Thursday, January 31, 2013

Auditions Part 6: Oklahoma City

It's here, the final audition round of Season 12 before we go to Hollywood. This was a much shorter, much better audition process. The focus on the good contestants rather than the laughable ones has been pretty much maintained. It's true that the judges, mainly Nicki and Mariah, have taken a lot of focus, but there have been a good amount of talent as well. We'll see if there are a few good ones tonight. So let's get started:

Contestants & More...

First out the gate is Karl Skinner. He seems like a goofy, fun kind of guy. He is a guy who likes to move, but his voice is alright.When he has his guitar he is much more tame and you can tell his voice is a little weak with a few spots of decency. A mixed bag. Randy Jackson thinks he can do a better Ryan Seacrest and Ryan comes in. The panel likes him enough.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

We see an unnamed girl who can't sing. A guy also without a name that is terrible. Just the typical montage of bad singers. Eh...

We next see American Sign Language teacher Nate Tao. Both of his parents are deaf so it's an interesting little story. Started shaky but he definitely has a good voice. Mariah enjoyed it and so did I.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Puppeteer/ventriloquist Halie Hilburn is up next. Not sure if there is a difference between puppeteer and ventriloquist but there ya go. Halie and her puppet do a duet. Her voice is nice, but the puppet distracts me way too much. It shouldn't, but it does. Her puppet Oscar is right up Nicki's crazy alley. Halie on her own has a pretty voice. She's memorable because of the puppet so that's something I guess. The judges tell Halie to sever ties with Oscar the puppet. Smart idea. Keith thinks it'll be an awkward car ride home. I agree.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Zoanette Johnson is ready to go. Her attire is a wee bit provocative and um...well...leggy. You see lots of her legs. She sings "The National Anthem". There are some nice moments but there are some shrieker moments as well. They let her sing the whole thing, because it's tough to cut off "The National Anthem". During the final moments she goes into her own rendition and Keith literally falls off his chair. Nicki loves her. Shocker. She is very entertaining.She is crazy with a capital K. Love this girl. Not gonna lie, she is a mess...but I love it.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

We then see a montage of people pissed, people crying, and people super emotional. Eh...

Very unsteady on her high heels is Anastacia Freeman. I like her as a person, as a singer not at all. Not at all. Randy asks if someone told her to audition. She states that God told her to audition. Mariah is super confused at this. As am I. American Idol does a cheap dramatization of what occurred. Amusing in parts. 
Hollywood or Not? Not

Last up is 16-year old Kayden Stephenson. He has a pretty intense story. He has cystic fibrosis, which is a terminal illness. He wants to do everything he can while he is young. I love his character, I love his strength, but unfortunately his voice just isn't strong. He is super sweet but I don't like his voice. Nicki and Mariah are inspired by his story. The judges like him a whole lot more than me.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Before the show is over one final "contestant" comes on in. Dressed in drag is former American Idol judge Steven Tyler. He comes in with full dress, and fake boobage. I love how Nicki had no idea what was going on. Funny, odd, and a little crazy, just like Steven Tyler. 

Best of The Night?
Nate Tao. The talent was a little weak tonight, but Nate's voice was the one I really remember and enjoyed without any real hesitation.

Final Thoughts
*I thought this was a weak city. I thought they sent through a few people that shouldn't have gone through, based on story or entertainment value rather than true talent. I don't know how far the Oklahoma City contestants are gonna go. In my opinion the weakest city of the audition rounds.

*Overall I think there is some great talent from these audition rounds and it should be a fun few weeks before we get to the live rounds.

That's it. The auditions are over. Hollywood is coming up next week. So we'll see if any of the favorites remain favorites and if the ones that just got by will break through. Should be interesting. So come on back here next week for all that and more, so until then, see ya!

Auditions Part 5: San Antonio & Long Beach

Welcome back. It's a new week, 2 new cities and we'll see if we get a few new great performances and performers. Hopefully some of the bickering between Nicki and Mariah has dissipated a bit and the show will think of something else to focus on, maybe the contestants if we really hope. Either way it's a 2 hour show tonight so we'll try to keep things as quick and informative as possible. Only 2 more audition shows so let's go:

Contestants & More...

First up is Vincent Powell. He is a jazzy kinda guy, and is very smooth and controlled. Good start. He got to the end of Hollywood week last year and was cut. So we shall see if he can get further this time.  
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood 

Duo/brothers Derek and David Bacerott come out trying to sing together but it sounds like a mess. Can't tell if either of them sound good, or neither of them sound good.  It's actually really neither of them. They are kinda combative with the judges. They think they are negative, but they are trying to be helpful. 
Hollywood or Not? Not

Next up is Savannah Votion. I like her voice a whole lot. Don't like her wardrobe, which is a half belly shirt thing and leather bra/shirt thing. Don't think she needed to look the way she does. But her voice is pretty beautiful.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Rocky Jo Garcia gets a quick "Uh Oh" from Nicki Minaj. About right.
Hollywood or Not? Not

With my favorite name of the competition thus far is Cristabel Clack. That name just has a ring to it. She sings an Alicia Keyes song and it's a really wise choice. Her voice fits it. She has some pitchy points but there aren't a lot of cracks for Cristable Clack. I had to.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Another by invitation only is Ann Difani. She is a country singer so Keith Urban likes her already. Not sure how far she will go, but her voice is solid enough for Hollywood.
Hollywood or Not?  Hollywood

Mariachi singer Victoria Acosta isn't entirely bad but she is far from being entirely good. Her voice breaks at points, and then sounds good, then is pitchy then is smooth. Very odd one. She sounds good when she sings her Mariachi song but not so great when she sings Fergie. I wouldn't put her through.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

In a montage of bad singers we get some "funny" facial expressions from the judges. Eh...

Deemed "a big black woman in a white boy body" is a guy called Papa Peachez. He is an "interesting" little character. He doesn't like covers, so this is a "great" show for him. This show is all covers so we'll see. I don't know about this guy. I feel he really wants to be a singer, but he is more a character first. The panel is a bit divided. Keith and Randy say "No". Nicki and Mariah says "No". Randy gets the tie breaker and despite him initially saying "No" he puts the guy through. Don't quite get the change. Randy should have stuck with his first decision.
Hollywood or Not?  Hollywood

Next up is Sanni M'Mairura. He sings a pretty perfect song for him "Who's Loving You" by Michael Jackson. It really works for his voice. He is completely in control for a 16-year old.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Cute as a button Adam Sanders is up next. Not gonna lie his first note was rockin. He is so sweet and innocent but his voice has a lot of soul to it. Quite good, maybe some dramatic moments at times but really well done. He gets a standing ovation from Keith, Mariah and Randy. Nicki just didn't wanna get up but she loved it also.  
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Singing on the Queen Mary in Long Beach is the next batch of contestants. With another spectacular  name is Shubha Vedula. She is a little affected, but her voice is incredibly solid.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Very excited and/or nervous is Brian Martinez. He was told he should try out for American Idol after someone heard him singing in the bathroom. He probably should have stayed in the bathroom.
Hollywood or Not? Not

Next up is former serviceman Matt Farmer. His voice is great and his story is beautiful. He said his 3-year old daughter coming into the world probably saved his life. Love that. Really well done.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Stephanie Sanson has some purple hair and you'd think that'd be the 'craziest' part of her audition, but pretty much it wasn't. She just goes absolutely punk rock to the millionth degree. She just screams and goes nuts.  
Hollywood or Not? Not

Next is Jesaiah Baer. Before she gets too far the alarms go off on the ship. The fire alarms goes off in the middle of her audition process. It turns out to be a big ole nothing. So Jesaiah starts again. I'm not jumping up and down with her voice. I like the scat, but her voice outside of that didn't really thrill me.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Then we get a montage of clips of the spookiness of the bowels of the Queen Mary. Which leads to "scary, bad" auditions. Eh...

Next up is Micah Johnson. He had his tonsils removed recently and the doctors hit a nerve and left him with a speech impediment. Really rough stuff. Somehow Micah sounds like nothing is even close to wrong with his voice. Incredible. Really incredible.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

From a town of 3500 people is super happy Rachel Hale. Ooh she is good. She is really good. Very sweet and her voice is very natural and pure. Nicki calls her her favorite girl.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Next up is 16-year old Briana Oakley. She got bullied as a young child but has proven to persevere and get through.  She has some shakiness in her voice but is pretty confident for a young girl. She has a lot of talent, I think she is one that can get better through this competition.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

I'll admit it, I have watched The Glee Project, a reality show that the winner gets to appear on Glee. Matheus Fernandes is a former contestant on that show. He did pretty well, but didn't win. I didn't really like him that much, he got a little cocky as the show went on. He "jokingly" asks if there is a height limit on this show because he is young man who unfortunetly didn't grow very tall. The judges just want him do well, no height limit at all. Luckily, he sings really well, I don't know if it's top caliber, but it's solid enough for Hollywood and a chance to do well on another FOX show.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Best of the Night
Micah Johnson. His story of getting a voice impediment due to doctor error during his tonsillitis removal and then his singing voice just being so beautiful is a great story. I think Rachel Hale and Sanni M'Mairura were also incredibly good tonight.

Final Thoughts

*With Cristabel Clack and Shubha Vedula I enjoyed the names of the contestants tonight probably a lot more than I should.

*I love that the next episode is the final audition round. It is a little quicker than usual. These audition rounds get tedious so I am glad we are getting through with them quick.

*I like Keith Urban a whole lot. He is very quick and smart and seems very into judging. His critiques are very in depth and he seems interested. I just like him.

Well what did you think? Are you just as happy as me about this being the last 2-hour audition round of the season? We will be back here after the next new episode tomorrow night. So until then, see ya!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Auditions Part 4: Baton Rouge

Hello and Welcome back. Tonight is the first 1 hour show of the season, so it should fly by a bit quicker. Last night was "The Big Fight" between Mariah and Nicki, which ended up getting edited so bad that it looked like it was really nothing. I am completely over their bickering at this point. So it's time to focus more on the contestants. We will throw the judges in their a little but the show is best when the talent is really there, so hopefully we will find a few tonight. So let's get to it:

Contestants & More:

*Current Miss. Baton Rouge is Megan Miller. She was in an accident and sings on crutches, but it doesn't hurt her shot cause she is good. She is memorable for her appearance but her voice is really fresh sounding.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*Charlie Askew is an interesting character. He has a very innocent sounding voice, but also kinda passionate and strong at points. We will see how he is on the bigger stage, but today was good.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*Another nominated by a family member or friend is Maddie Assel . Randy again goes and offers her a chance to audition. We saw one person get through and one person didn't through this method. Her audition goes well, and she sings "Oh Darling" by The Beatles, so that's always a good way to go. Her voice works beautifully with the song. I like her a lot.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Then we get a montage of some really terrible performances. We see the looks of horror, shock and "hilarity" from the judges. Eh...

* Paul Jolley has very seasoned sounding voice. He sounds a little like Clay Aiken, doesn't look like him. But sounds kinda like him.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*Then we get super fan Chris Barthel . He has an alter ego, which Nicki names "mushroom". Fun he's got, a voice he does not. Nicki ran her fingers through his hair to give him good luck. Yep, she did that.   
Hollywood or Not? Not

*3rd year medical resident Calvin Peters works with people with disabilities. I don't remember any Doctors auditioning before, so that's memorable. He has a lot of passion behind his voice.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

We see a montage of bluesy girl Michelle Montezeri, balladeer Brianna Steer, and country-rocker Brandy Hotard. All 3 of them get through.

Then we see another montage of terrible performers. Nicki and Randy laugh and Mariah tries to keep it cool. Eh...

*Next up is firefighter Dustin Watts. He is full on country. There's nothing extremely unique or different about him, I feel like I've heard it before, but he has a nice pleasant voice. Not so memorable.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*Survivor of Hurricane Katrina is the next contestant Burnell Jones. I didn't like the beginning of Burnell's audition but he got stronger along the way and sounded great. He gets a standing ovation from Keith, Mariah and Randy.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Best of The Night?
Maddie Assel. I know the producers want us to really remember Burnell Jones and that's why they put him on last, but I really enjoyed Maddie's performance the best tonight. I feel that she had a great dynamic voice, and her bit with her family after her audition was memorable. So I think she has a lot going for her. Also good tonight was Megan Miller and Dr. Calvin Peters.

Final Thoughts
*I am so nervous about the standing ovations. Last season I hated the fact that the judges would give standing ovations like if their chair was on fire, so the fact that they have now given 2 different people standing ovations makes me feel like we will see more of the same. I feel standing ovations are best in small doses when something just unbelievable and unique comes around. They should be used in seldom, not just because. I hope I am wrong and they get more selective in their standing ovations.

*I wish we would get some more middle performances. Tonight it was either they are really good, or are really terrible. I'd like some that are good but needs improvement or just decent enough to get by. I'd like to see a few more of those. Those are the ones you can root for, people that improve over time and you can see that along the way. All we got was unanimous decisions tonight, either all "Yes" or all "No". There wasn't much disagreement tonight. I am not looking for bickering, just healthy disagreement and discussion.

So that ends Week 2 of American Idol. Let us know what you think if you so desire. Please come on back next week to Idol Be The Judge. Have a great week. Until next time, see ya!

Auditions Part 3: Charlotte

Welcome back. Well we know that this is the episode when all hell broke loose on American Idol with the judges, well with Mariah and Nicki to name them. We'll recap that bit when we get to it in the show, but we know the audition rounds are lengthy so we decided to get through some of the performances a bit quicker and because we'll talk more about the contestants as they get further into the competition we will make the recap/commentary on the contestants a little shorter, and hopefully a lot easier to get through. Enjoy!

Contestants & More...

The show starts off with the drama right off the bat. But goes with the drama of it by starting with 6 hours earlier before "THE Fight" happened. So we'll start back and go forward.

*Poppin' out of her dress is Naomi Morris. She has no voice, but her "assets" will help her in life I am guessing. She tries twice but twice isn't nice, she sounds worse.
Hollywood or Not? Not

*Singing flat on the floor is Joel Nemoyer. He said that he sounds better on the floor, not sure what floor he needs to sound good but this doesn't work for him at all. Plus if he sings on the floor then for sure he'll pick up some germs and this is Flu season, ya gotta be careful!
Hollywood or Not? Not

* Brian Rittenberry is up next. His wife was diagnosed with appendix cancer and has been doing well for years. He is a mix of Joe Cocker and some other country singer that I probably should know but don't. He's 27, looks about 37, but his voice is cool.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*With golden blonde locks is Jimmy Smith. Not to be confused with actor Jimmy Smits formley of the show NYPD Blue, who is 50 something and does not have golden blonde locks. His voice has a dynamic tone and moves well. Plus what's cool is that if he doesn't get far in Hollywood he is good looking enough to join a boy band. So he's got that going for him. Either way he is set. 
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*We see in a quick montage Sarina-Joi Crow who sounds awesome. Then Haley Davis who is alright but not unbelievable. Then we got Na'Chelle Fullins-Lovell, who I had to pause the DVR to ensure I got the spelling of her name right. We only heard a really high falsetto note, so we know she can squeak, sing, I don't know.Either way all 3 of them get through.

*With huge confidence is Matthew Muse. He tries he really does. But it's a disaster. The judges play with him a little but it goes no where.
Hollywood or Not? Not

*Randy dropped by to give Isabel Gonzalez a personal invitation to go to the American Idol audition. We saw this last week and that person didn't get through, this time it works cause Isabel is good especially for her age. The judges love everything about her.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood 

*Rock band singer is Taisha Bethea. She starts off super nervous and tries Johnny Cash song and then goes Alanis Morrisette route and does better. She isn't super strong but there is something.Mariah doesn't know if she is ready nor does Randy, but Keith and Nicki think she should move on to Hollywood. Keith is the deciding vote because Charlotte is more of his genre. So lucky day for Taisha.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Then we get a montage of a ton of disagreement between the judges. Nicki does have that eye rolling thing down pat.Thus the beginning of the cracks in the ship.

It starts off innocently with Summer Cunningham who sings a nice rendition of "Lean On Me". Nicki is pleasantly surprised, Keith wants to know what kind of singer she wants to become. Randy thinks she is a country singer. Mariah wants to know if Summer loves country. Nicki meanwhile doesn't like that they are getting so far into it. Randy, Keith and Mariah agree to send her through, but then Nicki starts to get upset at Randy and Mariah for trying to push this girl into a certain genre, a certain box right away. Mariah doesn't like that Nicki calls her out. Nicki repeats her point of view. Summer ends up going to Hollywood. BUT then Nicki gets up and walks out. Um, so they cut the crap out of that fight, I saw more of the fight on TMZ 2 months ago then I did on the actual show. Ridiculous. Honestly they showed nothing. No real cursing, no big anything.

Nicki was probably right in her thoughts, that contestants shouldn't have to figure everything out Day 1, they can learn as they go, but the other judges were trying to help the girl in their own way. So I don't know. The fact that American Idol didn't show the whole thing is absurd, it almost makes the show look duplicitous and liars. We know more happened, so if they are gonna pimp this fight for weeks and weeks and do promos and commercials about it then show the whole thing, not a 30 second bit.

Let's get back to the contestants.

*Brandy Hamilton is first up on Day 2.Not so sure about her. I want to like her, but didn't like the song choice for her. It sounded a little thin. The judges think there is more to her. On the way out she tells Mariah and Nicki "Don't Fight, It Makes Me Sad", Aw!.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*The next contestant loves her some good sandwich, and who doesn't. Her name is Ashley Smith . She has personality for days. Her personality is fun and bubbly and she can sing. She can really sing and she likes sandwiches, so perfect combo.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Then we see a montage of Nicki Minaj giving random people random nicknames. It's easier calling people made up nicknames rather than remember their names.I kinda sorta am liking Nicki Minaj.

*Former theme park artist is Janelle Arthur. Country is definitely this girl's thing. No discussion needed.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

We see a montage of several "scary" performances. No good.

*Self proclaimed "Voice of Charlotte" is Rodney Barber. He is a former homeless man who now helps homeless people. So good guy and good voice.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*I am so excited to see Candice Glover. She was famously cut from the group of Jessica Sanchez and Deandre Brackensick in the Las Vegas rounds when they sang "Doesn't Really Matter Anymore". She was just as, if not better than DeAndre and was just as good as Jessica in that performance. She was cut with little explanation and it annoyed me, so I am glad she is back. Her voice kills again. It just grooves and moves how she wants it to. Beautiful audition, really well done. Standing ovation by Randy and Mariah. She shouldn't have been cut before and now she is back again and maybe this season she is gonna go far. I do hope so.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*Hailing from Clover, South Carolina is Ja'Bria Barber. She kills frogs and eats their legs in her spare time. Yep, a 3 minute discussion happened bout that. Either way Ja'Bria is good, real good.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

*Next up is Brad Harris nicknamed "Bakon" not to be confused with "Bacon" which is very tasty. He unfortunately isn't as good as some bacon would taste right about now.
Hollywood or Not? Not

*With a really rough back story on her boyfriend getting into a terrible car accident, Seretha Guinn came out to 'follow her dream'. She sings a very cool remix of "Fresh Prince of Bel Air". Loved it. I love when people do TV Theme songs, and this girl did it in such a cool, and unique way. Then she does another song and you can hear she can really sing.
Hollywood or Not? Hollywood

Best of The Night?
Candice Glover. No doubt about it. Best of the Night, best of the season thus far. So happy that she is back. I also liked Isabel Gonzalez and lover of a good sandwich Ashley Smith.

Final Thoughts:

*Most of my thoughts on the Fight is above in the section called "THE FIGHT". All I do hope is that they focus on the contestants and move along. Just bits and pieces of the judges is fine, but too much of them is too much. Better in small doses.

*Not sure I like the contrived manipulation of the Idol producers and FOX for really trying to mislead  the audience into watching this fight when it ended up being nothing to mention. They have to really lessen that because while they might gain a few new viewers interested in the fight they will lose loyal viewers who feel used and the new viewers are fleeting and the older/loyal viewers my flee as well.

*I liked some of the talent tonight. 37 people got through in Charlotte. A few standouts, a few decent performances and a good amount of not so great performances. A mixed bag for sure.

Well that's it. Were you as disappointed as me about the producers not really showing the full scope of the fight? Are you tired of the focus really being on the judges and not so much on the contestants? If so let us know. We will be back tomorrow after the next new episode. So until then, see ya!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Auditions Part 2: Chicago

Hello and welcome back. Tonight is Night 2 of the Audition rounds. Tonight the contestants are auditioning in Chicago and supposedly there will be more fireworks from judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. We know based on everything that blew up that their huge fight came from the auditions in Charlotte, North Carolina. So until that episode airs we are going to see the little, mini fights that both Mariah and Nicki have that ultimately led to the huge blow up. With that I do hope we have a few stand out performances from the actual contestants. So let's get going and see what happens:

Contestants & More...:

The opening was pretty funny but might be staged, a family member goes crazy when their sister comes out thinking they made it, but they didn't.. Not sure if it was staged, but it was a decent opening.

First up is Mackenzie Wasner . Her Dad is a piano player and singer/songwriter for Vince Gill, so Mackenzie does have some experience. She is a country singer and has a great tone and quality to her sound. She doesn't have the strongest, booming voice but it's very sweet and solid, a ton of potential. Mariah thinks there is star power in her. Nicki thinks that she is a once in a few years kind of voice. She is on her way to Hollywood.

Austin Earles  gets a quick "No" after singing a Mariah song. Next up is Kiara Lanier. She actually was part of a group that sang for President Obama. She and Nicki have a fun little conversation where Kiara switches it up, she then gives credit to Mariah for helping her get to where she is now. I think Kiara has a little something there but you can tell her nerves at times. Nicki loves her control. Mariah thinks she has huge potential and Keith thinks she is ready to be a star. All 4 judges send her to Hollywood.

Stephanie Schimel sings next and sounds beautifully. She sings a great song and although she claims to be nervous her voice is quite wonderful. Keith thinks she sounds like a Carrie Underwood and Gwen Stefani blend. Nicki doesn't think her voice jumps out at her.Everyone but Nicki sends her to Hollywood. For some reason Nicki and Mariah get into a squabble. I don't even know how this one came to be.

Then we get a montage of Nicki and Mariah squabbling while Keith Urban is in the middle of the two ladies. We don't actually see any contestants just Nicki and Mariah taking jabs and Keith losing it. He says he feels like "a scratching post". That's pretty accurate.

Quiet yet wants to be loud contestant Melissa Bush brings Randy a t-shirt as a gift. I give her credit for trying but it sounds like me singing if I went in and sang and that's something that just would not be good, and this was not good. "No"'s across the panel. I did like how Nicki called her "Bush". That was funny.

Haley Reinhart introduces the crowd to the auditions in Chicago. It was nice to see her, even for a brief second. Coming bearing home-made cookies is Gabe Brown. With a huge booming voice he kind of scares Keith Urban a little. I feel this performance can give this guy a heart-attack before he hits age 30. Mariah wants him to be a little more mellower. When he went a little softer his voice sounded much better but he can't help it and gets really loud again. Nicki calls him "Curly", which again is very funny. The panel really enjoys him and he gets all 4 judges to agree and sends him to Hollywood.

Huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan is Kevin Nabity from Iowa. He sounds pretty manic and gets super quick with his lyrics. Randy feels he is in a bad auction where Kevin is trying to sell him a bad motor bike. Ouch. He tries a second song and somehow gets worse. A "No" across the board for him.

We then see a montage of the judges saying a ton of "No's" to some crying people and angry people.

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman fan is Isabelle Parell .Keith Urban is game and sings a bit of a duet with Isabelle singing "Baby It's Cold", I like her voice and she didn't even need Keith she was just good. She is only 15 and sounds very mature for her age. Mariah thinks she has a sweet quality about her. Nicki loves her tone and attitude. Although Randy does not vote for her Isabelle heads to Hollywood.

Keith had to go to one of his concerts so it's just the 3 of them left. We see a montage of some good looking guys that Nicki kind of flirts with.

The good looking guy that we actually get to hear sing is Griffin Peterson. Gotta say his looks are superior to his voice, but he does sound pretty good. Randy doesn't get it, he thinks his voice is barely below average. Mariah thinks he has a handsome face and has potential. Nicki says "Yes", Randy says "No", and surprisingly Mariah agrees with Nicki and says "Yes".

Curtis Finch Jr. is up next. In only a few short words Curtis grabs the group with his voice. He has the run of a seasoned performer. He gets a super quick "Yes" from the whole panel.

Following that really great performance is Mariah Pulice  She says she is a recoverer an still recovering Anorexic. She immediately starts to tear up.  She doesn't have the best voice ever, but it's very moving and maybe hearing her story helped that, but she sang "Let it Be" so it really was quite powerful. Mariah Carey starts to get emotional and is proud of her namesake. The panel sends her to Hollywood.

On Day 2 Keith Urban is back and the first contestant we see is Brandy Neelly. Her back story is that her aunt adopted her and her niece became her daughter and Brandy has had a great life since. I like Brandy a lot. I think she has a fun look, she has a strong voice and her audition is very solid. Keith loved it. Nicki thinks she is super super special, like super. Mariah loved it. On to Hollywood goes Brandy.

Josh Holiday sings next and I like him too. He has a great tone and hit the high note pretty well. For an audition it was well done, we'll see how well he goes in further rounds. Josh is on his way to Hollywood.

Then we get a montage of Courtney Williams and Andrew Jones. We don't see the whole audition process but we hear them sing and that's more than enough to send them to Hollywood.

Clifton Duffin has never sung in front of his parents before and his first time is during this process. He shouldn't have worried because he sounded really great for the few seconds we heard him. We only heard a few notes but they were incredibly well done. His parents sneak in and watch him perform. Mariah enjoys Clifton's journey of singing on his own until he gained confidence. Keith gets choked up when he sees Clifton's parents watching him in the wings. Clifton is going to Hollywood.

We see a montage of a slew of people that are Mariah Carey fans. One of them is Ieisha Cotton, who claims to be a professional dancer, well she better stick with that because a professional singer is something she will not be. Randy thinks she is tone deaf and that singing isn't her thing. Accidentally Mariah says yes to Iesha, and blames Nicki for it.

I remember this guy, Johnny Keyser from last season. He made it to the Hollywood round and a little after but was cut before the live rounds. Keith liked his voice and style. Randy likes that he came back and hopefully will go further as long as he worked on his voice a little. Mariah thinks he is a star. Johnny gets to go to Hollywood again and hopes for a different fate this time around.

Kez Ban is a beginner fire performer who also does balloon animals and is a street performer. Kezban is eccentric to say the least. I like Kez Ban. I also like saying Kez Ban. Kez Ban sang an original and sounded great playing the guitar. All the judges send Kez Ban to Hollywood and that's where Kez Ban belongs. Memorable for sure.

Next comes American Idol's chance to be "funny". They create a montage of really bad auditions and tried to compare it to "Les Miserables" by calling it "The Miserables". They just grouped a ton of really bad performers together in one fell swoop. They were bad, but not sure why they had to put it into a montage. Seemed unnecessary, but that's American Idol's specialty.

Musical Theater student Ashley Curry is not only a student but a twin, yep if American Idol mentions it then why not me? Ashley better stick to the studying because she isn't ready for graduation yet if ever. Mariah can't handle anymore and has to get up. The judges are shocked by her vocals in the worst possible way. Even after being told that she can't sing she just continues to sing. She doesn't get the hint. She is led out by the security guard after she just kept singing.

The last voice and story of the night comes from Lazaro Arbos . He has an intense stutter. He hails from Cuba. His parents say that although he has had a ton of therapy his stutter just got worse as he aged. He says he had no friends growing up. Through all this he learned to love music and wanted to sing. Color me shocked. He has absolutely no stutter when he sings and he sings quite beautifully. How he is able to do that and sing like he did is incredible. Randy thinks he is very pleasant. Keith loves his tone and Mariah loves his voice. With a unanimous vote Lazaro goes to Hollywood.  Deservedly so.

Best Of The Night?:

Kez Ban. I just loved everything about Kez Ban. The fact that Kez Ban doesn't care about winning but cares about getting a free trip to Hollywood, the fact that Kez Ban is so different, the fact that Kez Ban's real name isn't even Kez Ban. It's just all so good.

Loved Lazaro Arbos' story though. He is someone I look forward to a lot.

Final Thoughts:

--I gotta say that I am really enjoying Nicki Minaj. She just says whatever and is quite funny.

--I am glad they focused a bit more on the contestants and a little less on the judges, although we saw some squabbling.

-46 people made it to Hollywood this round and we saw about 10 of them so a much better ratio.

-We learn that next week is the week that we will see Mariah and Nicki's big blow up in Charlotte. So at least we can get that over and done with and move along.  

--Solid show, much better than yesterday, and a lot more talent overall.

So how did you like Chicago auditions? Did you like Kez Ban as much as me? If so let us know. We'll be back next week right after Wednesday's episode. So come on back and until next time, see ya!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Auditions Part 1: New York

Welcome back everyone. Well tonight kicks off the beginning of the 12th season of American Idol. That's right 12 whole years. It's a lot. But no matter what incarnations it has been through it is still on and we are still watching, we are still listening to the music and we are reading recaps. So I Thank everyone that has read our blog and will continue throughout this season. The audition rounds can become repetitive after awhile so stick with us and we'll get you through it.

They start the show in one of the coolest ways. They had last year's American Idol Winner Phillip Phillips sing his famous song "Home" and then begin the whole experience of the new season by showing us how great most of the past American Idol winners have done and why this show is still relevant. After 12 seasons and a ton of other singing competitions, no other show comes close to the success of this show and I like how they reintroduced the brand to us.

The show introduces us to the Judging panel. Firstly, Randy Jackson, then Keith Urban, next Nicki Minaj and finally Mariah Carey. 

The opening gets a little long, but finally after a good amount of time they finally get to the contestants and the whole auditioning process.

Before the first contestants comes in Nicki and Mariah "jokingly" get into it about Nicki's hat.So with that, here we go.

Contestants & More...:

Michael Buonopane, Oh No, he just comes in all crazy. He is too crazy to even really sing and immediately gets a No from the panel.

Nicki and Mariah throw a few jabs at one another, again all "jokingly".

Tenna Torres is an alumni of "Camp Mariah" a camp that you perform and sing at, she was able to sing for Mariah when she was 13 or something. Tenna, pronounced "Tina" was decent, a little theatrical, but given her Idol is Mariah Carey I am not surprised. She is sent to Hollywood.

They show a montage of a few people but we don't know their names. They seem decent, but given that we don't know their names it must mean they don't make it too much further than Hollywood.

James Bae is next and as he said "it'd be a miracle" if he was sent through, because he is dreadful.  He wants to "collide" with Nicki Minaj, meaning collaboration. Randy just clearly tells him not to sing. We also learn Nicki wanted to be a City Bus Driver. Alrighty.

Christina "Isabelle" supposedly has and continues to battle weight issues, but that doesn't quite matter since her voice is incredibly beautiful. I don't quite understand why they put quotes around her last name, but other than that she was great. Keith loves her humanity and confidence and so does Nicki Minaj. She is sent straight to Hollywood.

Evan Ruggiero is next. He is a cancer survivor and has a pretty incredible back story, he lost his leg due to the cancer yet he is a one-legged tap dancer, so that is awesome. His voice is lacking though. He sounds better with the guitar than without it but Keith Urban doesn't know if all the star-factor is there yet. The panel also doesn't think he is there yet either, so a "No" to Hollywood.

The next bit is a little odd. Randy Jackson heads down to Staten Island and tells a girl named Jessica Kartalis that she gets to sing in front of the judges panel.  So the next second we get to see her with the judges. They ask her to sing an original of hers and she messes it up due to nerves. Nicki Minaj doesn't think that she is ready and neither does the rest of the panel. They tell her to come back next season.

Hailing from Israel is Shira Gavrielov. She sounds interesting, pretty different. Gets a unanimous "Yes" and is sent to Hollywood.

Then on the last day of Day 1 the final contestant of the day is Frankie Ford. I like the pureness of his voice but the nerves catch up to him quick. He regains his composure and sounds pretty nice. He has a little of nuance to his voice. Keith Urban think he has a lot to his voice and his dynamic. Nicki doesn't think he has the best voice of the day but thinks he has a story to tell that needs to be told. He is sent to Hollywood.

Wearing Michael Jackson's wardrobe from the 1980s and a wig that resembles Lionel Richie circa 1974 is Benjamin Gaisey. The leather from his Michael Jackson jacket and pants makes it sounds like he is passing gas the entire time. Honestly if he was it couldn't have been worse than his voice and audition.

Rozanna Sindelman is someone I kinda wanted to like, but it didn't work at all. Although her parents feel that her voice gives them chills I think it is for the wrong reason. Chills in the wrong way for sure. Randy think it was bad and Keith agrees. Not good.

The show then shows a bunch of bad auditions and then a whole bunch of people crying.

To change things up a bit is New Jersey-country girl Sarah Restuccio. She starts by singing a Carrie Underwood song and sounds alright. There is something there, her tone and pitch were pretty on point. Then crazily she sings Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass". Talk about extreme opposites. Pretty cool actually how she can do well in both genres. The panel is confused about which way she will go with her voice, but Nicki thinks that she shouldn't have to choose yet. The panel sends her to Hollywood.

We then get the guy that Idol always puts on, the guy that needs subtitles. They always do this, they find a person that they can almost make fun of because he doesn't speak perfect English. His name is Albert Chang. He cannot sing, and he shouldn't have been put through to this point. He tries and hits some crazy weird high pitch part of the song. I give Mariah and Keith credit for not immediately breaking down and laughing. Especially when Nicki says that he has better range than Mariah.

Then we see a montage of Nicki speaking in a British accent. Yep, she did it, and yes they showed it.

Angela Miller pops up next and explains that she has severe hearing problems. For not being able to hear 100% she sounded pretty great. The judges are impressed. Nicki said that she felt something in her soul. Mariah loved her tone. They send her to Hollywood.

As a 7 time audition round trier outer Brett Holt is back again. The show kind of manipulates the audition a little with what they thought was super funny. But it was kind of lame. Eh, not even worth a mention, it was silly.

The Turbanator, this is what he nicknames himself, and again not sure why Idol on their very first night had to do a gimmicky, unfunny clip piece on Gurpreet Singh Sarin, and how he likes to switch up his turban based on his outfit. It was just a waste of time because this guy actually does have a good voice. Nicki doesn't think he has a stand out voice and Keith doesn't think it is strong enough. Mariah and Randy agree to send him, Keith disagrees, but Nicki Minaj sends him through.

Ashleee Felciano  is last of the night. She and her family foster and adopt medically complex children. I am glad that we know that and that she seems to be a great person, and I am equally as pleased to say she does have a very dynamic beautiful voice. I think she can work on her pitch a little but it was really pure and as Mariah said, she has potential. With Ashlee's very large family included, she is send straight to Hollywood.

Best of The Night?

Christina "Isabelle", although I still don't get her last name and the " " around it, I enjoyed her voice a lot. I hope we see more of her.

Final Thoughts:

--We learn 41 people are sent to Hollywood, yet we only see about 7 good ones.

--Sometimes Mariah was combative for no reason, but she does it incredibly under the radar and very passive-aggressively. Nicki Minaj is not a passive aggressive type of person, she is an aggressive-aggressive type of person, so I can see why they are not getting a long already.

--Not a bad first night, a few stand outs, I do hope we get a few more great singers and maybe a little more focus on the good contestants and a little less on the judges, but I doubt that.

Well how did you like Night 1? Do you agree with our choice for Best of the Night? Disagree? Let us know in the comments if you so choose. Either way come on back tomorrow after the next episode of American Idol. So until then, see ya!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcome Back Part 2

Welcome back again. To usher in the new season we wanted to pay respects to the American Idol Winners. It's true that we didn't always agree with the outcomes, but it doesn't mean that each winner didn't have at least a few really great moments that did ultimately land them the prize of American Idol. If you wanted to see our opinion on who we think shoulda won each season take a look at the previous blog. But today we have chosen 1 performance from each Idol winner that we think really catapulted them into the winner's circle. So enjoy and let us know what you think, if you think we missed the boat or we got it right.

(Note*Some video quality is better than others, but it's free so whatcha gonna do)

American Idol Winners' Top Performance

Season 1
Winner: Kelly Clarkson
Song: (You Make Me Feel Like A)Natural Woman

Season 2
Winner: Ruben Studdard
Song: Flying Without Wings


Season 3
Winner: Fantasia Barrino
Song: Summertime


Season 4
Winner: Carrie Underwood
Song: Alone

Season 5
Winner: Taylor Hicks
Song: You Are So Beautiful

Season 6
Winner: Jordin Sparks
Song: I Who Have Nothing

Season 7
Winner: David Cook
Song: Billie Jean

Season 8
Winner: Kris Allen
Song: Heartless

Season 9
Winner: Lee DeWyze
Song: Simple Man

Season 10
Winner: Scotty McCreery
Song: Gone

Season 11
Winner: Phillip Phillips
Song: Volcano

So what did you think? Agree? Disagree? Let us know and for sure come back after the Season 12 American Idol premiere that starts at 8pm Est/7Pm Central. So until then, see ya.