American Idol S15 Final Auditions Ever

1 02 2016

The clips from these auditions were taken from Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. This will be the last montage of contestants auditioning for their spot in Hollywood.

Jessica Cabral sings “Brand New Me” by Alicia Keys. Her voice is like butter. It’s so smooth and easy to listen to. Jennifer thinks she has this beautiful lush, low-tone voice. Keith said it was so beautiful and her control was great. Harry said that she was beautiful but when she sang she became even more beautiful. It’s one of the best he’s heard. She has tremendous talent. He said he will be shocked if she doesn’t make it really far in the competition.

Cody Ostrenga is a three-time world champion Manchado horse rider and…a belly dancer. He demonstrates his talents. “Proud Mary” by Ike & Tina Turner. It sounded like it might be good, but then by the fourth note, you could tell this was a definite no. Keith said everything was good except the singing. It was a no from everyone.

Brian Dale Brown is ready to go. His girlfriend is 15 years older than he is (actually called her a cougar). He is a self-described golden god. He is going to sing “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers (Simon Cowell’s favorite song, so I’m glad he is not here judging). He was too effective and it started out okay, but there are a lot of sounds like he is trying to have a bowel movement. He hit the high note. That was impressive. He had moments when he wasn’t growling that sounded nice. Jennifer thought it was powerful but it was all over the place. Harry thought he has a good voice but he doesn’t have to do all that; it’s too over the top. Keith liked that he has a big voice, but how he uses it. He gets three yes votes.

Gina Naomi Baez brings along her dog Tinker Bell and they dress the same. She decides on “Lips Are Moving” by Meghan Trainor. She has one tone: Loud. She does have a good voice though. It doesn’t have any emotion in it. Harry said she has a strong voice but it doesn’t take him anymore. Keith said he doesn’t see an artist. She begs to sing another song. You can tell she was not expecting that response.

Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma changed Melany Huber’s perspective on life at the tender age of 17. If she wants to do something, she is going to go for it. No fear. She chose “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars. I love her voice and she had the emotion behind it. Jennifer said that some people, when they sing, just emote so naturally. Harry loves her. It was appealing and captivating. Keith said there is a good storytelling ability to her voice. She is going to Hollywood.

Rachel Karryn was one of many contestants who brought in a loved one to do musical accompaniment. She brought in by her grandfather. She chose “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” by Reba McIntire. Caroline Byrne brought her brother to sing “Unaware” by Allen Stone. Bianca Espinal brought her father who encouraged her when she momentarily forgot the lyrics to “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. I liked the first two; Bianca needs a little bit of work but she was nervous so it might have just been nerves. All of them are through to Hollywood.

Justin Sullivan is hoping to make it through all the way to some point where he can meet Kelly Clarkson. Harry and Keith moved the Kelly poster next to him. He chose a Kelly Clarkson song, of course, “Stronger.” He started off rough (his lower register needs some work).   The performance is average. He has a nice voice but I don’t think he is strong enough to make it through with all this talent. Harry said he sounded good, but is he the book-end to Kelly? No. Jennifer agreed. He receives three no’s.

Chynna Sherrod chose “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. She has a beautiful voice. I had goosebumps by the time she got to the chorus. Jennifer said very beautiful. Keith said she sings how she is—laid back, talented. Harry said she was fantastic. Triple yes.

Lillian Glanton lives on a chicken farm and she sells cattle to pay for her recording time. She plays an original song, “Country Boyfriend.” Sometimes it was okay, but most of it was off-pitch. Harry says her voice isn’t quite on the level of what he is looking for today. Jennifer likes her and she likes her song. She felt like she should have known the melody and the notes so well. Keith likes her voice because it is legit and it is her. Keith says yes. Harry is a no. Jennifer liked her song that much and gives her the deciding vote.

There was a long montage of contestants where the judges disagreed.

Kacye Haynes is a musician from Talladega, Alabama who battled drug addiction and found the light. “Brother” by Need to Breathe. It was nice. His falsetto needed a little work. He has a lot of passion and I like him. Jennifer liked everything that was going on, that he has been singing from something that happened. Keith said he was just lacking the power from his voice. He could see it working as a band performance but not as a solo artist. Keith is a no. Jennifer says yes. Harry says he sometimes sounds a little bit like Jon Bon Jovi and sometimes he sounds a little bit like Bono. He loves his voice and he says yes. He gets his chance.

Zach Person from (WOO-HOO) Houston, Texas is up next. He is a full-time musician. He chooses “Next Door Neighbor Blues” by Gary Clark, Jr. He was terrific. I loved him scatting with the guitar. Keith said it’s good and he has his own style. Jennifer really liked it and it is super unique. Harry said it was refreshing that they can come out and do their own thing. He enjoyed it. He gets three yes votes to Hollywood.

Colette Lush decided on “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Jackson 5. I liked it. Harry thought it was terrific. Jennifer said there are people who are born to sing and they don’t have to even try. She compared her to Carrie Underwood. Keith said she doesn’t sound like anyone. She has a timeless quality about the way she sing. She is through.

Avalon Young is a self-described tomboy and sings “XO” by Beyonce. I got goosebumps. Harry thought she had a very different voice in a good way. Jennifer liked her a lot, too. She gets her ticket to Hollywood.

Usen Isong is a background actor but wants a spot in the forefront on American Idol. He is singing “Not the Only One” by Sam Smith. He has a nice voice, but I think he tries to do too many runs. Harry thinks he is trouble. Jennifer loves his voice. He also receives three yes votes.

Alternative rock band singer Jaci Butler tries out with “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars. There were some moments in there that I liked, but there were more moments that I didn’t like. She sounds good for an alternative rock band, but not for Idol. Jennifer said it was good and she liked it. Harry thought she was very talented. Keith said she moved during the song from being a band performer to sounding like herself and he liked it. She gets three yeses for Hollywood.

Stephany Negrete sings “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Jackson 5 (this seems to be a popular choice this season). She has a beautiful voice but I wasn’t moved to goosebumps. Jennifer wondered how it would have sounded if she didn’t worry so much about all the notes she had to hit and concentrated on what she was singing. Harry said she is among an incredibly talented group of people this year, but she needs to find her confidence about who she is. Keith liked her as a sum total. Jennifer would like to see her one more time and Harry and Keith were both yes as well.

The last audition for American Idol ever. Manny Torres is from Puerto Rico. He is going to sing “This Love” by Maroon 5. I love his voice and his presentation. Jennifer is digging him. His whole performance energy is present and joyous. Harry knew within milliseconds what he was all about. Keith said he has so much energy but he kept it focused. All three say yes and Manny gets the very last ticket to Hollywood.





American Idol More Atlanta, Little Rock, Philadelphia and San Francisco

1 02 2016

You know that this back and forth between these cities and then going back again is wreaking havoc on my blog titles.

The first contestant is the sister of one of my favorites last year Shi Scott. Miranda “Poh” Scott doesn’t want to miss out on her last chance for Idol and chose “Fairy Tale” by Sara Bareilles.   She has a similar sound to her sister. It is gritty and is rough around the edges. Harry told her not to tell people what to think (as far as saying negative things about herself). He thought that many things she did were more of the refreshing things they had seen that day. He said there is an “I don’t care” about putting the notes out there. Jennifer thought it was good. Her singing was interesting. Keith loves the rasp in her voice. One of his favorites that day. She is through to Hollywood.

Amelia Eisenhauer brought a flat-edged katana to the audition but didn’t plan to bring it into the room, so I’m not sure why she thought it was necessary unless it is a comfort object. “Many Rivers” by Anne Lennox. I got goosebumps. She has a nice bluesy quality. Jennifer thought it was beautiful. Keith thought it was soulful. Harry said she has this mysterious quality about her. He gave her advice to really try to hit those notes squarely. She is on her way to Hollywood.

In Little Rock, Joy Dove is a big personality. But is her voice as big as her presentation. She is singing “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” by Hank Williams. Keith added some harmony in there. No goosebumps, but I love her. She has a great voice and she is so bubbly and makes me feel happy inside. Harry thinks her spirit is awesome and she sings loud and he loves that. She gets three yes votes.

Back to Atlanta, Mackenzie Bourg put a medley together of songs from each of the judges. He is from Harry’s hometown of Layfette. I like him just because his last name is “Bourg” (As in Star Trek The Borg). He used “Stupid Boy” from Keith Urban, “Come By Me” by Harry Connick Jr., and “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” by Jennifer Lopez. And just when I thought he was done, he adds “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban. This boy is TALENTED! And I love his hair. Harry thought he was smart. It was charming and sweet. He has this quiet thing about him that was interesting to watch. Jennifer liked the sound of his voice that was pleasant to her. Keith loved his voice, too. He gets a ticket to Hollywood.

The Birdwell brothers were trying to beat the odds of both people getting through to Hollywood. Andrew and Aaron chose “Automatonic Electronic Harmonics” By David Michael Bennett. They are a big no for me. Keith felt like it was like a Gregorian acid trip. Harry said, “Gregorian Can’t.” They are politely given a no.

Jenna Renae broke the door going in. Hopefully that a good luck sign. She sings “She Don’t Love You” by Eric Paslay. GOOSEBUMPS!!!! Harry thinks she is a very soulful young woman. Jennifer felt like she was a performer and the first on that day that did. Keith liked it. She goes to Hollywood.

Mario Bonds predicts he will be the winner. “Inseparable” by Natalie Cole. He has a nice voice. I was wondering if he was nervous. He was flat on the high note. He is flat on all the notes in fact. He has a beautiful spirit. He has a very effective type of voice. Jennifer was going back and forth. Harry said his spirit is huge, his talent is not what they were looking for in a performance. Keith loves him as a person and sees his love of wanting this, but then he has to think of him as an artist. All three judges are a “no” and it crushed him.

The second to last audition #5 contestant who previously got a ticket to Hollywood, Adam Lasher, with a totally new look (can I say he looks so much hotter with this new look? Rawr!). He does a samba version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Guns N Roses. Harry thought it was a terrific rendition of the song. He gets the golden ticket.

Emily Brooke is back! She was eliminated after the House of Blues performance. She has taken all the lessons to heart and applied them. This time she is singing “Careless” by RaeLynn. I don’t like that thing (the twang?) she does with her voice. It makes me want to put my hands on my ears. Jennifer thought she got so much better. Harry said this was a training ground for her last year. She applied it and he thought it was the best audition of the day and he liked her better than last year. It makes him very proud to be on American Idol because it fosters talent like her. Keith said the audience knows that there is no substitute for the work. She is going back to Hollywood.

 





American Idol S15 San Francisco Auditions

12 01 2016

A very “sorry” Brook Sample (who hates her last name and job because she goes home smelling like Ranch dressing) was adorable. She is from Oklahoma and currently living in Tucson. She chose a song from Dixie Chicks, “Cold Day in July.” I liked it better than the live version of this song by the original artists. Harry said in terms of presenting herself he thinks she owes herself a little confidence because she has a fine last name, she should be proud to be a waitress and she did a really good job. Jennifer thinks America might love her as much as she does. Keith thinks she has a really good voice—interesting and unique; it’s very special. She receives a yes from all three judges.

Olivia Rox is a 16-year-old who was born into a musical family who encouraged her talent from a very young age. She sang “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. The beginning of the song was dragging a little bit but it progressed well and showcased her voice super well. Yes, I got goosebumps. Harry thinks she is an extraordinarily talented kid. Jennifer thought she did beautifully and is someone who would add a lot to the competition. Keith thought her voice was really unique and refreshing to hear it.

Cover-band singer Jessica Clark did her own take on “Come Together” by The Beatles. While her voice is interesting, the nasal quality of her voices hurts my ears. She makes it through.

Ameet Kanon, an 18-year-old student from LA, sang “Mercy” by Duffy. I liked her voice but no goosebumps. She looks good on camera.  She is through.

Kayla Mickelsen was also familiar to me from her auditions for “The Voice.”   She chose “Broadripple is Burning” by Margot and The Nuclear So and So’s. I love her. She reminds me a bit of Joey from last year. The judges liked it a lot. She is also through to Hollywood.

Melanie Tierce, a 21-year-old, from Murrie, California had me in goosebumps by the second note.   She sang “Rise Up” by Third Day. Apparently Harry was immediately sold on her, too. Jennifer got goosebumps. She had Keith crying. He said it was unbelievably good. Harry thought it was stunning. He thought it was one of the best auditions he has heard in 3 years.

Being Miss Alaska 2014 led to a job in radio for Malie Delgado. She chose Gretchen Wilson’s “Chariot” as her audition song. She has a lovely voice. No goosebumps but it was lovely. Jennifer thought she had a great voice. Harry gave her an analogy of the color blue and how many shades of blue they have in the competition. She is like an aquamarine. He is amazed all these ridiculously talented smart women are coming. He told her it will be a husky dog fight. She will need to yell “mush” as loud as she can. (Well, technically the term is “hike”, Harry). Jennifer and Keith are also a yes for Hollywood. After she walked out, the judges said she was a star.

Ryan stepped into Harry’s role and Harry took over Ryan’s spot. He gives the next contestant some tips on what to say to Ryan to win him over (loves labs, ask about his sister getting married). Brandyn Burnette decided to sing an original song called “Lost.” His voice reminds me of someone I can’t put my finger on at the moment. I love it and I love him. Harry felt the desire to hug him while he was playing piano. Keith gave him a brief standing ovation. Ryan was impressed. He felt the emotion. He sang it beautifully and he liked the lyrics. This gives him the first four-yes vote of the season.

The next contestant’s family are the biggest American Idol fans. They still have every show ever done on a recording (like VHS recording). Kyrsti Jewel believes that American Idol actually gave her her love of singing. Lee DeWyze went over and said hello. Ryan invited them all in for the audition where Kyrsti chose to sing “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J.   WOW! She is a little powerhouse; she needs to learn how to vary her sound because it always on LOUD. She absolutely has talent, but that is the only thing I’d like to see her learn. Harry said she has an incredible instrument – clear, loud, energetic. She receives the three yes votes to move through to Hollywood.

Sarah Hayes thought she was coming in being confident and funny, but she was off-putting. She chose “Hero” by Bonnie Tyler. She forgot the lyrics. But what I started to hear was a person who has a nice voice, but not nearly good enough to even make it to Hollywood.   She also needs to lose the gum in her mouth. Then she switches to Invincible. Harry says yes to her because he feels like they are part of the problem of why she was messing up. Keith scolded her gently about how she presented herself was not a good way to audition. Jennifer worried about her because there is only going to be more and more pressure as time goes on. She didn’t hear enough of her voice to know if she can control it enough. Jennifer said no. Keith said the whole audition was unstable. Keith was also a no.

 

Next up: Philadelphia





American Idol Season 13 Austin/San Francisco Auditions

23 01 2014

So far, we’ve seen a lot of great talent out there. And the judges are a riot together. The Austin auditions continue with Jesse Roach, a 27-year-old musician from Cypress Texas (next to my town). I really like her voice even though I don’t like country music. It is quite unique. Jennifer loves her. Keith said she has soul. Harry was not distracted by her rasp (like other people’s rasps). Three yeses.

Steven Curd, age 18, a clerk from San Antonio. He, too, has a unique voice. Anna Melvin, age 22, a waitress from Memphis, tried to sing Wrecking Ball. I disliked it very much. Ryan Clark, a 22-year-old bartender from San Marcos, was okay. Not sure if his voice was unique but that is a hard note combination to get without being sharp or flat. Keith loved them all. All three are through.

Jamiah Malik, age 15, a student from San Antonio, chose to sing an original. His friend, Quiandra Boston-Pearsall, a 17-year-old student from Adkins, Texas, also came to try out. They are interesting but are they good enough? I am not 100% convinced. Quiandra is through to the next round. I love Jamiah’s attitude about not being able to go through this year. Attitude in this life is everything.

Megan Miller, age 23, a media consultant, from Ethel, LA, chose to sing “Last Name” by Carrie Underwood. She showed some voice control, but some of sounded like yelling to me. My eardrums kind of retracted to protect themselves. I am not sure about her honestly. Harry said he is worried about when her voice is going to blow out while Jennifer liked the same qualities. Keith is worried about the audience listening to it. (Thank you Keith). Nevertheless, she received three yeses.

Grace Anne Field, age 27, a restaurant pianist from Austin, Texas. Absolutely NOT!!!! Harry is nice saying American Idol may not be the right type of competition for her. It was frenetic and all over the place. Jennifer said the vibrato was a little bit out of control. Keith just said, “It’s not there yet”.

Another pairing. Austin Alvarez, a 26-year-old make-up artist from Austin and Eric Wood, age 28, an old-field worker from Higginson, AR. I preferred Eric in this combination. Both are through.

Spencer Lloyd is a 19-year-old worship leader from Bryant, AR. Hello cutie pie! And you have a voice that matches. I had goosebumps although he did mess up on the last notes. Harry thinks he is an okay singer. Keith said entertaining is about engaging people and he totally did that. Three yeses although Harry struggled with his yes.

Marlon Lindsey waited 8-9 years now to try out. He was in the Army for a while but now is a 27-year-old student from Beaumont, Texas. I was not expecting the voice that came out (in a good way) singing Sam Cooke’s, “A Change is Gonna Come.” He is through to Hollywood.

Get suspender-wearer off the stage. Harry proves that Harry is funnier than this 28-year-old “actor”. Harry says, “Is this America’s Got Talent?” to the laughs of the production staff. Rick Rowling sucks as an actor as well as a singer as well as a comedian if that was his angle. Harry wants him gone; me, too!

The next contestant, T.K. Hash, does an awesome Obama imitation, a service manager hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina. He sings Fallout Boy’s “I Know What Your Songs Did In The Dark).” OH NO!!! That is a horrible song to audition with without music to accompany you. I think he would have done better on a different song. Keith loved it. Jennifer said there was something there that made them all perk up. Harry said he wouldn’t say he was the greatest singer he has ever heard, but he is soooo like-able it is a yes for him too.

McKenna Dennis is up for the hashtag game. Seventy-five percent voted #IdolHollywood versus 25% #IdolHome. And she indeed made it through.

Nikki McKibbin, who placed 3rd on the first season on Idol, had a son. Tristen Langley, age 15, is a student from Kennedale, Texas. He is really good. I like his smile. Harry thinks if the story of second-generation idol wasn’t there, he would say no. Jennifer totally disagrees. It was not blow-you-away, but he has a really good voice. Keith gave him some vocal tips to save his voice. Jennifer said yes, Harry said no but Keith said yes. (Harry has guts!)

A collage of performers is up next. Taylor Stearns, a 21-year-old student from Round Rock, Texas (I did not think she was good enough) got a yes from the judges along with several other unidentified people, but also some no’s in the bunch too.

LJ Hernandez is a 23-year-old farmer from Goliad, Texas whose ex-fiancée said did not have the talent, the skill or the will or charisma. I agree with her. His family needs to stop “supporting” this. They are enabling him.

John Fox, a 20-year-old, Magnolia, Texas, (another town in my backyard). He is a worship leader. There are a lot of great worship leaders with really great voices in Texas! I got goosebumps. Three yeses.

San Francisco

Rachel Rolleri, a 17-year-old student from Danville, CA. Her mom loves Keith Urban. I got goosebumps with her immediately (and again I am not a big country music fan). Got a little crack in her voice. Harry thinks she has an understated confidence. Three yeses.

Athena Williford, a 20-year-old student from Stockton, CA. She was okay. Demi Wolf, a 17-year-old student from Palo Alto, CA, a former junior Olympian, was again just okay. MK Nobilette, a 20-year-old student from San Francisco, CA, was probably the most unique out of the three. All three are yeses.

Making a unique entrance was Emmanuel Zidor, a 24-year-old airline ramp agent from Miami, Florida. I liked what he did with his song after he was asked to sing something else. It was very controlled. Jennifer thought it was beautiful. He told his teacher that he wanted to be on American Idol and that he wanted to win. The teacher said, “You will never be on that show, you can’t even sing.” Harry told him he has three music teachers up here and what do you think all three music teachers are going to tell you? YES! If his teacher told him that, that teacher needs to retire.

Three more unnamed contestants make it through and then Samuel Ramsey, a 24-year-old student from Temple Hills, MD sang. Harry voted no (payback for him using the word “jazzy”?). The other two did not vote (at least on camera).

Caitlin Johnson, a 15-year-old student (what is it with all these students?) from North Plains, OR, was okay in some parts and it was strange in other parts. Harry does not think she is ready. Jennifer thinks she is talented, but not perfect. Keith loved it and says yes. Jennifer gives her one more chance and will see her in Hollywood.

The enthusiastic Ronald Reed, a 23-year-old cook has big ambitions. Can he sing? Well he keeps playing guitar. He cannot sing and his facial expressions are creeping me out. He squeals when Jennifer called him sweetie. Keith wanted his vocals to be where his personality is but it was not. Harry tried to explain the difference between subjective and objective. Ronald looks shocked! He goes out and cries like a crushed child to his family and friends. Ryan tells him to be strong. He says he is coming back every year. I have no doubt that if Ronald harnesses his outlook into a different career path he will shine just like a star and perhaps do greater things for the world.

David Luning, a 26-year-old musician from Forestville, CA, wants to sing an original and it almost looks like Jennifer is bracing herself for something awful. Surprise! Not awful! He has a very unique voice. Jennifer says she loves it before he is even done. Keith is on the fence. On one hand he is original but on the other hand he would get crushed (presumably because of the choices of songs available?). Harry said it was interesting but may be too “downer” for Idol. Jennifer said yes. But Keith and Harry? Not sure, but he got at least one of them to make it to Hollywood.

Enter the twins! Selena Moreno, a 22-year-old hostess from Sacramento, sings Janis Joplin’s “Try”. It is okay. Sierra Moreno, a 22-year-old hostess, also from Sacramento. I liked her voice better. Harry says they won’t make it as a set. For Keith he liked Selena’s voice better but Sierra’s performance better. All three say yes to Selena. Jennifer said yes to Sierra but Keith and Harry said no.

Then a montage of no.

Look who it is!!!!! Briana Oakley is back! She was from last season and got cut during Hollywood week. And I still adore her! Harry felt like she is proud to sing. Goosebumps!

An unemployed Rico Perkins from Little Rock, AR wants a golden ticket. He even sings it. Aranesa Turner, a 20-year-old student from Sacramento. Both are going to Hollywood.

Gaddy Basil Foster, a 26-year-old server from Columbia, SC should stick to working out. I bet he would make a great fitness coach. Jennifer tried hard not to laugh.

Jennifer and Keith should have a baby-counting contest. Who says the word “baby” more?

LogoOh please no. Adam Roth is a sound healer for a living. I believe in the power of music to heal but….does his voice help or hurt? His vibrato bothers me and would not be relaxing to me. Harry got his chakra blown. Keith is baffled because his voice was kind of schizophrenic. Jennifer wondered if he was forcing it–was it fake? Harry says no. Jennifer says yes. Keith says yes.

The Count

19 from Sacramento
14 more in Austin
33 new Hollywood contestants from today’s show

Plus 46 from Wednesday night

79 total so far.

Next up: Detroit





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?





So You Think You Can Dance — Season 9 — Top 20

28 06 2012

So You Think You Can Dance — Season 9 — Top 20 Revealed and Performance Show

What a great night to not only celebrate the 200th episode of So You Think You Can Dance, but to also welcome back the magnificent Mia Michaels. Cat Deeley looked particularly stunning this evening as she opened the show. Nigel Lythgoe announced that there would be two winners this season: One from the girls and one from the guys. On the judges panel this evening where our regulars, Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, and guest judge is adorkable Zooey Deschanel from Fox’s hit show “New Girl.

Learning Their Fate — Whittling down 35 to the Top 20

People who are in: The first 3 people receiving a yes from the judges were Alexa Alexander, George Lawrence II and Will Thomas. Amber Jackson who had auditioned in season 6, got to the Green Mile, did not make it, auditioned again, and did not even get that far, and said she would not audition again was through. She had grown a great deal emotionally and came back. Perseverance and a positive attitude paid off well for her. After a fake out that made Lindsay think she was out, Witney Carson and friend Lindsay Arnold were both in. Nick Bloxson-Carson also won a spot. Daniel Baker, who had left his job in the San Francisco Ballet and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp who left his job in New York City, both were in. Eliana Girard in her blue-suede shoes and bubbly personality was also on the show. Both Tiffany Maher and Audrey Case went in together. Debbie Allen said she was almost invisible but then she pushed her way to the front. As Tiffany receives a yes, Audrey looks worried. Adam Shankman breaks the news that she made it as well. She cannot believe it and asks, “Wait….are you sure?” She goes and calls her mom. Janelle Issis also was in disbelief as Adam welcomed her into the top 20. Adam said, “Honey, OWN this. You’re the first belly dancer in the top 20.” Janelle is a bit accident prone. She smacked her nose going back through the door to the waiting area and was ill this evening and told not to dance in the performance show. Mary Murphy did a silly version of Simon Says with Ryan-Gosling-look-alike Matthew Kazmierczak with which he readily complied and then received a yes. Dareian Kujawa told the panel he was working on his feet positioning, but they are like brutes. Lil’C tells him to keep working on that because he is in to the top 20. Janaya French moved to Los Angeles after she Vegas week and has had some highs and lows. She is through. After telling the last two girls that they were looking for star quality this year, Tyce Diorio  informed Amelia Lowe she was put through as the final female contestant.  Mary was telling Cole Horibe about hills and valleys in a dancer’s life and compliments him on his uniqueness. She sees no valleys for him–he is put through to the top 20. Namaste, Cole. Stepper Brandon Mitchell joined the top 20. Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, who struggled with choreography in Vegas, but always had a great attitude, showed an ability to adapt quickly, and has that special “it” factor. Not only does he radiate this wonderful energy, but he has quite the fan base in America. Even though his dancing might not be up to par with some of the others, his personality will take him far. Nigel commented that he has “never seen anybody like Cyrus in my entire life.”

People who are out: I was surprised by the no given to Megan Branch. She was really good, but they are looking for variety. Abigail Ruz, Kaitlynn Edgar, Katie Muth, and Rebecca Hart were encouraged to come back next year. Sadly, Joshua Alexander was a no this season. No one can really know if the trip to the emergency room that stopped him from performing his final solo became a factor. They insisted Joshua return next season and I hope he does as well. He is a tremendous dancer. They also passed this year on Blake Zelesnikar, Jasmine Mason, and Daniel Kermidas. Jill Johnson, who went into the judges’ room together with Amelia Lowe, was sent home. Tappers did not fare well this season, sending Aaron Turner and Zack Everheart home. Going into the judges’ room with Brandon Mitchell was Devon McCullough. Adam said they would see Devon next year. With Cyrus in, that meant that Feliciano Turk, who had wonderful moments in Vegas, was out.

Dance #1


Dancers: Alexa, George, Will, Amber
Song: “We Found Love (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge)” by JessieJ
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

My thoughts: They had great expression, reach, lines, timing, partnering. They blended and complimented each other with a very fluid flow. I got goosebumps (and if you haven’t read my blog before, my goosebumps never lie) towards the end.

The Judges: Nigel gave constructive criticism to Will about keeping up with the shorter dancers. He had encouraging words for Alexa and Amber. To George, Nigel said that if every light in the studio went out, he would still shine. Mary complimented Will’s partnering skills. She complimented Alexa on dealing with her demons. George’s leaps were phenomenal and Amber shed her emotional baggage. Zooey complimented the team work; she could not wait to see more.

Dance #2


Dancers: Witney, Lindsay and Nick
Song: “Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull
Choreographer: Jason Gilkison

My thoughts: It had great energy and great partnering. It didn’t floor me (sorry).

The judges: Mary gave a “woo” that sounded like the train was still in the station and not the hot tamale train that was moving. Zooey said the girls looked like twins and were incredible. Nick kept up with them as well.

Dance #3


Dancers: Daniel, Chehon, and Eliana
Song: “Romantic Inclinations/Like a Shot/Fury” by P. Mottram/S. Everitt/G Shadid, T. Marberger
Choreographer: Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden

My thoughts: Goosebumps, but not the entire song. It looked like at times the boys were flinching when they got too close to Eliana, and then when the judges were commenting, it was apparent that the costume was inflicting wounds on them. Boo to the costuming department on that one.

The judges: Nigel commented the boys on their bravery at leaving paying jobs to come to the show. He also complimented Eliana on her classical skills. Mary called Eliana a ballet warrior. Mary went from “wow” or “woo” in her hot-tamale-train voice but her train whistle did not sound like it was quite fully on the train.

Dance #4


Dancers: Audrey and Tiffany (Janelle was out per doctor’s orders)
Song: “Sail” by AWOLNATION
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh (assisted by Season 8 winner Melanie Moore)

My thoughts: Audrey and Tiffany had great timing, wonderful warrior spirit and great team work. It did not give me the goosebumps though.

The judges: Zooey said they made an amazing, great pair. The choreography was incredible. Tiffany was very strong and Audrey was graceful, which made for a good pairing. Nigel said that they looked like Pebbles (of the Flintstones) dancing.

Dance #5


Dancers: Dareian, Amelia, Janaya, and Matthew
Song: “Modern Drift” by Efterklang
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey

My thoughts: My eyes were fixed on Amelia. She reminded me of my favorite from last season, Melanie Moore, especially in the jump into Dareian’s arms.

The judges: Zooey thought it was delicate and beautiful, like watching a painting move. Amelia shines like she irradiates light. Mary gave accolades to Stacy Tookey for the routine. She said Dareian had great strength, power and partnering. Amelia was fabulous. Janaya was not on their radar at first, but she is “now out of that radar.” I think Mary meant to say she was now ON their radar. Mary still loves Matthew.

Dance #6


Dancers: Brandon, Cole, Cyrus
Song: “Resolve” by Nathan Lanier
Choreographer: Christopher Scott (and Marko Germar said on Twitter he assisted in this routine)

My thoughts: I loved the baseball voiceover using their real names. Very clever, very inventive. It was a fantastic idea for a routine especially with the baseball all-stars game coming up on Fox. Christopher Scott did a wonderful job highlight each one of their strengths but blended with perfection. I did not get chills but I enjoyed it immensely.

The judges: Cat Deeley said she had the first chills of the season (I know she is not a judge but I love her as a host). Nigel commented that in front of them was a stepper, an animator and a martial artist and that they complimented each other, and complimented Christopher for highlighting each one of their strengths. Mary said they “hit it out of the ballpark with that one.”

Dance #7


Dancers: The girls
Song: “Where The Light Gets In” by Sennen
Choreographer: Travis Wall
Story: The door is the gateway to the afterlife.

My thoughts: Travis Wall’s choreography always seems to elicit a deep emotional response from me, much like Mia Michaels. It was like watching angels dancing on the plane of existence between the two worlds. I got goosebumps about halfway in and had tears in my eyes by the end of the routine.

The judges: Nigel said it was like frieze on a Greek vase and complimented Travis on his growth since being a contestant on SYTYCD. Zooey said it was a beautiful routine for beautiful girls. Cat mentioned the word “ethereal.”

Dance #8


Dancers: The boys
Song: “Precognition (Steed Lord Machine Mix)” by Steed Lord
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Story: They had to fight to win on the show. During the footage of learning the routine, she said having this group is like releasing the wolves to the masses (and I instantly pictured “Twilight”). She wants them to be exposed physically to expose the inner man. Brandon was comfortable with the male-male partnering ’cause he “likes the ladies.”

My thoughts: Each group of guys got to show their strengths but it did not illicit an emotional response from me like the girls did. I definitely did not like the high-waisted costumes. The guys looked very uncomfortable in them.

The judges: Nigel does not like the pants either (called them maternity pants). He chuckles at Will because he is not as buff as the other guys. The routine was athletic, gymnastic and strong, and the boys had to be that way now. Mary enjoyed George’s assisted lift. She loved the routine and thought the guys were great. Zooey would love to join in with them, and the boys were encouraging her to come up and do so. She thought it was all fantastic.

Dance #9


Dancers:
The top 20
Song:
“Eyes (Coachella Live 2012 Version)” by Kaskade
Choreographer:
MIA MICHAELS IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My thoughts: I love Mia and have missed her being on the show. I got goosebumps when they moved their sunglasses off their eyes onto their heads right at the part of the show that said, “look into my eyes.” Eyes are the window into a person’s soul. The choreography keeps building throughout the entire song. I had goosebumps the entire song. And everyone stepped up.

The judges: Nigel kept it short and sweet, “Welcome home momma; you’ve been missed.”

It was a phenomenal ending to a terrific beginning for the journey of season 9’s top 20. They take a week off for our United States July 4th birthday, and will be back on July 11th.

My Early Favorites (in no particular order and I reserve the right to change my mind at any time)


Guys: Cole Horibe, Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, Daniel Baker, George Lawrence II, Dareian Kujawa
Girls: Amelia Lowe, Janelle Issis, Eliana Gerard, Amber Jackson, Alexa Anderson

Who are yours?

National Dance Day

The third-annual National Dance Day will take place on Saturday, July 28. There is a hip-hop master class with Lauren Gottlieb, Lauren Froderman, and Brandon Bryant video and a Zumba fitness video for people of all levels with Kass Martin, Gina Grant and SYTYCD All-Stars Allison Holker and Ade Obayomi. That Saturday evening, there will be a Dizzy Feet Foundation Gala at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Music Center. Desmond Richardson will be performing as will Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater, LXD, and the All-Stars from SYTYCD (past and present). Click on the logos below to learn more.