American Idol S15 Top 24 Revealed

5 02 2016

Fifty-one contestants took the stage for a final performance in front of the judges and a live audience. Now they wait for their judgment.

My thoughts on their performances (the ones they showed):

The Ladies

Stephany Negrete looked and sounded great “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.   Shelbie Z sang another Heart song for her final performance “Barracuda.” I think she needs to ditch country and embrace the rocker inside of her. I think she has been fortunate to have gotten a lot of tips and help on “The Voice” that definitely gives her an edge up over some of the more inexperienced Idol contestants when it comes to stage presence. Michelle Marie sang “Little Toy Guns” by Carrie Underwood. She had great stage presence but she sounded sharp and flat on many of the notes. With the stiff competition, I would say no, but the judges may say yes because she has charisma and stage presence in addition to previous positive performances. Colette Lush sang “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor. Her voice was cracking a lot. Jessica Cabral’s performance wasn’t shown, but I was SHOCKED that she is not in the top 24. She was one of the stronger female voices with such a unique voice. Wow. I don’t know what to say about that one. Jenna Renae sounded okay from the small clip they showed of her singing “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. Jeneve Mitchell sang “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.   She has the great ability to feel her song. She has a unique place in all of this. Would I buy her music? No—because I don’t like country music (but I don’t buy Carrie Underwood’s either even though I was rooting for her on the show but on the show she didn’t sing strictly country). Amelia Eisenhauer sang “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel.   Her vocal was mediocre and her stage presence was not developed quite as much as the others. Avalon Young sang “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” by Chris Brown.   She has such a pretty voice. Sonika Vaid sang “Surrender” by Celine Dion. She gets swallowed up by the stage. She has a beautiful voice but she really needs to work on that. Malie Delgado sang “Little White Church” by Little Big Town. She has a great voice, but I didn’t like this song for her. Olivia Rox came down sick, but she had to rally to do her showcase round. She sang “Love Somebody” by Maroon 5. She did a fabulous job. That one gave me goosebumps!! Emily Brooke sang “So Small” by Carrie Underwood. She did better than I anticipated and some of that nasal twangy thing was gone. Gianna Isabella chose to sing her mom’s song and Gianna was talking to her mother in the audience during rehearsal and Rickey Minor set mom straight about needing to let them handle this. She sang “I Still Believe” by Brenda K. Starr (her mom’s hit song).  Jenn Blosil sang “The Hanging Tree” sung by Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games series.   She is so unique. I adore her. Tristan McIntosh sang “Stronger” by Faith Hill. She felt that it was the first time she has ever “performed.” She also is one of my favorites.

The last two ladies are La’Porsha Renae and Lindita. Is there ANY question who this is going to? Not for me. La’Porsha. Lindita performed “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj. La’Porsha Renae did “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. That gave me goosebumps.

 The Guys

Mackenzie Bourg is the first one of the guys to receive his fate. He sang Elvis Presley’s hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I really like his voice and he had the ladies in the audience singing along with him for the chorus. Trent Harmon sang “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John have a mixed feeling about. He has a great voice, but his performances are often internalized where he is not even making eye contact with the audience. He is performing but not connecting. CJ Johnson sang “Parachute” by Cheryl Cole. Okay, I admit. I loved it. I know it was country. I do have exceptions. Lee Jean sang “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran. It was adorable but I was put off by him telling the audience to be quiet not just once but twice. Daniel Rapattoni performed “It’s Gonna Be Me” by NSync. He is one of my favorites. He has star written all over him. He has the full package. Manny Torres sang “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder sounded great and frankly this competition could use his Latin flare. Thomas Stringfellow sang “Story of My Life” by One Direction. I like him but he was doing this weird thing that almost sounded like a hiccup-like noise at the end of every measure. It was annoying. The girls went crazy for him though.

Kacye Haynes and Jordan Sasser were the final two guys who were competing for that last spot. I think it is going to go to Jordan Sasser (even before I heard the performances). Jordan sang “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. I got goosebumps. Kacye tackled “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake. Rickey Minor complimented him that he was one of the few performances that actually felt what he was singing that day. Wow, he did bring a better performance than Jordan.

 Going Home

Not going through: Ameet Kanon, Anatalia Villaranda, Andrea Nazarbekian, Ariel Sprague, Christian Eason, Chynna Sherrod, Colette Lush, Isaac Cole, Jenna Renae, Jessica Cabral, Jessica Clark, John Clausen, Jordyn Simone, Kacye Haynes, Kassy Levels, Kayla Mickelsen, Kelsie Watts, Laurel Wright, Lindita, Malie Delgado, Mary Williams, Michelle Marie, Mionne Destiny, Sara Sturm, Shevonne Philidor, Terrian, Tiffany Lemay, and Zach Person.

Top 24 are:

Ladies: Amelia Eisenhauer, Avalon Young, Emily Rose, Gianna Isabella, Jeneve Rose Mitchell, Jenn Blosil, La’Porsha Renae, Olivia Rox, Shelbie Z, Sonika Vaid, Stephany Negrete, Tristan McIntosh

Guys: Adam Lasher, CJ Johnson, Daniel Rapattoni, James VIII, Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Lee Jean, Mackenzie Bourg, Manny Torres, Thomas Stringfellow, Trent Harmon

Next week: The top 24 sing solos and then duets with former American Idol contestants. Five will be going home.

 

 

 

 





American Idol S15 Hollywood Week Auditions No 3: Final Solos

4 02 2016

Seventy-five contestants remain. The difference between the first round of solos and now is that they have one night to pick out a song and work out an arrangement with the band. They will get no immediate feedback. At the end of the day they will be split into three rooms where they await the judges on who stays and who goes.

Stephany Negrete is up first and has no friends or family in the audience to support her unlike other Idol contestants. Other contestants are in the holding room. She chose Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.” She sounded really good with the band. Harry and Jennifer quietly said they liked it as she walked out.

Thomas Stringfellow sang “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. He stumbled during his performance and you could see the worried look on his face that it might be what gets him cut. Jennifer and Harry quietly shared with each other they liked him while Keith said it was a terrible song choice.

Avalon Young sang “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. She felt she could have done better. Jennifer and Keith again quietly commented that she is talented.

Olivia Rox went a different way and sang an original song for them. Keith and Harry were complimentary about your songwriting skills.

John Wayne Schulz ditched his hat (or perhaps the hat ditched him). He sang “John 3:16” by Keith Urban. Keith mouthed the words. It was okay. Keith liked him but asked Harry and Jennifer what is exactly missing.

Mackenzie Bourg is doing an original song called “Roses.” The first goosebumps of the evening for me. Keith asked whose song was that and when Jennifer and Harry shared it was Mackenzie’s, Keith gave him a thumbs up as he walked away from the stage. Jennifer and Harry liked it, too.

Shelbie Z sang “How Do I Get You Alone” by Heart. I liked that song for her. I like it better than the country songs she sings because her twang disappears when she sang this song.

Kory Wheeler chose “Fix You” by Coldplay.  He did well.

James VIII sang “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. Second batch of goosebumps this evening.

Malie Delgado was kind enough to give up her song choice “What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts to Tristan McIntosh for whom the song had a special emotional connection for her with her mother being a soldier and leaving to go overseas. Third goosebumps of the night. Keith softly said, “It’s a girl’s season.” I hope this choice doesn’t bite Malie in the butt.

Sonika Vaid sang “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. She has a beautiful voice. No goosebumps here, but still I think will be in one of the groups going through and likely even the top 12 girls. They all loved her voice but agreed that she needed to get the performance better.

The new best buddies were performing next. Lee Jean sang “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes. He’s a cutie pie. He got the audience to clap for the end part of it. Harry said he is heartbreakingly cute. His friend Sara Sturm took the stage. She chose “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. She is a little powerhouse. Lee hopes they get through together. Jennifer said, “I would put her…” and then “She better than that.” Keith said, “She’s much better than that.”

Jenn Blosil to no surprise chose “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper sounded great. She didn’t feel like her performance went well. Every season needs a contestant like her and I hope Jenn makes it.

Emily Rose sang “What Hurts the Most.” I liked her MUCH better on this song. My ears were pleased by this. Maybe she needs to sing more when her voice is hurting. When she got off stage, she mentioned the song not being in the key she wanted and it just sucked.

Malie was diagnosed with laryngitis. Mionne Destiny and Jessica Cabral are both suffering the effects of being ill. Malie Delgado is singing “Stitches.” What a brave, brave girl. Keith liked this version of the song better. She gets a great amount of supportive applause from the audience. Mionne sang “Chains” by Nick Jonas. I haven’t heard her sing before so I don’t know what her original voice sounded like. Jessica Cabral sangUp to the Mountain” by Kelly Clarkson. Keith was heard to say, “Good Lord.”

Joshua Wicker took the stage to sing “A Thousand Years” and I really liked him but this was a very bad song choice for him. It was so out of key. Keith said he wouldn’t mind seeing him again. Harry thinks there is something mournful and soulful about him.

CJ Johnson sings a breath-of-fresh-air upbeat song, “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. It was great. Keith said he liked him and Harry said it was good.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell sang “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins. She always sounds good, but I don’t see her being the winner of American Idol. Harry thought she has something else. Jennifer said she barely heard the song.

The final solo performance was Dalton Rapattoni. I really love him. I hope he goes through. He chose “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” He doesn’t look well. I don’t think this was a good song for him. Keith said he loves his song choices. He didn’t remember his performance. He said when he looked down at his guitar because it wasn’t working that was when everything went fuzzy.

Room 1 includes Jordan Sasser and Dalton Rapattoni, Shelbie Z, Jessica Cabral, Mackenzie Bourg, Stephany Negrete, Lee Jean, La’Porsha Renae, Tristan McIntosh, and a few others I don’t recognize. This has to be a room that is going through. Jennifer announces that they are going through.

In the next room, I recognize Joshua Wicker and John Wayne Schulz. Their group received a ‘no” from Keith Urban.

Room 3 includes Malie, Trent, Thomas Stringfellow, Jenn, Avalon, Sara Strum, Manny Torres, and Jeneve. I think this room gets a yes. Yep, this room goes through.

Next up: They perform in front of a live audience in the showcase and the last cuts ever for American Idol that are made by the judges.





American Idol S15 Hollywood Week No 2: Group Night

4 02 2016

Only 108 contestants remain after round 1 of solo performances.   It’s the dreaded group night that begins at 3:21 p.m. on the day before performance. They need to break up in groups of 3 to 4.

Scott Borchetta is going to be around for group to give them much needed feedback along with the vocal coaches of American Idol. He is telling it like it is; one group he told if they did what they did for him they are definitely going home tomorrow.

Shelbie Z, Marlena, and Tonie were struggling. Instead of trying to work it out, Shelbie walked off and left her group in search of another. Whether or not that was a wise move is yet to be determined. Shelbie sort of comes off as conceited a bit; I felt that way when she was on The Voice. Christian, who is in another group, overhears their dilemma, and he goes back to his group, who has four members, to see if someone would be willing to move to Marlena and Tonie’s group. Christian talks with La’Porsha, Malie and Manny. Malie doesn’t want to split up. And La’Porsha originally agreed, but then had a change of heart because she could not get them out of her head. Manny and Malie felt blindsided by that decision.

Dalton and Kassy were looking for their third member, Poh Scott. But the pressure was too much for this young lady and her father informs a crew member that she just can’t do this. They have to search for another group or a stray person who needs a group.

Team Blue Eyes consist of Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Kelsie Watts, and Jenna Renae. Their song is “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. The boys were stronger on this but the girls were close behind and Kelsie belted out this wonderful high note that would make Mariah Carey proud. They tell Jenna and Jordan to step forward and then do a fake-out and put all 4 of them through.

Milk & Cookies practiced in the toilet stall because the acoustics to them were better.   They chose “Drag Me Down” by One Direction. The ladies who make up the group are Jenn Blosil, Bri Ray, Lynnzee Faye and Sara Strum. Jenn reminds me too much of Joey Cook from last year. I thought they sounded nice together and no one forgot the lyrics. The choreography was bizarre. Keith tries to play them by saying “when I call your name please step forward” and follows with “who am I kidding, you’re all going through.”

The next group is “Ooh x 2” who choose “Need to Breathe” by Alex Clare. Amelia Eisenhauer, Tristan McIntosh, Lee Jean, and an unknown person. They are through to the next round.

Another group was composed of Avalon Young and a few others. They sang “DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again” by Usher and Harry complimented her that she could be in a video for that right now. They are through to the next round.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell was in another group. “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Harry told her that she made the lyric the most important thing. She and her two group mates are through to the next round.

Chynna Sherrod is in the next group which chose “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit to sing. Terrian is also in the group. It’s unclear if any made it through.

Trent Harmon was diagnosed with mono while he is there. He was cleared to continue in the competition, but he has to avoid spreading it, so no group rounds for him. His group name is called “Just Trent.”   He also sings “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. He has a very unique voice and I give him kudos for staying because this is the last chance for Idol. Harry jokes and he says, “I know one thing about that song; it sounds better in mono.” People groan. But Trent is through to the next round.

Michelle Marie and Lindsey Carrier of “Singing Out Loud” (with Ashley Lusk). After 5 hours, they decide on a song and pick up the defector Shelbie Z. Michelle was off pitch at the beginning part of that song and I’m just going to frank at this point—I don’t know how she is still in this competition with all these other more talented female voices other than she has a personality that makes her likable. They were singing “Undo It” by Carrie Underwood. They didn’t blend well as a group. Shelbie Z has a good voice without a doubt. Jennifer thought it was a good group job. Shelbie Z also has resting bitchy face. LOL. Ashley, Michelle, and Shelbie Z are through and Lindsey is going home.

Elvie Shane, Zach Person, Jessica Cabral and another person I don’t remember formed a group and they sang “Too Close” by Alex Clare. They were admonished that they looked tired and it came through, but this is what it is really like and their job is not to let the audience see that. Elvie is going home.

Ashley Lilinoe looked exhausted and seemed to not know the lyrics of her group’s song “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. Mackenzie Bourg did well. Juno, MacKenzie and Kayla are going through; Ashley is going home.

Cameron Richard was part of a group singing “Too Close” by Alex Clare. It wasn’t good enough and the judges send him home.

Chicken Noodle Soup’s Dalton Rapattoni and Kassy Levels lost their group member Poh Scott. The group “NV” consisted of Sonika Vaid, Andrew Nazarbekian, Stephany Negrete and Anatalia Villaranda.   Anatalia’s mom takes matters into her own hands and tries to convince the group that her daughter is not the problem; it’s the song. According to Anatalia, her group left her so she is looking for another group. She joined Chicken Noodle Soup. But Dalton found out that that the other members said she was not kicked out; Anatalia left.  Chicken Noodle Soup sang “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. I thought Dalton and Kassy sounded great. I’m a little iffy on Anatalia. But their voices complimented each other. All three are going through.  NV chose “Problem” by Arianna Grande. Sonika Vaid sounded good. Stephany Negrete sounded great. Andrew Nazarbekian has a crazy voice. They sounded great as a group. Keith felt Stephany was the only one who looked like a performer. They are all going through as well.

Josiah Siska, Jaci Butler, and Brian Dale Brown were sent home because they didn’t have great dance moves.

The next group “Trick or Treat Tribe” consisted of Kylle Thomasson, Kacye Haynes, Jon Klaasen, and Marcio Donaldson. They chose “Uptown Funk” by Mark Bronson. I think Kylle maybe sounded the best out of the four, but I’m not feeling them as a group. Keith thought they did good. Jennifer thought the same. Harry thought it was a good to see people feel rhythm. They are through to the next round.

Smooth Soul chose “Domino” by Jessie J. Joy Dove, Daniel Farmer, and Lindita. Lindita was all over the place. Harry said he was surprised Joy let Lindita do that. It is a competition. Joy and Lindita are through and Daniel is going home.

Eliz Camacho, Gianna Isabella, and Dana Ordway had issues being a group because of the overbearing personality of Eliz. She decided what song they were going to sing and then went to bed for the night. Eliz said for herself that she considered them backup singers that are going to let her rock it. Michael said it was one of the worst they have seen so far. If she even makes it through, Eliz is not going to win over America’s hearts that that piss-poor attitude. You can want to do your best without belittling others. “Hit ‘Em Style (Oops)” by Blu Cantrell. Jennifer said there was obvious tension that could be felt in the performance. This was supposed to be about collaborating. Gianna and Dana go through and Eliz was dismissed. But she goes away with conceited words, not learning a thing–humility.

The Good Vibes consist of Alesana Tolai, Jessica Paige, Olivia Thai, and Joe Dahman. They were singing “Me and My Broken Heart” by Rixton.   They all have nice voices. Some forgot the lyrics. It sounded off though. Not exactly sure where. Harry said there was no joy in their performance. Jessica is the only one going through.

CJ Johnson, Jess Kellner, Jessica Baker, and Zach Joseph sang “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. They were lively and sounded great. Harry said it was a great group song but it didn’t show him which one of them were a superstar. CJ, Jess, and Jessica are through and Zach is going home.

Thomas Muglia, Joey Hendricks, Bryson Dunn, and Thomas Stringfellow also did “Renegades.” It sounded kind of depressing. Thomas Stringfellow was the one who stood out for me. Harry looked like he was falling asleep during the performance. Both Thomases were through to the next round.

Rebirth including Manny Torres, Malie Delgado, Christian Eason chose “Too Close” by Alex Clare.   Malie was suffering from pretty bad laryngitis. Keith gives them a standing ovation. The audience was clapping as the song was playing. All three of them go through and Jennifer said it was one of the best groups of the day.

Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees is the song. Soul Catz included Laurel Wright, Marshall Cunningham, Drew Angus, and John Arthur Greene. They forgot the lyrics. I would say when choosing a group song, you should go with the song that has the least amount of words to have to remember. There are a lot of words in that song. Keith felt none of them took charge. Harry says, “If you forget the lyrics and turn around to ask for help – bad move.” Marshall and Laurel are through.

The last group round number ever for American Idol was performed by The Sistas (Tonie Starr, Marlena Johnson and La’Porsha Renae) who also chose “Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees.   Even though Marlena messed up and substituted gibberish, they had stage presence and sounded like they blended well with each other). Harry said, “That is how you forget words.” The three are through to the next round.





American Idol S15 San Francisco Auditions

12 01 2016

A very “sorry” Brook Sample (who hates her last name and job because she goes home smelling like Ranch dressing) was adorable. She is from Oklahoma and currently living in Tucson. She chose a song from Dixie Chicks, “Cold Day in July.” I liked it better than the live version of this song by the original artists. Harry said in terms of presenting herself he thinks she owes herself a little confidence because she has a fine last name, she should be proud to be a waitress and she did a really good job. Jennifer thinks America might love her as much as she does. Keith thinks she has a really good voice—interesting and unique; it’s very special. She receives a yes from all three judges.

Olivia Rox is a 16-year-old who was born into a musical family who encouraged her talent from a very young age. She sang “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. The beginning of the song was dragging a little bit but it progressed well and showcased her voice super well. Yes, I got goosebumps. Harry thinks she is an extraordinarily talented kid. Jennifer thought she did beautifully and is someone who would add a lot to the competition. Keith thought her voice was really unique and refreshing to hear it.

Cover-band singer Jessica Clark did her own take on “Come Together” by The Beatles. While her voice is interesting, the nasal quality of her voices hurts my ears. She makes it through.

Ameet Kanon, an 18-year-old student from LA, sang “Mercy” by Duffy. I liked her voice but no goosebumps. She looks good on camera.  She is through.

Kayla Mickelsen was also familiar to me from her auditions for “The Voice.”   She chose “Broadripple is Burning” by Margot and The Nuclear So and So’s. I love her. She reminds me a bit of Joey from last year. The judges liked it a lot. She is also through to Hollywood.

Melanie Tierce, a 21-year-old, from Murrie, California had me in goosebumps by the second note.   She sang “Rise Up” by Third Day. Apparently Harry was immediately sold on her, too. Jennifer got goosebumps. She had Keith crying. He said it was unbelievably good. Harry thought it was stunning. He thought it was one of the best auditions he has heard in 3 years.

Being Miss Alaska 2014 led to a job in radio for Malie Delgado. She chose Gretchen Wilson’s “Chariot” as her audition song. She has a lovely voice. No goosebumps but it was lovely. Jennifer thought she had a great voice. Harry gave her an analogy of the color blue and how many shades of blue they have in the competition. She is like an aquamarine. He is amazed all these ridiculously talented smart women are coming. He told her it will be a husky dog fight. She will need to yell “mush” as loud as she can. (Well, technically the term is “hike”, Harry). Jennifer and Keith are also a yes for Hollywood. After she walked out, the judges said she was a star.

Ryan stepped into Harry’s role and Harry took over Ryan’s spot. He gives the next contestant some tips on what to say to Ryan to win him over (loves labs, ask about his sister getting married). Brandyn Burnette decided to sing an original song called “Lost.” His voice reminds me of someone I can’t put my finger on at the moment. I love it and I love him. Harry felt the desire to hug him while he was playing piano. Keith gave him a brief standing ovation. Ryan was impressed. He felt the emotion. He sang it beautifully and he liked the lyrics. This gives him the first four-yes vote of the season.

The next contestant’s family are the biggest American Idol fans. They still have every show ever done on a recording (like VHS recording). Kyrsti Jewel believes that American Idol actually gave her her love of singing. Lee DeWyze went over and said hello. Ryan invited them all in for the audition where Kyrsti chose to sing “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J.   WOW! She is a little powerhouse; she needs to learn how to vary her sound because it always on LOUD. She absolutely has talent, but that is the only thing I’d like to see her learn. Harry said she has an incredible instrument – clear, loud, energetic. She receives the three yes votes to move through to Hollywood.

Sarah Hayes thought she was coming in being confident and funny, but she was off-putting. She chose “Hero” by Bonnie Tyler. She forgot the lyrics. But what I started to hear was a person who has a nice voice, but not nearly good enough to even make it to Hollywood.   She also needs to lose the gum in her mouth. Then she switches to Invincible. Harry says yes to her because he feels like they are part of the problem of why she was messing up. Keith scolded her gently about how she presented herself was not a good way to audition. Jennifer worried about her because there is only going to be more and more pressure as time goes on. She didn’t hear enough of her voice to know if she can control it enough. Jennifer said no. Keith said the whole audition was unstable. Keith was also a no.

 

Next up: Philadelphia