Sir Mac and MJ are back with their weekly power lists. Throughout the audition phase, we’ll be choosing our favorite auditions, and more.
American Idol 15 Premiere Week: Atlanta & Denver, Little Rock & San Francisco auditions.
MJ: For me, night two, Little Rock and San Francisco, had the stronger performances. The episode really should have served as the premiere. Night two also made it abundantly clear that the producers would love to go out with a female winner. Good luck with that! I had a pretty easy time plucking my 3 favorite singers of the week–all from night two. Not to say night one’s Atlanta and Denver auditions didn’t offer up a few standouts…
MJ’s Top 5 Picks
Trent Harmon – (Auditioned in Little Rock) – Unaware by Allen Stone – There was something about Trent’s performance that was absolutely arresting, and it wasn’t just that he turned out to be an emotive singer songwriter type rather than the generic country singer he was set up to be in his video package. Trent ad a gorgeous tone and an amazing falsetto that went to unexpected places. Very soulful. He’s like a folky Robin Thicke. Sign me up for that.
Olivia Rox – (Auditioned in San Francisco) When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars – No surprise that Olivia’s parents are performers and that she grew up immersed in music. Her audition revealed an intelligent singer, with an abundance of musicality. Her tone and phrasing was spot on. I really dug that she came prepared to play piano OR guitar. This girl has potential
Tristan McIntosh – (Auditioned in Little Rock) – Why Baby Why by Micky Guyton – Tristan’s audition was framed by a big weepy backstory, involving her military mom surprising her at the audition. The thing is, she didn’t need all that to grab my attention. This fifteen year old singer, performed “Why Baby Why” like she’d experienced years of heartache. What a beautiful voice, too. I can’t imagine her not advancing deep into the competition.
Kory Wheeler – (Auditioned in Atlanta) – Bennie and the Jets – I know this pick is a little out of left field! But I had my eye on Kory last season, and then he was cut. He deserved a second chance. Once again, I have my eye on this singer/songwriter.
Sonika Vaid (Auditioned in Denver) – Look at Me by Carrie Underwood – The judges may have gone overboard in their praise for Sonika, with Harry Connick Jr. predicting she could win. Nevertheless, the singer’s lovely, piano-driven take on Carrie’s “Look at Me,” made the Massachusetts native one to watch.
SirMac’s Top 5 Picks
First off, let me say that Olivia Rox could easily have made my list, if she’d work just a little bit more on her diction. I thought she showed a lot of artistry, but I think she has a thin voice and I personally would have liked it more with some diction. Also, I felt Tristan McIntosh’s audition was weighed down by her story. I honestly think she doesn’t have much of a voice. Maybe she’ll prove me wrong. Without her story, I’m not sure I would have said yes, honestly. I wasn’t that blown away by Trent Harmon, who needs some stage presence if he’s planning on going deep, and a personality. Kory Wheeler, I wasn’t that excited about him last season, and I’m still not. I think he’s an average WGWG, and Haley Reinhart definitely did that song better. I was hoping to see more growth from him this season, but it feels exactly the same. Sonika Vaid definitely has potential.
Dalton Rappatoni (Auditioned in Little Rock)- Phantom Of The Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber- Dude gets points just for daring to be different. I know he’s a ringer, and I really used to hate ringers. I still kinda do. But at least if you’re going to be a ringer, bring something fresh to the competition. I think he’ll be the guy to dramatically rework something and really have a moment, possibly as early as Hollywood week. I wonder how far he’ll go, as he might be a little too edgy to win, but I liked what Keith said about picking people who bring something to the table. I thought Dalton proved that he had perspective to bring.
Brooke Sample (Auditioned In San Francisco)- Cold Day In July by The Dixie Chicks- Her tone is what got me. I don’t think it was the right song choice, but I like her look and her sound. She reminded me a bit like Erika Van Pelt or Amy Adams, which doesn’t really bode well for her longevity on the program, but she got my attention.
Lindita (Auditioned In Atlanta)- It’s A Man’s, Man’s World- I disagree with this idea that she did “too much”. Listen, this is an audition. You should absolutely bring everything you’ve got in your first audition. It’s easier to tone that down, than it is to try and bring someone up to her level, vocally. I’m excited to see where she goes from her. She reminded me a lot of Pia Toscano, another divisive contender.
Jeneve Mitchell (Auditioned In Denver)- Chainsaw by The Band Perry- Again, I like people who bring something different, and really lay it down. I think her playing the cello, like that, was really cool. I’m not 100% in love with her voice, without all the extra, but she’s got guts to come in there and show us what she’s got. A lot of people have great auditions and burn out in Hollywood week, and that might be Jeneve. But I feel like I can’t have a proper top 5 audition list without her, because I’ll remember her audition for the rest of the season, for sure.
Joshua Wicker (Auditioned In Atlanta)- Stay by Rihanna- Again, another reworking, and another excellent way to show off your artistry and how you’re different from the other white guys with guitar. There seem to be a lot of them, always, and standing out is very important. I love his tone, and I thought his audition was superb.
MJ: If you’re going to flip a song, it’s got to be more than just a cool idea. While Joshua Wicker’s “Stay” was solid, I was left wholly unimpressed by Dalton Rapattoni’s take on “Phantom.” Jeneve Mitchell was interesting and unique, for sure, but she mugged a little too much to make my short list. Lindita did too much. Way too much. A run or two is enough to reveal you’ve got the chops. Being able to balance big vocal runs with subtly reveals a singer who knows how to convey the meaning of a song. I need to see that ability before I climb aboard her train. Brooke Sample may be a good singer, but her antics totally distracted me. Hopefully she brings it with a little more confidence in Hollywood.
Now for a couple caveats.
Lee Jean – (Auditioned in Atlanta) – I See Fire by Ed Sheeran – It’s not that I don’t think Lee deserved a golden ticket. There were moments of brilliance in his performance, but there were also pitch problems and a tentativeness that would not be unusual from a teen who hasn’t quite found his footing yet. My spidey sense tells me this 15 year old may not be quite ready for the competition. I’m envisioning half-baked performances in Lee’s future. He certainly could prove me wrong. We’ll see.
Maddie McAllister – (Little Rock Audition) – Cowboy Casanova – The girl with the chicken. I was a little surprised when she didn’t move on. Not that she would have made it further than Hollywood. But I thought her vocals were decent enough for the next round. She could have brought some of her pets to the Kodak theater. Fun times.
I agree with everything said about Lee Jean, but I understand why they gave him another chance. He really needs to prove himself in Hollywood. I would have been on the fence about him, and I might have let him slide through to Hollywood anyway.
Kristi Jewel (Auditioned In San Francisco)- Mama Knows Best by Jessie J- It all felt a little “put on” for me, and I don’t think she really brings anything to the table. Her voice is OK, but I honestly don’t think she’d make it past the first round in Hollywood. In fact, I bet she doesn’t.
What say you people? Leave your favs in comments!