American Idol

Season 11 Episode 1

Charleston, SC & Savannah, GA Auditions

1
Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Jan 18, 2012 on FOX

Episode Recap

David Leathers Jr., 17, of Fayetteville, NC, admits that his friends call him, "Mister Steal Your Girl." People say he's somewhat of a ladies man because he's always talking to the girls, and they love him. He tries hitting on someone obviously older than him in the auditions and tells the camera he doesn't have an exclusive girl right now. He was in a local contest with Scotty McCreery a few years ago, and he won, while Scotty placed second. Meeting the judges, J-Lo tells Steven he must identify with David stealing girls when he sings.

This lady killer sings Remember the Rain, and I can see how he beat Scotty. The judges seem just as impressed. Steven tells him it was beautiful. Jennifer makes a request to hear some Michael Jackson, and David launches into Never Can Say Goodbye, and it's equally impressive. Randy asks if they should make it really simple and easy, and on the count of three, they all say yes. David is going to Hollywood, the same place that saw Scotty McCreery win.

Gabi Carrubba, 16, of North Haven, CT, has shaky hands, but can't say the same about her feet. She's a champion tap dancer. She's always had a lot of energy and has been dancing since she was 1. Yet, she's been waiting to audition for American Idol her whole life. She wants to meet Ryan, and when she does, he asks about her meeting the judges. She brings up Steven, saying he does this face thing when he hears someone he likes. Yet, when she walks in for her audition, she runs over and hugs Nigel Lythgoe.

Singing Sunday Morning, Gabi is quite pleasant to listen to, and Steven does the face she was waiting to see. Steven calls it wonderful, and J-Lo beautiful. She loved the choices that she made. Randy calls it "very very nice." Steven adds that she "nailed it," and "it was like thank you God." He believes it could be her magic moment. She gets three yeses, with Randy adding in she was born to do this. After she leaves, Jennifer keeps going, saying she had one of those natural voices like Luther Vandross, and Randy mentions how she took her time and wonders where she's been hiding.

Adding to the good auditions are Brianna Faulk, 15, of Monroe, GA, singing I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Neco Starr, 20, of Atlanta, singing Grenade, Molly Hunt, 15, of Franklin, TN, singing You're No Good, Elise Testone, 28, a musician/vocal coach from Charleston, SC. Every single person so far has gotten a ticket to Hollywood. Ryan thinks it's one of the best starts they've ever had.

Jessica Whitely, 19, of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, started singing around 10 years old, singing the national anthem at basketball and footballs games, and has done a lot of talent shows. Singing is everything she wants and all she thinks about, but not entirely, as she loves Steven's hat. Jessica sings In This Song, and it's just not a good audition. Maybe her voice didn't grow with her when she got older or something.

Randy finally says it was awful and that all Jessica did was shout. He wouldn't even call it singing. "Baby this is not your vibe; this is not your groove." Steven analyzes that she's got the ball and got the shot; it's just not going through the net. She asks to sing another song, but Steven laughs and pleads no. She thinks she's just tired, and promises to see them in Texas. Randy asks if they can tell her not to come to Texas.

After a montage of people, mostly little boys, uttering Ryan's favorite line, "This is American Idol," there's a guy who shows up in a suit looking a lot like Ryan. People tell Shaun Kraisman, 26, a sales consultant from Mount Pleasant, SC, all the time he looks like Ryan Seacrest. They ask if he tries to look like him, but he doesn't. He does his hair like this every day. The judges get a big kick out of him. Ryan comes in and they do a side-by-side. He even does the dim the lights line for them.

Shaun sings Oh Girl, and sings almost as good as he impersonates Ryan. Randy, though, thinks he would have liked it better if he sung it like Ryan Seacrest. Steven tells him "as a singer, no, but your personality, man, is over the top." He doesn't make it through, telling his family and the real Ryan, that they said yes to Ryan and no to singing.

Shannon Magrane, 15, of Tampa, is six feet tall, and her dad is Joe Magrane from the St. Louis Cardinals. She runs out to get him to bring him in to meet the judges, but brings in her mom and sisters as well. Steven tells him he's "hot, humid, and happenin', just like your daughter." She sings Something's Got a Hold On Me, and her mom jams along with her while she sings. She has some definite soul, that doesn't look like it should be residing in that tall, pretty, blonde.

Randy says they were vibing and rolling with that one, then addresses Shannon's mom, and notes how she was singing along with her mouthing the words in the back. She notes she can't sing and has to turn it down, as it "ricochets throughout the house." Randy thinks she was cool doing this alongside her family and friends and must have nerves of steel. Steven thinks it's great as well, and that it's like the words just have to come out. It's three yeses, and she's through. Before they leave, Randy asks Joe to come help out the Dodgers, which he doesn't think could happen soon enough.

It's a montage of good-looking people who can't sing. Steven ends up blowing one of them a raspberry it's so bad. This brings in Amy Brumfield, 24, of Gailinburg, TN, who is blinged out, yet admits she lives in a tent in the woods. She can't afford to live anywhere else. She lives with a boyfriend, and they have a nice little setup. They are missing a bathroom though. They work hard trying to get out of the tent. She would rather be outdoors and happy than inside and miserable. Her boyfriend's mom set her up with the dress and bling today for the audition.

Amy sings Super Woman, and unlike the montage that introduced her, she can sing. I'm not sure she's the best I've ever heard, but there's something really interesting about her. Randy sees something similar, telling her she has an interesting tone, with a forceness and roughness. It's disparaging to Steven that children of the woods snuck in there, but he likes that. She gets three yeses and is through. She'll get to at least live in a hotel for a few days when she's in Hollywood.

Joshua Chavis, 23, of Canden, SC, has had this dream ever since he can remember. His biggest dream is to sing the national anthem at a NASCAR race for his mama. His friends encourage him. He's going to leave his nerves at the door with his boyfriend and believes the judges are going to love him. he thinks he has the American Idol thing in the bag. He screams and kicks stuff on his way in. He believes he has a country/pop/rock voice like a Chris Daughtry/Brian Paisley. He's not leaving the stage without a ticket.

Jason sings I'm Yours, and is more karaoke than anything else. It's really not a good song to audition with, though, unless you're Jason Mraz. Randy wonders if they should hear another one, but no one seems to want that. Jennifer tells Jason he is sweet and cute, but she doesn't know if the voice is really up to par with what they're doing. Steven agrees, and Randy tells him singing at birthday parties and in bars is good, but here? No. There's something about him, when he gets the rejection and sinks within himself, that reminds me of Stefan from SNL. He then takes his anger out on the cameras that follow him. Ryan compares it to a hissy fit.

Stephanie Renae, 15, of Orange Park, FL, is stressing out, saying she's never done something this big before. When she was 8, she watched American Idol all the time. Her favorite is Carrie Underwood. She thinks it's every girl's dream to be on this show. She's shocked to really be living out what she sees on TV. Stephanie sings a Carrie Underwood song, Inside Your Heaven, and is very pleasant.

Jennifer tells Stephanie she has a very naturally beautiful vibrato. She loved when she opened up, although she sings a little nasally. Stephanie appreciates that, as she's always wanted to ask them what she could do to improve. Jennifer wants her to open her mouth more, and Randy wants her to get vocal lessons. Steven wants her to work on inflection. While he says yes, Randy say no. It's up to Jennifer. She says yes.

Schyler Dixon, 16, from Murfreesboro, IN, auditioned with her brother last year, and she kind of leaned on him a little too much. She's the one who got him to audition last year, and they both made it to Hollywood, but this year he's taking a back seat to let her kind of do her thing. He's not auditioning this time. The judges tell her to bring her brother in anyway. They give him a hard time, since they both made it to Hollywood last time. They beg him to do it and basically don't give him a choice. She sings Breakeven, and is pretty good.

Now it's 19-year-old brother Colton's turn. He's coaxed into it. He sings Permanent and seems to have a more natural song in him than she does. Schyler seems disappointed that he did so well. Steven tells Colton he knows how he feels about his voice, and he thinks Schyler has come up a few notches. Jennifer thinks Schyler needs to keep working, and that Colton is amazing. Randy thinks both of them have grown, which Jennifer thinks is on behalf of pain. Steven wants them both in, as do the other judges. Colton gets a hug from the judges, and Schyler still looks disappointed.

Lauren Mink, 25, of Winchester, KY, is the director of a program for adults with disabilities. She admits she gets to play every day for a job. She tries to incorporate some music into it and they do choir for the fundraisers. She thinks the joy of these people brings joy to others. She sings Country Strong and gives J-Lo goosebumps. Steven liked the passion behind the notes, and Jennifer found she opened up and found her confidence, growling at them. Randy compares her to Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, and she admits that's her favorite band. Three easy yeses. When she celebrates with who must be her mom, her dress rides up, but her mom yanks it down for her.

On day two, a hot one in Savannah, the first one up is Mawuena Kodjo, 25, a team leader at Food Co. from Nashville. He's originally from Togo, West Africa. He's going to sing some Rascal Flatts, which doesn't seem to fit. He thinks he can sing both high and low, and seems to compare himself to Scotty McCreery. He promises to blow the judges away with I Won't Let Go. He's right that he sings both high and low, but sometimes it's within the same note. It's probably the worst audition we've seen so far in Savannah, which is too bad, because he seems like a cool guy.

Steven tells Mawuena, "You've got confidence, but you ain't got song." He found him pitchy and way off, but he threw the ball. Jennifer found it a little bit all over the place, and Randy tells him it was really terrible and bad. He suggests he find some people that think he is a good singer and come back and prove him wrong.

Ryan takes him around town to find some people to stand up for him. An elderly man instead believes he's more of a runner. A group of young girls say they will stand up for him. Ryan brings in the girls and the elderly man. Randy still gives him a no, and Steven tells the little girls to have mommy wash the wax out of their ears. Mawuena promises to prove them wrong next year. But the funniest thing is Mawuena, the little girls, and the elderly man posing together with a graphic around them that says, "Greetings from Savannah."

Ashlee Altise, 28, a sales associate from Kinston, NC, calls the excitement dance she does the joy hop. She teaches others waiting for their auditions how to do it. She promises to bring funk, energy, and confidence today. She wants to give J-Lo a run for her money, and I think she means in the booty department. She shows the judges the joy hop, then sings Come Together.

Steven likes the whole package, with fire, spirit, spunk, and boing. J-Lo likes the crazy thing. Ashlee gets three yeses and is through, J-hopping out of there.

W.T. Thompson, 25, of Appomattox, VA, is seen in a montage of people who don't make it. We back up then to find out how he got there. He works for a federal prison, but had to quit his job for a chance at American Idol. He asked for the time off, but they wouldn't give it to him, leaving him to make a choice of either the job or his dream, and he chose his dream. His wife is pregant right now, six-and-a-half months. He sings Boondocks, and seems pretty good. Steven hears his voice, but isn't sure he's ready, and says no. Jennifer agrees with the voice assessment, but wants to give him a chance, and gives him a yes. Randy tells him he's going to get eaten alive. It wasa fakeout for us. Randy voted yes.

Erica Nowak, 28, a bartender from Buffalo, NY, says Steven is her future husband. They paint her as a little obsessed, and perhaps she is. She knows it will be hard to control herself when she walks in and sees him. She would kiss his feet or anything else, and won't care if security takes her out. She tells Steven he's her future ex, then says "to hell with the golden ticket, give me a hug." She promises to keep her hands at her side, but doesn't, squeezing his ass.

Erica sings Super Duper Love, and the voice definitely isn't there, but she's trying really hard. This was obvoiusly about meeting Steven. Steven tells her the best note she hit was when she grabbed his ass. Jennifer tells Randy not to be jealous, and she comes up to give him a hug. She squeezes his ass too. She leaves without a golden ticket, saying she may not have gotten that, but she got some of Steven Tyler in her hands, and you can't argue with that.

Brittany Kerr, 24, of Charlotte, NC, is an NBA dancer, and Steven greets her right away by saying, "Hi Pretty Ass," at least that's what it sounds like. She sings Spoiled, Steven think she just needs to push it out a little more and wants her to project.

Jennifer says no, but the guys say yes. Jennifer knows she won't survive Hollywood week.

Phillip Phillips, 20, of Leesburg, GA, says that that is his real name. He works at his dad's pawn shop. His dad is his biggest supporter. Phillip knows this is his opportunity to show what he can do, and he know he can't let it slip by. He tells Ryan he was born naked and ready; you just gotta put clothes on him. He brings his guitar with him, and tells the judges his mom has been waiting to meet Ryan. Meanwhile, she tells him he's not as hot as her husband, but close.

Phillip sings Superstition, and has some soul that is bursting out of him. Jennifer thinks it's like he has electricity going through him. They allow him to pick up his guitar for a second song doing Thriller, and it only makes it better, but he still has that course going through him. He's really unique, and there's nothing I love more than that. In some ways, he reminds me of Casey Abrams. Jeniifer calls him special. Steven loves him and thinks eveyrone else will as well. Randy sees him as a true artist. He gets three yeses.

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