Recap of AMERICAN IDOL Season 8 Premiere

A.I. returned Tuesday night and was basically the same old song, which is a good thing. I’ll admit—I abhor reality TV but love my A.I. I liked the new judge, Kara DioGuardi—she was honest without being brutal and she could sing. She seemed to fit in with the others just fine (in case of a tie, Simon gets the last say).

The team was in Phoenix, AZ and my favorite wannabes were:

  • Emily Wynne-Huges, with the pink hair, pierced lip and tattoos, who ripped through “Barracuda” with confidence and a cool rock voice. Could she be this year’s Carly Smithson?
  • Stevie Wright (named after Steve Nicks), who glided through a few bars of “At Last” in a smoky, husky voice which belied her age (16)
  • Deanna Brown, a beautiful platinum blonde who sang “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” like a black woman with ache and soul
  • Arianna Afsar, a perky, cute-as-a-kitten 16-year-old who sang “Put Your Records On” with surprising range, huskiness and power.

The girls were definitely stronger than the guys last night, at least the ones they showed. Even the males who got through to Hollywood were just good but not extraordinary. J.B. Ahfua from Utah had a big voice but no stage presence and Michael Sarver, a stocky 27-year-old “roughneck,” was likeable but bland. Scott MacIntyre, the mostly blind guy who went to college at 14, had a nice but forgettable voice. Though I think it was cool of him to audition, the producers are probably just putting him through so they can milk his handicap and try to make it a tearjerker.

No A.I. discussion is complete without mentioning the freaks. Standouts for me were:

  • Michael Gurr, who hissed through Carrie Underwood’s “Starts with Goodbye” in a breathy, sibilant, unintelligible voice reminiscent of Gollum. I half expected him to call one of the judges “Precious.” When he was rejected, he collapsed and had to be given water and a banana
  • Randy Madden, who put on a black rocker outfit complete with bandanna and attempted “Livin’ on a Prayer.” The dude couldn’t stop crying and Simon called him a drama queen
  • X-Ray AKA Aundre Caraway, who had infectious energy and a big, beautiful smile but sang a weird song he wrote called “Cactus.” He thought he was a mariachi but sported Jheri curls
  • Katrina Darrell, who wanted to make out with Ryan and have his babies. If that weren’t weird enough, she auditioned in a bikini so skimpy the producers had to censor her ass by placing the A.I. emblem over it at one point. Her voice had good tone but she was off key and flat in places. She also had a bad attitude and disrespected Kara. None of this mattered because Randy and Simon liked her (Randy: “Do you go to all your auditions [in a bikini]?” “No, just this one,” Darrell answered. “Smart,” Simon quipped) and she’s off to Hollywood. I have a feeling she’s gonna get nasty there but she won’t get too far. We’ve never had a trampy Idol.

In another two-hour segment tomorrow, the team visits Kansas City, hometown to last year’s winner, David Cook. Come back tomorrow night and every week thereafter for my recaps as the competition heats up.

Who were your faves? Did you agree with the judges’ choices? Who did you think were unfairly rejected? Did you see anyone last night who had Top 5 potential? Leave a comment!

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  • Reply
    January 14, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Perfect review! I agree with everything you said. Except, how on earth could you forget the highlight of the bad singing pool…Mr. Sexual Chocolate??

    Loved that his cheesy homemade tattoo looked like it said “chacolate” too! Hi-larious!!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Oh yeah, and as far as “skanky Idols” go, I have two words for you: Antonella Barba! Yikes…I think I caught Herpes from watching her sing that season…

  • Reply
    January 14, 2009 at 6:26 pm


    Yeah, that tattoo DID look like “chacolate”! He was so sexual, he forgot how to spell. Ha ha!

    Your comment about herpes-inducing Antonella was too funny. But at least she didn’t have a stank attitude like Slutty Girl.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Any chick who wants to audition in a bikini is fine with me. In fact, I think she’s setting up herself for a completely different line of work if she doesn’t make it on AI. Don’t be hating the bikini girls!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    What was up with that Michael Gurr guy? I closed my eyes and swore I was listening to Peter Lorre audition as Igor.

  • Reply
    ARB Ent
    January 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I thought X-Ray was going to be so much better than that. The surprise on his face when he was rejected was actually palpable.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Kara DioGuardi’s cuteness almost makes up for Simon’s horrid haircut

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