Thursday, January 27, 2011

'Idol' at the Grand Ole Opry

Lauren Alaina appears to be this year's "Chosen One" (VFTW photo)
We're in Nashville tonight, home of some of country music's biggest stars as well as a number of former Idols (Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice, Kellie Pickler, and Chris Sligh to name a few). Will the judges find the next country superstar tonight? Let's find out.

Ryan tells us over 17,000 auditioners turned out to try their luck at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course we have a little pimpage for Carrie Underwood, 'Idol's' most successful alum.

First up, is Christine McCafferey, a strange blonde who sings her way into the audition rooms. She is awful with her butchering of "I Hope You Dance." Jennifer says no right off the bat, but Randy wants Christine to read his mind. He doesn't think she is serious. She is also delusional, telling Ryan that Steven Tyler said yes (he did not).

Chelsea Oaks and Rob Bolin are exes who still live and sing together. They are even auditioning together. Chelsea tells Jennifer they love each other, but things didn't work out. They sing together and then apart. They are both pretty good and they are both going to Hollywood.

A young woman demonstrates how she touches her nose with her tongue. Tyler loves her.

Al Lewis is a tattoo artist who rocks. He says he is a warrior. He's singing "Simple Man." He is a bit scary! Randy waves his arm in the air as a signal to stop. Jennifer loves Al's laugh. Randy says he feels like Al is "more of a band guy." Al tells Randy rejection makes him work harder. I like Al.

Next up is Miss Teen USA, Stormi Henley. She sings nicely and gets a yes from Tyler, a no from Jennifer, and a "it was just okay" from Randy. He relents, though, and Miss Teen USA is going to Hollywood.

Adrienne Beasley lives on a farm in Kentucky. She was adopted by an old white couple. Pops says, "Wherever God takes her is okay by me." Adrian is country to the core and impresses the judges with her rendition of Lady Antebellum's "American Honey." Steven says he hears something special in her voice. She almost made him cry. Jennifer also felt it and Randy says it felt good in the room. It's a triple yes for Adrian. She calls Mom and Dad to tell them the news. Pops is tickled.

It's Day 2. The judges arrive with huge expectations. Kameela Meeks says people are surprised when they hear her sing. She's singing "Some Sweet Thing." Yup, I'm surprised, all right, and not in a good way. Randy puts his fingers in his ears. Steven tells her she should go back home and practice. Randy says it was horrible. "It hurt," he says.

For the next hour the judges were tormented by a collection of bad singers, including one guy in a Blue Man Group suit. I am grateful they are grouping these people together. People weep.

Jackie Wilson is a nervous wreck. She's 28 and more than ready. She makes the judges clap. Steven says she blew it out and Jackie is going to Hollywood. She gets a smack from the guy I thought was her father, but it's really her boyfriend.

Latoya "Younique" Moore tells us she's a recording artist and that she thinks she is a star. She's wearing a prom dress. She brings her CD into the audition room for the judges to share. She's awful. Steven says she is unique. Randy tells her the tone of her voice is annoying. Her number falls off and her dreams are shattered. She sings her way out of the room in a vain attempt to change their minds. It's still a no. She's still singing as she meets Ryan.

Paul McDonald sings "Maggie May" and gets a yes. Jimmie Allen has a nice vibe and is also going through. Danny Pate engages the judges in a sing-along. He gets a cheerleader yes from Jenny. Jimmie Allen looks just like Jerome Bell from last night.

Night has fallen and we meet Matt Dillard, a 27-year-old country bumpkin. His family takes in special needs children. They've had 700 foster children. Matt is wearing overalls, a wife beater, and old cowboy hat. His singing isn't all that great. He sucks up to the judges. Randy gives him a small yes and hopes he doesn't get swallowed up. Jennifer says no, but Steven gives him a pass. This guy won't last one round in Hollywood.

Lauren Alaina (nee Sudduth) is a 15-year-old who would appear to be the pimped one Nigel has been gushing about for months (the next Kelly Clarkson?). She always idolized her cousin Holly who was very beautiful, but ended up with a brain tumor. Lauren, who says Holly inspired her to sing, held a fundraiser for Holly. Of course they bring Holly in for maximum sob story effect. Doesn't come close to last night's sob story, though.

As for Lauren, who sings “Like we Never Loved at All," she has a seasoned country voice and a great deal of maturity for someone who is OMG only 15 (how many times are we going to hear that this season). Randy is blown away. Jennifer is going to cry. Steven says Lauren will make 40 million people cry tears of joy. Randy says, "If you got it, you got it." Lauren goes out to introduce her family to the judges. She encores with “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” for Steven.

In closing, Steven says "We found the one today." And if the judges have anything to do with selecting the Top 12, Lauren will be in it. The official "Chosen One" of Season 10 has been crowned.

Next week we move on to Dallas. And now, we get a breather!

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