January 23, 2007 09:49 PM by Joe Reality
After stops in Minneapolis and Seattle that brought out an unusual
array of bad singers, the talent finally showed up for American Idol at
the Memphis auditions, and it showed up in a big way. Sundance Head
might have sang his way into the early favorite spot for this season.
His powerful rendition of “Stormy Monday” by Bobby Blue Band led the
usually reserved Simon Cowell to declare “I’m going to be amazed if you
don’t make the finals.”
Sundance wasn’t the only talent in Memphis. Sean Michel walked into the auditions looking like someone who showed up with a gimmick outfit because he can’t sing. However, even though Sean might have looked and dressed like Fidel Castro, he sang “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” with a passion that would have made Johnny Cash himself proud. After his audition, Randy Jackson yelled, “I say 100% yes. It don’t matter what you look like, you can blow.”
The guys weren’t the only ones that delivered in Memphis. Melinda Doolittle had to sit on her hands to stop the shaking before her audition, but during her audition, she was a polished professional. Melinda’s rendition of “For Once In My Life” received some of the highest praise this year from Simon Cowell. Cowell told Melinda, “You are in the top 2% of good singers this year.”
Danielle McCulloch and Philip Stacy also made it through in Memphis, but they did not receive the unanimous approval of the judges. Randy Jackson told Danielle that he didn’t think she was that good and that he thought she would be gone “like first day, first minute,” but Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell disagreed and put her through to Hollywood. Philip Stacy had one of the most interesting background stories, as his wife had given birth to his daughter that morning. Simon Cowell thought Philip couldn’t start his songs well, but it didn’t matter, because both Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson said “yes.”
Of course, Memphis wasn’t without the mixture of cruelty and unusualness that we have come to expect from American Idol. On the cruel side, Christopher McCain talked about how his wife had just left him before his audition. After Christopher belted out a lackluster “Footloose," Simon Cowell said “I’m tempted to ask if you sang that the night before your wife left.” On the unusual side, Frank Byers Jr. showed up with his own cheerleading squad and marching band. After he was rejected by the American Idol judges, he still had enough enthusiasm to lead a cheer with Ryan Seacrest, and the noise led an angry Simon Cowell to storm out of the audition room and yell at them to shut up.