‘American Idol’ Auditions Episode 4: Nashville has heart

| January 27, 2011 at 9:25 PM EST

After Wednesday night’s boring two hours of “American Idol,” I was rejuvenated with Thursday’s emotional and energetic Nashville auditions. It was an hour shorter but had way more heart like the first two episodes (which I really enjoyed).

The quest to find the next great 15-year-old continued with a massive overly-pimped contestant (Lauren Alaina) in grand finale style. So my eyes did a lot of rolling then. But more on that below in my rundown.

THE GOOD

*The exes. At first, when I saw the gimmicky story of exes Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin I was like “Come on! Why are these two auditioning together? Ridiculous.” But then their story was told and they sang together and I was amazed. I was really impressed with both of them. And Judge Steven Tyler’s most wise thought of the night was directed to them. “The deepest passion comes from friction,” he said. Very well said, Steven. I liked these two a lot.

*Adrienne Beasley. Whatever Steven felt when she auditioned, I felt it, too. And I can’t explain it either. There’s definitely 100 percent talent there but there’s some sort of deep sadness I was picking up on. She definitely left me intrigued.

*Jackie Wilson. Her audition was fantastic and one of my favorites, but what really impressed me was her coming out of the audition and making out with the guy I thought was her dad. When I found out he was her boyfriend I laughed for at least five minutes. Hilarious.

*The Judges singing along to “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” It normally annoys me when the judges sing along. But that’s a great song and they all joined in and it was awesome.

*Lauren Alaina. Great voice. Good girl. But her sob story and the over pimping lands her also on the bad list.

THE BAD

*Lauren Alaina. Sure she’s a great singer. But she’s 15. And as I’ve said 100 times now, they’re clearly making sure our only option for 2011’s American Idol is a 15-year-old. It’s getting kind of annoying, honestly.

*Steven Tyler owning Randy Jackson. It’s great that Steven is worried about hurting feelings, but I think Randy’s a big enough boy to decide what to say to the horrible contestants. Besides, the show needs someone to be as honest as Simon Cowell was.

*Miss Teen USA 2009 Stormi Henley. Really? They let her through? I was with Jennifer Lopez on this one. If she’s not done reaching for the stars, she’s still eligible for Miss USA. Maybe she should stick to pageants.

All in all, it was a great episode and an decent “Idol” week. I’m 100 percent used to the new judges and I think Steven and JLo were great choices. What did you think?

See some of the standout auditions after the jump

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‘American Idol’ Season 10 Auditions, Episode 3: 15-year-olds take Milwaukee

| January 26, 2011 at 10:58 PM EST

It usually only takes about three “American Idol” audition episodes before I start going crazy wanting the real contest to start. This season is no different. I was actually entertained by the first two episodes but Wednesday night’s audition episode in Milwaukee almost put me to sleep. But then Judge Steven Tyler would scream sing and jolt me back awake.

So I was bored but who cares, right? Exactly. I’m just being whiny. There were plenty of good (and bad) things to talk about regardless of how I felt. So let’s get to it.

The good

*Scotty McCreery. This good ole boy really surprised me with his bassy voice. His type of music certainly isn’t my type of music, but it’s nice to see some country in there for a change. I guess.

*Jerome Bell. FINALLY. A standout. And a little birdie tells me he goes all the way to the Top 40. As he should. That’s not a spoiler. It’s a rumor. So believe it or not.

*Randy Jackson punches Miss America in the face. By Miss America, I mean Molly Swensen because obviously after she becomes the next American Idol, she’ll become Miss America. She’s already a Harvard grad and an intern at the White House. More on this one in “The Bad” section of his blog post.

*Scott Dangerfield. Jennifer Lopez’s favorite was also my favorite. He totally took me by surprise. He’s a geek, he’s funny and has a great attitude. And frankly, he’s a breath of fresh air. The odd thing is, he’s not showing up on anyone’s Hollywood list even though we saw him make it tonight. But since those “spoilers” are never 100 percent accurate I’ll assume the best. Go Scott!

The bad

*Steven Tyler singing along to auditions. No one has ever done this before. Sure Kara tried to sing better than contestants following auditions but never during. Stop it, Steven!

*The Justin Bieber connection. Why mention Bieber? WHY? OH wait. It’s because producers want to find the next Bieber this season. Good god, could they make it less obvious though? At one point, Ryan Seacrest said EVERY 15-year-old who auditioned got a golden ticket. Really? Wow. Sure, make a 15-year-old the next American Idol. They’ll just be even less relevant than Taylor Hicks in two years.

*Molly Swensen. Sure she’s a great singer and that’s what matters. But America will hate her. America is a jealous brood, folks. They’re going to think her cup is already full enough. If she makes it to the first phone vote, she’s out.

Update: Molly is getting a ton of Google searches. So maybe I’m wrong. What are your thoughts on her? I’d love to know!

*The “old” guys will never make it. OK, this is a weird one. There were some older guys who can really sing, but they’ll never go through because the show clearly wants a 15-year-old to win. So that’s bad. Tiwan Strong and Steve Beghun are both in their late 20s. And while they’re great singers, they’ll never make it. Sadly.

*Naima Adedap’s “sob” story. Did I really see what I just saw? Was her sob story really that she’s a janitor? Hmm. Let’s see. She’s not homeless. She’s not ill. I couldn’t believe my ears. She’s a janitor! So what! Good thing she can sing.

*Steven and Alyson Jados. That weird flirtation made me really uncomfortable. And while I’m usually a fan of the resident rocker, I hope she’s not our only option for that role.

And finally, in a category all his own is Chris Medina. At first I was annoyed with the big grand finale sob story bit. You’ll quickly learn I HATE American Idol sob stories. I was ready to hate this one, but to be honest, I was nearly left in tears. And on top of it all, he’s a great singer. He’s probably going all the way. Early call, sure. But he’ll be singing for your votes at least.

What were your thoughts? Have any favorites? Any annoyances?

See some of the standout auditions after the jump

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‘American Idol’ Season 10 Auditions Epsiode 2 recap: One of the best yet

| January 20, 2011 at 9:40 PM EST

Thursday night’s “American Idol” was one of the best audition episodes I’ve ever seen. I usually really really suffer during the audition process. I’ve never been a fan of the exploitation of bad singers and sob stories. But I’d suffer through until the real competition would begin.

But Thursday’s episode in New Orleans was actually really good. I thought it was a great episode and this season is really shaping up to have real heart and soul. Seriously, who would’ve thought?

Before I get into the good and bad rundown, I have to ask a question. Did anyone else notice that the new “American Idol” opening not only includes past winners but also Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert? I don’t know if I find that cool or offensive. There’s just something about it that bugs me. Maybe it’s like “Idol” is taking credit for their successes. I don’t know; it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

OK, on with the recap.

The good

*The episode was only an hour long. That means far less filler and “Idol” self-patting than Wednesday night. I’m very happy with that.

*Jennifer Lopez has already toughened up since last night. But who knows if they air these in the order they were filmed. Actually, the judges toughened up as a whole. They weren’t as easy and seemed to say “no” more.

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‘Top Chef All-Stars:’ In defense of Marcel

| January 20, 2011 at 12:12 AM EST

Wednesday’s episode of “Top Chef All-Stars” featured one of the most popular episodes each season: restaurant wars.

It also featured one of the most surprising early eliminations in the show’s history. Marcel Vigneron was sent packing tonight after his team failed miserably at restaurant wars. Marcel was the runner-up in Season 2 and is probably one of the most notorious contestants in the show’s history.

But I’m not here to bash Marcel. I’m here to defend him. He said it best as he was exiting. “I’m also the most misunderstood.” I’ve said that about him since his season. Sure Marcel is cocky and a little arrogant. But that’s what happens when someone who is bullied most of their lives finds something they’re good at. They finally gain some confidence and overcompensate for the bullying.

How do I know Marcel was bullied? It’s clear. I know what kind of people are bullied and he’s always the first to be bullied when he’s on any episode of “Top Chef.” He was assaulted in a California nightclub by a “Top Chef” viewer. He was bullied by Ilan Hall in Season 2 and he was bullied by Mike Isabella this season. Someone will always bully him because he’s a small guy and seemingly different than most of his peers. And that’s bogus.

Marcel surely has a strong personality and blurs the line between confidence and cockiness. But you can tell he’s truly a good guy. He’s just always surrounded by one or more people who bring out the worst in him.

And further, he’s no more cocky than any of the other male chefs. Angelo knows how to show class, but he clearly sabotages other contestants. And Richard Blaze practically pouts every time he doesn’t win. And Dale and Mike Isabella are plain a**holes. Chefs are jerks. On top of all that talent and delicious food, is a pile of a**hole. So stop picking on Marcel because you think he’s smaller than you.

I think “Top Chef” has been bad for Marcel and I hope he never gives the show the time of day again.

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‘American Idol’ Season 10 premiere recap: Lopez, Tyler pull it off

| January 19, 2011 at 10:54 PM EST

A new opening. Two new judges. Fewer wretched singers. “American Idol” Season 10 premiered and, if I’m being honest, it didn’t feel much different to me.

I barely noticed Simon Cowell or Ellen DeGeneres were gone. And to be even more honest, I JUST now (no joke) remembered Kara DioGuardi was ever even a judge. I think viewers will be just fine with Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler as judges.

The good

*As I mentioned, I barely noticed anyone was gone. The judges have never really mattered to me. I think the show (despite how tired it should be) will be fine without Cowell and the others.

*Speaking of the judges, I actually believe all three are finally qualified to be judging. I never really believed that before.

*There were fewer bad singers. I know that’s a popular part of the audition episodes, but normally it’s just bad singer after bad singer with only a few good ones thrown in. The premiere gave us a good mixture of good and bad.

*Robbie Rosen. He was the No. 1 standout singer from Wednesday’s episode. His version of “Yesterday” was pretty good. I look forward to seeing him during Hollywood week. Hopefully “Idol” won’t run his sob story in the ground.

The bad

*The new opening. The music barely changed and that’s always been the worst part. They should’ve done more. And the graphics. Wow. Take the drugs away from that intern and tell him to start over.

*It took forever for the show to even get started. “Idol” spent more than 10 minutes patting itself on the back. We don’t need the sensational footage of hunting for judges and we don’t care about statistics. When “Idol” pats itself like that I often feel dirty … like I need a shower.

*Steven Tyler needs to shut up a little bit. We don’t need to hear him singing every five minutes.

*Randy Jackson is kind of out of his league as far as popularity goes. Everyone is excited to see Jennifer and Steven and I think Randy’s jealousy is already showing. Tuck that stuff in, Dawg.

*Even though I think the judges know what they’re talking about, I think their newness showed as they let a couple people through who probably shouldn’t have made it. Hopefully they”ll toughen up soon.

So what were your thoughts? There’s never a lot to discuss during the audition process, but please share with us below. How did Jennifer and Steven do? Did you miss Simon?

Update: If you missed Robbie Rosen’s audition or if you want to see it again, hit the jump:

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