So many girls! So many big, big voices. They are all beginning to run together. But I’m not going to lie. In the end, I always support who America decides to hand the crown. But once again (as I did last year) I would love for one of the girls to take it all for the first time since 2007. Contenders from tonight who could take it all include Maddie Assel, (she of the big bluesy voice and adorable grandmother), and the plucky Megan Miller, who was game to audition, even with a bum leg.
But tonight, there were a couple of guys who could give the gals a run for their money. The quirky Charlie Askew and his angelic voice could go far if he’s got an interesting repertoire. He’s a diamond in the rough to be sure, but he’s got the raw materials for a super duper Idol growth arc. Fans love an under dog. If he can handle the pressure, he’s got a chance. Paul Jolley has got the goods and seems to be versatile. He could definitely be a contender. And lastly, Burnell Taylor has a very special talent and a compelling backstory as a Katrina survivor. I’m keeping my eye on him.
As I expected, the narrative surrounding the dynamic between the judges has changed. Whether they actually did or not, the Baton Rouge auditions were edited to show Nicki and Mariah coming to a place where they can co-exist peacefully, even if a little snark slips out now and then.
One of the last shots of the night had Keith calling Nicki “Mariah” by mistake while Mariah rolled her eyes. Earlier, when Mariah was going on and on about how she related to young Charlie and his struggles, there was a shot of Nicki rolling her eyes. Nope, these two are never going to be best friends. And the producers aren’t going to let us forget it. It’s reality TV y’all.
By the way, I am still Team Nicki all the way. But I love my side of Keith. Nicki continues to delight with her quirky honesty. I so want a Nicki nickname. And Keith continues to add intelligence and humor to the proceedings in his own quiet way. Randy continues to be a waste of space. And Mariah? If she could get over herself, she might be a decent judge. I was eye rolling right along with Nicki when she turned the convo around to herself during Charlie’s critique.
Live blogging the American Idol 12 Baton Rouge Auditions right here!
It’s the HOMETOWN OF THE DAWG Y’ALL.
Former beautician, Mariah is touching up Randy. Is that part of the management contract she signed with the dawg?
Megan Miller – 22 – Ethel, LA – “Somethings Got a Hold On Me” Current Miss Baton Rouge. She was involved in an accident 3 DAYS AGO. She was supposed to stay in the hospital, but she left. NO WAY WAS SHE MISSING HER AUDITION. She has surgery scheduled afterward. She’s got a big bluesy voice. There are quite a few of those making it to Hollywood this season. It’s definitely shaping up to be a battle of the girls. She upends her crutch to use as a microphone. “If you can sing you can sing!” exclaims Randy. Nicki calls her a superstar. The judges love her pluck, and her ability to rise above a set back. Mariah calls her endearing. “You just went at it!” says Keith. All together, they yell YES. Megan invites Keith to come along with her to surgery. UPDATE: Megan’s surgery was a success! She’ll be heading to Hollywood crutch-free.
Charlie Askew – 17 – Little Rock, AK - “Breakthrough” by Queen – He’s always been very socially awkward. He doesn’t fit any diagnosis, though. Music has helped him connect. Charlie has Chris Colfer syndrome, actually…meaning his voice hasn’t changed much. Which isn’t a bad thing AT ALL. He’s got a pretty impressive range, but his phrasing is a bit odd. He’s a very strange guy, but kind of intriguing. Nicki asks him if he’s been through puberty yet. He has. Aw. Nicki names him “Mystery Man”. Randy calls him a “strange, seemingly dark cool guy.” Keith LOVES his voice. He says his voice “is not of a gender.” Mariah identifies with him using music for escapism. Oh Mariah. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU ISN’T IT. NICKI EYEROLL FOR THE WIN. Mariah thinks he could shake things up in the competition. 4 yeses.
Maddie Assel – 17 – Centreville, VA – “Oh Darling” by The Beatles – She’s one of those “Friends and Relatives” deals. Her grandma nominated her. Randy heads to a big party where she is performing to deliver the news. WOW. She’s fantastic. The battle of the big voiced girls continues! Adele, Haley Reinhart and Beyonce have influenced her. Keith says she doesn’t sound like any of them. She’s got her own style. Yeah, she does have that blusey, confident Haley Reinhart thang going on. IT’S 4 YESES. Grandma, waiting with Seacrest, dressed colorfully with an umbrella. What a character!
Now, for a montage of terrible, terrible singers.
Paul Jolley – 22 – Palmersville, TN - “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts - SINGING IS HIS CALLING IN LIFE. And he’s doing it all for GRANDPA. He’s got a very pure, clear, country tinged voice. There’s a little Broadway in there as well. I’ll bet this guy is pretty versatile. Nicki thinks he has a “nice texture” to his tone. “I like your vibe and that you have a sparkle in your eye.” she says. Mariah likes that he exudes confidence. Keith says his song was a “great crafted vocal performance.” After he gets his golden ticket, he cries with his family, thinking of grandpa.
Chris “Mushroom” Barthel- 24 – Metairie, LA – “If I Had You” by Adam Lambert – He performs with an alter ego, which he hasn’t named. Lucky, Nicki helps out! She dubs him “Mushroom.” Maybe because he’s blond and doughy? He looks like the Pillsbury doughboy. He also appears to be hopped up on adderal. Unsurprisingly, this dude is a total joke. The judges are cracking up. The manic dance moves are a nice compliment to the horrible singing. Adam has nothing to worry about. “I like the keys that song was in,” says Keith. LINE OF THE NIGHT. “You are very entertaining,” says Mariah. “Mush, If you let me run my hands through your hair, you will be blessed forever,” says Nicki. “Thank you very mushroom.” I LOVE HER SO SO MUCH.
Dr. Calvin Peters – 27 - Fort Worth, TX – “Whenever, Wherever, Whatever” by Maxwell - He’s a resident, his specialty is physical medicine. He’s solid, but he should probably continue with medicine. I’m surprised the judges saw something special there. Mariah thinks he’s very handsome. She likes that he’s a singing doctor. Keith likes him too. Nicki appreciates his technique. 4 yeses.
Next, it’s a parade of big voiced girls. 3, in fact. Michelle Montezeri – 19 – Orlando, FL, Breanna Steer – 18 – Laplace, LA , Brandy Hotard – 26 – Point Allen, LA - They all make it to Hollywood.
Back from the break, it’s more terrible singing, courtesy of Alissa Griffin – 24 – Raceland, LA
Dustin Watts - 27 – Albany, LA – “Shes Every Woman” by Garth Brooks – “YOU GOT A GIRLFRIEND,” Nicki asks the handsome firefighter. He’s got a decent country croon. Sorta Tate Stevens, part deux, but younger and better looking. This guy could definitely amass a fan base. “I think you’re doing it with ease,” says Nicki. She sees him as a country star. 4 yeses. “You save lives every day,” says Nicki, “We love you fireman.” After nabbing his golden ticket, he stops by the firehouse to deliver the good news to his homies. They are very excited.
Burnell Taylor - 19 – New Orleans, LA – “I’m Here” from the Color Purple - He realized he knew how to sing after his family lost everything in Katrina. This emotional tune from a Broadway musical is an interesting song choice, and Burnell totally kills it! What an instrument. He’s a softspoken guy, but when he sings, he totally opens up. He has a real gift. Standing ovation from the judges! Mariah is crying “Burnell’s tone is ridiculous. I felt every word you sang.” Nicki says, “We’ve been flying all around the country for that. That was just entertainment.” Randy says, “Amazing voice.” Keith says, “Somewhere there’s a spotlight waiting for you to walk into.”
34 contestants advance to Hollywood. San Antonio and Long Beach next week!