Live blogging American Idol right here!
Once again, the girls totally rule tonight. It’s become clear, at this point, that the producers are looking for an R&B singer, preferably a girl. There are so many big-voiced girls, they are beginning to blur together, quite frankly. But it’s hard to complain when the talent has been so top-notch.
My favorites tonight all had big voices, but also a little something extra. Savannah Votion needs a makeover, bad, but I loved her soulful, smokey tone. Shubha Vedula has a big voice, and a great tone. Jesaiah Baer sang with a confidence that belied her teenaged years and Rachel Hale was soulful, but with just a hint of twang.
My favorite guy was Micah Johnson. Unlike Lazaro Arbos, the boy with the severe stutter, I WAS expecting Micah’s speech impediment to impact his singing, but it didn’t. Like Rachel, Micah was another soulful singer with a country twinge and really stood out from the crowd of singers.
The very last singer, Matheus Fernandez was crying as if he had never been told by show business professionals that he was a good singer and a good person, despite being a very short person. I wonder if anyone will ever mention that he’s got history with Ryan Murphy and his team, having gotten pretty far on The Glee Project season 1? Probably not! His whole schtick really bugged me.
Tomorrow Idol lands in Oklahoma for their very last audition episode. Amazingly, these 3 weeks have FLOWN by. For the first time in several years, I have really enjoyed the audition rounds. Maybe it’s the abundance of talent that’s been presented in every episode, or the new judges panel. I’ll admit it, so far I have even been amused by the antics (although, I would hate to see things get ugly between Mariah and Nicki during the live shows). Nicki Minaj may be my favorite Idol judge EVER at the moment. Let’s hope she can keep it up when the show goes live.
It’s a tale of two cities! San Antonio and Long Beach. Oh lookie. Mariah and Nicki are still the best of friends! /Nope.
Our first stop is San Antonio. The show was here 6 years ago.
Vincent Powell – 29 – Austin, TX – “Rock Me Baby” – This returnee is in love with Mariah Carey. He made it to Hollywood last year. He tells Randy that he was just about to sing when he looked up, and the judge was taking a big ole drink from his coke cup and it made him nervous. He’s got the big soulful voice of a church singer–which is exactly what he is. He’s nearly 30 and kind of chubby. He doesn’t have the image down. But Vincent could have a decent gospel career. Keith says, “I think you can take what you do and find your own thing.” “It’s clear that your voice is amazing,” says Nicki, “I can only imagine what a gospel CD from you would do.” Mariah says, “You sing like an angel.” ONE TWO THREE YES.
Derek and David Bacerott 21 & 24- San Antonio, TX – Wow. This is horrible. The harmonies are like ice picks piercing the brain. One is a bellowing baritone, like a tone deaf Bill Medley. His bro, singing the false, sounds like a dying cat. Randy is blunt, “DEFINITELY NOT NO NO NO NO NO. Dude, the whole thing was terrible.” Cluelessly, the guys begin arguing. Mariah tries to explain why their harmonies are terrible. But they won’t SHUT UP. Nicki interrupts, “Let’s take it down a notch and realize that we’re trying to help you.” Outside, the guys insist the judges were rude. It’s hard to tell if they are serious. If they are, they are pretty clueless.
Savannah Votion – 24 – San Antonio – “At Last” by Etta James – Single parent. Blah blah blah. She’s doing it for her kid. Blah blah blah. Crying. Blah. This is my dream. Blah blah blah. Nevermind all that, girl has a beautiful, soulful smokey tone. She’s wearing the tackiest outfit ever–a tummy bearing ensemble that isn’t very flattering. But who cares. She can sang. Randy says, “You seem like a real natural performer.” Keith says, “You have life in your voice. Lot’s of struggles. I could hear all of it. Lot’s of empowerment.” Nicki says “It sounds so organic. Like it was what you were born to do.” It’s 4 yeses.
Ricky Jo Garcia 16 – Alice, TX – MURDERING “And I Am Telling You.” YAY.
Cristabel Clack – 29 – San Antonio, TX – “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys – She’s married and a worship leader. She has 3 kids. Keith liked her runs. Mariah calls her a “real singer. I know you. I get you. I love you.” Cristabel has a smooth, soulful voice, but I’m not seeing major star power from this one. Generic. 4 yeses.
Ann Difani – 23 – Fayetteville, AR – “Stronger” by Faith Hill – Oh. This girl’s husband nominated her. The couple are big Razorback fans. Randy attended a game to surprise her on the field. It looks like Randy was the judge relegated to “surprise dude” this season. Since Mariah, Nicki and Keith have actual, like CAREERS outside of the show, they probably didn’t have the time. “Pretty tone,” says Keith, “A lot of Faith.” But, she thinks he’s talking about something else. WHOOSH. She has a nice voice, but to be honest, I found myself tuning out during her performance. Forgettable. Nicki thinks it’s cute that her husband nominated her. Randy still likes her. Her husband enters the room. Mariah begins grilling her about whether she’s a country singer or not. I wish she’d quit trying to pigeonhole these contestants. It’s 4 yeses. But only Randy seems really convinced.
Victoria Acosta – 20 – San Antonio, TX – “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie – She sings mariachi on the river walk. She’s a little strident on the high notes, but she sings with a lot of emotion. But the judges aren’t buying it. “I kept waiting for one more thing, but I can’t put my finger on it,” says Keith. Randy wants to hear some mariachi. The panel thinks she connects better when she sings traditional music. They send her through anyway.
Now for a montage of earsplitting and horrible performances. A “bandito” theme is the back drop. These contestants are wanted…for BAD SINGING! “There’s always autotune!” says Nicki. Who should know.
Papa Peachez – 19 – Jackson, MI – Original – He got the nick name via his work with the homeless. He’s another big black woman caught in a white boys body. Why do contestants say this? As if they have a clue what it’s like to be black. Or a woman. He’s also a dancer. He does not LIKE DOING COVERS. He performs a rather strange original. I kept waiting for him to break out in OLD MAN RIVER any minute. The gay version, because at one point he sings, “I may be gay, but that’s ok.” Yes, it is OK, but the song is still WAY too campy to take seriously. Nicki, “I think that you are a superstar. Loved the song.” Keith says, “It’s very theatrical. I can’t quite find you in it.” Mariah calls him quirky. Randy says, “If you could get serious about it, you could really have something.” Randy and Keith say no. Nicki thinks he’s a special artist. Sorry, I usually agree with Nicki, but I’m with Randy and Keith on this one. He’s ridiculous. Mariah says yes. Unfortunately, Randy is the tie breaker. But after some pleading from Nicki, he changes his mind ,and Peachez is through to Hollywood.
Sanni M’mairura – 16 -Pearland, TX – “Who’s Loving You” by Michael Jackson – He belongs to a church performance group called “The Noise.” His parents are from Africa. He’s a very mature 16 year old, and somehow, I was expecting him to be better. The judges loved his runs, but I thought he sounded stilted. “Candy canes, Rainbows and sunny skies,” was Nicki’s response to the sweet young boy. “Your runs were pretty. You had a great audition,” says Keith. Randy liked that he wasn’t trying to sound like Michael. Keith liked his balance of humility and humbleness. The judges are very enthusiatic. It’s 4 yeses.
Adam Sanders – 19 – San Antonio, TX – “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James – Oh geez. Dude is crying before he even enters the audition room! He’s very emotional, and he LOVES Mariah Carey. He’s got this Adam Lambert thing going. Even wears his hair like him. He’s got a huge, huge voice, but the comparisons to Lambert will be inevitable. The judges give him a standing ovation. “You shocked all of us,” says Randy. “Yes,” says Nicki. “Absofrickinglutely,” says Keith. It’s 4 yeses.
Long Beach is next! THREE COMPELLING STORIES. One is a dude who has already made his mark on The Glee Project. JUST SO YOU KNOW!
Aboard the Queen Mary. Ryan is doing his show.
Wow. They are pretending that the cattle call in LA didn’t even happen! Or, that somehow they crammed everyone on to the Queen Mary. WE AREN’T THAT DUMB.
Mariah is stuck in traffic. And Nicki has a prior commitment–rehearsing for the AMAs. It’s just Randy and Keith to start.
Shubha Vedula – 17 – Mt Pleasant, MI – “Something Has Got a Hold on Me” – Randy kind of makes fun of her name, because it’s alliterative and a little sing songy, like he doesn’t realize it’s an Indian name /rude. Whoa. She’s got a big ole soulful voice. Well, there’s not much to say but yes.
Mariah finally appears. She swears she was taken off guard by the LA traffic, because there is no bad traffic in Manhattan. WHAT? “When you want to have a Diva, You have to pay the price,” says Mariah as she takes her seat. Good thing Nicki isn’t around.
Brian Martinez – 21 – Los Angeles, CA – “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins – First, this guy looks like he just woke up in a crypt. Gouls Are Us. l I hope he doesn’t melt in the sun. He swears that a producer who heard him sing in a random mens room suggested he try out for Idol. I probably DON’T want to hear the rest of that story. His singing is completely atonal and horrible. Unequivocally NO.
Matt Farmer -26 – Tulsa, OK – “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cook – While serving over seas, he was hit with an IED in Iraq. He woke up in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury. The medication he took was supposed to make him sterile but…his wife was pregnant 6 months later. Matt totally has the blue eyed soul thing going on. Very very nice. A smooth, powerful and soulful voice. Randy says, “You’ve got strong pipes.” Mariah thought he was raw, real and heartfelt in moments. Keith thought there were some safe moments, but he loves his thick tone. 3 yeses.
Stephanie Sanson – 16 – Los Angeles, CA – “Set Fire From the Rain” by Adele. – Holy crap she does this SCREAMO version of the song, jumping around the room, trying to break things. Security escorts her out as she brandishes two middle fingers. Probably a dare from one of her classmates. “Nicki would have sent her to Hollywood,” cracks Keith. HA.
Nicki finally arrives after awards show rehearsals!
Jesaiah Baer -16 – Hollister, CA – “Settle Down” by Kimbra – Oh. She’s got a very interesting tone. Too bad, right in the middle, an alarm goes off. Nigel enters the frame to announce that everyone has to leave. Poor girl! Oh. There really was a fire in one of the restaurants! They let people back in and the singer starts over. She’s still really good. Very smooth and jazzy. She has a very mature, assured sound for a 16 year old. I like her jaunty captain’s hat. “I loved it within seconds of you starting,” says Keith. Mariah thought it was “interesting.” Nicki thought she had a mature confidence. Everyone says YES.
The next montage of terrible auditions has a GHOST THEME. Apparitions appear. As if the singing isn’t scary enough.
Micah Johnson – 24 – Morrow, GA – “Chicken Fry” by the Zach Brown Band – Micah recently had his tonsils removed. The doctors hit some nerves, and now he speaks with a speech impediment. Oh. That sucks! He goes to a speech therapist now. Mariah had nerve damage herself. AGAIN IT’S ALL ABOUT MARIAH. Oy. Thankfully, he sings without a trace of impediment. I like this guy, he’s got a soulful, country tinged voice. Very unique. Star quality. Beautiful. Keith just loved it…he rocked out through the entire performance. Randy was completely FAKED OUT. It’s 4 yeses.
Ten year old singing Valerie. She’s good! She thinks American Idol will still be around in 5 years when she’s ready to audition. Sadz.
Rachel Hale – 21 – Prescott, AR – “People Get Ready” – She’s got a big ole soulful alto coming out of a little body. “A little Wynonna Juddish,” says Keith. Nicki says, “I love your voice. You didn’t try to do too much. Beautiful control.” Mariah appreciates that Rachel knows who she is. Thank God they didn’t start badgering her about being a country singer, because she does have a pretty thick twang. But she’s suited for R&B. It’s 4 yeses.
Briana Oakley – 16 – Antioch, CA – “Up to the Mountain” by Patty Griffin – She was bullied severely after she was featured on the Maury show as one of the most talented kids. She had to eat her lunch in the bathroom. Eventually, she had to change schools. Really? Kids tease other kids because they’ve been on television? Maybe it’s something about Maury. You know, all of those dead beat daddies and their DNA tests. Ha. Nevertheless, Briana has a decent set of pipes. Another big soulful voice. So many of them this season…. “It was fantastic!” says Keith. Wow Wow Wow,” says Nicki. “You are poised and ready for this moment. Randy says, “Sheer, natural talent.” 4 yeses.
Matheus Fernandes – 21 – “Change Is Gonna Come” – Uhm. He got pretty far on The Glee Project in the summer of 2011. So he’s been around this reality show block already. JUST SO YOU KNOW. As he explained back when he was on TGP, he’s very short, but not because of a medical condition. He’s just very short! Also, he was bullied in school. Blah blah blah. He’s got a nice soulful voice with a good tone. He tries a little too hard. He had that problem on TGP too, where he seemed to be a terrible victim of “little man” syndrome. In other words, he had sort of a dick edit. Nicki thinks he’s a unique special person. Mattheus begins to cry, as if NOBODY HAS EVER SAID THAT TO HIM BEFORE. He’s acting like NOBODY IMPORTANT IN SHOW BUSINESS HAS EVER COMPLIMENTED HIM BEFORE. Oh, come on. Matheus made it to about Week 5 on TGP, which was pretty good. Here are videos from The Glee Project “Pairability”, including his elimination.
50 Long Beach contestants make it to Hollywood. We see them jump for joy after receiving their golden tickets as Phillip Phillip’s “Tell Me a Story” plays in the background….
Tomorrow, it’s Oklahoma City, OK.