American Idol S15 Hollywood Week Auditions No 3: Final Solos

4 02 2016

Seventy-five contestants remain. The difference between the first round of solos and now is that they have one night to pick out a song and work out an arrangement with the band. They will get no immediate feedback. At the end of the day they will be split into three rooms where they await the judges on who stays and who goes.

Stephany Negrete is up first and has no friends or family in the audience to support her unlike other Idol contestants. Other contestants are in the holding room. She chose Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.” She sounded really good with the band. Harry and Jennifer quietly said they liked it as she walked out.

Thomas Stringfellow sang “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. He stumbled during his performance and you could see the worried look on his face that it might be what gets him cut. Jennifer and Harry quietly shared with each other they liked him while Keith said it was a terrible song choice.

Avalon Young sang “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. She felt she could have done better. Jennifer and Keith again quietly commented that she is talented.

Olivia Rox went a different way and sang an original song for them. Keith and Harry were complimentary about your songwriting skills.

John Wayne Schulz ditched his hat (or perhaps the hat ditched him). He sang “John 3:16” by Keith Urban. Keith mouthed the words. It was okay. Keith liked him but asked Harry and Jennifer what is exactly missing.

Mackenzie Bourg is doing an original song called “Roses.” The first goosebumps of the evening for me. Keith asked whose song was that and when Jennifer and Harry shared it was Mackenzie’s, Keith gave him a thumbs up as he walked away from the stage. Jennifer and Harry liked it, too.

Shelbie Z sang “How Do I Get You Alone” by Heart. I liked that song for her. I like it better than the country songs she sings because her twang disappears when she sang this song.

Kory Wheeler chose “Fix You” by Coldplay.  He did well.

James VIII sang “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. Second batch of goosebumps this evening.

Malie Delgado was kind enough to give up her song choice “What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts to Tristan McIntosh for whom the song had a special emotional connection for her with her mother being a soldier and leaving to go overseas. Third goosebumps of the night. Keith softly said, “It’s a girl’s season.” I hope this choice doesn’t bite Malie in the butt.

Sonika Vaid sang “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. She has a beautiful voice. No goosebumps here, but still I think will be in one of the groups going through and likely even the top 12 girls. They all loved her voice but agreed that she needed to get the performance better.

The new best buddies were performing next. Lee Jean sang “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes. He’s a cutie pie. He got the audience to clap for the end part of it. Harry said he is heartbreakingly cute. His friend Sara Sturm took the stage. She chose “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. She is a little powerhouse. Lee hopes they get through together. Jennifer said, “I would put her…” and then “She better than that.” Keith said, “She’s much better than that.”

Jenn Blosil to no surprise chose “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper sounded great. She didn’t feel like her performance went well. Every season needs a contestant like her and I hope Jenn makes it.

Emily Rose sang “What Hurts the Most.” I liked her MUCH better on this song. My ears were pleased by this. Maybe she needs to sing more when her voice is hurting. When she got off stage, she mentioned the song not being in the key she wanted and it just sucked.

Malie was diagnosed with laryngitis. Mionne Destiny and Jessica Cabral are both suffering the effects of being ill. Malie Delgado is singing “Stitches.” What a brave, brave girl. Keith liked this version of the song better. She gets a great amount of supportive applause from the audience. Mionne sang “Chains” by Nick Jonas. I haven’t heard her sing before so I don’t know what her original voice sounded like. Jessica Cabral sangUp to the Mountain” by Kelly Clarkson. Keith was heard to say, “Good Lord.”

Joshua Wicker took the stage to sing “A Thousand Years” and I really liked him but this was a very bad song choice for him. It was so out of key. Keith said he wouldn’t mind seeing him again. Harry thinks there is something mournful and soulful about him.

CJ Johnson sings a breath-of-fresh-air upbeat song, “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. It was great. Keith said he liked him and Harry said it was good.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell sang “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins. She always sounds good, but I don’t see her being the winner of American Idol. Harry thought she has something else. Jennifer said she barely heard the song.

The final solo performance was Dalton Rapattoni. I really love him. I hope he goes through. He chose “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” He doesn’t look well. I don’t think this was a good song for him. Keith said he loves his song choices. He didn’t remember his performance. He said when he looked down at his guitar because it wasn’t working that was when everything went fuzzy.

Room 1 includes Jordan Sasser and Dalton Rapattoni, Shelbie Z, Jessica Cabral, Mackenzie Bourg, Stephany Negrete, Lee Jean, La’Porsha Renae, Tristan McIntosh, and a few others I don’t recognize. This has to be a room that is going through. Jennifer announces that they are going through.

In the next room, I recognize Joshua Wicker and John Wayne Schulz. Their group received a ‘no” from Keith Urban.

Room 3 includes Malie, Trent, Thomas Stringfellow, Jenn, Avalon, Sara Strum, Manny Torres, and Jeneve. I think this room gets a yes. Yep, this room goes through.

Next up: They perform in front of a live audience in the showcase and the last cuts ever for American Idol that are made by the judges.

American Idol Season 12 Long Beach Auditions

1 02 2013

The California auditions for American Idol Season 12 occurred on the Queen Mary. Miscellaneous irrelevant information that may or may not interest you: My mother used to work for Cunard back in the 1960’s and she got to tour both the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth ships. All of my life living with her, she proudly displayed the two pictures in our living room. Ignore the little boy (my brother) in the picture and look in the background. The one with the 3 stacks I believe was the Queen Elizabeth and the 2 stacks was the Queen Mary. Or it’s the reverse. I have vague memories of being on the tour with her. She passed away many years ago and I do not know what ever happened to these pictures.


Look past the kid to the ship portraits on the wall.

For at least one of the contestants, Shubha Vedula, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson were the only judges available as Nicki Minaj was rehearsing for the American Music Awards and Mariah Carey was stuck in traffic. They had a little fun with her name. She sang Christina Aguilera’s “Something’s Got A Hold On Me.” She has a really great voice. I think she’ll be in the top 40.


Shubha Vedula

I felt really bad for the next contestant, Brian Martinez. Apparently while in the john, a music producer named “John” told him he should try out for American Idol. Apparently John lied. While I normally don’t feel sorry for individuals like this, it wasn’t so much anger and tears as he looked like his spirit was crushed.

US Veteran Matt Farmer brought her darling daughter into the audition. He had an amazing story about his traumatic brain injury from an incident in combat. He had to take a medication that his doctor said would cause him to be sterile, and 6 months later, his beautiful daughter was conceived. I like his eyes. There is an honesty about them and his aura is just radiant. He did a bang-up job on “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.


Matt Farmer

Purpled-haired Stephanie Sanson’s version of Adele’s “Set Fire To the Rain” was not exactly what I was expecting. I guess she decided she needed to exorcise her demons. But it did remind me of another song from the movie “XXX” with Vin Disel: “I Will Be Heard” by Hatebreed.


Looks harmless, doesn’t she? Her poor mother must be deaf by now.

When the fire alarm went off during Jesaiah Baer’s audition, I thought, “Demon chick decided to set fire to the rain literally.” But it was a car exhaust under a veranda? She returned and sang Kimbra’s “Settle Down” again and got 4 yeses. She is cute and has a unique voice. I was shocked she was only 16.


Jesaiah Baer

Keith Urban harmonized with Micah Johnson to the song, “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band. You would never be able to tell he had nerve damage from having his tonsils removed. I guess maybe the same theory for people who stutter while speaking can sing also applies in this case–singing uses different muscles.


Micah Johnson

The unnamed 10-year-old who was singing on the ship who thinks she is going to be the next American Idol in 5 years really does not need to wait that long. She only has to be 13 to try out for The X-Factor. What an amazing talent!

What? What do I see? Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are actually sitting next to each other? WHOA! I like the truce.

Kimberly “Rachel” Hale has a nice voice, but I did not like her eye movements. They were distracting me. One of those performers who I need to listen to with my eyes shut.


Rachel Hale

I think this story is the one they should have ended with because I am so irked about the final contestant…but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Briana Oakley was featured on as Maury’s Most Talented Kids in 2009. She opened for Latoya London. Apparently after that, she went back to her school and instead of becoming the most popular girl in school became bullied. At age 16, however, she is going to get the last laugh because she is going to Vegas–right through Hollywood and right into the top 10. She sang “Up To the Mountain” by Patty Griffin and the hair on my arms was standing at attention. Let me point out, that they never tried to hide the fact that she has been professionally singing since age 4, that she was on Maury, etc.


Briana Oakley

Now MY RANT. Meet the next contestant: Mateus Fernandes, age 21. Very inspiring story. Very positive attitude. He gets into the audition room and is going to sing, “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. I am not the only person on Twitter that appears to have watched “The Glee Project,” Season 1. If they were honest with that, I would not be reacting like this. I don’t know if this was an editing decision or a Mateus’ decision, but he was acting like all of his life no one gave him a break because of his size. I don’t believe any of those tears. Not only did he get vocal coaching from that show, but he got intense choreography and acting lessons. And he came in 8th place out of 40,000 people that auditioned. And he’s saying, “This is crazy, this is crazy?” Let me share. The show’s first season premiered in the US on June 12, 2011 and aired until August of 2011. Perhaps he is suffering short-term memory problems? The auditions for Idol Season 12 likely occurred during the summer of 2012. Could he have forgotten his FIRST big break in just a matter of a year? He said this on the You Tube posting of his Idol audition, “I talked about being in ‘The Glee Project,‘ but they just didn’t wanna show that. And what you saw on this video is indeed the real me, not the “character” that you saw on TGP since that’s the persona they wanted for me on that show. This is me. Apologies if you don’t like it, but that’s alright. I am happy with who I am nowadays. It’s been a long journey thus far. I wouldn’t change a single thing.”

If the producers did indeed cut that out for whatever their reasons, it backfired. People will tolerate being manipulated by an inspiring story only so far. People do not like to be outright deceived.



Matheus Fernandes

Next: The journey finally ends in Oklahoma City before Hollywood week.

XFactor Season 2 Top 6 Perform

6 12 2012

XFactorLogoAfter Vino Alan was thrown under the bus last week and a surprise that Paige would be going home and not CeCe, the rankings looked like this: Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens, Emblem 3, Fifth Harmony, CeCe Frey, and Diamond White. Congratulations to Mario Lopez who got married in Mexico this weekend. This week is “unplugged” and the results of the Pepsi Challenge. Unplugged will root out the real singers from those who just sound better with background singers and lots of background noise in the way of instruments. There is nowhere you can hide, nowhere you can run. With the Pepsi Challenge, the public decided everything, down to what the contestants will wear.


Contestant: CeCe Frey (pronounced “fry” like “French fry” and not “fray”)
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga

My thoughts: It was not bad but it wasn’t good either. She had a rough start. I’d call it average. However, after hearing Emblem 3, this was not my least favorite.

The judges: LA Reid said it was really good and he was becoming a fan. Britney disagreed and said at this point in the competition, it needed to be great. Simon said it was not worth a $5 million contract. It was too cabaret versus unplugged; it was good but not great. Mentor Demi thought it was one of her best vocal performances.


CeCe Frey Unplugged

Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown, Etta James, Joshua Ledet and SO MANY OTHERS

My thoughts: I do not like when contestants do the same songs twice. I feel it is grossly unfair to the other contestants who have to learn a new song. And I get the feeling this is a song she has been doing most of her life. It was better than her first version, but it should have never been repeated. Kicking the stand was stupid.

The judges: LA Reid said she brought attitude and sang her butt off. Demi said it was risky doing the song again but she pulled it off and loved her kicking the stand. Simon said it was a little screechy in parts and wished she had done a different song. Mentor Britney said she was so proud of her, that she destroyed it.


Diamond White Unplugged

Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber

My thoughts: Just crown her the winner and get it over with. It was a home run. She does need to work on her hand movements with her left hand as she pulls her head to the right. It gets old after awhile as she does it with every single song.

The judges: LA Reid said he loved her so much and it may be the best she has done to his tastes. Demi said it was better than Justin’s version. Simon said we were seeing a star emerge and it was one of his favorite performances. Coach Britney said she was so proud of her (she says this every single time, doesn’t she?). Each week she continues to make each song her own.


Carly Rose Sonenclar Unplugged

Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi

My thoughts: I don’t like this song as a country song. It was okay. It was pitchy in places. I did not see how this was unplugged with all the harmonies of the background singers and all the instruments.

The judges: Britney said she felt he was getting away from his country roots. Demi said it was boring and he skipped out on the high note. Simon said this was the second Bon Jovi song he has done. He encouraged Tate to choose his own material and not let LA Reid do it. LA Reid said he naturally disagreed.


Tate Stevens Unplugged

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter: @FifthHarmony
Song: “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele

My thoughts: STOP….DOING…ADELE!! I am SHOCKED that Simon picked this given those were his words during the auditions. It was not good but it still was not as bad as Emblem 3.

The judges: LA Reid said he still did not hear harmony and thought their name was Fifth Unison. Britney did not see how they were separated from any other girl group. Demi said she heard harmonies but a couple of them should just be solo artists. Simon said this was pick-on-Fifth-Harmony week again. He said there were not any other girl groups on the market right now and there was a place for them. He said they deserved a shot in the semifinals.


Fifth Harmon Unplugged

Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars

My thoughts: Drew is absolutely their weakest link. It was their worst performance yet. Each individual is not good but their harmonies and music usually compensate for what they are lacking, as well as their personalities. There is no hiding in unplugged week. And then Drew encouraging everyone to vote as they finished the song before their criticisms. No one else did that.

The judges: LA Reid said it was pretty good and at least one of Simon’s groups could sing harmony. Britney thought it was their best performance. Demi said they did great but not the best. It was like a downgraded version of the Jonas Brothers 5 years ago. Sting! Simon thought they had an amazing week.


Emblem3 Unplugged

Pepsi Challenge

CeCe Frey: “Part of Me” by Katy Perry

My thoughts: It was sour from the start and it did not get better. She tends to be sour when she tries to dance. I liked her first performance better.

The judges: LA Reid was not loving it; felt it was karaoke. Britney did not agree and thought it was very entertaining. Simon liked it especially that she was so defiant. Demi thought she did a good job.


CeCe Frey

Emblem 3: “Forever Young” by Alphaville

My thoughts: It was better than the first song but it was still very, very rough.

The judges: LA Reid thought they nailed it. Britney thought it was a superstar performance. Demi said they commanded the stage and it was better than their first performance. Simon thought they did really good tonight.



Carly Rose Sonenclar: “If I Were a Boy” by Beyonce

My thoughts: Bodacious!

The judges: LA Reid said as a judge he was very nervous of her, but as a fan she never let him down. Demi thought it was a phenomenal vocal. Simon said she had a phenomenal night. Britney said she was the definition of the XFactor and it was stunning.


Carly Rose Sonenclar

Fifth Harmony: “Give Your Heart A Break” by Demi Lovato

My thoughts: I enjoyed it. I think it was their best performance ever.

The judges: This time, LA Reid heard harmony. It was really good and was their very, very best performance. Britney said they did the song good. Demi thought it sounded better than her own version and they sounded so beautiful on it. Simon thought that America’s chose a great song and girl power (what?)!


Fifth Harmony

Diamond White: “Diamonds” by Rihanna

My thoughts: This was not as good as her first song, but again that song was likely sung so many times in her life, she had that song mastered. It was good, but did not blow me away.

The judges: LA Reid did not love her rendition of the song. Demi thought she did it justice. Simon said the second half was better than the first half. Britney said this song was made for her.


Diamond White

Tate Stevens: “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks

My thoughts: This was MUCH better than the first song. There were a few off-key notes here and there but it sounded great. I actually know this song (even though I don’t usually listen to country music).

The judges: Britney thought it felt like a Tate Stevens performance. Demi thought he had a bright future. The song made her a little sleepy but she was really tired (a criticism which left Tate confused and me, too). Simon said welcome back to the competition. LA Reid said that was great.


Tate Stevens

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

My picks for going home

Tough to say who will be in the bottom. Like I said just crown Carly Rose Sonenclar the winner already.