"American Idol" Season 10, Episode 1: New York/New Jersey Auditions

1/20/2011 Posted by Admin

"American Idol" Season 10, Episode 1: New York/New Jersey Auditions

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

I knew there’d be hype and fanfare surrounding the premiere of "American Idol," but I think Ryan Seacrest took it a step higher than it needed to be when he deemed the title as “the most illustrious prize in music.” Really, Ryan? I don’t think that’s the case anymore, but I digress; why start off a new season filled with hope and promise with residual negativity from the lackluster season nine?

My biggest concern with this episode really didn’t include the contestants. To me, I was more concerned with how the judges would be and how they would jive. To be completely honest, I was impressed. Sure, I knew that Steven Tyler would fill Paula Abdul’s hardly cogent seat, and Jennifer Lopez would be filling Paula Abdul’s comforting seat, but I also wasn’t ready for Randy to be seen as the voice of reason. The three got along well, they were all funny, they all offered great insight, and Steven Tyler really made me laugh, but I also appreciate the ridiculous side of the whole process.

Now onto the contestants: For the audition episodes, I will be breaking the memorable contestants into easy to keep track of categories.

My favorites: Robbie Rosen, a 16-year-old from Long Island with a story of personal triumph (what else is new, "Idol"?) came and sang “Yesterday” by the Beatles so beautifully that I nearly forgot he was a slightly geeky looking 16-year-old kid – he came across so much older and more mature. My other favorite of the night was the very last audition--another 16-year-old, Travis Orlando. Travis had a heartbreaking story of poverty and living in shelters, and sang a beautiful version of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” What’s with 16-year-old boys and the Beatles already this season? At least we know that if these two progress to the Beatles-themed Las Vegas round, they should fare just fine. My other favorite was – surprise, surprise – another 16-year-old Melinda Ademi, who is a war refugee from Kosovo. She had a tender, sweet voice, and I really thought she was great. I know last year I said to keep an eye on the 16-year-olds during the audition rounds, and they wound up not going too far, but this year, I think they might be even better.

The good: Tiffany Rios--or Jennifer Lopez’s biggest fan. When I saw a girl giving lessons on how to tease hair while wearing a bikini top with strategically placed large silver stars, I was expecting the worst. Fortunately for my ears, Tiffany was really good, and hopefully she’ll take to heart Jennifer’s advice to dial things down to be taken more seriously, because that’s the only way she’ll last in the competition. Devyn Rush, a singing waitress from New York, had a soul-ish voice that didn’t fare too well last season, but I always liked (think: a slightly more talented Didi Benami). Brielle Von Hugel, a 16-year-old girl whose doo wop singer dad just beat throat cancer and was there to hear her get the good news. She sang “Endless Love” effortlessly, and hopefully she won’t fall into a Katie Stevens trap of singing songs a little too old for her. I think she came across as cooler and more in touch with being 16 than Katie ever did, so hopefully she’ll be just fine.

The middle of the road: Caleb Hawley, the second audition of the night, had a surprisingly good voice, and a very fun, upbeat performance. He’s moved on to the Hollywood round, where I hope he makes more of a lasting impact, since I think he could be really interesting on the show. The first audition of the night was Rachel Zevita, who faithful viewers saw in the Hollywood round of Season 6. Apparently, Jennifer remembered her, and while her performance today was solidly mediocre, based on positive memories, she made it through to the next round with a stern warning from Jennifer not to let her down.

The ridiculous: Victoria Huggins, the overly peppy 16-year-old girl from North Carolina whose personality screamed “pageant queen.” The girl was talented, and made it through to the Hollywood round, but I think she’ll be seen as “too much” and needs to tone down a bit. Ashley Sullivan, who sang a Broadway song, but came across as too hyper, too awkward, too intent on poorly imitating Emma Stone. She shockingly also made it through to the next round, but I don’t expect to see her much further than that.

The bad who deserve a mention: Achille, the girl from the Ivory Coast, who sang a horrifically, exaggerated version of a barely indistinguishable Madonna song. Steven Tyler put it best when he told her to “pull those wild horses in.”

Will be on a gag reel alongside William Hung in the finale: Yoji “Pop” Asano, the Japanese guy who said he’s been doing Michael Jackson imitations since before he was born, but didn’t want to do one there, so instead, he sang and danced to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.” It was ridiculous and certainly has a place on any future "Idol" gag reel.

The shock of the episode: Randy Jackson did not use his favorite criticism of anyone being “pitchy.” I’m not sure he even used the word, “dawg.”

Tonight the auditions head to New Orleans. If last night was any indication, keep an eye on the younger contestants, and the guys are really in it to win it this year.

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  1. Lori A. said...

    I was pleasantly surprised by the judges. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I have actually enjoyed the show so far and look forward to tonight's episode. Although, I do hope that J.Lo will get passed the "this is so hard" stuff. I was getting a little tired of hearing that. :)

  2. Atlanta Roofing said...

    The new judges are just going through a “rookie judging” phase. They are being soft because it is their first time and they don’t want to seem to aggressive, but knowing Steven and J.Lo have it in them to be tough and actually excited for when that happens. How cute to see Randy as the Top Dog with seniority, he will be a great guide for J.Lo and Steven. American Idol was great with the old judges, but it is definitely good to see new faces. Should be an intriguing season!!