So last night's episode of American Idol was AMAZING!!  We know Nashville is full of great, undiscovered talent and that talent was fully on display in Season 10 auditions last night!  Simon Cowell was always very vocal about the fact that he doesn't like country music, so it's refreshing to have judges on the panel who appreciate it!  And, last night, they heard it!

One of last night's contestant is my favorite IN YEARS!!  Lauren Alaina, who sang Faith Hill beautifully, then tore into an Aerosmith power ballad, is THE BOMB!  At just 15 years-old she is laying down notes no one else on that show, with the exception of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, ever has.  After Lauren's audition, Steven Tyler walked out of the Ryman Auditorium and said, "We found the one!"  I agree.  Lauren Alaina is going to be VERY hard to beat.  Auditions aren't even over, but she already is my American Idol.

Our Idol expert, Steve Thompson had a different favorite last night and he breaks down every moment of the Nashville auditions in his Idol Chatter.  Enjoy!!

From Steve Thompson:  There's something to be said about watching a tv show in a public area.  You get just as many fans wandering by as you do mainly disinterested parties looking for some sort of escape from their own problems.  To paraphrase Ryan Seacrest: This is American Idol-- in the lobby of OMHS!

I recall when I was back at Western (sometime in the latter part of the 1870s) television watching became somewhat communal at times as people would gather into one of the three rooms at the Downing Center to watch whatever was on the three channels available.  I realize this is tantamount to saying we walked through a foot of snow uphill and both ways-- but you youngsters with your Ipods, computers, mp3s, DVD players and CD burners (and that's just in your bedroom) don't realize there was once a time when only three choices were available.

As Schneider once said on One Day at a Time: "you haven't lived until you've had my disadvantages."

So it was this evening as I tried to watch AI while not really having my mind on the program.  I had read all the scuttlebutt that said Nashville was one of the best places they had during tryouts.  Seems a pity we were shown only a few that caught my admittedly distracted attention.

Starting out with Christine McCaffey singing "I Hope You Dance."  I think most of America was saying: We hope you stop.  When the girl in admissions even realizes how horrid the singing is, you have earned your place on the next bus home.

Then you have the duo of exes.  Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks sang a truly great version of the Bee Gees song "To Love Somebody."  Great song in this context given the nature of their relationship.  Then Rob does a fine version of "What's Going On?" while Chelsee does a version of a song Lacey Brown once sang last year.  They both get through-- but I think I liked Chelsee's choice of song better.

Stormi Healey has a great name.  (Can't you just hear it?  And now the weather with Stormi Healey...)  As for the song "Father, Can You Hear Me?"-- I was unmoved.  Yet, she continues to Hollywood.

Adrienne Beasley is from Wickliffe, Kentucky and chose to sing a wonderful version of the Lady Antebellum song "American Honey."  I thought she was very impressive and seemed to be an authentic talent-- and the fact that she's from Kentucky was icing on the proverbial cake.

Jackie Wilson does an interesting take on the Aretha Franklin song "Until You Come Back to Me."  I guess it figures that a girl named Jackie Wilson would sing R & B-- but what did not figure was a classic Seacrest moment...  Thinking her boyfriend is her father.  Strangely enough, Ryan...  Been there, done that, no longer assume anything.

Paul McDonald does a decent version of "Maggie May"-- but nothing that seemed to warrant a golden ticket.

Danny Pate fares somewhat better in my opinion with "Papa was a Rolling Stone."  I always thought one of Mick Jagger's kids should write a book by that title.

Matt Dillard looks like somebody who should be hanging out with either Jamey Johnson or the Zac Brown Band.  Instead, we get a rather delicate version of the Josh Groban song "You Raise Me Up."  I don't care who you are or what you look like-- if you can sing one of the hardest songs an amateur can possibly sing you deserve to have a little praise.  Most of the praise was little, but he got a ticket to Hollywood as well.

Our final contestant of the evening was Lauren Alaina.  This is the girl (executive producer) Nigel Lythgoe has been trumpeting as the find of the season.  Now as much as AI wants to find the next Taylor Swift, I don't know if this girl out of all the fifteen year olds we've encountered so far is capable of having enough fan support.  However, she acquitted herself well with her take on Faith Hill and-- even Aerosmith.

Frankly, my favorite of the evening was Adrienne Beasley.

If I heard correctly, our next stop is Austin.  I guess we'll see if AI pushes Austin to the limits.

@January 27, 2011  Stephen W Thompson