American Idol Season 12 San Antonio Auditions

1 02 2013

The San Antonio, Texas Idol auditions were carried out at Sunset Station, also known as the building of 1000 lights (The Depo). For some, those lights were on, but nobody was home. For others, they got their bright yellow ticket to the Hollywood rounds.

First up was Vincent Powell, originally from Austin, Texas, who now makes his home in Houston, Texas. He is a praise leader. He chose B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby.” Mariah was groovin’. He made it previously to the Hollywood week during season 11 but did not get through; then he thought it would be his last year to audition and make it through, but the rules have been changed. Will this be the time his star shines? I think so. He is top 10 material.

VincentPowell

Vincent Powell

The Brothers Bacerott (Derek and David) took up way too much air time and time from the judges. They were trying to sing Mario’s “Let Me Love You.” David was trying to channel a bad Elvis imitation. He thinks he is hot. Not only could they not stay on key, they could not harmonize. The boys were very passive-aggressive. This is what they want to do. They want feedback, but apparently no constructive feedback that might save them a lifetime of pursuing something that cannot be theirs. Sometimes the truth IS a negative–the difference between what you want and what you have the talent to do. I could never build a house. But I am an excellent pet sitter. I would never attempt to build a house because it would never meet safety standards. But I have other talents and gifts I can give the world to make it a better place. Mariah tries to help but David will not be quiet. David: “But you guys were very negative.” Randy: “But it is the truth.” Then Nicki realizes they were in a state delusion. She says, “You guys were great, but it is a no from us.” Then David says, “Don’t lie to us.” Randy: “You have terrible attitudes.” Them: “We have great attitudes.” I liked Nicki intervening and said, “Your part of the audition is done.” Where is the Gong Show hook when you need it?

Savannah Votion has a lovely voice, singing, “At Last” by Etta James. Etta James seems to be real big this year at all the auditions. She will get to Vegas week I think. One comment: Watch what you wear. On the side view, you could see your abdominal fat hanging over your pants and that is just never attractive. But I’m definitely rooting for her.

SavannahVotion

Savannah Votion

Like a coyote, I was howling when Ricky Jo Garcia was singing. Randy was thoughtful: “It wasn’t good enough today.” I’m not sure it would ever BE good enough. Another person who has been deluded by people around her that she could sing well.

Cristabel Clack is another worship leader in the group. I had goosebumps. She sang, “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. I got goosebumps. I think we’ll see her move through Hollywood and onto Vegas. Mariah loves her. I adore her hair, too.

CristabelClack

Cristabel Clack

Jordan Difani nominated his wife, Ann, a former Miss University of Arkansas. Randy Jackson surprised them at a football game. She sang, “Stronger” by Faith Hill. Her voice is good, but I did not like her performance. If I closed my eyes, it was better. Not sure exactly what was making me feel uncomfortable, but sometimes it is like that with me. Keith: “There’s a lot of faith in there.” Ann: “I hope you felt the passion.” Mariah: “He meant “Hill.” Randy Jackson: “Faith Hill.” Mariah said she liked that she had an anchor (referring to her love of country but she could crossover into pop per the contestant), and then Marian did a quick head-check to Nicki because it was this same topic that caused that big argument in Charlotte.

AnnDifani

Ann Difani

Victoria Acosta spends a lot of her time singing in mariachi groups. She sang, “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” She has a good voice, but I thought it was not a good song choice. That is one of those songs that really need instruments behind it to sound okay. It did look forced. Randy asked her to sing in her style, which she did, and it was much better. Hopefully when she gets to Hollywood she can transpose that passion in that style of song into the choices they are given to sing.

VictoriaAcosta

Victoria Acosta

Stefan Jones, Ongela Clark-Falkquay and Carolyn Jackson were all branded outlaws. That was a cute segment.

Papa Peachez is an interesting fellow. He said he felt like a big black woman trapped in a little boy’s body (a little white boy’s body). He decided to perform an original song. I’m adoring what I’m calling “Keithisms” “Papa Don’t Peach.” I was 100% surprised they said yes. He is interesting, but he’ll be swallowed alive during Hollywood week and nothing but peach pits will be left.

PapaPeachez

Papa Peachez

Sanni M’Mairura is a Pearland, Texas resident (a community south of Houston). For 16, he is adorable. If he does not make it through Hollywood week, he should definitely consider trying out for So You Think You Can Dance when he turns 18. He has a GREAT attitude. I liked his voice. He sang, “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Michael Jackson.

Sanni

Sanni M’Mairura

Adam Sanders looked like Jimmy Kimmel with a wig on. I heard some on Twitter calling him a Latino Adam Lambert. This young man would have been completely happy if he just met his idol Mariah that day. He said he felt he was R&B, Soul or Pop. This was either going to be really, really good or bad, but given that he has the last spot for the day, it is likely going to be spectacular. He sang, “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James. GOOSEBUMPS. He will be in the group going to Vegas after Hollywood. I have NO DOUBT. TESTIFY! He got a standing ovation.

AdamSanders

Adam Sanders

The number of people who made it through to San Antonio was not given, but I would guess, if it is the typical amount, somewhere in the 40-50 range. Next up: Long Beach, California on the Queen Mary.





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.

Judges

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.





The XFactor Boot Camp Task One

4 10 2012

The X-Factor Boot Camp Task One      

The contestants hopped on a plane to the Mondrian Hotel in South Beach in Miami, Florida for the next phase of auditions and eliminations. Some rose to the challenge. Some cracked under the pressure. And the judges wondered how they could have put through others.

The groups we saw tonight included Emblem3, Group Citizen, Sister C, L3vel, and Jetset. I don’t care much for the group sounds this year at all.

Tonight we also heard too many people try to do Whitney Houston. Some did fairly, but they should tell them no Whitney songs and no Adele songs and maybe no Mariah songs either. Diamond White, Paige Thomas and Trill Cece Frey all did, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney song. For a 13-year-old, Diamond did a pretty fair attempt. Paige did better than Diamond, but she seemed to be out of breath.

Diamond White

Cece–well I don’t care for her at all. The young woman needs a lesson in humility. She is conceitedly overconfident, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how confident am I? How about 25?” Her conceit comes off in the song. Instead of connecting with the song and the audience, it was more about her beating Paige’s audition that immediately preceded hers. All ladies will make it through this task.

Trill Cece Frey

Paige Thomas

Austin Corini sang Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” most recently done by Adele. He has a very nice song, but this song was very boring. It’s unclear if he was in the final bunch making it through to task 2.

Austin Corini

The judges seemed to like Dinah Jane Hansen, Lyric Da Queen, Jason Brock, and Carly Rae Sonenclar.

Carly Rae Sonenclar

San Antonio girl Jessica Espinoza did well (in my opinion), but the judges in the end send her home.

Jessica Espinoza

Vixen Jennel Garcia performed Gavin DeGraw’s sexually charged “Sweeter” that certainly got a response from not only the judges but some of the male contestants.

Jennel Garcia

This year’s Josh Gracin, Vino Alan has a strong vocal performance on the song “Bad Company” and is put through to the next round.

Vino Alan

Then came the awful vocals: Johnny Maxwell (rapper who forgot his lyrics), Annie-like-looker Jordyn Foley, Manny Acosta, faint-at-heart Trevor Moran, feeling-good Nick Perrelli, and pastel-purpled Jake Garza. I really felt sorry for Jake because I have been on stage when the words just do not come out in front of a large audience and you crack. Of that group, Trevor Moran definitely does not make it through.

Tara Simon who showed Simon more than her animal-print dress murdered Queen’s “Somebody to Love”. Freddie Mercury must be turning over in his grave. She thinks she nailed it. Somehow they let her through.

Tara Simon

Willie Jones is an anomaly. I am not sure what to make of him. He has good and bad moments within the song, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” by Kenny Chesney. He is through to the next round.

Willie Jones

They divide the singers into groups. Group A includes: Diamond White, James Tanner, Jason Brock, Vino Alan, Jennel Garcia, Paige Thomas, Sophie Tweed-Simmons (the daughter of KISS rocker Gene Simmons), David Correy, Carly Rae Sonenclar.

Group B includes: Jessica Espinoza, Rizzloe Jones, Jordyn Foley (at which point I knew exactly where this group was going—home), Trevor Moran, Ben Westphal and Quatrelle Smith.

Group C includes: Jeff Gutt, Cece Frey, Tate Stevens, Freddie Combs, Nick Youngerman, Willie Jones, Johnny Maxwell, and Jillian Jensen.

Groups A and C get to stay; group B is sent home. My advice to Cece Frey: While your conceit and overconfidence might get you through to the next round with the judges, remember that America will be voting for you and no one really likes you right now. I suggest a healthy dose of humility if you want to stay any longer than week 1 once the voting begins. People will vote for a humble person who gave a good attempt, not even perfect, but good, but will quickly send home people like you.

I leave with the question America wants to know:  WHERE IS PANDA?

Panda





XFactor Season 2 Auditions So Far

25 09 2012

I am burned out on singing shows. American Idol, The Voice, XFactor. It takes a lot to move me anymore. I had preconceived notions about the addition of Britney Spears and Demi Lovato on the show. My greatest criticism of XFactor last season was that it felt too much like American Idol, all the way from where they sat to judge, a similar format of judging the initial auditions, and why I thought The Voice Season 2 was more successful than XFactor Season 1. Having finally caught up on the auditions shows of the XFactor Season 2, I have to say that change is GOOD. I do not know all the technical talk about how the filming process is done, but I like how 1) they are bouncing back and forth from city to city, not showing all the auditions from each city at a time and 2) they are interviewing people, and not just the ones who are going to make it through. You can see the reactions of the people competing for spots for boot camp before they hit the stage and after they exit. I like seeing the judges in between shots, talking among themselves. I like the variety. And shockingly enough I love the addition of these two female judges.

As with every season, I question some of the choices the judges have made. So far none of the groups impress me. And Cece Frey made me burst out in hysterics because she looks like Jadzia Dax from Deep Space Nine, no insult intended to Terry Farrell:

Cece Frey

Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine

It would be impossible to recap all the audition shows, so these are some of the contestants I’m keeping my eye on:

Ally Brooke (San Antonio, Texas)

Carly Rose Sonenclar who auditioned in Providence, Rhode Island

Diamond White (even has a star-like name), Detroit/Los Angeles

Jason Brock, San Francisco

Jessica Espinoza, San Antonio, Texas

Jillian Jensen, Rochester, Massachusetts, who made me cry

Panda Jones

I hope Panda is feeling better and that we will see her at boot camp.

Who are some of yours favorites this year?