After 18 contestants made it to Hollywood on Day 1 in Orlando, hopes were high for more talent on the second day. Unfortunately, Kristin Chenoweth, guest judge extrodinaire, was called back to New York, so only Kara, Simon, and Randy were left to judge the Idol hopefuls. Oh, remember the days when there were just three judges? Those were the good times…
Echoing the day before, the first audition seen was incredibly unique. It was that of Jay Stone, who beatboxed impressively through “Come Together.” This guy had an amazing talent for beat boxing, probably better even than Season 6’s Blake Lewis (Randy couldn’t remember poor Blake’s name, even though he came in second that year!), but you couldn’t get a sense of whether or not he could actually sing. When he finished, the judges laughed at him good naturedly, and Simon joked that he was all wet, covered in spit. Kara absolutely wanted to let Jay through to Hollywood, insisting that he was “hilarious.” I’m pretty sure that he wasn’t going for that. He got to sing a little bit of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and his voice had a nice, smokey tone to it. Unfortunately, the judges beat boxed right over him, even though Jay was trying to prove that he belonged in the competition. The judges always get incensed when people are disrespectful to them, but this seemed the ultimate disrespect, as they barely listened to the poor guy. He took it all very well, though, and never complained or whined. In the end, Kara was able to convince Randy to change his “no” vote to a yes. Thank goodness! Let’s hope that Jay, who really does bring something a little different to the table, gets to hang in through at least a few rounds of Hollywood.
After a quick medley of three girls who all receive Golden Tickets, we were introduced to Cornelius Edwards, who said he was taught to dance by his friends who are “adult entertainers.” He announced that he was going to sing “Rollin'” by Tina Turner and proceeded to light into a rendition of “Proud Mary.” In the middle of his performance, he did a huge split and immediately stopped singing. With an amazingly large smile plastered across his face, he proudly told the judges, “My pants just ripped.” The judges roared with laughter, and Kara told him, “That’s the best thing I’ve ever seen.” Because of this ridiculousness, he unanimously got a chance to continue his Idol journey, though I don’t think we’ll be seeing him for much longer.
Our next two contestants were sisters from New Jersey, unfortunate stereotypes if ever there were any, with big hair, short dresses and shorts, and fake tans. Bernadette Desimone, the older of the two, sang “Hit the Road Jack” and was a bit underwhelming. Amanda belted out “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” in what I thought was the better of the two performances, and Bernadette watched and danced overenthusiastically from the side. The judges all seemed to prefer Bernadette (they never like it when someone tries to sing Whitney, especially that song for some reason), but Kara and Randy didn’t want to split the two devoted girls up. They were cute and perky, but they’ll most likely become obnoxious within the next time or two of being seen.
Day 2’s resident crazy was found in Jarrod Norell, a 28 year old from Marietta, GA. He honked “Amazing Grace” right through his nose, and Kara informed him that he sounded like a lawn mower. Like so many before him, Jarrod refused to leave when dismissed and launched right back into his singing. He had to be escorted away by security. When they took him through the door, some minor bumps could be heard, and the next thing we saw was Jarrod being led away in handcuffs. I’m not sure exactly what he did that was that bad. Maybe such attrocious singing has finally been deemed a crime.
The last audition of the night was Matthew Lawrence, 25, of FL. Matthew is also a Sob Story, using American Idol to redeem himself in the eyes of his parents. As a stupid high schooler, he ran away from home and then robbed a bank with a beebee gun, after which he spent “four birthdays in jail.” He sang through the song “Trouble” with a gritty, smokey voice, and he reminded me of Shelby from the night before in terms of being raw talent. The judges really doted on him, Simon telling him that his yes was the “easiest yes I’ve said today.” I wasn’t quite as in love with him as the judges, but maybe they saw something that was edited out, or maybe he’s more charming in person.
All in all, 31 contestants from Orlando will be seen again in Hollywood. A much better showing than the previous night’s Chicago auditions!