"American Idol" Episode One of Season Nine: Boston Auditions

1/13/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

NOTE: Catherine will update and offer her opinions after each show. Follow her column here!

If one of the biggest questions and concerns going into Season 9 of "American Idol" was how the contestants would react to not having Paula’s positive presence at the judging table, the first audition of the night told us that we don’t need to worry. Janet, who had one of those laughably and painfully bad auditions--and who claims she garnered her skills through playing (and after some time, winning) the American Idol video game--didn’t even know Paula was missing. After referring to Kara DioGuardi as Paula throughout the panned audition, Janet proves that the "American Idol" game doesn’t work as an adequate training measure, and that the contestants will survive without Paula.

My favorite male contestant, and quite likely my favorite contestant of the night, was Tyler Grady, the drummer who longs to be a frontman. In all honesty, I saw a guy with two hands in casts, a messy mop of hair, a sort of hippie outfit, and I cast him aside. After learning that he hurt himself by falling out of a tree, I was even more skeptical of his musical abilities. However, like the female judges, as soon as I heard him start with “Let’s Get It On,” I was hooked. It’ll be interesting to see how he progresses, and should he make it to the Final 12, which I already hope he does, it’ll be interesting to see how the famed "American Idol" glam squad fixes him up. I genuinely think he has what it takes to progress in this competition.

The two surprises of the night were Mike Davis and Katie Stevens. In both cases, I wasn’t expecting voices as big and as powerful (or as wonderful) coming out of either of them. Katie Stevens had one of those touching family stories that "American Idol" seems to  love, and she is an adorable 16-year-old with a voice so powerful that you wouldn’t expect it from someone her age. As for Mike, for some reason, I just wasn’t expecting it, but he did “Yesterday” some serious justice. It just goes to show something that apparently the judges nor I have learned throughout the seasons--never judge a contestant before they start to sing.

Some of my other favorites of the night who made it through to Hollywood include: Ashley Rodriguez, a beautiful and stylish girl with tremendous commercial viability who performed a tough Alicia Keys song; Luke Shaffer, a talented New York-based singer; Justin Williams, the cancer survivor; and Leah Laurenti, the last to go in Boston, whose jazzy voice made her one of the best of the night.

As always, many tune into audition weeks to see the bad auditions. And last night, there were plenty from which to choose, but maybe not as awful as I’ve come to expect with "American Idol." In fact, the most stand-out negative performance actually had a halfway decent voice, just the worst attitude to ever appear on the show. Andrew, a surly individual with thick glasses who kept popping up looking negative throughout the waiting scenes, really offended the judges with his rude and hostile behavior. It was great to see Kara stand up for the thousands of people willing to wait years for their moment to chase their dreams and set Andrew straight. The thing was, I didn’t think he was bad. Maybe if he had the right attitude, he would’ve been through to the next round.

My other favorite bad moment of the night came in the form of those nasty Simon lines I love and miss so much during the off season, where he told a contestant who thought it was appropriate to sing Cascada at an "American Idol" audition that he sang like a three year old, dressed like LaToya Jackson but had a beard. I felt he looked like the weird offspring combination of Michael Jackson, Prince and a caveman, but I think Simon and I were on the same page at that moment.  It was fun to hear Victoria Beckham whisper that she thought he looked like Janet.

And about Beckham--filling in as the first guest judge was a great decision on the part of the producers. As to be expected, she was incredibly positive, giving great feedback whenever she could, even if it wasn’t necessarily related to the audition at hand. Delving even further into her role as a Paula fill-in, she eventually reprimanded Simon for being rude and rolling his eyes. If a contestant was painfully bad, she said so. That said, I felt that Victoria would be one of the more honest celebrity judges, and I wish she’d be sticking around for future episodes.

The premiere of Season 9 was not the only bit of "American Idol" news to surface this week. On Monday, Simon announced that he will not be returning to "American Idol" after this season so that he can bring his British hit "X-Factor" to America. Rumors have been circulating that Simon has been courting Paula to join "X-Factor" as a judge. What will a potential reunion of Simon and Paula as judges on a show inherently similar to "American Idol" do to the latter's 10th season? It’ll be interesting to see how the absence of Simon and the birth of a new fame-searching show impacts "American Idol," but it’s not worth it at this point to be worried, because this season is already shaping up to be extremely exciting.

What are your thoughts? We want to hear them!

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  1. D said...

    This is a refreshingly honest and well written article. Can't wait to read your next post, Catherine!

  2. Dave said...

    I liked the show, but I really felt Paula's absence.

  3. wannabawinner said...

    The show itself was entertaining as was Simon and Randy, but Kara and Mary left a lot to be desired. At the lack of better words they were JUVENILE IDIOTS!