American Idol Season 8 Premiere; Bikinis, Oil Rigs and More!

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Fourth judge Kara DioGuardi wasn't the only refreshing aspect of American Idol last night.

The eighth season of the show kicked off with an emphasis on - gasp! - talented contestants.

Granted, there was the occasional train wreck of an audition - such as Tuan Nguyen, the half-Vietnamese dude with a giant afro that didn't comprehend the judges were laughing at him, not with him - but the premiere focused more than usual on competitors that have a chance to make it far this season.

Here are a few of our (very) early favorites:

  • Michael Sarver: Resident of Jasper, Texas; sang “Thank You” by Boyz II Men; oh, and works on an oil rig as part of the fifth most dangerous job in America.
  • Katrina Darrell: Say hello to bikini girl! This model sang “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey. At least we think she did. Like Simon, Darrell's outfit - which helped her move on to Hollywood in the hilarious video posted below - distracted us from her actual audition.

  • Scott MacIntyre: This blind pianist auditioned with “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel. And so he'll go off to Hollywood!
  • Deanna Brown: Our favorite from the opening night. From Louisville, Kentucky; received four positive reviews for “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding.

We might never hear from Scott MacIntyre or Deanna Brown again. But for one night, the American Idol stage belonged to these contestants.


American Idol Quotes

Brooke White's tears come from the authentic, good soul that she is. Her heart was breaking because she was overwhelmed with the experience she had with the show and the gift that it brought.

Paula Abdul [after Brooke White was eliminated on season seven]

I read some of this online this morning and just for the record, the rumors — they’re not true. She’s part of our family and we love her.

Ryan Seacrest [on rumor of Paula Abdul being drunk on the show]