American Idol Milwaukee Auditions: What Did You Think?

It’s been a banner month for Wisconsin. First, the state’s beloved Green Bay Packers make the epic march to Super Bowl XLV, and then American Idol goes and airs an audition episode from Milwaukee featuring at least (and perhaps more than) a half-dozen singers with the potential to march all the way to the season 10 finale: The country kid with the deeeeeep voice. The Summer Fest janitor. The White House intern. The guy whose female relative got a hilarious charlie horse. The CPA who scored a “disturbingly great” critique from Steven Tyler. The student teacher J.Lo said was her favorite to date. The starstruck Aerosmith fan who got all bashful attempting “Dream On.” And even the guy with the heartbreaking back story that was inelegantly extracted by our otherwise quite excellent judges. I’m excited to see what each and every one of ’em brings to Hollywood Week. (Especially that White House intern!)

Were you equally excited by the Milwaukee auditions? Who was your favorite hopeful? How would you rate the judges tonight? While I hunker down to write my full episode recap — look for it to post overnight right here at — I’m hoping you’ll head down to the comments section and sound off.

What’s more, if you have some strong thoughts or opinions on anything you saw tonight on Idol — pertaining to judges, contestants, trends or conspiracy theories — and you’d like to share them on the next episode of TVLine’s new Idol-related Web series, Idoloonies, email a paragraph or two to (and be sure to include a contact phone number). We’ll be selecting a handful of readers each week to join me in cohosting the Webcast via Skype or video chat (to tape on Friday afternoons). We’ll also be choosing a Twitter Question of the Week, so don’t hesitate to fire your best shots to me @MichaelSlezakTV. Be sure to tag it #Idoloonies!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Emily says:

    I was okay with the last guy until they brought the girlfriend in the room. That was just too much for me.

    • Andrea says:

      Yeah, that was so sad. Idol usually has sad stories, but that was way too much. That is just super depressing. I’m devastated. It is the worst nightmare of anyone in love to think of your partner getting in such a horrible accident. That poor girl can’t even live a semi-normal life. She was shaking, and her boyfriend is so sweet to take care of her and stay with her, but it’s all just devastating.

    • All throughout the episode I thought it was a little sob story lite, but that last one made up for it. Wow. That was so sad. The guy really didn’t have the best voice in the world, but with the story you knew he was going through. Overall some decent talent in Milwaukee, the guy with the glasses/J.Lo’s favorite really was quite good. I can see him going pretty far. For more Idol recap please click on the link below. Thanks.

    • Rita says:

      I have to agree with you Emily it was too much! I have watched American Idol in its entirity since Season 3 but NEVER did a story make me cry and that last one did. What a good young man, truly and MOSTLY he had a terrific voice, so we shall see.

  2. Buckwheat says:

    That last guy reminded me of a much more terrible and cringe worthy Gokey sob story but he does have a better singing voice (apparently this is a singing competition. WHO KNEW?)

  3. Tommy says:

    I loved loved LOVED Thia! I hated that so many kids were getting through until her! She’s everything I’ve ever wanted!

    Also what’s with Danny Goakey 2.0 with an even more heart breaking story that we will be hearing all about till April… Yes um saying he’ll make it to the Top 5.

  4. lovinlife says:

    One audition from Milwaukee has the potential to go a to final. The White House Intern! She has enough “package” to make it to the end.

    • And she had some awesome kicks. I love confidence in hot pink!

    • MichelleR says:

      I loved the intern’s voice, but it’s almost like she doesn’t need American Idol. Harvard grad, White House intern, attractive, great voice… She’d be hard to root for fully, because I see her being able to pursue politics or entertainment pretty easily on her own. I don’t need a hard luck story, but if you told me she walked out the door and got smacked in the face with a winning lottery ticket, I’d believe it.

      I think I’m also amazed, as much as I wish I had a great singing voice, that anyone would leave the White House right now unless her internship is already coming to an end — but that’s because I also have a crush on the President. :)

    • MichelleR says:

      I loved how they asked if the Packers fan was the most annoying contestant (or was it person?) ever. She was mildly off-putting, but nowhere in the same league as that Miley Wanna-be girl from last week — Victoria Huggins. Or that Ashley chick who did the full on crazy-eyed grovel.

  5. Maine Girl says:

    Loved the show tonight! The judges are great together–especially JLo and Steven Tyler. I LOVED Steven Tyler tonight! My favorite contestants were Chris Medina (last guy) and Jlo’s favorite. But, really, there were lots of really good auditions tonight!

  6. mariabintexas says:

    I am very excited about Chris Medina because now I have a contestant who I can passionately vote AGAINST. His exploitation of his tragically brain damaged fiance is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. I do not blame idol. This is what idol does. We know this and Chris knows this. Shame on him. And more thing. How exactly is he supposed to care for her should he actually succeed and become a touring musician? Hmm? sick.

    • Rick says:

      “I am very excited about Chris Medina because now I have a contestant who I can passionately vote AGAINST. His exploitation of his tragically brain damaged fiance is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.”

      Are you serious when you say this? Do you actually believe the words that you are typing, or are you just trying to get a rise out of people? This wasn’t some exploitation to get through on a sympathy vote. This was a guy bringing his girlfriend to the auditions, and Idol jumping all over them, like they should because it makes for great television. Seriously, do you think he could have possibly left the house without her? Based on the little we saw of her, I am guessing she would have thrown a fit if he had even thought about doing that. Again, this wasn’t exploitation, unless you mean that Idol is the exploiters.

      • melissa says:

        Yeah, I agree with Rick. Chris didn’t do anything bad.

        People are getting so cynical!

        • AM says:

          Because it was completely cynical manipulation to get a pass (and votes) on a TV show. Absolutely terrible on his part and on the part of the producers.

      • PinBox says:

        If you seriously think exploiting that poor young woman makes for “Great TV”, you need to have your head examined. Better yet, watch a show that features multiple handicapped people vying against one another to see who can win the golden ticket for “Saddest Story Ever”. Oh wait, that number one show doesn’t exist, because it is NOT “Great TV”. This was simply a terrible personal tragedy and not meant to become prime time viewing fodder.

  7. Paco says:

    Im gonna go against the trend that im already starting to see here and say that Chris Medina’s story really got to me. It just reminded me how quickly life can change in the blink of an eye.

    • MichelleR says:

      Yep. That was so hard to watch.

      What do people think about a separate show, after all the auditions, where they then profile the people? Allow people to fall in love with the voice, maybe give a taste of the background, and then we find out on a separate show a little more about the people? The audience can invest in their stories, but perhaps feel less manipulated right out of the gate.

  8. Adam says:

    My favorite was Haley, the one who sang the Beatles song I think? Great voice.

  9. Carrie says:

    White House intern was probably my favorite audition so far.

  10. darclyte says:

    I hate “Idol Sob Story”tm as much as anyone, and yep, bringing the gal with the brain injury into the audition room did come across as exploitative. That said, she broke my heart. I also have to give BIG kudos to Steven for how he approached her and then you could see him talking with her family and hugging them. He’s a good soul. I just hope that they don’t make Chris Medina into Gokey 2.0, and that they allow him to compete on his voice and not his “story.” But, I’m not impressed that he allowed his “story” to be exploited that way. Take a lesson from David Cook and go on your voice and let the story come out naturally and NOT on the show.

    As for the others, I thought that the intern gal was over rated, she missed several notes and was “gaspy” at times. My favs tonight were the accountant and the student teacher. The janitor gal who I guess she and her family are Jamaican probably doesn’t have much of a chance with “middle America” who will see her family in those garbs and refuse to support her. She was good, but she also needs to work on her game some. Interestingly, each episode has had better contestants (on the whole) than the prior one.

    “Hellfire and save matches, (censored) a duck and see what hatches,” Steven Tyler 1/26/2011.

    • Drew says:

      That is true about David Cook and his brother with brain cancer. I don’t think it’s reprehensible or anything to utilize a tragic background in a positive way, silver lining and all that. But I do have a lot more respect for the people like David. I vote based on the voice from the second I’m allowed to vote, and the scary thing to me is how far the story takes some people. Danny Gokey was talented, but probably shouldn’t have made top 5, let alone beat out Allison Iraheta. I’m thrilled to see what Chris is made of, but I hope his story doesn’t take him further than his voice deserves.

  11. glomrackle says:

    Love that Tyler dialed down the skeeve factor. <3 the intern and the accountant.

  12. Kelsey says:

    Nobody really impressed me tonight. So Milwaukee was kind of a let down for me. It was just more of the same kinds of people getting through. No one has really stood out so far. Hopefully someone truly unique and talented will show up soon.

  13. Jenny says:

    Ugh, I cried through Chris Medina’s audition…yep, I got Gokeyed, y’all. And I thought it was funny that they played “Dream On” in Gokey’s home city…why didn’t they play the infamous Gokey scream?

    • duranmom says:

      Really? You want to hear that again? Once was too much for me. Gokey…still wondering how he made it to #3 that year…

  14. Alison says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I found the White House intern to be smug and rather annoying. I was glad Randy accidentally punched her in the face…

    • Joslyn says:

      Thank you! I found the White House intern super irritating in her interview package and was a bit surprised by how positively she was received. I’ll be really annoyed if she gets past Hollywood.

  15. AM says:

    Scott McCreery was the best tonight. I really liked his second song.

    The last audition made me very uncomfortable. Way, way too exploitative. Shame on that guy for using his fiance like that.

  16. Tek says:

    Um…I think the intern will fizzle in hollywood week. It’s just a hunch, and I’m probably wrong, but I didn’t like her that much.

    I liked the country guy, but am not sure how his voice will translate to other genres.

    I loved Jerome Bell and hopes that he breaks the mold when it comes to young, black men on the show. Big Mike sorta did, but his ‘tude and arrogance put me off.

    I also like Scott Dangerfield and heard some Michael Johns tone in his voice. The quip about kissing a.girl backstage was awesome!

    I think that Chris Medina is a solid vocalist and deserves props for sticking with his girl, but Gokey Redux just didn’t sit well with me. Loved the fact that StevEN told her directly what he thought of her guy’s talent. It just seemed like it should have been a private moment for them, I felt like I was intruding.

    Oh…and my ‘Idol’ Billy Joel’s song was MDK’d (murder death kill from Demolition Man) by that guy. Why oh why did you have to pick that song????

    Looking forward to the ‘Loonie Tunes!

    • darclyte says:

      Idol could really use a male country singer to win. As Randy said, he could have a loong career. In country music, you could have one hit and 40 years later still be touring as part of an “old timers” show and make good money (I knew a producer of such shows and they sold out all over the place even though most of the people on the tour hadn’t had a hit in 30+ years.)

  17. Jenny says:

    They still let through more younger contestants, same as last week and added in the not so subtle Bieber plug (and awkward Packer Opera Singer). However, they are morphing into valid, interesting judges. I admit I was quick to the eye roll when their names were hinted and quickly offered up Ben Folds and Shania Twain as THE American Idol judges that we all would be drooling over. But the producers were sneaky, they melted my heart with this episode. Yeah, we got a Gokey 2.0, but this one can sing!! He has a Jack Black (from High Fidelity/The Holiday) quality that A.Garcia from 2 seasons ago didn’t pull off. Tonight, had many strong possibilities for the Top Ten. Though I admit, I did try to place every talented one into the Idol stereotypical molds… The token country contestant, the rocker chick (Save the Rocker!), the Chicken Little, the Guy with glasses… By the look of my Facebook newsfeed every woman over 30 wants Steven Tyler now, but too bad he is only attracted to jail bait. The judges shined as much as the contestants tonight, but in a good way. Not a Kara, fist-pounding, I’m better than you way. They dealt with the crazies with ripping the band-aid quick critiques or Steven Tyler matched the crazy output to absorb the pain. Idol got it right tonight! There was something for everyone, but I think they are throwing us though – we haven’t seen them on a live show yet. This could be clever editing/producing! Line of the night from Ryan to crazy Charlie Horse woman: Does it tickle?

    • Jenny says:

      *misinformation Andrew Garcia was last season (just felt like 2 years ago)

      Also Scott Dangerfield is Tim Urban from last season.

  18. Anne says:

    I was unimpressed by everyone tonight except the editors who went full-out Dream On during the Gokey episode. (Especially unimpressed that I had to see Gokey again.) White House Intern is my favorite from the night, but no one holds a candle to my favorites from last week. Chris Medina was good, but the entire thing was so exploitative and wrong. Agree with darclyte: David Cook is the example to follow, unless you don’t think you have the talent to make it. And if you don’t have the talent, I sure as heck don’t care about your sob story.

  19. melissa says:

    Scott Dangerfield was amazing! Definitely my favorite so far. I also liked the accountant, Chris! Overall, fantastic episode tonight.

  20. SaraK says:

    I liked Chris, he had a a great voice. Although I wish they would nto have exploited his sob story. White House intern for top 10!

  21. Idol8Fan says:

    It was a good episode for the most part. Well done Idol makeover team.

    I do strongly disagree with the age 15 eligibility. In fact I believe 16 is too low despite Allison Iraheta proving my opinion wrong in her case. It is amazing what they can do at that age and makes good TV but only the really exceptional like Allison have what it takes at that age. Waiting an extra year or two should increase their chances and be better for the child as a developing person as well.

  22. DJ says:

    I don’t think they should have let Come Together/Dream On chick through. I guess they have to have some fodder for Hollywood week, though.

  23. DJ says:

    Oh, and I don’t think Kelly Clarkson is fat, and I don’t think Jordin Sparks is fat. I don’t know why Randy needed to go there. That woman clearly could not sing.

    • MichelleR says:

      Randy was defensive. All he should have done was tell her to watch the show — from her couch. She’d see how silly her comment was, or at least how silly she made herself look.

      I have to say that the Jennifer Hudson Weight Watchers commercial about five minutes later had a certain timing.

  24. JayK says:

    Did not like the White House Intern who just graduated from Harvard. And now interns at the White House. Because she just graduated from Harvard. And now works at the White House. Gorgeous legs and shoes, but don’t like her. Love Student Teacher and Great Hat Jerome. Found myself fully crying at the end. “What kind of guy would I be if I left her when she needed me most?” I am no fan of Sob Story Packages (and I find that this season especially all packages have been too long) but they have been genuinely moving this season. As much as I hate to admit it. Still shouldn’t have brought her into the room. Awkward when they talked to her like she was a baby.

  25. Dani C says:

    Good ep over all! I am in love w/Tyler and Jlo, although Randy is still the bastard, red-headed step-child, IMO. Loved the intern, and the guy w/the awesome last name (Dangerfield?), and i gotta say i liked the last guy…which surprised me cause i was prepared to hate him. It was all very Gokey-ish and i didn’t wanna drink the kool-aid…but he kinda won me over. I think the difference is he wasn’t pimping his fiance…unlike some tone-deaf, can’t dance, third place finishers i could mention. I do not understand how the two 15 yrs featured (the first one from colorado and the other from california)got through…the first one COULD NOT SING! It sounded pretty terrible, and she will come out of hollywood no doubt in need of therapy. The other one wasn’t as bad, but her voice just sounded funky to me….in a smelly foot kinda way. Anyways, can’t wait for Idoloonies!
    P.S. Anyone else think Kristen Baldwin literally had a fit when they showed ghoulish widower?

    • darclyte says:

      Where IS Kristin Baldwin anyway? Too bad she isn’t here at and still at doing Bachelor recaps.

  26. Just Jules says:

    Twonthings stood out to me tonight.. Steven Tyler’s comPassion in whispering in the girls ear that her fiancé was good because he sang to/for her AND the number if people auditioning who weren’t actually from Wisconsin.

  27. rebo says:

    I fell in love with S Ty when he let the civil war re-enactment guy down in such a nice way – Simon would have left him with his fragile self-esteem in shreds, but Steven was so nice to him – and you could tell he meant it. He’s sincere AND he pays attention – I’m actually glad Simon’s gone this season. He was too mean. I think Steven just shows genuine appreciation of what he sees – and yeah sometimes that’s a 16 yr old girl, but I honestly don’t think he’s a perv.

  28. MerryMary says:

    I’m so sick of the way Idol has been dragging out these stories. Some of them are interesting, but the Idol producers blow some of them up way too much. Just focus on the music and let the stories come out in their own time later. And no, Idol, you won’t find another Justin Bieber… he’s talented in his own way and I don’t even like the boy’s music, but you just won’t find a duplicate. Give it up! I have a few contestants I might find myself rooting for when the live show starts, but it’s still too early to tell.

  29. AC says:

    That banner month for Wisconsin should probably include the Wisconsin Badgers also. They were in the Rose Bowl way at the beginning of this month.

    I liked the guy with the deep voice and the last one too.

  30. Peggy Sue says:

    Hey Michael – I am finding the “new” American Idol completely delightful. Love Steven Tyler and J-Lo on the judges panel. They don’t seem burned out or negative or self involved. They seem fresh and happy to be there and ready to give contestants the benefit of the doubt. It’s been a pleasure to watch.
    The “sob” background stories don’t seem to be played up as much – thank Heavens! – as previous years either. We appreciate that out here in tv land!
    It’s interesting that so many 15-year olds made it to Hollywood this year. How are they going to cope with the pressure of what goes on there? Maybe it will be handled differently. I hope they don’t do the “group” thing – that’s where people fall apart. Just let the contestants sing . . . and see how they do.

  31. Michael Mario says:

    I whole heartedly agree with Jennifer…student teacher w/ glasses is my favorite so far. I can see him and redheaded curly hair who was teased a lot at school being in the top 12. I would love to see the deep voiced country singer go far as well. We need a follow up sensation like Carrie Underwood.
    However, I think the judges are being a little too lenient by letting so many people go through, but it’s just probably the way they’ve edited the show. Less “bombs” with the usual Simon cannon fodder, and more highlights of good/ passable talent. Hollywood will definitely make some of these people fail. Let’s hope one of them turns into another Josiah Leming—I LOVE LOVE LOVE his album “Come on Kid.”

  32. John May says:

    Chris Medina’s interview package stopped me in my tracks. I mean, it was hard to watch. You would think that Idol would’ve learned it’s lesson with Gokey, but apparently not. I’m guessing that both his back story and his talent (which he did have) will propel him deep into the competition. I just wish that I didn’t feel so manipulated. But I’m not going to blame him for that. Not yet, anyway.

  33. ErixN says:

    Chris really did not have that great of a voice. It seemed too simple to me. The backstory was way too much like others have mentioned. I think it distracted the judges from his audition.

  34. Sandy says:

    My fave episode so far this season. The standouts for me were:
    1. Jerome – I love the power and soul in his voice and how it really filled the room.
    2. Deep-voiced country guy – His voice is so purely, unapologetically country. He wasn’t holding back the twang or anything.
    3. Naema – Like Jerome, she has the power to really belt.
    4. White House intern – I love female singers with deep, smoky tones and I loved her personality (making light of Randy accidentally hitting her).
    5. Chris Medina – He started goodish but probably not good enough, but by the end he was doing some nice things to color up “Breakeven”. So I think he deserved his ticket without his story.

  35. Jake says:

    I think this show is way past it’s PRIME…stopped watching after Clay Aiken and Reuben. Just couldn’t bring myself to watch it tired of Simon’s snarky attitude and Paula’s incoherent self and Randy’s dog this and dog that…and now the new judges..BLAH!!!time to cancel it.

    • Suncatcher says:

      Why are you posting if you haven’t watched AI in years?

      You haven’t even seen the new judges – but you post “BLAH” here…?

      Give this year’s new AI a try – I honestly believe you will be happily surprised.

  36. Zimsui says:

    Thanks idol for Jerome bell, the summerfest dreadlocks girl, the guy in the white beach outfit, and chris medina. A big no thank you to the village idiot Steven Tyler who is the biggest piece of crap they could have hired. Kara Diaguardi last year was everything that was right with idol. Ben Folds at his craft. Tyler is a kissy face 16 year old girl who just wants attention and acts like a complete idiot the entire time. They really should have brought on someone to anchor Randy and J lo who is mature enough to speak about music and judge music, not just try and show riffs or even at some auditions, show jealousy that when Tyler was younger he could have been in this competition and done well. Well Steven, you are past your prime and you need to stop looking like a 17 year old girl and dressing like one with flare jeans.
    Also a big shout out to idol for admitting they are looking for their Beiber. It is going to be a long and at times annoying season. But they are following up a season with Tim Urban and Aaron what’s his face.
    Hopefully a few more polished artists and performers come along and prove why this show is great. Idol just needs to look at it’s blueprint to see why David cook Kris Allen and lee dywze have won. Polished artists who showed passion in their craft. Good luck finding one from a pool of 15 and 16 year olds led by Ms. Steven Tyler.

    • Suncatcher says:

      Geez, Zimsui, what did Steven Tyler ever do to you?

      Personally, I think Tyler is the one leading this new AI out of obscurity with his vast music experience, quick wit and respect for the contestants.

  37. Suncatcher says:

    The show ended last night with Chris Medina who had a decent voice and a compeling story. But I think the real story was watching the judges – led by Steven Tyler – ask to meet his wife and family AND then got up and – led by Steven Tyler – walked over to them and gave them (Medina’s crippled wife) a huge hug and words of (honest) encouragement. Tyler said something wonderful, like, “Now we know why Chris sings so beautifully – because he is singing to a beautiful lady.” I had tears running down my face.

    Folks, how many of you think Simon Cowell and prior judges would ever do this? (Paula excluded).

    I thought it was a great night for unveiling the ton of talent they found in Milwaukee. It was totally enjoyable to watch the performances AND the judges who seem to have bonded into a group who are treating this year’s contestants with respect and having fun doing so! Welcome back new & improved American Idol!

  38. Rock Chick says:

    It was the judges who asked chris to bring in his wife to meet them. So it is their fault, the editors of the show and producers NOT Chris. He didnt use his wife to gain votes and sympathy etc to advance on. He didn’t pull out that card. Also Idol owns each contestant the moment they step in line to audition. Idol does what they want with your image, your music, your vocals, your back story, whatever you say and everything. He didn’t pull out the wife sad story card like a certain contestant did 2 seasons ago. And his family and friends etc didnt either like a certain contestant from 2 seasons ago did. He didnt continuelly bring it up either like a certain someone did. And he probably wont bring it up again after his time is over on Idol like a certain contestant did when they came back on the show the following season. People need to stop hating on Chris and focus on the positives, how well or how bad he sang, his song choice, the comments made by judges, etc. There is enough negativity in this world to be so rude as some have been here and elsewhere after seeing Chris on Idol is just sad.

  39. justine says:

    I am thinking that because of the massive expense of the medical bills, Chris Medina auditioned for Idol seeking a following to support fund raising efforts for the continued care of his fiancee. Genius plan, and if anyone else had a loved one in that kind of need, you would probably go to any lengths to get them the help they needed. I hope it works out for him/them.