Notes after the jump. ...
Two cities in one show! says Ryan. Even though that means that neither city was all that good. And considering the way the auditions have gone so far, either they're woefully lacking great singers or they have hoarded them for Hollywood and beyond -- and stuck with the heartbreak stories in the audition rounds.
"New York and Puerto Rico, two very different islands," says Ryan, in the event someone gets them mixed up.
New York crowd. Adeola Adegoke, singer comparing herself to Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige, gave up her job to audition, and as if there wasn't enough bad karma in that -- sings "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." As expected, not at all good. Simon says she may need to retract her job resignation. She begs for another chance. Simon says he will even phone her boss. No Hollywood. Kara tells her to "keep your day job." Adeola vows not to give up. Ryan gets on the phone with her boss, puts Simon on the phone to ask for her to get her job back. The boss lets her back. See, this year "Idol" is all heart!
San Juan audition. Jorge Nunez. Sings "My Way," the Il Divo version. "Great," says Simon, who is behind the group, before Jorge begins. He sings passionately and not terribly. Paula then asks him how he sings in English. Does some English, not sounding all that great. Kara says she felt more from the Spanish song. Simon says they have come to Puerto Rico to get someone with an accent. Hollywood for Jorge.
After a break, back to San Juan. Jessika Baier who finance her trip to the audition with a contest she won. Big contest enterer -- and winner. Sings "I Surrender" by Celine Dion. Really loud, no subtlety. Simon is peeved. "It was absolutely awful," he says. She begs (lots of begging this year) for another song. "None of it's working," Simon says. "It's not good," adds Randy. More begging; makes me think she got the don't-give-up pep talk that Ryan gave to a crowd on an earlier show. Still no to Hollywood.
Footage of other rejected auditioners complaining.
Now we're in New York. Melinda Camille, who has a message to send to the world, to uplift humanity to a place of love. She also dances naked in her room. A dancer she's not. A singer? Simon says "you look very fresh." Simon asks if the naked thing is part of her giving people happiness. Song: "Feeling Good." And she is good. "You're a happy little thing, aren't you?" Simon says. Randy kinda likes her. Kara thinks she's "like a vitamin boost." Four votes for Hollywood.
Break, then New York. Merriment in the waiting room. Jackie Tohn, in the music biz since she was very young. Rocker. "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. The movement while she sings is kind of annoying. Fair vocals, buried in some Mrazzy-jazzy things. Simon wants a second song, to hear her normal voice. And she's good when she sings. Paula thinks it's all good. Randy likes. Simon offers advice as a window panel falls behind the judges; but Jackie gets four votes for Hollywood.
Back to San Juan. "Wicked Game" is the music and the theme. Quick run through a bunch of rejects.
Sequence of contestants with "energy." Not voices, but energy. And comic performers. Simon calls one "a complete and utter waste of time." True. But the show puts them on, doesn't it?
Joel "The Human iPod" Contreras with a cardboard iPod frame for himself. Acts worse than he sings, killing any chance that they would judge his singing; Simon says it's "everything I hate."
Simon also calls this "a singing competition," which the auditions over the last couple of weeks have once again indicated is not the case.
Back to New York, Nick "Norman Gentle" Mitchell. When he enters, Simon tells him he hates comedy. Nick/Norman sings "And I Am Telling You." Simon says "you told me you weren't going to make this funny." Back and forth between Simon and Nick/Norman, including the inevitable Ryan-Simon-gay-love joke. "Amazing Grace," and his voice isn't bad, but he can't resist going comical, too. Kara says "I am so entertained!" Paula says yes. Kara says "you don't have a shot in hell but thank you." Randy says "this is crazy, dude," but "I was entertained" and the guy gets Hollywood. Uh, wait, didn't Simon say this was a singing competition? Oh, right, he was outvoted this time.
Sequence of three golden tickets -- Ashley Hollister, Kenny Hoffpauer, Kendall Beard. And not one was silly, homeless or orphaned. Then add some others, not named at this point.
Back to bits of bad singers. Monique Garcia Torres, 16, Miley Cyrus-ish girl shows off her little brother, Christopher, who meets Paula in the waiting room, then goes in to meet the judges and brings Paula a shell. Discussion with Christopher before she sings. "You Can't Hurry Love." She's competent, tuneful but not overwhelming. She gets a second song. "I Turn To You." Pleasant again but I'm not sold. Simon thinks she should have chosen someone more in her range; Kara says her voice isn't fully developed and she needs more confidence. Randy says she's "not quite ready." Randy and Kara say no. Paula says yes. Simon says yes, and since he breaks the tie, she gets Hollywood.
A second teaser for Alexis Cohen, a memorably creepy girl from last season, this time with a clip from her previous tryout.
After the break, Alexis in New York. Looking much more demure. She thought she was "funny" last year. Says she's changed. The promos have indicated otherwise. At the audition, Paula totally remembers her. Song: "Like a Prayer." She still can't sing. Acting out the song, making it worse. Simon calls it "fairly horrendous." Thinks she's gotten worse. Kara, who was not on the show last time but has obviously seen Alexis's previous audition, concurs that Alexis is worse. Alexis, smiling, gives the finger again and swears some. She says she choked in the room, that thousands of people in America have supported her.
Back to San Juan. Patricia Lewis Roman. Audition location is where her parents got married. Sings "I Want to Dance With Somebody." Not bad, not great. Simon didn't think it was good enough and "it was a crazy song choice" -- too difficult. Simon gives her 30 seconds to change their minds. She sings again, different song, in Spanish. Adequate. Randy says yes, Paula says no, Kara ... Well, we don't see her or Simon's vote, but she gets Hollywood. Family celebrates.
Here endeth the auditions. Nine got Hollywood from San Juan, 26 from NYC. Next week: Hollywood. "The stakes are high and so is the drama." "The best talent ever," says Ryan, and I don't believe it for a minute.