“American Idol” returned with a bang on Tuesday night, finding a wide array of talent from their Phoenix, Arizona audition stop and introducing a new female judge who sparred not with her fellow panelist Paula Abdul, but with a bikini-clad contestant.
New judge Kara DioGuardi, a Grammy-nominated songwriter who – as “Idol” pointed out – has worked with Celine Dion and Pink, remained fairly quiet during the first hour of the two-hour season opener. Viewers, however, got to see her personality when they brought out Katrina Darrell, a Chino Hills, CA, resident, who auditioned to Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love,” in a tiny bikini.
“Honestly, you don’t have the chops to sing that song sweetie,” Kara said of the woman’s shaky vocal runs, breaking out her own pipes for a live example.
Her judging style though was met with a scowl from Katrina.
“Your demonstration wasn’t any better,” the woman snapped back.
Paula Abdul then quickly stepped up in defense of Kara.
“That wasn’t the right thing to say,” the none-too-pleased Paula quipped.
While Randy and Simon gave the woman their thumbs up — as Katrina happily bounced up and down in her bikini twice for Fox’s slow-motion cameras — Kara and Paula had another opinion.
“She’s terrible,” they both said in union.
Nevertheless, the woman was put through to Hollywood alongside 27 other contenders from the Phoenix tryouts.
While Katrina was an easy standout thanks to her attitude, audition, lack of clothing and a passionate kiss of host Ryan Seacrest, Scott Macintyre, 23, from Scottsdale, AZ, made an impression with just his voice.
The vision-impaired vocalist, who was the last audition of the Season 8 opener, won over all four judges over with his rendition of “And So It Goes,” by Billy Joel.
“You’re a cool guy, I like you,” Simon said.
“I like you, I think you’re very talented,” Paula added as he was put through.