On Wednesday night (January 19), "American Idol" headed to Chicago, hoping to find talent on par with last week's Atlanta auditions. And while there were some serious pipes on display in Chi-Town, there were also more than a few misfires. And a whole lot of misfits too.
Chicago definitely let its freak flag fly, rolling out a series of bow-tie-clad Tom Jones enthusiasts, mealy-mouthed Tiny Tim impersonators, accordion players, angry mothers and one rather buxom "Idol" contestant who showed off a move she (pretty aptly) described as "the boob flex."
All in all, it was an interesting show — only 13 golden tickets were handed out to some 12,000 auditioners — and though guest judge Shania Twain tried to play nice, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson were more than ready to let it rip.
"Do you find that when you sing at home, a lot of animals turn up outside the house?" Simon chuckled to one warbly wannabe, who crashed and burned attempting Maxwell's version of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Worth."
"Swear on your mother's life that was not a joke," Cowell hissed after another particularly brutal audition.
It wasn't all bad, though. Katelyn Epperly, a 19-year-old from West Des Moines, Iowa, earned high praise (and the show's first golden ticket) with her soulful take on Duffy's "Syrup and Honey." Paige Dechausse — who nearly died after an asthma attack — got through to Hollywood with a smoky cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." And John Park, a 20-year-old college student, earned raves — and had Twain blushing (she told him "You have a beautiful bottom end") — with a sexualized version of Gary Moore's "I'll Love You More Than You'll Ever Know."
Angela Martin, who had made it to Hollywood Week in each of the previous two "Idol" seasons but could never quite make it over the hump (once due to having a warrant out for her arrest) made it back for a third time, wowing the judges with her take on Mary J. Blige's "Just Fine."
Other contestants who made it through to Hollywood included big-voiced (and even bigger-haired) Justin Ray; Keith Semple, a Simple Plan lookalike with a raspy voice; and the soulful Marcus Jones.
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