Tuesday, January 16

AI Season 6 Premiere - Minneapolis

It's back!!!!!! :)

We begin Season 6 with clips of some of Idol's past successes, including Kelly's Grammy and Jennifer Hudson's "Oscar buzz." (She *did* win the Golden Globe last night, but I'm sure this was pretaped. Regardless, Congrats Jen!!!!!!!) That was kind of nice.

The first round of auditions shown is Minneapolis, with guest judge Jewel. This starts very poorly by lingering on the first reject's (one of many blond Jessicas to come, I'm sure) shock and tears. And lingering. And more lingering.

Jesse Holloway does not do Gary, Indiana, proud. Another guy comes dressed as a patriotic boxer and sings well in Italian, but not in English.

The first good audition shown is 16-year old Denise Jackson from Madison (#13405). Backstory: crack baby but no physical defects; rather, she was born with the "gift" of singing. And she's right! She sings Jennifer Holliday's (and now Jennifer Hudson's!) "And I am Telling You I'm Not Going" with confidence, and a not-quite-Paris-Hilton style though I'm sure they'll be compared.

Next is Colombian girl Perla Meneses, 25, who now lives in Florida after coming to the US when she was 15 with just her guitar and the clothes on her back, or something like that (#31572). A pretty girl, she's shown flirting with Ryan before her audition, and calls herself "the American dream." She sang Blondie's "Call Me," and shouldn't have. She mentioned Shakira and Randy requested she do a bit of "Hips Don't Lie," which she sang much better; well enough to advance. I wouldn't have minded if she didn't.

Next we get Jewel's best line of the night, directed toward a Johnny Cash wannabe who destroys "Folsom Prison Blues." She asked him if he was serious or trying to be funny? Hee! (He was, of course, serious. Seriously bad, but serious.)

Finally a guy who advances, deservedly: Jarrod Fowler, 27, from Arizona; a really tall bald guy who's in the US Navy. He sings "God Bless the Broken Road" fairly well; I like his voice and personality so far. Randy & Jewel comment that he was "pitchy" and did too much vocal embellishment. If he lasts long he will undoubtedly be nicknamed Josh Gracin 2.0 just because he's a military guy doing country. {shrug} There are worse things to be called.

Vocal teacher Steven Horst sings Aerosmith poorly and is told by a meaner, less gentle Randy that he should get a new job.

Then we see Michele Steingas, blond, 19, from MN, who has been shown advancing in ads (#33020). She also does country: Deana Carter's "If This Is Love." She's ok.

Dayna Dooley explains that she didn't advance in Pasadena so her boss brought her here to audition again. She sings Chaka Khan poorly and is sent to fetch her boss, who defends her saying she's having an off day. The judges ask what he's heard her sing; she faces him and sings a bit of "Fever," which she does very well. Unfortunately she can't always sing to the boss and is sent home.

16-year old Matt Sato from MN (#25077) explains that his parents can't afford to be there because all his musical activities (like show choir) cost too much. He sings "California Dreamin'" and is rough but has a nice voice and IMO some potential for growth in a competition like this. Of course he's shown tearfully calling his mom after he advances.

Rachel Jenkins, 21, works at her parents' body shop (#33062). She is also in the Army Reserves, and her husband has been in Iraq since December, 2005 (they got married that October). She sings "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" a tad off-key, but I love the tone of her voice. She advances and is my favorite from tonight's show, both vocally and personality-wise.

Another strong vocalist is 19-year old Sarah Krueger from WI. She has long, curly hair and is pretty and self-confident. She sings "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" very well; her voice is pretty and she has a good range. I predict she'll make is at least to the top 45.

The last female shown is this year's "Idol's biggest fan," proven by the tattoo she has based on a heart Ace Young drew for her. Alrighty then. She says she has a degree in vocal performance, but you wouldn't know it from listening to her. Next...

and last, is 20-year old Josh Flom from MN, one of many I'm sure we'll see this season who say they are rockers inspired by Chris Daughtry. He sings Fuel's "Bad Day" and has a very growly, somewhat put-on sounding voice. Simon is concerned he's too one-dimensional and challenges him to come back in 15 minutes with an Abba song. There is cute footage of him running around looking for someone who can teach him an Abba song, and he does a decent job of singing the chorus to "Dancing Queen," but the vocal sound is exactly the same. The judges encourage him to stay with his band rather than pursuing a solo career. He seems like a nice guy and is cute, and they feel bad for him, but he's just not right for Idol. He takes it ok (i.e. doesn't cuss them out or argue, much) but is obviously heartbroken.

And that's it for Minneapolis! 17 contestants advanced, of which we were shown 7 (that's 41% for any other math geeks). Eh, not bad I guess. Tomorrow is Seattle, and from what I'm hearing we'll pretty much have 2 hours of bad, but strange (which is more entertaining than just bad) auditions. Oh well; better than no Idol at all!

Please leave comments & tell me what you thought of the show! :)

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