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.
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.”
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”