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 Week 2 Philadelphia, Denver and Little Rock auditions
MJ – The American Idol 15 Philadelphia auditions last Wednesday were mostly a bust. Only one singer made it into my top 5 this week, Additionally Thursday’s Denver/Little Rock episode yielded only a single singer from the Mile High City. Little Rock has provided an abundance of talent this season.
MJ’s Top 5 Picks
Jenn Blosil – Jenn is my single pick from the Philadelphia auditions. At first, she seemed like a joke audition–all flighty and scatterbrained to the point it seemed like an act. But when this singer from Utah settled down to sing at the piano, I was seriously impressed with her ability to interpret a song. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons has been covered endlessly, but Jenn managed to deliver a fresh take on the song.
Thomas Stringfellow – Thomas, from the Little Rock auditions, is another quirky singer with serious ability to interpret a song in an interesting way. He covered “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran and changed it up enough, that Harry asked him why he changed the time signature. Delightfully, it was obvious Thomas had no idea what Harry was talking about. This is an artist who knows intuitively how to arrange a song.
Chris CJ Johnson – Another gem from the Little Rock auditions, Chris performed a warm and soulful version of “Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates. Chris has been a professional musician for more than a decade, and it showed in his effortless performance. I get the feeling he’ll know how to work that Idol stage.
Jordyn Simone – The judges were shocked to learn Jordyn was only 15 years old. She looks and sounds mature beyond her years. The singer, who auditioned in Denver, had some rough edges, but her performance of “Who’s Loving You,” was soulful, skillful and confident. I’m looking forward to hearing more.
Elvie Shane – Little Rock auditioner, Evie, had a backstory that included drugs and redemption via a wife and new family. But it was his ragged, rough hewn performance of “House of the Rising Sun” that really got my attention. The singer knows how to captivate a room with a performance.
Should NOT have gone through:
A major complaint about the judges: They tend to vote unanimously, and are unwilling to be the bad guy tie breaker. Take the case of Jake Dillon. A sweet young guy struggling to raise a young family. His dream is to make a living as an artist, but an unremarkable performance of “Danny’s Song” by Loggins and Messina made it clear he didn’t have the chops. Harry doled out the tough love and said no. Jlo said yes. Although Keith obviously knew better, he caved and said yes. Letting down a singer who is clearly not cut out for a career in music, is not cruel. It’s doing them a favor.
MAC’S Top 5 Picks
I think my picks last week were “surprising” to many. I had people asking me “Where’s LaPorscha?” “Where’s Olivia?” Well, here’s another shocker. I couldn’t pick five this week. I had to pick six. Three girls/three guys. Honorable Mentions: John Arthur Greene and Elvie Shane.
Chris CJ Johnson– I usually try to pick five more that MJ didn’t pick, to highlight “some others”, but I loved CJ. I can’t NOT pick him. His voice is smooth, perfect for the song he chose. He seems to have a lot of experience, which could help him in the live show. I look forward to hearing more of him.
Thomas Stringfellow– Another one I loved, and agree on this week. He also proved he’s contemporary with his song choice. I’m concerned that he had no idea what Harry was talking about with “doing it in 6”, and he might just be a good copycat that burns out early, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.
John Wayne Schulz– This guy probably should already be a professional country singer. He has a super accessible voice, nice tone, smooth quality. He’s not bad to look at. He has charisma. I realize they sacrificed him to Scotty McCreery a few years ago. It’d be nice to see this guy get a real shot at Top 24. I think America would easily put him into the top 10 if given the chance. I mean… look how long they supported Dexter Roberts.
Jordyn Simone– Yeah, another one we both loved this week. She’s got a lot of skill for her age. I don’t normally do that whole “you’re only FIFTEEN!” thing, but her voice really does sound more mature. It’s the sound that matters, and the sound that surprises me. She sings like someone much older. Her maturity could make her a contender this season. J Lo nailed it when she called out the special quality in her voice.
Gianna Isabella– Don’t punish the girl because her mom is famous. She’s talented. I think if she had walked in with zero backstory, people would have connected with her. I think the backlash is involved with this idea of “can’t her mom get her a record deal?” Look, her mom was famous in the 80’s. I doubt she still has enough connections to make that happen. Clearly, her daughter wants to be a singer like her mom, and maybe this is the only venue for her.
Jenn Blosil– Jenn has the most likely shot for following in the runner-up footsteps of Jena and Jax. I felt her artistry, I loved her quirky quality, and I loved her voice. I think she’s got a lot up her sleeve that she’s going to pull out every week. I bet she has a few “moments” ahead in Hollywood.
Should NOT have gone through:
James VIII– I actually thought it was awful. His voice was super throaty, a little affected, and his guitar playing wasn’t great either. I’m not really sure why he made it through. Was there an note on his form saying “America’s Got Talent” so they took a risk with him? I know sometimes we don’t see the whole thing. Sometimes contestants end up singing a few songs. But, based on what I was shown, I would have said no to James The Eighth.
Terrian Bass– Oddly enough, I didn’t feel like her version of Happy had enough energy. I kept thinking how this was nowhere near Majesty Rose’s version that helped solidify her position in the top 12. And even THAT wasn’t one of the best Idol performances of all time, nor was it her best performance. I wish Terrian had chosen a different song, because I likely would have said no to her. It showed me that she lacked what it takes to be a Top 24 contestant.
MJ: I kinda understood why they advanced James. He had some charisma. But man. OVERPRAISED. The woman who auditioned with him, Amber Lynn, was the real star of that duo. Terrian sang “Happy” as if she were anything but–I agree with your assessment. It has been frustrating overall to watch the judges go soft on so many hopefuls this season. I don’t know if there’s a “last season ever” syndrome dogging them. They can’t tell young singers, like Isaac Cole and Ethan Kuntz to come back in a few years when they are ready. But you know, there’s always The Voice. Tough love is…well it’s tough. Sometimes it must be done.
Also, no disagreements with your additional choices. Gianna and John Wayne would make my Top 10.
The last two American Idol audition episodes EVER air this week! Join our live blog at 8/7c on Wednesday Jan. 20 and Thursday Jan. 21.