American Idol Season 13 Hollywood Rounds Week One

13 02 2014

LogoThe contestants have no idea that there is a twist this year in the audition process. Some people will have to sing for their life in an airplane hangar. The judges were divided on the talent of these people. I’ll give you the short version (my opinions):

Johnny Newcomb: I do not think it was good enough.
Connor Swetsch: I liked it; first time hearing her.
Ali Jane Henderson: I loved it; first time hearing her.
Caitlin Johnson: I did not like it. It was bad compared to the first three. I was not a fan of hers in the San Francisco audition.
Adam Roth (the sound healer): I still do not like his voice.
Tristen Langley (Nikki McKibbin’s kid): Not bad.
Morgan Deplitch: No for me; off pitch; last time in Austin she was too breathy.
Stephanie Petronelli (the cheerleader): I still do not like her voice.
Rich Lafleur: Goofed up.
Eric Wood: Liked it; liked him in Austin, too.
Alyssa Siebken: Not good enough.
Neco Starr: Liked him.
Khristian D’avis (aka fake-accent girl): No from me.

They were broken up into two groups. One group would be returned to the airport; one group would be going to the next round. There were 20 people in group 2 who were taken to the hotel. Among those going home was Caleb Hartsfield who is from my sister’s city of Asheville. Too bad; I liked his voice.

There are 180 people going into Day 2.

Day 2

On this day, they put them in lines of 10 and have them sing a capella or with an instrument. In the first line, George Lovett, Sandie Lee, Brandy Neely, John Fox, and Majesty Rose York were through to the group round. Going home were Jack Janowicz from the Omaha auditions, McKenna Dennis from the Austin auditions, Viviana Villalon also from the Austin auditions, and very surprisingly Samantha Calmes who was one of my favorites.

Out of the next group all we know is that Spencer Lloyd would be staying.

In the next group, I thought Austin Wolfe had a good voice. I loved Bria Anai‘s song. I did not like Selena Moreno‘s song, not just because she goofed up but she is not on the same level as some of these other singers. Going through to group rounds were Austin Wolfe, Jessica Meuse, Bria Anai Johnson, Shanon Wilson. Selena Moreno and Lauren Ogburn from the Atlanta auditions would be returning home.

In the next group, I like Sam Woolf but he may not be ready for Idol (at least this year’s talent) Keri Lynn Roche‘s song I loved. I was a “no” for Ayla Stackhouse. I adore CJ Harris. John Martin Davis and Ayla Stackhouse as well as another male who was standing in the forward line in a blue plaid shirt who I cannot identify were going home. Keri, CJ, Sam, and a few others I cannot identify by face are through to the next round.

Alex Preston, Sydney Arterbridge, Jesse Roach (Cypress, Texas), Brian Watt, Jade Lathan, Lindsay Bell, David Luning and a few others are in the next group. I loved Alex. Sydney’s vibrato bothers me. I liked Jesse. Brian has a nice voice but when I listen to him compared with the others, it is just not as good as some. Alex, Jesse and a few unidentified individuals have made it through to the next round. Brian, Jade, Sydney, David and Lindsay are going home.

Madelyn Patterson is in her own segment for #IdolHollywood or #IdolHome. I felt it would be #IdolHome as I did not enjoy it. Sixty percent felt she would remain in Hollywood and 40% said she would be going home, but she is through to the next round.

In the next group, they showcased Kenzie Hall and Quaid Edward. I don’t think Quaid is ready but he will get there at some point. Kenzie has such an interesting sound and niche in the competition. Kenzie is through and Quaid is sent home.

Then there are 10 people who make it through (but they were in a bunch of different groups). Ben Briley (I did not like this version of “Stars”.) Briston Maroney (Royals? This is a “no” on the song choice for me but the sound of his voice is unique). Dexter Roberts (The one I liked the best out of these three men). Rachel Rollier (I like her voice). Maurice Townsend (Wonderful). Casey Thrasher (Very nice. He did so much better than his audition). Tiquila Wilson (Loved her). Emily Piriz (I did not like her voice today). Malcolm Allen (Goosebumps).

Munfarid Zaidi from a close-by town of Sugar Land, Texas always adds the fun factor to the show. I think Idol needs at least one. I liked Ethan Thompson‘s performance. Austin Percario was okay. Love the rocker Caleb Johsnon. I think Stephanie Hanvey‘s performance to too affected. I loved Kristen O’Connor‘s solo. I also loved Emmanuel Zidor‘s solo as well as Briana Oakley and Jesse Cline. Keith London made an odd choice in song. I loved his voice but I agree with the judges. Allie Odom, Symphony Howlett, Olivia Diamond, Keith London, and Donald Reed are through to the next round as well as Munfarid, Ethan, Austin, Caleb, Stephanie, Kristen, Briana, and Jesse.

For the last line, Malaya Watson was up. I am not sure about her based on this song. I enjoyed Jena Ascuitto‘s performance. Savion Wright, a local Houston favorite (as well as my own), sang a song for his brother who had recently died (at the time of Hollywood week). On February 5, 2014, the Sabine County District Attorney released a statement that said he has turned the ongoing Alfred Wright case over to the Texas Attorney General’s Office. I love Savion. I had goosebumps. All three contestants are through.


Immediately, Casey Thrasher, Ben Briley and Dexter Roberts teamed up to form the Backstreet Cowboys. Austin contestants Savion Wright, Ryan Clark, John Fox and Madelyn Patterson teamed up. Matthew Hamel, Jessica Meuse, and Clark King teamed up. Clark was losing his voice. Matthew and Jessica found other groups.  Malaya Watson, Christine Collins, Olivia Diamond and Queen Bulls teamed up. Clark King decides to drop out.

Veterans from Season 12 of American Idol, David Oliver Lewis, Sarina Joi Crowe, and Tony Foster Jr. teamed up to form “Three More Days“. They choose “Too Close” by Alex Clare. It was lovely! Well done! But not everyone can go through and this time it was Tony’s turn to go home. He was genuine when he expressed a desire to know why so he could learn from the experience. I thought that was pretty wonderful instead of pouting and demanding to know why. Harry tells him that he looked at his feet too much. Tony has a wonderful attitude. I hope he comes back next year.

Dexter Roberts, Ben Briley and Casey Thrasher, the “Backstreet Cowboys” sing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. It was the first country boy band and it worked. I loved it. All of them are going through to the next round.

Neco Starr, George Lovett and another individual did “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. I enjoyed this. Paula Hunt, Andrina Brogden and another unknown individual teamed up. MK Nobilette and Briana Oakley were part of another group and they made it through to the next round. Brandy Neely, Emily, and Kenzie Hall were all through. Spencer Lloyd, Megan Miller and Alyssa Siebken teamed up. Megan forgot the lyrics. The group fell apart. Alyssa was sent home but she felt that she was set up by the others.

Other people leaving after group rounds were Madisen Walker, Keith London, Austin Percario, Stephanie Petronelli, and Adam Roth. Tiquila Wilson respectfully quits; she does not feel this is the correct path for her.

The next group consisted of CJ Harris, Caleb Johnson, Tyler Ahlgren and Matthew Hamel also sang “Too Close” by Alex Clare. Caleb reminds me of the rocker Meatloaf. CJ and Caleb are through; Tyler and Matthew are sent home.

Members of the group “Collision” were all through. The group “Clarity” was made up of Jena Ascuitto, Sikenya Thompson, Munfarid and Allie Odom. Sikenya barely had a voice. She had lost her confidence. The judges encouraged her to push through and she did. Unfortunately Allie was the weaker link and someone has to go.

Savion Wright, Ryan Clark, John Fox and Madelyn Patterson sang “Royals.” I thought it was fine. But John J. Fox of Magnolia, Texas (the town right next to me) is going home.

The next group was Nica Nashae, Stephanie Hanvey, Cara Watson and Jessica Meuse. Stephanie’s mom was overbearing, trying to run the show. I really dislike stage moms like this. The psychology behinds it suggests that they are pushing their children to achieve recognition for themselves. They sing Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies.” Stephanie was terrible and she goes home, not without some final words from mom.

Terrica Curry, Carmen Delgina and Emmanuel Zidor teamed up to become “Love’s Angels.” Only Emmanuel makes it through.

Loud & Fierce members Malaya Watson, Queen Bulls, Christina Collins, and Olivia Diamond did not do very well. Out of all of them I liked Malaya’s performance the best. They, however, are all through.

At this point 77 contestants remain. Solo rounds start on Wednesday, February 12.

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