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Idol Worship: 'Idol' 8.3 Redux

Whew! It's over. All told, the Season 8 auditions were fairly painless and went by relatively quickly, and for that, we can't complain. But the talent pool certainly seems to be shrinking, considering the Idol producers jammed four audition cities into three one-hour shows. And so we wrap up this third and final pre-Hollywood week with a bunch of so-so's from Jacksonville, good manners and sunshine smiles from Salt Lake City, plenty of groveling from New York City and a couple of bright spots out of Puerto Rico. Here's hoping Hollywood kicks things up a notch, but for now, our recap of week 3's most memorable performances...

1. Megan Crokrey (Salt Lake City)
The judges unanimously declared their love for 23-year-old Megan, a recently divorced single mom from Big Love territory of Sandy, Utah, and we second that emotion. From the scat to her tats, Megan has an edge that Idol desperately needs, and an old soul voice that's all too welcome. We predict she'll go far.

2. Jasmine Murray (Jacksonville)
Sometimes unassuming is the way to go, and adorable little Jasmine Murray had it down. Her hushed version of Fergie's "Big Girls don't Cry" captivated the judges, prompting Simon to say the two magic words: "cute" and "commercial." With that, off she went to Hollywood, and we have a good feeling about this one.

3. Frankie Jordan (Salt Lake City)
Like a breath of fresh air, 23-year-old waitress/stay-at-home mom Frankie Jordan not only sounds like Amy Winehouse, she kind of looks like her, too (minus the ink, scars and wig). There's no doubt the sparkle in her eye got Simon's attention, and her confidence clinched that golden ticket. So Frankie goes to Hollywood, but imitation will only get you so far.

4. Anne Marie Boskovich
The blogosphere had already been buzzing about Anne Marie, who got a do-over so she could sharpen her look. As for her voice? Impressive and controlled. We found it somewhat ironic that she chose to sing Colbie Callait's "Bubbly," the same song Colbie herself auditioned with and was rejected(!) Well, what do the judges know anyway?

5. David Osmond (Salt Lake City)
No one seemed the least bit surprised that a member of the Osmond clan would show up in Utah, but we'll admit, we were a little thrown by David's story. The son of the eldest Osmond, he and his father have both been battling MS, a condition that often confines him to a wheelchair. But standing tall dark and handsome in front of the judges, you'd never know it. Still, David got a panel full of criticism (even Paula had something constructive to say) and there's no guarantee his family name will carry him through Hollywood (though the Dancing With The Stars door is always open, and happens to be right next door).

6. T.K. Hash (Jacksonville)
Finally some soul got squeezed out of Jacksonville, thanks to one T.K. Hash who put a velvety, R&B twist on John Lennon's "Imagine." We're not entirely sure what key it was in, but have to hand it to him for the effort. A little Hollywood polish (for the second time, he also made it through on season 7) will do him a world of good.

7. Jorge Nunez (San Juan)
Considering they barely devoted a half-hour to the San Juan auditions, one has to assume stand-out Jorge Nunez was among the cream of the crop. Of course, with so little context, it's hard to know how he'll stack up to other Hollywood-bound contestants, but one thing we do like about Jorge is that he's bilingual. We see lots of Marc Anthony songs in our future, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

8. Taylor Vaifanua (Salt Lake City)
At nearly six feet tall, island girl Taylor towers over the competition, but like all the other Idol hopefuls, she's still standing in line, waiting for that elusive big break. Randy instantly compared her to Jordin Sparks and declared Taylor's smooth vocals as one of the best he'd ever heard. We see potential, too, but also a long road ahead. 

9. Kendall Beard (New York)
She only got about 15 seconds of airtime, but considering Kendall could easily be  a Cameron Diaz clone, we anticipate she'll advance far. The little we heard, we liked. Plus, she has that Idol-ready name, don'tcha think?

10. Rose Flack (Salt Lake City)
Poor Rose, the focus of night two's closing segment, had the sob story beyond all sob stories — so tragic we don't even care to repeat it. But there was something inexplicably upbeat about this dreadlocked, barefoot beauty from Idaho — a happy sunshiny glow that charmed the pants off of the judges. Her vocals, however, need some work (even Paula said so), but when it comes to overall vibe, Rose has our vote.

11. Melinda Camille (New York)
Here's what we know about Connecticut native Melinda Camille: she likes to dance around in her room naked. This, of course, could be a problem if she makes it to the Top 12 house... or not. For now, the "Feelin' Good" free spirit whom Kara described as "a vitamin boost" is moving on to Hollywood. And if that doesn't work out, there's always Top Model.

12. Jackie Tohn (New York)
Rockers have been noticeably absent from much of the audition process, but husky Jackie Tohn was representing, not just for the rock, but for the girls. With a rendition of Jason Mraz's "I'm Your's" that could only be described as ballsy, she was the surprise send-through of the night, but may soon hit the end of the road. 

13. Sharon Wilbur (Jacksonville)
A graduate of the Britney school of "Bayyyy-by," we were surprised the judges didn't relegate Sharon to the "needs more practice" league. But then again, Simon sure does like the pretty ones, while Randy, who complimented her tone, must've heard something we didn't.

14. Julissa Veloz (Jacksonville)
Another head-scratcher from Jacksonville, this Miley Cyrus look-alike flubbed her way through Whitney with more than one bum note, then irked the judges with her annoying laugh, yet Julissa still made it through to Hollywood. That's what we call a sympathy pass, but she'll find no such leniency on the Kodak stage.

15. Austin Sisneros
(Salt Lake City)
We wish we hadn't read some blog post comparing Austin to David Archuleta, because as far as we're concerned, that's an insult to Archie. Sure, this Austin kid has student government credentials, and may very well be the most popular kid in his school, but we're not drinking the Kool-Aid. "Perseverance," said Randy, got Austin another shot, but we say the buzz stops here. — Shirley Halperin

January 31, 2009 in American Idol | Permalink


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Something new in my heart.

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