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January 23, 2008
Idol Chatter: San Diego is so-so


The "American Idol" auditions Tuesday night in San Diego produced the most yellow tickets to Hollywood - 30 - but the show itself hit one too many sour notes as far as this fan is concerned.

It was only an hourlong show, but it left me thinking about shows to come, including the season finale of "The Real Housewives of Orange County." What does that tell you?

About 12,000 contestants showed up, and viewers were "treated" to a smattering of bad singers from Northern California, including one Christopher Mitchell, 19, of Citrus Heights, who was absolutely horrible!

Anyway, just in case you switched over to "The Biggest Loser," or just want to relive the moments, here's my recap of the show.

* Most endearing contestant: This one's easy, and it really wasn't the contestant, but his son. Perry Cataldo of Phoenix is a single father who brought his adorable kid with him. Mom died in 2005, so Perry has been going it alone. His little boy was allowed in the audition room after dad made it through to Hollywood.

* Worst Mariah moment: The honor goes to Valerie Reyes, 20, of Riverside, who was told by judge Simon Cowell that her Mariah CD "had been left out in the sun for a year." When will these folks learn the rules regarding Mariah, Whitney, et al.?

* Most 'that-creeped-me-out' moment: Contestant Samantha Musa, 20, of Baldwin Park, Ca., dragged her Simon-obsessed sister into her audition. While Samantha belted out a pretty decent Aretha Franklin song, the sister was perched on Simon's lap! She even got to vote (natch), making it four "yeses" to send Samantha on to Hollywood. Yuck!

* Most memorable moments: I liked the Aussie Michael Johns, 28, who now croons in L.A. Simon likened him to a "white soul singer." And then there was young David Archuleta, 16, from Utah, who had suffered some form of vocal paralysis, but pulled off a great audition, with Randy Jackson singing with him.

* Most embarrassing moment: Christopher Baker (pictured), 22, of San Diego couldn't get over the fact that the judges just didn't like him. Changing songs didn't help. At one point, Simon put it bluntly: "You and I are listening to two different things."

* Most worthy show stopper: "Idol" always saves either a freak or a swan song for the final audition. In San Diego, it was Carly Smithson, 23, who originally is from Ireland. She auditioned for Season 5 (in Las Vegas with eventual winner Taylor Hicks) and earned a ticket to Hollywood. Alas, Carly's visa didn't come through in time and she was disqualified. This audition, in which she sang "I'm Every Woman," took about five seconds before she got another ticket - and another chance.

Tonight (at 8 on Channel 40), the auditions move back to the East Coast and lovely Charleston, S.C. Prepare for some "drawling" and, if we're lucky, some decent singing.

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