Wednesday, January 24

AI Memphis Auditions

Tonight's one-hour episode highlights the Memphis auditions where over 16,000 contestants showed up. (As opposed to Minneapolis' 10,000 and Seattle's 9000, each getting two-hour episodes. Huh?!)

Frank Byers, 12-year old cheerleading coach (#55191) is first up and first down. I liked his version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," but the judges said it was too OTT (over the top) & that he wasn't ready.

After a few more rejections (all deserved IMO) we get the guy from the previews: Jason "Sundance" Head, 27, (#53450) is the son of musician Roy Head (he had a hit song in 1965 called "Treat Her Right"). He's also married and his wife was expecting their first child around Christmas. Anyway, he sings "Stormy Monday" and is amazing. I'm really surprised that Simon didn't have any criticism of his "look," because his goatee & hair are scruffy and he's overweight and wearing a non-flattering shirt. Maybe he figures he's more blues than pop so it doesn't matter?? Regardless, I now have my first Top 12 prediction.

Wandera Hitchye is a red-haired black gal with a nice voice, but she is sent home because she's not unique, at least vocally. She's very upset.

Danielle McCullough is a blond 18-year old (#53485) with a rough, bluesy voice. She sings "Baby I Love You" (by Aretha Franklin) and is very good. I really, really love her voice! Randy said no (huh?!) but Simon & Paula put her through. Thus ends Memphis, Day 1.

Day 2 starts with one of Paula's "biggest fans," who doesn't have the biggest talent. We also get Janita Burks, who really, really needs to look up "conservative" and "innocent" because that's how she described her look, which... well, we got more look than anyone wanted, and I'll leave it at that, 'k?

Sean Michel (#55502) is from Arizona and admits to being compared visually to, among others, Fidel Castro (hmm, could it be the long - and I mean long - hair and beard, and khaki outfit?). he sings "God's Gonna Cut You Down," a Johnny Cash song with which I'm unfamiliar. He has a good voice and advances. Later I checked out his myspace page, and I am now a fan!! He is a Christian and has a band, and I really like their style of music (reminds me of Jacobstone). I hope he makes it through Hollywood but I won't hold my breath. (Did anyone catch how old he is? I'd guess late 20's.)

Melinda Doolittle is next (#57073), a 28-year old professional background singer who is rather shy and admits she enjoys just being in the background, but wants to make herself do more things individually. Good thing, as she is awesome!! She sings "For Once In My Life" and has a lot of confidence while singing, a nice tone and style... I was bordering on chills. The judges raved that this is one of the best initial auditions - ever. They tell her to work on her confidence and if she does? Definite Top 12.

A skinny black guy says he sounds like Elvis. He doesn't, but his mangling of "Burning Love" inspires a montage of the song, which is actually funny for a change! (Most of them are boring wastes of time IMO.)

Last is Phil Stacy (#51815), 28, tall, and bald (what is it w/bald guys the past couple years?) whose wife phoned him at 4 am announcing the birth of their 2nd child. He sings "My Girl(s)" and is good enough to advance with Randy & Paula's votes. His voice & style are different and he has a nice smile; he reminds me of someone but I can't figure out who.

Of the 22 advancing in Memphis we saw 5, in one hour. Nice and succinct. Tomorrow we're back to 2 hours, but hopefully some of the New Yorkers will be entertaining....

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