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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Dallas Auditions

Before we get to the part where I talk about how much more I enjoyed tonight’s auditions in Dallas versus last night’s travesty in L.A., let’s chat about guest judges shall we?

I like the concept of guest judges on “Idol.” They tend to bring a different perspective and shake up the usual flow of auditions (i.e. Randy telling people they worked it out, Kara yelling at contestants for no reason and Simon telling people they are either great or one step closer to singing for food on a cruise ship). But, tell me, what’s the point of a guest judge when producers whittle their screen time down to four-second sound bites or play little montages about how they’ve either become BFFs with Kara or are in a creepy little game of chicken with Simon?

So far, the only judge who’s been allowed to speak in complete sentences, or offer anything other than grunts or a “you’re good,” is Shania Twain. And while former ‘Doogie Howser’ star Neil Patrick Harris did get a few more interviews tonight, he was still the victim of the producers’ bad editing (fake fight with Simon anyone?). Oh and Joe Jonas apparently stopped by to….check the lighting? Maybe do a sound check? Polish the Coca-Cola cups? I’m not really sure.

But enough griping, let’s get back to the auditions! This was “Idol’s” third time in Dallas, the first of which spawned super-popular Idol No. 1, Kelly Clarkson. But could anyone fill her shoes? Would it be the dancing chicken? (Hahahaha…no) How about the girl with the whip? (Actually, she’s a contender.) Or maybe it could be Dexter Ward, who proclaimed himself America’s Next Top Idol? (Not even if he kept winking at us.)

Here’s the rundown on the good, the bad and the crazy from D-Town:

Ones to Watch:

Lloyd Thomas- I would’ve let Lloyd through based solely on his interview package. He’s a friendly dock worker with two kids and a funny personality, so I hoped his voice could match my expectations. I was ecstatic about his velvet-smooth performance of “Overjoyed,” as were the judges. He was one of Simon’s favorites and Randy said “one billion percent yes.” And he sold it all when, after getting his golden ticket, Lloyd demonstrated what the “taste of victory” was, by smacking his lips. He should do well in Hollywood.

Todrick Hall- Singing his own creation which name-dropped the judges, this former costar of Fantasia’s from “The Color Purple” dropped some nice vocals in his audition. He’s got a cool attitude and Joe Jonas said he had “star power.” (Which is saying a lot coming from a Jonas Brother.) Randy thought he was excellent, but Simon wasn’t blown away. I’m interested to hear his voice sing a real song and think he could also power through in Hollywood.

Christian Spear- She was the last audition in Dallas, but at 16 years old she was one of the best. She sang the heck out of an Etta James song and showed a combination of power and fearlessness. Simon said she was brave and the judges seemed excited to send her through. Let’s see what she can do to other styles of music in the next round.

Have a Good Chance:

Kimberly Carver- In a long line of people singing original songs this season, and actually making it through, was Kimberly’s audition tonight. She showed off her cool, jazzy tones, though her song didn’t impress. Simon said she’s a better fit for “Jazz TV,” but Neil Patrick Harris fought for her. She made it through and Kimberly promised to rewatch all her Doogie Howser DVDs.

Erica Rhodes- What do you say about a former Barney girl gone bad? I guess you say, “Hey Erica, loved the song, not crazy about the outfit, but since you’re brandishing a whip, I’m gonna send you through anyway!” I wasn’t sure what kind of singer she’d be, as she transitioned from singing a soulful version of the Barney theme song, to cracking the aforementioned whip at the judges while singing En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind.” And whether it was out of enjoyment of her voice, or concern for their safety, the judges bestowed her with a golden ticket. But I think her high-pitched voice may be too warbly to keep her through the end of Hollywood.

Dave Pittman- Tonight’s inspiring story comes from Dave, who has Tourette’s Syndrome, but can still sing a kickin’ version of “Bring It On Home to Me.” The tone of his voice was great, and the judges said he was brave to do what he does. He may be a good semifinals choice.

Maegan Wright- She came in looking a little goofy, but her slow build on “To Make You Feel My Love” was pretty nice. Her voice isn’t super strong, but she could do well. And I want her to continue just to hear more from her hilarious little brother!

Are You Kidding Me?:

Julie Kevelighan- No stranger to the “Idol” audition room, Julie auditioned waaaaaaay back in Season 1. This time around she clutched a sign that read “This is my year.” But Simon wasn’t having it after her performance of “Black Velvet.” Or after her take on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Or even on “Something to Talk About.” At least she serenaded the bodyguards as they escorted her out.

Dexter Ward- This obsessive winker tried to amaze the judges on “If I Ever Fall in Love Again,” but Randy said it just looked like it hurt. At least Simon let him down easy by complimenting his smile.

Vanessa Johnson- She’s a pink and purple (and sometimes teal) ball of energy, but unfortunately her take on “At Last” lasted too long.

Were you impressed by any contestants Dallas had to offer? Could Lloyd Thomas, Todrick Hall or Christian Spear follow in the big shoes Kelly Clarkson left to fill? And do you think “Idol’s” producers will ever use more than 3 minutes of screen time on a guest judge? Post below and make sure to check out “Idol” next week as it makes a stop in Denver! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on January 28, 2010 12:20 AM
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