The 'American Idol' Honor Roll: Good Beginnings and Controversial Endings
The 'American Idol' Honor Roll: Good Beginnings and Controversial Endings
It's pretty hard to pass judgment on last night's auditions in Dallas. Sure, there were less train wrecks (but the sob stories still went SOB STORY!) and we've had good talent, not to mention the useful Neil Patrick Harris, but I had a pretty hard time picking out a standout. Well, I did. One, in fact. And then there's another contestant whose name's on the spoilers, who apparently is quite controversial, which is why I ended up writing a longer segment on that guy. Lopsided? That's my American Idol honor roll today.

This week's honoree: Maegan Wright. Remember Tasha Layton from the Los Angeles auditions early this week? Maegan--she with the divorced parents and the little brother chaperone--reminds me of her. Both have the complete package: impressive vocals and good looks to boot.

Her MySpace page reveals that she's part of a cover band called Signed Sealed Delivered. A dig through that band's website reveals that the band's been performing in Dallas since 1998, and has become a fixture in local spots, private parties and weddings. Maegan, who cites Norah Jones, Christina Aguilera and Aretha Franklin as her influences, has also done a handful of solo songs, which you can stream on her page.

Admittedly I got a little confused because some of her photos show her with brown rather than blonde hair. But I guess that shouldn't matter much, right?

The longer-than-usual shoutout: Todrick Hall. Todrick's the guy who appeared on The Color Purple with season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino. He's also the guy whose name's making the rounds of Top 24 spoilers lately. I'll be honest, that's mostly why I'm mentioning him here. But a little digging (and you've probably seen it before) uncovers that this dude is pretty controversial, for lack of a better term.

"I started dancing and performing in the church when I was nine," he wrote on his MySpace page. He has since performed in national theater tours before making his Broadway debut in The Color Purple. The experience has inspired him, he continued, to form a theater company, Drama'l Musicals, where he worked on a contemporary take on The Wizard of Oz. 3,000 kids have auditioned for the national tour, he said.

That's where things get complicated. Last year reports surfaced that this tour was suddenly cancelled, just after the show's producers charged between $50 to $75, supposedly to cover for costumes and rent for the audition venue. It was later revealed that no shows were actually booked, and the money has gone nowhere. Hall, who wrote and was supposed to direct the tour, stated that they were forced to cancel after encountering financial difficulties. (To his credit, his YouTube page does have a video of a performance from one of the musical's stops, two years ago, featuring Idol's Mikalah Gordon. Diana DeGarmo also apparently performed here, but she said she was never a part of the tour.)

I'm interested in what happened to this issue since. Potentially this could be grounds for disqualification, but since his name is making the rounds on the blogosphere, we can assume the money's been returned and things have turned out just fine. Still, this isn't exactly a good introduction. Shame, because his audition was pretty adorable. I mean, singing an original song doesn't always go well, but he got it right.

Oh, and I've got a YouTube video for you.

(Image courtesy of Maegan Wright's MySpace page/Adam Davis)