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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Best of the Rest Auditions

It’s almost here, that moment when a herd of novice singers either strut their stuff or are sent on the next flight smoking. That’s right, in just one week, “Idol” heads to Hollywood to dash the hopes of more than 100 singers on the quest to find the next Kelly, Ruben, Fantasia, Carrie, Taylor, Jordin, David or Kris. (Or at least introduce us to the next Sanjaya.)

But before we pack our bags for sunny California, the producers left us a few more audible treats from the seven cities they visited. Take a look at what the “Idol” auditions saved for last:

Jessica Furney- Before I critique Ms. Furney, I have to address a new bit of information about everyone’s favorite cranky Brit, Simon Cowell. As Jessica announced her audition selection, “Footprints in the Sand,” it was revealed that the song was co-written by Cowell! Who knew he could write music? Do you think his lyrics have as much bite as his comments, or do you think he’s really a softie at heart? And how do you think “your voice killed all the cats in Denver” would sound set to music? But I digress….Furney’s voice was pretty good and the judges granted her a golden ticket.

Amanda Schechman- I always worry when Ryan Seacrest interviews a potential contestant and they do funny voices or impersonations. It almost never works out well (for us or them). So, as soon as I heard Amanda doing a spot-on impression of Britney Spears, I figured she was one crying montage away from being sent home. As it turns out, she has a killer voice which will be interesting to hear again in Hollywood, though I wouldn’t mind if she dials down some of the drama.

Lacey Brown- She reached the Top 50 last year and has a chance at going even farther, judging by her audition take on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Didi Benami- Her background story was sad, especially with the loss of her friend, but it was her passionate performance, and alternate interpretation, of “Hey Jude” that really sold the judges (and me.) Didi’s voice is one of the few I think could stand out from the rest.

Aaron Kelly- He has a touching background story, involving his aunt and uncle adopting him at an early age, plus he sang a solid version of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” But his completely closed eyes were not a selling point. He’ll have to work on connecting with the audience once he gets to Hollywood.

Hope Jordan- The last singer of the night, who also happened to have another heart-tugging moment. Growing up poor, sometimes with nothing to eat, Hope said her music kept her going. Her clear country voice certainly evoked passion on “I Hope You Dance” and she’s got a very likable personality. I’m betting she’ll make it to the semifinals.

But there were plenty of other contestants who only scored a few precious seconds of screen time, but still made it through. I guess we’ll have to see how this group does in Hollywood: Lee “I look like Danny Gokey” Dewyze, Crystal “Take Another Piece of My Heart” Bowersox, Michael “Personal Trainer” Lynche and Genesis “I Told You So” Moore.

So, did you spot the next American Idol in tonight’s crowd? Have any of these singers made your Top 10 list? And with all of this year’s impressive 16-year-old contestants, do you think we’ll see one of the youngest Top 12’s ever? Post below and make sure you come back next week for my favorite time of year- the Hollywood Round, where 181 singers will duke it out! Plus, Ellen DeGeneres makes her first appearance as judge! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on February 4, 2010 1:06 AM
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