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!

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