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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: L.A. Auditions

Tonight’s episode began with Ryan “I’m the New Dick Clark” Seacrest introducing the L.A. auditions from the studio of his radio show. What a long way he’s come since he first co-hosted this show, from unknown to media guru. I’m betting that Brian Dunkleman is taking a long, hard look at himself these days. Either that or he’s getting really good at hitting the bullseye on his Ryan Seacrest dartboard.

But even if Dunkleman’s not on board, there were plenty of people waiting in line for their golden tickets in Los Angeles- 11,000 to be exact. And to help them on their way (or crush their dreams, in many cases) were this week’s guest judges, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry. Best known for her skater-punk pop songs, Avril brought some sass and a crazy horned-hooded sweatshirt, while Katy just showed her horns as she bickered with the ever-cranky Kara DioGuardi.

Of all the audition cities, this one seemed the most painful, from high-pitched squealers to Kung Fu Fighters. There was even that dude who looked like he’d missed the auditions for Grease, decided to try out here anyway and then stomped on the ground. Surprisingly, none of them made it through, but there were a few small rays of sunshine in an otherwise bleak audition city. Here’s how it all went down in LaLaLand:

Ones to Watch:

Jim Ranger- He’s a pastor, with three kids and scruffy hair. His personality immediately won the judges over, but they flinched when they heard he was going to perform an original song. Fortunately for him, and contrary to how that usually goes, Jim’s performance of “Drive” brought the judges back to his corner. Simon said he sounds authentic, though Avril ignored his singing ability (what?) and said his family life wouldn’t let him travel (double what??). Despite what the girl with horns said, he made it through. Let’s hope he stays away from original material for awhile.

Andrew Garcia- With full Jason Mraz-gear on, from the shirt to the slightly tilted white hat, Andrew looked the part of ‘cool singer’ the minute he walked in the door. But could this son of former gang members back it up with a voice? He sure could. Singing Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning,” he belted out a smooth version that had plenty of his own personality. He gave Katy Perry chills and Simon gave him high praise, saying he was glad to have met him. I think Andrew has great potential to make it to the Top 12.

Chris Golightly- Tonight’s “pulling on the heartstrings” moment came courtesy of Chris, who grew up in more than 20 foster homes. After hearing how much music meant to him, I hoped he was good enough to send through to Hollywood. And then I heard him sing “Stand By Me,” which I thought was more than enough to earn a golden ticket. Kara and Randy really liked him, but Simon and Katy Perry gave him a harder time. He still managed to get through, but I think he was sold short. Watch for him to break out in Hollywood.

Have a Good Chance:

Mary Powers- I think she had the rocker chick persona down, even if Simon didn’t get it. Singing an a cappella version of a Pat Benatar song, I agreed with Avril that Mary had a cool, raspy voice that could go far in the competition. (Just look at Allison Iraheta from last season.)

Tasha Layton- Breaking outside the old audition standards, Tasha sang a Joss Stone ditty with an awesome tone. I think her cool voice and friendly personality could take her to the semifinals. That is, if some bigger personalities don’t overwhelm her in Hollywood.

Are You Kidding Me?:

Neil Goldstein- Did you know Neil has an IQ of 168? Did you know he’s a self-proclaimed big geek? Did you also know he’s all “bundled up inside” and likes to draw creepy hearts on bathroom mirrors? No, well then you must’ve stepped out of the room when Neil brought his strange clicking noise to the audition room. After singing his version of a Meatloaf song, he proclaimed he wasn’t leaving. That is, until Simon offered him the lovely option of being escorted out. Neil chose wisely and escorted himself.

Damien Lefavor- This martial arts pacifist tried to sing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feelin,” but it felt more like cries for help after a bad meal from a taco stand. Simon told him he should go, and Damien agreed.

A.J. Mendoza- Adam Lambert’s biggest fan (he even sent Lambert his demo!). But there was only so much that glam-rock makeup or hair gel could do to make A.J. become his idol. Simon summed it up by saying he sounded like he just came back from the dentist.

And taking the “I Crossed the Line Tonight, and I Liked It” award were contestants Austin Fullmer and Jason Greene. Austin danced around the stage Mick Jagger-style and said he didn’t mind if “people touched him,” while Jason sang “I Touch Myself” and propositioned both Simon and Ryan. To quote Katy, “I feel dirty.”

What did you think of L.A.? Should there have been more talent from the west coast? Can anyone explain that thing on Avril Lavigne’s head? And could Chris Golightly be this year’s Clay Aiken, heading into the Hollywood round with little respect, but headed toward a major finish? Post your comments below and I’ll see you all back here again Wednesday night when “Idol” heads to Dallas! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on January 27, 2010 12:15 AM
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