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7 Eps Are Too Much, But I’ll Miss the Auditions

What will you really remember about Hope Johnson? Not her voice — the fact that she’s dirt poor

Ahhh, the “Idol” audition rounds. Much like Adam Lambert and Fantasia, you either love them or you hate them.

While I don’t care much for guyliner or “The Color Purple” (I like blue!), I will confess that I’m going to miss this phase of the competition.

Sure, I think seven episodes of auditions is a little much. At this point, who can tell their Boston from their Denver, despite the novelty of guest judges like Barney Stinson and Jonas #2? But these initial shows give us priceless insight into the personalities of our future Idols.

As cheesy as they often are, we rely on those prepackaged interview segments and “chilling at home” footage to form our opinions of the competitors. It gives us a chance to see who they really are, before they are tainted by stylists, publicists and those damn Ford music videos.

Remember seeing Kelly Clarkson literally fall on her ass at her audition? I do, and it made me think (once I stopped laughing), “That would totally happen to me.” (Relatable!) Or how about Clay Aiken or, as I like to call him, “The Original Susan Boyle?” The judges were ready to laugh him out of the audition room, but when he opened his mouth, the voice of an angel emerged. That’s a guy you wanted to root for, no matter how cocky he’s gotten in years since. (Ginger Kid!)

As for this week’s shows, who could forget karaoke hostess Danelle Hayes? Yes, her voice was lovely but it was her interaction and connection with the judges that made her audition so memorable. “You’re almost broken,” said Simon, “where you may have come in here just in time to rescue you from corporate hell.”

If that story doesn’t resonate with all the wannabes out there, then what does?! (Dictation and collating is not fun, ya’ll!)

How about waitress Hope Johnson? Sure she was pretty and she had a good voice. But you know what I’ll remember most about her? The fact that she grew up dirt poor. And that’s not a bad thing. It just makes me root for her more.

It’s important to get to know the contestants who will eventually comprise our Top 24; however, it’s also important to have a good laugh.

What would the audition rounds be without Norman Gentle, WIlliam Hung, Bush Baby and “Pants on the Ground?” Too sappy is what! The reality on this reality show is that there’s only so many stories about miracle babies, single mothers and various diseases and disabilities that we can take. We need a little levity and this portion of the season provides that.

The good news? We have a lot of fantastic singing to look forward to. The bad news? We also may get a toothache from the upcoming saccharine-filled shows. (Need I mention the Ford music videos again?) 

So it is with fondness that I bid adieu to you, Season 9 Auditions, and make way for Hollywood Week, the juiciest portion of the entire process. Ellen! No sleep! Group dynamics! Breakdowns!

Did I mention Ellen? Speaking of our “new Paula,” it looks like she may not be playing it as nicely as we expected. Teasers for next week’s show had her critiques sounding surprisingly … um, critical. A sample: “That was really, really … dull.”

Oooh, her appearance sounds really, really … intriguing. No, seriously. Watch.