Tonight’s jam-packed Chicago auditions were really entertaining! Tonight, while there were talented girls, the boys finally stepped forward. After last night’s chick-fest, I wondered if Nigel was on a mission to cast the worst boys he could find to ensure a female winner.
Fan favorite, Johnny Keyser is back. And if he makes it to the voting rounds. Look out. Ditto, the sweet Lazaro Arbos who’s only stutter-free moments are when he’s performing a song. But again, there was a slew of talented females, including Mackenzie Wasner, Isabelle Parell, Brandy Neelley and Kez Ban. All worth, based on their auditions, of making the voting rounds. Good stuff.
The Mariah/Nicki feud was on full display tonight. And can I say, if the edit is to be believed, that I am squarely on Team NICKI. You would think having every other hopeful kiss her ass would make Mariah feels secure. But the woman seems to take offense by Nicki’s mere presence on the panel. Carping and taking insult where there was none. Sure, Nicki is sort of a nut, and she tends to pull focus. But Mariah honey, you’re are star aren’t you? It’s not as if you have to try so hard.
There were many hilarious Nicki moments tonight. I appreciate the fact that she’s getting paid the big bucks to ENTERTAIN. Meanwhile, Mariah behaves like the queen bee–as if gracing us with her presence is enough. Meh. Keith continues to be low key, yet quietly articulate. He’s pulling his weight in his own way. And Randy? He’s the cynical long-timer, bluntly telling the hopefuls the way that it is. This is as good as it will get for DAWG, who will switch to 100 percent auto pilot when the live shows begin.
Next week–Charlotte NC. Will Nigel milk the big Mariah/Nicki meltdown for ratings? What do you think?
Here we go again kids! Live blogging the American Idol 12 Chicago auditions…
The show opens with a girl waiting for her sister to come out of auditions. She screams and yells on cue as she walks out but…whoops. She didn’t make it. That looked really really staged by the way.
The Lumineers play as the judges “arrive” in Chicago at the Adler Planetarium.
Mackenzie Wasner – 17 – Leiper’s Fork, TN - “Face of an Angel” – Her dad plays piano for Vince Gill. PLANT! She a country singer with a sweet, pure tone. She’s not a powerful singer, but her voice has a lovely lilt. Mariah thinks she’s awesome and beautiful and has star power. Nicki thinks someone like her walks into a room once every few years. “You are a star.” Keith loves her blend of strength and vulnerability. It’s 4 YESES.
Comimg up MORE FUN BITCHERY BETWEEN NICKI AND MARIAH HOORAY.
Austin Earles – 19 – Lakeview, MI – Nicki was really enjoying it. Mariah laughed in his face. That wasn’t nice.
Kiara Lanier – 21- Chicago, IL – The Prayer by Celine Dion – She a local girl who sang for Obama at one point. “You are a cute little lady bug…you are cute” says Nicki in her British accent. But for Kiara, it’s is all about Mariah Carey. She thanks her for paving the way. “That was pretty freaking pretty…you have so much control,” says Nicki. Mariah feels she has great potential. Keith says, “You come ready to be a star.” Four yeses.
Stephanie Schimel – 20 – Milwaukee, WI – “Dream a Little Dream” by Mama Cass - Mariah, Keith and Randy like Stephanie, who has a sweet voice with very nice phrasing. But, Nicki? Not so much. “I think you’re pretty, I thought your voice was pretty, but nothing jumped at me,” she says. “I don’t think you feel like a star.” After Nicki delivers a NO verdict, Stephanie assures her that she isn’t hurt, “I don’t like you any less. I take critique as a good thing.” Nicki proceeds to make absolutely no sense, “We are wearing the same color eye shadow today. We are having a rivalry today, that’s why I said no.” WHAT?!?! says Randy. “But now that you’re through to Hollywood…” Randy cuts Nicki off, ”What kind of Junior high are we in now?” “Exactly,” eye rolls Mariah. EVERYBODY IS TALKING OVER EACH OTHER. Shoots back to Mariah, Nicki says, “You shouldn’t have a comment on that.” Stephanie puts her hands over her face. Randy shoos her out of the room before things get even crazier.
Next, it’s a montage of Nicki and Mariah cat fights, with poor Keith in the middle. The montage music? “Stuck in the Middle with You.” Heh.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” Nicki says at one point. “It was the way that you said it!” Mariah shoots back.
“I have a thought, Nicki excuse me!” says Mariah.
“I don’t want to make anyone upset here,” says Mariah. “SURE YOU DO,” says Keith. Nicki, who is going to be ENDLESSLY GIFABLE makes faces at the other end of the table.
Keith smacks his head, over and over on the table, “I swear I feel like a scratching post.”
Melissa Bush - 27 – Grandville, Mi – “Downtown” by Petula Clark – She brought a T Shirt for Randy “Get Dawn Dawg” . Whoa. This chick is FLAT FLAT FLAT. So painful. The panel is stunned. “Check please,” snarks Keith. “Bush, you’ll always be my Bush,” says Mariah says, “You guys are all really vulgar, and I’m not going to tolerate it much longer.” I hate Mariah’s passive aggressive ways, but she’s got a point here. They kinda humiliated that girl, making fun of her name, repeating it over and over again like a group of 13 year old boys. Still, not impressed with Mariah. She annoys me.
Shot of a guy caterwauling in the hallway, painfully, while his parents cheer him on. Yikes. Haley Reinhart stopped by the cattle call to say high and encourage the hopefuls.
Gabe Brown - 21 – Marion, IA – “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones - He kinda looks like season 6 contestant, Chris Sligh, and brings cookies from his baker family for the panel. He’s a product of the small town auditions. Whoa. This guy is a screamer, and it is NOT PLEASANT. Keith loved it. Loud is not necessarily good, people. Mariah wants to hear something a little softer. He sings “We All Die Young.” Ok. This is much better. At least he’s got some tone here. He really relies on the tuneless screaming unfortunately. The great singers have control. Steven Tyler he is not. “I like you curly!” says Nicki. She says she believe him when he does his rock thing. Keith digs it. Mariah’s body language says “not convinced” but she says yes, as does the rest of the panel.
Kevin Nabity – 25 – Polk City, IA – “One Week” by Bare Naked Ladies – He loves Ninja Turtles and martial arts. I smell a joke contestant! His dancing consists of awkward jumping and somersaults. He’s confident, but doesn’t want to come off as cocky! He says this while we watch him klutzily drop ninja sticks in the water. His singing is captioned, including gibberish. and finally just question marks. The captioners use what looks like other languages and numbers. I laughed out loud. “SOLD” says Randy, imitating an auctioneer. “You aren’t seriously insinuating that you don’t like Kevin, are you?” says Nicki, sounding serious. “Kevin just tried to sell me an old moterbike, which I don’t want,” says Randy. ”Kev, maybe you can wow them with something else!” chirps Nicki. He suggests“Come Sail Away.” BINGO! “Oh yeah,” says Keith. Nicki slips into a British accent “Aw do you want woh-tah” she asks when, after Kev slaughters the song, he says his voice is dry. It’s a very big no for Kev.
Next, it’s a montage of the judges saying no. Tears and hugs all around.
Isabelle Parell – 15 – Centerton, IN – “Baby It’s Cold Outside” - This is a duet, of course, and her fav, Keith agrees to sing with her. Aw. The two of them together are absolutely adorable. She’s so young, but she’s got GREAT tone. She calls her self a country singer, but I’m hearing some jazz and a little blues. Very unique. She might be a little young, at this point. I also really love her quirk. She must get it from her mom, who notes outside with Ryan that camera guys are considered kind of hot. WHAT? The judges, however, are not wowed, although they like her enough to say yes. Well, not Randy, who does not explain his decision on camera. “You have a very sweet quality about you, ” says Mariah. Nicki liked her tone and that she was poised. “star-like,” Nicki called her. “She reminds me of Taylor, says Nicki. Uh. Not really.
Keith had to leave early to make a concert in Las Vegas. Randy is planted between Mariah and Nicki. He’s in charge of keeping the girls in line. “Listen,” he says, “Nobody gets hurt. Let’s come out and have fun.”
“AYE AYE CAPTAIN!” says Nicki.
A montage of hot boys are next, and Nicki LIKES.
“We waited all day for you.”
“I see you licking your lips, playboy, what’s really good?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Is that a hole in your pants?” Says the boy, “Why you looking?” Nicki was just getting warmed up for…
Griffin Peterson – 22 – Oconomowoc, WI – “Wash by the Water” by Need to Breathe – A very good looking white guy. “Do you have a nickname?” asks Nicki, “Because I don’t really think Griffin when I see you. What about ‘Grrrrr” she suggests. Then she asks him if he has a girlfriend. He doesn’t. “I don’t discriminate! We’re all equal!” I’m not sure what Nicki means there. Randy is laughing. “The single life,” side-eyes Mariah. Nicki thinks he looks and feels like a star, but Randy didn’t get it. He thought the voice was just barely below average. “Are you freaking kidding me!” exclaims Nicki. There’s Mariah, laughing and eye-rolling. “Those girls…They’re coming to his concert!” says Nicki. “I do HAVE to say yes to that,” says Mariah. She sees Nicki’s point of view, because the dude has a handsome face. She thinks he has potential. Randy says he could be like a new Bieber. “Bieber doesn’t do that to me!” says Nicki. “RAND THE MAN.” Randy continues to laugh. He says no. I’m with Randy on this one. The girls say yes. His mom wants to kiss Ryan Seacrest. It’s on her bucket list. She does, with Dad’s permission.
Curtis Finch Jr. - 24 – St. Louis, MO - “God is Able” – Nicki wants to call him “Finchy.” OMG. She is so random and so funny. Curtis is a gospel boy who sings with a ton of soul. He’s got chops, this boy and knows his way around a run. He could be a contender . The judges are in a state of nirvana as they listen. After 4 enthusiastic yeses, Curtis asks if his best friend can meet Mariah. She comes out from behind the desk to give his friend a big hug. Nicki turns to Randy to say. “Do you know what it’s like the first time you meet Mariah?’ “You did not LIKE ME WHEN YOU MET ME IN NEW YORK,” snarks Mariah. Wow. What a bitch.
Mariah Pulice - 19 – Darien, IL – “Let it Be” by the Beatles – Mariah is all excited to meet another Mariah! But her namesake has had a rough couple of years–she’s recovering from anorexia. We hear her story, it started in Junior High. By high school, she was only eating a slice of cheese a day. Maybe not the best voice ever, but her performance is very heartfelt. Mariah the judge is crying. “I really really felt that song coming from you,” says Nicki, “Your spirit is coming out of your music.” Mariah says, ‘You touched me. I can’t even imagine how many people share the same story.” The entire family is brought into the room as she given the good news. 4 yeses. EVERYBODY PARTY!
Brandy Neelley – 17 – Louisville, KY – “Your Cheating Heart” by Hank Williams – She was placed in foster care as a kid. Her father’s sister adopted her. She’s wanted to be the next American Idol since she was 9 years old. Wow. She’s got a big ole country voice. Reminiscent of Carrie Underwood-she can really hit those high notes. She’s got remarkable control. Keith loved the song choice. Nicki thinks she’s “Super super special” and loves her control. Mariah LOVED it. Randy loved it from note one. Of course, it’s 4 yeses.
Josh Holiday – 24 – Celeste, TX – “Back at One” - The judges loved his tone and talent. He was a little unwieldy on the high notes, but he’s got charm, and definitely has talent.
Courtney Williams – 18 – Greenville, MS – “Who’s Loving You” – Whoa. This girl has something special. “Very Nice”
Andrew Jones – 28 – Chicago, IL - “Knock on Wood” – Also really good!
Clifton Duffin – 22 – Country Club Hills, IL - “Superstar” His parents have never heard him sing. Until today. Hm. Nicki calls him “secret squirrel.” I was prepared for this guy to suck, but he doesn’t. Mom and dad can’t believe their ears. Nicki believes he’s an inspiration for people who are too afraid to sing. Mariah said she sang alone when she was little too. Nicki confesses that she never sang for her mother, either. Keith thinks he has raw talent. It’s 4 yeses.
So many of the kids are excited to meet Mariah!
Ieisha Cotton - 19 – Chicago, IL – “Thank You” by Ashanti – She calls herself a “professional” dancer. Her moves are suspiciously stripper-like. Her singing is pretty awful. Mariah “delicately” suggests that she stick to dancing. Randy flat out tells her that she’s tone deaf. Mariah says…yes? Oophs that was a mistake. She meant no. She blames Nicki. Oy.
Johnny Keyser – 23 – Pompano Beach, FL - “Try A Little Tenderness” – Nicki asks right off the bat if he has a girlfriend. No he does not. “Johnny’s back,” says Randy. Randy likes when determined folk come back. He characterizes Johnny’s outing last year as “crashing and burning.” Hm. “We got to make sure you don’t do that,” says Randy. Keith loves him. “You’re not going to be girlfriend-less for long.” Nicki and Mariah begin bickering again. Sigh. Mariah did not like the way Nicki introduced her…or something. “You are star,” says Mariah. Nicki jokingly calls her “Carey” and Mariah snots back, “You’re welcome, a name I won’t say unless there are little kids watching the show.” Nicki responds with a wave of her hand, “Oh sit down. DISMISSED.” As Nicki gives her positive critique, Mariah groans and rolls her eyes. Are we going to make it through the season without these two killing each other? It’s 4 yeses. Wonder how far fan fav Johnny will go this year? If he makes it to the top 10, he’ll probably win.
Kez Ban – 27 – Durham, NC - “No Strings” – We’ve got a fire performer! And she does balloon animals. She’s a street performer. She does not expect to win. The talk is that she’s trangendered? Before her segment began, she wanted assurances that her segment would not embarrass her family. She comes out with a guitar over her shoulder. She’s a singer songwriter. And also kind of annoying. Keith wonders if she has, “Any old flames.” Ha! She wants to sing an original. But, first she sings “No Strings” from Pinocchio. She engaging! She’s got personality and quirk. A coffeehouse type though–not really suited for Idol. Her original song reveals some real songwriting ability. This is probably all she wants–a chance to sing on national TV. Mariah loved the song and her. “I can feel the realness in you.” “Your very captivating,” says Nicki. Keith loves her voice. They yell YES in unison. She has an awkward discussion with Ryan about filling out paperwork. I hope we at least see lots of her in Hollywood.
A montage of really really horrible auditions, set to the Les Miserables soundtrack. The end of a dream!
Ashley Curry – 19 – Flossmoor, IL – “Mama Knows Best” by Jesse J. – She’s studying musical theater. She can sing, her twin sister can’t. Or, so she says, because WHERE THE HECK IS SHE GOING TO SCHOO? She’s dreadful! “Do you sing in the theater?” asks Randy, “Was the sound off?” She claims she started in the wrong key and begins to sing again. It’s still really horrible. Mariah gets up to leave the room. “Shocking vocals,” says Randy. “You’re so pretty,” says Nicki. She wants to see a monologue. Instead, Ashley begins singing again. You know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Eventually, security escorts her out. Ashley could not believe they said no. Delusional.
OK. Last audition! Oh, it’s the stutter kid! from the promo.
Lazaro Arbos – 21 – Arbos, FL – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel – His Cuban parents, in Spanish, explain that his extreme stuttering began when he was 6 years old and never improved. I’m talking EXTREME stutter. It takes him several seconds to get one word out. When the family moved to the US when Lazzaro was 10, his stutter got much worse. He’s a very solitary fellow as a result. Lazaro sings beautifully, in a clear sweet tone without a trace of stutter (which is not unusual) ’Just sing all the time!” says Keith. “Your story is very inspiring,” says Nicki. “I think you brought a really great vibe into the room.” Keith says, “I love your tone, I love the way you sing, I love that you did that song, It’s one of my favorites. It just elicits so much emotion.” Lazaro is crying through his critique. “I love you so much,” he says to Mariah after she compliments his voice. All together, they say YES.
46 Idols breezed through the windy city!
Next week…Charlotte, NC, where the big Mariah/Nicki blowup occurred…