American Idol Season 14 Hollywood Week Night One

5 02 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThey are calling up some of their favorites from the auditions to sing right away. They call up Jax from Brooklyn up to sing. She was one I remember well (her dad being a 9/11 responder). She sings “Toxic” by Britney Spears. My first goosebumps of the night. There will be no critique from the judges.

Mark Andrew from the Minneapolis auditions was up next. I remember him as well. Then Emily Brooke (who I don’t remember too well except her name). Crooner Sal Valentinetti was called up. Adam Ezegelian did not sound as good as the audition (maybe nerves?) because he was having to take inappropriate breaths within the song.

Tyanna Jones goes next. Pitch issues still but I still love her. Savion Wright is next (adore him!). Hollywood Anderson performs a weird interpretation of Adele. Shannon Berthiaume (rhymes with perfume) takes on “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. I like her style but I think she needs to work on enunciation within her voice style. Then, she forgets the lyrics. OOPS! But she has little experience singing in front of a crowd, so it is not unexpected. It’s a terrifying thing to do (I have, so I know first-hand; it’s why I stopped singing in public). I feel so sorry for her.

Adam Lasher is definitely top 10 material. The people who are just mediocre or have a common voice who are sitting in the audience are freaking out just about now in the day when they see what kind of competition they are up against, but still it is wonderful that they are cheering for excellence. Harry speaks among the judges that he thinks Adam is a superstar.

Keith calls up Garrett Miles. He is the man who is blind. He sings, “To Make You Feel My Love.” He is a little off-pitch.

A string of bad luck happens for the guitar-playing singers with guitars out of tune. Just as people should stay away from the Adele songs, people should really not sing the “Paris (Oooo La La)” song by Grace Potter either. Trevor Douglas makes his way to the stage. He makes a joke about how he hopes his guitar is in tune. I got goosebumps. He sings the song from The Hobbit, “I See Fire.” It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty damn great.

Joey Cook does her thing on stage. She is unique. Joey is used to playing the accordion with her songs, she is forced to turn to a ukulele and is feeling vulnerable. Jennifer turns to Harry and says she loves her voice.

Amber Kelechi is having a panic attack in the waiting area. I told you she would get eaten alive during Hollywood week. Jennifer and Keith did her a disservice. She wasn’t ready. This is just way too much pressure on this little girl. She thinks her entire family’s fate rests on her getting through Hollywood week. She wants to get her family out of the hood back home. She tries singing “Radioactive.” This is not a song that people need to sing a capella. It needs full music behind the song to make it sound okay. She is brave. I still believe she isn’t ready. I don’t want to see the fall-out of that crushed moment. Harry says to Keith and Jennifer that it was far inferior to the Nashville auditions. Jennifer thought she sounded great. Harry does not.

All the performers asked to sing thus far are asked to come up on stage. Jennifer says they were not all that great today but they are getting the benefit of the doubt and are through the next round. Harry tells everyone else that they are safe…for now.

Day two of Hollywood week commences. The people who have not performed will be called up in lines of 10. After each line has performed they will ask some to step forward and others to stay back. Half of the remaining contestants will be going home.

Reno Anoa’l is in the first group of 10. Country singer Priscilla Barker goes to the microphone. Jaq Mackenzie says her great grandmother and aunt performed on that exact stage. She is the next American Idol because…she is. She is confident, but I wasn’t impressed by her vocals on her audition. She sings “Cool Kids.” She sang it well but there is stiff competition this year. Harry says to Jennifer that she “does that waif thing but she gets loud, too, which is good.” And the cuts happen. Jaq and Reno are through along with some others I don’t recognize. Priscilla is going home. I think that was a mistake. I liked her over Jaq and that is saying A LOT because I don’t like country music.

Some of those cut were Courtney Guns, Tara Honda, and Courtney Zahn.

In the next line of 10 is Erika Washington who sings “This Girl Is on Fire.” And she is through to the next round. It looks like Casey Thrasher is also in the group going through.

Michael Simeon and “Big Sexy” Ron Wilson are in the next group of 10 to perform. They are among those going through. Jacob Tolliver (the understudy for the Million Dollar Quartet as Jerry Lee Lewis) was among those going home.

Gabby Zonneveld sings “Down by the River” by Delta Rae. She has a little mini panic attack on stage (I thought her guitar string broke) and that is how they end the episode.

American Idol Season 14 Minneapolis Auditions

25 01 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nIt was a funny start to the Minneapolis, MN auditions with the judges getting locked in their escort vehicle.

Shannon Berthiaume has never sung in front of people before. She is a 17-year-old from St. Paul, MN and chooses “House of the Rising Sun” I love her overall tone but there were some parts that bordered on shouting. Jennifer thought she is a crazy artist in a best and most beautiful way. Keith thinks it is the best raw talent they have seen. Three yeses.

Kemil Casey, a 19-year-old nanny from Buffalo, MN, sang the first notes of “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson and I disliked it. Harry felt it was oddly entertaining. Jennifer felt that he probably has a career in show business just not that one (singing). Keith felt he had a great heart but the vocals aren’t there.

Apparently Harry was so tired he ate a whole bag of kettle corn in his sleep the prior night and doesn’t remember eating it.

Morgan Ovens, age 24, a professional organizer from Venice, CA sang “Hand in My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette. She sounds lovely but nothing stand-out interesting about it. Gabrielle Noe’l is a 23-year-old leasing sales manager from Minneapolis sounded lovely too, but there have been so many unique voices in the competition she would have to do something really stand out in order to make it. Twenty-three-year-old Courtney Guns is a bartender from Bemidji, MN and is a little too nasal for my liking. Yeses for all the ladies.

The next contestant is a hoot. She cried at Keith Urban concerts, saw “Selena” with Jennifer Lopez, and “Hope Floats” with Harry Connick Jr. Keith likes that Vanessa Andrea came well prepared. I love this young lady’s personality. Her husband is active-duty Air Force currently stationed in Minit, North Dakota. Can she sing? SHE CAN!!! She calls her husband (?) on the phone and the judges tell him each their yes vote. And she thinks Keith smells AMAZING.

Zach Johnson, age 20, is a student from Fargo, North Dakota and is one of those people whose talking voice does not match his singing voice. He sings, “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley. I thought with his silly energy it was going to be a disastrous audition. It was anything but. Keith mentioned if he liked Garth Brooks and he exuberantly said Garth was coming to Minneapolis and he said, “Tickets! Now!” Harry likes him a lot and loves his energy and spirit. Harry gives he some advice–if you don’t talk with a country accent, don’t sing with a country accent because that is not who you are. I don’t know about that. Opera singers don’t necessarily sing in their native tongue. Also how many artists from other countries sound American? Keith says yes because he has a good voice. Jennifer said she would have liked to have heard him sing without the accent. Zach gets a ticket. Keith says that if he comes to his Sioux Falls concert he will let Zach sing with him. True to his word two weeks later he does. Keith is such a generous person.

Aaron Bissell, age 17, from Cedar City. Iowa provided me with me first goosebumps from Minneapolis. Harry jokes around about his coffeehouse experiences where people would tell him to shut up. He goes to Hollywood.

Cindy Jo Scholer is a sportswoman who has killed a bear and also a pre-K teacher from North Branch, MN. This 26-year-old sings “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. Jennifer felt she kept losing the melody of the song in an attempt to show off her singing voice. Keith says lose all this stuff (and he motions to her face and body) and get rid of the theatrics because she has a really good voice. She has talent in the center of her voice. Harry felt like she was yelling. Jennifer is a no. Keith is a yes. Harry says yes.

Just when they were talking about Harry wasn’t going to say no to that girl because she killed a bear last week, in walks the next audition who looks like–a bear. Harry screams, “He’s alive!” The unnamed contestant starts singing but the outcome of his audition is undetermined.

Matt with an unknown last name makes it through to Hollywood.

Jacob Tolliver, age 20, from Portsmouth, Ohio is currently in Vegas as the Jerry Lee Lewis understudy in a show called “Million Dollar Quartet.” He has mad piano skills! His voice was so-so. Harry says Jerry Lee Lewis was already done. Keith adds who are you? Keith wants him to play something else. He tries to sing “Stay with Me” but I don’t like it. Three yeses.

Hannah Mrozak, age 16, Richfield, Wisconsin sings “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” by Etta James. She has a lovely voice. Going to Hollywood!

Kristi Kroker, age 21, a student from La Crosse, WI had a few pretty notes but it went sideways in other places. Jennifer felt like it is more like a high school audition versus an American Idol audition. She leads off a string of “no” responses.

They leave the best for last or at least one with a profound story. Mark Andrew, age 29, is a landscape foreman who just had a baby with his wife. He is a hometown boy and feels this is his last opportunity to get a break in the industry. Goosebumps! He has a Cat Stevens vibe. Keith asks him to sing something else. He oddly chooses “The Monkey Song” from Jungle Book. He gets a ticket to Hollywood.