Reviewcap: American Idol - Los Angeles Auditions

by Kona Gallagher, posted Jan 26th 2010 11:15PM
american idol avril lavigne
(S09E05) 11,000 people showed up for the Los Angeles auditions, which actually seems like kind of a low number to me. Maybe they heard the guest judge was going to be Avril Lavigne and said, "eh, maybe I'll skip this one. There's always season 10!" Okay, that's not nice. I'm sure Lavigne is a perfectly lovely lady. But who really cares? All that matters is whether or not she's a good judge.

...Except for the fact that she's a 25-year-old divorced woman who is wearing a hoodie with devil horns sewn into it. Not only that, but she insists on wearing the hood with devil horns sewn into it up on her head, while inside a building, so she can show off said devil horns, while she is evaluating people who are singing their hearts out to her. Because, God forbid she let anyone's hopes and dreams, or you know, professionalism, take precedence over her pseudo-punk lifestyle. Dear Avril, you are no longer 15; please dress and act accordingly. *Deep breath* Okay, that's better. Now on with the show.

Auditions Day 1

Neil Goldstein
is the first auditioner we see, and he gets a fairly long little segment. He has an IQ of 168, and is just generally quirky in a typical nerdy high-school way. He comes into the audition already sweating, which is troublesome, and he's singing Meatloaf's "Rock and Roll Dreams Come True." The way they're setting this up, you fully expect him to be horrible and for it to be a major "no." Unfortunately, he's actually decent. He needs some serious vocal training, but he clearly has natural talent. I say, "unfortunately," because the poor guy can't remember his lines, and he's basically a mess. Avril Lavigne isn't exactly scoring any points with me by just openly laughing at the guy, either. Neil, however, also stops scoring points with me when he gets confrontational and refuses to leave.

It's all about the stories today, as we get another one about "worship pastor," Jim Ranger. He's singing an original song he wrote called, "Drive," which generally is a terrible thing to do in the judges' room. However, if you do get to the point where you're reasonably sure your audition is going to be shown on TV, then why not? Even if the judges hate it, at least you get your original song out in front of a huge audience. I'm not in love with the song, but I like the way he sings. The judges all seem to agree, but Avril blah blahs about him not being able to be a singer because he's married with kids, and she says "no." Luckily, the judges ignore her and vote him through to Hollywood.
Next, we have a montage of bad auditions: Jayson Wilson, Jesse Chang, and Martin Perez do not get through.

Damien Lefavor apparently makes sandwiches and is obsessed with Martial Arts. He also can't remember the name of the Righteous Brothers song that he's going to be singing, which isn't a very good start. For the record, it's "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin.'" His audition does not go well. He kind of sounds like he's trying to poop throughout the entire thing, but when he hits a particularly frightening note, he at least knows that he's screwed up. He leaves without a fight.

Mary Powers has an 8-year-old daughter who has wanted to meet Simon her whole life because "he's the only negativity one." Let's see how she feels about him after he gets through with her mother. Mary is singing a Pat Benatar song. It's very different, and it takes me a while to realize that it's "Love is a Battlefield." I like it, but she could definitely stand a few sessions with the Idol voice coaches. But what's important to me here is how Simon illustrates why I love him here: he tells Mary that she has a nice voice, but that everything about her is cliche (which is so true), and he does it all while sitting next to Avril Lavigne. She gets through with a unanimous "yes."

A.J. Mendoza has apparently given a demo to Adam Lambert, who had nothing but nice things to say about his voice. He's singing "Cult of Personality," and it does not start off well at all. Unfortunately for A.J., it doesn't get better, but it does illustrate something interesting about Adam Lambert: he walked the line between talented and just crazy very well all through last season. If the wind blew him just so, he could have easily fallen over to the crazy side, and that would have made him A.J. Mendoza. It's a unanimous "no" for A.J.

Auditions Day 2:

Our long national Avril Lavigne nightmare is over, but is a new one about to begin with Katy Perry?

Austin Fullmer is our first auditioner on Day 2, and he's wearing mostly plastic. He's singing "Surrender," by Cheap Trick. He is someone I would really enjoy having with me at Karaoke, but that's about it. He starts to freak Simon out, so it's a unanimous "no."

Next, we get a montage of people crying after getting rejected. I fail to see the entertainment value in this. However, there is an odd moment in which we see that Sanjaya's crying girl has apparently tried out and not made it through.

Andrew Garcia has a very cute kid. He grew up in Compton and his parents were involved in gangs. He's clearly trying to make a better life for himself and his family, but it always makes me nervous when people try to go about doing that on something like American Idol. It's kind of like basing your retirement plan on winning the lottery. He sings "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5, and is pretty great. Simon is downright effusive in his praise for Andrew, which is pretty much the best sign the guy can get. He gets a unanimous "yes."

Tasha Layton is a personal assistant/ minister, which is an interesting combination. She's singing "Baby Baby" by Joss Stone, and she has a really nice, bluesy voice. She gets a unanimous "yes."

Jason Greene
is kind of intense and terrifying. He also believes in magic. He's also singing "I Touch Myself," by The Divinyls. He'd be another fun Karaoke buddy, but again, that's about it. He even makes Katy Perry feel dirty, so he gets a unanimous "no." At the end of it, he gives his number to Seacrest who replies, "as much as you may believe what you read..." and gives the number to another dude. Seacrest FTW.

Are we really going to end the show with a guy talking about how he grew up in the foster system? Do they really want all of my mommy hormones to flood out and make me cry myself to death? Chris Golightly further tugs my heartstrings by singing "Stand By Me," and does it beautifully. He gets a unanimous "yes," even though two of them are "small y's."

In the end, 24 people get golden tickets, which seems like a slightly better average than we've been getting in previous cities. Katy Perry was an interesting judge, who managed to be direct and honest without being bitchy, and I appreciated that. Avril Lavigne, on the other hand... well, I think I've said enough.

Who was the best of the Los Angeles contestants?
Jim Ranger5 (3.8%)
Mary Powers14 (10.8%)
Andrew Garcia69 (53.1%)
Tasha Layton17 (13.1%)
Chris Golightly25 (19.2%)

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