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American Idol 11 Premiere Audition Episode Recap: January 18, 2012
American Idol starts its 11th season on January 18, 2012. The premiere episode starts at 8 Eastern time on Fox. As usual, the 11th season begins with the initial episodes in front of the judges. The first episode will last two hours and include auditions from Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.
All judges are back this season, including Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. Ryan Seacrest is also returning as the host.
Idol is coming off a successful season, which remained reasonably steady in the ratings for the first season without Simon Cowell. Winner Scotty McCreery has already been certified platinum with his first album.
No major changes are supposed to happen this season. This means we can expect to see initial auditions and a Hollywood Round. There is also a Las Vegas round, which is the second to last performance for the auditioners. According to spoilers at TheIdolPad, 42 people make it past the Las Vegas round. After the final performance back in Hollywood, the producers and judges whittle the contestants down to a Top 24. Those contestants then compete live for America's votes. These events will be broadcast in the coming weeks after the initial city-based auditions are aired.
About 10,000 people showed up to audition in Savannah.
David Leathers, Jr. is the first auditioner of the season. He is from Fayatteville, NC. David thinks all the girls love him. He beat Scotty McCreery in a local singing contest.
He has a great voice, but it sounds quite young (think young Michael Jackson). Leathers is fun, but he may be a bit overconfident for the typical Idol voter. All the judges put him through.
Gabby Carrubba is from New Haven, Connecticut. She is a tap dancer. Gabby doesn't seem to be a serious singer, but it was actually pretty good once she started singing Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning." All 3 judges advanced Gabby.
Brianna Faulk, Neco Starr and Molly Hunt were shown briefly. So was Elise Testone, who sounded awesome.
Jessica Whiteley, from Ohio, is 19 years old. She says she loves singing. This turns out to be the first joke contestant. She sounded terrible.
The next guy supposedly looks like Ryan even though there really isn't that much of a resemblance. Shaun Kraisman then basically screamed out of tune. He did not make it to Hollywood.
A very tall 15-year-old girl comes in next. She is a volleyball player. Her father is Joe Magrane, a former MLM baseball pitcher. Shannon then sings some Etta James, and it's quite good. She has a voice, some soul and some performance spunk, as well. She goes to Hollywood.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee singer Amy Brunfield is 24. She supposedly lives in a tent. Her "Superwoman" performance isn't bad, but it doesn't exactly stand out, either.
The next joke contestant comes in: Joshua Chavis. He was not funny, good or interesting in any way. He fake cries and pretends to be angry.
Stephanie Renae is 15 years old. She sings "Inside Your Heaven." Her nasally voice is rather annoying, but she hits the notes. Steven and Jennifer put her through to Hollywood.
Schyler and Colton Dixon are up next. Colton supposedly is not auditioning, but something tells me he will have a Golden Ticket by the end of this segment. Schyler does a decent "Breakeven" performance. Colton kind of blows away Schyler with David Cook's "Permanent." Both of them get unanimously voted to Hollywood.
Lauren Mink works with adults that have intellectual disabilities. She has a pretty standard country voice. There's nothing original about it, although it is decent. The judges really overpraised her.
A West African guy comes out. His accent will make it impossible to get through. As expected, it is terrible.
Another camera hog comes to audition. Ahslee Altise seems like she will be a joke, but she sang fairly well despite a silly dance. She gets passed to Hollywood.
Next up is an odd story. W.T. Thompson claims he quit his job to try out for Idol even though he is married with a kid on the way. It just doesn't ring true. I thought he had a good voice but would have a hard time standing out against good Idol competition. He makes it to Hollywood.
The next auditioner is a crazy Steven fan says he is her future ex-husband. She gets a hug and a butt squeeze on Steven. Erica Nowak sings Joss Stones' "Super Duper Love." I thought it would have been better except that it was just not that natural sounding. She did not go to Hollywood.
NBA dancer Brittaney Kerr is auditioning. She does Joss Stone better than Erica. It was still rather boring and without any vocal dynamics. She does not deserve to go to Hollywood, but Randy and Steven put her through to the next round.
Phillip Phillips is 20 years old and comes from Leesburg, GA. He works at Dad's pawn shop. Phillip closes out the show as the last auditioner. He receives a lot of praise and is obviously a producer favorite at this early point. He was especially good when playing the guitar while singing an acoustic version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."
Over the two days of Georgia auditions, Phillip Phillips appears to be the biggest standout. Of course, he seemed to be helped by being allowed to play his guitar, which is part of what made the "Thriller" performance work.