“American Idol” rolls into sunny Southern California with its first-ever stop in San Diego. The network wisely decided to go with a more tightly edited one-hour version this time. I’m not sure even the “Idol”-obsessed among us could take many more two-hour over-padded editions of the audition round.
Michael Johns, the saucy Aussie (pictured below) whose awesome, soulful voice is overshadowed by the sheer power of how hot he is. Seriously. I can’t stop thinking about him. I’m already coming up with the signs I’m going to hold in the audience if he makes it to the finals. As a wise man once said: “It’s not stalking if you’re going to marry him.” Yes. I’m pathetic. Don’t judge me.
THE GOOD (with sob stories!)
Carly Smithson, the tattooed lassie from Ireland (pictured below) with the over-inked, “Carnivale”-extra hubby and an amazing voice. She tried out and made it to Hollywood a two years ago, but was disqualified over greencard issues. But now she’s legal (presumably tattoo boy is an American) and ready to try again. Well, she’s off to Hollywood again.
David Archuleta, the 16-year-old who survived a bout of “vocal paralysis” only to suffer through Paula making goo-goo eyes at him. The adorable teen sang John Mayers’ “Waiting On The World To Change.”
Erin: I would make fun Paula further, but I’m too busy trying to choose the color of my “Will You Marry Me?, Michael Johns” t-shirt. Paula, for once, I understand. Live the dream.
Samantha Musa, whose Simon obsession seems to run in the family.
Valerie Reyes, (pictured left) who thinks she sounds just like Mariah and who mocked the parade of social misfits in the hallway while chatting with Ryan. She butchered a Mariah song and was greeted with an “Oh. My. God.” from Simon. Then, in the best moment of the episode (well, maybe not for Erin) she celebrated what she thought was praise from the Brit by pumping her fist and whispering “YES.” What a shock for her that she got three “no’s.” She took the rejection surprisingly well, unlike…
…Monique Gibson, who thinks she sounds just like Whitney. She doesn’t. Monique couldn’t quite decide whether tears or indignant outrage would get her more camera time.
Christopher Baker, Monique’s equally untalented sidekick, who used the old “wrong song choice” excuse.
THE UGLY (with the world’s most supportive moms)
Alberto Hurtado, the scariest contestant of all seven seasons. His Howard Hughes-esque fingernails, homemade fans and furry tendencies toward eagles pushed him beyond the point of odd to frightening. All that, and he was foolish enough to “make his own song.” His mother says he’s “very artistic.” That will come in handy during arts and crafts sessions at the institution he’s bound to end up in.
Blake Boshnack, who’s been living out his mother’s dreams by auditioning 11 times now in seven seasons. Last year he showed up dressed as the Statue of Liberty. His attempt to redeem himself this time around was destroyed by show’s editors who located the old clips. His normal person costume couldn’t hide his secret shame. I got 10 bucks saying that the Liberty costume is still in the trunk of his car.
Question: Who is this amiable Brit judge and what has he done with Simon? Our resident grump is unusually sweet-natured this year. Part of me appreciates it and part of me misses his scathing wit.
— Erin Maxwell and Kathy Lyford