American Idol
Auditions #1

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: A- | 37 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
Boston to Austin

A fratty dude named Sam Atherton from Taunton, MA claims to be so good he doesn't have to practice any more. He's also almost completely lacking in charm, and asks the judges if he can do three songs because he wants one of them to be his original. Keith invites him to do the worst one first, so he offers to start with the original, which cracks the judges up. But then his horrible song, "Love Doesn't Last Forever" is bad enough to bring the room down and earn a "no" for Sam from Keith and Harry. He doesn't take it well, interviewing that he has perfect pitch and is a better musician than "J. Lo and Keith Urban and Tony Connick, Jr. combined." Depending on who Tony Connick, Jr. is, and how far he drags the curve down, that may actually be possible.

Montage of contestants being all excited about Jennifer and ignoring the guys, which Harry has a few things to say about. "I've never been this close to celebrities before," one of them says. "Neither have I," Harry deadpans.

Ryan claims that there's a "twist" this season in which we're invited to guess whether a contestant is being sent to Hollywood or home. I though people did that anyway, but this time we're being asked to register our predictions on Twitter about the fate of some chick we hear singing for about three seconds. Turns out yes, she went through. Which Twitter was mostly right about. So there you go. Actually, I suppose three seconds is more than enough time for plenty of Tweeters to pass judgment.

Ryan tries to bond with some large dude over their allegedly shared football past, and then starts scampering around the holding room like they're running a play until he racks himself on a chair. One of my favorite Seacrest moments ever right there. Anyway, Shanon Wilson, 24, turns out to be a pretty decent R&B singer who busts out a powerful falsetto register. Jennifer's waving the ticket over her head before he's even done. "What, no key change?" Keith cracks. Shanon leaves with the ticket like he was totally expecting it the whole time.

Then in walks some cheerleader, as Harry says he almost wore the exact same outfit. Her name is Stephanie Petronelli, she's 22, and she's already hoarse from practicing. She busts out that same Grace Potter song from earlier, which is a little more age-appropriate, not to mention voice-appropriate given her current rasp. Harry's worried about her voice holding up long-term, given that her outfit allowed him to see that it wasn't coming from the diaphragm. And he didn't dig her voice that much anyway. Jennifer disagrees, saying she had more soul than she expected, and Keith is somewhere in between. Jennifer gives her a yes, Harry a no, and Keith cops to being on the fence. It's up to him, so he decides to make it a yes. And when more cheerleaders come in, Harry changes his vote, saying he never had the chance to say no to four cheerleaders when he was in high school. I kind of find that hard to believe.

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American Idol

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