American Idol in San Francisco: Your Favorite?

It seems like just yesterday the Idoloonie Nation was watching Lee DeWyze fight a tsunami of confetti while taking a victory lap on “Beautiful Day” at the American Idol season 9 finale. And yet suddenly, here we are with the season 10 auditions already in the rear-view mirror, and Hollywood Week directly in front of us. Tonight, we hit San Francisco for the final round of tryouts, and while there were definitely some talented folks in the mix, it also felt like the show’s producers were going to borderline comical lengths to imbue the proceedings with some gravitas, an overdose of “Everybody Hurts”-style storytelling to make us feel something/anything for a select few contestants.

My favorite was a dark-haired woman in a tight white dress who belted out Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name” with a flair that matched her impressive vocal horsepower. Strangely enough, though, the show’s producers failed to identify her! As Jennifer Hudson might ask: “Where you at, ‘Last Name’ cover singer?”

Idol Leaderboard: The Top 20 Golden-Ticket Holders From the First Three Weeks of Season 10!

Anyhow, that’s enough from me for the moment. I’ve got an entire episode recap to write, so I’m gonna get typing (and you can look for it in the morning right here at Did you enjoy the San Francisco auditions? Who was your favorite hopeful? And who didn’t deserve a Golden Ticket but got one anyway? Head down to the comments section and sound off.

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  1. Marta says:

    I found that really strange too, Michael. Its really rare for them not to identify auditioners (even quick snippets) with a name tag caption. There were some good singers in that nameless bunch!

    Also- it should certainly be said that I think they (once again) overdid James Durbin’s backstory. They were grabbing for everything- dad’s death, double diagnosis, bullied, young kid, unemployed. One of those would have sufficed and would have been more compelling. Too bad, cause his voice could have done all the talking.

    • The comparison between Adam Lambert and James Durbin probably started to happen as soon as James let out his first note. James does have quite a story, but I agree it might be a bit too much for one sitting.
      I also like the nameless “California Girls”. Why show us them if you don’t tell us their names? Doesn’t that mean that they don’t do very well in Hollywood rounds? I always assume other than maybe 4 or 5 people we didn’t see, the majority of the people we will see in the Top 40 and most definetly the Top 20 are people we have seen in these audition rounds.

  2. Linderella49 says:

    My favorite was last girl, the one with the matching arm tattoos that sounded like old school Billie Holiday or Melanie (Brand New Rollerskates)and a little bit like Jewel when she picked up the guitar. No crazy riffs, no screaming, and something unique. I hope we get to hear her take on other more contemporary songs.

    • The Ween says:

      I ended up really liking her, although I didn’t think I would at first. Finally someone with that “jazzy” vibe where the singing voice matches the speaking voice. More often than not, IMO, that affect is put on and NOT genuine. With her, I totally bought it.

    • Sharkey says:

      I agree…I would definitely like to hear more from her.

    • Shemay says:

      The girl with the guitar had the most original sound. There are several who can hit the notes, but they all sound so mainstream. When she picked up the guitar I thought, ‘Finally, an interesting contestant’.
      We probably won’t see her again; she doesn’t fit the cookie cutter. They’re looking for the next Celine Dion. I think that may be what you mean by contemporary.

  3. Angelo Barovier says:

    A picture says a thousand words. You put the right screen cap up so, as far as I’m concerned, ’nuff said.

  4. Robert says:

    I’m very glad to be moving on from the sob-story fest of the auditions.

  5. musicteach210 says:

    There was a string of 3 nameless females who sang after the transformer dude. I really liked the girl who sang “Smile”.
    I also thought that Emily Reed’s sound was really unique.

  6. Jewels83 says:

    I actually enjoyed these auditions. I thought there were less loonies and fakes and real performers with this particular episode. I was surprised they showed someone with a semi-decent voice (long blonde rocker hair dude)get rejected-I was terrified that the judges were going to grant the golden ticket to him like they’ve been doing to a lot of semi-decent voices this season.
    Steven Tyler made me chuckle a couple times, JLO was on point, Randy was unnoticeable-like always.
    Loved James Durbin’s and double armed tattoo girl auditions.

  7. Street23 says:

    Emily Ann = this year’s Megan Joy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    James Durbin = this year’s Adam Lambert. At least as far as the voice goes. But I prefer Adam’s theater background to James’ Lifetime Movie backstory.
    And Julie Zorrilla = this year’s hot brunette that I will inevitably wind up rooting for. Can’t decide yet whether she’ll be another Kat McPhee or a Becky O’Donohue.

  8. AJ Miller says:

    I kept track — they named everyone including the furry and the Transformer, but didn’t name the three women who sang wonderfully in quick snippets. How uncouth.

    Emily and James won me over. I don’t need the sob story for those two, but it doesn’t hurt. It was misleading though, Idol made us think that either Emily or Julie was not going to make the cut, and both of them did.

  9. Amanda says:

    Definitely my favourite was Emily Reed. I was a bit apprehensive because Idol kept preparing those string of sob stories but the minute she sang, I was sold! Love her unique voice, she reminds me of Lily Scott from last season, hopefully Emily Reed will last longer :)

  10. Jonathan says:

    James Durbin might be my least favorite contestant ever. He shows zero signs of Tourette, he cries too much, and his voice was screechy. Also: haircut. Sorry.

    • del says:

      You obviously weren’t watching too closely. He exhibited classic signs of Tourette’s, and obviously is on medication to control it. Kudos to him that you couldn’t tell, though. Also remember that he has Asperger’s syndrome; read up on it and see the list of behaviors. Maybe you can then forgive the tears. The haircut….hey, I’ve got no explanation for that. :)

      • Jonathan says:

        My apologies, I’m definitely no expert on these things. Still, it all comes down to voice and I thought he was showy but not particularly pleasant to listen to (then again, I wasn’t a huge Lambert, fan, either, at least not early on).

  11. David says:

    This is the first full episode I saw, I usually wait to tune in until Hollywood Week.

    What was up with that last dude and his 5 or 6 sob stories in 1?? Aspergers, Tourettes, musical inspiration dad who died of drug overdose, quirky girlfriend who leaves notes, kid out of wedlock, broke and unemployed, did I miss anything? Yeesh

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Yeah – bad haircut! :-)

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I just re-read David’s post. OMG – this guy had Aspberger’s AND Tourettes? I confess, I fast forwarded through the sob story. I caught signs of Tourette’s syndrome (had a high school classmate with Tourette’s) but I didn’t know about the Aspbergers. Talk about winning the genetic lottery!

      Broke, unemployed, unmarried with a kid, dead drug-addicted father -Good grief! That God-awful haircut is the least of his worries – and OURS, if we have to listen to a rehash of that soap opera every week!

      White House Intern/Harvard Grad is looking better all the time – what a breath of fresh air, LOL.

  12. DJ says:

    I liked the girl who sang the old song. Can’t even remember what the song was. She was the one Stephen said no to, and Randy and J-Lo said yes, and then she sang a little bit of something else with her guitar at the end, and Stephen appeared to be changing his mind about her judging by his facial expressions. She had a distinctive voice and a sweet, unassuming quality about her. Not too full of herself.

  13. Julie says:

    So glad to be reading the Slezak recap again. Everyone else is chopped liver

  14. Tuzo says:

    I think it may be because I’m sick but I wasn’t that impressed. I thought the first 3 people who got tickets weren’t that good. I thought the “Heard it through the grape vine” guy was in tune but he was so affected and the song felt rushed and without emotion.

    Was it me or was this the first time that Idol has used “television reenactments” of our contestants tragedies? You know hazy scenes of firemen and the sounds of sirens etc. interspersed with the sob story. In the words of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Idol producers chose…poorly.

    • Jonathan says:

      Yeah, I am so not a fan, the firefighter footage was obviously not of her place burning down. I’m not sure if it’s the first time they’ve done that, though.

  15. darcy's evil twin says:

    I DVRed the program tonight so I was able to fast forward through most of the sob stories. I’m not sure I can add anything new here!

    That girl from the Ukraine looked about 12 years old. I thought she looked like a gymnast. When they said she was 22 and then mentioned her HUSBAND, I nearly fell out of my chair.

    I told my husband they would put Emily Reed through because she has a unique voice. I was right. I didn’t care for her – she reminded me of a cross between Megan Joy, Lilly Scott, and Lacey with the red hair from last season – all rolled up into one. I’m sure she is quite talented – just not my thing.

    It was odd they didn’t name the three women that sang quite well. I liked all three of them!

    The final contestant also reminded me of Adam Lambert.

    Oh, I think I can add something new – I wish these contestants would stop slaughtering Sam Cooke songs! The guy that sang “Twistin’ the Night Away” about did me in!

    Anyone else get the idea that Steven Tyler has had all the fun he can stand with bad auditions? He made us crack up several times tonight.

  16. darcy's evil twin says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for the interview with Alexis Grace.

  17. James says:

    Remember Lee Dewyze barely got any facetime last year and he won the whole thing…so just cause they did not show their names does not mean they are gettin the boot asap in Hollywood…Infact half the people that do get face time dont make to the top 24 give or take a few…

  18. Suncatcher says:

    Slezak! Don’t ever open your blog with those 2 words again: “lee dewyze!” You sent me running for my Lithium.

    Talent last night was meh. I had more fun watching Steven Tyler struggle to make it through this last stop. All 3 judges looked very tired – probably still getting flash backs from Los Angeles.

    Tonight, we are ALL going to Hollywood! : )

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Hey Suncatcher, Tyler was even funnier last night, wasn’t he?

      My husband isn’t a big fan of the show but even he was laughing at Steven Tyler.

  19. TMack says:

    Emily had my vote the moment I heard her sing. Hands down she should’ve at least gone on… I absolutely love her voice and could listen to her singing all the time “amazing!!!”