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'American Idol' Recap: That Don't Impress Us Much

Chicago, Shania Twain serve up an underwhelming audition episode

By MSN TV Jan 19, 2010 8:34PM


<a href=";vid=64d0b10e-c24e-4142-962b-c520b5199db4" title=";vid=64d0b10e-c24e-4142-962b-c520b5199db4">Video: Wednesday, Jan. 20: Shania Twain, Therapy Sessions on 'Idol'</a>

By Bret Federigan

Special to MSN TV


Well, that was ho-hum. Chicago was the largest stop on the "American Idol" audition tour thus far. But, in comparison to Boston and Atlanta last week, Tuesday night's audition episode turned up way more duds than studs. And there was nary a can't-miss prospect among the Hollywood-bound bunch. Of course, it makes sense for the producers to withhold their best singers from the airwaves. But, come on. It's OK to show viewers at least a couple of Chicagoans we can believe in!


"Idol" Scrapbook: See singers from past seasons | Fansite: See what Simon says


Guest judge Shania Twain was lovely as ever, but didn't add much to the proceedings. Despite one saucy exchange with contestant John Park, it looked like producers couldn't find any footage of her giving interesting feedback. Either that or this audition stop just didn't make for good television.


Plus: Kara DioGuardi sounds off on Ellen | Season 9 Preview: What changes to expect


Wednesday night's episode in Orlando should be a bit more entertaining, especially with cute-as-all-get-out Kristin Chenoweth joining the judges' table. Please let that be the case.


Also: Season 9 gallery | Meet the "Idol" guest judges | Dramatic "Idol" makeovers


'American Idol'/FOX

A couple of thoughts:

  • I know they taped this audition stop this past summer, but I can't help thinking that Simon already looked bored with the show well before he announced that he'd be leaving.
  • Why did I never notice Shania's accent until now?
  • With Shania offering up very little substantive commentary, this was actually an episode where I could have used a bit more of Kara talking.

The Good

  • As in Boston and Atlanta, the first contestant to appear on this episode gets a golden ticket. Teenager Katelyn Epperly, dressed like Taylor Swift, kicked the show off delivering a very grown-up sounding "Syrup and Honey" by Duffy. But this girl is no teen idol wannabe, that's for sure. After sharing with Ryan that her father had recently left her family, she wasn't in much of a mood to sing anything light and perky. Hence, the dark and somewhat pensive vocal delivery. But, as Shania put it, Katelyn has a voice that can "sell records." It's true. But personality sells, too.
  • Charity Vance is all of 16-years-old. She looks it and acts it. And despite an impressive range and control, she sure sounds it, too. Her voice could use some maturing. Charity may be headed to Hollywood, but she doesn't seem ready for the big time. Give her a couple of years.
  • This was the third go-around for Angela Martin, who reminds me a little bit of Fantasia and Lil Rounds. She sure sounded a lot like Lil, as she delivered "Just Fine" by Mary J. Blige. For the judges, "Just Fine" was good enough. They applauded Angela for learning from previous auditions and keeping at it. "Hot vocals," said Randy. "You're just good," added Simon. Something tells me that this is a contestant who producers hope will catch fire with viewers.
  • College student John Park's got a crooner-ish appeal. Slightly nerdy and shy, he had Shania seemingly all hot and bothered. She made a verbal slip-up, remarking (in reference to his vocal range), "You have a beautiful bottom." Boy, did Randy pounce. Shania didn't make things any better when she tried to make light of her gaffe by adding, "You have nice lips." Awkward!
  • Paige DeChausse threw down some Sam Cooke during her audition. While Simon wasn't impressed with her "indulgent" vocal runs, both Kara and Shania thought she needed some improvement, but performed well enough to move on. They, of course, had to cajole Randy a little bit for his "Yes" vote.
  • Also snagging golden tickets were Justin Ray, Keith Semple and Marcus Jones.
  • Number of Chicago golden tickets in all: 13

The Bad

  • Ever heard Maxwell sing his cover of "This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush? It's angelic and ethereal. Curley Newburn's version? Not so much. In fact, it was downright freaky. Laughs all around the judges' table.
  • Alannah Halbert committed the oft-repeated sin of trying to sing Whitney Houston. Sheesh, no one ever learns. Even with Shania and Kara trying to coach her through it, the audition still sounded horrific.
  • Brian Krause chose to channel his inner-Tiny Tim. I know, right?!? Sounding like a banshee and tip-toeing around like a frightened chipmunk, Brian garnered only grimaces from the judges. "Is this a joke?" asked Kara. "That was weird," Randy commented. In my opinion, simply scary. Very scary.
  • Harold Davis delivered a spirited version of "Nice and Slow" by Usher. It wasn't always in-tune or accurate, but it was full of attitude. After getting rejected by the judges, the dude actually started to cry. Oh, goodness. No one wants to see that.

The Embarrassing

  • Amy Lang must have been watching Nick "Norman Gentle" Mitchell last season because she sure looked like she was fixing to be this year's class clown. After announcing that she was going to sing Aretha Franklin, she promptly fell to the floor in a faux-faint. Pausing a beat, she leapt right up and showed off her brassy pipes (the girl can really sing). But Amy didn't know when to quit; she kept up her shtick by bouncing her, um, talents for the judges. Simon wasn't amused. I'm guessing, neither were you.

What say you? What did you think of the Chicago auditions?

Jan 20, 2010 12:00PM

I was very pleased with Shania last night, she was funny, and witty, without being overly serious like Posh and Mary. I think some of the guest judges take this way to seriously and it takes the fun out of the show.  Shania gave us that fun back.


I think that some of the people they sent to hollywood were stretches, big stretches.  I think most of the ones we heard last night will be gone by round 1 or 2 in hollywood, except for maybe Angela. You have to give her credit she sticks to her dream, and with all the experience she has now I am thinking she will go far into the competition this year. Unless more unexpected issue arise.


Its hard to believe that out of 12000 people that only 13 were any good?

Jan 20, 2010 11:55AM
Cancel the show, put Conan on instead
Jan 20, 2010 10:44AM

First of all, I think the editing of the show SUCKS! We want to see what we saw in season one. Now it’s filled with a fast forward of everything. I want to see more auditions at length. It just doesn’t have the same flow as it used to.


Secondly, I in no way miss Paula, she was a ****. But this Kara women is ANNOYING, where does her big ego come from? She does not ad to the show, she completely dumbs down the judges and is boring. Sleepy  And it makes it even more boring when you can totally see that she is trying way too hard to be relevant.  I hate the way she talks, she puckers her lips or sucks in her cheeks or something.  She’s a loser! 


Thirdly, WHERE IS ELLEN?!  I was so excited to see Ellen on the show, but where is she?  Now is the time that we want to see her, to get a good grasp of her personality, and judging characteristic on the show.


And fourthly, I only watch this show during the auditions, because they are funny!  But why is everyone a complete jerk this year? Randy has no self control, like he used to. I mean it used to be a rarity that the judges broke out in laughter but now its almost an every audition event! It makes the show predictable. It’s so easy to tell that Kara just breaks out in laughter cuz she prefers to liver her life believing that everyone is inferior to her and those people should be degraded. UH, why is she even given air time, what a waste of space.


What I’ve seen of this season is nothing like the 1st and 2nd seasons…. Those were the best.

Jan 20, 2010 9:33AM

I'm with you, Bret. Something was off and has been off for the first three episodes. Last Wednesday was a little better, but overall Idol isn't sparking like it has seasons past. Not only are we not seeing many of the good singers, we don't seem to be seeing as many of the comical ones either. Just a little blip here and there as they shuffle through random snippets. Not that I live to see people embarrass themselves, but you have to have one or the other or it's dead boring. Maybe nobody worthwhile in either category showed up this year. Easy to understand why Simon looks bored.


Guest judges don't do much for me either. I can't really get into any of them because they aren't going to be around to even judge the people they vote for in Hollywood Week and beyond. To make it worse, the producers haven't given the guest judges much camera time, so, again, little snippets here and there.


Then there is the subject of Paula. I wasn't a huge Saula fan or anything, but I really did like her and there is a huge elephant in the room carrying a sign that says "where's Paula?" I miss her smile, her encouragement, her laugh and her interactions with Simon - a lot more than I thought I would.


Maybe things will pick up during HW and forward. Right now I'm thinking I want to see what X Factor looks like, so I'm going to head over to YouTube and check it out.





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