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 Little Rock and Denver Part 2

27 01 2016

Best friends Amber Lynn and James Gray Dawson (the 8th) came down from Utah to sing for the judges. Amber chose “Unaware” by Allen Stone. I finally got goosebumps. That’s all that I need. The Philadelphia auditions for me were lacking of goosebumps. Harry said she is talented. He gave a critique to James that he was rushing the song. He needs to give her the foundation. Jennifer thought she had a lot of soul. She likes her whole vibe. Keith said he liked that she was in her own world. James VIII was also singing.  He picked John Legend “Sun Comes Up.” You could tell he was nervous because his cheeks were getting all red. I didn’t get goosebumps, but I LOVE his voice. Harry said it was refreshing to see people who were born to do this. Keith likes his groove. They both receive tickets to Hollywood.

Can Emily Wears sing as well as she auctions (and whoa—can she do that well)? She takes it down a notch singing “Bring on the Rain” by Jo Dee Messina. Sometimes she was just under the note. It was a pretty tone, but I don’t think she has enough though to make it to Hollywood. Harry said her singing needs a bit of work. Jennifer thought the voice was sweet but it was missing things that would make it whole and complete. Keith said the pitch was drifting everywhere. She said she was really nervous (oh man my heart feels for her). She does not get to go to Hollywood.

CJ (stands for Chris Johnson) is a professional musician from Memphis. He decides on a Hall and Oates song “You Make My Dreams.” I really like him. He has a great look and a nice sound. No goosebumps, but I’m hopeful. The judges sing some background vocals for it. Keith and Jennifer thought he sounded good. Harry thought it was cool. He gets a ticket to Hollywood.

Ethan Kuntz is quite an accomplished young man for 15 years of age. He trains hunting dogs as part of his family hunting breeding kennel business. He also is lead guitarist and singer in a blues band. He chose “Stormy Monday” by the Allman Brothers. He is an interesting kid. I like what he was doing. I think he would get eaten alive during Hollywood Week, but I am not sure he is quite 100% ready yet. Keith did not expect that voice and has mixed reactions. Jennifer thought he was a natural. Harry has no doubt in his mind that he is supposed to do this, and advises him not to doing anything else with the rest. That being said, however, it would be very difficult for him to get around the wide range of repertoire that American Idol requires of him. Harry does not think he is ready. Jennifer thinks he is. Keith is in the middle. He doesn’t think he is ready, but he thinks his voice is so good and gives him the yes.

Horse trainer Mary Williams wanted to sing old-time country for the judges. She chose Tammy Wynette’s “Until I Can Make It on My Own.” She surprised me. I didn’t expect that she was going to do well based on how she was being presented in the packet. I hate country music, but I love her voice. No goosebumps, but close. Jennifer had goosies on her leg. Keith was missing the feeling so it was more of something being performed than something being confessed. Harry thought the performance was a little bit clinical, but she gets a yes from him and Jennifer. Keith didn’t say anything since it didn’t matter, but she did press him for a yes or a no, and he said he would have been a no.

Xavier Soller is the end-game host for the Denver Nuggets had a warm up for the judges and Jennifer was the only one who got the basketball. He sang Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places.” The singing was not terrible, but it was more of a hobby kind of singing. Jennifer and Keith both said no so there is no ticket.

Terrian Bass would like to make a statement to the world that you can be surrounded by misery but still find the good. She chose appropriately “Happy” by Pharrell. I felt badly for her. She has a nice voice, went off pitch quite a bit, and the energy was dragging in the song. Harry and Jennifer like her. Three yes votes.

Her name is Leann “Blue” McIsaac and has the blue hair to match. She is a self-described singing nomad. She specializes in coming up with songs for people on the spot. She planned to do that for the judges. Harry thought it sounded like a Jewish prayer song. Harry doesn’t think singing is for her but that shouldn’t take the wind out of her sails. Jennifer does not think American Idol is the right lane for her. Keith said no to the suitability for Idol.

Thomas Stringfellow’s parents takes in foster children and he would like to be an example to them to follow their dream no matter where it takes you. He chose “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran. Wow I did not expect that voice to come out of that young man. He is so unique. I got goosebumps. Yes, yes, yes from me. Harry admired him changing it up. Keith likes his vibe and liked that he changed it up. Jennifer said it was pleasing to her ear and a lot that was saying artist. Yes votes all around. I hope he makes it to the top 10.

Tywan “Tank” Jackson was up to 400 pounds and decided to take charge of his health. He has lost 60 pounds doing Zumba and then developed his own exercise routines that he calls Tankercise. He entertained the judges with his dancing, but then refocused and sang his audition song “Superstar” by Luther Vandross. He should have ditched the dancing before the singing audition because he was out of breath for the music. He has a nice voice (except for a bit of improvisation in the middle). Jennifer said he was one of his favorites. Harry asked if he knew Rev James Moore. His ability to dance, sing and entertain are powerful weapons in this competition. All three judges say yes.

John Wayne Schulz auditioned in season 10. He is part of the Marine Corps and is a flight instructor. In season 10 it had come down to him and Scotty McCreery making it through and they picked Scotty who went on to win that year. He was glad it happened because his mother’s cancer had returned and he was able to spend those last months with her before she died. He sang “The Dance” by Garth Brooks and with the story of what happened with his mom made me cry. Keith said it was refreshing not to hear a cover of Garth. Jennifer was enjoying listening to him. Harry thought it was the perfect, succinct performance. He is through to Hollywood.

Leah Harbert taught herself to sing with Britney Spears. She decides to tackle “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin. Jennifer looked like she was bracing herself for a massacre of the song. Frankly so was I. And it lived up to my expectations. Her vibrato and her effective nature of her voice were annoying me greatly. Harry suggested that she work with a vocal coach. It was a definite no. In the post interview she blamed a cold and her voice cracking on the reason why she didn’t make it.

Jordyn Simone chose “Who’s Lovin’ You” by the Jackson 5 to audition. I WISH I could sing like that at 15. WOW! I got goosebumps at the end of the song. She was born to sing. Jennifer is speechless. Harry said she showed them a complete set of skills. Jennifer said there was something special there. Keith said she had something unique. She is through to the next round.

The next group is a montage of female singers which included Kassy Levels (who Keith said there are people who want to be a singer and who just are and she belongs to the latter group); Rhea Raj is a 15-year-old student in Princeton, NJ (Jennifer liked the breathy quality of her voice). Both are moving to the next round in Hollywood.

Jake Dillon is hoping to leave his plumber apprenticeship behind and open a path to a music-making dream. He chose “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins (one of my favorites of all time). I like his voice a lot. Keith and Jennifer were mouthing the words along with him. Harry thought it was good but good isn’t going to cut it for them. They are looking for spectacular and he didn’t see it in that performance. Keith likes him as a guy. He is worried that he is going to get killed out there in Hollywood. He can see the fire in him and he sees that. Harry is a no, Jennifer is a yes, and Keith is a yes.

The next contestant’s full name is a mouthful: Ashley Lillinoemaineleipuananiokaloni Adams-Soderbegh. She chooses “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles. Oh yes. I love her. She is unique. Jennifer said there were a few things she liked but she wanted a little bit more of output from her soul. Harry said she is interesting but she doesn’t fit in anywhere. He likes that sort of mystery there. Keith said he liked it. Harry and Keith say yes; Jennifer says no.

The next contestant is either brave or stupid in choosing an Adele song, “Make You Feel My Love.” He was born in New York but grew up in Moscow. Andrew Nazarbekian started singing and captured my attention right away. Goosebumps!!!!   Oh my God. He is awesome. Harry said the best part of that is that he came in here and sang. He receives three yes votes.

Elvie Shane is the next contestant. He chose “House of the Rising Sun” by Animal. He is incredible. I had goosebumps throughout the song. Harry said he has this quality about him that he is about the music first. Jennifer thought he had a spectacular voice. It cuts through the whole entire room. Keith loves that he loves to do this and it is contagious. He gets the yes vote from all three.





American Idol S15 Little Rock Auditions

12 01 2016

Kris Allen is in the crowd helping to get some people through to the next round.

Hoping to take the spot of the final American Idol is young 15-year-old Cameron Richard (pronounced Re-shard) from Louisiana who is singing “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran. I wonder what his voice is going to sound like when it breaks in puberty. He has a lot of talented for his young 15 years of age. Jennifer loved his voice and his passion when he sings. Harry said it is great to hear someone from Louisiana sing and that he looks like a young Paul McCartney. Harry thought he had a wonderful gift, he enjoyed it very much, and he gives him a yes. Jennifer is a yes. Keith just says “yes.”

Twenty-four-year-old student Daniel Farmer is in love with J-Lo. He sings D’Angelo “How Does It Feel?” for his audition. I was expecting this to be a disaster but he has a beautiful voice coupled with a magnetic personality. He would be a lot of fun in the top 12. Jennifer loves his voice; he is funny and sexy and all the confidence in that. It’s an attractive quality. Harry respects the effort of the runs but if he is going to do it, nail them all. Keith further explained that it’s not let the chill factor get in the way of what he is trying to do, but agreed he had a beautiful voice. He is through to Hollywood.

A vocal coach from The School of Rock in Dallas Texas walked into the audition and my heart went a-flutter. This young man has beautiful eyes and a commanding presence. Hopefully the talent is there as well. Dalton Rapattoni, age 19, has superstar in his future. His interpretation of the song from Phantom of the Opera was riveting. Harry really dug the music. Jennifer said he is making something beautiful, unique and special. She liked it and liked his voice. Keith is looking for someone who can make their own artistic contribution to the competition and that is exactly what he did.   He is through to Hollywood. Afterwards, Keith says, “top 12.” Harry tells the other judges that his was one of the favorite auditions they have ever done just because he took something and sang it like he wanted to sing it. Keith said there is no one in that lane yet. Harry thought that guy was pretty (talking about his eyes).

La’Porsha Renae, age 22, from Mississippi, brought herself and her adorable little baby girl in for her audition to sing “Creep” by Radiohead. She has fantastic vocal control. I love how she changed the song to something I have never heard before. I could listen to her all day. Major goosebumps.   Keith said he loves hearing a fresh take on a song because for him it gives a whole different perspective on the lyric. He loved it. Harry loved it too. He thought she was an assassin with the runs. Jennifer said we loved it a lot, and she gives the ticket to her baby daughter, who Jennifer was holding, to give to La’Porsha.

The two country boys had no problem with Maddie McAllister’s state fair prized chicken, but Bronx girl Jennifer wanted to be on the other side of the room (I’m with you J-Lo). She is singing “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood. She has a nice voice but she doesn’t have much stage presence. Harry thought she is adorable. She sounds so young. He thinks it is the type of voice and type of presentation that is going to take a couple of years to come into its own. Jennifer said she is adorable but she is not ready. Keith feels the same way.

Trent Harmon is ready to leave the farm in Mississippi because he realizes that singing to cows is not doing anything to advance his career.   He chose “Unaware” by Allen Stone to show off his talents. He is phenomenal. That’s crazy good. And I hate country music. Jennifer was so blown away. He has a lot of soul and dynamics. Harry said bar none his favorite audition since they started.   He is absolutely going to Hollywood.

Tristan McIntosh is a 15-year-old student missing her mom while she is serving our country over in the Middle East. She chose “Why Baby Why” by Mickey Guyton for her audition. Tristan looks like a star. I love her. She does not sound like a 15-year-old. Goosebumps. Oh my God—she is so talented. Jennifer got the goosebumps. Harry said he likes her a lot. She has a lot going on. Jennifer is bursting because she sees in her something very, very special. She reminds her of Alicia Keys in that her heart is beautiful and special. Keith also thinks that she has so many things that are all coming together. Harry read her an email that her mother wrote for her that morning. Keith was crying. Jennifer was crying. And of course, in pops her mom. Apparently her family in the holding room didn’t know she was coming either. Mom announces to her she is going to Hollywood. And I am crying like a baby.

Next up: San Francisco