AMERICAN IDOL Season 8 — San Francisco Recap

Tuesday was the season’s first one-hour show and it went by too fast. No real superstars tonight and no real freaks, either. Dang.

A quick rundown:

  • First up was Tatiana Del Toro from Puerto Rico, who thought she was competing in the Miss Universe pageant with her long gown, press kit and overly enthusiastic way of introducing herself (“Hi, I’m Tatiana from Puerto Rico!”). She sang Aretha’s “I Never Loved a Man” and wasn’t too bad but the judges ragged on her. The poor girl begged and begged until she finally got a golden ticket. (The judges are way softer this year.)
  • Nick Reed, Pippi Longstocking’s beat-boxing long-lost brother. I have no idea what he was doing but he was no Blake Lewis. He’s not going to Hollywood.
  • Dean-Anthony Bradford, who wore a coat made out of his couch. Simon made fun of his hair color but Bradford claimed “the carpet matches the drapes.” I learned way more about this guy’s interior decorations than I needed to and he couldn’t even sing.
  • Jesus Valenzuela, a nice-looking and seemingly cool guy. Simon wasn’t crazy about him at first but wanted to meet Valenzuela’s two young boys, who accompanied their dad to the audition, replete with signs. The judges allowed Valenzuela another chance and he sang “Unchained Melody” with his kids in the room. The panel didn’t want to “make the boys sad” so they gave Valenzuela a golden ticket. See what I mean about the softness?
  • Dalton Powell, who solved the Rubik’s Cube in seconds but could not squeak out a decent version of Smokey’s “Oh Baby Baby.” He admitted he’d never sung in front of people before. What did he think would happen if he went to Hollywood?
  • Akilah Askew-Gholston, my favorite (only?) crazy of the evening. The first part of her last name sums it up—she was all over the place. She brought anatomical diagrams, believing she’d sing better if she carefully studied how the body works, especially the “trashea” (trachea) when one sings “a capellaly.” After the judges nixed the original song she performed, she begged for another chance, saying, “It came from the wrong rectum.”  My soup almost came up through my nose. The judges were not interested in hearing her sing further but Akilah wouldn’t leave. (Simon kept calling her ACK-kee-la, which was almost as funny as the rectum comment.) I like how Kara finally got the job done by getting up, hugging the girl, saying, “Sweetie, it’s time to go” and gently pushing her out the door.
  • A montage of three good singers who got through—John Twiford, who sang Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed;” Allison Iraheta, a redhead who sang “Natural Woman” with a raw ache no 16-year-old should have; and Raquel Houghton, an Antonella Barba lookalike who sang “Son of a Preacher Man.”
  • Annie Murdoch, a pixie blonde who looked like a young Cheryl Tiegs. Too bad her singing wasn’t as pretty. Simon said she sounded drunk and not just after 1 or 2 bottles but “a whole crate.”
  • Adam Lambert, a dude in a black leather jacket and David Cook’s hair. He bravely sang “Bohemian Rhapsody” and pulled it off. The judges worried about him being too musical theater but put him through.
  • The tearjerker of the evening (there has to be one, right?) was Kai Kalama, a guy who put his life on hold to take care of his mom, who has a seizure disorder. He sang The Platters’ “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and sounded almost exactly like the original version! (My momma had the record, as in vinyl, so I know.) The judges said he needed more stage presence but all said yes.

I didn’t see anybody I loved tonight—there were stronger singers last week. Did you like anybody? Are you ready for Hollywood weeks yet? Leave a comment then check back Wednesday night for the Louisville, Kentucky recap!

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  • Reply
    January 21, 2009 at 2:50 am

    ***After the judges nixed the original song she performed, she begged for another chance, saying, “It came from the wrong rectum.” My soup almost came up through my nose.***

    You are so funny, PCN!

    Did she point to her anatomical diagrams to demonstrate? I wonder what she actually thought she was referring to …

    I’m in Australia and I think American Idol is on cable (or maybe just starting when they get past auditions) so I’ll try and hunt it down to watch it.

    • Reply
      January 21, 2009 at 10:29 am

      Hi ShellyP!

      Wow, I didn’t know you’re from Australia! What part? I have family and friends there but I’ve never been. Hope to visit one day.

      As always, thank you for your comments about my posts. I wasn’t even trying to be funny with Akilah. She did all the work. She didn’t point to her diagrams when she made the rectum comment, but she said she should’ve been singing from what sounded like “the larynginal area” and made hand gestures around her, um, female part. Randy said, “The what?!” I laughed so hard I choked. It’s hilarious how she seemed to think she had to use every other orifice except her mouth to sing.

      I think in the past Idol aired on Network Ten in Australia. Do check it out. It’s addictive and very entertaining!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I tune in every year just to watch the crazy auditions, other than “rectum” girl, there hasn’t been a lot. Maybe I’ll just DVR it, read your re-cap and see if it’s worth the playback. Thanks for your thorough-ness.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Hi PCN, thanks for the extra laughs !!

    I’m from Brisbane, capital city of Queensland (‘The Sunshine State’) on the east coast. Sydney is an hour and 10 mins flight south. It’s a heck of a long flight to get from the USA to here but I’d be willing to bet you’d find it worth the potential dehydration and numb behind!

    Australian Idol is on Channel 10 every year and we don’t miss a bar of it! They time it to finish at the end of November and have the grand finale at the Opera House. I just trawled around the TV Guides and found American Idol on Fox 8, so I’ll start tuning in! If I’m lucky, maybe we are behind enough in episodes that I can still catch Akilah in action 🙂

    Thanks again!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2009 at 10:58 pm

      A numb butt doesn’t faze me at all; I’d hop on a plane in a heartbeat if I had the money right now. My father has visited Sydney (I have a bunch of aunts, uncle, and cousins there) but it looks like I can only dream about it for now. I also have friends in Perth who recently had their first child whom I’d love to meet one day.

      Oh, I hope you do get to see Akilah. She’s definitely unique!

      Is Australian Idol as looney as the American version? If you do check it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how the two compare. I will say I think your Opera House trumps our Kodak Theatre, where our finale is held.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Wow, Perth is gorgeous, and on the other side of the country – the distance between our east and west coasts is similar to yours. I’ve only been there once but it was amazing to see the sunset over the beach. Because we are on the east coast (we are an hour’s drive from beaches) we get the sunrises instead. I’m sure you will make it here someday and you’ll love it!

    I imagine we have as many kooks at our auditions as yours, but I’ll let you know for sure asap 🙂

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