Thursday, January 7, 2016

It's Back: Season 15 of American Idol Hits The Airwaves

I'm happy, and sad, to say that my favorite silly singing competition of all time, American Idol, began airing its final audition rounds last night. I'm happy that we were warned beforehand that we get one final season of Idol before it is gone forever, but I'm sad that Idol, like all good things, will come to an end. Just a few short months from now the final winner will be announced to the world. If the interesting talent we saw on this first episode of the auditions is any sign of things to come, well, we might just be in for a treat this year.

I've decided I can't NOT write about this final season of Idol. I will only be covering the Golden Ticket winners from the audition rounds though. I see no reason to talk about the no's because they won't have another chance to audition for this show.

As an intro, Idol producers gave us an interesting recap of the past winners and how the present contestants have been affected by the show since it first aired June 11, 2002. Sadly, I didn't watch the first few seasons. I learned something watching that recap; Brian Dunklemen has an annoying voice. No wonder he didn't return for other seasons.

The first audition show for season 15 has clips from Atlanta and Denver.

Michelle Marie - 15 - Daytona Beach, FL - student
She has followed Idol since she was 4. She looks like a contestant in a kids beauty pageant. She sings "Blue" by Leann Rimes. The judges love her, me - not so much. I predict she will be eaten alive in Hollywood.

Idol showed us that past winners Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks, Kris Allen, and Lee DeWyze, as well as Clay Aiken were on hand to help with judging area auditions.

Josiah Siska - 18 - Dacula, GA - maintenance worker at golf course
He sings "Ghost Rider" by Johnny Cash. He is awesome. Impressive deep voice and technical ability. He plays the guitar too. Our possible WGWG winner of the season, if fans decide to go the country route again this year.

Lindita - 26 - Kosovo - Personal Trainer
Obviously she lives in the U.S. now but as a teen in Kosovo, people didn't take her singing seriously because she was overweight. She has lost 150 lbs and wants to have a career in the U.S. She sang "This Is A Man's World" and did a decent job. I agree with Keith that she had too many runs in the short performance. JLo said she "sings like a big girl." Not my favorite. I predict she will be causing trouble in Hollywood.

Lee Jean - 15 - Bluffton, SC - student
Big backstory presented about his family and a brother who passed in an accident. We see in the clip that he plays keys as well as the guitar he uses during auditioning. He sang "I See Fire" and he was really good. His voice has an awesome tone. If he gets some good advise beforehand, we might still see this kid after Hollywood.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell - 15 - Crawford, CO - student
She lives on her family's ranch in the Elk Wilderness, totally off the grid. No electricity, only a generator for watching Idol. She sings "Chainsaw" by The Band Perry while playing a cello strapped on like a guitar. She is very unique and makes odd facial expressions while singing. Harry calls her funky. I think she will be a quick causality of the harshness of Hollywood.

Sonika Vaid - 20 - Martha's Vineyard, MA - student
Backstory tells us her parents immigrated to U.S. as children. She is a Beautiful girl with a Beautiful voice. Harry thinks she can win the whole thing, and so do I.

Reanna Molinaro - 24 - Hobbs, NM - Police Officer
Craziness with Harry asking to be handcuffed before the audition is unnecessary. She sings "Leave It On Your Mind" by Patsy Cline. She has a nice country voice, but the song was too big for her. She did an ok job. I doubt she will make it farther than Hollywood rounds.

Past auditioners going to Hollywood this season:
Shevonne Philidor - 24 - Tampa, FL - DJ   - Sixth time to audition
Kory Wheeler - 27 - Nashville, TN - Barista  - WGWG - auditioned last season
Laurel Wright - 19 - Maryville, TN - Musician - auditioned season 13 - Kasey Musgrave style

Joshua Wicker - 25 - Jacksonville, FL - Worship Leader
WGWG - Sang "Stay" by Rihanna. Interesting voice. Lots of passion in it. Keith said he "sang it like (he) wrote it."  Wife delivered baby girl 3 weeks after audition.

Jordan Sasser - 27 - Raleigh, NC - Worship Leader
Husband and wife both auditioning, have baby along. Alex auditioned first and didn't make the cut.
Jordan sang "It's All Coming Back To Me" by Celine Dion and the judges loved him. Keith was amazed by the couple, "You're both so full of light."  Alex was crushed she didn't make it to Hollywood also.  I think the Hollywood experience will be a huge challenge for Jordan.

Kerry Courtney - 24 - St. Petersburg, FL - Musician
Sang "Black Sun" by Death Cab For Cutie - played guitar. He has a very quirky look and sound. His initial physical appearance makes him look very happy, but as he sings he sounds very dark. Backstory tells us of his close relationship to his mom who passed from cancer. He has a good voice, so maybe the coaches in Hollywood can help him find a better aurora to present.

The producers gave us a collection of creep girls who all "know" Keith: The 6 Degrees of Keith Urban.

Shelbie Z - 23 - Sumiton, AL - Hair Dresser
Her look is small town country girl gone hippie. Kind of scary. She sings "Last Name" by Carrie Underwood and kind of has a Janis Joplin sound to her. Her voice is okay, but her look is disturbing to me. A Hollywood stylist might help this girl.

And after all of the interesting auditions we are tortured by an "audition" by Kanye West. I really could have done without the censored, "bleeped" rape he presented as his choice. The judges gave him a Golden Ticket. Hopefully he doesn't show up again in Hollywood.

So,  overall I think the first audition show was a success.

My favorites were Josiah Siska, Lee Jean, and Sonika Vaid.

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