January 13, 2009 08:27 PM by Candace Young
It’s finally time for American Idol 8 to return to television! Returning for another season are judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, who are joined by a new face, Kara DioGuardi, who has worked with Jewel, Pink, Celine Dion, and The Pussycat Dolls! This time around FOX heads to Phoenix, Arizona to begin the search for this season’s idol!
American Idol 8 begins with a tribute to the past seven seasons, and a replay of the American Idol 7 finale wherein David Cook beat David Archuleta. Host Ryan Seacrest, perched at the top of the Grand Canyon asks, “Who will be next?”
Phoenix, Arizona Day 1
In Phoenix, Arizona as the contestants gather to audition, it is extremely hot. Ryan introduces Kara DioGuardi, the new judge, who settles into her seat between Paula and Randy, leaving Paula free to belt Simon on the other side!
The first contestant in Phoenix, named Tuan, is an enthusiastic guy with huge hair! He sings a Michael Jackson tune and has the ladies snapping their fingers, but gets a unanimous ‘no’ from the judges. Outside, Tuan says he thought he had them.
Next up on American Idol 8 is Emily, who is a singer in an all-girl rock band. She sings a difficult Heart song, which has Paula beaming, and Simon saying that she is ‘different’, and that he likes her. The multi-haired crooner makes it through, explaining that she’ll leave her band, but hopefully if she wins, can go back and help them, like Chris Daughtry.
A true rock n’ roller is up in front of the American Idol 8 judges next, While the tattooed Randy looks like Axl Rose, he is a very sensitive soul, who cries as he says he merely wants someone to tell him he’s great! He sings Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi, and Simon stops him mid-song saying it was wimpy. Randy comes back with a stronger burst, but Simon is still not buying it – even when he tears up. Simon rolls his eyes, “You’re coming across like a drama queen!” They suggest Randy get in a band, and Kara gently tells him that he needs to put in the hard work. Outside the room, Randy continues to sob on Ryan Seacrest and to his waiting friends.
JB is a young man with a lovely voice, who impresses the judges and gets the yellow ticket to Hollywood. He tells Ryan Seacrest that this is his chance to change his life, and to change his family – they’re struggling right now.
Michael Gurr is also at the Phoenix American Idol 8 audition, hoping to impress the judges, but totally wracked by nerves. He goes in and sings, but Simon tells him he might have been singing in Bulgarian for all they understood of it! He tries to sing a Kara DioGuardi song, but is overcome with a need to be sick. Outside the door, he winds up on the floor!
American Idol 8 contestant, Will, butchers a song next, followed by DJ, who murders a Celine Dion song! These fellows are followed by a real ‘character’ with an acoustic guitar calling himself X-ray! Simon raises his eyebrows at his boundless enthusiasm, dancing and clapping. He also gets the thumbs down from the judges, but perseveres, prompting the appearance of a large bouncer dressed in white!
American Idol 8 welcomes a high school student next, her name is Arianna, and she sings Put Your Records On. Simon Cowell is happy with it, as is Paula Abdul, and Kara DioGuardi who says she is cute as a button. In the end, Arianna gets unanimous approval and bounds past Ryan Seacrest with her yellow ticket in hand!
Phoenix, Arizona Day 2
First up on Day 2 is one of the lowest voices in American Idol history. It belongs to a young man is named Elijah and he is a true bass singer (and a cashier). He starts out singing My First, My Last, My Everything, but the judges dissolve in laughter before he’s through. Simon Cowell asks if he is aware of the true reason for American Idol 8, and Paula suggest he could do voice-over work for horror movies. Elijah departs.
Next up is a girl wearing a pink cowboy hat, who says is a huge fan of Kara DioGuardi. Leah explains that she has written over 100 original songs and wants to show them to Kara. She is singing Every Time We Touch for the judges. Leah gives it her all, but Simon says it was terrible, and the rest of the judges agree that she’s not ready yet – she needs to work on her voice.
Stevie Wright, who tells Ryan Seacrest she is a big Stevie Nicks fan, tries her luck next on American Idol 8. She sings At Last, in a velvety, strong voice. Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi are very impressed, and Simon Cowell asks if she’s prepared to be competitive. They all give Stevie a ‘yes’ and she’s through! After she leaves, Kara tells Paula that’s her girl, so far!
Family man, Michael Sarver, who works on oil rigs, is excited to audition as it could help out his family. The blue-collar looking guy surprises Randy Jackson by having a great voice. Paula and Kara agree, and Simon compliments him on his likeability before putting him through!
Just when the American Idol 8 talent pool seems to dry up in the afternoon sun of Phoenix, Bikini Girl shows up! Katrina’s good voice seems secondary to the teeny weeny bikini she is sporting in an effort to stand out from the crowd. Both Randy and Simon quickly give her the thumbs up, but Kara tells her she doesn’t have the chops to sing that song, proving her point by singing it herself. Katrina shocks Kara by telling her that her singing isn’t any better! Paula defends the new judge, but Katrina is through, and celebrates by smooching with Ryan Seacrest before diving into the pool outside!
The guys aren’t to be outdone on American Idol 8, however, as a young man calling himself Sexual Chocolate is the next to audition! When he gets in front of the judges, Randy jokes that he took his name! Eric sings a Stevie Wonder song, which Simon Cowell deems not very good. Paula marvels that his mother has promised to buy him a car if he auditions and doesn’t make it! Well, Eric, er, Sexual Chocolate, doesn’t make it.
Brianna, a perky girl who has been keeping everyone’s spirits up in the American Idol 8 waiting area sings, Let’s Hear It For the Boy, followed by Killing Me Softly. Simon Cowell says she obviously made it through on personality. As the girl tears up, Kara and Randy turn her down, but Paula, and surprisingly, Simon put her through!
Deanna Brown is an American Idol 8 contestant flying solo, with no friends or family. She sings Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay for the judges with her unique voice. Randy Jackson immediately says he likes her. Kara calls her voice interesting, and Paula Abdul notes that she has great presence. Simon Cowell asks why she doesn’t think she has broken into the business yet. Deanna says she just needs the right opportunity. After she goes through, Deanna calls her mom and has an AT&T moment!
Cody, who makes his own horror movies, tells the judges he will be singing Wonderful World. He does a very good job, and will join the rest of the American Idol 8 yellow ticket holders in Hollywood!
Alex is the next person to get the coveted yellow ticket in Phoenix. He causes a stir when his song works for Randy Jackson, but not for Simon Cowell! In the end, Alex gets the nod on American Idol 8!
Next up is a montage of American Idol 8 auditions in which the contestants mangle Bon Jovi’s song Dead or Alive, ending with a curious looking bearded man in a cowboy hat who cannot sing on key!
The show closes with the touching story of Scott Macintyre who has lost most of his sight. He explains that he hasn’t let his impairment stop him – he also has a passion for music. His biddy walks him in to where the American Idol 8 judges are waiting. He sings And So It Goes by Billy Joel, in a strong, yet soft voice. Simon tells him he’s a cool guy, and Paula Abdul says he’s really talented. They all say yes to Scott – he’s going to Hollywood!
In all, 27 tickets were given out in Phoenix, Arizona. Tomorrow night FOX and American Idol 8 head to Kansas City, Kansas!
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Photos Courtesy: FOX