It was a day of learning on American Idol as the judges hit up San Francisco for day three of the audition episodes.
Among the day’s lessons: naughty pictures may save you, a naughty face will not; the internet isn’t always the most reliable place for scientific singing tips; the “world’s most powerful psychic” is more reliable than Simon Cowell in predicting who will make it to Hollywood; and Kara DioGuardi may turn out to be just what we needed: a woman that will put Simon in his place.
This year’s new judge might have needed an episode or two to show her true colors, but the shell was off Tuesday and so were the gloves as she continuously sparred with America’s favorite cranky Brit. For Simon’s part he seemed to enjoy having a new challenger so much that, despite feigning annoyance like a crushed schoolboy, it was as though he was purposely instigating her. But regardless of Simon’s motives Kara’s made one thing very clear, she will be heard like it or not.
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Unfortunately contestant Akilah Askew-Gholston shared the same philosophy. The “aspiring songwriter” was so determined to sing well in her audition she researched on the internet how to involve every part of her body in the process … even ones that don’t exist. But even after prepping her “tray-shee-uh,” her “larneenx,” and those “legenital cartilages” she apparently sings with, the judges still gave her the ax … about five different times.
Tatiana Del Toro was also no stranger to the old, “if at first you don’t succeed, sing until they surrender" plan, which actually worked out for her despite Simon’s objection that she “certainly didn’t make it through on vocals.” Two words, Simon: bikini girl. Besides, in Tatiana’s case she had a not-so-secret weapon in this battle with a laugh that’s surely outlawed somewhere in the Geneva Convention. I be terrified to cross her, too — that or tell her a joke.
Jesus Valenzuela’s not-so-secret weapons, on the other hand, came in a very different form: they were carrying big signs, huge smiles and even bigger puppy dog eyes. This man’s kids were so cute, the judges pretty much put him through on that reason alone. But I’m happy Jesus is moving on in the competition. 1.) I actually think he has a nice voice and could really impress people as he grows each week and 2.) “Jesus is my American Idol” t-shirts would be really funny.
But even more effective than WMD-worthy laughs or cute kids with posters is still a great heart-tugging story. And Kai Kalama won the award in that department after talking about how happily he’s taken on the full-time job of caring for his sick mother. A story like Kai’s is powerful enough even to combat a “you have the personality of a ship singer” comment from Simon. And with a not so bad voice to boot he could come back to surprise us in the Hollywood rounds.
But for now, it’s onto Louisville as the judges check out Churchill Downs for the last round auditions. Kentucky has never had a winner or finalist but if there’s anything we can take from our years of watching Idol it’s that every year is a chance for a new first. So we’ll look forward to seeing what the Bluegrass State has to offer — lesson learned.