Friday, January 16, 2015

Auditions Part 4: New York

Welcome back. Last night's episode featured the last of the Kansas City auditions but unfortunately it didn't have a ton of memorable/stand-out moments. Hopefully tonight can turn things around as auditions land in New York, which is of course, Jennifer Lopez's birthplace.

During filming of tonight's episode, which took place in early September, Nicole Kidman (Keith Urban's wife) sadly, lost her father, so Adam Lambert (Season 8 runner-up) was asked to fill in for Keith. Ever since Adam was on the show and provided such creative/dynamic performances he has come back several times as a mentor, guest instructor and musical guest, and each time he has done really well. I look forward to hearing his thoughts and point of views tonight.

It's a 2 hour episode tonight, so let's get started:

New York Auditions Hour 1

Sal Valentinetti (19) We learn he is born and bred in New York and loves Sinatra so of course he is singing "Fly Me To The Moon". Harry bets him a $100 that he doesn't know the real name of the song, Sal guesses correctly that it's "In Other Words", Harry promptly pays his debt. Sal actually has a nice enough voice. He is really comfortable on stage, and has a nice personality. He needs to sing and dress a little younger if he wants to reach more people, because he is acting about 30+ years older than he really is. But, I don't mind his voice. It's enough to get to Hollywood, not sure how far he'll do if he continues this route, but he can carry a tune and is a nice guy. No over the moon for this guy...get it, over the moon, like "Fly Me To The Moon"... Eh...
Notable Comments=Harry-Not what looking for in Idol .Doesn't see him win.  Adam-A lot of people at home would love this guy.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. Adam and Jennifer send him through.

J. None (24) He brought in his stuffed teddy bear named Mr. Crispy that he got when he was in the hospital as a child getting treated for asthma. It reminds him that the can sing despite his ailment. Harry suggests that the old looking bear is causing the asthma. J is like a flashback to the 90s with his voice, maybe it's because he sang Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative", but he just hits the run in a certain old-school style. I liked it. Should Go To Hollywood. 
Notable Comments=Harry-Liked him from the minute he saw him. Adam-Good, good groove.
Going To Hollywood-Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him Through.

Jax (18) Her Dad is a retired fire fighter that had to retire early because he was injured during the recovery at the 9/11 site. He's the man. Now, Jax on the other hand is just fantastic. She looks like a hard, rock chick, but she has a really tender, beautiful voice. She plays on the piano a slowed down version of "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Her voice really cuts right through the  TV screen and does everything you hope it would. One of my favorites so far. Should definitely Go To Hollywood
Notable Comments= Harry-No one sounds remotely like her. Really strong and a lot of talent. Jennifer-Has a confidence and is shy at the same time. Is really internal which draws her in. Sounds like the real thing. Adam-Drawn in immediately, interesting and energy is grounded and earthy.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him Through

Johnny Arco (28) Went to jail for playing Bach in the subway because a police officer told him to stop playing. He says he is playing today a 500k violin. I don't know. He is pretty intense and plays the violin as a mini guitar really hard. He probably should go back and play more violin somewhere else that the cops can't catch him becasue he plays that well, but the voice isn't gonna cut it. Should not go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Harry-Super intense. That violin is worth $19.99 now. Really entertaining and talented. Idol isn't his thing. Jennifer=Not for American Idol. Adam-A character.
Going To Hollywood=Nope.

Najah Lewis (20) She also plays in subway stations, but she is completly different from Johnny. Najah has a really beautiful voice and makes the Maroon 5 song "Payphone" her own. She is very creative. I think she has a lot of potential. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Sometimes there are people that jump all over the place, but she didn't move and is still captivated. Adam-Very inventive and interesting. Jennifer=Whole style is unique.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him Through

James Killian Dunn (21)and Tion Phillips (20) Idol packaged these 2 guys together because they both flirt with Jennifer. James is a flat out flirt and tells the world that he is only a few years yougner than Jennifer's last boyfriend and Tion gives Jennifer a flower.  Tion has a very sweet voice.  I like James, but not as much as Tion. But they were both really good. Both guys Should go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= (To James) Jennifer-Has a really sweet voice. Good performer (To Tion) A lot of control, likes his whole look.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. Tion gets all 3 judges' approval. James gets Harry and Jennifer's approval.

Shi Scott (19) Her voice is very distinct, but because Shi decided to sing an Amy Winehouse song "Valerie" she sounds exactly like Amy Winehouse. She didn't quite make the song her own. I wonder if this is how her voice would be on another style or artist, because it is quite good, but is just a little affected. I'd like to see her again singing a different song and artist. She's interesting, she Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Harry-Very talented. Sounded just like an Amy Winehouse impression. Wants to see her real talent. Jennifer=Needs to tap into it emotionally and forget about her nerves. Adam-Has tone and is pretty, doesn't know if she's ready. Needs a couple more years to figure herself out.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. Harry and Jennifer send her through.

Eric Lopez (19) I like Eric as a person, he seems like a nice dude. But this was just a brutal performance. He wasn't in key at all. I just don't see much from Eric. I thought he was all over the place. He sings "Show Must Go On" from Queen, which is a tough song, but he chose it, he could've chosen anything. You shouldn't get bonus points for choosing a tough song. He Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Adam-Some notes were good, but it was disjointed. Harry-Interesting, doesn't know how far he will go. Jennifer-On the fence, has a great voice, but doesn't know how he fits in the competition. Adam-So raw.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. Harry and Adam send him through.

New York Auditions Hour 2

We get a blonde girl montage package. Maddie Walker (16) Has a very lovely voice, Jackie Nese (17) Needs to connect a little more and Courtney Zahn (21), has the best voice of them all. Not sure I like how this whole montage package of these 3 women happened. Read more about it in our Final Thoughts below.
Going To Hollywood=All 3 Blonde ladies are going to Hollywood.

Qassim Middleton (18) This was an audition that I feel had too much going on. He has a decent voice, but it was mixed in with some weird dancing and beat boxing. I think he has something there. Just not sure what it is yet. I'm a little intrigued. Should Probably Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer-Super comfortable, has the whole vibe going on. Harry-In his world he can really stretch out.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Send him through.

Bridgett Guerrette (19) No just no. Not good at all. Plus when she went for those high notes it made my ears hurt.
Notable Comments=Adam=Not wrapping her musicality around the right style.
Going To Hollywood= Nope. 

Adam Lambert (32) Harry Connick Jr asks if Adam Lambert wouldn't mind recreating his initial audition. Without a ton of prodding Adam agrees and sings the same song that got him his golden ticket and the song that led to him performing with Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody". Adam was amazing. The fact that he agreed to do this in the first place, the fact that when they showed his initial audition that was so strong then and so strong now, proves that he is just flat out good. Harry and Jennifer were super impressed.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. Been there done that. Came in 2nd. 

Adam Ezegelian (20) He is a curly headed, student of toy design, New Yorker. He compares his voice to Adam Lambert and I can see that. His voice is very strong and even a little theatrical at times. He sings "Born to Be Wild". He adds a few too many runs that were unnecessary. He threw everything out there in a short amount of time. He is a rock dude for sure. Adam Lambert asks Adam to try another song a little more mellow and he chooses Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours". It's more under control yet you can still hear the power in his voice. Should Definitely Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Adam=Took some stuff that I did on the show. Music-ship came through on the second song. Harry=Shouldn't change a thing. Looks forward to hear something serious and tender. Jennifer=Really interesting and unusual voice. Unexpected.Wasn't sold on the first song, but the second was.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Katherine Winston (18) Her voice is incredible. Flat out fantastic. She really draws you in. We don't hear the judge's comments. But she was so good.
Going To Hollywood=(Didn't see it, but we assume) Yep.

Travis Finlay (20) He was going to go to school for his music but had to save his family's house instead. He said it's a process to be a great singer, but that process really delivered today. Travis was in a few promos the past few days, so you knew he was gonna be good, but he is pretty great. Travis is the man. Should definitely go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Harry=So handsome. So talented. Jennifer= A Star. He shines. Looking for talent and indescribable and he has something real. Needs to lessen some of the runs. Adam=This show was made for him. 
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Benjamin Farmer (20) This was a bad performance. Just pure bad. That's all.

Yanni G (23) I like her.  She is cute. Not a ton there. Boyfriend Nick is also auditioning. She just didn't do enough with this audition.  She should not go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer- Super sweet. Couldn't hear what she's capable of.
Going To Hollywood= Nope

Nick Fradiani (28) He is the boyfriend of Yanni. He is more distinct and has a real style and dynamic to his voice. He does little inflections on certain words and it makes a big difference. I know it's a little awkward given that Yanni shouldn't go to Hollywood, but Nick definitely Should. He was really good.
Notable Comments=Harry=His genre is super competitive this year.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. Not sure how many judges chose him, but at least 2.

Hollywood Anderson (22)  He sings on the subway and on the train platform as his profession. His speaking voice is kinda high, and his singing voice is just as high. He sings his own original song "My Best Friend". Honestly, and it's not bad, but if you closed your eyes you might think it was a girl singing. His song is so pretty, great lyrics and he does vocal tricks and runs that really showcases his voice. He is different than a ton of contestants that is out there so far. Should definitely go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer=Felt it from the first note. So good. Interpreted the song so well. Wants to record that song. Adam=So many dimensions to the way he sings. So interesting. Emotional. Harry=Best audition today, best audition of last 2 days, and possibly of last 4 cities.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him Through.

Best of the Night=Jax from Hour 1 and Hollywood Anderson from Hour 2. Jax was just amazing. In a long 2-hour episode she was completely memorable.She was so good, and made everything seem so easy. Hollywood is great and different and his song was fantastic. I am very intrigued with what songs he chooses in the future, because his voice is so different from people we heard. Harry told him he might be the best they have heard so far this season, I'd say he is definitely up there.

Final Thoughts

*After last night's unspectacular audition round, tonight blew it out of the water. Out of the 17 Golden Tickets handed out at least 12 of them really could make an impact on the show. That's saying a lot.

* I loved Adam Lambert. He was honest, and funny and charming and knows exactly how to do this. I remember before Harry Connick Jr signed on to the show last year that Adam's name was thrown out there as a possible replacement, and I have no doubt that if Harry didn't sign on that Adam would've done a great job. I hope we see more of Adam on this show. He just knows his stuff so well.

*I thought it was super strange that Idol packaged the 3 blonde white girls together. Are they trying to say that all blondes are the same, that these 3 girls just happen to be similar or is it some combination of both? I know they wouldn't package other people of different races together like that. It was a little skeevy, maybe I took it wrong, but I just didn't like how they were grouped as if they weren't 3 distinct human beings but 1 super blonde white girl. Very weird to me.

*I'd take away a few golden tickets tonight. I'd take away the ticket from Eric Lopez, Shi Scott, and I didn't really like Qassim Middleton. We'll see if they make it past the first stage of Hollywood rounds.

That's it. Pretty solid night. Some amazing performances and a great guest judge. That's a good combination. We will be back here next Wednesday after an all new episode. So check us out then, and until next time. See ya!

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