On American Idol's first time in Portland, the show opened with the handy, dandy Contestant Cam. My friends tell me I shouldn't be as annoyed by this gimmick as I am, but it gives screen time to people I'll never see again and I'd rather watch more of the contestants who are going to Hollywood. Anyway, enough about that.
Ryan said that everyone in Portland has a story and a dream and that was clearly the theme of tonight's show. Here are the highlights:
"Tripster the Hipster," aka Brittany Zika, made an unforgettable entrance which prompted Steven to quip, punnily, "Did you fall for me"? Oh, Steven! Brittany told us the story of the time she sang a duet with Sara Bareilles and how that experience was her motivation for auditioning. She nearly yodeled which makes me think she should be singing Jewel. However, she had a decent voice and is welcome to keep on singing, but until she gets a better bra, she needs to refrain from dancing. We'll see her in Hollywood.
Ben Purdom made his way onto my TV screen for being good at blowing his nose, apparently. It certainly wasn't because he could sing. Dream crushed.
Jermaine Jones is a church singer who was born to sing (and born singing) according to his mama. Apparently Mama does know best. While I was only somewhat impressed and wish he'd chosen a different song (Barry White could totally be his wheelhouse), the judges loved him and handed him a Golden Ticket for his gentle spirit and soulful voice.
Mom of two, Britnee Kellogg, who looks a little like Miss Britany herself, opened with the tearful story of giving up her dream to help her ex-husband pursue his only for him to cheat on her. She sang, quite fittingly, "You're No Good." J.Lo added a backing track to Brittnee's audition and said "I am FEELING YOU right now!" Makes you wonder what was behind the J.Lo/Skeletor split, doesn't it? Britnee asked J.Lo how she does it being a mom and J.Lo said she never leaves her kids behind. Britnee's going to Hollywood and taking her two sons with her.
Sam Gershman is a "motivational dancer," whatever that is. Her audition was all kinds of trainwreck. They mistakenly said her last name was "Gershwin" when she walked in, prompting her to crack a joke about how her Dad's name was Ira. No one laughed. Steven cracked wise no less than three times about her boobs and said she would make a good Easter bunny, to which she replied she was Jewish. AWK-WARD.
David Weed. Auditioning in Oregon. His last name is weed. In Oregon. Steven said it's a wonder no one's nicknamed him Smoky. The possibilities for jokes are endless with this one. But we only have one hour and he didn't make it to Hollywood so, moving on...
Liberian refugee Romeo Diahn told the cameras that while in the camps waiting to come to the United States, he saw so many people perish he never thought he and his family would make it. That while in the camps he sang for his life. He went with Bob Marley's "Is This Love." Steven loved his heart. J.Lo was worried about where his unique vibe would fit into the competition. All three voted yes and gave him a Golden Ticket. Good move, judges. Good move.
Naomi Gillies got gutsy and sang Aerosmith's "Cryin'." No one sings Steven like Steven and most people just shouldn't try it. Ever. I was unimpressed. The judges, however, were impressed and their votes are the ones that count right now. She's going to Hollywood.
"Adorable" (not) Ben Harrison was, well, I'm not sure "hyper" is quite a strong enough word to cover it. He sang Queen's "Somebody to Love." He tried to hit a note so high I'm surprised my dog didn't start barking. The judges did not love him. I didn't either. But hey, at least he didn't puke or pee his pants, right? He's not going to Hollywood, but his parents got him some pizza.
Jessica Phillips had to give up her dream of pursuing a career in music when she unexpectedly became caretaker to her boyfriend of five years after he suffered a massive stroke. While her voice wasn't the strongest of the night, her heart might've been. If for no other reason than because she's given up a lot of her life to help with his rehabilitation and deserves this chance, we'll see her in Hollywood.
Stories were told tonight and dreams are being realized for the 45 contestants who made it through to Hollywood. Ryan and Co. should've stopped in Portland a little sooner because it's quite the talented place. From tonight's episode, Britnee Kellogg's going on my "One to Watch" list for Hollywood. What'd you think of Portland? Who's going on your list?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.