Last night marked the return of American Idol and, as usual, the first audition episode was a mix of keepers and weepers.  WBKR's Idol expert Steve Thompson was watching and provided us his review of the show.  Take a look and see if Steve and Idol found any contenders in Savannah, Georgia!

Take a listen to Steve's review with Chad from this morning's Waking Crew show!
Here's Steve's FULL review!
  • Welcome back my friends to the show that never seems to end.  Another year of backstabbing, sleepwalking and incoherent judging.  This... is.... American Idol!
  • Seriously?  We grew up watching American Idol?  I grew up watching the original Hawaii Five O and now everytime I look into the bathroom mirror I see Wo Fat.  I grew up watching The Rifleman and still no one in their right mind would want me around a spring-loaded Winchester.  I grew up watching the original Star Trek and Scotty has yet to beam me up, regardless of the lack of intelligent life here.  Yeah, grow up watching a talent show.  Whatever.  I still think it's disgraceful to ruin the best song Alphaville ever had-- but I also realize hip/hop already cannibalized Forever Young for this generation.
  • JLo says Randy and Steven are like her family now.  I guess since she kicked Marc Anthony to the curb...
  • Welcome to Savannah.  Strangely enough, no mention of anyone named Hard-Hearted Hannah.  You kids who don't get that, be sure to look it up on Wikipedia once they stop protesting.
  • The economy is tough all over.  This year they're using the contestants as cameramen.
  • First Tylerism of the season: "Savannah's treating me great-- I didn't know you knew her!"
  • David Leathers Jr. sings better than Astro or Marcus Canty from The X Factor (and they got recording contracts!)  His first song is passable, but when he lights into Never Can Say Goodbye he charms his way to Hollywood.  I don't want to hear MJ songs anymore this year, but somewhere Clifton Davis is smiling.
  • Gabi Carruba sang Sunday Morning by Maroon 5.  For those of you new to these reviews (which I've been doing so long they used to appear on MySpace) I'm not a fan of Maroon 5.  However, I think Adam Levine is a passable mentor on The Voice, so I'll agree with the judges.
  • Pity poor Jessica Whitely who chose to sing In This Song by Charice as if she was singing the National Anthem without a microphone at Sun Devil Stadium.  Calm down!  Please!
  • I didn't think Shaun Kraisman's version of Oh Girl was all that bad-- it just wasn't all that good.  His seeming ability to copy all of Seacrest's mannerisms?  "They're here!  They're here!"
  • Joshua Chavis singing I'm Yours by Jason Mraz?  Perhaps we should add that one to the don't sing list.


  • The following folks made it to Hollywood, but we only saw four seconds of their audition: Brianna Faulk, Neco Starr, Molly Hunt and Elise Testone. Crystal Bowersox once was seen for about four seconds in her audition-- so be advised that one or two of these names might pop up in later rounds.
  • Shannon Magrane (daughter of Joe Magrane 1987 St Louis Cardinals) sang  Something's Gotta Hold on Me by Etta James.  I was very impressed by her choice of a song that hasn't been done to death and her pedigree calls to mind other contestants who had a professional athlete as a father who fared rather well.  This also prompted our second Tylerism...  When asked by Shannon's father how things were in Beantown, Steven replied: "Hot, humid and happening-- just like your daughter."
  • Amy Brumfield apparently lives in the cleanest tent in the cleanest part of the woods somewhere in the neighborhood of that tourist mecca known as Gatlinburg.  Yeah, I didn't quite buy the backstory.  She sang Superwoman by Alicia Keys.  Not a bad voice-- but when compared to others tonight, she seemed more like cannon fodder.
  • Stephanie Renae sang Inside Your Heaven by Carrie Underwood.   I guess there are people who grew up idolizing past winners on this show-- regardless of my snarky comment from a few paragraphs ago.  Still...  While okay as a copy, I don't think she can yet touch the original.
  • The Dixon Family.  Schyler sang Break Even by The Script.  She did a truly wonderful job with this song-- I thought she was a decent singer last year.  I think she would've preferred to be the only Dixon in the spotlight.  However, through some machinations on (guessing) the part of Nigel and company. suddenly we get to hear Colton do a rough job of Permanent by David Cook.  Granted, he supposedly wasn't there to try out-- but he seemed much worse than last year.  Judging by the look on her face, something tells me the sibling rivalry card will be played long and hard in the coming months.
  • Lauren Mink sang Country Strong, featured in the movie as sung by Gwynneth Paltrow.  I'm actually one of the few people in America who will admit to being a Gwynneth fan-- but I really liked her version of this song.  As a plus for those of you who might not care about a country song, she's from Winchester.
  • The next day we hear Tylerism #3: "This is the earliest I've ever been late."  Why do I have this sense there will be a book with all these sayings before the year is over?
  • Maweuna Kodjo sang I Won't Let Go by Rascal Flatts.  They've never sounded better.  Sort of a William Hung: The Next Generation.  My dogs complained the entire time he sang.
  • Ashley Altisse sang Come Together by The Beatles.  My first thought?  Kizzy had gone down to Savannah in disguise. (I realize some of you outside the listening area who are unfamiliar with 92.5 WBKR may not get this reference-- but the loyal listeners will get it.)  Actually, she sounded decent on the song.  I'm not sure if she will be able to progress further, but it was interesting enough.

  • W T Thompson (no relation) sang Boondocks by Little Big Town.  I have to go on record here that my cousins in Virginia may be related to me on the Thompson side of the family, but their last name isn't Thompson.  Just to clear that up-- I hate it when people think I'm biased.  My biggest concern is that he left a job that probably pays better than mine to pursue a dream and his voice, while not the worst, is definitely not in the top tier.   He may not last through the first cut.
  • All Erica Nowak wants to do is grab her some Steven Tyler.  Literally.  She sang Super Dooper Love by Joss Stone, but was happy to get her main goal accomplished.
  • Brittany Kerr sang Spoiled by Joss Stone.  This was a pretty good version of that song, but the alpha female will not let anyone like her go through this competition unscathed.  (See Toscano, Pia or even Reinhart, Haley.)  JLo will not let anyone through her Magic Mirror tells her may be fairest in the land.
  • Phil Phillips sang Superstition fairly well then knocked Thriller out of the park.  This was old school Idol.  Back in the good old days when a David Cook would take a well-known song and make it sound completely different.  I'm no MJ fan as most of you know, but this was the first time I actually liked Thriller without having to watch the video.
  • So we had 42 singers move on to Hollywood from Savannah.  The odd thing about this show is that some of these we saw tonight we may never see much of again.  Hard to know who is truly the best-- but Phil Phillips and Shannon Magrane look like keepers.  I'd like to think the girl from Winchester will do well-- but I'm not trying to get my hopes up.
  • Tune in tonight for Pittsburgh.

@January 19, 2012  Stephen W Thompson