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 New York Auditions

22 01 2015

1385015_10154925704030601_1985407597453397698_nKeith Urban could not be part of the judges’ panel so Adam Lambert was his substitute. He was a great mentor so I look forward to hearing him judge.

Bethpage’s Sal Valentinetti has a huge personality. He sings Sinatra. It’s decent. Harry thinks he is talented but not for Idol. Adam thinks the Idol viewing audience would love him. Jennifer and Adam are yes votes; Harry is a no.

J. None brought Mr. Crispy (an old stuffed bear) into his audition to give him comfort and he turned into G-rated Ted with Jennifer Lopez courtesy of Harry. J. None is a 24-year-old amusement park performer from Orlando (I am betting you it is Disney). He does a good job with “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown. Harry channels his critique through Mr. Crispy that he liked him the minute he saw him and thought he sang very well. Jennifer agreed with Mr. Crispy. Mr. Crispy flirted with Adam saying he was so friggin’ handsome and Adam had a great comeback–“I’m really not into bears.” Adam thought he had a good pocket and groove. All three vote yes.

Jax came with a touching story about her father who was a first responder on 9/11. I expected the audition to suck and was so happy to be proven wrong. She is a true artist with a lovely rendition of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles. She has one of those awesome unique voices. I was completely captivated. She said, “Not to kiss butt,” but she voted for Adam. Harry thought it sounded strong and lovely. Jennifer said she was shy and confident at the same time and Harry shouted “Shonfident!” Adam was drawn in immediately. He felt her energy was warm, grounded, and earthy. She is through to Hollywood with three confident yeses. Her mom planted a kiss on Ryan right on the lips.

Street performer Johnny Arco was arrested for playing violin in the subway system and giving attitude to the cops. He hails from Bushwick, NY. He decides to sing a Radiohead song. He is interesting. Harry thinks he is super talented but that Idol is not the right venue. Jennifer and Adam agree. It is a no for him but at least he got some exposure.

A self-described glamorous subway performer, (and I saw a Bedford Ave stop (I lived on Bedford Ave after I was born), Najah Lewis can make 300 in about 3 hours. She did “Payphone” by Maroon 5 (which is my ringtone). Her voice was very affective but if I closed my eyes I did liked it better. Harry was captivated. Adam felt she did things that were inventive and interesting. She goes through.

In a collage of blonde ambition, Maddie Walker returns to Idol having auditioned last year. She is a bit more polished this year I think. Courtney Zahn did well and got a fashion seal of approval from JLo. Jackie Ness did a great job too. Three is a charm and they all get tickets.

His father is in the cast of Stomp. His mother was the first black woman to win Miss Mississippi. His mother embarrasses him by announcing on television that her son is still a virgin. Qaasim Middleton sings “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. He mixes his voice with sound effects and it so cool. He has such an upbeat personality and great look as well. Harry compliments him on his craft and going to school to work on it is impressive. Adam enjoyed his falsetto and scatting. He is going to Hollywood.

Bridgette Guerrette is a retail associate from Latham, NY. She tries to tackle Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited“. I did not like it at all. Adam says no to Idol but the keep working on it. Jennifer doesn’t feel like Idol is right for her and also says no. Two no responses do Harry did not need anything.

Harry decides he wants to hear Adam do his audition over do they can enjoy it. Adam indulged them. They edited it to cut between the original audition and the present and he sounds even better now.

Adam Ezegelian, age 20, is a toy designer. He is from Wantagh, NY. He brought caricatures he drew of Harry, Jennifer and Keith but made one up of Adam Lambert on the way to the audition. He sings “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, a song Adam Lambert covered on Idol (and I still have that single in my ITunes). Adam is a character but I don’t think it was a good audition. Adam Lambert asks him to sing one more thing and he sings “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. I preferred this song. It is still rough around the edges. Harry thinks he is great. Jennifer wasn’t sold with the first song but liked the second. Three yeses.

Katherine Winston is an 18-year-old musician from Lenox, Massachusetts. She makes it through.

Travis Findlay is a star in the making. He is a music producer. Life circumstances did not allow him to go to Berklee College of Music. He is 20 years old and from Baldwin, NY. He sang Rhianna’s “Stay“. Goosebumps but he has to not do so many runs. Some were less successful than others. He also has a great memorable look about him. Harry said he is so talented. Jennifer said he was a star. The audition was pretty but not perfect but he has that indescribable something else that they often get asked but can never really answer. Adam thinks this is the type of show that is made for him. He thinks he can do very well on the show. Ticket to Hollywood!

Benjamin Farmer, a 20-year-old sales associate from Cincinnati, OH sang “Proud Mary”. He was sharp, flat and changing keys. He starts off a montage of other Idol hopefuls that stood out for the wrong reasons.

Arianna (aka Yanni G) is a 23-year-old cover band singer from Newington, CT, who did “the cup song” where she used a Solo cup to bang out a rhythm, and sang Anna Kendrick’s “When I’m Gone.” She has a nice voice but the cup was distracting. Jennifer thought her voice was sweet but she did not get to hear what she is capable of doing because of the cup. Nick Fradiani, age 28, a musician from Guilford, CT is also auditioning. He sings “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. Yanni G goes over to the side and you can tell by her face she is unhappy about the critique and maybe worried Nick will go through and not herself. I think Nick has artistry. He is taking a song and changing its arrangement. Yanni G sang the song exactly like the original song and brought a cup gimmick thinking it would be the thing that would get the judges to remember her. But in the end her love and support shines through when he gets the ticket to Hollywood and she does not.

Hollywood Anderson, age 22, is a busker from NY, NY. He sings an original composition. Goosebumps!!!!! Jennifer says, while the young man is singing, that she has goosies and wants to record this song tomorrow. Adam was grooving. Adam said there were so many dimensions to what he just did. It was so interesting and emotional to listen to. Harry said unquestionably the best audition that day, the best audition of the last 2 days, and possibly from the last 4 cities. He shares that he moved to New York 2 years ago and just learned to play this past year when he was given the guitar at Covenant House by Norm Lotz. And Norm gets to go inside to meet the judges. Hollywood is given a ticket to….Hollywood. I am moved by his gratitude for the chance and I am in tears. Jennifer is too.