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Thursday, February 25, 2010

AI: The Good, The Bad & The UGLY!!!

American Idol Logo Pictures, Images and Photos

Here’s my breakdown of the past two nights performances…..and to borrow a line from a Clint Eastwood film…THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY!

Eddie Note: Contestants in CAPS and RED were my favs that I picked in the early auditions for the TOP 24….and some are already in trouble…YIKES!



· CRYSTAL BOWERSOX- 24 years old, Elliston, OH……’Momma Sox’ did OK with “Hand in My Pocket”, very ‘Dylan-esque’ with her guitar and harmonica, but as Simon said, it was something you can see a thousand folks doing on You Tube every day. She’s SAFE, but needs to step it up on future shows.

· KATELYN EPPERLY- 19 years old, West Des Moines, IA….performed “Oh Darlin” by the Beatles and put her own soulful spin into it. I wasn’t blown away by it, but it was pretty good. She’s safe for another week.

· Paige Miles- 24 years old, Cypress, TX….First time I’ve seen this girl perform at all. She sang “All Right Now” by Free….great song choice, I love the song, but wasn’t all that crazy about her singing it. I’m not sure she’s as talented as the judges say she is, but she’s safe.

· JANELL WHEELER- 24 years old, Orlando, FL…Sang “What About Love” from Heart….big song and a tough song choice! I think she tried to put her own country rock twist to it, and it was OK, not great….but good enough to put my Wine Sales Rep through for another week!

· LILLY SCOTT- 20 years old, Littleton, CO…. Performed “Fixin A Hole” by the Beatles….it was AWESOME! BEST OF THE NIGHT! She’s original, genuine, and believable and it comes from her heart I really like this girl! And why are we just finding out now that she sang on street corners and lived out of her car for the past year!? This makes her even more incredible!

· Michelle Delamor- 22 years old, Miami, FL…..Never seen in the early auditions and very little face time in Hollywood, so this was the first time I’d seen her perform. She tackled a tough song by Alicia Keys performing “Fallen” and did it pretty well. She’s got the whole package going on and certainly looks impressive on camera and has good stage presence. She’s safe and should do well in this competition.

· Siobhan Magnus- 19 years old, Barnstable, MA……. Sang Chris Isaac's “Wicked Game”, which is a very haunting but sexy song. She starts out a bit too low, is a bit nasally too, but she gets better as she progresses through the song. She’s unique and quirky, a very now type, but also a little bit out there. She’s safe!

· DIDI BENAMI- 23 years old, Hollywood, CA….she sang “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson, and although it wasn’t a well known song to me or one I particularly liked, she did pretty well with it. This girl is so this year’s Megan Joy it’s not even funny! She’s safe and I hope she goes deep in the competition.


· ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ- 22 years old, Chelsea, MA…. Performed Leona Lewis’ “Happy” and it was NOT good! No originality and it was very pitchy. I was really looking forward to her knocking my socks off, and she just plain disappointed! She may be in trouble tonight.

· KATIE STEVENS- 17 years old, Middlebury, CT….. performed ”Feeling Good,” by Michael Buble’….and it was OK, but not a good song choice for her at all, too old and it was pitchy. She has a BIG voice for a 17 year old, so I hope she makes it through tonight.


· Haeley Vaughn- 16 years old, Fort Collins, CO……takes a Beatles’ song “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and just tears it apart. I agreed with Simon, it was a complete and utter mess! You don’t take that song and try and put a country twist on it….time to go home tonight Haeley....Bye-Bye!

· LACEY BROWN- 24 years old, Amarillo, TX…..I said TOP 12 for this girl early on, and boy did she disappoint on Tuesday night! Wow….a horrendous rendition of ”Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac. It was bad, just all over the place and very pitchy. She’s in trouble tonight and could be sent home early with Haeley.




· AARON KELLY- 16 years old, Sonestown, PA….performed Rascal Flatts' "Here Comes Goodbye", and although he struggled with some high notes, and some pitchiness, he managed to pull it together. He’s safe.

· ANDREW GARCIA- 24 years old, Moreno Valley, CA….sang Fall Out Boy's "Sugar We're Going Down,", and I liked it more than the judges. I still think this kid is talented and will challenge for the Top Spot for the guys. He’s safe!

· Casey James-27 years old, Fort Worth, TX…….the kid that Kara is just GA-GA over! He’s eye candy for the chicks, but he can sing too! He performs an acoustic version of “Heaven” by Bryan Adams, and just nailed it. Great song choice and performed well on stage. Maybe the BEST OF THE NIGHT!

· Lee DeWyze- 23 years old, Mount Prospect, IL…….Raspy voiced kid with talent who performed Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars," and although a little pitchy, I thought it was one of the better performances on a night full of mediocre and really bad ones! He’s safe, and Simon loves this kid, so that’s a good thing!

· Tyler Grady- 20 years old, Nazareth, PA…..70’s PA boy from just up the road on Rte 22 near Allentown…..does his own take on the Guess Who's "American Woman", and started off promisingly with a super bluesy intro…..but then his performance got a bit clumsy on stage. Good enough to make it through another week though, but he’ll have to get better vocally.


· TODRICK HALL- 24 years old, Arlington, TX…. Did his re-configured version of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," and may have taken it just a bit too far. It was risky and unique, and that alone will probably save him for another week, but he could also be in the dreaded bottom 3 tonight.

· Michael Lynche- 26 years old, Astoria, NY….Big Mike performs his take on Maroon 5's "This Love", and it was OK, but certainly not great. I thought it was very ‘karaoke-like’ to say the least. He’ll probably make it through another week, but I just am not that impressed.

· JERMAINE SELLERS- 26 years old, Joliet, IL…..The church singer who performs “Get Here” by Oleta Adams. It was a train wreck and just a plain bad song choice! Cousin Greg, an Eddie Idol Wanna’ Be (EIWB) said TOP 10 in the early auditions for this kid, and I like him too, but he could be in trouble tonight.


· Alex Lambert-19 years old, North Richland Hills, TX….Remember when I said “I’m sorry, but I’m not a big fan at all of this kid. Don’t think he’s TOP 24 worthy. Pack a light bag Alex, you’re no Adam Lambert! Well….after listening to him struggle through "Wonderful World" by James Morrison, I wanted to go outside and scream! It made my sore neck and back feel worse. This kid was terrified on stage! And what’s up with the mullet haircut? Bye-Bye Adam, you need to go home….and cut the hair!

· Tim Urban- 20 years old, Duncanville, TX……last minute call up by the shows producer to replace the DQ’d Chris Golightly….what a mistake! After listening to him try and sing “Apologize” by One Republic, Simon said it best, they made the right choice the first time and he should not be on the show! And what’s with this kids ‘Brady Bunch’ hair-style? CALLING CHRIS GOLIGHTLY! CALLING CHRIS GOLIGHTLY!

· John Park- 21 years old, Evanston, IL….. chose a jazz standard, Billie Holliday's "God Bless the Child"…..and God needs to bless me for having to watch and listen to him singing it! It was awful! This kid is not Top 24 worthy… with his head! Time to go home Johnnie boy. Find your Shania so she can teach you to sing better!

· Joe Munoz- 20 years old, Huntington Park, CA….Once again, another horrible performance from this Julio Eglasias wanna’ be! His version of Jason Mraz's "You and I Both" was bad, and I’m sure Jason Mraz was getting drunk somewhere after having listened to this kid perform. He may get all of Mexico to vote him through another week, but this kid is not Top 24 material!

Bottom Line…..As I said last week, there are no Adam Lambert’s in this group, maybe not even a Kris Allen! And after hearing the girls and guys all sing, and Simon agrees…the girls will rule this season! They have far deeper talent, and as I’ve said before and I’ll say it again here…..this year’s Season 9 winner will be a girl!

Idol Words of Advice……For those who play an instrument and take it on stage… the damn thing!! Don’t just hold it and look stupid! David Cook did this the best each time he took the stage, because he took an amplifier with him on stage and played the guitar. And another two words of advice….SONG CHOICE…’s all about the proper song choice contestants! This was a loud and clear message to all through the first round.

Fast Idol Facts… Tonight’s show airs 8-9 PM with the first results show, when two girls –and- two guys will be eliminated. For each of the next three weeks, two guys and two girls get eliminated until IDOL reaches the TOP 12 on Thursday, March 11th, then one contestant can be eliminated each week after that. Season 8 winner Kris Allen performs live on tonight’s show, as does last season’s TOP 10 contestant Allison Iraheta.

So…..what do you think of Idol’s Top 24 now? Who do you think did well? Who do you think should stay and be sent home? Who are your favorites after the first group of performances? Let’s here what you think!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

AI TOP 24!

American Idol Pictures, Images and Photos

Well, we now have our Season 9 American Idol TOP 24! And it looks like the Top 24 leaked ‘spoiler list’ that was in circulation was pretty accurate, with 23 of the 24 proving to be correct. The only change was Chris Golightly being ‘disqualified’, much like Joanna Pacetti was last year, and being replaced at the last minute by Tim Urban. More on Chris’s situation later….
Here is the breakdown of the TOP 24 for Season 9 and my thoughts: (Contestants in CAPS and RED are those I picked in the early auditions for the TOP 24, and as you can see, I did MUCH better with the girls than I did with the guys!)

Top 12 Guys

· AARON KELLY- 16 years old, Sonestown, PA….one of two 16 year olds in the TOP 24. The judges obviously agree that this kid has some serious talent! How else do you get into the TOP 24 when you forget the lyrics not once but TWICE during Hollywood Week!? I said it early on and I’ll say it here….if he can remember his lyrics, this kid’s going deep in this competition!
· Alex Lambert-19 years old, North Richland Hills, TX….I’m sorry, but I’m not a big fan at all of this kid. Don’t think he’s TOP 24 worthy. Pack a light bag Alex, you’re no Adam Lambert!
· ANDREW GARCIA- 24 years old, Moreno Valley, CA….My Danny Gokey Look-Alike (DKLA) for 2010….but unlike DK, I love this kid’s style! He’s real, he’s genuine and he has a ton of talent! If I had to pick a favorite on the guy’s side, this kid’s the one, along with Aaron Kelly.
· Casey James-27 years old, Fort Worth, TX…..He did surprise the judges (and me!) once he got to Hollywood Week, but I think he’s here more for his looks than his voice! He’s eye candy for the girls and Kara just loves this kid……but he won’t go too far in the competition. Sooner or later, the voice will outweigh the looks and he’ll be back in Texas, or signing a modeling contract with somebody.
· Tim Urban- 20 years old, Duncanville, TX……Good looking kid with an OK voice who was a last-minute replacement for Chris Golightly. Very little face time in Hollywood or the early auditions. Could he be the next Kris Allen? Doubtful…..but let’s see. I just haven’t seen enough of this kid to make a call yet.
· JERMAINE SELLERS- 26 years old, Joliet, IL…..The church singer with an awesome final performance in Hollywood doing MJ’s "Man In The Mirror", and did it very well! This kid has some serious pipes, and he’s a dark horse for the Top 10 as far as I’m concerned.
· John Park- 21 years old, Evanston, IL…..OK, so we have our ‘Asian’ influence on Idol…..but really folks, this kid has not impressed me at all…..maybe he’ll surprise me, but I seriously doubt it.
· Joe Munoz- 20 years old, Huntington Park, CA….Once again, very little face time in early auditions or during Hollywood Week, but based on his rendition of "Man in the Mirror" (how many folks sang this??? UGH!!), I’m not a fan of his.
· Lee DeWyze- 23 years old, Mount Prospect, IL…….another kid who’s new to me that didn’t get much face time. Judges put him in the TOP 24 but didn’t seem overly complimentary of him. Based on the one performance I heard, I’m not either.
· Michael Lynche- 26 years old, Astoria, NY….Big Mike makes it in, but there’s still some controversy over him and the fact that his dad told a FL paper that he made the TOP 24 before it was announced, and from what I’m reading, he may still be kicked out of the TOP 24. If he is, please don’t let crybaby Thaddeus Johnson take his spot! Even if he stays, Big Mike’s not going that far in the competition.
· TODRICK HALL- 24 years old, Arlington, TX….I liked this kid early in the auditions, wasn’t blown away by him, but I thought he had some talent. Not sure how far he’ll go, because I think Jermaine Sellers and others in the competition have considerably more talent….so we’ll see.
· Tyler Grady- 20 years old, Nazareth, PA…..Part of me wants this kid to do well because he’s from nearby Nazareth, PA, and I like the fact that he has ‘that 70’s look’ and rock-star charisma, influenced musically by Roger Daultry and Robert Plant, but he’s missing something. Think he may be just a bit too cocky and flamboyant, and that may get him in trouble, plus the fact that he looks like he’s ‘high’ all the time!

Top 12 Girls

· ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ- 22 years old, Chelsea, MA….I knew early on this girl had ‘IT’ and it would be very, very easy to proclaim her the front-runner right now….but she’ll have a fight on her hands from a talented girl’s lineup! She’s definitely TOP 10, and could win it all!
· CRYSTAL BOWERSOX- 24 years old, Elliston, OH……’Momma Sox’ as Randy called her is awesome! I could listen to this girl sing all night. She has an excellent voice, and a seemingly unflappable, folksy stage presence. She’ll go deep in the competition…..TOP 10….and on a side note to FOX’s makeup crew, someone needs to get her some Crest Whitening Strips too!
· Haeley Vaughn- 16 years old, Fort Collins, CO……I thought she had an outside shot of making the TOP 24 because she kept pushing the fact that she wanted to be the first black pop-country girl singer in America, but seriously, she’ll get eaten up in this competition! And for the judges to pick her over Angela Martin and Tori Kelly was a joke! They were far more talented than this girl is.
· KATELYN EPPERLY- 19 years old, West Des Moines, IA….I liked her early on and think she’s deserving of a Top 24 spot, but there’s something phony about her. I just don’t get the warm and fuzzies from her; she’s a little bit fake. I don’t think she’ll stack up well against a talented field of girls for Season 9.
· JANELL WHEELER- 24 years old, Orlando, FL….Liked her early on in auditions, and despite being sick in Hollywood, she battled through it all to make it into the TOP 24. She’s got a raspy voice, plays guitar, and has good stage presence. Plus, she’s a Wine Sales Rep, so I like her that much more! Dark Horse for the TOP 10!
· KATIE STEVENS- 17 years old, Middlebury, CT…..I really, really like this girl! Love her look and her family story; think she’s very genuine and super talented for 17 years old. TOP 10 for sure!
· LILLY SCOTT- 20 years old, Littleton, CO…. Her cover of "Lullaby of Birdland" was the single best performance shown in all the Idol clips. She’s super talented and does her own thing, very unique, not at all fake or trying to do more than she can. She may lack some lung power, but if she picks the right songs, she’ll go deep in this competition. I like her in the TOP 10!
· LACEY BROWN- 24 years old, Amarillo, TX…..I said TOP 12 for this girl early on. Her unique rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" in her first audition and then her amazing version of "It’s a Wonderful World" stand out as some of the best I heard. She could win it all, she’s THAT GOOD!
· Michelle Delamor- 22 years old, Miami, FL…..Never seen in the early auditions and very little face time in Hollywood. She’s a mystery to me; I just don’t know anything about her to give a constructive opinion.
· Paige Miles- 24 years old, Cypress, TX….read Michelle Delamor’s….ditto for this girl!
· Siobhan Magnus- 19 years old, Barnstable, MA…….this girl came out of nowhere to surprise the judges and she really grew on me through Hollywood Week. If she can come out of her shell a bit more and push the envelope a bit, she could continue to surprise and go deep in this competition.
· DIDI BENAMI- 23 years old, Hollywood, CA….Has always been one of my favorites! Awesome final song in Hollywood singing "Angel", and dedicating it to her deceased friend who she’s using as motivation to do her best in this competition. Another super talented girl with a great personality lots of potential. She’s in my TOP 10!

And the rest of the story…..Chris Golightly said a misunderstanding over a previous recording contract led to his forced exit. His former manager informed 19 Entertainment that he was still under contract, but explained that his contract ran out a month prior to his audition for AI.
After a series of mix-ups, it was established that he was in fact free from his previous contract, but by that point Idol producers had already replaced him with Urban to fill the expected vacancy.

Who got screwed? Angela Martin for sure! She was the singer with the most at stake, and her loss was just devastating to her. This was her third try on Idol, and her personal life in recent years has been a string of troubles: Her father died, her daughter has had terrible medical problems and, last heard in the Idol news wire, her mother had gone missing! She was crying before she even reached the judges. Kara sat down with her, in her chair, to tell her ‘it was a no’, but that she was a great singer.
This girl should be in the TOP 24! And so should Tori Kelly, who was not quite as talented as a singer, but certainly is a better all around package than Haeley ‘I wanna be a black Taylor Swift’ Vaughn!

Bottom Line…..There are no Adam Lambert’s in this group, but maybe there’s a Kris Allen or two hiding in the group for the guys. But the girls will rule this season! They have far deeper talent, and as I’ve said before and I’ll say it again here…..this year’s Season 9 winner will be a girl!

Fast Idol Facts…Are you ready for 5 HOURS of Idol this coming week?
Tuesday night’s show airs 8-10 PM, with the TOP 12 Girls performing; Wednesday night’s show airs 8-10 PM with the TOP 12 Guys performing; Thursday night’s show airs 8-9 PM with the first results show, when two girls –and- two guys will be eliminated. Season 8 winner Kris Allen performs live on Thursday night’s show as well.
So…..what do you think of Idol’s Top 24? Who do you think will do well? Who are your favorite gals and guys in the competition this year? Were you surprised with any of the eliminations? Let’s here what you think before Tuesday’s show!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010



That means -

If you don't wanna know, READ NO FURTHER!!

Here is the American Idol Season 9 Top 24 leaked spoiler list! Is this list correct? Not sure, but last year’s was almost 100% accurate. This spoiler list has been online for a couple weeks now, and starting tonight we will learn if some, YES, only ‘some’ of the names on the list are correct.

Why just some? In an Idol first, AI has revealed to the to the press that they will announce only ‘some’ of the Top 24 names tonight in a two-hour event starting at 8 pm on FOX tonight after their final Hollywood Week solo performances. Then at 9-10 pm on Wednesday night, the final names in the Top 24 list will be revealed.

Says FOX in an email to press: “On Tuesday evening, the remaining contestants will take the stage to perform their final solo number in front of Simon, Ellen, Kara and Randy in hopes of singing their way into the Top 24. Following these performances, the judges will deliberate, and for the first time in IDOL history, will announce some of the Top 24 semifinalists.”

But if you enjoy the news now, he is the rumored Top 24 for Season 9.

If you don’t want to know, turn away now. SPOILER ALERT!!!! This is your FINAL WARNING!!!

american idol logo Pictures, Images and Photos

Top 12 Guys:
Aaron Kelly

Alex Lambert (That’s ALEX, not ADAM….no relation)

Andrew Garcia (Danny Gokey 2010 look-alike)

Casey James

Chris Golightly

Jermaine Sellers

John Park

Jose Munoz

Lee DeWyze

Michael Lynche

Todrick Hall

Tyler Grady

Top 12 Girls:

Ashley Rodriguez

Crystal Bowersox

Haeley Vaughn

Janell Wheeler

Katelyn Epperly

Katie Stevens

Lilly Scott

Lacey Brown

Michelle Delamor

Paige Miles

Siobhan Magnus

Didi Benami

This will surely make it fun, interesting and exciting as you watch tonight and tomorrow, and see if you agree or disagree with the judges final picks.

You’ll have Eddie Idol’s thoughts and, how many I predicted for the TOP 24……after the Final Solo Performances tonight and tomorrow’s final ‘Top 24 Picks’ show from Hollywood Week…..Stay Tuned!

Kimmy says: Eddie, I can't wait to read what you think about the Top 24!! Don't leaveabitchhanging!!

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More Hollywood Week

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Just like every group night of almost every season of "American Idol," we got to witness much drama play out, and basically the first 1/3 of the one hour show was just useless in my opinion. As in past years, contestants had the following issues…..

· Many folks had a difficult time scrambling to form small singing groups, not knowing who to pick, who to trust, who would blend in, etc.

· They had a rough time deciding which song to sing

· Some contestants had personality conflicts with members of their own group or members of other groups

· Some group members were perceived as lazy or really bossy……or even really bitchy!

· Very few contestants got a good night's sleep….big surprise there!

· And the ultimate nightmare, the one that ALWAYS triggers an early exit home.... some contestants forgot the words….C ‘ya!!

The ‘best’ of the ‘bunches’ from Group Night performances……

· A group named "Faith," composed of three female singers, all performed well and all have a good shot at making the Final 24 next week: Michelle Delamor, Charity Vance and Ashley Rodriguez.

· "Middle C," a trio with Janell Wheeler, Jermaine Purifory and Casey James, the ponytail, shirtless guy. All three singers sounded great and were put through.

· "Three Men and a Baby," which included Danny Gokey look-alike Andrew Garcia along with 17-year-old Katie Stevens and J.B. Ahfua, a recent high school graduate who didn't get much air time during the previous episodes, all made it through.

· “Neapolitan," composed of Liz Rooney, Thaddeus Johnson, Jessica Cunningham and Paige Miles all made it through.

· "Destiny's Wild," a quartet of four Neapolitan rivals: Todrick Hall, Theri, Jareb Liewer and Slobhan Magnus.

· "Team Awesome," composed of four guys. I thought the whole group sounded good and worked well together, but the judges sent two guys home: Michael Castro and Seth Rollins. The two advancing to the next round were Tim Urban and the BIG GUY, Michael Lynche, whose wife gave birth just prior to the group's performance.

· Aside from the people mentioned so far, some of the more familiar faces who also advanced on Group Night were: Tyler Grady, John Park, Lloyd Thomas, Katelyn Epperly, Tasha Layton, Angela Martin, Christian Spear, Haeley Vaughn and the ‘ultimate’ drama queen Mary ‘It’s All About Me’ Powers.

The bottom line…. In all, 71 of the 96 contestants who made it to Group Night advanced to the next Hollywood round -- the final one before the field gets narrowed down to the top 12 males and the top 12 females on Wednesday night this week.

Fast Facts: Fox executives announced that some of the Top 24 contestants will be revealed during Tuesday's episode, which is a 2-hour show airing 8-10 p.m. and features the final individual performances in Hollywood. Wednesday's show, which airs 9-10 p.m., is when the ‘major drama’ happens when the remaining contestants learn whether they've advanced to the Semifinals.

Idol Chatter: Many of the show's insiders have pushed for a female "Idol Winner" this year. In a recent conference call with reporters, judge Kara DioGuardi said, "I would love to see a girl win." She added, "I do think it's a lot easier to break women than men, actually, in terms of their records once the show is done."

Maybe that's why certain male singers have taken a back seat to singers like Didi Benami and Janell Wheeler when it comes to air time so far this season.

Personally, I do think the girls have much more talent than the guys this year, and you can mark it down now….this year’s winner will be a female!

Watch for ‘leaked’ complete TOP 24 Finalist List coming soon!.......along with more ‘Eddie Idol’ chatter to come after Tuesday night’s Final Performances in Hollywood!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hollywood Week: Round 1

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Welcome to Hollywood! Round 1 kicked off last night with individual performances in ‘line form’, usually 6-8 folks each. The contestants came out single file and got a chance to perform either a cappella or with their own instrumentation. It was sudden death; if the judges don't like them, they were GONE. Hard to recap many of the contestants as we got brief glimpses of them in many cases, but here’s a recap of the best performances and of those thru to the next round, as best as I can come up with, short on some and long on others….

· Katie Stevens- 17-year-old whose grandmother has Alzheimer's, chose Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life," and while it started out a bit rough, it got better. She has the spirit, a great voice, and a great look. I had her in the TOP 24 from previous audition in Boston….she re-confirmed that belief last night!

· Andrew Garcia- Latino version of Danny Gokey, OH NO!!!....not another Danny Gokey!!??....but with BIGGER eyeglasses and way more talent! He did a slowed-down, soulful version of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" on the guitar, and it was awesome! I would actually buy that single off I-Tunes in a heartbeat. Kara compared his interpretation to some of Adam's work last season, but I thought it was way more like Kris Allen’s work. This kid surprised me….Top 24 material for sure!

· Janell Wheeler –24, from Tampa , FL made another great impression with an acoustic-guitar ramble through Estelle's "American Boy". Thought it was a very solid performance and have had her from the start sneaking into the ‘Top 24’.

· Haeley Vaughn16 year old wannabe country-pop star, who did a fairly nice take on Taylor Swift's "Change,"….hell, she may have sounded better than Taylor Swift! I’ll be surprised if we see her in the TOP 24, but she does have a ‘niche’ that none of the others have, so she could be a long shot!

· Mary Powers- 28-year-old rocker mom from CA, who sang Pink’s "Sober" and did a nice job with it. She’s the only real ‘rocker’ chick in the group, so I think she has a chance to crack the TOP 24!

· Also making it through to the next round on Day #1 of Hollywood Week was: Fantasia co-star Todrick Hall (surprising!), Chicago's Charity Vance (Top 24 Dark Horse) and Boston's Ashley Rodriguez (possible Season 9 Winner IMHO!), for a total of 46 to make it through on day one

· Lilly Scott- 20 year old sandwich maker/musician from Denver; She went with an acoustic-guitar version of Ella Fitzgerald's "Lullaby of Birdland," which Kara DioGuardi loved. "Everything about you is refreshing," said Kara. First time I’ve seen this girl, didn’t see her in earlier auditions, so based on this performance, I’d say very original and Top 24 material!

· Michael Lynch- stepped to the mic as his wife was about to give birth to their first child, warning all that he had to make it or else he'd be in big trouble. The massive bodybuilder nailed it with a gospel-like take on John Mayer's "Waiting for the World to Change." But hang on….rumor has it he reportedly has been dropped from the show because his father is alleged to have blabbed about his son's Hollywood trip to a local FL paper about making the cut to the TOP 24,….stay tuned!

· Tim Urban- New contestant for me, didn’t see him in earlier auditions….performed with a ‘not so strong’ take on David Cook's "Come Back to Me", but the judges put him through anyway. I though he was weak at best, esp in comparison to David Cook!

· Casey JamesMr. ‘Take Your Shirt Off’ from the Denver, CO auditions, made it through with his gnarly acoustic-blues cover of Ray Charles' "I Don't Need No Doctor." Surprisingly did way better than his initial audition…..I was impressed, but not sure he’ll be consistent enough to get to the TOP 24, but Kara’s in love with this kid.

· Didi Bename- 22 year-old waitress out of Hollywood, CA, sang a touching take on DioGuardi's own song "Terrified" that sounded like it was ready for airplay on radio. Simon really liked it and added that he also liked the idea of a folksy waitress making it big. I really like this girl, and As I’ve said from her first audition….She’s TOP 24 material for sure!

· Crystal Bowersox- 23 year-old single mom from Ohio with a great voice! She brought some amazing rock & soul to Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman," getting the rest of the Idol contestants in the audience so hyped they threw in some impromptu backing vocals and gave her a standing ovation! I had her as a Dark horse for TOP 24 before….but put her near the lead in the race for the TOP 24 now!

The bottom line….Lots of talent in last night’s show, it’s too bad we didn’t see more than what we did. Due to the time constraint of an hour, less than 20 performances were actually shown to the television audience. These should be two hour shows! And tonight is Group Round Night, where the contestants sing in groups. Never have been a big fan at all of this process, too many personalities clash, and I really think some talented folks always get screwed on this night. FYI….tonight’s show is at 9-10PM….so set those DVR’s!

Fast Facts: Hollywood Week started with 181 contestants, and 96 folks were put through to Round 2…..which meant 85 were sent home early. Hope they packed a light bag! Personally….I was very surprised when they didn’t send Justin Williams or Maddy Curtis to the group round. I thought they both sang well enough to move on and let’s face it, how can you not love Maddy?

Idol Chatter: We had our first sampling of the Ellen DeGeneres experiment, and frankly, I thought she was refreshing and was a nice balance next to Simon. She was tough but fair, so for someone who wasn’t sure she’d bring much to the panel of judges, she gets a passing grade for her debut. (Kim: Ruh-Roh, Eddie are you fallin' for Ellen?)

More ‘Eddie Idol’ chatter to come after tonight’s ‘Group Round Night’ in Hollywood, but you’ll have to wait until…….after the break!

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