American Idol Recap Live Blog Season 14 Premiere Pt2 VIDEO
Tonight American Idol opens with the judges talking about the KIDS while cuts of past American Idols are edited in. See Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Fantasia, Phillip Phillips, win stuff!
The judges chat backstage. “I’ve literally fallen on my ass on stage!” says Jlo. Remember that? The American Music Awards, 2009. “I got right back up.” says Jlo. That she did. Ha.
Andrew Annello – 22 – Springville AL – “Signed Sealed Delivered” by Stevie Wonder – Andrew isn’t nervous at all. He tells the camera that he has ADHD, which explains his apparent hyperactivity. He’s loud, and nearly bouncing off the walls. He’s a humble guy,” brags Andrew! Hm. Once in the audition room, Andrew goes even harder. The shouting and screaming begins immediately as he starts to sing. Andrew really needs to dial it back several notches. Not much of a voice there. Harry calls the performance “silly.” He wants 10 seconds of seriousness. Andrew sings a few bars of “My Girl.” It’s better. But I would not call this dude a great vocalist. Wow. Harry says yes. Keith says he wants to feel it. But says yes anyway. Jlo falls into line. Andrew’s mother enters the room to meet the judges. She’s nearly as hyper as her kid, which prompts snark from Harry after they leave the room. – 3 yeses
Loren Lott – 22 – San Diego CA – “Treasure” by Bruno Mars – “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston – Loren calls the panel “beautiful.” Michael Orland accompanies her on piano. Oh. There’s Harry cutting up while the hopeful is waiting to sing. Ugh. She’s an actress, which becomes apparent the moment she opens her mouth to sing. The performance is cutsey by half. She’s so busy pulling faces and hamming it up, that she leaves the vocals behind. Very sloppy delivery. Harry asks her to sing again, but as if she were just singing for herself. Loren immediately pulls a face which sends Keith into fits of giggles. The Whitney song belies a real lack of control. Keith says yes based on her “star quality” and “personality.” Keith and Harry argue a little bit over the importance of vocals. Harry didn’t think she brought it. He says no. Jlo hands her a golden ticket. Loren is through. Keith and Jlo say yes. Harry says no.
Trevor Douglas – 16 – Fort Worth TX – “Sing” by Ed Sheeran – Trevor is a street corner busker–mostly outside of concert venues. If show business doesn’t work out, Trevor wants to be the next Bill Nye. He loves science and math. Somehow, this is not a surprise. Not that I’m complaining! This kid is really engaging. His performance of “Sing” is musical and on point. THIS is a very difficult song to sing. He’s demonstrating skill on the acoustic guitar, and a boatload of confidence. Trevor has been singing since he was 7 or 8. Keith asks about his voice breaking. Puberty was terrible for Trevor, apparently. Jlo likes his geeky, quirky quality, and his falsetto. Harry compliments his confidence. Keith simply says “yes.” – 3 yeses
Piper Jones – 24 – Nashville TN – “Mama Knows Best” by Jesse J – Piper has a big ole voice. Jennifer thinks she’s a star. She’s got great range, and control over her voice. She gets 3 yeses.
Kelly Kime – 23 – Fairfax VA – “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 – Kelly is a single mom to an adorable daughter, Hope. The little one joins her in the audition room and sings first. She warbles through a rendition of “Let it Go” and it’s pretty precious. She remembers all of the words. The cute overload causes Jennifer to lose it. Little Hope squeals when Harry hands her a ticket. She sits on Jlo’s lap while mom sings “Sunday Morning.” Kelly is a pretty good singer. Nice tone and phrasing. It would have been embarrassing if she had sucked. After, Harry goofs on Hope calling mom at home from her hotel room at Hollywood. “Bubba” gets the news over the phone from Hope. “I was really good!” she chirps. – 3 yeses.
Cammie Lester – 15 – Sebring FL – “One and Only” by Adele – Sads. The segment begins with Cammie in the post audition interview room crying. We know she didn’t advance. Next we see why. She choked completely. She couldn’t find the note. Given the note several times, she just couldn’t find it. Obviously, she wasn’t ready. 3 nos.
We see 3 more hopefuls who are so excited and hopeful going into their auditions, but are ultimately rejected. This is kinda sad. Harry explains to the camera that they are looking for a superstar. Not everyone will make it. DREAMS CRUSHED.
Garrett Miles – 25 – Phenix City AL – “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival – Garrett was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia and has been blind since birth. The singer exudes calm and confidence. He explains not being able to see crowds helps with his nerves. He’s been singing since he was a little one. Garrett has a smooth voice embellished with a bit of grit. He sways and smiles as he sings. It’s nice to hear a version of “Proud Mary” that takes it’s cue from the original. Keith likes his style and originality. Garrett declares his love for Selena. He sings a little “Como La Flor” for Jennifer (she played the late singer in a biopic). And it’s beautiful. Perfect Spanish. Jennifer is completely charmed. Keith gets up out of his chair to hand Garrett a ticket. Harry thinks the competition will be intimidated by Garrett’s cool vibe.
We see a clip of Keith joining the house band at Tootsie’s, a local Nashville club. He talks about following his dream to Nashville. That’s a segue to another busker.
Clark Beckham – 22 – White House TN – “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” – Clark is the street busker. He plays the R&B classic, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Clark brings a measure of passion to his performance even if his vocal is on the soft side. Harry thinks he has a musician’s ear. Jlo liked his combination of grit and sweetness. Keith felt Clark needed to bring more urgency to his performance. I have to agree with Keith. It felt like he was holding back some. Keith and Jlo say yes. Harry surprisingly, says no.
Gina Venier – 24 – “Put the Gun Down” by ZZ Ward – Gina plays percussion while she sings, which include her “lucky egg” and a cahone. Her dad is a drummer, and was a big influence on her musicianship. She plays drums, too. Harry is impressed with her setup. She reminds me a little of K.T. Tunstall. Remember her? Gina has an interesting, funky vibe. Her vocals are solid. I wonder how she would do without the “gear?” She even admits she kind of hides behind it. I get the feeling she’s not very versatile. Nevertheless, she gets 3 yeses.
Alex Shier – 19 – Port Huron MI – “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran – Nice tone and phrasing from Alex. Oh, he auditioned last year and was rejected. He had longer hair. Jlo feels like he’s found himself in the past year. When he auditioned last year in Detroit, he admits he had never performed live before. He’s spent the past year on the road, honing his craft. Harry wonders how Alex will differentiate himself from the artists he covers. He’s not convinced. Alex promises to bring it next time. Harry doesn’t get that kind of thinking. The time is now. Keith really likes Alex’s voice. He says yes. Harry caves and says yes. 3 yeses.
Cody Fry – 24 – Northfield IL – “Over The Rainbow” – Cody’s dad is a jingle writer. He’s sung the kids parts on his dad’s ads. He describes himself as a musician to the core. Cody embarks on a very stylized rendition of “Over the Rainbow.” It’s kinda folky, kinda jazzy. He’s got an interesting tenor. Not a great voice–but an interesting one. When he held on to a high note, I held my breath, because he barely hit it. But still, Cody pulled off a compelling performance. He makes the most of what he has. Harry thinks the time is right for his folk vibe (The folk vibe is here, but we’re moving past it, Harry). Harry and Keith say yes. Jlo declares she was on the fence, but says yes anyway. 3 yeses.
Let’s take a twitter poll! How many signature t-shirts does Keith have on display at the Nashville music hall of fame? If you want to play…the answer is one.
Hector Montenegro – 24 – Palm Beach Fl – “Too Close” by Alex Clare – Master cosmetologist–he can’t stop staring at Jlo’s hair and makeup. He’s mesmerized! Harry jokes that Jlo has a hairstylist for each of her hairs. Hector fills the room with his big soulful voice. He’s a good singer. I wonder if he sings to his customers? He’s got a clear sweet tone, and doesn’t miss a note. Harry wonders about his presentation, clearly worried about casting duds who can sing. Jlo likes his innate coolness and some swagger. Keith likes his naturally beautiful voice. 3 yeses.
Aw. It’s another montage of crying, sobbing eliminated contestants.
Sarina-Joi Crowe – 19 – Columbia TN – “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic – Sarina explains that it’s her FOURTH audition. She thinks her past failure had to do with holding back her bubbly personality. Sarina has never gotten significant screen time in her past attempts. This audition has me wondering why. She’s a great singer. A GREAT singer. She has wonderful instincts and incredible phrasing. The judges don’t even ask for another song. They pass her to the next round. Harry marveled at how her runs were all in time. “She’s a great singer,” says Jlo. “It feels so good,” says Sarina, “They’re finally noticing me.” – 3 yeses.
Three hopefuls in short order are passed: Alison Peratikos – 19 – Beacon NY – “Cowboy Take Me Away” by Dixie Chicks, Jack Black – 26 – Murfreesboro TN – “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran – Jack is a beatboxer. We’ve seen that before! Steffi Ledbetter – 20 – Auburn AL – “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse – Harry doesn’t want to advance her. She seems very unformed. But he does anyway.
Savion Wright – 22 – Jasper TX – “Change the World” by Eric Clapton – Savion is back! He touches on the loss of his brother last year. Music has helped him heal. Now, after being cut last year right before the Top 30, he’s giving Idol another try. The singer has been writing, touring, playing shows. Bettering himself. Savion looks amazing. And holy crap! He sounds amazing! He’s got a lightness about him this time around. Maybe last year was too soon after his brother’s murder to do Idol. Instead of insisting on a self-penned composition, he’s proving himself with a cover. This is fantastic. A beautiful rendition of Clapton’s song. Jazzy, soulful with deft guitar accompaniment. Jlo notices his calm and confidence. All 3 say yes. He specifically asks for a critique. Harry suggests that he seek out a music teacher and learn every single chord in the song. Don’t skim over them, says Harry. – 3 yeses
NEXT The best of the bus auditions gather at Kansas City to audition for the judges.
Zach Kaltenbach – 22 – Lee’s Summit MO – “Grenade” by Bruno Mars – Zach is from the Kansas City area. He went to Season 7 winner, David Cook’s, high school. He has to ask Michael twice for his note. His audition is not impressive. Harry calls him a “cute guy” but felt it was a flat audition. Yeah. That was pretty lifeless. Plus, it was pretty pitchy. Inexplicably, Jennifer thinks he has star quality. Keith agrees that his vocals need work, but passes him anyway. Harry has no use for him, mentioning the way he botched the beginning (Michael was ROLLING his eyes.). Jlo and Keith say yes. Harry says no.
Naomi Tatsuoka – 24 – Portland OR – “Someone Like You” by Adele – Hm. Naomi is a bit much. Corny “Jennifer Lawrence” jokes and all. We know we’re in trouble when she gets on her knees to sing Adele. “This is how we do it on Tequila Tuesdays,” she says, whatever the hell that means. She closes her eyes and grabs her face as she sings. Harry is actually laughing. OVEREMOTING IS US. She’s crying and screaming the chorus. Uh. No? Jennifer thought she could have used the melody in a simple way. Keith likes her voice, likes that she taps into her emotion, but it was too much. Harry is impressed by her vocal ability. They all say yes. I don’t get it. 3 yeses.
Jhameel – 24 – Oakland CA – “Buy You a Drank” by T Pain – Jahmeel made the judges all a lovely origami animal. He explains his face paint. He’s super OCD. He needs everything around him to be symmetrical and it helps. Harry point out something that isn’t quite symmetrical. “My tick is going to come back!” Jhameel is smiling. But it’s probably true! Jennifer is appalled. “Right before his audition!” This audition is underwhelming, though. A decent enough voice, but a pretty generic presentation. Like a million flips you’ve ever seen on YouTube. The judges, however, are impressed and pass him. 3 yeses.
Jasmine Pinela – 24 – Castle Hill NY – Listen by Beyonce – She goes into her audition SO confident. But when she opens her mouth. Nope. The first couple of bars are OK. But eventually, she’s singing so off key, it hurts to listen. She’s completely out of tune and unable to hit the high notes. She begs to pass. It’s pretty apparent that she doesn’t have it. Jasmine blames it on her voice giving out. But girlfriend can’t sing in tune. – 3 nos.
Lovey James – 16 – Portland OR – “Break Free” by Arina Grande – She started out as a competitive dancer. We see her in a music video, so she obviously has some experience. As she explains why she uses a stage name, Keith and Harry chatter in the background. Lovey is no Ariana Grande, but she’s got a sweet vibe and loads of personality. With the right material, she has potential to be a pop star. Keith likes her originality. Harry and Keith jokingly keep asking about her name. Because they weren’t paying attention! Jlo loves her innocent fearlessness. She hasn’t been beaten down yet. 3 yeses.
Jess Lamb – 28 – Cincinnati OH – “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers – Speaking of which. Jess has been around for awhile, and she feels a little jaded. She approaches Idol like it’s her last chance. That’s a little sad. She accompanies herself on piano, and she’s a VERY good musician. She’s got a very soulful, original style. A little TOO stylized and shouty-she’s a better piano player than singer. Harry compliments her creativity. Harry is one of her Idols. She’s moved. Jlo says she was drawn into the performance. Keith says that if he were in a club and she were playing, he’d immediately pay attention. Jess asks Harry to play a little piano with her. He does. They do a little honky tonk thing at the keys. She gets a ticket. Harry jumps up with her like he got one too, mimicking an excited hopeful. They rush out of the room together. Oh Harry! 3 yeses