Last night, for the first-time ever, American Idol rolled into Oregon for auditions.  And, in some cases, they hit the mother load!  WBKR's Idol expert and I chatted this morning about the hopefuls that could emerge as contenders!  And, as he does each week here at, Steve shares his complete review of the show.

From Steve Thompson:

  • There are enough spoilers out there in the ethernet that will tell you that one female singer from the Portland auditions made her way to the final 24.  Not that I don't trust the sources, but wouldn't you think Ken Warwick would at least grant the American people an audience with this girl?  Frankly, I'm beginning to suspect the entire thread of reality television is now spinning wildly out of control.
  • In a world where three of the five main principals of X Factor can be out of a job in a snap, you'd think FOX could at least throw some concern towards their original cash cow.  Ken Warwick generally produces the audition rounds.  Frankly, it's high time they let someone else take over his job.  Today it was announced that the Hollywood shows begin next week...  This means whatever happened in Jersey gets to stay in Jersey.  I doubt America would miss anything-- but I'd like to know why.  It's not like we haven't already seen audition cities this year that produced no successful fruit.
  • Enough editorializing.  Here's a quick view of the folks they allowed us to see.
  • Brittany Zika sang The Story by Brandi Carlisle.  Brittney had a dream of singing on the stage with Sara Bareilles and evidently once got her wish.  Fortunately, she does have a decent voice-- although Sara doesn't have to lose any sleep over it.   Ironically, I'm guessing many teenage boys have dreams of Sara Bareilles-- but that may be a totally different show.
  • Ben Purdom was told by his co-workers that he could sing.  This is what's wrong with America.  Don't ask the opinions of your co-workers, who may not really be your friends anyway, if you should audition for a show on national television.  Worse yet, he sings Lady Gaga.  As of yet, I haven't heard a guy sing Lady Gaga well.  And so it goes.  Ben proved my assumption correct.
  • Jermaine Jones sang Superstar by Leon Russell.  (Or, if you're my age, The Carpenters.)  They gave him the Mama's Boy edit, evidently.  I guess he could carry a tune alright, but it was nothing to write home about for me.
  • Britnee Kellogg sang You're No Good by Linda Ronstadt.  She might resemble Brittney Spears, but she has a much more interesting bluesy kind of voice,  After hearing about her backstory about her ex who put his dreams before hers and ended up chasing other women, she seemed to have a very appropriate song choice.
  • Sam Gershman sang I'm a Woman, which has been sung by every female singer worth her salt since Peggy Lee,  However, as we have said many times before, this is not Broadway Idol.  (Even though Andrew Lloyd Weber is producing a talent show for the BBC Searching for Jesus {a revival forthcoming of Jesus Christ Superstar} and I don't have to make stuff up.  LOL)  Sam may have a place on stage, just not at the Kodak Theater.
  • David Weed is under the delusion that he can sing just like Geddy Lee.  Delusion is the key word.  Perhaps there's a reason why auditioners tend to avoid Rush songs in general, but Tom Sawyer wouldn't even be my first choice as a Rush song to cover.  Some songs are way too iconic in both delivery and style.  A song like Time Stands Still might work simply because the melody was stronger-- if you think about it, the Rush original has more in common with rap than it does with melody.
  • Romeo Diahn sang Is This Love by Bob Marley.  In the world of the kinder, gentler Idol could there be room for more than one singer from another country trying to make their dream come true?  Maybe.  Romeo is from Liberia and does an effective rendition of a reggae classic, but reggae may not translate well to other themes.
  • Naomi Gilles sang Crying by Aerosmith.  This was, to put it mildly, something of a shock.  I didn't know if we would hear a successful Aerosmith auditioner this year with a song that's not quite as. to reuse the word, iconic.    Well, it was more than decent-- especially when she got to the familiar part (for me) the chorus.  Could she be the next Idol?  Maybe not this year.
  • Ben Harrison looks a bit like a blonde Conan O'Brien.  That's about it.  He definitely doesn't sing like Freddie Mercury nor does he tell a joke effectiively.  Maybe he just needs Somebody to Love.
  • Jessica Philips sang Again by Faith Evans.  She sang the song well, but the story of her boy friend suffering a stroke and that she's his care provider overshadowed her talent.  There needs to be some restrant on these backstories-- more often than not you recall the tragedy of the life and not the joy of the performance.
  • 45 folks made it to Hollywood from Portland.  Tonight, we'll see St. Louis and then next week-- Hollywood.
  • We'll see, won't we?

@February 1, 2012  Stephen W Thompson