American Idol Rush Week Girls’ Night

19 02 2014

I’m very upset. I don’t understand some of the judges picks. But let’s start with what we have before I go on a rant.

I like the new stage and the new feel. Jennifer Lopez looked stunning tonight. Harry and Keith are also looking great. Only 10 people will sing based on who impressed the judges saw during dress rehearsal and 5 will be going home. This year Randy Jackson will be the mentor and conduct workshops. He wants to see the contestants learn from their experiences the prior week. The workshops bring together vocal coaches, musical director Rickey Minor, stylists, movement coaches, and….spiritual advisors (?????) Billy and Julie Mauldin. Well, okay, but what if we have atheists among the group? Also coming to share wisdom with the contestants are Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry.

First pick

Majesty Rose York: Adam Lambert happens to be her favorite American Idol. She sings “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Adam thinks it is the perfect song; it fits her personality and style. I thought the guitar is more like a crutch for her right now as I watched her performance. I think she would have done better without it. Her clapping was out of time with the audience (or vice versa) and it was distracting. She ditched the guitar finally towards the end of the song. The vocals were great though. Jennifer thought her voice was amazing. The whole place was on their feet and it was a very good start. Harry said she did a fantastic job. Keith said she has this breezy thing about her and had good vocal range.

Second pick

Kristen O’Connor sings “Turning Tables” by Adele. Chris Daughtry said he got chills on her first note. He offered her some great practical advice regarding stage presence. As I listened, I heard weird breaks in her phrasing and that she ran out of breath (it seemed). But there was nice control in her voice towards the end. Harry thought it was a really powerful performance. Keith said she has killer range but the breathing issues were likely from nerves. However, she got control of it halfway through. Jennifer felt she had the most special tone to her voice. She could hear her recording records tomorrow. The timing was off with the band but about halfway through she locked in and got it together.

Third pick

Briana Oakley. “Warrior” by Demi Lovato. Vocal coach Antonio Sol said that in her movement she was either not feeling it or seeing it coming through from within herself. I think she is still having connection problems. I used to be a big fan of her voice, but there are times where there are issues but then she shows a good stretch for a little while. It was inconsistent. The part I had issues with made me want to close up my ears. Keith loved the clarity in her tone and compared it to Irene Cara. The last quarter of the song she found the voice. He reminded her that she cannot be smiling when she is talking about being a warrior. Jennifer said she looked scared. She had the sound of a young Whitney Houston. The thing that has to come together is the performance quality and the connection to what she is singing. Harry said the high notes are not triple axels. She did a fine job but to be wary of it (the high notes) just because they get applause.

Fourth pick

Jena Irene (that’s GINA, not JENNA). She wants to sing “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones. Chris Daughtry said she has to work on her confidence. There were moments where she was questioning everything she was doing. Oh poor Randy. He pronounced her name incorrectly. She is a rocker girl!!! I loved it. She had a very powerful voice. It seems she took Chris’ advice. I think she almost sounds like Ann Wilson from “Heart.” At this point, this is my favorite of the night. Jennifer said it was sultry and one of her favorites. Harry asked her in one sentence what the song was about and she replied, “Darkness.” Keith said she was one of his favorites since the audition cities. He likes how she holds the microphone stand.

Fifth Pick

Bria Anai. She hopes to get some styling advice. Adam said there was a lot of arm pumping going on. She sang Melanie Fiona’s “Wrong Side of a Love Song.” I had goosebumps. The last note was rough in her lower range but otherwise I thought it was fantastic. Harry, however, thought it sounded like she was shouting, but otherwise was fantastic. Keith said to try not to overshoot the runway, but she still has the lips (a reference to her signature style). Jennifer said she had “star” written all over her. She needs to work on staying in control.

Sixth Pick

Marrialle Sellars: Let my rant begin. WHAT do the judges find SOOOO fascinating about this girl? I have yet to see any performance that I have liked. More talented singers have been sent home because she took this spot. She decides to sing “Roar” by Katy Perry and I do not even like what I hear in rehearsals. Adam tells her to slow it down (too frantic). He told her she has the goods but she needs to learn how to take her time. I do not see it. I don’t know how she keeps getting picked over and over. I did not think she deserved the spot in the top 15. I really dislike this song. It is totally off key and amateurish. It is my least favorite vocal so far of the night. Keith said her voice and ability to perform are much better than what they saw tonight. It was not the right song to shine on. It was not the best tempo. “It was karaoke baby.” (The first “baby” of the evening I believe). Jennifer wished she would have brought her guitar out. This was not the best showcase of who she is. She let the crowd get away from her a little bit and it affected her performance. Harry said her intonation needs working on (the ability to stay in tune). She must start singing in the pocket. He wished she would have brought her guitar and wished she showed more of the “superstar” that he knows she is. (REALLY????? SUPERSTAR????? WHEN HAS SHE EVER DEMONSTRATED SUPERSTAR ON ANY OF THE PERFORMANCES WE’VE SEEN????)

Seventh Pick

Jessica Meuse wants to sing “Drink A Beer” by Luke Bryan. Chris Daughtry felt her voice was better than her guitar playing and wanted her to step away from it and challenge herself. However, she opts for the guitar. For me, sometimes she sounds like Stevie Nicks. She is in the middle for me in terms of where I like her. However, it was very nice to hear something soft instead of going big. Jennifer said she was nervous; however, the soft and the heart she connects to. She loves her country tone. Harry said she brings something different to the table that is fresh and exciting. Technically she needs to watch for intonation, too. She goes sharp (per Harry maybe nerves). He wanted to feel what she was singing about, but again it may be nerves. He felt there was a wall between them. Keith said he was going to root for someone from Slapout, Alabama. There was, however, a disconnection between lyrics and the facial expressions.

Eighth Pick

Emily Piriz. She decides to sing “Paris (Ooh La La)” by Grace Potter. This shows me that she does not learn from others’ mistakes. Randy calls her out on it too reminding her that he is not sure the judges are going to like that song. Adam says she has to start the song more aggressively. The chorus is the punch line. The song will only work if she sings it like a rock star. She sang it well but I felt weird watching it on stage but I am not sure exactly why. Perhaps it is because it is not a song for the Idol audience. Harry asked her to say the first two lines of the song (which she does) and he says he understands she is not interested in the storyline (based on what she said during the interview). He asks her now that she is 18 does she really want to be singing that kind of song? Keith said to Harry, “It’s a touchy subject, Harry.” Harry responds, “Literally!” Keith said one of the things is this–about standing in front of the mirror for hours to bring out the rock chick. He gets that but a real artistry is through expression. It is not about standing in front of the mirror and pretending to be anyone or tapping into anything. Jennifer said she did very well. She liked it and that it was the most relaxed performance thus far. She loves her and hopes she is in the top 5. Ryan said to Emily that “Harry is in Daddy mode there.”

Ninth Pick

MK Nobilette. Her challenge is to stay connected to the song. She chooses “All of Me” by John Legend. Her lower range is rough. I liked her voice about 75% of the time. She had the emotional connection to the song so took those words and her challenge to hear. Keith said it was the perfect song choice. Jennifer said it was making people feel something. It was true sentiment and she loved it so much. Harry said she was an elegant, articulate singer. The defeatist attitude he saw during Hollywood week was gone. She belonged here.

Tenth Pick

Malaya Watson. Adam loves her runway style and Chris says her voice is stupid (good). I had goosebumps. She sang “Hard Times” by Ray Charles. It was the best performance of the night. She has such a personality for such a young woman. Jennifer says the second “baby” of the night. Jennifer said she is one of those powerhouse singers and is amazing. Harry wants to eat a donut (it was so sweet). He looks forward to watching her settle.

Neco or Ben?

Ben. I’m shocked.

Rest of My Rant

Final part of my rant. How can these judges put through Marrialle Sellars time after time after time and not see the talent in Jillian Jensen is so much more? I just don’t get it. It is the same thing I felt about Savion Wright being cut. I will say a prayer that she is one of the judges’ wild card picks. The comeback kid!!!!





American Idol Season 13 Final Judgment Part 2

13 02 2014

The CJ Harris and Casey Thrasher cliffhanger starts the show. Casey is going through to the top 15. AND SO IS CJ Harris!!!! That was the right decision.

Solo Performances

I was not thrilled with was Marrialle Sellars doing “Wrecking Ball.” It was off-tune. Jena Ascuitto‘s original song was lovely. The first one that sounded good singing “Radioactive” thus far this season was Caleb Johnson. Kenzie Hall has a beautifully unique voice but her solo was terrible. I thought Sandie Lee‘s solo was much better than Austin Wolfe‘s solo but when both had to face the final judgment together, they chose Austin over Sandie.

Rest of The Boys

10. Caleb Johnson

CalebJohnson

11. Ethan Harris

EthanHarris

12. Briston Maroney

BristonMaroney

13.  CJ Harris

CJHarris

14.  Casey Thrasher

CaseyThrasher

15.  ?? Neco Starr or Ben Briley

NecoStarr

BenBriley

Rest of The Girls

9. Marrialle Sellars

MarialleSellars

10. Jena (that’s GINA, not JENNA) Ascuitto

JenaAscuitto

11. Majesty Rose York

MajestyYork

12. Briana Oakley

BrianaOakley

13. Brandy Neelly

BrandyNeely

14. Kenzie Hall

KenzieHall

15. Austin Wolfe

AustinWolfe

Going Home

Sarina Joi Crowe, Nalani Quintello, David Oliver Willis, Savion Wright (are you FRIGGING KIDDING ME???), and Sandie Lee.

Savion Wright deserves to be there. I could do without Briston Maroney. His voice is like sandpaper on my ears. Personal thing. I’m sure others find his voice pleasant.

Twisted Fate

America will decide the fate of Neco Starr and Ben Briley as to who will be the 15th boy contestant. If I have to choose, I prefer Neco’s style of music. I will be voting for him.

Next Week

Next week, AMERICAN IDOL XIII’s“Rush Week” will be LIVE for two nights of performances and the season’s first results show. In a new twist, not all 30 singers will get to perform, as the judges – Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. – will choose only whom they think are worthy of America’s vote, leaving some packing their bags before they get a chance to sing. On Tuesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ETlive /PT tape-delayed), Randy Jackson returns as in-house mentor, and the Top15 girls will take the brand-new stage designed by acclaimed designer Baz Halpin (Britney Spears’ Piece of Me, Pink: Funhouse Tour). On Wednesday,Feb. 19 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live /PT tape-delayed), the Top 15 guys do the same.

Then, on the first results show of the season, Thursday, Feb. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed), the Top 10 finalists chosen by America – five girls and five guys – will be revealed, followed by the judges’ wild card picks to round out the Top 13 finalists.





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.

Groups

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 Atlanta Auditions

4 02 2014

LogoThat was such a cute opening with Ryan Seacrest and his mom. And changes already? Can Harry Connick, Jr. judge just as well from the left of the panel as on the right? Time will tell.

Majesty Rose has a name that sounds already like a star. She is a 21-year-old preschool teacher from Goldsboro, North Carolina. I loved her. I had goosebumps. It was very quiet but beautiful. Harry thought it was elegant in a refreshing way. Jennifer said it was effortless. Keith said she pulled him in. Going to Hollywood.

Jesse Cline, a 19-year-old gas station attendant from Ashland, Kentucky, drove straight through to the audition. I was very surprised. I wasn’t expecting that voice. Harry said to Keith that he was the ultimate Cinderella. I loved it. He is through to Hollywood.

Alyson Ragona with pink hair and a ukulele is a 19-year-old sales associate from Eldridge, Iowa and a definite no for me. She was a no for the judges, too.

Chris Medina? No, not THAT Chris Medina from 2011. And his dog, Bubbie? Harry adopts the dog. He is a 23-year-old in the Army National Guard. I was not sure at first, but then I perked up. Harry: “I believe I have a wet spot on my pants.” Chris: “From the DOG???” Harry: “No…dog’s been great. This is a personal matter.” I was laughing so hard. There are three yeses for Chris but Harry keeps the dog. What? He wants to shed the Harsh Harry image? What “Harsh Harry” image? He tells Chris to bring the dog to Hollywood. Chris says he isn’t sure that is allowed but if the dog is then he will.

Next collage of two individuals: Kristen O’Connor, a 24-year-old nurse tech from Sebastian, Florida. She had a beautiful voice. Emily Piriz is a 17-year-old student from Orlando, Florida. I liked it. Both are given yeses to Hollywood.

Ben Briley, nicknamed Brother Gumbo by the judges, is a 24-year-old server from Gallatin, Tennessee. His voice is nice but I do not like country music. I thought it was odd because he brought a guitar but then did not use it. Three yeses.

Nica Nashae, a 24-year-old student from Milledgeville, Georgia has a nice voice, but will I remember her? I don’t know. Three yeses

Jordan Brisbane says he has what it takes to shut the American Idol series down. Oh boy. This is not going to end well. He is an adorable 15-year-old student and cook from Savannah, Georgia, but a singer? I hope he cooks better than he sings. But he gets three yeses.

Sam Burchfield, a 21-year-old student, from Athens, Georgia made me smile and laugh. It is a yes for me. Jennifer thought it was original. Keith loved the voice. Harry thought there was a weird impediment and votes no, but he is through to Hollywood.

Endless jokes are made about Slapout, Alabama, but Jessica Meuse, a 22-year-old student, proves she is just as unique as the name of the town. She has this gritty rocker sound with her original song. I loved her. The right shoulder is a bit annoying and distracting, but hopeful she can work that out. Three yeses.

For the segment of #IdolHollywood or #IdolHome on Twitter, I felt this contestant was more suited towards Broadway. Fifty-three percent thought Hollywood and 47% thought home.

I hope Travis Hunter-Brown, a 26-year-old barista from St. Petersburg, Florida makes better coffee.

Jennifer got goosies with this Lauren Ogburn‘s performance. I thought it was a good singing voice for pleasure but not for Idol. She is a 19-year-old receptionist from Lake City, Florida. She gets three yeses, but Harry tells her to tone down the dressing statement.

This year marks the return of two season 11 contestants, Caleb Johnson from Asheville, NC, and Neco Starr from Atlanta. I like both their voices. Three yeses for Caleb. Two yeses from the boys for Neco.

There are so many people who can wear purple lipstick and I am envious of Bria Anai, a 15-year-old student from Lithonia, Georgia. She calls her stage mom her “mom-ager” and Harry quips, “You should meet her da-gent.!” Harry is just so funny. I had goosebumps from her voice in 3 seconds. Jennifer thought it was amazing. Harry thought it was impossible. Three yeses.

Forty-four people got tickets in Atlanta plus the 119 from other auditions brings the total thus far to 163 golden tickets.

Next up: Salt Lake City