“Each year we get bigger and better... be prepared for this year’s talent to blow you away!”
So kicked off season nine of American Idol, as Ryan Seacrest found new words with which to introduce a season. After recapping the season eight finale, along with the Paula Abdul controversy in the summer, Ryan welcomed viewers to Boston.
Victoria Beckham was the evening's guest judge, and she wasn't great or awful. She was pretty much just there, mostly echoing whatever Kara said.
From there, it was on to a series of terrible auditions. We've gotta believe most people out there are as sick of these as we are, right? One did stand out, however:
Andrew Fenlon, an "unemployed musician" from Boston, was seen throughout the two-hour episode, complaining about his long wait. As soon as he got in to audition, he responded like an ass to Simon's question of why he was there:
"I'm here auditioning for American Idol, should be fairly obvious at this point."
It got worse from there, as Andrew lacked vocal talent, but continued to be a jerk. At one point, Kara jumped in and went off:
"You want to be in the music business, but you don't want to wait to get into American Idol. That seems to be a problem. And for you to have a bad attitude kind of pisses me off... There are people that would wait years to do so, so now I'm angry at you, who I don't like."
Did the argument seem a bit contrived? Yes. But did it also bring some entertainment to what's become a mundane, pre-Hollywood tradition of mostly off-key auditions? Yes.
Among the contestants that actually stood out, the most memorable were:
Katie Stevens, 16; Luke Shaffer, 24; Maddy Curtis, 16; Tyler Grady, 19; Justin Williams, 27; and Leah Laurenti, 22. We'll see more of these singers in Hollywood, but it's far too early at this point to make any predictions.
Stevens was likely our favorite. Her Portuguese grandmother has Alzheimer’s and as Katie tearfully said, "“She’s probably not going to be here for much longer." After Katie made the cut, she and her family called grandma and even caused Ryan to squeeze out a few tears during the celebratory conversation. It was a nice moment.