American Idol S15 Top 24 Revealed

5 02 2016

Fifty-one contestants took the stage for a final performance in front of the judges and a live audience. Now they wait for their judgment.

My thoughts on their performances (the ones they showed):

The Ladies

Stephany Negrete looked and sounded great “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.   Shelbie Z sang another Heart song for her final performance “Barracuda.” I think she needs to ditch country and embrace the rocker inside of her. I think she has been fortunate to have gotten a lot of tips and help on “The Voice” that definitely gives her an edge up over some of the more inexperienced Idol contestants when it comes to stage presence. Michelle Marie sang “Little Toy Guns” by Carrie Underwood. She had great stage presence but she sounded sharp and flat on many of the notes. With the stiff competition, I would say no, but the judges may say yes because she has charisma and stage presence in addition to previous positive performances. Colette Lush sang “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor. Her voice was cracking a lot. Jessica Cabral’s performance wasn’t shown, but I was SHOCKED that she is not in the top 24. She was one of the stronger female voices with such a unique voice. Wow. I don’t know what to say about that one. Jenna Renae sounded okay from the small clip they showed of her singing “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. Jeneve Mitchell sang “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.   She has the great ability to feel her song. She has a unique place in all of this. Would I buy her music? No—because I don’t like country music (but I don’t buy Carrie Underwood’s either even though I was rooting for her on the show but on the show she didn’t sing strictly country). Amelia Eisenhauer sang “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel.   Her vocal was mediocre and her stage presence was not developed quite as much as the others. Avalon Young sang “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” by Chris Brown.   She has such a pretty voice. Sonika Vaid sang “Surrender” by Celine Dion. She gets swallowed up by the stage. She has a beautiful voice but she really needs to work on that. Malie Delgado sang “Little White Church” by Little Big Town. She has a great voice, but I didn’t like this song for her. Olivia Rox came down sick, but she had to rally to do her showcase round. She sang “Love Somebody” by Maroon 5. She did a fabulous job. That one gave me goosebumps!! Emily Brooke sang “So Small” by Carrie Underwood. She did better than I anticipated and some of that nasal twangy thing was gone. Gianna Isabella chose to sing her mom’s song and Gianna was talking to her mother in the audience during rehearsal and Rickey Minor set mom straight about needing to let them handle this. She sang “I Still Believe” by Brenda K. Starr (her mom’s hit song).  Jenn Blosil sang “The Hanging Tree” sung by Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games series.   She is so unique. I adore her. Tristan McIntosh sang “Stronger” by Faith Hill. She felt that it was the first time she has ever “performed.” She also is one of my favorites.

The last two ladies are La’Porsha Renae and Lindita. Is there ANY question who this is going to? Not for me. La’Porsha. Lindita performed “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj. La’Porsha Renae did “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. That gave me goosebumps.

 The Guys

Mackenzie Bourg is the first one of the guys to receive his fate. He sang Elvis Presley’s hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I really like his voice and he had the ladies in the audience singing along with him for the chorus. Trent Harmon sang “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John have a mixed feeling about. He has a great voice, but his performances are often internalized where he is not even making eye contact with the audience. He is performing but not connecting. CJ Johnson sang “Parachute” by Cheryl Cole. Okay, I admit. I loved it. I know it was country. I do have exceptions. Lee Jean sang “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran. It was adorable but I was put off by him telling the audience to be quiet not just once but twice. Daniel Rapattoni performed “It’s Gonna Be Me” by NSync. He is one of my favorites. He has star written all over him. He has the full package. Manny Torres sang “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder sounded great and frankly this competition could use his Latin flare. Thomas Stringfellow sang “Story of My Life” by One Direction. I like him but he was doing this weird thing that almost sounded like a hiccup-like noise at the end of every measure. It was annoying. The girls went crazy for him though.

Kacye Haynes and Jordan Sasser were the final two guys who were competing for that last spot. I think it is going to go to Jordan Sasser (even before I heard the performances). Jordan sang “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. I got goosebumps. Kacye tackled “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake. Rickey Minor complimented him that he was one of the few performances that actually felt what he was singing that day. Wow, he did bring a better performance than Jordan.

 Going Home

Not going through: Ameet Kanon, Anatalia Villaranda, Andrea Nazarbekian, Ariel Sprague, Christian Eason, Chynna Sherrod, Colette Lush, Isaac Cole, Jenna Renae, Jessica Cabral, Jessica Clark, John Clausen, Jordyn Simone, Kacye Haynes, Kassy Levels, Kayla Mickelsen, Kelsie Watts, Laurel Wright, Lindita, Malie Delgado, Mary Williams, Michelle Marie, Mionne Destiny, Sara Sturm, Shevonne Philidor, Terrian, Tiffany Lemay, and Zach Person.

Top 24 are:

Ladies: Amelia Eisenhauer, Avalon Young, Emily Rose, Gianna Isabella, Jeneve Rose Mitchell, Jenn Blosil, La’Porsha Renae, Olivia Rox, Shelbie Z, Sonika Vaid, Stephany Negrete, Tristan McIntosh

Guys: Adam Lasher, CJ Johnson, Daniel Rapattoni, James VIII, Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Lee Jean, Mackenzie Bourg, Manny Torres, Thomas Stringfellow, Trent Harmon

Next week: The top 24 sing solos and then duets with former American Idol contestants. Five will be going home.

 

 

 

 





American Idol S15 Hollywood Week No 2: Group Night

4 02 2016

Only 108 contestants remain after round 1 of solo performances.   It’s the dreaded group night that begins at 3:21 p.m. on the day before performance. They need to break up in groups of 3 to 4.

Scott Borchetta is going to be around for group to give them much needed feedback along with the vocal coaches of American Idol. He is telling it like it is; one group he told if they did what they did for him they are definitely going home tomorrow.

Shelbie Z, Marlena, and Tonie were struggling. Instead of trying to work it out, Shelbie walked off and left her group in search of another. Whether or not that was a wise move is yet to be determined. Shelbie sort of comes off as conceited a bit; I felt that way when she was on The Voice. Christian, who is in another group, overhears their dilemma, and he goes back to his group, who has four members, to see if someone would be willing to move to Marlena and Tonie’s group. Christian talks with La’Porsha, Malie and Manny. Malie doesn’t want to split up. And La’Porsha originally agreed, but then had a change of heart because she could not get them out of her head. Manny and Malie felt blindsided by that decision.

Dalton and Kassy were looking for their third member, Poh Scott. But the pressure was too much for this young lady and her father informs a crew member that she just can’t do this. They have to search for another group or a stray person who needs a group.

Team Blue Eyes consist of Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Kelsie Watts, and Jenna Renae. Their song is “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. The boys were stronger on this but the girls were close behind and Kelsie belted out this wonderful high note that would make Mariah Carey proud. They tell Jenna and Jordan to step forward and then do a fake-out and put all 4 of them through.

Milk & Cookies practiced in the toilet stall because the acoustics to them were better.   They chose “Drag Me Down” by One Direction. The ladies who make up the group are Jenn Blosil, Bri Ray, Lynnzee Faye and Sara Strum. Jenn reminds me too much of Joey Cook from last year. I thought they sounded nice together and no one forgot the lyrics. The choreography was bizarre. Keith tries to play them by saying “when I call your name please step forward” and follows with “who am I kidding, you’re all going through.”

The next group is “Ooh x 2” who choose “Need to Breathe” by Alex Clare. Amelia Eisenhauer, Tristan McIntosh, Lee Jean, and an unknown person. They are through to the next round.

Another group was composed of Avalon Young and a few others. They sang “DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again” by Usher and Harry complimented her that she could be in a video for that right now. They are through to the next round.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell was in another group. “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Harry told her that she made the lyric the most important thing. She and her two group mates are through to the next round.

Chynna Sherrod is in the next group which chose “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit to sing. Terrian is also in the group. It’s unclear if any made it through.

Trent Harmon was diagnosed with mono while he is there. He was cleared to continue in the competition, but he has to avoid spreading it, so no group rounds for him. His group name is called “Just Trent.”   He also sings “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. He has a very unique voice and I give him kudos for staying because this is the last chance for Idol. Harry jokes and he says, “I know one thing about that song; it sounds better in mono.” People groan. But Trent is through to the next round.

Michelle Marie and Lindsey Carrier of “Singing Out Loud” (with Ashley Lusk). After 5 hours, they decide on a song and pick up the defector Shelbie Z. Michelle was off pitch at the beginning part of that song and I’m just going to frank at this point—I don’t know how she is still in this competition with all these other more talented female voices other than she has a personality that makes her likable. They were singing “Undo It” by Carrie Underwood. They didn’t blend well as a group. Shelbie Z has a good voice without a doubt. Jennifer thought it was a good group job. Shelbie Z also has resting bitchy face. LOL. Ashley, Michelle, and Shelbie Z are through and Lindsey is going home.

Elvie Shane, Zach Person, Jessica Cabral and another person I don’t remember formed a group and they sang “Too Close” by Alex Clare. They were admonished that they looked tired and it came through, but this is what it is really like and their job is not to let the audience see that. Elvie is going home.

Ashley Lilinoe looked exhausted and seemed to not know the lyrics of her group’s song “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. Mackenzie Bourg did well. Juno, MacKenzie and Kayla are going through; Ashley is going home.

Cameron Richard was part of a group singing “Too Close” by Alex Clare. It wasn’t good enough and the judges send him home.

Chicken Noodle Soup’s Dalton Rapattoni and Kassy Levels lost their group member Poh Scott. The group “NV” consisted of Sonika Vaid, Andrew Nazarbekian, Stephany Negrete and Anatalia Villaranda.   Anatalia’s mom takes matters into her own hands and tries to convince the group that her daughter is not the problem; it’s the song. According to Anatalia, her group left her so she is looking for another group. She joined Chicken Noodle Soup. But Dalton found out that that the other members said she was not kicked out; Anatalia left.  Chicken Noodle Soup sang “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. I thought Dalton and Kassy sounded great. I’m a little iffy on Anatalia. But their voices complimented each other. All three are going through.  NV chose “Problem” by Arianna Grande. Sonika Vaid sounded good. Stephany Negrete sounded great. Andrew Nazarbekian has a crazy voice. They sounded great as a group. Keith felt Stephany was the only one who looked like a performer. They are all going through as well.

Josiah Siska, Jaci Butler, and Brian Dale Brown were sent home because they didn’t have great dance moves.

The next group “Trick or Treat Tribe” consisted of Kylle Thomasson, Kacye Haynes, Jon Klaasen, and Marcio Donaldson. They chose “Uptown Funk” by Mark Bronson. I think Kylle maybe sounded the best out of the four, but I’m not feeling them as a group. Keith thought they did good. Jennifer thought the same. Harry thought it was a good to see people feel rhythm. They are through to the next round.

Smooth Soul chose “Domino” by Jessie J. Joy Dove, Daniel Farmer, and Lindita. Lindita was all over the place. Harry said he was surprised Joy let Lindita do that. It is a competition. Joy and Lindita are through and Daniel is going home.

Eliz Camacho, Gianna Isabella, and Dana Ordway had issues being a group because of the overbearing personality of Eliz. She decided what song they were going to sing and then went to bed for the night. Eliz said for herself that she considered them backup singers that are going to let her rock it. Michael said it was one of the worst they have seen so far. If she even makes it through, Eliz is not going to win over America’s hearts that that piss-poor attitude. You can want to do your best without belittling others. “Hit ‘Em Style (Oops)” by Blu Cantrell. Jennifer said there was obvious tension that could be felt in the performance. This was supposed to be about collaborating. Gianna and Dana go through and Eliz was dismissed. But she goes away with conceited words, not learning a thing–humility.

The Good Vibes consist of Alesana Tolai, Jessica Paige, Olivia Thai, and Joe Dahman. They were singing “Me and My Broken Heart” by Rixton.   They all have nice voices. Some forgot the lyrics. It sounded off though. Not exactly sure where. Harry said there was no joy in their performance. Jessica is the only one going through.

CJ Johnson, Jess Kellner, Jessica Baker, and Zach Joseph sang “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. They were lively and sounded great. Harry said it was a great group song but it didn’t show him which one of them were a superstar. CJ, Jess, and Jessica are through and Zach is going home.

Thomas Muglia, Joey Hendricks, Bryson Dunn, and Thomas Stringfellow also did “Renegades.” It sounded kind of depressing. Thomas Stringfellow was the one who stood out for me. Harry looked like he was falling asleep during the performance. Both Thomases were through to the next round.

Rebirth including Manny Torres, Malie Delgado, Christian Eason chose “Too Close” by Alex Clare.   Malie was suffering from pretty bad laryngitis. Keith gives them a standing ovation. The audience was clapping as the song was playing. All three of them go through and Jennifer said it was one of the best groups of the day.

Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees is the song. Soul Catz included Laurel Wright, Marshall Cunningham, Drew Angus, and John Arthur Greene. They forgot the lyrics. I would say when choosing a group song, you should go with the song that has the least amount of words to have to remember. There are a lot of words in that song. Keith felt none of them took charge. Harry says, “If you forget the lyrics and turn around to ask for help – bad move.” Marshall and Laurel are through.

The last group round number ever for American Idol was performed by The Sistas (Tonie Starr, Marlena Johnson and La’Porsha Renae) who also chose “Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees.   Even though Marlena messed up and substituted gibberish, they had stage presence and sounded like they blended well with each other). Harry said, “That is how you forget words.” The three are through to the next round.





American Idol S15 Final Auditions Ever

1 02 2016

The clips from these auditions were taken from Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. This will be the last montage of contestants auditioning for their spot in Hollywood.

Jessica Cabral sings “Brand New Me” by Alicia Keys. Her voice is like butter. It’s so smooth and easy to listen to. Jennifer thinks she has this beautiful lush, low-tone voice. Keith said it was so beautiful and her control was great. Harry said that she was beautiful but when she sang she became even more beautiful. It’s one of the best he’s heard. She has tremendous talent. He said he will be shocked if she doesn’t make it really far in the competition.

Cody Ostrenga is a three-time world champion Manchado horse rider and…a belly dancer. He demonstrates his talents. “Proud Mary” by Ike & Tina Turner. It sounded like it might be good, but then by the fourth note, you could tell this was a definite no. Keith said everything was good except the singing. It was a no from everyone.

Brian Dale Brown is ready to go. His girlfriend is 15 years older than he is (actually called her a cougar). He is a self-described golden god. He is going to sing “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers (Simon Cowell’s favorite song, so I’m glad he is not here judging). He was too effective and it started out okay, but there are a lot of sounds like he is trying to have a bowel movement. He hit the high note. That was impressive. He had moments when he wasn’t growling that sounded nice. Jennifer thought it was powerful but it was all over the place. Harry thought he has a good voice but he doesn’t have to do all that; it’s too over the top. Keith liked that he has a big voice, but how he uses it. He gets three yes votes.

Gina Naomi Baez brings along her dog Tinker Bell and they dress the same. She decides on “Lips Are Moving” by Meghan Trainor. She has one tone: Loud. She does have a good voice though. It doesn’t have any emotion in it. Harry said she has a strong voice but it doesn’t take him anymore. Keith said he doesn’t see an artist. She begs to sing another song. You can tell she was not expecting that response.

Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma changed Melany Huber’s perspective on life at the tender age of 17. If she wants to do something, she is going to go for it. No fear. She chose “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars. I love her voice and she had the emotion behind it. Jennifer said that some people, when they sing, just emote so naturally. Harry loves her. It was appealing and captivating. Keith said there is a good storytelling ability to her voice. She is going to Hollywood.

Rachel Karryn was one of many contestants who brought in a loved one to do musical accompaniment. She brought in by her grandfather. She chose “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” by Reba McIntire. Caroline Byrne brought her brother to sing “Unaware” by Allen Stone. Bianca Espinal brought her father who encouraged her when she momentarily forgot the lyrics to “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. I liked the first two; Bianca needs a little bit of work but she was nervous so it might have just been nerves. All of them are through to Hollywood.

Justin Sullivan is hoping to make it through all the way to some point where he can meet Kelly Clarkson. Harry and Keith moved the Kelly poster next to him. He chose a Kelly Clarkson song, of course, “Stronger.” He started off rough (his lower register needs some work).   The performance is average. He has a nice voice but I don’t think he is strong enough to make it through with all this talent. Harry said he sounded good, but is he the book-end to Kelly? No. Jennifer agreed. He receives three no’s.

Chynna Sherrod chose “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. She has a beautiful voice. I had goosebumps by the time she got to the chorus. Jennifer said very beautiful. Keith said she sings how she is—laid back, talented. Harry said she was fantastic. Triple yes.

Lillian Glanton lives on a chicken farm and she sells cattle to pay for her recording time. She plays an original song, “Country Boyfriend.” Sometimes it was okay, but most of it was off-pitch. Harry says her voice isn’t quite on the level of what he is looking for today. Jennifer likes her and she likes her song. She felt like she should have known the melody and the notes so well. Keith likes her voice because it is legit and it is her. Keith says yes. Harry is a no. Jennifer liked her song that much and gives her the deciding vote.

There was a long montage of contestants where the judges disagreed.

Kacye Haynes is a musician from Talladega, Alabama who battled drug addiction and found the light. “Brother” by Need to Breathe. It was nice. His falsetto needed a little work. He has a lot of passion and I like him. Jennifer liked everything that was going on, that he has been singing from something that happened. Keith said he was just lacking the power from his voice. He could see it working as a band performance but not as a solo artist. Keith is a no. Jennifer says yes. Harry says he sometimes sounds a little bit like Jon Bon Jovi and sometimes he sounds a little bit like Bono. He loves his voice and he says yes. He gets his chance.

Zach Person from (WOO-HOO) Houston, Texas is up next. He is a full-time musician. He chooses “Next Door Neighbor Blues” by Gary Clark, Jr. He was terrific. I loved him scatting with the guitar. Keith said it’s good and he has his own style. Jennifer really liked it and it is super unique. Harry said it was refreshing that they can come out and do their own thing. He enjoyed it. He gets three yes votes to Hollywood.

Colette Lush decided on “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Jackson 5. I liked it. Harry thought it was terrific. Jennifer said there are people who are born to sing and they don’t have to even try. She compared her to Carrie Underwood. Keith said she doesn’t sound like anyone. She has a timeless quality about the way she sing. She is through.

Avalon Young is a self-described tomboy and sings “XO” by Beyonce. I got goosebumps. Harry thought she had a very different voice in a good way. Jennifer liked her a lot, too. She gets her ticket to Hollywood.

Usen Isong is a background actor but wants a spot in the forefront on American Idol. He is singing “Not the Only One” by Sam Smith. He has a nice voice, but I think he tries to do too many runs. Harry thinks he is trouble. Jennifer loves his voice. He also receives three yes votes.

Alternative rock band singer Jaci Butler tries out with “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars. There were some moments in there that I liked, but there were more moments that I didn’t like. She sounds good for an alternative rock band, but not for Idol. Jennifer said it was good and she liked it. Harry thought she was very talented. Keith said she moved during the song from being a band performer to sounding like herself and he liked it. She gets three yeses for Hollywood.

Stephany Negrete sings “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Jackson 5 (this seems to be a popular choice this season). She has a beautiful voice but I wasn’t moved to goosebumps. Jennifer wondered how it would have sounded if she didn’t worry so much about all the notes she had to hit and concentrated on what she was singing. Harry said she is among an incredibly talented group of people this year, but she needs to find her confidence about who she is. Keith liked her as a sum total. Jennifer would like to see her one more time and Harry and Keith were both yes as well.

The last audition for American Idol ever. Manny Torres is from Puerto Rico. He is going to sing “This Love” by Maroon 5. I love his voice and his presentation. Jennifer is digging him. His whole performance energy is present and joyous. Harry knew within milliseconds what he was all about. Keith said he has so much energy but he kept it focused. All three say yes and Manny gets the very last ticket to Hollywood.