“Idol” host Ryan Seacrest reported that 12,000 hopefuls auditioned in Chicago over a two-day period, with only 13 making it to the next round. Those may seem like long odds, and a good reason for parents to get their kids to do homework instead of working on their voices.
However, that’s nothing new for that city. After all, it’s about the same odds as the Cubs winning the World Series, and there were a number of contenders who emerged from the Windy City auditions.
Third time’s another charmThe first time Angela Martin auditioned, in season seven, her dad was killed days before the Hollywood round and she didn’t make it any farther. With her second chance in season eight, she made it to the top 50 but was derailed by a warrant for a traffic ticket that caused her to drop out.
This year, she passed through again by singing “Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige. She seems like a sure bet for the final 24 — unless an anvil drops on her head or something else torpedoes her chances.
Tell me your troubles
Katelyn Epperly was the first singer in Chicago to get the golden ticket to Hollywood, and she came with the appropriately dramatic backstory. The Iowa native said her father had just left the family, and it was her first performance without both parents there. Of course, Simon Cowell had to get all the details, asking who she was siding with and how she felt about it. Has the health care plan in the United States gotten so bad that we are relying on that guy for our therapy needs?
That DOES impress me muchCountry superstar Shania Twain was very solid as the guest judge, and was especially effusive when discussing John Park. “I was very surprised,” she said. “You have a beautiful bottom end. You have nice lips. … You have a nice tone down there. I was pleasantly surprised. You have a good head.” And then the program switched networks to air on Cinemax.
Randy Jackson shows some heartPaige Dechausse was the episode-ending sob story. She almost died at 15 after going into shock following an asthma attack, and her grandmother brought the whole family to the audition in a limo to support her in her quest to become the next American Idol. Simon still turned her down, but Kara DioGuardi and Shania browbeat Randy into providing the third yes vote that got her to Hollywood.
Who needs Paula?Shania showed the most personality of any of the three guest judges thus far, offering comments that could be both funny and informative. She got to break out the “That don’t impress me much” line after one failed attempt to sing one of her songs, and also said at the beginning of the broadcast that she would probably pee herself if she were auditioning there for real. She probably wouldn’t be the first to do so.
At ease. Please!Ex-soldier Brian Krause said that he was so passionate about singing that it got him into trouble when he sang for his fellow troops. “I was told not to sing in uniform, and I couldn’t help it and I got in trouble,” he said. It isn’t hard to see why. Listening to someone sing a Tiny Tim song in a Tiny Tim voice would be enough to lower morale in any unit, and his own morale was crushed when he didn’t advance.
No love for the Boob BoxerAmy Lang was optimistic, noting that “if all I have to do is wait in line for a couple of days to be famous and make my dreams come true, it’s worth it.” Would she settle for infamous? Her “boob-boxing” trick, as Shania Twain called it, was not enough to get her to Hollywood, nor was her flirting with the host. “He was the first celebrity that I ever had an inappropriate dream about,” she said about Ryan Seacrest in one of those comments that people should really keep to themselves.
Someone has to make itOnly 13 singers advanced out of Chicago, but Justin Ray, Keith Semple and Marcus Jones all received golden tickets on the second day. None of them seemed to stand out in their audition, but maybe the show got a good deal on airline tickets to Hollywood and wanted to use up all of their vouchers.
Craig Berman is a writer in Washington. Follow him on Twitter at .