"American Idol": Episode Seven of Season Nine: Denver Auditions

2/03/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

Maybe the premiere of "LOST" and Facebook’s celebrity doppleganger week had gotten to me when I watched the Denver auditions, or maybe I was just really tired of seeing the run-of-the-mill Idol auditions, but a couple of the contestants were "LOST" character dopplegangers, and they proved to be my two favorite auditions of the night.

The first contestant of the night threw a wrench in the “every first audition this season has been a joke” trend I mentioned last week. Although Mark Labriola claims he looks like Jack Black, I felt he looked more like Hurley from "LOST" and his ridiculous life story of his mother kidnapping him from his father and running away to Maui is befit for a character on "LOST." All the judges, including one of my old favorites, Victoria Beckham, felt his audition would be a joke. It wasn’t. Mark Labriola gave a surprisingly wonderful audition, and broke the tradition of the season at nearly the last audition episode.

The other "LOST" doppleganger came in another pleasant surprise of the night, Casey Jones, who looks like Sawyer. He had one of those “overcoming obstacle” biography packages before his audition--Casey had survived a bad motorcycle accident. Personally, I loved Casey. Like the female judges, I felt he had a great look, and more importantly, I was incredibly impressed by the quality of his voice. Did he lack charisma? Possibly, but I didn’t think he was nearly as bad as Simon gave off. I’m glad to see him continue on in the competition and can really see him becoming a voter favorite should he make it to the Top 12.

My favorite female of the night came toward the very end of the episode in teenage Haely Vaughn. While everyone auditioning for this show has a similar dream--to be a professional singer--Haely’s is slightly different than anyone else we’ve ever seen on this show. Haely wants to be a black country superstar. She had a bubbly and sweet personality, and as her package told us prior to her audition, the fact that she’s still living today is a miracle. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much from her. But her voice was perfect for singing country pop music, as it is incredibly similar to that of former Idol winner, Carrie Underwood’s.

There were a string of other young female contestants I viewed as pretty good, but are moving onto Hollywood nonetheless. Kimberly Kerbow had a decent voice, but a really warm personality; Tori Kelly also had a great commercial look and a pretty voice; and Nicci Nix had a horrifically annoying speaking voice, but a pretty solid singing voice. All three of these girls are through to the next round, but I personally feel that unless they really improve, Hollywood week will be the end of their journey.

The one female I was unsure about was Danelle Hayes. I do agree with Simon, who told her that she is “almost broken” and that she came at just the right time in her life. I appreciate seeing the contestants who truly value and appreciate the simple moment of trying to make their dreams become a reality. Like so many contestants before her, Danelle is a single mom, performing odd jobs to live her life as a singer/songwriter while raising a young son. Seeing her cry out of appreciation and gratitude for making it to audition in front of the judges was moving, certainly more moving than anything I’ve seen this season. I think Danelle has talent, but I was both expecting and hoping for her to really impress me, and in all honesty, she didn’t. She has a powerful, raspy voice, and I’m curious to see what she sings next. I think she has a better “look” and maybe a more sentimental story than any of the raspy voiced female singers before her, but I don’t know if she’s Top 12 potential. She’s someone to keep a close eye on next week in Hollywood.

In terms of the bad, no one was truly terrible. Aside from seeing a quick shot of a contestant dressed as a bat, the most memorable came at the end--that would be Bikini Boy. He barely got a note out before Kara and Simon swore and stormed off the set. The other memorable bad contestant of the night was Kenny Everett, the self-proclaimed “male Mary J. Blige.” Unfortunately, for my least favorite judge of the season, this was a horribly inaccurate comparison, as Kenny couldn’t sing at all. He also raises an important question--why is it that when a bad singer gets quick unanimous no votes, they continue singing louder and worse than they did originally?

That rudeness needs to end next season.

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