Can you believe it was eight years ago that Carrie Underwood drove from Oklahoma to St. Louis to audition for American Idol?  You know what's happened since.  She's become one of the biggest country music stars in the world and make good on Simon's promise that she would be one of the biggest Idols of all time.  Show producers think Carrie's proof that the "Gateway to the West" is a breeding ground for GREAT talent, so they returned this year for another crack at it!  And, as Steve Thompson, WBKR's American Idol expert explains, they found some contenders!

Steve called The WBKR Waking Crew this morning and chatted up the highlights with Moon and Chad.  Take a listen!

And here's Steve's full review of the show.

From Steve Thompson:

  • Well, it's the last night of auditions and they show us St. Louis in all its glory.  I don't know about you (especially you) but never have I looked forward to these auditions being over so much.  Someone asked me if I thought Idol's time had passed.  Well, FOX still depends on Idol to be its top rated program.  Sure, the ratings are currently down-- but then, most of the competition seems to be down as well.
  • My solution?  It may be high time to rethink the process.  Maybe they should show just the Hollywood weeks and beyond instead of so much of this posturing and procrastinating.  Wouldn't this make the show shorter when FOX wants a show that lasts from January-May?  No.  You just redraw the lines.  Everyone is introduced who made it to Hollywood.  Given we have a series of cuts before the final 24, why not show more detail and continue the backstory process in the Hollywood shows?  The stupid and inane can be left on the cutting room floor.
  • Just a thought.  I suspect some changes may be made next year before Idol actually starts to slip from its accustomed perch.  It's still making beaucoup money (and if you're going to make money, make sure it's beaucoup.)  Idol still helps deliver audiences to new shows (even if some of the shows don't deserve your support.  (MobbedThe Finder?  Really, America?)
  • As the first featured contestant tonight, John Keyser sang Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke.  This has become the Sam Cooke song of choice in talent competitions.  I thought this was a decent version of this song and he did sing it well.  However, is it just because we've seen so many of these shows that no one seems to really knock our socks off like they did in previous years?  Or do we just need less-tight socks?
  • Interesting that they used one of the songs from Kellie Pickler's new album as background music to the story of Raschelle Lamb.  Raschelle's story was yet another of the "her man done her wrong and now he's gone" variety.  Fittingly, she decided to cover Find Somebody New by Faith Hill.  Now Faith has nothing to lose any sleep over, but kudos to a new song in the Idol audition canon.
  • Ethan Jones sang I'll Be by one hit wonder Edwin McCain.  (I recognize that some of the one hit wonder singers or groups have made quite a killing by cashing in on that one hit.  Somehow, I've never pictured this song as one of them.)  I guess it's just the general malaise that surrounds these auditions this year-- but I've heard this song sung better so many times that I find myself tuning out.
  • Reis Kloeckner said he was bullied in school until he joined the choir.  (Really.  That's the gist of what he said.  I guess no one throws slushies at choir members in real life.)  He sang a very clean version of Lean on Me by Bill Withers.  I never get tired of this song and I thought he sang it well.
  • Our final auditioner was Lauren Gray who sang One and Only by Adele.  I realize everyone apparently thinks they can sing Adele simply because she's been the biggest selling recording artist over the past few years, but people don't realize that the reason the fans love her so much is that no one can really sound like her.  There's something to be said for individuallity in a world of soulless cardboard cutouts.  That said, she delivered a terrific version of that song.
  • They say 46 people received tickets to Hollywood at the St. Louis auditions.  Not to belabor the point, but they showed us way less than 46.  Lauren Gray may have been a favorite but I admit to bias because I'm an Adele fan.  Raschelle Lamb would be another candidate-- but perhaps not to the same extreme.
  • Next week we get to Hollywood and watch as many of the singers who have been featured flame out in the manner of the Hindenburg.  If we're good, maybe the producers will show us the folks who were missing from the previous episodes.

@February 2, 2012  Stephen W Thompson

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