first time so that's an accomplishment right there. They show a clip of her final performance and the judges seemed to be impressed. Jennifer Lopez said that she has been a fan from many years ago, I still question that a bit, but in any regard she feels she has something there. The judges make it a bit confusing but allow her into the next round. Rachel is in the Top 24.

*Teaming with Paul McDonald during The Beatles round was a great idea for Kendra Shontelle. Although we only saw her in a couple different quick video packages she has been pretty good. In her final performance she sang her audition round song, it's sometimes smart to sing something that has proved to work before, but sometimes not challenging yourself is a negative aspect. Steven Tyler feels that he is concerned about Kendra that she isn't the total package. But she makes it anyways. Kendra is in the Top 24.

*Jordan Dorsey has had such a weird journey. Not allowing Scotty McCreery to join his group then leaving the group anyways. He seemed to have a bit of an attitude and fell below the judges expectations in The Beatles round. Despite that Jordan ends up making it. We will see how the voting audience responds to Jordan. Either way Jordan is in the Top 24.

*Judge and producers favorite Lauren Alaina is up next. She did great in all rounds but The Beatles round. In her final performance she proved why she is one of the favorites this year. It would be the biggest shocker of the season if she didn't make it. The judges tell Lauren that they still love her and are glad that 15 year olds were allowed to enter the competition this year. Lauren sails right on through. Lauren is in the Top 24.

*In his final performance Stefano Langone sang his own song. That's very chancy. The chance paid off and Stefano makes it. Stefano is in the Top 24.

*We saw Jackie Wilson once and her voice stood out. But one time really wasn't enough and Jackie doesn't make it. Jackie is not in the Top 24.

*Big voice Jacob Lusk is up next. We didn't see much from him early on, but once Hollywood rounds hit he really stepped it up. He became a favorite for sure. Randy calls his "God Bless The Child" performance one of the best ever. I don't know about that but it was pretty powerful. On that alone he makes it. After hearing he was in his reaction was incredible. He sang, he ran, he picked up Ryan Seacrest and flung him around. Crazy. Jacob is in the Top 24.

*One of my personal favorite voices was Pia Toscano. I personally feel that she has a pure voice. The judges thankfully like Pia also. Pia is in the Top 24.

Only 1 girl spot remains.

*Huge voice James Durbin is up next. I don't really care for his voice. I understand his gimmick, I appreciate that he has dealt with a lot of illnesses and personal problems in his life, but I don't really like his voice. The judges have loved James throughout the whole competition. James is in the Top 24.

*Casey Abrams is another judge's favorite. He is a different character and I appreciate that. He plays a big bass which is one of the coolest instruments played on this show. Casey is not just a judge's favorite but one of my favorites at this point as well. Casey is in the Top 24.

Only 1 guy spot remains.

*The 2 last girls are Thia Megia and Jessica Cunningham. Since we saw a ton of Thia Megia and little of Jessica Cunningham the choice seems obvious here. It was. Jessica is not in the Top 24. But, Thia is in the Top 24.

*The last 3 guys remain with only 1 spot left. They are Brett Lowenstern, Jacee Badaeux and Colton Dixon. Each of these guys have had some significant camera time on the show. Jacee and Brett have definetly had a bit more than Colton. They each are very different from one another. The judges at different points have really enjoyed all 3 of them. The judges pick Brett. Colton and Jacee do not make the Top 24. Brett is in the Top 24.

That's it. The Top 24 are chosen.

How Were The Judges?:

Tricking the contestants to think they aren't going to make it, and then they tell them they are going to make it has been what American Idol has done since the first season. They love doing the whole switcheroo. I personally get a bit bored from it after the second person. You can pretty much tell if the person will make it if the judges joke around with the contestants. It would be wrong if they joked around and then they kicked them out anyways. When the judges get serious you could tell they are going home. All judges had a tough time trying hide the fact that they did or didn't like someone.

How Was The Show?:

The Top 24 is a mixed bag. There are some favorites out there, there are a few unlikeable characters, there are some judges favorites. It's definitely an interesting group. 2 hours seems like a bit too much time for an epsiode like this but this what American Idol does. If you watch this show then you have to deal with the excess time spent on things that can be done in a reasonable amount of time.

Join I'dol Be The Judge next week when the Top 24 will begin to perform. The guys are first. This is where the real competition begins so stay tuned here for all the reactions and recaps from the show. See you next Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hollywood Round Part 4

Welcome Back. After last week's rather crazy, tumultuous, and all round emotional couple of rounds, tonight is the beginning of narrowing down the remaining 61 contestants.

With that being said, the contestants first stop is Las Vegas. There they will be performing hits from The Beatles. They will be grouped in pairs of 2 or 3 and be guided with some mentors. They will then immediately learn if they get to move on or are cut, and then they will sing another song to learn and perform in front of the judges to get to the Top 24. We will get to all that along the way, so as we always say, let's get to it:

Duos or Trios?: The contestants either pair up or find a group of 3 to perform a Beatles song that they randomly select via a box. Who their partner is, what their song they chose was, and how they sound will all factor into if they stay or if they go.

Rehearsals: Vocal coach Peggi Blu is all kinds of awesome. She tells the contestants how it is straight out. If the contestants don't know the song then they are done. Ken Stacey is also a vocal coach. He gets to help judges favorite Lauren Alaina. She doesn't want to disappoint and starts to breakdown during her first rehearsal. Messing up Beatles songs is not a good idea and she knows that.

Overall there are several vocal coaches but Peggi Blu stands out. She yells at the contestants and makes the 15-year-olds cry. Normally I wouldn't be a proponent of making little girls cry but they way she does it is hysterical.

Any contestant that says they don't know The Beatles(and there are quite a few) needs to be sent home right away. You can't be in the music business and not know the Beatles. It's like being a baseball player and not knowing about Babe Ruth. Singing is one thing but knowing the music business to able to survive is another.

Pre-Performance: Long time music producer/executive Jimmy Iovine is the new integral component to American Idol. He will eventually be mentoring the Top 12(or Top 10) during the competition. Tonight he will be listening to the groups with a whole bunch of other music producers and determining if they are doing a good enough job to be able to handle being in front of the judges.

Jimmy Iovine and some other producers first tell Lauren Alaina's group that she needs to choose another song. I thought they had to randomly draw from a box which song they are to perform, but maybe for judge favorite Lauren she is allowed to pick a new one.

He is brutally honest with the contestants. The only relief the contestants get is they get to see "The Beatles:Love Cirque Soleil". Now that they got a little time to get away it's time for them to bring on the judges.

How Were The Contestants?:

Day 1:

*First up is Stefano Langone and James Durbin. Durbin is a lot to take with that very high pitched voice. They both sound decent enough. The judges dig the both of them, I personally wasn't that impressed.

*MySpace contestant Karen Rodriguez and Pia Toscano are next up. I really enjoy Pia's voice, much more than Karen's. Pia's voice has a nice tone to it and stands out, Karen's not so much.

*"You can't over sing every time" Jimmy Iovine tells this to Jacob Lusk(pictured left). You might remember him putting it all out there last round and really breaking down crying after his performance. Jacob needs to learn how to balance it out a little and control his voice. Also in this group is Haley Reinhart and Naima Adedapo. We haven't seen much of Naima in a few weeks, but we now remember how good she really was. Jacob ends up doing a lot with the song and putting tons of emotion, but looks to have listened to Jimmy's advice. J.Lo loved the whole performance, Steven Tyler thought it was over the top in a good way. Randy didn't really listen to Jimmy because he tells Jacob to lay it all out there. We will see which path he chooses later on.

*Rachel Zevita's group sings "Elenor Rigby", they sounded nice. As does Lauren Turner's group. She and her group-mates sing Let it Be in a very interesting cool way.

*Tim Halperin, whom we haven't seen since his audition round teams up with Julie Zorrilla(pictured left). This was a perfect match. They both play piano and sound really well together and seperately. Tim sounds a lot better then he did during his audition. I really didn't enjoy him before, but I kind of do know.

*Jerome Bell, Lakeisha Lewis and Tatynisa Wilson sound great together. None of them were incredibly outstanding but together they sounded pretty nice. Randy wasn't impressed with Jerome, J.Lo thought Lakeisha was holding back and didn't like Tatynisa at all. Steven Tyler thought that they nailed it. Mixed reviews for sure.

*Next up is duo Kendra Chantelle and Paul McDonald. I haven't heard or seen Paul before but he has such a different voice and it's really soft and beautiful. They sounded perfect together, like they performed together before. Steven Tyler thought that Paul has been hit or miss but tonight he hit.

*We then see a mix of groups that are unnamed but there are a few identifiable people like Clint Jun Gamboa and John Wayne Schultz.

***Ashley Sullivan is getting married did ya hear? No, well maybe that's because this is American Idol and not Bridezilla or Who Wants To Be a Wife, or whatever cheesy reality wedding show. Ashley actually ends up getting married on the show. I thought this might have been a singing show but for a few minutes not so much. Good luck to the couple I guess.

Day 2:

*Thia Megia and Melinda Ademi who were "advised/scared" by Peggi Blu are next up. Peggi was not impressed after listening to the 2 of them. J.Lo thought it was cute but wasn't really impressed. Steven Tyler wasn't really either. It doesn't look too promising for the 2 of them.

*Bride Ashley Sullivan-Suraiva and Sophia Shorai are next. The wedding might be a great thing for Ashley's personal life but the professional life might have been hurt. They did not sound so great. The judges thought the performance was not up to par. I hope her honeymoon is nice because it looks like she'll have some time now to go on a little vacation.

*After failing to impress Jimmy Iovine, Lauren Alaina(pictured left), Scotty McCreery & Denise Jackson are next up. They ended up being able to change a song to a bit more peppier one. The performance itself was a little campier than I would have loved. J.Lo wasn't impressed with the song choice. They tried but it just didn't work. Their past performances will have to help them get through to the next round.

*Casey Abrams and Chris Medina also did a bit of a campier of a performance. I've like Casey before and have been lukewarm on Chris so we will see if they can get past this kind of crazy performance

*Last up is Robbie Rosen, Jordan Dorsey and Aaron Sanders. Robbie sounds fantastic, he has such a great voice, very pure. Jordan doesn't impress me too much. I feel I've heard his voice time and time again. Aaron is a new person to learn about this late in the game so for only hearing him once he sounded pretty decent. Randy thought they worked it out. J.Lo thought Jordan was below expectations. Steven Tyler thought Robbie was unbelievable.

Round 1 Results(Top 40):

**Thia Megia, Scotty McCreery, Jordan Dorsey, Ashthon Jones, Robbie Rosen and Lauren Alaina all make it through to the next round.

**White house intern Molly DeWolf, Carson Higgins, Jacob Cawley, Ashley Sullivan, Denise Jackson, Melinda Ademi are notable exits from the competition

**Other notable returnees Jacee Badeaux, Brett Lowenstern, Clint Jun Gamboa, John Wayne Shultz and many others will sing one more time.

24 Go On, 16 Home: Top 24 Revealed:

*Naima Adedapo gives the judges all the reasons in the world to move her on to the Top 24. We see a snippet of her final performance. The judges don't think she has been the most consistent and has dropped a little in their rankings but ultimately Naima makes it into the Top 24. Naima is in.

*Hollie Cavanagh's final performance was a mix bag, she definitely sounded better than her first audition though. Judges felt that she belongs despite her rough start. But she doesn't belong now, she goes home. J.Lo felt that Hollie deserved to be in the Top 24 but she might need a little more time to develop into an artist. Hollie is out.

*Lakeisha Lewis and Alex Ryan are also out.

*Karaoke host Clint Jun Gamboa has had an interesting journey. He sounded great at first but now is more notable for kicking out Jacee Badaeux from his group. His final performance was more controlled than some of his past performances so we'll see if he ends up getting through. The judges bag on Clint a little about kicking Jacee out of his group. Clint ends up making it into the Top 24. Clint is in.

*Haley Reinhart was pretty much unknown until the last day of Hollywood week, but has come on strong since then. In her final performance it proved that her string of good performances was far from over. The judges feel she is ready to move on to the next round, she makes it through. Haley is in.

*Deandre Brackensick might have only had one really good performance that the audience saw but his voice and look really make him stand out. The judges feel that Deandre was close but not close enough. He doesn't not make it in. Deandre is out.

*Paul McDonald had about 30 seconds to prove to the audience that he had a great voice and in his last performance at Beatles round he proved that his soft voice was really beautiful. But in his last performance he decided to sing an original song and dress up in a flower printed suit, risky move. The move paid off, Paul is in.

Ashthon Jones is also another latecomer. We learned of Ashthon relatively late in the process but I'm glad we did. I really enjoy her voice but it's not up to me, it's up to the judges. The judges feel Ashthon is the full package, Ashthon is in.

*Chris Medina has had quite a journey through learning of the tragic accident his fiancee had and also by seeing him have some ups and downs throughout the rounds. I don't feel Chris has a knockout voice, but the judges have liked him along the way. The judges give Chris a lot of credit for being a stand up man and being so hearfelt. But for singing purposes only Chris does not make it. One of the best decisions the judges have made so far. Chris is out.

**********We will learn the rest of the Top 24 tomorrow*********

How Were The Judges?:

I love Steven Tyler. When he kissed Chris Medina goodbye and started to break down I almost choked up. That was tough. He is so genuine. I love that guy. He is so different and is a great addition to this show. Jennifer Lopez breaking down after saying goodbye to Chris was also incredibly heartfelt. It was a real moment and this show needs more realness like that. Randy? Well I only heard him saw Dawg a dozen or so times so that's an improvement.

How Was The Show?:

*It was a long show but it ended up being very entertaining. The Beatles round provided some great performances and then learning the fate of some of the contestants tonight brought out some real emotions from the contestants and the judges. Overall the show was probably one of the best episodes of the season.

*On the other hand, after being a rather unlikeable contestant in group round, and not allowing certain contestants into his group, and then bailing on his group, Jordan Dorsey ends up trying to redeem his image. More than half of the contestants that came out of the judging room were hugged by Jordan. I'm not saying that he wasn't being genuine, but trying to rebuild your image definitely doesn't hurt. Smart idea, very smart.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the results of the Top 24. Will J.Lo and Steven Tyler be able to get through cutting some of these contestants? Will there be any shocking cuts or will they all be pretty predictable? These questions and more will be answered here at I'dol Be The Judge. See you soon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hollywood Round Part 3

After last night's crazy and emotional roller coaster that was Group Performances, tonight we get a much more regular episode. The contestants are back to singing on their own. This will be the last shot they get before the next last shot and then the really last shot. Actually the contestants will be drastically reduced from 100 to a mere 50. Hopefully tonight will finally weed out those pretenders from those(say it with me now) contenders. So let's get to it:

After a quick explanation that the contestants are able to use some instruments, have backup singers, or sing acapella the contestants finally start to begin. As always with this round we learn of who made it and who will not. At the end of the blog we will try to name the contestants who made it. Until then we will run through how the contestants do, and if the judges say anything along the way.

How Did The Contestants Do?

1. First up was Haley Reinhart. Never heard her nor heard of her but she is leading off tonight. We learn that in previous rounds Hailey has had her ups and downs. She has a really gritty, bluesy voice, and a unique tone to her voice. The judges seem impressed.

2. Ashton Jones is next. We know her because she was in that group with Ashley Sullivan(the girl who almost quit yesterday). On her own she has a beautiful style and an equally controlled beautiful voice.

3. Young Thia Megia is up next. I'll admit it that I like her probably most because her name kind of rhymes but also because her voice is really good. We saw her in those early audition rounds and not much since. Her voice really proved that she deserved to be here. I'm glad she wasn't cut because I think she has something there, we will see if the judges think so later.

4. Adrian Michael proves that he has some trouble as does Caleb Johnson. They both blame the band, but I'm thinking it might be them. Also in trouble is Frances Cootz.

5. Clint Jun Gamboa is next up. He is the one that kicked out Jacee Badaeux yesterday. He also is wearing some Elton John glasses from 1974. But despite all that you can't deny his voice. It's very powerful and he does a lot with the song, very impressive. I doubt Jacee would say so, but we'll see what the judges think.

6. Both Kendra Chantelle and Sophia Shorai have the judges smiling, and then grimacing interchangeably. Very odd. They both have very pretty voices but we'll see if the judges agree. It is weird we haven't seen either of these girls before. They both have nice voices.

7. L.A auditioner Carson Higgins was only one of a few L.A auditioners that are still left. He's a crazy character. He sings "My Perogative" which Chris Medina also sings. They were in the same group yesterday so it's interesting that they are both singing the same song. Carson's voice is much more lively and plays with the band, Chris does an acoustic version of the same song. We'll see which if any or both of those versions worked.

8. First using her instrument the piano was Julie Zorrilla, we only for a few seconds but. Then with his guitar was Caleb Hawley. With another piano was Colton Dixon with some funky hair. Brett Lowenstern plays guitar with a little musical accompaniment. Robbie Rosen also plays the piano very sweetly. It looked like J-Lo was welling up. With a big stand-up bass Casey Abrams comes lugging in. No one has ever used a bass before. He sounds pretty awesome with that bass. It definitely enhanced his performance. Not saying his voice wasn't really good, but the bass really made it sound even better.

9. We learn that Jacqueline Dunford is extremely sick and actually needs medical treatment and has bow out of the contest. Her roommate Chelsee Oaks needs to perform without her ex boyfriend Rob that left last night and new best friend Jacqueline. Her voice is adequate. Nothing spectacular, definitely Top 100 worthy, don't really think it's Top 40 worthy.

10. Judge and producer favorite Lauren Alaina is up next. She sings "Don't Want to Miss A Thing". She half sang it in her initial audition. I think this time her voice is more controlled this time. The band definitely enhanced her voice, which was pretty good on its own. The judges wanted her to be good and she was.

11. We first learned of Jacob Lusk last night. He has a very interesting voice. It has some scat to it, some gospel and some blues. He is someone who we don't often see on this show. I hope he makes it because he is different and this show needs to change it up a little. He gets a standing ovation from the judges so I think he is pretty safe. I'd want to be sitting in the room with him when the results come down. He is an emotional wreck after the performance, he uses every bit of himself.

12. "Cowboy" John Wayne Schultz is up next. While singing J.Lo quietly but kind of cutely sings along with John. That's got to be a good sign.

13. Nearly quitter Ashley Sullivan is next. You never ever say that you haven't messed up in front of the judges because more than likely you will. And predictably she messes up the words instantaneously. She begins to freak out, and it doesn't help that she doesn't have any band accompaniment. She can't continue on and really bombs out. We'll see if her past performances will over take this one but it's going to be tough.

14. In the next group of males it's Stefano Langone , Jovany Barreto and Jacee Badeaux.I don't see a lot of star quality in Stefano. Jovany decides to sing a Marc Anthony song(nice touch) which sounds half way decent. Jacee Badeaux is the last to go and unfortunetly I don't think his voice is ready. It's cute, he is cute, but I don't think that he is quite ready for this competition moving on.

15. The last two contestants are Scotty McCreery and Tatynisa Wilson. Scotty has repeatedly sang the same song in almost every part of the audition process, but the song he always sings is not on the predetermined list. Scotty proves that learning more than one song is kind of difficult. He makes up some random words. Tatynisa also has difficulty with the song. They get a pretty long list of songs, no one forced them to choose it. Not knowing the words can prove to be very damaging.

Judges Decision(Who's Moving On):

The 100 contestants are split up into 4 different rooms.

Room 1: Ashley Sullivan, Brett Lowenstern, Jacee Badaeux, Haley Reinhart, Caleb Hawley, Clint Jun Gamboa, Lauren Alaina, Robbie Rosen, Casey Abrams, James Durbin and Chris Medina. This entire room goes on through. Not surprising. This room had all the all stars.

Room 2: Brielle Von Hugel, Corey LeVoy and a lot of other people we don't know do not make it. Since I barely knew who Brielle or Corey were it's really not a surprise.

Room 3: Mark Guiterrez, Chelsee Oaks and a lot of other people we don't know don't make it. No big shocker there.

Room 4: Carson Higgins, Julie Zorrilla, Jovany Borretta, Scotty McCreery as well as a couple more notable faces all make it as well.

Surprises?: Scotty McCreery, Jacee Badaeux, James Durbin and Jovany Borretta. We'll see how it shakes out, they have one more performance to really showcase themsleves.

The remaining contestants take on The Beatles next week. I hope they aren't like David Archuletta a few years ago that didn't even know who the Beatles were. The first rule if you are going to be a singer is not to tell anyone that you don't know who the Beatles are. Even if you don't know who they are you don't tell people that you don't know. That's just silly.

So come on back next week when the remaining contestants will finally consist of the Top 20. We are getting close to those live performances. We'll see you next Wednesday here on I'dol Be The Judge.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hollywood Round Part 2

Welcome back. The first part of Hollywood round was rather predictable. Almost everyone that we saw during the audition rounds made it through. But that was just the first round. This next round is probably one of my favorites, it is time for group performances. Why they do this round never made sense to me, given that during the entire American Idol run there are no times when you are judged for a group performance, but I digress. This round has all the emotion, and interesting aspects of Idol that we have grown to love, or even hate. How your group does could alter your future on the show. We will see how the groups are broken down, if there are emotional melt downs, and if anyone that we have yet to see through these audition rounds can make it. So let's get to it:

Picking A Group:

Before the performances even begin we are given a twist. The contestants had decided to group up with people from the day that they performed. As we know there were 2 days of the first round. The producer Ken Warwick explains to the contestants that the groups must be a mixture of Day 1 and Day 2 "for fairness". I can see why they do this. It isn't fair that the Day 2 contestants are 1 day behind in performing together. So with this twist we will see how it all shakes out. A lot of maneuvering has to go down now.

Tiffany Rios, the girl who showed us her "stars" and kind of tried to show up the rest of the contestants has a difficult time finding a spot. She tries to hook up with Scotty McCreery, the boy with the deep country voice, almost gets sucked into her mess, but wisely backs out, but then he kind of shuns Brett Loewenstern's group, which pisses me off. But then he gets shut down by Jordan Dorsey, which I did enjoy. Karma is a "you know what".

Rehearsing with Their Group:

There's a lot more scrambling for groups, and a lot of people are getting traded but it all comes down to the performance. So after a crazy shuffle the rehearsing begins. With 168 people all rehearsing in 1 hotel it's tough to find a little quiet. The group "The Minors" is a group of 15 and 16 year olds. It's a good concept, plus they all brought their moms, so getting a second opinion was a good idea.

Ex couple Rob and Chelsee and Jacqueline who had the boyfriend that couldn't take no for an answer form the group "Three's Company". Rob and Chelsee are barely on speaking terms at this point, so that makes things a bit more tenuous.

Ashley Sullivan, the girl who emerged from the "port o potty" a few audition rounds ago ditches her group and decides to quit the show instead. The producers try to help convince her to stay so she doesn't leave her group in a lurch. Ashley contemplates for a bit and decides to come back.

"Pinch your cheeks cute" Jacee Badeaux unfortunately gets kicked out of his group. That's a tough blow to a kid that already looks like he is 10 years old. He now has to find another group.

Jordan Dorsey the guy that wanted no part of Scotty McCreery now decides he wants no part of his own group and bounces to another. Weird.

Brett Loewenstern finds Jacee Badeaux and he ends up joining the group. It all works out in the end I guess.

Group Performances

Group 1: Pia Toscano, Alessandra Guercio and Brielle Von Hugel are 3 people I never heard of before but sound pretty decent, especially together. As I said I never heard of Pia before this, but she sounds really great. All 3 make it to the next round, and deservedly so.

Group 2: Abandoner from his original group Jordan Dorsey joined the group "4 plus 1". Jordan Dorsey, Robbie Rosen, and 3 other people who aren't named sing. All 5 make it through. So no matter what, Jordan made a great decision. Who knows if he would have done well in his other group but he made it with this one so there ya go.

Group 3: Jordan's former group mates "4-40" with Adrian Michael, Lauren Turner, and 2 other people who the producers don't name are part of this group. Lauren, Adrian and the other 2 people all make it through. It all worked out for them despite the craziness with Jordan.

Group 4: Tiffany Rios couldn't find a group and joined up with Jessica Yantz and only became a duo. Jessica was poached from another group by Tiffany, so we will see how it turns out. Tiffany sounds atrocious and Randy stops both of them mid song. Both girls are going home despite Tiffany's desperate attempts. Jessica might have done well if she just stayed with her original group. Guess we will never know.

Group 5: While waiting for group "Spanglish" Steven Tyler entertains everyone by playing the drums. Jovany Barreto, Kevin Campos, Jorge Gabriel and MySpace auditioner Karen Rodriguez try their best but it's a little rocky. Steven Tyler gets a bit confused and says the wrong thing, but regroups and only Jovany and Karen go through.

Group 6: Lauren Alaina the supposed "chosen one" by the producers, asks Steven Tyler to come sit in a chair in the middle of their performance while her group sings to him. This is a first. Well it's one way to get in good with the judges. But it only a quarter works because only Lauren gets through from the Group of 4. It's a bad sign when your name isn't even said on the screen. As Randy said "cut-throat" but it needed to be.

Group 7: We are told the next group was frustrated during rehearsals and cut it short early. Colton Dixon, Matt Dillard, another guy, and 2 girls are part of this group. Matt forgets the words, and only Colton gets through to the next round.

Random Acts of Bad Group Performances: Shannon Livewell, Brianna Tyson, Janelle Arthur, Alyson Jados, Catilin Koch all are very bad and go home. As does Paris Tassin, who I really enjoyed in the past rounds.. Too bad. "Cute as a button" Emily Anne Reed also went home, as does one of the Gutierrez brothers.

Group 8: This group consists of almost quitter Ashley Sullivan, Kierra Lyn Ford, Ashthon Jones and one other girl whose name we don't learn. Despite that all 4 singers get through to the next round. It was great that Ashley didn't quit, a very nice rebound story, she actually does have a nice voice.

Group 9: Adam Lambert try-to-sound-alike James Durbin's group is next up. Also in this group is Emma Henry, Danny Pate, Caleb Johnson and John Jordan . Together they sound really bad. James tries to end the song on a very very high note but it sounds more strange then anything else. J-Lo calls the performance "painful". Caleb and James are the only ones to stay.

Group 10: "The Minors", the group consisting of only 15 and 16 year olds features, Keonna Evans, Jalen Harris, Sarinna-Joi Crowe, Felix Ramsey, and Deandre Brackensick. They receive a standing ovation from the 3 judges. They sounded unbelievable. They all rocked it and understandably all 5 of them get through to the next round.

Group 11: The next group is an interesting mix. It features Steven Clawson who has the lyrics on his hand instead of actually remembering them, Corey Levoy, Hollie Cavanagh and 2 other people. Although it was a tough time for the group only Corey and Hollie make it through.

Group 12: Choosing not to use the musical accompaniment are group mates Dan Noguchi, Lara Johnston, Julie Zorrilla, Melissa Lucas, and Seth Rogen look-alike Casey Abrams. Only Julie and Casey go through, the rest aren't so lucky.

Group 13: Also choosing not to use any musical backup is the group that features Da'Quela Payne, Matthew Nuss, Naima Adedapo, Jacob Lusk and an unknown girl. All 5 make it through. Weird that we don't get to know who the unknown girl is yet she makes it. Very odd.

Group 14: The next group features Chris Medina, Caleb Hawley, Devyn Rush, Carson Higgins, and some other girl. Everyone but Devyn makes it through. Devyn was the singing waitress that we saw a couple weeks ago. She was pretty decent then but this time she obviously wasn't.

Group 15: Jacee Badeaux's new group is up next with Denise Jackson, Stevie Cain, Natalie Hanson and Brett Loewenstern. Jacee forgets his words but still makes his performance kind of cute. Jacee is one of the cutest contestants ever, he starts to well up before it is announced that all 5 make it through to the next round.

Group 16: The group that kicks out Jacee is up next. Scotty McCreery, Monique De Los Santos, Frances Coontz, and Clint Jun Gamboa all try to rock it out. Easily Clint is the best of this bunch. All 4 make it through to the next round. Scotty feels bad about what happened with Jacee so I give him credit for trying to make amends.

Group 17: The last group of the day is "Three's Company" with Jacqueline Dunford and exes Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks. Chelsee does decently, Jacqueline sounds really bad, Rob totally forgets the words. A real bad group performance for sure. Rob goes home but the ladies stay. I think Jacqueline got lucky that Rob was soooo bad, because they focused on his bad rather than hers.

That's a wrap. Hollywood Group Round is Over.

What have we learned from this episode??? If your name doesn't appear on screen then more than likely you are going to go home. When the producers don't even want to waste a second or two to put your name up on the screen it's probably not a good sign.

Please come on back tomorrow for the next part of Hollywood week. The contestants are on their own now, only solo performances. The group is cut from 100 to the Top 40. Should be interesting. See you soon.!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Welcome To Hollywood (Part 1)

After 7 cities, countless number of bad performances, a sprinkle of decent contestants, and a whole mess of sob stories, we are finally in Hollywood. This process will eventually narrow it down to the Top 40, and then eventually the Top 20. The judges will have over 300 people to scope out in Hollywood week. Which contestants will make it? Which will get cut right away? All these questions will be answered and more. This is where the competition really start. So let's get to it:

Sudden Death Round is Broken Down Like This: They will come out in Rows of 10, sing acapella, and receive no feedback from the judges. They will be told they are through to the next round or it's the end of the line.

Day 1:

Group 1: Brett Lowenstern is the first up. He was from the New Orleans audition, he had a great voice, some funky hair, and a cool redemption story of overcoming bullying. He sings "Let it Be" and sounds great. The rest of the line is people we have never met. A girl named Symphony and Brett are the only ones to make it from the first group.

Group 2: New York waitress Rachel Zevita sounds just as good as she did in her audition. Thia Megia is an impressive 15 year old. She acts and sounds a lot older. Casey Abrams also is very impressive in this round. I still think he sounds a little like Taylor Hicks, which isn't the biggest compliment. Despite that, all 3 of these contestants are onto the next round.

Group 3: Part of this group is Victoria Huggins. She is probably one of the more cutesy contestants that we've seen thus far. You could say she is annoying, but I won't...well...she is kind of annoying. During this round her voice is a little screechy, and Victoria does not make it through to the next round. She has a smile on her face despite being cut, so good for her I guess.

Group 4: We are reminded of James Durbin and Paris Tassin stories. They are both struggling parents, just trying to get through. Paris sings first, a Celine Dion song no less. Her voice has great tone to it, very controlled, I like it a lot. James sings next and he does what he did in the audition round., he hits those very high highs. Also in this group is former Miss Teen America Stormy Henley still has a very small voice, like Jennifer Lopez said. Laren Alaina who has been talked about by the producers since auditions started is next up in Group 4. She sings next and is fine, can't really get a good sense of it, but it doesn't matter because she, James and Paris all receive a "Yes" to the next round. Stormy at least got to go to Hollywood.

Group 5: Chris Medina the man with one of the most heartbreaking stories I've ever seen on American Idol is next up. His fiancee was in that terrible accident, but Chris tells us she is getting better everyday. I hope so. During the round Chris does an adequate enough job to get through to the next round. He actually was the only one in the group of ten to get through.

Group 6: Hollie Cavanagh who broke down several times during her audition,
"pinch his cheeks cute" 15-year old Jacee Badeaux, and Robbie Rosen who had a sickly childhood and overcome those obstacles are the next ones up. Jacee has a nice performance, as does Robbie. Robbie is only a year older than Jacee but he seems like he is a decade older. Hollie still has some pitchy parts to her voice but is much better than what she showed at her audition. All 3 make it through to the next round.

Group 7: "Big" Steve Beghun has a voice that is opposite his size that's for sure. Steve does not make it, and we don't actually know who did out of this group. I'm sure they were great, we'll never know.

Quick Goodbyes: Sarah Sellers, Jacqueline Depree, Heidi Kazam are all told they did not make it. We don't see their performances but I guess they couldn't live up to their auditions.

Day 2:

Group 8: Former boyfriend and girlfriend Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks are next up. We see that Rob still pines for Chelsee but to no avail. They even have adjoining rooms which doesn't help. Rob is first up, he sings a depressing song, but he has some grit in his voice, I didn't really get it. Chelsee has a pretty voice like during the audition. Despite Rob's more quiet performance both he and Chelsee make it.

Group 9: Current boyfriend and girlfriend Nick Fink and Jacqueline Dunford are next up. We'll see how current they are after their performances. Nick sings some weird song about shoes and doesn't sound so great, but Jacqueline definitely has more soul to her voice than Nick and sounds pretty decent. The judges deliberate and Nick does not make it, but Jacqueline does. Can you say AWKWARD!!! I'm sure their relationship can sustain this. (That was sarcasm by the way) Nick can't take no as an answer and pleads and begs and sings again and gets shut down by the judges again. He doesn't get it. Ouch!

Group 10: Country soul singer with the deep voice Scotty McCreery sings the same song as he did in his audition. He sung it well then and he sung it well again in Hollywood. He plays it safe but sometimes part of the job of being an AI contestant is just to get by. Jackie Wilson, and Jerome Bell also go this route and sing the same song. Jerome shouted a bit too much in his audition but sounds more controlled here. Scotty, Jerome and Jackie all make it through.

Group 11: Tiffany Rios is the girl who opened her shirt up and showed us her stars during her audition. Her performance this time is strange and her personality is kind of mean spirited and cocky. Travis Orlando also is in this group. He had the story of living in a shelter with his family. His voice doesn't sound as great as his first audition. The judges tell us that Tiffany makes it and Travis doesn't. I don't see America liking Tiffany that much.

Other Notable "Yes's": Clint Gamboa, Julie Zarrilo, Naima Adedapo, the Guiterrez brothers, White House intern Molly DeWolf, Emily Ann Reed and Stefano Langone also make it.

That wraps the first round of Hollywood week. 168 contestants move on to the next round. Overall it's pretty predictable. The majority of the people that we saw in the audition rounds that had a lot of screen time made it, and people that we never knew existed got cut. Hopefully the show will give us a couple of contestants that we don't know much about to give us a little surprise.

So come on back to I'dol Be The Judge next Wednesday for Part 2 of Hollywood Week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Audition Round Part 7 (San Francisico)

Home of Rice a Roni, and hopefully the next American Idol winner, San Francisco is the last stop on the American Idol audition tour. It can't get worse than Los Angeles, which might have been the worst audition city to date, but I guess we will see. So, let's get to it:

How Were The Contestants?:

*First up is Ukraine born Inessa Lee. She wants to be a blend of Shakira, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry, yet wants to be unique....Ok. She is also a belly dancer/yoga instructor. Well, she better stick with one of her other hobbies, because her voice is pretty terrible. No from all 3 judges. Oh, and on her way out she says "we missed out", I highly doubt it.

*Brittany Mazur, Lara Johnston, Matthew Nuss all receive a "Yes". None of them impress me tremendously but we only saw each of them for about 7 seconds.

*Accident survivor Stefano Langone is quite a story. Told by doctors he would never be able to walk, or be the same, Steffano is quite a determined and brave guy. He has a very peppy voice, it's a little quirky, he shouts in a couple spots, but if he can control that he might be very good. Stefano gets a "Yes" from all 3 judges.

*Long Beach native Clint Jun Gamboa is all fully of cockiness, he is confident, and actually has some nice runs in his voice. The judges feel his vocals are beautiful. Randy calls him "one of the best he has seen in S.F". I don't know if he is the best I have seen, but he could go a decent way.

*Kenneth Berba, Weston Lee Smith, and car transformer Drew Beaumier leave with quick "No's" and silence from the judges. Weird attempts. Very weird.

*A bevy of California girls are next up. They don't actually put up their names, so we will just call them the California girls for now. If they are so good why not put up their names?

*Colombian born and birthday girl Julie Zorrilla is very proud of her heritage and her parents. She begins to sing "Summertime" which in the American Idol world is synonymous with Fantasia Barrino. It's still one of the best performances in AI history. Julie in my opinion does a little too much with the song, and her voice goes through some very high highs and lows. It takes her about 2 minutes to get through only a couple lines. I wish she just sang it straight through. The judges are impressed and all 3 agree that Julie is going to Hollywood. They say she is a contender. Not sure if I see it but I guess we shall see.

*Rocker Dave Combs tried with a Beatles song but Steven Tyler is not impressed. He almost had a voice, but almost doesn't count. Rick Deschamp, David Johnston, and Sabrina Corbett also fall into this category.

*Emily Anne Reed has had a rough time recently. Her home burned down and lost all of her belongings. But on the positive she is cute as a button. Her voice is just as cute. Not sure if she will be able to handle Rock weeks or anything very crazy, but she has quite a unique voice. Steven Tyler doesn't think she has it, Randy likes that she is so different, and as the deciding vote Jennifer Lopez lets Emily go on through to Hollywood. Before she leaves she plays her guitar, and it makes her even more cute.

*Last contestant of San Francisco is James Durbin. His father passed away at a young age from an overdose. He was diagnosed with Tourettes and Aspbergers, which is on the Autism spectrum. But he has also met Heidi. He and Heidi have a son together. They are an awfully cute family. Inside the audition room he sounds like Adam Lambert a whole lot and that is a great compliment. He asks Steven Tyler for permission before singing "Dream On". I enjoy that he asked him for his permission before attempting it. James is a great character. He has a great back story. I can see James doing really well in this competition and the judges agree and send him to Hollywood.

How Were The Judges?:

Steven Tyler finally has found his place. He is very kind and flirtatious at times, but if he doesn't think you have it, and are mocking the song or artist that the contestant is singing he actually becomes pissed at them. I love that he is taking this so seriously, it makes him very endearing.

Jennifer Lopez also is very into this job. You can tell that she is serious about the whole process about putting the right people through. I think her honesty is a great quality. She isn't going to rock you with negative criticism but she will tell the contestants the straight honest truth about their level of singing.

Randy Jackson is just Randy. He hasn't really changed it up too much. Although he is the lone remaining original judge you would have thought he would have stepped it up, but he hasn't. It's not a knock against him, he just hasn't increased his role at all like I wish he had.

How Was The Show?:

San Francisco had an interesting mix of really good to possible Top 20 contenders and beyond. The show definitely rebounded from the atrocious Los Angeles audition.

I am so happy audition rounds are over and we are onto the Hollywood round. It's been 7 cities and many many hours so it's time to really get to narrowing the bad from the good, and the good from the really great. I always enjoyed Hollywood rounds so I really can't wait.

We will see you back tomorrow night for Round 1 of Hollywood Week.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Audition Round Part 6 (Los Angeles)

Hello, and Welcome Back to Audition Round Part 6 in Los Angeles. Before the actual auditions start up Ryan Seacrest informs us that this round will include a handful of online contestants that submitted an audition through MySpace. American Idol does love to pimp its advertising, doesn't it? Ford & Coca Cola come to mind, but either way we will see how the online contestants turn out. So let's get to it.

How Were The Contestants:

Victoria Garrett doesn't particularly start the show off to a good note, to say the very least. She believes she will be the winner of this show, I guess that only works if people had the mute button turned on at all times. Nails on a chalkboard puts it very very nicely.

Jennifer Lopez fan Tim Halperin has a non-descript kind of voice. There isn't too much to it. Sorry, but it's true. I don't think his audition is very impressive. Tim is ultra impressed by J.Lo but Tim doesn't really do much for me. Steven Tyler thinks he needs work but puts him in, Randy says he isn't ready, but of course Jennifer Lopez agrees to put him through. Kind of predictable. I don't see him going too far unless he can really change his voice up.

In a quick montage, Justin Carter is told that he doesn't have the &*$@& in his voice by Jennifer Lopez. Doubt she meant to say that, but funny either way.

Daniel Gomez & college dropout friend Isaac Rodriguez both want to make it,both believe that they can sing, and both are told by the judges that they will neither make it, nor should sing again.

MySpace contestant Karen Rodriguez shows why she was chosen out of 16,000 to audition in person in front of the judges. She has a pretty voice, a great confidence and has something special there. All 3 judges believe Karen has it, and she is on her way to Hollywood. She wants to be the first Latina American Idol, and if anyone could do it maybe she can.

Microphone in hand Tynisha Roches is all sorts of delusional. She tries to put on an act and it fails just miserably. The microphone she brought from home does nothing for her. Randy gets up and leaves after Tynisha continues to sing, and she tries to hunt him down. Randy tries to get the microphone out of her hand, he isn't successful. Eventually security has to come in because it becomes even more ridiculous. J.Lo and Steven will learn to leave. Every American Idol judge has left the room at one point or another, their time will come.

Steven Tyler becomes enamored with belly dancer Heidi Khzam who proves belly dancing might be more of her forte'. The boys send her through to Hollywood. J.Lo is not impressed.

Self-proclaimed "Force to be reckoned with", Matt "Big Stats" Frankel is next up. He is dressed in a suit and I guess the suit is cool, not really but I'm trying to say something nice. Everything else doesn't really work out. It is one of the weirder performances of the entire season. He honestly thinks he had a shot, but C'mon!

William Roberts, Jeannette Manning, Daniel Hall, "pants on the ground impostor" Daniel Granger and Arista Pemberton are the next ones up and they are a great example of the abysmal performances that Los Angeles is rolling out.

Brothers Marc & Aaron Gutierrez go into the audition round together. They sing pretty decently. A little too show boating and too many runs and going all over the place in their voice. I don't think they sounded as great as the judges thought they did. Steven Tyler calls their voices "god-like". I wouldn't put it that far, but given the talent that hasn't be coming from L.A I can see why the judges would try to grasp for anything at this point.

As if the show couldn't get weirder Cooper Robinson comes into the audition round. He is 59 years old and is dressed as a ship captain that wants to be like James Brown. After his audition round he has some sort of crazy outburst. He rolls on the floor, can't catch his breath, and leaves the judges completly speechless. No golden ticket for Cooper Robinson. He kind of scares J.Lo and the rest of the country as he leaves the show.

How Were The Judges?:

I am starting to see this group gel now. Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler & Randy are finally stating the truth more bluntly. They aren't being mean, or highly critical, but they are being straight about it. If we remember in the first couple episodes both Steven Tyler & Jennifer Lopez had difficulties saying "No". Well, at least here in Los Angeles, they definitely didn't have that problem. There was a lot of "No's" to go around.

How Was The Show?:

Los Angeles performances as a whole were atrocious. There were only a couple of semi-talented contestants. Although a good amount of people are going to Hollywood, I can only see 1 or 2 of them having a chance at making the next cut. There weren't even any big sob or emotional stories this time. That shows you that the producers don't really want to waste too much time on anyone in particular at this point.

Austin was bad yesterday, but if possible, Los Angeles talent might have been worse. It for sure wasn't the best week of Idol audtions. It definietly doesn't rival the talent that we saw last week in Milwaukee and Nashville. We will see how many L.A and Austin contestants step up there game.

I hope that you are enjoying I'dol Be The Judge. We will be back next Wednesday night when the final Audition Round, Part 7, will be underway in San Francisco. Next Thursday begins Hollywood Week. Finally!!! Have a great week everyone.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Audition Round 5 (Austin)

Hello and welcome back to I'dol Be The Judge, Audition Round Part 5 Recap. I think American Idol has heard my pleas because this episode will only be 1 hour. These 1 hour episodes tend to fly by a little faster than those more repetitive 2 hour shows. So let's get to it:

How Were The Contestants?:

*The story of Corey Levoy is the first one out of the gate. His story is that he and his sister were estranged for years due to parental differences. They met years later. The judges bring in the sister to "help" judge. I kind of hate these gimmicks. I sort of understand what they are doing, but it's still pretty silly. When he starts to sing he actually has a nice voice. Shockingly, his sister thinks he did amazing. The judges are very impressed and feel that despite his high pitchy voice it actually is quite beautiful. This guy reminds me a little of Clay Aiken in that way. Like Clay Aiken the judges say he is going to Hollywood and we will see if he does half as well as Aiken did.

*17-year old Hollie Cavanagh took on a hefty song of "At Last". I think she has a pretty voice but like the judges, she isn't quite there yet. Randy says "she isn't ready" and Jennifer and Steven are unsure and ask her to sing again despite Hollie's crying. She takes a stab at Miley Cyrus "The Climb" and totally rebounds from the first song. I give the judges credit for giving her another shot. They think they saw something and maybe they did.

A montage of a number of contestants that breakdown after not getting the 'golden ticket'.

*Rodolfo Ochoa tries to sing "Circle of Life" and it doesn't work out. Not even a little bit.

We then get a montage of cowboys trying to sing some country. None seem to work out.

*John Wayne Schulz has a name that implies he is a cowboy, and that would be the case. He has had cowboy in his family for hundreds of years now. Shultz also has a story of his mother having breast cancer and her wish is for John to sing and that is just what he did. John Wayne Schulz is a country boy and has something there. I don't think it's the best country voice I have ever heard or even heard this season but he definitely has enough to move on, and that's just what he does. His parents come in to see him receive the go ahead by the judges.

*It took 5 episodes but Ryan Seacrest finally gets his own taped package. Courtney Penry loves Ryan Seacrest. She really loves him. Once she gets into the audition round she is asked for a special talent and shows the judges that she can pretend to be a chicken. Yep, a chicken. Anyhoo, the actual audition goes pretty well. J.Lo thinks that Courtney's voice has a lot good but some weaknesses as well. Despite that Jennifer and Steven send Courtney through. Ryan Seacrest likes to get involved, and by sending Courtney through that will ensure we get some more Ryan and Courtney time together.

*Shauntel Campos, Alex Carr, and Caleb Johnson quickly goes right through in a short montage. I wasn't that impressed with Alex Carr's audition but it was so quick I couldn't really tell his true vocal range.

We then get a montage of a lot of "golden ticket" recipients.

*Boyfriend and girlfriend Nick Fink and Jacqueline Dunford are just too cutesy for my liking or anyone elses in my opinion. Jacqueline starts her audition first and she has a strong voice. Nick has a very mellow voice. Surprisingly, Nick and Jacqueline are quite good. I thought that their video package was meant to make it seem like they were both a goof, but it turned out that both were really very good and they are on their way, together, to Hollywood.

*Janelle Arthur is a beautiful country girl with a semi-decent voice. It isn't the best I have heard but she gets put into Hollywood anyways.

We then get a montage of some really terrible, embarrassing auditions. Armadillos, cupid, I think I may have seen a viking in there, all just really bad. Randy Jackson is not impressed and really who could be.

*Show-man Casey Abrams is the final contestant of Austin. Casey is suprisingly very good. He has a bluesy voice. He scats and even has Jennifer Lopez dancing in her seat. All 3 judges put Casey right through. He might be one to watch if he can make his shtick turn into something more.

How Were The Judges?:

All 3 judges were actually very by the books tonight. Meaning none of them were overly funny, or overly mean, or overly serious. They were all just there to do the job and get it done. Which is fine, but not overly entertaining. They each had a couple of funny moments, but nothing outrageous. Randy had a few zingers in there, but nothing crazy.

I still don't like that we have yet to see any big disagreements between the judges. There has yet to be a time when 1 judge says "yes", 1 judge says "no" and the other judge says "no". Every single time the deciding judge decides to side with the "yes". I would like the judges to starts to break out of their shells a bit more. I'm not saying they have to be as polarizing as Simon Cowell or even Paula Abdul, but do a little more to showcase your judging abilities.

How Was The Show?:

50 contestants make it through from the Austin auditions.

I gotta say I hate the gimmick. I hate when the judges bring in family members into the audition round, I really don't like it when the judges know full and well what the personal story is behind the contestant and pretend that they don't, and I dislike that the producers think that we don't know or aren't smart enough to figure it out. After 10 years most Idol fans know this show better than a lot of the people actually involved in the show. So there really isn't a shock or awe value anymore.

But despite that these audition rounds are proving to showcase a lot of good talent. Austin didn't provide as many stand-outs but still some decent talent. I can't wait until we get to other rounds because these auditions do become tedious after awhile, but I really believe that there will be a nice group this year. I know that there are spoilers and rumors about the Top 40 being leaked, but just to let you know that I'dol Be The Judge does not read those reports and doesn't know who will eventually get through.

Please come back here tomorrow night for Audition Round Part 6 in Los Angeles. We'll see you tomorrow.