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 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 14 Hollywood Week Final Solos

13 02 2015


Eighty contestants survived group rounds and that number goes down to 48 tonight by the end of solos.

For her final Hollywood Week performance, Loren Lott picks “Skyfall” because it makes her cry which makes Harry smile. I think that is the best I have heard her sound. I would say yes to that. Jennifer stood up in applause. Harry said he couldn’t fault it and it was an Idol-worthy performance.

Daniel Seavey sings next. He sings “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran. That gave me some goosebumps there at the end of the song. Jennifer thinks he is so friggin’ cute it’s crazy. He replied, “Right back at’cha.” Keith thinks that is so cute. Keith said there is so much joy in him.

“Big Sexy” Ron Wilson gets into a heated discussion with Ricky Minor because Ricky, in all his years of experience on Idol, gave Ron some advice. He couldn’t get into sync with the band and Ricky felt he was trying to oversing the song. He sings his audition song, “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye.  I am not sure that was a smart move. The judges don’t like to hear repeats. It sounded like he got with the program. The judges seemed happy with it as well. But then he disses Ricky Minor to the judges. That is NOT cool. That made me dislike him as a person. I realize that maybe he was trying to be funny but it did not come off that way to me. Keith does mention it and Harry agrees. He tells the camera—“not to be cocky or anything” but he is the energy Idol has been missing for years. If he makes it through, he will not get my vote.

Shi Scott is feeling terrified. She chooses Etta James’ “All I Could Do Was Cry.” I really love her voice in this genre. Harry said her being out of breath and her heart racing was evident. He felt it wasn’t her strongest performance.

One of my favorites, Adam Lasher, is up next. He sings, “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty. It was okay. Keith said the only thing that bothered him about the performance is that he started with the higher octave and then had nowhere to go with it when he got to the chorus.

The first cuts occur. Oh my God! Adam Lasher did not make it through. I was not surprised about Ron. Shi, Loren, and Daniel and another unnamed contestant are through. Three other contestants who I don’t readily recognize also go home.

Quentin Alexander made his entrance in style and took his coat off in such a rock-star moment that JLo went on stage to take his coat from him. His song brought Keith to his feet. JLo was clapping. Harry was stoic. It wasn’t the best vocal in my opinion but he deserves to make it to the top 48. Country singer Maddie Walker sounded good. Keith was enjoying it immensely. Geek Trevor Douglas advances to the next round as well.

Alexis Granville sings—are you kidding me? “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone. I was suddenly channeling Simon Cowell to make a snarky remark about being at a wedding reception…a wedding reception where one of the family members gets up and sings out of tune with several key changes. Harry is kind and lets her start again after getting her note again from the band. She doesn’t improve and she goes home.

Jax kills it with “Let It Be” by The Beatles.  This song has special meaning to me as it was the favorite song of a dear friend who died. Whenever I hear it, I am certain Diane is nearby. Jax sings it to her father, a first responder at 9/11, which also has meaning for me because I knew someone who died at the WTC. It was an easy yes.

Michael Simeon gave me goosebumps. This is a do-or-die moment for Nick Fradiani since he will age out for Idol. I really enjoyed it. Everyone enjoyed that. Katherine Skinner’s psychic cat Mustafa died (I am sorry for her loss). She takes on Heart and it did not go well. She was a little off tune and it sounded like she was yelling. After hearing soothing sounds from Nick, this was a sharp contras. Jennifer said that was like the third time she had messed up and she didn’t deliver. Michael, Emily, and Nick are through to the next round. Katherine is going home. But shockingly, Jessica Lamb is also going home along with Alex Shier, and Piper Jones.

Clark Beckham performs and I get goosebumps. WOW!!!! Mark Andrew was ‘meh’ and I normally like what he does. He apparently forgot the lyrics. Harry warns him not to do that again. Keith is compassionate about how tired they are but JLo says if they can’t handle this they aren’t going to be able to handle the show and all its activities. Harry tells Naomi Tatsuoka that there are a lot of words that were garbled. Jennifer feels that Alexis Gomez’s performances are always the same. Briana, Travis Findlay, and Naomi are going home. Harry tells Mark that his voice is a special voice and is the only thing that gave him a pass this time. Shannon Berthiaume and Katherine Winston also make it through.

Joey Cook is concerned she will forget her lyrics again. She gives a so-so performance. I really like her but two mistakes in a row may be enough to send her home. Lovey James chooses that awful wedding song. She did a better job than Alexis Granville did, however. Another one of my favorites, Tyanna Jones, impressed Jennifer. I wish I could have seen her whole solo. Where is Savion? Rayvon Owen goes next and I have full-body goosebumps. Riley Bria was good but there are strong voices in this competition. Harry loved it. Joey, Riley, Tayvon, Tyanna are through.

Next week they sing live at The House of Blues.

And oh wait! I see Savion next to the woman in red. He made it! PHEW!

In some of the scenes about next week’s show, we see Adam Ezegelian, Hollywood Anderson, and Reno Anoa’l in the top 48.

American Idol Season 14 Hollywood Week Night Two

6 02 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nWhen last night’s episode ended, Gabby Zonneveld had a mini-panic attack while singing what she said was “Down by the River” by Delta Rae but was actually “Bottom of the River”.  I thought her guitar string broke or that she sliced her finger open. She lost her place in the song. Harry runs up to the stage to help her get back on track. I love that man. He tells her take a deep breath and relax for a little while.

Kelley Kime steps up (her little girl Hope sang the song from Frozen and was the ½ of the audition number given. Katherine Winston also performed “Wild Horses”. Jennifer commented that she was much better than she remembered. Gabby comes back. And Keith gives her an “Alright!” shout of approval and her peers in the audience rose to their feet and cheered her on. They all made it through to the next round.

The next line is called up and includes Andrew Annello who sings “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse. Maddie Walker is also among the singers in the line. Alexis Gomez takes on Carrie Underwood. Andrew is the only one going home. This is such a shame because I enjoyed him more than Maddie or Alexis.

Cody Fry performs in the next line. He and three others make it through.

Loren Lott chose my least favorite solo to hear sung— “Radioactive”. She is among some others in the line that makes it through. I don’t know how though as it wasn’t good.

Shi Scott is strange. There is something about her voice in this particular song that grates on my nerves. Rayvon Owen is also the next group. Rayon gives me goosebumps. They both made it through. Clark Beckham is hot on the trail to the next round. Daniel Seavey thinks he has the chops to be the next American Idol and sings a song just for Jennifer. They are through to group rounds. I would like to see Rayvon and Clark in the top 10.

Dakota Suarez wants to be the first drag queen on Idol. It wasn’t good. That’s too bad because I was rooting for her. And they showed a few contestants that I don’t remember who did poorly who would be leaving the competition. Jax has a crush on Qaasim Middleton. Hey, love happens. Look at Jillian Jensen and Alex Preston. He is on to the next round which makes it more likely for something to happen with Jax. Also through are Nick Fradiani, Quentin Alexander, and Zack Kaltenbach.

Time for group rounds! They are to pair up in groups of 4 but it is totally up to each individual to stand out.

“Double Stuff” performs first and it contains David Oliver Willis, Clark Beckham, Jesse Cline, J. None, and Mr. Crispy. They take on “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” They went to bed early last night and morning rehearsal did not go well. It was a strong group according to the judges. All four are through.

“Sheba Squared” featuring Shi Scott, Big Sexy Ron Wilson, Andrew Bloom and Adam Ezegelian sing P.Y.T. I liked Shi better on this song. Keith also agrees she sounded better than the day prior. Andrew is the one going home in the group. I am surprised.

Steffi Ledbetter, Maddy Hudson, Tyanna Jones and Reno Anoa’l make up the youngest group named “The Dream Team.” They sing “I Want You Back.” Lyrics were forgotten. Jennifer said it was shaky and not the best group performance they have seen. Steffi will be going home. I don’t agree with that. I felt that Maddy on this song was the one to leave.

Michael Simeon, Hunter Larsen, Jaq Mackenzie, and Nick Fradiani are part of “Team Dimples.”  I will bet good money Jaq came up with that name. Jennifer thinks it’s cute. Ugh. I hate this song (Magic’s “Rude“). I turn the radio station to a different one only to find it on THAT station as well. It was played so much I never want to hear that song for the rest of my life (say yes, say yes, ‘cause I need to know). I liked Michael the best. Everyone is going through.

The next group is “Sal’s Gals” featuring Jax, Sal Valentinetti, Kelley, Kaitlyn, and Alexis who was having a panic attack, and I started having one for her. They take their places and Alexis says that you have to go on as a performer whether you feel well or not, but once on stage she collapses. And with that they announce a “take 5” and the episode will continue next week.

American Idol Season 14 Hollywood Week Night One

5 02 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nThey are calling up some of their favorites from the auditions to sing right away. They call up Jax from Brooklyn up to sing. She was one I remember well (her dad being a 9/11 responder). She sings “Toxic” by Britney Spears. My first goosebumps of the night. There will be no critique from the judges.

Mark Andrew from the Minneapolis auditions was up next. I remember him as well. Then Emily Brooke (who I don’t remember too well except her name). Crooner Sal Valentinetti was called up. Adam Ezegelian did not sound as good as the audition (maybe nerves?) because he was having to take inappropriate breaths within the song.

Tyanna Jones goes next. Pitch issues still but I still love her. Savion Wright is next (adore him!). Hollywood Anderson performs a weird interpretation of Adele. Shannon Berthiaume (rhymes with perfume) takes on “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. I like her style but I think she needs to work on enunciation within her voice style. Then, she forgets the lyrics. OOPS! But she has little experience singing in front of a crowd, so it is not unexpected. It’s a terrifying thing to do (I have, so I know first-hand; it’s why I stopped singing in public). I feel so sorry for her.

Adam Lasher is definitely top 10 material. The people who are just mediocre or have a common voice who are sitting in the audience are freaking out just about now in the day when they see what kind of competition they are up against, but still it is wonderful that they are cheering for excellence. Harry speaks among the judges that he thinks Adam is a superstar.

Keith calls up Garrett Miles. He is the man who is blind. He sings, “To Make You Feel My Love.” He is a little off-pitch.

A string of bad luck happens for the guitar-playing singers with guitars out of tune. Just as people should stay away from the Adele songs, people should really not sing the “Paris (Oooo La La)” song by Grace Potter either. Trevor Douglas makes his way to the stage. He makes a joke about how he hopes his guitar is in tune. I got goosebumps. He sings the song from The Hobbit, “I See Fire.” It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty damn great.

Joey Cook does her thing on stage. She is unique. Joey is used to playing the accordion with her songs, she is forced to turn to a ukulele and is feeling vulnerable. Jennifer turns to Harry and says she loves her voice.

Amber Kelechi is having a panic attack in the waiting area. I told you she would get eaten alive during Hollywood week. Jennifer and Keith did her a disservice. She wasn’t ready. This is just way too much pressure on this little girl. She thinks her entire family’s fate rests on her getting through Hollywood week. She wants to get her family out of the hood back home. She tries singing “Radioactive.” This is not a song that people need to sing a capella. It needs full music behind the song to make it sound okay. She is brave. I still believe she isn’t ready. I don’t want to see the fall-out of that crushed moment. Harry says to Keith and Jennifer that it was far inferior to the Nashville auditions. Jennifer thought she sounded great. Harry does not.

All the performers asked to sing thus far are asked to come up on stage. Jennifer says they were not all that great today but they are getting the benefit of the doubt and are through the next round. Harry tells everyone else that they are safe…for now.

Day two of Hollywood week commences. The people who have not performed will be called up in lines of 10. After each line has performed they will ask some to step forward and others to stay back. Half of the remaining contestants will be going home.

Reno Anoa’l is in the first group of 10. Country singer Priscilla Barker goes to the microphone. Jaq Mackenzie says her great grandmother and aunt performed on that exact stage. She is the next American Idol because…she is. She is confident, but I wasn’t impressed by her vocals on her audition. She sings “Cool Kids.” She sang it well but there is stiff competition this year. Harry says to Jennifer that she “does that waif thing but she gets loud, too, which is good.” And the cuts happen. Jaq and Reno are through along with some others I don’t recognize. Priscilla is going home. I think that was a mistake. I liked her over Jaq and that is saying A LOT because I don’t like country music.

Some of those cut were Courtney Guns, Tara Honda, and Courtney Zahn.

In the next line of 10 is Erika Washington who sings “This Girl Is on Fire.” And she is through to the next round. It looks like Casey Thrasher is also in the group going through.

Michael Simeon and “Big Sexy” Ron Wilson are in the next group of 10 to perform. They are among those going through. Jacob Tolliver (the understudy for the Million Dollar Quartet as Jerry Lee Lewis) was among those going home.

Gabby Zonneveld sings “Down by the River” by Delta Rae. She has a little mini panic attack on stage (I thought her guitar string broke) and that is how they end the episode.

American Idol Season 14 Nashville Auditions

21 01 2015

Day 1

In a new twist, American Idol introduces the top 24. But of course they won’t let you see their faces. They sound like a great bunch but it is a studio recording so of course they sound great. It is the live show that makes or breaks a contestant. Wrong song choice and poor execution even just one week can send a person home. A lack of connection to the audience can cause the same kind of outcome.

The first contestant actually played with Keith Urban at an award show in 2012. Riley Bria, age 17, from Springhill, TN, sang, of course, a Keith Urban song. I liked it. Almost sounded like Ryan Cabrera at times when he got soft in his tone. Harry and Jennifer felt he was born to do this and he is through.

Confident Priscilla Barker, age 19, sang “Delta Dawn” by Tanya Tucker. I liked parts of it but not all of it. Sometimes when she sings loudly it sounds like shouting. When she added the guitar she got a little pitchy. There was nothing stand-out about her voice. She had a lovely personality though. Harry says yes. Jennifer says no because it needed to be more special. Keith thinks she needs a better song choice and gives her a shot at Hollywood week. Ryan takes her mother in to meet Keith Urban and he graciously gives her a hug.

Cameron Bedell, age 25, sings “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray Montagne. He hails from Wichita but now calls Nashville home. Lovely voice. My first goosebumps of this season. My goosebumps never lie. Keith wanted to play–errrr…jam…with him. Three yeses!

Cut to a segment where one of the contestants did not know the judges names. Oops! That’s not good. And apparently neither was she because it doesn’t look like she made it through as she was in the next montage of people who were sent home without a ticket to Hollywood.

The next contestant says if she didn’t have music she would either be dead or pregnant or part of a gang or in jail. I am glad she has music too. Amber Kelechi Walker, age 15, from Memphis took on Elvis. As much as she has had a hard life, I don’t think she is at all ready. Perhaps it was the song choice. She wasn’t hitting the notes perfectly (just under or over) and she was yelling. Jennifer says yes. Harry likes Amber but thinks she needs more time getting her vocals together. He says no but softie Keith says yes. I am not sure Jennifer and Keith did her a service–she is going to get eaten alive in Hollywood. And let the “baby” begin! But I like Amber says that she is going to work hard to win Harry over. She has a great attitude.

Kyle Blaine Corman, a 24-year-old produce stocker from Staten Island doesn’t think there is much of a music scene up there. He also does not like old ladies touching his hair. “Give A Little Bit” by the Goo Goo Dolls. It was not good. I am thinking there is no music scene in his eyes because the talent in New York is just way above his level of musicality, or lack thereof. Keith gets instantly annoyed that he tries another song when they are trying to give him feedback. It is a no. His excuse was he lost his voice. Perhaps next time he can try a different song.

Kory Wheeler, age 26, literally works at the coffeehouse across the street from the event hall where auditions were being held. He sang “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” His voice is interesting. Was it my favorite of all those showcased? No. But maybe second best. Three yeses. Ryan and crew go across the street to let his boss know.

Michael Simeon age 20 from Lumberton, Mississippi wants off his farm so he sings “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith for the judges. Love his voice. It has a great amount of restraint and a lovely falsetto. Three yeses. He wants to slow dance with Jennifer and Harry and Keith provide the music. And Jennifer graciously does it while Michael sings and Keith harmonizes. And he is beat-red embarrassed!

Jennifer says that she is a great girlfriend–she just picks the wrong BLEEP-ing guys. That made me laugh.

Emily Brooke, age 15, from West Palm Beach, FL, did shows and saved her money to come to the audition. Her song is “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood. She is amazing for someone 15 years of age. Jennifer felt she was telling her a story and she executed it beautifully. Keith loved it and her raw talent. Harry thinks she is cool and that she knows who she is. Of course she gets a ticket. Later Harry thinks she has the most potential out of all of them.

Day 2

Andrew Annello, age 22, sang “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” He lives in Springville, Alabama. His vocals were okay but there is too much a good thing (over the top personality) and his performance somewhat affective. Keith felt like it was a caricature of a performance. Harry thought it was silly. Harry asked him to sing 10 seconds of something without the silly. He sang “My Girl”. Harry gives him some advice about when to bring the silly. Jennifer and Harry like him. He gets three yeses.

Wait! Did I just spot Savion Wright in the holding room?

Loren Lott, age 21, an actress from San Diego, CA sang “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. Harry thought she looked like a superstar. She is a lot of fun, but there is something about the tonality of her voice that hurt my ears. I have really sensitive hearing. Harry felt like she was an actress who was singing. Then she started singing Whitney Houston and it was not good. It was all over the place flat and sharp. Keith says yes. Harry says no. Jennifer says yes.

Trevor Douglas from Fort Worth is a 16-year-old science geek. He sings “Sing” by Ed Sheeran. I like him a lot! His falsetto needs a bit of work but his guitar skills are mad. Jennifer likes his quirky and loved the falsetto. Harry likes his confidence. Keith said yes, Jennifer said yes.

Piper Jones, a 24-year-old substitute teacher from Nashville gave me my first goosebumps of day 2. Absolutely yes.

Little girl Hope did a great job with “Let It Go“. She sports an adorable 1/2 after her number, the number given to her mother, Kelley Kime. Kelley is a teacher from Fairfax, VA has a great voice. And she is through to Hollywood. The kid is an actress in the making.

Never sing Adele unless you are going to crush it especially if you are only 15. Sammie Lester did not. She sounded like she could have sounded good had nerves not gotten the better of her. I have been in those shoes. It is horrible.

The montage of the next four were people who felt like this is what they were meant to be doing, one even quitting her job to audition, but they all did not make it.

Garrett Miles has been blind since birth but that has not stopped him being a musician. He hails from Phenix City, Alabama. He sounds great. Harry thinks he has a gift. He additionally sings one of Jennifer’s songs from Selena. He gets a yes from everyone.

Clark Beckham, age 22, is a street performer in Nashville but comes from White House, TN. Second goosebumps of the night. Loved it. He sang “It’s A Man’s World“. Keith says yes. Harry doesn’t think he is ready yet. Jennifer says yes.

Gina Venier, age 24, from Dixon, IL, is a one-woman band. She sings “Put the Gun Down“.  She has an interesting voice. Three yeses.

Alex Shier, age 19, from Port Huron, MI is a musician and he is awesome. I was worried when he was singing at the auditions that he was going to be one of those people who sang without playing the guitar he brought along but I was wrong. He had a few sharps. My concern is that he had a good voice but does he have a unique enough voice to make it through. Jennifer remembers him from last year. It was better than last year. Harry says no but Jennifer and Keith say yes.

Cody Fry is a touring musician and comes from a musical family. Third goosebumps of the night. He sang “Over the Rainbow.” Keith likes him. Harry liked it. Keith and Harry say yes but Jennifer was on the fence.

Hector Montenegro is a master cosmetologist from West Palm Beach Florida. He sings “Too Close“. Harry says he sings very well but there is something missing in his presentation. Jennifer thought there was an innate swagger about him. Keith liked it. He goes to Hollywood.

Sarina-Joi Crowe returns!!!!!! And of course she is through. After she left Harry thought she sounded better than last year.

Jake Black, Alison Peratikos and Steffi Ledbetter all make it through. Jake is the one that was stand-out for me in this group.

SAVION!!!!!!! I was crushed when he got cut last year. He is a Jasper, Texas boy and knows someone I know. He sings “Change the World” by Eric Clapton. GOOSEBUMPS! He wants some feedback which Harry is glad to give him.

American Idol Season 13 Final Judgment Part 1

13 02 2014

The talent is abundant; the spaces few. Only 15 girls and 15 boys will go through to the live rounds next week. They had one last chance to impress the judges with their own instruments or the full band or both.

Some standout performances for me were Jillian Jensen (FINALLY they show her!). Her original song was beautiful. Malaya Watson was out of this world. I cried listening to Sam Woolf’s original song that he wrote about his mother leaving. I had goosebumps. My opinion about him has radically shifted. I think it was a mistake letting Keri Ann Roche and Jesse Roach. They were unique.

Here is the list of those going through based upon what was seen this evening:


1. Spencer Lloyd


2. George Lovett


3. Sam Woolf


4. Maurice Townsend


5. Dexter Roberts


6. Emmanuel Zidor


7. Jordan Brisbane


8. Malcolm Allen


9. Alex Preston



1. Emily Piriz


2. Jillian Jensen


3. Malaya Watson


4. Bria Anai Johnson


5. Jessica Meuse


6. MK Nobilette


7. Kristin O’Connor


8. Andrina Brogden


Going Home

Madelyn Patterson, Michael Simeon, Lebryant Crew, Sabrina Lentini, Keri Lynn Roche, Jesse Roach, Casey McQuillen, Nica Nashae, Leah Guerrero. A few others whose face/name I could not place and the names were not said.

Not Sure

They showed solos by Shelby Ann Marie Miller and Connor Zwetsch who performed original songs that were less than stellar. They did not go before the judges so I am assuming they went home.


They leave us on a cliffhanger. They ask Casey Thrasher and CJ Harris to come up together and sing more before they can make a decision. The previews say that only one of them will be going through. These guys are both very talented. I would very much for them both to go through.



According to the press release, America will get to vote on who the final contestant will be to round out the top 30 on Thursday night, February 13, 2014.