American Idol: Louisville auditions

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jan 22nd 2009 4:02AM

American Idol - LouisvilleAmerican Idol went to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, to find the best of the best in The Bluegrass State. Let's see if I've got the pronunciation correct: Loo-a-vulle. Is that it? You Southerners chime in here.

Let's see who stood in front of the judges tonight:

Tiffany Shedd, 18. This girl strolls in with all the confidence in the world, which is a dead tip-off that she's going to suck. And she doesn't disappoint. She sucks bad. And with her platinum blonde hair and weird powder-blue eyeshadow, she looks like a tranny. I'm still wondering, actually. Anyway, she tries singing Mariah Carey's "Hero," and Simon says she's like a donkey in a crowd of 22 horses. Needless to say, she doesn't get a golden ticket. She leaves, muttering, "They're not looking for talent. They're looking for nerds and freaks."

Joanna Pacitti, 23. Kara recognizes Joanna, because she had a record deal with A&M Records. But it didn't work out for whatever reason. A little bit country, a little bit rock-and-roll, Joanna sings Pat Benatar's "We Belong." Paula immediately proclaims her "worthy." Joanna bursts into tears as she grabs that golden ticket to Hollywood.



Mark Mudd, 25. Mark has an interesting lineage. Aside from the fact that he "almost died five times," his great-great-whatever-grandfather was Samuel Mudd, the doctor who fixed John Wilkes Booth's broken leg after he shot Lincoln and jumped off the balcony. Mark sings George Jones' "White Lightning," and the judges really don't have to say anything. Mark knows he won't be boarding a plane for Hollywood any time soon. So instead, he has a stare-down with Simon and makes a pseudo-threat on his way out: "Take care, and be careful." As Paula says, "You don't say that to people. That's not a normal thing to say." This show gets weirder and weirder.

Brent Keith Smith, 28. With his dimples and cuteness, he looks like a cross between Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey, so I'm really hoping he goes to Hollywood. He rocks it out with Bad Company's "Can't Get Enough," and Simon thinks it sounds ridiculous and "buskerish." But the other judges turn on Simon and give Brent a golden ticket. And I say, "Yes!"

Matt Giraud, 23. He's a dueling piano player from Kalamazoo, Michigan, which is a few hours south of me, so I'm pulling for him. He has a nice voice, which I think sounds like a male Fantasia, but Simon compares it to Elliot Yamin from Season 5. They let him through, but tell him to work on his confidence.

Ross Plavsic, 26. He's a pocket-protectin' nerd who tried to learn how to sing by using physics and math and science. Or something. Anyway, he sings a bizarre song by Jay and the Americans, but blames his lame performance on a scratchy throat. Paula offers him some water, so Ross comes over and drinks out of her straw, which freaks her out. Then he tries "Love Me Tender," but it's just not good, dude. Go back to the lab.

Alexis Grace, 20. She's a "huge fan of the show" who's been singing since she was two, had a baby at 19, and plans to marry the baby's dad. She sings Aretha Franklin's "Dr. Feelgood," and Simon isn't impressed. But the others put her through and tell her to work on her stage presence.

Aaron Williamson, 27. Ok, this guy is doing stimulants or something. His first mistake: saying he wants to be "America's Next Top Idol." Randy calls his audition a "primal scream," and his squalling prompts Ryan to come into the room with a "what the hell..." Aaron isn't quite so enthusiastic when the judges give him the big letdown, though.

Rebecca Garcia, 24. She comes in with a cheat-sheet on her arm, just in case she forgets the lyrics. But that's the least of her problems. She's so bad that Kara thinks the entire performance is a joke. Uh oh. Rebecca bursts into tears, and Kara tells Paula to hit her for being so mean. As she's leaving, Rebecca's mom tells her not to let them discourage her. Only a mother.

Leneshe Young, 18. OMG. This girl sounds just like Beyonce. Not only that, she sings a tune she wrote called "Natty," and it's fabulous. Simon loves it and eyes her like she's the next Leona Lewis. Randy says, "You're kinda what we need." Kara praises her for doing her own thing. And Paula tries to make a joke by saying "No," but it falls completely flat. Anyway, Leneshe's on her way to Hollywood, and I shed a tear over her tough life: grew up poor and homeless, in and out of shelters, but her mom is behind her 100%. Go, girl!

Next week: Jacksonville, Florida. I wonder what kind of hot messes we'll find there.

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Which of these Louisville hopefuls has the best shot at winning American Idol?
Joanna Pacitti46 (15.8%)
Brent Keith Smith23 (7.9%)
Matt Giraud22 (7.5%)
Leneshe Young201 (68.8%)

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