The American Idol auditions are finally over, and I can’t help but feel a little frustrated. Why are we seeing a lot of bad auditions lately? Or the same old faces from a few weeks back? Or (shudder) sob stories?

Oh, right. This is American Idol. The tearjerkers have to be here.

Read our recap of the American Idol auditions in San Francisco

Ryan Seacrest has said this many times — we’re seeing the best talent the show has ever had. More often than not, though, the talent isn’t that spectacular: It’s either something we’ve seen before, or a poorer version of it, only with a plump back story to squeeze. Last night my brother called me stupid because I called James Durbin (aka guy with Tourette’s and Asperger’s) an Adam Lambert rip-off, only with less control and more screaming. Sure, he’ll make it because of the story. And no, I’m not hating on anybody — it’s just that, like the atrocity that is Chris Medina’s segment, it’s overkill.

But my tastes are different from other people’s, so I’ve long conceded that my early favorites don’t make it very far. (The only exceptions were David Cook and Taylor Hicks.) So, for this, the final Honor Roll of the season, I’ve decided to pick someone who I know will not make it out of the Hollywood round intact, because she’s frankly not Idol material — but, as I’ve learned with Megan Joy in the eighth season, it doesn’t matter if you’re too quirky, as long as you’re good.

Emily Anne Reed: No, She Didn’t Burn Down The House

Emily’s the girl with the old-school vibe, the girl who sings like someone armed with a TARDIS kidnapped her from a 1940s film and brought her here. Or maybe you know her as the girl whose house burned down a week before her callbacks. (Hardly a dramatic story, but fine, Mr. Seacrest.) It’s hard to describe her — calling her a cross between Norah Jones and Macy Gray just doesn’t cut it. But that’s not something everybody will latch on to — heck, it’s probably not what Idol wanted. (I’m talking to you, Lauren Alaina.)

If you’ve been visiting the jazz clubs in the San Francisco area, you’ve probably heard Emily sing. She fronts the band Emily Anne’s Delights, along with trombonist Larry Leight and a bunch of session musicians. Their songs are smack in the middle of jazz territory — six-minute sequences that creep up on you, and coupled with Emily’s vocals, evoke those cigar bars you probably see in 1960s spy movies.

Her website suggests that she has an album on the way. Her Facebook page goes a step further: “An original jazz album, [a] rockabilly album, then who knows, an original catchy-poppie album?” I don’t see her name on any of the spoiler lists, but I figure all she needs is a break. Besides, San Francisco can only get you so far, especially if you just lost your home.

And there go my Honor Rolls for the season, which means Hollywood! Yaaaay! I won’t be dropping out of the scheme, though: Tomorrow I’ll be picking the performances apart, while Carla will be around to do the recaps. Now, again, to mark a hurdle passed: yaaaay!

(Image courtesy of Emily Anne’s Delights’ official website)

Henrik Batallones

Staff Writer, BuddyTV