American Idol Season 12 Auditions Oklahoma City

2 02 2013

The American Idol city auditions came to an anticlimactic end that seemed to produce the least talented group among all the cities. Forty-five contestants were sent to Hollywood.

Wanting to prove that gingers have soul, Karl Skinner sang “I Feel Good” by James Brown for the judges. He is a young man with a LOT of energy. I preferred his original song that he played on the guitar. He “wants to be uncomparable.” I think he has already achieved that.


Karl Skinner

Contestant 80132 proved gingers did not have soul. Contestant 80685 did a poor job at singing Super Bass. And the guy who sang the Jessie J song was fun but never in tune.

Another contestant with great energy is Nate Tao. He is an American Sign Language instructor. Both of his parents are deaf. He sang “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder. He has a good voice. I wished he would have signed the song as he sang it because that would have added to it (for me). We use some basic signs with Patrick (my son with autism) to communicate. Sign language is not only for people who are deaf and hearing-impaired. I hope he does well in Hollywood.


Nate Tao

Then Oklahoma brought out the weird. Halie Hilburn is a great ventriloquist. She brought her puppet Oscar with her to do a duet. I was immediately drawn to the fact that Oscar has no eyes. If you’ve been watching “The Following” on Fox you’ll immediately get the reference (and if you aren’t watching, you should). She said she just got married. I really hope Oscar does not sleep in the bed with them because that would be downright awkward. They asked her to sing without Oscar and she sounded much better, even if Oscar could yodel. Keith felt like Oscar was holding her back. (I love Keith’s humor). It was a “no” from Randy but everyone else said yes. Then they showed Oscar on the street asking for money and ultimately in the trash. Poor Oscar. One day you are doing duets and the next day your partner dumps you.


Halie Hilburn


Save Oscar

I wondered what acid the next contestant was dropping when she came to the audition. Zoanette Johnson had the nerve to disgrace our national anthem like that, not even remember the lyrics, and yet, the judges put her through. All of them. I think the woman needs Ritalin.


Zoanette Johnson

Oklahoma City is full of weird. Anastacia Freeman said that God told her to audition for Idol (not the X-Factor, not The Voice, but Idol). She attempted to sing “Unbreak My Heart” by Toni Braxton. Sometimes the devil disguises himself as God to fool you into doing things you should not. (2 Corinthians 11:14). This is truth because we had to endure the horror unfolding on our televisions. The whole song was out of key, several keys, was flat. This is someone who should not even sing privately. She stopped in the middle of singing because the judges were laughing. “Are y’all laughing at me?” They all say “no.” Of COURSE they are! But she continues, “…without you I can’t go on.” Yes please don’t go on. Make it stop. Her singing I consider contributes to the noise pollution in our world. Somewhere out in space that will reach the ears of some alien life form and they will come to conquer us just because we sent that crap to them.


Anastacia Freeman

The last contestant was a young man, age 16, named Caden Kayden Stephenson. He brought the light of God back into that room. This is a child whose soul is much older than his tender years. Even though the life expectancy for people with cystic fibrosis has increased over the last half-century, Caden Kayden has made peace that his life may end by his mid-30’s. In 1955, children with cystic fibrosis were not expected to live past grade school. Caden Kayden is living each day to its fullest. He sang “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder. It was not gushingly great, but the aura and that wonderful personality carried him far. The judges were going to make this happen for him.


Kayden Stephenson

The last performer walked in. I happened to be on a phone call with someone in my family so I had the sound down. I keep looking at this woman thinking, “This looks like Steven Tyler in drag.” And it was. I guess this is sort of a judge hazing ritual. Although Hollywood was not in his future, Boston was (July 17-19, 2012). Indeed “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”


Steven Tyler

Next week: Hollywood where eventually a top 40 will be picked and then to Vegas where the top 10 will be decided.

American Idol Season 12 Preview

8 01 2013

AmericanIdolLogoI got a chance to sit down and watch a 45-minute preview of the highlights from the New York and Chicago auditions of season 12 of American Idol which will begin on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 8 ET/7 Central with the New York auditions (actually Newark, NJ) and Thursday, January 17, 2013 8 ET/7 Central with the Chicago auditions.

I have been curious about the dynamic of the new judges and if there was any untapped talent left in America with all these singing competitions. I can reveal no specifics of names or whether or not they were voted through other than those things already released by Fox Broadcasting to the public at large. One New York contestant who attended Camp Mariah gave me goosebumps. There were several contestants like that; however, that occurred last year and those people did not make it through Hollywood week. Throughout the screener, there were some really talented people, and as always, there were some misses. The one young man, Lazaro Arbos, has an intense stutter. His story tears at your heartstrings without being exploitive. Although he got some of the lyrics wrong, his voice…wow, his voice. He hails from the Chicago auditions so be sure to tune in Thursday to see that.

As a side note, someone got their bucket-list wish fulfilled from Ryan Seacrest.

Some of the attraction of the show is to watch the judges bicker among themselves. Randy seemed to be the realist while the others were getting comfortable saying “no” to the contestants. As with Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler that will become easier with time. There are times when Keith Urban could not get a word in sitting between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. He has a quiet positive energy that I really like. Randy Jackson, of course, is the veteran of the show, the “resident dawg” and we know what to expect from him. While the interactions were respectful from what I viewed, there is a diva struggle between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Nicki is going to have to learn how to channel her opinion into short, concise sound bites and stop drooling over every good-looking male contestant, wondering out loud if they have a girlfriend or not. Mariah needs to stop doing the diva hair flip.


This is what the schedule looks like for the season:

(Other audition cities were: Charlotte, North Carolina; Long Beach, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and San Antonio, Texas)

Wednesday, January 16: New York auditions (2-hour show)
Thursday, January 17: Chicago auditions (2-hour show)

Wednesday, January 23: Auditions (2-hour show)
Thursday, January 24: Auditions (1-hour show)

Wednesday, January 30: Auditions (2-hour show)
Thursday, January 31: Auditions (1-hour show)

Wednesday, February 6: Hollywood week, part 1 (2-hour show)
Thursday, February 7: Hollywood week, part 2 (1-hour show)

Wednesday, February 13: Hollywood week, part 3 (2-hour show)
Thursday, February 14: Hollywood week, part 4 — top 40 announced (1-hour show)

Wednesday, February 20: Las Vegas Top 10 male singers perform (2-hour show)
Thursday, February 21: Las Vegas Top 10 female singers perform (2-hour show)

Wednesday, February 27: Las Vegas Remaining Top 10 male singers perform (2-hour show)
Thursday, February 28: Las Vegas Remaining Top 10 female singers perform (2-hour show)

The judges will pick the top 10 males and top 10 females here. Then live-voting begins:

Tuesday, March 5: Top 10 Male semifinalists perform in Las Vegas (2-hour show)
Wednesday: March 6: Top 10 Female semifinalists perform in Las Vegas (2-hour show)
Thursday: March 7: Results Show–Top 10 finalists announced in Los Angeles

Wednesday, March 13: The Top 10 Perform (2-hour show)
Thursday, March 14: Results Show

Going back to the original top 10 format will mean that the show ends May 8-9, two weeks earlier than they normally do, so there must be some twists along the way. It will be an interesting journey.  Will you be watching?

Thanks again to Fox Broadcasting and the FOX VIP program for the privilege of seeing the preview.