by Mischalova at . Comments

We're off to Hollywood!

As American Idol enters its fifth week of auditions, the show truly begins: contestants are judged in Hollywood and only the best of the best move one. Before they do, however, let's rank the top hopefuls so far in our third Power Poll of the season...

1. Kristy Lee Cook (last week: #1, pictured): Beautiful Oregonian's "Amazing Grace" was highlight of the initial American Idol audition shows - but will fans revolt against her one-time record deal with Arista Nashville? Then again, she certainly isn't alone in having a professional background.

2. Michael Johns (last week: #2): Also referred to as "Michael Lee Johns," the former band member once had a deal with Madonna's music label. The Aussie made a strong impression with a tight T-shirt, toned biceps, and a solid Otis Redding cover.

3. David Cook (last week: #6): Rocker with his sights set on the moniker of "this year's Chris Daughtry," Cook impressed viewers with his vocal range on Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer."

4. David Archuleta (last week: #3): Former Star Search winner has the sympathy vote locked up: he struggled with a paralyzed vocal chord as a child. Might he be this year's Sanjaya Malakar… with talent?

5. Amanda Overmyer (new this week): She's a nurse! She's a gothic rocker! She's a talented singer with a unique look, sound and personality.

6. Chikezie Eze (new this week, pictured): Tried out for the show last year. Approved for Hollywood this time around with a rendition of "All the Woman I Need." Handsome, talented.

Continue Reading...

by Mischalova at . Comments

As we prepare for the fourth week of American Idol auditions, it seems like a good time to break out our second Power Poll of the season.

With six solid episodes under our belt, here's how The Hollywood Gossip staff ranks this year's early contenders:

1) Kristy Lee Cook: Gorgeous Oregonian's "Amazing Grace" was highlight of the opening three weeks - but will fans revolt against her one-time record deal with Arista Nashville?

2) Michael Johns: Also referred to as "Michael Lee Johns," the former band member once had a deal with Madonna's music label, but a professional background is par for this year's American Idol course. The Aussie made a strong impression with a tight T-shirt, toned biceps, and a solid Otis Redding cover.

3) David Archuleta: Former Star Search winner has the sympathy vote locked up: he struggled with a paralyzed vocal chord as a child. This year's Sanjaya Malakar… with talent?

4) Samantha Sidley (pictured, new this week): Young beauty played along when Ryan Seacrest and Paula Abdul swapped duties during her audition. She proceeded to deliver a restrained, lovely version of ''Don't Know Why.''

5) Carly Smithson: Another American Idol hopeful with prior experience â€" she crashed and burned in her major-label debut as Carly Hennessy a few years back â€" this tattooed Irishwoman displayed great range on "I'm Every Woman."

6) David Cook (new this week): If you cover Bon Jovi during an audition like Cook did, we'll give you props. This is another Chris Daughtry-type, who hopes to become the first rocker to win American Idol.

7) Colton Swon: We liked his impressive take on Little Big Town's "Boondocks" and are excited about the rumor that he plays the guitar during the Hollywood round.

by Mischalova at . Comments

As we prepare for the third week of American Idol auditions, it seems like a good time to break out our first Power Poll of the season.

With four solid episodes under our belt, here's how The Hollywood Gossip staff ranks this year's early contenders:

1) Kristy Lee Cook: Gorgeous Oregonian's ''Amazing Grace'' was highlight of the opening two weeks - but will fans revolt against her one-time record deal with Arista Nashville?

2) Michael Johns: His former band once had a deal with Madonna's music label, but a professional background is par for this year's American Idol course. The Aussie made a strong impression with a tight T-shirt, toned biceps, and a solid Otis Redding cover.

3) David Archuleta: Former Star Search winner has the sympathy vote locked up: he struggled with a paralyzed vocal chord as a child. This year's Sanjaya... with talent?

4) Carly Smithson: Another American Idol hopeful with prior experience â€" she crashed and burned in her major-label debut as Carly Hennessy a few years back â€" this tattooed Irishwoman displayed great range on ''I'm Every Woman.''

5) Colton Swon: We liked his impressive take on Little Big Town's ''Boondocks'' and are extra excited about the rumor that he plays the guitar during the Hollywood round.

6) Kady Malloy: Simon Cowell dubbed her the best audition he'd seen during the opening week after she belted out ''Unchained Melody." We loved her impression of Britney Spears. Singing, that is. Not being insane.

7) Alaina Whitaker: Confident (said Carrie Underwood looks like her!) and with a powerful voice for a 16-year old.

by Mischalova at . Comments

Before he became a popular American Idol contestant this season, Michael Lee Johns was the lead singer of The Rising. Here's a music video from that band for a song titled "Cradle."

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMr7CNXUjT4&eurl=http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/videos/michael-lee-johns/[/youtube]

Season 10 Final 4

Michael Lee Johns is also known simply as Michael Johns. It's confusing, we know. Fellow contestant Carly Smithson also used to be known as Carly Hennessy.

Got all that? There will be a quiz later.

by Mischalova at . Comments

David Archuleta and Michael Johns were two of the top performers on American Idol last night. Each received tickets to Hollywood.

Like Carly Smithson and Kristy Lee Cook, however, each also has an extensive professional background. To wit:

Goodbye, Josh Ledet

Michael Johns was formerly the lead singer of two bands: The Rising and Film. He used to be known as Michael Lee and was actually signed to Maverick Records while leading Film. Things get even juicier:

The group was set to release a debut album in 2003, until - according to one of the group members - Michael allegedly screwed over Film by leaving the band and stealing their songs, claiming he wrote them.

While not evidence of that claim's validity, the MySpace profile for Fame is shown above - at least proving Johns was its lead singer.

Nothing about David Archuleta is as controversial, but his background isn't exactly amateur, either. The 16-year old singer won Star Search when he was 12 and has appeared on numerous programs ever since.

David Archuleta even sang once for an audience that included Kelly Clarkson. Check out the grainy video now:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8SJXDPE_sQ&eurl=http://www.rickey.org/?p=6887[/youtube]

by Mischalova at . Comments

There were singers aside from Carly Smithson that impressed us during last night's American Idol auditions. Three in particular stood out:

1. Michael Johns: That Australian accent might be enough to help this crooner continue to advance. We certainly swooned as soon as Johns opened his mouth. Once he sung "I've Been Loving You Too Long," though, we agreed with and Simon Cowell that he sounded great, like a "white soul singer."

Aaron Kelly Image

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47Ug1-kA8zA&eurl=http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/videos/michael-johns/[/youtube]

2. David Archueta: This 16-year old suffered from vocal chord paralysis growing up, but that didn't stop him from an impressive rendition of "Waiting on the World to Change." Sob story alert! Viewers love that.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRZps_AEMpU&eurl=http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/videos/david-archuleta/[/youtube]

3. Samantha Musa: Probably has less of a chance to advance far as the prior two gentlemen... but we loved Samantha! She was joined in her audition by her sister, who sat on Simon's lap and told the judge he was one of three people in the world she wanted to meet (along with Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, naturally).

Musa seemed legitimately humble, adorable - and talented! Check out her audition of "Until You Come Back to Me."

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4WUJ6YqCEg[/youtube]