"American Idol" Episode Eight of Season Nine

2/04/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

To celebrate the final night of "American Idol" Season 9 auditions, the producers gifted us with a sort of recap night, filled with never before seen auditions from all the cities visited. For the most part, the clips they showed were fantastic--some of the best featured candidates moving on to Hollywood week.

One trend prominent throughout this episode was return contestants. Throughout the season so far, we’ve seen contestants re-audition, and for the most part, they attained more success than they had in the past. One such contestant was Jessica Furney. After receiving a significant makeover after she didn’t make it to Hollywood last year, Jessica returned singing “Footprints in the Sand,” a song more appropriate for her voice and for the show. Not only was the show co-written by Simon, but it complemented her voice, and I felt she gave a terrific audition. I could hardly believe she was the girl singing a weak rendition of Janis Japlin in some flashback segments. Unfortunately, the seventh time auditioning was not the charm for Stephanie Fisher, who sang terribly and looked like a tacky orange Barbie Doll or a "Jersey Shore" extra.

However, my favorite return contestant was someone I remember really liking last season: Lacey Brown. Last year, Lacey made the Top 50, and didn’t make the Final 24 in favor of hands down my least favorite contestant of the season, Megan Joy Corkery. To this day, I think Megan Joy has a terrible voice, but being reminded that she took the spot of someone truly talented makes me confident that this year is Lacey’s year to make it to the Top 24.

Another trend I’ve noticed and written about this season has been the strength in the youngest contestants. I feel this is the strongest pool of 16 year olds in "American Idol" history. One particular stand out 16 year old was Aaron Kelly. Aaron has overcome a lot of adversity in his short life, and wants to use "American Idol" as a vehicle to inspire his peers. I thought he was adorable, had a really good voice and, by choosing Miley Cyrus’ hit “The Climb,” cemented himself in that ideal David Archuleta territory of the young, loveable guy who moms approve of--and teenage girls like.

Perhaps my favorite female of the night came toward the end of the episode in Didi Benami, who sang in honor of her best friend Rebecca who passed away four years ago. Putting a unique spin on The Beatles’ classic “Hey Jude,” Didi let her talented singing voice shine through. I personally love when people can not only sing Beatles songs well, but give a new, updated version of it to highlight their unique tone. I loved her voice, loved her positivity and optimism, and really hope to see her progress in the competition. I was shocked to find myself agreeing with Avril Lavigne over all the other judges in that I feel that Didi has tremendous potential.

My favorite male was Michael Lynche, who, as his package led us to believe, just found out he’s going to be a first-time dad. While following "American Idol" over the years should have taught me never to judge a contestant by his outward appearance, I didn’t think Michael would be that impressive. I saw a brawny guy with muscles popping out of his tee-shirt start to sing, and all my preconceived notions were shot out the window. He had a truly incredible voice, and I think he’ll be singing in this contest for a few more weeks.

The only bad contestants of the night were Kimberly Bishop, who staggered into the room looking like a drugged-out version of Katy Perry, who, not surprisingly, gave an atrocious rendition of a Katy Perry hit. The other bad audition was Adrian Chandtchi, the “beautiful man flower.” I wasn’t sure what to make of him--an exceptionally large (6’8’’!) and highly awkward teenage boy with a ridiculously high-pitched soprano singing voice. Aside from him listing his humorous nicknames, and the shock of hearing him sing, the humor came in the subsequent judges’ commentary.

Starting Tuesday is the intense Hollywood week, which cuts the finalists into the Top 24. It also begins Ellen’s stint as an "Idol" judge. Given the amount of talent coming through the city auditions and all the buzz whirling around Ellen, Tuesday night is a must-watch episode of "American Idol."

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