Proof that Idol’s L.A. episode could have been better

Erika Schiff of Philadelphia was one of the Hollywood-bound contestants from L.A.I think Nigel Lythgoe fibbed to us a little.

Apparently reacting to the disdain fans showed over American Idol’s Los Angeles audition episode, he tweeted Thursday night: “I agree LA auditions were in general awful. A lot made me laugh. It just shows you never can tell where talent will come from.”

Ah, but 29 contestants were apparently impressive enough to earn golden tickets at those L.A. auditions.

And it turns out L.A. had more to offer than a belly-dancer, a fuzzy-haired MySpace auditioner and a pair of singing brothers.

I’ve only researched about a dozen of those golden tickets winners so far. But here’s a look at three we should have met during that brutal episode.

First up, Philadelphia’s own Erika Schiff, who studied fine art and illustration at the University of the Arts and has quite a varied singing background.

For instance, she has performed with MRO, identified on YouTube as “one of the Philly area’s most sought-after wedding and party bands.” She recently performed at the Miss’d America pageant in Atlantic City, best described here as a Miss America spoof that raises money for charity.

And she’s the female member of a pop/soul group that used to be called the Erika-James Band, but is now known as In the Blonde. You can hear two of the band’s original songs here.

She says she auditioned for Idol because “this has been a lifelong dream of mine.”

“People told me I have natural ability,” she says later in her Idol video. “I’m still convincing myself I’m good.”

She is, but you can judge for yourself in the video of Erika singing an original below.

Jim Ranger is Hollywood-bound for a second straight year on American Idol.Next up, a guy we met last year in Idol’s Los Angeles auditions — Jim Ranger. He auditioned via MySpace this year, and he’s heading back to Hollywood again.

In season nine, he had the audacity to audition with an original song, “Drive,” which hasn’t always gone very well with judges in the past. He pulled it off.

Which might not be surprising, since he used to sing for a group called Soulajar, which released “Drive” as part of a five-track EP in 2006. Or since he released an 11-track CD under his own name a year later.

The Bakersfield, Calif., resident is a worship pastor with a wife and three chilren who grew up around two parents who sang. On MySpace, where you’ll find a lot of his original music, he lists his genre as pop/rock/soul.

“I’m ready to do this,” he tells Idol. “I’ve been doing this, just on a lot smaller scale.”

Below, you can hear Jim singing “I’ll Have You.”

Hollywood-bound Destinee Quinn is a Shania Twain fan on American Idol.Finally, there’s a personable 18-year-old named Destinee Quinn, who lists her music as acoustic/country on MySpace.

She hails from Surprise, Arizona, and her inclusion on the Los Angeles audition episode probably would have been a pleasant surprise.

On Facebook, she tells us she’s been writing songs since 14. One, “Liar, Liar,” reminds me of something you might hear from Taylor Swift. You can listen to it below.

But it’s Shania Twain whom Destinee lists as her all-time favorite performer, partly for the way she pushed the limits of country music, bringing more of a pop edge to it.

Entertaining seems to come naturally to Destinee. “I was the little girl who would sing loudly in the public restroom,” she tells Idol.

And country leanings aside, she shows her versatility on another YouTube clip, a spoof of “New York State of Mind” dubbed “Facebook State of Mind.” Yep, quite the entertainer.

So there you have it. Three reasons that L.A. episode didn’t have to be nearly so talent-less. And I’ve only heard from half the golden ticket recipients so far.

Editor’s Note: For a look at lots of the Idol contestants from season 10, click on the Contestants AI10 tab above.

Now the videos …

Erika singing an original song


Jim singing “I Have You”


Destinee singing “Liar, Liar”



8 Responses to “Proof that Idol’s L.A. episode could have been better”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Franklin, Mark Franklin. Mark Franklin said: Proof that Idol's LA episode should have been better: Destinee Quinn, Jim Ranger, Ericka Schiff. (#AI10) [...]

  2. [...] And if you want to meet three contestants we should have met during the L.A. show, go here. [...]

  3. Thank you so much for featuring me in this post!! Check out my newest video and there are many more to follow!

    Born This Way/Dynamite/Just Dance Country Mash up!

    You can keep updated on what I’m doing on my facebook page! I am doing some pretty awesome things and can’t wait to share them with you all!!

    Thank you once again! You are awesome! <3

    Musically Yours.
    Destinee Quinn
    Psalm 33:3

    • Mark Franklin says:

      Destinee: No problem. I really like “Liar, Liar.” Hey, and if you ever have any music available on iTunes, let me know and I’ll help pass along the word. Best of luck post-Idol. Mark Franklin

  4. [...] Now “440″ performs. And they all make it through, including Lauren Turner, Shane Golden, Adrian Michael and Erika Schiff. Erik is from Philly. Learn more about her here. [...]

  5. Maggie413 says:

    Check out Erika’s original music IN THE BLONDE, it’s awesome!!!

  6. Gretchen1 says:

    ALSO listen to ERIKA SCHIFF on Reverbnation:

    I can’t believe they didn’t show more of this girl!!! She is sooooo good, as a singer AND songwriter. I saw her perform at the Miss’d America show you mentioned and she was unbelievable!!! She got write-ups calling her “Broadway and MTV quality.” Maybe Idol wants more amateur??? It’s craaaazy some of the choices that got through. They should have at least showed Erika sing! I heard at Hollywood week she was so pro, never forgot a lyric and did choreography for her group 4:40 who ALL made it through!!!
    When they say you can’t forget lyrics it total bull! Anyway, this girl’s gonna go places regardless of American Idol, Ill be following her all the way. I wish there was a wild card and they picked her. HUGE fan.

  7. Gretchen1 says:

    BTW, that drummer Erika has in that UTube video with the original song…he’s Stevie Nicks’ drummer!!! Jimmy Paxson…obviously she’s no joke!!!
    The other guy, Jimmy James used to be in an awesome band called The Union Dead.

  8. Anthony Joseph says:

    Mark…Erika Schiff is the REAL DEAL!! LOVE her voice AND her originals…I think Idol made a BIG mistake not showing her singing on solo night AND group night!

  9. Nikki says:

    Im dying to see more of erika schiff! She’s absolutely gorgeous with an unbelievable voice!

  10. Anastasia says:

    Having seen Erika Schiff and In The Blond live, I think the AI judges made the right call… it’s one thing to be a big fish in a small pool, as in Philly… yes, she’s good in THAT context… a whole nother thing to be a superstar in the national context… whe just doesn’t have that ‘it’ factor…

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