As anyone who’s ever been to Nashville, Tenn., can tell you, there’s no shortage of talent to be found there. People singing on the streets in this country music center would be (and often were) the stars of their small towns, so finding folks worthy of sending to Hollywood was as easy as opening the audition doors for the “American Idol” folks.
But they did find some acts that were unique in this 10th season, starting with a pair of exes that inspired the judges to turn their podium into a cross between “Loveline” and “The Dating Game.”
Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks are no longer a couple, and judging from the footage, that split was more her decision than his. (Oaks actually had her new boyfriend waiting in the wings for her.) The judges had the pair sing a duet first, and were as subtle as a grandmother urging her 30-something grandchild to just settle down and get married already.
“Sometimes the deepest passion comes from friction,” Steven Tyler said. “I saw how in love you were.”
They both excelled as individuals as well, so both are going to Hollywood. And Oaks’ boyfriend can’t be too happy at his girl going on a business trip with her ex, especially with the judges urging them to get back together. Perhaps all three can unite afterwards with Dr. Drew Pinsky and sort things out? If not, there’s always Jerry Springer.
Teen scene continues
Lauren Alaina became the latest in the parade of 15-year-olds to get tickets to Hollywood. It’s abundantly clear that we’re going to see a bunch of them hang around for a long time, since the folks who run the show seem to think that going young is the secret to getting numbers.
At least Alaina had both poise and humor that went beyond her years. The judges brought her family in and asked her to sing for them, and she broke out with the Aerosmith classic “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” She sang a few bars … and then threw it to Tyler, who continued for a bit before tossing it back to her.
Tattoo artist Allen Lewis said he’d been told many times that he should try out for the show. Which leads to the obvious question: How does this even come up in conversation? Do people really spend those minutes of awkward idle chitchat while getting inked discussing which reality TV shows to audition for?
Lewis did not make the cut, but reacted calmly and politely, saying that would only make him more determined to try harder. Probably not the reaction many expected, which just goes to show that Mom and Dad were right when they said not to judge a book by its cover.
Speaking of unexpected performances, Adrienne Beasley is the stereotypical farmer’s daughter, if by “stereotypical” you mean an black woman adopted as a toddler by a white family who spent her life working the chores required to keep everything running. She made it to the next round, and excitedly called her dad.
“Who’s gonna pay your way?” he asked.
Don’t worry, sir. "Idol" picks up the tab for the plane fare. But if you need to hire someone to pick up her duties, you’re on your own.
Men stick together
For those of you looking for voting patterns among the judges, so far disagreements have been decided along gender lines. Whenever there was a 2-1 decision on camera, it has generally been J.Lo standing alone and losing to the two men.
Kudos to Randy Jackson for forming an early alliance with Steven Tyler, rather than letting himself be overwhelmed by the new blood. Those strategy sessions with “Survivor” host Jeff Probst clearly paid off.
But can they agree that the winner of the season might be from Nashville? Because one of them was certainly confident about it. With all the talent available in this city, it wouldn’t be shocking at all if the winner came from Tennessee.
“I think we found the one today. We found it. Oh yes we did,” Tyler insisted.
Craig Berman is a writer in Washington. Follow him on Twitter at , where he live tweets each "Idol" show.