Sunday, February 11

AI - The Best of the Rest

Ok, final first-round episode! Organized around "lessons" we've learned (or not)...

Lesson 1: The Look - clips of people with interesting outfits &/or costumes. Including Christa from Birmingham in red, black & white. She goes home.

Tami Gosnell (28, Denver cab driver, #51637) does not have the Idol 'look,' as she wears no make-up and has a pierced lip. She sings "Whipping Post" and is awesome. I'd love to see her in the Top 24 but won't hold my breath; we have several females with rough, low voices and most appear more 'commercial', which counts more in Hollywood than first round.

Lesson 2: Seek Inspiration - clips of folks inspired by previous contestants.

Paul Kim (25, CA, #74201) takes a somewhat opposite approach; he's here because he *doesn't* want people to think of William Hung when they think of Asian singers! Well, he has the pipes on "If I Ever Fall in Love," a different, breathy voice. We shall see.

Jack Odanovich was inspired by Bo's "In a Dream" and did the same song - I think. It was hard to tell, he was so bad.

Lesson 3: Never Give Up - repeat auditioners! Including cowboy Matthew (Buckstein?) from last year & several other familiar faces (along w/many I don't remember).

Gina Glockson (22, IL but auditioned in Memphis, #53750) is trying out for the 3rd time, and she made it Hollywood last year. She sings "Black Velvet" and is decent but nothing special, except for her built-up 'crush' on Simon.

Which leads to clips of people who are fans of the judges. Edward Sanchez (26, TX) is a huge Paula fan but does not sing well (no surprise).

Now we get clips of jobs contestants left to come audition, including Ace, Chris, and Kelli Pickler. Which leads to Lesson 4: Audition On Your Own.

We get a trio of car hop girls (from whichever town had Olivia Newton-John on the panel). First up is Heather Rennie (20, CA), a blond who does an ok version of "God Bless the Broken Road." Then Ashley Cleland (17) sings "Angel" and is a bit better. Lastly Ebony Jointer (23, #75162), a very pretty black gal, sings "I Believe in You and Me" and is easily the best singer. Heather gets sent packing but the others advance to Hollywood.

The previous winners' first singles are discussed and then we're told of this year's songwriting contest. Followed by a montage of contestants' bad original songs, the strangest of which from Wes in LA (bald guy in a yellow shirt) with "Don't Worry, Don't Hurry." Ok then.

Lesson 5: Shake Your Money Maker - all sorts of dancing clips, including one of Ryan in the waiting room boogying down with one contestant's family & friends.

Not a dancer, but Alex in Memphis sings an Air Supply song (yes I was a huge fan but really, does it matter which one?) poorly. It's a no.

Lesson 6: Clarity - "Name That Song" clips.

And finally we see Lakisha Jones (hyped in commercials; 26, MD, #8292). She has a 3-year old daughter and says she considers her voice a gift. She sings "Think" and is very good. I also like her personality.

The show ends with snippets of "favorite" (or most memorable) moments - including Sherman, which is the only one they show that would qualify as a favorite for me. And then a preview of the 'drama' to come in next week's Hollywood round, which will have a total of 172 contestants. I'm ready; bring it on!

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