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Published on January 19th, 2012 | by Melody Simpson


‘American Idol’ Season 11 Premiere Review: Savannah Auditions

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American Idol kicked off last night with Auditions in Savannah, Georgia for the first time and for once, there actually seemed to be more talent than not. The competition started off on a roll with one contestant after another getting the much desired ticket to Hollywood. Eleven seasons in and it still amazes me how ecstatic these individuals are about making it to Hollywood when that’s not even the hardest part. On the other hand, the grown adults who cannot carry a melodious tune that cry and throw fits when they do not make it to Hollywood almost makes some want to turn the channel and wait for The X Factor and The Voice to come back.

One of the best moments of the night actually came not when a contestant auditioned but when one contestant, Shaun Kraisman, entertained the judges with his impersonation of Ryan Seacrest. His wardrobe, hair, and voice were identical to that of Seacrest and had the judges in shock and stitches as he pretended to host the show. Another contestant also decided to grace the audition stage with her own original dance move which is sure to take America by storm this week… that is if anybody is still watching Idol anymore. While number one in its time slot, the ratings have had its biggest drop of twenty four percent. If the ratings continue to plunge, Idol could be in its last days. While it is debatable that American Idol has out-welcomed their stay, if there is still a high note to reach, Idol should end on that note rather than a negative one. But the season has just begun and upfronts are not until May, so we have a ways to go to find out Idol‘s fate.

In the mean time, there was quite an even balance of unforgettable moments whether it be caused by laughter (including a West African “country singer” singing Rascal Flatts) or heartfelt emotion. Stand out contestants include a homeless woman who made it to Hollywood and a 15 year old girl making it after auditioning with her friends and family (her father being a former Cardinals baseball player) by her side. Steven Tyler did not fail to make us laugh and keep our jaws open while doing so as he complimented the 15 year old girl to her father in the most uncomfortable way and complimented countless others with his Steven Tyler charm along the way. There were just as many Steven Tyler fan girls this year as there were last year. One even went so far as to have a squeeze of his behind. And we all know why she auditioned. Ticket to Hollywood not required.

Then there’s Jennifer Lopez who struggled with being the deciding vote a number of times. Her emotional side got the best of her for the most part and she gave away more “yes” answers than “no” answers. The only remaining original American Idol judge, Randy Jackson had all of the right points for the contestants and gave all of his best facial expressions when the clowns came in. The two hour season eleven premiere would not have been the same without him. Glad to see him back year after year. It was also very much appreciated to be able to see more talent and less gimmicks. Ever since the age for contestants was lowered, it seems that all we see are young kids on this show. The younger generation dominated and the country genre dominated. Could it be safe to say that this year’s American Idol will be yet another country star?

If brother-sister duo, Colton and Schyler Dixon have anything to do with it… the answer could be no. What was so wonderful about this audition was that the brother did not even plan to audition this year. Once again, Colton took the spotlight but both made it to Hollywood and will hopefully make it farther than they did last season. It is clear that both artists have matured since their last try out so it will be interesting to see how they fair in Hollywood week and the stages ahead. Also making quite an impression in Savannah was Lauren Mink, who directs a program for adults with special needs. What a talent! Surely all of her family, friends, and everyone at the program is rooting her on at home. We can only hope she doesn’t get eaten alive during Hollywood week. If David Leathers, Jr. doesn’t show what he can do outside of reminding us of a young Michael Jackson, he could get eaten alive as well. There was some extraordinary talent in Savannah, Georgia but this is only the first of many audition stops. Idol may have started off on a good note but there are better ones to be sung, so these contestants had better watch out. The judges visit Pittsburgh in tonight’s episode. Stay tuned!

Watch American Idol Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.

*Photo Credit: Michael Becker / FOX

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