American Idol Season 12 Baton Rouge Auditions

30 01 2013

The next stop on American Idol‘s talent tour was Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana. It brought out an eclectic group of individuals. And the alpha-dog battle between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey has calmed.  Thank God!

An injured Megan Miller hobbled her way in and into the hearts of the judges. She was on her way to surgery but wanted to audition before she did. Instead of trying to vie for attention, she used her temporary disability in a humorous fashion which delighted the judges. She is Miss Greater Baton Rouge. She delivered an Etta James song like a professional. Why do people think these 1980-like headbands are cool? They really are not. It’s so Olivia Newton John.


Megan Miller

Charlie Askew was a great surprise. He reminds me of Clay Aiken, someone who likely will undergo a big transformation style-wise if he makes it to the top 10. His voice sounds a lot like Chris Colfer (Glee). He sang “Breakthrough” by Queen, and then “Nature Boy” by Nat King Boy. I thought “Nature Boy” was better. Charlie has a very interesting, big voice for such a petite-sized young man. He is quite unique. Keith mentioned something about a vagenda. The only time I’ve heard the word “vagenda” used was in the TV show “Fringe.” Unless it is a different spelling and Australian slang, it means: “Using your feminine wiles to accomplish evil ends.”


Charlie Askew

Nominations have been done with mixed results now. Sylvia Assel nominated her granddaughter, Maddie Assel. I found Sylvia much more interesting. Exactly how much magic dust has she inhaled? Sylvia tells Ryan, “I want to kidnap you and take you home with me.” Maddie sang, “Oh! Darling” by The Beatles. Her vibrato is borderline annoying, but if she tames that just a little bit, she’ll do well. She, too, is unique.


Maddie Assel

Of course, there is a string of auditions that do not go well at all. The young lady with the purple glasses needs some anger management classes.

I like Paul Jolley‘s spirit. He did well with Rascal Flatts’ “Don’t Let Go.”


Paul Jolley

Chris Barthel was nicknamed “Mushroom.” He has now ruined “If I Had You” by Adam Lambert. He was quite entertaining with his dance moves. Keith Urban was laughing so hard he was crying. “I like the keys that song was in.” Perhaps Chris’ calling lies in comedy. When Nicki was running her fingers through his hair, he says, “Nicki you are awesome!” Mariah’s face was priceless. After receiving 4 “no” responses, he says to Ryan, “I met four awesome people including you.” Who was Chris leaving out?


Chris “Mushroom” Barthel

You know you are getting old(er) when the doctors could be as young as your own children. Dr. Calvin Peters, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, came in confident. He pulled off a difficult Maxwell song. It was as smooth as silk.


Dr. Calvin Peters

Out of the next contestants, Michelle Montezer (what is UP with those headbands!), Breanna Steer, and Brandy Hotard, I liked Breanna’s voice the best. They are all through to Hollywood.


Michelle Montezer


Breanna Steer


Brandy Hotard

Alissa Griffin was just horrid.

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard Nicki Minaj ask the contestant if they have a boyfriend. This is not “The Dating Game.” Firefighter Dustin Watts did a wonderful job with Garth Brooks’ “She’s Every Woman.” I like the tone in his voice.


Dustin Watts

The last contestant usually has a backstory that is shared to move the audience. Burnell Taylor was no different. His home was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but they moved to Baton Rouge. It was a lesson learned about what is important in life. He slayed “I’m Here” from the movie “The Color Purple.” He had a wonderful voice. I didn’t think he was the best voice in the competition, but he also had a great stage presence. Keith was having a blast with him. Randy, Keith and Mariah gave him a standing ovation. He made Mariah cry. Keith said, “Somewhere there is a spotlight waiting for you to walk into it.”


Burnell Taylor

A total of 35 people made it through to Hollywood. Next: San Antonio

American Idol Season 12 Charlotte Auditions

29 01 2013

AmericanIdolLogoCharlotte, North Carolina. One of the places “The Hunger Games” was filmed. It is also known as the “Queen City.” Arrows were shot between diva queens Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. I was hoping they would get it out of the way at the top of the show and move on, but no, they had to drag it out. I do understand it happened and it has to be shown. But these are professional people. I love watching “So You Think You Can Dance” in part because the judges are not FIGHTING or being rude to each other. They can disagree with a performance but do it in a respectful manner. Nicki Minaj has some very insightful and constructive criticism for the contestants, but I’m finding myself drawn to the quiet energy of Keith Urban. I have never been a country music fan and all I know of Keith is that he is a successful country music singer from Australia who married Nicole Kidman. I actually now want to go listen to his music and find out more about him. If this is what I am going to see in Idol for the next several months, I really do not know if I can take it and for the first time since season 2, may decide not to watch. It is ironic that a Navy reservist, Brandy Hamilton, pleaded with them “Please don’t fight, it makes us sad” should be a wake-up call.

Nicki does like to talk, and, in fact, dominates the panel all the time. She is wonderful at lifting up a contestant’s spirits and finding something positive about them without crushing their spirit. But for me, she is beginning to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. She needs to be more concise with her comments. With four judges on the panel this year, I cannot imagine the live shows ever being on-time if things keep going on this way.

Scotty McCreery was on hand to pump up the crowd.  That is the American Idol finale results show that I went to see thanks to FOX VIP.

Naomi Morris. Nicki nicknames her “Omie” Nicki gives Naomi tips about her eye wear, that she needs to wear fake eyelashes and then her make-up will pop. Naomi massacred Aretha Franklin’s, “Respect.” Naomi should stick to making clothes. Perhaps she should try out for Project Runway? Marian looks like she is tired of bad singers. Randy I think was mesmerized at her boobs with the intermittent cringing of her singing.

So now that we have the bad singer out of the way, the next one should be a good one. Right? Joe Nemoyer decides that Andre Bocelli’s instruction to Chris Daughtry about singing while he was singing on the ground will improve his own singing. Nicki nicknames him “Jumanji.” He decides to sing, “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble because he is feeling….swell. How embarrassing for Joe that when the camera is getting a tight shot of his face laying down the audience was treated to…YUCK….a booger. Keith looks he feels a bit sorry for the kid. Randy thinks “never.” Mariah was a no. And Nicki just thinks she is in charge of the panel and talks and talks.

Brian Rittenberry’s wife has survived stage 4 appendix cancer. She got her hair and nails done on the chance she might get to see and/or hug Keith Urban. Brian sings, “Let It Be” by The Beatles. I like him. I got goosebumps and the wife got the hug she wanted.


Brian Rittenberry

Then there were three more yes votes, sending Jimmy Smith, Sarina-Joi Crowe, and Haley Davis through to Hollywood. Jimmy gave me goosebumps, while the other two had average voices. Na’Chelle Fullins-Lovell also made it through.


Jimmy Smith


Sarina-Joi Crowe


Haley Davis


Na’Chelle Fullins-Lovell


We had too many good auditions in a row and when I saw Matthew Muse you knew it was going to be one of “those” auditions. Matthew also liked to talk about himself in the third person. Keith thought he was trying to channel Brad Paisley. Since I have never heard his music, I am going to assume that was not the case. Nicki looks like her blood sugar is dropping. “Cool dude.”

Next was the segment of the invitation. Dawgs are NOT allowed on the school bus, Randy, unless they are service dogs. You should know that. Isabelle Gonzalez was nominated by her aunt. She looks like Carly Rose Sonenclar. She sang a Sam Cooke song. It was not great. Sometimes I hear potential greatness, but sometimes she is off-key (I’ll chalk that up to nerves). I do like, however, that she has a different sound.


Isabelle Gonzalez

Taisha Bethea sings in a rock band. But when she sang a Johnny Cash song, it did not sound like a Cash song turned into a rock song at all. The Alanis Morissette song was better. She is an average singer. It was two “yes” votes and two “no” votes. Apparently the tie-breaker in this city goes to Keith Urban, so it was a yes.


Taisha Bethea

And then we get down to the controversial battle between Nicki and Mariah. Summer Cunningham sang “Lean on Me.” She has an average voice but nothing about her particularly stands out to me. Nicki said “yes.” Summer said she “already did the country thing” but she wanted to put more soul into it (insinuating that country music cannot be soulful). Keith Urban took offense to that. He has been pretty even with his emotions so far during his judging experiences. The comment obviously rubbed him the wrong way. Keith, Mariah and Randy said that she could be a country star, but was trying to also say nicely that her voice is not soulful R&B (like Summer thinks she is). Nicki took offense to all this because she did not think anyone should be pigeon-holed into a certain type of genre. I disagree with Nicki here. I am never going to hear a Nicki song thinking, “She could sing anything, even opera” because that is just not a reality. Summer is going through to Hollywood but how awkward was that for her. I don’t think she’ll make it to Vegas week.


Summer Cunningham

Day Two of Charlotte begins and Navy reservist Brandy Hamilton starts the day off well with an Etta James song. I got goosebumps. I really like her. As she was leaving she said, “Please don’t fight; it makes us sad.” Schooled by a warrior woman in the matters of peace.


Brandy Hamilton

Ashley Scott (nicknamed Blondie) has a great personality. This is one of those times when the speaking voice does not match the singing voice. When she walked out with a gold ticket for Hollywood, some of her fellow contestants seemed shocked.


Ashley Smith

Janelle Arthur played a young Dolly in a local theater production. She is through. And it was time for Keith Urban to fly to New York to be with Nicole Kidman as she gets an award from the New York Film Festival.


Janelle Arthur

“The Voice of Charlotte”, Rodney Barber, sang Edward McCain’s “I’ll Be”. His voice gave me goosebumps.

My favorite of the night, however, was Candice Glover. She got cut in Vegas last year. I had heavy goosebumps here and Randy and Mariah gave her a standing ovation. Mariah said she was the best singer they had seen so far.


Candice Glover

“Frog Killer” Ja’Bria Barber sang Bonnie Raitt’s “Pride and Joy.” Is she related to Rodney Barber?  After hearing Candice Glover, this was just okay, not spectacular.


Ja’Bria Barber

Brad Harris was rapper “Bakon” in Houston? Poor Houston.  He should just sing for pleasure.

Seretha Gunn would close the show with “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” By the look on the judges’ faces, they thought it would be a disaster. It was good. Her daughter, London, accompanied her. London nicknamed Nicki — DunDun (of course that is the same as saying London to that small of a child).


Seretha and London Gunn

A total of 37 contestants made it through to Hollywood week. Next up: Baton Rouge, Louisiana