Thursday, January 19, 2012

American Idol Season 11 Begins: Savannah Auditions

I wasn't really going to blog about American Idol this year, but since I don't know when the normal subject of this blog, David Archuleta, will be leaving for his LDS mission, I thought I would go ahead and do this again. This is just a warning. If I don't fall in love with any of the contestants by the end of Hollywood week, I just might pull the plug on these posts. We'll just have to wait and see.

January 18, 2012
Week one the the Idol auditions takes us to Savannah, Georgia. All of our usual suspects are back this year: Ryan, Randy, Jennifer and Steven are ready to amuse and amaze us with their critiques of this years crop of potential new superstars. I like the intro to the show. Nice touch showing some of the young auditioners as even younger kids, watching Idol and hoping to one day be like their heroes. Let's see how many dreams can be crushed this year.

David Leather, Jr- 17- Fayetteville, NC
I don't like his initial attitude. Too big for his britches if you ask me. Take off the shades, fix the hanging belt that looks dumb. David competed against Scotty McCreery, last years winner, in a previous competition. They came in first and second, but he will not admit which one of them won. I bet it was Scotty. David sings "Remember the Rain" by Century 21. I'm not familiar with this song. I also don't like it. He looks and sounds 12 to me. Judges think he sounds like MJ and asks him to sing a Jackson song. I think he sounds better but nowhere near the high praise the judges are giving him.  I'm not impressed. He's through to Hollywood.

Gabi Carubba- 16- New Haven, CT
Tells us she is a champion tap dancer. OK, nice to know. Has watched AI since season 1. Wants Steven Tyler to make his "happy face" when she sings and hugs Nigel when she comes in to judges room. Sings "Sunday Morning" from Maroon 5. Does a nice job with it. She's cute and confident without being cocky. I like her and so do the judges. She's through to Hollywood.

Breanna Faulk- 15- Monroe, GA
Really short clip but she sounds okay. She's through to Hollywood.

Neco Starr- 20- Atlanta, GA- Unemployed
Short clip but okay if we really need another Bruno Mars.  He's through to Hollywood.

Molly Hunt- 15- Franklin, TN
Short clip. Soulful and good. Not really the style I like and she looks much older than 15. Maybe its the way she is dressed. She's through to Hollywood.

Ellise Testone- 28-Charleston, SC- Musician/Vocal Coach
Soulful, but not really what one would expect from a vocal coach. She's through to Hollywood.

Jessica Whitely- 19- OH
For someone who has been singing since she was 10 and is asked to sing the National Anthem at lots of events, she is terrible. Tells the judges she will see them again in Texas. Let's hope not. NO NO NO

After a commerical break, Ryan has little kids doing his Idol "talk" and then we meet someone who thinks they are Ryan Seacrest.
Shaun Kraisman- Can't sing but could replace Ryan if you don't mind it deja vue feeling. NO NO NO

Shannon Magrane-15- Tampa, FL
6 foot tall volleyball player. Dad was a pro baseball player.Joe Magrane pitched for the St Louis Cardinals in the world series in 80something. Judges bring in the whole family and Steven makes his first really awkward comment to Joe's question "How's things in Beantown?" to which Steven answers "Hot Humid and Happening, just like your daughter."  Awkward silence!!! Shannon finally gets to sing "Somethin' Got a Hold on Me" by Etta James and does a really nice job. She's through to Hollywood and I hope her dad will be accompanying her there to keep the lusting old man away from her.

Now for a montage of bad singers set to Elvis' "You're the Devil in Disguise."

Amy Brumfield- 24- Gatlinburg, TN- Unemployed
Lives in a tent in the woods with her BF and their dog.  Very happy girl despite living conditions. BF's mom got the audition outfit for her.  Sings "Super Woman" by Alicia Keys and is awesome.  Steven tells her "the spirit of the children of the woods snuck into you." I think she is great and I hope she advances far, but LA might be too much for her. I hope she gets some good advise about CA before she heads there. She's through to Hollywood.

Joshua Chavis- 23- Camdon, SC- Unemployed (that seems to be the theme with everyone over 17)
Thinks he's a combo of Brad Paisley and Chris Daughtry. I think my cocker spaniel sounds better than him.
Sings Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" terribly. NO NO NO

Stephanie Renee- 15-
Favorite Idol Carrie Underwood. Has watched since a small child. Sings a Carrie song, "Inside Your Heaven" and isn't half bad. Is very open to constructive critique by judges and is handling it all really well for just turning 15. Split vote, but going to Hollywood.

Schyler Dixon- 16- Murfreesboro, TN                     Colton Dixon- 19-
Back from last year. Judges recognize her and want to know if her brother Colton is auditioning again also. She says no but he is there with her. Judges ask her to get him and make both of them audition. Schyler sounds sweet and young on "Breakeven"  and Colton has definitely grown as a singer on David Cook's "Permanent." Both are through to Hollywood. Schyler says "Well, that was unexpected." and Colton says "I have no idea what just happened."  Unless he has been taking acting classes, he was truly surprised by this turn of events. I'm glad he is back. He was one of my favorites last season.

Time for a montage of crying rejects set to "I Fall To Pieces."

Lauren Mink- 25- Winchester, KY- works with adults with disabilities (an adult with an actual job!!!)
Sings "Country Strong" --Really good. Gives JLo goosebumps. Randy says she has a Jennifer Nettles/ Sugarland sound. She's through to Hollywood.

Montage to the HEAT in Savannah set to Lauren Alaina's "Georgia Peaches."

Mawuena Kodja- 25- Togo West Africa/ Nashville, TN
Sings Rascal Flatts "Stand By You" terribly with a heavy African accent. Not a chance that he would advance. Ryan takes him out to look for people who like his singing and brings back some little girls and one elderly man to talk to the judges. NO NO NO

Ashlee Altise- 28- Kinston, NC
She invented the "Joy Hopping" dance. Looks like a nut but can actually sing. Nice job on "Come Together" so she's through to Hollywood.

Montage of rejects handling things better than expected.

W T Thompson- 25- Appomattox, VA- unemployed but was working at a prison before Idol audition
Wife is 6 1/2 months pregnant. Nice country voice. Split vote with Steven not so sure, but He's through to Hollywood.

Montage of Girls go gaga for Steven. YUCK!!
Stalker girl Erica Novack- Buffalo, NY gets to audition.  She says Steven is her future EX husband. Grabs his bottom during a hug. YUCK to both of them.  Sings "Super-Duper Love" by Josh Stone. She is Scary. NO NO NO

Brittany Kerr- 24- Charlotte, NC- NBA dancer
Really pretty, so she is through before she even sings. Okay singer. Through to Hollywood

Philip Phillips, Jr- 20- Leesburg, GA- works at dad's pawn shop
Very personable, not bad looking. Sings "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder really well.  Randy asks for something with his guitar. Sings an amazing version of "Thriller." Judges are on fire about this guy. Jlo says he is "super special."   He's through to Hollywood.

So, 44 golden Tickets were handed out in Savannah. We saw 16 of them. Wonder what the rest of them will be like or if we will ever actually see them.

Here are my top 5 picks from Savannah auditions: Philip Philips, Amy Brumfield, Colton Dixon, Gabi Carubba, Schyler Dixon.

Yes, Idol is back.

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