‘American Idol’ Recap: Aspen Is Talented, But Also Strange [POLL]
This week, Ryan Seacrest took the American Idol team on a “family vacation” to Aspen, Colorado, hoping to find a natural, untapped source of talent. Steven Tyler admired the surrounding nature done by “God’s paintbrush,” a comment that set the perfect tone for what would be a strange trip to the southwest.
The peacefulness was quickly broken by music teacher Jenni Schick who said “I’ll be nervous if I have to sing for Steven Tyler.” Does she know he’s a judge? Luckily, the overly-excited Jenni had a strong voice that cut right through Pat Benatar‘s classic, “Heartbreaker” and after three yes’s, she took her liberties with Steven. The Aerosmith legend seems to be getting a lot of literal love this season, no?
Curtis Gray, who looks like he’s been hiding on top of a ski mountain since birth, had an impressive musical background. The 28-year-old wowed the judges with a no-frills cover of Boyz II Men‘s hit “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday.” I’m excited to see more of Curtis in Hollywood, because trained musicians on Idol are usually very creative with their song choices.
Richie Law, 19, reminded me a little too much of Scotty McCreery. The voice singing “If I Were a Man” by Don Williams just didn’t sound like it should be coming out of a kid wearing a shell necklace, and I found myself weirdly mesmerized by the movement of his Adam’s apple as he crooned the higher notes.
But even in Aspen, all good groups of singers come to an end. Tealana Hedgespeth got emotional and a bit kooky as she tried to step out from her sister’s shadow. “You can call me dawg if you want to,” she told the judges. She blasted off with Melissa Etheridge‘s memorable “Bring Me Some Water,” but Jennifer Lopez begged Steven Tyler not to ask Tealana to sing a different song. I think we were all glad that he didn’t ask for an encore, but it was a bit heartwrenching to see the poor pup sulk off without a ticket.
Nature queen Haley Smith was so adorable, I couldn’t help but hope she was the next Idol indie pick. When she said she was going to sing “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus and Chaka Khan, I held my breath for something amazing, and she delivered from the first note. No more meat-packing for this vegetarian! Was anyone else completely taken by her 70′s vibe? It’s nice to see somebody so young be not at all self-conscious or ironic. As Steven said, “She’s just herself.”
The judges were hoping the rest of the day would go smoothly, and bartender Alanna Snare (who serves up a rather interesting bar snack) seemed friendly. She sang Dolly Parton‘s “Jolene,” but the blonde couldn’t hold a tune if her own body parts were on the line.
Country girl Shelby Tweten, 17, battles with bipolar disorder and depression, and said “American Idol’s given me a reason to stay on my meds… I wanna show people that bipolar doesn’t define who you are.” Her story added just the right touch to her otherwise average Carrie Underwood cover of “Temporary Home.” The judges loved her, but I don’t know if Shelby’s voice is truly good enough for Idol.
Jairon “Don’t Forget the” Jackson took the risk of singing his own piece, “So Hard,” which luckily was great and perfectly complimented his smooth tone. “He’s a lover,” observed Jennifer, although he still managed to punch out a light during his celebration.
Angie Zeiderman, aka “Lady Gaga 2,” divided the judges with a song from the musical “The Producers,” but the most memorable sound from her audition was definitely the smack when her knees hit the floor. But the “Vintage Glitter Queen” ripped out another song (“Blue Bayou”) and won Randy over.
The evening clouds darkened over Aspen, maybe because Magic Cyclops was in town. I secretly wanted him to be a great singer, so we could get more lines like this gem: “I have 11,000 air guitars, and I think there’s a guy in Belgium who has like, 5 more than me.” Magic might not be an Idol any time soon, but I’m sure there’s a BBC exec out there trying to grab him for his own special.
I wish I could have heard more of Devan Jones, who rocked his version of The Script‘s “Man That Can’t Be Moved.” Mathenee Treco showed incredible range as he went through all the octaves of “Hey Jude”‘s “Better, better, better, better, better, better, WAHHHHH!” If he can stand out during Idol’s quick audition edits, I’m sure he’ll find a way to make a mark in Hollywood.
It wasn’t a flawless day in Colorado, but Ryan and the judges managed to snag a few memorable singers. Take a vote below for who you’re most excited about! As advertised on TV, you can meet the 31 Hollywood hopefuls from Aspen on AmericanIdol.com, and check back here for tomorrow night’s recap of the auditions in Texas!