American Idol 2019 auditions CONCLUDE tonight (March 18) on ABC at 8 pm ET/PT. Featured on the panel are veteran R&B master, Lionel Richie, pop star Katy Perry and country singer Luke Bryan. Ryan Seacrest returns to host.
We’ve got a TON of Spoiler posts on the left side bar. Gonna link them here. NO SPOILER DISCUSSION ON THE LIVE BLOG. Keep spoiler talk under the spoilers posts. Giving stuff away will result in an instant banning.
When Does American Idol 2019 Start? Full Season 17 Schedule
American Idol 2019 Spoilers: Top 14 Contestant List
American Idol 2019 Spoilers: Top 20 Solo and Celebrity Song Choices
American Idol 2019 Spoilers: Top 40 Showcase Round Contestant List with Songs
The show opens in Denver at the Aerospace museum. There’s a bit with Katy strutting into an airport hanger. Katy is proud to be a part of a team that searches the country for talent. “We don’t just set up shop in Los Angeles,” Katy sniffs, an obvious dig at that singing show on another network.
Jade Flores – 22 – Waxahachie TX – Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter – Jade is super super super excited to meet Katy. They both pierced their own noses at 13. Which can only mean that they are spiritual BFFs! She wants to be a country artist and has chosen to sing her fiance’s favorite song. His name is Jonah and “he’s a dreamboat!” she says. Her previous boyfriend attacked her weight. But Jonah loves her the way she is. And he supports her music. The song is about losing one’s virginity. Not sure what that says about the fiance! After her manic chat with the judges, Jade manges to settle down to sing. And it turns out she’s actually got a credible country voice. Luke says “You’re a very very good singer.” Lionel felt she was also very entertaining. ETA: Jade’s audition was mostly silly. But she actually has a sob story. She was in a serious car crash that nearly killed her. Two good samaritans saved her life. Read more about it HERE. – 3 yeses
Next, it’s a segment featuring Luke asking “where the hell” the hopefuls’ hometowns are.
Jakob O’Brien – 18 – Alva, OK – He’s wearing the American flag, and goes on and on about how he loves America and wants to honor the troops and blah blah blah. I expect him to yell MAGA! any minute now. He’s singing an original song which is all about–you guessed it–America. “I love my country. I don’t love everything that’s going on, but I stand by and support her.” Katy agrees wholeheartedly. Something tells me these two are not operating from the same page. Oh. The song is called “‘Murica.” Without the A, of course. Both the song and his voice are terrible. They let him finish the song, and it’s interminable. Someone put him out of his misery, please. Lionel says that vocally, he won’t be able to keep up. Luke advises that he keep writing songs that speak from his heart. Luke says yes (because he wants to sign his guitar) Katy and Lionel say No. – Oh man, he’s got a whole group with him wearing American flag shorts and “My American Idol” t-shirts. Sads.
We’re in New York City! We see a clip of the judges visiting Live with Kelly and Ryan on Halloween (costumes included!)
Christiaan Padavan – 19 – Hampton Bays, NY – Vienna by Billy Joel – Christian jokes about being from The Hamptons. His girlfriend is with him. She sings too, but is shy. His voice sounds kind of Michael Buble-ish, but even more old fashioned. He’s half way between crooning and 70’s pop. Not bad, but dated. Katy urges him to bring in the singing girlfriend. She keeps saying “I don’t want to sing!” So leave her alone, geez. After they give him 3 yeses, the two warble a cover of Britney Spears “Toxic.” I’m not going to be mean. I’ll just say girlfriend was super nervous. Katy asks him to sing “New York New York” and he proceeds to ham it up. Corny. – 3 yeses
Ryan Hammond – 25 – Modesto CA – Lay Me Down by Sam Smith – He was raised in church where his dad was pastor. Katy asks if his dad is Mark Hammond. It is. Turns out her minister parents know him. He recently lost 170 pounds. He lost it pretty quick, too. The weight was affecting his voice, so he had weight loss surgery. But he had complications and nearly died. A surgeon opened him up and found that a hole in his stomach that was leaking bile into his system. Can you say LAWSUIT? Damn. He lost 150 lbs in 6 months (!!!). Now it’s time for the plastic surgeon, I’m sure. He’s got a raspy tone and big range. I can imagine him in church bringing the house down. His runs need work. They could flow better, and there are pitch problems. But overall, he’s talented. Lionel felt he made the song his own. Luke joked, “I thought you were going to burn up a clutch.” He noted the pitch problems but feels he sold the song. Katy thinks song selection will be important. And she notes that his staccato runs need work. Ryan’s entire family is waiting for him. Mark is pretty psyched to learn Katy knows who he is. – 3 yeses
Now, a montage of Lionel imparting his “wisdom.” He drops names like crazy! One kid comes by with a 45 of his favorite song to sign!
We’re in St. Louis, people.
Chloe Channell – 16 – Pace, FL – Stupid Boy by Keith Urban – 90s country stary, Billy Dean is on had to play guitar for Chloe’s audition. He’s a mentor to her. “He calls me a musical sister,” she says. Luke runs off all of his credits. Lots of number ones. Kenny Rogers introduced him to Chloe. Lionel explains how Kenny was instrumental to his solo career (He wrote “Lady” for Lionel). She reminds me a little of The Voice’s Danielle Bradbery. Chloe has that same clear as a bell tone, and perfect intonation. She’s got some range in her chest voice too. “Your sound right now is so confident,” says Lionel. Katy calls it “brilliant.” Lionel thought her voice was a little small at first, before she eventually opened up. Katy advises her to sing like she’s hanging out with her girlfriends at Sonic. Luke, Lionel and Billy sing together for a bit. – 3 yeses
Emma Kleinberg – 21 – Bel Air, MD – American Privilege by Allen Stone – She’s been singing “forever.” Her parents are musical too. Her brother went through a tough year. They auditioned together for American Idol years ago. After college, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and tried to kill himself. “This was the phone call that brought me to my knees,” says Dad. The attempt resulted in a brain injury, which has left him physically and mentally impaired. Tough stuff. She’s got a strong, throaty tone. But she’s having some pitch problems, especially on the verse, where she gets lost in the melody. She needs to dial it back a bit. She’s all over the place. With some work, she’d be a great vocalist. Katy calls her “the best we’ve heard today.” Luke felt she couldn’t have showcased herself any better. Lionel felt her confidence. Hm. “Soulful meets beachy,” is how she describes her sound – 3 yeses
Zebulon Spencer – 27 – Dudley Shoals, NC – Porch Swing Angel by Muscadine Bloodline – He’s a dancer–clogged for almost 12 years. He demonstrates, of course, while Luke plays guitar. He was a state champion flat footer in 07-08! He’s got a super-twangy country thing going. His voice is strong and soulful, but also a little generic. He sounds like a million twangy country dudes who sing night after night in anybar USA. Luke thinks he’s “this close” to being absolutely incredible. “You have everything country…and country soul that doesn’t sound forced.” He calls him his favorite country voice he’s seen so far. Katy saw glimpses of grit that she wants to see more of. His family, including kiddos, are waiting outside to celebrate with him. – 3 yeses
Jorgie – 23 – Los Angeles, CA – Heaven (Original) – He was born in Israel in a very conservative family. It was hard being gay in that environment. His parents were always giving him tips on how to be more masculine. So, he moved to Los Angeles. There, he learned to be comfortable in his skin. Oh. His parents are learning JUST NOW that he’s gay. SURPRISE FAM! He brought his band along–a violin player and pianist. They call themselves “Jorgie and the Jorgies.” or. He demonstrates his Katy impression. Ha. It’s not bad. He confesses that “I Kissed a Girl” helped him come out. Between the flamboyant presentation and silly band name, I didn’t know what to expect. But Jorgie is really good! His pretty tenor is full of expression. The song, about an unrequited crush, is rather moving. He performs a few runs in his upper register that are beautiful. The judges are pretty much “We thought you were going to be a joke!” Ha. Same – 3 yeses
Oh. So on this last night of auditions, each of the judges gets a little segment. Luke and his dad jokes are next.
Nick Merico – 22 – Miami, FL – Back to Black by Amy Winehouse – Luke calls Nick “Hunkasauras.” He won American Idol experience at 14. But puberty ruined his voice for a few years, and he never auditioned. Oh. This guy is an actor and already famous. He did four seasons on a Nickelodeon show called Every Which Way. His first love, however is music! He wants to be taken seriously. He accompanies himself on piano with a breathy, lightweight pop voice. I have two words of advice for Nick. Boy Band! His angsty singing comes with a side of puppy dog eyes. The girls will love him. Katy is flirting of course. “I’m having an open mic at my house.” KATY! Remember Orlando! Lionel basically calls him a heartthrob. Katy says straight up there might be singers who are better, and advises him to work on his talent. – 3 yeses
We’re in Los Angeles
Lady Mapo – 20 – Omaha, NE – Joke contestant dead ahead. She doesn’t know Katy’s songs, except for “Bad Romance.” Hm. She felt last year was boring. “Too American.” OH DEAR LORD THE GREATEST TROLL EVER HAS JUST OCCURRED. I AM FREAKING OUT. Lady Mapo pulls off her wig and the hair underneath is blond. IT’S AMERICAN IDOL WINNER MADDIE POPPE. I AM FREAKING OUT! No joke. I thought it was a dude in drag. Maddie is BRILLIANT. Kudos for that A+ prank. “I was about to make a run for the door,” says Lionel. Wait! It’s time for her to sing. She’s not going to sing? Boo. Heh.
Next, it’s time for a montage of a few season 16 Idols who drop in for a visit, including Dennis Lorenzo, Catie Turner and Noah Davis. We don’t see it, but Dennis’ babysitter auditioned, and he was there to support her! Caleb Lee Hutchinson drops by to “audition” again. He’s plans to sing “Going Going Gone.” He’s just kidding! He’s there as support for an auditioning friend:
Jared Sanders – 20 – Bremen, GA – The Fireman by George Strait – Caleb sits with the judges while his friend auditions. He’s a fireman who enjoys helping helping his community. He met Caleb at 10 years old. They’ve been singing together ever since. Caleb’s presence at the audition was a surprise for Jared. He swears to the judges that fame hasn’t gone to Caleb’s head. As far as his singing is concerned–Jared is no Caleb Lee Hutchinson. Heh. He’s a little nasally, for my tastes. But that’s a country thing, isn’t it? Also, the performance felt rushed. Jared needs to slow down and feel what he’s singing. Caleb leaves the room before the judges deliver their verdict. Good thing too, because they reject him. “I love the twang in your thang,” says Lionel. “I’m not blown away by your voice, but I am blown away by your potential and your character,” says Luke. Katy wanted him to dig in a little bit. Lionel reminds Katy and Luke that they rolled the dice on Caleb, and it paid off. – Lionel says Yes but Katy and Luke say No – Afterward, Caleb reminds Jared that he has a lot to be proud of. “I believe in you,” he says.
Jackson Gillies – 19 – Santa Barbara, CA – Make it Rain by Foy Vance – Jackson is the last audition in Los Angeles. He met Katy a few years ago at a music festival. He as the photo to prove it. He suffers from a severe auto-inflammatory skin disease called HS. His family moved from Florida to Santa Barbara in order to treat his condition. He’s also been diabetic sing age 3. At 14 he formed abscesses on his leg and it wasn’t diabetes. The chronic abscesses leave huge red scars. Music got him through it. And it seems like his life experience has informed his art. Jackson sings the blues with a strong, raspy vocal that is both evocative and very passionate. “I’m very happy for you, very amazed,” says Luke. Lionel admires his positive approach to life. Katy feels a bond with him and it’s more than them sharing a hometown. She advises him to dig in every time. – 3 yeses.
And now…it’s on to Hollywood Week! The preview features the usual tears and an ambulance! Uh oh.