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American Idol: Season 14, New Orleans Auditions, 1/22/15

January 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

As we learn who’s in the talent pool for Season 14 of American Idol, we may not always get the names and songs and backstories right away, but we do get some idea of who the breakouts to watch are. Before we got a peek last night at who auditioned in New Orleans, judge Harry Connick, Jr. started out by talking about how he hoped his hometown would be well-represented.  Some Idol fans love seeing the really horrible people, but this season’s been mostly about who’s advanced to the Hollywood rounds.  That changed last night, as Harry’s expectations led into a montage of dozens of horrible auditions.  We finally got to take a look at 13 successful auditions, plus one very big mistake, the first of Season 14:

1.  The judges finally find somebody they want to send to Hollywood when they hear Angelica “Jelly” Joseph, a large lively black lady with bright red hair.  She sings R&B with range and power, and we haven’t seen as many R&B singers this season (yet) as we often do.  Harry comments on her great style and elegance.

2.  New Orleans has a jazz reputation, but tonight looked to be heavy on what used to be called “all-American” country kids from the Heartland.  First one of that type is Tiffany Stringer, a 16-year-old cheerleader and dancer from Texas.  She looks like she stepped out of a Taylor Swift song (long blonde hair, short shorts, sneakers) and she cheerleads her way through “I Want You Back.”  She shows enough of the Carrie Underwood “American Girl” vocal style that softies J-Lo and Keith outvote Harry and send her to Hollywood.

3.  Next it’s a 15-year-old all-American country WGWG, Grayson Turner, in shorts and sandals, who sings his own composition, “Chasing Shadows,” in voice that’s a little bit country and a little bit pop.  He’s got a laid-back downhome style, but J-Lo still thinks he’s got sensitivity and passion.  He gets three “yes” votes.

4 (or not). Now it’s time for the judges’ first bizarre mistake of the season.  (Every year we get at least one–last year it was the cutting of Savion Wright. The season before that, it was everything about the entire season.)  After all Harry’s talk about wanting to find talent that reps New Orleans, jazz/blues singer Sarah Quintana appears to fit the bill perfectly.  She sings a classic rendition of “St. James Infirmary Blues” that apparently got Harry inspired enough to play piano for her.  (The segment opens with her singing and him playing, so we don’t see what the set-up was that got him behind the piano in the first place.)  She fits in perfectly with a number of other throwback singers who’ve been found this season, and the judges all appear to enjoy her very much.  After all that, Harsh Harry has the gall to say, “No, not right for this competition.” J-Lo, usually such a softie, sides with him.  Keith’s the only judge who’s impressed enough to vote “yes.”  Too bad he couldn’t have talked the other two into reconsidering.  A jazz singer may not win Idol but the genre appears to be underrepresented this year. The judges should have at least put Quintana in the next round to see how she fared in the arena, as Harry described Hollywood Week to another contestant.

4 (for real).  Quentin Alexander, a flamboyant black guy who manages to look trendy in shorts, gives a little bit of soul to “Royals.” The judges have considerable discussion but give him three “yes” votes.

5.  Bluesy voices have been underrepresented this year but Mikey, a funky dark-haired WGWG, demonstrates one.  He gets three generous “yes” votes.  (It’s like the judges are trying to make up for being so harsh with Quintana.)

6. and 7. and 8.  As in the Minneapolis auditions the night before, we see a montage of three girl singers, barely enough to catch their names and faces, let alone learn about their singing.  We’ll either see what they can do in Hollywood, or we’ll never see them again–Hope Windle, a country girl with long dark hair, Tory, another country singer, blonde this time, and Natani Quntani (?), a long-haired redhead who’s back after being cut early last year. She sings “Counting Stars,” we heard that much.

9.  Time for the “Hollywood or Home” Twitter poll, for Alexis. Despite her shrill voice, she gets 57% of the voters liking her, and the judges agree.

10.  We get another all-American country WGWG, 17-year-old Ricky Dale Hendrix who sings Garth Brooks’ “Thunder Rolls,” a song that’s probably  a little mature for him.  The judges, especially Harry, talk about how he’s young but maybe he’ll benefit from a bigger arena.  “Get in the ring with Mike Tyson,” is how Harry puts it.  The judges send him into the ring with Mike Tyson, aka Hollywood Week.

11.  Dakota Suarez apparently represents the “T” in the LGBT community.  He’s an 18-year-old male but gives his profession as drag queen, under the name Bianca Jade.  He’s heavyset and looks fairly masculine in pants and shirt but his hair is a two-toned bob and his voice could be mistaken for a whiskey-voiced woman.  Harry admits it might be intriguing to welcome a drag queen to Idol, somebody who could sing as a girl one day and a guy the next.  However, after considering whether Idol is the correct showcase, he votes “no.”  J-Lo enthusiastically votes “yes,” however, and Keith does, too, although more reluctantly.

12.  We get another funky WGWG, who sings his own composition in a folksy style and sounds a touch like Jim Croce.  His name’s Adam, I guess–but not a Glambert at all. (His name went by so fast that I first thought his name was Jimmy because J-Lo said something about Jimmy Kimble.)  There’s something about he’s related to Carlos Santana, who he also resembles.  He’s fighting health issues–he plays guitar with a wrapped-up thumb and like Crystal Bowersox of Season 9, he’s got some kind of diabetic apparatus.  Keith loves his voice, J-Lo loves his voice, Harry loves him, too–and the panel coughs up three “yes” votes.

13.  One more contestant to squeeze in–and it’s an elegant mature-looking black woman, Ericka Washington, with super-short two-toned hair.  She sings Beyoncé’s “Halo” in a way that reminds me a little of Voice champ Tessanne Chinn.  She gets three “yes” votes.

To celebrate when the auditions are done, Harry serves Louisiana crawfish to J-Lo, Keith, and Ryan Seacrest.  J-Lo singles out Ricky Dale Hendrix as one of her favorites of the day.  Next week brings the final auditions of Season 14, in San Francisco, where free spirits often predominate.  Then we’ll see who’s in the talent pool for Hollywood Week.

 

 

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American Idol: Season 14, Minneapolis Auditions, 1/21/15

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

All three current American Idol judges–Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez–are back together for Season 14 auditions in Minneapolis:  This episode featured twelve successful auditions including a couple of major finds:

1.  Shannon from St. Paul is 17 and has never sung before as part of a public event (she’s just sung to herself).  I’m guessing she’s the contestant that Idol PR hyped as making the top 24.  She says her style is white soul  She sings “House of the Rising Sun,” showing power, range, and yes, soul.  In this season of loud singers, she’s mercifully more than that.  She gets three “yes” votes.  She’ll definitely get much more airtime.

2. and 3. and 4.  A montage of three women crammed into so little airtime that we’ll have to wait to see if any of them get face time in the next round.  Morgan Ovens plays guitar and sings an Alanis Morissette song.  Gabrielle Noel has long dark hair and wears black clothes.  Courtney sings the country hit, “Independence Day.”  All three get to the next round but will any of them get any more airtime?

5.  Vanessa Andrea (from California) plays guitar and can’t stop talking about Keith Urban or anything else.  Her singing skills are unremarkable, but she’s such a chatterbox nobody has time to notice.  In a season of loud pitchy singers, she’s loud and pitchy and singing a man’s song, “Some Kind of Wonderful.”  Keith (using vague logic) thinks it suited her “to at T.”  She whips out her cell phone so her serviceman-husband can hear the judges vote.  They all say, “Yes.”  Wouldn’t it have been funnier if they’d all said no?

6.  Zach Johnson, a heavyset round-faced guy with red curly hair, doesn’t look like a country singer.  However, he sounds like a country singer on “Don’t Close Your Eyes.”  (He’s a Garth Brooks fan and it shows.)  Keith the country judge says “yes” fairly quickly but J-Lo and Harry are critical. J-Lo wants to hear another song.  After a 2nd country song, it’s Harry who hands over a ticket to Hollywood.  Keith’s so impressed he invites Johnson to join him in concert–and we see a clip of that, two weeks later.

7.  Harry has fun with Aaron Bissell, a typical coffeehouse WGWG.  We don’t actually see much of the judges’ vote, but Harry talks about playing in places where the patrons say, “Shut up!”  He gives Bissell a ticket to Hollywood if he’ll just shut up!

8.  Cindy Jo, 26-year-old blonde teacher, spends more time bragging about her hunting and shooting skills than her singing.  She sings Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in  a loud pitchy voice (another one).  J-Lo says, “no,” Keith says, “yes,” and Harry’s on the fence.  He finally says he’d like to see her in the next round and coughs up a ticket to Hollywood.  After she leaves the room, he jokes about how he had to say “yes” because she can hunt and shoot, you know.

9.  Matt, a rocker type with long wavy reddish-blond hair, rocks, even if he’s loud and pitchy (this season’s trend).  During a commercial break there’s a Twitter poll about, is he headed to Hollywood or headed home?  The result:  55% like him and he does get through.

10.  Jacob Tolliver understudies the part of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Vegas production of Million Dollar Quartet.  He does a jaw-dropping Lewis performance, combining “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire” with wild pounding and jumping around on the piano.  (If he’s the understudy, what the heck is the lead actor like?) The judges are all really into it but then they get critical.  (Maybe there was too much piano and not enough vocal.)  They want to know what he can do besides impersonate Lewis.  So he sings a Sam Smith ballad.  I think he sounds great no matter what he’s doing–it takes a formidable amount of talent to be able to channel Jerry Lee so perfectly.  The judges, despite their criticism, cough up three “yes” votes.  We’ve found one of the breakouts to watch this season.

11.  Hannah Mrozak from Wisconsin is a 16-year-old jazz singer who auditions with Etta James’ “Hold on Me.” For once we have a singer who’s loud in a good way, and not pitchy.  She’s through to Hollywood.

12.  Mark Andrew, a big guy with a dark beard who plays guitar, is at the upper end of the Idol age limit, making him 28, maybe even 29.  Voice fans may remember him making Team Shakira in Season 4.  He’s from Minneapolis and works as a landscaping foreman.  He sings “Soul Shine” in a rich full voice.  Keith praises his tone but asks for a different song.  Mark then tries a silly kids’ song in a higher pitch, going back to Disney’s animated Jungle Book.  “What sets you apart is the tone of your voice,” comments J-Lo.  After two songs, the judges are impressed enough to all vote “yes.”

Fun time for the judges!  Harry improvises a little song and dance and J-Lo joins in.  Harry looks like he’s been having fun in Minneapolis, and he’s probably warming up for the New Orleans auditions in the next episode.

 

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American Idol – Season 14 Ep5 Auditions Recap – 1/21/15

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

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Celebrity Apprentice – S7 E7 Recap – 1/19/15

January 21st, 2015 · No Comments

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Celebrity Apprentice – S7 E6 Recap – 1/19/15

January 21st, 2015 · No Comments

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Survivor: Flashback, Season 28 (Cagayan), Finale (aired 5/21/14)

January 20th, 2015 · No Comments

While waiting for the next season of Survivor to start, let’s take one more look back at last spring, when the Season 28 finale aired:

Night 36 starts with the final four:  economics student Spencer, attorney Kass (“Chaos Kass”), police officer Tony, and Taekwondo instructor Woo. Before the night’s tribal council, Kass, Spencer, and Woo discussed voting out Tony’s ally Trish but Tony joined the vote against her, so it appears no wedge was made.  Tony says he voted strategically because he didn’t want Trish to have a chance to win (and beat him).

Day 37:  the final four get visitors–Kass’ husband, Woo’s cousin, Spencer’s sister, and Tony’s best friend who reassures Tony that his wife and little girl are doing well.  The visitors get to watch the next immunity challenge.

Final four immunity challenge:   the players are perched atop poles in the surf.  They have to scoop buckets of ocean water into chutes, until a key gets raised up to their level.  Once they get the key, they can swim back to shore, unlock a trunk of puzzle pieces, and assemble a puzzle.  Kass is the last one out of the water but first to finish her puzzle.  She works it like she’s in a zone, every piece she tries is fitting where it’s supposed to.  She beats Spencer by a couple of pieces.  She credits her husband cheering her on for her victory.

The players figure out–this season is headed for a final two, not a final three.  (It’s possible that one Survivor quitting the game early may have affected the outcome.)  Since Kass has immunity, Spencer pitches Tony to vote out Woo–at least tie the vote so Spencer and Woo will face off in a tiebreaker.  Spencer argues that Tony will be the easy choice for either Kass or Woo to vote off, but if the final three includes Spencer, then Spencer becomes the easy choice to vote off.   Spencer even makes an argument that somehow reminds me of logic that Season 26 winner Johnny Cochran might employ.  Spencer says if he does make final two with Tony, he’ll argue to the jury they should vote for Tony.

Tribal Council:  This is the first time since the merge Woo’s been in the mix so far as getting votes goes. Kass says if the jury is bitter and Woo’s in the final two, Woo’ll win.

Jeff points out, the story could be, what did Woo do, or he could be the worst choice for final two because–he hasn’t offended anybody.

After the players vote, Tony confesses he’s hoodwinked the others about the one immunity idol he’s still got.  It’s not good anymore, contrary to what he told the others.  We’re left to wonder how interesting this tribal council may have been had anybody thought to call Tony’s bluff before voting.

Spencer gets voted out, ending a historic against-all-odds run that will likely get him called back for an all-star season.  He was a marked man from at least Day 6 (maybe even Day 3) and still made final four, putting him in the money.

Night 37:  Kass is confident she’s in the final two because both Tony and Woo think they can get more jury votes than her.  She and Woo promise to work to keep Tony from winning immunity and vote him out.  They agree it would be stupid to take Tony to the final two.

Day 38:  the final three participate in a complicated immunity challenge.  There’s a four-part turnstile maze, which players may move through in any order.  They have to reach four stations, collecting four medallions that function as keys to open chests.  They have to gather all four medallions from all four stations to unlock individual chests.  The chests contain cogs and gears for a crank.  After racing to get the medallions in the maze, the players continue racing, assembling their cranks.  The winner is the first player to crank their own “immunity” banner to the top of the frame (these banners are on frames, not poles).

Tony and Woo shadow each other for most of the maze, while Kass works the maze in a different order. Woo cranks his flag to the top just as Kass is starting to crank hers.  Jeff says it may be the closest finish ever, that Kass was behind by one second or less.

With Woo winning immunity, the two most aggressive players of the season are now at the mercy of the guy who’s been little more than the “majority” part of their alliance.  (Kass compares Woo to Season 21 winner Fabio.  “The person who hasn’t made a decision the whole game is in charge of my fate,” she complains, like she’s one to complain.)  Woo weighs their pitches.  Tony points out Kass made moves–bad moves but stories she can tell the jury.  Woo tells the camera how he’s been committed to Tony for the game.  He could cut him off in favor of Kass–but then he won’t be able to argue to the jury that he’s been loyal and honorable and shown integrity.

Tribal council, night 38:  Woo votes off Kass.  Back at the merge when Kass flipped, Spencer told her, “Zero chance of wining.”  He’s finally proven right.

Woo tells the camera he kept Tony because that’s what he thought would earn the jury’s respect.  “It’s a big power move I can claim as my own,” he explains.

On Day 39, the jury assembles:  Tash, Spencer, and Kass from the Brain tribe, LJ, Jeremiah, Morgan, and Jeffra from the Beauty tribe, and Sarah and Trish from the Brawn tribe.  Woo’s argument to the jury is that he abided by the code of Taekwondo–respect, loyalty, honor, and integrity (he’s like a low-key Coach here).

The editing of this final tribal council appears to lack balance.  As Kass predicted, it’s a bitter jury.  What we see most are several bitter jury members attacking Tony about all the times he swore on this and that.  We see little of Woo being questioned closely, so either he wasn’t questioned much or the questions were saved for a potential DVD extra.  Kass does grill Woo about whether Tony was deserving or not.  He anwers, “We’re all deserving, Kass, but you didn’t deserve to sit here but Tony did.”

Spencer keeps his promise to Tony from two days ago.  He’s an economics student but he goes into lawyer mode, arguing to the jury for Tony, that his play honored the game.  Once again, it strikes me as being similar to something former law student Johnny Cochran might do.

If the final two make closing arguments this season, they’re not included in this broadcast.

After the jury votes we move to the live (on the east coast) finale and Jeff starts counting the votes.  He only has to read six.  He gets five for Tony and one for Woo.  (Tasha was shown writing down Woo’s name but not saying anything.  She may have been Woo’s only vote.)

Jeff spends at least a third of the finale discussing Tony’s game moves, and what his fellow police officers think.  Tony now adds his main reason for voting out Trish was because Woo was more likely to beat Spencer at immunity.  What’s left unsaid is how he and Woo preferred to keep Kass around at that point.

Jeff talks to Kass but only about her relationship with Tony.  I’d have liked to see him put the heat on her as much as on Tony.  He grills Woo but only about his choice of Tony for final two.  Jeff asks the jury what their votes would have been if the choice were between Kass and Woo.  At least six or seven of them would have voted for Woo.

Jeff doesn’t ask anyone much about gamesmanship outside of Tony.  He spends about five min. total on Tash and Spencer, but does little probing.  He does hand over a sealed envelope to Spencer, explaining it’s a letter of apology written around Day 16 because he predicted Spencer would never even get that far.

Next considerable airtime is wasted on celebrity guest Tyler Perry, whom Jeff credits with suggesting this season’s special immunity idol.  Jeff does admit that a previous season allowed idols to be played after votes were cast but doesn’t say which one.  (My guess is season 13.)

Just before closing Jeff gives Tony his check for $1 million, and previews Season 29.  Then the gap between seasons was several months.  Now between winter and spring, we only have to wait a few more weeks.

 

 

 

 

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The Bachelor – Chris Soules – Ep3 Recap 1/19/15

January 19th, 2015 · No Comments

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American Idol: Season 14, New York Auditions, 1/15/15

January 19th, 2015 · No Comments

For Season 14, American Idol is making a stop in each of the judges’ hometowns (although in Keith Urban’s case, it was his adopted hometown of Nashville).  Jennifer Lopez’ childhood hometown of New York was the site for the fourth night of auditions.  Urban was unavailable, however, so Adam Lambert filled the third place at the judges’ table:

1.  Sal Velentini (right?), who’s young. but an old soul–a big full-voiced guy in the classic Italian crooner style.  He’s another one of this season’s throwbacks–old guy voice, old guy music, old guy suit.  His audition song is “Fly Me to the Moon.”  Harry bets him $100 to tell him the song’s “real” title.  He knows it.  It’s “In Other Words,” and Harry reaches into his pocket and hands over a $100 bill.  (When you’re Harry Connick, Jr. you can carry around $100 bills and lose them on a bet.)  Harry’s concerned Sal may not be right for Idol and votes “no” but Adam and J-Lo vote “yes.”

2.  Jay Nunn is how I wrote down the name but I see on an Internet site that it’s J. None.  Whichever, he’s another old-soul type, a black kid with an old-school R&B look.  He’ll go down in Idol lore, however, as the singer who had his Teddy bear along for moral support.  (Harry may have even enjoyed that bear more than J did.)  He sings a Bobby Brown song in a throwback style.  Adam praises his “good pocket, good groove.”  The singer and his Teddy get three “yes” votes.

3.  Jax from New Jersey–her father was a firefighter who survived Ground Zero on 9/11. She’s a blonde pianist who makes a bad song choice–she tries to turn “I Want to Hold Your Hand” into a cocktail jazz ballad, and it’s all wrong for her quirky New York/Jersey twang and her backwards-ballcap style.  She impresses the panel enough that she’s through to Hollywood, however.  “There isn’t anybody we’ve had who’s remotely like you,” gushes Harry but personally I’m not sure that’s such a good thing.

4.  Najah Lewis is an elegant black girl with a guitar, and she sings on the New York subways.  She auditions with an unplugged version of Maroon 5’s “Pay Phone.” I don’t hear much strength in her voice but the judges like her.  J-Lo speaks for the panel when she says, “You’re goin’ to Hollywood!”

5. and 6.  A montage of guys who are J-Lo fans–one’s a tall strawberry blond guy named James Killion Dunn and the other’s Tion Phipps with jerri-curls. J-Lo (along with the panel) coughs up tickets to Hollywood for both.

7.  Shana “Shi” Scott, an elegant black woman with guitar (BWWG?) essentially provides a good impersonation of Amy Winehouse, as Harry notes.  Adam says, “You’ve got tone and you’re pretty” but votes “no.”  J-Lo and Harry vote “yes,” so maybe it’s Adam who’s the tough judge on this episode.

In fact, at this point the show features a bit on Adam saying “no” to several contestants, prompting Harry to call him “Harsh Harry.”

8.  Eric Lopez, a quirky red-headed guy with glasses, does a poor Freddie Mercury impersonation on “The Show Must Go On.”  (J-Lo notes he doesn’t look like a typical Puerto Rican.) For some reason Harry likes “the mix” and votes “yes.” J-Lo doesn’t think the singer’s right for the competition and votes “no.”  Adam’s leaning “no” (he is, after all, the guy singing Queen’s vocals these days) but the guy begs and pleads and finally persuades Adam to give him another chance.  “You hustled Adam Lambert!” Harry says, which may be how we’ll remember this guy.

9. and 10. and 11.  Three successful auditions with blonde sopranos, one of whom is 17-year-old Maddie Walker, returning from last season.  The other girls are Courtney and Jackie Nege, whose version of “Born This Way” is already attracting some buzz.

12.  (Quasseem?) Middleton, 18, is a young black guy with long dreads.  He’s from Brooklyn, and his father was in the cast of Stomp.  He sings Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.”  His voice sounds strained and overly dramatic, but no worse than some other people who’ve gone through to the next round. J-Lo likes him, and so do Harry and Adam.  He gets three “yes” votes.

13.  We get another Adam in the auditions, and this one’s a heavyset guy with a shock of dark hair that looks like he should be hanging out at Comic Con.  He even has cartoons drawn of all four judges (Harry, J-Lo, Keith, even Adam) to give them. From his singing, I’d advise him to stick to comics, too.  He’s not singing “Born to be Wild,” he’s just yelling it.  Adam the judge generously asks for a second song.  Next the auditioning Adam picks a folksy ballad and actually sounds like a singer.  J-Lo thinks he’s got a pretty voice and the judges say “yes” on the basis of the second song.

14.  Katherine Winston, a blonde country singer with a guitar, gets three “yes” votes.

Speaking of Adam auditioning, we get one of the viral moments of this season.  The judges get their playtime a little early tonight.  Harry persuades Adam Lambert, superstar, to recreate the Idol audition of Adam Lambert, Goth-flavored actor, from Season. 8.  Adam takes his spot on the audition stage, greets the judges, and sings his audition song, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” once again.  Harry and J-Lo shower him with golden tickets to Hollywood.  (I thought they might tell him, “Not for us–go back to your job behind the table!” but they didn’t.)

15.  Travis Finley, a music producer, is a black R&B singer with a dramatic soulful voice.  J-Lo swoons, “You’re a star!  You shine!”  She advises him to pull back some of his runs, however.   Adam concurs, “You’re the kind of person this show was made for!”  All three judges brandish golden tickets to Hollywood.  Adam predicts, “He’ll do really well on this show!”

16.  A couple audition together–Yanni and her boyfriend Nick.  About the most interesting thing she does is drum time on an upside-down cup.  He demonstrates some power with Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” and he’s clearly the much better singer.  He gets the judges’ approval, she doesn’t.

17. Hollywood Anderson, a big clownish black kid with a guitar, who sings (and sleeps) on New York buses and subways,  sings a song he wrote about a girl from college.  He’s a bluesy young old-school bluesman who fits perfectly with the throwback singers who opened this episode.  The judges all get enthusiastic.  Harry raves, “Unquestionably the best audition of the last two days.”  I might not agree that heartily, but Hollywood is good enough to merit another look in Hollywood.  The judges simultaneously fork over three golden tickets.

Next week, Keith Urban’s back (we’ll miss Lambert) when auditions are held in Minneapolis.  Auditions in Harry’s hometown of New Orleans are also coming up.

 

 

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American Idol: Kansas City Auditions, 1/14/15

January 16th, 2015 · No Comments

We got a look at the freaky side of this season’s American Idol field on the third night of auditions.  We didn’t much in the way of potential finalists (the returning Casey Thrasher and one or two others aside), but we saw some people who were likely given tickets to Hollywood so they could provide some good TV during Hollywood Week.:

1.  Rontarius Wilson, aka “Big Ron” except he’s “Big Sexy” when he sings “Let’s Get it on” to J-Lo.  The guys put on a (pre-planned?) show of not paying much attention but join J-Lo in giving the guy “yes” votes.  I didn’t think he was good enough for Idol but I suspect Hollywood Week is going to have fun with the “J-Lo and Big Sexy” plotline.

2.  A montage of three successful auditions:  a girl named Ashley, a longhaired guy named Josh,  and Casey Thrasher, returning from last season when he, Dexter Roberts and Bill Brilley called themselves the Backstreet Cowboys in the group round.  Roberts and Brilley became finalists but Thrasher was cut.  Will he get further this time?

3.  Joy Cook has bobbed blue hair and plays the accordion.  She’s got a ukulele, too.  She’s not really a singer, she’s more theatrical, more performance art.  Harry, J-Lo, and Keith all love her, though.  Harry cautions her about being close to a novelty act.  (She’s not “close to,” Harry, she is a novelty act.)  She gets three “yes” votes, probably so she may provide some comic relief in the next rounds.

4.  Alexis Gomez describes herself as a Mexican hippie hillbilly and says she wants to give country a makeover.  Country star Keith is unimpressed, which may indicate her level of promise, but J-Lo and Harry vote “yes.”

5.  Speaking of backstreet cowboys, Anton Busher is a black country singer, cowboy hat and all.  He sings “Tonight I Won’t Cry” (and I thought I heard somebody say it was a Keith Urban song).  Harry likes him, votes “yes,” J-Lo likes him, votes “yes.” Keith likes him and votes “yes,” too.

6.  Cedric (not the Entertainer) is a black hip-hoppy guy who’s the subject of a Twitter poll about whether or not he should get through.  The numbers fluctuate wildly between the “yes” and the “no.” Both sides take turns being ahead but the final score is “yes” by a substantial margin.  The judges do put him through.

7.  Stephanie Grammett has a speaking voice and personality that may border on the ridiculous, but her singing voice is sublime. She sings much, much better than she speaks.  She’s supposed to have been influenced by James Taylor and Stevie Nicks.  For the second time tonight Keith votes “no” but J-Lo and Harry outvote him.

8.  Tonight we’ve already seen a blue-haired girl with an accordion.  Now we get Ellen Pearson, a blonde-haired girl with a banjo.  She sounds great, picking out “I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” and she can yodel, too.  She may be the first new country music discovery of the season.  The judges give her three “yes” votes.  Then, since the episode’s almost over, it’s time for the judges to provide some good TV.  Since the girl plays hillbilly music and is going to Hollywood, Harry requests she sing the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies. She’s sandwiched in a trio with Harry and Keith while J-Lo gives them an audience.

9.  In a season that looks to be loading up on throwback personalities, Kolton Posquell is living a vagabond existence right out of the anti-establishment days of the sixties folk scene.  He travels around hitching, camping, and singing on the street where he can.  He’s a character with long blond hair, a gravelly voice, and a guitar, but whether he can win Idol votes is questionable.  However, he wins three “yes” votes from the judges, so he’s off to a good start.  Harry challenges him that the next rounds are going to put him out of his comfort zone.

Ryan Seacrest says 37 singers auditioned successfully in Kansas City.  Next stop is J-Lo’s hometown, New York.

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American Idol – Season 14 Episode 4 Auditions Recap – 1/15/15

January 16th, 2015 · No Comments

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