‘American Idol’ came back strong last night, after months of speculation about what Simon Cowell’s departure would mean to the show and the viewers. Going into last night’s auditions, several Flint area viewers told me they were going to give it a try, but were unsure about the show without Cowell. Last night after the show, one local viewer said, ‘Steven Tyler was a fun surprise and J Lo finally got over her fear of saying no.’ Another local ‘Idol’ fan said, ‘I think I’m going to like it, even though I wasn’t going to watch it when I heard Simon was leaving. Shows anyone can be replaced.’
The first round of auditions took place in New Jersey. Ryan Seacrest reported that record numbers of people came to try out for the new season. New Jersey proved to be full of talent. They sent 51 people to Hollywood. Several of them were young, and had some very moving stories.
One standout was 16-year-old Robbie Rosen from Merrick, New York. He had been wheelchair bound as a small child due to a rare disorder, but was able to overcome and is fine now. He said he’s been watching the show since he was 7, and has been waiting for his chance to audition since then. He impressed all 3 judges, and as he left with a golden ticket, Tyler said, ‘Best in New York.’
Another memorable singer was Tiffany Rios, who loved Jennifer Lopez so much, she cried just standing in front of her. Lopez hugged her and told her to gather herself together and sing. She sang an original song first, which was a sort of plea to send her to Hollywood. They asked her to sing something else and she did an incredible ‘Power of Love’. All 3 judges unanimously awarded her a golden ticket
Melinda Ademi from Yonkers, New York, also had a touching story. Her dad won the green card lottery so he and his family could come to America as war refugees from Kosovo. She sang beautifully, got a trip to Hollywood and Tyler said, ‘You’ve won the lottery twice.’
Also amazing was Devyn Rush, a 20-year-old singing waitress from New Hope, Pennsylvania. All three judges were excited when she was done singing and Tyler said, ‘Delicious. That was desert to the lunch.’
Finally, 16-year-old Travis Orlando from The Bronx, New York had an incredible story that brought Seacrest to tears. He had grown up in a tough, gang-ridden neighborhood. Then, his father got sick and they lost their house. So he and his twin brother and parents were forced to live in a shelter for 2 to 3 years. He broke down in tears after being told he was going to Hollywood.
Overall, ‘American Idol’ has a great new vibe and energy. The collective star power of Tyler, Lopez and Jackson and their amazing chemistry makes them a wise and irresistible judging panel. Season 10 could very well be the breath of fresh air this show has been waiting for.
‘American Idol’ airs in Flint on WSMH FOX66. The next show airs tonight at 8 PM EST.