American Idol Episode Recap: Boston Auditions Season 9, Episode 1

It's that time of year again, folks. Are you ready for the obsession to begin? Of course, this season of American Idol is already on its way to being dominated by by stories that have nothing to do with singing. Paula Abdul left the show last summer. Ellen DeGeneres took her place. And just one day before Season 9 kicked off, Simon Cowell announced plans to exit the show at season's end to launch The X-Factor in the United States.

If the contestants are going to overcome those headlines, they had better seriously bring the talent. So let's get started. Ellen won't chime in until February; for now, a revolving door of guest judges will critique each city. Victoria Beckham joined the panel in Beantown, which to my surprise, offered up many more good singers than most Idol premieres in recent memory. I'm not convinced that any of the 31 singers who made it to Hollywood Tuesday will be standing on the Kodak Theatre stage on finale night, but so far it's nonetheless promising.

Through these first weeks of auditions, I will be offering quick hits of the most memorable singers, both good and bad, as well as a few that defy categorization.

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