"American Idol": Episode Four of Season Nine: Orlando Auditions

1/21/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

By this point in the season, we’ve already settled into an audition viewing routine--we've seen some sentimental stories, we've seen some talent, we've seen some over-the-top bad singers, and we've seen plenty of entertaining montages. To me, the biggest question at the start of each episode is no longer “How good will the best be and how bad will the worst be?” but “How will the guest judge be?” or “What insane thing will happen tonight?” Orlando really delivered in regards to both of those questions.

Before the season, when I heard that Kristin Chenoweth was appearing as a guest judge on "American Idol," I was extremely excited because I knew she’d make for a good judge. The combination of one of the most talented voices of today with a really infectious personality felt like it’d lend itself well to the judge’s table. Unfortunately, she could only spend one of the two days of the Orlando auditions as a judge, so for only half an episode I got to experience her commentary. And, as to be expected, it was spot on. Considering the talent that came through the Orlando auditions, having Kristin Chenoweth’s constructive criticism and apt commentary for both days would’ve been highly beneficial.

As for the most insane thing from this episode, it came in my favorite moment of the night--Jarrod Norrel’s audition. I know it’s trouble when someone staggers into the audition room, singing a religious song in an effort to “give it up to God.” To me, his rendition of "Amazing Grace" sounded like a bad blast of bagpipes, and to Kara DioGuardi, it sounded like a lawn mower. Some of my favorite audition moments are when Kara sincerely questions the validity of a bad performance, much like this one. Some of my other favorite moments are when the contestant has to get escorted out of the audition room by security--this happened to Jarrod, who was handcuffed and escorted out of the building, which resulted in one of the most over-the-top exits in "American Idol" history. Moments like this worry me, and make me sincerely hope that the screening and security checks in these buildings are vigilant.

My favorite performance of the night was the last one in contestant Matthew Lawrence. Matthew has one of those powerful back stories.  In his package, he admits to robbing a bank with a BB gun at age 15 and spending four years in jail. I find myself rooting for these people who acknowledge how far they’ve come to reform their lives, but how "American Idol" would be the next step to change their lives. Singing a rendition of Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble,” one of my personal favorite songs, Matthew proves that he is not only capable of turning his life around for good, but deserving of it. For the first time all season, Kara mentioned serious Top 12 potential, and I completely agree with her.

Other contestants that I think are worth looking out for in the Hollywood round include Seth Rollins, the father of an autistic son.  Rollins sang Frank Sinatra and was told “I want to keep hearing you, and that’s the best compliment I can pay” by Kara, but he ultimately needs more energy to truly break through.  There was Jermaine Purifoy, who sang Tony Bennett and also received glowing compliments from Kara, and there also was Shelby Dressel, another talented young female with a great energy and a sense of humor who is incapable of moving only one side of her face.

In terms of some of the more memorable contestants, Jay Stone is one of my stand outs of the night. By performing “Come Together” by The Beatles with a Rahzel sounding human beat box accompaniment, I was already taken by his ingenuity and talent, but his ability to immediately sing “Ain’t No Sunshine” on command really sold me on him. I also really enjoyed the Desimone sisters, two hairdressers from New Jersey, who auditioned together and fed off the each other’s energy. While "American Idol" history has taught us that when two people audition at the same time, only one makes it, I was glad to see that the Desimone sisters were the exception to this rule--I found both to be very talented and entertaining to watch. The judges put Cornelius Edwards through to the next round, after jumping into a split and splitting his pants down the seam, although I question this choice. Was it because of his moves?  Probably, because I didn’t find him to be that talented a singer.

While the montages from the Orlando auditions were largely not as humorous as they were in Chicago, I found the talent they showcased in these montages to be the best they’ve been all season--especially in terms of young, female contestants. Until I saw Matt Lawrence’s performance here, I was convinced that it’s a young female’s title to win this season, so let’s see how the girls continue to perform moving forward.

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes