Friday, February 25, 2011

Video: Chris Medina "What Are Words"

Chris Medina video "What Are Words"


Thursday, February 24, 2011

'American Idol 10' - The Top 24 is revealed... finally

Jovany Barreto makes the AI10 Top 24
When we concluded last night, Jennifer Lopez was in tears after having told Chris Medina he didn't make the cut. We pick right up with JLo taking a little break and then soldering on.

With no time to waste, we get right down to business. This year's "green mile" episode was taped in some kind of hangar. The contestants are forced to walk down a pathway with big white circles of light to a circular podium where the judges are seated. There is one white chair opposite the judges where the contestants sit while their fate is meted out.

First up is Karen Rodriquez, the sole MySpace auditioner. She won over JLo during her final performance singing a Selena song. Karen is in.

Robbie Rosen is next. We see his final performance of “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” and are reminded of his childhood ailment (he was in a wheelchair for a while). Steven likes Robbie a lot. “So good, right of the box. You sang your ass off." Robbie's in.

Tatynisa Wilson sings “Unbreak My Heart” for her final performance> Taty is crying. She wants this sooooo much. “On this show, it’s about not having a bad day,” Jennifer says. But no worries. Taty makes the cut.

Brittany Mazur and Jimmie Allen not so lucky. Both are cut.

Tim Halperin sings an original song for his final performance. Randy Tim's journey had some ups and down. Jennifer, who seems a bit smitten with Tim, thinks he got stronger. Steven says, “I’m sorry to tell you but…” and he's in as well.

Julie Zorrilla also does her final song at the piano. Her dress looks like a ballet costume. Randy says she doesn't always make a connection, but Julie's in. She is so excited, she picks up Ryan.

Lauren Turner is next. Randy says Hollywood week was tough for Lauren. "There were moments that were questionable," says Randy. She makes it.

Scotty McCreery sings “Long Black Train” and plays guitar. Randy says, “There were some highs and lows in Hollywood." Scotty takes ownership of his behavior. “We’re big fans,” says Randy, “Guess what that means…you’re in the Top 24.”

John Wayne Shultz is out.

Jovany Barreto sings “Angel” for his last performance. It wasn't unanimous, but he makes the cut.

Lauren Turner sings “Steal Away." She makes the cut even though the judges weren't blown away by her in Hollywood.

Tiwan Strong and Erin Kelly don't make it.

Rachel Zevita sings “I’ll Never Love Again" for her final performance. Her mother and grandmother made the trip from New York to be with her. Jennifer says she's been a fan for more than just this season, but they want to see her... al of her. ”"You can’t think what does that person in the 3rd row want from me?” JLo says, “I’m really sorry to have to say…you’re coming through," says Steven. She is stunned.

Kendra Chantelle sings her audition song, “I Never Felt This Way,” for her final audition. She thinks she's gotten progressively better. Steven babbles about being concerned and looking beyond good, but no matter... Kendra's in.

Jordan Dorsey sings “Oh so High.” He gets very defensive. JLo says she's always been a supporter. They talk about the audition drama. JLo tries to fake him out, but he's in.

Lauren Alaina sings "Unchained Melody" for her last shot. She impressed the judges early on, but her Vegas performance was a little rough. Her dress is rather ballet costume as well. She's also wearing pink, sparkly boots. She says she's freaking out. Steven says they fell in love with her when they first heard her. JLo says they got so much amazing talent when they opened it up to 15-year-olds. She makes the cut.

Stefano Langone does an original song at the piano for his last performance. I'm liking that they're letting them sing original material. JLo says, "At the end of the day, we just really, really feel that we'd love to have you in our Top 24."

Jackie Wilson sings "Because of You" and blows the lyrics. She's hoping and praying for the best, and hopes she's there tomorrow. JLo says they've had to analyze everything. She says Jackie started strong out of the blocks and fizzled out at the end. JLo tells her she didn't make it. Jackie asks why. "There's no way to change your minds," she asks. No, there isn't. Jackie says she doesn't agree. She gets a kiss from her older boyfriend.

Jacob Lusk sing "Song for You." He overdoes it as usual, but if this guy can learn to control his vocals, he could really go far. Do you get that I love this guy. Randy says it's been a tough journey for all of them. Randy says Jacob's performance of "God Bless the Child" is the best performance on the show, ever. Jacob makes the cut and sings praises! He so reminds me of George!!! He runs out of the audition room.

It is after 9 p.m. and there are only a few people left.

Pia Toscano says it's been a long day. Her solo "Since You're Gone." She says she's nervous. JLo says they're gonna keep it short and sweet. "You made it into the Top 24." Now she can hang with her friend Karen.

James Durbin is next. We are reminded of his disabilities once again. He sings "Change is Gonna Come." You don't want to be compared to Lambert, yet you sing one of his signature songs. I'm not buying it. But he blows the judges away. Steven gets right to the point. He says James will go on to great heights as high as he sings. He's in.

Casey Abrams sailed through Hollywood. For his final audition, he plays his standup bass once more singing "Why Don't You Do Right." He says he wants to prove he can be sexy. He takes the long walk. He says he likes looking at the judges. Randy says in the history of the show they've never had a musician as talented as Casey. "It's like three people in one." He makes it Casey jumps up and the chair falls over. I just hope he's well enough to perform in the semis.

Jessica Cunningham and Thia Megia are the last two girls, and of course, there's only one spot. They are going in together. "You are the undertaker to me," Jessica says to Ryan. She sings "You Raise Me Up" for her final performance.

This is Jessica's seventh audition. It's Jessica's birthday. She's 25. JLo says there's a lot to take into consideration. "There's only one spot left... you've both had moments that were a little shaky." Jessica says it's her seventh time and she made it this far last year. JLO says she understands. This makes it and Jessica does not.

Jessica says getting cut on her birthday is evil. She gives 'Idol' the finger. She'll never be back again, that's for sure.

We've got three guys left (Brett Loewenstern, Jacee Badeaux, and Colton Dixon) and only one spot. Brett tells Ryan there's two spots. "We've been doing the math," he says. But he's wrong. The three guys go in together to learn

It's tough, but when all is said and done, it's Brett who makes it. Lots of tears and Brett attempts to be positive by saying they're all winners for making the Top 40 out of hundreds of thousands of people. Brett is love.

Summing it all up...

The guys

Brett Loewenstern, Casey Abrams, Clint Jun Gamboa, James Durbin, Jacob Lusk, Jordan Dorsey, Jovany Barreto, Paul McDonald, Robbie Rosen, Scott McCreery, Stefano Langone, and Tim Halperin.

The girls

Ashton Jones, Haley Reinhart, Julie Zorrilla, Karen Rodriguez, Kendra Chantelle Campbell, Lauren Alaina Suddeth, Lauren Turner, Naima Adedapo, Pia Toscano, Rachel Zevita, Tatynisa Wilson, and Thia Megia.


We get to see the traditional dance of the Top 24 and we are out. Boys perform Tuesday and the girls on Wednesday. Results Thursday. 'Idol' overload. See you then!

Chris Medina to release single, appear on 'Leno'

Chris Medina at his initial 'Idol' audition
Chris Medina may not have made the Top 24 of 'American Idol 10,'  but he's still getting a record deal and a chance to debut his single on the 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno.'   According to a press release the song, "What Are Words," will be released on iTunes debuts tonight (Feb. 24). The video for the song will premiere on aol.com at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25. and Chris will appear on 'Leno' that night.

The song was written for Chris by Rodney Jenkins who has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige.

Jenkins said he was inspired to write the song when he watched Chris' story about caring for his disabled fiancee. "Sometimes a song is more than a song and that’s really true with ‘What Are Words,'" Jenkins said.

“To go from a mass audition in Milwaukee to the ‘American Idol’ stage in Hollywood and then to record an original song by and for Rodney Jerkins has been an amazing journey not just for me but for Juliana,” Medina states in the press release. “To be able to work in the studio with someone of his stature was a dream come true.”

Medina was cut on Wednesday's episode of the show.

No previous contestant has released any music this early in the season; certainly not one who did not make the Top 24.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Casey Abrams hospitalized

'American Idol's' Casey Abrams
TMZ is reporting that Casey Abrams was rushed to Cedar Sinai hospital this evening, suffering from severe stomach pain.  Casey, who according to the spoilers, has made the Top 24, was rehearsing for the Top 12 men's performance show. The show, which will air next week, is being taped Friday. Bad news for Casey, because if he can't compete, he'll will probably be out.

Last season, Crystal Bowersox, who finished second, was hospitalized the day of the Top 12 girls' performance show. The  producers juggled the schedule and had the men perform that night so that Crystal wouldn't have to be cut.

'American Idol 10' - What happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas

Last week, 'Idol' narrowed the field down to 61 contestants who will now travel to Las Vegas and perform Beatles' songs. By the end of the first hour, 61 will have become 40, and then the first part the "green mile" episode will begin. For those of you uninitiated in 'Idol' lingo, the "green mile" or "chairs" episode is the one where the semi-finalists (24 this year are named).

If you've been paying attention to the spoilers, none of this will come as any big surprise. But let's pretend for a moment that we know nothing, and relax and enjoy the show!

We watch as the contestants travel to Vegas on buses. They divided themselves into duos and trios. Ryan tells us that one-third of them will be cut. After they arrive (10 a.m.), the weary travelers begin rehearsals. New vocal coach, Peggy Blu, tells them "this is a gig."  Ken Stacy is stuck working with Lauren and Scotty's group.

Of course, everyone is overwhelmed. Katharine McPhee's mother is one of the vocal coaches. Peggy Blu turns out to be a real drill sergeant. She tells Thia Megia that she's going to be watching in her bed, croaking. She even cusses. What a meanie.

Some of these contestants tell us they've never heard a Beatles' song in their lives. Shame on you Jacob Lusk. New music adviser, Jimmy Iovine is on hand to school them. Lauren's group is advised to find another song. Jimmy tells another group they're not looking for wedding or karaoke singers. All the contestants cry.

They get a break to see the show, The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.

It's now morning and the groups are on stage to iron out the kinks. Ryan explains the 61 remaining contestants will sing for an audience. Steven tells us Beatles land is where he lives. 

James Durbin and Stefano Langone sing "Get Back." Lots of screaming and melisma as expected. But the crowd likes it, and more important, the judges like it. Karen Rodriguez and Pia Toscano are high school friends. They were in a group together and say they were inseparable. How bizarre. They sing "Can't Buy Me Love."  Their harmonies are decent and they sure seem comfortable on the stage. JLo, whose lipstick is waaay too red and distracting, says she feels like they get it.

Naimi Adedapo, Jacob Lusk, and Hayley Reinhart are singing "Long and Winding Road."  Their voices don't blend very well. Jacob oversings and Naimi gets a bit out of control. Hayley is the best of the group. Jacob really reminds me of George Huff. JLo says, "Very, very nice." She seems gleeful. Maybe it's because her lipstick has faded a bit. Steven is ebullient. Randy tells Jacob never to hold back. Stupid Jacob says he never sang a Beatles' song and tried to hold back. Randy says, "Do you."

We see clips of Rachel Zevita ("Eleanor Rigby) and Lauren Turner ("Let it Be"). Tim Halperin and Julie Zorrilla duet on piano and sing "Something." This is actually rather amazing.

We go to break with Ryan promising more great performances and the most emotional 'Idol' elimination ever. I bet I know who.

Lakeisha Lewis, Tatanysha Wilson, and Jerome Bell do "I Saw Her Standing There." A little off-key, but certainly energetic. JLo thinks Lakeisha is holding back and isn't impressed by Tatanysha. Steven says he thinks they nailed it.

Paul McDonald and Kendra Chantelle sing "Blackbird." Kendra has a sweet voice. Paul, who's had some vocal problems, has nice intonation. Their harmonies are lovely. Nice job. JLo loves it. She got goose bumps. Steven likes that Paul's voice is different. Randy loves their choices with the harmonies.

We get some clips of a few more groups, probably all fodder since none of their names are posted.

Here's crazy Ashley. She's getting married? Today? No kidding! We see her trying to find a dress for her wedding. She chooses a white pleather top and black pants They are getting married at the chapel where Brittany Spears got married. Dave the camera guy is their witness. No shit. That's a first.

It's Day 2 of the Vegas round. First up are Thia Megia an Melinda Ademi sing "Here Comes the Sun." Despite the warnings of mean vocal coach Peggy Blu, they do pretty well. Randy says Melinda started shaky and Thia found a way to keep the phrasing consistent. Steven says Melinda was behind in her phrasing and Thia's performance was "just okay" for him.

Ashley Sullivan and Sophia Shorai chat with Ryan. Of course they have to talk about her wedding. They are singing "We Can Work it Out." They both sound the same. Kind of nasally. Steven says this wasn't their strongest performance. He doesn't think Ashley sang it very well. "It was not hot" for Randy.

Lauren Alaina, Denise Wilson, and Scotty McCreery sing "Hello, Goodbye." They do a little acting with an old phone booth. Denise is awesome. Not buying Scotty. Lauren, just okay for me. JLo doesn't think the song was good for any of them. Randy says it was funny and entertaining, but not a "singer's dream."

Carson Higgins and Caleb Hawley go slightly berserk on “Please Please Me.”

Casey Abrams and Chris Medina camp it up on “Hard Days Night." Steven calls them “Freaks.” That was not good.

After the break Robbie Rosen, Aaron Sanders, and Jordan Dorsey do "Get You Into My Life." They put a little R&B spin on it and it works really, really well. Randy says it wasn't Jordan's best. JLo was surprised by Aaron, but has high expectations of Jordan. Steven is impressed by Robbie.

The performances are over and the stage is clear. "Brutal cuts must be made," says Ryan. Magically, the contestants reappear and give themselves a hand. The judges call people forward - Thia, Scotty, Jordan, Ashton, Robbie, and Lauren all step forward. Randy say this is the hardest. The front seven are through. Who's in the back?

We say goodbye to Molly the White House intern, Carson Higgins and Caleb Hawley. The cuts keep on coming. The journey ends for Denise, Ashley, and Melinda. Ashley says, "I've been to 'American Idol.' That's sick!" Farewell Ashley.

The contestants have cause to celebrate, but not for long. The remaining 40 must sing one more time and then it's' the "green mile."

We get another cold intro. Weird. It's like they're starting the show all over again, theme song and all. The final 40 are performing in some kind of hangar. The "green mile" is illuminated with circles of light. Ryan says the cuts will be very difficult. "The final judgment starts now."

First up, Naima Adedapo. We see her initial audition footage where she was cleaning a stadium and dreamed of performing there. In her final performance, she sang "Put Your Records On." I am totally reminded of Lauryn Hill. Naima approaches the judges. She dressed in sequins with a flower in her hair. She's crying already. JLo says she hasn't been consistent. Steven torments her a bit. "I'm sorry I have to say..." and she's made it to the Top 24. She tells JLo when she was younger she used to was 'In Living Color' and wanted to be a Fly Girl. The judges say she deserves a shot.

As we go to break, Ryan teases us saying not everyone can make it. Once again we see JLo sobbing and saying, "I don't want to do this anymore." Will they show us who causes this meltdown or will we have to wait until Thursday? I bet they'll keep us hanging.

Back from the break, we see the remaining 39 waiting for their fates to be decided. Hollie Cavanaugh is next. 'Memba how she cried during her audition? She takes the long walk. For her final audition, she sings "No One." I'm not wild about her voice. She also has a strange way of talking.

The judges remind her of how far she's come. JLo says Hollie was a standout during Hollywood week. Hollie is thankful. But will she make it? JLo thinks she isn't ready. She thinks she needs to grow a little. Awww, poor Hollie. Randy tells her to come back and try again. Can they do that if they were in the Top 40? Steven says he doesn't think he can do this anymore.

Lakeisha Lewis is cut as is Alex Ryan. Alex says the toughest part will be watching the show and seeing all the people he became friends with. Clint Jun Gamboa is overwhelmed. But he doesn't have much time to mourn, because he's up next. Of course we have to rehash his kicking Jacee out of their group. He sings "Hello." I don't like this guy at all. I want him gone. He tells the judges he's heartbroken over Lakeisha. Randy asks him about the group thing again. Clint blabbers. The decision is... Clint's in! Boo. Clint celebrates with him family. Jacee claps halfheartedly.

Returning contestant Hayley Reinhart takes the long walk. She was devastated when she didn't make it last year. She stumbled on the group song, but turned it up for her solo performance. I can't wait for the stylist to ruin her pretty curls. We see her scream her way through her final performance. Her singing is gonna get old real fast.

Hayley tells the judges it's been extraordinary so far. Steven reminds her she tried out before. She thinks she's grown a lot in the past year. Steven is afraid to says that she's a yes! It takes a minute for the news to register. She won't make the Top 12, I predict.

Deandre Brackensick is next. He did great during group night, but his solo performances weren't memorable. He plays a ukulele for his final performance. Eerie Jason Castro flashbacks. He looks like a girl - a pretty girl, but a girl nonetheless. He says there were times he didn't show his best. Randy warns that it's about being consistent. It's the end of Deandre's journey. Randy wants him to continue and come back. JLo thinks he could be a recording artist. So why not keep him, then? JLO won't shut up. "You have a magic little voice," she says. "I hate letting him go," she finishes. "Somewhere over the Rainbow" is playing in the background. Deandre says, "Next year I'm gonna bring it." I think we'll see him again.

Will Chris Medina make it? What about James Durbin? And who is causing JLo to weep? This is when I wish I hadn't read the spoilers?

Paul McDonald (another Birmingham native) is next. White Guy With Guitar. He can't win. He sang an original song for his final audition and wore an embroidered white jacket with matching jeans. Ugh. JLo remembers Paul's first audition and wondering where he will fit in. Randy reminds us he's been there for ten seasons. "American Idol material is anybody great, unique, with talent." He and Steven like Paul's quirkiness. He's makes it through. He doesn't seem all that excited.

Ashton Jones takes the long walk. She sang "I Want to Dance with You" for her last shot. She's about to cry. She's excited to see the judges again. She's crying and giggling. JLo has had her eye on Ashton from the beginning and says she's been consistent. They have wondered if she can handle the pressure. JLo says they want to find the "whole package." She feels they've found it in Ashton. She makes the cut. She seems more stunned than excited. She cries with her mother and fakes her completely out.

We return from the break and get a little video recap of the action so far. Chris Medina is up next. He says he's scared. He says he did more than he though he was capable of. We see Juliana again. His last audition is "Stuck in Reverse." Chris has his hair pulled back in a ponytail. He tells them Juliana is more popular than he is and that the best moment of her life was meeting the judges. JLo says that moment was a blessing and a moment that she'll always remember. She praises Chris. But, at the end of the day, it's about singing. She doesn't want to draw this out. She says he had some good and bad moments. There are only 24 slots and it breaks her heart to tell him he didn't make it into the Top 24.

Chris takes it well. Better than Jennifer, who cries and sobs, and doesn't think she told him the right way. Steven and Randy console her and assure he she did it the right way. I mean, she's really crying hard. Meanwhile, we see Chris get in the limo and wave goodbye.

Thursday, the slaughter will continue. Can you stand it?

Friday, February 18, 2011

'American Idol 10' - Spoilers beginning to leak

Joe's Place has begun to leak spoilers regarding who made the Top 24 and who did not. And, if this usually reliable source is correct, there's a shocker in store. I'm not posting this information to spare those of you who want to be surprised Thursday when the show airs. I don't really want to know either, but I can't help myself!

In previous seasons, Joe's Place has been pretty dead on when it comes to these spoilers, so take it for what it's worth.

Updated to add link to Saturday's  TMZ story about one of the judge's reaction to this season's most "shocking" elimination.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

'American Idol 10' - Solo night cuts the field to 60

Group night is over and with it, the dreams of 60 or so 'Idol' hopefuls. Another 40 will be cut after solo night and the survivors will be off to Vegas. It's crunch time, that's for sure.

The contestants get to choose whether to be accompanied by the band or sing a cappella. Here's a rundown.

Haley Reinhart – “God Bless the Child”
Haley fumbled through the group round. Jennifer told her she made it through by the skin of her teeth. Chick can blow. Interesting tone and some serious digs into the meat of the song. Great job. "Redemption," says Jennifer.

Ashton Jones - “And I Am Telling You”
Sang with Crazy Ashley. She nails it. Jennifer tells her she did well.

Thia Megia – “Wonderful World”
She has great control and poise. Her vocals are very mature. Wow.

Adrian Michael – “Wonderful World”
Oops - do-over

Caleb Johnson – “Living for the City”
Another do-over.

Frances Coontz – “Hey Soul Sister”
Totally off-key. Steven asks her to start over and find her key.

Clint Jun Gamboa – “Georgia”
Oversings and screams. Tosses in a few "yeahs" as well. Very loungey, Simon would say.

Kendra Chantelle - “Georgia”
Gets the blues part right, but her pitch is whack.

Sophia Shorai - "Georgia"
Decent vocals, strong delivery. Nice. The judges like her too.

Chris Medina– “My Prerogative”
He thinks it's the most unlikely song that anyone would pick. He does it acoustically and his vocals aren't all that. He doesn't think it worked too well.

Carson Higgins - "My Prerogative”
Dude's an entertainer with some halfway decent moves. He gets the song, while Chris really doesn't. I kind of like this guy!

Julie Zorrilla – “Love Song"
Not much of this is shown, but she plays the piano.

Caleb Hawley – “Feel it All Over”
White guy with guitar, decent vocals

Colton Dixon “What about Today”
Another piano player, vocals okay.


Robbie Rosen – "Gravity"
Plays the piano, pitch is a bit off, but he seems comfortable.

Casey Abrams – “Georgia”
Plays stand-up bass (an 'Idol' first). He reinvents the song and while it's a little odd, but certainly creative. He gets a standing O!

Jacqueline Dunford
Very sick, can't sing, and has to go to the hospital. She's out.

Chelsee Oaks – “Because of You”
Pitch is off, blows some of the lyrics, generally not good enough.

Lauren Alaina – “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”
Nails the song, natch, and Steven loves it. Jennifer is awestruck that Lauren is (OMG) only 15.

Jacob Lusk – “God Bless the Child
This guy has the most amazing range I've ever heard on the 'Idol' stage. He oversings it a bit too much and his scatting, or whatever that is was annoying, but I thought he was amazing. I love this guy. He is so overwrought, he cries when he is finished. Reminds me a littl of George Huff.

John Wayne Shultz – “Landslide”
Nice twist on this standard. Jennifer sings along with him. Very polished performance.

Ashley Sullivan – “Everything”
Ashley melts down, again, and forgets her lyrics several times. She's a goner.

Stefano Langone – “Sir Duke”
Good, not great

Jovanny Baretto - "Didn't See it in your Eyes"
Another good, not great

Jacee Badeaux – “Time of My Life”
Nice, but I'm still not sure he belongs in this competition.

Scott McCreery – "Hope You Dance"
Scotty only knows one song, and completely blow the lyrics. It's funny because the lyrics he is singing are sub-titled on the screen. If he can't learn a song overnight, he's going to have a real hard time if he goes any further. .

Tatynisa Wilson – “Hope You Dance”
She blows her lyrics as well.

The judges deliberate. They've got the pictures and are arranging them on the desk like playing cards. The contestants are then split into four rooms and we are promised a surprising twist. Could it be that they're going to Vegas?

The judges are ready to deliver the verdict. They hit the first room, which includes Ashley Sullivan (oh noooo). But Brett and Jacee are in the same room, so maybe there's hope yet. Lauren, Jacob, Durbin, Casey, and Clint are in this room as well. So, of course, they're going through.

Room 2 hears the celebration next door. Steven delivers the news. And it's not good. Jennifer consoles one young woman. Room 3 is also gone. Chelsee and Marc Gutierrez are gone. Room 4 is in, of course. Naimi Adadop, Carson Higgins, Jovana Baretto, and Scotty McCreary are some of the familiar faces who have made the grade.

Next week, the remaining competitors are indeed heading to Vegas to sing Beatles' songs. And then, probably Thursday, we'll learn the Top 24.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

'American Idol 10' - Personalities clash, frustrations run deep

James Durbin takes the lead during his group's performance
Last week, we watched as the 327 golden ticket recipients competed in a "sudden death" sing-off. The field, which was totally bloated due to the judges' seeming inability to say no, was chopped in half. Many dreams were crushed, and this week, the survivors will participate in the always dramatic group competition. This round is always a hoot, with lots of egos colliding and people hogging as much camera time as possible.

At the same time tonight's show is airing, the infamous "green mile" or "chairs" episode is taking place in real-time, winnowing down to this year's Top 20. I'll be looking for spoilers on this and will post separately if I find anything.

Ryan opens the show telling us that tonight, personalities clash, frustrations run deep, and it all explodes on stage. We are promised that our favorites will blow us away! Alrighty then.

We pick up right after the first rounds wrap. Some contestants tried to get tricky, forming groups right after their days' auditions were over. But surprise, surprise, Nigel tells the assembled masses that each group must include people from both Day 1 and Day 2. Brett Loewenstern is seen looking desperately for someone from Day 2. He manages to put something together.

Tiffany "Stars on my Boobs" Rios is not having a lot of luck finding a group. I wonder if her comment about how she was going to do what other people only tried to do has anything to do with it? She tries to convince Scotty "Deep Voice" McCreery, but he's not having any parts of this skank. In fact, he thinks she's crazy. Tiffany takes drastic measures and steals a member of Brett's group (Jessica Yantz). Ah, the intrigue. Brett's group tries to convince Scotty to join them, but he's not interested.  You'd better take what you can get there Scotty.

This mess continues for five minutes or so. Some groups are already rehearsing, but Scotty is still groupless. Tiffany and Jessica Yantz can't find anyone interested in singing with them.  And on and on it goes.

After the break, Scotty finds a group that also includes Jacee Badeaux, but Clint Gamboa (disco glasses dude) isn't sure this is going to work. Crazy, crying Ashlely Sullivan is cool, calm and collected, but Ryan seems to understand that she'll soon be losing it. Because no one wants anything to do with Tiffany, she and Jessica are given permission to perform as a duet.

People are practicing all over the place, even in the bathrooms. Chris Medina seems to need some space. Then we see a group of 15- and 16-year olds (Keona Evans, Jalen Harris, Sarni-jOi Crowe, Deandre Brackensack) whose mothers are all on hand to offer unsolicited advice. Meanwhile, James "Aspergers/Tourette syndrome" Durbin is not happy about the moms. Will he bring the drama? Of course he will.

Ex-couple Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks are working together, but Rob tells us they are not on speaking terms. Ger over it. They are also working with the surviving member of the "American Idol Couple" - Jacqueline Whatever-her-name-is (Dunford). Rob is totally out of his element. He's toast anyway.

Meanwhile, Crazy Ashley is looking more and more deranged by the minute. Oh no... it looks like she's going to quit. We go to break with teasers about how we're going to hear the best performances ever.

I have to keep remembering to save my work here because, quite honestly, if I lose this entry, I'll have to bash my head through the wall.

Back from the break and it's already midnight. Ashley talks to producer Patrick Lynn. She is a complete, freakin' mess. Just go already, Ashley. You're not going to make it anyway. Meanwhile, the group Scotty joined isn't working out - so much so that they kick out poor little Jacee. At 1:00 a.m.? Really? How rude. Poor Jacee runs off to Mommy and Daddy who tell him it wasn't meant to be.

Jordan Dorsey is questioning his group's song choice. What a prima donna he is. He's thinking about ditching his group, leaving them completely in the lurch. And he does. What a cretin.

It's 2:30 a.m. and Ashley has decided to stay. Phew. Her group has been rehearsing without her, but take her back. All's well in Crazyville. Meanwhile, Brett's group is still looking for another Day 2 member. If they can't find anyone, they'll have to break apart. But alas, Brett saves the day and pulls in Jacee. Yay Brett. What a good kid you are.

It's now 3 a.m. and people are leaving to get some sleep. But Rob, Chelsee and Jacqueline are still rehearsing. Rob says he can't dance, he doesn't perform with people, and is "incredibly insecure." Yup, that about covers it.

The competition starts at 8:30 a.m. and some of these people are operating on one hour of sleep. The judges address the huddled masses. Tyler tells them he's addicted to adrenalin. Randy says, "Don't ever forget the words." They will be cutting people individually.

The first group of girls (Pia Toscano, Alessandro Gueco, Brielle Von Hugel) do a great job on Bruno Mars' "Grenade." Nice harmonies. And they all make it through. Jordan Dorsey and Robbie Rosen's group sing "Want You Back." Not bad and they all make it through as well.

The next group takes on Ce Lo Green's "Forget You." They all make the cut. So far, we haven't seen anyone's dreams get crushed.

It's Tiffany's turn. She and Jessica start out sitting on the stage. Tiffany is wearing leopard print shorts. She totally sucks. They both totally suck. Randy asks them to explain their duet status. They're out. Tiffany begs. Jessica tries to shut her up, but she will not be stopped. Farewell Tiffany.

Auditions are underway, but Kevin Campos is missing. He apparently overslept. What a doofus. His group (Jovanny Barreto, Jorge Gabriele, Karen Rodriquez) goes to fetch him while Steven Tyler plays drums to entertain the crowd. The group sings and for the most part, they are off-key and disjointed. Steven delivers the verdict. He says he needs some coffee. He blows it, though, giving false hope. In the end, Jovanny and Karen make it, Kevin and Jorge do not.

Before the next group performs, we watch as one girl pulls a noodle through her nose and out of her mouth. They take the stage, inviting Steven up to sit in a chair so they can sing "Some Kind of Wonderful" to him. He joins in, of course. He really can't help himself. Lauren Alaina is the only one who makes it, though. No big surprise there. Forgive me please for not knowing who the hell the rest of the girls in this group are.

The Nashville Stars feature Colton Dixon and Matt Dillard. Colton forgets the words as does Matt. Awful. But Colton's in anyway. Matt wonders what went wrong. You sucked Matt, that's what was wrong. He wants to go home and go to bed. So go already.

The next group is horrible. Briana Tyson forgets the words. Alyson Jados looks like a man. Caitlin Koch is horrible. Then along comes Paris Tassin (disabled child mom). She sucks too and is outta-here. One less sob story to compete for attention.

Other journeys end. People cry. Emily Ann Reed (house burned down) and others are cut as well. Aaron Gutierrez gets cut while his brother makes it through. More tears. More dragged out drama.

The rest of the crowd is nervous. Randy tells the next group that it's been a rough day, and it's been very up and down. He wants each of them to shine. "Don't disappoint us," he says. This is Crazy Ashley's group. Ashton Jones gets some camera time. They aren't half bad. Randy says they were the best harmonized group so far and they all make it through. Ryan's commentary during all this is really beginning to get on my nerves.

The kiddies continue to work along with their mothers. Nasty James Durbin isn't happy. His group (Emma Henry, Danny Pate, Caleb Johnson, John Jordan) is up first. They're singing "Somebody to Love." James totally hogs the entire song. They all suck. Jennifer says it was like a "bad Glee audition." But Caleb and James make it anyway.

The kiddies, who are singing the same song as James' group, are up next. They nail it. Serously. The moms cheer. They all make it through and the moms rush them onstage.

The lead singer of the next group has the lyrics written on his hand. The group blows. Jennifer says they're going to judge them on what they've done before. Corey Levoy and Hollie "Crying Buckets" Cavanaugh go through.

Casey Abrams and Julie Zirilla's group is next. Steven likes Julie's dress. They are performing without music. Did you know Casey and Julie dated in high school? Didn't think so. Nice, cuz they're the only two going though.

The next group, which includes Naima Adedapo, tries the same song a capella as well. Jacob Lusk kills it at the end. Steven thinks it showed style and creativity. They all make it through.

Everyone in Chris Medina's group except Devyn Rush makes it through. She wants a do-over. She doesn't get it.

It's 6 p.m. and group day continues. Steven pops some interesting words of wisdom. People stink up the stage.

Denise Jackson, Stevie Cain, Natalie Hanson, Brett Loewenstern, and Jacee Badeaux perform "Mercy." The judges ask Jacee about how he got kicked out and Brett humbly explains. Have you gotten that I like Brett? And yes, he can sing too. They all get through and Jacee falls apart. He's just so young. So very young.

They position the group that kicked out Jacee next (Clint Gamboa, Scott McCreery, Monique De Los Santos, Frances Coontz). They all make it through, although the judges make Clint squirm a bit.

Last up (thank God) is Chelsee, Rob, and Jacqueline. Chelsee is okay, Jacqueline sucks, and Rob bluffs his way through the whole thing. The girls get through. Rob does not. Awful.

Thursday we're back to solo performances and hopefully only one hour. The field will be narrowed down from 100 to 60.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fantasia wins first Grammy

'American Idol 3' winner, Fantasia, won her first Grammy Sunday for Best Female R&B Performance  for her single "Bittersweet."  She was also nominated for Best R&B album (Back to Me), but lost out to John Legend and the Roots. Fantasia's manager accepted the award, which was given out before the telecast began. He told the audience Fantasia could not be there as she is filming the new movie 'Mahalia' in which she has the title role.

Fantasia was the only Idol to win Sunday. Adam Lambert's “Whataya Want From Me” lost Best Male Pop Vocal Performance to Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” and Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home" lost in the Best Female Country Vocal Performance to Miranda Lambert for “The House that Built Me."

Fantasia's first album, Free Yourself, earned three Grammy nominations in 2006. Her second, Fantasia, received three Grammy nominations in 2008.

Fantasia becomes the fourth Idol to receive a Grammy, joining Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and Jennifer Hudson in this elite women-only circle. Other Idols who have been nominated in the past include Ruben Studdard, Chris Daughtry, Ace Young, and Mandisa.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

'American Idol 10' - The first cut is the deepest

Contestants celebrate after making the first cut (Michael Becker / FOX)
The auditions are over (yay) and it's time to separate the wheat from chafe, the men from the boys, the women from the girls. Or maybe it's more like separating the bad singers from the good. We can only hope. It's time to see who makes the first cut, so let's get started.

Ryan tells us this year is doubly tough because there's twice the number of people, and he feels, twice the talent. In fact, 327 of the "nation's best singers" have come from around the country to chase their dreams. The judges arrive. JLo quotes me (men from boys, etc.). Steven hopes they did their homework. The judges huddle.

Randy tells the assembled masses that they get one shot, and it's make it or break it. The first group comes out in a line of ten. Each sings individually with no feedback. It's sudden death.

Brett Loewenstern says he's shaking in his pants. We get a quick recap of his tortured childhood in Florida and see him in the hall at school playing his guitar. He sings "Let it Be." I dig his hair. The audience cheers. The rest of the line sings and it's decision time. Brett makes the cut. He tells the camera, "No negativity." He's done being a victim and is appreciative that he has a great opportunity. Go get 'em Brett.

We hear Rachel Zevita, Thia Megia, and Casey Abrams, all of whom make the cut. Casey was particularly good.

Victoria Huggins is still annoying. She says she's ready as she can be and is the next American Idol. She's brought 11 bags and plans to stay a while. Victoria gets a lot of camera time. She works the stage while her mother claps along in the audience. The crowd loves her, but will the judges? She steps forward, but her row doesn't make it through. Awww. Cheer up, Victoria, you've got ten more years to do this.

Now for some sob stories. James Durbin and Paris Tassin both have kids and struggle. They're in the same group. Paris sings "My Heart Will Go On." Sucky song, but she sings it well. James is next. He sings "Oh Darlin'" and again, I am reminded of Glambert. The audience loves him. Lauren Alaina and Stormi (Miss Teen USA) Henley are also in this group. Stormi's voice is thin. Lauren sings Simon's favorite song ("Unchained Melody"). James, Lauren, and Paris step forward. They've made it. Stormi does not.

Chris Medina is up. Steven asks about Juliana. Chris says she's getting better every day. We revisit her appearance on the auditions. Chris tells us Juli is his inspiration. He wants this for his entire family, especially Juliana. He sings well enough to make the cut. It's emotional, no doubt. I'm telling you right now, Chris' story is going to take him to the Top 12. Women will flock to him like lemmings. It's gonna happen. You watch!

It's 5 p.m. and we're nearing the end of the first day's auditions. Nerves double once they hit the stage. We see an assortment of people who blow it totally. Steven tells them it hurts their hearts to see them fail.

Hollie Cavanaugh was nervous enough during her first audition. Jacee Badeaux and Robbie Rosen are also in this group. Jacee sings beautifully. The judges tap their cups. Robbie does well also ("Moody's Mood"). Hollie controls her nerves and does okay. All three get through. Robbie says this is the coolest thing he's ever done in his life.

Accountant Steve Beguhn sings for the judges. Steven Tyler mumbles how hard this is. But Steve doesn't make it. He takes it well enough. We say goodbye to a lot of familiar faces. Girls weep. Casey Abrams tells us how bad he feels. Of course, he's in, so it's easy for him to say, I suppose.

Ryan tells us 160 people sang the first day, with 163 left for Day 2. All the contestants arrive in Ford Focuses. A little montage of people who forget their lyrics, freeze up, and generally sing horribly. Contestants back stage are watching on a monitor.

Rob Bolin and Chelsea Oaks, the ex-couple, still haven't gotten back together. Rob is still hurting. What makes it worse is that they are rooming with Nick Fink and Jacqueline Dunford, the "Idol" couple. It's not working, though. Rob sing/talks "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." Chelsee is great. They both make the cut.

Nick and Jacqueline audition. Nick is better than Jacqueline. Nick steps forward, but Jacqueline is in the back row. We go to break, wondering how this one will play out. Ohhhh, the drama.

Back from the break. Jacqueline makes the cut and Nick doesn't. Nick begs. Randy says you get one shot and you gotta leave it all on the stage. "It didn't quite happen," he says. Jennifer says she is sorry. Nick continues to sing. Pathetic loser. Steven Tyler is heard to say, "Man, it's not easy." Nick wonders if Ryan is hurt by all this! Sure, Nick, he's devastated.

The auditions continue. Scotty McCreery (dude with the deep bass voice) sings the same song he did in his first audition. Where did that voice come from? Wow. Miss Jackie Wilson (with the old boyfriend) and Jerome Bell are also in this group. And they all make the cut!

Tiffany Rios is back without the stars on her bosom. She says she's tired of seeing people try to do what she knows she can. She oversings it ridiculously. Travis Orlando, the former homeless shelter resident, is also in this group. His breathing is terrible. Neither of these two should make it. Travis steps forward and his line is gone. Stupid Tiffany makes the cut. That's just wrong. Travis is hurt as well he should be.

We don't get to hear them sing, but are told Clint Gamboa (karaoke host), Julie Zierilla (Columbian refugee), Naima Adedapo, the Gutierrez brothers (Mark and Aaron), Mollie De Wolf (White House intern), Emily Anne Reed (house burned down), Stefano Langone (bad car wreck), and Ashley Sullivan (whackadoodle) all make the cut.

Next week is the "dreaded group round." Favorites will fall and new stars will emerge!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

'Idol' San Francisco auditions: Saving the best for last?

James Durbin auditions in San Francisco
This week marks the end of the audition shows and I, for one, couldn't be happier. We wrap up tonight in San Francisco. "It's the last chance, and first impressions are everything," we see on the screen as a young woman wonders why, just because she passed gas, they wouldn't let her finish.

Ryan reminds us that this is the place where, two years ago, they discovered Adam Lambert, the "most electrifying" contestant ever.

First up is, Inessa Lee, originally from the Ukraine, who brags about having lots of music videos. She says she's an amazing choreographer and a "unique creature." She belly dances and does yoga poses for the judges, but her singing doesn't quite measure up. She does this stupid Betty Boop imitation and is gently mocked by Steven. It's a no for Inessa.

The morning auditions aren't so hot, but things get better in the afternoon. We get quick glimpses of alleged Top 40 -bound contestants, Brittany Mazur, Lara Johnston and Matthew Nuss.

Our first sob story of the evening features Stefano Langone, 21, of Kent, WA. In May 2009, Stefano was in a terrible car accident that left him unable to walk or use his arms. We learn the paramedics thought he was dead when they first came on the scene. But, Stefano was back on his feet in four months. We see him working out with weights to make the point that, even though he is all scarred up, he's beaten the odds.

Stefano sings “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” for the judges. He's okay, not great, but the judges fall all over him. “You have real star quality, movie star good looks, your voice has a nice tone to it,” Jennifer says. Steven tells him, “You survived that accident for a reason.” And why is that? Because he's going to Hollywood. Okay.

Night has fallen, but eager contestants are already lining up for the next day's auditions. Fast forward to morning and the judges are seen arriving. Of course all this doesn't really happen the same day, but we're not supposed to know that after ten years watching this show!

Next up is Clint Jun Gamboa, a karaoke host from Long Beach. Clint's got round black glasses and looks strange. He sings "Billionaire." He has a very current sound, great tone, and gets a resounding yes from the judges.

We are forced to watch an assortment of horrible singers. One guy appears to be wearing ear muffs and Drew, another weirdo, is wearing a Transformer costume that he built himself. He tells us this is the way people will be getting around in ten years. He sings "Born to be Wild" badly. His 'Idol' dreams have stalled, says Ryan.

Ryan tells us the girls in SF really shone. We hear a few of them, but don't learn their names.

It's Julie Zorrilla's 20th birthday. She grew up in Columbia, but war broke out and her family packed up and moved to the US, leaving everything behind Her father cries as he tells us how bad the war was. This is a weak attempt at a sob story.

Julie sings "Summertime." She oversings a bit, but Steven is impressed. “Fabulous, beautiful, great star quality, and I like your shoes,” he says. JLo likes it a lot. Randy reminds us that Fantasia "blew this out the box." Julie's going to Hollywood. Best birthday present ever. The judges wonder if she could be the winner?

Dave Combs, a sloppy looking dude with long, stringy hair, tells us "real men have long hair." He's doing “Oh Darlin.'” He's hoarse and all over the place pitch-wise. It's grim. Steven tells him he may be tending bar. Steven thought Dave was going to represent. Dave asks for one more shot. Steven is angry.

Steven isn't having any of these bogus bad auditions. “Dude did you hit your head on the way in," he asks one guy. To a girl dressed as a cop, he says, “You ought to be arrested for that voice.” Love you Steven.

Our second sob story of the evening is Emily Anne Reed whose house burned down the week before her audition. She tells us this broke her heart, but she is determined to rebuild a better life. She sounds like a little kid - a rather dim-witted little kid. But when she sings "You're Getting to be a Habit with me," it's totally different from anything we've heard to date. Steven loves her "old-timey voice," but says that her melody left something to be desired. No from Steven, Yes from Randy, and Jennifer says she'll give Emily one more chance... in Hollywood. Then Emily picks up a guitar and knocks it out of the park.She's too good for 'Idol,' I would say. And, I suspect, she'll get lost in Hollywood.

The tease before the break is that we're going to hear the "voice you've been waiting for" from what I assume will be the best (or worst however you want to look at it) sob story of the night.

More weeping contestants whose dreams will have to wait another year.And then the evening's clincher. James Durbin's father was a musician who wasn't around a lot when he was growing up. Dad died of a drug overdose when James was 9-years-old. James then had all kinds of medical issues and was finally diagnosed with Tourrette's syndrome and Aspberger's. He got made fun of a lot and the kids beat him up. He weeps for the camera. Then he met Heidi, an "angel," in a bar. And then they had a baby. But life is hard. They live in a dump, he has no job, and sometimes they can't afford diapers. He's worried about having a Tourrette's attack when he gets in front of the judges. He cries buckets.

James sings "Baby Please Don't Go." He's okay. Then he sings "Dream On." “That was over the top,” says Steven. They all love him and praise the poop out of him. James cries some more. This is not the voice I've been waiting for, actually. But he's going to Hollywood and I reckon the producers are going to pimp the hell out of this guy to try and make up for the fact that Glambert lost. Just my opinion.

Hooray, the auditions are over.

Hollywood starts Thursday. We see quick clips of some of the people who got golden tickets. And some who didn't. The first round appears to be a sudden death round, so the field will be chopped down considerably.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

'American Idol 10' - It's all bad in L.A.

The 'Idol' audition caravan returns to Los Angeles, and certainly, we'll be entertained by an array of crazies vying for their 15 minutes (or seconds) of fame.

The show opens with clips of some of the better auditions, including Brett Loewenstern, Lauren Alaina, and my current fave, Casey Abrams. Ryan tells us this is some of the best talent we've seen in ten seasons. Really?  Well, we'll see about that, now, won't we.

Thousands turn up to audition. Ryan tells us over 16,000 online auditions were submitted, but only a handful were selected. The judges arrive and we're ready to begin.

Victoria Garrett believes God brought the auditions to L.A. for a purpose and she is that purpose. She sings "Now Behold the Lamb," and it's not good. No, God didn't intend for her to make it. Randy says she sounds like an animal. Steven says she has a sweet and angelic voice, and sounds like a little lamby. It's a no.

Tim Halperin has had a crush on JLo for as long as he can remember.  He sings "She Will Be Loved" with a nice flourish. Randy says he felt like he and Steven weren't even there and that Tim was singing only to Jennifer. Steven wants Tim to work on the voice and step it up some. It's a yes from Steven, a no from Randy, and a tentative yes from Jennifer. She likes his tone. So Tim is going to Hollywood.

We hear from Justin Carter, whom Jennifer says lacks power. Two friends, Daniel Gomez and Isaac Rodriguez, are auditioning together. Isaac has just dropped out of college to become the American Idol. Daniel doesn't make it, and it looks like Isaac should have stayed in college. Jennifer likes his smile. Randy says he burned the song down. Isaac thinks his only problem was that he messed up the words. Randy doesn't think either one of them should be singing. Isaac thanks them and says he'll keep practicing.

Karen Rodrigues auditioned online and is brought in front of the judges to sing "You Give Good Lovin'" Steven loves her and Jennifer says she has beautiful control. Karen tells JLo she sang in front of her on TRL. She gets a resounding yes.

Teneesha Roches thinks she's the next American Idol for sure. She strolls into the audition room carrying a microphone. She's totally obnoxious. She's doing a tribute to Frank Sinatra and is pretty horrible. Taneesha continues to sing, mixing up all kinds of songs and racing around the room. She can't be for real, can she?

More bad auditions, and really, I don't even want to bother trying to write down their names. Some guy who looks about 50 thrills and amazes the judges. Not. More ridiculous auditions follow. Let me intercede here for a moment. I hate these bad auditions. They are totally contrived for TV, a waste of time, and boring.

There are a couple of guys remaining, brothers, who think they can save the season. Mark Gutierrez is a math teacher and his brother Aaron, in the words of Mark, lives by his own rules. They duet to "Lean on Me." Together, they are awesome. Jennifer loves it. Steven calls their singing "Godlike." They don't even have to audition separately to get a pass on to Hollywood.

Last up, a ridiculous James Brown imitator who calls himself the "human torpedo." He's 59-years-old, a bit over the age limit, don't you think? Are they trying for another "Pants on the Ground" buzz moment here? If so, they failed. Another total waste of time. In fact, the entire hour was a waste of time.

Next Wednesday is the last audition show (San Francisco) and we are promised voices we'll remember forever, or something like that. Thursday is the first of the Hollywood rounds.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

'American Idol 10' - The Austin auditions

Casey Abrams impressed the judges with his bluesy vibe
It's week three of 'American Idol 10,' and this week, the auditions move to Austin, Texas. I'll attempt to capture all the excitement (or lack thereof) for your reading pleasure. My motto, I watch so you don't have to!

The show opens with a written notice offering an apology for Steven Tyler's behavior, telling us it will never happen again. The first guy up has the misfortune to have the last name of Muck. Tyler asks, "You know what that rhymes with, don't you?" So much for that.

Ryan tells us that 7,500 people turned out for the auditions and we are off. Ryan is late. Jennifer's husband Marc Anthony shows up for a little kissy-face with JLo.

First up is Corey Levoy who turns up with the sister Brooks whom he just met, despite the fact they only lived 15 minutes apart. I'm not going to touch that. Corey tells us they "clicked" instantly. Jennifer wonders what his sister would do if she were on the judging panel, and guess what? They pull her in to sit with the team. How bizarre.

Corey is singing "I Can't Make You Love Me." I'm not totally buying it, but Steven Tyler claps. Sister Brooks says her brother gives her "chill bumps." Randy is surprised and impressed. JLo says he's gifted and landed the runs perfectly. It's a big yes for Corey.

Holly Cavanaugh is originally from Liverpool, England. She sings "At Last" with a bit too much flourish. Tyler tells her she was all over the place with melody. Randy agrees. Jennifer thinks Holly needs to get a bit more comfortable on stage. Holly starts to cry. Randy tells her she's not quite ready. Jennifer wants to give her one more chance. We go to break and Holly will have to wait.

We return from the break and the verdict on Holly. Her parents tell Ryan she is really nervous. Holly sings another song ("The Climb") and does better. She's too nasally for my taste, though. Jennifer and Steven say yes, and Randy reverses his decision. She'll get eaten alive in Hollywood.

We see a montage of people who "leave their big dreams behind in Austin." Next up is Rodolfo Ochoa who sings "The Circle of Life." Ugh. Not the next American Idol Jennifer was hoping for. Tyler tells him the singing was terrible.

Lots of cowboys follow. None of them can sing. Can John Wayne Schuluz, 23, break the mold? John's a real, live cowboy who works on a cattle ranch. He reminds me of Michael Sarver. John's' sad story is that his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Her wish was for her son to audition for 'Idol.' And so he does.

John Wayne sings "Believe" by Brooks and Dunn. He has a nice, authentic country voice. So, good looks + country tone + sad story = a ticket to Hollywood. But before he gets that ticket, the parents get dragged into the room.  The verdict is read and everyone is jubilant and mama cries. "I don't think America will be disappointed in him," she tells us.

Day two dawns. Jennifer's lips are bright red. Courtney Penry says she's been dreaming about this day forever. She is madly in love with Ryan and says she will marry him one day. They hug. She swoons. She finally breaks away from Ryan to do her audition. She tells JLo she's beautiful. Courtney tells the judges she can do a chicken imitation and launches into it. Courtney is totally off her rocker.

Courtney is singing "Stay" by Sugarland. Jennifer tells her she needs to do some work on her weaknesses. Randy says there are "a couple of bad habits she needs to break." Steven says yes, Randy says no, and JLo says yes. Now Courtney can go to Hollywood and continue her delusional relationship with Ryan.

We fast-forward through Shauntel Campos, Alex Carr, and Caleb Johson, all of whom are going to Hollywood. We have a nice run of good singers. Not a lot of names, though. Steven is ebullient.

Jacqueline Dunford and Nick Fink are boyfriend and girlfriend. Footage shows them skipping through a field hand in hand. These two are nauseating. Nick tells us they are setting out to be 'American Idol's' power couple. The come in to audition together. Jackie can sing ("Mercy"). Nick loves it, but do the judges? Nick steps up. He sings ala Josh Groban. I think he's better than she is. Jennifer says they were both very good. Tyler loves them both. "It's a beautiful thing," says JLo. They both get a yes and they're going to Hollywood. Can their love survive? Who knows.

Janelle Arthur is rather defensive about her home state. She tell us she's been trying to do this for five years. Girl can sing, I mean she can sing. Reminds me a bit of Kellie Pickler, but prettier. Tyelr wants to hear something more uptempo. She complies. I say Top 10. She's got it all - country, good looks. She totally gets a yes.

The winning steak ends with a girl dressed as an armadillo. Ridic. Lots of bad auditions fast forward by. There's a girl in feathers. No, no, no.

Our final audition for the night is Casey Abrams, who really does look like Seth Rogan. He plays a melodica, a strange harmonica/keyboard instrument. Casey is concerned the judges will be tired. He tells us he's been practicing for this his whole life. Casey sings "I don't need no Doctor." He's bluesy all right. I am reminded of Taylor Hicks with a dash of Sundance Head thrown in for good measure. Tyler closes his eyes. All together, the judges give Casey a yes. Tyler asks Casey to play his melodica, and we are out on a truly good note.

All together, 50 contestants made it to Hollywood. Los Angeles is up next. Love the one hour shows. Thanks Nigel!