American Idol Recap Season 14 Premiere Nashville Auditions
American Idol 14 is HERE! I’ll be live blogging tonight’s 1 hour premiere, featuring the Nashville auditions! As always…watch for videos of EVERY performance.
I shared many of my thoughts about tonight and tomorrow’s episodes here:
I will reiterate that if you weren’t impressed with tonight’s talent–tune in tomorrow. The good stuff is coming! I’m not sure the logic behind crafting a relatively weak episode for opening night. As Idol premieres go, tonight was pretty meh.
The episode begins with the teaser that reveals the Top 24 in shadow. Your casual Idol viewer may find the voices intriguing. I think it’s a smart idea.
OHHHHHH This BRAND NEW OPENING was not part of the screener!
Ryan’s voice over informs us that we’ll be visiting ALL the judges’ “hometowns.” First up? Keith Urban’s adopted home, Nashville. Keith tools to the auditions in a big ass truck (FORD PRODUCT PLACEMENT) picking up Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. along the way.
Riley Bria – 17 – Springhill TN – “Georgia Woods” by Keith Urban – This singer is a huge Keith Urban fan. He played with Keith at an awards show, via a Grammy camp connection. Judging on the bit of it we see, Riley’s playing seems pretty impressive. Fresh faced, he has a sweet, high tenor and is a mixture of innocence and musical chops. He’s got great stage presence. Keith notes how effortless his performance is. “He can shred on the electric!” Keith offers. He advises Riley to really “dig in” to his performances. Keith is very impressed that Riley chose one of his “deep cuts.” The singer is like a Hunter Hayes, but with a better voice. 3 yeses.
The hopefuls are signing the “wall of fame” whiteboard on their way out!
Priscilla Barker – 19 – Amory MS – Delta Dawn by Tanya Tucker – Her mom is a Keith Urban Stan. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled! Pricilla is the youngest of 10 kids. She describes herself us “spunky.” Kellie Pickler must be her spirit animal. She pronounces “Daddy” like “Diddy” with her thick southern accent. Jlo is completely confused. Jennifer mumbles things during the performance, which is kind of distracting. Harry and Keith clown around after her performance. The audio in the room is potted up. We can hear the crew laugh. This is a bit much. “I feel for you Jlo,” says Priscilla about having to sit between two jokesters. Oh. Jennifer says no. She didn’t think the performance was special enough. Harry says yes. Keith believes Hollywood could bring out something special, so he says yes too. Priscilla reminds me a little of Skylar Laine. But I’m kinda with Jlo on this one. Of course, mama comes in for a hug. “She doesn’t sound safe at all!” says Keith when Pricilla describes the lengths of her mothers stanning. Jennifer says no. Harry and Keith say yes.
Cameron Bedell – 25 – Wichita KS – “You are the Best Thing” by Ray Montagne – Cameron, strumms his guitar while he croons. He’s got a pleasant voice with a very nice falsetto. Harry actually loved that he didn’t open his eyes. He felt the pocket was so great, he got lost in the song, which is a good thing. Keith wants to play guitar with him. Harry describes the performance as a “Sam Cook kind of joint.” – 3 yeses
JOKE CONTESTANT DEAD AHEAD! This next one thinks Mariah and Nicki are still judges. Segway into a montage of terrible singers. “Slim pickings in here,” says Harry. Keith is so disturbed by the bad auditions, that Harry has to cuddle him on his lap. “WHAT’S THAT!” says Keith as he suddenly jumps up. Hm.
Amber Kelechi Walker – 15 – Memphis TN – “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley – First major sob story. Amber is from a gang infested at-risk neighborhood. But music is saving her from spiralling. Her mom has sacrificed everything to make her dreams come true. “Music did save my life,” she says. Dang. I wanted this girl to be better. But her vocals are ALL OVER THE PLACE. she’s got no control or finesse. With some training, she could be a decent vocalist. Harry, the smart one, says she needs more time to get her vocals together. But since Jennifer and Keith say yes, she’s off to Hollywood. Before she leaves, she asks Harry to sign her yellow ticket. “I did not expect that turn of events,’ says a confused Harry. Amber is a real cutie, though. Harry says No, Jlo and Keith Yes.
We catch our first glimpse of the cattle call. Blink and you missed it.
Kyle Blaine Corman – 24 – Stanton Island NY – “Just a Little Bit” by Supertramp – From Stanton Island, he works in a grocery story. He’s got a luxuious main of curly red rocker hair. Slo motion while Harry touches it. “Does anyone have any Purrell?” he asks. “You’re all so good looking!” says Kyle. He’s kind of a jokester. Too bad he can’t sing. “It feels like a talking tone,” says Jlo before she says no. Then, Kyle does that thing where contestants launch into another song after the judges shut them down. Harry stops him. “We’re trying to help you here,” he says, annoyed. Kyle blames his tuneless screaming on “losing his voice.” “He yelled,” said Harry. Kyle lost me when introduced “Just a Little Bit” as a Goo Goo Dolls song. 3 Nos.
And it’s time for another montage of losers. “This is my dream since I was a little girl,” one girl cries. TEARS! “In the search for a superstar,” says Ryan, “You have to make some tough cuts.”
Next, we hit the coffee shop!
Kory Wheeler – 26 – Nashville TN – “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt – Kory takes the short walk across the street from where he works to audition in front of the judges! He’s auditioning on his lunch hour. Kory’s vocal isn’t perfect, but there is something about his tone and the way he delivers emotion, that grabs me. The judges seem to agree with me. “I GOT GOOSIES!” squeals Jlo. Keith loves everything about the performance. He compliments Kory on his strong style. Harry loved the sound of his voice. Ryan heads across the street with Kory to ask boss for the rest of the day off. GRANTED! 3 yeses.
Michael Simeon – 20 – Lumberton MS – “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith – He grew up working on the farm. But he IS in college. Michael’s vocal is breathy, but has a nice hint of rasp. I’d have to hear more to be really impressed. After his performance, Michael asks Jlo to slow dance. When Michael offers his hand, Jlo pulls him close instead. Keith plays guitar and sings harmony, while Harry hits the keys. Michael sings “Stay with Me” into Jlo’s ear. It’s a great TV moment. “That’s the most fun I’ve had in months!” squeaks Jlo. Harry says his accountant will be in touch. When Harry admits he’s a little jealous, Jennifer says, “I’m a great girlfriend and wife. I just picked the wrong f*cking guys.” OOOH BURN MARC. – 3 yeses.
Emily Brooke – 15 – West Palm Beach FL – “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood – Ryan Seacrest spoke to her through her TV, telling her to audition. That’s what she said! The young singer gigged for months to save money to travel to Nashville and audition. She’s sweet, and bubbly. Whoa. She hits those big high notes! She reminds me a little of Danielle Bradbery. She has that clear, beautiful tone and a ton of raw talent. But a few years of experience wouldn’t hurt her. Jlo felt like she was really telling a story. Keith loved her raw talent. Harry thinks she knows who she is. “She might have the most potential of anyone here,” says Harry – 3 yeses
Tomorrow: MORE Nashville plus Kansas City “The Best from the Bus”