S11E3: In a special post-NFL-Playoffs episode of American Idol the judges take the show to San Diego and what San Diego-themed episode would be complete without copious references to Top Gun? We open with the theme to the classic movie and continue with the soundtrack of “Highway to The Danger Zone” as the auditions commence on the U.S.S. Midway, a classic Navy ship that sits on the San Diego Bay as a floating museum. It’s also the place where my little brother went to prom, so excuse me if I get a little protective over my hometown in this recap. Some of these folks give Southern California natives a bad name.
And while I’m finding reasons to be protective of my hometown, the episode didn’t give us too many embarrassing moments. Most of the contestants they showed were decent singers – could they be making good on that positivity promise this year? In the end, 53 people got golden tickets; here are the folks they gave some decent screen time:
“I think your voice lacks the fire that your getup does.” –Randy
And this girl is one of those folks doing the bad name-giving. Jennifer Diley shows up in a bikini top and miniscule booty shorts and in an attempt to show what a manly man he is, Ryan makes her walk up the stairs twice. HAR HAR. Then, she has the audacity to admit she’s really just trying to please the male judges, but at least she knows where her strengths lie. She sings “With You” by Jessica Simpson and she’s just awful. She insists on trying “Hero” by Mariah Carey as well, but Randy says if it’s bad she has to leave immediately, with no commentary from the judges. She’s quickly denied with yet another Top Gun reference: “Take My Breath Away.”
“Where’ve you been all this time?” –Randy
This girl started the streak of good singers. Robles is an insurance account manager, DJ and mother and it seems that her adorable daughter will have a chance to cheer her mommy on some more. Robles sang the song no one should ever try on Idol: “I Will Always Love You.” But defying all past Idol experience, she carries the song’s classic high note beautifully – the spot where even good singers on Idol usually blow it. Clearly, she’s going to Hollywood.
“It’s like the golden ticket to the Charlie – to the, the factory. What is it called?” –Jayrah
This guy is a bit of a joke. Unfortunately, he can sing so he’ll be around for a bit longer. Gibson is a songwriter; he even wrote a song for Jennifer about her moneymaker. Classy.His real song is “Just Friends” and it’s actually kind of great. Randy loves it because they haven’t had a real R&B style singer in a while. Jennifer’s only hesitation is that he sang more of a rhythmic song and not a melodic one, and I have to agree. Even so, he gets a ticket to Hollywood, where he’ll undoubtedly make more references to movies he can’t seem to remember.
“…becoming America’s Next Top Model.” –Aubree Dieckmeyer
This receptionist from San Clemente, like the singer before her, is a bit of a ditz. California girl stereotype: check. She continues by saying that her chosen song, “Feeling Good” is “by Michael Bublè.” People really need to start at least googling their songs before they audition. Anyway, she’s a good singer, but it’s a bit sticky when she switches between falcetto and vibrato. Her upper range is thin, but it’s enough to get her a ticket to Hollywood.
“You’re just crazy enough to make it” –Randy
This girl went on the Ellen DeGeneres show and walked away with the courage to try out for Idol, and it’s a good thing too, because she has a unique, fantastic voice. First, she sing/raps “Look at Me Now” which is funny and all, but Randy wants to hear a real song, because this is like, a singing competition or something. She sings a Corrine Bailey Rae song and we hear that she’s actually got the voice of a jazz singer. The likable nutjob gets a ticket to Hollywood and I foresee many more goofy montages in our future.
“I can’t wait to hear everyone sing the same Adele song for six f**king hours.” –Steven
“You sound nothing like you look.” –Randy
Next, we have a UC Berkley frat boy. I thought he was lying and paying his buddies to say he’s a ladies’ man just because he serenades pretty girls because he looks like a bit of a nerd. But then he actually sang. He dedicates “Angel of Mine” by Monica to Jennifer Lopez and he sounds like an R&B singer. Steven says it’s the “Best male voice we’ve heard yet” which is really a bit of an overstatement, but he’s certainly a surprise. Of course, if he’s going to sing like that, he’s going to need to ditch the Jason Mraz look. He gets a ticket to Hollywood.
“My dad is Jim Carrey.” –Jane Carrey
This girl is trying everything she can to not live in her father’s shadow. She doesn’t live off his money, working as a waitress and mother, because she wants to achieve success on her own. This is the same reason she’s auditioning for Idol instead of asking her dad to use his connections to get her in at a label. Jennifer is freaking out because she remembers seeing Jane as a two-year-old when she was a fly girl on In Living Color with Jim Carrey. But once we get past the whole “I feel old” schtick, Jane sings “Something to Talk About” and she’s alright, but as Jennifer points out, she needs to work on her stage presence and keep her eyes open. I’m not sure she would have made it if her dad wasn’t Jim Carrey, but we’ll see what else she can do during Hollywood week. There was just no way the producers were going to pass up on the opportunity to have her call her dad on speaker phone when she got the good news. And I took the bait: it was adorable.
“My name’s Jason, but most people call me Wolf.” –Wolf
Jason “Wolf” Hamlin
Let me just start with the fact that I absolutely love this guy. He works as a mechanic on a golf course and his father was a craftsman who built guitars by hand. His father passed away, but he brings one of his hand-made guitars along with him. I fear, however, that he’ll face a Casey Abrams fate. He sings “Midnight Special” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and he’s good, but he sounds just like John Fogerty. Steven wants to hear something else because so far, he’s good at impressions. They allow him to use his guitar (even though auditions are supposed to be a capella only!) and he blows it out of the water. Why didn’t he just start with that song? He’s soulful, jazzy and instantly one of my favorites. Plus, he’s got a little bit more of a suave, attractive vibe going for him than Casey did. He may just stick around. (I certainly hope so!)
Who was your favorite contestant of the night? Did you think Jim Carrey’s daughter was an Idol worthy singer? Let us know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler