Thursday, January 8, 2015

Idol's Back and So Am I

Life got in the way, but after an extended break from posting on this blog, covering David Archuleta's activities, and writing my second novel, I have decided to start working on all of them again.

I actually didn't stop writing, as I have been writing posts for my husband's photography blog, Covering The Limelight . If you haven't checked it out before, we cover some of the great live music and other interesting events happening around Austin, Texas. Give our blog a look if you have time.

So, I wasn't going to spend time blogging about Idol this season, but my daughter talked me into doing some limited coverage. I think that will work better for me. I tend to get to wrapped up in the show and want to say too much. This year will be different; not so detailed. This will be more bare-bones, especially of the auditions. So here we go. Season 14 of the show America loves to hate on: American Idol.

The Idol producers started the show off with a very smart move, playing a music video performed by this season's Top 24 contestants, in silhouette, so we couldn't see exactly who they are. This video to Michael Buble's "Feeling Good"sounded great and showed the world that the judges have made some wise decisions this year. And if this means the format has gone back to an evenly split M/F Top 24, TPTB have made wise decisions too.

During the show we also saw clips of the "cattle call" auditions which TPTB have not really shown before, so maybe we are on the way to a new and improved Idol this season. After last years dismal shows, and boring winner, the show needed some improvements. Here's hoping.

I'm happy last year's judges are back. Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr have a nice relaxed chemistry, not seen since Simon and Paula left the show. Even better than the chemistry is the fact they all KNOW music. The number of audition cities was cut this year, but each of the judges' "hometowns" were covered. I put hometowns in quotes because Nashville is Keith Urban's adopted home. The stops also included New York for Jennifer and New Orleans for Harry.

Show #1 gave us Nashville auditions. Here are the golden ticket winners shown.

Riley Bria - 17 - Tennessee
Keith recognized Riley as part of the Grammy Foundation students who performed on stage with him once. Keith said the kid can really shred on electric guitar, but on this day Riley performed an acoustic version of Keith's "Georgia Woods." Riley seemed like a natural. His voice was very pleasant. The judges loved him.

Priscilla Barker - 19 - Mississippi
She is the youngest of 10 kids. She performed "Delta Dawn" accompanying herself on guitar. Priscilla is very, very Southern , with one of the strongest accents I have heard in a while, but she did a good job on the song. JLo isn't blown away, but the guys give her a chance.

Cameron Bedell - 25 - Kansas
Another guitar player. We hear a kind of jazzy version of "You're The Best Thing"
He makes it to Cali, but I doubt he will be around long.

Amber Walker - 15 - Memphis, Tennessee
Her back story tells us she is from the "poorer" side of town. No guitar for Amber. Michael Orland accompanied her on piano during "HeartBreak Hotel." Harry says he likes her and she has potential, but needs more training. I agree. JLo and Keith give her another chance in Hollywood.

Kory Wheeler - 26 - Nashville
Another guitar player in the house. This guy works at a coffee shop across the street from the auditions. He's pretty good. JLo gets "goosies." Three big yeses from the judges and Ryan walks him across the street to ask the boss for the rest of the day off.

Michael Simeon - 20 - Mississippi
Another guitar player. I recognize this guy from somewhere. (I read online he auditioned last year.)
He sings Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" and gets three very fast yeses. Michael asks Jennifer to dance with him and she reluctantly accepts. Harry says he will play piano and Keith takes the kids guitar and they play "Stay With Me" while they dance and Michael sings. And it wasn't creepy, which is odd.)

Emily Brooke - 15 - Florida
She plays guitar also.  We get a great version of Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" and Emily gets three yeses.

Not a bad show. We only had to watch one complete "bad audition" (and it wasn't terrible) and saw a couple of clips of no-goes. I bet the next episode gives us a few more "bads".  I wasn't totally blown away by anyone, but Emily and Riley were probably my favorites of this show.

If you missed this episode, AI posted on their Facebook that it is available to watch on their web page. If nothing else, watch the music video by the Top 24 shown at the beginning of the program.

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