American Idol, San Diego: Haven't We Seen You Before?

Let's hear it for one hour episodes of American Idol! They are so much more manageable. So much better... besides, with the writers strike, who is FOX competing with this season anyway?

31 contestants from the San Diego auditions made it through to Hollywood.

Tell me you couldn't characterize all these contestants?

Let's try. We had the...

Where have we heard that before:

Tetiana is a beautiful blonde, strong voice. However, Simon told her, "I don't think you are as good as you think you are."

But you know what -- he said that to beatboxer Blake Lewis on his audition too.

Blake lost it to Jordin Sparks when Season 6 was all said and done. The runner-up came a long way from that audition. Today his fresh CD, “Audio Day Dream” is on store shelves and he’s spread his energetic, eclectic mix in live performances all over the US.

Someone to pull for:
“My poppy’s going to Hollywood”
How about that single father, raising a cutie 4-year-old son? Perrie Cataldo says the boy’s mom died. He says she, messed with the wrong people doing wrong things in the wrong place, at the wrong time…

Looks like San Diego is the right place and time for Perrie. The singer who has a very Boyz II Men-like sound got three yeses.

The white boy with soul:
Michael Johns could perhaps be my newest favorite. All the judges liked him too. Simon, geeked me out a tad – gazing at him, mouth half open… twirling his pen around his lips. Ick! The singer from Down Under has striking good looks, a charming accent and good control of his voice. Let’s keep him around for this long season. Shall we?

The Simon obsessed:
Samantha Musa got four yeses! Yes-s-s-s, four. Her sister, Michelle, came in to the audition room with her and she got to vote. Michelle wanted to join in because she apparently thinks Simon’s the coolest… (He’s right up there with Oprah and Obama in her book.) Anyway, Michelle wasn’t a decoy. Turns out, Samantha can really sing! She earned that ticket all by herself.

This season’s Sanjaya:
David Archuleta is a 16-year-old optimistic chap... who reminds me a bit of last season’s Sanjaya… but more talented… or maybe at that tender age – it’s just more developed??

David says he’s recovered “tons” from vocal paralysis. Who would have known? David sang a song that Sanjaya originally tackled, John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” He sang it really well. Nothing seemed paralyzed to me. All the judges were impressed too.

Back for another audition:
Every year you get to see people trying out again and you either remember them, or you don’t.

Carly Smithson is one you might remember. The native of Ireland looked promising during the Season 5 auditions. That was before she was disqualified. Carly was still waiting for her visa to come in. That was not acceptable, according to American Idol guidelines.

That’s not standing in her way this time. Randy exclaimed -- “100,000,000% yes! You can blow!”

A funny moment for me was when she went out to give the good news to her husband (all tattooed out from his head to his feet). Ryan asked, “How long did it take you to get passed and recover from not making it the last time?” At first, I thought he was asking her husband how long it took for him to recover from tattooing that face of his. Ouch!

Blake Boshnack auditioned 10 times… and still hasn’t taken a hint. Hey, maybe we’ll see him next year. You might have remembered him from... I believe it was Season 5 in Chicago – dressed as Lady Liberty. Tonight the judges heard they were going to meet the "real Blake." They didn’t like him either.

There are always all the other crazies, the tone deaf, etc. who feels entitled to be a part of American Idol:

Valerie says when she buzzes by -- people ask her if she's listening to Mariah Carey. She proudly says, “no that was me” singing. Simon accurately remarked that she sounds like a Mariah CD left out in the sun for a year.

Valerie giggled as she busted on the prior rejects. This was before SHE stood before the judges. And shortly after her screeching-mess of an audition, she realized – “now I’m going to be one of the rejects!” YIKES! I thought there really was a good voice in there somewhere. She needs to find the "real her."

Maybe we'll be seeing her in future years too.

Alberto Hurtado was feeling free like an eagle. He says singing is the ultimate revealing of his soul – even his own mother had not heard his singing voice. The guy carried around that oversized fan, had flowers between his toes, super long nails... Did you see how he spun that Barbie doll around … and wore his “heart on his sleeve?”

When Simon asked Alberto how he thought he did, he answered, “I don’t know, you kept interrupting me.” HA!

Tonight, we even had the token friends going to the audition together – believing in each other… and sticking together when they both get cut. Monique Gibson (above) and her BFF, Christopher Baker (below), auditioned separately. But they both went through a slew of songs – hoping the judges would hear “that special something” in at least one of them. No such luck guys.

What about the other dos amigos -- that freaky mime girl and sombrero-guy singing act???? Are you serious?

I’m all for being surprised with whacky and zany things that come from out of nowhere, but…

What was up with the opening of the show? Those two guys... (obviously way past the age limit). What were they, the welcoming committee for San Diego?

It’s time for some southern hospitality tomorrow with auditions in South Carolina.

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