American Idol S15 Top 4 Revealed

26 03 2016

I’ll have to catch up another time with last week’s Idol. I did see Tristan McIntosh was the one to go home. My life is insane right now during tax time.

Legendary Steven Van Zandt mentored the contestants this week. The first contestant through to the final 4 comes as no surprise – La’Porsha Renae. I LOVE her new hairdo. Now she looks like a rock star. They have to sing hard-rock songs this week. She chose Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” I don’t think there is anything she cannot sing. She is amazing. Keith said she killed it. She brought out the blue undertones of the song and it was really good. Jennifer said her voice is so undeniable she could sing the phone book. Harry says her ability as a singer transcends every genre. Her vibrato was in time and he had never heard anyone do that before.

MacKenzie Bourg chose “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick. He started out a little pitchy. I like that he tried to do something different with the song, but there were sections where the band swallowed him up. But his pitch problems remained throughout the song. Jennifer is not sure if she liked how he “MacKenzied” it. It wasn’t as exciting as she wanted it to be. Harry thought it was alright. His vocal was fine but it wasn’t one of his favorite ones. Keith hated the arrangement.

David Cook returned to the Idol stage to sing “Heartbeat.” I really liked it. The beginning of the song though sounded like bits and pieces of his other songs.

Trent Harmon made it through to the final four. He chose “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top. The first verse was very Louisiana deep-blues sounding.  He kept the chorus familiar for the audience. I loved everything about this. Jennifer and Keith were on their feet. Harry said he was so content with the groove in the beginning. In concert, he could have sung the same song twice. It was really smart. Keith said it was so freaking good. At this point they need a song to show off their attributes and it was a 10 out of 10. Jennifer said she has been waiting for him to have this performance. It was perfect.

Sonika and Dalton stood together to hear the results of the final person who makes it through to the top 4. I hope it is Dalton. AND IT IS!!!!!! He was going to sing one song, but it never really came together so he went with his backup song, “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. This is NOT a hard rock song. After what I saw with Trent, this is kind of anticlimactic. For me to say that is tough because I’m a big Dalton fan. Keith said it was as pure as it gets. Jennifer said it is great that he took the advice. It was a really good moment for him. Harry said this one was the most complex harmonically and vulnerability. It wasn’t about a strong vocal but for him to get completely into the lyrics and he did that.

Katharine McPhee returned to sing “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland.

Sia was the mentor in the second half of the show. I enjoyed getting to know her more on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.

La’Porsha is up first. Sia was blown away by La’Porsha’s rendition of her song “Diamonds” on a previous show. She chose “Elastic Heart” tonight. I loved the drum accompaniment, too. I loved it. Jennifer said she feels like she isn’t doing a job anymore. It’s so nice to watch. She has grown. Harry asked her if she sang in her head voice before and she said no. He says he feels like he is a passenger in a NASCAR seat when she sings. Keith said it is beautiful to come in with raw talent turn into a performer. He feels like he is at an award show watching her do an original song.

MacKenzie chose “Titanium.” I liked this song better than the first-round song. He took Sia’s advice and went for the falsetto for the high note on the first go-round and then took the note down later. Harry said it was nice. He gave him advice not to make it about a single note. Keith liked it as a singer/songwriter moment. Jennifer said there is more that he can do with his voice. Life doesn’t begin until you are out of your comfort zone.

Sia performed “Cheap Thrills.” She is such a performance artist with the dancers who work with her and how she presents in her songs in such a unique way.

Trent chose “Chandelier.” Wow. I really loved what he did to this song. I had goosebumps, more than Sia’s goosebumps on her legs. These were full-body goosebumps. I’m speechless. He has had a stellar evening with two fantastic songs. Keith thought it was beautiful. It played to everything he has that is so special to him. It was exquisite and he loved every minute of it. Jennifer said the voice is consistent but the wardrobe is like two. Harry thought it was phenomenal. He felt Trent was completely in another world with that. He gives it a 100 out of 100. (Wow, you can’t get higher praise than that).

Geeze, Dalton. I would hate to follow that. Dalton chose “Bird Set Free.” They discussed how they are both bipolar. It was a touching moment. I got goosebumps. That was a great performance for him. He was so emotional and I started crying with him. Jennifer said it is beautiful to watch him. He touches their hearts but especially tonight. Harry said this song was the best match up. He sure liked it. Keith said he is up against some insane singers, but he is always pushing through his limitations. It’s so inspiring.

I think Trent, La’Porsha and Dalton deserve the top 3. I have enjoyed MacKenzie’s work, but his growth hasn’t been as much as the others and I really haven’t seen him take risks other than try to make songs different acoustically. Also, I don’t see him as a book-end to Kelly Clarkson to close out American Idol.

American Idol Season 12 New York Auditions

17 01 2013

AmericanIdolLogoSeason 12 got underway on Wednesday night with the New York auditions (actually Newark, NJ). Randy Jackson, resident dawg, was joined by Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj. They had a good rhythm about them. Randy had an easier time saying, “Don’t ever sing again”, while the others were more kind, “It’s no for now.”

First up was Michael Buonopane with “We Will Rock You” by Queen. He had a big personality but is not a good singer. Nicki asked, “Are you going to sing?” Nicki is a no, but Mariah is a yes? Mariah needs to be more discriminating. Is this the beginning of the diva battle? I would have said, “No way, no how.”

Average singer Tenna Torres was up next. She had previously attended Camp Mariah and had pictures to prove it. Of COURSE Mariah remembers her (probably not). Tenna sings Carole King’s, “You’ve Got A Friend.” She makes it through to Hollywood. I thought her voice was a bit shrilly, but if she works a little on that, it could be very pleasant.


Tenna Torres

James Bae came in, a Justin Bieber wannabe who Mariah felt might be better suited as a DJ. Randy is quite explicit in his no and Mariah laughs at Randy.

The quite promising Christina “Isabelle” Pasqualone sang “Summertime.” I love, love, love her voice. However, I laughed at her remark to Mariah, “I want to bring that great music back” (referring to Mariah’s music from the early 1990’s). Does this mean Christina (or does she go by Isabelle) mean that now Mariah is NOT singing great music? I’m sure she did not, but when one is nervous, funny stuff does come out of one’s mouth.


Christina “Isabelle” Pasqualone

Inspiring dancer, singer, actor Evan Ruggiero came in. He should have started with “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi versus “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. He brought in the guitar but didn’t use it until they asked him to sing a different song. Maybe Nigel Lythgoe should let him try out for So You Think You Can Dance if he is tapping. His story of his battle through osteosarcoma and holding onto his dream should help some people.

Jessica Kartalis‘ mother nominated her for an invitation to come sing in front of the judges. When Randy delivered the number to her and I heard her singing then, I knew this was not going to be a good thing. She did not sound good in that place of business. She tried to play an original song on her guitar and sing and it was a disaster. She has some nice tones in there, but I agree with the judges that she needs a year or two to mature and decide what kind of singer she wants to be.


Jessica Kartalis

Shira Gavrielov had a number one hit in Israel. I like her voice. A few notes were on the borderline of being shrieking but overall I like her look and sound. Nicki loves her.


Shira Gavrielov

Frankie Ford is a bundle of energy from Brooklyn (my hometown). He was adopted at age 2 and his adopted mother is his rock. He sings on a train for work and has a lot of drive. You can tell he will absorb everything that he learns in Hollywood and he is put through. The obvious puns of “Frankie Goes to Hollywood” ensue. And at this point, it was the end of day one.


Frankie Ford

Benjamin Gaisey, who I like to call Rubberband Man, dressed in plastic with a Cee Lo Green-like wig was just horrible. His squeaky suit sounded better than he did. But he does make you laugh. Perhaps he should consider going into comedy.


Benjamin Gaisey

Rozanna Shindelman suffers from delusional-parent-syndrome. You know–the ones who are not honest with their children and make them think they are better whatevers than they are. That was really bad. “No for today.” Seriously? That was being kind. I think it will be a “no” forever.

Blueberry farmer Sarah Restuccio, who looks like she could be Natalie Portman’s cousin, did Carrie Underwood’s “Mama’s Song“, which was okay. I was more blown away with her rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.”


Sarah Restuccio

Albert Chang needs to meet my schoolmate, Franc D’Ambrosio, the longest running phantom on Broadway to see how that song is done right. Rozanna sang better than he did and that is saying something. See my school mate Franc below:


Albert Chang

The best for me of all the New York auditions is Angela Miller. Angela suffers from a percentage of hearing loss in both of her ears but sings still like an angel singing “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J. She gets four yeses.


Angela Miller

Brett Holt claims to be the biggest American Idol fan but does not get Ryan’s trivia questions all correct. He sang “When I Fall In Love” for the judges this time, having auditioned 7 times previously.

Gurpreet Singh Sarin, now nicknamed the Turbanator, has 40-50 different color-coordinated turbans that he wears. He is a smooth talker. He is not the best singer, but good enough for a try at the grueling Hollywood week. Keith Urban is the only “no” on the panel.


Gurpreet Singh Sarin

Last to sing was Ashlee Feliciano with an uplifting family story. They adopt medically complex children. She sang Corinne Bailey Rae’s, “Put Your Records On.” It was good. But she has a certain light that radiates from her that makes me remember her more.


Ashlee Feliciano

What We Learned About Our Judges

Nicki Minaj once wanted to be a city bus driver. When she is nervous, her British accent comes out. She is also trying to be the dominant force on the judges’ panel. Keith did some busking in his life. He also has a good sense of humor, suggesting Ben Gaisey (Rubberband Man) looked like Tom Jones. Randy Jackson once wanted to be a NASCAR driver. Mariah can say a word or two in French and Hebrew much to Nicki’s apparent annoyance. And while not a judge, Ryan Seacrest has been exhausted now for 10 years and he should never try to do Bollywood dancing.


Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, and Randy Jackson

Forty-one contestants are going to Hollywood from New York. Thursday night: Chicago auditions!