Notes from watching, including a frisky and briefly irked Paula, after the jump ...
Ryan and Simon chatting in a limo. Simon gives Ryan grief about his show-biz voice. Credits.
Clip of Journey, talk about Randy Jackson. This Florida city "bears his name," Ryan tells us. "Don't Stop Believin' " plays. Crowd clips. More Randy talk. Simon carping. At auditions, Randy gets Simon's usual chair, Simon in Randy's.
First auditioner, Joshua Ulloa, invites comparisons to Justin Guarini. 'Cause he's been so big. Sings "Let's Get It On," with bits of vocal versions of the instrumental elements. Total goofball. Simon says in parts he was very good but also gimmicky and corny. Randy liked the crazy parts as entertaining. Simon says yes, as do the other three.
Sharon Wilbur has come to the auditions with her dog. (dog, Randy=The Dawg!Get it? Get it?) Simon has to hold the dog. Sings "Superstar." Not impressively, and she seems only to know the song's chorus. Simon says she has a nice voice and says yes. Randy dittoes. Paula and Kara do a clinch, Kara fights to stay in her top, the votes send Wilbur to Hollywood.
Ryan in a golf cart. This show feels as if the producers decided we had not seen enough of Ryan and Randy so far this season. Dana Moreno sings quite badly; offers to take direction, Simon directs her to the exit. Back to Ryan in the golf cart. Back to auditions, and Kaneswa Finnie, who sings "Caught Up in the Rapture of Love." Or so she claims. Distressing vocal. "I've never heard that song like that in my life," says Simon. She is not concerned until she hears from the other judges. Kara asks who tells Kaneswa she can sing; she says her mother, and Simon has her mother come in the room. Her mom insists for the second time that Kaneswa has sung all around Jacksonville. But will not in Hollywood.
Miss Florida Latina USA, Julissa Veloz, offers some Whitney. Starts adequately but wobbles, recovers, wobbles again, recovers again. Simon says it was better than he thought it would be, because Whitney is tough. He and Kara are also puzzled by her laugh. Randy calls for a vote and Paula gets peevish that her opinion has not been asked for; she starts to exit the room, followed by Julissa; kissing noises ensue from behind the backdrop. And Julissa gets four votes for Hollywood.
In the waiting room, Darin Darnell perks up the crowd with dancing and mingling. But is brought down when a friend, Devin Cates, doesn't get sent to Hollywood. Emotional and choking still as he begins his audition. Song: "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday." Terrible, and likely would have been even if he wasn't upset. Says "everything" is getting to him. Kara tells him "the music business is not for you" if he's so easily hurt.
More Hollywood rejects, then Naomi Sykes. Says she can do high notes like Mariah Carey. Wants a friend to meet Randy. Friend appears in the room, gets a hug from Randy, then sits on the Dawg's lap. Naomi does Minnie Riperton's "Loving You." Paula sits on Simon's lap. Ryan sits on Kara's lap. All taking the audition very seriously. Obviously, they know what is coming. And it's as expected: Naomi gets through a few words so poorly that Paula collapses in laughter. A moment later, Naomi begins to cry, gets some judge hugs -- but no Hollywood.
At the end of the first day in Jacksonville, Simon says the contestants mostly were terrible and he is having trouble remembering if anyone was good.
Post-break, the usual seating order has been resumed Jasmine Murray sings Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry." OK, not fabulous. But Simon thinks she is "cute, commercial." She is pretty. Four Hollywoods.
George Ramirez, physics guy, bearded. Asked which he loves more -- physics or music -- he says, "I could live without physics." Sings "Walking on Sunshine." Frightful. Also, says Randy, maybe the quietest audition ever.
Anne Marie Boskovich sings a bit of a Kara song, impressing Kara and the other judges. Randy says she has a great voice, Simon wants to see her as a star. She modifies her clothes, gets some makeup.
T.K. Hash, from last year's auditions is back. Song: "Imagine." Fair voice but the wrong song; you don't need to work so hard with the Lennon piece. "Definitely can sing," says Paula, adding that he's better than last year. Randy agrees he's better but it was too over the top. Paula thinks he was inspired by Archuleta. Simon says no but the others vote T.K. to Hollywood.
Break, clips of family members praising their auditioning relatives. Guitarist Michael Perrelli, not allowed to use guitar in audition, and has "no backup plan whatsoever." Freaking. "Jumper," Third Eye Blind. Sings a reasonable approximation of the recording. Simon finds Michael interesting but his voice isn't. Kara thinks he would be better with his guitar (as Michael himself would say). Michael begging. Simon tells him to stop pleading -- to go start a band. Michael pleads more, Simon irked, no Hollywood. Michael sulky afterward, pulls away when his mother tries to give a consoling kiss. "That's your mother," Ryan says. "You can't do that."
Back to Anne Marie. Kara notes makeup, hair "tossed around." Song: "Bubbly." Good voice but I'm not dazzled. Randy though thinks it's a good voice and votes for Hollywood. As do Kara and Paula, so Simon doesn't even need to vote to get her Hollywood.
Sixteen Hollywoods from Jacksonville. Various contestants essay "Walking on Sunshine," with differing degrees of ability. Physics guy goes last.
Tomorrow: Salt Lake City. An Osmond is promised. And I have now watched hours of auditions and still have not seen one really amazing singer.