Thursday, January 31, 2013

American Idol 12: Los Angeles Auditions

The Idol clan has docked in Long Beach, CA on the Queen Mary for this set of auditions. (Didn't they learn from last season's rough auditions on the Navy ship in San Diego that water auditions are bad news?)
And we are off to a rough start. Mariah is stuck in traffic in LA and Nicki is a rehearsals for something else. It's up to the guys to keep the ship from sinking.

First up, a contestant whose name gives the guys tons of trouble.
Shubha Vedula (Shoe ba Va du la)- 17- Mt Pleasnat, MI
"Somethin's Got a Hold On Me" by Christina Aguilera. This girl has a big voice. Very soulful. Definitely not what the guys expected or me for that matter.
Yes X2. On to Hollywood.

Mariah finally arrives on set.

Brian Martinez- 21- LA
A producer he met in a restroom told him to audition for Idol. (Must have been a producer from X Factor)  Poor guy can't sing. That was cruel.

Ryan tells us a tidal wave of talent hits Idol.

Matt Farmer- 26- Phoenix, AZ
Matt is a returned soldier who experienced a traumatic brain injury in an incident in Iraq. he was told the meds he had to take would make him sterile, but he now has a 3 yr old daughter. she is along for the audition. Matt is singing "Change Is Gonna Come". I agree with the judges that he has strong pipes. He does a nice job, but I've heard better on this song. He gets Yes X3 from the judges. Nicki is still MIA.

Stephanie Sanson-
In a band with her sister.  Looks different but not as psycho as she sounds. Go far away before you break everything on the set.  Mariah says she needs to get her pastor on the phone now.

Nicki finally stumbles, I mean strolls in with her major muscle-men entourage and Ryan tells us he sees smooth seas ahead. (We all know that means trouble of the horizon.)

Jesaiah Baer- 16- Hollister, CA
"Settle Down" by Kimbra is her song. She is sounding decent when the Fire Alarms on the ship go off. Everybody out says Nigel.

While the fireman check out the problem, we are treated to some of the best singing of the night by some Rasta Man dude on a new VW commercial.

We are back and Ryan says that was Randy's lunch burning.  Back to Jesaiah. She isn't rattled by the evacuation, just starts over. Nice jazzy voice. Nicki is shocked.  Yes X4.

The ship is said to be haunted and Ryan takes us on a spooky tour. Then the ship's ghosts accompany some really scary contestants including a guy singing "Pretty Woman" and playing spoons and someone who appears to be Native American and performing war chants.

Micah Johnson- 24- Morrow, GA- US Navy (GO NAVY)
He tells us that when he recently had his tonsils removed the doctor accidental hit nerves and now he has a major speech impediment. This impediment is very apparent to us and the judges. He is auditioning because he wants to be an inspiration to others with speech problems.
Singing "Chicken Fried" by Zac Brown Band. He has an awesome country voice. Nicki's eyes are about to pop while he is singing. Keith is singing harmony with him. And it is a resounding Yes X4 for this awesome contestant.

Day two in LA starts out with a lead in of a young girl with amazing talent saying "I'm 10 years old and I will be the next American Idol ... in 5 years."   Reminds me of the clips of David Archuleta singing for the finalists of AI Season 1. He had no idea at that point what would happen in Season 7.

Rachel Hale- 21- Prescott, AR
"People Get Ready" She is very soulful. Sounds like Southern Gospel. Keith said she has a touch of Wynona Judd. Randy says she has to be the happiest contestant. "You've brightened the room."
Yes X4.

Briana Oakley-16- Antioch, CA
She was featured on Maury Povich's show at age 12 as one of the most talented kids but when she returned to school, she was severely bullied. She has overcome this now and wants to tell other kids to be themselves. Singing "Up To The Mountain" by Patti Griffin. She is totally a Gospel singing girl. Beautiful sound. Nicki "Wow, Wow, Wow. All the stars have aligned to set you here today." Yes X4.
I hope she does well in Hollywood.

And we are up to the final LA contestant and the spot reserved for the heart-breaker story of the day. Is it possible to have one more heart-wrenching than we've already seen?
Matheus Fernandes- 21- Atlanta, GA
This young man stopped growing taller when he was just a kid. Bullied in middle school and high school. He turned to music as has saving grace. He is strong now because of this challenge. Sings "Change Is Gonna Come". This is the BEST version I've heard on Idol. You can hear that he believes the lyrics.
Yes X4.  Hollywood, get ready.

Ryan tells us 50 golden tickets were handed out in LA.

My favs in LA: Briana, Shubha, Matheus,Micah

American Idol 12: San Antonio Auditions

Idol moseyed into my hometown of San Antonio, Texas for the first time in six years to see what kind of talent they could Round Up. (Yes, that is a Texas pun. We don't actually say things like that, especially not in San Antonio.)  To totally convince the rest of the world that Texans are all a bunch of crazy, over- the-top people (well, that could be true), Ryan explains that "Everything's Bigger in Texas!" while we are shown a gigantic, dinner-plate sized cinnamon roll that is said to be Keith's breakfast. This is all a lead-in for the Texas-sized talent we are about to be introduced to.

Vincent Powell- 29- Austin, TX (Hey, that's where I live.)- Praise leader
Vincent is introduced as a huge Mariah fan who is also a return auditioner from Season 11.
"Rock Me Baby" is his song of choice. This guy is definitely a gospel singer. Nice job. He made it to the finals of Hollywood week last season but was distracted on last song by Randy drinking his Coke. Really? Lame. I don't remember seeing or hearing anything about this guy before. Well, the judges love him. Yes X4 and he is off to Hollywood again. Maybe Randy should be more considerate of the contestants and give up the Coke.  LOL

Next we have a duo; brothers, I think.
Derek and David Bacerott- 21 & 24- San Antonio, TX
Sadness- they can't sing, especially not together. Of course they argue with the judges. NO- Go away!

Savanah Votion- 24- San Antonio, TX
Sob story numero uno. (That's #1 for all the rest of you out there.) She is the mother of a 5 yr old daughter. Got pregnant at 19. Her clothing choice for Idol audition does not lend well to a serious contestant. She is singing "At Last" and the judges are waiting for the boom to drop. Hey, she is actually good. Nice surprise. She isn't Etta James, but who is. Keith says "You have a lot of 'Life' in your voice. the struggles, the highs, the lows. I can hear them all."  Yes X4. See you in Hollywood. Get a new outfit for the plane or they might not let you on.

Ricky Jo Garcia- 16- Alice, TX
She is rough. The judges tell her to keep working and come back. (The judges are being kinder this year with the young ones who aren't stellar but could improve with time and lessons.)

Cristabel Clack- 29- San Antonio, TX- Worship leader
Well, we are certainly finding a lot of "church people" on the road this season. "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys is a good choice for this contestant.
Mariah is feeling it and so is Keith. Mariah says "I know you, I get you, I love you."
Yes X4.

Randy headed to Fayetteville, Arkansas for an invite for our next nominated contestant. He surprises this one at a U of Arkansas football game.
Ann Difani- 23- Fayetteville, AR
Nominated by her husband. Sings "Stronger" by Faith Hill. Keith says she has a pretty tone. She is definitely a country girl. Yes X4 from the judges. I'm not blown away by this one. I would say NO.

Victoria Acosta- 20- San Antonio, TX- Mariachi singer
She performs on the Riverwalk with a mariachi band but chooses to audition with "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie.  Yucky choice. Ok but not great. Looks like the judges agree with me. Randy asks her to sing something "mariachi" and the judges now love her and I agree with them. Song choice is really important at this point for sure.  Yes X4.

Time for a little montage of weirdos that can't sing before we meet another weirdo in person.

Papa Peachez- 19- Jackson, Mississippi
He said the homeless people he used to work with named him that. He claims to be a "big black woman trapped in a little white boy's body." He is singing an original song that has expletives bleeped out and he sings about being gay. He has an interesting voice. He could be good with the correct material. One of the judges calls him Quirky. Two yes, two no. Randy voted no but as the deciding judge today changes his vote to Yes and Mr Quirky is headed to Hollywood where I do believe he will fit right in.

Sanni M'Mairura- 16- Pearland, TX
Mother is from Tanzania, Father from Kenya. They met in college in the states. This young man can speak Swahili. he is part of a worship outreach group at his church. (See what I mean about "Church People" this season) He wants to be a good role model. Singing MJ's "Who's Loving You" and doing a very nice job.  Randy says "I love that you didn't try to sound like Michael." Yes X4. He seems like a really nice, talented young man. I hope he does well.

Adam Sanders- 19- San Antonio, TX
He is in love with Mariah. He seems like a sweet guy but not one suited for the bluntness of Idol. Likes R&B and Soul. Singing Etta James, "I'd Rather Go Blind." Now this is THE guy with an old black woman trapped inside him. the judges are floored and so am I. Yes X4. I hope he can survive the nastiness of Hollywood week.

And that's all we get from the San Antonio auditions.  Ryan doesn't tell us who many Golden tickets are handed out in SA. 

My favs here are: Cristabel and Sanni

Friday, January 25, 2013

American Idol 12: Baton Rouge Auditions

We are visiting the bayou of Louisiana for this show. Bring on the strange people and gators. Baton Rouge also happens to be Randy's home town. Keith says all the good music comes from the South.

Mariah is doing Randy's make-up for today's show. She says she was a beauty school drop-out.

Our first contestant is the current Miss Baton Rouge. She is also on crutches.
Megan Miller- 22- Ethel, LA- Miss Greater Baton Rouge
She was is an accident a few days before the audition and should be in the hospital but had to make the audition (extra camera time assured). heading back for surgery immediately after audition time. wearing her heels while rocking her crutches. "Something's Got A Hold On Me" She is very soulful with a nice voice and sassy attitude. Not working the sympathy angle too much.  Yes X4 from judges.

Charlie Askew- 17- Little Rock, Arkansas
Charlie was a socially awkward child who had a difficult time communicating. He has always been able to communicate through music. Singing the intro to "Breakthrough" by Queen. Interesting. Second song is "Nature Boy" which is totally awesome. Very easy to hear the musicality in his voice with this choice.
Randy says he is a seemingly dark, but cool man. Keith says his voice is not like others, it is his own. Yes X4 and he's on the way to Hollywood.  His mom said that the doctors say he has "Charlie Askew Syndrome" because they can't classify exactly why he is like he is.  Personally, to me he seems to be very high functioning autistic. What ever the case, he has a wonderful voice. I hope he is able to deal with Hollywood, because I want to hear more from Charlie.

Time for Randy to personally invite someone to the auditions.
Maddie Assel- 17- Centreville, VA   Nominated by grandmother.  This girl looks and acts older than 17.  "Oh Darlin'" the Beatles is her song choice. She has an unusual voice. Very Southern I guess. She does a nice job. She's cute, confident, and has her own style.
Yes X4 and on the way to Hollywood.

As Ryan tells us "the tide has turned" we get a montage of horrible auditions.  Thanks for keeping it short producers.

Paul Jolley- 22- Palmersville, TN
Paul says singing is his calling in life. He wants to give back like his recently departed grandfather did.
"I Won't Let Go" by Rascal Flatts is a great song choice for his voice. This guy is very happy and has a nice sparkle in his eyes. He also sounds like he has vocal training.  Yes X4.

Judges are getting tired. Enter the weird dude of the day.
Chris Barthel- 24- Metairie, LA
 He says his alter ego sings. Nicki names his alter ego :Mushroom" and he sings "If I Had You" by Adam Lambert. Yep, that was weird. He is funny though. No go for Hollywood.

Dr Calvin Peters- 27- Ft Worth, TX- Physician
Yes, he is an actual 3rd yr resident at a Vetern's hospital. They call him "The singing doctor." He sings a Maxwell song and the judges are amazed.  Yes X4.

Now for a montage of auditions:
Michelle Montezeri- 19- Orlando, FL   R&B style
Breanna Steer- 18- LaPlace, LA    R&B style
Brandy Hotard- 26- Port Allen, LA (Nurse)  Country - sang "Hell On Heels"
Yes X4  X3.  Now we have a doctor and a nurse in Hollywood. Maybe everyone can stay healthy.

Dustin Watts- 27- Albany, LA- Fireman in Baton Rouge.
Dustin is a big ol' boy. Nicki is ready to be saved.
He sings "She's Every Woman" by Garth Brooks and sounds great.  Perfect country voice. You can tell he is the happiest with Keith's comments.  Yes X4 and we get to go along as he tell the guys at the station that he's going to Hollywood.

Our extra sad back story of the night belongs to :
Burnell Taylor- 19- New Orleans, LA
Family road-out and survived Katrina. They lost everything but not each other. Moved to Baton Rouge. His grandfather was the leader of a band and played several instruments. His mom is a singer. He doesn't play any instruments but wants to learn.
"I'm Here" from The Color Purple is his song choice. Keith is ecstatic, can barely contain himself and is the first on his feet. Mariah is crying. Nicki is stunned.
Randy- "amazing voice." Keith- "You could turn an atheist. Somewhere there is a spotlight waiting for you to walk into it."
Yes X4 and Ryan tells him "you changed that panel forever. They just experienced something they hadn't experienced while they've been out on the road."

So we get 35 Golden Tickets to Hollywood in Baton Rouge.

My favorites : Burnell and Charlie.

Next week Idol takes on my home town of San Antonio.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Amercian Idol 12: Charlotte Auditions

The show starts with Ryan "racing" on the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Keep dreamin' Ryan!!!

The producers want us to know that there will be conflict this week between the judges, so we get a little TMZ and contestant "talk" about the "huge fight" that shut down production.

On a better note, Scotty McCreary is on hand for the cattle-call auditions to welcome the contestants.

And we are finally ready for some judging. Let's judge Nicki. She is wearing a very , very short white dress and has pink cotton candy hair today. 

Naomi Morris- 28- Charlotte- clothes designer.  She designed the outfit she's wearing. YUCK!!
Aretha Franklin's "Respect".  And she can't sing either. Bye bye.

Joel Nemoyer- 20- Carlisle, PA
He claims he can sing "with high clarity" by lying on the ground. He saw this on season 5 of Idol when David Foster/ Andrea Bocelli mentored and Foster had Chris Daughtry lie on the ground. this guy is not Daughtry or Bocelli. Bye Bye.

Brian Rittenberry- 27- Jasper, GA
Wife miraculously recovering from stage 4 appendix cancer. Seems like a really nice southern guy.
"Let It Be" with a Country side.  Nice voice but I'm not sure if he is different enough to go very far.
Yes X4 from judges and his wife meets her crush, Keith Urban.

Jimmy Smith- 25- Waynesboro, TN
He says Keith is a huge influence. He auditioned on-line. This is a nice looking guy. "God Bless The Broken Road" is definitely his song. Nicki gives some weird Jive talk review, Keith says voice fits his personality, Mariah says he's incredibly special and unique. Yes X4. Lookout Hollywood.

The judges are getting hungry. Nicki mooches trail mix off of Keith.

Montague of golden tickets.
Sarina-Joi Crowe- 17- Columbia, TN
short clip but sounds good- R&B/Soul  Yes X4

Haley Davis- 26- Charleston, SC-
short clip- definitely country  Yes X4

Na'Chelle Fullins-Lovell- 19- Charlotte
short clip of something really high pitched- Yes X4 but I'm not sure what that was.

Could the next guy be the next Scotty?  Not a chance in my book.
Matthew Muse- 23- Florence, SC
People say he looks like Brad Paisley? What drunk said that? He doesn't look like Brad nor does he sound anything like him while singing this song. Bye Bye.

Time for this week's nominee. Randy heads to a high school in Georgia to surprise a girl.
Isabelle Gonzales- 16- Alpharetta, GA
"Nothing Can Ever Change This Love" Sam Cooke-  this girl is really good. Really nice riffs, not overdone. Yes X4.  She seems confident but we will see what Hollywood can do to that smalltown innocence.

Taisha Bethea- 21- Concord, NC
sings in an alternative rock band. She wants to be a rock singer but Randy questions this when she auditions with Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison" so she does an Alanis Morissette. Lot's of discussion by judges over her not knowing what she wants. Nicki and Keith say yes, Randy and Mariah say no. Keith gets the deciding vote and she is on the way to Hollywood.

After that the judges can't agree on much of anything and the arguing gets worse.
Summer Cunningham- 20- Warner Robbins, GA
"Lean on Me" Nice job but nothing too special. She says she did the country thing and wants to be more soulful. Big argument between the judges about what is country and what's not. She gets at least 3 yes's and is on the way to Hollywood. Nicki argues more with the other judges and walks out. Day one is over.

Day two starts with clips of talk shows and tabloid news reporting about the judges clashing.  Nicki shows up wearing her long blond wig and "police" hat.

Brandy Hamilton- 25- Charlotte- Navy Reservist
She got in trouble for singing all the time while on duty. "All I Could Do Was Cry"- Etta James.  Not bad but definitely not Etta James (even on a bad day.)  Yes X4

Strange, scary chick talking to Everybody at auditions. Nicki nicknames her Blondie since she is black with blond hair (and did I forget to mention the nose ring.)
Ashley Smith- 22- Charlotte (She reminds me of an actress pretending to be a singer or at least pretending to be someone else.) Sings Carrie Underwood "cowboy Casanova" and does a really good job. She is weird but she gets Yes X4 and we will see her in Hollywood.  A little makeover might be in order.

Montage of Nicki's strange nicknames for contestants.

Janelle Arthur- 22- Oliver Springs, TN
She tells the judges she portrayed Dolly Parton as a young girl for a production at an amusement park when she was young. (Dollywood)  No one mentions that Janelle has been on the show in seasons 10 and 11, two years ago- Hollywood, last year -Las Vegas. Randy acts like he's never seen her before. Come on DAWG. She is definitely Country and Keith really likes her music choice, "Where The Blacktop Ends." Yes X4 from the judges.  Ryan knows who she is, even if no one else does. He won't let her out of the room without a golden ticket.

Montage of bad before Keith has to leave again.

Rodney Barber- 27- "the Voice of Charlotte"
Sings on street corners in downtown Charlotte and gives half of the money to the homeless because he was homeless at one time.  "I'll Be" He has a nice voice. Very strong.  Yes X4.

Keith has to go to NY to support his wife in receiving an award.

Candice Glover- 22- St Helena Island, SC
Idol makes a big deal about her back story of making it to Vegas last year. (If I were Janelle Arthur, I'd be offended.) She has a nice soulful voice. She said she is being compared to Joshua Ledet from last year. (I hope not; I didn't like him.)   Yes X3

Ja'Bria Barber- 16- Clover, SC
She likes to go "frog giggin'" so we get a long discussion on eating or not eating frogs. She sings Bonnie Raitt's version of "Pride and Joy." She has a nice voice. She is very joyful and spunky. Yex X3

Freak time!!! Brad Harris- 28- Maiden, NC
Says he hits his head a lot. (I can see that.) Use to rap in Houston under the name "BaKon" so we get a discussion about bacon from the judges. "A Whole New World" is his song choice and, guess what?  He CAN'T sing.  Bye Bye

Seretha Guinn- 26- Charlotte
Seretha wins the "heart breaking" closing spot of the night. Not trying to be mean, just honest. She comes to the audition with her 3 yr old daughter. Her boyfriend almost died last year in an acciden and has had 8 surgeries so far. The daughter is a bi Nicki fan. (poor child)  The song selection is weird- "Fresh Prince of BelAir" but she changes up the lyrics and actually is really clever and good. Second song choice I don't recognize but it is slow and serious. the judges are speechless. Nicki is crying, Randy says she has a Whitney thing going, and Mariah says she has a beautiful voice but she liked the first song because it fit her better. Yes X3.

So Ryan tells us they handed out 37 golden tickets in Charlotte. Next stop, Randy's home town of Baton Rouge, LA.

My favorites of the day: Seretha Guinn, Jimmy Smith.

Friday, January 18, 2013

American Idol 12: Chicago Auditions

Ok, since all anyone in the media can talk about right now is a certain someone who lied to the public for so many years, I might as well make an admission right now and get this out in the open. I AM AN IDOL ADDICT! Yes, there it is. I've said it. Why else would I have watched a second episode of this crazy train wreck show this season and endured Nicki Minaj's voice which resembles nails painfully scraping down a chalkboard? I have to be crazy or addicted to it , right?

Last night Idol aired the audition rounds from Chicago. Now, since I just visited Chicago for the first time 2 months ago for my son's BootCamp graduation, I feel a certain closeness to this city that I have never felt before. While visiting Chicago, we meet some really nice people. Of course, Chicago did seem to have its share of odd characters too, but that didn't bother me. Hey, I live in Austin, Texas, the city known as "The Live Music Capital of the World" with a motto of "Keep Austin Weird." I mean, we had a homeless cross-dresser run for mayor one year. We live and breathe weirdness, so I doubt Chicago could actually be any worse. I was looking forward to this round of auditions.

The show opened with some chick talking to the camera and explaining she has all her sisters on a conference call to congratulate their sister when she comes out with her golden ticket. Well, sis comes out without a ticket, but clueless is so busy jumping and screaming for joy, she doesn't even notice that. Oops. LOL

Ms. Minaj is donning a long blond wig with pink highlights and a leopard print too-tight outfit with matching hat.

Mackenzie Wasner- 17- Leiper's Fork, TN
This girl is really pretty. Her father is a singer/songwriter, piano player. He plays keys for Vince Gil so she has been on stage to perform before. She has the sweetest country voice. The judges love her. Keith says she has a great blend or power and vulnerability. He is so right.  YES X4. On to Hollywood.

Austin Earles- 19- Lakeview, MI
Um, NO. Scary mannerisms while singing and yuck voice.

Kiara Lanier- 21- Chicago
She sang for Obama's birthday fundraiser. Judges are praising her before she even sings. Singing Celine Dion's "The Prayer," only the English part. She does an ok job. I think she has too much vibrato or at least it is too manufactured. Very jumpy throat and neck. Not natural. Judges are totally Wowed by the performance. YES X4. Maybe one of the vocal coaches in Hollywood can fix that vibration she has going on.

Stephanie Schimel- 21-Milwaukee, WI
Cutesy little blond girl. Sang "Dream A Little Dream" and it was pretty good. Mariah and Keith liked the song choice. Yes X3. Nicki not feeling it.  Maybe Nicki be jealous of the cute girl wearing the same color eye shadow, bright pink glitter.

We get a new round of arguing from Maraih and Nicki. Keith, stuck between them again, is banging his head on the desk. "I feel like a scratching post."

Melissa Bush- 27- Grandville, MI
Seems like a very shy, small-town girl who is clueless about the world. She is wearing a pink 70's jumpsuit trimmed with metallic silver and bedazzled with stones. Yikes. She sings "Downtown, " a song from the 60's.  NO X4.

Haley Reinhart from Season 10 drops by to give the contestants a pep talk.

Another new feature this year is the Small Town Idol Bus Tour. they had producers go out and audition some hopefuls and invite some to the big city judges auditions. On their stop in Iowa city they found a rocker dude to bring to Chicago.
Gabe Brown- 21- Marion, Iowa- owns a bakery with his mom
Gabe brings all of the judges cookies have their shop. He belts out "Give Me Shelter" by The Rolling Stones and he definitely can sing a rock song. Mariah asks for something a little softer and she gets "We All Die Young." Soft part had great tone.  YES X4

Kevin Nabity-25- Polk City, IA
He is into Ninja rap/ martial arts/ dancing. Asked to demo his dancing. Not impressive to me. Sings (kind of) "One Week" by Bare Naked Ladies. He produces music on speed. Even the lyrics what he is singing being displayed on the screen don't help this audition. Randy screams "SOLD! I feel like I'm at a bad auction." Nicki asks for another song and we get something that only barely resembles "Come Sail Away." Keith says singing is not his strong gift.  NO X4.

Now we get a montage of No's and crying contestants.

Isabelle Parell- 15- Centerton, IN
Adorable girl. Definitely a country fan. Sings "Baby It's Cold Outside" duet with Keith. She has a really sweet voice.  Yes X3. Randy says no but we don't know why.

Keith has to leave for a performance in Vegas so Randy gets to sit in the middle of the crazy cat fight.

We get a montage of Nicki drooling over some guys. Most aren't that cute.
Enter a reasonably cute guy:
Griffin Peterson- 22- Oconomowoc, WI
Nicki is drooling but wants to give him a nickname because she doesn't like "Griffin."  Nicki tells Randy "I don't discriminate." Griffin ends the discussion by singing NeedToBreath's "Washed By the Water."  Nicki doesn't talk about the song but feels that the girls will love to see him in the competition. Randy says he doesn't get it and Griffin's voice is not all that. Mariah sides with Nicki. Yes X2 and he is on the way to Hollywood.

Curtis Finch, Jr- 22- St Louis, MO
Nicki tries to find a nickname for him too.
Curtis is singing a Smoky Norful song and Randy is excited because he just spoke to Smoky the day before. "God is Able" definitely shows that Curtis is a gospel singer. Mariah is in tears and I think Nicki would be too if she was even looking at Curtis when he sang. An easy YES X3 for Curtis and his friend is allowed to meet her idol, Mariah.

By now I bet Nicki is getting a little tired of everyone saying they have been inspired by Mariah since they were kids.

Mariah Pulice- 19- Darien, IL
This young lady is recovering from anorexia and has a big back story.  Mariah is stoked that they have the same first name.  The song is "Let It Be" and Ms Carey is in tears again. Nicki says she is really touched. Randy says she sounded great. Ryan brings in the family. YES X3.

DAY #2 and Keith is back.  Nicki is wearing a wavy blond wig today.

Brandy Neelly- 17- Louisville, KY
Adopted by aunt as a baby.  She is starstruck by Keith. Brandy has wanted to be the next American Idol since she was 9. She picks a great song for her voice: "Your Cheating Heart." She's another blond country singer. She does a nice job. Keith says great song choice. Nicki says Brandy has a great presence. Mariah says it was a great song from a beautiful and talented singer. Randy loved it too.

Josh Holiday- 24- Celeste, TX
"Back at One" Nice voice and happy smile.  YES X4.

Courtney Williams- 18- Greenville, MS
Short clip, decent voice, Mariahish style.  YES X4.

Andrew Jones- 28- Chicago- high school music teacher
Short clip, sounds good.   YES X4.

Clifton Duffin- 22- Country Club Hills, IL
He has never sang in front of his parents before now. Ryan has them move in closer to hear. "Superstar" by Luther VanDros is one of his mom's favorite songs. He does a nice job. Mariah and Keith are in tears. They could see mom's reaction to hearing him sing for the first time.  YES X4.

Ieisha Cotton- 19- Chicago- professional dancer
Mariah is her idol. She is a terrible singer and is encouraged to keep dancing, not singing.

Jonny Keiser- 23- Pompano Beach, FL
He's back!!!  Nicki is drooling. Nicki asks all cute guys if they have a girl friend. (If Johnny had one, she would be 10,000 times prettier than you, Nicki.) Keith says he liked everything he heard.  YES X4.

Kez Ban- Katherine ?- 27- Durham, NC (Planet Earth)
She(?) is a fire dancer, balloon artist, street performer, singer/songwriter. KezBan has a quirky look and sings "Pinocchio" but has a great folksy voice. When asked to sing an original song, she is even better. All the judges are surprised and like her a lot.  YES X4.

We get a montage of rejects and disgruntled contestants being rude.  ( Get a grip on life peeps. It's Idol.)

Ashley Curry- 19- Flossmoor, Il
Ashley is studying musical theater. "Mama Knows Best" is the biggest train wreck of the day. It is suggested that she find something else to do in life besides sing.

Lazaro Arbos- 21- Naples, FL
Originally from Cuba, Lazaro started stuttering at age 6 and has progressively gotten worse. He had no friends as a child. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is amazing. Keith tells him no to worry about his stutter, "just sing all the time. You have a wonderful voice." Nicki says his story is very inspiring. Mariah says he has a beautiful voice. Everyone is in tears.  YES X4 and Lazaro is heading to Hollywood. I hope they are able to make a few accommodations for him and make him buckle under the Idol insanity.

So Ryan tells us that 47 Golden Tickets were handed out in Chicago.  Next  week we will see the Charlotte auditions and Nicki and Mariah at each others throats again.

My favorites: Lazaro, Curtis Finch Jr, and Kez Ban.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

American Idol 12: New York Auditions

Hello world. I'm back!!! After a nice long break from this blog to enjoy some personal life and winter hibernation, I'm ready to dust off my typing skills (what little I have) and forge ahead with some new posts here.

And what could bring me out of hibernation? Well, only one of two topics: David Archuleta or American Idol. Since David is still in Chile serving as a missionary for the LDS church, it must be Idol time.

When the new judges for this season were announced, I was a little skeptical. Nicki Minaj? Mariah Carey? Really? Two divas? I like Keith Urban as a performer, but can he judge? I wasn't sure if I really wanted to endure another season of weird judges. I've decided to give them a chance and see what might happen.

So, last night was the airing of the first audition rounds show. This show they were in New York.

The show started out with a nice nod to the success of last seasons winner, Phillip Phillips. Contrary to what Jimmy Iovine and last years judges thought about Phillip, his first single, "Home" has gone triple platinum. Everywhere you turn, someone is incorporating that song into the program. I'm really happy for Phillip. He and Colton were my favorites last year. I feel that both will have great careers too. Colton is going into Christian music with his debut album releasing next week.

I like the montage of the contestants of past seasons. Glad to see David Archuleta included in there, even though it was only a couple seconds. Ryan tells us that "History has shown us that an Idol can do anything. Together they have sold more than 200 million records and scored 371 #1 hits.  Nice job Idol alum.

Time for a little hype of the judges.
Randy Jackson- 100 million records sold as producer and artist.
Keith Urban- 14 #1 songs, 5 platinum and multi-platinum  albums, and 4 grammys.
Nicki Minaj- first female artist to have 7 singles on the Hot 100 at the same time.
Mariah Carey- unprecedented 5 octave range, 200 million records sold.

Now, let's get to some of the contestants. Well, maybe not yet.
I like the new set. Nicki is wearing a long white blond wig and carrying a drum major hat. Odd.
Mariah says she didn't know they were allowed to bring accessories; she would have brought her dog along. Our first argument ensues while our first contestant enters, singing his own Idol judges version of "We Will Rock You."

Michael Buonopane- 27- Saugus, MA- sings a strange collection of radio hits while providing a running commentary.  NO from all the judges.  Michael compliments Mariah's "All I Want for Christmas" on his way out, triggering another argument between Mariah and Nicki.

We're back from break and Nicki and Mariah are arguing about a quote from "Mean Girls." Keith is losing it between the girls.

Tenna Torres- 28- Queens, NY
Tenna is a big Mariah fan. She even attended Camp Mariah when she was a kid and sang for Mariah when she was 13. She brought photos to trigger Mariah's memory. She sings "You've got a Friend" and does a good job. It is definitely sung in a "Mariah" style.  Yes X 4. On to Hollywood. Yes from me.

Montage of 3 unidentified singers, 2 males and 1 female, all going on to Hollywood.  Didn't show enough of them to have an opinion.

James Bae- 15- Long Island
He is a rap and pop singer who is inspired by Justin Bieber. He sings a Bieber song and is actually much worse than Bieber. (No, I am not a fan of Bieber.) Randy can only stare out the window. Nicki tries to be nice and not hurt his feelings. Keith doesn't know what to say except "the whole package doesn't work for me." Mariah asks if he has ever considered being a DJ. Randy says singing is "not your thing. I wanted to be a Nascar driver, but it wasn't my thing. Nicki calls him over and tells him he is brave and hugs.

Christina "Isbelle"- 21- Duluth, GA-
Her story is that she struggled with her weight in high school. Weighed 200lbs but lost 50 lbs before college.  She belts out "SummerTime" like an old pro. Turns out she is going to Berkeley College of Music. YES X4. On to Hollywood.

Evan Ruggiero- 21- Old Bridge, NJ
Was a dancer for 17 yrs. Discovered singing when cast in a musical in school. Diagnosed with bone cancer at 19. Lost leg to cancer. Says he is a "one legged tap dancer."  Sings Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" but not really well. Randy asks if he wants to sing something with his guitar so he does Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive." Much better. Everyone agrees he is not quite ready but he shouldn't be discouraged and should come back next year.  He sounds positive and hopes he has encouraged others to go for their dreams.  I would have put him through.

Idol has a new feature this season. People are asked to nominate someone who might not feel that they should audition. Randy heads out to Staten Island to invite a young lady nominated by her mom.
Jessica Kartalis- 19- Staten Island
Randy asks her to sing an original song. She is nervous and this does not go well. Wrong key when guitar joins in. They tell her she was close but to come back next year.  (Hey, she really didn't want to be there this year. Why would she come back next year.)  I don't think it was fair for them to ask her to sing an original song when they normally frown on original material for auditions.

We get a montage of contestants from other countries as an intro for our next singer.
Shira Gavrielov- 23- Israel/ Brooklyn
Dad is a composer and Shira had an album out in Israel as a teen with a #1 hit song at 17. Her voice is ok but I feel her diction is pretty choppy. YES X4. Very small yes from me.

Frankie Ford- 24- Brooklyn, NY
Adopted as a child. Sings on the trains for extra money. Says he is doing what he needs to survive. Keith says he played on the trains in Australia when he was starting out. Frankie performs "Sweet Dreams" he is nervous and messes up at first but starts over and is really good. He says he'll do whatever it takes to succeed. He'll give 110%. Mariah says he has an inner glow. Nicki says he is different but there is something special about him. YES X4. And a yes from me too.

Day 2 in NY arrives and today Nicki is wearing a short wig of bright yellow, orange and pink. Scary!
We beginning with Nicki and Mariah bickering again and Keith saying "I'm in a good place."
Benjamin Gaisey- 27- Sinking Springs, PA
This guy is wearing a red plastic suit that squeaks when he moves and a terrible curly wig. His singing is as tacky as the suit.  Go away please.

Rozanna Shildelman- 21- Staten Island, NY
"I'm really nervous. I don't sing in front of people, only my parents."  and that is because only your parents would actually listen to that. NO. Randy said it was really bad, and I agree.

We get a quick montage of "NO's" and unhappy rejects.

Sarah Restuccio- 17- Hammonton, NJ the "Blueberry capital of the world." She is a farm girl and grew up on country music. Sings "Mama's Song" by Carrie Underwood. Nice enough voice but song is too hard to follow without music. Praises from Nicki and Mariah but Keith isn't too sure. Randy asks for another song and Sarah blasts out some awful noise I understand is Nicki's "Super Bass." Keith is even more confused and so am I. Somehow she gets YES X4 and is headed to Hollywood. I'm not sure why.

Albert Chang- 25- Queens, NY
I know this will be a disaster before he even sings. We hear a few very painful lines of "Phantom of the Opera."  Keith and Mariah are stunned. Randy and Nicki are laughing.  Randy- "You are not right for this." Nicki says she is nervous and starts talking in a British accent.

Montage of Nicki giving critiques with a British accent and Mariah chiming in.

Angela Miller- 18- Beverly, MA
Her story is she has had hearing problems all her life.  She has 40 % loss in left ear and 20% in right ear. "Mama Knows Best" by Jesse James. This is really good. Nice voice and pretty girl. The judges love her. YES X4 and I agree.

Now we have a cruel dream sequence about our next disaster, I mean contestant, who claims to be Idol's biggest fan. (I doubt that.)
Brett Holt-28- Willow Grove, PA
He can't correctly answer all of Ryan's Idol trivia questions and he can't sing. This is his 7th time to audition. Mariah suggests that "It's better to move on." And so I will too.

Gurpreet Singh Sarin- 22- North Potomac, MD
Now this is an interesting guy decked out in a lavender and black turban to match his shirt. He says his friends call him "the Turbanator." (I'm certainly glad he said it first otherwise, Idol would probably be offending a lot of people.) Gurpreet says he has 40 or 50 turbans to match different outfits. He is definitely an interesting character, but he also has a decent voice. Keith says you, but the rest of the panel says yes and so do I. Gurpreet tells Nicki he has a marigold yellow turban that matches her hair. LOL

Ashlee Feliciano- 20- East Hartford, CT
Ashlee's story is that for the past 10 years, her family has adopted and fostered medically complex children. Her parents are very inspirational. Ashlee has a nice voice. The judges give her high compliments, then Randy asks her to bring in her family so they can meet them before the vote.  YES X4. I agree.

And that's it for New York. Ryan tells us 41 contestants received golden tickets to Hollywood. We heard 11 if you count the three that weren't named. I really wish we could see more of the Yes's and much fewer No's.

Next stop, Chicago. 

My favorites: Gurpreet, Angela Miller, and Ashlee Feliciano.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 22, 2008- A Day That Will Live In Our Hearts Forever

January 22 marks the five year anniversary of David Archuleta's first appearance on our televisions during Season 7 of American Idol. It also marks 300 days of service for David in the mission field for the LDS church. So much has happened in the five years. So many fans have been gained. So many songs have been sung.

I wanted to write something using song titles to commemorate this day, but as I gazed at the almost endless number of choices, my brain began to ache. Then I thought, just use songs performed on Idol. The listed shortened some. I wanted to make sure I had a complete listing of all the songs David performed, either as a solo or in group performances, so off to some trusted fans sites for a little research. My list was not complete. I had previously noted live group performances, but I totally forgot about the Ford videos. Add 12 more songs to the list. Now, I believe I have a complete listing. Maybe. 

I tried, but I was not able to include all of the 63 songs David was a part of on Idol that year. Some were just too difficult to work into this acrostic. I hope you like it.

ONE SWEET DAY, five years ago, January 22, 2008 to be precise, an amazing yet
Unlikely HERO was thrust into our lives and the ANGELS in HEAVEN
Rejoiced and declared AMERICA and the world were no LONGER in darkness.

American Idol Season 7 auditions were on our televisions and, IN THIS
MOMENT, as we sat watching and WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE,
Excited viewers heard a CRAZY story told to Ryan Seacrest by a humble young man
Recovering from vocal cord paralysis. Ryan couldn’t IMAGINE this but the man said
I FEEL FINE now since THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD to healing has been
Conquered. As I watched this audition, my heart proclaimed "YOU’RE THE VOICE"
And the light. I don’t need to SHOP AROUND any more for a cure for my sadness.
Now, since I SAW THE LIGHT, I JUST WANT TO CELEBRATE life to the fullest.

I was excited to turn on my television each week to experience yet ANOTHER
Or it might be THE END of me. Then I found other fans also saying "DON”T

Day after day, week after week, his fans said WE CAN WORK IT OUT so this
Amazing young singer, who has touched our hearts, can continue on to victory. The
Very idea of him not going THE DISTANCE and being crowned the champ was
Idiotic. Again and again each week we sat by our televisions on NEEDLES AND PINS
Desperately waiting for his name to be called and our hearts to be lifted again.

AIN’T NO STOPPING US NOW was more than a song; it was the fandom’s anthem.
Riveted to our sets, and voting like CRAZY, we told this young man “We’ll be
Climbing every mountain WITH YOU.” When he sang STAND BY ME, we didn’t
Hesitate to do just that. No true fan said “SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO.”
Unbeknownst to the young man, a powerful force had been unleashed on the world;
Loyal followers were created. WHEN YOU BELIEVE in SOMEBODY you will do
Everything you can for them, even if IT’S TRICKY like trying to CATCH THE WIND.
THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE might surprise some, but we will not APOLOGIZE.
AND SO IT GOES…on that special day, our fascination with David Archuleta began.