Finally, the audition episodes are over and it's time for the fun to begin. I've said it every year (numerous times) but I'll say it again. Get rid of at least one week of auditions and expand the Hollywood round so we can see more of the group performances and the final auditions. Those are what separate the true contenders from the rest of them. And, there are plenty of horrible performances during both to compensate for losing the chance to see pants on the ground one more time.
I'm going to go a little out of order here. I made one firm prediction in four audition posts and not only did I completely blow it, but I called Tasha Layton Tricia while I was insisting that she'd be gone by the first cut. Oops.
They showed Satan uttering this line at the beginning of Tuesday's episode, but we didn't get to see to whom she said it until the very end of Wednesday night. To Katie Stevens: "You could be the potential winner." Possibly you could maybe be the probable winner. Thanks, Kara.
Let me get a couple of these out of my system right now. We found out at the end of the show on Wednesday that Angela Martin made it through to the final audition, but where was any mention of her before that? Here's a girl that is back for the third time -- the first time her dad died a week before Hollywood, this time her mother went missing right after the Hollywood round. How is she less compelling than the hard-luck bank robber?
Also, where was Tyler Grady? We saw a glimpse of him on Tuesday and then a really quick shot of him walking up the aisle after his group performance on Wednesday. In case you don't remember him, he was the guy in Boston that had broken both his arms falling out of a tree. They made a James Morrison comparison when they sent him through. It would have been nice to have heard him sing once this week.
Even though I knew Vanessa Wolfe (the poor girl from Vonore, TN) and Dave Pittman (Tourette's Syndrome) weren't going to last long, I was a little disappointed to see them both go home. But what about Shelby Dressel (the girl with the nerve damage so she couldn't smile right)? Why didn't we see or hear anything about her?
Meanwhile, they kept pushing control freak Mary Powers on us. What do they think is going to happen with her? She's Amanda Overmeyer, Kimberly Caldwell, Ryan Starr. She's not Allison Iraheta or Carly Smithson.
The whole Michael Lynche / wife having a baby thing played fake to me. I'm sure I'm wrong here, but the whole thing seemed like they pretended she had the baby while he was in Hollywood. He never seemed as nervous or anxious as I think someone in his situation would be. Again, I'm probably just being cynical, but base on the other stunts they've pulled over the years, who can blame me?
The audition editors dropped the ball on Lily Scott, who auditioned in Denver. She sang something by Ella Fitzgerald in Tuesday night's episode and she was awesome, but we never saw her at all during the Denver episode.
The group drama of Neapolitan allegedly stealing Destiny Wild's idea to sing a capella reminded me of when Diana Ross went out and bought the same dresses the Vandellas were wearing for a concert when The Supremes opened for them. But Destiny's Wild sounded way better (than Neapolitan, not The Supremes). In fact, I thought Ellen's comments to them -- that they were weird -- were odd.
Speaking of Ellen, so far she seems to fit right in. I thought she had the right mix of jokes and serious comments. More importantly, the editors didn't feel compelled to insert her into every minute of the episodes. I think if she continues along this path, the judges will be less intrusive this year (or at least I hope).
The Phoenix group was strange. First that chick quits right before they go on (I don't even know her name). Then, Moorea Masa (who had made it to group night last year as well) committed the cardinal sin of telling Simon she wouldn't be upset if she got cut "after all they'd been through." For the love of Mike girl, you never tell Simon you don't care. She might as well have left with the girl that quit.
I really liked the first group that they showed -- Faith. Michelle Delamor, Charity Vance and Ashley Rodriguez (they sang Irreplaceable) all have a better than average chance of making the final 24.
What was with all those groups trying to do The Sweet Escape. I'm not going to believe they actually thought they could do that lyric under all that pressure. Idiots.
I'm not going to try to predict everyone that will get through to the semi-finals, but here are some of the people I think are the top contenders:
- Katie Stevens -- I hate to agree with Kara, but she's really good. However, no 16 year old has ever won before, so she'll have her work cut out for her.
- Haeley Vaughn -- I'm not sure I'm as big on her as they are, but they really seem to like her. She'll have to really mess up her last audition to not make it.
- Didi Benami -- She came from the LA auditions. On Tuesday, she sang Terrified (which Kara wrote) and sounded phenomenal. Plus, she's really likeable.
- Tyler Grady -- See above.
- Michael Lynche -- Fake baby labor not withstanding, he has had a really good showing in Hollywood.
- Casey James -- Once he got the guitar in his hand, he became a lot less boring. Plus, don't they need someone that Simon thinks shouldn't be there?
- Janell Wheeler -- We didn't get any back story about her at her audition, but she sounded great with Casey and Jermaine Purifory in their group performance.
- Jermaine Purifory -- He's here for the second time. He'll probably make it this time.
- Andrew Garcia -- He's the guy whose parents were in the gang. The boy can sing. It didn't hurt that Katie Stevens was in his group.