'American Idol' Recap: S(ho)wdown in San Antonio
'American Idol' Recap: S(ho)wdown in San Antonio
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Only two more audition shows to go before we get to the real meat of the American Idol competition! Okay, so maybe Hollywood Week isn't the meat. It's more of the fried calamari after the stale bread, but before the soup or salad of Vegas Week and the seemingly endless main course that is the live shows. It's like the longest dinner ever. Either way, grab your butter knife and buckle your cowboy boots, cause we're headed to Texas for a good ol' fashioned hootenanny.

There's really no sense of tension this week after the much-hyped Mariah Carey-Nicki Minaj feud disappointingly fizzled out. So it's really just time to sit through two hours of good singers and really bad singers and move on to the drama of Hollywood, which will whittle us down to our top 20 boys and top 20 girls. The only animosity I expect to see is the contestants who were deluded enough to think that making it through to see the judges meant they were good.

After our trip down south, we'll head to Long Beach, California, and an audition excursion on the Queen Mary. There, Mariah's twins (not her newborns) and diva ego are both on display, as is the best of the west. There may also be ghosts steering the ship, because it apparently runs aground. That might be intentional though, just to add some flavor to the show. Idol has deeper pockets than the sea floor. 

Singers to Remember

Returning contestant Vincent Powell used to have Mariah posters all over his room, and he's the closest Joshua Ledet comparison we've seen so far. He's got the screaming-that-sounds-good thing working. The judges think his voice gives people chills, but I stopped short of goosebumps.

Savannah Votion saunters in with her tight pants, big butt, tiny top and bare midriff. She had a kid when she was 19, and now she's a 24-year-old single mother. She has a beautiful tone and does well belting out "At Last," and the judges love her. But her overall demeanor strikes me as a perfect candidate for someone who will fall apart under the pressures of Hollywood Week. 

Cristibel Clack is an elder stateswoman among the contestants. At 29, the mother of three is just on the cusp of the age limit. That lends itself to a sense of maturity in her Alicia Keys audition. She didn't blow me away, but she's a pro and could go pretty far.

Ann Difani, a.k.a. Miss University of Arkansas, is our online nomination of the week, and Randy Jackson took a trip to a Razorbacks football game to give her an audition bib. She's obviously hot in that beauty queen sort of way (VERY bubbly), and she's got a voice to match.

Victoria Acosta is a Mariachi singer who performs on a riverboat for a living. She goes through based on her voice, but I honestly just don't see her for this competition. The Mariachi doesn't translate. 

Papa Peachez describes himself as a big black woman trapped in a little white boy's body, and that's usually a bad sign. He also chooses to sing his own music, but if that music isn't good, no voice can save it. He actually sings about himself, "a gypsy on the rise, a woman in disguise," and the whole song is about how he's gay (complete with a peach-bleeped expletive). Nicki LOVES him and gives him a billion-times yes, and Randy correctly tells him to take the competition seriously and get singing lessons. It winds up two-two, and Randy breaks the tie and puts him through. He's going nowhere, though, as he just as easily could've headlined the "singers to forget" section. 

Sanni M'Mairura is a 16-year-old church group choreographer with a big, bright-white smile and some slick dance moves. His voice is happy and pretty. 

Adam Sanders has been crying all day in hopes of meeting Mariah, and he tears up just talking about his hero before he sings. He closes out San Antonio with some Etta James, and his nice words aren't nearly as nice as his huge voice. He's the guy whose sound doesn't match his body, and he gets a standing ovation in as close as we've gotten to a goosebump moment so far.

Now we're headed to California, where we're promised three of the most compelling stories of the season, as well as a healthy does of Mariah Carey's boobs. When Randy says, "This could be the start of something HUGE," he could be talking about either.

Shubha Vedula is a shy and adorable 17-year-old who looks she's 12. She auditions for Keith and Randy only, because Mariah is stuck in traffic and Nicki has a prior commitment. Her voice is perfectly suited for the competition, and she'll only get better as her confidence increases. She is definitely one to keep an eye on. 

Matt Farmer and his daughter Cadence drove in from Arizona to audition. He was serving in Iraq when he was struck by an exploding IED and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. His meds were supposed to make him sterile, but six months later, he found out Cadence's mother was pregnant. Surprise! He also has tributes to his fallen comrades tattooed on his arms. With that backstory, you know he's going to be good. He has a couple shaky notes, but he's through to Hollywood.

Jesaiah Baer is singing (cutely but slightly held back by her accent) when the fire alarm goes off, and everyone has to leave the ship. It's just a minor smoke condition near the dock, and the auditions are quickly up and running again. Baer scats in addition to her singing, but for me, the fire alarm was slightly more memorable. Maybe it's just my previously-documented accent issues.

Micah Johnson recently had his tonsils removed, but the normally-routine operation went wrong when the surgeon hit some nerves. Michah was left with a speech impediment, and while he sees a therapist, his doctors say it's pretty much what he's stuck with. He wants to be an inspiration to someone, and you'd never know anything was wrong once he starts singing. The judges are all bobbing their heads, and Keith even sings along with him.  

Rachel Hale is a pretty southern girl with a big accent and a big, soulful voice. She's very bubbly and excitable, and her personality should help her. 

Briana Oakley was featured on Maury's Most Talented Kids 2009, but she was severely picked on when she returned home. She used to eat lunch in the bathroom before she eventually changed schools, and she is a voice for the bullied. She offers the first true goosebump moment so far. Loved it.

The final audition goes to Matheus Fernandes, who has no specific medical condition or hormonal issue but is only 4-foot-9. His doctors told him he's just short, which officially makes him Ryan Seacrest's favorite contestant ever. He dealt with a lot of bullying, but he's the little man with the big voice and he's going through to Hollywood. A Google search to find out his height (Idol never tells us) also reveals that he was on The Glee Project in 2011, which makes his story slightly less inspiring to me, as it's old news to some. Still, the ladies will love him, and that counteracts a lot of mean-spirited comments.

Page 2: The Worst of the Worst in San Antonio and Long Beach >>

(Image and video courtesy of FOX)

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