If there is really something new and intriguing on American Idol this season … well, it was nowhere in sight on the season’s debut show Tuesday night.

Same mix – different cast of characters – of happy winners, upset losers, a few malcontents and a sob story or two tossed in.

They advanced 32 contestants from Boston to Hollywood. Maybe 4-5 have a shot at the Top 24. The rest were along for the ride, some politely given Yellow Cards by the judging panel. Which brings us back to that panel.

What in the world was Victoria Beckham doing there? She was about as out of place as Christmas lights in July. She had little if anything constructive to say and it wasn’t until near the end of the evening when she got a bit miffed with Simon (“Why do you do that? Roll your eyes like that.”) that she showed any semblance of a personality. Hubby David would have been a much better judge.

And do the judges miss Paula? Yes.

Will they miss Simon next season? Hell, yes.

And the whole show, because of the early taping seemed out of sync. Like Ellen is coming, but she won’t be there until we reach Hollywood Week. And Simon is going after this season, but, of course, there was no mention of that.

But this show is all about the contestants. So, what did we get Tuesday?

Janet McNamara – Sommerville, Mass.

First of several misfits. She admitted she mastered the “American Idol” video game (good for her) and she kept calling Kara Paula. The outfit with the bare midriff didn’t work even if she could have carried a tune. In a word, bizarre and back to Sommerville she went.


Maddie Curtis (16), Bluemont, Va.

“Hallelujah” – by Leonard Cohen

9th of 12 children; two brothers have Down Syndrome.

RJ: “I really like you.”

SC: “You are 16 and not annoying.”

She gets 4 Yes votes and moves on.

She won’t go much further.


Pat Ford (17) Derry, N.H.

“Womanizer” –

Pat tells Simon: “You’re even sassier in person than you are on TV.”

Randy tells him to stop singing forever.

After his four negative votes, on the way out he says:  “See you next season!”

Simon’s retort: “That’s something to look forward to.”


Amadeo (28) Johnston, R.I.

“Hoochy Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters –

How you not gonna like this guy with the huge Italian family and a personality to match.

SC: “In a strange way this was my favorite audition of the day.”

His voice was surprisingly better than average.

And he was more than excited with the Yellow Ticket he received.

Another one of those contestants who might get through one more round.


Derek Hilton (19) Bellingham, Mass.

“Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” by Elton John –

Derek thought he sounded like Chris Brown and the Eagles.

“Maybe you sounded like an eagle,” Simon said. “Complete and utter rubbish.”


Mary Doyle (24) Walpole, Mass.

“Piece of My Heart” – Janis Joplin –

A screamer.

“The singing was verging on terrible,” Simon said.

“Singing is not your thing” Randy added.

Mary claimed she has had a lot of auditions. But for what?

Luke Shaffer (24) New York, N.Y.

Got a quick peek at his audition, very brief, but he seemed very good.


Andrew Fenlon (25) Boston

“House of the Rising Sun” –

Andrew was upset after having to wait so long to perform. Kind of the feeling you get waiting through all the commercials on AI.

But his being upset turned into some bad karma.

“I am now angry at you, who I do not like at all,” Kara said.

“You walked in quite sulky and rude,” said Ms. Beckham, ”You have bad
energy – you’re arrogant.”

Kara ends the segment by telling him the he needs a spanking.


Ashley Rodriguez (21) Boston

“If I Ain’t Got You” –

“My favorite tonight,” Kara said.

Simon proclaimed that some singers have “it” and Ashley has “it.”

A legit Top 24 candidate.


Tyler Grady (19) Nazareth, Pa.

“Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye –

He looks like a ’70s rocker. A drummer who fell out of a tree and fractured both of his wrists.

One of the judges asked why he was up in the tree in the first place. “Cause I like to climb trees,” Tyler said.

“This will be one of those auditions I’m going to remember,” Simon said.

Another Top 24 possibility.

Day One ended with 17 Yellow tickets punched for Hollywood.

Lisa Olivera (24) Billerica, Mass.

“Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey –

Always hard to select the worst performer of the evening, but this is a candidate.

“It wasn’t good, it was terrible,” Randy said. “It was the craziest version
of Mariah Carey that I’ve ever heard.”


Mike Davis (18) Boston

“Yesterday” by the Beatles –

He drives something called the Codzilla around the harbor in Boston.

Simon gives him a yes and walks out (still don’t know why); RJ echos the sentiment and does the same (maybe they had to go to the bathroom) while saying he was leaving it up to the girls.

They give him two yes votes and he is off to Hollywood.

No chance beyond Boston.


Katie Stevens (16) Middlebury, Mass.

“At Last” by Etta James. –

Grandma has Alzheimer’s.

Katie has some pipes. Best of the night. She will go deep into the competition.


Joshua (28) Blaylock, New York

“God Bless The Broken Road” –

“Forgettable,” is how Simon termed his performance.

Randy said he could be in a group like Spandeaux Ballet.

Yet he got a Yellow.



Justin Williams (27) Sandy, Utah

“Feeling Good” –

Mr. Williams made it Hollywood last year and he did it again Tuesday night.

He actually sang with Kris Allen and Matt Giraud a year ago in Hollywood.

And he won’t go a whole lot further this time around.


Norberto Guerrro (18)  Reading, Pa.

“Everytime We Touch” –

One of those contestents basically selected for shock value. He continually forgot the words (“Oh, I’ve done that a lot of times,” chimed in Mrs. Becks).

“You sing like a 3 year old girl and you’ve got a beard,” Simon said

Randy laughs and Norberto leaves without a ticket.


Bosa Mora (22), Columbus, Ohio

SC: “Good but boring.”

The other three disagree. Bosa is on his way to Hollywood where he will probably have a very short stay.


Lea Laurenti (22) Medford, N.Y.

Randy: “That was kinda cool, surprisingly.”

And he was right, one of the best of the night.

Definite Top 24 candidate.