Recap: 'American Idol' - Orlando Auditions
8:01 p.m. Raise your hands if you needed to know about the "Idol" judges partying in Miami? This is one of those situations where I either need to know less, or I need to know more. Either show Ryan Seacrest hung over and puking after a late night at the club, or don't bother mentioning it.
8:02 p.m. Tonight's guest judge is Kristin Chenoweth, who ought to be better than the past couple guest judges, right? And does one episode really count as a "stint" on "Glee," Ryan Seacrest?
8:03 p.m. The night's first contestant is Theo Glinton, he of the bedazzled face, disturbingly tight jeans and cape. He really wants to open a salon, so this must be the right venue for that dream to come true. His take on Pat Benatar isn't really so dreadful. It's very shout-y, but we've had more ridiculous auditions. He gets four "No" votes and is told he's too over-the-top. Wait. Are these the same judges who put Nick Mitchell through to the Top 36 last season? Theo exits and, with the help of "Mr. Seacrest," removes the glitter and sequins from his face.
8:11 p.m. Kara and Kristin are best friends. Also best friends? Kara and her new stylist. I mean, why is she even bothering to wear a shirt tonight? Her cleavage could be the fifth guest judge. This is not the Kara DioGuardi who judged last season. This judge would look hypocritical mocking a hypothetical Bikini Girl.
8:13 p.m. After a rough patch, we get Seth Rollins, who has an autistic son. He wants to fix things, but he can't. We know he wants to fix things, because he tells us he wants to fix things and also because they're playing "Fix You" on the soundtrack. "American Idol" is pretty subtle. Oy. Seth enters the room, leaving his son crying out in the hallway. Seth sings "Someone to Watch Over Me" and, thankfully, he's good. Kara and her Kleavage (they're a new girl group) are impressed. Somewhere a foot lower, Kristin is also impressed with his voice and everything about him. Kara wants to hear more of him. Simon likes that Seth knows who he is. Randy wants a little more energy. Seth runs out, carrying his son. Then he walks by a lake holding his son's hand. Readers, are you feeling manipulated or are you crying yourself? Or both?
8:21 p.m. "When You Wish Upon A Star" montage! Everybody looks like they just stepped out of a theme park costume. We see at least three or four hypothetical Cinderellas (Cinderellae?) and two or three Prince Charmings (Princes Charming).
8:23 p.m. We're told that Jermaine Purifoy auditioned last year and didn't make it through. Why didn't he make it through? We're only told that he wasn't ready, but why not? He has a great voice. Kristin raves about the seamlessness of his voice. Randy was blown away and calls it the best audition of the season. Kara's hanging on every word. He gets four "Yes" votes. Is he any relation to Season Three contestant Tiara Purifoy?
8:25 p.m. Another heart-tugger. This one is a 18-year-old Shelby Dressel, who can't move the right side of her face due to a neurological condition she's had since birth.. Ryan, ever the softie, tells her that he can't even tell. On IM, a friend describes her as "a hot female Two-Face." I can't top that. She turns out to surprisingly soulful. And the funny thing is that when she sings, you don't notice her problem at all. We've seen singers with far stranger affectations that she can't control. She messes up the lyrics and swears at the end, breaking the ice with the judges. Kristin sees her potential. Simon agrees. It's four "Yes" votes.
8:28 p.m. There were 18 Golden Tickets given out in *Day One* in Orlando. Compare that to the totality of the Chicago auditions. I'm already wondering why the producers didn't make Orlando one of the extended early-season episodes.
8:33 p.m. Kristin's called back to New York, leaving the panel guest-less. The day's first contestant is Jay Stone, who seems to think he's 2010's version of Blake Lewis, beat-boxing his way through "Come Together." It's actually more creative vocal turntablism than anything Blake every did. Simon, naturally, looks flummoxed, observing that he's "actually soaking wet." Randy challenges Jay to actually sing and he launches into a version of "Ain't No Sunshine," accompanied by dreadful beatboxing from Kara and Randy. Simon votes "No." Kara votes "Yes." Jay insists that he's new, different and not at all like Blake Lewis. It's all up to Randy, which can only mean one thing... Jay's through to Hollywood.
8:37 p.m. Janell Wheeler, Brittany Starr James, Kasi Bedford all get Golden Tickets without the benefit of heart-tugging clip packages.
8:38 p.m. Cornelius Edwards has friends who are strippers and they taught him some moves. He's not awful until he jumps into a flying split, tearing his pants open and possibly doing even more damage to other parts of his anatomy. For his troubles, he gets sent to Hollywood. That's... um... a bit ridiculous. If nothing else, though, we get the amusing spectacle of Ryan bringing one of the producers, a Megan, on-camera for some reason.
8:41 p.m. Amanda and Bernadette DiSimone are sisters and Jersey Girls. Their life is a performance. And I'm guessing that they've probably made out with each other for money at a bar. Bernadete, the cute blonde sister, sings first and does a spirited version of "Hit the Road Jack." Less cute brunette Amanda sings next and does a shout-y version of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." Randy prefers Bernadette. Kara thinks they could bring "something" to Hollywood Week. By "something" I think she means "a high chance of getting drunk and making out." Randy gives them a double-yes. Kara gives them a double-yes. Simon says he'd only have sent Bernadette through, but his vote doesn't matter anymore.
8:48 p.m. Jarrod Norrell is instantly disturbing. If he does something inappropriate, the producers have only themselves to blame. He destroys "Amazing Grace," which hand gestures suggesting he's directing traffic, probably to hell. Kara's appropriate response? "Oh, good Lord," comparing him to a lawnmower. Jarrod wants another chance, announcing that he's tripping. Security is called in, our second security intervention of the season. Jarrod gets cuffed and everything, as the "Idol" cameras stare on voyeuristically.
8:51 p.m. After a couple minutes, Simon looks up and says, "Yes or no?" See, it's funny until Jarrod comes back with a gun and the "Idol" producers are confused by what would ever cause a lunatic to behave in that manner. Sigh. Up after the break? A former jailbird.
8:55 p.m. Orlando has been "The City of Hope." Matt Lawrence's hope is for redemption. Matt robbed a bank with a BB gun when he was 15. He spent four birthdays behind bars. Oh come on. Surely that was just juvie, right? It's not like he's Al Capone or Simon Adebisi. Appropriately Matt chooses to sing "Trouble." He's got pretty great tone. Simon calls him "brilliant" and says it was so believable that Matt almost could have written the song. Kara completely agrees with Simon. It's off to Hollywood for Matt, who Kara predicts will make the Top 12. I hope this doesn't violate the terms of his parole.
8:59 p.m. There were 31 Golden Tickets from Orlando, many of them given to really attractive people we should have seen more of.
9:00 p.m. It's been fun. Now it's time for me to figure out my Sundance screening schedule...
Who'd you like from Orlando? There were some good singers, but who feels like a potential winner to you?