The February 10th “American Idol” show cut the 72-member Hollywood field to a mere 36 contestants on Tuesday night at the Kodak Theater. The contestants were allowed to use instruments, if they wished, and then, working from Polaroid snapshots of the contestants, the judges axed half the group.
The standouts for me, this night, were, again, Adam Lambert, the 28-year-old stage actor with the jet-black hair who already has experience in Broadway plays. (#1877) He took on a Cher song that we normally associate with the disco-backtrack (“Believe”) and made it his own.
It was also a treat to hear Matt Giraud play keyboards while singing a very Ray Charles-like version of “Georgia.” The Kalamazoo, Michigan native, who has been playing in piano bars for a while, rocked the Yamaha and impressed the judges.
Jamar Rogers (age 26, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) sang “Delilah” and Danny Gokey, the widower, who is also from Milwaukee, did well with the C&W-influenced lyric “I Hope You Dance,” (one of many who sang this very popular song this night). Anoop Desai of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who sang “My Prerogative” (Bobby Brown), did well, and Jorge Nunez of Puerto Rico seemed in good form, also.
Scott McIntyre of Scottsdale, Arizona (age 23) sang “I’m Goin’ Home,” a Chris Daughtry original and was followed by Kendall Beard of Austin, Texas, (age 23) who put on cowboy boots for the occasion. Stevie Wright of Phelan, California, seemed to hold her own, especially considering that she is only 16 years old. Lil Rounds of Memphis, Tennessee, the mother of three, belted out her audition impressively showing that she will be a strong contender, followed by Kristin McNamara of Napa Valley, California, MishaVonna Hensen of San Diego and the always-dramatic Tatiana Del Toro (age 23) of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Other names making an appearance: Alexis Grace of Memphis, Kenny Hoffpauer of Pennsylvania, Jasmine Murray of Slouksville, Missouri, Joanne Pacitti.
Stephen Fowler of Beachwood, Ohio, a talented African-American keyboard player and singer, stayed up all night practicing. It turned out not to have been a good idea, as he kept forgetting the lyrics and asking to start over. Casey Carlson of Minneapolis, Minnesota also had some difficulties with her song.
The over-the-top stylings of Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle, who reminded of Richard Simmons, did not put him over the top. Others who trekked across the stage were Anne Marie Boskovich of Nashville, a 22-year-old waitress/nanny (who sang the same song as Danny Gokey of Milwaukee), Junot Joyner, the 22-year-old from Bowie, Maryland, and, of course, Tatiana the Drama Queen.
Laneshe Young from Cincinnati, Ohio, who told audiences of the extreme poverty of her family when she was young, did not prevail this night. She went home in tears, vowing to come back next year. Kai Kalama of San Clemente, California had almost no voice left after the many grueling days of little or no sleep. Michael Sarver, the 27-year-old oil rig roughneck from Jasper, Texas, continued to impress.
Nathaniel Marshall, the neurotic ninny who couldn’t keep the girls in his group in line during group auditions, seemed headed for elimination, , surprisingly, survived. India Morrison, age 22 of Kansas City, Missouri, a college student who had formed the center of the White Chocolate group binding it together as the soul of the quartet on group night, did not do as well on her own.
The contestants were sent to 4 rooms. Three of the rooms were put through. Stay tuned for more drama on the next “American Idol.” Tatiana and Bikini Girl can now sun bathe together…maybe in Puerto Rico?