AMERICAN IDOL Season 8 Recap — Louisville, KY

OK, Hollywood week needs to get here already. Tonight’s audition show was uninspiring and predictable. You could just tell who was going to make it or not by the little intro segments on some of the singers.

The tryouts we saw:

  • Tiffany Shedd, a platinum blonde who said she’d have a positive attitude no matter what the judges said. Well, after Simon (unnecessarily) compared her to a donkey, she trash-talked all the way out the door and beyond. Nice.
  • Joanna Pacitti, this year’s Carly Smithson. Like season 7’s Irish rocker, Pacitti had once had a record deal (with A&M) but for whatever reason, it didn’t work out. She even looks a little like Smithson, with black hair and blue eyes, though more petite and tattoo-free. She sang Pat Benatar’s “We Belong.” Her voice isn’t as big as Smithson’s but it was good enough to get her to Hollywood.
  • Mark Mudd, a descendant of Dr. Samuel Mudd, the man who spent 10 years in prison for aiding and abetting John Wilkes Booth while he was on the lam after shooting President Lincoln. Apparently because of this, the phrase “your name is Mudd” became an insult. Mark hoped to redeem the family name but, sadly, after a hoe-down rendition of George Jones’s “White Lightning,” he failed.
  • Brent Keith Smith, a cute guy who rocked a pretty decent version of Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough.” Yup, he’s Hollywood-bound.
  • A montage of bad acts, including a girl who sang like she was a Lollipop Guild member and a guy who painted his face black and white then wore sunglasses over the whole mess. Train wrecks, all.
  • Matt Giraud, a young Justin Timberlake lookalike and kind of soundalike who did Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be.” Let me tell you—I’ve tried singing that song in karaoke and I always sucked ’cause it’s tough but Giraud did just fine and got a golden ticket.
  • Ross Plavsic, who called himself an academic. Did he know this isn’t Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Like last night’s Akilah, he studied the shapes of mouths and palates but it didn’t help him one bit.
  • Alexis Grace, this year’s Brooke White. She’s a blonde, guitar-playing, fresh-faced, nice girl who stays at home to take care of a little kid (though she’s the mom and Brooke was only the nanny). She’s petite but when she opened her mouth to sing Aretha’s “Dr. Feelgood,” a surprisingly big voice came roaring out. She’s going to Hollywood with some makeover tips from Kara: “Don’t wear pink” and “Dirty yourself up.”
  • Aaron Williamson, the happiest contestant of the night, who oddly sang CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” like one long primal scream therapy session. He didn’t make it but remained a class act even in the face of rejection.
  • Rebecca Garcia, who messed up “Before He Cheats” even though she literally wore the lyrics on her arm. Kara thought Garcia was being funny since she was voted “Most Humorous” in high school but Garcia said she was serious and started to cry. Kara said she felt bad for being mean but I didn’t buy it for one second. I think Kara was putting on an act and trying to be clever but it backfired and made her look like a jerk.
  • After a montage of a handful of good singers, we get to the Tearjerker of the Day: 18-year-old Leneshe Young. I love this girl. She was homeless during her childhood, raised in shelters by a single mom but she was spunky, confident, adorable and sang a song she wrote “a hundred percent.” Her singing was groovy, the song was good and she completely won me over. Sob story or no, I’m rooting for her.

Leneshe was the only real standout for me from Louisville. By this time last year, I’d chosen Michael Johns (“the hot Aussie”) and Brooke White (“that nice, blonde nanny”) as frontrunners. If I had to call it now, I’d say Emily Wynne-Hughes, Casey Carlson, Leneshe, Deanna Brown and Danny Gokey will probably crack the Top 24.

Who are your faves so far? What do you think of Kara? Is she helpful or turning into another Simon?

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  • Reply
    January 22, 2009 at 5:25 am

    Yay, PCN, I watched American Idol tonight and saw this episode, so by the magic of modern technology, we are (for now) right on par with your episodes. (On the downside, that means I’ve missed seeing Akilah. But I can imagine her well from your helpful descriptions!)

    I desperately wanted the bubbly and effervescent Aaron Williamson to have a great voice, as he was so darned endearing! What a shame. I felt very disappointed for him – he was so crestfallen yet totally gracious, as you say.

    Leneshe was my fave from this lot – touching story aside, she’s a total package!

    Something about the whole Kara/Rebecca Garcia thing didn’t sit right with me. I found it a series of very awkward moments, but I wasn’t quite sure what in the heck it was all about!

    • Reply
      January 22, 2009 at 7:34 am


      Oh, nuts about missing Akilah! But yay for your seeing it without delay there!

      I really liked Aaron Williamson, too. Effervescent is the perfect word to describe him—he had such great energy and presence.

      The Kara/Rebecca Garcia thing wasn’t cool. It was obvious Garcia was utterly serious about her audition. But when Kara saw that she had been voted “Most Humorous” in high school, she probably thought, “Oh, I’m going to make a clever quip about how this must be a joke,” knowing very well that it wasn’t. I don’t think she anticipated that Garcia would be devastated and start crying and the whole thing just backfired.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I think you’re spot on!

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