American Idol (2011): Nashville, TN




Yes. Really. Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest…don’t worry; your query was as much ours. We were knocked off of our feet in the first ten minutes of last night’s Idol auditions, in ways both really good and – yes – really bad. 17,000 people gathered to try out for the coveted position, but we couldn’t help but ask: They all realize there’s only going to be one, right?

“Really?” Yes! Really. And now, some highlights:

According to 27-year-old Christine McCaffrey, she has the “gift that will make everyone else respond” to what she has. She’s a bubbly girl, for sure, and very well might be a sweetheart, but having had to sit through her audition, all three judges gave her a resounding no. Sadly, she thought Steven Tyler gave her a yes. We’ve come to the conclusion that she is positively delusional and issue this warning to America (particularly West Palm Beach, Florida) – this woman is someone’s dental assistant.

But let’s move on to the good, shall we? Which there was a lot of this time on the road.

We were captivated by 23-year-old Nashville natives Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin – the couple that is no longer a couple but should be a couple because of how apparently in love they are, but in a relationship no longer. For right now, anyway. (Sad! Right? We’re with you, Rob; it sucks!) Anyway, on to the audition and to summarize: How apropos were their sweet harmonies during their rendition of “To Love Somebody” by the Bee Gees? Separately, together, they rocked, and they were in — and thankfully because of real talent, not merely their laced-with-heartbreak story. Mushy mushy. And on to the Golden State they go – the pair who, no matter how much they say they can’t, had friggin’ better get back together!

The good just got better as back-to-back smooth and soulful singers Paul McDonald, Jimmie Allen and Danny Pate won and the judges’ and our ears. Tyler said it best; “I don’t know if it feels better for me when someone comes out and sings” like that. We don’t know either, but we can say this much – it feels good; period. Another one that felt good was 22-year-old Adrienne Beasely, whose natural, rich quality to her voice — “American Honey” being a perfect song choice — trapped us in warmth. Would it be too much to say that she’s another Tracy Chapman in the making? Yes, no, maybe, she’s in.

And lastly, 19-year-old Stormi Henley…well, with a name like that she was made to be Miss Teen USA (and she was) – either that or a contender on American Gladiator. When you really look at it, American Idol actually ends up being a little bit of both, if only from the aspect of knocking out your opponent. Henley made it through to the next level with a thrusting out of a very pink lower lip, melting the heart of even the Dawg. But we’re hopeful that with a little exercising of the vocal muscle this beauty queen will make for fierce-ish competition.

We could go on, but there’s no time like the present to weigh in on the judges so far in the season. As far as energy goes, we really like what Steven Tyler is bringing to the table. Both he and Jennifer Lopez seem to really want those competing to do well, but it’s Tyler that is showing more of a genuine sweet side than perhaps Lopez was set to bring forth. We’re working on you, J.Lo. We were a little scared back there, but we like you. You’re fierce. But we got a lot more from Tyler than we were expecting during this stop in Nashville and have come to the conclusion that he is, in fact, a cool dude. The pressure’s on, girl.

Are we at all off base? What do you think of the new judges so far?

Don’t forget check back here next week as Idol makes way to Austin, Texas.