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 San Francisco auditions

3 02 2015

Day 1

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nAmerican Idol Season 14 finished up their auditions in the city by the bay. Mustafa inspired the next contestant to audition. Yep. Her cat. Why does this remind me of an episode of Glee (Brittany’s ‘Fondue for Two’ web series)? She’s ready to be a rock star. I’m betting she isn’t. She takes on Florence and The Machine’s “Shake It Out.” Fifteen-year-old Katherine Skinner surprised me. She has a fabulous voice. She does need a fashion makeover, however. Jennifer thinks she’s talented but also crazy (not in a good way). She thinks she is made for the stage but whether that is American Idol or not she is not sure. Harry likes the crazy because it kept him off balance. Keith thinks she is bold and fearless. Three yeses. I think she needs to reign in the crazy because she is going to get on my nerves quickly.

Erika David, a 25-year-old hotel representative wants a ticket to Hollywood and takes on Alicia Keys. Jennifer thought she was sassy. Chandler Leighton, a 20-year-old student from Los Angeles also wants to go sings “New York State of Mind”. Jennifer got goosebumps. Ryan Pinkston, age 27, from San Francisco sings a cappella. Harry thought it was pinpoint perfect. Chandler gets three yeses from the judges and is my favorite out of this group. Erika gets a no from Keith but Harry and Jennifer say yes (with Jennifer adding that she has a lot of work to do before getting to Hollywood).

Seventeen-year-old Andrew Bloom from Yorba Linda, California sings “Too Close” by Alex Clare. He sounded good. There were a few sharps and flats but pretty good for his age. Keith thinks he has a good spirit and it comes through in the way he sings. There were some things that he could work on. Jennifer days he has what feels right which is something that is required of a performer. Harry likes his spirit and thinks hens pretty good, too, but cautions him to watch the blues licks. Three yeses.

Vocal teacher Kellyeann Rodgers, age 24, from Memphis, TN sings an old Carpenters has a lovely voice. Three yeses.

Forty family members in one house??? Holy cow! Sixteen-year-old Reno Anoa’l sings Rod Stewart’s “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It.” First goosebumps for San Francisco. While he was singing, Jennifer says “pretty voice.” Keith thought it was beautiful. Jennifer days what she likes is that when he is singing she believes him until he did the runs and then she didn’t. Harry thinks he has a great voice but he had an issue with it in that it needed to show some variety. After Keith gave him a mild scolding that he needs to stop praying and listen to the feedback, he gets a ticket to Hollywood.

The next contestant bows to Jennifer Lopez, the queen of Puerto Rico. He says Harry is the king. What does that make poor Keith? He wants to do a soap opera scene with Jennifer, and instructs Keith and Henry (BIG OOPS!) to their places. The Improv 101 that ends with Jennifer slapping him which was highly entertaining. And “Henry” hits Keith Urbano. Let’s hear Samuel Prince sing “As Long As You Love Me”. His voice is nice like my husband’s voice is nice but he should probably keep the acting gig. “Henry” says his vocals are not strong enough. Jennifer appreciated the fun but she agrees. Keith said it was like a person acting like they were singing. He didn’t feel like it was true to him. Three no’s.

Matthew Sequoia, a 15-year-old from Merced, CA did not do so well and he looked terrified. Luke Randall, age 23, from Enterprise, Utah tried to sing “Radioactive“—rather screamed–for his audition. These two did not make it through. Sade Shine, a 28-year-old singer from Branson, MO, sang “Dancing In the Street”. I really enjoyed it. Harry liked the feeling in the room, but he is not sure it is an American-Idol-winning voice. Harry says no. Keith says yes. Jennifer says no. Zach Dire has a cool voice but he does not make it through either.

Rayvon Owen and I have something in common—Spam in our childhood because we did not have a lot of money. But Rayvon you got it with cheese and me? Fruit cocktail. Makes me want to barf just thinking about that now. He sings “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry. He is a23-year-old singer/vocal coach from Richmond, VA. It was sweet. Second set of goosebumps. Jennifer got goosies as well. Keith loves his voice. Three yeses.

Ezekiel and Jeremiah Cárdenas are twins from Long Beach, CA. They have never auditioned before and it shows. The guitar should have been left at home. It was off pitch the entire song. Jennifer lets them down easy by telling them they need more practice. No ticket for them.

Maddy Hudson does not look 16 years of age. She hails from Pleasanton, CA. Third goosebumps of the night. Jennifer had goosebumps all over her legs. Jennifer said she was fantastic. Maddy is one of her favorites. Keith loved her inside and out; he heard and felt every bit of it. Harry said she has all of the ingredients to be a superstar. She yells at Harry that he is so nice. She has heart and a ticket to Hollywood.

Day 2

Harry entertains us at the piano before Adanna Duru performs “You and I” by Lady Gaga. She is impressive for a 17-year-old. First goosebumps of the night for me but I did feel like she was shouting towards the end of that. Jennifer calls her the full package. Harry cautions her to know what the lyrics are about. Keith thought it was great. Three yeses.

Is that Carly Smithson with Michael Orland doing the pre-auditions? Christopher Michael, age 26, from Los Angeles impressed them enough to get an audience with the judges. It was not what I was expecting (not in a good way). Keith loved the passion but that was it. The singing wasn’t there for him. Harry said the point was to move people and Christopher fired him up but the music wasn’t there. A contemplative Christopher thinks maybe it was too hard rock.

Sporting a Willy Wonka umbrella tattoo, Hunter Larsen, a hostess slash nanny slash florist is 20 years of age and is from Malibu, CA. She belts out “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra. I got goosebumps. Jennifer likes her gritty voice which sets her apart from others. It’s memorable along with her look. Keith loved it. Harry also. She gets a ticket to Hollywood.

Tara Honda sings Carole King’s “It’s Too Late.” She is a 22-year-old server/cook from Murrieta, GA. It was nice but I am not sure if it stands out from all the other people. Harry said she sounds great and he would buy her remake of that song. Jennifer thinks she has a soul of an artist. Keith likes it too.

Daniel Seavey, age 15, from Portland, OR can play a lot of instruments. I wasn’t sure I liked his voice when he started singing “Hallelujah”. It did start to grow on me as it progressed. They talked about his voice breaking. Jennifer thinks he had a beautiful voice in there. The performance wasn’t complete and she could tell he was very nervous. Harry says he is handsome and talented but because of his age he doesn’t have the maturity yet. Will he have it? Eventually but not right now. So Harry votes no. Keith wants to see how he stacks up with others in Hollywood week so he says yes. Jennifer is on the fence but she says yes.

Rocky Peter, age 27, had a wild story. He was born in the USA but his father brought them to Africa and then abandoned them. There was no money and they begged for food. He ate food from the trash and drank water from potholes. Music was the one thing there for him. He sings an original song called “Wrong Places“. The falsetto in the song felt odd to me. Was he the best voice we’ve heard? No. But he deserves a break even if he just goes to Hollywood. Harry thought his choices within the song were very clever. Jennifer loved the song. She could hear the pain. He has something special. Keith’s only concern is what Rocky does may be incompatible with Idol. For his beautiful voice, really original, beautiful heart Keith says yes. Jennifer is a yes. Harry asks him if his opinion matters and Rocky sincerely wants to hear what he has to say. Harry says yes.

Sophia (unknown last name):  Jennifer says yes, Harry says no, and Keith says no.

Jaq Mackenzie is a student in a performing arts school. She brings in a guitar and wants to do an original song but then puts her guitar down. I will never understand people who do this especially if it is an original song. It isn’t very good. Maybe she should have used the guitar to get the notes right. Jennifer thinks she has the makings of a really great artist one day. It is already forming but she is worried how her style would fit with Idol. Harry thinks she is talented but he isn’t sure if Hollywood would help or hurt her. Keith likes her distinct singing style. She gets three yeses—cautiously but yeses.

Tyanna Jones was homeless for about 2 years when she was about 5 years of age. I love the black hair with blue highlights. She has a Janelle Monae vibe to her look. She sings “Little Mix’s Wings”. This 16-year-old is better than Jaq Mackenzie. Jennifer thinks she is very talented. Keith asks her if she is working on anything at this time and she said her pitch because when she gets nervous she messes up. This impresses Keith. Harry said she has a lot of talent and is a special young lady. Three resounding yeses.

Next up: Hollywood Hell Week