I had wondered if the judges actually knew all the “back stories” prior to making their assessments. Tonight’s show answered that question – Yes.
So, does it make it fair to know one contestent was raised in the gang-infested streets of Compton; or that another had a life’s journey through foster homes?

Don’t know. Has to tug on their emotions and maybe sometimes for the contestents it tugs in the wrong direction. Katy Perry made that pretty clear when she had to be coerced to issue a lower-case “yes” to the final contestent of the evening on Day 2.

So, 11,000 showed up at the Rose Bowl and 23 received Yellow tickets to march on down to Hollywood and try again.

The talent, for L.A., seemed pretty blase.

Here’s how it went down:

Day One: Guest judge Avril Lavigne complete with outfit featuring a hoodie with devil horns. No, I didn’t get it either.

First up:

Neil Goldstein (19) – Redlands

“Rock and Roll Dreams Come True” by Meatloaf

 – Neil was out to lunch from the beginning. Rather awful audition, didn’t want to leave but finally did. Told his father afterward that this wasn’t the end (of his singing career). The old man answered: “That’s up to you.”

Neil, buy CDs, don’t try to make them.

Jim Ranger (27) – Bakersfield

– “Drive” – Mr. Ranger wrote this

 – A worship leader with three kids who took a big chance singing an original song. But he did OK and received a Yellow ticket. Good voice, might make the Top 24 with some luck and a lot of improvement.

Damion (26) Seattle

–  “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”

– Makes sandwiches, which is probably where he is right now. Said pepperoni was the hot ticket on the bread line. He couldn’t recall the name of the song at first, and then he forgot the lyrics. Damion – sourdough bread and a little monterey jack on that one, please.

Mary Powers (28) – Burbank

– “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar

– Chiche outfit, 2010 version of Allison Iraheta. But she pulls it off singing a difficult song rather well. This is Benatar’s song, plain and simple, but Mary did it justice and off she goes to Hollywood.

AJ Mendoza (20) – Upland

– “Cult of Personality” by In Living Color

– Here we go, an Adam Lambert wannabe. Off-key, loud, strange phrasing. Four “No” votes and walks out saying, “Later guys, you suck!”

Day 1 ends and so does Avril’s stint as a judge. Now what is she going to do with the hoodie with the devil horns? No wonder Simon has had enough.

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It’s Day 2 and Katy Perry takes over where Avril left off.

Austin Fullmer (19) – Glendale

“Surrender” by Cheap Trick

– Sounded, looked, acted like a cheap Mick Jagger imitator complete with phony British accent. All no votes and after he left Simon proclaimed, “There is one disturbed young man.”

Andrew Garcia (23) – Moreno Valley

“Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5

– OK, but the back story of his life headed toward gangs, the photo of family and friends (presumably) has many of the faces blurred out to protect their identity and his father crying was all a little over the top. Voice is good, song was difficult, they pass him on to Hollywood. With that story and continued improvement he’ll go far.

Tasha Leighton (26) – Granada Hills

“Baby Baby Baby” by Josh Stone.

– Personal assistant by day, minister by night, current singer headed to Hollywood. She won’t last long especially after hearing her say, Yellow ticket in hand, “I’m going to Hollywood … now what do I do?”

Jason Greene (21) – Los Angeles

“I Touch Myself” by the Divynals

– This guy was so ridiculous, winding up on his knees and inviting Simon to join him on the floor, saying Katy made him feel dirty, giving Ryan his phone number when he left. He received a one-way ticket out the door.

All of which brought us to the finale…

Chris Golightly (25) – Los Angeles

“Stand By Me” –

– Has been in the foster care program with over 25 families since he was 18 months old. Actually has a decent voice, although Katy said, and rightly so, “This is not a Lifetime movie.” They pass him on to Hollywood, but just barely.

Wednesday night it’s off to Dallas.