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American Idol Episode 4 - San Francisco Auditions - Review

Submitted by The Critic on Mon, 2006-01-30 15:41

The next stop on our journey is San Francisco. The city that has bought us, Latoya London, Nadia Turner and the legend that is William Hung. This is the third season in a row that the American Idol bus has made it's stop here and this season it is the only stop on the West Coast.

First off tonight is a Jessica Simpson look-a-like, #31510 Heidi Fairbanks, 22 from Laie, HI who breaks out an opera number by Verity, the first we've heard so far this season. Paula really appreciated her voice but wants to hear something a little more pop so she sings Robbie Williams' Angels Angels. Simon loved the first song but hated the second song. Simon doesn't think she has a pop sound and it's a no from him. Paula says yes but Randy is on the fence. Randy says no eventually but the tell her to pursue opera.

#32038 Shawn Vazquez, 18 from Oakland, CA is another opera singer who is hoping that he can get the judges vote today. He sings Neither One of Us Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye) but it is pretty hideous. He sounds like he's wailing like a dying woman. It's real nasty on the ear. Randy says it was the loudest, most weirdest things he's ever heard. Simon says his voice is one of the worst he's ever heard and says that he's so far removed from the competition that it's almost non-human. He says he wants be a singer and they kinda laugh at him. He walks out with his head hanging before they even get to tell him it's a no.

Jose Penala Audition

Mid morning and no one had made it through. As the contestants all sit around waiting for their turn in front of the judges we watch them prepare themselves. Some sing. Some do their make up. Some focus and get all psyched up.

One such psyched up contestant is #32613, Jose Penala, 27 from South San Francisco, CA who sings Superstar Superstar and impresses the judges. Paula says excellent and Simon agrees. In fact, Randy adds to the yeses to make it unanimous. Jose is off to Hollywood.

Lauren Wackerly Audition

Jose's audition seemed to start a bit of a lucky streak as #31682, Lauren Wackerly, 17 from El Cajon, CA nailed Sin Wagon Sin Wagon. The golden tickets flowed like honey and the Judges thought that nothing could go wrong. That was until #32051 Matthew "Wolfie" Paulson, 21 from Elk Grove, CA comes in thinking he has a voice similar to Clay Aiken. He obviously believes it so much that he's performing a Clay aiken song, The Measure of a Man Measure of a Man and is completely adamant that he is going to Hollywood today. It's pretty woeful. He's reasonably confident but I can just see him being upset once this is over. And then he loses his line. Randy asked what Clay would have thought. Simon says again it was one of the worst he's heard. Outside, Matthew says that he thinks that the judges didn't quite get the similarities in his voice with Clays. Ok then. They roll a tape of his audition along side Clay's performance of the song. It is pretty easy to tell which one was the good version.

John Williams Audition

#31585 John Williams, 28 from Sacramento, CA has just been discharged from the military 6 weeks ago and is here to audition today with Human Nature Human Nature. Once he's done with the singing, he breaks it down to remix it. Randy likes the remix act. Simon is a little confused about the strange element and thought it was a little over the top. Paula says yes and once again it's left up to him. He thinks it's a little circus like. Simon says that he thinks that was a bit harsh. Randy gives him a yes after saying how strange a place San Francisco is.

Katharine McPhee Audition

While many contestants bring their families along for moral support, there is a huge number of contestants who bring along their vocal coach. One contestant, #32342 Katharine McPhee, 21 from Sherman Oaks, CA has bought along her mother and her vocal coach who both happen to be the same person. She gives the judges the typical brief background and Simon says that he bets her mother is standing right outside the door, which of course she is, and that perhaps she is trying to live out her career through her. She sings God Bless The Child God Bless the Child and it is just oh so sweet. Simon said that parts of it were absolutely fantastic. Randy said it's the best voice he's heard all season. Paula said she's absolutely beautiful. Simon says she is very current. It's a yes all round and she is going to Hollywood.

Standing atop one of San Francisco's many skyscapers, Ryan tells us that some thought they were crazy to return to the city where William Hung was discovered. However, he says, surely there is talent here. #32231 Eric Cornforth, 18 from San Francisco, CA sings Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands and sounds like there is no enthusiasm in the tank.

#32191 Shalicia Carlisle, 25 from Concord, CA quit her job to come on American Idol and auditions with Ready For Love Ready for Love to prove that she is the next American Idol. Boy, she really doesn't know how wrong she is. After Simon asks her to sing something a little more cheerful she starts Don't Cha Don't Cha which gets some giggles from Randy before she says that she's got some Mary J. Blige and kicks into I'm Going Down I'm Going Down. Simon looks unimpressed. They all give her a no and Simon tells her it was a bad career move to quit her job to try out for American Idol. However, he offers to call his old boss and ask for her job back. Outside, Simon calls and gets Shalicia her job back which she is somewhat delighted about.

Shawna White Audition

Having travelled 3 hours south of her upstate home in Willits, CA, #32675 Shawna White, 16 belts out There are worse things I could do There Are Worse Things I Could Do which is really nice to listen to. Paula asks her to sing something a little more contemporary though so she sings Fallin' Fallin'. Paula liked. Randy was impressed with her only being 16. Simon thought the first song was as annoying as fingers down the blackboard. Simon says no and Randy and Paula both can't figure out Simon's ears today. They both give her a yes as she heads out to tell her rockstar dad and family the good news.

Inside, they question what is up with Simon today. He tells them that Shawna just wasn't for him. I must admit, she is in dire need of a makeover if she is to make it in this industry.

To introduce the next contestant, Ryan tells us that they've had plenty singers, dancers, rappers and beat boxers but never have they had a quadruple threat before. Meet #32387 Marcus Phillips, 23 from San Jose, CA. He starts off with This Little Light Of Mine This Little Light of Mine in a falsetto. Simon says thank you but Randy and Paula want to see the rest of the act. He's not impressed. It's a no but outside he tells America that we'll all see him again.

Jayne Santayana Audition

#34677 Jayne Santayana, 19 from Vallejo, CA sweetly sings Sweet Love Sweet Love. Paula thinks she was pretty awesome but Simon thought the song was way too big for her. Again Randy says that Simon is having an off day. Simon says no and Randy is shocked. Paula is shocked. Jayne is even shocked. Simon says not to worry because Mozart and Beethoven are going to put her through. They do and after Randy tells her that she has one of the better voices he's heard today Jayne tells Simon that she will prove him wrong.

And so begins our little battle where Simon says no to everyone who walks in, frustrating the Paula and Randy. This is bound to come to a head. The next dispute is over a young girl who sings Fire! Fire who Simon said was terrible. Simon thinks #34309 was great while the other two disagree. #34251 sings Something to Talk About Something to Talk About and Randy asks Simon if it's a yes or a no. Simon says no to which makes Randy laugh and say Why? Simon asks if Randy is trying to wind him up.

If we ever needed a replacement for Cher, with a lot less class, then perhaps #33254 Deborah Dawn Tilley, 27 from Ely, NV would be the perfect candidate. She sings Gimme Some Lovin' Gimme Some Lovin' and Paula thinks she is interesting enough to give her a yes. Randy said that vocally the voice didn't blow him away and despite the gravelly thing in her voice it didn't blow him away. Simon says that she can sing but she looks like she is someone's mother who has been given a dare to dress up like Cher and perform. He says that he needs to hear her sing with his eyes shut because he is so put off by her image. Paula asks, isn't that what you said to Clay Aiken? An argument unfolds and Simon finally gets to give her a no.

After Deborah walks out, so does Simon. In fact, he left the building and went back to his hotel leaving the rest of the day up to Randy and Paula.

#34737 Manuel Viramontes, 21 from Los Banos, CA tells us a touching story about how he got his name which has to do with the image of his saint that he has bought into the audition with him. He believes he is the best undiscovered talent in America and attempts to prove it with Ribbon In The Sky Ribbon in the Sky. Unfortunately he is flat and nasally. Randy asks him what was with the voice and rather than answer he launches into another song, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Randy tries to get him to stop and says it wasn't good the first time and that it wasn't good the second time. Manuel just doesn't get it as he starts to sing Bohemian Rhapsody Bohemian Rhapsody. Randy begs him to stop. Paula says no. He waits as if he's still going to get a golden ticket.

18 made it through to Hollywood from San Francisco. Next stop on the audition journey, Las Vegas.

2006 Contestants