Thursday, January 22, 2015

Auditions Part 6: New Orleans

Welcome back. Tonight the auditions are in New Orleans. As most people know, that is the hometown of Idol Judge Harry Connick Jr. So far this season for auditions we visited Nashville, Keith's current residence, and New York, Jennifer's former residence. So we got a little bit from everywhere. Tonight's episode is the first Thursday episode of the season that is only an hour. The talent last night was mixed. There were a couple talented people, there were some decent contestants that can go either way, and the majority of the rest of the contestants that received golden tickets have a lot of work to do. Hopefully tonight we will get some standout stars that are already ready to go. We shall see. So as we always do, let's get started:

New Orleans Auditions

Drew Plaisance (23)  We find out that his second cousin baby-sat Harry Connick Jr when he was a kid. That was the most interesting thing about Drew and even that wasn't so interesting. He starts screaming and carrying on with Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T". Insane. He just keeps spinning around and has a terrible voice. It was as bad as you can get. 100% Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= None, just blank stares from the judges.
Going To Hollywood= Nope

Angelica "Jelly" Joseph (26) She has a very Aretha Franklin-esque quality to her voice. So that's a really big positive right there. Then she goes and hits some really beautiful notes and does some fantastic runs. A very high quality talent that I can definitely see doing well in this competition. She Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Harry-Wished for someone like her. Has great style and elegance. Keith-Loved it. Had a spunk to it.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Tiffany Stringer (16) She is on the drill team, the dance team and she is super duper peppy. Jennifer asks her to do a cartwheel and she does that on the spot. She would be a great karaoke singer and even a great singer in the high school Glee club, but it's just very pedestrian. Nothing too special about it. Maybe she will be ready in 2 or 3 years, but not now. Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Harry-Felt really drill team, wasn't strong enough vocally. Keith-Everything was entertaining when coupled with her personality and decent enough voice.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. Jennifer and Keith Send Her.

Greyson Turner (15) He is an adorable kid. Even Harry likes the way he walks. He sings an original called "Chasing Shadows". The song is really good and his voice is very strong. His song and his voice are original, that's a great thing. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer-Talented, talented person. So much natural intensity and passion. Harry-First instinct is to not blow his voice out but wants him to.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Sarah Quintana (28) Playing the piano as Sarah's accompaniment on her jazz performance is Harry Connick Jr. Pretty cool to have him play for you. Her voice is all jazz, I wonder what it will do on other types of genres and songs, but for this particular audition it was decent. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Harry-Really nice. An infectious joyous spirit. Not sure if Idol is the way she should go. Jennifer-Sounded good.
Going To Hollywood= Nope. Though Keith said he would have said  "Yes". 

Quentin Alexander (20) He is wearing a crazy outfit that Jennifer describes as half tribal, half pilgrim.He sings so well, until he forgets the lyrics and messes up a little. But his voice has a very smooth quality to it. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Harry=Everything pushes to the edge but doesn't go over it. Wants him to be quirky. Can push further. Jennifer-Does interesting stuff, but needs to do more interesting things with his voice.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him. 

Mikey Duran (19) Went to the same high school as Harry Connick Jr. He sings an original called "My Demise". His voice is so different. It's a little froggy, a little soprano, it's actually hard to describe. It's enjoyable so that's a really good thing.  It's a really great song to boot. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Keith=Loves that song. Jennifer=Sound of voice is so unique.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Nalani Quintello (19), Tori Martin (20) and Hope Windle (24) get montaged together. Nalani has the best voice of all of them, followed somewhat closely by Tori. Hope struggles. She has a voice, but not strong at all. Nalani and Tori Should Go To Hollywood. Hope Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. Nalani and Tori get all 3 Judges sending her. Hope gets Keith and Jennifer's vote.

Ricky Hendricks (17) He goes hunting, fishing and throws rocks in the water. He is a pure country boy and country singer. His voice is really young and there are parts that were a little thin, but there was a part of his voice and his personality that really connected with the audience. I enjoyed how he was going for the entertaining aspect of performing. I wish he had a bit of a stronger voice, but it's enough to go further. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Keith-Excellent. Natural talent but it is flying all over the place right now. Jennifer=Moves his body, and smiled and lyric made him feel is amazing. Needs his voice to feel as good. Harry=Is a young man and sounds like it but is interested in seeing him grow by being with other more experienced singers.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Dakota Suarez (18) He says he is from a small town and there is no one like him because he is a Drag Queen, his performer name is Bianca Jade. He definitely knows how to perform and is super comfortable on stage. His voice is lacking a little. But, it's not that bad that he shouldn't move on. He Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Harry-No better pleasure seeing a Drag Queen on this show, seeing him dressed up one day as himself and next as a Drag Queen, but his voice is nice but not an incredible voice. Jennifer=Likes him and his voice is really good.
Going To Hollywood=  Yep. Keith and Jennifer Send Him.

Adam Lasher (27) Is related to Carlos Santana because he is his nephew. Jennifer Lopez says he looks like Jimmy Fallon, and he really does. Despite having a busted hand he plays an original with his guitar. Adam is really cool. He has had a lot of experience playing with his uncle, and you can tell that right away, but Adam is great on his own. He Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Harry-Loves his artistry. Harry-Liked way he sings, made the guitar happen without thumb function.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Erica Washington (24) When she was 18 she had a daughter and has struggled, but finally got here. She sings Beyonce's "Halo", which is a pretty difficult song to sing, but Erica handles it pretty well. Her voice really cuts through. Doesn't do too much and just can flat out sing. Not at the top of my list tonight, but is still really so good.  Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Harry-Really talented. Has a thick sound. It's a gift. Jennifer-Amazing voice, way she looks. Everything.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Best of The Night= Angelica "Jelly" Joseph. Her voice is really memorable and quite dynamic. She flawlessly hit some crazy notes and did some fantastic runs with such ease. I love performers that make things easy, and she really did tonight.

Final Thoughts

*Tonight was so much better than last night. There were a lot more ready-made stars that knew their voice and what to do with it. Jelly Joseph, Adam Lasher, Ricky Hendricks and Greyson Turner really stood out. I'd revoke only a couple tickets tonight, including Hope Windle and Tiffany Stringer. The rest of the folks have to push themselves a little more or take a few more risks, but overall tonight was pretty successful.

*Not a ton to complain about tonight. It was a really solid episode. With only one-hour there isn't time for the sob-stories or really awful auditions (although we got one). This format is really getting to the talent a lot quicker and makes the contestants more memorable. Despite the abbreviated episode we still saw 14 or 15 contestants tonight go through. Not bad at all.

That's it. Next week is the last week of auditions and then we are going to Hollywood. Come back here next Wednesday for a brand new recap. So until then, see ya!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Auditions Part 5: Minneapolis

Welcome back. Tonight is the first of only 4 more audition hours. The Thursday night episodes for the next 2 weeks will only be one hour, so the next couple episodes should fly by, with hopefully some great talent. Tonight Keith Urban is back for auditions that were held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which the show hasn't visited in 7 seasons. I enjoyed Adam Lambert on the panel last week but Keith Urban has done a really nice job on the show and although he and Harry Connick Jr get carried away sometimes with their silliness, Keith often has a lot of great feedback and input.

So as we always do, let's get started:

Minneapolis Auditions

Shannon Berthiaume (17) She comes in a little nervous, but after stating that she likes blues she starts to take on "House of the Rising Sun". It gets a little screamy and she adds a few too many runs, she just does too much. She has a really nice voice in the quiet moments and when it's controlled. I'd like her to see her switch things up and not be as out there. She Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Harry-Looks like she is natural. Jennifer-Crazy artist in the best way possible. Keith-A lot of raw talent.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Kemil Casey (19) He comes in holding a golden microphone, it's not plugged in or anything, it makes him feel comfortable. Though his audition didn't make me feel comfortable at all. It was really weird. Not good. Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Harry-Oddly entertaining. Jennifer-Gets what he is supposed to do, has a chance to be in show business but not doing this.
Going To Hollywood=Nope

Morgan Ovens (24), Gabrielle Noe'l (23) and Courtney Guns (23), were three really great singers. I think I enjoyed Gabrielle the most, with Morgan right behind. I liked Courtney but as the judges mentioned she gets a little too close to them when she was singing, which made it awkward and kinda hard to judge, but she realized her mistake and made light of it. But again, all 3 ladies Should Go To Hollywood. 
Going To Hollywood=  Yep. All 3 ladies are Going To Hollywood.

Vanessa Andrea (25) Has a huge crush on Keith Urban. But more importantly, she has three small children and her husband is on active duty in the Air Force and when asked about him by Keith she starts to get really emotional. She ends up gaining all of her composure back and does a really beautiful job. She has a cool style to her voice and a ton of control over the song "Some Kind of Wonderful". It's just a very pleasant sounding voice. I could have listened to her play her guitar and sing for even longer. She Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Jennifer=Really great, love her style, had a lot of confidence. Harry=That's her jam.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Zach Johnson (20) This guy comes in kind of erratic. He is super pumped and really excitable. Then he goes to a really slow, romantic kind of song. The different dynamic between the personality he walked in with and his really gentle voice is so crazy. So weird. He doesn't have a country accent, but sings with one, but it's still really good. Jennifer asks him to try again without his accent and it's so different but still not bad. This was a super strange audition from the moment we first saw him, but he should get another shot and Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Harry=Likes him a lot. Loves his energy and spirit. Needs more people in the world like him. Needs to not sing with a country accent. Would've loved to hear a country song in his own voice. Keith= Like him a lot.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Aaron Bissell (17) I don't know about this guy. We only see a few seconds of him and he has a very distinct voice, but it bored me. So in that case, although his voice is interesting I Don't Think He Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= None really except Harry gives a little story about him working at a coffee-shop. I don't even know.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him

Cindy Jo Scholer (26) She is a Pre-K teacher and hunts a lot. Ok. She sings Patsy Cline's "Crazy" and her voice sounds a lot like the original in a lot of ways. She kinda goes in and out of being good and natural and then relying on the original song.This is a tough one, but if she can figure herself out she probably Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer=Kept losing the melody of the song by trying to show off. Keith=Needs to lose all the theatrics because her voice is really good and has a lot of rasp to it. Harry=It was yelled, but he likes her voice and wants to hear it at least one more time.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. Harry and Keith Send Her.
Bonus Comment=After the audition was over, Harry joked that because Cindy Jo kills bears in her free time he had to say "Yes" and almost as soon as he said it a dude in a bear costume walks in and starts to sing. That was crazy.  Really funny.

Jacob Tolliver (20) He is working as the understudy of "Million Dollar Quartet" the Broadway turned Las Vegas show in which he plays Jerry Lee Lewis. Understandably he comes in singing and playing the piano of Jerry Lee Lewis' most famous song "Great Balls of Fire". He is an amazing piano player, he goes full out Jerry Lee Lewis, so amazing. Keith asks Jacob to play a song that is more Jacob and less Jerry Lee Lewis and he delivers with "Stay". I can see why they asked him to try to be more original, but he was definitely weaker on the Rhianna song that pushed him out of his comfort zone. He seems talented enough to maybe fix some things so He Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer=That was a performance. Never would've thought he would do that. Harry=Can't see hearing that on the radio. There already was a Jerry Lee Lewis. On his second song he heard a piece of what Jacob could actually do. Keith=Should've had his own sense of who he is.
Going to Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Hannah Mrozak (16) Just a simple, pure amazing voice. There was no video package, no big build-up, just a really sweet and beautiful voice that can do a lot of cool things. She Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer=Amazing. So Good. Can't believe she is 16. Excited to see where she goes.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Kristi Kroker (21) Sweet but not great. Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer=Felt a little like a High School audition.
Going To Hollywood=Nope.

Mark Andrew (29) This is his last shot at American Idol because of his age. His voice is wonderful right from the first word. Really different from anything we have heard all night. It's just so easy. Keith wants him to try another song to see how his voice differs from song to song. His voice really can go from a sweet country song to his second song which was from The Jungle Book. Should Definitely Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Jennifer=His voice sets him apart. His tone cuts through. Harry=Wants to hear him on record.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send him.

Best of The Night= Vanessa Andrea/Mark Andrew. I honestly can't pick because they both were so good, and made their performances really easy to listen to and enjoy. I hope both of them do well in Hollywood and the subsequent rounds.

Final Thoughts

*A pretty solid episode with a few great performers and a good amount of people that have a lot to work on. The ones that don't need to work on anything except continuing to be great is Vanessa Andrea and Mark Andrew. Gabrielle Noe'l and Hannah Mozark were so good too.  The ones that were borderline like Zach, Shannon, Cindy Jo, and Jacob were still pretty decent but need a lot of work to figure themselves out and get their voices under control. If they can figure out exactly what kind of artist and voice they want to put out there they could be real good too. We'll see I guess.  Not the best audition city, but definitely not the worst.

*Harry is a character. He was a character last season, but he is so ridiculous with some of the things he says and does. He tells stories that make no sense but then kinda do. Sometimes it can get a little too much, but in small doses, like these one-hour episodes, he is really very funny. The undercurrent of all that is that he also knows what he is talking about and has very succinct and specific advice to offer.

That's It. Come back here tomorrow after the next episode of American Idol. Hopefully you are enjoying these recaps. So until tomorrow, see ya!