Well, this is a first -- they actually showed more good auditions than bad on an early episode of American Idol. Hallelujah!
Of course, we had to sit through Valerie Reyes and her Mariah Carey impression, Monique Gibson's meltdown, and the totally bizarre antics of Alberto Hurtado, but in the end San Diego produced real talent -- and we got to see a surprisingly large amount of it!
Here are my rankings of the best San Diego auditions:
1. Carly Smithson
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we've found a frontrunner. This girl is amazing! Part Kelly Clarkson, part Pink, she sounded awesome singing "I'm Every Woman," hitting notes that the girls we've seen so far wouldn't even dream of trying to hit, a capella no less. And how lovely and genuine does she seem? Speaking up for her tattooed boyfriend, and declaring how hard she's going to work and how she hopes that this is her year? I love her already.
2. Perrie Cataldo
What a voice! This single father's voice as he sang "I'll Make Love To You" vaguely reminded me of Elliott Yamin, which I mean as a very high compliment. His heartbreaking backstory isn't gonna hurt him one bit; either is the fact that his son is adorable! This guy seems like a definite Top 10 contender.
3. David Archuleta
Loved his audition, but I'm wondering why they didn't mention that this kid won Star Search a few years back. Weird. Anyways, he sounded great singing "Waiting for the World to Change," and he's adorable, which means, pretty much, he's a shoo-in for the finals. We could do worse.
4. Michael Johns
I've never heard Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long," so I have no idea if that is what the song is actually supposed to sound like, but to my ears (and eyes), this guy is the real deal. He also seems like he'd be versatile -- he'd nail the country and soul themes, and could probably rock out as well. I approve.
5. Samantha Musa
Love Samantha -- hate her sister! Upstage much? Samantha sounded great singing "Until You Come Back To Me," but her sister's hogging of the spotlight totally distracted from Samantha's talent. And that comment about overcoming her earlier obstacles? Yuck!
6. Tetiana Ostapowych
I quite liked the smoky vocal tone of this California blonde as she crooned "Someone to Watch Over Me," and didn't seem to find her confidence quite as off-putting as Simon seemed to have. We didn't hear her upper range, which concerns me -- is she as good as she thinks she is? Is she gonna end up the Haley Scarnato of Season 7?
Read 'The Ten Best Initial Auditions Ever'
Read 'Ranking Idol: Dallas' Five Best Auditions'
Read 'Ranking Idol: Philadelphia's Five Best Auditions'
Vote in the IDOL MADNESS Live Matches:
#1 Carrie Underwood vs. #16 Brandon Rodgers
#2 Chris Daughtry vs. #15 Camile Velasco
#3 Latoya London vs. #14 Corey Clark
#4 Katharine McPhee vs. #13 Jon Peter Lewis
#5 Justin Guarini vs. #12 Gina Glocksen
#6 Paris Bennett vs. #11 Anwar Robinson
#7 Josh Gracin vs. #10 Nikko Smith
#8 Christina Christian vs. #9 Mandisa Hundley