'American Idol' Season 11 Texas Auditions: the 8 Most Memorable Singers
The talent in Galveston-Houston ranged from outstanding to earsplitting, with one contestant claiming he would start a "revolution" with his not-so-great voice.
If Wednesday's American Idol auditions in Aspen focused on a low level of talent at a high mountain altitude (see: Magic Cyclops), then the Thursday round in Galveston-Houston was a toned-down antidote to the musical trainwreckitude.
Rather than mostly highlighting the worst singers, the episode redirected the spotlight to Hollywood-ready hopefuls who could -- Randy Jackson-ism alert -- really sing.
Oh, there were some tone-deaf performances, too, taking up at least 50 percent of the one-hour show's air time.
Behold, our selections for The Good, The Bad and The "Vocally, Never" (another Jackson phrase):
Kristine Osorio: Single mother of 3? Check. Unemployed? Check. Going through a divorce? Check. Osorio, whose semi-tragic personal life certainly makes for a sympathetic Idol backstory, also happens to have powerhouse Kelly Clarkson-esque vocals. The 28-year-old, who hails from Amarillo, Texas, wowed the judges with her bluesy rock-soul rendition of Adele's "One and Only," praised by Steven Tyler as "beautiful." It's still early in the season, but we can sense a potential frontrunner in Osorio, who had one of Thursday's best lines: "Instead of paying my divorce lawyer, I got a plane ticket to come to American Idol."
Baylie Brown: The 21-year-old aspiring country star returned to Idol since auditioning five years ago, circa season 6. Then 16, she was cut during the Hollywood rounds after forgetting the words to a song during the often-stressful group performance round. "I was just a baby at the time," said Brown, who's from Nashville. In another shot at reality-TV insta-fame, Brown nailed her rendition of Bon Jovi's "Bed of Roses," showing off a twangy soprano voice that won raves from the judges. "I hope you really hold it together for Hollywood this time," said Jennifer Lopez.
Cortez Shaw: Osorio and Brown had better be on alert -- because Shaw is a Cute Boy, and as we've learned from seasons past, Cute Boys often get a boost from the show's female-skewing voting blog. Turns out, like David Cook before him, Shaw has the chops to match his looks. The Texas-based student-slash-warehouse worker -- who was raised by a single mom -- sang an uptempo, R&B interpretation of "Someone Like You" that might as well be heard on the radio right now as a re-mixed cover of the chart-topping Adele ballad.
Ramiro Garcia: Born without ears, the shaggy-haired church worship leader -- who's since had surgery to restore his hearing -- sang "Amazing Grace" with soulful flair. He was a shoo-in, of course, and will likely remain in the competition due to his immediate likability and background of overcoming obstacles to achieve the unthinkable. "I like what I'm hearing. I like your inside as well," said Tyler.
Skylar Laine: The 17-year-old from Mississippi likes to A) sing and B) hunt. She was shown in footage shooting a gun, and showing off the head of a deer she shot when she was 15 and is mounted on her bedroom wall. Laine, an Everywoman heir apparent to the gun-toting country superstar Miranda Lambert, impressed with her boisterous rendition of "Hell on Heels."
Phong Vu: Despite his passion to win, there was no chance of Vu, a 25-year-old student, making it to Hollywood. The tone-deaf tenor's take on Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart" was barely listenable, but his bizarre commentary made watching him worthwhile. What did he like best about auditioning? "All the camera action in my face." Who's one of his favorite artists? "Selena Dion." After failing to impress Tyler and Company, a desperate Vu tried pulling some of his so-called "iconic moves," which involved an awkward tap dance.
Linda Whatserface: We didn't catch her last name, but that's because we were too busy watching the drama unfold when Lopez argued with Jackson and Tyler against sending this pitchy (yes, we said it) wannabe to the next round of auditions over worthier rivals. "What is happening right now?! They're sending all the good singers home and (letting) all the bad ones through!" wailed Lopez, saying: "That was awful ... I was so angry I almost had an anxiety attack." Meanwhile, Tyler loved every minute of Whatserface's tryout. After getting the Aerosmith frontman's vote, she said: "I'm about to pee myself!" Tyler's response? "Go right ahead. Because you were that good." (Huh?)
The "Vocally, Never":
Alejandro Cazares: The 26-year-old Houston cell phone salesman, a dead ring for Hurley from Lost, vowed to change the world through his shrill, off-note performance of Paramore's "Looking Up." Quoth he: "The revolution is here. I AM the revolution." Then Cazares admitted: "There's a lot of people rooting against me," citing a friend as saying she didn't believe in his dreams. Neither did the judges' panel. "Vocally, never,'" Jackson said flatly, to which Cazares responded: "I've heard worse!"
He just might have a point there.
William Hung, anyone?