American Idol 7 – Omaha Try-Outs

First, let’s get to the most exciting tease of the new season: Next week’s Miami try-outs include the return of an American Junior. Whoo-hoo! The five of us who sat through that

But first, back to Omaha, where talent seemed sparse, and nerves were a major factor.

Chris Bernheiser led things off. He was very very very excited to be auditioning for American Idol. And he was happy. He said that he was going to explode and happiness would go everywhere. If your mind wasn’t already in the gutter, he just put it there.

He also said that this experience would be “life-alternating.”

Not surprisingly, he wasn’t so good a lot. Doing a handstand in the middle of “Since U Been Gone” was about all the proof you need.

Jason Rich is a farmer from Stout, Iowa. And though it took four or five tries to remember the third lyric to his song selection, he had a pretty darn good voice. It was a good huskiness. Simon warned him that he couldn’t do that on live TV, but he gave him a chance. Off to Hollywood he went.

Rachael Wicker is the tall blonde 20-something with several arm wrestling championships under her belt. She took on one and all and beat them all. She’s Yet Another Country singer with a twang to her voice, but she’s on to Hollywood.

Sarah Whitaker is the big scary Goth chick who once professionally wrestled. At this point, there has to be some corn-fed jokes coming up. Wrestlers, arm-wrestlers, what’s next? Thumb wrestling state champions?!? I’ll give her this — she was entertaining. She just couldn’t sing very well. And, as Randy put it, “Completely not right. Wrong.”

The Go Fug Yourself girls haven’t touched these episodes yet, but I’m sure they’d have something to say to Sarah for wearing leggings as pants, especially at that size. Samantha Sidley is a little whisp of a thing who might be able to sing, but needs so desperately to work on her nerves and her showmanship. Twisting back and forth to the song ain’t gonna cut it. But the judges — being in a kindly disposition this season — sent her through to Hollywood.

This is also the point in the show in which Paula and Ryan switched places for a contestant, and Simon and Randy gave Ryan a very very hard time to his honesty and truthfulness.

Going out to commercial, another winning contestant looked earnestly at the camera and said (paraphrasing), “I can’t wait to prove Simon wrong. I am America’s Next Top Model.” She caught herself right away. Still, it might be the funniest moment of the season thus far. TOP MODEL’s new season begins in three weeks, though there’s some sort of special on next week. Don’t know what that’s about. . .

Angelica Puente is sure to be a favorite if she makes it to the point where America starts voting. She’s got a great sob story about loving her father but not getting along with him and so moving out to her grandmother’s place. She can sing, but this is all about the voting process now.

Then came the rockers. David Cook seemed to be the cream of the crop, going with Bon Jovi’s “Living’ On A Prayer.” This should be my first time typing it this season, but he truly made the song his own. It might not work as a song on its own, but it’s perfect as an audition peice. He showed good musicality and was able to work around the notes without losing the melody. His eyes are dead, but he’ll learn.

Johnny Escamilla is the joker of the show – that one contestant they constantly tease you about to keep you coming back, knowing full well you’re about to see something beyond awful and memorable. His gold shiny jacket and confident attitude were about all you needed to know. Simon said something along the lines of, “In every single way, it was everything I hate.”

Actually, the best part of his audition was Paula’s hiccup.

Finally, Leo Marlowe ended the day as Yet Another Great Contestant Being The Last Contestant of The Day. He sang Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You,” no doubt making Elliot Yamin a very happy man. The opposite of all the husky male voices, Leo’s proud to be his mother’s queen. He can definitely sing. He made it through, along with 18 others.