Drew Beaumier- Drew gave a very original audition, entering the room in a home made Transformers costume. It was pretty humorous to see someone crunched down and dressed as a car sing the opening lines to “Born to Be Wild.” In the middle, Drew completely lost the lyrics and went instead for shock value (not that he was particularly shocking, but, you know, along those lines) by turning from a car into an Autobot. Entertaining, albeit not very talented.
Julie Zorrilla – In her native country of Columbia, Julie’s parents were wealthy and owned the house of their dreams on top of a mountain in the Andes. Then, when she was eight, her family had to leave the country due to violence. She sang “Summertime” in a way that made me think no one ever taught her how to breathe properly when singing. At the end of every phrase, she had a ton of air left over that she exhaled in an extra breathy sort of way. She was good, I guess, but her affectation masked her talent and her ability to put her own spin on a song. The judges totally bought into her. “Fabulous. Beautiful. Great range, and great star quality,” was Steven’s verdict. After she left the room, Jen even questioned (in a positive manner) if Julie could be the next American Idol.
Emily Anne Reed – Just a week before the auditions, Emily’s house burned down. How sincerely sad. Emily has a really interesting, throwback kind of voice, and though a lot of girls have attempted this sound in the past few years on Idol, I don’t think any have been as genuinely good at it as Emily. I really enjoyed her performance, although I will say that girls like this (Megan Joy, anyone?) tend to get annoyingly samey after the first few weeks of competition. “I love your old timey voice, but your melody leaves a lot to be desired,” Steven told her before issuing a negative verdict. “I liked your voice, I like that it was so different,” Randy disagreed, giving the girl a yes. Of course, we know that a split panel this season means a sure fire yes, and though Jen was hesitant, she did grant Emily one more chance to be seen in Hollywood.
James Durbin – Idol saved the sobbiest sob story for last this year (although that may have been Chris Medina – those two can duke it out for that crown later). James’s father was a professional musician, so he and his siblings didn’t see much of him growing up. Then, when James was 9, his father died of a drug overdose. Shortly afterwards, James was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and Asperger’s. He was made fun of and beat up a lot in school. Then he met a girl at a bar, fell in love, and had a son with her. It’s fabulous that James has found the joy of family at last, but the three don’t have a lot of money, and James is unemployed. His voice was loud, proud, and Lambert-esque. After his initial performance, he asked Steven’s permission to sing “Dream On,” and he did a fantastic version of it. This kid is gonna go far, folks. Not only does he have a great voice, but he’s humble, and despite all of the hardships he’s faced, he’s already proven that he can make the best out of some bad situations. “You go away when you sing. You sing from a really different place than a lot of people we see,” Jen told him, clearly mesmerized by his performance. “My god, what a range. And that’s full voice, not falsetto or anything,” was Randy’s reaction. Steven rounded out the praise by saying, “That was over the top. So, so good.”
So James joined the list of people who would be moving on to Hollywood, the rounds from hell that always end up pitting people against each other. They start tonight at 8 – let the drama commence!