Thursday, January 29, 2015

Auditions Part 8: San Francisco Part 2

Welcome back. Tonight is the last night of auditions for American Idol 2015. I can't wait to really whittle down the field of over 200 Golden Ticket recipients. It's really a mixed group of people, it's people that are just lucky to have gotten a free trip to Hollywood and then there are some legitimate contenders out there. Next week we will post our Top 12 contestants from the audition rounds heading into the Hollywood round and we'll see how they do.

Tonight we also get to see a little behind the scenes of the audition process. As most people know when the contestants see the Idol judges of Harry, Keith and Jennifer,  it is a couple months after their first audition in front of pre-judges. Tonight we get to see that Season 7 stand out Carly Smithson and Idol Associate musical director Michael Orland are the pre-judges, as well as other producers that we don't see. We don't really see this part on the show that often, but it's kind of cool that they are showing us and that another Idol alum in Carly is taking part in it. This is an important part of the Idol process because if they don't get through the initial audition they will never see the actual judges. It's make or break for sure.

So we have that to look forward to and hopefully some other good things tonight. So as we always do, let's get started:

San Francisco Auditions

Adanna Duru (17) She is going to school to be a performer so she obviously has some natural talent. During this particular audition she proves that she can really sing and her education isn't wasted. She is put together really well, she dresses well, she has a nice personality and she hits some great runs. Nice professional audition. She missed a couple notes towards the end but it doesn't overshadow the overall audition.  She Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer=The full package. Harry=Very talented, cautions her to understand the lyrics before she sings a song.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Christopher Michael (26) Intense is probably an understatement when you hear this guy sing. He just has an angry face, hits the notes on his guitar really hard and actually beats up on it a little. The lyrics to his original song are hard to understand but I heard the words, "death", "chopped", "lay you down". Crazy audition. Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Keith=Love the passion but that was it. Singing wasn't there. Harry=Fired him up, but music wasn't there.
Going To Hollywood= Nope.

Hunter Larson (20) She decides to take Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" and turn it into an Adele sounding song. That's not terrible. Hopefully we see more of her and she can take her soulful sounding voice and play around with some different song choices. She Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Jennifer-Really interesting voice and gritty tone. Sets her apart from the rest. Memorable. Keith-An immediate reaction.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her. 

Tara Honda (22) She has a very pleasant voice.We only hear about 20 seconds of her sing but it's a slam dunk. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Harry-Would buy that new version of her singing that song. Lovely sound great. Jennifer-Soul of an artist.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Daniel Seavey (15) Sometimes someone says that they are 15 and they look 25 or 35, in this case, this kid actually looks 15, actually he looks 12. When he sings he actually sounds like he is going through puberty, like as if his voice is changing every lyric. It's a weird sound at first. When he plays the piano it doesn't sound great, but his second song sounds a lot better on the guitar. He hits better runs and his voice doesn't sound as broken up. Overall he just isn't quite there yet. It doesn't cost me anything if he goes to Hollywood and maybe in a couple months his voice will sound better, but based on this particular audition, even though he is talented,  He Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Keith-Wonders if his voice will continue to break. Jennifer- A little nervous but has a really beautiful voice in there. Saw it in glimpses. Musically talented, he is blossoming but it wasn't complete. Harry-Has a lot of Idol qualities, but because of his age he doesn't have the maturity yet.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. Keith and Jennifer Send Him.

Rocky Peter (27) Grew up in Nigeria and grew up poor, but he is here now. He sings an original song. I don't know what to think about it. Some of his notes are quite beautiful and he sings with a lot of passion and emotion, but the falsetto his a sound that only dogs can hear. I'd like to hear him sing a different song. So he Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Jennifer-Love the song, can hear his beautiful voice and pain in his writing. Keith=Is concerned with the Idol journey and him being compatible with it.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Jaq Mackenzie (15) She decides to sing an original and it just isn't good. Her voice is very flimsy and she has way too many runs and does way too much in a very short amount of time. She isn't the worst person I have ever seen but based on this particular audition she isn't there yet. She Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Jennifer-Makings of a great artist, one day. Voice is really young.  Doesn't know how she'll do down the line. Harry-Classic case of would sending her to Hollywood help or hurt her? Doesn't have a lot of experience to face certain things.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Tyanna Jones (16)  She is the middle child of 11 siblings. Given the Idol producers spent nearly 5 minutes on Tyanna's back story and journey to this point and she is the last singer on the show, ya figured she would be good, and she is. She just sings really well. Flat out can sing. She Should Go To Hollywood
Notable Comments=Jennifer-Can sing for the rest of her life. Very talented. Harry-Extremely talented, with a lot of potential, has a way to go given her age, but is a special young lady.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Best of The Night= Adanna Duru. I liked how she was put together, I liked how she came in confident but not cocky, and I liked her voice. It all just worked.

Final Thoughts

*200 contestants are heading to Hollywood and out of the contestants that sang tonight I only see a couple of them doing well there. Adanna, Tyanna, Tara, and Hunter each were very good tonight and I can see them succeeding in Hollywood. I would take back the Golden tickets from the young Daniel Seavey and Jaq Mackenzie. They both sounded their age, very young, and very thin at points. Maybe they will be good one day, but given the contestants that we will see in Hollywood they aren't even close.

*As a whole I just wasn't impressed with the talent group tonight. I think the judges were crossing their fingers and placing a lot of hope on a lot of these contestants. I think that has been the case for a lot of the contestants put through to Hollywood this season. The judges were on the fence a ton this year. There were a lot of no doubt about it contestants, but the amount of contestants that they sent to Hollywood when they weren't actually sure if they should go is almost too many to count. I am not saying every single audition has to be perfect, and we should know right out of the gate if someone is going to win, but there were just too many "wait and let's see what happens" contestants. That really was my biggest pet peeve through the past 8 audition episodes.

That's it. Next week begins Hollywood rounds and I couldn't be happier to see some of this talent group start to reduce significantly. Anything can happen in Hollywood, some front runners can fall, some under-rated people can rise. We shall see. So come back next Wednesday for an all new recap after an all new episode, so until next time, see ya!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Auditions Part 7: San Francisco Part 1

Welcome back. Tonight is the beginning of the last week of American Idol auditions in the final city, San Francisco. I am more than ready for auditions to be done. I feel we have seen a lot of great talent, and we have seen contestants get through to Hollywood that probably shouldn't, so I am excited to see how everything pans out. We will see what happens with the contestants tonight. So let's get started:

San Francisco Auditions

Katherine Skinner (15) This contestant is what we are gonna I don't know. She loves cats so much that she says one is a psychic that told her to audition, claims to have partied with Bowie in the 70s even though she is only 15 and is wearing some crazy get up including her "pimp coat". She has the weirdest voice that is actually not terrible. It's all surprising because her voice hits some really beautiful notes, in the midst of her oddness. She's a cooky, crazy character. I don't think I can take too much of her personality but her voice is not bad at all. She Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Jennifer-You're talented, but you're "cray". Doesn't know if it's a joke, could be 15, could be 35. Is talented, and made for a stage. Not sure if it's American Idol. Harry-Exciting to see her find her own originality and creativity. Likes the stories and weirdness.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Montage=Erika David (25) Not sure if I dig her voice too much at this point. There are spots that need to be improved. Chandler Leighton (20) She has this really bluesy and old-school sound quality to her voice. Really enjoyable to listen to. Ryan Pinkston (27) Didn't like what he did with his song choice, but his voice is so pure and great that he can do well. Chandler and Ryan Should Go To Hollywood, Erika Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Going To Hollywood= Yep. Chandler and Ryan get all 3 yes votes. Erika gets Harry and Jennifer's voice. 

Andrew Bloom (17) As Harry mentioned he kinda looks like a younger Tim Tebow. Andrew has a very distinctive tone and quality to his voice. He puts a lot of aggression and personality into his performance. His friend is Olympic sprinter Ryan Bailey. Harry brings him in and tries to beat him in a quick sprint, he fails miserably. But Andrew does not, He Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Keith-Good spirit. Can work on a few things vocally. Jennifer-Has a fight and attack. Harry-Needs to be careful with the blues lick, needs to watch out for that.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Kellyeann Rodgers (24) If I didn't see her age, I would have thought she was 45 years old based on her voice. Not saying that's terrible, but she will need to pick some younger songs. She still Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= None
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Reno Anoa'i (16) He is a Samoan and is proud of it. He is 1 of 6, but his Mom is 1 of 22, so he has a large family, to say the least. He plays the ukulele and has the sweetest, cutest voice. This guy is adorable. He wears a little bowtie and a necklace that his late grandfather gave him. His voice doesn't do too much, it's just simple enough to get by. I liked him. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Jennifer-Believes when he sings, didn't believe his runs, should just tap into the stories. Harry-Great voice. American Idol encompasses more than just the voice, needs to provide a little variety.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Samuel Prince (22) He is from San Juan, Puerto Rico, he bows down to the Puerto Rican Queen, Jennifer Lopez.  He and the judges put on a telenova thing because Samuel really wanted to get fake "smacked" by Jennifer. Kind of weird, but oddly entertaining. His voice unfortunately is really pedestrian and not entertaining at all. Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Harry-Entertained by the whole thing but voice isn't strong. Jennifer-Great character. Keith-Singing sounded like he was an actor singing like a singer. Not truthful.
Going To Hollywood= Nope.

Matthew Sequeira (15), Luke Randall (23) and Sade Shine (23) get montaged together to show Jennifer saying "No" to them. I do have to say she has gotten a decent amount better at saying "No". Back when she first started a number of years ago she was way too nice and couldn't handle saying anything negative. She still isn't as straightforward as I wish, but she is a lot better.

Rayvon Owen (23) His voice is as sweet as a children's lullaby. It's quiet and tender. Even when he goes for some runs and higher notes it's still very delicate. Not saying any of this is bad, it's just a little limited in spots. His last note right at the end was the best note of the whole audition. I am interested in what he can do and if he can grow. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments=Keith-Great song, lyrics and showed everything in his voice. Tone is so beautiful. Jennifer-Had us on the journey with you. Harry-Something to be said for just standing there and singing.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Ezekiel & Jeremiah Cardenas (20) They are twins that decided to audition together. Bad choice. I don't know which one is which but the voice is not good at all.  The guitar that one of the twins was playing was so out of tune. Everything in this audition was out of tune. They Should Not Go To Hollywood
Notable Comments= Jennifer-Need more practice.
Going To Hollywood= Nope

Maddie Hudson (16) Her voice is beyond her age. It's very professional and has a real pain and anguish to it. She puts all of her emotions into the song, and that gives me a lot of hope that she could be a great contestant on this show. Plus she has a very sweet and fun personality that gives her even more flair than she already has. I like Maddie a lot and am excited that she is on the show. She Should Definitely Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments= Jennifer-Just fantastic. Full of goosebumps. Loves it. Everything was polished and then her personality is fun and goofy. One of her favorites. Has heart.  Keith-Loves everything on the outside and everything that it's covering up. Harry-Has the makings of a superstar. Exudes star quality. Lovely.
Going To Hollywood=Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Best of The Night= Maddie Hudson. She is so good. Tonight wasn't the strongest night in the competition, but she made up for it big time. This show is about finding one superstar and if Harry and Keith are right she has the makings to be one. I think her potential is endless. Really exciting performer.

Final Thoughts

*Tonight brought more characters than great contestants. Maddie Hudson was far and away the best part of the show. She is only 16 but exudes a lot of maturity and has an incredible voice and presence. The rest of the show was not great. The cat lady/girl's personality distracted from her voice, I liked Rayvon, Reno and Andrew but not sure how far they will go, it might depend on their song choices. I really enjoyed Chandler but we only saw a small sampling from her. Not the best episode, but Maddie saved the show from being a total loss.

*This season is weird in a lot of ways. I think we have seen some amazing contestants, potential stars, and a slew of great talent, but then there are so many contestants that have been put through to Hollywood that are beneath those people. The gap beween the really good and the rest is getting larger and larger. I know that there are so many variations of what a contestant can be, and what their potential is, but when I see some outstanding talent go through and then they are followed to Hollywood with people not up to their level it makes it hard to see why they are there. I guess we'll see when we get to Hollywood rounds where those middle of the road contestants land.

That's it. Come on back here tomorrow after another brand new episode of American Idol. So until next time, see ya!

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!

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!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Auditions Part 3: Kansas City

Welcome back to Week 2, Night 3 of American Idol auditions. Last week saw over 25 contestants going to Hollywood. Will this week be as prosperous? Last week's episode ended in Kansas City, so we pick up from there. So as we always do, let's get started:

Kansas City Auditions

Ron Wilson (24)Whenever someone starts singing as soon as they enter the room you know the audition is gonna be weird and when they start singing "Jenny From The Block" and you are neither a girl nor from the block it's gonna be weird. His nickname is "Big Ron" and asks Jennifer to call him "Big Sexy". Yep, this guy is something, though he admits to coming off a little strong. Keith and Harry don't listen to "Big Ron" at all and left the room, and just Jennifer is left there. They pretend they went out for a hamburger. This audition was crazy and silly. "Big Ron" actually wasn't so bad, but I wasn't blown away. Shouldn't Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry- A lot of showmanship but needs to balance out his vocals. Jennifer-Loved it.
Going To Hollywood: Yep All 3 Judges Send Him

Ian Subsara (28) Singing a Bee Gees song is tough because it is all falsetto. He admits that his high note is so high that only dogs can hear it. Should Not Go To Hollywood
Notable Comments: Harry-Not right for the show.
Goes To Hollywood: Nope

Going To Hollywood Montage: Ashley Lusk (15), Josh Sanders (26), Casey Thrasher (23)

Joey Cook (23) She thinks accordions should be brought back to the mainstream and not just for polka music. So she plays with the "squeeze box" and it's a little distracting from her voice. I actually dig her sultry, old school voice but the instrument does nothing to help her out. It's an interesting performance. When she just plays the accordion without the voice I dig that a lot. I like each one independently. She says "It's a cool thing her voice box is not attached to her squeeze box", which is the funniest thing I have heard on the show in years, the judge's start laughing almost uncontrollably. She's adorable, and her voice is really cool. She should lose the accordion but Should Go To Hollywood. 
Notable Comments: Harry-Favorite voice of the whole day. Jennifer-So unique and looks like a little doll. Harry-Absolutely terrific. Take a step back to look at how close to the edge of novelty she is.
Goes To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Alexis Gomez (22) She is a self-proclaimed "Hippy, Mexican hill-billy". It's a different mix, kinda cool. She has a pleasant voice. Not outstanding. Should Not Go To Hollywood. Needs a little more work, but has the makings of a good singer.
Notable Comments: Harry-Not fully realized voice. Jennifer-Comfortable, voice is good. Harry-Smart and beautiful, good but not spectacular.
Goes To Hollywood:  Yep. Jennifer and Harry Send Her.

Anton Bushner (19) I was drawn in right away to Anton's voice. It's so sweet and nice. He is a big country guy, and is a huge Keith Urban fan. He puts a lot of emotion into this performance and you can tell he really means every word he sings. Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Absoutley love you. Everything. The Way he stands, the way he shows respect to Keith. Jennifer-Real sweet voice. Really authentic.
Goes To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Stephanie Gummelt (18)Singing an original song is tricky sometimes. She has a high pitched talking voice but her singing voice is a little deeper and really pleasant to the ear. I don't know if I am the biggest fan of the song but she sings it really well. She has a real thing for Steve Perry, but is upset that he is 64 and she is 18. It's a little creepy, but she is sweet so it's kinda funny. Should Go To Hollwyood.
Notable Comments: Jennnifer-A natural singer. Very pleasant sounding. Harry-Wants her to put more breath behind it, meaning breath of experience as well.
Goes to Hollywood: Yep. Jennifer and Keith Send Him.

Ashley Stehle (15) She brings both of her parents and family into the audition. Both of her parents are deaf, and her Dad got a new transmitter that he can hear voice for the first time at this audition. Man, that's pretty amazing.I think her voice is just really young. I know she is 15, but there are 15 year olds that have more mature voices.  It was a little pitchy in spots and flat at points. Should Not Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Has trouble singing acapella. Sings flat. Changes keys. So off. Harry-Clearly her mom and Dad love her so much but she is not ready for this competition. Keith-Heartbreaking because she is beautiful and has a beautful voice.
Goes To Hollywood: Nope.

Ellen Petersen (22) She brings in a banjo and really plays it well.  There is a point in the song when she yodels and she does that well too. Harry and Keith request and the proceed to sing the Beverly Hillbillies theme song while Ellen plays her banjo. Jennifer never heard of the theme song or show. No clue. Ellen Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Really really good. Beautiful. Played banjo really subtly. Harry-A pro. So much more in there.
Goes To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges Send Her.

Kohlton Pascal (21) He is a hitchiker and moves around the country that way. He sleeps wherever and sings everywhere he can. It's an interesting story. He sings an original and it comes off a little too strong for my taste. I don't really know what he was singing about. He has a decent enough voice but it's a little too dramatic for me. Should Probably Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Terrific. But concerned that he won't do what he needs to do to win this competition. Jennifer-Very interesting. Wonders if we are gonna feel his heart and soul and not just the dark and depressing vibe. Keith-Conundrum, likes his talent and sound of his voice but visually not so much. Not sure how far he will go in this competition.
Goes To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges Send Him.

Best of The Night-Anton Brushner. His voice just drew me in right from the start. I really enjoyed how easy it was for him and that he didn't do too much.

Final Thoughts
*I am thoroughly enjoying these one-hour episodes. The time really flies by and you get a lot less filler and time wasted.

*Multiple contestants really did well tonight, Anton Bushner, Joey Cook and Ellen Peterson were really good, but then there were a lot of not great contestants that made it through as well.  I didn't agree with the judges on "Big Ron" Wilson, Alexis Gomez or Kohlton Pascal. I thought Kohlton was a bit too dramatic for me. Sure he has a voice, but I agree with the judge's first instinct that it was a little too dark. I wasn't entertained by him, even though he is interesting and different.

That's It. Come on back here tomorrow after the next episode of Auditions from New York. We'll see you then. Until next time, see ya!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Audition Part 2: Nashville and Kansas City

Welcome back. After seeing the Top 24 in a silhouette music video I really hope we don't learn anything more about the current Top 24 before they are officially revealed. Without even trying you already could maybe tell which contestants from last night may or may not be in the Top 24. Like we mentioned yesterday we will not actively try to figure out which contestants made the Top 24, but it'll probably become a lot clearer as we enter the Hollywood rounds and whittle down the numbers. We will continue to be a "no spoiler zone".

Anyways, tonight is the second night of American Idol Season 14. According to a number of websites, last night's ratings were a little over 11 million with a 3.3 (18-49) rating. So it's down about 20% and 35% respectivley from last season's premiere episode, but up a little from last season's finale. So we'll see how it goes. Tonight the contestants finish up auditioning in Nashville and we also see some auditions from Kansas City. So enjoy and let's get going:

Nashville Auditions Part 2

Andrew Annello (22)- He came in kind of like a bozo, then his first note was crazy high and weird, but then he settled a little. Still not very good, but it was better than I thought. But that's saying I thought it was gonna be an "F' and instead it's a D+. Harry let's Andrew try a second time to try not to be so silly. Probably should not go to Hollywood even though his second performance was better. 
Notable Comments: Keith-Thought it was kinda like a caricature. Harry-Silly. Is better the second time around.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges Said Yes.

Loren Lott (21)-With Michael Orland accompaniment. I like her personality and her mom was fun too, but her voice was a little thin. It was funny she asked the judge's to sing with her at one point. It was a cute performance but the singing just didn't hold up enough for me. Harry asks her to be more natural and try another performance. That seems to have helped a little. Probably should go to Hollywood but not sure how far she'll go.
Notable Comments: Harry-Sounds like an actress trying to be a singer. Does have star quality. Keith-Voice is pretty and great personality.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. Jennifer and Keith agree to send her.

Trevor Douglas (16)- A kid who likes science and is a little goofy is a heck of a guitar player. His voice doesn't do too much for me until he hits the falsetto part of the song "Sing". That did the trick for me. He should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer- Has a little quirkiness, geeky quality in the best sense. Did a really nice job. Loves the falsetto. Harry-Loves his confidence.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges Said Yes.

Piper Jones (24)- No back story or montage just a pure singer and so damn good. She does crazy good runs and has a fun personality while she sings, which sometimes is hard to do. We only see about 30 seconds of Piper but it was really good. Definitely should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer- "PIPER!!!!!".
Going To Hollywood: Yep. (We don't see the judges say yes, but I assume she is through to Hollywood). 

Kelley Kime (23)-Going into the audition with her 3-year old daughter definitely makes it tougher to say "No". Her daughter then sings a little "Let it Go" when Michael Orland unprompted starts to play. Pretty much every child between the ages of 2 to 10 and a ton of adults know every word to "Let it Go". It's amazing. Anyways, back to Kelley. After that whole thing with her daughter singing then sitting on Jennifer's lap you had to hope that Kelley could sing and she does. Not the most outstanding singer in the world but definitely does enough to get to Hollywood. Her kid is pretty cute, I have to admit that.
Notable Comments: Harry-Really really hoping she could sing.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges Said Yes.

Cammie Lester (15)- Her first line goes wonky and she has to restart. Then she restarts and it ends up worse. Should not go to Hollywood. She's only 15, she could work on it.
Notable Comments: No comments.
Going To Hollywood: Nope.

Garrett Miles (25)- Garrett walks in led by his father because he is unfortunately blind since a very young age. He says that because he can't see the crowds he doesn't get nervous or anything like that. He plays guitar since he was a young guy. Despite his story or anything Garrett has a really great voice. It's not the most outstanding voice, but very pleasant to the ear. He tells Jennifer Lopez he loved her in the movie "Selena" and proceeds to sing a song from the movie, and then Jennifer joins in. Very cool. I love his personality. He should definitely go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Keith-Likes his style, likes the way he sings, can hear him sing any song and be him. Harry-Has a gift.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges Said Yes.

Clark Beckham (22)- We learn he is a street singer/performer. He plays his guitar and has a really strong voice, you could tell after only a couple notes. He has a lot of soul and movement in his voice. He did a lot with his voice in a short amount of time but it wasn't overdone. He should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Sounds like a singer, has a good ear, but not quite ready. Jennifer-Nice bluesy tune with a sweetness. Had a little trouble at the top, maybe lost some breath. Keith-Didn't get enough intensity.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. Jennifer and Keith send him through.

Gina Venier (24)- She plays drums, guitar and sings, so she's pretty talented.  She comes in with her box of instruments and before she sings one notes and just kicks this box thing you can tell she's gonna be good. Then she actually starts to sing and it has a little rasp to it. I think her musical talent over-matches her singing a little, but the whole package just works. She should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Keith-Who needs a band?
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 judges send her.

Alex Shier (19)- He can sing. I am not blown away but he has some talent. Not sure he should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Remembers him from last season and came back and defined himself, it's different and better. Harry-Doesn't know if he can bring something different.
Going To Hollywood:  Yep. Jennifer and Keith send him though.

Cody Fry (24)- He blasts a big note right out the gate on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" then kinda settles and brings a super sweet and tenderness to his voice. I love when he goes for the falsetto, although he might've held onto it a little too long, but most of it was so good. His voice is really pretty and distinctive. Should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Gives a folky, throw back vibe. Harry-Might not have had potential 10 years ago, but does now. Felt great.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges send him.

Hector Montenegro (24) - He is a master cosmetologist and tells Jennifer that her skin is beautiful. I like the power behind Hector's voice. It doesn't blow me away, but it's a solid audition. Should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Nice voice, only concern is presentation. There's a piece missing. Jennifer-Innate coolness and swagger. Keith-Naturally a great singer.
Going to Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges send him.

Sarina-Joi Crowe (19)- 4 time repeat Idol contestant. I remember her pretty well from last season, not sure about the other couple times, but she is pretty good from what I recall. During this audition she starts off very strong and continues at that high level throughout. She is really good and I hope she goes further than she has in the past. Should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Good enough to go right to the voting without comments.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges send her.

We see a montage of some quick "Yes" to Hollywood contestants. Alison Peratikos (19), Jake Black (19), Steffi Leddbetter (20)

Savion Wright (22) - I liked Savion so much last season. I don't know what happened to him last year, I really thought he was gonna make live rounds, but came up a little short. He thinks he benefited from being cut last season and he looks great, really different from year to year. Savion decides to play one of my favorite songs "Change The World". He is just so cool and has a lot of style and swagger to his voice and personality. Should definitely go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Seems more confident in his own sting. Keith-No way I'm not gonna say Yes.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges send her.

Kansas City Auditions

Zack Kaltenback (22)- Starts off a little rocky, but gets it back really quick. He sounds cool but I wasn't jumping up and down for this audition. I've seen better. Don't think he should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Felt like it was a flat audition. Needs to feel like he was getting pushed. Jennifer-Star quality. Keith-Good presence, but voice needs work.
Going To Hollywood: Keith and Jennifer send him to through.

Naomi Tatsuoka (24)- She is gonna pretend that it's "Tequila Tuesdays" and sings the song on her knees. Not sure I get it, but we'll go with it. Surprisingly Naomi sounds really good and she sings Adele's "Someone Like You". I thought she was gonna be really goofy but she has a lot of strength and power in her voice and hits some crazy runs.Should Go To Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Has a really great voice in that it could go so many ways, which is good and bad. Sometimes doing too much isn't great. Keith-Great gift of a voice and can tap in, but sometimes it went too dramatic.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 send her through.

Jhameel (24) -Makes origami and puts paint on his face in a certain symmetrical way because he has severe OCD. He turns "Buy U A Drank" into an acoustic performance. I wasn't bowled over but it was solid enough to go to Hollywood. We'll see how it goes for him when he is there.
Notable Comments: Keith-Voice wasn't enough but everything else that came with it did.
Going to Hollywood: Yep. All 3 send him through.

Jasmin Pinela (24)- I think Beyonce's "Listen" is one of the most difficult songs to sing because it has so many different tones and directions it could go. Jasmin loses her way at a few points during the time. She loses her breath and goes flat in so many places and is off the tune and key. She should not go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-"What happened". Keith-Wasn't just that voice gave out but it was in a whole other key at most parts.
Going To Hollywood: Nope.

Lovey James (16)- Lovey is her stage name, her real name is Kiersten. Lovey is full pop and kinda fits the mold of some of the younger talent out there now, which is good, but it doesn't really distinguish her as well as one might want. It's a nice voice, but not that fantastic. I'm not that into so I wouldn't send her to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-sings like pop singers on the radio sing now, adds her own thing to it too. Keith-A lot of originality.
Going To Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges send her through.

Jess Lamb (28) - Waited for American Idol until she was completely ready.  Has played all over for 10 years and feels completely seasoned. They bring in a piano for Jess. Her voice in the first line was a breath of fresh air. She knows her voice, she knows what to do with a song that is overdone a lot like "Ain't No Sunshine". So good and interesting. I really loved it. Should definitely go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Definition of creativity. Jennifer-Has her own point of view. Keith-Would stop what he was doing just to listen to her.
Going to Hollywood: Yep. All 3 Judges send her through.

Best of the Night
Garrett Miles and Savion Wright, both from Nashville. Jess Lamb from Kansas City. All 3 brought different personalities and distinctive voices. I was really happy to see Savion back and glad that Jess was able to bring something different to Kansas City.

Final Thoughts

*It was another good night for Idol. 21 contestants are going to Hollywood just from this episode alone. I think out of the 21 at least 15 of them were really really good. A few probably should've stayed in their hometowns instead of Hollywood, but those contestants will get whittled down in later rounds.

*I was nervous that Kansas City was gonna be a bust until Jess Lamb walked in. Nashville had the majority of the really great contestants, but because of her audition it leveled things out a little more.

*I am happy with seeing so much talent. Maybe seeing 25 auditions in a 2-hour span is a lot, but I'd rather see that then montages of people's backstories and sob-stories and nonsense. The one-hour audition episodes are the best, but it is what it is at this point. No point in getting upset about a format that's been around for 14 years.

That's it. Please come back here next Wednesday after another episode of American Idol. We hope you enjoyed our recap and will tell others about it and just keep reading and coming back. We really appreciate it. So have a great week and until next time, see ya!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Season 14 Premiere-Auditions Part 1: Nashville

Welcome back. Tonight is the beginning of Season 14 of American Idol and we are I'dol Be the Judge. Whether you are new to this blog, or are a faithful reader, or somewhere in between, we welcome you. We try our best to give a fair and sometimes critical reaction to the show as a whole in as streamline and entertaining way as possible. Episodes that are two  hours can get a little repetitive so we will try to make our recaps and opinions as brief yet accurate and descriptive as we can. Tonight's episode is only one hour but tomorrow night's episode is two, so we'll see how it goes.

If you didn't check out our previous post that described some of the changes that American Idol has and will continue to go through this season we suggest you do. As an added bonus we compare the other singing reality show The Voice to American Idol and describe which show has a better way of putting an entertaining show together. Anyways, we hope you enjoy tonight's recap and as they say "on with the blog" (actually no one says that), but either way, here we go:

Top 24 Perform?!
So about a week ago American Idol released a video and some pics of the Top 24. Obviously the video was dark and you couldn't fully see the contestants, but you see their shapes, hair color and most importantly hear their voices. Tonight they are showing the Top 24 perform "Feeling Good". I don't know if I care for this little ploy. I am not one of those people that reads the end of a book or last page before I actually start a book. I know that a lot of people do that, but I like to be a little surprised and be on a journey. I know the faces are pretty blacked out and in the shadows, but I'm still not feeling this little trick to get the public to talk and generate speculation. Seems unnecessary. Because I don't like spoilers I will not try to compare the faces and voices to the people, if you choose to do that go for it, but I am gonna try to pretend I didn't watch this video. Although a lot of the voices are pretty amazing.

Nashville Auditions

Riley Bria (17)- Keith knows this kid, he got a chance to play with him in 2012 because he went to a summer camp set up by the Grammy foundation. He was and still is a really great guitar player and he has a nice voice and he is a good looking guy, decent combination. Should make it to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Doesn't see him try at all. Entertaining and Captivating. Keith-Wants him to dig in but he can shred on the guitar.
Goes To Hollywood? Yep. All 3 said yes.

Priscilla Barker (19)- The baby of 10 children. She is pure country, which you are gonna find when you go to Nashville. Her voice is pretty, it's not the strongest in some spots, but it's pretty. Should make it to Hollywood, but not sure what will happen once she is there.
Notable Comments: Harry-Likes her enough to see her again. Jennifer-Just not special enough to move on.
Goes to Hollywood? Yep. Got Keith and Harry's approval.

Cameron Bedell (25)-I like this guy. He is from Wichita, Kansas and moved to Nashville, and I think that was a good move. He has a lot of soul and groove in his voice and he plays a nice guitar. Definitely should make it to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Harry-Didn't open his eyes once but it didn't matter, lacked no disconnect, completely into what he was doing. Keith-Wants to play with him...means he wants to jam with him. 
Goes to Hollywood? Yep. All 3 said Yes.

They show a montage of some pretty bad auditions and the judge's laugh. 

Amber Kelechi Walker (15) We see her back-story that she grew up where there was a lot of gang violence in Memphis, TN. She explains that if she didn't love music she'd probably be pregnant, in jail or dead.  With piano accompiament(which I never saw before in an audition) Amber does a decent job. For a 15-year old she has a lot of power behind her voice but lacked a little finesse with some of the quieter moments. Not sure if she should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Great performance. Harry-Likes her as a person but wants her to spend more time working on her vocals. 
Goes to Hollywood? Yep. Keith and Jennifer give her their approval.

Kyle Blaine Corman (24) With hair as red and big as Carrot Top's he literally jumps right into the audition.He works in a supermarket and doesn't like when little old ladies touch his hair, which leads Harry to proceed to go over and touch this guy's hair and then ask for some Purell. Kyle can play a decent guitar, but his voice is kinda weak. Not the worst I've ever heard but it's like he wants to be a rock guy but with a tender voice, it just doesn't match well enough for me. He should not go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Has a talking tone over a singing tone. Keith-Doesn't like that he doesn't listen to the feedback the judges were giving him. (Got kinda annoyed at him for continuing to sing instead of listening).
Goes to Hollywood? Nope.

Kory Wheeler (26) Works at the coffee shop across the street from the place that he is auditioning.  Not to be funny, but he has a very coffee house kind of a voice. It's sweet and slow in spots but then he hits some nicer bolder moments. The song he sang was "I Can Make You Love Me". I liked this audition, he can sing, so that's a great first step.Should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Doesn't know if she has heard someone sing like him even though she has heard this song done so many times. Harry-Loves the sound of his voice. 
Goes To Hollywood? Yep. All 3 said Yes.

Michael Simeon (20) He is a good looking guy and has a very gravely kind of soul thing going on. His voice is really nice, he carries a really nice tone and stays in tune the whole time. Should go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Made it too easy.
Goes To Hollywood? Yep. All 3 said Yes.
Bonus-After he got his ticket he requests/hopes that Jennifer would dance with him and she agrees. She does like a slow dance with him. Keith picks up his guitar and Harry goes to the piano and Michael continues to sing "Stay With Me". So he got a golden ticket, got Keith and Harry to be his backup singers and band and danced with Jennifer Lopez. Not a bad day for the guy.

Emily Brooke (15) Worked for the past year playing and performing to get ready for the show and to afford to get to this audition. I love her voice and the fact that she worked on her vocals and talent to get to this point. She has a lot of depth to her voice and personality. She's a country singer but could easily get to the pop side easily too. Should definitely go to Hollywood.
Notable Comments: Jennifer-Pretty great. Sang every word and told a story. Keith-Loved it. Lotta raw talent. Harry-Knows who she is, and would be interested to see how she lines up against the other Idol competitors.
Goes To Hollywood? Yep. All 3 said Yes.

Best of The Night= Cameron Bedell. I just liked his tone, his personality and overall audition. Though Emily Brooke and Riley Bria were really good.

Final Thoughts

*Decent start to Season 14 of American Idol. I thought out of the 8 performances and 7 contestants proceeding to Hollywood that 5 of them were pretty great. That's hopefully a good sign of things to come. I also enjoyed that the show was only an hour. I know that tomorrow is 2 hours and we will get a lot more filler and unnecessary back-stories, but if they stick with good/great performances and less nonsense then hopefully the time will fly by.

*Has there ever been piano accompaniment by someone other than the contestant auditioning? Michael Orland was helping out on piano during the auditions. Which is helpful because it wasn't acapella, but I just don't think I ever saw that before. Not sure if I like that. I kinda like the contestant starting without any help or  just their own guitar or piano playing and then kinda growing into the bigger stages and bands and musical accompaniment. But maybe that's just me.

That's it. Tomorrow we will be back with a little longer recap of the second day of auditions. Hopefully you enjoyed this one and will come back after the show. So until then, see ya!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Welcome Back-Changes and Idol v The Voice

Welcome back. Happy New Year. But more importantly we are on the precipice of Season 14 of American Idol. That's right 14 years of singing, judging, star-making performances, major fails and a ton of contestants that you probably can't remember their names. Despite or because of all that we are back for our 6th season of blogging this little show. Tomorrow January 7th, 2015 is premiere night but we thought we should catch you up on some of the changes that Idol went through this past off season and also we wanted to give those who do or don't watch The Voice a chance to see a comparison between the two. At this point both Idol and The Voice aren't the juggernauts they once were, and honestly if Idol's numbers don't rebound this year this could be its last, but as a viewer of almost every edition of the Voice and every single season of Idol I wanted to show you why you should stick by Idol and continue to watch or at least come back to I'dol Be The Judge for all your recaps and maybe don't watch so much of The Voice and get burned out with all these reality shows. So let's get to it:

Season 14 Changes:

      1. RANDY JACKSON IS GONE!!!!! After 12 years of being a mediocre judge and 1 season of being a misdirected, inefficient mentor, Randy Jackson is gone. Could he come back as something at one point? Maybe, but hopefully not in any responsible role. New mentor this season is Scott Brochetta. He is most well-known for discovering Taylor Swift. He is kind of a Nashville guy, we’ll see how he does with all sorts of voices and talent.
      2. ONE NIGHT ONLY! The results show is gone once Top 10 begins. Well, the results aren’t gone but the show is. The show will be condensed into 1 crazy night. They did this on Dancing with the Stars a few years back, it was a little wonky in the beginning but now they have it down. If they do it by the DWTS format it will be everyone performs, everyone gets phone numbers and tweets and all that in which it will go towards the following week, but then right at the end of the episode we learn the results from the previous week and despite how someone performs that night they could potentially be gone, if the Judge’s Save is not utilized. This will make for an exciting 2 hours of Idol rather  than a stretched out performance show and an even more stretched out results show the next night.
     3. Coca Cola is GONE! I don’t really care too much about it given I’ve never received free stuff from CocaCola since that time I said I liked Pepsi and CocaCola didn't take kindly to that...but we don’t talk about that. But seriously though, a sponsor for the first 13 seasons of Idol’s run has decided to part ways. Not a good sign for the aging show.
     4. WHAT’S NEXT?! This season hasn’t been deemed the show’s last. I am sure they are gonna wait and see how the ratings are for the first number of weeks on it’s normal regular schedule and then see how It settles into it’s new one night format before the FOX people figure out what to do with it’s former ratings juggernaut.  None of the judge’s or Ryan Seacrest are signed through next season. But despite all the speculation I will not guess that this is the final season until we are told. So we just carry on like any typical Season of American Idol and hope for some great talent, incredibly constructive criticism and support from the judges and the hope that Randy Jackson doesn’t poke his head on this show again.

 I don't want to be a home body but despite American Idol's vastly depressing ratings over the past couple seasons, and the Voice's ability to attract A-List Musicians, American Idol is a far superior show. I am going to rank and explain why for those that like me tried really hard to like The Voice and realize that you just can't OR you never watched the show but wanna know the hype. Some of these Idol examples are based on past seasons, things could’ve changed for this year.  

 The Voice

  •  Before Live Round There Are: 5 Audition Rounds, 4 Battles, 3 Knockouts=Way Too Long/Too Many Rounds
  • Too Many Judge’s Saves-(3) Each Judge Gets 2 Steals For Battles and 1 Steal For Knockouts
  • No Real Negative Comments By Mentors, Especially After Live Rounds begin because the Judge’s don’t want to come off petty and make the other mentors go off on their contestants.
  • Too Many Eliminations At A Time---Especially after live rounds begin. Took so long to get to that point and then they are gone quickly.
  • The Twitter Save-West Coast Can’t Vote and People that Watch DVR next day can’t Vote.
  • Don’t Get To Know The Artist
  • Season is 13 Weeks

American Idol
  •  1 Judge’s Save For Entire Season (Doesn’t Begin Until Top 10) 
  •  7 Audition Rounds and  3 Semi Final Rounds
  • Season is 19 Weeks
  • Public Gets 24 Hours To Vote, No Twitter Save
  • Get To Know the Contestants
  •  Once Hit Live Rounds Only 1 Elimination At A Time(Exception: When A Judge’s Save Is Used, 2 Could Go Home Following Week)
  •  Judge’s Are Actual Judge’s and Provide Both Positive, Negative and Critical Comments

That's It. Hope you enjoyed this little preview of I'dol Be The Judge. We will be back tomorrow night for the first night of American Idol Season 14. Until then, see ya!