Night two of American Idol and the judges rolled into New Orleans, the land of Saints, Mardi Gras and voodoo!  So, which contestants worked their voodoo and magic on the judges?  Steve Thompson, our American Idol expert, breaks down the episode and the talent!

From Steve Thompson:  Most important news item of the night (because it's Thursday):  Fringe starts new episodes this Friday night January 21st. Don't wait until it becomes a cult show you discover ten years from now and wonder why you never watched it. 

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the death of American Idol have been greatly exaggerated. Two nights in and I feel like our judges are actually paying attention without trying to promote themselves or feigning British indifference.  To be fair, the live shows will tell the tale...  But I'm encouraged.

Starting with the complete breakdown of the kid who is singing "Smile" was an unusual beginning.  I had this uncanny feeling that Charlie Chaplin was rolling in his grave.

New Orleans is sometimes called the Crescent City.  Some of these crescents were a tad overbaked.

Our first ticket to Hollywood goes to Jordan Dorsey who sings the oft-covered "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."  I found it odd that the first two songs presented on a talent audition in the year 2011 on this particular night were both written in the 1930s.  Way to be cutting edge, AI!

Sara Sellers sings what is obviously the Garth Brooks version of the Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love."  She sounded decent-- but we've had other better contestants cover this song.

The next kid is a first generation American born to Cuban parents.  The song was Spanish and the only judge who seemed to follow it well was J Lo.  I guess it was okay-- but once the competition starts, the audience usually appreciates English.

Jacquelyn Dupree does a very effective version of the Pretenders song "I'll Stand By You."  Very nice vocal.  Somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Carrie Underwood.

What can we say about Brett Lowenstern?  I thought the kid reminded me of Mick Hudnall and then he goes and covers "Bohemian Rhapsody."  The reason this knocked me for a loop is that the Simply Red frontman has recently been singing lead with Queen.  As the comedian George Wallace used to say: "it's a crazy world, isn't it?"

Well, they can't all be winners.  Gabriel Franks does his version of "Bad Romance" by Lady GaGa (who got her name from a song by Queen!)  Not as much fun as some of those folks singing on The Sing-Off, but an interesting failure.  At least he tried to sing the song without all the computerized sound effects.

Shouldn't someone tell PETA about this pink bunny that keeps being abused?

Alex Attardo tries to sing "Proud Mary."  I think this could result in a two-party lawsuit with both John Fogerty and Tina Turner claiming defamation of character.  Some are noble failures; others find failure as soon as they try to hit the first note.

Is it any wonder Ford had to be bailed out?  Do you understand the expense of the traveling newsroom that can fade into a camouflaged background?

Jacee Badeaux looks a lot like the kid from Two and a Half Men before he got a growth spurt.  However, he sings a rather authentic version of "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay."  Very impressive.  That song is much harder to sing than you'd think. 

Okay.  This is where I draw a line...  Minute Maid has a commercial calling it MMojo?  Somewhere in the afterlife, Jim Morrison is weeping.Our final contestant of the evening is Paris Tassin. She has a special needs child named Kira whom she sings to at night...  As if that wasn't an emotional enough backstory-- she chooses one of the most tear-filled songs in the Carrie Underwood catalogue: "Temporary Home."  I'll be honest with you-- Jennifer Lopez wasn't the only one with tears in her eyes.

Ryan tells us there were 37 tickets given out in New Orleans.  As usual, we are shown 7 of the 37.  I guess not everything on this show changes, does it?

Next Wednesday, we see the Milwaukee auditions. 

@January 20, 2011  Stephen W Thompson