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"American Idol": Hollywood 1

By admin Published: February 3, 2009

On Fox.com, they're calling it a "cauldron." We shall see how contestants including Beachwood's Stephen Fowler, left, did. Notes in progress after the jump.

Ryan is saying the talent is "truly unbelievable." Which must mean they kept some really good people out of the audition shows -- or he's just exaggerating. As if "Idol" has ever done such a thing.

Well, he just said the show has "147 of America's best singers," so I think we've answered that exaggeration question. Simon tells the auditioners this is the most important day of their lives.

First-ever "Idol" boot camp: makeup tips, vocal coaches, pep talk from Barry Manilow. "Preparation meets opportunity," he tells them. Make the songs "your own." The judges want them to win, he says. Well, not all of them.

Auditions for half the crowd. Acappella singing, groups of eight, one at a time. Dennis Brigham and Lil Rounds from KC get some attention. Lil does some Whitney, way loud. Paula and Kara give her a standing O. Brigham not so good. So should that be that the show has 146 of America's best singers? Simon calls his facial expressions "insane." Four stay, including Lil; another four, including Dennis, get sent home. But Dennis argues with the judges. "Y'all suck as judges," he declares. Also dogs Simon's "very, very cheap" pants and "lame shirt."

After a break, contestants at play while the others audition. "Nerves are getting the best of the contestants," says Ryan. Kara again mentions Lil as a good one.

Another line: Nathaniel Marshall, pierced lip, from NY auditions, sings a tune he admits is a bit obscure -- and the judges seem to agree. Decent vocal. Paula proclaims "beautiful vocals" but didn't like the song. Nathaniel explains the song and how much he wants to win; it's on his skin. Anoop Desai, another ballad; Jasmine Murray, another ballad ("The Trouble With Love Is!"); Rose Black, who had problems during boot camp, "struggling to find her own voice," cries at boot camp. Sings "Dock of the Bay." Decent, and I like the smoky quality, but she falls a bit short. They and everyone else in their line gets to the next round.

Another line: Von Smith, Jorge Nunez, Stephen Fowler (Beachwood, OH). Fowler has a nice vocal. Ryan says his song -- from the Stevie Wonder catalog -- is one of the hardest, and Fowler "slayed" it. Jorge has Paula giving him a thumbs up during the performance. Von is the weakest of the three we're seeing, over the top. Simon calls it "indulgent nonsense." But he and the other two guys all get to the next round (although Kara calls Jorge "George"). But Von is humbled.

Clips of Paula, Randy complaining about song choices -- even after vocal coach Debra Byrd had warned them all about it. More clips of bad song situations.

The return of Nick Mitchell -- a.k.a. Norman Gentle, getting far too much air time for an hour-long show. Sings "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." Should I mention that 147 claim again? Randy calls him "hilarious" and "banoodles," but says he can sing; Simon says without the "stupid outfit," he's boring, and with it, he's a joke.

Paula also weighs in. In fact, she is getting an enormous amount of time tonight -- more than Kara, certainly -- especially in light of that fit she had about not getting to talk during auditions.

Oh, and Nick/Norman gets through to the next round. And the show is, if nothing else, moving along.

Another reject recap, including a replay of "Y'all suck as judges." And now, the second big group of contestants: 83, which means the first day was just 64.

Jackie Tohn, this year's Amanda O, and that didn't work out too well. Randy likes her. So does Paula. She gets to the next round, but "her mood is somber" because she has to say goodbye to friends she has made who didn't get to go on -- well, except for the one whose name she cannot remember.

More rejects and farewells. Then Danny Gokey, the guy whose wife died, and his friend Jamar Rogers. Jamar sings "California Dreamin'." Very squawky. Randy says he's a big fan and that Jamar is "very relevant." Danny sings "Kiss From a Rose." OK, I suppose, but rocky on the high parts; still, we get shots of Paula and Kara impressed, especially Paula. She gives him a standing O and says he is "ready to record records." Danny and Jamar make the next round.

Praise for a bunch of singers who are shown but not named, and what seems like the billionth promo for Bikini Girl.

And after the break, Ryan with ... Bikini Girl. Sigh. Recap of conflict between BG (Katrina Darrell) and Kara, which I don't even remember. It's all blurring already. She sings "Breathe." Ho-hum vocal. Kara says she was good at first but "it went kind of off at the end." Simon makes a cat-claw sign. BG says she wants the music around her. Simon says the criticism from the "girls" hasn't been fair. Randy sides with Simon. She, and everyone else in her line, gets another round.

Rejects: The woman taking care of her grandmother, the one with her dog, the one with the big San Juan family.

Roughneck Jeremy Michael Sarver. Randy calls it "one of the best I heard today." Jesus Valenzuela. Jeremy makes the next round, Jesus does not.

Going into what should be the last break, another promo for a Paula-Simon argument.

Then, the last line. David Osmond, Erika Wesley, Emily Wynne-Hughes. EWM changes from her rehearsed song to a No Doubt tune. Kara calls it "very disappointing." Paula says "that was not the right song for you." Simon also displeased. David and Emily get the next round, as do five others in their group; the one exception is Erika, who asks the judges for another chance. Simon and Paula argue, Erika keeps arguing, even adding that "this is my husband's birthday." She still goes home.

A few more keepers are named. At the end, 104 are still in the game, so only 43 were sent home And tomorrow ... "the infamous group day."

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