American Idol 2016 Auditions No 4 Recap VIDEOS
Tonight, the American Idol auditions head back to Little Rock and Denver. That means–keep your eyes out for Kris Allen and Taylor Hicks, respectively!
We’re back on tonight for a 2 hour show. Lets hope judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr bring us some awesome talent.
The episode opens with various folks sharing about their favorite Idol moments. Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson were some of the favorites namechecked. WELCOME TO DENVER says host Ryan Seacrest.
Amber Lynn and James VIII – James came along to support Amber. She insisted he audition too. Well, girlfriend. That was dumb. You just set yourself up for an Idol arc that will probably not work out in your favor. James insists that the two are just buds! He also insists he’s primarily a musician, not a singer. His full name is James Gray Dawson the VIII. It goes back to the Revolution. Amber sings “Unaware” by Allen Stone. James plays guitar. She’s got a tasty voice. Nice tone, passionate. A little shrill on the top notes, but her phrasing is beautiful. Harry notes her talent, but feels James’ guitar playing was rushed. A lecture commences. She has a lot of soul, and sings from a place down deep, says Jlo. Keith appreciates the way she lost herself in the music. James sang “Sun Comes Up” by John Legend. He’s got a bluesy sound, a little affected, though. That performance didn’t feel organic. Harry thought there were some interesting things about him. He notes his voice is affected, but it’s OK. Jlo agrees, she liked his affectations, calling his singing “super cool.” Keith likes his “groove.” 3 yeses for both singers. Click to Watch Amber Lynn and James Audition VIDEO ETA: James was in a band that auditioned for America’s Got Talent last summer. They were cut before the live shows.
Emily Wears – Bring on the Rain by Jo Dee Messina – She’s a professional auctioneer. This is about to get obnoxious. She auctions off a watch in the holding room to demonstrate. Yep. Super annoying! She grew up in the business, and then went to “auction school.” That’s a thing! She teaches a “tongue twister” to the judges. PLEASE STOP. Unfortunately, she might want to stick to auctioneering. Her vocal delivery lacks charisma and emotion. A very bland performance. There were some pitchy moments too. Harry thinks she needs some work. Keith liked her personality, but the pitch was drifting. Jlo also didn’t find her compelling. 3 nos. – Click to Watch Emily’s Audition VIDEO
Chris CJ Johnson – “Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oats – He’s been a professional musician for almost 11 years. He loves it, but he’s been struggling on his own. He lives in Memphis and calls it a hustle. He wants to show the world he has what it takes. He performs a warm, soulful version of Hall and Oats “You Make My Dreams Come True.” That was kind of awesome. A smart and unusual song flip. Keith remarks on his effortless confidence. He loves “Road Warriors.” Jlo says he brought the song to life. Harry calls his rendition a “really nice version.” 3 yesses – Click to Watch CJ’s Audition VIDEO
Ethan Kuntz – Stormy Monday by the Allman Brothers – At the tables during cattle call, Kris Allen gives Ethan kudos for coming out at 15. He’s from Nashville, Arkansas. His family owns an American Foxhound kennel. The dogs are his buds! He’s the lead guitarist in a blues band. “Blues and southern rock are my genres,” he declares, confidently. Knowing that is half the battle, and impressive at such a young age. The vocals. He sounds. So. Young. I’ll bet his voice is still changing. He’s still at the imitative stage. A couple of years to find his own sound would do him good. BUT he’s got a really effortless growl and he sings assuredly and with passion. What to do? I’d say no, to be honest. Harry is sure that music is his thing. But maybe he’s too young. He wonders if he’s ready. Jennifer disagrees. She feels he’s an artist. He’ll find his way around challenges. Keith is in the middle and TORN. And that’s the cue to go to break…back from break…Keith relents and says yes. Of course, because there has yet to be a heartbreaking no vote among these three. Harry says no Jlo says yes. Keith says Yes Kid seems to have a good head on his shoulders, though. I think he’ll hack it emotionally, at least. – Click to Watch Ethan’s Audition VIDEO
Kris DOES NOT LIKE TO BE CALLED SIR at the tables. Noted.
Mary Williams – Until I can Make it on My Own by Tammy Wynette – She LOVES horses. She trains them. She also loves music. Maybe a little more. She’s married and lives on a ranch. She won a world championship riding a foxtrotting mule. Well, OK then. She’s joking with Harry and holding her own–an amusing storyteller. She sings with a clear, sweet voice. Harry and Keith aren’t feeling it, but I’m siding with Jlo. She expresses emotion a little differently than Tammy did, but I thought she connected. Jlo calls her voice pretty, the performance gave her goosies. But Keith felt it fell short of Tammy, and she failed to connect to the song. Harry thought the song delivery was clinical, but he liked her vocal. Interesting. Harry and Jlo say yes Keith says no. Keith explains further: Her voice was pretty, but her phrasing was flat and unexpressive. He’s so adamantly against her as a performer. Maybe he just loves the original too much. Been there, got the receipts. Click to Watch Mary’s Audition VIDEO
Ryan brings some oxygen canisters into the audition room. That high altitude in Denver will kill you!
Xavier Soller – Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks – He’s the warm up guy and host for the Denver Nuggets. He has the judges play a hoops competition, before he sings. American Idol Hot shot! They throw little basketballs from behind their desk into a hoop on the seal. JLO SINKS A SHOT! WHOOO. Keith misses. Wha wha. She wins a lunch with Xavier. Heh. The singing isn’t as fun as his personna, unfortunately. He bellows the song, horribly off tune. It’s 3 nos. – Click to Watch Xavier’s Audition VIDEO
Back to Little Rock
Terrian Bass – Happy by Pharrell Williams – She lives amid gunshots and blight in Memphis. I appreciate that the singer strives to lift others up. She seems like a really sweet woman, working to spread a positive message. But this performance is off key and lacks energy. Dullsville. I’m looking for performances that capture my attention. Jlo likes her mellow style. Harry thought she got lucky on one of her particularly well-sung moments, but he likes her voice. Hm. If she was supposed to be Happy, the presentation could have used a little more verve. 3 yesses. – Click to Watch Terrian Bass’ Audition VIDEO
Blue – She’s been singing all of her life, writing songs while sitting in trees. She pens songs about folks she meets. She’s been doing that as she travels around the world. She calls herself a “singing nomad” travelling for the last 3 years. She camps outside. Jlo says she couldn’t do it. “You could build a shelter out of all of your assistants,” Harry quips. Jlo laughs. Blue sings a song, using one word offered up by each of the judges, Family, Love and Music, respectively. Blue is colorfully and quirkily dressed, her little party trick was amusing. But headed to Idol? Naw. The judges don’t think Idol is for her, nor a career in music. They all say no. She’s disappointed. – 3 nos – Click to Watch Blue’s Audition VIDEO
Now for a montage of NOS. Ruben, Kris and Clay suffer through more horrible auditions at the tables. Next, it’s a stream of disappointed and slightly pissed off rejects.
Thomas Stringfellow – “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran – We’ve got another dewey faced youngun here. His family hosts foster kids–he’s representing for all of them. OK. I’m intrigued. Attention grabbed. Thomas has a quirky little catch in his voice and sings like he means it. It’s a passionate, musical performance. He reminds me a little of Alex Preston from season 13. Fans are going to either like his voice, or hate it. I like. Harry wonders why he’s doing the song in 6 time. Thomas begins to apologize. I’m not sure he understands what he did musically there, actually. Harry doesn’t care. He likes it. Keith appreciates that he’s doing it his own way. Jlo finds his voice “pleasant to the ear.” The thing that’s fascinating about Thomas. He’s obviously not a trained musician, but he’s got a feel for music. I’ll bet he does a lot of crazy tunings on his guitar as he follows his muse. Sometimes, a rigid musical education can actually be a hindrance to creativity. 3 yeses – Click to Watch Thomas’ Audition VIDEO ETA: Thomas is cousin to The Voice season 4 winner, Danielle Bradbery.
HA HA. Keith was busking in Denver. People were putting money in the case. But when he went to look, it was all gone. Hardy har har. There’s cash coming out of Harry’s pockets as he walks away.
Tywan Tank Jackson – Superstar by Luther Vandross – His mom gave him his nickname. He’s a dance teacher. OK. I would not have guessed that. He developed his own exercise class “Tankercise.” He used to weigh 400 lbs. He leads the holding room in a little routine. Another singer with his own mini boom box. He puts on a dance show for the judges, to a little Jlo joint. Tank has a nice tone, but his phrasing is so boring and he has no vibrato. He’s also singing flat. One of Jlo’s favorites. WHAT? Harry thinks the sing/dance combo is powerful for the show. Uhm. No? It never is on Idol. Nobody cares about dancing. It generally takes away from the vocals and gets singers voted off. Yeesh. Tank was out of breath and sang with zero finesse. They need to slap some Ruben Studdard on the stereo and listen for a spell. 3 yesses – Click to Watch Tywan’s Audition VIDEO
John Wayne Schulz – The Dance by Garth Brooks – When John walks into the room, Harry calls him a “big handsome cowboy.” Jlo remembers him from season 10. It came down to him and Scotty McCreery in Hollywood before the Top 24, and we all know what happened to Scotty–he went on to win season 10. In the end, John was happy to be home. His mom was sick with cancer and passed away a few months later. He wants to give Idol another shot before it’s all over. Of course, he’s doing it all for his late mother. This is a sweet return story. He sings the song like a guy who’s been through some heartache, which obviously he has. He’s got an easy vocal delivery and a lovely country twang. And a cowboy hat. Keith liked that his rendition wasn’t a Garth impression. Jlo really enjoyed listening to him. Harry calls John’s audition a “succinct” performance. 3 yesses – Click to Watch John’s Audition VIDEO
Leah Harbert – Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin – Britney Spears taught her to sing. And Britney is way better. Why did they let this girl through exactly? She’s your garden variety terrible singer that should have been dispatched at the tables with the rest. “Could you stop it please?” asks Jlo. Keith, in a deadpan voice, remarks she does an extraordinary job of hiding her Britney Spears impression. Harry suggests she take voice lessons to solve some unanswered questions. Then, they mock her when she leaves the room. Ugh. – 3 nos – Click to Watch Leah’s Audition VIDEO
Tori Kelly, Chris Daughtry auditioned in Denver. OH. They are showing a clip of Tori getting cut in season 9! “Maybe she wasn’t quite ready at age 16 says Ryan. BITCH PLEASE. Just admit ya’ll f*cked up. Tori is a segue to all the newbies who have been influenced by her.
Jordyn Simone – Who’s Loving You by the Jackson 5 – The judges cannot believe Jordan is only 15. Indeed, the singer does look older and wiser. Her voice is mature too. Soulful, skillful adlibs. She reminds me a little of Tina Turner. She’s got a few rough edges, but makes up for it with loads of confidence. If she’s this good at 15. Well, there’s no telling what can happen. “She don’t sing 15 either!” declares Jlo, calling her to the table to take a closer look. She’s not a piece of meat, there Jen! Keith calls her a phenomenon. Harry feels she has a variety of skills. Jlo senses something different, special there. 3 yesses. – Click to Watch Jordyn’s Audition VIDEO
Kassy Levels, Rhea Raj, are quick little edits. Both are through. – Click to Watch Kassy and Rhea’s Audition VIDEO
Jake Dillon – Danny’s Song by Loggins and Messina – Got married at 18. He has two kids. A plumbers apprentice. He works at church on the weekends. His life sounds like a tough slog. Dreams of a music career must help. When Harry asks “what do you got” he answers thinking it was a question about his family. This dude seems to have more responsibility than he can handle. Sadly for him, the performance is unremarkable. Keith asks him to play some chords. He was missing a few. Harry and Jlo thought it was good. But not good enough. “We’re looking for spectacular.” I suppose they are letting him down gently. This is his dream, but a career in performance isn’t for him. The charisma just is not there. Harry says no. Jlo says yes. Keith caves and says yes. OY. Tough love people. C’mon. Do it. Harry says no, Keith and Jlo say yes – Click to watch Jake’s Audition VIDEO
Ashley Lilinoe – Black Velvet by Alannah Myles – She’s from Hawaii. “I’m infinite! I’ve been around the sun 20 times.” This gal gives new meaning to the phrase “laid back.” She sings with a slow drawl, which gives her a chance to do some interesting things, vocally. But she could have done more. She needs to work on adding more color to her phrasing. Harry doesn’t think she fits in anywhere. But that’s good, he says. Jlo wanted a bit more from her. She says no. Keith likes her. “I’ve always had the golden ticket of life, now it materializes in physical form,” Ashley philosophizes afterward. Wow. – Jlo says no, Harry and Keith says yes. – Click to Watch Ashley’s Audition VIDEO
Andrew Nazarbekian – Make You Feel My Love by Adele (YES I KNOW BOB DYLAN WROTE IT)- He was born in the US, but his family moved to Russia. Isn’t that immigration backward? He’s been watching American Idol since he was a kid. Andrew has an interesting voice. It’s quite beautiful, actually, but some of his musical choices are odd. I can’t decide whether I liked that or not. Jlo calls his voice naturally beautiful. Harry and Keith judges agree. 3 yesses – Click to Watch Andrew’s Audition VIDEO
Elvie Shane – House of the Rising Sun – He got hooked on drugs as a teen, which led to an arrest. The experience opened his eyes. Soon, he met his wife, and his life turned around. (Bet he found God too.) He’s raising his wife’s fatherless son. Dude is good. He has an effortless, soulful rhythm. This song is so oversung on Idol, but I really appreciate this rendition. It’s ragged, rough hewn quality is compelling. Harry likes his music first attitude, even if the technical aspects aren’t always there. Jlo thinks he has a spectacular voice. The family enters the audition room to celebrate his golden ticket, introductions and congratulations abound. Lee Dewyze’s Silver Lining plays. – 3 yeses. – Click to Watch Elvie’s Audition VIDEO
Idol is saving the best and CRAZIEST auditions for last. Next week we put Idol auditions to bed forever. The show has really come back to the joke contestants, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. But then, I never liked them much in the old days, either.