Thursday, February 1

AI Los Angeles Auditions

This time we're in Katharine McPhee's hometown, and her album came out yesterday, so we hear her sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. We are not told how many people showed up, just "thousands," so it must be less than any other venue (8000 or less?).

Olivia Newton-John is guest judge.

Several no's: Martik, aka "Eccentric," who certainly is. 24 and self-described as a panther, he performs an original song. I use the term "song" loosely. Sholandric Stallworth says he wants to bring romance and love into Idol. Hmm, perhaps by singing poorly so people turn off the tv & spend more time together? Short clips of someone in a banana costume and a girl in a 'riding a bull' costume. Then Marianna Riccio, whose mom sang backup for Dean Martin. Marianna didn't inherit all of mom's talent and ends up on her knees begging to be put through and "given a chance." Sorry, this was it!

Alaina Alexander (24, CA, #66442) has spent 6 years here as a "struggling artist" and is at the point of calling it quits and returning to school to pursue a different career if she doesn't make it onto Idol. She sings Michael Buble's "Feeling Good" and is decent, and cute (but not overly so). Simon really liked her a lot; Randy said she was pitchy but still put her through. 4 yesses!

Phuong Pham, 17, has many attributes in common with Taylor Hicks. Singing talent is not one of them. She tries to keep from breaking out laughing several times, so I think it's a fair bet this is one of the many 'fake' (i.e. I want tv time) auditions.

Brandon Rogers (28, CA, #74191) has been a backup singer for 4 years, for acts such as Anastasia and Christina Aguilera (wow!). He sings "Always on My Mind" R&B style, not country, and is good. Seems like a nice guy too. He's through and I'm guessing top 45 at least.

Next is the best not-really-an-audition ever. Sherman is a 64-year old man with a petition to let him sing before the 3 (or, as it happens, 4) judges on tv; he has 330 signatures. It seems his "lady love" of 20 years was dying of cancer and he thought this would be something to distract her and keep her hopeful about something. Unfortunately she died just 2 days before the audition. However, Sherman stays positive, claiming he doesn't want sympathy. He turns out to be a very good singer as he proudly sings "You Belong to Me," and Paula and thousands of viewers reach for the tissues. Afterward he says "I won." Amazing and awesome. *sniff*

Brian Miller (19, CA) is a familiar face. He's the one we saw last year who started out being rather cocky and emerged from the Hollywood rounds bawling (in a clip that was repeated many times). Well, he sings "A Change is Gonna Come" well enough for one more try, despite Simon's no. He's the last of 21 to advance on Day 1.

On Day 2 all we see are three rejects: dating couple Darold and Cavett ("Sparkles") and Eric Mueller, who has one of those strange, high voices and hardly moves his face at all while singing. Turns out he "trained for 2 years" using Paula & Randy's dvd, which totally made Simon's day.

We're told 19 advanced on Day 2 for a grand total of 40 from LA. We saw 3 of these, plus Sherman. Why so few??? Perhaps they're saving a bunch for the "Rest of the Best" special next Wed., but I'd much rather have seen more good singers this week.

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