AMERICAN IDOL AUDITIONS- SAN DIEGO & ASPEN
By Mike Bonnie
The American Idol road show landed in San Diego (literally, on the USS Midway) and Aspen for the next two rounds of auditions. Here's my recap of who snagged a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
In San Diego, we were in for a real surprise. The auditions were held on the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Midway. While the scenery and atmosphere were just perfect, the noise level from the nearby airport and boats in the harbor turned out to be a real auditioning challenge. The judges did a good job of dealing with the distraction and there were actually some very funny scenes that might have made the show even more entertaining.
Jennifer Dilley a beautiful 19-year old girl from Columbus, Ohio was the first audition of the day. While Jennifer had plenty of talent, none of it had anything to do with her voice. Wearing a striped halter bikini top and the smallest pair of shorts I have ever seen, she sings one of the worst versions of Jessica Simpson’s “With You”, that I have ever heard. In an attempt to delay the inevitable, she begs the judges to allow her to sing another song (Mariah Carey’s “Hero”), but good looks and a great body will only take you so far and her trip thankfully ends in San Diego.
Ashley Robles a local girl from San Diego with a five year old daughter, sang an impressive version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” She is a beautiful girl, with a great smile and a voice to match. The judges were all impressed and she received a unanimous yes vote. Travel wise her trip to Hollywood will be a short one, but with her voice she has the potential to stay there for a while.
Jayrah Gibson a 26-year old R&B singer and writer from Long Beach, California, tells the judges that he was told to stick to writing songs for other artists because he can’t sing. He tells them that his one goal in life is to succeed in music and there is no “B Plan”. No pressure there!!! Jayrah performed an interesting song written specifically for J. Lo, titled, “Shake Your Moneymaker.” Wow, how cool is that. He then sings Musiq Soul Child’s, “Just Friends.” Randy and Steven really liked him but Lopez appeared to be on the fence. She said “she was looking forward to hearing him sing more melodic songs.” Hey who knows, maybe the “Shake the Moneymaker” song embarrassed her. Either way, he received a unanimous vote from the judges and he was off to Hollywood.
Aubrey Dieckmeyer a 20-year old from San Clemente, California sang what I thought was an uninspired version of Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good”. The judges liked her a lot more than I did. I listened to her audition multiple times but I just didn’t hear the same things that they did and wasn’t “Feeling Good” about her. Since the judges gave her a unanimous vote she will have a chance to prove me wrong in Hollywood.
Day 2 of the San Diego auditions starts with another memorable quote from Steven Tyler. Tyler announces, “I can’t wait for 40 people to sing the same Adele song for the next six bleeping hours!” Fortunately, as producers continue to focus on the talent we never hear one audition that features a poorly sung Adele song. First up is Kyle Crews.
Kyle Crews, a 19-year-old college student from San Diego was my favorite San Diego audition. He sang a terrific version of Monica’s “Angel of Mine.” This is a kid with a great voice, a lot of personality and a terrible wardrobe. Both Tyler and Jackson made fun of his plaid shirt, but both loved his voice. Tyler said “that his audition was the best male vocal that the judges had heard all day.” Jackson agreed saying, “You sound nothing like you look.” In a unanimous vote, Kyle was off to Hollywood. While I don’t want to get too excited yet, with his voice all he needs is a good haircut and a new wardrobe and he could be a “Top 10”, contestant.
Jane Carrey is a 24-year old waitress and mother whose father just happens to be comedian/actor Jim Carrey. When she smiled, which she did often, there was an amazing resemblance. Jane has a great personality and seemed like the regular girl next door, rather than a privileged daughter of a Hollywood star. She proceeded to sing a slightly better than average performance of Bonnie Raitt’s, “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About.” The judges liked her and gave her some constructive feedback before giving her a unanimous vote and a “Golden Ticket” to Hollywood. After the audition she calls her father to give him the good news and playing the part of a proud father he announces “it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Jason Hamlin, a 24-year old bear of a man from Livermore, California otherwise known as “Wolf” gave a memorable audition. Jason a golf course equipment mechanic, with a greased back, fifties Elvis style haircut, sang a good version of Credence Clearwater Revival’s, “Midnight Special”. The judges appear to like it but ask for another song before they make their final decision. Wolf asks the judges if he can play his “Guit-Fiddle”, a handmade guitar that his father made for him before he died. Even though you aren’t allowed to play an instrument in this phase of the auditions, the judges agree. Wolf proceeds to howl out (yes, he howls too) a smoking version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison.” His howling performance seals the deal and in a unanimous vote, “Jason the Wolf Man Hamlin”, is off to terrorize Hollywood. I don’t know if he can win but with his personality and style he will certainly entertain.
The San Diego auditions garner 53 “Golden Tickets” and now it is on to Aspen, Colorado. First up in Aspen was Jenni Schick.
Jenni Schick a 24-year old music teacher from Sterling, Virginia who describes herself “as having too much energy” left a big impression on the judges. She sang an interesting version of Pat Benatar’s, "Heartbreaker.” I really liked her personality and her voice and so did the judges. Prior to auditioning, Jenni let it be known that she had a deal with her boyfriend that enabled her to kiss certain celebrities without it being cheating and guess who was on that list? You got it, Steven Tyler. So after receiving a unanimous vote from the judges she got a juicy kiss from Steven Tyler. Now that is leaving an impression!!!
Haley Smith an 18-year old flower child from Orem, Utah has three jobs and loves nature. Did I mention that she lives in a log cabin. She put her own spin on Rufus and Chaka Khan’s, “Tell Me Something Good” and I really enjoyed her performance. She has a 70’s hippy vibe and Steven Tyler appeared to get emotional as he listened to her sing and when she finished told her, “I'm honored to be here listening to your voice.” In a unanimous vote the judges sent her to Hollywood.
Angie Zeiderman is a 25-year-old waitress from Delray Beach, Florida who loves Lady Gaga and was the weirdest audition of the day. Angie did an over the top performance of "When You Got It, Flaunt It" from the Broadway play “The Producers.” Randy Jackson was immediately turned off and was ready to send her packing, but Jennifer Lopez liked her and insisted she do another song to prove Rangy wrong. She proceeded to sing an interesting version of, “Blue Bayou”, and before you knew it she had won over the hearts of all 3 judges and was on her way to Hollywood.
Shelby Tweten is a 17-year-old girl from North Mankato, Minnesota who suffers from bipolar disorder and has been dealing with depression issues since the 4th grade. She told the judges “that she wanted to show people that bipolar doesn't define who you are”. I was rooting for her as soon as she walked in the door and she didn’t disappoint. She sang a beautiful version of Carrie Underwood's, "Temporary Home”. In a unanimous vote she earned a “Golden Ticket” to Hollywood. She has a strong voice and if she can hold up to the stress of the competition could go far. She certainly has my support.
Jairon Jackson a 19-year old singer and song writer from Denver, Colorado sang an original song titled “So Hard”. It was a risky move that paid off with an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood. Jairon has a terrific voice and his personality was evident throughout the audition. He definitely has some potential and will be worth watching when the show moves to Hollywood.
The Aspen auditions result in 31 “Golden Tickets.” I don’t know about you, but after 4 audition shows covering 5 hours I have just about had it. Well, hopefully the Galveston, Texas auditions will revive me, but I’m not counting on it. I'm ready for the competition!