jessica furney hope johnson 'American Idol' finds 'Footprints in the Sand' in best of the rest“American Idol’s” best-of-the-rest episode yields a couple stand-outs in Jessica Furney and Hope Johnson.

Finally, gang. The last “American Idol” audition episode! I am SO READY for Hollywood Week and Ellen DeGeneres and no more craptastic guest judges (though not all were crappy).

Speaking of which, which guest judges were your favorites? I graded the guest judges here.

Jessica Furney is up first tonight with “Footprints in the Sand,” a song co-written by Simon. She does a great job, I really enjoy her voice. Simon’s critique is, “Beautiful song.” Haha! And Jessica is through unanimously. I remember her from last year, I liked her.

Now we have Amanda Shectman with “Good Morning Heartache.” I don’t like her look, but her voice is good. Kara and Lady V tell her to work on connecting but they both say “yes.” Simon eventually says “yes” too and she’s through. And Randy probably says “yes” too but it doesn’t really matter what Randy does.

Two Golden Tickets: Lee Dewyze sings “Ain’t No Sunshine” now and he’s good but I don’t like his affectations (stop jerking about, dude) and Crystal Bowersox does “Little Piece of My Heart.”

Lacey Brown is up now. She made Top 50 last year but got cut in the Chairs of Doom and Megan Joy got through. Props to her for coming back. She sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and she’s still super. She’s through all the way.

We now have a seven-time auditonee who loves Lady V and has a crush on Simon. Her name is Stephanie Fisher. She sings “Fever” while dressed like a flapper who left her dress at home. It’s really not good. Why does she keep coming back? She tries again on “Baby Love” and it sounds like “baby luh, my baby luh.” This girl needs to leave. Lady V says Stephanie has a “very definite look.” That’s a very diplomatic way to say she looks like a loon.

Sixteen-year-old Montage. Rachel Hubbard, Thaddeus Johnson and Genesis Moore are all fantastic. Hey, who’s that male judge who’s not Randy, Simon or Doogie? I don’t remember seeing him before…

Blondezilla is up now. He’s a 6’8 swimmer named Adrian Chandtchi. He sings “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and… wow. He’s got a Tiny Tim voice and not a very good ear. Simon gets to the “ate a small child” joke as I’m typing it and then Randy steals my “Yo Adrian” joke! It’s like we’re ONE MIND. Me, Simon and Randy.

Michael Lynche, the guy purportedly kicked out of the Top 24 because his dad violated the confidentiality clause (sorry guys, but that’s not a spoiler. It’s been EVERYWHERE), auditions now with “Unchained Melody.” Man, he’s super cute. He’s like a velvet chocolate teddy bear who’s also ripped! Kara and Kristin Chenoweth are in agreement and you can see them flashing him the cougar eyes. He’s through unanimously.

Didi Benami is up now with “Hey Jude” and she reminds me of a better-singing Megan Joy from last year. Simon gives her a small “yes,” but I think she was cool-sounding. Something different. She gets four “yes” votes.

Aaron Kelly is a sad teenage boy who was raised by his aunt and uncle because his dad couldn’t keep a job when he was growing up. He seems like a genuinely sweet kid. He sings “The Climb” and it’s good but his voice isn’t mature enough yet. You can tell his balls dropped, like, yesterday. Female sixteen year olds definitely have a leg up on male sixteen year olds in terms of development. But if this kid makes the Top 24, he’ll probably make the Top 3 because tween voters will go apes**t over him. He’s through to Hollywood and that’s cool.

Goth Girl Kimberly Bishop is up now with her “into recycling and helping kids in Africa” attitude. She totally looks like ‘If-Katy-Perry-and-Marilyn-Manson-Mated.’ She sings “I Kissed a Girl” with a really weird accent. She then PULLS UP HER SKIRT a bit and they have to put an “American Idol” logo over her kootch. Klassy for Kimberly. She isn’t through to Hollywood.

Shaddai Harris is there now with her mom, who had a vision from the Lord while she was pregnant with Shaddaii. Um, okay. She then sings “Fallin'” and there is no melody, but Doogie and Kara groove to it anyway. Haha.

We are finally down to our very last audition! It’s Hope Johnson, a girl who has seven siblings and grew up poor. She’s a pretty girl with big eyes and a nice smile, I’m totally smitten (not like THAT but you know what I mean). She sings “I Hope You Dance” and hey, there’s that one male judge again! She is good and very charismatic, though not the best voice we’ve heard. She doesn’t sing through her sentences. The judges say much the same thing but she gets four yes votes.

Thoughts and Tidbits

  • There were 181 Golden Tickets given out total. In the next two weeks, we get to watch the wailing and gnashing of teeth in Hollywood to winnow that down to 24. Awesome, I’m so pumped and I hope you guys are here to enjoy it with me.
  • I’m putting a moratorium on Randy saying “Hollyweird.” Stop that, Randy.
  • I can’t wait to see Ellen next week.

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Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."