o You Think You Can Dance Season 12 Detroit Auditions

19 06 2015

The auditions move on to Detroit where 18-year-old Christine Shepard from Columbus, Ohio danced to “Settle Down” by Kimbra hoping for a ticket to Vegas and an ultimate spot on Team Travis. While I developed no goosebumps, I did find it very entertaining. I felt like she incorporated some movements of African jazz into her own eclectic jazz performance. It had so much personality and had Paula on her feet. Paula said she is a bright light, a breath of fresh air, hashtag everything. She adored her. Jason said it was a hell of a start. He thanked her for blessing the audience. The nuances were everything for him. It makes such a difference when you have the bing, bang, boom, and then you hit them with a little nuance, a little ornament. It’s those moments that make a performance special. He commented as well on the African vibe that made it a little different. Nigel said everyone has a light inside of them that there is something in life that will make them turn it on. Sometimes they don’t know they have it or what will make that happen, but she has it and it is shining out like a beacon. It was the little things like the side-split contraction, then the shoulders, and then the contraction. It was magical and a great way to start the day. Of course, she made it through to Vegas.

Animator Kenya Sutton is the Queen of Detroit, Queen of the Streets, S.O, Standing O, just O. She is almost as good as Cyrus. All three judges were on their feet. That is just so difficult to do (animation). Jason said now he knows why she is called Standing O because there is no better response than a standing ovation to her performance. The fact that she brought sexiness to animation he has never seen that. She made it hot, sexy and feminine, and that is dope. Paula said she is everything they have been looking for in this competition. She is unique. She is clever and witty, tongue-in-cheek, great flirting with Jason. She is pretty darn special. Nigel asked her why it has been so long since she came to audition. She was afraid of being overlooked. Before she would have had to go through ballroom and contemporary and she didn’t train yet in that. She wasn’t even going to fool herself. So Nigel says now that there is just stage and street side she is going to climb up and up that ladder. She gets a ticket.

Kelly MacCoy met Tyrell Noll in line at last year’s auditions in Atlanta who is now her fiancé. I think that makes two couples (tWitch and Allison Holker got married). She chose “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion. It was done well but there were only some moves at the end that made it special. It’s hard when you have other people like Christine. I think she deserves to go to Vegas because she will only get better. Nigel said that she reminds him of Ginger Rogers. She had fabulous technique, great feet, loved everything she did. He felt her connection with the music as well. Paula said what is special about her is that even in the moments where she is not dancing there is such a different emotional connection. She was outstanding. Jason said it was a stunning performance and he loved everything about it. Her kicks were way up and her altitudes were some of the best they have seen. Three yeses.

Her fiancé Tyrell Noll performs freestyle to “Habits” by Maria Mena. The music is beautiful. He was animating so well it sort of glided. It was beautiful. Paula said he went against the grain and picked music not typically used for street dancing and that was very intelligent. His movement reflected a story. Nigel said it is very rare that they disagree. He didn’t find a lot of dancing going on. He has seen the puff and walk done so many times and it done better. Tyrell makes his case that dance is about emotion and pouring your heart out on the stage. Jason gave it two thumbs up. There was such an element of acting to it and dancers need to be actors as well. He gets two out of three yeses which gives him a ticket to Vegas.

Break dancer Corey “Mission” Whitfield, age 30, is from Detroit and works for the Pistons. He chose “Latch” by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith. He reminds me a little of Legacy. Jason thought it was very impressive. Paula loved him. Nigel invited his godchildren up on stage to dance with him. The kids were awesome. How old are they? Can they go through to Vegas? Mission is going to Vegas.

Then came a large montage of people going through to Vegas for Team Street.

Brooke Fong came to do a jazz routine from California. She chose “Fever” by Beyonce. I like her. Her spin moves were pretty phenomenal. Jason said they talk about those special moments where they can go home and still talk about and she had them in those pirouettes. Paula thought she was a very smart dancer, very sharp and in her control of her core. She thought she was a contender. Nigel said she was sharper than the spikes on a porcupine’s ass. He felt like she was raising the standard again this year. Three yeses.

Next was a montage of people trying out for Team Stage.

Two dancers from The Bronx came together to try out on opposing teams. First was stage dancer Chelsea Harold, age 26, dancing contemporary to “Brain” by Banks. Her flexibility did not seem to be there like the other dancers we’ve seen. She looked like she was struggling. Her legs were not high enough in her jumps. I love her spirit and I loved the concept of the dance, but I’m not sure what happened in the other. Paula said she is a proficient dancer—she could see her training—but there were areas where she needed to extend more. Nigel said her legs appeared tensed. Jason felt that her emotion was more internalized. She received three no’s.

Her friend Samantha Reyes was hoping for a different answer. She dances in the subways. She is going to freestyle street dance. She chose “Faded” by Zhu. It was good. I think she needs some help perfecting her style a bit though. Jason likes her passion but he thinks she needs to add more to her repertoire. Paula said she sees softness in her but Paula reassures her that it is a beautiful thing. Paula said she needs to be taught structure and choreography so she can start building her dance vocabulary but she shows a lot of promise. Nigel says he sees a girl who has to be tough in her life but agrees with Paula that there is a softness about her. She gets three yeses.

Jessica Southwell (aka J-South) auditioned doing a tap/Charleston. OUCH! She fell. It was interesting. He said the routine was juvenile but the outfit made him short for words. She said, “It’s ironic.” Paula thinks she needs to work on the cleanliness of her taps. Jason thought it was like a dirty Snow White. All three were a no, but Jason called her “babe” so she can go away with that I suppose.

At the end of the day ten dancers were joining Team Street and five more were joining Team Stage.

Day two in Detroit. Miranda Wilking just turned 18 on the day of her audition with District 78’s “The Antidote.” That was some hard-hitting dancing there. She was not going to be denied a ticket! I’ll remember the intensity, but not so much signature moves. There was no critique other than Nigel saying “she’s fierce” while she was dancing. She has a ticket to Vegas.

Aaron Viland describes his style as pop-and-lock-a-mation. He dances to “The Creep” by The Lonely Island. He had the judges up dancing. Nigel thanked him for making everyone so happy but it wasn’t strong enough for them to put him through. Paula predicted he was going to become an internet sensation. Jason said they needed a little wakeup call and thanked him.

Michael Manson came on stage to perform the legendary Detroit Jit. That is one FAST dance!!! I wonder how many calories you can burn doing that? Nigel thought it was good. Paula said, “Jit happens.” Michael said that is their slogan. Paula thought what he is doing was extraordinary but he needed to change it up. Jason was there for it. He gets a ticket to Vegas.

Kelsey Rose Young is performing a tap routine to “Bang Bang” by Jessie J. WOW!!!!! She is fantastic. She intermixed some krump into her tap routine. Nigel said she is a born performer. He loved the track she danced to because it was fresh and modern. Her performance was outstanding (a little over the top if he is being honest). Her performance reminded him of Paula. She was double espresso coffee in the morning. Paula wants to carry her in her purse everywhere she goes. She thought she was a little firecracker and she surprised Paula. Jason felt that tap is a dying art and it needs to be brought to current times, like what she did. She gets a ticket.

There was a montage of unnamed stage performers who received a yes for Vegas, followed by a montage of both street and stage dancers who received a no.

Gabby Diaz got cut after her solo in Dallas (a week ago). She completely changed her solo based on the judges’ feedback. She chose “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves. I loved it. It was a great tap song. Jason said “now that was amazing” before the actual critiques occurred. Nigel said her auditions were like night and day for him. Her song choice was right, her expressions were right, her interpretation was right. Paula said she took the constructive criticism that they gave her, she took it and it paid off. It was very smart of her and Paula is very proud of her. Jason is proud of her as well. She was almost like a new dancer. She gets the prize—the ticket to Vegas.

Krumper Roydell Shannon blew up the stage with his performance. His son BamBam was called to the stage. BamBam gets a standing ovation from the judges. Nigel thought he was just as good as Russell. Paula thought he brought other dimensions into his routine, not just krumping, and it was incredible. Jason said he was more than a krumper—he is an entertainer. He became a beast and he’s got buck. Definitely going to Vegas.

The tally is 55 dancers for Team Travis and 60 for tWitch





American Idol Season 14 Top 8 Guys Perform

5 03 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThe results are in for the guys and four of them are going home. But first Aretha Franklin sings “I Will Survive.” I amazed how much weight she has lost. Not only is Ryan NOT in a suit, but he lets Aretha say, “This is American Idol.” I think that is a first for the show, isn’t it? Outside of that first season when there were two hosts?

The theme tonight is Motown. The first person going through is Daniel Seavey. He sings “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye. He is adorable, but the stage just swallows him up. It was an okay performance. Nothing about it blew me away. Keith said it was a good song for him to do. Jennifer felt he was more relaxed and having fun. She felt the song was a little bit low for him. She thinks he is going to be a favorite. Harry said they all know he is adorable, extremely talented and a gifted musician. He gave him good pointers on how he needs to feel what the band is doing with the beat. Let the band dictate what his body does. I really like the advice they give.

The next person making it through to the top 8 is Mark Andrew. He performs “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by The Temptations. I liked that he changed up the beat on the verses and stayed true to the song. He was a great performance. No goosebumps, but a great performance. Jennifer loves his voice but she didn’t think that song in that way was moving her. Harry thinks his strong point is his voice. He liked the arrangement but it felt like a jam-band arrangement. He thought it was fine. Keith agrees with Jennifer about the arrangement but he loves the fact that America voted for him because they hear something in his voice and see something in him.

Rayvon Owen advances to the top 8. He sings the classic “My Girl” by The Temptations. I enjoy his voice. I think the vocals keep improving as they call new names. I thought this was the best so far tonight. I got close to goosebumps. I did have some eye closing and shaking my head thinking “oh that’s sweet!” Harry thought it was great. He also has such a nice presence. (I agree—he always seems to light up the stage). Harry wants to see the other side, too (the opposite of nice and sweet). Keith said he knew what Harry was saying—just a little more weight in the performance. He can hear a happy guy and it comes across great but he is interested to see what he is going to do next. Jennifer felt like when he went into the falsettos and hit those high notes he really made the song his own.

I am now worried. They are almost halfway through the names and Savion Wright’s name hasn’t been called yet. I think next year they should just let America decide all the names. Don’t make it an even split in gender. The guys are better this year and they should have more of the spots and more of the ladies go home.

With now half the names being called, Adam Ezegelian is called next to be part of the top 8. He sings “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. This was a bad arrangement. He did make the song his own, but it had issues (for me). Keith thought it was the perfect song for him. Jennifer thought he did a good job on the song. Harry said he nailed every note, so good job.

Scott Borchetta will be a mentor this year. He launched the careers of people like Taylor Swift. Scott thinks Clark Beckham is the best singer the boys have this year. And a nice segue in because Clark has made it into the top 8. He sings “The Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. This is now my new favorite of the night. That gave my goosebumps. Jennifer agrees with Scott that he has one of the best voices in Idol this year. Now he has to let loose and feel it. She thinks he could go all the way. Harry thinks he is really talented. One thing that was lacking was a beginning, middle and end. He had strategic things but it just stopped in the middle. Keith said he would have just sung that song without the band and broken everybody’s hearts. He’s got the skills to do that, just don’t be afraid.

Nick Fradiani is next. This only leaves two more spots. He chooses “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder. Nick starts without the band and I’m not sure I’m going to like it, but then they join in and I’m relieved. It was a decent performance. I like his voice. But at this point I’m so depressed that there are only two spots and there are four guys I like still sitting in the audience which sucks (Savion, Qaasim, Quentin, and Trevor). Harry thought it was strong and a great arrangement. Harry encourages him to smile more on these kinds of songs. Keith felt like it might have been better not to have the guitar on that particular song because he wanted to see him move more. Jennifer felt it was a good job.

Qaasim Middleton makes it through. He sings “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder. He has great dance moves. I think he should have danced a bit less and sang a little bit more on point. The problem with his crazy arrangements is that you can’t tell if his singing is off key or not. Keith said it was so good and seeing him perform in front of an audience is what it is all about. Having an audience is where he lives and breathes. Jennifer said he is so damn funky it is crazy. He owns that stage. But she wants them to know how great he sings, too. Don’t forget about the vocals. Harry didn’t think he lost the vocal at all and thought it was extremely good. Every single run was right on the money. He said they get asked “What are you looking for?” THAT is what they are looking for.

Only one more name. This really sucks. I say let’s take two more of the girls’ spots for the guys. I’m in tears. Savion is not going through. Savion deserves it and I don’t know if he can come back again next year. But Quentin Alexander had the stand-out performance last week and he advances (and deserves it). I really want two of the girls’ spots. It’s not right. Stevie Wonder songs are popular tonight and Quentin chooses “Master Blaster (Jammin’).” I like that he interacts with the band. I believe he had the standout performance once again. Jennifer it was so smooth and so perfect. It proves why he was the last one to be picked. He is one of her favs. Harry liked how he settled into the groove of that. Keith said he knows who he is. He knows it was a bulls-eye.

American Idol– Change your format. It is ridiculous that you feel it is still necessary to have to be an even number of girls and guys going through to the top 12. Don’t we want our most talented people in that top 12? If you are allowing American to vote for the top 12 guys and top 12 girls, then let us make those decisions across the board. After all, when they win, they will have to compete with talent across the board, not just in their gender.





American Idol Season 14 Top 12 Girls Perform

27 02 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nTonight the top 12 girls of Season 14 perform in Detroit. First to perform is Lovey James. She sings “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. It was a very, very rough start. Her low range is a hard place for her. I didn’t care for it. Jennifer thought it was a great start. Harry thought it was a strong job. Keith said it got better and better as the song went on (so that made it great). Again, where is the critical feedback so they can learn?

Adanna Duru is next. I’ve had mixed feelings about her along the way. She is singing “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne. I applaud her effort to make it sound different, but it was not good either. Sorry. Keith thought it was a really good performance. Jennifer thought she was going for blood. She said she will learn when she gets that excited to learn how to stay in control. Harry said when it got loud it got slightly out of control. However, the first part of that tune was the best he’s actually heard her sing. He called her dangerous.

Ohio native Alexis Gomez is next. She sings “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert. I don’t like country music, but that is MUCH better. The show for me starts here. That was excellent. Harry said she is so lovely and talented, but he doesn’t remember having a twang like that. He cautions her about it because it made her sound like she was imitating the record. That is a valid point. Keith loved it. He said when she isn’t comfortable playing the guitar, get rid of it. Jennifer loved it and loves her.

Joey Cook brings her accordion to the stage. I think this may not be a smart move for Idol.  That will only last so long before a judge says something about it.  She sings “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban. That’s brave. Keith is laughing and clapping. I don’t know what the original sounds like. She has such a wonderfully unique voice. She is so quirky, too. Keith is standing up. Jennifer says to him, “I bet you never heard the song like that.” Keith lets out a “wooooo.” Jennifer said that was all of the best things about her—incredibly unique. Harry said that if Keith and he ever had a kid that is what the music would sound like. Keith said it was fantastic. She took a song and made it hers.

Katherine Winston goes next singing “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars. It was a little bumpy during those first few notes but I love her voice. Keith said it was really nice but don’t forget to feel as she is singing. Jennifer said she has a magical quality to her voice and it is special. Harry thinks she is a phenomenal vocalist but questions her song choice with respect to the show (by singing ballads)? What? Other people sing ballads. When has this been a problem? She is getting all my votes tonight just because of that bizarre comment from Harry.

Shannon Berthiaume sings “Who Knew” by P!NK. It was not good. When it speeded up, she did not keep up with the band. Oh my—make it stop. Harry said they have seen a lot of polish especially from the guys who look like they belong there. One nice thing is the fact that she is so green but that novelty is going to wear off so she needs to be more energetic and more committed to the lyrics and things like that. Keith said that P!NK is such a phenomenal singer. Her songs sound like anyone could sing them but they can’t. He did not think it was a good song choice. Jennifer said they (Harry and Keith) hit it on the nose and she is a phenomenal singer and she is here because of that.

Loren Lott sings “Note to God” by Charice. It already sounds flat when she starts. Then I liked it for awhile. Then I think I didn’t like it again. I went back and forth about it the whole entire song. Jennifer said it was very brave and good job. Harry said it was powerful. Keith said it was good and she was going to give them a run for their money.

I was looking forward to Shi Scott’s performance. She choses “Umbrella” by Rihanna. I think this was a bad song choice. Keith said it was powerful, gutsy, and it was a bold performance but she didn’t get him with that song choice. Jennifer said they didn’t get the best of her with that song. Harry said she is very talented but it wasn’t the right song for her.

Another country girl is Maddie Walker. She sings Shania Twain’s “Love Gets Me Every Time.” Parts of it were fine; parts were not, but not horribly so. There were moments when she was just under the note. Harry says that sometimes her voice sounds a lot older than she is. He thought it was a good solid performance. Keith said that out of all the Shania songs that particular one is not great to show off her abilities but there is a character in her voice that is compelling. Jennifer agrees. She didn’t think it was the right song to pick on the first night to wow America.

Sarina-Joi Crowe picks “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J to sing. This gave me goosebumps. I was grinning from ear to ear. She is going to go far in the competition. Jennifer said she rivaled Jessie J on that song. It was pretty impressive. Harry said that was really, really strong. Keith said it was the perfect combination of loose and tight. It was right on point.

Jax is another one of my favorites. She chooses to sing “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra. Goosebumps again. That was fantastic. Keith loved it. He loves her artistry and originality. Jennifer said they are so lucky to have her this year. Harry agrees and that she is one to watch. Two powerhouse performances in a row.

Tyanna Jones is another favorite. She sings “Lips Are Movin” by Meghan Trainor. It was a rough start. I think she was nervous. When she got to the chorus it got better. But it seemed like she was just under the note. I’d love to see her sing a Janelle Monae song. It was solid. Harry said she is in the ridiculously talented category. Keith said don’t be afraid to tell the band you can sing something in a slightly higher key. Jennifer said for her to just be her. There is something beautiful about her and her voice is from God himself.

The guys are much stronger this year. I had a hard time yesterday picking four for my bottom guys; I don’t have a problem here with the ladies. My bottom girls are Lovey James, Adanna Duru, Shannon Berthiaume, and Maddie Walker. My top favorites were, in order, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Jax, Tyanna Jones, Joey Cook and Katherine Winston tied for the next spot.





American Idol Season 14 Top 12 Boys Perform

26 02 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nAmerican Idol goes on a road trip. Instead of Hollywood, they will sing in Detroit for the next two weeks. I really like that they will have a larger audience to perform for instead of the small studio group. This week they will perform and then we vote. Next week the top 24 becomes the top 16. There is no theme form this round; they can choose whatever song they like.

Adam Ezegelian is up first singing “I Wanna Rock” by Twisted Sister. What a great way to start the show and get people energized. He should more of these type songs. It was terrific. Jennifer said his performance was contagious. Harry said they sometimes take themselves way too seriously. His performance is what rock and roll was all about and the fact that he can sing makes it work. Keith jokes about how much he loves those heart-aching ballads.

Slow-dancer, farmer Michael Simeon sings “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Michael Bolton. I enjoyed his performance too. He played to the crowd by bending on his knee to get closer to the ladies. Harry cautioned him to try to sing in tune (there were just a few notes off that I heard) but thought he did a good job. Jennifer liked the feeling of the whole thing. Keith thought his performance was really good. He stayed in the moment and controlled it. He felt he would be hearing more from him.

Our local Savion Wright was featured next singing one of Joey Guerra’s least favorite songs, “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train. Goosebumps! I happen to like this song and loved his interpretation. There were a few notes off but I am okay with that. Harry said it started unfocused but as it went on it seemed to focus more. Jennifer loves his unique style. She reminds him to pay attention to the camera. Keith wasn’t sure about that song choice playing to his strengths.

Mark Andrew takes the stage singing “The Weight” by The Band. I loved this too. Gosh this is going to be tough to split up my votes. Keith said it was the perfect song for his voice. Harry agreed it was the perfect song choice. Jennifer said his vibe is “so right now.”

Texan Trevor Douglas sings “Best I Ever Had” by Gavin DeGraw. I really like Trevor but it wasn’t on the same level as the other performances tonight. He was out of breath (nerves?) and he was pitchy dawg. Keith said the song got on top of him but his visual performance and energy was palpable. Jennifer said this was an okay day for him. Harry thought the vocal was not as good as the performance was.

Clark Beckham is one of my favorites too. Tonight he sings “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge. Beginning was a little rough. Too many runs that were in key. But he found a rhythm. There were a few notes that were off. Keith was on his feet. Jennifer said “goosies all day.” Harry said he is extremely talented. Keith said it was killer.

Rayvon Owen performs “Jealous” by Nick Jonas. His falsetto was rough in most places. He sounded out of breath. It’s hard to sing and dance or walk around the stage. Harry thought it was strong and a good song choice. Jennifer reminded him be needed to look into the camera to connect with the audience at home. She was looking for a little more attitude with the song. Keith thought showing his falsetto was a good thing.

The youngest competitor Daniel Seavey chose yet another Jason Mraz song “I’m Yours”. His voice is really suited for Jason’s songs but I wish he would branch out a bit more. He has the talent. He looks a little scared. It was rough when I compare him to the others. He might be safe because of the ‘tween factor”. Jennifer said he needs to be consistent throughout the song. Harry thought he did a nice job. Keith likes his look, the mandolin and he thought it was a good song for him. His camera comments after the performance was adorable. He got excited hearing people scream his name, he was anxious because his mom was here, etc.

Riley Bria makes his way to the stage. He sings “Homeboy” by Eric Church. It started off rough but he found his groove. Again I think nerves are getting to some of the less experienced contestants tonight. The end of the song was rough, too. He has talent; he wouldn’t be there unless he did. But, he is not in the same league as some of the others. The teens love him. Jennifer says she loves his combination of sweet and edgy. She hopes he connected with America because he belongs there. Harry feels that way, too. Harry makes a joke that Riley reminds him of Keith Urban that he might have to start calling him Keith Suburban. Keith is glad he did an Eric Church song and he can’t wait to hear more.

At this point, the judges have not had any constructive criticism for any of the contestants. With four of them going home, this might be the only time they are going to get that. Of course, the judges might be hearing something different there than we do at home.

New Orleans contestant Quentin Alexander channels a Lenny Kravitz vibe in his demeanor. He sings “I Put A Spell On You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. His performance immediately drew me in. I definitely got goosebumps from head to toe. Harry says he has a different presentation all across the board and he hopes America gives him a chance to stay. Harry thinks they will find a great artist in there who is brave choices. Harry thought it was great. Jennifer felt that was what performing is to her. It has drama and dynamics, the vocals, the way he looks, the whole thing. It’s emotional. It was perfect. It was one of his great performances. Keith said he hasn’t made a record yet and that was a Grammy performance.

Nick Fradiani sings Ed Sheeran’s popular hit “Thinking Out Loud.” It sounded very much like the original. I did get goosebumps but to a lesser extent. I would have liked him to change it up a bit more because he has the talent and experience to do something like that, but I really like him. Good Lord! The talent this year on Idol is extraordinary. It is going to be very hard to split my votes. Keith said it was perfect song choice and he was glad he played (guitar) and sang. Jennifer said she doesn’t want any of the guys to go home. She is very sad. Nick had a great performance. They have had a lot of great performances this evening but his was one of the best. Harry thought it was strong. (Harry makes jokes about the song—What? He’s only going to love the person until 70 and then at 71 they are getting a divorce?)

The last spot goes to Qaasim Middleton who sings “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars. I’ve seen him do better vocally. He is a wonderful performer. The song didn’t allow him to really show off his vocals. But the performance was so incredible, I didn’t care about the vocals halfway through the song. The crowd goes wild. Jennifer says he makes her want to get up and dance and sing with him. She says he is her type of performer. She just loves him. Harry says they ask them to leave it on the stage and give it all they have and that is exactly what he did. Keith said it is about standing out, making a connection, being remembered, having charisma. He killed it.

I don’t know who should be in the bottom four. Riley and Daniel should be based on the fact that the others were just better in vocals and performances. I worry for the performers who went on earlier in the evening.

The girls have their chance tomorrow. Will the girls slay it as the boys did? We will find out. Idol is off to a fantastic season. And PLEASE—if Idol is getting renewed for next year, make sure Harry, Keith and Jennifer come back again. I just love them. They are my favorites in all the years of Idol.





American Idol Season 13 Detroit Auditions

29 01 2014

One of the best things Idol has done was to go to Detroit for one of their audition cities. We all know about it being the birth of the Motown sound, but they have suffered more than most American cities with the recession. Not only did it bring some much needed revenue into the city, but it also showcased some wonderful talent.

I think Radioactive is just a bad song with which to audition. Fortunately for 24-year-old Keri Lynn Roche, the judges asked her to sing a different song. She slayed it. She should lose the guitar. The judges said absolutely yes.

Julian Miller is an 18-year-old shoe salesman from Detroit. He was excellent and is through to the next round.

Paris Primeau is a 16-year-old student from Macomb, Michigan. I thought she was quite unique. Keith did not like her theatrics, but she is through to the next round.

My first thought about Samantha Furtwengler was that she would need to change her name if she becomes famous. (Sorry I don’t mean to make fun of people’s names but this one just doesn’t roll off the tongue very easily). I am iffy on her voice. She received a no. When she returns to the lobby, her sister (I think) looked shocked like “how is that possible? Am I being punked?”

I loved Olivia Diamond, a 22-year-old student from Detroit. She is through to the next round.

Tuba-player Malaya Watson is adorable. She is a 15-year-old student at Southfield High School in Michigan. I was amazed by the control in this young one’s voice. I had goosebumps (the first of the night). Jennifer felt that God gave her something so pure and real and special. Welcome to Hollywood.

This is the last shot for Bryan Watt, a 29-year-old, nonprofit director from Thomasville, Georgia. Another goosebump-maker. Harry said it was competent, patient and an easy performance. They jokingly referred to him as Superman because he looks like the actor. He was instructed to bring his cape to Hollywood (and cue the song from Daughtry).

I don’t like Khristian D’avis‘ voice. She is a 22-year-old server from Chicago. She has a band. I do not think she was good enough. She was going in and out of different keys. Keith said it was dynamically inconsistent and her pitch was shaky in spots. Jennifer said that her style came from her lack of ability to hold notes. Harry said it was funny how she lost her accent that she had at the beginning of the audition in just the last 3 seconds. Jennifer noticed that, too. Jennifer says yes; Keith says no. Harry gives her another chance with a warning to figure out what is real and what is fake. After she left the audition they start to talk. Keith said he got upset when she did not listen to the great advice she was getting and she was not even trying to learn.

I was not impressed with Jena Asciutto‘s performance with Rolling in the Deep. She has this weird thing she does on some of her notes that was just plain annoying. It is not the level of quality we have seen with other contestants. Harry notices that her tongue closes off her throat at times (this must be what is causing that annoying sound). Keith loved it. Jennifer likes when a song does not sound like the original singer. She gets three yeses.

Dam Dinh, Antonio Brown, and Chaz Coley are all no’s.

Her father toured during her young years but he gave up his dreams to give her a good life. Melanie Porras, age 19, an administrative assistant from Kennesaw, Georgia, now follows in her father’s footsteps. I like her. The song did not show a lot of range though. She reminded me a little bit of Hayley Reinhart. Jennifer thought she played it safe and asked her to do another song. She chose “Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi. I thought that was a much, much better choice for her. Keith, too, thought it was way better. It proves that song choice is CRUCIAL! She gets three yeses.

Then we had some hilarity with the judges. Jennifer excused herself to go to the bathroom and Harry auditioned for Keith. Harry botched his performance on the Star Spangled Banner but Keith was still going to give him a golden ticket.

Harry must have loved the next contestant, Liam Newberry, an 18-year-old student from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, because he loves Harry’s music. He sang a Frank Sinatra song without the Sinatra in it. He has a nice voice but there was no soul in it. It is a sound we haven’t heard yet within the competition this year, but it is just not good enough. Maybe he was nervous. Jennifer said it did not have any swag. Keith thinks the sexiness of the genre was not there. Harry tells him to forget everything he learned in musical theater. He told him to find the emotion. Liam tries to convince him if they give him another chance he could do that right then. They hand him three no’s.

I liked Jade Lathan, a 20-year-old student from Monroe, Michigan. She performs an Amy Winehouse song. She did great. Harry thinks she is adorable. It was “absolutely yes” from the three judges.

Keith played guitar for Jared White. From what I heard, he sounded really good. He is through to Hollywood.

Sarah Scherb, age 19, a student from Birmingham, Michigan. There is something about her tone I did not like. Maybe it was too nasal. But she has three yeses and is through to Hollywood.

Sydney Arterbridge planned to do Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You”. At her tender age of 15, she nailed it. I like her. She is through to Hollywood.

Last contestant being shown from the day-one auditions is Maurice Townsend. He is the minister of music at his church and a student. He sings “So High” by John Legend. I had goosebumps. They asked him to bring in his wife and 4 children. Jennifer and Harry coached one of the children to tell his dad that he was through to Hollywood.

Day two of the Detroit auditions and Jennifer is late (10:23 a.m.) . Returning to Idol is David Oliver Willis from Mount Dora, Florida. He had made it to the Vegas week. The past year he was working on his music and he and his wife opened a coffee shop in town. I love his voice. Harry thinks his instrument drives his vocals and he worries about those times he can’t play during American Idol (really? I don’t remember them restricting contestants in the past). Keith loves him. David is through to Hollywood. After leaving, however, Harry thinks he was born to play and sing, but does not think he is going to win. Jennifer says to him that you never know.

Identical twins Rakita and Karlita Gulledge say they have “natural talent.” They are terrible. Oh dear. I really want it to stop. Harry thought it was a minute of screaming. Jennifer thought it was like a high school talent show and was out of tune and a lot of screaming. Keith just says he has nothing more to add. Bye-bye.

In tonight’s #IdolHollywood or #IdolHome, Amanda with a copper wire in her hair was told by Harry that singing was not for her. I think that might be a bit harsh. I think singing for herself or her loved ones is just fine. Amanda now hates Harry.

Blake Soles was hoping for a ticket to Hollywood. Keith gives him some great advice instead.

Another returning Idol contestant was Brandy Neely sporting a new haircut. She was last seen in the Chicago auditions for season 12. She sang “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes. It was too breathy for me. I would like her voice if she got rid of that quality. Harry tells her to keep the guttural sound she makes but Jennifer tells her that is what has her on the fence and she thinks Brandy should lose it. But with Keith and Harry saying yes, Jennifer did not even mention her opinion, but I think she would have been a no.

Ethan Harris, donned “the lost Osmond brother”, is not only a good singer but a talented artist. He drew this beautiful sketch of Keith and he signed it. He had the audacity to sing Keith’s song, “You’ll Think of Me.” I would say yes even though the song did not allow him to show a huge range in vocals. They all dug him and he is through to Hollywood.

Next is a group of three auditions: Leah Guerrero, a 21-year-old file clerk from Clinton Township, Michigan. I think she needs to lose some of that vibrato. Zach Day, age 19, a tram driver from Stearns, Kentucky. I did not see enough to have an opinion. Symphony Howlett, age 24, a hostess from Miami, Florida. She was nasal and that sound in the back of the voice where it sounds like she is swallowing her own tongue is annoying me. Harry noted that, too, and said it was incredibly annoying and distracting. However, all three are through to Hollywood.

Although she is now living in Hollywood, Ayla Stackhouse returned to her hometown of Detroit to audition. She is a 17-year-old student. I was impressed with her vocal control and she has this light around her that is appealing. She is very articulate for her age. They see her star quality and say yes.

Eric Gordon, age 27, a lab technician from Richmond, Kansas is up next. His voice reminded me of the Motown sound; however, he needs a different hairstyle. He receives three yeses.

Of course, they still have to show the occasion bad audition. This time it was from Xavier Calvillo, age 25, a machine operator from Dearborn Heights, Michigan. He has a gritty voice that yells all the time. Harry was not impressed. Jennifer does not think it is as good as it needs to be. He wants more chance. Harry encourages him to leave with his dignity intact. He keeps begging. He gets three no’s, but as he is walking out begs for one more chance.

I think Tony Delbarrio should stick to construction work. He gets three no’s. He wants to try singing “Born to Be Wild” They say no. He sings Radioactive in the lobby and he thinks he has nailed it (right in the lobby) but he did not.

Ryan Nisbett is someone I will remember. He has a great story (having lost weight from 320 pounds), a great look, and a great sound. I loved his voice but especially his falsetto. He messed up on a note, but Harry and Jennifer looked as though they found it endearing. He pulls it back together to end it well. He is a 24-year-old art student from Deckerville, Michigan. Jennifer thought he was one of a kind. Harry thinks he is unique. He gets three yeses. He gets additional props from the judges when they discover he is sick after he politely told Keith he didn’t want to shake his hand because he had just coughed in it and didn’t want to spread his germs. The judges found it refreshing that he did not try to use it as an excuse. Ryan also appreciated the no-handshake gesture.

They closed out the Detroit auditions with a touching story about Marrialle Sellars, the 17-year-old young lady we saw at the top of the first show for season 13. Her father had encouraged her all her life to do musical things whether it was her voice or an instrument. He built her and her sisters a studio. In 2008 he died several days after Christmas. He left her a note to go forth and use her God-given talents. I think this is one of those cases where Harry commented about Nikki McKibbin’s son, if the story wasn’t there would they put the son through. In this case, I think their emotions of the story clouded their ears. I did not like it. It was off key in a lot of spots. Harry thinks she will be a nightmare for the other contestants. I don’t think so. She gets three yeses.

In Detroit, 40 tickets were handed out giving a new grand total of 119 bound for Hollywood.

Next: Atlanta





American Idol Season 13 Boston/Austin Auditions

17 01 2014

Hey, it rhymes (Boston/Austin)! So now that I already previewed the episode, let’s review.  Logo

Marrialle Sellers: “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. The judges liked it. Oops. Keith “loved it.” I’m a no. It was pitchy dawg. I like her look though.

Troy Durden, a 29-year-old club singer, from Boston, MA, doing “Over The Rainbow.” I thought the performance was going to be a disaster but it wasn’t. He has a good sense of humor. He gets 3 yeses. I would say yes as well. Keith asked him to do the song while twerking and Troy happily obliges. They all say, “It’s a long shot, but it just might twerk.”

Sam Woolf, a 17-year-old student from Bradenton, Florida. He has had a tough life. He sang “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran. I got goosebumps. If you are a first-time reader to my blogs about singing and dancing shows, my goosebumps never lie. The young ladies are going to like him; he has a good vibe. He got 3 yeses.

There is a collage of singers who all received a yes. Kevin Cassidy, Ethan Thompson, Lindsay Pedicone. I liked all three especially Ethan. Lindsey might struggle with theme nights though. All three made it through.

And then, TA-DA Jillian Jensen. This woman has problems. I didn’t like her AT ALL. (SARCASM METER HEAVY TILT). I ADORE HER. Glad she made it. I would have stopped watching had she not. Her face was priceless when Harry Connick Jr. jokingly said “no.” She sounds as brilliant as ever.

Taylor Hildack (aka The Winker) is a jazz vocalist at a community college. She tried singing, “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood. I didn’t think she was good enough. It was sharp and flat and all over the place. Jennifer said yes, but Harry and Keith said no.

A collage of clips with contestants getting “no” responses was next along with the fallout from the responses.

Stephanie Hanvey, a 16-year-old lifeguard, from Howell, New Jersey was up next singing Jessie J’s “Price Tag.” I did not like her gaspy breath at the end of all the lines of lyrics. The judges, however, gave her three yeses.

Morgan Deplitch, a 15-year-old student from Somerset, MA. “My mother loves you.” Poor Harry. She tried singing “Ooh La La” by Grace Potter. It was too breathy for me. Harry did not like that she was a 15-year-old singing that song with those lyrics. Jennifer said he was being such a dad. But Morgan is through with three yeses.

James Earl made me laugh. He did not even know what a Walkman was and reminded Harry that he is “old” because he wasn’t even born then. He sounded weird, like he was imitating three different singers while he was singing an original composition and add helium to that mix. He did not get to advance.

Jacqueline Verna, age 18, a student from West Chester, PA. Harry is not impressed with her pentatonics (i.e. the vocal gymnastics). As soon as Jennifer said, “come back next year,” she started walking out before Harry even got a chance to say “no.” And Keith had said yes so Harry could have changed his mind.

Austin Percario, a 17-year-old student from Warren, New Jersey. He comes with a stage mom. And he looks like Justin Bieber. Two strikes already for me. But WAIT! He makes a point to say that mom will NOT be with him if he makes it through to Hollywood week. He sings, “Titanium” by Sia. I’d like his voice if he got rid of that breath issue. He makes it through to the next round.

Kaitlyn Jackson, a 15-year-old student from Norwich, New York. She sings an original song that she wrote for her grandfather after he suffered a heart attack, but before he passed away the next day. She has a beautiful voice, and yes, I got goosebumps. Wow! At 15 she could keep her composure for her tender age in a song that is emotionally charged for her. I am thoroughly impressed. Three yeses. And in keeping with the Austin/Boston rhyme night, Jennifer says, “She’s smart and has heart.”

It is now day two in Boston. Keith London, a 21-year-old, who does odd jobs, from Hazelton, Pennsylvania. He sang, “Roar” by Katy Perry. If someone can improve this song in any way, they have my vote. I loved this acoustic version. Keith thought it was fantastic. Harry said okay. Jennifer loved it. Keith thought he was unique. Keith and Jennifer put him through to Hollywood week.

From Tauton, Massachusetts, Sam Atherton, age 23 and unemployed, boldly states, “I don’t practice anymore” because he thinks he is that good. This is going to be a complete disaster. A true artist never stops learning and practicing. Keith tells him to do the worst of the three songs he wants to sing for them. He croons part of his original “….love doesn’t last forever…” and I’m hoping neither does the rest of the song. Harry chimes in the same sentiment. This guy creeps me out. He claims that he is a better musician than JLo, Keith and “Tony Connick Jr” combined.

In a new segment called #IdolHollywood or #IdolHome, Christine singing “House of the Rising Sun is presented. Fifty-six percent says Hollywood and 44% say “IdolHome.” She is through.

Shanon Wilson, age 24, is a student from Houston (where I live) in the house! I was not sure about him until he went into the falsetto. The falsetto sold me. He is through to the next round.

I think Stephanie Petronelli, age 22, should stick to cheerleading. She said “Ooh La La” by Grace Potter and while it was better than the version heard by Morgan, it wasn’t great. Harry was a “no.” Jennifer said yes, and Keith was on the fence, but ultimately said yes. However, Harry said he changes his vote if it meant all four cheerleaders. (Such a funny guy).

The focus changes to the Austin auditions. Keith was wearing a “Keep Austin Weird” t-shirt. It’s unclear if Jacob Fortis, from Heartsprings, Arkansas is through or not (maybe we find out on Thursday’s episode).

Durann Cree, age 17, a student from Austin tried to sing “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” by Carrie Underwood, but she was not ready yet. Jennifer said “yes” but she had a lot of work to do. Keith and Harry, however, said no.

Micheal (not a typo) Gonzales from Waco, Texas, age 18, builds trailers. He is a “hell no” for me. Lyden McCown, age 28, a store manager from Jacksonville, Texas, and Nikki Pool, a 19-year-old student, from Sherwood, Arkansas, journeys also end there. This was followed by another collage of “yes” responses of unknown contestants. Isabell Gallegos, a 17-year-old student from Cedar Hill, Texas is through to the next round as well.

Savion Wright, from Jasper, Texas, suffered from ADHD with a lot of behavior issues until he found music. Music was his medicine (I love that). He sang an original song and I am now a fan!! Goosebumps! Harry jokes that he is going to have to learn how to be nice to people. They played with him telling him “no.” He says his mom is JLo’s biggest fan, but I think he is wrong because, Savion, all she sees is you in this moment.

The next group of three all received yeses from the judges. I liked the little bit I heard from Terrica Curry, a 20-year-old recreation center staff member, from North Little Rock, Arkansas. Out of the three, I liked Justin Fira, a 24-year-old valet attendant, the best. I fear that Shelby Comey, a 15-year-old student from Mason, Texas, is going to be eaten alive in Hollywood. She sang “Delta Dawn” and I did not like it at all.

“Up To the Mountain” was the song choice for Madelyn Patterson, a 22-year-old hairdresser from Jackson, Georgia. She was a surprise to me and I loved it. Goosebumps! She got two yeses. Harry wanted to give her some advice, but he said he would save it for Hollywood.

The next three contestants also made it through to Hollywood. I liked Viviana Villalon‘s Maroon 5 song on the ukulele. I also liked Savannah Young, a 17-year-old lifeguard from Odessa, Texas. But Ben Boone is the one that I liked the most. He is a 22-year-old student from Pineville, Louisiana and has a very unique voice. I also liked his eyes. Jennifer said it was her first goosebumps for the season.

I thought Malcolm Allen, a 21-year-old grocer from Wrightsville, Arkansas, but I was very surprised. He does not need an air guitar in order to compete. If he could marry music, he totally would. I like his sense of humor, but it was the thing that made me first think his performance would suck. He received a triple yes from Jennifer so the boys’ opinion did not matter.

Rolando Guerrero, a 21-year-old server from Bastrop, Texas, was overcome with emotion at seeing his idol, Jennifer Lopez. She said she wanted “to crush his face.” He planned to sing, “Hold It, Don’t Drop It.” I wanted to love it, but it was not good. He receive three no’s, but I don’t think he left feeling like he lost anything. He got to meet and hug JLo.

Poor Harry Connick Jr. He gets no love. No one seems to know him, and Idol catches all the contestants who freely admit to it. They should get an immediate “no” for not doing their homework.

Then the best part of the night walks in. In walks Sugar Land, Texas resident, Munfarid Zaidi. I think he believes there is a film called, “Something About Harry” because he goes to sleep reading Harry’s Wikipedia entry. Harry goes over and picks him up, showcasing the fact that Harry indeed works out. Thank goodness Munfarid is pretty thin. Harry tells him to blow them away on the first song and he will “pick him up and hold him like a baby” for the second song. Munfarid sings “Crazy For You” by Adele. He surprised me because I figured it would suck, but it didn’t. I love him! Harry holds him for song number two, which he decides to sing, “I Just Want You Close.” Jennifer and Keith are beside themselves in hysterics. What an awesome way to end the premiere episode.

That made it 20 tickets from Austin, 25 from Boston, and 1 from Michigan (the first audition they showed at the top of the show) for a grand total of 46.

Next up: More from Austin and San Francisco.





American Idol Preview

17 12 2013

WORLD PREMIERE SCREENING OF “AMERICAN IDOL XIII” FOR FANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY TUESDAY, JANUARY 14

Live Interactive Q&A Directly Following Screening, Featuring Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr., To Stream on www.americanidol.com and www.livestream.com, Starting at 8:30 PM ET/ 5:30 PM PT

Fans Can RSVP to Attend Free Event in their Cities at www.idolrsvp.com

Submit Questions for LIVE Q&A Now via Twitter and Facebook using #AskIdol

The fun begins this January as fans in cities across the country are invited to attend an exclusive screening of the new season of AMERICAN IDOL XIII on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 7:00 PM ET/6:00 PM CT/5:00 PM MT/4:00 PM PT. After the multi-city free screening, there will be an interactive Q&A, featuring iconic AMERICAN IDOL host Ryan Seacrest and superstar judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr.

For IDOL fans at home, the Q&A will be available via a live stream on www.americanidol.com and www.livestream.com. This highly anticipated screening event comes one day before the two-night season premiere of AMERICAN IDOL XIII on Wednesday, Jan. 15 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Jan. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Originating from Royce Hall at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the premiere episode and LIVE Q&A will be uplinked via television satellite from Los Angeles to venues in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa, Minneapolis, Denver, Orlando, Sacramento, St. Louis, Charlotte and Nashville. Space is limited, so hopeful attendees should RSVP now by logging on to www.idolrsvp.com and submitting their names and contact information.

Upon conclusion of the free screening, Seacrest will moderate a nationwide interactive LIVE Q&A with the judges. Fans watching the LIVE Q&A at the satellite venues will have the opportunity to submit questions to the panel. For those fans at home, they can submit questions in advance via the AMERICAN IDOL Facebook page (www.facebook.com/americanidol) and via Twitter (@AmericanIdol). Questions also may be submitted the day of the event via Twitter using #AskIdol. The interactive LIVE Q&A will appear in satellite venues, as well as streamed www.americanidol.com and www.livestream.com, beginning at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT.

The free premiere event will be held as noted below. Fans who would like an opportunity to attend in one of the cities may RSVP now at www.idolrsvp.com.

Eastern Time

Event begins at 7:00 PM, with the LIVE Q&A starting at 8:30 PM. Doors open at 6:00 PM and all seating is free and first come, first served:

ATLANTA AMC Sugarloaf Mills 18, 5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Lawrenceville, GA 30043

BOSTON AMC Framingham 16, 22 Flutie Pass, Framingham, MA 01701

CHARLOTTE AMC Concord Mills 24, 8421 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, NC 28027

DETROIT AMC Forum 30, 44681 Mound Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48314

NEW YORK AMC Empire 25, 234 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036

ORLANDO AMC Universal Cineplex 20, 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819

PHILADELPHIA AMC Plymouth 12, 494 Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

TAMPA AMC The Regency 20, 2496 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, FL 33511

WASH., D.C. AMC Hoffman Center 22, 206 Swamp Fox Rd., Alexandria, VA 22314

Central Time:

Event begins at 6:00 PM, with the LIVE Q&A starting at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 5:00 PM and all seating is free and first come, first served:

CHICAGO AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., Chicago, IL 60611

DALLAS AMC Northpark 15, 8687 N. Central Expressway 3000, Dallas, TX 75225

HOUSTON AMC First Colony 24, 3301 Towne Center Blvd. S., Sugarland, TX 77479

MINNEAPOLIS AMC Eden Prairie Mall 18, 8251 Flying Cloud Dr. Eden Prairie, MN 55344

NASHVILLE Theater location to be announced

ST. LOUIS AMC Chesterfield 14, 291 Chesterfield Mall, Chesterfield, MO 63107

Mountain Standard Time:

Event begins at 5:00 PM, with the LIVE Q&A starting at 6:30 PM. Doors open at 4:00 PM and all seating is free and first come, first served:

DENVER AMC Highlands Ranch 24, 103 W. Centennial Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Pacific Time:

Event begins at 4:00 PM, with the LIVE Q&A starting at 5:30 PM. Doors open at 3:00 PM and all seating is free and first come, first served:

LOS ANGELES Royce Hall, UCLA, 340 Royce Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90095

PHOENIX AMC Ahwatukee 24, 4915 East Ray Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85044

SACRAMENTO AMC Showplace Manteca 16, 848 Lifestyle St., Manteca, CA 95337

SEATTLE AMC Pacific Place 11, 600 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101

Seating at Royce Hall and at all satellite venues is free. Fans will receive an email notification if they have successfully RSVP’d for the event. Fans who have successfully RSVP’d will be added to the guest list and will receive a confirmation email. Please note that seating at the venues is not guaranteed. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis at each venue, even if you are on the guest list.

(Via Press Release)