American Idol 2021 Recap Auditions 2 Live Blog
American Idol 2021 continues tonight with Auditions part 2. Who will get a coveted golden ticket to Hollywood? Who will be sent home! We’re live blogging all the performances here.
Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan return, along with host Ryan Seacrest. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is the rule in the studio! Additionally, instead of auditioning hopefuls across the country, the crew taped episodes in three California locations, including Los Angeles, San Diego and Ojai.
Amanda Mena – Golden Slumbers by The Beatles – 18 – Boston MA – Horse Handler – Amanda opens the episode, without really delving into her backstory. As a kiddo, Amanda competed on America’s Got Talent season 13. She has grown up QUITE A BIT since then. She has a gorgeous tone and lovely phrasing, and is officially FULLY BAKED. She knows how to deliver emotion. The judges give her 3 enthusiastic yeses.
Liahona Olayan and Ammon Olayan 16 & 17 – Wahiawa HI -Listen to My Heart (Original Song) – American Idol previewed this brother and sister duo’s audition on Youtube. Click to watch. They sing an original song together, but they will, of course, compete against each other. The duo and their huge family moved to Hawaii to get closer to their roots. They lived in a tent! They duet on a song they wrote together, and it quickly becomes clear that Liahona is the sparkler of this duo. She has tons of personality and a very pop-friendly voice. Ammon is…well his harmonies are nice? Both Katy and Luke note that Liahona is the standout. Luke loves the duo’s “savantness” I don’t think that’s a word! Katy thinks Liahona is ready to be signed. Maybe he’s the better songwriter and can serve as Finneas to her Billie Eilish? In any case, it’s interesting that they didn’t go for AGT or The Voice, where they could audition as a duo. Or maybe they did? Also, the two also performed solo songs in front of the judges that didn’t air. – 3 yeses.
The judges are in Ojai and KATY LOVES IT of course. Just noticing that the green room is outside where the artists can have plenty of room to social distance.
Anthony Guzman – Cry Me A River – 27 – Warehouse Worker – He calls himself a “modern Viking.” He gets the judges to shout Scandinavian greetings. JOKE CONTESTANT? Not so fast. When he finally performs, he croons the standard “Cry Me A River” like a normal person. Why the gimmick, though? He’s not a standout singer, but he’s decent. Nice tone. Katy is on her feat snapping her fingers. Lionel and Katy say yes, Luke says no. The gimmick sort of backfired on him, I think. If he came in wearing a suit, Luke might have said yes.
Hannah Everhart – Wayfaring Stranger by Johnny Cash/At Last by Etta James – 17 – Canton Mississippi – Idol previewed this audition a few days ago. Click to watch it. Hannah’s big shtick is that she looks like Katy Perry. I don’t see the resemblance exactly. Her first song is pretty boring. Not a great song choice. She’s not even looking at the judges. MORE ENERGY Katy commands. Oof. She’s flat. Luke thinks she needs to go 100%. She admitted that she played it safe with the song choice. She sings her second audition choice, At Last by Etta James. It’s a better pick, giving her an opportunity to show off her range and phrasing. Luke thinks she’s “very close” to being an amazing singer. Katy thinks she has an attitude problem “and I like it.” She warns her not to play it safe. Lionel warns her of the competition. She better take it seriously. 3 yeses. I’m not seeing what the judges are seeing. She’s a decent singer, but just OK?
Calvin Upshaw – Falling Out of Love by Calvin Richardson – 26 – Marks, MS – Printer Line Manager – He comes from a struggling community. At one point, he was incarcerated. He prayed to God to lead him down the right path, to raise his son right. He already seems like an old man. He’s got raw talent. But he’s obviously not a professional. He reminds me of last year’s Alabama garbage man. Calvin REALLY REALLY has pitch problems. He needs vocal training stat. Lionel calls the vocal crack a “feeling crack.” At which point, Calvin begins to cry. Lionel calls him brave. 3 yeses. These yesses are pure backstory. In any case, hopefully he can make his life better. It’s obvious from his video package that Calvin has lived a very hard life.
Casey Bishop – Live Wire by Motley Crue/My Funny Valentine – 15 – Estero FL – High School Student. She explains that because she’s from a small town, she has no performing experience. Casey describes singing in her bathroom, using a hairbrush as a microphone. She loves rock music and blues. She sings a metal song by Motley Crue, but lends it a bluesy sound, rather than embellishing with rock screams. She has a very impressive range. But at 15, she’s still a little green. Katy wants to hear another song. She sings the standard “My Funny Valentine.” It’s pretty good! I would call her a blues singer, really. She’s got a lot to work with. She’s Janis Joplin, without the whiskey and cigarette voice. Luke compares her to Alejandro Aranda as far as his reaction. He calls her Top 10. “I think she’s the damn winner,” he adds – 3 yeses
Yurisbel – Fireball by Pitbull – 25 – Miami FL – A Cuban immigrant, he’s an entrepreneur and performer. He runs a club, or something. Out of the gate, he comes off like a joke performer. He tells the judges that he wants to be a Latin star like Pitbull. His grandma in Cuba is a singer. “She’s not dead.” OK then. After Luke and Yurisbel goof around for a bit, Katy notes that they look alike. He finally sings. Yeah, he’s pretty much a joke. He can barely carry a tune. But he’s so terrible, he’s kind of funny. Katy says no. It was fun, but no. She reminds him of a Latin Cookie Monster. OMG Lionel and Luke says yes. Lionel says they need him in the competition.I guess to bring the levity, for a minute. “He’ll be a breath of fresh air,” he says. YIKES. – Katy no, Luke and Lionel yes.
Talking Heads cleared for background music. “Road to Nowhere” as background for a contestant montage of singers and their various hometowns.
Chayce Beckham – What Brings Life Also Kills by Kolton Moore and the Clever Few – 24 – Apple Valley CA – Heavy Machinery Operator – Luke can’t believe there are no apples in Apple Valley. It’s actually desert. Currently Chayce works construction. He actually likes it. His family pushed him to audition. In the past year, Chayce’s whole life flipped upside down. He had a drinking problem, and moved back in with his parents. Music helped him get out of a dark place. His song choice helped him get through a tough year. Chayce has a raspy voice, and a folky style. He’s very good, but needs just an extra something to be more than just another guy strumming a guitar. He plays reggae with a band, but writes his own songs that aren’t reggae. Lionel calls him believable. “You’re first note had me,” said Luke. Luke and Katy warn him to keep them rapt through the entire performance. Katy calls him “Top 5” – 3 yeses
Ace Stiles – Addicted (original song) – 16 – Tulsa OK – High School Student – Ace sings an original song on a colorful ukulele. His voice is very distinct. But he still needs a few years to develop. He tells Katy that he’s Trans. He can’t change his name to Ace until her turns 18. His mother talks about how Ace became depressed. At 14 he knew he was a boy. His mom has been extremely supportive. At school, he was in the school play and forced to change clothes in a closet. Katy assures Ace that it will “get better and better and better.” Luke is impressed by his smart songwriting, but doesn’t think he’s ready for American Idol. OHHH COMMERCIAL BREAK. Drama. Katy likes his vintagy, quirky voice. – 2 nos Lionel says yes so he understands they believe in him. The judges are right. He’s not quite ready yet. He needs to work on his vocals. He’s crying as he leaves. Aw.
That introduces the judges talking about all the nos they endured breaking into the music business. Katy says in order for an artist succeed, they must be able to take rejection.
Cassandra Coleman – The Way it Was by The Killers/Apologize by OneRepublic – 24 – Columbia TN – Cassandra describes being terrified of failure. She’s hoping American Idol helps her conquer her fears. Luke has a farm in Columbia. Right off the bat, I like this singer. She’s not perfect, but there is something about her trembly tone that gets my attention. Yes, she seems nervous. But she’s also an emotional singer, and it all works. “Was that OK,” she asks tentatively when she’s done. Katy pulls a Simon Cowell: “I didn’t like it I LOVED IT. Cassandra admits she’s too scared to sing in front of people. Lionel asks her to play a song on the piano. She sings Apologize. She’s shaky, but STILL REALLY GOOD. Luke calls her a “new voice the world has never heard.” – 3 yeses
Willie Spence – Diamonds by Rihanna – 21 – Douglas GA – Caretaker – Willie and Luke talk about growing up in small town Georgia. Bonding. Willie becomes very emotional talking about singing. He can’t see himself doing anything else. He recently had a health scare. Chest pains sent him to the doctor. They found fluid in his lungs. Willie weighed 600 pounds at the time. He’s lost 200 pounds with diet and exercise. His backstory here is about weight loss. But not mentioned is how a video of Willie singing “Diamonds” with his schoolmates went viral several years ago. Willie has a very strong voice. He could employ dynamics better, and had some pitch problems, but he’s a powerhouse. After his performance, the judges RAVE. “I didn’t want it to end,” says Luke. Willie wants to share his gift, maybe win a Grammy eventually. “You just brought an artist to the table,” says Lionel. He had chills on the first note. Hm. I wouldn’t got that far. 3 yeses