American Idol Epsiode Recap: The Road to Hollywood Season 9, Episode 8

I'll give American Idol credit for one thing: The show knows how to admit its flaws. Tonight's mixed bag of auditions from all seven cities on the tour began with a reference to Gen. Larry Platt's "Pants on the Ground," and an acknowledgement that it's really the only Season 9 audition to take America by storm. However, Ryan Seacrest promises that the show has saved the best for last. Did the promise come true?

Based on the last three abysmal audition shows, I'd have to say it did. Or at least the producers decided for one night to focus on talented singers and put most of the sideshow acts in the background where they belong. Am I convinced that we've seen anyone yet who is destined to be standing at the Kodak Theater on finale night? Not even close, but I am so thankful to begin the real whittling process during the Hollywood rounds, which kick off next week.

For now, some thoughts on what Idol likes to call the best of the rest:


Jessica Furney," Footprints in the Sand "

After some opening remarks about perseverance and familiar faces returning to audition, Jessica dazzles the judges with her version of a song co-written by Simon Cowell. (Brown-noser!) Randy says she's really improved, and the way Victoria Beckham gushes over the song "embarrasses" Simon. Jessica makes it to Hollywood this time around.

Amanda Shectman, "Good Morning Heartache"

Her intro package shows her mimicking Britney Spears and doing silly voices with her mouth closed. So color me surprised when she has a decent voice. Her problem: She's way too dramatic, as her background is in theater. All of the judges tell he she has to work on losing her theatrical impulses, and Simon, giving his best soap-opera-actor version of being undecided, finally agrees to put her through. And she naturally gives an Emmy-worthy cry outside.

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