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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Arizona Auditions

Phoenix-Tuan-Nguyen.jpgYou know it's been a long television season when you start to miss the sound of Paula Abdul's voice. So what's it mean when you begin longing for witty Abdulisms like "you are all the colors of the rainbow" or classic Randy bon mots such as "That was hot daaawwwwwggg?" It means I'm in American Idol withdrawal and I can't take it anymore! Thank goodness then that season 8 of American Idol began tonight.

It's been months since the Battle of the Davids raged and Mr. Cook took the crown. As the dust settled, I've anxiously awaited the albums from both of the top two finalists, Archuleta and Cook, and wasn't disappointed. But without my daily influx of Simon Cowell zingers or Ryan Seacrest quips, life has seemed a little dull. That's why tonight's episode of "American Idol" hit the spot.

To start off with, this year we have a new judge on the panel, Kara DioGuardi. She's a very famous songwriter who based on tonight's episode can also sing pretty well herself. After all the hype over our new judge (some say she's the female Simon), I have to say I was left a little cold by her tonight. At first she just seemed boring (in some auditions she didn't say a word), but in some clips she started to reveal her mean streak. When a self-proclaimed fan fawned over her during an audition, she acted like she was supportive of the girl's song-writing aspirations. But once the girl left the room, Kara turned to Paula and said: "That's one of my fans? What does that say about me?" Yikes. Way to look out for your fans. After that comment, it felt more like Crazy Aunt Kara was crashing the family reunion and I'm not so sure she's welcome.

Now on to the auditions. The AI crew started off the eighth season with auditions in Phoenix, Arizona. In previous seasons, producers have taken this time to show the worst of the worst. We've seen low-talkers, high-talkers, the clueless, the hopeless, people who sing in dolphin-speak, the tone-deaf, people dressed like the Statue of Liberty and that guy from last season who sang in that crazy feathered coat and top hat. But it seems the show is taking a different tactic this year, dialing down the crazy meter and actually showing us some of the good singers! What a concept. Out of the contestants on camera tonight, only a few were utterly horrible, while most received their golden pass to Hollywood.

So here's a recap of who to watch for from Arizona in this year's extended Hollywood round:

-Emily Hughes: The multi-colored, highlighter tinged hair on this rocker isn't the only thing that made her stand out. Her voice was pretty good too. Singing "Barricuda" for the judges, Hughes had Simon saying she was different and Paula commenting she was in the Top 5 on her list. The only catch? She's in a band, and going on "Idol" means canceling their European tour. Expect drama in Hollywood.

-J.B. Ahfua: Singing "Flying Without Wings," this crooner somewhat wowed the panel with his smooth sounds. His is an emotional story, since he's doing this to help his down-and-out family.

-Arianna Afsar: This cute-as-a-button singer wins points for giving back to her community, having set up an 'Adopt a Grandfriend" program for teens to connect with senior citizens. It doesn't hurt she has star quality and sang an awesome rendition of Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On."

-Stevie Wright: Much like her namesake Stevie Nicks, this singer hit all the notes of "At Last." The judges loved her and Paula said she had Kelly Clarkson-like strength.

-Michael Sarver: I agree with Randy on this one, when he said this guy's looks and voice didn't seem to connect. But you see how that worked out for Clay Aiken. Plus, if this guy can work in the fifth dangerous job in the world and still nail all the notes in a Boyz II Men song, then I think he can do anything.

-Katrina Darrell: Also known as Bikini Girl. She showed up in just a bikini, but proved she wasn't all show when she sang and hit all her notes. Randy and Simon said yes, but Kara and Paula had reservations when the girl got mouthy. Expect her ego to get in the way in Hollywood.

-Briana Quijada: She lost her nerve on "Killing Me Softly," but proved her power on "Let's Hear It For the Boy."

-Deanna Brown: This singer has an interesting sound and put a unique twist on "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay."

-Cody Sheldon: This audition had the makings of a true horror story, but this budding horror film director managed to nail his audition.

-Alex Wagner-Trugman: Randy Jackson says he's unique like Joe Cocker, even though Simon was not on board. He may fall into the Clay Aiken/Taylor Hicks category of singers who are underestimated both by their looks and their unique voices.

-Scott MacIntyre: The inspirational story of the night. He's almost completely blind, but hasn't let that stop him. Not only is he an awesome singer, he's a ballroom dancer and graduated from college at 19!

And that's all for tonight! Let the "Idol" madness begin....--Chris Sardelli


Posted by Chris on January 14, 2009 12:34 AM
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I agree, Scott MacIntyre is an inspiration. What up with Ryan Seachrest trying to hi-5 him though? Duh! All of this makes me wish I could sing. For people in or near AZ, I saw another competitions for musicians. The prize is a trip to the Grammys. http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/uponsun/2009/01/mystudio_music_offers_phoenix_residents_a_chance_to_win_two_tickets_to_the_grammys.php
I watched some of the entries, and OMG, they SUCK! LMAO! Worth a try if you're half-decent!

-- 1. Posted by: Petey at January 15, 2009 2:18 PM

Wonderful post. I learned many interesting things. Thank you)

-- 2. Posted by: Brian at January 30, 2013 9:38 PM

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