After rather unexciting auditions in Chicago, the Idol talent hunt moved on to Orlando, Fla., Wednesday night. The producers threw in lots of plugs for Disney, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and so on. Maybe someday they’ll do auditions at Sesame Place.
Guest judge Kristin Chenoweth, who said judging Idol was harder than she thought, stayed only for the first day of tryouts, and maybe that’s just as well. Despite all her singing and stage experience, she seemed to spend a lot of time giggling and running around with Kara as if they were a couple of Powerpuff Girls.
Out of 10,000 performers, according to nightly Idol anchor Ryan Seacrest, 31 were chosen to advance to Hollywood. The clear standout of the night, both in vocals and biographical interest: Matt Lawrence, who robbed a bank with a BB gun when he was 15 and spent four years in jail. He tore into Ray LaMontagne‘s “Trouble” with a rambling, dusty voice that Simon called “brilliant” and “authentic.” Kara predicted he’ll make it to the top 12.
Some other performers worth noting:
Born with a damaged nerve that affects one side of her mouth, Shelby Dressel sang a sultry “Turn Me On.”
Seth Rollins, an insurance adjustor with an autistic son, performed a quietly smooth “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Although that sort of soulfulness doesn’t always click in Hollywood.
Jay Stone‘s beat-boxing version of the Beatles‘ “Come Together” was so intensely overdone it came close to a comedy routine, although his actual singing voice wasn’t bad at all. Only — please — cut the Blake Lewis stuff.
Bernadette and Amanda Desimone, sisters whose interplay was so cheerfully smooth they could have been cast in an ABC Family sitcom, were jointly given golden tickets. This always seems like such a cruel thing for the judges to do. Haven’t they seen Saving Private Ryan?
Cornelius Edwards, singing “Proud Mary,” concluded his audition by hitting the floor with a thudding split that shredded his pants. It wasn’t clear whether the judges were impressed by his voice or concerned for his well-being.
The hour started with a man named Theo Glinton draped in a gossamer scarf and with small, mirrored discs applied to his face (Should we thank Lady Gaga for that one?). He was over the top, but after being rejected by the judges he exited with dignity and graciousness. Jarrod Norrell, who pretty much demolished “Amazing Grace,” did not. Security had to take him out in handcuffs. At which point Simon turned to the judges and asked: “Yes or no?”
Oh, what will happen once Simon leaves?! –Tom Gliatto
Tell us: Which Idol hopeful was your favorite in Orlando? Did the Desimone sisters deserve a golden ticket? What about beat-boxer Jay Stone?Michael Becker/FOX