The season 9 premiere of Fox’s smash hit show American Idol went off with a bang on Tuesday.
The two hour show kicked off the auditions phase spotlighting all the best, and worst, Boston has to offer.
There was the usual mix of talent, delusion and mediocre karaoke singers, with Simon Cowell, who announced Monday this will be his last season, as sharp tongued and acerbic as ever.
Bringing some sweetness and sass to the judging panel was guest judge, Victoria Beckham, who brought to the table her wealth of musical knowledge garnered from her years with the platinum selling group the Spice Girls.
Joining Beckham and Cowell were the regular judging team of Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi along with host Ryan Seacrest.
The beginning of the show addressed the departure of Paula Abdul and the introduction of Ellen Degeneres but fans are going to have to wait till the Hollywood rounds episodes before they get to sample new judge Ellen.
With a crowd of 9,000 lined up to audition it seems that the show isn’t losing any of it’s popularity. Bean Town brought the usual mixed bag of performers.
Kicking off was Janet McNamara who confessed to playing the American Idol game regularly and getting a “really really bad” score. Starting off bouncing up and down to psych herself up for her audition Janet just didn’t have the talent to back up her obvious enthusiasm.
Bounding on stage Janet turned out a terrible, pitchy, totally off key performance, prompting Simon to ask, “Is this window open?” Not surprisingly Janet got a resounding no from all the judges.
Next up, with the voice of an angel, was cute 16-year-old school girl Maddy Curtis who shared that she has four brothers with down syndrome, before going on to perform Halleluiah by Leonard Cohen. Maddy got a yes from all the judges and Simon told her “I really enjoyed you singing for us.”
Next up wasn’t quite so pleasant to the ears. 17-year-old Pat Ford murdered a rendition of Britney Spears‘ Womanizer. Pat thought he did “awesome” but the judges didn’t agree. But it wasn’t all bad news he did get a hug from Kara!
It started looking out like it was girls’ night as the next two to get through to Hollywood were a jazzy Jennifer Hirsch and a bluesy Jess Wolfe, both got rave reviews from the judges, with Jennifer being told she was a “tiger” by Kara.
Balancing it out a bit for the boys though was 28-year-old Amado DiRocco who introduced us to his huge Italian family before confessing to the judges that his wife pushed him into auditioning. DiRocco belted out Muddy Waters Hoochi Coochi Man. Garnering rave reviews, Victoria said he had a “huge voice” and “passion”. Even Simon had nothing but good words before telling the larger than life Italian that he was going through to Hollywood.
The second most bizarre act of the night, after Womanizer Pat Ford, was Derek Hilton who warbled his way through Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word To Say. Derek said that he believed he sounded like a cross between The Eagles and Chris Brown. The judges didn’t agree though, with Simon Cowell telling Derek that he was “awful”.
Another awful performance was wacky Mere Doyle, who confessed to being obsessed with Japenese Animation, and said that she had been through “hundreds of auditions”. Doyle screamed out a Janis Joplin song before being told by Cowell that she was “verging on terrible”. Doyle didn’t agree though, fighting with the judges till the bitter end before exiting in tears.
Bringing back the talent and also a smile on Kara and Victoria’s faces were 24-year-old Luke Shaffer and 26-year-old Benjamin Bright, who both got through to Hollywood.
Next up was 26-year-old Andrew Fenlon who got off to a bad start by arguing with Simon Cowell. He then went on to murder House Of The Rising Sun. When Kara asked him if he was “angry” she ended up angry herself! Simon went on to tell Andrew that he had “bad energy”, and Victoria told him he didn’t have the “goods to back [his attitude up]”. Simon, ever contrary, went on to say he would of voted Andrew through and that he “grew on me”. But, fortunately Simon was outvoted and we won’t be seeing Andrew and his ‘tude in Hollywood anytime soon.
After another couple of terrible performances from the boys 21-year-old Ashley Rodriguez brought it home for Boston and the girls with an Alicia Keys cover. With Victoria and Kara saying Ashley was their “favorite” of the day and garnering rave reviews from Simon and Randy, another hopeful was sent through to Hollywood.
Then 21-year-old Tyler Grady, despite his two fractured wrists, really upped the ante in the talent stakes with his soulful rendition of Let’s Get It On. The girls gushed over his style and performance and even Simon said it was a performance he “would remember”.
17 more hopefuls were ushered through to Hollywood before we were introduced to Day two and the first contestant of the day, 24-year-old waitress, pretty brunette, Lisa Olivero who went on to destroy a cover of Mariah Carey‘s Vision Of Love. Even usually nice Randy told her she was a pretty girl but “no good”. Cowell said that it was the “craziest version of Mariah Carey I have ever heard”.
Day two displayed some of Boston’s wackiest before 18-year-old actor Mike Davis performed a beautiful version of The Beatles Yesterday, guaranteeing him a spot in Hollywood and praise from all all the judges apart from Randy, who said he didn’t think Mike’s voice was “all that”.
However Randy did think that Katie Stevens was “all that” and more! The pretty 16-year-old, who wanted to appear for her grandma who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, sang At Last and got rave reviews from all the judges and a spot in the next round.
Next up was cute 28-year-old Joshua Blaylock who was slammed by Simon who told him he had a nice voice but was “forgettable”. Simon then went on to concede that Joshua was very “likable” before telling him he was through to Hollywood.
Hunky 27-year-old Justin Williams shared his inspiring cancer survival story with us before going on to wow the judges with his rendition of Feeling Good and gaining a place in Hollywood.
Defintely not wowing anyone was 18-year-old Norberto Geurro who murdered a Cascada cover.
But next up was 22-year-old Bosa Mora who brought the talent back, although Simon accused him of being “boring” and “very, very dull”, prompting Victoria to get into an argument with Simon, accusing him of rolling his eyes. Victoria and Kara voted yes, Simon no and Randy yes, winning Mora a coveted place in Hollywood.
Finishing off the show with rave reviews all round was Leah Laurenzi who got a 100% yes.
Looks like it’s going to be an exciting new season if Boston is anything to go by!
The American Idol auditions will continue through January and into February, with Chicago (January 19th), Orlando (January 20th), Dallas (January 26th) and finally Los Angeles (January 27th) and Denver (February 2nd).
Following that there’s a wrap up show of the auditions on Wednesday, February 3rd. Then it’s into Hollywood week which will lead into the live shows, and then finally the American Idol fans will begin voting for their favorite singers of the season.