American Idol Live Thoughts: Hello, Hollywood! Hello, Ellen! (Page 2/2)
Abbey Simmons
Abbey Simmons
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Haeley Vaughan and Mary Powers

We've got the young and the old. Haeley who's 16 and Mary Powers who at 28 is at the end of her Idol eligible time. Both put up solid auditions, but they're not memorable, at least not in a good way. I may be the only person in America, but I find both Haeley and Mary's voices slightly annoying and flat. And don't even get me started on their carefully crafted looks and Idol selling points. (I'm an adorable African American country singer! I'm an edgy rockin' Mom!) They're both little girls with big voice and we know how much Idol loves that, but there needs to be more than a petite frame and a powerhouse of a voice. Clearly the judges disagree, because both Haeley and Mary make it through.

More Folks Who Make It Through

Lots more folks make it through including my sweet Summertime singer, Charity Vance, the annoying original song of Toddrick Hall, and the future Alicia Keys voice double Ashley Rodriguez. Of course, even during Hollywood week Idol decided to focus on the train wrecks of Skiiboskii and Cornelius and his split pants instead of showing these. Some lessons are harder to learn than other, I suppose.

Day Two of Hollywood Week

Lilly Scott

We didn't see Lilly in Denver, but we get a nice long intro to her during Hollywood week...which bodes very, very well for Lilly. She auditions with an acoustic rendition of Ella Fitzgerald's "Lullaby of Birdland" that gives me chills. She's sassy, sexy, quirky, jazzy, and current. Even though she's apparently made the unfortunate decision to dye her hair grey. We saw a minute of her and I bet we see lots and lots more, I'm calling her for Top 24 right now and she's my brand new favorite.

Big Mike Lynche

Mike Lynche who we called out for his "arm porn" during his audition is having a crazy day. Just before his audition his wife called to say that she was in labor with their first born, that's quite a sacrifice to make especially for just a shot at stardom. But Big Mike doesn't let his sacrifice go to waste, he does an acoustic soul arrangement of "Waiting for the World To Change," which is so compelling his audience of competitors can't help but sing along. Big Mike has big personality and big vocals and he's sacrificed the birth of his first child for naught, because he's through to the next round.

Justin Williams

Justin beat cancer and made it through to the group auditions during season 8, so getting through the sudden death of season 9 should be no problem. Right? I mean, there's a reason they're showing him now...which hopefully isn't to break our hearts. Justin channels Michael Buble and Chet Baker again with his sexy smokey audition, which already has women ready to throw their panties. Randy's not so convinced, he says it's "interesting and that's all I'll say."

Apparently "interesting" is a code word for sucks according to Randy, because Justin doesn't make it through the sudden death round this year. Neither does the Barney-natrix or the Jersey Shore sisters, thank goodness. Gotta admit, I'm shocked that Justin didn't make it through, it was a sultry audition and definitely better than lets say, Rock Mom Mary Powers.

Maddy Curtis

Maddy, who auditioned with Leonard Cohen's heart breaking Hallelujah is back with a boring ballad that shows off the potential of her voice, as much as it shows what she needs to work on. Terrible song choice, which Simon agrees with. My guess, Maddy's heading home this round, but will hopefully be back for season 10.

Casey James

Casey keeps his shirt on and straps on a guitar, which perfectly matches his bluesy growl of a voice. Where was this guy during the audition? Because this guy can sing, and has A LOT more to offer than his pecs. I'm shocked. I thought Casey was a flash in the pan we'd never hear from again, but clearly I was wrong. That audition makes me think he'll not just be safe today, but all the way through to the Top 24.

Even without baring his body Casey James makes it through and actually has us excited. Sadly sweet little Maddy-kins is sent home.

Didi Behnami

Didi is singing a Kara song called "Terrified," which in turn has us calling kiss ass and feeling terrified ourselves. But, say what you will about song choices, Didi can fricking sing. Probably the best female vocals we've heard all day. Kara looks like a proud mama, and Simon says "I hate to admit it, but I really like that song." I agree Simon, it wasn't NEARLY as terrible as expected.

Crystal Bowersox aka Dreads

Good old dreads takes a huge risk with an acoustic version of "Natural Woman," a song you really need to have a solid set of pipes to do any justice, and Crystal doesn't just do the song justice, she sings it with style and swagger. She hit a few flat notes, but doubtlessly showed incredible potential, charisma, and likability. Her competitors not only sang along with Crystal, they jumped up and gave her a standing ovation when it was over.

Surprising no one, both Didi and Crystal make it through sudden death...and my guess, all the way to the Top 24. Good stories, good voices. After the first days of Hollywood week, 98 American Idol hopefuls remain.

Who were your favorites? Who were you most surprised to see cut?

My favorites: Lilly Scott and Didi Behnami