AMERICAN IDOL Season 8 Recap — Jacksonville, FL

The judges were on crack tonight. Right off the bat, they put through two super-cheesy contestants whom I’d bet will crash and burn in Hollywood while giving several good singers a hard time.  What is up?!

A rundown:

  • Joshua Ulloa, who sang Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” complete with annoying vocal sound effects as if he were a DJ scratching a record. Even if he’d omitted all that scratchy wackiness, his voice was average at best. But they all voted him through without much fuss. What?!!
  • The next girl, Sharon Wilbur, came in with her shih tzu and sang an unrecognizable version of Karen Carpenter’s “Superstar.” She had interesting husky tones but all she sang was “baby, baby, baby, baby” over and over. I said, “There are other words in the song!” (Yes, I talk to the TV while watching this show.) Didn’t matter—she got through. My jaw fell on the floor and rolled under the couch in protest. To borrow Randy’s favorite phrase this season: “Bizarre season 8!”
  • Dana Moreno, who strangled Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire.” Oh, please, no. Finally, the judges agreed with me.
  • Kaneswa Finnie, a 16-year-old who was really loved by her mother. The came into the room all confident then butchered Anita Baker’s “Rhapture of Love.” She did musical sound effects between the lyrics, too! (She and Joshua must jam together.) She claimed her mama thinks she’s good so the judges called Mom into the room and Simon asked her point blank if she thought Kaneswa was good. What’s Mom gonna say in front of her kid, for goodness sakes?! Mom finally said, “She sings all over Jacksonville,” which is not an answer at all but the best thing she could’ve said.
  • Julissa Veloz, a “candidata” (candidate) in the Miss Florida Latina USA beauty pageant. She actually wore a tiara and sash in the room. She seemed totally cheesy until the opened her mouth to sing Whitney’s “I Have Nothing” and I went, “Damn!” She was amazing! Such a powerful voice and remarkable control! It was so obvious this girl could mop the floor with Justin Guarini Guy but the judges hemmed and hawed before finally letting her through.
  • Darin Darnell, who started out really happy, smiling, talking to everyone, dancing, making friends in the crowd. Then a guy he just met got rejected by the judges and Darnell started to fall apart. When he went into the room, he could barely hold back tears. When the judges asked what was upsetting him, he said, “Everything.” Huh? Is he bipolar? I’m worried. He sang Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Good-bye” completely off-key and I don’t think it’s because of the crying.
  • Naomi Sykes, a blonde who made such a mess of Minnie Ripperton’s “Loving You,” even her friend, who was sitting on Randy’s lap in the room (don’t ask), could barely prevent herself from laughing.
  • Jasmine Murray, a beautiful 16-year-old who had the most ebullient, supportive family. Her mama and sisters came with her and after Jasmine got a golden ticket for belting out Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” her family whooped and hollered, held hands and jumped for joy. The excitement was contagious.
  • George Ramirez, an 18-year-old physics student with a jungle-man beard who sang Katrina and the Waves’s bouncy “Walking on Sunshine” like he was performing at a funeral. At first, I had no idea what song he was singing because he drained it of all lightness. And melody, too.
  • T.K. Hash, who sang “Imagine” with wayyy too many runs. When he got to the line, “No need for greed or hunger,” I was thinking, “No need for runs or riffing.” But his voice was good and he got through.
  • Michael Perrelli, who plays guitar everywhere he goes. Except in the audition room. When he found out he couldn’t accompany himself on guitar, he panicked. But he finally belted out a decent rendition of Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper.” The judges were on the fence so he started to beg and that’s when it all went wrong. Simon said Perrelli’s pleading made him mad (what?! Everyone begs!) and eventually they all said no. That made me mad. This guy wasn’t great but he was better than Shih Tzu Girl or Justin Guarini Guy. Foul!
  • Finally, my favorite contestant of the evening—Anne-Marie Boskovich. This pretty brunette came in wearing a perfectly acceptable denim jacket over denim miniskirt with a white cami underneath. She said she was a huge fan of Kara’s and sang a few bars of a song Kara had sung at a Nashville event Boskovich attended. Just from those few notes, which did not represent her official audition, you could tell she had a gorgeous voice. I’d have said yes on the spot. But nooo. The judges said she didn’t exude a “star persona” so she needed to go away and come back “as a different person.” The girl went out, conveniently found a makeup artist walking around on the streets (?) and went from Sandy to Pink Lady. She came back, sang Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly” in a crystal clear, Carrie Underwood voice and got a ticket. That’s a good thing but it was ridiculous how they made her jump through hoops, especially since they’d been saying yes to sub-par people all day!

What did you think of tonight’s show? Who were your faves? Did you think the judges were fair to Michael Perelli and Anne-Marie Boskovich? Tune in tomorrow for auditions in Salt Lake City!

(Don’t miss out on any American Idol discussions this season—Subscribe to Obsessions of a Pop Culture Nerd by Email)



  • Reply
    January 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I’ve been on the peripheral of your blog for a while, but I am finally going to start commenting and become a subscriber. I agree with your re-cap for last night….except for Joshua Ulloa. I think he has boundless energy and can actually SING! But, I do agree with EVERYTHING else. Hope you can find your jaw under the couch. (LOL!)

  • Reply
    January 28, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Sharon Wilbur needs to buy a brain for that smile she wears. If she were alive, Karen Carpenter probably would have thrown something at her TV…AND KICKED A SHITZU!! (yes, I am aware of how I spelled that)

Leave a Reply