Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Welcome to another American Idol play-by-play. I'll be guiding you through all of tonight's action, giving you full analysis as well as choice smart remarks. If you're watching the show along with me, you can refresh this page during each commercial break, as I'll be updating the running commentary in real time. Or you can just read it later. Whatever floats your boat.

So we've made it to the west coast and the city of San Francisco. If the freaks don't come out here, I don't know where they would.

First stop, the Full House bridge, then the trolleys, and then William Hung recaps. The auditions are being held in the Cow Palace. I had a smart remark for that, but realized it just wasn't necessary.

"Happy" Heidi "From Hawaii" Fairbanks is cute and rocks the operatic voice. She's easy on the eyes and the ears. I like her voice, but it seems a little labored. She's better with opera. None of the judges like her pop stuff. Paula says yes, Simon says no, and Randy is impaling himself on a fence post. After a couple months of deliberation, Randy says no, and with that she'll go off and do the hula elsewhere. UPDATES: Heidi is a member of Brigham Young University Hawaii's Concert Choir and performs student recitals.

Shawn Vasquez from Oakland is taking opera lessons also. We definitely have an image problem here. He doesn't "sing," he "sangs" in the past tense. I will be glad when this audition is in the past tense. Yikes. I need ear surgery now. He should sue his singing teacher. I can't even recognize his song. If he keeps it up much longer, I fear my neighbors may call the cops. I wish I was deaf. Simon says he has one of the worst voices he's ever heard.

After the break, hopefully someone who can sing will come on...


I'm a Verizon wireless subscriber, but their commercial featuring "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas may have me switching to Cingular.

So we're back to San Fran and we get a look at the collection of weirdos in Cow Palace.

Jose "Sway" Penala breaks out the Luther Vandross and does it well. I like his outfit. He has a voice like honey. The judges think he's the bomb, and they're right. Unanimous yes, and he sways off to Hollywood! UPDATES: According to this blog, Jose has supposedly made it into the Top 24, though it should be noted that this is unverified info. Supposedly, you can listen to an audio clip of him here. He has collaborated with the band 6th Day on their album Forever Starts Today. American Idol has reserved the URL for him.

Lauren Weckerly gets to go to Hollywood after a five second tryout.

We're treated to another montage of winners whose name we don't get to see. Expect at least one of them to whine about lack of air-time when they get voted out of the top 24.

And the win streak comes to a screeching, violent, debilitating halt with hundreds of casualties when Matthew "Wolfie" Paulson comes in the door. He ruins a good Clay Aiken song. He chokes halfway through, possibly due to divine intervention. Shawn slips into a parallel dimension where Clay would actually like his performance. The judges rip him back into reality, which is that he sucks on ice. Simon says "hideous." As he leaves the room, a pack of wolves drag him off into their den to administer retribution for disgracing their species. UPDATES: Here's Wolfie's Yahoo profile.

More after the break!


We're back and John Williams (not the Star Wars composer) from Sacramento has just returned from military deployment. He sings "Human Nature," though not incredibly well. Then he breaks out the shades, strips, and beat boxes. His dancing is much better than his singing, but I feel like he's going to get points for personality. Paula says they've never seen an audition like that, except for the couple of hundred times that they've seen it on the past seasons. Simon thinks he's a spaz and says no. Paula, the dancer, says yes. Randy gets put upon to decide the situation. Randy says he's a circus freak, and then stalls for twenty years before saying yes. John is going to Hollywood.

And now, a montage of vocal coaches who are soon to be out of work...

There's a production piece about Katharine McPhee and her mom, a vocal coach. I smell a golden ticket coming. The voice lessons paid off in a big way for this audition. She sings "God Bless the Child." It's really hard to write this review with my eyes closed and my head swaying. I love this girl. This is a top 12 contender for sure. I see her in, at minimum, the top 5. She's pretty, she can sing, she has a natural presence, and just really brings it. Unanimous yes from the judges and from me! Welcome to Hollywood!

After the break, Miss Blue Eye Shadow, Simon pouts, and yet another Small Town Girl.


Can't wait for the Super Bowl!

Welcome back, and Seacrest hasn't shaved in a day or two.

Eric Cornforth came to the audition stoned. Afterwards, he deserved to BE stoned. UPDATE: His audition appears to be either (a.) an attempt to get attention or (b.) a lame jab at Idol's pop-ness. His site reveals that he is the self-proclaimed "San Francisco's Favorite Teenage Rockstar." Except, of course, that he's not. Even Nigel Lithgow got a blurb on his site, saying "More boring than Bob Dylan himself." He has a myspace. If Google is any indication, this guy does play a lot of Bay Area venues. I'm outing him now as a fake audition.

Shalicia Carlisle LOVES blue eye shadow. She quit her job to come on American Idol. She has the Aloha Mischeaux head flower, and despite a production piece, I fear she will not be going to Hollywood. Her voice is horrendous, and she recites, inexplicably, a poem called "Cry from the Ghetto." Simon wants to commit suicide. He says "hideous," and in Shalicia-ese, that means "compliment." She keeps singing ad nauseum, unaware that the audition has gone completely to hell. Unemployment line, here she comes! Simon advocates for her with her boss and gets Shalicia's job back, so she'll be super-sizing orders in no time. UPDATES: She has published a poetry book.

Shawna White looks quite a bit like Pippi Longstocking, which is cute, but sort of not. She gets a brief production piece. Her voice is ok, except that first long note which grabbed hold of my headache and throbbed it. Other than that, she sounded semi-okay. She sings some Alicia Keys, which is better. Simon compares her to fingers on a blackboard, which explains my headache thing, and says no. Randy says yes. Paula says yes, and she's on to Hollywood. Randy and Cowell get into a slap fight after the audition.

Coming up, Paula gets rude!


Welcome back! We get another look at fake auditioner, Katrina Yaukey.

Marcus Phillips wants to rap. And I want a billion dollars, but I'll still be living in a two bedroom apartment tomorrow. He says he's an All-Terrain Entertainer, which probably means we can drag him off into the woods for his beating. Paula wants him to rap, because she apparently got smoked up during the break. Bye Bye!

Jayna Santayana sings Anita Baker's "Sweet Love" in a higher soprano register that is not altogether displeasing, but not the best. She truly didn't conquer the song as Simon says. Randy and Paula are tone deaf tonight. She is pretty, but a little over the top. 2 to 1, she goes to Hollywood. Simon squares off against Paula and Randy for the next five or ten minutes. UPDATE: Rumored to be a Top 24 finalist.

They go through another group of unnamed contestants and snipe at each other. All of this is good for dramatic tension, which, with the lack of tonight's talent, may be the only thing that brings you back after the break...


I cannot believe I'll have to wait until MARCH for new episodes of Prison Break.

Just a few more left!

Deborah Dawn Tilley claims to be 27, but she's 50 if she's a day. She has an over-the-top voice. She really really overdoes it. Seriously, though, she's 27???? I don't think so... Either she's lying or she's had a SERIOUS crack problem. Paula says yes, Randy says no, and Simon is all over the fence. Paula and Simon have a slap fight. Simon finally says no, thankfully, and Deborah goes out to pick up her grandchildren while the judges sit in the room in a domestic-violence-esque funk. Simon stomps out finally and goes back to his hotel in a snit. UPDATES: According to this story, Tilley is married with 2 children, ages 10 and 4. Tilley plays in a band called Tantrum. "Deborah Dawn, as she goes by on stage, has been singing since she was seven years old. Over the years she has had highs and lows in her careers. She said at the age of 12 she almost made it and was singing in hotels on the Las Vegas Strip."

Manuel Viramontes does shots of hot sauce before auditioning before the two remaining judges. Unfortunately, it does not set his voice on fire. Simon's empty chair wants to protest, if only it could speak. Manuel keeps interrupting judge criticisms by resuming his singing, which immediately endeared him to a fourth of his own bodily organs.

And so ends the San Francisco auditions. Next week, we go to Vegas! Psychic Bobbie May returns from last season, but unfortunately, Mikalah Gordon does not.


Shalicia Carlisle
Eric Cornforth
Heidi Fairbanks
Wolfie Paulson
Marcus Phillips
Deborah Dawn Tilley
Shawn Vasquez
Manuel Viramontes

On to Hollywood:
Katharine McPhee
Sway Penala
Jayne Santayana
Lauren Weckerly
Shawna White
John Williams

Outed as fake auditions:
Eric Cornforth
Katrina Yaukey


Katharine McPhee is looking VERY strong. Expect her to do well. Jose Penala is one of the first really stand-out guys this season. I predict Jayne, Shawna, and John Williams to have a tough time in the Hollywood rounds. We haven't seen enough of Lauren Weckerly to really know much of anything, so stay tuned!

We'll be back next week with more Idol play-by-play!


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