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 New York Auditions

22 01 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nKeith Urban could not be part of the judges’ panel so Adam Lambert was his substitute. He was a great mentor so I look forward to hearing him judge.

Bethpage’s Sal Valentinetti has a huge personality. He sings Sinatra. It’s decent. Harry thinks he is talented but not for Idol. Adam thinks the Idol viewing audience would love him. Jennifer and Adam are yes votes; Harry is a no.

J. None brought Mr. Crispy (an old stuffed bear) into his audition to give him comfort and he turned into G-rated Ted with Jennifer Lopez courtesy of Harry. J. None is a 24-year-old amusement park performer from Orlando (I am betting you it is Disney). He does a good job with “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown. Harry channels his critique through Mr. Crispy that he liked him the minute he saw him and thought he sang very well. Jennifer agreed with Mr. Crispy. Mr. Crispy flirted with Adam saying he was so friggin’ handsome and Adam had a great comeback–“I’m really not into bears.” Adam thought he had a good pocket and groove. All three vote yes.

Jax came with a touching story about her father who was a first responder on 9/11. I expected the audition to suck and was so happy to be proven wrong. She is a true artist with a lovely rendition of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles. She has one of those awesome unique voices. I was completely captivated. She said, “Not to kiss butt,” but she voted for Adam. Harry thought it sounded strong and lovely. Jennifer said she was shy and confident at the same time and Harry shouted “Shonfident!” Adam was drawn in immediately. He felt her energy was warm, grounded, and earthy. She is through to Hollywood with three confident yeses. Her mom planted a kiss on Ryan right on the lips.

Street performer Johnny Arco was arrested for playing violin in the subway system and giving attitude to the cops. He hails from Bushwick, NY. He decides to sing a Radiohead song. He is interesting. Harry thinks he is super talented but that Idol is not the right venue. Jennifer and Adam agree. It is a no for him but at least he got some exposure.

A self-described glamorous subway performer, (and I saw a Bedford Ave stop (I lived on Bedford Ave after I was born), Najah Lewis can make 300 in about 3 hours. She did “Payphone” by Maroon 5 (which is my ringtone). Her voice was very affective but if I closed my eyes I did liked it better. Harry was captivated. Adam felt she did things that were inventive and interesting. She goes through.

In a collage of blonde ambition, Maddie Walker returns to Idol having auditioned last year. She is a bit more polished this year I think. Courtney Zahn did well and got a fashion seal of approval from JLo. Jackie Ness did a great job too. Three is a charm and they all get tickets.

His father is in the cast of Stomp. His mother was the first black woman to win Miss Mississippi. His mother embarrasses him by announcing on television that her son is still a virgin. Qaasim Middleton sings “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. He mixes his voice with sound effects and it so cool. He has such an upbeat personality and great look as well. Harry compliments him on his craft and going to school to work on it is impressive. Adam enjoyed his falsetto and scatting. He is going to Hollywood.

Bridgette Guerrette is a retail associate from Latham, NY. She tries to tackle Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited“. I did not like it at all. Adam says no to Idol but the keep working on it. Jennifer doesn’t feel like Idol is right for her and also says no. Two no responses do Harry did not need anything.

Harry decides he wants to hear Adam do his audition over do they can enjoy it. Adam indulged them. They edited it to cut between the original audition and the present and he sounds even better now.

Adam Ezegelian, age 20, is a toy designer. He is from Wantagh, NY. He brought caricatures he drew of Harry, Jennifer and Keith but made one up of Adam Lambert on the way to the audition. He sings “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, a song Adam Lambert covered on Idol (and I still have that single in my ITunes). Adam is a character but I don’t think it was a good audition. Adam Lambert asks him to sing one more thing and he sings “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. I preferred this song. It is still rough around the edges. Harry thinks he is great. Jennifer wasn’t sold with the first song but liked the second. Three yeses.

Katherine Winston is an 18-year-old musician from Lenox, Massachusetts. She makes it through.

Travis Findlay is a star in the making. He is a music producer. Life circumstances did not allow him to go to Berklee College of Music. He is 20 years old and from Baldwin, NY. He sang Rhianna’s “Stay“. Goosebumps but he has to not do so many runs. Some were less successful than others. He also has a great memorable look about him. Harry said he is so talented. Jennifer said he was a star. The audition was pretty but not perfect but he has that indescribable something else that they often get asked but can never really answer. Adam thinks this is the type of show that is made for him. He thinks he can do very well on the show. Ticket to Hollywood!

Benjamin Farmer, a 20-year-old sales associate from Cincinnati, OH sang “Proud Mary”. He was sharp, flat and changing keys. He starts off a montage of other Idol hopefuls that stood out for the wrong reasons.

Arianna (aka Yanni G) is a 23-year-old cover band singer from Newington, CT, who did “the cup song” where she used a Solo cup to bang out a rhythm, and sang Anna Kendrick’s “When I’m Gone.” She has a nice voice but the cup was distracting. Jennifer thought her voice was sweet but she did not get to hear what she is capable of doing because of the cup. Nick Fradiani, age 28, a musician from Guilford, CT is also auditioning. He sings “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. Yanni G goes over to the side and you can tell by her face she is unhappy about the critique and maybe worried Nick will go through and not herself. I think Nick has artistry. He is taking a song and changing its arrangement. Yanni G sang the song exactly like the original song and brought a cup gimmick thinking it would be the thing that would get the judges to remember her. But in the end her love and support shines through when he gets the ticket to Hollywood and she does not.

Hollywood Anderson, age 22, is a busker from NY, NY. He sings an original composition. Goosebumps!!!!! Jennifer says, while the young man is singing, that she has goosies and wants to record this song tomorrow. Adam was grooving. Adam said there were so many dimensions to what he just did. It was so interesting and emotional to listen to. Harry said unquestionably the best audition that day, the best audition of the last 2 days, and possibly from the last 4 cities. He shares that he moved to New York 2 years ago and just learned to play this past year when he was given the guitar at Covenant House by Norm Lotz. And Norm gets to go inside to meet the judges. Hollywood is given a ticket to….Hollywood. I am moved by his gratitude for the chance and I am in tears. Jennifer is too.