See what I mean? Nicki Minaj is definitely the breakout star of American Idol 12 . She’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s eccentric. There’s no telling what will come out of her mouth, but it doesn’t feel contrived. She can be tough when necessary, but also finds a way to make rejected hopefuls leave feeling good.
I mean, you’ve GOT TO LOVE A GIRL who breaks into a British accent for NO REASON WHATSOEVER. Mariah is…well she’s Mariah. She certainly knows her stuff, but the platitudes she mouths are really snoozworthy. Randy hasn’t changed much, but I do appreciate his bluntness at this stage of the competition. He’ll reign that in once the live shows begin tol become Mr. Boring once again. Keith Urban is a man of few words, but he makes them count. He’s got a wonderful, dry sense of humor and a genuine ear for music.
Of course. judgement on the panel is reserved until the live shows begin. Remember how excited we were after the first audition with Steven and Jlo? Don’t re-write history! We all loved them. And then it fell apart when the finals began.
My worry for this crew is the opposite of what happened to Steven and Jlo, who both suddenly realized they had careers to worry about, and decided to play it safe with the critiques. I can’t imagine Nicki playing that game, but what I AM worried about is her temper. And Mariah–who I don’t think will be able to resist pushing Nicki’s buttons.
Nicki admitted in an interview with Ellen Degeneres that she doesn’t trust herself. She doesn’t want viewers to think she’s crazy but…she may not be able to stop herself from reacting. Personally, I don’t enjoy watching insecure women lashing out at each other. It makes me sad. Any ongoing bitchiness will lose it’s charm pretty quick, I think.
As far as the talent is concerned: The standouts tonight were the girls: Tenna Torres, Christina Isabelle and Angela Miller. The boys pretty much paled in comparison. There were a few bad auditions that made me chuckle, in particular the Justin Bieber wannabe, James Bae, whose charming energy and drive could not make up for a lack of talent, and Albert Chang who gave new meaning to the phrase “whistle register.” Tonight’s episode was a nice flow of talent. I was entertained. Let’s see what Chicago brings tomorrow.
I’ll be live blogging American Idol 12 New York City Auditions RIGHT HERE! Join us. HERE WE GO.
The episode opens with the current champ, Phillip Phillips opening his guitar case, walking out into an empty stage and singing “Home.” The scene fades into his music video, and sing alongs and Ryan Seacrest bragging about his #1 multi-platinum single. Then it’s time to brag about Carrie, Kelly, JHud, Scotty and more. American Idol MAKES DREAMS COME TRUE!
Next, the buzzy new judges are introduced: Keith Urban, Nici Minaj and Mariah Carey. It’s the DAWN OF A BRAND NEW SEASON! Oh my gosh. A tiny kid who will only live to be 35 years old will audition. New singers! New sob stories!
“Your range is better than Mariah’s!” says Nicki to a hopeful. “This is what I deal with when I come into my job,” snarks Mariah. Oh boy.
And…here we go. Pretending everything from cattle call to judges’ auditions happens in one day!!! WHEE. The judges “arrive.”
The judges auditions are going down at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The cattle call was in New Jersey, miles away (and weeks before).
Mike Buonopane – 27 – Saugus, MA – Sings a really horrible version of “We Will Rock You.” He’s not even trying, this guy. He’s a dude looking for some TV time, and he got it. Of course it’s no.
Whoa. Mariah shades Nicki’s drum majorette hat in the most PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE WAY POSSIBLE. After Mike sings, the two continue to snipe at each other. These two are most definitely NOT BFFs forever. The show is milking the tension. This could get old REALLY REALLY FAST.
Tenna Torres – 28 – Queens New York – “You’ve Got a Friend” – The singer has been listening to Mariah since she was 5 years old. She attended “camp Mariah” as a child–whatever THAT is. Mariah is so glad to have an alumni there. She gives her a big hug. The judges look blissful listening to her! She has a very pretty, soulful voice. “If we can have somebody like this come out of Idol 12, I would be personally very proud,” says Mariah. ”We’re all sitting in awe,” says Nicki, talking over Mariah. Oops. Keith says her style has a lot of patience.” Tenna leaves the audition room and then bursts into tears.
Next, a montage of great singers. All three go through.
James Bae – 15 – Long Island, NY – “One Last Lonely Girl” by Justin Bieber – He wants to be the next You Tube sensation like just like Justin. The young singer has an Asia accent and very little experience outside of the confines of his bedroom. He tries to bring a character to his performances. Oh dear. Unfortunately he’s more William Hung, than Psy. “I like you a lot James, do you have a girlfriend?” Negatory. James announces that he would like to do a “collide” some day with Nicki. uhm, I think he means COLLABORATION. Mariah suggests he DJs. Actually, not a bad idea. “The whole package isn’t quite there,” says Keith diplomatically. “I wanted to be a NASCAR driver, but it wasn’t quite there,” says Randy, pulling no punches. He’s the most forthright–telling the kid he sucks. “I WANTED TO BE A BUS DRIVER,” says Nicki. apropos of..well nothing. James looks sad. Nicki tells him that he’s special, just not for singing.
Christina “Isabelle” – 21 – Duluth, GA – “Summertime” – She was born in New York and grew up in the south. She’s beautiful, but she struggled with her weight in high school. Before college, she went on a diet and lost and is still loosing weight. Both Mariah and Nicki note that she’s beautiful nevertheless (She is a gorgeous blonde) Randy notes that high school kids can be very mean and wonders if the panel has seen “Mean Girls”. WHAT? Nicki cracks a “mean girls” joke and Mariah appears to take it personally. Christina has a HUGE bluesy voice. Wow. She’s pretty amazing! “OMG. Amazing tone. I’m blown away,” says Nicki. “You are an amazing singer,” says Mariah. And it turns out that Christina adores Mariah and is a big fan. She wants to bring the big voice back. Good luck with that, honey! Keith can hear the humanity in her phrasing. Nicki loves that she knows who she is. It’s 4 big yesses. Christina is a student at Berklee School of Music. It’s 4 big yeses.
Evan Ruggiero – 21 – Old Bridge, NJ – “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz – Evan was headed for Broadway, when tragedy struck. When he was 19, he was diagnosed with cancer. He went through 16 months of chemotherapy, but unfortunately, the cancer came back, and the only recourse was to amputate his leg. He walks into the audition room with a guitar slung behind his back and wearing shorts. He’s not going to allow his disability to stop him. He’s a one legged tap dancer! His phrasing on “I’m Yours is really weird, but “Wanted Dead or Alive,” where he plays his guitar, is much better. He’s got a voice better suited to Broadway than pop, actually. Keith doesn’t believe the star factor is all there yet. Nicki doesn’t see it for the competition. Randy also says no. 4 Nos. Mariah suggests he come back next year. A white guy, with a guitar, a decent voice and an inspiring story–I cannot believe he didn’t advance. I wonder if he scared the producers?
Jessica Kartalis – 19 – Staten Island – Randy is on the way to Staten Island to surprise a would be contestant, nominated by her mother–a new twist this year. Friends and family could “nominate” a contestant on the sly, allowing a judge to surprise them with an audition ticket. In front of the judges, Jessica says she doesn’t know what kind of artist she wants to be…but she hopes her experience on Idol helps her figure it out. WRONG ANSWER. She sings an original song and kinda biffs it. Oh. The producers put the instrument in her hand at the last minute. Hm. Uhm. She completely messes up, starting in the wrong key. Nicki doesn’t think she’s ready, and notes the whole “I’m still figuring myself out” deal. Mariah thinks it’s about next year. Jessica begs to sing something a capella, but she does not get another chance. Keith loves that she writes and plays guitar, but he also says no. 4 nos. Why didn’t Nigel allow her to sing the song she prepared? Hmmmmm.
Shira Gavrielov – 23 – Israel/Brooklyn – “Valerie” – She’s from Israel. Her dad is a composer and singer songwriter. She was somewhat of a pop star in her home country. Shades of Leah Labelle! She excites Nicki, who thought the song pick was perfect for her tone. The whole panel shouts YES in unison. Shira calls papa to reveal the good news.
Frankie Ford – 24 – Brooklyn – “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics – He was adopted from the foster system. He sings on the train to make money after he left school. He starts off–great tone. But then he gets really nervous and quits. He begins again. He changes up the melody in a very soulful way. He’s unique. Don’t know if he could handle the rigors of the competition, but hes very very good. He’s an eager beaver! He’s willing to work. Mariah says he’s got an “inner glow.” Nicki doesn’t think he has the best voice, but he’s got a story to tell. It’s 4 yeses. That’s “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood in the background, and it makes me giggle.
Starting off the second half of the show–More PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE shade throwing between Mariah and Nicki.
Benjamin Gaisey – 27 – Sinking Spring, PA – African American dude wearing a crazy curly wig and a red plastic Halloween costume has arrived. He;s singing for the two “ladies” on the panel and is as awful as you would imagine. OMG. CROTCH THRUSTS. OMG MY EYES. Nicki asks him to sing more because she’s “IN A TRANCE.” Keith hides under the table. “It’s not safe.” Mariah doesn’t want to squash the dream, but..no. Keith says “it’s not the right avenue.” Nicki says, “It’s not for you.” Randy steps in to say, “THE SINGING IS TERRIBLE.” Thank you DAWG. “I nearly fainted with the thrust,” says Nicki. Keith snarks on his hair, “You obviously love Tom Jones,”
Roszanna Shindelman – 21 – Staten Island – Her parents are very supportive! Mom get’s chills when she sings. But, she’s never sung in front of strangers. Uh oh. We may be dealing with a set of delusional parents here. She’s not horrible, but WHOA. They tell her it’s BAD. Even Keith is blunt. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t THAT TERRIBLE.
Next, it’s a montage of terrible singers.
Sarah Restuccio– Age 17 – Hammonton, NJ – She’s from blueberry country in New Jersey. They treat her like she’s from the sticks BUT SHE’S FROM NEW JERSEY. And she’s a country singer! Mama’s Song by Carrie Underwood – This pretty brunette is kind of a Carrie clone, with a touch of soul. Nicki says, “You have a beautiful tone, I feel like you could be a humongous country star.” “I agree, I think you have a beautiful voice,” says Mariah, “I felt like you could make a great album. I see a complete package.” Randy says he wants to hear one more song. OMG she launches into Nicki’s “Super Bass.” As if THIS WASN’T SCRIPTED! She adlibs raps to Nicki, who responds. She raps! She sings country! She’s cute! Nicki notes that it’s two different moments, but perfect. Nobody does that! Mariah is annoyed. Country singer, Keith finally speaks, “When you sang the first song, I didn’t quite feel it from you,” he says, “Then you sang Nicki’s song–a totally different part of your personality.” Very astute Keith! Sarah definitely had more charisma while rapping the second song. Keith isn’t sure who she is. But Nicki is bullish, insisting there are lots of girls who live on farms who like Super Bass. The boys will like her because she’s pretty and girls will identify with her. Mariah’s eyes were practically rolling out of her head at this point. “If she really likes to sing country songs, she can try to find one that fits into her…” Whoops! Nicki cuts Mariah right off! Nicki is totally sold on this girl and doesn’t think pigeon-holing her style is important at all. Everyone says yes anyway…
Albert Chang – 25 – Queens – A song from “Phantom of the Opera” – HE HAS NO IDEA WHO THE JUDGES ON THE PANEL ARE. Funny. HOLY SHIT. What the F*CK. This is so terrible, but in a very unique way. When he hits the high notes, let’s just say he’s got his own very special “whistle” range. “Your range is better than Mariahs!” snarks Nicki. MAJOR SIDE EYE FROM MARIAH. Nicki puts on a British accent to in order to give him the bad news.
A montage of singers who get Nicki’s British accent.
Angela Miller – 18 – Beverly, MA – “Mama Knows Best” – Oh. She’s got massive hearing loss. It doesn’t hurt her singing, though! She’s got a big ole voice. Keith liked that she moved a little bit. Mariah loves her tone and “beautiful texture.” Randy thought it was one of the best of the day. She gets 4 yeses.
Brett Holt – 28 – Willow Grove, PA – “When I Fall In Love – He’s an AMERICAN IDOL STAN. Do we know this guy? Uh oh. He sucks at trivia. He’s auditioned for Idol 7 times. He’s really really flat. More like tone deaf, actually. They are totally making fun of this guy. There’s a shot of the judges saying yes…and then, he seemingly comes out of his reverie, to the judges saying no. Poor kid. He’ll age out next year.
Gurpreet Singh Sarin - 22 – North Potomac, MD – “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 – is an Indian Sikh. He loves matching his turbins to his outfits. He’s lavender lovely today. Some folks call him “The Turbinator”. He’s got 50 turbins! And a sense of humor. His “Sunday Morning was pleasant, as was the bit of classical Indian music he sang. Nicki thinks he’s got a pretty voice, but it’s not standout. Keith thought his voice was too “light” and says No. But Mariah and Randy liked him. It’s in Nicki’s hands. And she says. “TURB YOU’RE GOING TO HOLLYWOOD.” Don’t disappoint us darling, she adds in her best British accent. He’s advancing on personality, for sure.
Ashlee Feliceano – 20 – East Hartford CT – “Put Your Records On” – Her backstory? She comes from a big adoptive family. There are 3 biological children, and 4 kids who are biologically and medically challenged. Ashlee is very involved with their care. She cries as she talks about her parents. She’s got a pretty voice, but nothing super special. “So pretty,” says Nicki, “I’m so inspired by you.” Mariah says, “I think it was really nice. The potential is great. You should be proud of yourself.” Keith says, “Your lower register has the most beautiful nasal tone.” Then Randy drags in the family. You knew that was coming! The judges fawn over them, and talk about what a great family they are. In their presence (even Ryan is in the room) All the judges say yes.
After the audition, Nicki says, “I feel like we gel well…in a weird crazy way!” Mariah replies, “I agree…” Hm.
41 contestants advanced to Hollywood.
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